Maybe it’s just me…

I was playing in a pickup basketball game in an over 40 league.  I’m in shape, but my wife, kids and most of my friends asked why I would start such a thing.  The jokes about life insurance…hardy har har.   First night was fantastic.  I was the youngest guy and the gym was so nice and small.  A few strides and full court.  Stretching at home before and prior to the play starting in the gym.  I played and went home feeling great, not even sore! I was sweating again with no pain.  I found my “thing”!   The second week, specifically, October 7th  I went back.  Play went well.  We took a break.  When we started again, I simply took a step with my left foot, just to push off from standing and the POP heard across the gym.  I fell and like all, thought someone big crashed on my leg.   The rest is my history…the ER (never again, I’ll just splint it and go to my orthopedic), the diagnosis, the week in a splint prior to surgery, the surgery and now NWB period (going into week 4). 

Maybe it’s just me, but going on 4 weeks since surgery, this has all become “part of me”.  The cast.  The crutches.  The process to get into and out of the car.  The tub with the bench and cups of water instead of the shower head.  Rolling around the kitchen and first floor on an office chair.  I’ve just adopted it all…as what I do.  Life (that seemed so rushed) has slowed down.  Granted, I’m blessed to work from home until Thankgiving.  That eliminates my mass transit commute.  I can read now.  I still go to practices of the kids, but they bring the chair in the bag and open it for me in the gym.  My boys are mowing the lawn and shoveling the snow (freaky October storm), which were all my departments, because I thought, only I could do that work.  I’m proud of them but I also realize they need to do this…things I always did, to grow.  I simply watch for now.  Point is, life is always “so hectic” because WE MAKE IT hectic.   My mind is clear because I know this is not forever, so I’m not melting down.  I will say, I now know what I have done to make my life so fast paced to point I didn’t enjoy it, is the fact that I just raced through it.   I can slow down, engage in less and enjoy the moments as they are.   I look forward to riding a bike and going for walks as soon as I can…but what I won’t do is make appointments that are unrealistic expectations of time.  I’m learning to move with purpose.  Run less and simply experience.   Specifically, I will live as if I can only go as fast as I can with crutches…and travel at the calm pace.   I’m enjoying that part much more (ability to rest).  I’m not glad this happened, but it’s almost like you are called to take a TIME OUT.  It’s helpful.   I still want to take two steps up the staircase at a time, just because I can…someday soon.  For now, I’ll sit back and let my boys “grow” in my “absence”.   I’m blessed to have a wife that does so much, yet is willing to carry even more of my load.   I’ll rest, because I CAN…because my body needs it…and when I recover, I think I will look back and say this happened for a reason. I plan on being more “present” with my family and the people who supported me.  There are changes taking place and all related to my getting out of the fast lane and just slowing down.   I think that is very much a part of achilles rupture “recovery”…but maybe it’s just me.

65 Responses to “Maybe it’s just me…”

  1. Its not just you!

    I am exactly one week behind you. At 45, I fully ruptured my right AT playing handball which I have been playing for 20+ years. My injury was October 14th and surgery on the 21st.
    I have two teenage boys and a great wife as well. I have read hundreds of these stories and never replied until now. I completely agree with what you wrote. We should keep in touch to compare our recoveries. Good luck to you.

  2. It’s not just you, and it’s beautifully put, too! :-)

  3. Hey Tim

    Wish were were on another trail, but we’re both on our way! I ruptured left, 10/7 and had surgery 10/13 so we are very close indeed with timing. I had splint and ace bandage from ER for the days till surgery and then had the same for the 1st week post op. Then I was placed in the fiberglass cast I’m in now with foot pointed down NWB. I will have been in this cast for 3 weeks, when I go this week on 11/9. I’m told I’ll be placed in another fiberglass cast at this appointment, for another 3 weeks NWB with foot angle adjusted more flat. Maybe I’ll choose another cast color to mix things up! I guess Ill learn next “step” after this cast, at my 11/9 appointment. I have stitches that don’t need to be removed (they dissolve with healing). My Doc did the S incision, rather than the straight line up achilles. I guess we get to talk about our “war wound” during summers…so that’s a plus! : ) I will share what I learn and I very much look forward to hearing about your experiences as well, since we will be going through this with same timing. I have tickets with family and friends to see a play in NYC at Christmas time, so my goal is to be able to walk with them…crutch free, maybe a boot, who knows It will be what it is. We’ll see!! I’m glad you have a great support system and before we know it, we’ll be looking back having learned a thing or two about a lot! : )

  4. Hi Tim, I echo your comments about slowing down. I’m not sure I’ll ever slow down, as I’m a do-er (I was vacuuming using my knee scooter by the end of my first week post surgery), and I hate having people doing things for me. But, my family also stepped up to the plate big time when I went out of commission. My three kids were (gasp) able to make their own school lunches, handle the laundry, help with a variety of other tasks I do, and live without having non-essential errands run immediately. I work part time outside the home and then do all of the carpooling, errands, cooking, shopping, etc., and I now realize that some things can wait. Things don’t have to be perfect and I don’t have to go to heroic efforts all the time. I’m glad for your epiphany and I hope you’re able to alter your lifestyle post-ATR where you can stop and smell those roses a bit more! Be well!

  5. I didn’t skip the meltdown but once it was behind me, I felt (and still feel) the way you described. Pre-ATR, it would’ve driven me mad to move at the slowed pace. Now, 3 weeks into PT, I find myself cherishing the pace, knowing the hustle & bustle is just around the corner. Best of luck in your recovery!

  6. jabotee, good luck with your appt. today. I see some differences to our treatments already. I was never in fiberglass cast rather a “soft cast” or a “half cast” since the ER and until surgery (one week) and then again after surgery (two weeks). At my two week post op appt. my doctor removed my stitches andsoft cast and put me in the boot with toes pointed slightly down and NWB instructions. My next on the day before Thanksgiving where he will adjust the boot to neutral position and hopefully recommend PWB. Whats nice about a boot is you can remove it to bathe (wonderful - no more plastic bags) and lightly massage the area as well as begin some light stretching and ankle and toe movement. Albeit ever so slightly but it feels good to SLOWLY stretch the tendon and SLOWLY move the foot around. Even though I am not supposed to, I have been putting some weight on the foot while seated and it feels pretty good. Good luck with your goal of walking for your play at Xmas time. My goal is to ski again with my family THIS season vs. next. Thats probably too optomistic but we are a huge skiing family and usually take a trip out west each year. A few more things about my surgery. It was a high tear meaning more up toward the calf than down low. My surgeon (one of the best, I feel, in the region) said he was able to get a very strong suture of the stringy tendon fibers high up on the tendon. He likes my progress so far. Let me know how you are doing.

  7. @corunninggirl…i smiled at your post…understanding you are a doer, (do mom’s even have a choice??) i appreciate how you found your kids able to do as well (probably got that from you… : ) you’re right…some things can wait…and the world has not ended (yet!). I totally recognize that to a mom, the thought of “slowing down” seems so improbable. As a Dad, we have “slow down instincts”! I applaud your recognizing that you NEEDED to and share in your appreciation of your family for recongizing they needed to do what they have to do right now. That’s what I really have come to appreciate…my family giving back more than I could imagine. Thanks for sharing and here’s to our healing process!!

    @jereca…honestly, i can’t say that i don’t sit and feel sorry for myself (mini meltdowns?) i do…i get quiet and that’s when my wife (God love her) asks if I want a candy or piles me into the car to go see a moving where I can elevate my foot to just get out of the house. each day has meant something, if nothing else, it certainly is a break from our “day to day” routines that have made the years fly by. i hope you continue to heal and find plenty to smile about along the way…we are moving along!

    Hey Tim!!!

    Yup..just got home from my Doc appointment. My son drove me with his learner’s permit and I’m glad he was there with me. When cast was cut off, first time I really saw the incision area…looks like Frankenstein and there is black and blue around heal…I realized my lower leg modeling career is now over : ) Felt so good to have skin in open air. You would think I might get it washed down, but they just casted it back up…after I scratched all around away from sutures! Doc said I’m only in this latest cast (NWB) for 2 weeks. On 11/23 (just like you!!!) I go back to Doc and get the legendary boot with wedges. I’ll wait to hear how you made out!! Our paths are mirroring! Doc said I will be able to put very light weight (aka pretend I’m walking with crutches) with the boot from 11/23 for a week. Then I return, start PT (week 7 post op) and have a wedge removed removed. I understand there will be a few wedges and progress means, wedge removals as time goes buy! There is no exciting approach here, but I totally feel comfortable in his care, so I’ll walk the longer path. He told me that the achilles doesn’t have any measurable strength to sustain demands until at least 3 months post op, so any hastened approach simply raises “risk” of something “not so good” happening. He said it’s not a guarantee it will happen, but he couldn’t feel comfortable putting me in that position. So…I’ll get my boot on 11/23…that’s the next point on the calendar for both of us I just keep the next goal in view. I also had a high rupture..just below calf muscle, so our similarities continue! Sounds like you are blessed with the strong suture high up…fantastic. Keep the faith. I know all are running around us, but our time WILL come!! Keep in touch and I’ll be pulling for ya!

  8. Jabootee I think its great that your son drove you to your appt. I also think you are smart to listen to your Dr. I also wanted to point out that my Dr. really emphasized the NWB until Thanksgiving. it was only my stubborness to attempt to stretch and move my foot around. Believe me I will not overdue it. My boot has three wedges now so I don’t know how many will be removed on the 23rd. My brother lives in East Brusnwick NJ. and I am in Northwestern PA near Erie. Where are you? I have appointment with my PT next week (just introductory) so I will let you know how it goes. Don’t like the word “pulling” so lets say I’ll be “rooting” for you too.

  9. Good point on pulling…I’ll root too. I’m in Central Jersey, East Brunswick is about 25-30 minutes away. I’m a big Steeler fan, so we make it out to Pittsburgh once a year, but sad thing is, with this injury, I had to sell our tickets I bought for this year. Just knew I couldn’t crutch around the stadium. My son took picture of sutures between cast removal and replacement and theme of the pic is BLACK AND BLUE! With foot kinda numb, I was more than ready to cast it up because I think I would only do damage unprotected. I can tell when I get the boot on 11/23 and then wait a week for PT afterward, I won’t have the muscle tone to “overdue it” and I certainly won’t push it, but already I heard my Doc saying to another patient, you wont be able to build up strength if you are not prepared to battle back…so I’ll do what he tells me…when game time comes! I am finding it much easier to move around in bed now…no longer limited to sleeping certain ways, so that’s a big plus with this phase of cast, so I consider it a win 4 weeks post surgery! At this point, I’m calling places I never had time to call to fix things ask statement questions I never had time to ask. I’m actually buying Christmas gifts online waaaay before Christmas…this may be the first year I’m not shopping on Christmas eve (where the only thing left to buy are Chia Pets!) - - another plus! First day of this two week period went slow, but it will kick in soon. Be sure to share the PT experience. I bet it will go well and you will feel like you are getting some control back!

  10. Quick question…boring day with foot elevated, so I thought I would shop online. I’m wondering, have anyone made use of a walking cane when they just got off the crutches or do you do cold turkey? I’ll be walking from train some days and don’t know what type of load this will mean for me (heavy boot I know). The unknown is what what I won’t be able to do with foot…other than just raise with knee and put down. Thinking a walking cane may make good transition, but is that overkill??

  11. I used a cane sporadically when going to two shoes, but never with the boot. If nothing else, it’s a good visual cue for those around you (like on a train) to take a little extra care, and give you a little extra room.

  12. While shopping for cane, what, if anything have those of you used for achilles support once the casts have been removed? I’m going to a boot on 11/23 and I’m thinking I should buy something like compression socks with padding over achilles or some type of ice hot velcro wrapped support? There are a lot of products on the market and I would like to know what those of you, who have traveled farther down the road than me at this point, use…and VALUED. If there are any specific brands of products that you found really beneficial for support and protection/comfort, I’d appreciate the specific references.

  13. Jabootee, Congrats on moving to the boot. When I moved from the cast to the boot, it was a great day. Learning how to get around with that boot and those crutches will be a task, but you’ll get the hang of it. In my opinion, you don’t want to get compression socks, you want to allow your foot to breathe because the fluid and blood needs to circulate in your foot, that is what will aid in the healing process. A pair of white cotton socks is all I wore the entire time I was in the boot. When I came out of the boot, I continued to wear the white cotton socks while I was in two shoes healing. I moved to the cane after I came out of the boot. I was able to get a wooden cane from my physical therapist as well as a prescription for Nyproxin for the swelling. The cane helped me to stabilize myself and allow that calf muscle to work to rebuild my leg. I still have a slight limp but it’s more of a mind thing that anything else. My injury was approx 20 weeks ago, I do physical therapy three times a week for about two hours each session. Just know that it will take time and rest. As we get older, we don’t heal as fast as we used to. Best of luck to you and I hope this helps.

  14. mrknox..thanks for the info. the best thing about this site is having folks that are a few blocks ahead of me, helping so much on what i might expect around the corner. i don’t get my boot until 11/23 after being non weight bearing 7 weeks. i expect the discomfort even using slight weight, but i hope swelling will be managed. returning to work after having worked from home since 10/7 (i’m spoiled, as so many others have had to return almost right away). ill elevate my boot at work and just enjoy being back in the mix of things. week from tomorrow is boot day so i’m on my way! i even did some LAUNDRY today, by rolling with my office chair to the laundry room, but it was great to feel useful for this family that has carried me on their shoulders. i think they are getting used to me not playing a big roll…not so sure its good for them to know they can do without me. that secret was the only thing keeping them putting up with me! : ) i trust your recovery has been tough and rewarding at times mrknox, so thank you for sharing and all the best to you.

  15. Being placed in boot in two days (Weds) after 6 weeks in NWB cast. I believe I will only be able to put LIMITED weight 1st week, with PT and gradual adds of weight and removal of wedges weeks following.

    My question: I tend to go home and wish I asked the Doc a question. So those of you having been placed in a boot, please help me with what I need to know.

    Will I have a cast on in the boot?? (I didn’t think so…)

    What do I need to be sure the Doc makes clear to me? I just don’t like listening to what he choses to present, during time I have boot on and wishing I thought of a question when I got home. What do you know…that I would be wiser to know with the boot process (I know its heavy and patience is key…) and what would you have asked your Doc if you had the experience that you have now, when you were having the boot placed on for the first time. It’s just a next phase so I look to my friends with more experience in here to help with insight on what’s around the corner! : )

  16. You won’t have a cast.
    Ask him about sleeping- that seems to come up a lot, and at 6+ weeks, he may or may not want you to sleep in it.
    Ask him about showering- is it OK to get your leg wet? When/how can you start to shower without the boot (maybe sit down, take boot off, shower, dry, boot on, get up… what’s the process?)
    Ask him about taking the boot off to massage, stretch, mobility… or just put it up on a pillow to watch TV? Is that OK?
    Looks like you did the left, so driving shouldn’t be a question. Unless you’re looking to operate a clutch…

    I’m sure others will think up some additional questions-

  17. Jabootee this is Tim the guy who’s a week behind you. I have had the boot for 3 weeks now and I also go back tomorrow (11/23/11). Ask about the adjustment to the boot in terms of degrees of pitch and how many heal lifts he recommends. The previous reply was right on with the questions. Also…
    You will want your boot on and will come to depend on it (security blanket) because your bare foot will be scary if you lose your balance (in the shower or tub,etc.) My problem was swelling in the toes because I walked around too much (on crutches) with the boot supporting my weight if I need to rest it on the floor. This led to swelling because I did not keep my foot elevated enough throughout the day. My rehab visit resulted in the recommendation of a compression sock to wear throughout the day to eleviate the swelling below the ankle. This is not necessary if you elivate properly all day but who really can do that. Anyway, ask about this to see if he recommends same. Good luck. Let us know how your appt. goes.

  18. just re-read my reply and I did not mean that you wear the boot in the shower or bath, but this is when you have it off and you will find that you will want to put it back on ASAP after the shower, etc. just wanted to clear that up.

  19. If you’re interested, you might also ask if/when you can start swimming. At 6 weeks, the answer might be “right now”.

  20. Hey Tim! I was wondering how you were doing. A week behind me, yet in a boot for three weeks already…shows how different protocols take place with recovery! I’ll look forward to hearing how you made out with your appointment today. I’m going soon for mine with my list of questions. I just cant get mind around fact the cast phases are done…no cast…wow. PEOPLE JUST STARTING OUT…this TOO shall pass. Take it one day at a time. Take one advancement and celebrate.

    ryanb…thanks much for your information. added to my notes! To all reading with ATR’s….HAPPY THANKSGIVING! Let’s celebrate the family and friends that have helped us along the way!!!

  21. Well, after 6 weeks in NWB casting (2), I “got the boot”. I thought I would be able to place some weight on it, but Doc said no, not for 2 more weeks. I will be 8 weeks NWB at this point. He said I could “place” front of foot on ground in boot and allow the crutches to bear the weight. Then next week, remove a wedge and continue. After second week, I return to his office to start PT (December 7th).

    I get that so many others are on their feet bearing weight in what seems like just a few weeks. As it was explained to me, risk of re-rupture higher, and that’s all I needed to hear. I can’t put myself in that position based on what I read with others (and being envious! : ) I do appreciate ability to take leg out and wash it (first thing I did when I got home). Scrubbed skin in tub gently with luke warm water/liquid soap and a pumice stone. It seems like layers dissolved. I felt like a snake! I lotioned up really well, including incision area. The foot/achilles felt vunerable at first, so I went right back into boot. I don’t keep boot on when sleeping. I will be putting it all over the ground, I don’t want it in my bed. I don’t sleep walk, but I put my crutches on angle side of bed so if I did move off..they would be like a ramp! I took off the heavy comforter, just a light blanket and parked leg on a pillow. Jolted in middle of night and it woke me up, scared of achilles jolt, but nothing. Just have to get used to the fact that the achilles will continue to recoup without a cast…all is well. Yesterday, (Thanksgiving) with family, I remained in boot for most of day, but after dinner, I retreated to Lazy-Boy and took it off..elevated on pillow and moisturized/massaged. Doc said to draw the alphabet in air with big toe for ankle movement. He said stop at the letter when discomfort happens, and I finished the alphabet! How that can make me happy, is amazing! I left the boot off all night, just resting sitting up. I would even have it off going to bathroom, because I have balance (if I was at all unbalanced or shaky, I would never leave it off). I do know (and conciously think) while crutching without boot, if I am to slip (god forbid) I go injured achilles up (protect at all costs! : ) I have a “DonJoy” boot, which I can tell is low end (cost). It looks like Frankenstein shoes, there is no adjustments for flexing in ankle or contoured bottom, just a flat black block, with a series of cross over velcro straps and a low end air pump ball. I feel secure it it, but it is HEAVY (in comparison to cast). The fact that I’m NWB, makes cast more appealing, but I would not trade in access to leg that I now have with boot. I was told I could shower, but I’ve been taking baths using huge garden tub we have in bathroom (never used it before, so it finally came in handy). Feel much more secure in bath and it does not wear on “good achilles” which is taking a beating and burns from time to time by ankle area. I’ll stay with the bath process until I can go FWB in shoes, I don’t want a slip, just not worth it. I’m going back to work this Monday, after working from home since October 7th. Wife thinks I’m nuts, becase I can’t bear weight on foot, but they hooked me up with parking under building and I have my handicap plaqard. The driving isn’t bad (left foot) so I think it’s part of recover that I go back. I was told I can work from home on PT days, so it will be a part time in office schedule. I know I’m lucky to have these options. Oh, perhaps the biggest news…I actually dusted some furniture today. What? I know, why would anyone want to, but my wife was cleaning room, and I felt HELPFUL!! (Never thought I would use that word again to describe me after the rupture…so see, small advances…and they all add up. Hope all is well with each of you. We’re in this together!!

  22. jabootee, your post of Nov 3 really echoes my experience and education during these first weeks of ATR rehab. I’m 8+ weeks so about on the same time path as you. I just started PWB in the boot with the ortho doc blessing to progress to FWB as fast as I’m comfortable. From the very start of this adventure I’ve said it’s a marathon, not a sprint. What matters to me is where I am in recovery 12 months from the injury. The intermediate milestones are just that, useful but for me it’s important to stay aware of the ultimate goal, the best long term rehab I’m capable of.

  23. I returned to work today after being out since Oct. 7th. Learned some things. People who I thought were not the nicest, took total care of me. I’m so ashamed of judgement, but I will NEVER forget who stepped up. I’ll be there for them. I was set up with handicapped parking under building and elevator to office, so I’m blessed, but I have never had to crutch around so much in a single day. Exhausted. Incision area started to sting for first time, as I wasn’t spoiled with ability to elevate most of the day today like I have, working from home. Wearing the boot and not being able to put weight on foot is just no bueno. No bueno at all. To top it off, I developed a seasonal cough and either that or using crutches to support weight, I think… I pulled a muscle in back or chest, burns chest. It’s a vunerable time physically, which has never been the case before in my life. Blessed with health. This ATR has taken me down a path that includes alot of frustration and today was a new level. I come home and take off the boot and just air out the foot all night long, including going upstairs to bed. Wife made me dinner and brought over a beer…she’s already going to heaven for marrying me, but this stuff is just going above and beyond super extra credit to SAINTHOOD. She hates computer, so she doesn’t read this stuff, but I tell her. Well, this day has passed, so second day commuting should be easier. I admit, when alarm went off this morning, I woke up and felt nervous. I got through it. If you are about to go back to work, you will too. You know that pace that works for you, so do what you know works and just let another day bring you closer to your recovery. Tomorrow is another step.

  24. Hi jabootee

    I totally understand what u are going through on your first day of work. I am Siew Bee, 50 year old teacher from Singapore, atr op on 27Aug. Like you, I ‘ve had to go in to teach some classes when I was in a boot NWB. My first day was filled with anxiety as I had to crutch out of my house to a pick up point about 100m away! But I had to do it even though I was on medical leave because my students were preparing for a high stakes national exam. Though I could sit and deliver my lecture, the discomfort and the anxiety was immense–the fear of tripping over the laptop wire, slipping in the toilets, screaming and running kids colliding into me along the corridors. At the end of the day, when I got into my colleague’s car safely and crutched safely into the house after traversing the little garden plot that suddenly seemed interminable, I collapsed into the chair with an audible sigh of relief, thanking and praising God. I was so exhausted and geared myself for the next trip to school.

    12 weeks have passed and i am going thru rehab. Things have gotten better without the boot though I am not walking very well yet. I am still optimisitc and looking forward to the day when I can have the freedom of functioning at an acceptable level (short term first ).

    I want to say to you that: Things willl definitely look up! :) N yes, we learn many things along this long drawn journey: the love of our family and friends. Of course, there were disappointments as well–unsympathetic workmates. N to some it was out of sight, out of mind–the pace of work life is frantic and long medical leave has a tendency to isolate ATR sufferers. However, it helps me to be very clear about what I really value and what defines me as an individual.

    It is a long journey. But have faith and trust that we will get there. And be stronger for it.
    Happy Healing! :))

  25. Still have PWB only from my doctor. Have yet to start rehab (formally) but am able to walk with cane vs. crutch on the boot. All heal lifts are gone from the boot. Feeling very good though. Also, the compression sock relieves pain and swelling below the ankle. You should ask your dr. or rehab specialist about the compression sock. It works for me, anyway good luck. Hey, will you be able to walk to that play over Xmas?

  26. Hey Tim

    Being NWB is just heavier in the boot. I have it off at night and elevated, but the PWB status seems like a big day. Seems others have been granted it, but my Doc said nope. I did remove one wedge from my boot this past Weds, so foot sits flatter in boot, but I don’t put any weight. When the boot is off and I’m seated for night, I put foot on floor, just to feel carpet, NWB…but gently flat. Feel no discomfort. I go this coming Weds., and told I will start PT…whatever that means. So you are placing some gentle weight while using a cane? I would think it would be hard to be PWB with cane. How you doing that?? Is PWB considered half the weight you normally would put on the foot or less?? I have to make a plan when I move to PWB, cuz as you know, the boot is like standing on a block, so I have to get a work boot or something to level hips for walking. You doing anything special for that? I feel like the foot can take some weight now, no pain whatsoever with NWB. As for the play, funny you should ask…made plan to get car service today. Was going to take mass transit, but it’s clear, if I’m walking Christmas week, I will just be starting…and walking all over NYC with that crowd, just is a recipe for bad outcome. Too crazy to drive in, so car will drop us off at play, then we eat close by, maybe walk a couple blocks to tree. If I can’t walk to tree (we’ll see) then plan is for family and friends to go see it and I’ll make some new friends at a nearby bar for a drink, until they walk back. I just need to end the crutches soon…they are really draining mentally after 8 weeks at this point. Hoping the PWB goes well for me…how is it going for you? Nervous at first?? Let me know when you go FWB or any other updates!!

  27. PWB is generally anything between NWB (zero weight) and FWB (full weight). It’s when you’re walking with the assistance of crutches, cane, or other device. You’ll probably start out VERY light, just toe, tapping, and then over the course of several weeks progress with more and more weight until you, one day, discover you don’t need the crutches.

  28. ryanb…I have to wonder how people who are less than 7 weeks (where I am post surgery) are at FWB and I have yet to put an ounce on the foot. While I place on floor, no weight, flat without boot, it makes it so tempting to do. Foot feels so sound. I’m not reading everyone is rupturing again. I won’t do it, (since I can’t deal with the responsbility of setting myself back when my Doc working with my specific situation said not to do so), but I can’t help but wonder “what if”. I read so much in the forum of all the others on a cain and walking in boot before 7 wks post surgery. It’s just so tempting…but I know I will walk one day…so I tell myself if not adding weight early prevents re-rupture, even 8 years down the line for another month or whatever, I’ll wait…not bearing weight. Just know I’m on the sidelines of a weight bearing game and I’m watching (reading) you guys in play before 7 weeks…and I’m jealous.. : ) I’m looking at a THIN foot and a deteriorated calf..just skin…and I know, it’s gonna be a process before I just… “get up and walk”. It just doesn’t help that I read how many are doing it in less than 7 weeks, making me think I can too. Ugh! Still on crutches 8 weeks and counting…is that a record?? : )

  29. jabootee, I was on crutches in a boot, NWB through 9 weeks. After 9 weeks I as given the OK to walk and weight bear (in the boot) as I was able and discontinue using crutches when I could. I’m 2 weeks past that now and clump around in my boot, no crutches. More to the point I share your observations and frustrations about how long recovery is taking compared to many other members of this blog.

    Keep in mind bcurr’s advice, “most of us line up near the end of rehab (6-12 months.” What matters to me is the status of recovery a year from my injury. Also, so many other factors impact a recovery timeline besides a docs orders on how long before weight bearing, etc. The specific nature and severity of the tear, general health of the patient, an individual’s emotional need to speed recovery at any cost to name just a few. It seems to me the individuals that reach recovery milestones fastest are significantly more involved in the management of their recovery than most of us. And frankly we benefit from their efforts, from the knowledge they generously they share and as inspiration.

    Risk/Payoff to any activity whether it’s financial investment or ATR recovery is wholly personal. I’m not risk adverse by nature but for me the downside of possible re-rupture by aggressively challenging my healing rate versus “going for it” and being in 2 shoes 3 weeks sooner just isn’t worth it.

  30. bcurr…I should be clear. I’m by no means not facing reality (that this will be an extended recovery). I’m simply sitting, with foot elevated and reflecting how some are up and about on some other paths for same injury, which is factual. I can only assume my situation is different, but to be clear, there is only ONE opinion and direction that I follow implicitly…my Docs. I can, however, live vicariously through others and “imagine” how it feels. As for me and my achilles, we will follow the path we’re on, as set by my Doc, who I trust so much. I will say, the incision is healing VERY well. I would equate my comments (about others, having faster recovery paths) to someone on a diet who watches someone else eat cake. I’m not going to do it too…but I sure am going to “wish” I could which is all I was writing about. I’m really comfortable with the crutches. I might even say, I’ve become talented using them, able to get into small spaces and manuever very well. It will be very different not using them. but I’ll be ready when that time comes…whatever day the Doc says. I’m not really stressed, as I’ve adopted this pace of life. I think the sooner one adopts recovery as something you go through, in due time, the easier it is to not have the ATR consume your waking thoughts.

  31. I’m sure you’ve observed the same thing I have jabootee- protocols for this injury have a huge variation. Surgery? Not Surgery? Cast, boot, or splint? Early mobilization or long term immobilization? Early weight bearling, or longer term NWB?

    it’s amazing to me that the medical community hasn’t converged to a more consistent treatment. Perhaps, as bcurr suggests, the reason is that it just doesn’t matter a whole lot- in the end, we all might end up at about the same place. Or, perhaps it’s a function of when/where your doctor was trained- once they have a route that demonstrates success, then there’s not much motivation for a doctor to spend a lot of time researching and keeping up with the latest techniques. There are knee specialists- guys who really do nothing but knees. Conferences, seminars, etc., all about knee surgeries. But, the achilles rupture is less common - I’ve never encountered an ATR specialist - and so I imagine doctors are left to negotiate it on their own. And, as I said, if they have experience with a protocol that’s worked, what would be their motivation to try something new.

    FWIW, my doctor planned to put me in a cast for ~7 weeks post surgery. I have no idea what he planned after that… I’m not sure if I was his best patient, or his worst :-)

  32. Ryan makes a good point and excuse the pun in saying “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it”. You can’t blame doctors with going tried and tested and in fairness, even the most aggressive protocols end up finishing near the same point. Unless you’re a pro athlete with physio money to burn or do a job that requires you to do squats all day (eg. a builder), super fast recovery is but a pipe dream even for the most motivated of us.

  33. OK…going for my first PT session tomorrow. What do you remember about your FIRST PT session (as opposed to the complete process, more looking for detail about tomorrow’s first PT). I’ve babied the ankle calf and foot for 8 weeks, not putting so much as an ounce of weight on it, and now I wonder what the therapist will do in this first session. Hopefully, some GENTLE range of motion things?? I’m prepped to work, but out of the gate, I’d like a “gentle” wake up call to the achilles. I appreciate what you may remember about your first session in therapy (what you did, what type of pain level…including afterward (pain for the day??). Should I bring a pain pill I didn’t use from the surgery?? I can take pain..I hope it don’t arrive though! : )

  34. hi jabotee
    i went for my first physio abt 6 weeks ago. my therapist spent time understandg how i was doing for my recovery. then i removed my boot for her to assess my range of motion n flexibility. i was asked to flex my toes: plantar flexion n dorsi flexion. both of which u can expect to be limited. my foot was immobilised cor abt 7 wks in the boot so it was v stiff. the toes are swollen: q normal for our injury. range of motion was also limited. so she got me to move my ankle to assess. next was mobilisation: do expect some pain from tightness. breathe in n out deeply. try to relax. v impt when tendon is being stretched. it w feel v tight. n our anxiety w kick in. but rest assured the tendon is strong enough at 8 weeks in your case.
    pain in the initial sessions is an indicator of how far therapist can push safely. so may not be gd to mask the pain. as each session progresses, u w hv a better feel of how u hv recovered with diminished pain during mobilisation.
    1st session: usu cycling for 15min to loosen ankle, some light leg presses, single foot on wobbleboard for range of motion exercise. then end with deep massage. that was v v painful but v good at loosening incision area. everthing is stuck. so 1st few sessions tend to be more painful.
    dun expect too much in terms of goals. much better to get in tune with how foot feels when u put pressure on it. get used to pins n needles sensation. sign that nerves n muscles waking up. but it gets better. all the best.

  35. First session (shortly after getting into 2 shoes) for me was mostly an evaluation. Spent a quite a while doing an interview, talking about my status/progress/limitations/goals. Then, they measured my range of motion. They decided not to measure strength (too early). They had me do some balancing- how long could I stand on the injured leg? No real exercises or therapies were done that first day.

  36. My first session was at 12 weeks, so 4 weeks after going in 2 shoes, therefore it wasn’t quite as important to “ease me into it”. Half the session though was an interview, then he watched me walk, then it was a simple warm up on a bike followed by standing on one leg, double heel raises etc

  37. I appreciate the experiences that you shared. Today’s visit was a dissapointment. I got it wrong about PT. Doc just looked at the incision, moved the heal a bit, then told me about the phase I’m now entering (which I’ll share) and approaching risks. Here’s some hightlights of conversation: (These are my experiences, with my Doc talking about my case, so I would be first to point out this doesn’t apply to all!)

    Doc said achilles has 40% strength after 12 weeks…I’m in week 8 right now.

    He said I’m at point where two things bad happen…either I get overzelous thinking I’m farther along than I am and doing things like too much weight or too much effort…OR I get with an overzelous physical therapist. Both could lead to reinjury and alot of that happens in this phase (8 to 12 weeks) thinking all better. NOT.

    I told him I have and will continue to BABY my achilles. I understand PT will involve WORK and discomfort, but we both agree I drive the boat with PAIN. (Don’t accept it, and STOP whatever it is that may cause it in PT, if applicable).

    Doc pulled the final wedge from my boot…(good news) so I’m flat.

    Doc told me that I can simulate walking in boot with crutches (heal to toe placement, no real weight, instructed to keep weight on crutches.) I have simply been placing front toe (toe tapping) on crutches since placed in boot for past two weeks to this point, so now I can “look” like I’m walking with crutches.

    I simply received an prescription for PT…3x/wk 4 wks and set another appointment with Doc for exam on 12/28, 3 weeks from now…where I’ll be 10 wks post surgery.

    Doc said HE determines PWB not the physical therapist, so it’s clear, I will be NWB for at least 10 weeks total…just acting like I’m walking.

    I hate crutches…that’s really the worst thing about this process. All else I can take with a smile : )

    Oh, and as a final page to update today, I leave exam room walk town hallway to PT area (same practice), hand them my perscription from Doc and I’m told they are not in Network. How is it that the Doc is in network, yet their PT portion of practice is not?? I thought, this could be expensive, but then, I was handed back my perscription by therapist and told I can arrange my PT independently based on therapists in network. I got the BOOT! (pun intended).

    I’m going to call office now that I think about it, and just let my Doc know I will be going to another PT, since he was one who said “either take it here or another location down street…” so I think he thinks I’m with the practice. Strange.

    So…bottom line…I will be 10 Weeks NWB before I see Doc again, in boot, flat, with crutches, and having two weeks of PT under my belt…that is, once I find a therapist on my own…. based on recommendations.

    Not what I thought would happen today, but, oh well…

  38. > Doc said Achilles has 40% strength after 12 weeks

    That’s an interesting data-point/opinion/perspective. I thought the common wisdom was that the tendon essentially healed (~80%? ~90%?) somewhere between 12 and 16 weeks. That, to me, implies more than 40% capability at 12 weeks. I’m certainly not arguing one way or the other… I’m just trying to understand the healing curve as best I can. If it’s correct, then this data tells me I might have it all wrong :-(

  39. Ryan…I think that’s what makes this process confusing if not bordering on frustrating. The protocol and data seem diverse. I get the age, physcial shape, severity, location criteria, but I don’t hold hope for universal application of data, or even opinion at this point. Since it was a session about this being phase were most take undo risk and push too much thinking all better (not taking long term view of recovery seriously), perhaps my Doc was attempted to impress upon me not to be foolish, but using a 40% strength number to impress on the fact that I should push anything or attempt to walk yet. I never gave him impression I would be anything other than following instruction, but everyone has their own personality, so I can’t say if his number is flawed, since he didn’t say you can post that here…and it was a message to me…but I did take my reality to be I’m NWB, on crutches (dag!) just placing foot on ground, until my next appointment , which will be at 10 weeks.

    I just found a Physical Therapist in network less than 5 miles from home, so I made appointment for tomorrow morning, since I thought I would start today, but didn’t. We DO have to remain active in our recovery (setting appointments). Bottom line, if you knew me, you wouldn’t question your understanding of the healing curve, since you are farther down the path and I have done NOTHING to learn more. I simply share what I heard today..and more importantly, what I was told to do, if nothing else, so others can compare notes, see they are/were at same place or perhaps, just scratch their head. :) I do appreciate your insight when you share it. Thanks again!

  40. I understand Jabootee. I’m right in the middle of that 12-16 week window, trying to figure out just how hard I should be working it now. I think I’m getting close to the point where - to rebuild strength - I need to start working through, rather than always backing away from, pain. But, I certainly don’t want to do that too early; and mentally it’s kind of a difficult switch to make ;-)

    Good luck with your new PT-

  41. BTW- I bet this post sounds a little familliar ;-)

  42. I’m right in that 12-16 week window too.
    Been doing physio for a few weeks now, using the gym at the physio with wobble boards plus getting ultrasound and massage regularly.
    Walking comfortably barefoot, in crocs or boots.
    Not running anywhere yet !!!!
    Have managed to get on the water, bodyboarding with the kids and also a quick stand-up paddle board session.
    I’ve found swimming to be really good, loosens up the ankle nicely.
    One thing I will say is that each and everyone of us knows our own body better than the experts who see them for 10-20 minutes at a time. Do some research, ask appropriate, researched questions and they will look at offering a process to suit. Just follow their regime blindly and it could be a long slow road ….. For me a more proactive rehab period is what I needed psychologically …… Others may prefer a more passive option.
    whichever way, the nett result is 12 months to full recovery. 3 months in and I’m doing stuff, others maybe wait until 6 months and for some it’ll be the full 12 before they kick into the Pre-ATR routines.
    There are many ways to make the best of this enforced ‘time-out’ ….. Find one that fits your own preferences and go forwards at your pace.
    Good luck, and stay sane !!!!!

  43. Well said STB-

  44. Hey jabootee,
    Well I think we had surgery only a few days apart. I am on a bit of a different time schedule, but your last post has me a little worried! I am going to PT once a week and she is really working me hard on strenght building on everything but my calf! Have to wait one more week for strength training on my calf. That would put me at about 9 and half weeks. I am doing limited exercises on my calf (gas pedals, pushing on excercise ball which is against the wall while lying on back) to start stimulating calf muscles. Got on the treadmill at the last appontment and got to do four corners (walking in all four directions, forward-backwards and then side stepping in both directions). PT syas that if I want ot start getiing a cardio workout on treadmill I can start walking backward at full incline at the speed I can tolerate. Achilles is feeling pretty good, and I thought I was almost out of the woods for re-rupture, but if your Doc is saying only 40% at 12 weeks! Not sure if I should tell my PT that I need to slow down or what!?!?

  45. nivergvup… I would NOT take what my Doc said and apply it to your situation. Perhaps it was my age? Perhaps he was attempting to “enforce” me to take it easy by giving a percentage like that…it was a passing comment and it plays into fact that I have been NWB for 8 weeks and will be for an additional 3…so that fact that you are on a treadmill doing what you describe, puts us in very different places. I feel confident my Doc is referring to my situation and it should not be applied to yours…if we all followed everything that PT’s and Docs are saying for each case on this blog, we would be going in circles. I would suggest you follow the path that your Doc has set for you and have you PT sessions as you design. What I wrote was to identify how different protocols are, but in 6 mnths to a year…I trust we will all be walking…I just want my issue to be done (no residual pain…as I have NO pain now…). Had my first PT session today and it amounted to a injury history chat, measurement of range of motion, then a very nice gently massage of my calf and foot (feel very good!!) and then some gentle stretching…this is my speed, having not placed an ounce on the foot in 8 weeks. I don’t mean to concern you with your given approach or progress.

  46. Jabootee and Nivergvup…My surgery was Oct 21 (one week after tear). I am 45 and in decent shape (i wouldnt say great but by no means couch potato). I want to be clear, my dr said absolutely no weight bearing til xmas. He did put me in a boot early but still said NWB. I am still in a boot but my version of “walking with crutches” was self diagnosed meaning I was not listening to my dr. I simply felt like I could do it so I did. My wife and I have fought terribly over this. I feel my tendon is getting stronger and I even went to a cane. After reading all of the prior blogs I am going back to crutches just to be safe and I am wearing the boot way more than I think I need to.

    Jabootee, my first PT was EXACTLY like yours and I too was disappointed. At the second DOCTOR follow up (11/23) my dr said to hold off on PT until after Xmas when i could make some real progess and not “waste” expensive sessions so I haven’t been back yet. I was happy to hear Nivergvup say he is walking on treadmill and thinking of cardio. I feel I could do this a week from now and I feel much stronger than 40% but I am trying not to be one of those fools who reruptures because of stubborness to follow drs order. Lets face it. we all want to recover 100% and compare ourselves with others. I will close by saying I am not a good patient and dont like people waiting and fussing over me. If I can do something for myself I do. I am going to try to be better listener due to this blog. Good luck to all.

  47. Hey Tim…hope all is well. Thanks for your update. My PT is “going”. I was first worried it would be too agressive going in first appt., now I’m wondering if they are afraid to move the foot! I had two sessions, the lower leg to heal and foot massage twice, then some ice, then gentle ROM…then like a one pound ankle weight and told to raise leg laying down..while they checked on other patient. Clearly, I’m going to focus on PT at home after the 3x a week for a month perscription is done. I kinda wonder if Therapists aren’t glorified gym trainers with a certificate. I should be fair, only had two sessions and I don’t want pain either, but when I leave, I feel, well…nothing. Gonna look up on youtube for some at home gentle stuff 9 weeks post surgery. I have atrophy. I am quicker on the crutches being able to put foot in walking motion with total weight on arms, just easier than the chicken wing leg position while crutching of past. Funny thing happened at work…I was in elevator and guy asks what happened, tell him..he just lifts up pant leg and pulls down sock…tell tale scar…said…”Welcome to the Club!” Now that I’m doing PT which has me either working from home or going to work later, leaving earlier….Boss is also saying…Wow…this is a long process. Um…yup…I’m living it. Well, we all are, but we all will “graduate” and hopefully it WILL change us for good.

    Question for anyone… I’ve been looking for a GREAT pair of shoes to wear during recovery with best protection or support for achilles. Work (dress) and play (best sneaker brand name style… and maybe boot - - like hiking). Im going to ask my podiatrist for customized orthodics for achilles support as well. Investing in the wheels out of the gate. If you guys have shoe recommendations from reading or Doc recommendations..please share! All the best to everyone. Keep moving forward!

  48. Well today is 9 weeks post op…and 4th physcial therapy session. I was impatient as describe above, with first couple, thinking more should be done. Well more is being done. I rode a seated stationary bike (kind with chair seating and peddles in front of you). Not much resistance at all, but good range of motion work on ankle!! I felt ALIVE!! Little things like this give you light at end of tunnel…it’s there. Each day, you are getting closer to it. I also get the electro pads on calf and flex calf when “shocked”, really great massage (no PAIN!!) but stretching produces nice stretch all up back of calf…so I feel things are being woken up. I can see how it’s a “tempting time to do something stupid” (as my Doc warned me…) cuz I feel like I can start walking. At least I extend my leg fully down to floor (no more chicken wing) and feel the nice stretch. If at counter, I put crutches to side and just stand…like a REAL PERSON!! Walking is close…I can feel it…after 9wks NWB…next appointment with Doc is Dec 28th. What it will be, will be…but I wouldn’t mind if crutches can be packed away. I think I will be told, start with some weight, use crutches…so that’s the conservative mind set I’ll go in with!! Please everyone, doing the PT work is important and we all own our own body…I’d just suggest you think twice before pushing too far (possibly) as “going back to beginning” is not something I would want for you or anyone ….lets step forward to finish line, no stepping back! Be well.

  49. hi jabootee
    happy for u that u r progressing in PT. My protocol is also conservative but we knw we w ger there. yea thanks for timely reminders not to push beyond what the tendon can take. goal is to make steady progress each time. happy healing to u n all in the community.

  50. Here I am…10 wks 5 days NWB (so if you are not as far along and frustrated about NWB…hope this helps…you are not alone and probably won’t be in NWB this long!) Kinda numb about the whole experience at this point. Wife and I remind ourselves that even though we see no progress, we have to trust progress is happening under skin with tendon repair. Doing PT NWB is a bit frustrating…stretch with an almost non resistant rubber band, gentle massage, ride a stationary bike 10 minutes, roll a ball under foot while laying down, ankle weight leg lifts. I still have some swelling each night. I can tell the leg strength is as much as issue for walking as achilles at this point. I stand and stretch, just putting down both feet and the leg obviously needs work..feels small. I can crutch around with skill now being able to put foot down in boot…climb all stairs with confidence. I went to NYC to see play on 12/23 and (rather than sit at bar for drink as planned…) while family and friends walked to tree…as they were about to leave, I decided to crutch to the tree WITH them..6 city blocks round trip. Some were surprised. On way back, thought I was not going make it. I couldn’t talk, had to focus on crutching at that point!! Many offers for cabs, but I kept up with everyone! 12 year old joked that I was inspirational doing it. I honestly just didn’t want to be on the sidelines and trusted protection of foot in boot. Understanding I’ve been on crutches for 10 weeks and built up the upper body was still the challenge (and a fear) that I thought it would be (…getting around the big city during Christmas, on crutches …) but a challenge and fear that was MET…and I’m still alive : ) Yesterday, we all went out to dinner and while NWB, I decided I’m so secure using crutches and foot placement, that I put on two shoes (NWB) and left the boot at home. My foot/leg movements along with the crutching skill developed made me feel comfortable to make the decision. I would go slow and safe (NWB) and it was dry with handicap parking!! I just felt good to have shoes on BOTH feet. While the ankle swelled real nice just above where foot went into sneaker…I massaged it down when I got home and it got better. Wore boot to work today, so I have not abandoned it, using it when there is any risk. I go to the Doc tomorrow (28th). Pray that he says I can move to PWB and ditch the crutches when I feel I can…I’ve read that as a step for so many. The crutches are my friend, but I need to let go!! I need my hands after 10 weeks and my wife needs to see evidence that I will, in fact, walk again : ) She has given up “looking forward to it” and rather has adopted an “I’ll believe it when I see it” thought process. I have never looked ahead, but now that I look behind…10 weeks 5 days NWB…I wonder…and think…it’s gotta be time to put the blinker on…get out of the “slow lane” and start putting weight on the foot…right?!?!? We will see tomorrow!! Everyone will hear me shout for joy at a PWB directive…big day in ATR recovery…even if it came at 10 weeks 6 days in my case (I hope!!). I’m not wanting to get my hopes up, but if I’m being honest, first thing I will want to do when I get home is update my status from NWB to PWB in this blog!! Positive thoughts to all…you are NOT alone.

  51. A light!! Today, after 10 WEEKS and 6 days NWB, Doc told me…”It’s weight bearing time”!!! OMG…the day has finally come. I just got home, took off boot and put in closet…got a comfy pair of sneaks on with a compression sock…got out my cain YES (who would cheer about using a cane but it’s a big advance!!) and began with a rough step. Then another…and before I knew it, less rough…NO PAIN!!!! No Pain At All!! I’ve been walking around the island in my kitchen for the past 16 minutes. It’s rest time…but NO PAIN. God Bless surgeon’s..and people..while the road is still long, LISTEN to your Docs. I waited 11 weeks before putting an ounce on my foot. PT to rebuild leg muscles helped put me in position when I got this green light…and today, I’m walking…NO CRUTCHES!!!! I feel like crying… If you’re a few steps behind…this day will come for you too…and if you are a few steps ahead of me, remember the feeling you had on this day!!! Appreciate it all… I’m WALKING!!!!

  52. Thats fantastic! Great job

  53. Well, I spent afternoon walking around house with cain, slow but sure, FWB (for a day) and so pumped!! Then went to my Physical Therapy appointment. A low rent zoo. Different therapist daily. Nobody knows what you’re doing or done. They never even looked into my chart this day. I tell them I went to weight bearing today. Latest guy tells me to lay on stomach and proceeds to give me a DEEEEEEP tissue massage when I was not touched for 11 weeks. He went full board with excruciating pain. I was even dropping F bombs it hurt so bad…he didn’t stop. Point being, I can’t walk with cain anymore, back on crutches and pain meds today. I’m so DONE with that therapist’s office and in fact, I’m doing my own. Therapists seem to be glorified gym teachers. I’m going to join a pool for a couple months in winter and do light leg weights for muscle toning and stationary bike for range of motion, then evenutally treadmill. All in my house. Tired of people who went to internet college for therapy getting a certificate for $9.95 impacting MY very personal recovery. Well, 11 weeks, started being able to walk. Did it one afternoon, now in more pain than I’ve been since day after surgery. I get deep tissue massage is needed. It doesn’t have to be so deep Day 1. If I go backwards because of the “help”, I don’t go back to the help anymore. Was pumped to walk. Tonight, I’m angered I have to have my crutches out again. Lesson learned…you gotta own your experience, even when “professonals” take an action. One step forward, two steps back. It’s temporary, but very frustrating.

  54. That’s a real bummer Jabootee. Any chance of finding a better facility to work with?

    I figure PT can do 3 things for you:
    1) Show you what exercises to do. It sounds, to me, like you have a pretty good handle on it- and there are lot’s of folks here who can share their PT experiences. For instance, without input from PT, I would not have realized/expected my balance to be so compromised, and they showed me some exercises to develop it.
    2) Motivation. I don’t think you have any troubles there.
    3) Unique treatments/equipment (massage/electro-stim/ultrasound/etc.). Some of this you can do yourself (self massage the calf/achilles). This is mostly what I spent my time at PT doing- because they knew I was exercising and was motivated on my own. Some of it can be helpful, but most of it you can certainly do without.

    I think you can probably do OK without PT; but it wouldn’t hurt to shop around a bit and see if you can find a place that could work better for you too. Good luck.

  55. Haven’t been on this site for a few days since returning to work, your post made smile really for the first time since my surgery! Not that I haven’t been happy, it’s on this site you see so many different things, mad because I didn’t go so quickly as some, sad for the ones who haven’t done as well as me. I had cast and nwb for 6 weeks and into a boot on dec 19 with 2 wedges. Walking with assistance from crutches and last wedge comes out Monday. I want to be cable to go to dr appt next fri w/o the crutches and thanks to this post, I am going to practice very hard to do so even in boot so hopefully dr will say adios to it! Thank you!

  56. Jabootee,

    This is Tim. This Friday Jan 6th will be 11 weeks for me. My rehab is going great but I live in a small town and the rehab guy is FANTASTIC. So knowledgable and experienced and same guy every time. Rubber bands (left, right, fwd, bkwd, etc) and wonderful theraputic message (he knows what he is doing) unlike your sad story. Also, stationalry bike with leg extensions and leg curls on the machines (tendon not invlolved with this) strengthens the leg muscles. My doctor STILL has me in the boot until February which is frustrating because I can walk with shoes without the boot and I can drive BUT… this is causing me to argue terribly with my wife. Thus, I am still using boot and she is driving me everywhere.

    Today however, was miraculous. Anyonre reading this who is trying to transition from boot to shoe must look into this innovative new brace. My rehab guy recommended trying this brace (only if Dr. OK’s it). It is TREMENDOUS. I can drive and walk without worrying about re-rupturing. He let me “borrow” the brace (he had two in his office) to show to my Dr. I have been wearing it all day. I have appt. on Friday to get Dr. approval. You will be amazed. GOOGLE “ToeOFF by Allard”. This thing is amazing! I will let you know if my Dr. approves.

  57. Hey Tim!! Glad to hear from ya. Glad your rehab is going well. I trust its a great source of motivation that this will be in your past…and it will…soon enough. I’m not losing sleep over my PT situation. I cancelled most of my appointments, keeping one a week just to ask questions and I requested a specific therapist for every session I go to (best of the worst…). I just was faced with reality that we need to own our experience. What I am pumped up about was the realization I could join the gym at my office (so lucky to have that option, I know…and went today for first time). They have everything I need, breaks up my day and I feel like I’m driving my own rehab. Today, as owner of my own PT, went from office to elevator to gym. Stretched light, massaged calf (got this muscle relief lotion on’s great…not like woman’s hand lotion and soothes aches. I massage the calf somewhat hard… ouch…down to achilles and foot). I’ve noticed my calf feels blown up, while it doesnt look much bigger, it feels so full. I keep grabbing my other calf to compare, thinking it will blow up, but it’s the same size…very sore at times…not pliable…but after massage…I go to stretch bands in gym for range of motion, then the rocker board, with only the one foot on it (not doing both, dont want the risk ) then leg extensions with ankle weights, then leg curls, light weight, then rode stationary bike for two miles low resistance for now…just giving leg a wake up call. I felt so empowered!! Prior, I would sit in depressing PT office (the only other PT office covered by insurance is almost an hour away)…have people give me LAME exercises and leave not feeling any different). I’m not going to push, but having this gym and doing things in slow lane helped me loosen up so much during time in gym today, I walked… without cane for a bit and for about 5 minutes felt normal..then some twinges and tightness set back in..but I felt the future!! As you may have read, I went to Doc on 12/28 and was told to go weight bearing (from NWB) with crutches till “I felt comfortable without them…” so I bought a caine and transitioned to it New Years Day. I’ve gotten rid of my boot on 12/28. Doc said wear it during bad weather (but I know that’s to cover himself). I honestly feel my achilles, and calf, while they get VERY tight, feel very sound, but again, I’m going slow. I have been in high top hiking boots (except at work) and new/stiff high top sneakers (higher end K Swiss with achilles support). I could never even attempt to walk in the boot, it just would cause so many other issues. I get the support in these high tops and range of motion is so much better. Honestly, getting up in morning is tough. I’m barefoot and leg from hamstring to ankle is very sore stiff…I just wonder if that will be what future holds (stiffness soreness thoughout leg forever first thing in morning…if so, so be it). I massage down the calf and foot just to have flexibility to walk out of bed…so I have to get up earlier!! Gone back to work full time now. I feel for you having to be in boot. I always listened to my Doc so since he said I could wear shoes on 12/28, but go to boot during bad weather, I felt I could put boot in closet. If he said wear boot always, I would have screamed…but I would have done it. It must be a struggle for ya, like walking on a block going up and down and not comfy. About the arguments with wife, yup, this event does cause friction in a marriage. It’s not easy on anyone (for caregiver/partner, life has slowed down too cuz they can only walk as fast as us - - figuratively and literally). I know when the achilles/calf is screaming at me, I’m short nerved with my wife…and I feel bad afterward. It’s the “for better for worse part” and I tell ya, this not the “for better” most days as you know!! For you and everyone reading that is not as far as 11 weeks like us…the boot WILL go in the closet. Weeks ago, I was also wondering if I would ever walk again and I see it starting. I read others say how life has been devastated, but people, it’s temporary! Very temporary. I looked at that brace you recommend. It looks like it can spring you to run if you wanted too…wow!! Hope your Doc gives you the answer you hope to get. Keep up the progress Tim. Tomorrow, I am 12 weeks post op…and when I think of it, time has gone fast. We have a ways to go, but I remember day after surgery like it was yesterday…so today…I will remember writing back to you and won’t be able to believe it was 12 weeks from now someday soon! Well the calf is all tight again, so massage time again! Be well and keep us posted on your progress!!

  58. Almost @ 13 weeks and the single thing I’d like some ideas on is how others have worked with the stiff ankle and calf first thing in the morning out of bed. I remind my self of our 16 year old dog we had to put to sleep because her legs just got so stiff she couldn’t walk!! It’s work getting to the shower. Eventually, with the hot water and the icy hot rub down of the lower leg, some compression socks (light) and my high top sneakers or hiking boots, I can walk!! Alot needs to be done! Without this, I could not save myself if a fire broke out in my house…I’m like a peg leg early in the morning!!

    I’m in two shoes and there are times I can walk with not such a (noticeable) limp during the day, then other times during day, I look like I have a wooden leg! I’ve learned the biggest challenge (which I accept nearing 13 weeks….is REFUSE to limp). It’s really a mental challenge that you have to FOCUS on….so, I ask my ATR bretheren…what do YOU do to lessen the tight calf and tendon when you wake up? I rub down the lower leg with icy hot when I go to sleep (wife HATES the smell of it now…she will be SOOO happy when I don’t need the minty smelling muscle relief lotions anymore, but I told her… I’m not so sure this stiff calf and achilles will go away…so will it?? I have a hot tub, but don’t know if the tendon will respond well to 101 degree water…if you use a hot tub and it works…let me know!! Rather not try and find it wasn’t smart! Any tips to loosen and STAY loose during day…are appreciated!!! I work out daily in the gym for range of motion and it’s coming back. I get the twinge under heal still but learning to not be as paranoid about it…just some reconnective nerves. I have not been able to reduce the tightness…so I’ll wait for what you folks have done or how you cope… thanks in advance.

  59. I’ve got a spin bike parked next to my bed. First thing in the morning- before I have breakfast, get dressed, or shower: I roll out of bed, strap on the cleats, turn on the morning news, and do a moderate spin for 15 to 20 mins. Sometimes I’ll even grab my smart-phone, and check out the Achilles blog.

    This has been my morning routine since about week 4. It makes a HUGE difference for me- jump starting the day in the right way. I’m not quite as disciplined about it these days (I woke up with a bit of a cold today, and slept in an extra 20 mins)- but the days I skip it, I usually regret doing so for the rest of the morning.

  60. Well..15 weeks post surgery. At 12 weeks told to start bearing weight and then gradually more “as I felt comfortable”. Even though I was told to wear the boot in bad weather, I rather just stay inside. I went home, put boot in closet (how anyone can even attempt to walk in that boot is beyond me, but I was NWB for 12 weeks, so my achilles was solid. Felt no real pain at any point. Started gradual weight that night, by next day, walked slow, been walking ever since. At week 15 I only use therapy to check in on my own progress. Felt if you have access to a gym and understood range of motion and read about realistic therapy activity…you just do it. Didn’t need a PT telling me to use a band and stretch three sets of 10. Perhaps if I had pain at any point. The achilles does bark at me sometimes…slight burn along incision when swelling. Need to ice down at times, but taking it slow it’s going well. I feel I walk almost normal, if you didn’t know me. Clearly, those that do, see a slight change in my walk. I STILL can’t go DOWN steps normally. I can go up, but when down, it’s just ALOT of stretch on the achilles, where I chicken out and go side foot down. Foot on step sideways, then angle toward next step and step down. If I do attempt steps down normally, it’s slow movement, both hands on rails. You think you are fully recovered (I even kinda jogged a couple steps once…awkward, but no pain) but going down steps for me, is my reality test. I look and feel nothing like I did pre-injury, so that is my guide to knowing “I’m back”. (Going DOWN steps with ease). For now, I use stationary bike, for slow, focused range of motion. Can peddle faster, but intentionally go slow to use FULL range of motion on ankle. Using the bands, alot of massage, easy stretch, balance board with good foot on ground. It has all added to having best loose feeling in achilles when done…like old times. It does tighten up, but since I’m in 40’s, things don’t heal as quick…I get it…but I remember the cast phase…like it was yesterday. 15 weeks ago…wow!! Time will fly - - if you look back and NOT forward…if you want week 15 to come in week 2 and count each day, the journey will go slow. Not always discomfort free…but 100% better the beginning. Cleaned out stuff in my garage, like old times. Slow moving…focus on achilles with each movement. It’s such a long trip, but it goes by…just be where you are NOW…tomorrow will come soon enough. Trust that you are not doomed to handicap… you will be you again…just take the walk.

  61. Hi Jabootee
    I read your comments with interest as they indicate what I have coming regarding the slow progress of this debilitating injury.
    I ruptured my achilles on the morning of New Years Eve playing badminton. I have now hung up my many racquets and will concentrate more on the sedate game of golf in the future. My clubs are currently staring at me and I am deperate to get back on the golf course as soon as possible though I assume it will be about 6 months!!
    I am non-op and have been fitted with a boot, the foot is kept pointing downwards by thick heel wedges (steps) within the boot.
    I started with 4 wedges but now down to 3 with the next due to be removed in 2 days time.
    I have been instructed not to bear any weight on the foot whatsoever for at least another 4 weeks (that will make it about 8 weeks since rupture occured) and at that time I shoud be down to zero wedges and a 90 degree foot.
    Currently my wife is having to inject me each day for 28 days with an anti blood clotting agent. Feeing guilty here as she really has had a lot of extra work to do as I am unable to do much at all while on crutches.
    I will look forward as you suggest as time should go quicker. I do keep myself as busy as poss but the leg does seem to swell easily when I do not keep it up.
    Hope you are managing the steps a bit better. I will remember your comments when I eventually try this!
    Take care.

  62. Week 17…Walking perfectly, until I realize alittle old lady with a cane walking past me double the speed! So much for my thought of progress…I don’t walk fast to PUSH it, I walk the speed that’s comfortable and where I DON’T limp. Physical Therapy once a week, a bit of massage, exercise bike, bands, just started electric stimulation (after 17 weeks). Ice (only in therapy). I honestly stopped ice a few days after surgery. PT said it’s reason for swelling, but as I watch TV I can massage the swelling down pretty quickly. Ice just isn’t practical for me (work, kids games, etc.,) so I want my body to cope with what it has and I working massage end of night. I can go up steps with minimal holding onto rails. Left foot still hits kick plate of step alot, like I’m not familiar with how to place it on step like I used to do normally. Going DOWN steps is still the worst. I still rely on holding onto rails (both sides) and find I land harshly on each foot, like stick legs. It’s what I still need to concentrate on…and try to work it mid day (when I’m at my best with flexibility), using no rails, walking down step slow, thoughtfully placing each foot, and feeling the ankle range of motion in repaired leg. Bottom line, walking slow, still don’t have my normal gait back, but it will happen. 17 weeks into process means farther along than day one. My ultimate goal is smooth walking, no swelling, a short jog when I need to do so (ie., across the street) and going up and down steps effortlessly. This will come soon enough. So happy to be doing so much better. Time exercises (joined a gym for the bike etc) and massage with TV aides progress. To all those that ruptured recently, just know ATR is NOT the worst thing that will happen to you and you WILL do what you WANT to do, again. It’s all based on you. Seems lonely, but things get better and you rejoin society before you know it. The rest can been viewed as stressful, or you learn to appreciate it (or miss it, as I do in Week 17). Good luck with progress all!

  63. I think I’ve posted my trick for walking down stairs on my own recent blog page, and a search should find it too. It’s helped many people here. Basically, you carefully place “that” foot on the step so almost half of your foot is hanging over the nose of the step. Then when you step down with the uninjured foot, you can “roll” over the edge, flexing your ankle (& stretching your AT) only as much as you find comfortable and safe. With a bit of practice, it works a charm!

  64. Thanks Norm..I do remember reading that trick and the reminder was good! It helps. Week 18 and tonight, more than most recently, not only was it tight as usual, but slightly burning sensation. You know, no matter how much you will this thing away, it reminds you “I’m still here.” Hardly life altering anymore, still walk slow, but I’m not a hustler anyway, but the foot hurts with the different stride (I imagine bone pressure is different. Oddly, the front of the foot …all along bottom of toes…aches after longer periods of walking. But I’m a massaging maniac now…finally get to pay my wife back too (I can’t really..but..) for all that she has done with shoulder massages having stronger hands and ability to find trigger points I never had interest in past, but massage helps break down the swelling and loosens up the tightness, so I’ve gotten good at it!! When taking train home, I cross leg and massage heal for the ride. I also will choose to be a passenger rather than driver in car, so I can massage calf and achilles..keeping it loose(er). It’s a battle of wills, not going to let the symptoms drive the outlook. I remember back to cast days and while this seems very much a part of me, I’m much much better and with each day, moving farther from the beginning…and closer to full recovery. To all those starting out, you will be at this point before you know it, if you just focus on the day you are living. All the best…keep the faith.

  65. All good — don’t stop! :-)

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