jackinva’s AchillesBlog

February 7, 2014

One Year Ago TODAY….

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — jackinva @ 8:06 pm

I was in the middle of a spectacular week of snowboarding in BC, and it all came to a sudden end when I took a tumble and experienced “the event that changed my life” - or so I thought. After a couple trips through the surgical suite, and my left foot in a cast for 5 weeks, and two months of physical therapy 2 to 3 times a week, and learning how to walk without a limp, and a LOT of walking and moving around, I’m very happy to be where I am today! My calf muscle is still a bit smaller than the right and I’m still slowly working on the toe raises, but life really is good “post rupture”! Bicycling is still an important part of my activities, and I’ve transformed my recovery work-outs into a weekly routine of 2 to 3 times a week visits to the “Y”. I’m especially looking forward to our trip to Vancouver and Whistler this coming 2nd week of March - I may be forecasting a bit, but I want to get a picture of myself on the board on the snow and send it to my Orthopaedic surgeon!

This group helped my out SOOOO much while I was stuck at home last February and March, and I’m so grateful for so many who share their experiences in order to help us in our recovery (sounds like a “12-step meeting” - but they work the same way too!).
Everyone - hang in there. It does get better! (That sounds like a 12-step meeting too).
I’ll be back!

January 10, 2014

What a difference a year (almost) makes!

Filed under: Uncategorized — jackinva @ 7:46 pm

Hello to my ATR family - it’s been awhile since last logging on and commenting, and so much has happened since then. I’m coming up on my one year anniversary of the initial injury (Feb. 7th) and sometimes it still seems like it was just a few weeks ago. I’m moving along exceedingly well; some mornings I wake up with a little “crick” in my ankle but after some stretching and walking (and COFFEE) it feels “close to normal”. I’m back to bicycling, running on the treadmill, swimming, climbing a ladder to clean out the gutters, and pretty much leading a normal life. In fact, we just made reservations to head out to Whistler in March for a week on the snow - everyone keeps telling me that I’m crazy, but I believe that if you fall off the horse, you get back on it again. They seem to think I should shoot the damn horse.

I still have about a 1 1/2″ smaller left calf muscle than the right leg - while cycling I’ll get comments from the rider behind me. “But it really isn’t that noticeable though” they say.

I still can’t do a full toe raise on the left foot, but I practice several times a week while standing on a stair; I try for 3 to 4 sets of 15. I’m also hitting the calf machine at the YMCA and am up to about 3 reps of 12 at 80 lbs.

I so fondly remember days of sitting at home poring over every word I could find on this site, and looking forward to the day I’d get out of my “Foot jail” and into the boot and then into 2 shoes. I especially liked reading the recovery adventures of so many others who were weeks ahead of me in their recovery and it really gave me something to look forward to. I’m very grateful to all of them for their help, and for those of you who are just beginning your “adventure” please know that IT WILL GET BETTER!

One step at a time! One foot at a time!

July 23, 2013

Trying to enjoy SUMMER!

Filed under: Uncategorized — jackinva @ 11:30 pm

Coming up on 20 weeks since surgery, and I’m down to ONE VISIT A WEEK at the Physical Therapist. My leg still feels weaker than the other one. Other people say they can hardly see any limp when I walk, but I can feel it - the whole leg is a lot weaker. So many of the exercises are helping with strengthening up the muscles - in fact I got a NEW ONE today. I have to walk on my tippy toes for about 20 steps, then turn around and walk on the heels. Repeat several times. I still can’t get up on the toes (or get the heel very far off the ground) but CAN feel those muscles improving slowly. I’m also getting some slight “twinges” of gastroc and soleus cramps, which is an indication that I am overworking those groups a bit. Still continuing with the heel lifts in the pool, and the “tippy toe - heel” walks in the water will also become part of my daily swim routine.

One thing I’m not real thrilled about is the thickness of the repaired achilles; IT IS FAT! Of course, it has an alograft wrapped around it, so it will always be thicker than a normal tendon. I just call it my FRANKENFOOT!

I don’t get the chance to spend a lot of time on here much, so I hope that all of our new brothers and sisters are doing well in their progress. Despite where ever you are, please know that IT WILL GET BETTER! It WILL take time, so work on changing your mindset to let that happen.

June 24, 2013

16 weeks post op, and 3 weeks of P.T.

Filed under: Uncategorized — jackinva @ 2:04 am

After three weeks of physical therapy, I’m feeling better each day. Feeling virtually no pain in the achilles, but still a small amount of swelling around the ankle, foot, and lower calf. The tendon has a “tickling” sensation - not uncomfortable, just “there”. I’m going to P.T. 2x a week, and also doing the exercises a few more times on the off days at the YMCA. Also swimming at home daily and doing the heel raises at varying depths in the water. I start out standing at about halfway between my chest and waist and do about 30 - 40 lifts. Then take a step towards the shallow end, and another 30 - 40 raises. By the time the water is just below waist deep, I can’t raise up. However, I’ve been doing this about 4-5 time a week, and it IS getting easier to do them. It’s just going to take a LONG time to get closer to “normal”. Small steps Baby!!!!!

June 3, 2013

Walkin’ and ROCKIN”

Filed under: Uncategorized — jackinva @ 12:41 am

It was a fantastic weekend! I took the Amtrak to Philadelphia to see one of my favorite bands “The Dandy Warhols” play this past Saturday night. I walked from the 30th St. station to my hotel (a little over a mile - or so) and then from the hotel to the club (another mile) and back afterwards. Plus I was dancing my a$$ off during the show, so I really gave the ‘ol foot and tendon a workout. It kinda retaliated on my yesterday by swelling up, but it seemed to be the usual amount of swelling, and the ice wrap worked wonders. Today I’ve noticed that my limp has decreased considerably from what it was a few weeks ago when I went into 2 shoes. It feels so great to both feel and see progress!
I meet with the Physical Therapist this week and get to start the torture routine (I mean P.T.). I’m hoping that all the swimming, walking, cycling, etc. that I’ve been doing the past few weeks will give me an advantage towards my therapy and recovery plan.

May 6, 2013

Compression sock

Filed under: Uncategorized — jackinva @ 3:45 pm

I bought one last week on Amazon, and it has been doing wonders to keep the swelling down!  I’ve been FWB in the boot for almost 2 weeks and EVERY DAY my foot and ankle have swelled up tremendously. Since wearing the sock (it’s actually a sleeve /brace) I have had hardly no swelling at all. Am still icing everything a few times a day, and also elevating -but  it’s so much more comfortable doing so without the foot swelled up like a football when I start!

On another note - almost 2 years ago I experienced extreme back and leg pain and discovered I have 2 herniated lumbar discs (L3-4 and L4-5). Have been treating them with epidural injections and (so far) they have been working very well - the last series of shots were in May and June a year ago, and I’ve been pain free since then. UNTIL THIS PAST WEEKEND - I’m fairly certain that the sciatica pain is due to the imbalance of my legs (boot on left foot VS work shoe / tennis shoe / sandal on right foot). Looks like I will be begging for epidurals this week along with going 2 shoes.

May 1, 2013

One more week in the boot…

Filed under: Uncategorized — jackinva @ 10:35 pm

I got to sleep without the boot on for the first time last night (actually this afternoon). I’ve been back at work for 3 weeks now, and am back on night shift (10 PM to 6 AM) so I get to sleep when it’s light out!  Dr said to sleep with the boot on for 3 weeks, and yesterday was 3 weeks!  What a joy! I taught my SPIN class yesterday morning and sat on the bike for the whole class - cycling sandles on and clipped in to the pedals while slowly spinning with light resistance.  Such a great feeling to reach that next level of progress.  I’m managing FWB in the boot - the foot does swell up quite bit, but sitting at my desk with the ice wrap on it helps and feels SOOOO good.  I was very surprised to see that there is not a big difference between the calve muscles on both legs

I am getting some new “aches” and “feelings” in the foot - the tendon across the bottom of the foot to the big toe occasionally feels tight, and I also get an occasional “twinge” on the front outside of the shin bone. Stretching, massaging, seem to take care of these issues.  I’m not too concerned about any of these as I’ve been slowly moving FWB for the past few days, and after over 2 1/2 months of NO ACTIVITY in these muscles, it’s a lot to ask of them to start functioning again.  Easy Does It!

Next Dr. appt. is this coming Wednesday - from what he said last month, it will be “GOODBYE BOOT - HELLO LEFT SHOE ….. and physical therapy!”  We opened up our pool at home yesterday and I am really anxious for the water to warm up and use it for exercising. 


Happy days are straight ahead! Just gotta keep my brain in the SLOW, SAFE, and STEADY mindset!

April 25, 2013

7 weeks post surgery

Filed under: Uncategorized — jackinva @ 11:05 am

..and 2 weeks in the boot - out of the cast.

The whole time I was stuck at home I would have NEVER imagined my foot would feel as good as it does now.  I still have a very thick tendon (probably due to the graft wrapped around it) and it feels so good to rub a little olive oil on it and massage it absentmindedly while relaxing in front of the TV.  Especially after work! I’m right in between PWB and FWB but still carrying the crutches around for emotional support.  The ROM moves are creating no discomfort at all - I did have a quick "twinge" a few days after coming out of the cast (and it scared the crap outta me) but no ongoing pain, swelling, etc.  Just a reminder to GO SLOW AND EASY!!!

Two more weeks till I see my Dr and 2 shoes. Just for giggles I did try on my work boot yesterday - no walking - just standing - and it felt normal. Just a little extra pressure on the tendon area.  I am so ready to start PT and getting ready to get back on a bicycle outside again!

BTW, anyone know HOW I update my timeline widget? I was able to get it on my page but can’t seem to figure out how to make changes.

Best to everyone here. REMEMBER - easy does it.  Enjoy this journey while you can. It’s SO much better than being pissed off and angry!!!!


April 16, 2013


Filed under: Uncategorized — jackinva @ 9:12 am

After TEN WEEKS I made it back to work yesterday afternoon! I feel like I’m becoming a useful member of society again! I tried to spend as much time sitting at the desk as I could, but still managed to get up and slowly move around the shop floor using the crutches and lightly placing weight on my booted foot. It’s been 5 weeks NWB since surgery and almost 1 week out of the cast. I did get considerable swelling in the foot, but I’m betting that is because I’ve spent most of my time at home with my foot raised, and yesterday it was on the floor all ” day long. I iced it when I got home and it’s back to “normal” this morning. Am taking an ice wrap to work with me and use it there as time and work load permit.
SLOWLY, my train is moving out of the station and starting down the road to recovery!
I hope everyone has a wonderful day! Keep on keepin’ ON!!!!

April 12, 2013

These Little Piggies….(5 weeks post op)

Filed under: Uncategorized — jackinva @ 9:46 am

are SOOOO HAPPY to be free from the cast! Yesterday was my first whole day out of it and I pretty much did nothing but gentle ROM stretches and massaged my foot, tendon area, and calf muscles.  Other than the inflammation, I’m not feeling any discomfort at all.   Dr. McFarland used an adhesive - type glue to close my incision and it has all worn away, leaving a very clean incision site.  There is a considerable amount of swelling / thickness surrounding the tendon and  the bottom of my calf muscles and I gently  massage these while sitting around with the boot off. ROM is very good - toes down is almost as far as the good foot, and I’m just stretching them up not quite to the point of resistance. While sitting in the rocker / recliner, I keep the heel on the floor and slowly rock back and forth while stretching the toes down and up.    I can also stand on both feet and fairly evenly distribute weight on them.  When walking with the boot on I’m starting to roll on the foot fairly smoothly. Sleeping in the boot is not the most comfortable situation, but it is what it is!  Temporary inconvenience for a long term improvement.

It just feels so great to actually feel and see that the tendon is healing and I’m finally making noticeable improvement in my recovery. I still keep a warning light on in my brain to TAKE IT SLOW, STEADY, and EASY!

I go back to work Monday afternoon (2nd shift)! This will be a big change in the daily routine of staying at home for the past 10 weeks!  Fortunately I’ll be able to sit and work at a desk for the majority of the shift, but will have plenty of opportunity to walk / crutch around the shop floor and grounds - but ONLY on smooth hard pavement.

Hope everyone has a fantastic weekend!


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