CardioJunkie’s AchillesBlog

1 Year – Back to Where You Want to Be

August 12, 2015 · 2 Comments

It’s been a year since my accident and and in seven days it will be one year since surgery.  I’ve been reading posts from folks a few months ahead of me and from those who were posting 1-2 years post-ATR.  This site has been fantastic for learning from others.

I’ve had other sports injuries in the past, but Achilles Tendon Rupture has been the toughest recovery.  The Achilles repair from ankle to calf has been mostly quiet since Month 6.  The Achilles insertion to calcaneus repair has taken longer.  Looking from the back of my right foot, the reattachment to the heel is on the left inner side, the ankle to calf repair at the center, and since I was going to have surgery, I decided to have my Haglunds Deformity removed which was on the outer right side of my Achilles.

At 5 months, I still had heel pain and my doctor said the repairs can take a year to heal.  If unresolved after a year, he can evaluate if a second surgery is required. The injuries slowly improved and every few weeks, there was less stiffness and aches from activity.

This is a catch-up post since my last one at Month 5.

6 Months – More Challenges, Lessons Learned

At 6 months, I sprained my ATR ankle while pushing a door open at work. This was a 1.5 month setback.  I had to revert to modified versions in my activities and avoid running or jumping.

In hindsight, I should have continued with the heel raises and Theraband as my physical therapist had told me.  In the return back to my favorite fitness activities, I performed less of the rehab exercises.

Since my ankle was not full strength, I was unbalanced and had pain in my right IT-band and knee.  My left ankle, knee, and leg were also sore because they were taking on most of the load.  I think I was subconsciously favoring my non-injured leg during activities.  Even both shoulders started to hurt from weight training because of uneven use of my legs.  After researching, I found exercises to target the ankle, feet, and knee muscles during my activities.  I had to look beyond the squats, lunges, and gym machines I was already used to doing.

Once my ankle was restored, I continued with strengthening the leg muscles.  One activity for my quads, knees, and legs was regular biking on the hills around my neighborhood.  This helped strengthen all of my leg muscles.

I used to assume my body can keep up with whatever I do.  If there is anything I learned from this experience is a better understanding that the muscles are part of a body system that work together.  If there is a deficiency or imbalance, they will let you know.

9 Months – Finally (and an Extra Benefit from Rehab)

Things steadily improved by 9 months, took off, and I have not looked back since June.  My right calf was getting stronger every few weeks.  By focusing on jump squats, lateral jumps, broad jumps, etc. I was able to add strength to my calf to finally do box jumps.

I still had to remind myself not to put most of the load on my non-injured leg and work on use of my right leg.  There is not a lot of think time during fast-paced sessions while I do various activities like sprawls and then transition to tire jumps.

In the past, my right ankle, unlike my left, did not have good balance ability.  In Yoga, my right leg can wobble a bit.  I could not get the muscles on my right leg to work as well as my left.  With all the extra attention during recovery, I’ve developed better balance on my right leg.  I think Physical Therapy, incorporating leg balancing activities, and having better coordination of the foot and ankle muscles helped.

1 Year – Looking Forward

I’ve been going full out on my activities for the past month.  I still experience periodic tightness around the surgery sites and some twinges at the surgical wound and heel.  Every few weeks these are becoming fewer and shorter in duration.  I’m optimistic that everything will resolve themselves in the next few months.

At the end of August, I will be hiking and kayaking the Na Pali Coast in Kauai.  I am signed on for the next 50 mile charity fund-raiser bikeathon (I had to miss this year’s).  I am looking forward to the 2015-16 ski season.  I really enjoy my outdoor hill biking, so I am checking into the Spin class schedules.  In September, I am trying out classes in Tabata and ViPR, so no more holding back from new activities.

It is a great feeling to be back.  Life is moving on past ATR.  For everyone out there who are at the beginning of their journey or hit bumps along the way, it does really get better with time.

Be patient with yourself, understand that everyone has their own timeline to recovery, and take things at a slower pace.  It’s okay to take a break from activity when you need it and one day soon you will be back to where you want to be.

Categories: Uncategorized

2 responses so far ↓

  • Pegleg // Aug 15th 2015 at 10:53 am

    Hey, thought I would stick my head in to see what was going on!
    Great to see that you have made a full recovery, isn’t it amazing what the body can do over time.
    My Achilles adventure has been totally shelved now, being back to everything I did before ~ plus more. Like you my calf is not quite back to its original strength or size but it does not seem to effect me, to be honest I think given more time it will continue to improve…….Actually there is one thing I still can’t do and that is wear really high stilletoe heeled shoes, but hey how often would I do that :-)

  • cardiojunkie // Aug 15th 2015 at 5:21 pm

    Funny you should mention high-heels. Near the one year mark, I decided I didn’t want to keep wearing flats or low-heels to work (most of my shoes are 3-4 inches) and finally wore 3 inch wider heels and managed fine. I’m going to work my way slowly to high heels. Definitely going wait a long time on the stilettoes. Glad to hear you are continuing to do fine. Yes, I believe in time, things will get even better.

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