I’m 20 weeks post-op and seem to be recovering at about the same rate as most, with the frustrating consistency of inconsistent improvement. But those of us 5 months into recovery know all about that.
Mind you I’m not complaining; I can walk without a limp (most of the time), laugh at stairs (bounding up and down) and rarely need to cool down my repaired bits at night. Do miss the routine of ice and bourbon though.
No rehab for a week, gasp!
Was forced to do no rehab for 7 days (except for elastic bands and wall stretching) due to a nasty intestinal malady. While I suppose other folks made of stronger stuff would have been more active, I’m not one of those people. A diet of rice, apples and countless trips to the comode is my excuse.
Now here’s the cool part, I’m walking and moving around much better than I was a week ago. The forced “recovery rest” apparently allowed my body to catch up to the work I’ve so diligently done since starting post-op rehab and exercise.
Athletes know rest is key to long term success, duh!
To any athlete this is an obvious phenomenon, rest is an essential element to an intelligent workout regime. Maybe not a forced whole body timeout for a week but certainly any weightlifter will tell you that muscle mass is built up in the rest/recovery phase of an effective workout plan.
And as a reasonably fit and active person I know all about this. A good ATR recovery plan is not a 24/7 activity, most exercises are performed at most every other day whether it’s under the guidance of a physical therapist or self directed.
Given what I experienced then, should complete and periodic “stops” not be part of a long term ATR rehab plan? I have not seen anyone bring this issue up in our active little ATR clubhouse. I think the reason is we’re intensely focused to recover and the thought of not doing something active for a whole week is an anathema to “serious” recovery.
So follow recovery junkies, am I onto something or just rationalizing a week of sloth, the circumstances notwithstanding?
February 9th, 2012
Am finally FWB in a boot, no crutches. Had a very active day yesterday climbing stairs, lots of walking inside and out. By 6PM had significant swelling and pain at repaired tendon with tendonitus on my “good” leg. Spent the evening following RICE and it’s much better today. Expect this to be a pattern for a while, need to add a finger of bourbon to the treatment.
No pain no gain. Since I’m still in a boot there is not much of a chance of injury so will just keep clumping along. Using a .5″ lift in my other shoe to compensate for the height difference with the boot. Am taking care to walk normally without cheating so my gait is slow but don’t want to be limping 6 months from now.
I’m on a slow recovery path (9 weeks since surgery) but that’s OK since I can walk now, go to the gym and mostly be a biped again.
@ryanb Am following some of your advice regarding supplements, especially jello. Do about 5 packs a week, do you actually cook yours or drink it as a liquid? Some people drink it straight but I’m not that good. Luckily I actually like the stuff although not a big fan of sugar-free but for now that’s what I use. I add 4 oz of fruit juice per pack to give it body and kill the taste of the artificial sweetener. You mentioned it has helped your hair, here’s hoping it will facilitate growth
December 2nd, 2011
It’s easy to forget that our partners (wives, husbands, whatever) suffer from this injury in big ways too. The list is endless, especially in the early stages of post injury recovery.
Suddenly the time we don’t spend doing stuff like picking up the kids after swim practice or any activity that requires a functioning achilles tendon falls on them. Not to mention the increased stress level that the whole family shares in spite of our best efforts to contribute to household activities. Which in the first few weeks of recovery is mostly well intentioned, not particularly helpful and often counter productive.
I do not suggest walking your 75 pound energetic golden retriever 2 weeks after surgery while on crutches, trust me on this.
So, I try to thank my wife every day for all the extra stuff she has to do. Try is the operative word because I don’t manage to do so as often as I should but I’m aware how fortunate I am, even if I don’t always articulate it.
For sharing this experience our partners deserve a medal and buckets of gold, which of course they won’t get. But acknowledgement and appreciation for what they do for us, let’s make sure they always know that.
Of course my wife does remind me at times, especially on those days when all the extra stuff really piles up that the moment will come when I will be a fully functioning human again able to pick up my share of the family schlepping. And I will do so, gratefully and with good cheer.
I suspect payback will be a bitch but fair is fair
November 21st, 2011
Have not been here for a while, the support and advice found in so many posts contributes to recovery, thank you everyone!
The good news is I’m healing well, my surgeon is more conservative than many at 8 weeks, so I’m just starting PWB but I should be transitioning to FWB within a week or two, Yippe! The bad news is I lunged for that shot on the tennis court back in September which caused this mess but there is nothing for that now. Lost the point too, damn.
My doc does not want me to start PT until I’m FWB and not using crutches at all, probably around 12 - 14 weeks. Is that typical of many recovery timelines? I’m comfortable with how things are going albeit with the usual frustrating moments so not going to change anything, just curious.
November 21st, 2011
I’m 4 weeks post surgery NWB and still in hard cast, hopefully that comes off at my next doc appointment in 2 days. I’m quite active and adept on crutches and knee scooter. Here’s my concern, by the end of the day my “good” achilles and calf hurts! Sore, achy and occasionally sharp nerve pain. I’ve taken to being very careful when moving, not twisting or stretching when planting my leg. Anyone having the same experience? Needless to say I’ll discuss this with the doc when I see him.
October 26th, 2011
Been 10 days since surgery, uneventful visit. Was told I was a fast healer (that’s good) but be patient about rehab (oh well). Was re-cast in a style’n blue hard cast. Will be back in two weeks to have sutures removed and get boot. Short term recovery timeline is predictable, PWB 4 - 6 weeks post surgery, FWB 2- 4 weeks after that.
Am on the fence whether to get a knee scooter. I’m getting around pretty well on crunches but miss the use of my hands for mundane activities like bringing a hot cup of coffee to my desk (Yeah I have a thermal mug with a top, bowl of cereal though is challenging)! On the other hand scuttling around on crutches takes lots of energy, which I like. It’s the only aerobic exercise I’m getting these days. Looking forward to swimming but that won’t happen until sutures are completely healed.
October 7th, 2011
I’m a new member to the ATR club, tore mine September 18. My story is pretty similar to most; while playing tennis I felt and heard the discouraging snap on the back of my lower leg (right) and immediately had a pretty good idea what happened. The injury has not been particularly painful outside of the initial discomfort and shock and I was pretty good about following the RICE protocol for the first 48 hours.
Less than 2 days after the event I was diagnosed by an orthopedic surgeon that sure enough I tore the achilles tendon, no surprise there. She recommended not to have surgery because of my age (56) and stating recent studies indicate there is not a meaningful difference in length or quality of recovery between surgically repaired achilles tendons and those that are immobilized and allowed to heal on their own. All this information in less than 15 minutes!
I was given an immobilizing boot and told to expect to wear it for 10 - 12 weeks and to return in 4 weeks for a followup. My concern leaving the practice was the treatment seemed to be different than what is discussed on achillesblog site.
Specifically I was allowed to weight bear, my ankle is in a 90 degree position and, the decision between surgery versus noninvasive treatment is more complex than the physician led me to believe. Net, my sense was the doc saw me as a middle aged guy who’s not going to be very active so did not give the diagnosis or treatment options much thought.
Since my initial diagnosis I’ve seen two sports medicine orthopedic specialists, one in non-invasive treatment, the other a surgeon that does ATR reconstructions regularly. Also I had an MRI to accurately gauge the severity of the injury. Turns out the tear is 100%; there is a wide gap (4 - 5 cm) between the two ends and more to the point it is quite high up, near where the tendon meets the calf muscle which is not the typical location the achilles tendon usually ruptures. Leave it to me to be a statistical outlier.
For my treatment I’ve chosen surgery (and of course lots of rehab) because even the non-invasive specialist said that was my best option. So fellow ATR club members, the deed will be done on September 27 in a Philadelphia hospital.
Perhaps the biggest takeaway from this experience to date is be your own medical treatment advocate. Oh and be married to an amazing wife who knows the medical system and got me appointments with the right people on short notice.
Like all of you, I’m not looking forward to the next 4 - 6 weeks when I expect to be in a cast and later a boot. Not to mention since it’s my right leg I cannot drive until I’m out of any immobilizing apparatus! And I’m fully sanguine that daily rehab will be part of my routine for a very long time. But given the choice to be active through my doddering old age or not than … ya do what ya gotta do.
Will update this blog when I’m a few days past the procedure.
September 24th, 2011