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
It’s been 17 weeks since my achilles tendon was repaired (Complete tear of tendon and significant calf muscle involvement).
I’m walk’in with no or barely noticeable limp (when I try to walk too fast) and can comfortably do normal daily activities. Driving can be a little painful (and cause a lot of swelling) if it’s for too long, it is in effect a strenuous rehab to keep the foot on the accelerator.
Net, I”m learning that recovery is non a linear path. Damn frustrating at times. Here is a brief history of my recovery.
Had conservative recovery protocol after surgery, non-weight bearing for 9 weeks in hard cast and boot then transitioned from PWB to FWB in boot over 3 weeks. Finally began 2 shoes (with .25″ heel lift) in mid December, starting at an hour a day indoors. Took about 3 weeks before I was able to be in 2 shoes full time (well 99%) including outdoors.
Now the boot is a memory although not tempting fate by tossing it!
Started structured PT after 12 weeks although did as much walking as pain would allow as soon as doc gave me the OK to PWB.
See physical therapist 2x per week for 1.5 hours per session plus 20 minutes of stretching every day and the gym 2-3x per week. Do a lot of walking everyday and take care to do it the right way, driving off the ball of my repaired foot with every step. I pay for that at night with swelling, my evening ice pack and bourbon have become a sacred ritual
Followed a modified rynab diet and supplement regime for the first 14 weeks, surprisingly still like jello although not 4 packs per week!
So why the blog post title Progress Plateau Progress…? Because that is exactly what I’m experiencing now. Not complaining, was told this would happen, sort of like the retail 80/20 rule. In 4 months I’ve come a long way, but that last bit (like running and jumping) will take another 4 - 8 months.
So to all you recovering ATR’s remember everyone’s recovery is different. But be forewarned that it’s a long slog, just like we were told it would be.
January 19th, 2012
3 months since the start of recovery seems to be an important milestone for many of us. We’re mobile again (yeah!) with the use of both our hands (no more crutches) but walking remains an effort (boo!).
We can wear 2 shoes but finding the right ones is problematical since our injured leg changes shape throughout the day (swelling!). We can walk but to do so without a limp means walking more slowly than we’d like.
Some of us can even walk at a normal stride without a limp. But must concentrate to do so since the repaired leg does not have the fluidity of movement that the other one does. And there is a price to pay for walking for any length of time (RICE).
Nevertheless we’re happy to be doing all those things again after weeks of accommodation and inactivity but a brutal realization begins to take hold. No matter how positive we may be about recovery or assiduous about physical therapy, we’ll be recovering and rehabbing all of our lives.
I’m confident I’ll play tennis again, hike with a pack and do all those things I did pre ATR but there will always be a greater physical cost than before my injury.
I’m at the phase of recovery where I see progress everyday, especially after a strenuous PT session. It continues to amaze me that every morning I can focus a little less on my repaired tendon.
I’m aware though that the rate of recovery will plateau and progress will happen more slowly. Then I’ll just have to keep reminding myself that it’s a marathon not a sprint.
January 2nd, 2012
It’s been 3 months since my achilles tendon rupture and now I’m finally walking in regular shoes, well clogs anyway. It’s slow and if I do it for more than 30 minutes it’ll hurt but I’m not complaining. Evening ice pack has become a ritual, probably for a very long time. I’ve come to enjoy it though, especially with a little extra ice for the bourbon.
Would appreciate some feedback on shoes. I’m using .25″ heel lifts with shoes/sneakers that have good arch support and heel height. On a recommendation I tried Dansko Professional shoes (closed heel clogs) today; they are often recommended by ortho’s and podiatrists for achilles tendonitis and tears.
Have never worn clogs before but they are very comfortable, accomodate late day foot swelling and have a high enough heel to toe ratio (about 2″ to .75″) that I don’t feel the need for a heel lift. Also, the rocker bottom design (not as pronounced as Sketchers or MBT) allows for good push off, useful given the pathetic state of my calf. Pricey though.
Any comments or advice?
December 21st, 2011
Three days in 2 shoes, been adapting pretty well; Walking very slowly to insure best form possible. Starting to lose the silly walk, but that’s another blog post.
Had my first PT session yesterday, went through all the stuff other achillesblog members told me I would. Was not pushed much or so I thought. In fact I was walking better and with no discomfort in the hours following the session.
Thought this PT stuff would be a piece of cake. Hah!
Woke up this morning with muy sore calfs, both legs. Repaired tendon very sore, had I not been warned about this would have been freaked. Right foot felt like I had walked 10 miles barefoot through sand. Which in retrospect makes perfect sense, barely used it for nearly 3 months.
Once again entangled by hubris.
Now it’s off to my home PT exercises, humbled but not bowed!
December 15th, 2011