one legged calf raise

i tore my tendon 1 year and 3 days ago…

i was wondering, I still can’t do a one legged calf raise for the life of me. I sort of abandoned my exercises 3 months ago when my gym membership expired. Perhaps that’s to explain. The inner portion of my calf muscle is still severely atrophied as my good calf is very muscular… comparing the two is just depressing. There’s no muscle to calf raise… running is still pretty much a no go. I have basically no support system so I’m turning to this blog. Any thoughts?

Finally able to break a sweat!

After I’d read a lot of accounts from other people with ATRs, I’d built up this idea that my healing was much slower than others. If my healing was actually slower than other’s, it was likely due to my stubbornness and unwillingness to refrain from over-activity.

It was about the beginning of December that I’d finally been able to walk 5 KM and not feel such soreness than I previously had. (7 months post operation) What a thrill! To venture out into the streets and add a little bit of distance to my walks each passing day - without the post effects like swelling! Then came the 20th of December - back in the operating room - this time for my vasectomy. The beauty was that this time I was rushed in to the OR because there was a cancellation - and so I was in and out so much faster than the ATR surgery. The best part of the operation was that I was kept awake the entire time.. and the drugs were splendid!!! (I’m not advocating drugs as I don’t even use Tylenol for head aches). Healing and swelling passed much faster… but still… I had to refrain from activity for a week. It didn’t help that I was back on my duff again during the Christmas holidays. I quickly found myself shoving the sweets down and gaining weight fast. By new years I was 17 pounds heavier than the day I tore my tendon.

Like many, once 2011 rolled in, I decided to join the gym and take control of my body. Having succeeded in natural bodybuilding only 2 1/2 years prior, it was intimdating to enter those familiar walls as an overweight (by 20-25 pounds) and somewhat handicapped person. The first day there, I decided to try the cross trainer and see how my tendon would take to it since long distance walking was becoming so much more comfortable. After feeling only a few odd sensations, I was happy to say that I got through my first cardio session just fine and most importantly, it was my first exercise-induced SWEAT I’d broken in almost eight months! Woohoo! My heart and lungs were just as thrilled… sort of.

Well, it’s been a month into my diet. I’m down 15 pounds, and I can attack the cross trainer wonderfully. I can go full intensity for the machine’s maximum allowed 1 hour without any discomfort. I’ve also been doing 1 legged calf presses and I’ve gone from pushing 30 lbs. to 125 over the past few weeks. I’m quite certain that had I not joined the gym and pushed myself past these limits that the progress and strengthening of my tendon and calf muscle would be utterly stunted. As for now, I can’t help wonder when I might be able to push out my first standing, 1 legged calf raise. Ah well, no rush for that as it’s not that practical anyways. I think running is the greater goal I’ll place in my sights!

Ah yes! There’s nothing quite like a new season of life!

More lessons learned in healing

So here I am, 4 months and 1 week post operation. What a summer it’s been! And in recent time, it’s been a season of lessons learned. I made light of this 5 weeks ago in my last post. But the importance of rest still hadn’t fully settled in my stubborn mindset despite my claims of over-coming this ignorance. After a few more mistakes made, I’m glad to say I’ve learned how to better manage the fine balance of rest and use of my achilles tendon.

The main point I made in my last post is that we’re all fairly stubborn by nature. Most of us that ruptured our tendon seem to come from active backgrounds. I tore mine while pushing my van, but nonetheless, I pushed it uphill with the thinking that I had superhero superpowers… and this stemmed from my bodybuilding background. In the past two months, I’ve done some stupid things outside of my physio-therapy regimine. Only a short while later, they are things I shake my head at. Taking a 5 mile walk 2 weeks out of my walking cast. Doing 30 minutes every day on a stationary bike. Pushing moderate weight on the leg extension, leg curl and leg press machines. These are things that are completely absent from my daily routine now. It didn’t take long for the reality of my situation to properly set in. It was just difficult because being sedentary, the key to healing, was the total opposite of my former self. And I should have known because the swelling was just awful!! My range of motion was patheti c. But a quick 180 has changed all of that because my heel pains/aches are vanished, I have zero limp, and I can nearly do a complete squat to the floor! Woohoo! Who knew that sitting around could make such great, quick gains! :P

So these days I stick to my physio-therapy’s guidance and exercises. She is my God-send. If I accidentally skip my exercises and go 5 days without doing them, she expresses gladness. It’s opposite to how we’ve been trained in life. But injury rehabilitation in itself goes against the grain from our normal lives. It’s not easy to untrained what we’ve trained before. According to my PT, it’s a lesson she’s happy I’ve learned, and doesn’t see all that frequently in her patients. It goes to show that we are indeed a stubborn bunch.

I’m so thankful I have a desk job. My AT is happy I have a desk job. I have kids and they can keep me busy on my feet. Those are the moments my tendon quickly tells me that my healing journey is far from over. I’m learning to balance rest with activity. It’s an evolving process. I just hope my story can help those just out of their casts that their "sitting around" days are far from over. Impatience can be your worst enemy at this phase. Don’t learn the hard way. You can’t cheat your body’s natural healing process no matter how determined and positive your mindset is!

Oh, Physio. How I love thee.

I kind of like the idea of updating my blog with past information rather than present. I’ve found that there’s more than enough information on this site to help with the usual FAQ’s that pop up throughout the healing process, so I’ve never really felt the need to ask around. I’m more interested in sharing my experiences and the things that I feel are more relevant to newcomers.

One thing I want to put up front is that I’m so humbled and grateful to live in Canada. Thanks to health-care, my surgery was covered. So were two of my casts. Thanks to company benefits, my walking cast and pain killers were covered. With the costs of living, it would have been tremendously difficulty to absorb these costs had it not been for these blessings. I’m just so thankful. What else can I say?

As of today, I am 3 months post surgery. At this point of the process I’ve become increasingly aware at how stubborn we as humans inherently are. In the three weeks before I began physiotherapy, I was walking ridiculous distances, and pushing fairly heavy weight at the gym. My goal at the gym was to regain leg strength so that relearning walking would feel easier. For example, I’d do leg extensions at roughly 20 lbs. and push out 25 reps. Three sets. Over a few weeks I managed to move the weight up to 70 lbs.. I would listen very carefully to my tendon, adjoined muscles and ligaments and I’d stop at even the slightest hint of a twinge or pinch. When I stood up, there was noticeable soreness in in the heel which never lasted more than a few seconds. I never knew exactly how trivial or not this sensation was. I mentioned it to my physiotherapist and she never expressed concern. However, looking back at all of this - I can’t help but ask. Did this improve leg strength and make walking easier? Definitely. Was it absolutely necessary to do so much so soon? Definitely NOT. Throwing in the odd 5KM, even 9KM walk in the mix from day to day wasn’t so smart either. Bodybuilding philosophy teaches you that pain equals gain. It’s not an easy truth to simply toss to the side. But I’m feeling content that I’ve managed to retrain my beliefs for the benefit of this particular season of my life.

Three weeks past from the time my walking cast was removed to the day I received my first physiotherapy session. In that time frame, I was essentially on my own, but oh-so-eager to become normal again. My advice to anyone reading this that’s currently waiting for their 1st PT session: hold off and be patient. You can throw every exercise and stretch at your tendon, but healing and waiting really is the top ingredients that are going to speed your progress up.

I’ve had 3 physiotherapy sessions to date. Since I began I’ve really pulled back on the reigns of my therapy. I no longer attempt to walk every day (4 or 5 km average), but every other day, rather. My allowed exercises are very few and light. My therapist’s initial concern was the great amount of swelling at the ankle due to the shellacking I was putting it through prior. What a difference a week’s worth of easing off has made! Swelling and dis-coloration has been greatly reduced and walking is so much easier as I am much more aware and sensitive to the form of the involved muscles and tendon. At this phase, swelling is quite the enemy! Don’t let yourself think it’s just a natural byproduct of your injury that can be ignored! I’m sure that to many reading this, these tips sound more like common sense. But, if you’re overly determined (most athletes are), it can be seriously challenging to hold back. So, heed my words - exercising every SECOND day and icing the ankle twice daily are key and were the big clinchers in getting my swelling down and the healing sped up.

The big challenge for me now - regain a proper sense of walking form after having doing "the limp" for so many weeks. It’s a current work in progress and I’m almost there. It’s just amazing how much concentration it takes for something I’ve done so many years prior! Crazy!

Adrenaline can be your friend :)

Following up on my 1st post which described my injury and briefly touched on my predicament with work…

Yes, I had a contract with a couple to be wed that I was to be photographing their special day which happened to land 10 days after my ATR surgery. As I quickly discovered the realities of being in crutches, I began to fill with dread at the potential disaster I might have made for myself that unfortunate day I tried (and failed) to appear super-human for my wife and kids. I was amazed at how out of shape I had truly become all because I decided to leave the sport of bodybuilding two years prior and all of the issues I had with it. Balancing on one leg to brush my teeth. Going to the mall with the family. Helping my kids clean up toys on the floor. It all seemed so impossible. How could I photograph an entire 9 hour wedding when it was proportionately so much larger than those simple yet difficult tasks?? Simple… build myself up. In TEN days!

"Honey, want to join us at the mall?" ME: "absolutely!" (words that normally would never escape my mouth)

"Honey, want to go for a walk at the park" ME: "absolutely!"

"Honey, want to head out to the grocery store, costco, and stop at a few other stores?" ME: "absolutely!"

Even when my foot was swelled up to the size of a soft-ball, I was out on my crutches building up my arms. THIS is where my bodybuilding background really came in my handy. As they say in the gym, "muscle has memory". It sure did!

Soon enough I was at the wedding, booting around the church on those crutches like the energizer bunny.  The camera strap would allow for transportation of camera, and the crutches would stabilize me when I’d shoot. They allowed me to become a human tripod!

I did get through the wedding ok. It was the most draining thing I’d ever done. Part of that is due to the adrenaline my body was producing in response to the anxiety for such a demanding and stressful job. The pictures turned out pretty great too!

When the day eventually came when I was appointed to have my cast removed and replaced with a walking air-cast, I was able to travel up to 8 kilometers on crutches at full walking speed. The reception desk thought I was nuts when I showed up covered in sweat for having brought myself to the hospital for my appointment on foot.

Others here attest to the positive experience their injury has been for them. I’m in that group. I’m at the gym every day or other day now doing everything from bike, to hypertrophy weight training for upper body, and strengthening of my quads and hamstrings. I suppose dreams of making it to the stage are no longer, but I think an injury can be a very humbling experience… if building character is what I can work on for the rest of my life, than I’ll take it rather the partaking in a sport that is obsessed with vanity and muscle building.

One thing I forgot to add…

One thing that I forgot to add about my rupture was that there was almost no pain. I suppose many ATR victims on here can attest to this themselves. When I describe to people that ask about my injury, their first response is always, "that must have hurt like a ___!"  I immediately became very light headed. Perhaps that was partly due to not having any calories in my system. But to this day, I’ve yet to actually feel any extended soarness in my tendon. Of course, the incision area from surgery came with some nasty stinging sensation. And there are times I’ll get a twinge of pain that shoots through the tendon for a moment or so. But luckily, that’s all. I’ve not been so lucky with my heel, however, as it has been giving me grief since I began walking on it. Mainly now when I over-due walking or when I first get up out of bed… wonder when that is going to let up since I am now at 10 weeks post op’.

In the beginning has been a godsend for me since day 1 of my injury! I just want to say thanks to everyone that contributed their testimony and knowledge of ATR’s.

I was injured May 6th, 2010.

It was only the second day after we brought our newborn, Isabella Kiana Carlson, home from the hospital from being born into the world. We were at Costco shopping, and little did I know, my 3 year old had turned on the ceiling light of our van. Thanks to Walmart having previously found our van battery to be in good working order (falsely) we soon found that the engine wouldn’t turn after returning from our shopping time. The good folks in the Costco auto-department agreed to meet me in the parking lot to help jump-start the battery. The thing is that, initially, I didn’t BACK IN to my parking spot (unusual for me) which made accessing the engine area a problem. So, I put it in neutral, rolled it back, and got out to push and straighten the van out. Sure, I didn’t have to straighten the van out. But I’m a considerate citizen, mindful of other people that would have wanted to be able to still drive through without my van blocking them. So, I got out, pushed and pushed and I was surprised I was having such tremendous difficulty. I’ve pushed it many times before without issue. I have an extensive background in (natural) bodybuilding, so power-lifting was something I did naturally. However, having a three-day old baby in the van, along with a hungry family wanting to get home, I didn’t think to stretch or warm up, or even to just leave the van in it’s place. I wanted to be superman. I did the unthinkable. Attempt to push my van… on an uphill slant. Well, the rest should be fairly imaginable. Next followed the typical popping sound/sensation. I did not fall. I just had a feeling that some good, undo-able damage had been done. Went to the clinic. Bought some crutches. Had the calf-squeeze test for confirmation of the injury. And soon found myself in an emerg’ bed after 8 hours of waiting. As I was lying on my bed, on my belly, having my plaster cast applied, I was surfing the web on my blackberry looking for answers. God knows that the professionals weren’t giving me many. The system here in Canada is quite congested. You get moved through the process as quickly as possible. On that bed is where I 1st stumbled on the website.

My biggest concern on my mind, at the time, was how would I be able to photograph a wedding I had scheduled the following 10 days after surgery? How would I get through 12 hours of crutch maneuvering? Would I have to cancel and forsake thousands in profit?

I’ll soon write about those eventual experiences and more in a future post.

Hello world!

Welcome to

This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!

Following link will take you to your blog’s “command center” where you can write your posts:

Be sure to fill out your city, Achilles rupture date, surgery date, etc.. (if you know it) here:
Fill out my Achilles Profile Here

When you do, you can keep track of your recovery progress and see your information on the Marathon Tracker.

Here’s more info: using Achilles Timeline Widget

Please change this post’s title to something more descriptive. Just leaving it as “Hello World” leads people to believe that you haven’t updated your first post!

If you have any questions, don’t be afraid to ask! :)