Everyone keeps telling me I am a little too young…

to have injured myself in this way.  I am 28 years old and considered myself to be in pretty good shape.  However, two weeks ago I found myself lying on the ground between second and third base, writhing in pain, after having torn my achilles legging out a triple in a beer league softball game.  I think I am most bothered by the injury because I do not know why it happened, nor am I clear regarding when I can return to life as I knew it.  When I injured myself I was very active.  I was training to run a marathon in Columbus Ohio, and I was playing softball and hockey two nights a week.  My ankle had been sore prior to this, but I guess I just didn’t realize the danger I was in because I have really never hurt myself before this and certainly had never had surgery or anything of that nature.

So, it has been just over two weeks since my surgery and I am already focused my rehabilitation and how quickly I can come back from this.  I want badly to be able to return to distance running at some point and for now I would settle for knowing that, at some point in the near future I can  return to exercising in some way shape or form, be it a stationary bike, elliptical, or swimming laps in a pool.  I also coach high school hockey and would love to get back on my skates during practice at some point.  I have no idea if I am crazy to think any of this will happen this winter, but hopefully some of you have some insight regarding these activities and when they may happen.  My doctor seems to have an aggressive attitude towards my recovery, which I like, but I am still just sitting here wondering when I can get back to doing the things I enjoy, which as mostly related to exercise and being involved with beer league athletics (i.e. softball, racquetball,  hockey).  Any insight into the recovery process is appreciated.  Until then, I am glued to the couch saving the post apocalyptic world in Halo 3 and dreaming of long jogs and having my cast cut down in two weeks.

10 Responses to “Everyone keeps telling me I am a little too young…”

  1. Jose,

    I’m in week 9 and just got the go ahead to dump my boot and got two shoes. My doctor is pretty much middle of the road when it comes to getting me back on my feet. From everything I’ve heard it’s at least 8 months before you’ll be back to normal. I think you’re body will tell you when you are ready. My doctor keeps telling me to take it one step further than I think I can but don’t over due it. You being so young maybe it won’t be as long…

  2. Hi Joe,

    If you are serious about a fast rehab, the key is to find what you can do, and not focus, or let others tell you, what you can’t do.

    You will want to work on flexibility when you can, (see if you can get out of that cast, and into something removable, like a boot, ASAP), find ways to gently (at first) work on calf strength, (although you already have two weeks of atrophy working against you), and find ways to keep up your cardiovascular and other basic fitness.

    Use your imagination and find ways to do these things, and you should be able to get back in action faster. For more thoughts and details, see my blog and peterh’s blog.

    Good luck,


  3. I am so with Doug on the idea of doing what you can, where, you can. I found that a leg weight proximal to the weight of my cast on my “good” leg encouraged balance.
    I started doing leg raises, both legs at the end of week one. Your healthy leg will atrophy some just due to the general reduction of activity. Keep your flexibility and strength up. Some yoga movements modified for a seated position has kept the blood moving.
    There is a lot you can’t do but getting back to as much normalcy as possible keeps you sane. Get out of the house. Easy on the beer, do see friends. Staying connected to your life helps. I can pretty much assure you that you won’t be skating this winter. It is just around the corner. Be patient but aggressive.
    Thanks for your efforts saving the post apocalyptic world in Halo 3. Sounds like you have lots of opportunities to be heroic. Take care.

  4. Joe, I feel for you. Your frustration is very clear. The way I see it there are three aspects to this:
    (1) the good news is that there is loads you can do while your foot mends. For example, your upper body strength needn’t suffer and if you use your crutches to any extent it will improve considerably.
    (2) Be involved in your healing process. Read around the subject, talk to your doctor, show him you know your stuff and that you want to be as active as possible as soon as possible.
    (3) But! (always a but) You can’t rush an ATR. You can do all you can to promote the healing and minimise the side effects like muscle atrophy, but there aren’t any real ’short cuts’. So at some point you have to accept that you are going to have to live without some things for a while.
    After much denial of the fact, I have finally accepted that I won’t be skiing this year. Much as it breaks my heart, the prospect of a re-rupture is just too awful to contemplate and I just won’t be strong enough this winter. Besides, I don’t think I’ll be able to fit my ski boots with my swollen foot and dweeby calf!
    Like mental planet says - stay connected with your life. Go along to the games and coaching sessions if possible, you still have loads to contribute. It’s just one leg - the rest of you is fine! And this is a “proper” sportsman’s injury after all.
    Play Halo 3 by all means, but please don’t drop out of the real world too much. Good luck - keep us posted with your progress.

  5. Hola Jose,
    I agree with Doug and Mentalplanet.
    There is lots you can do, especially if you can get out of the cast (or at least into a weight-bearing cast), and the sooner you start, the better.
    As soon as you’re past immediate post-op recovery ( a few days) you can start on your “good” leg, squats and calf raises, leg raises etc can still be done. Nothing to stop you doing push-ups (support your injured leg with something under your shin to keep the weight off your toes) or sit-ups, and lots of pilates and yoga stuff also works fine (if that floats your boat, I don’t have the patience). Hopping and crutching to get around are also good workouts.
    By early in week 3 post op I was doing rehab in the pool (foot unprotected), as well as stationary bike workouts (in the boot) and upper body work in the gym. No reason you _have_ to lose cardio fitness - in week 4 I did a 1.5 hour stationary bike workout with HR between 160-180 most of the time, and lost enough fluid to give myself a nasty dehydration headache!

    Laziness and lack of focus will be your enemy in this respect. I slacked off when I went to 2-shoes at 6 weeks and lost significant cardio fitness; I now had the freedom to get out and about instead of being stuck at home on the trainer!

    By all means get stuck into Halo3 for the first few weeks when you’re basically housebound, but don’t get sucked in to the illusion of being crippled, because really you’re only handicapped.
    Good luck,

  6. Joe, I agree with most of the above, but unlike Smoley, I do plan to be skiing this winter. I ruptured 3+ weeks ago, and had surgery the day after the rupture. My surgeon thinks that I’ll be able to ski any time after November, so there may be hope for you to get on skates. One thing that I have heard that may limit us both is people reporting pain from having shoes, etc. pressing against their scars. Good luck, Ron

  7. Wow, that is encouraging. I guess I have some questions for my doc when I see him next. I can’t wait to get out of this cast and start getting strong again.

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  8. That is good advice, thanks man. I am looking forward to getting out of this cast!

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  9. I’m a little late, but I couldn’t help but read your post when you said people were telling you that you were too young for an injury like this. I tore mine at a track meet this past spring, and since I’m only 22 I know how you feel. Plenty of people said the same thing to me.

    It sucks having an injury like this take you out of commission at such an active point in our lives, but honestly? I’d rather it happen now than when I’m in my 40’s or 50’s. My recovery has been almost picture perfect, and I think being so active and young makes getting better go so much faster. I was back to running just about 3 months after my surgery, and as soon as I was let out of therapy a couple weeks later I was only held back by how sore my body told me it was. I’ve been back to my normal routine for about the last 2 months, and I just passed my 6 month mark.

    I was very patient and did everything my doc told me, and everyone here has really great advice. The best thing is to have a good attitude and take it one day at a time. You’ll be back to skating and running before you know it! Good Luck!

  10. Man am I gad to hear that your recovery was so quick! Thanks for the info as I haven’t really known what to think it will be like when they take this cast off in about three weeks. I am fully committed to doing and not doing whatever the doctor tells me, but it is nice to hear that you have come back so quickly and completely from your injury. Thank you so much for the comment!

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