12 Weeks and cleared to begin running

I went to my 12-week visit with my surgeon dressed for a run: the shoes I’d worn in my last race (Ocober 2011), my Boston marathon shirt from 2012 (which I didn’t get to run, but my step-son lives in Boston, so he picked up my race packet), and a new pair of running gloves. Ipod was charged up, Garmin charged up.

Surgeon gave me the okay and said to take it easy and slow. I did. Three miles alternating short intervals of jogging and walking. The first jog intervals were around 13 min pace, but as my neuromuscular pathways began to remember how to move, they steadily decreased to 9:45 with no increase in effort. Believe it or not, the nonsurgical foot and ankle felt more stressed than the surgical one.

We’ll see how the achilles feels tomorrow, always the true test. In the meantime, I’m enjoying the afterglow. Best way to start the day:)


  1. normofthenorth Said,

    January 21, 2014 @ 1:36 am

    Yay! :-)

  2. tjw1 Said,

    January 21, 2014 @ 7:07 pm

    good news - keep up the good work.

    my doctor says when I have pain that I need to go back into the boot. But I can’t wear the boot because that really hurts. So I will just have to change my PT and go light stuff with no stretching and see if I can get it to work free and easy so I can walk some.

    Good luck.

  3. kimc Said,

    January 21, 2014 @ 8:24 pm


    Was your doctor sure you weren’t having a reaction to sutures or bone anchor material? The pain you talk about certainly sounds a lot like what others have reported when there is an infection or rejection. I think Norm has mentioned this to you, right?

    Just concerned about all the pain you’re having.

    Hope things get better with some lighter PT. For what it’s worth, I don’t do any stretches other than range of motion and tracing the alphabet. I’m not doing heel raises either. I CAN do them, I’m just not making that a part of my daily routine. Norm had to go back in a boot for a month from doing those too early on.

  4. tjw1 Said,

    January 21, 2014 @ 9:49 pm


    well that is really interesting. that motion work is what my doctor recommended. I did not ask about a reaction to the sutures or anchors. I think it is because the incision was in the same spot as the other surgery the year before and that incision got infected so I think that tissue is not in the best shape so I think it has scared more and that scar is pulling on the rest of the tissue there everything inflammed. I also forgot to ask about nerve issues which another doc told me about with the last surgery so I need to ask about that. But first I think I am going to do the lite PT.

    Does Norm has insertional achillies issues with a repair of arthex speedbridge?

  5. anne Said,

    January 21, 2014 @ 11:07 pm

    That is super fantastic. I am really happy for you. (And totally jealous). Was this run outside or on the AlterG?

    BTW, my good leg got really sore for about 4-6 weeks once I started running on the AlterG. I got a great massage from someone who specializes in injuries and I haven’t had anymore issues.

    Keep us posted on your progress. Bravo to your success!!!

  6. kimc Said,

    January 22, 2014 @ 6:43 am

    thw1 - Norm had two ATRs. I sure hope the pain settles down for you.

    Anne - Thanks for the “happy”! I ran outside because it was a beautiful morning and my daughter wanted to run on a wooded trail. I took the completely flat limestone trail that can be accessed from the same trailhead.

    I’m going to try it again this morning, but want to make contact with the PT place that has the AlterG and book some time. I would be able to run much more normally on that, and then there’s the added benefit of less weight!

    Thanks for the massage suggestion. Today, two days after the first run, my good leg is still funky.

  7. Janis Said,

    January 22, 2014 @ 6:52 pm

    That is great news! I, for one, can’t wait to take the dog for a walk.

  8. kimc Said,

    January 22, 2014 @ 6:58 pm


    I’m betting your dog will really help your recovery! Nothing like an eager partner to get you out for regular walks. I am of the mind that walking has really helped by recovery.

    Hope the day comes soon that you can take your dog out for this first walk!

  9. mhamay Said,

    January 28, 2014 @ 8:53 pm

    You might also want to see if any PT places have an underwater treadmill- I love it! The one I go to has the swimming jets so they can give you resistance too!

  10. kimc Said,

    January 28, 2014 @ 10:08 pm

    The underwater treadmill sounds awesome! Sadly, none available in my city.

  11. tjw1 Said,

    February 4, 2014 @ 2:56 pm


    I tried swimming on Saturday - two laps 25 meters, spot stretch repeat 8 times. It felt great however next day I had stabbing pain when I walked. That pain has lasted for 3 days now, but getting better. I was wondering if you had pain like this after workouts. I was able before Saturday to do 5 minutes elliptical for several days and also got off all meds. I was wondering if swimming is worse than walking or elliptical for you.

  12. kimc Said,

    February 4, 2014 @ 6:35 pm

    tjw1 -

    You have had way more than your share of significant pain! Gotta think something is going on that hasn’t been caught, or that it was aggravated early on and any little stress takes you right back there.

    As for swimming, I haven’t done any actual swimming. I just got in the deep water with a flotation belt and did “run” intervals. I didn’t have any pain from doing that even thought it created a good deal of torque on the ankle. The tendon would sometimes be mildly tender or have mild swelling, but would subside after a day. Walking, elliptical, pool runs and spinning are all safe activities now- not causing any pain, swelling or downtime at this point. Running, however, does stress the tendon a bit - but it’s not painful, I’m just very aware that I worked it.

    I sure hope your Dr. or PT can help figure out why you’re having so much pain. Sending good thoughts you way!

  13. tjw1 Said,

    February 14, 2014 @ 2:28 pm

    PT and Doc appear to have given up. Doc just puts his head on the examination table and asked what is the goal here. And I respond that I want to do as much as I can. He just looks at me says the tendon is not the same as it was and will always be different and suggested nothing to do, except when I have pain to ‘get back ito the boot’. PT now has me just doing some lite stuff and suggested I come back less often. End of Feb will be 6 months since surgery. I am using some natural oils on the tendon hoping that might work: Lemon Grass, Margoram, White Fur and Deep Blue. Don’t know if these are doing anything, seems to me that I am just doing so little and that is the thing that cuts down on pain. I do five or ten minutes on stationary bike a few times a day, walking usually hurts but at least not stabbing pain like last week. Thinking about going to see another doc and see if they have any ideas.

  14. normofthenorth Said,

    February 14, 2014 @ 2:59 pm

    tjw1, I’d definitely get a second opinion if you can. My own preference is always to be “incrementally aggressive”, UNLESS there’s pain or signs of injury, and then I’m a wimp.

    Your boot should NOT hurt! If it hurts it’s either the wrong size or adjusted badly or it needs pads or footbeds etc. Hard to fix over the Internet…

  15. kimc Said,

    February 15, 2014 @ 7:19 pm


    You don’t need to be with a Doc and PT who have given up on you. Definitely seek out another opinion, and then another, if necessary! Please keep us posted!

  16. Tom Winter Said,

    February 24, 2014 @ 4:11 pm

    Tried going back to work. Pretty steady pain - a bit of stabbing pain again. Found it impossible to work, very, very disappointed, I thought I was getting better. Now I think it seemed like it was getting better becasue I was doing less and less and managing more. Wow giving up interest in the fight, the third spring will be coming around and I am not better. Walking would be all I ask for anymore. These disappointments are cruel. Just don’t understand why I don’t get better. Life sucks.

  17. kimc Said,

    February 24, 2014 @ 6:50 pm


    I think you have to seriously consider seeing another physician. I just read a post a couples of days ago - someone 7 months out - still having lots of pain and being dismissed by her doctor. Finally gave herself permission to seek another opinion and there was definitely something wrong, but something that could be addressed.

    I hope you don’t give up, Tom, but certainly understand why you feel so discouraged. Please seek another opinion, and then another, if necessary. Having this much pain 7 months out is far outside anything expected, and certainly raises a red flag that something else is going on.

  18. Ripraproar Said,

    February 24, 2014 @ 7:36 pm

    Hi tw
    I went through pin, till do. Little the turning point was about 9 months but still have a slight nerve issue, I can now run sprint jump, I just feel so e heal faster, the sharp pins were the most worrying I had in my mind it’s going to rupture, but the pt who asked me to jump hop etc, said it wasn’t going to snap , that made a big difference, I still get hot leg, slight stiffness at 10 months the ATR still seemed very tight but pt worked on it, it’s all ver y depressing , my goal was to get were I ws pre the ATR ,I’m there part from little issues and I’m now going to replace the run for long long wlks, I just needed to know I could still run sprint etc, to beat the pyhsicological barrier, now I’m happy to just speed walk, you will get better but sounds like yo need a doc or pt who nts you to recover as much as you do.

  19. Tom Winter Said,

    March 5, 2014 @ 11:15 am

    back at home after trying to go to work again. Still having stabbing pain in both side of the Achilles (reattach at insertinoal site with Arthrex Speed Bridge). Going to a behavior pain management class and physical therapy - six weeks half day everyday sessions: Lemon Center for pain management. Hoping this helps, if not then going to see another surgeon (I saw four surgeons before having this surgery. Everybody said my surgeon was the best in KC. But maybe something else might be available, maybe six weeks I will feel better. March 1st was six months after surgery (second surgery, first last october - removal of haglund’s deformity: Oct 2013). trying to keep active with lite spin bike, upper body lifting, and stretching. If I could just walk without pain. Afraid of losing my job, losing my girlfriend, and life going down the toilet. I hope pain counselling saves my life.

  20. kimc Said,

    March 6, 2014 @ 9:53 am

    Tom, you have really had a rough go of it. I wanted to pass something along that my surgeon told me. He uses the Arthrex Speed Bridge, and that’s what he used for my surgery (debridement, Haglund’s). He said he did have one patient who had pain at the insertion site for about 8 months, and then it went away. Surgeon said it was most likely related to a reaction to the absorbable bone anchors, which take approximately 8 months to dissolve and be replaced by bone. Maybe….that’s a possible explanation for what is happening with you?

    I certainly hope the pain management sessions help. At this point, I think any measure of relief would be welcome. Don’t give up on yourself. You’ll be one of those great stories a year or so from now, who can relate a very rough path that eventually turned the corner to healing. Wishing you some of that - healing - now!

  21. Tom Winter Said,

    March 11, 2014 @ 12:17 pm

    Thanks Kimc, Really down today. Went back to my surgeon’s PT office and they turned me away. They said they are done with PT and want to turn over all my care to a pain management group. They will no longer prescribe pain meds either. So I guess I am left with the pain management group. The intensive course will cost me $7,000 dollars after insurance because they are out of network. With two kids in college I can’t reallly afford that right now. So I am going to do just a once a week pain management counselling for eight weeks and also get another shrink to help me. Thanks for the tip about the anchors, I hope that is it. I really wish I had better news to report. I don’t want to bring people down, just looking for help.

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