17 weeks - I ran…sort of

I can’t believe it has been a few weeks since my last post, how time flies!

I have been going to PT twice a week and doing exercises in the gym once a week in addition to cycling 3-4 times a week and then this past week, 16 post surgery I went to the local high school track and began my journey back into running.

The past few weeks I rode around 150 miles/week and my strength really seems to be coming back. My calf is getting some decent size and I am able to do a 1 legged calf raise with minor assistance, still not ready to do it hands free.

So running…I started with 3 laps or .75 miles and then 1.25, then 1.75, and on Tuesday I did 2 miles. My injured leg feels great, but I am compensating with my good leg quite a bit so I took the last 2 days off from running/cycling for some needed rest. Don’t think I have broken a 10 minute mile yet, but soon…

I went to see my doctor last week, I was basically released from his care and was warned to take it easy. He too is a triathlete and friend so if I am caught pushing it too hard I could be in for a beating! J/k, but I know I need to take it slowly.

A good friend and colleage of mine ruptured his Achilles 4 weeks after I did, unfortunately he re-ruptured this past weekend. Our thoughts and prayers go out to he and his family. Fortunately, he got in for surgery and is back on the mend.

13 Weeks - Riding Outdoors Again!!!

At 12 weeks I had been riding indoors for about 2.5-3 weeks so when I went into the doctors, I was told that I could resume riding outdoors again. I can’t get out of the saddle at all or do hills, but just being out there feels great. Doc says the tendon looks good, but I need to hold back for the next month or so even if I do feel good so that the healing can continue.

I just completed my third week of therapy and I have begun to get back a decent amount of strength in my injured leg. I have been steadily increasing my weights on the squat machine, leg extensions, curls and obviously the calf raises. My leg is still noticeably smaller, but some muscle definition is returning.

Tonight I rode and was stretching afterward and noticed that my good leg was not half as flexible as my injured leg that was being worked in PT. I am going to concentrate on stretching my good leg much more.

Getting back to more of my usual activities has really helped my spirits. With the pool opening this weekend, I may just start swimming again too. Happy Memorial Day Weekend to everyone!

11 Weeks + 3 Days - began PT 3 days ago

It has been quite a week in terms of improvement, I went from barely putting two feet down to limping along much better, just like others have said - I limp more at the end of the day when I get tired.

I have been riding my bike on the trainer about a half hour a day and as of Sunday it has started to feel natural again. I see my strength is lacking and until I regain a decent amount I will just be indoors, but being back in motion feels great.

Sunday I finally got my toy car out of the garage after 5 months of sitting (I didn’t drive it since late November because of the snow) and then the injury. The battery was dead, but with my wife’s help we slowly pushed it out of the garage and got it jump started. I had been driving with 2 feet so this was a big jump back into driving manual again. Felt great to put the top down and cruise!

I did 2 days of PT this week, I can already balance on my injured leg and am regaining strength. I am doing leg presses, extensions, and curls and the size of my leg is improving too. I have a home/gym workout routine that I can do when I am not in pt as well. I am being as proactive as safely possible.

10 Weeks - 2 Sneakers (No crutches)

I saw the doctor yesterday, 1 day shy of 10 weeks post op. He removed the stitches from my latest procedure and said the tendon is looking strong. The incision has closed nicely and I will be able to resume swimming in 2 weeks.

I was cleared to start riding my bike again indoors, starting with 20 minutes a day and gradually getting up to an hour within 2 weeks. I rode yesterday (as soon as I got home from the doctor’s) for 15 minutes and then today for 20.

My achilles feels fine, but I believe there is some adhesion - the upper portion of the scar is where I see the skin tightening as flex my toes downward. I hope that this can get worked out in therapy, it doesn’t really hurt much, more annoying than anything. Anyone have an experience like this?

So as of Monday I begin 3x per week of therapy for 4 weeks. At the conclusion of 4 weeks I am hoping to be cleared for outdoor riding and if all else looks good, a slow start to running again. (Doc said it, not me…)

I am presently signed up for the Syracuse 70.3 triathlon in September - got in long before the injury and I have been told my chances are pretty good, I may just have to tone it down a few notches.

I was pleasantly surprised to see my calf is no longer just mush, it has regained some density and size already!

9 Weeks - 2 Sneakers* (Crutch assisted)

Well I had my follow-up with the doctor this past Tuesday and the latest incision from the inside suture removal has closed nicely. He chose to leave the outside stitches in 1 more week as a precaution, but allowed me to walk in 2 sneakers holding the crutches in case I needed them. I can’t flex too hard just yet being that the stitches are still there so I like having the crutches in hand as a safety net. I will take away the asterisk when I am walking without crutches.

When I was at the doctor’s office we were looking at my boot and it may have combined to create the latest problem as it cuts in where my incision is and rubs the area when I walk. I tried it for another day to see if there was a difference since the last time I was in it, but I still felt the rubbing. I was given the choice of boot with no crutches or 2 sneakers and crutches…I opted for the sneakers.

My ankle is still very swollen from having it down more time each day, but I make sure to put it up when I still can. I was amazed to see that my calf which has withered to just about nothing has actually started to make a little comeback - I mean little, but it isn’t quite the jello it was on Tuesday.

What’s my next step?

So after having the internal sutures removed 1 week ago today, I have regular stitches in until Tuesday of this week.

I know my doctor is concerned with the wound reopening if I go into PT too soon so I am not exactly sure what my next step will be.

Has anyone had a similar procedure - clean out of a couple internal stitches. The new incisions are 1.5 inches and .5 inches. How long did it take for you to heal up and get into PT?


A new cast (after 5 days)

Well prior to my latest surgery, I hadn’t eaten or had anything to drink for 24 hours so I was dehydrated, etc.  When they weighed me at the hospital prior to the surgery I was 6 pounds under my normal. 

I had the surgery last Friday and was placed in a new cast for 11 days…currently on day 6.  As my body normalized after surgery the cast got very tight, I would wake up in the middle of the night wanting to go to the ER for them to just chop it off.  So after 2 days of this I decided I couldn’t take it anymore and called the doctors office. 

Unfortunately my doctor is out of town this week, but they got me in with another foot/ankle specialist who got me into a new cast as of yesterday afternoon.  It has been more comfortable thus far and I am being very careful to limit my food consumption and salt intake as to not swell.  And we are keeping the house very cool, the warmer I get the more I swell and sweat and all.

I got to see the area they had cut out and it had healed over nicely, the doctor said it was pretty much closed and I just needed to wait a few more days to get the stitches out and back into the boot.  In looking at my pictures (I had been taking daily photos of the incision to monitor progress) I was able to see the other spot he needed to cut out, it was just slightly red under the surface and apparantly there was another inside suture there working it’s way out and would have created the same type of blister. 

On the subject of taking photos, it has been a great help to me and my doctor.  I would firmly recommend doing this, I have an iPhone and the clarity is great and it is so simple.  Once I figure out how to post them I will put them all up.

My story - a couple months late

First off, a big thank you to Dennis.  I have learned so much from this site and everyone’s encounters that it made mine that much easier to deal with. 

Feb 22nd - while playing dodgeball I ruptured my right achilles.  I had done a spin workout beforehand so I had stiffened up quite a bit and feel like I just pushed it too hard without properly warming up again.  The pain was bad, made me kind of sick to my stomach and light headed before I was able to sit down, but about a minute later I realized what I had done and the emotional side was much worse.  I knew I was in this for the long haul.

Feb 23rd - I was operated on and had my achilles put back together.  I will post pictures later.  I have a great doctor who understands that I am a triathlete (as he is one too) and want to return to my pre-injury level of activity.  I stayed in the hospital overnight and then went home around noon on the 24th

2 weeks post op - I got my first cast off, it had been wrappd and then the sides were cut to allow for the swelling.  The second cast was green at the recommendation of my wife as my little way of celebrating St. Patrick’s Day.  This one was tight the first few days then it really started to loosen as the swelling continued to decrease and my muscles atrophyed. 

6 weeks post op - I got my green cast off and was put into a walking boot by Ossur. It has the old fashioned Reebok pump and I started calling it my ‘robocop boot’  It was much nicer than the cast as I could go to fwb as soon as I was able and it only took me a day.  I hated the crutches and just wanted to be rid of them. 

7.5 weeks post op - the incision is healing well and the dead skin is all peeling off, but in one small area about half the size of an M&M there is a red dot that looked like a blister.  I emailed the picture over to my doctor and he said he would like me to come in for him to take a look.  So the next day I went into his office (this is now last Friday the 15th) and he says that if it looks like it can open he would like to clean it out and seal me back up.  As soon as he started playing with it, it popped and they saw what looked like an internal suture.  He said we could wait a week to see how it goes or just get it cleaned out today in the OR and he’d sew me back up.  Eventually he decided to take me into the OR where he actually found 2 stitches that were causing an inflammation and slowing the healing process.  I was sewn back up and put on antibiotics just in case, but he said there wasn’t any sign of an infection, just my body not liking those 2 sutures.  I am put back in a cast to reduce movement and allow the new incision to heal quicker.

8 weeks post op - the swelling is gone and the pain is minimal.  I realized that I had that inflammation for quite a while because the pain I had in the boot is gone.   I had gone 24 hours without eating or drinking before the operation on the 15th because they didn’t know when I could get in being that it was last minute.  I was so dehydrated and all that my body was not at its normal size and as I ate and drank upon recovery the cast got too tight. 

So that leads me to today, I am going back to the doctor to see if they can either put on a looser cast or go back to the boot. I know I need to keep the stitches in another 5 days or so and I go back to the doctor next Tuesday for that so we shall see.  I find that the cooler I am, the less pain the cast gives me, but as soon as it warms up and I swell a little, the air can’t get in and it gets annoying.  Definitely not painful to the point I need medication, but the last cast was much more comfortable and I am using that as my baseline.

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