It has been 11 1/2 weeks since I snapped my Achilles tendon. I feel like I have been very busy which in turn makes me very tired so I have not written in a few weeks. Somehow it seems like it went from sitting around to dying to sit down but I guess that is life.
These last few weeks I feel like I have made big improvements with my entire leg. I can now ride that dang bike that does not move for an hour fairly hard and in bike shoes. To get my heart rate up I ride really, really fast and try to up the resistance. I can also spin one legged with my bad leg which has really helped relocate my quadriceps! This is when I can really tell that I have gained some strength as when I first started one legged I could hardly get it moving. Now I can spin at a pretty good cadence with decent resistance for one leg. I can also do the elliptical and the funny precor “running” machine which is soooo not running but I guess I’ll take it for now.
I have continued with my PT and two of the new and exciting moves I have got are double heel raises and single leg balance. I show off to my kids and their friends but get nothing. I know you all will appreciate just how exciting that really is!
The super exciting thing I did this week was get on an Alter G! Oh if only I weighed about 70 pounds I would be walking all over town! That thing is so amazing - you wear funny shorts zipped into basically a big air bubble and it lifts you up. You can adjust your body weight so you can be as light as a feather and then you walk on a treadmill. I could WALK. I could walk on my heels and walk on my tip toes! I could even dance - well kind of cuz I was a bit stuck in the shorts. The bummer of course is when you let out all the air and you feel the entire weight of your body back on your feet. Then I had to climb out and limp away. But for that brief bit of time I was a walker….NOT a limper!
My massive calves!
Look at that LIFT!
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I’m a WALKER!!!
I have reached the 9 week mark! Yay in that I feel like the worst is behind me AND more importantly I feel like I finally have some control over my progress. Progress is slow and not really steady more of up and down but when I think of what I can do now compared to a few weeks ago I realize I AM getting better.
We have been spending that last two weeks in one of my favorite towns - Bend, Oregon. We were supposed to take a big family vacay this year but that all changed so this is it. Luckily there is much to do for the rest of my family and for me - we are just up the hill from a great athletic club complete with PT. I have spent hours there in the belly of the club on that dang spin bike. I have been on the bike for a while but with the boot. In the last week I have been able to ride BOOTLESS with some resistance at a decent cadence so feel like I am getting a workout. Today I finally made it a full hour and could push it enough to get my heart rate up and SWEAT. I would have jumped for joy - except I can’t jump!
I have been able to continue PT over here in Bend. In fact Chris, my PT, is my new favorite person as he has worked with many of our kind and has such confidence about what he can do. He has been digging in and working my entire ankle. The front of my ankle had been jammed and ahhhhh he popped that sucker into place with…. no stress on the Achilles. I have noticed a lot of improvement this week with my walking.
My exercises seem to be similar to others. Lots of ROM,scrunching towels and picking up marbles (which I can not do?). Jane Fonda leg kicks, seated calf raises, bands and so forth. Yesterday I got to do some weight machines. Those things are foreign objects to me but the leg press is surely going to be a favorite. Then when all was done I tried some arm weights just for grins. Kind of funny to be in the weight room with the “weight” peeps and their WEIGHTS. They take it very seriously and lift these massive weights. Me I found some cute pink 3 pounders tucked under the big weight shelf thing. (And my arms were kind of sore this morning)
Yesterday afternoon I was feeling rather buff so I had my husband take some pics. I thought I would share some pictures of my massive muscles with you all. I even attempted to flex my calf to show off my definition. Sadly things are as good on film as they are in my head. I also have to let you know that it one picture it appears as if my right quadraceps have left the building. WHAT? That was depressing - and I’m not sharing that picture as I deleted it. It will (hopefully someday) be as if it never happened! So here you go….
Here is a picture of my progress - I tried to match it to the one from 3 weeks ago…..
Here is a picture of me flexing. I am trying to copy kellygirl but am not really allowed to do heel raises yet so…. Would you look at that definition. Wow…
AND just because this picture used to make me cry and now I can see he humor in it - here is my leg (I swear it’s a leg not a chicken bone) taken at about week three.
I might catch a lot of people’s attention with that question but I certainly do NOT claim to have the answer. What I do think is that neither is right or wrong and both have advantages. There are all sorts of circumstances to consider and not even the experts can agree. Which ever road you take then that has to be the best road for you.
For me this was never really a question. I tore my meniscus saw a surgeon, had surgery, recovered, ran again. (Yes I have heard this too can repair itself.) I ruptured my Achilles while running in a race. I went to the ER, got some pain meds and a (bad) boot. Got up called my knee surgeon and had surgery by his partner that day. There was some discussion about pros and cons of op vs non op but honestly you would have to ask my husband about that. I was in pain, on pain meds and the non-op sounded all hokey and well tic toc people the sooner I was in the sooner I would be running…. right?! (Have I mentioned before that I am NOT a patient person?)
I went to a great sports medicine group with doctors I trust. They are the doctors for the Blazers, the Timbers and the Thorns. I had never heard much of anyone trying the non-op route until a few weeks later when I found this website. I have since coherently talked to my doctor about op/non-op and he still for me in order to return to my level of running op he feels the surgery was the best method. (I know some non-ops are thinking that statement is not true and really you very well may be right.)
I thought I would share a bit about my surgery. I had a “clean” rupture with little or no coiling- or so I have been told. (I can assure you I have not seen the proof). My doctor used a new technique with a “new tool” so I had a 1″-2″ horizontal incision rather than a longer vertical one. I pictured something like a small crochet hook but when @ATRbuff asked why I went the surgical route I did some googling and can only assume I found an article about my “tool”. I would like to thank ATRbuff as the article is very interesting but now I can never unsee some of the images! And the tool - not anything like a crochet hook….(erase erase erase!) I will do my best to post the article below but be warned.
In the end I am still confident in my decision and in my doctor. (Well - except the part about making me sleep in the boot wwwaaayyyy to long….ssshhh don’t tell him I stopped a little early!) BUT - I think everyone is different and which ever route we are on we are all in this together. This is NOT a group I would voluntarily join but it has so helped me so much to read about all of you and your journeys; to read about your milestones, struggles and your advice.Filed under Uncategorized | Comments (24)
I have just a little bit of a shoe thing so very exciting to “NEED” new shoes! Also very exciting to be able to get out and buy new shoes!
I guess I should back up a bit. Today I am 7 weeks and 2 days post op. At 6 weeks I was given the OK to “TRY” two shoes. I was hoping that transition would go smoothly but as most of you know - that is just not the case. I guess in my 9 days Of attempting I have made progress but I am finding this stage very frustrating! I am generally a fast walker and now….well not so much. BUT - focus on the progress so here is some progress I have made.
1) PT - ahhhh I love PT. It helps so much to have someone tell you what you can do and help you work towards fixing this thing! I seem to do the standard - ROM, “active” stretch and passive stretch. I also get to do some Jane Fonda leg lifts. These were unnerving at first as my foot was flopping around. I have also been learning how to walk again - concentrating on weight transfer and trying to squish the bug with my toes. I have to say that for now the bug lives!
2) Breaking a sweat! I have been riding the spin bike for a while now. Finally in the last week or so I have been able to ride long enough and hard enough to break a sweat. I still have to ride “hard” with the boot but I can up the resistance and WAY up the cadence to make it feel like I am doing something. I am also able to spin with my shoes but then it is way back down to ssslllooowww!
3) I am spoiled in that where I work out I get to see some elite runners and as much I hate the boot I have no shame in my using it to my advantage. It is a great conversation starter so converse I have.
4) Getting OUT! Oh it is so nice to be able to get out of the house more. I have not ventured far bootless as I am so slow and it makes me feel vulnerable. I feel like I need a big sign saying INJURED person coming through please be kind! SO - I tend to wear the most obvious sign the BOOT! People are so nice to you when lugging that thing around.
5) SHOPPING! As I said I love shoe shopping and well I figured I need some new shoes. I love Nike Free so I can flex my toes but with the swelling I needed to go up a half size. (I just put a heel lift in as they are too flat). Then I just had to copy KG and get a pair of non flip flop FitFlops. (Say that 10 times fast!) I will attempt to insert some pics! SORRY so big!
6) Today was a big day as I made it to mat Pilates. There is a lot that we can do. It works the core but also helped my back, hips, hammies….ahhhh!
So all in all I know I am heading in the right direction. I hate the slow progress and have had MANY ups and downs this week and have been a tad (unreasonably) grumpy. I threatened to give the dog away when he came to say hi to me and puked up a candy wrapper (and some other unknown smelly stuff). In case it was not clear the candy wrapper was NOT mine! I think many of us in this ATR club use some sort of exercise as our stress relief and at the moment we don’t really have that outlet. I like to power through things and well we all know how well that works.Filed under Uncategorized | Comments (14)
Just a quick not in an attempt to post pictures. I got the OK to try two shoes starting today. I managed to put both feet in my regular size 10 running shoes although the right one is a little tight. It does not hurt my incision, which by the way is a small horizontal incision. (I will post a pic if I get this figured out!) I can stand and I am sure could take tiny steps unaided except for the unnerving feeling of being so vulnerable. I think for my head I would prefer some sort of brace, wrap or something. Instead I am back to crutches and they are well my emotional crutches! SO here goes!!
UUGGHH - I can not post pics. Have tried many ways. I am using a MacBook and con not figure it out!
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I got to go see my doctor today. Funny how excited we get to see the doctor. It’s kind of like when I was pregnant I always hoped for some ground breaking information. I am 5 weeks and 5 days post op (huh…counting weeks and days, just like being pregnant!) so knew that I was days away from shoes. I had been told something about at the 6 week mark ditching the boot and getting some sort of brace. I also read on here that some people needed to go up a shoe size in order to get that shoe on. Naturally I was hoping to cheat the system 2 days so I actually bought a “cute” pair of sized up running shoes and brought them to my appointment. Just for image sake on a good day I have scrawny little calves and really big feet. Now my calf is not existent and here I am excited about donning a pair of size 10.5 ’s!
Well things did not go quite as I had hoped. There will be no brace and no ditching of the boot… just yet.
Starting Thursday I get to start “easing” into shoes, as in 30-60 minutes at a time… in the house. Over the next 1-2 weeks I will slowly transition to full time shoes. This is good I guess but I was hoping to stroll on out of the office leaving my stinky boot behind. What about at night? I asked. Nope I have to sleep in that thing until I am “comfortable” in shoes. BUT what about the bike? I told him I rode the bike for an hour bike yesterday, can I ride the bike in my shoe? Sort of, I get 10 minutes with the shoe and then back in the boot. Not an hour? Nope. What about the pool? Certainly I can get in the pool. I envisioned getting in the shallow end of the pool on a beautiful hot day, getting some sun and just walking around a little. Perhaps I will have a cool beverage in my hand….. Nope, not yet. Doctor says no submerging my foot in any kind of water just yet. I guess a pedicure is out too. And last but not least I asked him about driving. I did not really expect to drive myself home from the appointment but certainly by Friday. Right?? Oh no! There will be no driving for at least a month. WHAT? Apparently when driving it is important for the driver to have enough control over and strength in the foot to slam on the brakes if the situation calls for such a slam. Ok good point! UGH! Progress, but oh so slow.
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So I have finally (hopefully) figured out this blog thing. I guess that is the first hint that I am so not in highschool as I know my highschool age son could have done this long ago! Sorry it is soooo long but it feels good to get it all out there! I am so glad I found this website as it helps to know I am not alone. (Although sometimes shhhh - I tell my family that I am the only one to ever suffer so!)
I am a 45 mother of 3 (15, 11, 11 - yes twins!) I am a runner. I run about 50-55 miles a week including a track/speed workout and a long run sometimes with a tempo run. I LOVE running and I LOVE to race. Something about setting goals and working to achieve those goals. Oh and I LOVE beating people.
In late April I ran a half marathon for which I had been training for a long time. I ran really well and in hindsight should have taken a little post half break but as my friend said I got a little greedy. I decided I wanted to run in a 5000 meter track race. To get ready I wanted to do a time trial of sorts. My son’s highschool coach puts on a “last chance” meet; it is meant for HS kids but is open so I asked if I could run a 3000. SURE - no problem. It was me, one other dad and about 20 highschool kids. I’ll show them….
Well with about 70 meters to go I heard a loud pop and felt my foot fall through a (insert swear word of choice) sink hole!! I stopped dead in my tracks and searched the track for the hole but needless to say there was no hole it was my right Achilles snapping in half. I knew right away that something was terribly wrong as I had no control over my foot. I could not walk so had to be carried off the track…I sure showed those HS kids huh! When I took off my sock there was no doubt it was a full rupture as I could see a 1.5 inch gap where once was an Achilles tendon! Bitch slapped by my own body!
My friend drove me to the ER while another friend drove my son home. Naturally I had quite a wait in the ER and by this time I was shaking and in quite a bit of pain. They nicely gave me warm blankets and pain pills while I waited. When they took me back and got me onto a bed to examine me my right calf went into such a bad cramp. I made quite the spectacle of myself screaming in pain. They handed me a “muscle relaxer” AKA Valium. I’m not really one to pop pills but this made it all soooo much better. Once I had calmed down it took the ER DR about 1 second to determine a I had completely severed that sucker. He said something about a non-surgical to which I said “Whaaaat how is that possible? I think I need that thing sewn back up and sewn up quick!”
The next morning I got up and called my PT to cancel my 8:00 am appointment (remember how I said I needed a post half break?). She gave me the name of a doctor to see who coincidentally had done my meniscus surgery a few years earlier. I called him right away and by 10:00 am I was in his office. “Hi, remember me? Remember how you told me not to run so much….well I ignored you and well here I am again!” He would not do the surgery right away but his colleague was available that afternoon. I got in and got out and was home by before the kids went to bed!
Those first two weeks were horrible. I felt terrible and was in a lot of pain. I was taking oxycodone, which I now know is overkill, as well as an anti nausea medicine. On day 9, a Saturday, I got really sick. I could not keep anything down, not crackers, not ginger ale, not water and certainly not my anti-nausea medicine. Let’s all stop and think just how hard it is to puke while on crutches with a purple cast on my foot. At one point I was lying on the bathroom floor trying to figure out how I could get an IV without getting in the car. By Monday morning I was still not better so I went back to the doctor’s office begging someone to give me an IV. They took my cast off to make sure I had no infection gave me a big ass boot and sent me to the ER for an IV.
Lesson to all. Oxycodone is really strong! It is better to drop down to a lesser narcotic like Vicadin as soon as possible. Always take anti-nausea medication with narcotics and ask for the dissolvable good stuff. Valium can ease the pain by making you not really care and it does not make one as sick.
At my two week post-op appointment I got acquainted with the Bledsoe boot, it’s wedges and many, many Velcro straps. At that point I was told I had one more week of no weight but then at 3 weeks post op I would take out a wedge and start partial weight. Well I dutifully did as I was told. Took that wedge out and crutch-walked my way around. Not so smart as I was in so much pain that night that I had to take a valium to sleep. A little smarter to ease into each new stage! At week 4 I took another wedge out and started SLOWLY FBW. It was right about that time I found this website and started learning a few tricks from some of the others who came before me. Then week 5 I took my last wedge out and oh that one hurt!!
So there you go that is the long and short of my story up to 5 weeks and 2 days. As I think we all would agree this sucks! Not too many people rupture their Achilles sitting on the couch. We are all active busy people doing what we do and then BAM couch bound. I have thrown myself many a good pity party. I have been so FRUSTRATED, mad and very sad. I can cry at any time; the littlest thing can set me off. Luckily I have a spin bike in my garage, it was a Christmas present from my husband. He gave it to me after my knee surgery, you know when the doctor told me not to run so much. Physically it does make me feel better and gets the blood flowing but sometimes it too makes me cry.
Lastly and for some perhaps all you want to know are the few things I have learned to help deal with this.
PILLOWS! I sit on the couch with loads of pillows. I sleep with I think 5 now. I have keep my boot on or under a pillow and can not have any covers on it.
FOOD - eat food while taking pain pills but more importantly eat protein in an attempt to keep some muscle mass.
Where some heel. Do the best you can to keep your good foot at the same height as your boot. Easier for women then men perhaps. I am now where a Dansko clog and it seems so be pretty good. My friend had sciatic nerve issues for a year post surgery from walking uneven!
STRETCH! Sitting on the couch makes me hunch over. My back, hips and everything hurt! Now that I am FWB my favorite is to stand against the wall and do “snow angels”.
Talk it out, write it out and try to focus on the positive. Way easier said then done. You all might not want to read all of this but it helps to get it all out there. Keep your sense of humor, someday we can all laugh about all of this right?
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