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Hopefully this is my last blog update, having just celebrated the 2 year anniversary of a rupture of my right achilles that required about 1.5 hours of surgery, a nice stitching job, a shave of my right heel and a nifty titanium screw in the heel for good measure. Have started working out with ankle weights to try and increase my conditioning and quickness, and can no longer tell any difference with the right leg in terms of jumping, one-legged jump rope, etc.

Looking back on the last 2 years, the biggest hurdles have been all the various “injuries” that come along with age and retraining your body with new mechanics. I’ve had all kinds of fun with tendinitis in my right peroneal tendon (ankle stability), sore feet and most recently a nasty abdominal strain, all part of the fun of trying to work your way back to 100% after being in a cast and then boot for almost 3 months.

Best of luck to everybody out there who finds themselves in the midst of the various stages of rehab, and hopefully all those poor souls who are just joining our little club will find reassurance that it does indeed get better!!!

Some recent video of hoop drills, as I now creep up on the 2 year anniversary of my ATR. I suppose I am also creeping up on the point at which the ceiling for “improvement” will be driven by age and time limitations, and no longer related to the ATR or the atrophy caused by all those weeks of casts, crutches and walking boots. It’s amazing the extent to which an ATR can become a defining moment in a person’s life, especially for those of us who thrive on physical exercise and the bio-feedback (read: PAIN) of a good workout.

I figure I will try to post an update to “celebrate” the 2 year anniversary, and then will relegate myself to reading others’ blogs and hopefully trying to offer encouragement to the unfortunate souls who join us here in our exclusive club. continued recovery and good luck to the rest of you…

P.S. Since we are now also celebrating the one-year anniversary of our move to Switzerland, have tried below an update in the local variant of Swiss German. My language “skills” are also a work-in-progress, and probably have some catching up to do with the achilles, but nevertheless…

Ich han öppis film vo hoop gmacht, als chunts de 2nd jubiläum vo min ATR. Grad jetzt chunts de ziit wann de obergrenze vo mini verbesserig wirds über s alte und d’ziit begrenze isch, und numä über de ATR oder de verkümmerig das d’viele wöchen vo casts, crutches, und laufä schuhe händ erschaffä worde. Es verblüfft mi wieviil en ATR kann ene wichtig ziit in s läbä vo öpper becho, eigetli für de luut wer sind am glücklichsti mit de kampf uuf bewägig und schmerz vo enere gueti training.

Probieri en update machä für den 2nd jubiläum feiere, und nachdem begrenzä mi de blogs vo andere luute lis wärdä, und hoffentli kann ich öppis hoffnig zu den anderen luute zeigä. Wünschi all oi en gueti verbesserig und viel glück…

17 months afer surgery, and every day it still feels like the bad wheel is getting stronger. I’ve managed 5 months now of basketball, once or twice a week, as well as some lacrosse practices and games (indoor and outdoor). It has been almost a transition from one new “soreness” to another, first the weak ankle on the bad leg (ankle exercises and a compression sleeve have taken care of this for now), then sore calves and hamstrings as I ramped up the sprinting and cutting, etc., etc., etc. But I just tell myself that it is all worth it at the end of the day!!!

My exercise regime these days consists of core work and stretching every day, basketball / lacrosse twice or 3x a week, weight training twice a week, and a 5km jog every now and then. The bad leg is still not 100% but it continues to get stronger and hopefully by the 2 year anniversary it will be completely “normal”, and I would guess I am now about 12-15 pounds down from my weight back in March or April of 2011 when my rehab really started.

For those who are just entering the world of ATR’s or still rehabbing, keep in mind that I am 40+ and so the return to competitive sports and “normalcy” takes longer than it would have when I was in my 20’s or even 30’s. The old adage is one week of training for every one day off your feet after the age of 40, and it is proving to be pretty much true in my case. The good news is that I am now totally over the mental and emotional hurdle of the injury, and am able to push myself harder and harder in terms of training and conditioning.

Good luck to everybody out there, unforunately there are more folks joining our little club every day. Here is some video I took to celebrate the 17 months, in honor of the NCAA lacrosse tournament that is now in full swing : )

Finally felt comfortable enough with the state of my rehab to seriously look for a basketball club here in Zurich. Thankfully, there is a great club with open hoop a couple times a week just 10-15 minutes from our place, so drove out to join them this past Thursday night. Given the general lack of popularity of hoop here in Switzerland and the fact I haven’t played in well over a year I was a little unsure of what to expect, only to find out that those that do play over here are solid, solid athletes and great fun to hoop with. Also found out just how far I still have to go to regain even a semblance of my “old self” : )

Considering the hoop Thursday evening, a light jog on Friday, a 3 hour lacrosse practice Saturday, and 2 hours of shooting around and playing one-on-one with my sons this afternoon, the bad wheel is holding up better and better. The hard part now is focusing on continuing to strengthen the calf on the bad wheel and then fixing my running mechanics - all those months of cardio on the elliptical will reek havoc with your stride. I am definitely noticing a little soreness in my feet tonight, which is not really all that surprising given the test I put them through the last couple of days. The calf in my right leg is still not 100% - it’s just in the past week or two that I have finally been able to manage one-legged jump rope on the bad leg, which is something I will work to improve over the next month or so.

All in all, no complaints and I still continue to find new milestones even at 13 months post-surgery. I am finally getting 110% comfortable with the bad leg and am able to really push myself in terms of rehab and conditioning, which I missed terribly - field lacrosse season starts here in early April, which gives me the next target date in terms of rehab and recovery!!!

I’ve been trying to keep a video log of my rehab with basketball drills, figured I’d change it up for the one-year entry and try some lacrosse drills. Just a little over 52 weeks since the surgery to repair a ruptured right achilles, hard to believe it was a year ago that my wife drove me in first thing in the morning to get me loaded up on painkillers and then have me knocked out for about a 1.5 hour surgery. Still some tightness in the right foot, but that’s also the same foot that has always been tight and was probably the cause of most of the injuries I’ve had (back and achilles on the right side).

Still lots more work to do, but the effort gets a little easier and a little more fun with each passing week.

Well, at this time exactly one year ago I was sitting on a doctor’s table at our local emergency room as the doc laid out what to expect for the next 6-12 months. One plant of the right foot on a simple crossover move playing hoop and then the same pop!!! most of us will never forget…

After what has seemed like an eternity but has also seemed to be a blink of the eye, I “celebrated” today with the opening of our local club’s winter practice season for lacrosse, a great day (partly sunny and 12C here in Zurich) and a perfect artificial turf field, and then a trip with the family into the city to visit the local Christmas Market to eat some pizza and drink lots of gluehwein and gluehbier (hot and spiced wine and beer). For the first time since the injury, I am able to really get up and down the field at pretty much full-speed, including all the stopping and cutting, and push myself to the point where I can’t think about the achilles anymore because I am too busy trying not to puke. I would guess that, in terms of performance, it will probably still take until the season starts in April/May before I actually start considering myself “100%” - but all in all a great, great day.

In the last couple of days, I have seen 2 guys my age seriously injure their knees. When they talk about their surgery and then 6-8 week recovery, it almost makes me cry - but I wouldn’t trade places with them for anything. Even after a full year, both my heels still get a little sore after a tough workout, but it continues to get better and better with each passing week and I am now all but back to a place where I can enjoy physical activity without worrying about anything (other than soreness and age).

Continued luck to everyone else out there in ATR Land, this is easily the worst injury I have suffered but there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Celebrated the 10-month anniversary of my surgery with a workout at the local sports park shooting hoop, after managing to get through the end of the lacrosse season with only some mild bruises and scrapes and general soreness. Still have more work to do, but the strength continues to come back in the bad wheel and I am sloooooooooooowly starting to get over the tremendous mental and emotional hurdle of really putting it to work. Broke down and bought a new multi-gym for our rental house here in Zurich, so with the elliptical and weights downstairs I should be able to continue more and more serious rehab even as the weather turns to winter. The repaired achilles is still mich bigger and wider than the other one and the scar is very much still there, but the swelling has disappeared and the peroneal and other soreness caused by the weak ankle muscles has faded, as well. Still tight in the morning but even that continues to improve!!!

Here is some video of the 10-month anniversary workout:

And here I was at the 14.5 week mark:

Work has picked up quite a bit and we get about a 2 month break before winter training for lacrosse starts for my oldest son and I, so I’ll get some time to rest up and really focus on building more intensity and duration into the workouts and rehab regimen. The workout now generally consists of stretching and core work, 60 minutes of cardio (elliptical when it’s cold or running and basketball/football drills when the weather permits) and then weights (3x a week on the weights). Besides the usual agility drills and jump rope, have also added in standing sprints (where you put your hands on a wall and then run in place at about a 45 degree angle), basically a sled drill without a coach screaming at you - the standing sprints in particular are excellent for rebuilding leg strength as well as confidence in the repaired leg.

As always, best of luck to everyone in their various phases of recovery…

Had the last lacrosse game of our season this past weekend, in the French side of the country (Le Locle). Managed to play 3 games, 2 of them with my son - besides the fact that the front ends of both of my shoulders are bruised from all the checking (lacrosse shoulder pads apparently are not like the US football pads I grew up with) and my arms, sides and legs are bruised from taking stick checks, I managed to get through with no injuries and had an absolute blast in the process. Only snag I’ve come across is some pain in my left leg (the good leg), which is likely some bursitis caused by the heel bone (the right heel bone was shaved down as part of the ATR), my poor mechanics and favoring of the good leg as I continue to strengthen the bad leg, and simple overuse. Hard to go from the sofa to 2 hour sports practices 3 times a week plus the games at my age, I suppose.

With the lax season over, I figure I’ll stick to the basics in terms of exercise for a couple of weeks and let the old body heal up. Then it will be time for a new “stretch” goal in terms of continued recovery and general wellness. Would love to get back to some basketball but it is unfortunately not a particularly popular sport here. May have to head into the city this weekend and see what the Swiss offer in term of home workout systems, would be great to find a multi-gym for the basement in advance of the coming winter, something to do some simple weight-training with and definitely something with a leg press on it to keep working the calves.

By the way, there is absolutely nothing better (at least for us dads) than competing in sports with your kids on the same team. And competing with your kids in a sport that you are completely brand new at is even better, since you have no recollection of ever having been good at it and therefore have no preconceptions or expectations. It had probably been 30+ years since I had tried a new competitive sport, and even with all the continuing rehab and the ongoing recovery process it has been just about as much fun as I can remember ever having, legal or otherwise : )

Sorry to see that we still have more and more people joining our exclusive ATR Club, best of luck to everyone as they work through the recovery process…

Another great milestone today - at just about the 39 week anniversary of my injury, played my first lacrosse game with my son and the local club team. Rained pretty much the whole game and my legs will be plenty sore for a day or two, but no problems at all with the achilles and had a great time running around with my son!!!

Now I suppose I am getting healthy enough to start worrying about getting in real shape…

Ham and I After the Game...

Just coming up to 37 weeks since the surgery to repair my ATR. In the 3 weeks since my last post, I’ve continued to push the sprinting and sports drills, and am generally pretty happy with the progress. I’m still nowhere near the finish line in terms of speed or agility, but the running is really starting to pay dividends and I’m starting to feel more and more at home with the sprinting. And as an added bonus, although I still get some soreness in the bad wheel and the scar is definitely there to stay, the swelling has all but gone!!!

I can still tell when I favor the bad wheel (usually when I’m starting to get tired), but for the most part I am able to get through lacrosse practices and all the drills without any real discomfort (at least related to the ATR). My lateral quickness is probably close to 90% of its pre-injury level, with the fore and aft quickness probably still about the 70% mark. I’m hopeful that before the snow hits here in Switzerland I’ll be back to pretty much what I can expect to be my new “normal” in terms of sports : )

Happy healing to all the unfortunate souls who keep joining our exclusive little club, there really is good news at each juncture of the process and all of the persistence and patience really does pay off…

…since the surgery to repair my ATR. I am now into just about week 3 of seriously ramping up the sprinting and cutting, and have survived the first 3 lacrosse practices with my son and the local club team here in Zurich. The side-to-side cutting is actually pretty good, since the cutting was a big focus of my PT starting at about Week 14 post-op and much of our lateral quickness comes from muscles other than the calf. The biggest hurdle is the “explosiveness” getting out of the gate, i.e. fore and aft quickness, since this requires the heaviest load on the calf and achilles as you plant your foot and try to explode off the ball of your foot. There is also a fair amount of work in restoring my upper legs and core, since it’s easy to forget how much stress you put on your upper legs and core when sprinting and trying to cut at “full speed” : )

To try and get back some semblance of my former self (which fortunately was never terribly “explosive” in terms of quickness), I’ve cut back the jogging to just a mile or mile and a half for warmup and then added a series of wind sprints and cutting drills, plus the typical stretching, core workout, shooting around, etc. This has brought back some soreness in the bad leg, so I am being very slow and careful in ramping up the intensity and length of the workouts, and am only going about half speed for most of our lax practices. After a long day in dress shoes, I still get the occassional swelling in the bad wheel, though my ortho and PT both told me to expect this to continue for up to 2 years post-op. And since I’m no spring chicken anymore, I’m also wary of hurting something else if I overdo the return to sports!!!

Anyway, so far so good, save for all the biofeedback, read: incredible soreness, to be expected when attempting any return to a more serious workout regimen…

Pretty shortly after we learned that we would be moving across the pond to Zurich, my 13 year old son and I set a goal of me being able to play lacrosse with him with the local club team here in the city. Sooooooo, at 7.5 months, after all the days and weeks of slowly building up to walking, then jogging, and then finally single-leg heel raises, etc., and having not been willing to make the leap this past Friday, I sucked it up tonight and spent 2 solid hours running around like a high school kid practicing with my son and his team (and pretty much spending all of my mental and physical energy trying not to fall on my ***). And, although I will definitely be sore in the morning and may not walk normal until the pre-practice stretch before Wednesday night’s practice, I managed to pull through and the achilles is now the least of my worries : )

Our son had the time of his life laughing at his old man, while my wife and our other kids vascillated on the sideline between cheering and jeering. I still was nowhere near my old self in terms of sprinting, cutting or even conditioning, but I’m pretty sure that words could never do justice to how amazing it felt to at least feel like I was flat-out running, and the stickwork and other parts of the sport did a solid job of keeping my mind distracted from thinking about the achilles all of the time. Even if I had never tried the sport before and had virtually no clue of what to do.

A good night. Heck, a great night. Now if only i could move enough to stumble from the sofa to the fridge for a cold beer…

After surviving our first week across the pond in Zurich, it dawned on me that I am at just about the 7.5 month mark after surgery for my ATR. Things continue to be slow but steady, the swelling is just about gone (except when forced to ride coach on 9-10 hour international flights) and I am able to get through everyday activities like walking with little to no problem. Weather was perfect here in Switzerland yesterday so celebrated with some basketball with the kids and then the first serious sprint workouts since my injury, including several wind sprints, suicides (gassers) and cutting drills at one of the local soccer (football) fields. The hardest part now is the conditioning - jogging and biking is one thing, but competitive sports requires a different kind and level of strength and conditioning for sprinting, cutting, etc., which will take some time to get back. Hopefully by the time fall arrives I’ll be back to just about “full-strength” : )

Our 13 year old started with the local lacrosse club this past Friday, and assuming I can chase down the needed protective gear I will try to join him this coming week. The local club is actually up to 2 teams and plays in a Swiss league with a total of just about 10 teams - the level of competition is quite good despite the youth of the sport here in Europe and it will be a great learning experience for our son (practices are in German, Swiss German and English). Including our son and me, we will make 4 Americans on the club team, plus one Swiss player who learned the sport while studying as an exchange student in Wisconsin, so maybe we are 4.5 Americans!!!

…since my ATR. Had to check the timeline on the blog, looks like I’m just about to hit 28 weeks since the surgery!

Took a little break from the running the last week or so and just biked. A LOT. Some of it was to give the bad wheel a little rest from the running, but mostly it was because with the move across the pond I knew I was going to have tear down our little private riding spot and I wanted to get as much riding in as possible. Having finished the tear down yesterday, today was the first day back running in a little over a week - and the leg felt absolutely great! Almost like a new leg, in fact. Started with an hour biking at our local track, then 2.5 mile run, then an hour of lacrosse stuff and footwork drills (have to learn the game enough to be able to help our son start with his new team in Zurich), and then some hoop in the driveway. Easily the best sweat I’ve had since last December, even if I’ll pay the price for it tomorrow : )

Will be spending the rest of the week down on the gulf in Texas, am really looking forward to a couple of days off from all the moving stuff and some solid runs along the beach in the morning before it gets too hot. Hard to believe that in a little less than 3 weeks we’ll be getting off a plane in Zurich and I’ll be continuing the rehab in a new place. Also hard to believe just how long it has been already, and that every week brings a new feeling of recovery - I am sure that some of the recovery stems from a little bit of persistence and elbow grease, but I am also discovering that a lot of the recovery is just simply the time it takes for these things to heal.

Continued good luck to everyone out there in ATR World, and hopefully those who keep finding themselves fortunate to join our exclusive little club will find hope and optimism (and a touch of humor) in this blog…

Well, just recently (June 3) celebrated the official 6-month mark since my ATR, and tomorrow is the official 6-month mark since the surgery to repair the ATR. Over the last couple of weeks I have slowly crept up to the 3-mile mark for running, and am continuing to work the heel raises, biking and hoop. Just in the last week or so I have felt another breakthrough coming in terms of strength and recovery, which has me cautiously optimistic that I might actually get back to sports at some point in the next 6 months : )

The bad wheel still gets a little tired toward the end of the day, especially after a workout, and I have been spending some quality time working the self-massage and trying to break up the last lingering hints of adhesion around the incision. The calf and other surrounding muscles still have a long way to go, but I am slowly starting to work my way back to a point where the injury is not constantly in the front of my thoughts.

Here is some video I took the other day shooting around in the driveway. I went back and watched a similar video I took at 14.5 weeks, and it’s honestly amazing how far I’ve come in just the last couple of months (as well as amazing at how far I still have to go)…

Well, it has been just about 24 weeks since my surgery to repair the ATR. I suppose I am now at the point where I truly appreciate just how right all of those people were 6 months ago who told me to expect a looooooooooong recovery. Every day continues to get better in terms of strength and flexibility, although the noticeable improvements are small. Spent last week across the pond looking at homes and schools, which was a ton of both stress and fun but not great for the rehab process since it meant a lot of sitting in planes and cars. Still, had a chance to spend a little time each evening walking downtown Zurich with my wife, and am now back on the road in San Francisco enjoying the walks up and down the ridiculous hills they have out here.

The biggest accomplishment of late has been jumping rope, which I started this past weekend after our return from Switzerland. Scary at first, and I am sure I am still favoring the bad wheel, but am able to do 3 sets of about 30 seconds each so far. This means my typical workout routine (when I can squeeze it in) has become stretching and core, a 2.25-2.5 mile run at about a 10 minute pace, 10-15 minutes of basic hoop drills, and then the jump rope. I am still working in lots of biking, too, although I have not been able to get on the bike the last couple of weeks because of the travel - thank goodness for holidays and 3 day weekends!!!

My next big goal is to be in sufficient shape to try to learn lacrosse with our 13 year old son once we have settled into Zurich. He started playing in 4th grade with what was then our brand-new local club, and one of our big struggles besides finding a house and schools has been figuring out how he would be able to play in the Zurich area since none of the schools offer lacrosse as a sport (our other kids play basketball and soccer so no worries for them). Turns out that lacrosse has started to grow in Switzerland as an adult recreational sport, with about a dozen club teams now formed and competing, and the local club in Zurich has 2 teams and seems amenable to letting him play - which is a great excuse for me to try a new sport and spend some more time with him : )

Here is our little baby boy this past weekend…

Squeezed out another 2.25 miler this afternoon. The calf and ankle continue to slowly get stronger, and the swelling continues to slowly die down to a dull roar. My rupture was down low, very close to where the achilles meets the heel, so with the suture job, the heel-shaving and the titanium screw in my heel the scar tissue is right down on top of my heel. And while the scar tissue continues to slowly break down / rearrange, I get some discomfort depending on the type of shoes I wear. I can pretty much wear a pair of running shoes untied all day and have no problems, but having to rock wingtips or other dress shoes all day while in the office can be a total PITA. Hopefully the scar tissue continues to break down to the point where I start approaching a “normal” looking achilles : )

Also, just found out that I’ll be moving to Zurich, Switzerland for a 2-3 year assignment. Well, actually about 20 minutes south of Zurich, along the lake. My wife and I get to spend next week across the pond trying to find a house, which will be interesting since our time allows for about 2 days of looking in a country we’ve never visited. With a mid-summer move target, I should be pretty much back to full speed by the time we move. And I’ll be crossing my fingers every morning while we’re over there hoping that I don’t do anything to cause me to experience European health care : )

Took some video in the driveway last week after what is now my fairly-regular 2.25 mile jog. Even got some bonus footage of our 10 year old, mere words can’t explain how awesome it is to really be able to shoot around outside with the kids!!!

The calf on the bad leg is still very much a slow but steady work in progress, it seems that walking and jogging are really doing the most in terms of impact on recovery at this point. And still get a little bit of swelling and soreness at the end of the day, especially when I’ve been up and about on the leg the whole day…

Well, forced myself to try a “real” jog today, even if only a 10 minute pace. Managed to squeeze out 2.25 miles, about half of my pre-injury jog (I hate jogging) - the first couple of steps were tough on the mental side but the leg seemed to warm up and actually felt pretty good toward the end of the run. I am already feeling it in my calf, just from the extra work the muscles had to put in. The achilles was a little sore an hour or two after the run, but the nightly self-massage seems to have done the trick and I’m sure it will feel fine in the morning after a night’s rest.

Have to travel this week again so I desperately wanted to test out an easy run before the trip, in the hope that I can find time to squeeze in a run or two on the road (in the “old days” I used to love getting up early on road trips to check out new places and let the brain ease into the workday)…

Have been struggling with continuing swelling and pain around the peroneal tendons along the side of the bad ankle. Finally had enough and decided to seriously work the self-massage of the area and experienced a real breakthrough in terms of reducing the swelling and pain but also a rather gross moment (involving basically pushing fluid up from the bottom of my ankle up my leg toward the knee). Mere words could never describe the look of horror and disgust on my wife’s face as she watched the whole ordeal, but neither could those words describe just how much the process has helped with the pain and swelling : )

I would guess the bad leg is now nearing the 70% mark, still a long way to go but I am generally able to walk normally, ride bikes to my heart’s content, and at least enjoy more and more sports activities with my kids. I am continuing to push the jogging, and can now run pretty much “normally” for just about 5 minutes before the fatigue sets in (which is mighty depressing given my pre-injury conditioning but also encouraging in that I can feel the leg picking up strength).

Next big goal is to be able to participate in my son’s father/son lacrosse scrimmage, assuming they do one this season, which will be sometime the second week of June. So pretty much have about 6 weeks of continued rehab and conditioning to get to the point where I can at least jog up and down the field and suffer the humiliation of having my oldest son push me around!!!

On to another day on the road to ATR recovery…

Had to travel to San Francisco for work last week, and will likely have to head out there again later this week. Was wonderful to walk around the city, especially with all of the ridiculous hills everywhere. By Day 2 of my trip my calf and tibialis on the bad wheel were absolutely screaming at me from all of the walking, which felt great and reminded me that at least they were down there somewhere. Took a day off yesterday after getting back to let them rest up, and today they felt as strong as they have since the injury. Even managed my first weak one-legged heel raise on the bad leg this afternoon!!!

Will try to work the elliptical and bike like crazy tomorrow, the traveling is great for walking to and from work every morning but absolutely kills the gym workout routine…

Celebrated my 17 week anniversary with the customary workout - 45 minutes on the elliptical, followed by several rounds of mountain climbers, lunges, ladder drills, core exercises, etc. Am still struggling with soreness around the peroneal tendons, which I suspect will linger for at least a couple of weeks or so, and still get swelling around the rupture site. All in all, however, things continue to progress and my calf muscles are slowly starting to re-emerge!!!

I’ve decided to cut loose from PT, and just focus on the home workouts and doing tons and tons of walking and biking. Also doing tons of stretching, heel raises and Theraband exercises, at least a couple times of day. I’ve started to slowly work in a light jog with the workouts 2-3 times a week, about 3-5 minutes at a time - I figure I’m at least another 4 weeks away from being able to seriously consider any kind of prolonged jog (more than 15 minutes).

Work will require me to travel 3 out of the next 4 weeks, so will be a real challenge to keep up with the rehab routine while I’m on the road. I’ll just have to make sure I walk to as many meetings as I can and force myself to step out to stretch every couple of hours : )

Pushing toward the 5 month mark, hard to believe how much time has passed since my ATR…

Missed my 16 week anniversary post while traveling with the family for vacation. Took the week off from formal PT this week to focus on some R&R and lots of stretching, heel raises, walking and biking. Managed to walk a couple of hours around Chicago with the family yesterday, weather was in the mid to high 40’s and sunny so a perfect day to work the bad leg with some walking!!!

The week off seems to really be helping with the peroneal tendonitis in the bad ankle, which has quieted down significantly over the last couple of days. I’ll have a solid 3-4 week stretch of travel for work coming up the latter part of April, so will try to work the PT hard this coming week since it may be the last time I can get in for a while. ROM and strength continues to slowly return, spent some time walking on a treadmill with a steep grade the other day and even worked in 5 minutes of a very light “jog”. The walk feels better and better every day but still have a hiccup in my giddyup when jogging, which I suspect will be with me for at least another month or so.

The good news is that I am able to bike pretty aggressively with no real issues, which helps offset the inability to run or really think about sports like hoop for a while yet…

Well, here I am, 15 weeks almost to the minute after surgery to repair my ruptured right achilles. Celebrating this anniversary with an hour of physical therapy, followed by 30 minutes on the elliptical and some additional sets of one legged heel raises (even if the one legged heel raises with the bad leg still require me to lean on the kitchen counter for a little extra leverage). PT this week has added calf crunches for the gastroc with weights, got up to 3 sets of 30 reps at 25 pounds, followed by 3 sets of 15 reps with 35 pounds on the machine today with the bad leg. The PT also now includes a pretty steady dose of jumping drills, so far all using both legs at the same time - the new drill today was jumping side to side while holding a medicine ball above my head.

Achilles feels stronger and stronger, and I’m actually starting to notice the calf muscles slowly creeping back into view. Still have a bit of a lump right where the achilles was sutured back together, which I suspect I will always have to one extent or another. Biggest problem now is mild tendonitis in the peroneal tendons that run alongside the ankle to the foot, which also aid in plantarflexion - the poor suckers have been taking a beating for almost 8 weeks now since everything else in the bad wheel has been weak and tight. So long as I warm up slowly and get the calf muscles stretched out, the foot feels good and I’m able to push things a little more each day. Next week is spring break for the kids, so I’ll very likely take a week off from “formal” PT and focus on doing lots of walking, elliptical, biking and stretching to give the leg a little rest before getting back after it for the home stretch to spring and then summer.

All in all, things have thus far progressed much better than I had possibly imagined when I sat in the ER watching the doc examine my heel right after the injury. The mental hurdle with each new exercise or drill is still there, and probably will be for quite a while to come, but each week still seems to bring something to do. The next big date for me will be May 1, which will be just about the 5 month mark since surgery and my rough target to start jogging and working in more intense basketball drills. Ideally, this would let me start thinking about playing my sons in some real one-on-one by the time they get out of school in mid-June!!!

For those who are unfortunately just starting their ATR journeys, rest assured it gets better. Sometimes very, very slowly, but I suppose the tortoise beat the hare in that old fable for a reason.

Here’s a couple clips trying to shoot around in the driveway. The most difficult thing right now is fighting through some discomfort in the plantar fascitis from all of the achilles and calf stretching and exercise, both at physical therapy and at home. Still a little gimply on the right leg but getting there slowly and surely : )

Started Week 3 of physical therapy this morning - much to my surprise the PT had me spend the second half of the session doing a variety of ladder drills. I have to admit that I was more than a little frightened when he pulled out the ladder, especially when we talked through the drills I would be doing, but Lord was it worth it. Started just with a simple walking drill (trying to stay on the balls of the feet), and then did a one-footed “crossover” drill (bouncing in and out of the rungs from left foot to right), two-footed jumps in and out of the rungs, karaoke through the ladder, and then two-footed jumps moving sideways through the rungs. Needless to say, this is the first time I have jumped off the right foot since about 12:28pm on December 3rd, so the session was plenty scary but also a new highlight for me in terms of recovery from the ATR.

The $30 per session co-pay for the PT ain’t fun ($90 a week), but it has definitely been worth it to have another human being safely push me to put the bad wheel through drills that my brain and gut may not be ready for yet. In fact, just about every couple of days now I am heartened by how strong the bad leg feels, and then equally disheartened by just how strong the memory of the injury remains and how much of a mental hurdle remains to be cleared before I am anywhere near back to “normal”.

Between the quick session on the bike and the last couple sessions of PT, I have to confess that this is about as excited as I have been since my ATR recovery started - there may be light at the end of the tunnel, after all!!!

Sorry for the quality (or lack thereof), these are stills off my video camera, first day very tentatively back on the bike…

Had my last follow-up with the ortho today. After scolding me at 8 weeks for going too fast, he asked me this morning if I could walk on my toes yet. All I could muster was, “dude, you told me to go slower and now I’m supposed to be walking on my tiptoes???” : )

Ortho seemed pleased, he checked my ROM and then tested the ROM while checking out the achilles. He just suggested that I keep with the PT and work like crazy on heel stretches and heel raises. Reminded me that the key for now is low load and heavy reps, slowly working up to heavier load on the bad leg as tolerated.

Celebrated the day with another hour of PT and rolling around the indoor skatepark I built with some buddies on my bike, nothing crazy but nice to be up and about. My legs are still sore from the PT but it gets better every day, onward and upward…

Celebrated the 13 week anniversary of my surgery with another day of PT. Also received a letter from the “service provider” for my health insurer letting me know that they will not cover any additional PT after today without an additional request from my family doc. Kind of disappointing, as cynical as I was about PT I am now officially sold on at least another 2 weeks, which would give me a solid month of PT and a whole litany of new stretches and exercises to work into my home workout routine. So will spend the morning tomorrow making the various calls and seeing what I can work out.

As for PT, on top of the stretching, massage, BOSU, heel raises, karaoke and shuttle drills, have added in lunges and wall squats with the feet dorsiflexed. Been so long since I did lunges or wall squats that my legs and butt are absolutely killing me, was barely able to sit in my office the first day after! Have also started to gently run in place while watching tv, and am up to 45 minutes pretty consistently on the elliptical. The achilles and leg feel stronger and stronger every day, the only bummer is that I’m developing soreness in the tendon that runs along the outside of the bad ankle (I think it’s the peroneal longus or something) that handles ankle stability. Will take it easy the rest of this week and let things rest up, it’s probably just a funtion of retraining the whole bad leg after the surgery and a little bit of overuse with all the PT and home exercises. One of the most difficult things right now besides getting over the mental hurdle of using proper mechanics is adapting to the fact that the whole right side of my body needs to be retrained to use its “new” achilles.

Still get some swelling around the achilles, especially after sitting at my desk for a while. The bump of scar tissue continues to slowly fade, though, which is nice and hopefully a good sign. The ortho and PT have both told me to expect the swelling to stick around for several more weeks : (

Follow-up appointment with the ortho is this Friday, absent anything bad happening in the next 36 hours this will probably be the last visit to the doc until I get around to the next injury…

Best day of PT yet today, much to my surprise. Didn’t think the leg was capable of it yet, but ended up doing my first karaoke and shuttle drills today, together with several sets of steps, too. Even did a couple sets of shuttle drills with a Theraband around the ankles, which really, REALLY works the hip flexors and legs. Worked up a real workout-type sweat and my legs are definitely feeling the effects now : )

Easily my best day since the ATR back on December 3rd, obviously still a long way to go but just planting the right foot in a shuttle drill almost made me cry with joy…

To celebrate the conclusion of the 12th week since my ATR surgery, I am halfway through a full week of near-normal exercise. Having kicked off my PT last Friday, the regime now includes Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday of my “normal” workout, being 10-15 minutes of ROM and stretching, 45 minutes on the elliptical/stationary bike (instead of running), and another 15-20 of upper-body weight training, and Monday, Wednesday and Friday of one-hour PT, followed by 30 minutes on the elliptical at home. Sunday I’ll try to take it easy and let things rest up.

PT has me doing a fair amount of calf and achilles stretching, plus heel raises, wall squats (with the feet dorsiflexed) and a TON of ankle/lower leg strengthening. Each day has gotten progressively tougher, and today’s hour of PT was pretty close to a real workout by the time we wrapped up. Also continuing with self-massage of the tendon as well as the incision area to keep the swelling and adhesion down and the flexibility up. All in all, the strength continues to come back in the bad leg (though still has a long way to go) and the ROM is slowly returning.

Still no complaints relative to my situation, still a little discomfort and swelling after PT and the other exercises, but mostly only get swelling and discomfort after sitting at my desk without getting up and stretching for too long. Will try to discontinue the heel lifts in my workout shoes at the end of this week, which I suspect will lead to some additional discomfort for a day or two next week but after that it should be smooth sailing.

Happy to be kicking off the next 6-8 weeks of recovery, having survived through the first 3 months without mishap!!!

The best part of weekends (besides not having to work) is being able to spend serious time on rehab!!! Managed 45 minutes on the elliptical yesterday and today, together with some serious ROM, stretching and Theraband, and even got to shoot around a little at the local gym with my sons (mostly standing still, obviously). The self-massage the PT showed me for breaking up the adhesion does wonders, as does a simple massage of the tendon a couple times of day, especially after any exercise.

Tried some shoes around the house without heel lifts, and definitely noticed the difference in terms of discomfort, so will be sticking with the lifts for at least another week or two. Just basic rubber lifts from the local MC Sports that I’ve had for years. Am able to work the calves pretty good at this point, I would guess that with the 2-legged heel raises I am able to use about 50% of the bad leg as compared to the good leg. I get a little discomfort in the bad foot every now and then (nothing a 15-20 minute rest and a little self-massage won’t solve), but the swelling seems to have improved each day to the point where I really only notice it at the end of the day after being up and about. The incision has finally started to heal up nicely in the middle of my heel, the top and bottom of the incision will eventually be barely noticeable but I will definitely have a visible scar in the middle.

My oldest son’s school hoop season is finally over, so I get most of my weeknights back and will be able to focus a little more on the next 6-8 weeks of recovery. My walk is about 98% normal, although I still am EXTREMELY careful outside and take baby steps to avoid any slips or falls. After the initial PT consult last Friday I start 3x a week with PT tomorrow, so I’m actually looking forward to the next 4-6 weeks of this entire process to see where it takes me. After just about 12 weeks (almost 13 including the 5 days before surgery), I am slowly starting to believe that I will be able to kick this injury’s ***, so long as I continue to take it slow and steady, remain patient and avoid any major setbacks.

Almost to the 3-month mark…

Finally got in to see the physical therapist today. Actually kind of glad that it took a couple of extra weeks, since things continue to feel stronger each day. PT actually read me the referral notes from the ortho, and chuckled at how conservative the ortho was suggesting I be with the rehab (suggested I continue to avoid walking through the entirety of 12 weeks). Oh well…

PT went through the rehab I’ve been doing on my own, and showed me a couple of extra stretches, both for the achilles and the soleus. Also showed me how to self-massage the bad wheel to loosen up any adhesion between the incision and the healing tendon. Initial tests show that my plantarflexion isn’t too bad, but dorsiflexion is going to require a ton of work, the strength isn’t too bad (in relative terms) but my ROM is about 20% of where it needs to be. Will start with PT for one hour, 3x a week, and go from there. I’m ok to start heel raises to tolerance, and continue the regime I’ve been on.

Good news is that PT confirmed that, if I take it nice and slow and rehab this thing the right way, there’s no reason that I shouldn’t be able to get back to aggressive biking and hoop sometime before the kids start their next school year in the fall!!!

Finally have my first PT appointment set for this Friday morning. Looking forward to finding out what I’ve been doing right, what I’ve been doing wrong, and what else I can do over the next several months to keep the recovery train on the tracks!!!

Realized today that the bad leg feels pretty good. Managed 35 minutes on the elliptical and a solid round of ROM and exercises for the bad leg, too. About Week 8 or Week 9 I could definitely feel the scar tissue breaking up for the first time (like a big scab inside my ankle), then for the last 7-10 days the ankle burned like crazy off and on; the last day or so, though, and she feels “good” : )

Protocol for now consists of a good 10-15 minute round of stretches and core exercises (including 2-3 different achilles and calf stretches) 6x a week, followed by (a) 30-35 minutes on the elliptical, 3x a week, and (b) 15-20 minutes on the stationary bike, together with upper body weight training, 2x a week. I figure I’ve got somewhere between 5-10 pounds to lose to get back to where I was before the ATR, which is hardly professional-athlete-grade but at least back to “middle-aged-weekend-warrior” grade. Walk keeps coming along, the folks at the office still mock my tentative walk in the parking lot but once inside my walk is pretty much back to normal. The University of Michigan protocol suggests starting light jogging at 12 weeks, but I’m still several weeks away from trying that. I think the next target for me will be a solid 2 weeks of walking and working out “normally”, continued rehab and then hopefully an attempt at some biking come April 1. Will see how much I need to revisit that goal depending upon what the PT has to say, of course.

Continued good luck to all the rest of you enjoying the opportunity to become better acquainted with your achilles!!!

Well, still getting the run-around from my family doc about a scrip for PT, so we’ll see what this week holds. In the interim, I have been continuing the home PT, with the ROM, core exercises, elliptical and stationary bike, weight training (3x a week), and various ankle exercises. Also continuing with the self-massage of the tendon and surrounding areas, which helps with any discomfort and tightness. The ankle strength is slowly coming back, I am just about able to do 10 seconds standing on just the bad leg and dribbling a basketball - I would guess that I am up to about 40% of “normal” strength in the lower leg, so still a loooooooooong way to go.

For now the goal is still getting to the 12 week mark without any aggravation of the injury. At that point, I’ll do my 12 week checkup with the ortho and then start thinking about the next 12 weeks of increasingly-intense rehab so that I can enjoy a reasonably “normal” summer. Also still focused on my stretch (pun intended) goal of getting back onto a bike by the time the snow melts!!!

Another week gone by, and another week of slow and steady progress. Still have a lingering limp when walking, but it improves each day and I’m guessing will take another 10-14 days to go away completely. The bad leg usually feels pretty good in the morning, and generally gets more worn out as the day goes on (duh) - the hardest part with the limp now is the mental and emotional hurdle. Am focusing for now on the elliptical and stationary bike workouts, some weight training for all but the bad leg, and strengthening the ankle on the bad leg (mostly standing on one leg while dribbling a basketball).

The primary goal for the time being continues to be avoiding any aggravation of the original injury or any re-injury, and slow and steady recovery. I keep telling myself that another two weeks and I’ll be able to start thinking about picking up the pace over the following 3 months until I hit the 6 month mark!!!

Weekends like this one are a reminder of what a slow and steady march the ATR recovery process is - the swelling continues to slowly die down, and I feel like I’m able to spend more time on my feet each day. Right now the only objectives are to (a) creep back to “normal” daily living, and (b) not aggravate the injury in any way. Some of the “lump” on my ankle is shrinking, which is good, although it’s pretty clear that it’s going to take a looooong time and a lot of patience to get any semblance of flexibility out of the bad ankle.

In addition to the usual ROM, stretching and exercise routine, I’ve started to slowly add in 2-legged heel and toe raises, beginning with as much as upper body support as needed, i.e. holding on to rails or leaning up against a wall. The heel raises actually aren’t too bad, but the toe raises are a definite window into just how much time is going to be needed on the bad leg. So far, I would guess just about 98% of the effort to get up on to 2 toes is coming from the good leg, although I also suspect that at least a little of that is driven by the fear of doing anything to the bad leg so I’m no doubt not pushing it as much as I probably could.

Steady as she goes, today it hit 45 degrees here in mid-Michigan so there may be light at the end of the tunnel after all : )

Well, yesterday was officially the 9-week anniversary of my ATR surgery. Kind of hard to believe that it has been that long, even though in the grand scheme of things 9 weeks isn’t really all THAT long : )

I am slowly inching back to a “normal” walk, even though my buddies at the office are constantly laughing at how much I seem to be concentrating on how I’m walking just to get down the hall. Sadly, though, it does take a fair amount of focus to make sure I’m taking smaller steps and focusing on form, etc., and making sure that I don’t trip or slip on anything and mess this whole process up. Now that I’m approaching a “normal” walk, I definitely notice the tightness in my lower leg when getting up to walk after being in a chair for a couple of hours. Stretching the leg also feels a little odd, I tried to describe it to my wife like when a really bad cut scabs up and the new skin tries to break through, except that it’s happening inside my ankle : )

I still have some swelling in the ankle, pretty much right where my achilles was sown back together. Very little pain or discomfort, though, other than the incision area which still feels a little raw after a day on my feet. A little self-massage and some gentle stretching seem to do the trick with the swelling, and also help to loosen up the leg after long periods of sitting (which is unfortunately unavoidable given my choice of career).

Turns out that my PT will cost me a $30 co-pay per visit, so still need to evaluate my PT options. Any tips from people regarding exercises, etc. that I could do on my own would be greatly appreciated, I had very bad experiences with PT when I rehabbed a serious back injury 3-4 years ago, and eventually only got better by Googling up a series of stretches and exercises and forcing myself to do them every single day.

One thing I’ve noticed is how many people (including my ortho) offer free advice about how I need to give up basketball, give up biking, take it easy, etc. Even though the last 9 weeks have been miserable, and even though I know I still have several months before I am anywhere near “normal”, I am at least reaching a point where I can smell light at the end of the tunnel. And I also recognize that giving up 6-12 months of my life to rehab an ATR will always be less miserable than spending the rest of my life worrying about hurting myself. In the grand scheme of things, this ain’t all that bad, and it WILL pass.

As I approach the 9-week mark post-op, I’ve decided that the time has come to creep back to a “normal” workout routine for all but the bad leg. This means hobbling over to the fitness center here at the office for the first “workout” since Dec 3, when I ruptured the achilles. Will focus on a light elliptical workout, then some stationary bike (and Lord knows I loathe the stationary bike), then some weight-training on the parts of me that are still healthy. Am also waiting for a call back from our local PT, which I hope to start as soon as they can get me in.

I still get some swelling around the ATR, more so from sitting or standing than from being “active” on it. Taking my shoes off, putting the foot up for 10-15 minutes and a little self-massage seems to do the trick for the swelling and any lingering discomfort. Can’t wait to get some real endorphins running through my bloodstream, which always seems to aid in the healing process.

Have officially targeted the end of school for my kids as the target date to start light hoops training. That will be roughly 6.5 months post-op, so time to get moving if I’m going to have a snowball’s chance of getting there : )

Lots of snow and cold here in mid-Michigan! Managed to do 15 minutes on the elliptical each of the last couple of days in addition to the usual Theraband and core routine, so am taking it easy today to let the leg rest up a little. Everything still seems to be going fine, a little soreness in the leg today from the workouts and stretching, but otherwise steady as she goes.

It’s an interesting process to watch your ATR heal over time, the swelling has been steadily decreasing so I’m just now able to start to get a sense for what the whole thing is going to look like down the road. Not pretty, that’s for sure! Even taking it easy today, I’ll still work in some light stretching with the Theraband and a little self-massage, just to try to keep the lump that is forming down there moving. Looks like I will end up with a relatively thick achilles right where the rupture occured due to the scarring, which will probably leave me with a “divot” just north of there where the achilles is still “normal”. I suppose time will tell, right? I have the ’scrip for PT, was supposed to travel next week but it has been canceled, so will try to start PT whenever they can get me in.

On to another day on the road to recovery, and a Friday at that!!!

Nothing special today, worked the elliptical and Theraband yesterday so decided to take it easy today. Had a hoop practice to coach and then took a quick trip to make sure the little indoor skatepark I have is still up and running. Sure is nice to be able to drive!!!

The achilles seems to be healing up just fine, it is a little raw right around the middle of the incision, halfway up from the heel. I’m guessing this is where the skin flexes when I walk and it’s also probably where the blood flow is the worst, so no surprises. I’m keeping up with the Mederma a couple of times of day and have started bandaging up the middle part of the incision just to keep the rubbing from the shoes down.

It feels like I’m hitting the most-frustrating stretch (no pun intended) - I can sort of walk and get around, I can drive, etc., but I know that I am several weeks (at least another 8 weeks) before I can start thinking about any “real” rehab on the bad leg. Not a lot to do for the next 2 months other than keep working to walk “normally”, stick with the ROM and stretching, and try to work up to longer times on the stationary bike and elliptical. I am too scared of heights (and other things) to be an adrenaline junkie, but I am very definitely an endorphin junkie who loves a good, solid workout, and I suppose it’s getting tougher to realize just how far off a truly good workout is : (

Anyway, the good news is that it has been 7.5 weeks since my surgery for ATR and it honestly feels like a lifetime ago already. Still a long way to go, but it always helps to look in the rear view mirror just long enough to appreciate the distance already traveled.

On to tomorrow and getting one more day under my belt!!!

Had my first follow-up with the ortho since the sutures and cast were removed at 9 days post-op. As anticipated, the ortho was good-natured but very stern in expressing his disappointment with me not being in Das Boot. Apparently he had intended me to remain NWB in Das Boot up through the 8 week follow-up. Oops. He checked everything out, including the incision (which is generally healing nicely), and reminded me that I have a bunch of string holding the tendon together and a screw in my heel.

I have tremendous respect for this ortho, he’s a great guy (we live in a relatively small community and our sons play lacrosse together) and he’s very highly-regarded as a surgeon (been at it 25+ years), so I obviously let him know I would take his advice very seriously. He suggested I remain in Das Boot for at least the next couple of weeks, at least while I am outside with the snow, etc. So am taking it day-by-day now (duh), I figure I have been following pretty much the rehab protocal used by The University of Michigan (although I’m an MSU grad 2x over there’s no denying that Michigan is a top med school), I am very, VERY careful about paying attention to sign of pain or discomfort, and I just simply could not imagine 8 weeks NWB in a boot, followed by another 4 weeks PWB in a boot, and then recovery from there.

The ortho gave me a scrip to start physical therapy, which I will try to start scheduling this coming week. I have been continuing to carefully work the elliptical, in addition to the ROM, ankle and calf stretches and core exercise, so will be nice to see what the PT comes up with : )

Have had lots of time to dust off the home studio we have down in the basement (hadn’t been down there in a couple of years before the ATR), if this link works here is some of the stuff I’ve been doodling on…

Another day closer to the “new normal!!!”

Been quite a while, very nice to see the site back up!!! Really looking forward to catching up on all the folks who seemed to have entered the nebulous realm of ATR’s at roughly the same time as me : )

Have been pretty much sticking to my “self-made” rehab plan, and have actually been able to push it a little bit more aggressively than I had hoped. Let’s see:

At week 4, I started pushing to FWB in Das Boot, at first with crutches and very slowly. By the start of week 5, I was able to walk relatively comfortably in Das Boot without the crutches, just in time to kick off the New Year by getting back into the office. Hard to sneak in late when every other step results in a dull thud that can be heard from a mile away : ) I kept with the ROM and stretching, together with core exercises from my knees, and also started doing about 15 minutes every other day on the elliptical (in Das Boot, of course).

At week 5, I started slowly working in some Theraband exercises, very light and focused on ankle strength (left and right with the band) and plantarflexion with the knee bent at 90 degrees. Also tried to push the elliptical work to 20 minutes, and doing as much walking in Das Boot as I could stand.

Starting with week 6, I decided that it was time to part ways with Das Boot. This was pretty scary stuff, but I figured if you don’t get back on the horse sooner rather than later, you’re gonna get left behind. I spent the week going very slowly, and with a relatively nasty limp, and watched every single step like it could be my last. I had to deal with the typical swelling and general tightness in the lower leg, but no pain and nothing atypical, i.e. no new swelling or discomfort.

This week (week 7), I’ve kept with the 2 shoes, and started (a) Theraband exercises with dorsiflexion (on top of the ankle strength and plantarflexion), and (b) light elliptical without Das Boot. I nearly cried the first time I managed 10 minutes on the elliptical without Das Boot, both because of joy but also depression that a 10 minute light “workout” was all I could muster. Oh well, baby steps, right?

I have also been trying to gently “massage” the tendon from the lower heel up through the calf each night. This has mostly consisted of “pinching” the tendon between my fingers and gently moving it up and down. A little creepy at first, both because when you do it right your foot goes up and down involuntarily, and also because it is not very difficult to figure out where the achilles ruptured and then was repaired since I can feel the lump of scar tissue that has quietly been forming in there. I’ve been very grateful that even the “massage” doesn’t hurt, other than typical soreness mostly up in my calf. I have also started very light stretches for the achilles, both standing and sitting.

So far, I have had no pain or atypical discomfort with the ATR. My lower leg is extremely tight and stiff (duh), and most of the muscles get tired and sore pretty quick. I am not really yet working the calf other than the walking and light Theraband, I figure that is at least another 4 weeks off. The Mederma twice-a-day on the incision seems to be doing its thing, too, since the incision has generally healed up other than a small area right where the heel skin is soft and prone to flexing when you walk. In other words, no complaints, and even with the limp it has been very gratifying to start slowly creeping back to the “new normal”. Assuming I am able to continue at the present pace, I should be at least walking normally in about 2 more weeks - the biggest hurdle will be mental, since my brain and muscles have learned to favor the bad leg and the memory of the injury is still strong.

First follow-up with the ortho since the sutures and cast were removed is tomorrow morning, so I suppose he might scold me for taking things into my own hands. Will be an interesting day for sure…

Finally rid myself of the last of the sterile strips around the incision. Holy Cow, I’m going to have one heck of a scar! For now just focusing on keeping the area clean and will start in with the Mederma to try and keep the scarring down to a dull roar.

Besides enjoying a wonderful Christmas with family, this weekend was big for different reasons - first, I managed to hobble into the car to drive myself to get coffees, and then managed to navigate getting the family dog outside for a 5 minute walk on just one crutch. Have finally figured out a routine to get up and down the stairs without scaring myself, too. Am still using both crutches most of the time, but want to slowly get down to one crutch over the next 3-5 days so that I can start thinking about getting up on my feet without the crutches in the coming weeks. I want to let the foot rest overnight and assess the swelling tomorrow, so I’ll probably take it easy the next 24 hours and see how things are progressing, read: is there any swelling or discomfort after a fair amount of activity today.

Big win by my Lions again today, which is hopefully an omen for my continuing recovery (they haven’t lost since my surgery) - on to Day 19!!!

The last couple of days have been easy, the foot continues to heal, swelling continues to slowly fade, and the ankle feels stronger every day. Managed to get out for Christmas service with the family yesterday and big dinner with old friends, ran into one of the local judges who had just had his knee scoped, so I admired his temporary cane while he admired my (hopefully temporary) boot and crutches!

Continuing to push the partial weight-bearing, can pretty much stand up on 2 feet without the crutches. I am content to take it easy at the present pace and wait for the 4-week anniversary to try and walk in the boot without the crutches. I would guess that right now when walking I am up to a little more than 50% of my weight on the bad foot, with the help of the crutches. I’ve added an extra insole to the shoe in the good foot (which gives me 2 since I always wear orthotics anyway), which seems to be balance my good and bad sides evenly (there’s a bad joke in there somewhere).

I’m sticking with my regime of core exercises from the knees, push-ups and sit-ups and ROM of the bad foot, trying to do the ROM stretching 3 times a day. My current target is to start in with light, read: no resistance, stationary bike work the first half of next week, in Das Boot. Assuming that the incision area continues to heal and looks ready for it, I will try to start in with pool work - “running” in the water but no weight-bearing - sometime toward the end of next week. My stretch goal (pun intended) is to start with a very light band for resistance on the ankle work (just right and left) once I clear the 4-week mark, and will expand the resistance work to include up and down stretching with the ankle at some point after the 6 week mark. Hopefully this regime will put me physically, mentally and emotionally in position to start thinking about life without Das Boot after my 8-week follow-up toward the end of January.

Looking forward to a HUGE Christmas dinner, lots of hoop on tv, and more quality time with Das Boot. Hope everyone is enjoying a Merry Christmas and a joyous Holiday season!!!

Had some bonding time with the bad foot today, gave the foot and lower leg its first solid washing since the injury. It was a little bit scary hobbling around the tub to scrub the foot, but everything worked out and it feels awesome not to be looking at old remnants of iodine and hospital pen all over the foot and ankle : )

Took Das Boot and the family out for some last-minute Christmas shopping, a little bit different hobbling around the local mall on crutches but felt really good to get out and move around. Tested out the weight on the foot little by little, was very careful with balance, etc. and actually managed to give both legs a little workout. Everything continues to heal very nicely, some of the sterile strips have finally started to fall off so I can admire the scar-to-be (at about 6 inches it will be a real humdinger). The base of the heel where the heel was shaven down and the screw inserted is definitely still sore to the touch, although it doesn’t bother me at all in the boot or when working the daily ROM stretches and hopefully won’t be too much pain when I finally get back into shoes.

The weight-bearing (creeping up little by little) and ROM stretching seem to be going fine, I’ve really had very little discomfort on the bottom of my heel, the swelling continues to fade and the ankle feels stronger and stronger each day (albeit still light years away from where it will need to be in 8-10 weeks when I hit the 3-month mark). I can definitely tell that the calf on the bad leg is melting away, but I suppose the good news is that I have always been tall, lanky and athletic and chicken legs run in my family - even when 110% healthy and jumping out of the gym my legs are hardly Mr. Universe buff. In other words, even with another 6-8 weeks of inactivity it will be difficult to visually notice much difference between the 2 legs.

Looking forward to Christmas Eve service tomorrow night, and the final onslaught of family and merriment that is Christmas. Also looking forward to the 2-hour drive to Northern Michigan to see my folks and sister, I’ve been a little unsure since the injury how I would fare with the time in the car but everything seems ok for a little road trip. A day or two in feet of snow and 0 degree weather and it will be time to head back home - next week I’ll start thinking about an exercise bike and working up to some pool time, assuming the incision continues to heal and is closed up sufficiently to feel comfortable getting into the water.

I hope everybody out there in Achilles Land enjoys a restful, peaceful and ATR-free Christmas, Hannukah and Holiday season, on to Day 16…

Celebrating my 2-week anniversary since the surgery to shave my heel and repair my ATR. Since I didn’t go into surgery expecting it, the heel shave was actually a bonus, or what software engineers like to call an “unexpected feature” : )

Celebrated today with more of the same ROM stretching and core exercise. Also, have ramped up the PWB to just about 25%, with a goal of getting to 50% by the time I reach the full 3-week mark post-op. This will put me in position to strike at FWB shortly after the New Year, so that I can focus on safely getting back to the office - working from home is swell for a while but definitely gets old.

Just for kicks, I forced myself on to the elliptical trainer for an 8-minute test run this afternoon. Just rocked back and forth with the bad foot kept on top (never putting the bad foot below 0 degrees to avoid any mistaken planting of the foot, boot or no). Am considering running out and picking up an exercise bike, too, since it would be nice to have one at the house to use and not have to gimp into the rec center twice a day when I’m ready to ride!!!

Since my doc (like many docs) did not offer me a comprehensive “protocol” for recovery - my next follow-up appt. is not until the end of January - I thought I would briefly list out my current plan, assuming everything continues to progress and I am able to push without pain (discomfort is ok, pain is bad):

0-2 wks - NWB, foot elevated and in cast

2-4 wks - PWB with crutches, push to FWB by Wk 4, in Das Boot
Foot and ankle ROM, out of Das Boot
Leg lifts, in Das Boot
Core exercises, push-ups and sit-ups, from knees

4-6 wks - FWB, in Das Boot, weening off crutches
Continue ROM, leg lifts and other exercises
Progress to stationary bike, in Das Boot, 10 min/day
Progress to pool work w/o boot, 30 min/day

6-8 wks - Same as 4-6 wks, but continue to push length of bike and pool work, and add light resistance work for the leg with a band/towel

I will then reassess status and next steps after my follow-up doc appt. in late January, and start thinking about weening myself off the boot and ramping up the leg rehab. Although many of the “studies” have never been fully-substantiated, I am avoiding ibuprofen or other NSAID’s (except for the prescribed aspirin, which I will stop at Wk 4). Am also loading up on Vitamin C, in addition to iron and potassium (the latter 2 are part of my normal routine just for good health). Have cut my beer intake to about 25% of normal, given my inactivity I really should cut the beer out altogether but life is way too short to stop drinking beer.

So far so good with the PWB and current ROM/exercise regime, the swelling continues to slowly fade and there is really no pain at all in the bad foot. I am basing my plan for the first 8 weeks on several of the rehab protocols available online, including the Western Ontario and University of Michigan guidelines. My doc’s office is closed for the Holidays (so I can’t check in) and I obviously am not qualified medically to confirm that the above 8-wk plan is 110% the right path, but I’ve rehabbed enough injuries (unfortunately) to know that sitting still is almost never the right approach, and controlled and careful movement and exercise that is slowly ramped up as tolerated is the only way back to “normal”. As long as it doesn’t result in pain and as long as the swelling continues to fade (as opposed to worsen), it pretty much can’t be bad for you. Leaving aside the various studies about NSAID’s and tendon and muscle recovery, this is the #1 reason I am avoiding NSAID’s and other painkillers - if left to its own devices, our bodies have a way of sending us bio-feedback to let us know when we’re pushing them too hard. Ignoring that bio-feedback, in fact, is much of the reason I ended up with an ATR in the first place (along with just about every injury I’ve had over the course of my sporting life) : )

Time to watch Coach Izzo and my Spartans lose yet another pre-conference matchup on national tv, and then on to Day 15!!!

Well, despite my superstitions, looks like I will make it through Day No. 13 no worse for wear. Stuck with the daily routine today, being ROM stretching and core exercises, lots of tv and a round of coaching kids’ hoop. Treated myself (and the rest of the family, too) to a nice filet and some parmesan asparagus, and managed to watch Unforgiven one more time (perhaps the perfect western).

Swelling is down a little today, calf continues to be sore early in the morning and then from time to time during the day, but otherwise everything seems to be healing according to plan. In fact, so far everything is progressing far better than I imagined when I was limping over to the ER doc 17 days ago - I remember looking at my wife while the ER doc was inspecting my foot and telling her that I was looking at 6 months without walking. And, even though I’m only 2 weeks after a reasonably complex surgery and there are tons of variables to tackle, I am becoming more optimistic that - with a great deal of patience and discipline and more than a little bit of luck - I could at least be walking at the 3 month mark and perhaps even ready to start biking again by the time the snow melts : )

Will test a little bit more weight on the foot tomorrow, taking Das Boot to neutral yesterday has had no ill effect and left me with no additional discomfort today. If anything, the hardest part of the boot thus far has been getting the strap tightness just right - too little and I fear of lacking the needed support, and too tight and it starts to hurt my foot. Am still sleeping with the boot on, I’m in no way ready (especially mentally or emotionally) to try to fall asleep with the bad wheel exposed to potential problems during the night. Also still showering with the boot on, would be even worse to take a bad step or otherwise slip in the shower. I figure I can revisit sleeping and showering with the boot after the New Year hits, when I’ve targeted pushing the foot a little further in terms of rehab.

Next immediate hurdle is getting the incision area healed up to the point where it starts to look like something that is scarring up and healing, as opposed to still looking like an open wound. On to Day 14!!!

Doc had me fitted into the Cam Walker last Friday at 10 degrees, but told me I could go to neutral with the foot as soon as I felt comfortable. Soooooooo…woke up today and decided to do some light ROM and stretching and then adjust the boot to neutral and give it a go - despite a little discomfort for a couple of hours immediately after (mostly on the bottom of my heel), everything seems fine and the leg continues to get better. The swelling seems the same as yesterday, while the soreness in my lower calf picked up a little bit this morning but seemed to fade as the day wore on.

Managed to help coach my 12 yr old’s school hoops team, and even managed to still beat him in a game of HORSE on the one good leg. Nice just to be out of the house and spend some time with the kids. Treated myself when we got home by cooking up an oldie but goodie, being chorizo (mixed with ordinary pork sausage to cut on the spice), egg, cheese and sour cream burritos. Kids love ‘em and mom and dad don’t mind ‘em, either : )

Took it easy on the exercise and stretching today, and focused on staying on my feet (with the crutches) a little more, continuing to test a little (very little) weight on the leg and self-massaging the sore calf. The leg feels pretty comfortable balancing just on the “toes” of the boot, still being very careful and taking it very slowly on any weight on the heel or actual foot, save for resting the foot on the ground (in the boot) when seated.

Have been doing as much internet research as possible on achilles and general tendon healing, including of course this site, I figure my current regime will stay pretty much the same until after the New Year. Once the Holiday season is over, I’ll focus more on getting up on two feet with less and less use of the crutches, with my ultimate goal being FWB in Das Boot by the time I go back to the doc at the end of January (which will be roughly 8 weeks from the date of my surgery).

Being a somewhat superstitious type, I suspect I’ll be taking it extra easy tomorrow - Day 13!!!

Well, my Lions got their first road win since just about the time my youngest daughter was born, big win in OT : )

Leg feels better again today, lots of football on tv means lots of time for the bad foot to hang out outside Das Boot. Trying to keep the foot elevated and working the ROM 3-4 times a day - lots of left to right with the ankle, as well as up and down. Also working to build back up to longer core exercises, even if I won’t be able to ratchet up the intensity until I can go back to my toes instead of my knees. Swelling is better today, too, slowly starting to look like a foot and ankle again. Here is the “workout” I am trying for now, will stick with this until after the New Year, when I will try to work in additional stuff:

— Leg lifts on my back, with the brace
— Leg swings on my back (abduction), left and right, with the brace
— Hip abduction on my side, with the brace
— Back flex (push-up firmly with your belly on the ground)
— Plank (from the knees for now)
— Push-ups
— Sit-ups

Everything feels great (in relative terms), still a prickly feeling by the incision every now and then and some soreness in the lower half of my calf. My incision is unusually long (so it seems), likely due to the fact that the doc had to shave down the heel and thread a screw through the tendon and into my heel. A little self-massage of the calf does the trick for the soreness in the calf, even if it also reminds me firsthand just how quickly those leg muscles atrophy. Have been timidly trying about 5-10% of weight-bearing on the bad leg, this is definitely more than the doc would recommend at this point but so long as there is zero pain or discomfort I figure we each have to take ownership of our individual recovery. Am also mindful that getting over the mental and emotional trauma of the injury and surgery will be a significant part of the overall recovery, and pushing it incrementally each and every day will ease the eventual mental and emotional hurdle I’ll have to clear when it finally becomes time to really treat the bad leg as “normal” again.

Curious if and when other folks have started swimming after ATR surgery? I have been hoping to get clearance to start light pool work sometime after the New Year and before my next appointment with the doc at the end of January, the early pool work seems to be the protocol of choice for a lot of athletes (I know it did wonders for Kalin Lucas, the point guard for my Spartans who ruptured his achilles during the NCAA Tournament last March and was ready for summer workouts with the team).

Chinese food tonight and then onward and upward to Day 12!!!

Had some real bonding time with my new Cam Walker today, what a great time : )

Coached our 10 yr old’s hoops game, had some coffee and then pretty much back on the sofa for the day. Managed to get in some basic back stretches and core exercises (still from the knees instead of the feet obviously), then some sit-ups and push-ups (I loathe doing both but had to do something to get the blood flowing).

Nicest part of the boot at this point is being able to take it off and just let the bad wheel hang out a little. Tried a couple rounds of very light ROM with the bad ankle, just left to right mostly and lots of toe-wiggling. Put on a live video of The Who show in Vegas back in 1999, a decidely underwhelming performance but a good excuse to very gently tap the bad foot. Was really careful, actually kind of creepy at how much willpower it took just to move the foot even a little after the last 16 days of injury, surgery, cast and stitches. It’s frankly all the workout I need at this point just to have the foot out of the boot and resting up in the air on a pillow, keeping the foot steady and upright.

Am trying to update the blog everyday at this point, mostly so I can (hopefully) look back at these posts in 4-6 months when I am really back on my feet. Have set a goal of gently getting back on a bike by April 1 - this is actually a pretty stretch goal for me (no pun intended), since despite my age I still ride BMX bikes at skate parks and the foot and leg stresses are much different from MTB or road biking. Kind of ironic, actually, that for all the crazy stuff I might do on a bike, I ended up in this predicament just planting my right foot on a simple crossover move playing pickup ball at the gym.

Right leg is still swollen, though at this point it pretty much looks like a bad ankle sprain. The incision is looking plenty scary, my wife convinced me to avoid washing the lower half of the bad leg until after the sterile strips fall off (probably another week, yuck). Really doesn’t hurt at all, other than a prickly feeling around the incision every now and then and general soreness from the lower calf to my heel. Sticking with the one aspirin a day prescribed by the doc as a blood thinner and that’s pretty much it, though I am definitely missing being able to exercise and it’ll be a rude awakening for my metabolism when I’m finally able to start back at it.

Looking forward to Day 11, and more quality time with Das Boot!!!

First follow-up appointment this morning, kind of had me worried when I woke up since I had no idea what to expect. Turns out everything looks great (in relative terms, of course) - took off the splint, took an x-ray of the side of the foot and lower leg, and removed the stitches (ouch) so they could literally glue me up and add some sterile strips. Kind of weird watching my foot hanging off the edge of the exam room bed after seeing it in a cast for the last 16 days (7 after the injury and then 9 after surgery).

Best news of the day was that the doc put me straight into a Cam Walker, set initially at 10 degrees but said I could go to 5 degrees and then neutral pretty much whenever I wanted. Doc pushed up on the bad foot and had me push down against pressure, really expected it to hurt like a mother but didn’t bother me a bit. Saw the x-ray of my heel, you obviously couldn’t see the achilles or surrounding tissue but could clearly see where my heel had been shaven down and the massive screw sunk into the bone. Guess I was expect tiny screws or little hooks, not a Home Depot special!!!

Next appointment isn’t for 6 weeks, ok to rest the foot down but no planting of the front of the foot (I think that’s what they call dorsiflexion) until the end of January. And I get to take a shower with my right leg for the first time in 16 days, which sadly enough actually sounds exciting. Doc was really happy with everything, which of course makes the patient even happier, said that the rupture was “clean” and down so low to the heel bone that he was able to get a really solid job done (as evidenced by the size of the screw in my heel).

Only hard part was looking at the foot out of the cast and realizing just how significant the mental hurdle is going to be about rehab and recovery. The pain is 90% gone but just the thought of the doc moving the foot up and down this morning freaked me out, will just take lots of time and patience to slowly get my brain to forget the trauma of the injury and get on to re-training the leg. One thing I’ve got, of course, is time, I’m in no rush and have no intention of putting myself back under the knife.

Oh, watched We Jam Econo on NetFlix, a documentary of The Minutemen. For those who don’t know, The Minutemen were a Cali “punk” band during the early to mid 1980’s, one of the founders of the whole “DIY” movement in music. Great, great documentary on a tremendously influential band, couldn’t possibly recommend the film enough for those who are the right age (and it seems like most of us with ATR’s are the right age to remember the 1980’s).

On to kids’ basketball and a celebratory beer (or three)…

Considering the events of yesterday, today was a good day. Laid off on any ROM or other stuff today, just caught up on work, did some calls, played guitar and watched SportsCenter. Kept the leg up and elevated as much as possible. Oh, and got out of the house for an hour or two to watch my 12 yr old’s band concert!!!

Pain went down steadily through the course of the day, as did the swelling (although the swelling still picks up quite a bit when I’m on my feet). Everything still feels intact in the bad wheel, mostly just pain on the bottom of my heel and pain from the swelling.

Tomorrow is my first follow-up after the surgery, with the holidays and the doc’s office shutting down until the New Year it will be interesting to see what the next steps are, assuming (and praying) nothing from yesterday’s slip messed up the overall timetable.

Fingers crossed…

Well, despite the myriad precautions and being as careful as possible, slipped on the crutches today and stepped on the bad foot. Caught myself as quickly as possible and then simply collapsed to the ground ASAP. Hurt like crazy, has me pretty worried about messing up the heel but nothing I can do before my follow-up appointment this Friday. I suppose the good news is that the bottom of my heel hurts like the Dickens and everything else feels exactly the same as it did before the fall, so just have to stay positive and pray for the best this Friday. That and remind myself that the doc’s efforts and the cast are there for just these sorts of accidents.

Bummer, but such is life…

Not a bad day again today. Discovered one silver lining to this whole injury thing - not being able to exercise or chase one of my activity-based hobbies has given me time to pick up the guitar again and really play. Music is like any other addiction, you’re never “cured”, you’re just always “recovering”. The upside to having been a musician for so many years back before gainful employment and kids is that it comes back pretty quick with a little time and effort, even if I’ve got blisters on me fingers!!!

More conference calls and e-mail today, and added an extra round of ROM and stretching. Added in “air writing” with the bad wheel (writing circles in the air, right and then left, with the big toe), VERY gently and lightly given the limited room the cast allows. The extra work today definitely re-awakened the nerves down there, the achilles feels fine but all of the other muscles in my foot have been letting me know how annoyed they have become. Nothing that 400mg of ibuprofen and a good night’s sleep won’t cure, so that I can be back at it tomorrow.

Which reminds me of what I used to think for all of the many months it took me to rehab my back - recovery from any significant injury, like recovery from just about anything, is nothing more than time and pain. And it took almost 18 months after the last spinal injection for my nerves to come back 100% and for me to be able to really recover physically from my back injury. I guess as long as it never feels like injury pain, it’s good to have that bio-feedback from your body. Or, as one of the nurses told me the day of my surgery, at least the pain lets you know that the limb is still attached : )

Tomorrow will be 7 days since my surgery. Hard to believe, but it has only been 7 days and already the whole surgery experience has faded from the rear view mirror. Mostly anyway, always good to remember that objects in the mirror are closer than they appear, since I have no intention of ever putting myself through ATR surgery again…

Another easy day so far, knock on wood. String of conference calls for work and catch up on e-mail, mixed in with a couple rounds of light ROM stretches and the first round of core exercises since the surgery. Had to do the core exercises (mostly various planks and then sit-ups) from my knees instead of toes, which gives only about 50% of the usual workout benefit but of course keeps any weight or pressure off the bad wheel. Was VERY careful about any pressure on the bad wheel but the core work is absolutely critical to keeping me away from another series of spinal injections - as much as this achilles stuff sucks, back problems are the absolute worst.

Swelling continues to die down, even when the leg is not elevated, which is important. My toes only turn a light red now instead of purple when I get up to use the facilities or make a sammich : )

ROM stretches were easy today, did some ankle flexes (lightly) right and left, some VERY light flexes up and down, basic leg lifts (up and down and right and left) and some knee flexes. Focused on the bad wheel since the good wheel is getting a heavy workout with the crutches and all the hopping around. Even with only VERY light ROM and the core work, mere words cannot do justice to how great it feels to do anything to get the blood flowing and get some juices working in the bad wheel to aid in the healing process. I remember with my back injury that nothing heals the body more than hard work and endorphins, and even though the real rehab is still weeks away (seems like an eternity) it’s great to at least feel like I’m doing something other than sitting on my butt waiting for things to magically heal on their own.

Only pain today has been focused pretty much entirely right on where the heel was cut open for surgery, which I presume to mean the stitches are working and everything is healing (the pain is the same you would feel anytime you had stitches). I keep telling myself that the incision for the achilles surgery is almost certain to be smaller than the 4 inch cut I took on my forehead from an elbow in a city league hoop game 7 or 8 years ago, which required 19 stitches and almost 4 hours of plastic surgery. In other words, how bad can the heel be??? ; )

The Countdown has officially kicked off for the first follow-up visit this Friday, and it’s almost time here in mid-Michigan to start thinking about what to eat for dinner. Which reminds me, today is definitely the day my normal appetite returned, haven’t really been hungry since the surgery (eating just a light breakfast and then one meal in the evening) but my stomach seems to be a bottomless pit today.

On to Day 6…

Easy day today, nothing but the sofa and NFL on TV. Getting about a foot of snow here in mid-Michigan, so not much gumption to go outside anyway. The Lions game was painful to watch but the ending was sweet, hopefully an omen for what the next 90 days will be like for me : )

Achilles seems to be fine, swelling stays down as long as I keep the leg elevated. Even when I’m up and around the house on the crutches the swelling isn’t too bad and the pain is down to a dull ache every now and then. The initial cast is actually fitting a little loose, which I suspect is partially a function of the reduced swelling and also a function of the wrap maybe getting a little stretched. Nothing to worry about (yet, anyway), and it lets me keep the toes moving and VERY gently give the ankle some initial ROM work while I watch football.

Just now starting to feel more like “myself” after the surgery and the rounds of anesthetics and meds, which of course means the first bout of rabbit is coming on. Elbows are getting a little sore with all the crutch work, I guess I never considered what a workout walking with crutches can be (I’ve never had to use them before). Have a craving for ribs, which means ordering out since no chance of using a grill on crutches in a foot of wet, heavy snow.

Onward and upward, as they say, looking forward to Day 5 post-op…

First night out of surgery was the worst, the meds from surgery made me sick as a dog. At least the leg didn’t hurt (yet, since I couldn’t feel anything other than my stomach).

First day out was easy, watched a season of Mad Men on DVD with the wife and rested the leg up on a chair and pillow. Tried to avoid any meds at all but definitely needed a couple of vikes to get me through the night. Learned the hard way the first day that the pain all but goes away when you keep the bad wheel rested and elevated!!!

Day 2, more Mad Men on DVD, lots of Sportscenter and rest and elevation. I coach 2 boys’ hoops team and assist with another, so Friday night meant my 12 yr old’s first rec league game at the same rec center where I suffered the injury. Lots of fun trying to coach energetic 12 yr olds while hopping up and down on one leg : )

Day 3 (today), more of the same. Doubleheader for my 10 yr old this morning, then nothing but rest, elevation and sports the rest of the day. My stomach has finally settled down so will try to enjoy a decent meal and maybe even an ice cold beverage tonight. Funny how an injury makes you sit on your butt long enough to remember just how much you used to enjoy sitting on your butt all day long, back before marriage, gainful employment and kids.

The marching orders for now are 0% weight on the bad wheel, rest and elevation. Doc was clear, though, that I should make an effort to be reasonably mobile on the crutches, I’m guessing to keep the blood moving. Have been keeping clear of the meds, save for 400mg of ibuprofen every now and then to help with the swelling.

First follow-up is this Friday, Dec 17th. Not sure what to expect but I figure probably another full cast at 90 degrees with no weight-bearing until after the holidays (and after the doc enjoys 2 weeks of golf and sun someplace a lot warmer than mid-Michigan).

This place is great for info and optimism, btw, the doc has been great but there’s nothing like previous and fellow injury-travelers to keep you upbeat and informed. Knock on wood, no complications at all, just feels like I have stitches down there (which of course I do) and an occasional twitch of the ankle or calf. Actually, the twitches are kind of nice, it’s good to be reminded that you still have a leg down there and it will one day spring back to life!!!

Ruptured my right achilles at about 12:30pm, Friday, Dec 3, 2010. Prototypical injury, planted my right foot during a crossover move playing pickup hoop at the local rec center, and both heard and felt the pop down by my heel. Limped to the sideline to ice the heel for about 15 minutes before limping to my car to head over to the ER. ER doc gave me a splint with my right foot at about 45 degrees, then on to the ortho the next Tuesday for a quick ultrasound to confirm the rupture and finalize plans for surgery.

Had surgery on Wednesday, Dec 8, 2010. Into pre-op about 12:30pm, went to sleep about 2:30pm and came to (mostly) on my way to post-op at about 4:00pm. Doc said I had a bone spur on my heel and the rupture was down toward the bottom of the right achilles, so I ended up with a shaved heel, a sutured tendon and a series of titanium hooks into my heel to bolster the repair. Then straight into a leg cast with the foot at pretty much a 90 degree angle and home for the night with a bucket of hydrocodone, aspirin and ibuprofen.

Really looking forward to the next 4-6 months…


ATR Timeline

  • Name: lsjoberg
    Location: Zurich
    Injured during: Basketball
    Which Leg: R
    Status: 2-Shoes

    668 wks  6 days Post-ATR
    668 wks
       Since start of treatment