I Missed Out on Fall Golf, Will I Ski This Winter?

My Achilles Heal is My Achilles Heal

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16 Week Checkup

December 1st, 2008 · 1 Comment

Today I had my 16 week checkup with Dr. C., it was a quick evaluation and everything is looking great.  He asked if I had question about my timeline for participating in any specific sports.  I inquired about downhill and cross-country skiing.  He cleared me for both come January.  He said to take the run difficulty down a level on the downhill skiing.

Dr. C. indicated I did not need to see him again, unless down the road I felt things were not progressing.  He said another week or two of PT, followed by an exercise program, and I should be good to go.  I am past the key risk point for re-rupture, and he expects continued steady progress from this point forward.   It takes a year or longer to regain the calf size/strength…and sometimes it never fully returns to size.  Hey, what’s a few centimeters?

I actually played a couple of holes of golf on Thanksgiving day in Michigan…it felt great just be out there on the course, even though it was 45 degrees.  I also played football and baseball with the kids over the weekend…making progress towards getting back to ‘normal.’  My wife saw me walking around the house yesterday, and commented on how I’m back….it’s been 4 month!



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Sole Advice - I may have discovered the perfect pair of shoes

November 10th, 2008 · 1 Comment

I am 13 weeks post OP and have been FWB for the past 4 weeks.  I’ve tried wearing many different pairs of shoes over the past month, to include running shoes, flip flops, work shoes, casual shoes, etc…and I have found the perfect pair of shoes for those of us ‘hump heels’ recovering from ATR: the Keen Austin http://www.keenfootwear.com/product.aspx?sku=1321

Let me tell you…they are wide, comfortable, decent arch support, plenty of room in the heel area…it’s like the blokes from Portland are in business to help us get through the 8 to 20 week mark :)

I also wear Keen sandles…but given that it’s November in Chicago…

Happy hobbling……MCav

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11 Weeks Post OP

October 24th, 2008 · 1 Comment

Went in to see Dr. C yesterday for my scheduled checkup, 11 weeks post OP.  It was a brief visit, and everything is looking great and on schedule.  I asked him where on the tendon I had surgery, and he pointed out the exact location…on the lower end of the Achilles / where there’s a little bump and it’s tender.  My calf muscle is coming back to full size, still working on the strength.

I went to PT last night immediately after the doc appt.  I have been going to PT for 5 weeks now, 2 to 3 times per week, and it makes a difference.  It’s amazing, 2 weeks ago I walked for the first time and it was in a pool.  Now, I am wearing 2 shoes and walking most of the time without a crutch.  In PT I’ve been working on the sitting elliptical machine, and standing on one leg for 1 minute straight.  It feels good to be making progress.  I recommend PT!!!

I’ve been traveling more often now, went to San Francisco again last week, heading to Omaha next week.  Sitting in a middle seat back from CA last week made for a long flight.  Good news, the swelling in my foot/leg has greatly reduced over the past 2 weeks.

My next appointment with Dr. C is in 6 weeks, which will be 17 weeks post OP.  Cheers and happy recovery to all.


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10 weeks post surgery - FWB, 2 shoes, walking

October 17th, 2008 · 1 Comment

Today is 10 weeks post OP, making good progress.  Ok, so the cubs have been eliminated, but I’m close to officially ditching the crutches.  I have been going to PT for about 4 weeks - good stuff!  A week ago, I started walking in a pool to work on range of motion, leg strength and getting my confidence back.  I started in deeper water (chest deep), and then moved to waste deep.  This past week, I’ve been wearing two shoes - and walking on crutches, and then walking on one crutch, and now I can walk without crutches.  I’m slow, and still use a crutch most of the time for speed, but it’s great to be making progress towards ditching the crutches completely.

Also, we had a family trip planned to Disney world, and we took the kids down last weekend.  Let me tell you, Disney is perhaps the most handicap accessible place on the planet.  I rented an electric cart vehicle (ECV) for $45 a day, which made it a breeze to get around the parks.  Disney also issued me a special access card (had a Dr’s note requesting handicap privileges), which allowed for me and the family to avoid the lines for all the rides and attractions - which was incredibly convenient and a huge time saver.

I have a checkup with Dr. C this coming Thursday, should have good progress to report.  Cheers.

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8 Weeks Post Surgery!

October 3rd, 2008 · 2 Comments

8 Weeks ago today, 8/8/08: the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympic Games, the Cubs were playing good baseball, and I went under the knife.  My how time flies when you’re having fun?

I’ve been out of the cast and attending PT for 2 weeks now.  I am still on crutches - PWB, but gaining strength and flexibility on the right leg.  I hope to ditch the crutches in the next week or so.  It’s strange to not have a boot or anything on the leg…I just wear a sock.

I went to the Cubs playoff game Wednesday night, and wore a ski sock and a shoe for the first time.  It felt good overall….but major swelling by the time I got home that night.  I’m sure the draft Old Styles had something to do with it.

PT is coming along well….driving more often now.  It’s my hope that a week from now, the Cubs will still be playing baseball - and I’ll be off the crutches.

Final thought: kudos to all the wives, husbands, significant others, friends, grandparents, cats and dogs who put up with all of us who are recovering from the P.I.T.A. injury.  Thank you.

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Am I pushing it?

September 24th, 2008 · 4 Comments

Day#47 Post Surgery:

It’s day 3 out of the cast, and went to PT today for the second session.  We worked on light ROM exercises: standing holding onto table on both feet, leaning slightly forward to gently stretch the AT; weight-shift exercise - standing on both feet (while holding onto table) - shifting weight gently back and forth to the left/right; while lying down: clockwise and counter CW cirlcle with foot/ankle; raising and lowering toes to work on ROM.  Light massage on ankle for 15 mins.  Ice/elevation for 15 mins.

I haven’t experienced any pain as a result of the PT.  In fact, my pain is basically “0″.  I still experience swelling if the leg is down…and my foot turns purple.  But no pain.

I’ve reviewed other recovery protocols on the achillesblog site, from conservative to aggressive.  I have great respect for my doctor, who is a very experienced guy - residency at Mayo Clinic - Chief Resident, etc.  He in my opinion was conservative for the first 45 days, as I was in a cast for 6+ weeks.  Where other protocols have you in a cast for 2 to 4 weeks, then into a boot for 4 weeks.  Dr. C indicated that I should be cautious and take is slow for the next few weeks.  Light PT to work on ROM and strength.  In 20 years or so, he has seen 2 re-ruptures: one guy was a realtor who was stomping down on a for sale sign with his injured leg…not too bright.  The other was a slip.

I am glad a heck to be out of the cast…and able to start to work on the PT/recovery process.  Since the PT has been light so far, I think it will be a good thing.  That being said, I’m not going to be in a hurry to rush into walking / wearing a shoe / FWB.

Let me know your perspective and experience, or if I’m missing something.

Also, I did drive today for the first time!  Drove myself to PT - which was only a 1 mile drive.



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Day #45 - The Cast Comes Off

September 23rd, 2008 · 3 Comments

Went to see Dr. C yesterday for my 6-weeks post surgery checkup (it was day 45), and I was expecting to have the cast removed and placed in a walking boot.  Anna cut off the cast, Dr. C checked out my foot range of motion - felt the tendon - and decided to not move me to a walking boot.  This shocked the heck out of me - and my wife.  He wrote a script for 6 weeks of PT / 3x a week…and I walked out of his office (on crutches) barefoot!  We were psyched!  He said I could expect to be walking - without crutches - in another 1 to 2 weeks, and I could start putting weight on w/ crutches.  He also said I can resume driving when I feel comfortable, but to make sure I brake w/ the left foot for fear of slamming on the brakes.  We were shocked.

I had my first PT session this morning….as I wanted to jump right on it and get my ROM and strength back as soon as possible.  My calf measured 36cm, while my good leg/calf measured 39cm…not too bad after 45 days in a cast.  Today we worked on ROM and massage…sent me home with some flex exercises.  I go back tomorrow for day 2….so far so good.

The PT also said it would be 8 months post-surgery until I resume normal exercise / sports activities like running.  Skiing I could be more aggressive with - hoping to be able to ski this winter.  Golf - TBD.

I soaked my foot/leg for about 30 mins last night after the cast was removed - damn it’s good to be out of that thing….

I’m still getting a lot of swelling…but making progress.  Hope to be driving by this weekend, or maybe tomorrow?

More to come.

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10 Days and counting until the cast comes off…….

September 12th, 2008 · No Comments

It’s been 5 weeks today since I went under the knife, the fact that I haven’t hacked the cast off myself early is starling. ..what’s the worst thing that could happen?

I go in on 9/22 to get the cast removed at which time the doc will put me in a walking boot.  This week, I’m heading to San Francisco on business for a couple of days…and am really looking forward to crutching around the airport and through security with bags.  Fun stuff indeed.   If anyone knows of a college student - or sherpa - who is free for a couple of days, I’m all ears.

My goals for the next 10 days include:

1. Not to rupture my other Achilles

2. That’s everything

When I’m out of the cast on the 22nd, any ideas for a ‘how to destroy my crutches party?’

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Cast #3

September 4th, 2008 · No Comments

I met with Dr. C on day 27 for cast #3.  Anna cut off cast #2…I couldn’t believe how much my leg has atrophied over the past couple of weeks…shocking.  Lot’s of work ahead w/ PT.  The incision was healing very well.  Dr. C was pushing my foot back to the 90 degree position, it felt tight but no pain…it was good to see my foot moving again.  He felt the back of my leg and the tendon felt strong and everything looked good.

I told the Dr that I was anxious to get back to moving around.  He put me in a new fiberglass cast, with my foot in a position close to the 90 degree mark.  A walking heel was added to the bottom.  I can start to apply light pressure to the leg while using crutches…and gradually apply more pressure and I feel I’m able to over time.  I will be in this cast for apprx another 3 weeks.

It’s day #2 in the new cast…feels much better than the last one.  Having my foot in a more natural position is key.  I’ve been applying light pressure walking w/ the use of the crutches, standing up on both legs, etc, and it feels good to be starting the process to getting back my leg strength….it a great day.

I was signed up to participate in the Chicago triathlon on Sun Aug 26th, which I had done a few times in past years….I had a good excuse to skip it this year.  Maybe next year?

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Days 12 - 27 - Cast #2

September 4th, 2008 · No Comments

On day 12 - I had my 2nd follow up meeting with Dr. C.  Anna, the medical assistant cut off the plaster of paris cast.   Sutures were removed, overall the incision looked clean and was healing properly.   You could begin to notice the leg atrophy…leg hair was growing back…everything looked on track.  I requested that the medical assistant clean my foot with alcohol wipes…outstanding.

Dr. C slapped on a new fiberglass cast…sweet glow-in-the-dark color - the kid’s request.  My foot still in the position with my toes pointed down…not comfortable.  The cast felt very tight….especially around the foot.  The cast stayed on for 16 days…and I have to say it felt tight much of the time.  I had to keep the foot elevated; if my foot was down for any period of time, it swelled up and the pressure was intense.

We went back up to the lake house in Michigan for labor day weekend, and there was no way I was going to be there for the weekend sitting around on the dock without swimming in the lake.  I found a waterproof cast cover on line, XeroSox http://www.xerosox.com/ that touted you could completely submerge underwater - and keep the cast dry.  I bought one from Amazon.com, it showed up 2 days later, and it worked like a champ.  I spent an hour straight in the lake swimming and it kept the cast dry and the water out.  It was great to play w/ the kids in the water and feel somewhat back to normal for a couple of hours.  Strongly recommend the product.

During this stretch, I was going into work 2 or 3 days a week (getting rides to and from w/ co-workers - or from my wife), working from home the rest of the time.  Overall I was getting around pretty well.

Couldn’t wait for the next appt w/ Dr. C on day 27 to get the second cast cut off…

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