S+37

Well, it’s been 20 days since my last post, so I thought I would check in.

Things are going as well as I can expect them to.  I’m in the middle of a month of waiting to see the surgeon again.  I’ve noticed greater comfort on the recumbent bike, and I’m walking as normal as one can in a boot with 3-heel lifts in it.  My co-worker warned me that I’ll need help with my hips after a long time with unbalanced leg lengths.  haha.

The big thing right now is the boot.  It sucks to sleep in.  I really, really wish I could sleep without it, but haven’t gotten the ok yet.  I messaged the surgeon late on Friday.  Hope to hear back from him on Monday (tomorrow).

Now that I’m fairly mobile in the boot, this past week, I decided to start doing stuff again.  I’ve been going out with friends, but I’ve been neglecting the house.  This week, I picked up a month’s worth of junk in my house so I could get a house cleaner in here.  It’s heaven.  The place is so clean!  I did a ton of household chores this weekend.  Yard is spruced up and sprinkler system is back on and functional.  Fixed a leaky toilet, took care of the neglected indoor plants, desperately trying to clean my aquarium.  How do they get so dirty?

I just have to say, it feels good to be productive again!  I hope everyone suffering with this injury has a week like I had.

Suture Removal (S+17)

So, the first week in the boot was great! So much more mobility. Started hitting the gym with my friend and working upper body.

A little pain still every morning when I first get up and the blood goes to the leg, but most days not enough that I bother with Advil.

I’m still super nervous whenever the boot is off (showers mostly). I’m just super freaked out about a slip or something, but I have a shower chair, so hopefully that is unlikely.

Suture removal went well. Surgeon said everything looked good. No real change in my condition though. Still in the boot, with the wedge. And next appointment is in a month. So, this is my life for the next month. I’m going to try to make the best of it.

I did get the ok to do the stationary bike and swim without the boot as long as I’m careful to not let the foot dorsiflex.

I gave the stationary bike a try this Wednesday (S+19). Holy cow that was scary! I tried to put my midfoot on the middle of the peddle to take the pressure off the ball of my foot. Even that wasn’t enough. I peddled very slowly at the lowest resistance for 3 minutes, and even then, my ankle felt unsteady, and I could feel the muscles in my calf twitching. I shifted my foot up a few inches to put my heel in contact with the pedal, and that solved the problem, and I was able to increase resistance and speed.

Also got in some leg extensions, and then some leg curls, leg press, squats, and deadlifts (all one-legged of course). But it felt great to get some work in. Did chest and shoulders on (S+20) and will hit the gym this morning for something. Probably some time on the bike again, and some upper body work.

10-day post-surgery checkup

So, I got through the first week. It was uplifting to know that in 10 days, I would see the doctor, and something might happen! I was sick of the crutches, the laying on the couch, the shower boot cover, etc. I just needed progress.

I got the knee walker on Tuesday (S+4). It changed my life. I went back to work on Wednesday, and everything was good. I could finally move food from kitchen to table. Crutches can suck my…

I carpooled with a friend, because I couldn’t drive with my right leg all effed up.

The rest of the week went well, but I was antsy. Monday (S+10) arrived, and it was time for my follow up. The splint was removed, everything looked golden (actually it looked bad, but not as bad as I expected) and they put me in a boot. “Weight as tolerated.” Stitches come out in one more week.

I was ecstatic! Weight as tolerated!!! The boot had a 30-degree wedge in there, but this was a game changer. I got home, saddled up to the counter where I could balance myself and slowly apply weight to the bad leg. More…more…no pain…more. I was standing on my bad leg. Full weight bearing, in the wedge-boot at 10 days with no pain! I wanted to do jumping jacks! I didn’t.

This was the high point of my recovery so far. No pain pills, even over the counter. And full weight bearing in the boot. Life had just gotten a lot better! I was psyched for my stitch removal visit in a week!

The surgeon did put a damper on my excitement, when I started talking about possibly hiking and stuff this Summer and he got serious and said, “One year. One year to full recovery.” Well, maybe this wasn’t going to be so easy after all.

Surgery Weekend!

So, I only had 2 days to prep for surgery.  I stockpiled my house with food, made plans to spend the weekend on a friend’s couch, and boarded my dogs for the weekend.

As this was all rushed, I kept worrying about the non-surgical option.  Was surgery the right choice?  I mean, it had to be, right?  All the pro athletes have surgery.  Everyone I had ever known that had ruptured their achilles had had surgery.  But I still had my doubts, and it weighed on me.  I finally reached out to some people I know that work in orthopedics, and they went through the pros and cons with me, just like the surgeon had done at my first appointment.  I finally was at ease with my decision.

Surgery day:

I’ve always been at ease with surgery.  I’ve had two surgeries, and they both went great, and all the pain and side-effects you read about never seem to happen to me.  I arrived at the center, went through the normal pre-surgery stuff, and woke up an hour later.  This was the worst my achilles would ever hurt.  The nurse gave me more pain meds in my IV and 10mg of oxycodone.  That did the trick!  I was in a plastic splint and bandage that protected me pretty well.  Obviously, I was non-weight bearing.  I got situated on my friend’s couch, with the leg elevated and ice around the top of the splint, and camped out.

At 2pm, I took another 10mg of oxycodone.  The pain wasn’t bad, but they always tell you to “stay ahead of it.”  The surgeon called at 5pm.  Everything had gone well.  He did my incision on the inside of my ankle, not right up the back.  It was an open repair.  I know there are a few different options now.  But he said the incision up the back is really outdated, so I’d recommend asking your surgeon about that before surgery.  I told him I wasn’t in much pain and didn’t think I needed too much more of the oxycodone.  Now, remember, this surgeon is a friend of mine, so he laughed and said, “Why don’t you switch to Tylenol and titrate in a beer to help?  It’s national beer day after all.”  He was right.  April 7th is national beer day!  So, I followed the doctors orders.  Felt fine the whole time, and was good to be free of prescription meds.  I hate them.

I stayed on Tylenol throughout the weekend, even though the pain was minimal.  The only time it would hurt a little bit is when I would get up from the couch and the blood would rush down into the leg.  I returned home Sunday night.

The shower chair and a cast/splint shower cover were really nice to have.  I had ordered a knee wheeler for rent from kneewalker.com, but it wouldn’t get to me until Tuesday.

All in all, I felt like the surgery and the following weekend went very smoothly, and I was optimistic.

The Injury

I’ll summarize, and then you can read the details that I felt lead up to the injury. On April 5th, I had a complete rupture of my right achilles tendon. I was at the CrossFit gym, and we were doing a “fun” warmup that got too competitive, and when I hopped up from my last burpee and sprinted to try to beat the other team, it felt like someone kicked me in the back of the heel and I heard a loud pop. I’ve heard this injury described so many times, I knew what it was. We immediately got it wrapped, on ice, and elevated. Pain and swelling wasn’t bad, and I could wiggle my toes, so I was hoping for just a partial rupture or maybe, hopefully, something even more benign than that.

I set up an appointment for 2 hours later with a friend that is an orthopedic surgeon that specializes in lower leg surgeries. It took him all of about 5 seconds to diagnose it as a full rupture with the Thompson test, and by just feeling along the back of my leg where my achilles should have been.

Note: If you didn’t feel along the back of your leg, you missed out. You can feel your healthy leg, and the strong, fibrous band of your achilles. On your injured leg, your fingers just went in, with no resistance. Kind of gross, but a pretty obvious test for rupture.

Surgery was scheduled for 2 days later, Friday, April 7th.  I was put in a boot, and could get around well enough, and didn’t have hardly any pain.  I used the next 2 days to stockpile groceries and supplies at my house, because I knew I would be stranded on a couch for a while.

So, what do I think contributed to this injury.  The obvious one is doing burpees and sprinting with no warm-up.  But other things that I think contributed are my general lack of fitness, and overworking my posterior chain.  Because of work, my gym attendance has been sporadic to non-existent the past 2-3 years.  I put on about 45 pounds, lost strength and conditioning.  I’m just generally not in very good shape right now.  I was kind of in my first month of getting back into a steady schedule and eating healthier.

I’ve always enjoyed lifting, and especially legs.  So the Sunday before the injury, I went out in my garage and hit a ton of deadlifts.  150 reps total.  That was enough to really cause everything in the posterior chain to be tight and sore.  Then, I went to the gym on Monday, and they had more deadlifts scheduled in their workout.  Great!  I love deadlifts!  I took Tuesday off, and then went to the 6:15AM class on Wednesday.  So, the whole body was cold and tight from too much lifting of the same muscle groups, and not enough warmup.

We decided to warm up with a game.  I highly discourage this now.  It just ended up getting competitive and not being a proper warm up.

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