One Year anniversary

It’s been a year. Today is the one year mark! With regard to recovery I can honestly say the biggest milestones are at the 6 week mark, 9 week mark, and the 4 - 5 month mark. So weight bearing with the boot, two shoes and the end of physical therapy.
Getting back to tennis was my goal and I was able to do that at 5 months. I still need to get the screw out of my ankle because it is still poking through. It bothers me occasionally, but if it didn’t come out, it wouldn’t be the end of the world.
I can jump (including jump rope) but not really do a single calf raise on the repaired achilles. I’m still working on that in barre class. After a lot of running, people notice me limping. It’s not because it hurts, it’s just tight. After reading other’s stories, there is more progress that can be made just over a much slower time. I’m happy with what I’ve got.
What is the biggest lesson learned with this experience? Well I will say I had two big worries! One was that my tennis friends would forget about me. Some did, but those people really were not friends. The second was that I wouldn’t be able to exercise while injured. This is just not true. I really picked up weight lifting and there is core you can work on. And even moving around on one leg. Mobility is a blessing.
Lesson learned: Your friends won’t forget about you and you can still be mobile and workout!
My calf is smaller. It doesn’t bother me but you can really see it in this picture. I think it’s about an inch smaller when I checked about 5 months ago. And the other one probably got bigger doing more work. I have talked to a lot of people that are active including a physical therapist in sports and the recommendation is if you rupture your achilles and plan to go back to sports, get the surgery done ASAP after rupture. Your chances of re attaching the tendon so that it will still have the elasticity for sports is crucial.
This injury is recoverable! So chin up!

10 months

I skipped posting my six month post and here we are at 10 months. I’ve been back at tennis since the 4 month mark including league matches . When you are told you will be out for a year with a fully ruptured achilles and you are back in 16 or so weeks, that is mind blowing. Last season was amazing no problems. I even started singles again. And pickleball!!! I thought the key to playing singles again was to be able to run 2 miles. Currently I am at one mile and it isn’t because of my achilles. I’m hoping to strengthen the tendon with continued barre classes and cycling. I can raise the calf, just not like the other one. It gets tight and there is thickening which I’m guessing is from scar tissue. I still have a screw loose (from the surgery site). I plan to have it taken out in December. It is really ugly and it rubs against my shoes causing blisters. achillesthick1

5 months post op

My first two tennis league matches were both wins (doubles)!
I have discontinued Physical Therapy because my gym classes are just as good if not better for strength training
Still have a limp after running around, but I know this will go away. It doesn’t hurt at all.
Still have the bump on the one side where the anchor came out a little, also doesn’t hurt
Can not do a single calf raise yet on the recovering side
Recovery is going great!
no more planar fasciitis or warm foot
Will post changes at 6 months, I should see the surgeon for the last time by then.

4 and 1/2 months post op

Switching from weekly progress to monthly or bi-monthly because I skipped. It’s hard to believe I’m almost at the 1/2 way mark to the one year recovery period. For ladies day league tennis I’m starting my first league match tomorrow. The captain put me on line 2 doubles for an A2 level match. That is some faith! I am rated 3.5 USTA (not playing any USTA matches this year) I will play A1 also this week which is a higher level and am skipping champ level for this season. I can play well enough. I can even get to difficult balls, it’s just hard to get back into position. I will limp a little on the court, it’s not that it hurts it’s probably just tight and my calf strength isn’t 100 percent yet. I really don’t notice much swelling but the definition at the ankle isn’t the same as the other side. The circumference of the right compared to the left is off an inch. To say that I’m thrilled with my progress is an absolute understatement. I have complete confidence that I will be back 100 percent now. I truly believe that my repaired achilles will be better than the one that hasn’t been repaired. I don’t feel the need to mention to anyone that I have been injured because it’s hard to notice. I have been kicking butt at practice. I don’t know if I will keep up with weekly PT appointments at this point. The PT said for people that just want to walk I’d be done. Some of the stuff we work on at PT I already do on my own. Whether it is jogging or resistance I can do it at the gym or in classes like barre or the like. Just need to work on that calf strengthening. Which is something I’m excited to do! I am up to a 20 mile bike ride once a week and want to fit in the Peloton weekly as well. I’m super active with classes, cycling and gym. It’s helping!

Week 17 Post Op

Four months is definitely a milestone. There are huge improvements in my mobility. I played in a tournament today. I may not be able to get to every ball, but I can get to most of them. There is no pain. Swelling is really down. I even wore boots for the first time.

Now the focus is building strength in the calf. It’s a struggle to do a single leg raise on the recovering side. I can get it off the ground for a moment for now.

Week 16 Post op 4 days away from 4 months

Definitely getting back to exercising and tennis. Played 3 sets this week and at the end I was done. Wouldn’t want to play a league match. It’s hard to stop and I really can’t sprint to get to balls I could previously. My ankle is tight and occasionally there is pain on the outside, sometimes the heel (on the bottom) feels warm (but it is not to the touch) and sometimes there are just pains on the bottom of the foot. Again, all because there is very little calf strength. I am no where near being able to lift the injured heel off the ground solo. Limping is less and usually happens after stressing it, morning or after sitting for a while. I’m hoping that at the 6 month mark league play will be ok, realizing of course this is at least a 12 month recovery. Balance is everything, don’t do too much, don’t do too little. I have gained 7 pounds. The truth is I haven’t stuck to my healthy diet and with limited ability to exercise and family emergencies, the last two months were not good for weight gain. It will be ok! Now that moving more is a reality, I can stick to a healthy diet and those pounds with go away!

Week 15 post op

Happy New Year! At week 15 I’m able to clip in to the road bike. It is a little painful to clip out the way I normally do, so I clip out with the other foot then slowly move my foot out of the other pedal. I also can jog. With the jogging milestone, I wanted to try my first doubles tennis game since the rupture on September 9! This is one week away from 4 months since the injury. It went well. There are balls I would normally go for that I didn’t, but that isn’t bad. I didn’t expect to play exactly the way I did prior to the injury on my first try.
Still swelling. Not limping as much. The PT percussion massage actually feels good now! By wearing shoes with arch support, the pain may have transferred to the outside of my ankle. This is new. The PT thinks it will be o.k. and that new pain that shows up is probably the body letting you know not to advance too fast. The inexpensive flip flop shoes really have resolved the planar fasciitis.

Week 14 post op

First of all Merry Christmas! The update for this week is that I can jog a little bit. I tried a short jog just to see and plan on increasing that to a jog/walk on my normal route. (normal for what seems like forever ago). I’m hoping to hit some tennis balls with friends and sign up for a tennis “boot camp” which is basically drills just to see what I can do. The physical therapist said not to try pilates yet. I think I’m going to veto that and just do what I can. New this week at PT, lunges. One leg heel lifts on an incline are incredibly difficult.
After 3.5 months I still have the swelling. The achilles is tight. The bottom of the heel is sore without the heel support of a shoe. This is tragic for someone who loves to be barefoot.
I’m going to try to clip in on the road bike this week and do the full 20 miles. I want my active life back.

Week 13 post op

The exercises with the physical therapist advanced to heel drops and one leg heel lift on an incline. This is my new difficult movement. I am able to raise both heels to balance on the toes. The non injured foot does most of the work so it’s not equally balanced.
Swelling is STILL THERE! It’s so aggravating. I figured out my planar fasciitis at the end of the day might be because I walk around barefoot on a hard floor. I bought these flip flops that have really good arch support and it’s much better. I was able to fully tolerate the percussion massage and the “combing” of the achilles. New this week hot heel. I don’t know how else to describe it. The bottom of my heel feels hot but when you touch it is is not.

Week 12 post op

I saw the surgeon and he likes the way things are looking. He said it is ok to start doing standing heel lifts and lowering the heel beyond neutral. This should help stretch out the calf and head in the direction of full range of motion. Also coming up…jogging! Not until the mechanics can be executed correctly because you want to be in correct alignment so you don’t injure something else. The doctor still thinks match play won’t happen until the 6 month mark so March/April. I told two team captains about this so I may be off the team. Still, I’ll be back and there is tennis for anyone who wants to play.
I still have tightness, still get planar fasciitis more towards the end of the day and am still swelling. I’m on and off with limping. I still do PT everyday on my own and once a week with the therapist. I increased my last cycle ride to 10 miles and rode a paved trail with the mountain bike. I’m pretty sure I could clip in with the road bike but will wait until I do the full 20 miles I usually do. On the inclines I’m relying on my other leg to do most of the power for now. The trails are mostly flat. I put on some low boots for a picture and couldn’t walk in them on the injured leg. For now just tennis shoes which is ok with me. I think I might start pilates next week.