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.
shoes

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.

Week 11 Post Op

This week is all about patience! I really want to advance my therapy and physical activity. However the Physical Therapist admonished me to follow directions. I’ve got one shot at getting this right.
This Friday will be my 12 week follow up with the surgeon. Hopefully I will be cleared to stretch the calf so that I can move towards full range of motion.
Leg presses hurt on the right side of the ankle. I can tell if I were to push it by running I would throw the rest of my body off because I can’t do the motion correctly … yet. I know there is progress because I can do the step off without pain. I still have stiffness in the morning.
Towards the end of the day the ankle and foot still swells. Still have occasional planar fasciitis and am still limping, PT still says this is because I don’t have full range of motion engaging my calf.
Still have hard incision nodules on both sides of my ankle that don’t hurt with shoes. The calf percussion massage doesn’t bother me as much anymore. But the calf scrapping tool is ridiculously painful. I call it torture! So formal PT once a week in the office. And the other days I repeat the same exercises in my other post. The PT didn’t add anything new this week. I’m up to a six mile bike ride a few times a week.

Week 10 Post Op

Week 10! My typical stiffness is still there in the morning, followed by PT repeat at home, an activity like cycling (I am up to 6 miles now/30 minutes), then swelling. The plantar fasciitis that I get towards the end of the day might be getting a little better. The doctor keeps doing the percussion massage once a week, while it hurts like hell, I did better with it this week. Then he does this scraping thing all over the muscle. He went a little deeper with that this week and that hurt. Still walking with a limp and the physical therapist says that is because I’m not able to fully stretch the calf muscle yet. By the next post op visit I should be cleared to do calf raises and really stretch out the calf muscle. I can’t wait!!! That will be week 12.
Also new this week I balanced on a square bosu flat side up for 2 minutes in a partial squat. Stepping off a 4 inch step (equivalent to a curb) is much improved! Much less pain.
Mentally I’m hanging in there. I’m missing tennis a lot. My fellow achilles recovery friend hit with me again this week and is helping me change my serve. That is something to look forward to there is nothing like hitting the snot out of a ball. For now the next milestone will be the post op visit in 2 weeks and moving into full range of motion. Yippeee!
I really don’t see the difference in my calf size from the left or the right. I’ve always had pretty big calves.
calf