Turning My Crossfit Injury Into Opportunity

Archive for January, 2013

NEED ADVICE: Physical Therapist is WAAAY more conservative than the Surgeon

So I went to the Physical therapist for the 3rd time yesterday and it is becoming apparent that it is a complete waste of time.

All 3 times it consisted of the following:

PT: “Do you have any pain?”

Me: No

PT:”Lets see you move it.”

I then move it to a bit further than neutral

PT:Wow you are doing great. This is one of the best cases of progress I’ve seen in an achilles rupture. The doctor is really impressed too. blah blah blah”

PT: You should have a few lifts left in your boot right? I wouldn’t take anymore out of there for now, this is a very slow process”

Me: I have just 1 lift left to remove and just 2 more days until it’s gone

PT: I wouldnt take it out for a week or so. Actually if things get swollen ( my ankle has not swollen at all since the 1st week post surgery) it might not be a bad idea to put one back in. Make sure you stay on 2 crutches too, very little weight bearing” ( I have been on just 1 crutch for a week FWB and for the most part I dont even use that crutch except for around the office and back and forth to the car)

PT: Well I will see you next week I don’t think we need another session this week,, you are doing so well!

This whole process takes about 10 minutes

I know my surgeon is far more progressive. He initially told me that in 4 weeks he wanted me to be at neutral in the boot, FWB with no crutches, which I am on track for. At my 2 week post op was was surpised I had not removed all of my lifts from my boot yet, and said my ROM was off the charts.

It seems to me that this PT is a waste of my time. I chose him because he is in the same office and my surgeon and would be able to communicate with him as much as needed.

Anyone else have this experience with the PT. It seems to me like if I’m 3 weeks ahead of schedule, then I should be doing whatever it is you do at that mark now? Make sense?

3 Week Follow-up and Another Mod Wod

Yesterday was my 3 week post op follow up.

Everything looked great. There was a bit of a smell coming from under the steri strips which had concerned me for a couple of days, but the doctor ripped the rest of the strips off and thought it was more likely just from the shower. He cleaned it up with peroxide and  told me to keep it dry for a couple of days and then return to showering.

I am at neutral now and just have 2 more lifts left to remove in my boot, which he said I could speed up and remove them both in the next week.  Everything feels great, although my plantar flexion is pretty weak, which is to be expected. Another appointment in 2 weeks when we are likely looking at two shoes!

This is what the wound looks like now.
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Went to the box again and only had to modify 1 movement for the WOD.

WOD- Alyssa’s Special

15 minute AMRAP

20 Pull Ups- Be sure to pay attention when coming down from the bar.

30 Air Squats - I was able to do these without pain or problem, but they may not be for everyone. Listen to your body.

30 Supermans ( this was in place of 20 Deadlifts (225/165)

30 Push Ups

20 Sit Ups

Result 2 Rounds +46 reps

My coach told me I look sad when I come in there, and he knows I want to do the lifting. He’s right, but it does feel great just to be in that atmosphere. I know I’ve said that a million times already!

An ALL CORE WOD ” Old School”

This one was pretty brutal and my core is officially shot, in a good way!

I was able to do this workout without any need to modify.

“Old School”

2 Rounds for time of:
15 Reps Toes to Bar
15 Floor Wipers (95/65)
15 Reps V-Ups
15 Reps of Hollow Rocks
15 Good Mornings (45lb)
15 Slam Balls
15 second  hanging L-Sits
15 Reps of Weighted AbMat Sit Ups (25/15lb)
15 Reps Shoulder Lifts (95/65)
15 Reps Barbell Leg Lifts (95/65)
15 Reps Med Ball Sit Ups -against wall (20/15)
Result: 17:49

Modified Crossfit WOD #2

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Today was my second consecutive day at the box

Of course I’m modifying everything to accommodate the fact that I am PWB.

8 minute AMRAP

4 Hang Clean/Pushpress #105 ( I did this right in front of a rack so I didn’t have to go all the way to the ground my left leg was bent and up on a 20″ box. I started with a yoga mat for cushion but it was too unstable, so I got rid of it and just bit the bullet.

8 Toes to bar

Result 5 rounds + 2

90 second rest THEN…

6 minute AMRAP

5 Pistols

10 Kettlebell swings #53 ( this was slightly more difficult. Again I used the 20 inch box, but had to kind of lean off the box a bit to make room for the kettlebell between my legs.  After a couple of rounds I got the hang of it.

Result 6 rounds +6

90 seconds rest THEN.

2 minute Max pushups.


Wow, that was one heck of a workout.  Again it’s great to be back in the community of crossfit. Fortunately I don’t feel any soreness afterward, and I actually think the exercise aids my overall recovery. Second session of PT is tonight.

If there is enough interest I could make some videos to illustrate how I modify these workouts to fit our injury. Just let me know.

First official Post Op Crossfit workout

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I have managed to stay in shape on my own since my operation , but today I ventured back into the box for my first “official” post op crossfit workout!

It was great to get that vomit reflex going again!

WOD- 20 min AMRAP

20- sitting crunch to wall ball (20#)

10 Ring row

10 Ring dip

Finished 6 rounds +30

It was great to get the blood flowing and the camaraderie back. Healing seems to be shifting more toward the mental side of things and this just gave me a big push. I plan to get back into it at least 3 times a week.

First PT Session

My first physical therapy session came on Friday, 2 weeks and 2 days post op.

I chose to stay in the sports medicine clinic linked with my doctor’s office. I did this mostly because the doctor or nurses would be just down the hall if there was any question about my protocol.

The first session was mostly evaluation. He said the goal would be to get to neutral in 6 weeks post op. After the evaluation he seemed optimistic and almost impressed saying I am just a few degrees from neutral already and it will be no problem to get to neutral in a few weeks.  I seem to be in good shape, but I could tell he didn’t want to get me to speed up recovery.

Tomorrow I will go back to the crossfit  box and get some coaching on what else I can be doing to maintain my strength and conditioning in the rest of my body. I’ve been working 0n my own, but honestly I think it will be a big boost in morale just to get back into the crossfit environment. I’ll post tomorrow with the results.

Arnica Gel?

I had a co worker stop by my desk yesterday and suggest the use of arnica gel  as a topical anti inflammatory. I looked it up and for $10 at Walgreens I thought i would give it a shot.

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It is advertised to reduce swelling, muscles stiffness and bruising.  I applied it twice during the day yesterday.

today I woke up to find my ankle feeling pretty great with minimal swelling. This part wasn’t all that phenomenal to me because it feels pretty good every morning. But the bruising was visibly less. I didnt take a before  pic so I don’t have any hard evidence to compare, but i did take one this morning . I will take another photo in a couple of days to shoe the difference.

Anyone have luck with this gel?

This afternoon is my first session of PT…Fingers crossed.

Range of Motion Video 15 Days post Op

this is a video showing my rage of motion now that I am 15 days post op. I will start physical therapy tomorrow, but have been doing these types of exercises 3 times a day for the last 4-5 days. Does anyone know how this compares to where I should be at this point?

Original Video - More videos at TinyPic

Turning Injury Into Opportunity

In the past week or so my mindset has changed from being devastated to being determined. Switching the focus from what I can’t do to what I can do.

I was inspired by watching some videos of Kate Rawlings. She has been a competitor in the Crossfit games and tore her achilles about a year ago. She immediately started thinking about how she could modify or scale WODs to keep up her level of fitness and get better at the things she can still do. This is the first video I watched . ( Still trying to figure out how to embed video)


I can still get stronger, here is a list of things I plan to continue working on while I’m just PWB

Push press

Hang Cleans

DB Cleans

Toes to Bar


Russian Twisters

Bench Press

Ring Dips

GHD Sit ups

Twinkie Huggers


Ring Rows

The list could go on. I will try to post some video of my work. I will be switching back and forth from my box and my local gym as I have in the past.

Here is an update photo 12 days post op As you will see in the background I am ironically a shoe designer/ developer. So I wont be fit testing any of my creating any time soon. I’m actually working on a crossfit shoe too. By the time it’s finished I might actually get to wear it!
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Week 1, Post Op Appointment


I now have a refurbished achilles tendon!

The surgery went well. I was in some pretty intense pain right after, but I’m a baby when it comes to needles, so I denied the offer of  a pain blocking shot in my leg. I was given a prescription for Norco and I certainly used them. It was taking 2 pills every 4 hours on the dot just to keep the pain down to a dull roar. Once I got through the weekend the pain had subsided and I didnt need any more pain killers. I just stuck with the anti inflammatory he prescribed.

In the post op appointment the following week  the doctor described my achilles as shredded once he saw it. He actually said it looked like a mop. that being said he had to cut away a little more on both ends to allow him to sew two solid pieces together. The big concern here was that it would be a little tighter and it would take more time to get it stretched out. Has anyone else had this issue? Any potential problems?

Given the tighter tendon,the fact that I am the youngest person he’s ever seen with this injury ( 29 yrs old) and my desire to get back to crossfit as quickly as possible, he told the physical therapist he wants me on a somewhat accelerated program.  ( I chose to go with the in house PT because I felt it was good to have my doctor in the same office in case there were questions and it’s also very close to my office) He apparently got a little blow back from the PT because of the concern for re-rupture, but the ortho pushed him on it because of his tremendous confidence in the sew job and the use of fiberwire.  This made me feel like he was actually on my side and progressive enough to want me back at crossfit as soon as I am able.

I was given a boot with 6 lifts in the heal. Every 5-7 days I am to remove one lift. It shouldn’t be painful to move to the next lift. He admited that the boot was ugly, but it was the one he believed would help me most. I could slowly add more weight bearing as I saw fit. If it swells, that’s an indicator I overdid it. I like this doctor!

Pic of my gnarly wound.  He commended me for keeping it elevated, which kept the swelling down. He said it showed how committed I was to getting it better.
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This is the ugly boot.
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