Turning My Crossfit Injury Into Opportunity

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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Pre Op with the Ortho

Friday 12/21/13

I was fortunate enough to get in to see the orthopedic surgeon the day after my accident.

Here is a photo I took after they removed the splint that was applied at the E.R.

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The surgeon said it looked pretty good and the swelling was very minimal since I kept it elevated the entire 24 hours that had passed.

He didn’t have to perform an MRI because all he head to do was push down on my skin a bit and you could see one of the ends near my calf.  They wrapped it up in a single ace bandage and threw me in a boot. He told me to avoid weight bearing and keep using crutches. If I ended up putting weight on it, nothing would really happen. Essentially I couldn’t do anymore damage.

Because of the holiday we had to set up the surgery for the day after Christmas. I had plans to visit my mom in Kansas City, a 9 hour car ride from Chicago.  the Doctor advised against it, but said if I had to, just keep it elevated and take 2 aspirin a day to prevent blood clots. Normally they tell you not to take anything that would thin your blood , but he said better to be safe than sorry  and he would be using a tourniquet anyway so there was no danger.

If I had to do it all over again I would not have made that trip. On one hand it certainly kept me from getting bored for a week while waiting, but it was hard. Hard on both myself and my wife who basically had to take over the man duties of packing the car , carrying the gifts ETC. It was a less than pleasant experience for both of us, but I don’t see my mom often.  In the car I was laid up in the backseat with pillows to keep my foot elevated.

Scene of the Crime

My rupture happened on Thursday December 20th at 815AM at my Crossfit box.

The WOD was as follows

4 Rounds for Time

5 Dead Lift #275
10 Spiderman Push Ups
15 Hollow Rocks
20 Box Jumps

This wasnt a particularly hard workout, beyond the fact that deadlifts are one of my least favorite lifts. I was killing it through 2 rounds I made my way over to the box jumps in the 3rd round and just started rattling them off. I was rebounding at the bottom and resting at the top. At about rep 10 I started thinking about how good I had become at rebounding, almost as if I had springs in my feet.

Then, rep 13 came, I got to the bottom and felt the infamous phantom kick to the back of my leg. It’s pretty crazy how real that seemed. I actually looked behind  me in anger thinking someone was paying a sick joke on me.

No one was there.

I sat there for a second and surveyed my left leg to understand what just happened. There was no pain in my ankle, I’ve sprained ankles and actually broken my right  before, I knew it wasn’t that. Actually there wasnt much pain in general.

I tried to stand up. It felt like I was standing on a decline, again no pain, just no strength or stability.

I sat right back down.

Then I got sick to my stomach as it dawned on me what happened. I touch the  depressed area where my achilles cord should be.


For the next 20 minutes I sat in a chair with an ice pack on my foot and sweat, trying with all of my might to keep from vomiting. I’m not sure if the nausea was caused by the trauma to my body or realizing the fact that I was going to be sidelined for an indefinite, and probably long, period of time.

This can’t be happening!

My first competition is in a month.

I’m really good at this


We went to the hospital, they did the Thompson test . I failed. They gave me some meds and a recommendation for an Orthopedic Surgeon and the rest is history and I slept the rest of the day.

I’m going to make multiple posts today to get the blog caught up to present day. I appreciate your following my story. Those blogs I’ve read on this site have been both inspirational and informational, So I hope that I can put the next guy at ease, or at least help them realize  they’re not alone. I didn’t see many Crossfit injuries on this site, so perhaps that will be my niche.