Bad Adhesion - Need ATR Veteran’s advice

May 8, 2012

I am just over 11 months post op and am back to full on workouts, running, jumping, etc. However I not happy with the way it has turned out, I have such bad adhesion that it looks and feels like my skin against achilles is glued to the tendon. When I point toes away from me you can see the skin curl or bunch up around the tendon. It doesn’t cause me any pain or problems but I still dont think I have full range of motion because of it and I don’t think my calf is recovering the way it should because it is hindered by this adhesion. I blame myself for this now as I did not seek out the BEST physical therapist out there and just went with one my surgeon sent me to. After several weeks of therapy I felt like the therapist I had was really uneducated on achilles tendon rehab. So, to those behind me find the BEST therapist out there that specializes in achilles tendon repairs! I know there are a couple veterans on here (Normofthenorth) that are very knowledgeable on the subject. The mistakes I made several months ago are obviously in the past, my question is what could be done now if anything? Should I schedule and appt to go back in to surgeon and get his opinion?

Bruising around achilles at 5 months WTF?

November 7, 2011

I am at 5 and half months since surgery and to date my recovery has gone great. I am pretty much back to normal running and training. I also have fairly good strength as I can do about 15 unassisted single leg heel raises. I noticed a couple of days ago some discoloration on the back of my achilles like it was bruised. Now it is all along the inside of my ankle and still on back of achilles. Anyone have any insight as to what this might be or what could have caused it? I have not done anything out of the ordinary as far as workouts and I have overstretched or rolled my ankle in any way. I do crossfit which is pretty extreme workouts and am a little nervous to go right now. Any thoughts?

5 months - feeling about 90%

October 28, 2011

Well my 5 month anniversary since surgery was Oct 24. A lot has happened since then to now and time has really started to fly by again once life got back to normal for me. I would say I am at about 90% right now. I am back to doing everything in crossfit including box jumps and double unders with a jump rope (which is great therapy by the way). I still don’t quite have the strength to explode into a sprint whenever I please. I can get going at a pretty decent pace and run quite comfortably now without being paranoid or worried about my achilles. I have seen a lot of improvement specifically in the last month. A month ago I was getting pretty frustrated trying to do one leg heel raises. I think that seems like one of the last hurdles or even goals if you will for everyone that goes through this process. I was told by my pt that when I could bust out 25 single leg raises I was ready to do anything I wanted. Before this last month I had been trying for 6 weeks straight and couldn’t seem to get more than one or two unassisted, then I would have to put my hands on a countertop for a little assistance. Well finally over this last month it was like the strength just came to me all of a sudden. Now I can do about 15-20 in a row unassisted. I still cant get quite as high on my toes as my good foot. So I can tell that my ROM is still not 100%. I blame myself for this as I have not done much therapy or ROM stretching over the last 2 months. I just got married on Oct 15 so wedding planning was pretty much my life the last 2 months. I have lots of excuses lol! Anyway, I wanted to update my post since it has been a while. It really doesn’t bother me at all anymore in daily activities which is great. The tendon is still a little thicker than my good leg, I think it will go back to normal over time. I was able to play some sand volleyball on my honeymoon on the beach and it felt great even jumping up to spike the ball. I didn’t have the lift off that I used to have but it felt good overall. Good luck to those just starting this process and keep your head up. As I look back on it I would say the first 4-5 weeks were long and sucky. After that you get to the FWB stage with your boot and time will start to fly by.

15.5 Long weeks and finally jogging

September 9, 2011

It has been a long summer for me this year. I am almost 16 weeks since surgery and I think I have about another 12 weeks til I am 100%. I would say I am between 60-70% right now. I can easily and quickly do double heel raises with weight evenly distributed. I can only about 1 or 2 one leg raises on my bad leg. I have started jump roping some, seems to give calf a pretty good workout. The best workout lately is running. I ran a mile yesterday and my calf is really sore today which is great. I can finally walk completely normal, even with long strides and a pretty fast pace. Seems like that period from going to 2 shoes and walking with a definite limp to now which has been about 8 weeks, has taken much longer than I expected. I don’t really have any swelling in my ankle at all anymore. Even after the mile run yesterday it didn’t swell hardly at all. I was pleasantly surprised as I expected it to swell up pretty big. However, my repaired AT is still a lot thicker than my good AT. I asked my surgeon about it yesterday at my checkup and he said over time it would go back to normal but could take up to a year. It has felt great to be able to do Crossfit again with the rest of the class. About the only thing I still can’t do at this point is double unders and box jumps. I have been doing all squats, deadlifts, lunges, running, rowing, etc with no problems. To everyone behind me in the road to recovery BE PATIENT! Things will get better and back to normal. I am getting married on October 15 and look forward to the honeymoon/vacation and am SO glad and appreciative that I will be able to walk down the aisle and dance at the reception. Hope everyone is also having a speedy recovery! Til next time go OSU Cowboys!

9.5 weeks and update with dr

July 29, 2011

I am 9.5 weeks since surgery and although I know I am progressing every day, it seems slower now than the first 7 weeks. I can almost walk without the limp, depending on the shoes I am wearing. I have a little limp in my dress shoes, none at all in my tennis shoes. At my follow up appt my main question to my doc was when I could become more aggressive with my activities and workouts, and basically when it was healed to the point where I could quit worrying so much about re-rupture. I know every doctor has a different opinion on this but I thought he gave me some pretty valuable information that I would share. He stated the collagen in the tendon as it healed would actually weaken a little before it actually hardened back up. He also stated this was specifically between the weeks 9-12 weeks post op. This made sense as I have read numerous times on here that the most popular times that people re-ruptured was between 8-12 weeks. His answer to my question was that at 13 weeks he would clear me to start getting quite aggressive with my workouts and that I could start jogging. After what he told me I figured I have waited this long and another 3.5 weeks wouldn’t kill me. It has been nice to be back in shoes as I finally start to feel somewhat normal again. I don’t have people walking by and looking straight down at my boot or have to get up in the middle of the night and strap my boot on to go to the bathroom. I plan on playing my first round of golf next Thursday which I am pretty stoked about. I have been to the driving range a couple times so we will see how it goes. Hope everyone is doing great!

Question for men that wear dress shoes to work?

July 16, 2011

I am 7 and a half weeks post op and I have an appointment to go back to see the doc next Thursday. He told me to bring my other shoe with me so obviously I am pretty stoked about hopefully getting rid of the boot for good. I have been doing a lot of walking around already without the boot and can walk almost normal as long as I am in a shoe with a thick heel sole. I would like to hear from all of the guys like myself that have to wear dress shoes to work all day. How was the transition into your dress shoes which most have hardly any heel raise and almost no cushion? I am wanting to prepare myself to try and go back to work without the boot and want to know from guys that have already been thru this stage what they used or did that worked. Has anyone used any inserts that worked for them? Heel wedges? I work 10-12 hrs a day sometimes so just a little nervous about leaving the boot off for the first time I come to work. Any input or advice would be greatly appreciated.

Did Crossfit without boot!!

July 13, 2011

Well today was great for me. I did my first real crossfit workout since the injury today without my boot. Anybody that does crossfit is pretty familiar with how intense the workouts are so I was gasping for air at the end of the WOD, but overall it felt really good to be able to get back into it.  The workout I did today was:

For time:

21 deadlifts

50 squats

21 shoulder press

15 deadlifts

50 squats

15 shoulder press

9 deadlifts

50 squats

9 shoulder press

My time was 10:32, I did only 135 on deadlifts and 95 on shoulder press so kept the weight pretty light. My tendon felt great thru the whole workout, I was very careful especially as I started to get fatigued not to step on it wrong or too abrupt. I think it was good for my whole right leg to get a good workout and get the blood flowing. I felt a little tightness at the bottom of the deadlifts and squats but no pain at all. I am 7 weeks post op and not supposed to be out of my boot yet but it seems to be gaining more and more strength every day. It actually bugs me now to wear the boot as I can feel my ankle starting to stiffen up with long periods of the boot on. Hopefully this gives some hope for the people behind me who love to exercise that you will be back at it before you know it. Just be patient!

Therapist not massaging, how can I do it?

July 12, 2011

I am 7 weeks post op today and everything seems to be progressing and healing nicely. I have had 2 PT sessions: the first was a big waste of time since my dr’s office did not send over the protocol for the therapist to follow. The second session was productive as I did lots of different stretching, balancing on my bad foot, and ROM exercises. I also rode the bike for about 10 min. I have heard a lot of people talking about their therapist doing a deep massage on the tendon. I asked my therapist about it and he didn’t seem to know what I was talking about so it doesn’t sound like that will be part of the plan for me. Is this something I can do at home myself? Is there any certain way it is supposed to be done? I know this is to break up adhesion and scar tissue so i wanna be sure it gets done. I have thought about finding a sports massage therapist that has possibly dealt with this before. Any ideas?

5 weeks post op walking around house

June 28, 2011

I am exactly 5 weeks post op today. I feel like I have progressed a ton since I got my cast off 2 weeks ago. I have my next appt on Thursday, 2 days from now. I have been FWB in my boot for a week and a half now. About 4 days ago I started walking around the house without the boot (very carefully) so my foot can get used to my body weight on it. I also took my shower chair out and am standing in the shower which I love. I hated that dang shower chair, made me feel 90 yrs old!! I have been doing my abc’s with my foot at night to help with my range of motion and icing as much as I can. My incision is almost completely healed and the scab has all fallen off, I have nice new pink skin underneath and it looks better than I expected. I will start PT next week and hope to progress even faster as I start to get strength back in the calf and tendon. It has been nice to be walking again because I can do so many little things again that I was used to doing daily. I have got back in the gym doing crossfit again and lifting weights, I can actually do some yard work again, and I can help my fiance with chores around the house. I know she is relieved as I have wore her out with things that need to be done that I usually take care of ( I am a bit anal about the yard and the house lol). I am hoping to be back in a shoe at the 8 week mark at the latest. I don’t know how many golfers there are on here but how soon did some of you guys get back playing 18 holes? That is one of the things I miss the most, I have missed a whole summer of golf so far and it is killing me! I was hoping to play by 10 weeks. Is that too soon? I hope this helps some of the people that are just starting this process or a few weeks behind me. Once you get past the first 2-3 weeks things will start to get better so keep your chin up everybody that is just starting this process.

Recap from Injury to Current

June 21, 2011

I ruptured my achilles tendon on Wednesday May 18th during a Crossfit WOD. Anyone familiar with crossfit knows boxjumps are one of the exercises of many of the WODs we do. ATR I have found is also a common injury from doing box jumps. Anyway I was doing a 20 min AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) of

4 shoot throughs

8 kb sdhp 70#

12 box jumps 24″ box

I was 6 rounds in, and in the middle of box jumps when I came down, went to spring back up on the box and it sounded like a gunshot went off. I thought somebody behind had dropped their kettle bell on my ankle but turned around and nobody was there. I fell to the ground, felt the back of my ankle and immediately knew what had happened. I went in to the nearest Urgent Care and was referred to an Orthopedic Specialist the next day. He confirmed what I already suspected and suggested surgery asap. I was devastated as I had almost every weekend for the next 2 months planned with golf and lake trips. I crossfit 4 times/wk, play golf at least once/per week and usually hit the lake on the weekend during summer. I do all of this on top of working about 50-60 hrs/wk. So if you haven’t realized I go 200 mph daily. I love to be active and enjoy life so the week leading up to the surgery I was very very depressed and feeling sorry for myself.

I had never had a major surgery before so was pretty nervous about being put under. My surgery was Tue May 24, 6 days after my injury at 7:00 in the morning. My fiance and I had already prepared for the next few weeks by taking off work for a week, stocking up the kitchen, buying a shower chair, and arranging the bedroom with my xbox, tv, and magazines to keep me occupied for the week ahead. I came out of the surgery pain free because they did the nerve block from the knee down. It wore off early the next day and I started taking the pain meds prescribed. The day after surgery was the most painful day I had. The next 4 days I stayed in bed, only getting up to use the bathroom. I even waited to shower for the first time on Friday. I was dreading using the shower chair and having my fiance help me. I went back to the dr. on friday 4 days after surgery and they took the splint and wrapping off. My ankle was pretty swollen and the incision looked pretty nasty. It was about 4 inches long just on the inside of my ankle. The PA had a look at it and told me I would be put into a cast for 3 weeks. So I got my cast put on, they pushed my foot up toward my body as far as I could stand it when they put the cast on.

Week 2 I went back to work and had my foot up on top of my desk most of the time I was there. It would immediately start swelling and throbing when I lowered it down to the ground. Everything was pretty much a pain in the rear: showering, making myself breakfast, driving, crutching around trying to get dressed. Everything literally wore me out. All I could think about was getting back to the gym and playing golf and chillin on the lake. My fiance was awesome in helping keeping my spirits up and helping me when she could.

Week 3 I felt like my achilles as a whole was feeling much better. I could move it around in the cast and even started flexing, pushing my foot down against the cast and flexing upward with my toes. I was definitely ready to get it off and see how much my calf had shrunk. Finally the day came to get the cast off. Time seemed to go by so slow the week before I was to get it off. On a good note I had returned to crossfit, our coach put together some WODs that were strictly upper body for me. Anything to get my heart rate up and get a workout!

The cast was sawed off and I looked everything over. My calf and shrunk even more than I expected, but my incision looked like it was healing nicely. I waited for a while wondering if I would get to see my surgeon or the PA again. I had many questions and was hoping for all around good news. The surgeon and the PA finally came in, he started poking around on it a little and said everything looked good. He said the next step was another cast at 90 degrees and it would be a walking cast. This is not what I was wanting to hear!! I was hoping for the boot. I put on my selling shoes (sales is what I do) and explained why I wanted the boot over the cast. He stated, “I trust you about as far as I can throw ya.” He knew how active I was and how much I wanted to get back to walking. I finally convinced him I would keep the boot on 24/7 and would be very careful. I asked about starting out with wedges in the boot to progress to the 90 degree angle that the boot was. He informed that “that was for baby’s.”  As I tried to get my ankle all the way down into the boot I became very nervous because the tendon was sooo tight. He assured me that it would not rupture again and it would be ok to immediately stretch it to 90. I couldn’t physically push my heel all the way into it, so he instructed me to take a deep breath and let it out slowly, he then pushed it down in one sudden shove. I about sh** my pants!! I felt an unbelievable tightness from my heel all the way to top of the calf. I didn’t sleep at all that night as it was throbbing pretty bad. It got used to the stretch within a full 24 hrs though. I was pretty excited to be able to shower without having to worry about keeping my bad leg dry. I also liked that I could ice my ankle directly, and that my incision would have air so it could continue to heal faster. I also inquired about the steps ahead and he said as follows: let the achilles adjust to the new stretched position for a few days then start putting partial weight on the leg, ditch the crutches as soon as comfortable, come back in two weeks for follow up and start PT.

So today I am exactly 4 weeks post op. I am totally off of the crutches walking in my boot. It is so nice to be able to have my hands free to do just the littlest things! I actually stood in the shower this morning (I know I shouldn’t have!) it felt so nice to have the hot water running down my back! I ice my achilles area atleast twice a day and try to move my foot a little when I have the boot off, still feels very stiff and tight. I am still going to the gym and getting upper body workouts in. I will start PT hopefully in a little more than a week, and I hope progress will start to move a little faster at that point.