Paul1’s Achilles’ Blog

Hi Everyone.   Today I’m celebrating my 3rd week post surgery - and yes, i’m using the word ‘celebrate’ pretty loosely!    I’m a 58 year old retired married male with 3 boys all about to head back to college so life will be a little quieter soon.  I used to be an avid tennis player but when I tore my scapho-lunate tendon in my wrist last year, i decided to move on to a less-physically demanding sport and took up pickleball.   I was really loving it until July 16th of this year when i experienced a complete Achilles’ tendon tear.  I had surgery 10 days later on July 26th, wore a splint for 10 days and I’m now wearing a boot.   My next doc appt is in 1 0 days (~4 weeks post surgery) and I’m hoping that i may start weight bearing in boot at that time, we’ll see.

First I thought I’d just mention some of the things I did to prepare prior to surgery which really, really has helped make my life easier post-surgery.   I bought a shower seat and installed a hand-held shower spray (very simple to do) which has just been fantastic.   I have crutches of course, but I have also borrowed two knee scooters from neighbors (one for upstairs and one for downstairs in our 2-story house).   So nice not to have to lug a scooter up and down the stairs.  I’m sure lots of others have recommended similar things, but I didn’t come across them quickly so thought it might be worth mentioning here.

I think I got a very good surgeon and I’m confident with the work he has done, but I am somewhat concerned that he doesn’t seem to think PT will be needed.  I’ve seen a lot of posts that describe some of the PT work others are doing and I don’t want to miss the boat on anything.   My doc isn’t opposed to it, but says he just doesn’t think I’ll need it.  We’ll see.  Would love to get your feedback on your own experience with this.   I did print off the excellent summary from Dr. Berkson that was posted to this blogsite and provides some stretches to do over time, but would love to hear what else y’all might be doing - including pool work (we have a community pool i could use when the time comes).  For now (3 weeks post surgery) I’m just taking it easy and not doing much other than wiggling and curling my toes and doing some upper-body workout stuff.  I sleep without the boot and am loving it!

Best I can figure, my planned protocol will be to start boot walking 4 weeks post surgery, and continue in the boot through ~12 weeks when I will advance to shoe walking, probably with a heel lift although i’m just guessing.  I currently have 2 heel lifts in the boot and I figure that will get weaned down over the next 8 weeks in the boot.

Look forward to sharing stories with everyone and hearing good advice from all you experienced hands out there!


8 Responses to “Paul1’s Achilles’ Blog”

  1. Good luck on your journey Paul. I’m a newbie in this and hope that your recovery goes well!

  2. Paul, like you I tore mine playing PB, the very first day I ever played it. I was never much of a tennis player, but did play a lot of Platform Tennis for about 20 years. I was 65 when I ruptured my AT. I opted for the non-surgical route.

    I am shocked to hear that your surgeon doesn’t think you’ll “need” PT. Since you are retired, and not needing to hurry back to work, I’d strongly recommend you push for a PT referral, go at least a few times and see if it’s helpful for you.

    Are you planning on returning to PB? I have decided not to. I will stick to walking and golf.
    Best of luck as you progress through the process of healing.

  3. Hey Dan, thanks for your note. I’m so sorry that yours happened on the very first day of PB. I was an avid tennis player for many years but tore my scapho-lunate tendon in my wrist last year and so after healing, I thought I’d switch to a less strenuous sport. I played PB for about 5 months before I blew out my Achille’s tendon this year, but that was enough to get me hooked on the sport, so yes, I’m pretty sure that I’ll go back to playing it once I”m healed. I do think I’ll probably dial it down a bit on the court from now on though and attempt to avoid any further injury. In some respects, it’s probably good this happened as it’s given me some perspective on the need to back down on sports. In particular, I have also been an avid mountain biker for many years and in the recent past, I have barreled down the mountain at breakneck speeds - pushing my limits and I’m very fortunate that I never wiped out as those could have been catastrophic injuries.

    I do intend to ask for the PT referral, and my doc has already said no problem if I want it, he’ll refer me. His opinion is just that walking is really all that’s needed. I’m not quite sure when to start PT though. From what i’ve read on this blog, maybe the consensus is to start around 8-10 weeks postop - do you have a feel for it? I just passed my 6 weeks postop and will see the doc again in 2 weeks, so will get the PT referral then.

    I’m also a (lousy) golfer, and my wife and I are avid hikers too, so there’s plenty of things to keep me busy.

    Wish you all the best!

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  5. Paul, I tore mine playing PB on the very first day I ever played it, just like you did. I was never a particularly good play tic tac toe tennis player, but I did spend around 20 years participating in a lot of Platform Tennis. When I ruptured my ACL, I was 65 years old. I decided to go the non-surgical path instead.

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