9 Weeks 3 Days (post op)

Last Monday December 13 was my 4th physio visit.  I am now exclusively in two shoes and taking extra care when in crowded places or on snow or ice.  At physio i was given new exercises.  I am now doing two leg calf raises for strength and single leg standing for balance.  The single leg standing came easily and i am able to do the initial  goal of 30secs at a time with no pain.  I was very cautious when i first attempted the two leg calf raises.  At present i am doing 3 sets of 10 reps every day.   I confess i am favouring the uninjured leg but trying to stop that and even the weight out.  When i can easily do 3 sets of 20 reps my physio wants me to start the single eccentric calf raise but that seems a while off yet.  At that time i am also to start standing on the wobble board to improve balance. Nowadays I am noticing more stiffness and slight swelling in my ankle but i am sure it is down to the increased use of the injured leg with the walking and exercises.  I am fortunately not experiencing any pain.

Hope everyone is recovering well and i wish you all a happy holidays.  Paul

7 Weeks 2 Days (Post Op)

On Monday November 29 (6 weeks 4 days,  post op) i went for my 3rd visit to my physiotherapist.  She was pleasantly surprised to see that i was out of the boot and walking unaided in two shoes.   I told her that eventhough my surgeons protocol reads “at 8 weeks, wean off boot” he told me that i could now walk in shoes.  I was walking slowly with a limp but not feeling any pain.  Physio started with a heat wrap and then some stretching of the ankle.  I then used the wobble board while sitting on the edge of the bed.  Then i was taught how to use the Thera-Bands to increase ROM and strength. I then worked on lunges(stationary feet) to stretch.  I was also given a lesson on how to walk again.  I found that this exercise was much easier when walking towards a full length mirror.  I could minimise the limp when i could see myself doing it!  With my toes up against a wall,  measurements were taken to gauge the distance of my knee from the wall.  I spent 20 minutes barefoot on the stationary bike.  My therapist gave me my exercise homework and the session ended with e-stim and icing. 

Now that i am walking mostly in two shoes (putting the boot on outdoors for protection) i am noticing swelling of the ankle but not experiencing any pain.  On occasion i am elevating and icing my ankle, something i have not had to do since first going into the boot.  I am noticing that my walking is improving with less limp and a longer stride(good leg going a little further past the injured one).  I am concentrating on not pointing my injured foot out.   Going up stairs is no problem but coming down them is slower.   So far,  i do most of my walking indoors and have only ventured outside a couple of times.  Since i was given my new homework i have found myself  with the tape measure out to determine if  i am improving my flexibility.  It is slow but sure.  I have, for the first time since surgery,  driven the vehicle again(just around the block to see how i coped).   I did fine and will drive when necessary. 

It is great to be walking in shoes again but i am still  wary of the injured leg, especially when outside.  Nevertheless, i have found myself on occasion forgetting i have recently had surgery and hope i do not become complacent.  I still have some way to go and cannot imagine standing on my toes!

I hope everyone is recovering well .  Paul

40 Days Post Op

On Tuesday November 23 i went for my second(post op) visit to the surgeon.  It was 5 weeks and 5 days since my ATR was operated on.  The surgeon inspected his handwork.  He felt the length of the tendon and i had no soreness.  My foot was also moved in all directions.  He told me that the tendon had healed nicely and that my foot was at neutral.  He gave me permission to remove my last heel lift in the aircast boot.  He then went on to say that i could “get out of the boot” in a weeks time and move to shoes.  This took me by surprise as this progression would be 9 days ahead of his aggressive protocol.   I asked about a heel lift in the shoe and he said not necessary, just a comfortable pair of shoes like runners(trainers).  I told him that i had not yet attempted any weight bearing out of the boot and he informed me that now i could.  He also gave me the ok to start swimming which i enjoy.

As i thought about walking barefoot and in two shoes i asked the surgeon about the possibility of reinjuring the tendon.  He assured me that i would have to forcibly jar the heel,  falling on the front of my foot,  to cause damage.  He told me again that my recovery was good and that it was now all about regaining strength.  I asked when i should return for a follow up and he replied that i need not unless there was a complication.  Wow!  His nonchalant manner instilled confidence in me.


Nevertheless, I must admit that i am wary of walking barefoot,  nevermind shoes.  I will do this slowly and carefully, obviously indoors and with crutches.  When it comes to putting on shoes(next Tuesday) i will, at first,  practice indoors.  Outdoors(-25) is another story with all the snow and possibility of a slip.  When i first venture outdoors in two shoes i will likely take my crutches(grips attached) for safety.

I am off to give it a go!  Speedy recovery to all and take care. Paul

2nd Physio Visit

On Wednesday November 17 (34 days post op) i went to physio for the second time.  I explained that i was down to a 1cm heel lift in my aircast boot and that i was not using crutches anymore(following  my surgeons protocol).   My ankle was heated and i showed my ROM to my physio.  She was pleased to see that i could dorsiflex to neutral.  She manipulated my ankle/foot and commented on some stiffness which she said was to be expected with being in the boot most of the time.  She took my foot past any point i have (inversion, eversion and dorsiflexion).  She also said that we were limited at this stage as to what i could do with regard to exercising beyond what i am already doing  and that many patients do not start their physio this early.   I was given some new exercises using a wobble board.  I sat on the bed and rested my legs on the wobble board and rolled my feet in different directions.  I found this to be a useful exercise and am considering buying a wobble board to continue the exercises at home.  I also spent time riding the stationary bike(boot on), which i enjoy, but knew that other than increasing blood circulation in the leg and working the upper part of it, this is more for cardio.  The visit ended with leg raised with e-stim and icing.  I felt no discomfort after physiotherapy and am looking forward to my 2nd post op visit to the surgeon next week.

New to site. 4 weeks post op.

My Story-

On the evening of Wednesday October 6 i was playing tennis in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.  I was back pedaling to the base line to return a shot when i injured my right heel.  I felt as if my foot had dipped into a depression in the court surface.  I actually looked behind me to find it.  I fell to the ground and had a sharp burning sensation in my calf.  I tried to get up but had difficulty walking.  I shuffled over to the corner of the court and told my fellow players i was done for the night.  I hobbled to my home and iced and elevated my right leg.  I knew i had done some damage but did not want to face the fact that i could have torn my achilles.  I told myself i would see how i was the next day.

On Thursday October 7 I could put little weight on my right foot and i was getting around very slowly.  I went to work and had a miserable time as my job involves me to be on my feet all day.  I decided that after work i would go to emergency for them to tell me what i already knew but did not want to hear.  The emergency room doctor examined my right leg and told me that i had a “classic ATR” and that “it would take a year to recover from this”.  He showed me the gap in my tendon.  This shocked me and i told myself that my goal would be to recover sooner than that.  He put me in a temporary splint(plantar flexion) and faxed off my details to the local Sports Medicine surgeon.

On Thursday October 14 i had surgery to repair my ruptured right achilles tendon.  Just after the operation the surgeon told me that the procedure had gone well and that i should return in two weeks to have the staples and cast removed.

I had significant pain for about 3 days.  After that i stopped taking pain killers.  The leg was uncomfortable and i found that the best medicine was to elevate the leg whenever possible.  I kept movement minimal at this time to encouarge the initial healing.  Toe wiggles and straight leg lifts were my exercises.

On Tuesday October 26(12 days post op) i had my cast and 12 staples removed from my right leg.  I was put in an aircast boot with a 2cm heel lift.  I started protected weight bearing with crutches.  I asked the surgeon about removing the boot at night to sleep.  He replied that if i was not a restless sleeper it would be ok to do so.  From this day on i have slept with my leg bare.

On Monday November 1(18 days post op) i attended my first physio appointment.  I was given a number of simple foot exercises to regain movement.

Over the following days i routinely exercised my foot as prescribed.  I also went for a walk every day(on crutches) attempting a little further each day with a little more weight on my right leg.

On Monday November 8 i began weight bearing while in aircast boot without crutches.  This was for a short period of time and only indoors.

Over the next couple of days i found that i could get about the house without the aid of crutches.  I can navigate a flight of stairs without crutches and one handrail.

On Thursday November 11(28 days post op) i removed a 1cm heel lift from my aircast boot.  I am now walking in my aircast boot with a 1cm heel lift.

 Second physio appointment next Wednesday.

I will be interested in any of your comments or questions regarding my experience and i wish you all a speedy recovery.