9 Weeks update

9 weeks on and things are getting back to normal. I am in two flat shoes with no limp (if slow), negotiate stairs, ride a road bike, swim, bounce my little baby on my bad leg, stand one footed (injured leg) pretty much indefinately and my calf is starting to grow again.  I am just short of full passive ROM, though it requires a bit of stretching before hand and my ankle is quite stiff in the morning.  I am pretty lucky in that I have had little pain througout, which is a blessing in a country that won’t perscribe pain killers, even in immediately post surgery, and have had no tightness or other issues with the scar tissue.  I also don’t seem to have any noticible swelling after long walks, though it does get stiff and I am limping by the end. 

I have, however, gained a bit of weight.  I am 2kg heavier than pre injury but that isn’t really telling the full story as I am sure I have lost a lot of muscle.  I am a normally very active person but burn most of my calories through play (moutain biking, skiing, mountaineering, trampolining, white water kayaking).  I find it hard to motivate to do tedius gym type excersize and I am finding it hard to adjust my eating and drinking habits to reflect my more sedintary lifestyle, especially given the boredom.  I even overheated my Playstation the other day!

Still, I am happy with my progress.  The biggest milestone was dropping the crutches and being able to carry my 4 month old son around.  He is even happier about the situation and I.  Last night we even did a bit of “dancing” in front of the bathroom mirror, which I never would have thought I would have been able to do even a couple weeks ago.  I think my next milestone will be MTBing in a boot. I did a search of the site and found this guy, Peter, who was killing it at 4 months.  If anyone could tell me what kind of boot he has on, it will be helpful.  I don’t think my vacocast is really up to the task.   http://achillesblog.com/peterh/files/2009/08/july-15-whistler-with-bryan-010-small.jpg 

5+ Weeks and Wondering…

What can I do in my boot? I am supposed to be partial weight bearing with 2 crutches but I get no pain or weakness walking FWB. Also, I have yet to go to physio and get it approved, but I can ride a stationary bike with no pain, fatigue or swelling, though I am loath to push it until I am approved. Is it possible I could stretch or otherwise damage my AT if I am doing things like biking or walking in my VacoCast if it isn’t hurting? I am keen to start commuting on my road bike, protected in a boot but am worried I could damage something.

1 Month in; Looking back and forward

As an aggressive skier and mountain biker,  I am no stranger to injury.  This most recent impairment has been somewhat more daunting than previous experiences, however.  I guess this is the case for most of us, hence the popularity of a blog site dedicated to ruptured Achilles tendons.

My ruptured my Achilles a little over a month ago skiing Hakuba, Japan’s backcountry.  I was caught in a rather large (Class 2-3 Canadian scale) slab avalanche and, either from the torquing of my skis in the tumble or from the awkward position of my leg and foot when I came to rest, I fully ruptured my left Achilles tendon.  Because of the nature of the events, I heard no pop nor felt no pain.  In fact, I did not know I had injured myself until several minutes after the event, when I tried to stand after being unburied by my ski partners.

While I had a long limp out over avalanche debris and a creek crossing, I was somewhat supported by a ski boot.  When I finally made it to flatter terrain, I was able to call on the help of snowmobiling friends, who I knew were in the area.

Because of some good luck and skilled friends, I have had a death sentence commuted to 8-9 months of hard labor, so I really am grateful.  Sometimes I need to remind myself of this when I start to feel sorry for myself.

In the 4 days I had between injury and going in for surgery, I did a lot of cram work and my biggest concern was the potential for Japanese doctors to follow a very conservative approach, such as full leg casts and the like.  My experience here is that they tend toward conservatism and dated methods in many things.  My fears proved unfounded, however, and I followed the well trodden path of 1 week cast, 1 week splint, vacoped at 2 weeks with 5 degree improvements every week.  As this is my third surgery in Japan, I was fully prepared for the complete absence of pain medication, so it didn’t come as a surprise when I wasn’t given any.  Luckily, this wasn’t the most painful of my operations.  Putting 7 pins in my shoulder and collarbone proved far worse.

So here I am at 4 weeks and a bit.  I am at 25degrees flexion, partial weight bearing and looking to drop another 5 degrees and a crutch in the next couple days.  I started light stationary biking last week with a return to upper body gym work. Right now the biggest hurdle is my mental state.  I am an active person who does a lot of adventure/adrenaline sport but not a lot of specific fitness activity, as I find it quite dull.  I also have a 4 month old baby who’s main entertainment is to be carried around, something I cannot do on crutches.  I try to focus on small improvements in my physical state but sometimes it seems to slow and a return to the things I find stimulating too distant.  The frustration of not being able to console my crying son is also a trial.  I just need to keep reminding myself how much worse it could have been, I guess.

Better still, I need to start looking forward.  I sadly had to cancel my annual Whistler Glacier summer terrain park ski trip in July.  I am hoping to be well enough to do a Colorado/Utah MTB trip I had planned for the high desert in mid Oct, but that would be exactly 7 months post surgery, so possibly somewhat overly ambitious.  I read a post by a guy who started MTBing in his boot quite early in his healing process, so I may look into that in a couple of months.  Until they, I will just keep on keeping on, dropping degrees of plantar flexion (I am never sure of the terms, having all this done in Japanese) and adding weight.  My first real goal is dropping the crutches so I can carry around my little boy.  That may just make all the difference.