Week 11 - Walking in 2 shoes! But sore…

I started walking with two shoes a week ago at week 10 (huge milestone for me!). It felt great to feel like a “normal” person again without that big contraption on my foot, but it’s definitely more difficult to get around the city quickly. I felt really good in the boot, with no pain, and I could keep up easily with all the hyper fast walkers in NY.

Now withou the boot, the tendon definitely feels pain after I’ve walked for too long and I can’t walk very fast yet. Last night was the first night I actually felt a sore pain that worried me a little (I was standing for a couple hours straight hanging out with some friends at a crowded bar).

PT has gone well twice a week and the therapist is focusing on light weights to target my calf muscle without straining the tendon. Just 12 min on the stationary bike. Assisted 2 legged calf raises with partial weight on my hands, standing squats holding the 90 degree position with no weight, resistance band, one-legged calf stands (slowly lowering myself on the balls of my bad leg and then rising up with the help my good leg), and finally single leg calf presses on the leg machine with 20 lbs.

Therapist says that the negative muscle motion is more important than the positive, so I’m focusing on pausing at the top of any movement and it really gets the calf muscle burning.. Even shakes uncontrollably when I get close to muscle fatigue but the therapist says thats totally normal.

Nowhere near running at all yet, but the walk before the run is definitely in full effect!

Week 6 - 2nd post-op follow-up appointment

I saw the dr today for my 2nd post-op visit, and he said everything is looking really good. This was the first time that I’ve actually seen the Thompson Test produce a positive result, so I felt like my tendon was really starting to heal.

I was supposed to be non-weight bearing up until now, but I didn’t tell him that I have been doing some very light PWB with crutches since week 5. I wasn’t feeling any pain at all and there was very little swelling so I didn’t feel like I was pushing myself too fast.

Week 6 marked a number of milestones, although a couple of them I jumped the gun on already. He told me I could stop doing the daily Lovenox injections (hallelujah!), and no need to sleep with the boot on (I stopped a week ago!). Most importantly, I can do FWB with crutches (woohoo! Now I can carry my own coffee in the mornings!), and in 2 weeks I should be able to walk without the crutches.

Now my next big goal is week 8 when I can walk without crutches, and then the REALLY big one… Week 10 when I can transition from the boot to a shoe. I can hardly wait.

Let’s do some PT!!!!

Left knee swelling.. could it be from the knee scooter?

Leg Scooter
Ever since week 2, I’ve been using a knee scooter to get to and from work, and it’s week 5 now. The scooter has been a God-send because getting around in NYC is not easy on crutches, and I find it’s much faster and less tiring. Plus, I felt like a kid again.

But after 2 weeks of using it, I noticed that my left knee (on the injured leg) was starting to hurt and swell. It got to the point where it was painful to put weight on it, and it hurt to extend it fully and bend it completely. I started taking ibuprofen and icing to bring the swelling down, and I switched back to crutches 4 days ago. The swelling has gone down, and it’s not as painful but still weak.

I think I’ll stick to crutches for now since I’m going in for my 2nd post-op visit this week to hopefully start full weight bearing. I don’t want my knee to get in the way of any of my achilles recovery. Has anyone else had issues like this using a leg scooter?

2 weeks Post-op

April 26 — Had my first follow-up appointment today, and I was eager to find out whether I could get out of my cast and into a boot. The nurse took off the bandages, and I felt like I hadn’t seen my bare left foot in months. It felt amazing and kind of naked for my bare ankles to feel the direct air, but it also felt really weak. Like I had been relying on the cast for stability for so long that now, the slightest movement would make my foot wobble.

I also got a first look at the wound. It wasn’t bad. I counted 6 stitches and it looked to be about one inch. There was still some bruising around my ankle and the foot was a still a little swollen. The nurse said everything looked great, and that I would be able to go home in a boot. I was ecstatic. Finally I can shower without a trash bag!

The doctor did another thompson test and I was a little freaked out that the foot didn’t really respond. He said that’s nothing to worry about and that it sometimes takes time for the tendon to attach before you see a strong reaction to the thompson. Anyone else out there have a similar experience with little or no reaction to the thompson test?

Finally, he told me to come back in four more weeks and we’ll start full weight bearing. He told me not to do any exercises at home, other than moving my toes, and that especially with the achillon procedure, you have to be very careful in the 4 weeks after surgery. Honestly, I wanted to push him for a more aggressive rehab protocol, but I was so happy to be able to go home in a boot that I let it go. The tough part was that he said to sleep in the boot.. We’ll see if I’m able to keep that part of the bargain. Nights are tough to get comfy!


BEFORE                                                              AFTER

1 day post-op

Here’s a pic of the big cast that the doctor put on me post op. I’m hoping I can get this thing off in the next 2 weeks. It wouldn’t be fun lugging this thing around the city. It’s not one of those typical plaster casts, but rather a splint with ace bandages wrapped around it. It seems like this would be more comfortable than a hard cast. Staying home from work for the next 2 weeks, but I feel lucky because I don’t really have any pain. Probably a 3 on the pain scale.

My cocktail menu for the next few days:
4 advil every 4 hours
1 injection of Lovenox in my stomach every day (to prevent clots in my blood stream)
1-2 percocets every 4 hours as needed
1 Lyrica every day

Cocktail Menu

Surgery Day - April 6

Three days after the injury, the Dr. confirmed that it was a full rupture and said that he could operate tomorrow because someone else cancelled their surgery. Thank God!!! He gave me a walking boot and sent me home.

The doctor will be using a procedure called Achillon that allows him to make a smaller incision (about 1 inch), which means less risk of infection and less of a scar.


The Achillon system

I found out after the surgery that this hospital is ranked #1 in the nation by US News for orthopedic surgery. My feet were in good hands.

“That’s weird. I can’t push off my left foot at all. Let’s go eat.”

Lenox Hill House

April 2, 2012 — The Lenox Hill Neighborhood House gym on 70th and 1st Ave. During the 5th game of the night, I was feeling good (despite not having played basketball in 7 months). It was a throw away game, and guys were barely making layups and dropping like flies with knee injuries and muscle cramps. That should’ve been a sign to stop.

But after a missed shot, my buddy and I were going for a rebound, when it felt like someone kicked the back of my calf. I went down and knew something was very wrong. My friend thought it was a cramp so he tried to stretch it out. I had a feeling this was no cramp. The funny thing was, it didn’t hurt as much as a cramp. It didn’t even hurt to put weight on it. I figured it was a bruised muscle, kinda like a charlie horse. So I figured I could just walk it off. We called it a night and we walked a few blocks to grab a burger.

Little did I know…