Just another weblog

Merry Christmas!

Just wanted to wish everyone on the site a Merry Christmas!

I’m coming up for 18 months post-op in the New Year and still occasionally checking in to read the posts - can hardly believe how many bloggers there are now!

My right calf is still smaller than the other, the tendon a little thicker and a little tight for the first couple of steps in the morning, but generally I don’t think about it much anymore. I occasionally do single and double heel raises and hopping, just to check I can. The recent snow over here in the UK has made me less complacent and take extra care when walking, but that’s just me being sensible. There’s no real reason why I should any more at risk than anyone else now, but I KNOW how long the recovery is!

My job involves standing and walking around for 5 hours a day, with no after effects. I use my crosstrainer for up to half-an-hour at the time, but still haven’t really pushed myself physically - just short sprints when in the park with the children or running for the bus. My MSc dissertation is due in January so my New Year’s resolution will be to regain more physical fitness.

It is a long road to recovery, but in some ways now I’m almost glad it happened…I say almost, because obviously I would’ve preferred not to have gone through the injury with all its affects on family life in general, but having done so there are positives to take from it. I’ve learnt more about myself, and about my family and friends, and how wonderful the human body really is. There are many things to be appreciated which I hadn’t before.

Best wishes to all.


Well, yesterday was one year from my ATR-surgery. I didn’t celebrate it particularly, but there was a family gathering for my nephew’s 8th birthday involving a very long game of rounders and I had no problems with sprinting between bases etc.

That probably doesn’t sound like much to some, but I haven’t pushed the AT with any real running since it’s felt “normal”. I keep going with the stretches (cos they feel good!), the heel raises to try and improve the strength in the injured calf and use the cross-trainer when I have time. I also walk - a lot!

Hopefully having finished most of my MSc (just the dissertation left to do) I’ll have more time to do some more testing exercises soon.
I finished physio some time ago but am continuing some of the exercises I was given towards the end including spot-hopping forward/back/side/middle/side and comparing one-legged distance hops between the legs. Does that make sense?

I feel a lot more confident with my leg generally but didn’t want to push it with any running so close to our summer holiday - after having to cancel last year and disappoint the children. The calf muscle is still smaller than the uninjured side, the scar is visible with one patch of puckering whenI  flex and point, and there is a small nobbly bit at the bottom of the scar. It feels a little tight first thing in the morning but a couple of stretches and flexes soon cure that. I don’t have any swelling or pain, just some little red marks on the outside of the ankle area - poorer circulation which benefits from massage.

One Year Post-Op

One Year Post-Op

Heel Raise

Heel Raise

But this all sounds quite negative and that’s not how I feel at all. I’m just reiterating the point that many make that it takes time for everything to heal completely, my physio talked about 18 months for full recovery with changes to the scar tissue etc. I’ve been able to do good single-heel raises for some time, but still not quite as high as the uninjured side.




So I’m happy with how things are - I think I am now psychologically ready to try anything I might have tried before the injury. I’ve certainly learnt not to take things for granted and really appreciate being able to walk on my own two feet unaided.

And I can wear my red sparkly shoes again! Or any shoes I want for that matter…

Best wishes to all.

8 months already!

Well, it was the 8 month anniversary of my op last week and I saw the consultant on Friday 5th for a final signing-off session. He’s given the ok for me to do basically anything now and is very pleased with the strength of the tendon. Seemed happy with my walking and calf raises too this time!

There is some adherence in one part of the scar to the tissue underneath causing a slight puckering when I flex my foot, but surgeon was surprised I’d even noticed it. Said it might improve with vigorous massage but “not to worry about it”. As expected the repaired tendon is thicker than the uninjured one.

Will probably see the physio once a month for a few months yet as her advice has proved invaluable to me in my recovery and her manipulation and massage of the foot/ankle/leg always loosen things up even more. She says she’d prefer me not to start running again yet until I get my overall fitness back to where it was pre-injury, and she wants to work some more on improving my general flexibility which she feels has probably always been a little limited based on my uninjured leg. Am still doing single calf[raises and a sort of single-leg squat sideways on a step to build up strength - right calf still being smaller than the other.

Also still need to stretch first thing in the morning, particularly before trying to walk downstairs normally, but generally don’t think about my achilles now.

Can walk as much and as far as I want and at speed with no problem, am no longer worried about uneven surfaces or not being able to see where to put my foot, and can do a little run for the bus or train if I want to without thinking twice.

To celebrate I’ve sold the wheelchair- hurrah- and bought a crosstrainer.

And I’ve been out on the children’s trampoline in the sunshine today - the day it arrived and I tried to help my husband put it together whilst still NWB in a cast seems a lifetime ago now! It feels so great to be almost back to normal.

Best wishes to all.

6 months post-op

Today is 6 months post-op for me and as it’s the New Year as well, time to reflect a little. It’s been a tough year not just because of my ATR, but other family illnesses and the death of my Grandad on December 27th. But I don’t give up easily and am hoping for a happier and healthier 2010 for all.

I can walk pretty much at my pre-injury pace and without a limp unless I’ve been sitting for a while without stretching or have been on my feet all day. I have a small amount of calf muscle returning (wahay!), but realise this would increase more quickly if I actually had time to go to the gym or do more exercise generally…perhaps when I finish my Uni course I’ll have more spare time for that…

First thing in the morning I still need a few stretches to be able to walk normally, but that’s improving too. My dorsiflexion is not amazing, but based on my uninjured leg my physio has decided it probably never was. I remember ever since a child I have always naturally walked on my toes when barefoot and physio thinks that may have contributed to a shortened achilles and perhaps made me more prone to the injury?

I can do single calf-raises with something to lightly touch to keep my balance, but can go up on the toes on the injured foot without support for a short time (see piccie below), and can stand on one leg normally for as long as I might want to (Christmas and New Year excesses apart!).


I did a small amount of light jogging, jumping and hopping at my last physio session before Christmas and may be persuaded to try a little “proper” running in the near future.

I’m now seeing my physio once a fortnight to keep tabs on things and to have painful deep massage on the tendon and calf muscle. The injured tendon is thicker than the other one and I think there may still be some internal adhesion, but the scar has healed well.

The ice and snow before Christmas here in the UK were a bit of a challenge, but I used my hiking poles to give me confidence and stop my husband from worrying! I also used the poles for a muddy hillwalk between Christmas and New Year - going down was much scarier than going up, but that walk has increased my confidence in the repair when walking on uneven slippery ground.
It’s been a slow and steady recovery for me, but I now feel I’ve finally got to the stage where I generally forget about the ATR and am surprised when people ask if it’s ok because I’m automatically doing some stretches/calf-raises without consciously thinking about it.
Happy New Year to all again, and continued healing to all ATRees.

Christmas Wishes

Just wanted to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year!

Sam x

5 months post-op

Can hardly believe it’s been so long! Life in general has had to go back to “normal” for some time now (work, study, children, house etc) but in the last few weeks I’ve finally felt much more healed generally as well.

I have a slight limp when I try to walk too fast, have been on my feet all day or am very tired, but things are still slowly improving.

I’m seeing my physiotherapist every 2 weeks now and she says she can see some definite muscle tone returning to my injured leg. Hurrah!

Had my first ultrasound treatment at physio yesterday to try and improve circulation to one little point near the repair which was getting sore from the usual soft tissue massage.

Double calf raise!

Double calf raise!

I’m not doing amazing things, but can do controlled two-leg calf raises and am working on the single-leg one. 

I’ve been using the wobble board and trampette at physio, and exercise bike and wii-fit at home. The wii-fit has been great for adjusting the weight balance between left and right.
I’m also using the skiing, hula-hoop, step, tightrope walking, yoga and muscle exercises on it.

I have  been able to walk downstairs normally for a couple of weeks now - felt a bit stupid about taking so long to do that though…I was concentrating so hard on getting more weight through my heel to the floor that I wasn’t lifting and bending the knee properly. Der!!! But my excuse is after some 12 weeks NWB my leg had obviously forgotten how to walk and bend properly.

So generally I am a lot more confident with my healed tendon - feels good and strong, rarely painful, but still needs regular stretching and physio exercises. PT has suggested we might try running after Christmas……hmmm, not quite sure yet, but maybe…..

Best wishes to all. x

Surgeon’s 18-week check-up

Well, saw my surgeon yesterday for a sort-of signing off check-up. He was very happy with his work. Said the tendon felt good, it was hardly any thicker than the other tendon except for the repair area, and there were no internal adhesions. He watched me walk up and down in shoes and barefoot, and go up on my toes.

My physio had written him a note re my progress and the plantar fascia pain, so I specifically asked him about that. He said the pain was because it was being overstretched (?) to compensate for the tendon not being stretched enough yet. So I haven’t been working the tendon enough to stretch it, hence the slight limp. He said I should do more of the calf stretches pushing against the wall but also bending the knee while I do it ito get it to go over the knee. First of all he said I should really feel some pain or it wouldn’t be doing much, then qualified that to say there should be some discomfort. Cleared to do anything like cycling, swimming, cross-trainer, rowing…but no running yet.

So basically his job is well done, but I could do better! Hmph. Disgruntled of Kenley. ;-)

4 months postop!

It has now begun to feel a long time since I could do all my pre-injury activities, and it seems to be quite slow progress still, but at least it is progress. Keep reminding myself I haven’t been out of the cast for as long as I was in it yet, so will be patient for a while longer!

I’ve officially ditched the crutches even for my weekly trip into London for Uni - consequently don’t always get a seat on the train anymore :-(

The rush hour commute took a bit of building up the confidence to try, with so many people charging around, but I usually meet a friend en route who will offer me an arm if I look a bit wobbly.

So where am I otherwise? Well, still walking with a limp if I try to go too fast or am tired, but the length of time I can stand up for without feeling the heel pain is increasing. Still get heel pain after a while, physio says the plantar fascia is still very tight. I have my checkup with the surgeon on Friday so she will put that in the report to him - said they can offer an injection to relax it, but I really don’t fancy that idea at all!

I’m more conscious of my posture and walking properly which is a good thing, and in less of a rush generally to go places - ‘cos I can’t. Have yet to try driving any distance, more from lack of time to have a proper go than any other reason. 

Working particularly on getting my knee further over my toes to enable my walking to improve and to be able to go downstairs properly, and also some weight-bearing exercises to strengthen the calf.

Not a particularly exciting post, just slow steady progress again, but wanted to note the date. Aiming to be walking “normally” by Christmas. :-)

Best wishes to everyone out there.

4 months postop

4 months postop

4 months postop

4 months postop

I am the bionic woman….

….at least that’s what my new positive mental image of myself is going to be while I’m walking at such a slow pace without crutches….remember those slow motion shots of her?  Much better than thinking of a snail or a tortoise…..not sure I should do the arms though…….

15 weeks post-op, properly 2-shoes?

Another busy week, particularly so as husband has been away in the States with work so I’ve had all the household/family stuff to do as well as work, physio and Uni…early night tonight I think!

Anyway my physiotherapist was very pleased with me on Wednesday and has said I can ditch the crutches when walking slowly anywhere as well as indoors now. She has recommended I still use them for speed and stability for the train rides to work and Uni, so do I count as 2-shoes proper now or not?

Walking is still slow and I don’t have a very big stride, but not much limp either until I get tired. Still getting some heel/plantar fascia pain after an hour or so of standing. Going upstairs is more or less normal, but still doing a step at a time going down ‘cos of the further stretch.

Physio had a good massage of my injured tendon whilst in a calf stretch and manipulated/massaged the tendon on my uninjured side as it’s still been a bit sore - not just the extra weight but the slight limp/sideways movement I’d had previously.

Have more stretches to do as well as the heel raises, standing on one leg and some exercises to put more weight through to build up the muscle, including the one standing on the step with heels hanging off and going up and down slowly.

Discussed driving with physio again - have tried sitting in the car and going up and down a straight bit which was fine. When husband is back will try a proper drive, just concerned about hill starts and emergency stops, but physio thought I shouldn’t have a problem with control, more likely to get a tired ankle.

I’m pleased that I can put my barefoot flat on the floor almost straight after getting up in the mornings now - just  a few little stretches to prepare first.

I’m still wearing my running shoes nearly all the time (apart from short periods barefoot or in Crocs) and, although they’re quite comfortable, I’m getting a bit fed up with them, but have found some flattish boots in my wardrobe that fit ok - will have to wear them for a few hours to check for sure.

Have a good weeked everyone,