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Months Five and Six: Summary

Summary of months 5 and 6, in which life has been relatively normal, but sports aren’t quite available yet.

Rehab: By month five, the mobility had mostly returned, and balance was well on its way. The challenges, over these months, has been calf strength. There appears to be a lot of variability on this, but I spent most of these two months rebuilding enough calf strength to begin harder, plyometric exercises that might enable running and jumping. The good news is that most of this can be done at home; I’ve managed with seeing the therapist every other week, and otherwise doing the exercises on my own. Pool sessions helped, as de-weighted exercises helped the muscles start firing again, a necessary prelude to bringing them back to adequate strength. And at six months, I began the hopping/jumping/plyometric exercises that should allow a full return to sports, perhaps by month 8 or so.

Life: Very close to normal throughout. A little soreness after long, steep walks, but nothing that really affects my day-to-day life.

Sports: As with the earlier months, no running or jumping (for want of calf strength), so these months just saw a bit of weightlifting, biking and similarly stable fare. But at just about the six month mark, I started surfing again, after spending some time practicing my pop-ups to make sure the leg could handle it (repeated burpees, basically). I’ve also restarted modified Crossfit workouts, with substitutions for all the running and jumping, at about the six-month mark. So more or less as hoped, perhaps a few weeks behind the schedule I’d desired.

4 Comments

  1. normofthenorth wrote:

    My take on several of the good modern published protocols is that they are very solid and reliable through around week 12, and then they seem a bit unrealistically optimistic. I.e., I think most of us take more time in the “frustrating plateau”, between (a) escaping the peak rerupture risk and regaining the ability to do most of our ADLs decently and (b) feeling REALLY recovered, enough to return to sports with some confidence (or intensity).
    Maybe it’s partly because I did not make the transition from a PT patient to a “gym rat” at that stage, but I think it’s also because that late phase of the protocols is unrealistically optimistic.
    Put another way, I think you’re doing great! :-)

    Monday, November 24, 2014 at 12:58 am | Permalink
  2. Brian wrote:

    I JUST blew mine last Wed. playing tennis, in Hawaii no less. Emergency Doc said there wasn’t much to do and see my Doc when I get home. Plane trip home Fri. was a bummer, swelled like crazy. I See the Doc Tue. AM.
    What can I expect?
    Thx
    Brian

    Monday, November 24, 2014 at 3:16 am | Permalink
  3. simplesanj wrote:

    Brian, bummer. I’ve posted rough month-by-month summaries of my experience on this blog, and there are lots of other similar blogs on this site, as my experience isn’t necessarily representative. The good news is that eventually, most everyone seems to recover pretty fully. The bad news is that it’s a long road to get there; the first three months are particularly difficult, then life-outside-sports begins to resume its normal shape.

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

    Monday, November 24, 2014 at 1:36 pm | Permalink
  4. normofthenorth wrote:

    Good question, Brian, and it depends on the luck of the draw — which doctor sees, which hospital, which country or region… These days the best documented results are coming from fast but carefully choreographed treatments like the three outlined in achillesblog.com/Cecilia/protocols . But there are huge variations, mostly much slower rehab, which doesn’t help anybody, and significantly increases rerupture risk for non-op patients.
    The first important decision is op vs. non-op. It used to be a no-brainer (surgery was better) until 2007, when the first of several studies was published showing non-op results as strong, as quick, and as safe (from rerupture) as the good surgical studies. Now we’ve got one study (by Wallace, linked from Cecilia’s page) with nearly 1000 non-op patients (including several reruptures and several “stale” ATRs!), with <3% rerupture rate and 100% return to sports!
    But many patients get rushed under the knife without hearing about that news, for various reasons. And many get shunted onto the slow road, with or without surgery.
    It’s comforting to believe that your Doc is omniscient, but most of them aren’t, and the well-informed Patients from Hell often get better treatment! ;-)
    And a boot is WAY better than casts!

    Tuesday, November 25, 2014 at 2:48 am | Permalink

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