10 Weeks Post-Op - 2 Shoes

I had a follow-up appointment with my OS this week, and he said everything looked great and gave me the clear to start weaning off the boot and into 2 shoes. At PT, we practiced walking in 2 shoes and started doing heel lifts and stepping up and down small (very small) steps. It was a bit harrowing but feels good to be able to walk around without the boot on, even if I am still wearing the boot while out of the house. I feel like transitioning to 2 shoes is similar to transitioning to FWB - more a mental issue than anything else and trusting that the tendon is strong. Will definitely be careful over the coming weeks to not overdo it and guard against slips, but am feeling like being able to walk in shoes will go a long way to building my calf muscle back. Wishing everyone a safe and speedy recovery.


Just saw this story about DeAngelo Hall (Washington Redskins cornerback). He ruptured his Achilles about 6 weeks ago and had surgery, and just reinjured it when he slipped late at night, and had to have surgery again. Link to story is below. Serves as a reminder to all of us recovering to go slow and be careful.


8 Week Update

It has been 8 weeks since my surgery, and two weeks since I got my cast off and moved into a walking boot.  I am just now finally FWB.  It took me about two weeks to get to this point.  I was able to move to PWB right away, but getting totally crutch/cane free took longer.  Part of my problem was that my bad foot (left leg) is also where my bad knee is.  I tore my meniscus several years ago and had surgery, and ever since then my left knee has given me problems from time to time.  Activities like biking and swimming help keep my knee feeling good, but after being in a cast for six weeks my left knee did not like having weight suddenly put on it again and rebelled a bit.  I’ve been on the stationary bike and doing lots of straight leg raises trying to get the muscles around my knee strengthened and that has helped.  So, with my knee feeling better, I have finally been able to fully transition to FWB, though by the end of the day my walk certainly looks a little funny!

My next appointment with my OS is in two weeks, and I’m assuming I will be cleared to ditch the boot and start wearing two shoes.  Things seem to be progressing well, and as so many folks here have said, getting out of the cast and being able to put weight on the leg and start working on ROM has made a huge difference.  My spirits are better and the light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter and brighter!

Some observations during the past two weeks:

1.  Even-ups work.  Used it on my good foot when my hips were starting to hurt, and cleared the problem right up.

2.  Aircast vs. Vacocast - I have both, and have been using the Aircast during the day for walking, and sleeping in the Vacocast at night with the front piece off.  For me, the Aircast just felt like it was giving me more support and I didn’t limp as much as I did while walking in the Vacocast.  Definitely a personal preference thing as it seems based on comments here that generally folks prefer the Vacocast.

3.  PT really helps - I had my first PT appointment the day my cast came off.  Have had 7 appointments so far, and my ROM is getting pretty close to my good foot.  PT is emphasizing lots of stretching exercises (focusing on the ankle and achilles, but also working on the calf, hamstring, quads and glutes as well) and has been doing lots of massage to break up the scar tissue.

Wishing everyone a safe and speedy recovery!

6 Weeks Post Surgery - Cast Finally Off!!

So, 6 weeks post-surgery I finally got my cast off!  Wound is healing nicely - still a little scabbed at the bottom but looks like the scar won’t be as bad as what I was imagining.  My calf muscle appears to be gone (although my PT assures me there is still a little something there!).  OS put me in an Aircast (with one wedge) and told me to start weight-bearing as comfortable.  Feels awesome to be out of the cast!

After reading comments about Aircast vs. Vacocast, I ordered a Vacocast to try.  I’m still trying to figure out which one I like more.  They both seem to provide me good support and are both pretty comfortable.  I’m still transitioning from PWB to FWB, and I think the vacocast is a little easier to walk in (easier to roll from heel to toe in it than in the Aircast).

The day after I got my cast off I had my first PT session.  PT took measurements of my feet.  Bad foot was a little swollen but not too bad.  ROM on my bad foot was pretty awful, so PT said we are going to be working on ROM, strengthening and stretching.  PT massaged my foot and leg - nothing too hard - and did some gentle stretching and manipulating of my foot.  PT said she would do more scar breakup as we progress, but for now is just trying to introduce movement into the area since I have been immobilized for 6 weeks.  PT says first goal is to have me ditch the crutches in about a week, though the mental aspect of putting full weight on my leg after being NWB for 6 weeks is a bit harrowing.  I think it requires a bit of a leap of faith to go from PWB to FWB!

All in all, things seems to be progressing  well (touch wood - don’t want to jinx it!).  Wishing everyone a safe and speedy recovery!

4 Weeks Post-Surgery

This is my first post on AchillesBlog.  Here is my story and my timeline so far:

8/23/14 - I am a 43 year old female.  Was playing soccer, got the ball, was about to make a move and felt a sharp pain in my left calf.  Went down and immediately turned around to see who had kicked me from behind.  Of course, no one was there.  I hoped that it was just a strained calf but had a sinking feeling that it was my Achilles.  Had my partner do the Thompson test on me when I got home, and my sinking feeling was confirmed.  Went to the ER and was formally diagnosed with a ruptured Achilles.  Was put in a splint, given crutches and told to call an orthopedic surgeon on Monday (injury happened on a Saturday).  Spent a lot of time on the internet trying to figure out how bad the recovery would be, and quickly realized that I am totally screwed.

8/25/14 - Saw my doctor (same one who operated on my torn meniscus in my left knee 10 years ago) and he scheduled me for surgery the next day.  His view was that surgery gives you a better prognosis for being able to do the same kinds of sports you did before the injury and recommended this approach vs. a non-surgical approach for me (although the chances of me playing soccer again once I am recovered are slim - think I might stick to biking and swimming after this ordeal).

8/26/14 - Had outpatient surgery.  Surgery was at 5:15 p.m. and I was home by 8:00 p.m.  Took a couple of percocets over the next couple of days but by the 2nd day the pain was manageable and painkillers were no longer necessary.  We rented a hospital bed so I could sleep on the main floor and not worry about having to tackle the stairs every day to go up to the bedroom.  Was great being able to keep my leg elevated so easily with the hospital bed and electronic bed adjusters.  I also iced my knee a lot in the hope that it would cool the blood that was circulating in my leg.  Not sure it really worked, but ice on the splint/cast didn’t seem to cool my leg down at all so icing my knee was the next best thing.  I also wiggled my toes a lot to try to keep things moving.  I basically stayed in bed as much as possible for the next couple of weeks.  Went into work a couple of times (I have an office job) but was largely able to work from home with a laptop and doing conference calls.

9/11/14 - 16 days after my surgery I had my first follow-up appointment with the doctor.  My staples were removed (a little painful but not too bad) and I got a cast put on.  Doctor said everything looked to be healing fine and to come back in 2 weeks when they would cut the cast off to check the wound, and then likely recast for another 2 weeks.  My doctor said that he has used both the accelerated and conservative recovery protocols, and prefers for his patients to say in a cast for 6 weeks post-surgery before moving to a walking boot.  Ugh.  So, I’m going to be NWB for 6 weeks post surgery, and then will move to PWB once I get my boot.

9/25/16 - It has been 4 weeks since my surgery.  Had my second follow-up appointment with the doctor.  My cast was cut off so he could check the wound and make sure it is healing okay.  Everything looked fine.  My leg was put in a new cast, and as they were casting my leg the doctor told me to point my toes up as much as I could to try to bring my foot closer to 90 degrees.  My calf muscle is so weak I had a hard time holding my foot steady - it was shaking like crazy as I tried to point my toes up.  So, 2 more weeks of this before I get my walking boot.  I am still trying to keep my leg elevated and am working from home as much as possible and trying not to overdo it.  I have noticed that the swelling is getting much better.  Before, if I put my foot down for more than 5-10 minutes, I could feel my toes swell and it felt very uncomfortable.  Now, I can put my foot down for up to an hour and it feels fine.  I have noticed, however, that on the days when I go into the office, I am totally wiped out by the end of the day and my cast feels tight because my leg is so swollen.  So, I will just try to keep it elevated as much as possible for the next 2 weeks and look forward to the next milestone.  Long road ahead, but reading other blogs and seeing what everyone else is going through has been a tremendous help in getting through this so far.