strengthinumbers’ AchillesBlog

The Two Month Milestone Passes
May 18, 2011, 1:59 pm
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Well, let’s see here. I have really not been up to much lately. I had one more check in with my doctor yesterday concerning the slowly fading infection that had built up on the very bottom part of my incision. The antibiotics have finally done their job and the wound is getting smaller and smaller. I have officially been walking around in normal shoes for the last 2.5 weeks and the progress has been amazing! This past weekend, in order to avoid putting unnecessary stress on my leg, I decided to go sea kayaking. It was such a good time and I didn’t have to use my leg at all (except for the one time I rolled the kayak and went for a swim), but all in all my tendon felt strong and it was a great outdoor alternative to hiking or climbing.
I’m still taking it relatively easy, no running, no stairmaster, no basketball etc. but the doc tells me that in a few more weeks I can be back to 100%. And I believe him. If you told me this 2 weeks ago I would not have believed you, but time and patience really do make the difference. I have taken to wrapping my ankle with an ace bandage in order to quell the buildup of fluid throughout the day. This has helped tremendously and allows me to walk normally as well as gives my still healing tendon a little support. In another week or so I will stop wearing the ace bandage altogether and see what happens. I’m walking a thin line between wanting to challenge my tendon enough to make it strong and functional again, and not wanting to cause undue stress that will only delay my progress. It’s hard to make these calls by myself but I listen to what my body is telling me and try to push myself accordingly. What I have made my mantra due to this injury has been to say to myself, “What CAN I do, not what CAN’T I do”.
While I was in my boot I managed to get out rock climbing 4 weekends in a row. Now I’m taking it a little easier. I still climb at the gym but I also have made a strict regimen of hitting the ‘normal’ gym with free weights, inclined bench, pull-up bar, etc. I have a thin wide long strip of rubber that I use to flex my Achilles with some tension added. I do 3 sets of 20 ankle pumps with this band and then I do circles pumping my ankle in a clock-wise and counter clock-wise motion. I’m also trying to weight my toes on my ‘bad’ leg as much as I can and lately I’ve been able to take partial weight on my toes.
I’m really excited about the upcoming month of June because I’m taking a Wilderness First Responder course and it will be a real test to see if my leg is up to the challenge. I’m also headed to Alaska in the last part of June to do some mountaineering so wish me luck! I hope everyone out there is healing well and finding progression in their everyday lives. Being able to write about my experience and read other ATR blogs has been a huge piece of my rehab, so thank you to everyone who has commented or offered advice. I’ll let you know how the next two weeks go. I’ve never looked forward to taking run so badly in all my life.

7th Week Post ATR Surgery. No Boot!!
May 3, 2011, 4:01 pm
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Today marks the 7 week anniversary of my ATR surgery. I went in for a checkup yesterday with my orthopedic surgeon and he told me I could stop wearing my boot! Great news for me, because even though I was starting to get around a lot easier in the boot (hiking, climbing, etc.), it was a pain to wear it all the time. I inquired about physical therapy and to my surprise he told me I didn’t need any. My tendon is still pretty weak, hence I cannot stand on my toes yet, but it doesn’t hurt to walk even though I have a slight limp. The doc said the strength would return with regular activity. One little bump in the road is a small infection at the very bottom of my scar. The placement of the incision, where the ankle bends by the heel, has prevented the incision to fully close and as a result an infection has set in. The past two weeks I have been washing it with hydrogen peroxide and I have seen small improvements. Other than that it seems as though I’m on the road to making a full recovery. I’m going to take it easy this week so the infection can subside and work on strengthening the tendon. I’m hoping in two weeks it will be strong enough to go for a run. Fingers crossed!