Almost 4 mos

I’m almost 4 mos post-op ATR surgical repair!!  I’ve done great!  Ankle feels good.  Only a few toe pumps to get me walking after sitting in a long meeting.  My gait "appears" normal though I still have to concentrate to make it so.

Yet, over the last week, I’ve felt discomfort in my toes. We worked on stretching them in PT (I was released about 4 wks ago) and I’ve been doing some exercises to gain heel raises. I’ve have minimal swelling to date (though I still ice and elevate when I go to bed), but this week, the top of my foot is noticeably (though just mildly) swollen.  That isn’t normal for me.  I’ve also noticed that, thought my ankle is feeling pretty normal, the top of my foot…not so much.  I’m still doing my mile walks and working on a steady gait while working on gaining speed.

Have any of you had these post-almost-recovery-unexplained-mild-set-backs?  I know my body gets inflamed (thus my true believe in ice therapy…back surgery in 2015), but it is rarely visible inflammation…especially with the ice/elevation.  Tonight…my foot is freaking me out a bit.  :(

I’m STILL dealing with elbow and shoulder pain…likely from using the scooter while NWB in a small space (House Boat for 5 days).  I’m guessing that’s tendonitis.

I also had an MRI on my right knee (good leg) for a likely meniscus tear.  Nothing showed up but some water/inflammation of the knee….so unknown cause.  It still clicks/locks (unlike a normal join "pop") and doesn’t always feel strong enough to use it to step off a curb.  I tend to land firmly on my healed left ankle.  Surgeon says MRI’s detect 90% of meniscus tears.  Am I in the 10%?  I’ve dealt with it for 4 weeks now…while learning to walk w/o a limp outside of a boot.

At this point, I’ve paid my full insurance deductible so, explorative knee surgery (on my good knee) would not be out-of-pocket (though expensive for insurance).  I’m scheduled to see my surgeon on OCt 31 for release but insurance resets on Nov 1.  Therefore, do I do explorative/repair surgery now or continue to "see" and pay out-of-pocket again.

I still have to stretch my left ankle (4 mos post-surgical full Achilles Rupture Repair) before walking…though the limp is pretty mild without it.

I don’t want another surgical repair to disrupt my left ankle and walking progress to be in jeopardy.  Yet, I don’t want to go another 2 months and pay out-of-the-pocket up to another $1500.

Thoughts? Experiences?

Pool Workout

I was able to enjoy the pool yesterday…it will likely be the last time, unless I join a gym membership (w/ an indoors pool).  Fall crept into the Midwest today. I’m not disappointed but it is a setback in my water options and walking (it has rained since 3 this afternoon).  To add, half of my huge Bradford pear tree feel under the weight of the water and wind…its leaning against my house.  No walk tonight…instead I was on the phone getting bids for the complete removal/stump grinding.  Next will be finding a new tree and company to install it. Super bummed….it was a beautiful tree.

In the water yesterday, I did heel raises, even singles, in just above waist water.  I also walked across the pool multiple times (again just above waist) on my toes.  I really want to continue this exercise as I’m finding heel raises a major challenge, yet a goal.  (I can’t even hop and get my left heel off the ground FWB…My "good side" takes probably 80% of the workload/weight).

I hope my tree is gone and replaced (so sad) while my calf/thigh/tendon strength continues to get better.  I walk normally then sit for 20 minutes and limp again.  PT told me that will last for a while.  If I do toe raises to stretch and focus on my gait, I can take off pretty well.  I just have to continue to remember all of that.

Would love your feedback.  Progress!


I’m now 12 weeks post left ATR surgical repair.  4 weeks splints/casts then 4 weeks boot.  I walked my first unassisted mile at my 11 week anni-rupture-versity.  It was awesome!  I’ve walked a dedicated mile a day (so far).  I started PT as soon as I got in the boot (CAM)…Literally, I was at the therapy center within 2 hours.  I really think early therapy/movement helped me.  They also prepared me for shoes.  They had me doing standing/balancing exercises at PT wk 3 (7 weeks post-op).  I’ve been very lucky as I have not had major issues with swelling like many.  I still ice and elevate my ankle (above my heart) when I go to bed. I use a big thick pillow from my couch as my foot support.

My biggest challenge is the "limp".  If I do toe raises/stretches before I start walking, think heel-to-toe as I move, and slow my "good leg" down, I can walk pretty normally.  I’ve been increasing speed though am still very slow (about a 22 minute mile).

My goal is to continue to walk and…eventually, do single heel raises.  I’m not putting a time limit on the raises as I can’t get my left heel off the ground by itself at this point.  And, it seems that the more I do them together, the bigger my right calf gets and my left/bad calf stays tiny.  :(  I’ll get there though!!  (Plus, I’ve always had very thin legs proportionality. I’m a bit of an apple on 2 sticks!  I have lost 15 # through this mobility challenge and hope to get 15# more off now that I’m back to walking!)

Left calf atrophy was expected.  I used a scooter during the 4 weeks of NWB.  Yet, I’m very surprised to find my left thigh smaller and tightening up as I walk.  I also still have numbness on the left side of my left calf.  I can feel touch but its like it has been injected with Novocain.  It has gotten a bit better in the last 12 weeks but there is still that fear of unknowingly cutting myself while shaving.

I had the top half of sutures removed at week 2 and the bottom at week 3.  They missed one which I noticed once in the boot and had it removed at week 4.  I apply Mederma scar gel daily and also use Cocoa Butter.  Though I cleaned my calf with alcohol wipes between casts, my skin was still a mess.  Even now, my skin has some issues.  I also still have an area of scabbing at the bottom of my incision.  I think its where my shoe rubs.  I can’t imagine 3 months NWB in casts!  I am still able to soak in a bath and get in pools.

The protocols vary so much!  I am lucky that my rupture was 1) left (so I could still drive once I found my balance and strength), 2) mid-tendon rupture (so there wasn’t a need for hardware to repair), & 3) considered "emergency surgery".  (I ruptured late on a Friday, went to urgent care Sat morning which sent me to the ER - they splinted me with toes pointed, and had surgery that Monday.)

I know this sounds crazy but I’m glad my preferred exercise is walking.  So many on here enjoy a wealth of sports, making this injury truly life changing.  I had back surgery 3 years ago which took away impact sports (though, outside of gymnastics in my early days, I’ve never really involved myself with sports).  Therefore, though my goal is single-toe raises, having an almost-normal gait at 12 weeks post op is pretty much a "full-recovery" for me…outside of the continuous need to stretch while my calf and tendon find their correct length.  Again, I truly feel for those avid ATR-club-sports-participants that need that toe-lift-off to get fully back-in-the-game.

I’ve really appreciated reading through other’s blogs and comments.  I look forward to continuing to read your stories and updates.