One small step….6 weeks, two shoes

Had my six week since surgery visit today.  Doc felt down the tendon for breaks and pronounced everything A-OK.  Off went the boot and on went my running shoe with an insole to raise it up.  He gave me two simple exercises to do for next two weeks:  two foot toe raises and standard calf stretch (two hands on wall, one foot back, one foot forward and lean forward to feel stretch on back leg).  Said to be cautious with these and that goal in 6 weeks is to be able to do toe raise with one foot.  No P-T so he is counting on me to be diligent, which I will.  I went for walk around the block and felt pretty good rediscovering my foot.  It is certainly tight back there but I know there is a long road ahead or as the doctor said, “this is where it becomes a marathon and not a sprint.”  Can’t wait to drive again and regain some much-needed independence.

Week 4: Losing Another Wedge

I had my four-week post-op check-up today.  Pretty straightforward.  The doctor’s assistant took out another wedge on the boot and removed the bandages that had been placed on my heel after the stitches were taken out.  My first few steps felt a bit tight after having the wedge removed but the rest of the day went well.  I wasn’t sure if I would be able to walk the four blocks to pick up my daughter after school but I was with no pain either.  I made an appointment for two weeks out, at which point, the doc said that I would be going to shoes.  I asked her why there seems to be such differences in post-op philosophies when it comes to achilles tendon ruptures.  Her thought was that doctors do what they are comfortable with and are not likely to change if all their patients seem to recover well.  She said also that foot specialists (such as my doctor who is younger also) may be more familiar with the recent research and more comfortable with this aggressive approach.  It also helps that we don’ t have the ice or other winter hazards that other parts of the country might have.  I could not be happier though as I am mobile and able to do most things (except drive of course).   She also told me that she doesn’t think PT will be necessary since it is pretty basic exercises that I should be able to do on my own.

I thought everyone went through PT.  What has been other folks experience with PT?  Is it necessary or could you do most of it on your own?

One small step…: 3 weeks post-op

Hi!  Well, it has been 3 weeks since the operation to surgically repair my ATR.  The rupture happened the day after my 42nd birthday.  Pick-up basketball.  I had started playing in the last three months after a long hiatus.  I was actually really starting to enjoy it.  I naively thought I had make it past the point of greatest risk as I even felt like I had my wind back.  1 hour into the game, pushed off my right foot to move on defense and pop.  The adrenaline must have been flowing because I managed to drive myself home about a mile (had to get my daughter to school) before realizing that was a really bad idea.  An hour later, I had a surgery date set.

First week post-op:  Elevation and Vicadin.  Daughter had party two days after surgery; I managed to crutch my way to the skating rink and enjoyed being around people (got my mind off the ATR).  Tried to tough it out on day three without the pain pills but found myself in a sour mood all day.  The two minute intervals that I was not elevated were very painful for the first 3-4 days with extreme tightness in the calf.  All was fine while elevated though.  I was a bit ripe after the first week as I was a bit paranoid about getting an infection so stayed out of the shower.  Amazingly, the doctor still agreed to see me after a week.  Removed cast and gave me the boot.

Second week post-op:  Non-weight bearing with crutches.  Still stayed elevated for most days but got off pain pills which was big plus.  Job fortunately allows me to work at home so was pretty sedentary for the week.  Still extremely cautious in the shower with multiple bags covering the boot.  I have to admit being extremely afraid of scewing things up so I don’t think I adjusted the boot the whole week (mechanical ability is not my skill set, what if I took the boot off and couldn’t put it back together again?).   Visited doc at end of second week; stitches taken out, one wedge taken out too.   Told to start loading weight on the boot with the goal of ditching crutches by end of the week.  Ready to take off boot 3 times a day and flex foot 5 minute intervals.  Will visit again at end of week 4.

Third week:  Weight-bearing with crutches but not believing I will be able to walk without them later this week as the doc has recommended.  I am no longer viewing my right foot as useless appendage anymore and feeling good about things.  Taking more showers now to the relief of my 6-year old (”Daddy you’re not so stinky anymore”).  By end of week three, I am crutchless.  It is nirvana, although I know the road to recovery is just beginning.  Still, I feel that I have gained a bit of independence.  Still three weeks or so before I am wearing two shoes but a man can dream, no?  Best comment at church today; why are you wearing only one ski boot?