It’s really interesting to return here after a long time and see a completely new set of names going through the recovery process. It’s also a bit sad to see some old names who are still having some struggles with recovery. Nonetheless, I thought I’d give everyone at least one more update regarding where I am with my recovery.
Cliff Notes on Injury:
I’m a former NCAA athlete (track and field)
Tore Right Achilles Playing Soccer
Back to sports in around 5 months. Back to full effort (I say this because i wasn’t really “full speed” yet) in 6 months.
I thought I should use this time to give a bit more info on the final phase of recovery. I got back into sports pretty quickly after my injury. 6 months post op I was a full participant on my teams and going after it. But I did make several mistakes that begun to have negative effects on me.
I think i jumped to full speed to fast and the rest of my body wasn’t ready for it. During recovery we spend so much time only focusing on the afflicted Achilles and calf that we forget that we haven’t used the other half of our body to it’s full potential either. So, after a month or two of playing hard my left side started to rebel. First, my calf became extra tight. I mean it was so tight that I was afraid my other achilles would snap just walking around some days. Lots of stretching helped loosen it up but I NEVER STOPPED PLAYING. This wasn’t an end of the world mistake by any means but it definitely wasn’t too smart.
With the tight calf and compensating for the achilles I really started to screw my body up. Soon, i was getting pains behind my left knee where my hamstring inserted into the calf. My tight calf was causing my hamstring to literally *click* while i was running. Again, I kept going at it without really stopping. At this point I was at about the 9-10 month mark. For good measure, I decided to throw in training for a half marathon to go along with my two soccer teams.
Tightness in left calf + clicking hamstring + right achilles recovery = peroneal insertional tendinitis in right foot.
I don’t know exactly how that math adds up but I assure you it was a painful equation. That is when I finally shut it down for a couple of weeks. No running at all.
This brings to 11-12 months. With spring comes outdoor soccer and softball. Feeling pretty good after my brief rest period I jumped into the deep end again. Two soccer games a week and 1 softball game. Following the theme of the story, it took only a couple of more weeks before stuff started to ache again. My tendinitis stayed away but the tightness and hamstring issues came back with a vengence. I did everything I could to keep those in check when the next on the string of injuries decided to give me a reality check. Rounding first during a softball game, my left groin decided it had had enough and I pulled it. This was by far the worst of all the injuries. This one put me down for a month.
That’s when I decided to get smart. I realized that the 6 months I took off because of the ATR was the longest stretch of time I was inactive since I was 10 years old. During that time I lost some of the strength, durability, and flexibility that I built and maintained over my constantly active lifestyle. So, after my groin was all healed up, I started back at ground level trying to rebuild my body. Any high intensity athlete will tell you the best place to start is always the Gym.
At 13 months I got back into weight training in a big way. I threw myself at plates, dumbbells, and medicine balls 2-3 times a week. A few weeks and a bunch of protein shakes later, I felt like a new man. The marvelous machines that our bodies are only need a little kick in the pants to jump start themselves. The tightness in my calf and hamstring went away within a couple of weeks of going back to the gym. My tendinitis and groin injuries weren’t even on my radar anymore. That’s when I re-inserted myself into sports. And now I feel every bit of the athlete i was before the injury. There’s a small chance that I’m even a bit faster.
I guess the moral of the story is to not forget the rest of your body during your recovery. I treated the rest of me like red headed stepchild (no offense gingers!) while I focused on my injured AT. It obviously came back to bite me a bit. However, I still say that once you hit your safe milestones to push your rehab as much as possible. If you want to get back to full speed in a reasonable amount of time, you have to believe your docs when they say your AT is healed and ready for action.
Happy Healing Everyone. I’ll try no to be so much of a stranger.