Which Shoes Are You Wearing?

I have been happily wearing my tennis shoes / cross trainers everyday no matter what the occasion. But, the other day my leg felt well enough to try a different pair of shoes. We had a boat cruise planned on Lake Zurich so I decided to hang up the tennis shoes and opt for flats. The shoes were fine but I noticed increased swelling at the end of the evening.

My PT said I could wear whatever shoes I wanted at this point. He said, “You just have to be comfortable.”  The school year begins next week and I am contemplating keeping two pair of shoes in my office for the first month or so.

Are you mostly wearing tennis shoes / cross trainers or are you wearing other shoes now too?

Also, to the ladies, are you wearing only flats or anything with a TINY heel?

Happy continued healing everyone.


Have you ever seen this before?

I had a bit of a scare on Monday…

While I was proudly :) walking down the school hallway in two shoes and no AchilloTrain brace, I felt this incredible surge of pain about half-way up my calf.  The pain occured everytime I tried to roll over my toes as I walked. I had never felt anything like it so I was immediately worried. The pain contined off and on for a few hours and then it left. When the pain returned on Tuesday afternoon red flags went up. I called the PT and he said it didn’t sound like anything to worry about…he told me to hold off until my appt this morning.

This morning when the PT examined my leg he said, “Wow, the muscles are really, really tight…” Final verdict: the Achilles is fine, the repair site is fine, but some “nerve rejuvination” has begun and that coupled with a tight calf muscle (despite my stretching and exercise regime) was causing flashes of pain.

He gave me the MOST AMAZING massage, it was a bit uncomfortable at first but when he finished I was tempted to embrace him. I felt soooooooooo much better. In fact, maybe the best I have felt since the injury. After the massage,  he said he wanted to tape the leg with elastic tape to “reinforce” the area. The tape job is quite a site…but I have to be honest my leg feels FANTASTIC! Again, I will sacrifice the aesthetics for comfort.

I thought my blog friends would like to see pictures of the continuing saga…

Happy continued healing everyone.


First Day Back at Work

Went back to work yesterday for the first time since the accident: May 21. I am a teacher in a high school so lucky for me I had the summer to rehab, rehab, rehab!  My day began at 8:00 and ended at 5:00 in PT. My PT took one look at my leg and said, “You went back to work today didn’t you?”  :) To be honest, everything was fine (thank goodness for elevators!) but my ankle and leg really began to swell by the end of the day. I will be more conscientious about elevating my leg from now on. Yesterday was a trial run…

I am riding the stationary bike with the AchilloTrain brace and tennis shoes everyday for 30-40 minutes. It is FANTASTIC to sweat again and my leg feels GREAT afterwards. I am looking forward to resuming life on a real bike in a few weeks.

Recently, I heard from a former student / basketball player who played Division I ball.  I thought I would share some of her email thoughts to me below. Her rehab was very intense at the university and yet her story sounds like so many others…

 Sorry to hear about your Achilles…I know how painful that is… I tore mine my senior year at Fordham.  I had surgery on it right before basketball season.. so I redshirted the whole year.  It actually took me about 8-10 months to REALLY get back into playing…and it took me a WHOLE year to get it back to where I could play FULL SPEED again. I went for a 5th year at Fordham… but during that time I finished a Master’s degree in Communications/Media Studies.  Make sure you rehab it properly… that is key!!!!!!  Don’t short change the physical therapy!!!! The funny thing… my bad Achilles..the calf muscle is actually stronger than my right because of all the attention I focused on it during rehab.

Here’s to all of our tendons and calf muscles getting a little bit stronger everyday!

Happy continued healing everyone.

For the Bicyclists

I am using a stationary bike now for 20-30 minutes a day. It is great for a bit of cardio but the scenary leaves a lot to be desired! :(

When were you able to make the leap form stationary bike to an outdoor road bike? Thanks!

The Little Calf That Could

Yesterday was my eight week anniversary post-op.

I am happy to report that I spent the day pool side in a wonderful resort in the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland. During the “Summer of the Achilles” Physical Therapy replaced all previously planned vacations and this long weekend was a real and necessary treat!

Not only was I sans-crutches in the resort (woo-hoo!) but I also managed to improve my Frankenstein-esque walk; I may actually have a semi-normal gait! I am happily wearing my AchilloTrain brace and tennis shoes everywhere I go — I really like that combination with a sun dress (UGH!) In all honesty, I will happily occupy a place on the worst dress list if it means I can walk comfortably without crutches! :) Right now I have to make a concerted effort to make sure I am rolling over on my toes when I walk and bending my knee. It is a lot easier to limp but I know it is not good for any other part of my body.

I went straight from our resort to my home away from home: Physical Therapy. Things are progressing well and I am SLOWLY regaining confidence in my body and my AT. What a difference a few weeks can make!  My calf on the other hand is another story. We spent a lot of time today in PT doing exercises to strengthen the muscle in my calf; it is really in a sad state. Nevertheless, if my AT could make this much improvement, the little calf can as well…I hope!

Here are some pictures from the eight week mark.  http://picasaweb.google.com/amygre/8WeekAnniversary?authkey=2FbeqP7y8nY

Happy continued healing everyone!




Hip, Hip, Hooray!

I just got back from PT where I was able to put on two shoes with the AchilloTrain brace and (drum roll please…) walk without crutches! :) Woo-hoo! I have no shame in saying that half-way down the PT hall I started to get tears in my eyes. I couldn’t believe I was actually able to walk without crutches. I haven’t walked unassisted since May 21 and at times it felt like I was never going to really walk again.

Now I have all sorts of questions for the FWB in the group. Tell me about the speed of your walk early on and your gait. Did you see improvement in your walk in days, weeks, months, all of the above? How much were you able to walk early on? Any recommendations?

I was also told I could stop the blood thinner injections. Woo-hoo! My stomach was starting to feel like a pin cushion and I was cleared to use a stationary bike (no resistance) for up tp 30 minutes a day. My PT told me, “Let your Achilles be your guide.”  A return to some cardio workouts…amen!

Now, I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of my FWB tee-shirt! :)

Thanks for sharing in my good news. Happy healing everyone.

Within Reach…

Today is my seven-week anniversary and the first time I can honestly say my leg is starting to feel “normal”.  Last week my PT told me to ditch the boot (while I was at home and on very flat and smooth surfaces) and practice standing on two legs and walking using the crutches with as much weight as I felt comfortable. I was very hesitant the first day, but by two two I felt like I made huge gains.  

Today, I returned to the PT and he said I had made “excellent progress.” I can easily stand barefoot with my weight evenly distributed and even shift my weight side to side!  I am well beyond zero degrees for the first time (woo-hoo!) and have much greater flexibility. Today was a much needed confidence booster!

And now for the crutches…

Today and tomorrow I am suppose to bear full weight in the boot (sans crutches) and on Wednesday when I return to PT I am suppose to bring two shoes! Hip, hip hooray! Again, it is amazing to hear the different protocal. My PT said they do not like people to wear the boot and walk for too long. He said it is an “artifical and uncomfortable” walk so they like to get people into two shoes as soons as possible — even it means two or three more days with crutches. Interesting, huh?

Anyway my spirits are up as a day without crutches is actually within reach! Amen.  

These last seven weeks are pretty hard to explain — a roller coaster of emotions like I have never experienced. For the recent ATR’ers, hang in there, keep reading the posts, and blogging, it helps a lot. Knowledge is power.

Happy healing everyone.

“I think I can, I think I can…”

Third visit to the doctor today — just in time to celebrate on my six-week post-op anniversary.

He examined the wound and took me through a series of ROM exercises. He said everything looks very good. 

You might have been able to hear my sigh of relief from across the Atlantic! :)

At the bottom of my incision there is a hard circular spot — it almost feels like a little rock. The doctor said it was one of the sutures and it will gradually dissolve.

I was amazed at how aggressive he was with the ROM exercises (it wasn’t very comfortable!) but it helped me to see that the tendon is not as weak and vulnerable as I think it is.  He said all of the discomfort I have post-PT is very “normal” — “the leg has sustained a tramatic injury” — to which I replied, “So has my brain! It is really hard to learn to trust your body again.” He assured me that a re-repture was highly, highly, unlikely especially with the “Mercy Hosptial Method” that he used. I thought my blog buddies might want to know that he said the only time he has seen a re-repture is when someone was not following re-hab protocal or had a BIG miss-step on the pavement or stairs.

He fitted me with an AchilloTrain brace which I love. It is very supportive and incredibly comfortable. I am suppose to wear it with the boot for the next week. During that time I can gradually add more weight until I drop the crutches all together. Woo-hoo! After that, I will wear the brace in a regular shoe. Two shoes? Really? Bring it on! :)

For those of you at the early stages of this injury — HANG ON. It gets just a little bit easier every day. A day without crutches was once inconceiveable; now I feel like it is FINALLY within reach.

Happy continued healing everyone.

Here is a picture of the AchilloTrain brace:


My Five Week Anniversary: A Date with the Leg Press

Once again this injury humbles me…

On the five week anniverary of my surgery I was given the green light to hop on the leg press! :) I crutched over to the machine with great enthusiasm and confidence, sat down, and was told to adjust the weight to 10 lbs. 10 lbs? Say it isn’t so! What about all of the YEARS I have spent in the weight room? What about the blood, sweat and tears it took before I was rewarded with an impressive leg press benchmark? 10 lbs? C’mon I can do more than 10 lbs… I know I can!

Gulp! Think again.

Those 10 lbs might have been the hardest 10 lbs I have ever faced. Whew! Talk about a tough mental and physical workout. The stretch and the push felt GREAT but (again!) I had to counter the ever-present question, ”Is it going to POP when I do this?”  When I was finally able to RELAX and get that darn question out of my mind, the exercise felt even better!

The report from the PT was that the tendon looks and feels “very, very, good” and there is apparently very little swelling / inflammation. Good news! Now, I need to continue to improve my ROM and gradually start to add more weight to the leg.  When I asked about my calf muscle, ” I seem to be losing more and more muscle everyday…” My PT responded with, “You haven’t seen anything yet! Just you wait…” UGH!

As I looked out the window on the drive home it seemed as though everyone in Zurich was outside enjoying our incredible summer weather. The bikers, roller-bladers, skateboaders, lake-swimmers, runners, hikers, tourists, they were all there — soaking up the sun! Fortunately, instead of turning green with envy I was inspired to continue to work hard to join them. This sedentary life is for the birds!

I can’t wait to get back “out there” to the real world…and…leg press more than 10 lbs. :)

Happy summer everyone and happy continued healing!


When did you ditch your crutches?

Small victories…at just over 4 weeks I am now at the neutral position in the boot! Woo-hoo! Today, was the first time I actually felt like a contributing member of PT instead of just a bystander. It felt great! Of course, now I am incredibly sore! Ouch!

Just curious at which week you were able to ditch your crutches and walk in the boot? I am trying for six weeks, but I’m not sure I can see myself walking without crutches in two weeks time…

I continue to be amazed at all of the different recovery approaches discussed on this site and I continue to be thankful for the opprotunity to learn. This site has really helped me feel empowered. Hats off…

Reaching for the pain meds now…happy healing everyone.