Week 7 was a milestone in my recovery. Before I get to that, look at what my lovely wife made me for breakfast. It’s a high protein meal!
This was the week that I went back to see the orthopedic surgeon to see how my tendon was healing. Happy to report that my healing is according to plan and the ridge where the rupture occurred is no more. The tendon is still softer than the un-injured foot but it is definitely no where near as jello-like as it was from previous weeks.
Rupture Achilles Healing Nicely – Non-Surgical
The surgeon ok’ed my recovery and the ortho tech removed one wedge from my Össur Rebound Air Walker boot. He removed the bottom wedge and reminded me that in 2 weeks time, I can remove another bottom piece (the 2nd piece). The thing to remember is that you always remove the bottom most piece as you heal. To see a cross section of the boot and wedges, check out Achilles Tendon Rupture Non-Surgical Recovery and Proper Rehab – The First 6 Weeks.
I have been given the OK to remove the bottom piece myself since the tendon was healing nicely and I do not need to come back to see Dr. Moola (orthopedic surgeon) unless I encounter issues during my recovery.
What I also learned from my second surgeon’s appointment was that not being able to flex my calf was normal. It’s not because my tendon has not re-attached yet, it’s more so because I have not used this muscle for a few weeks and I need to re-learn how to use it again. Dr. Moola re-assured me this is normal and going through active rehab will fix this. I am still surprised that I cannot get my calf muscles to fire (without overdoing it of course). Guess I just have to re-learn to use this calf muscle again.
After the consult with Dr. Moola, while strapping on the boot, I definitely felt my Achilles tendon being stretched as there is now 1 less wedge in my boot. It took a few seconds to get used to the stretching. Because of the wedge removal, the heel area is now tender again. If I walked like I had from yesterday, the heel would feel slightly painful actually. So, it’s back to slow walking and remembering to strike my heel lightly on the ground. This means walking very slowly everywhere and using my crutches more often.
By now, I have also learned to do more things efficiently. For instance, I learned that it is way easier to get out of the shower tub if I lift both feet out before trying to dry and dress myself. I shower sitting down. If not for an Achilles rupture, I would stand up in the tub and walk out 1 foot at a time. While in a sitting position, getting both feet out first before sitting on the edge of the tub made life much easier. If you are in this same situation, be sure to place a towel or your shirt on the edge of the tub before sitting on it. The tub is definitely slippery when wet and without full use of both feet, take extra caution when getting in and out!
This week was the first time that I felt some pinching in my uninjured Achilles. Could be a sign that I am over stressing my left leg. I also switched my indoor shoe from my Adidas hightops to a low cut sneaker. This may have contributed to this perhaps? Either way, tried resting more and the pinch was lessen but until I switched back to the my hightops, the pain would linger. So it’s back to wearing my hightops on my left foot again and most of the pain went away.
A few days of wearing the boot with one less wedge is starting to pull the healing tendon a little longer. When resting, the foot is pointed forward / down (resting tendon) so when you put the boot back on, the foot has to return back towards neutral more (stretched tendon). As a result, after resting my foot without the boot, I feel much less strain when strapping the boot back on. This is a good sign.
By the end of this week, I am happy to report that I can rotate my injured ankle a little more inwards (subtular inversion) and outwards (eversion) while in plantar flexion (with toes pointed down). Check out my ankle movement at Week 7.
As the weather gets better, I got the chance to practice some ball with my daughter again. Here is a photo of her pushing me in a wheelchair to an outdoor court. #basketballneverstops
Week 7 is also the week I started some home rehab exercises. In addition to the subtular inversion and eversion exercises, the orthopedic surgeon has ok’ed quad and hamstring exercises. The boot is heavy enough so I just need to lie on my front side, bend at the knee and bring my foot up to 90 degrees (pointing the sole of my foot to the ceiling). It is actually surprising how few hamstring curls I can do now as compared prior the injury. By about 15, I was shaking and at 20, it got easier as I worked through it slowly. I am doing reps of 30. Also did quad curls with the boot on while seated to exercise my qudraceps.
Halfway throughout this week, I stopped taking Advil 3 times a day. I cut it down to twice or even once a day to see if the pain was manageable. It was but if I go for a lengthy period of time without taking Advil (400 mg), I would feel some pain and my ankle area would get very tender.
I wanted to fill in some details from my initial 6 Weeks of Achilles recovery post. I actually never mentioned anything about a proper diet during the first few weeks. My wife is a registered dietitian and she spoke with dietitian colleagues who specializes in sport’s nutrition. Their consensus was that I should be on a high protein diet to give the best chance at healing and re-building from the injury. So since Week 1, I have been trying to eat a high protein diet.
As I mentioned before, thank goodness I have help from my wife and daughters. Without their help and support, this recovery process would be extremely unpleasant.