Achilles rupture recovery update: 4th post-surgical appointment (7 weeks after surgery)

It’s been three weeks since my last update, and during the intervening time, I’d say that my recovery has been slow but steady.

In my last update, I described a minor complication; a dissolving stitch left one of my minor incisions somewhat open, a condition known as dehiscence. The treatment was to change the bandage and dressing daily, and wash the area every other day. While the wound is still present, it is definitely smaller and well on the way to being fully healed. No change in terms of the treatment plan, which seems to be working.

My doctor also tested my ankle’s current range of motion, which was about 20 degrees of plantarflexion (pointing) and 5 degrees of dorsiflexion (pulling back). The typical healthy angle can handle about 40 degrees of plantarflexion and 20 degrees of dorsiflexion. Of course, I tend to be somewhat inflexible, so I think that even my healthy ankle has less than the typical 60 degrees of motion. Nonetheless, my doctor felt that this was normal, though he urged me to be more aggressive in my range of motion exercises, telling me, “You’re not going to rupture your tendon by doing these exercises. You can and should push harder.”

Now for the exciting news: On Friday, I get to remove another wedge from my walking boot. And if I’m feeling good, the following Friday (which would be August 30), I’ll be allowed to transition from the walking boot to regular hiking boots with heel lifts. Walking! At last!

I’ll still be far from recovered; we’re talking about a slow walk; no running or jumping for quite some time. But, I should be able to resume my normal travel schedule, which is good, because I’ve built up a massive backlog, which is likely to include trips to Buffalo, Boston, SoCal, Qatar, China, and Egypt before the end of the year. I’ll probably need the airlines to drive me around in those beeping carts, and at first, I’ll probably be using a cane (but probably not a top hat and monocle).

Also, once I’m able to do a two-heel raise (e.g. raise myself onto my tiptoes without help), I’ll even be allowed to drive again!

While I’m happy to be approaching the light at the end of the tunnel, my family is probably even happier than me, if that’s possible. It turns out that running a busy household is much harder with only one adult who can drive. And since I also did nearly all the food shopping, cooking, dishes, dog walking, and taking out the trash and recycling, everyone else has had to pick up a lot of extra duties!

I’m not quite on the home stretch, but I am heading for the final turn. Keeping my fingers crossed and following doctor’s orders!

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