Achilles rupture recovery update : Bye, Bye Bootie (2 months)

Today marked a very important milestone: I no longer have to wear a walking boot!

Two months ago today, I tore my Achilles tendon; since then, I have been wearing either a splint or walking boot. Not only was this bulky and uncomfortable, but it also made a lot of extra work for me and my family, since I required assistance for simple activities like taking a shower or changing the bandages on my surgical incisions.

The boot also had an unfortunate habit of gouging my good ankle and drawing blood!

This morning, acting on surgeon’s orders, I took off the boot, hopefully for the last time. Instead, I’m now wearing hiking boots with heel wedges when I “walk.”

I use the term “walk” advisedly, since I’m not exactly bounding around. While my tendon may now be strong enough to walk, the muscles in my leg are incredibly weak from disuse. It’s more like a crutch-assisted shuffle. In fact, I’m slower than I was in the boot! But I’ve heard from friends who have gone through this process that I should improve rapidly as the muscles regain their tone and strength. I’m eager to switch from medical crutch to stylish cane or walking stick! I even bought a cane with a built-in flashlight.

I’m still wearing a bandage on my surgical incisions, but all but one appear to be closed over, and even the laggard has made huge progress over the past month, and should be closing up soon.

The next major milestones–and I don’t know the order in which they’ll occur–is starting physical therapy in two weeks, and recovering enough leg strength to actually drive!

To safely use the gas and brake pedals, I need to be able to do a heel raise (rising on to my toes using leg power alone). I can’t even imagine doing it now, but hopefully my leg will recover quickly now that it isn’t strapped into immobility. For the record, the very last visitor to push me around in my wheelchair was the one and only Manu Kumar, who got quite a workout pushing me to the mailbox so I could mail some bills. That’s my glamorous life for you!

Hopefully my recovery will continue to be steady. I’ll check back in after my physical therapy starts (or if I’m miraculously able to do a heel raise before then). Wish me luck!

4 thoughts on “Achilles rupture recovery update : Bye, Bye Bootie (2 months)

  1. Wishing you a speedy recovery. One thought…And you are a thinking man…is there a silver lining here somewhere? Being injured (physically, emotionally, commercially) positions us dead square in vulnerability and is never comfortable. Has there been any inflection points during this time?

    1. I definitely have a greater sense of empathy for the physically challenged. The whole world looks different when you’re constantly scanning the environment for any deviation from level, even ground!

  2. Jeff M Frank

    Chris, just stumbled across your blog while googling this injury. I had same PARS surgery 11 days ago. Glad to see you were out of the foot at 8 weeks. I’m getting out of splint in 2 days. I hope your PT is progressing. How long did you wait before any weight bearing with boot? Did you really not start any PT until the 8 week and out of boot hurdles? Are you able to drive? Thanks for any advice. Good luck!

    1. Jeff, hope you’re recovering well. My surgeon had me start to put weight on my boot at the 4 week mark. I didn’t start PT until I was out of the boot, though once I was cleared for weight-bearing in the boot, I was directed to do 10 minutes of exercise outside the boot per day, to try to keep the ankle moving at least a little bit. Once I was out of the boot, it took me about two weeks to have enough leg strength to drive, though on strict doctor’s orders, I might have waited another couple of weeks.

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