Achilles rupture recovery update: On the road again (3.5 months)

Hello again, devoted readers! My apologies for not providing an update sooner, but things have been very busy.

I visited my doctor and started physical therapy on the same day: September 17. My last surgery wound finally closed, and my surgeon pronounced my tendon sound and well on the way to recovery.

At physical therapy, I discovered that my foot was quite lacking in flexibility. The first measurement showed that my foot could manage, on its own, 0 degrees of dorsiflexion (toes pointing up) and 20 degrees of plantarflexion (toes pointing down). For reference, the normal degree of flexibility is 10-20 degrees of dorsiflexion, and 60 degrees of plantarflexion. A long way to go. We also measured my uninjured ankle, and found that it could only manage 5 degrees of dorsiflexion and 40 degrees of plantarflexion. In other words, I was decidedly inflexible even before my injury. My physical therapist rejected my proposal that we target getting my ankle to par with the uninjured counterpart, instead insisting that we work on both ankles to get them closer to normal.

Ever since that visit, I’ve been doing varying physical therapy exercises three times per day. More on that in a bit.

My physical therapist also asked me to move from my hiking boots to stability sneakers. Alas, these are specialized shoes that cost me more than any pair of shoes I’ve ever bought ($170–I normally try to get my shoes for less than $20, and preferably less than $10).

My appointments were well-timed, because the very next day, I dove back into a hectic Fall travel schedule. On the 18th, I flew to Buffalo for a corporate event, then hitched a ride to near Albany for a conference keynote, and then on to Boston (by way of the Baseball Hall of Fame at Cooperstown) to teach at MIT.

I was on the road for week (the stairs at my Airbnb were particularly challenging) and was glad to be home on the 26th.

But alas, there was little rest for the wicked, as I flew down to Southern California on the 1st for another keynote speech for PwC. They really believe in service; the Managing Director who was the host of the event actually pushed my wheelchair back to my room for me (the Ritz Carlton where the event took place was beautiful, but enormous, and I couldn’t manage the distances unaided; I tried wheeling my way to the event once, and it took me nearly 30 minutes and left me exhausted).

On the 2nd, I delivered my morning keynote, flew back up to the Bay Area, gave another corporate talk in SF, and then attended a separate dinner and talk in SF for yet another company. Whew! Though I’m not to my buddy Frans Johansson’s level yet–he once did three speeches in three states in one day, and rode a private jet to make it to his events on time!

I actually had a night at home, before traveling to Marin county for another corporate offsite.

During all this time, I was limping around with my trusted cane. Then, when I went to physical therapy on the 8th, I was told in no uncertain terms that A) I needed to stop limping, and B) I had the capability to walk, but needed to push myself. Since then, I’ve been managing without the cane, though I’m using it during my travels due to the extra strain of carrying a heavy backpack.

This week was light–only one formal corporate event in SF on the 9th. But I did have to wake up extra early and travel down to San Jose to renew my driver’s license (it expired on my birthday yesterday) and finish filing my taxes (I definitely feel poorer!).

But, there’s no rest for the wicked. On Friday night (yesterday?) I boarded a British Airways flight to London. 11 hours (and three episodes of Veep) later, I’m now in the BA lounge at Heathrow (quite swanky–there are chandeliers!) waiting to board a 7 hour flight to Doha. I’m hoping that by the time I return, I’ll have built up my calf muscle to the point where I can walk without a limp. Wish me luck!

1 thought on “Achilles rupture recovery update: On the road again (3.5 months)

  1. Cary

    You are an excellent writer! It is pleasure reading your Achilles update blog! I am walking normally and went on a hike each of the last two Sundays! My left foot (the injured one) has the exact same range of motion as my right. I am not running yet, and I still take it easy, but I am moving well down recovery road. In about two weeks I lose my disabled parking pass, but I haven’t been parking in disabled spots anyway (there are truly disabled ppl who really need those spots). 🙂
    Get well soon brother, hang in there, it gets better (slowly). Look how far you’ve come. You can put weight on your foot, fly in a plane and wear fancy expensive sneakers!

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