Achilles Tendon Surgery Recovery: 1 Year Update

One year ago today, my ruptured Achilles tendon was surgically repaired. When people ask me about it, I tell them that there is a real good news/bad news element. An Achilles tendon rupture is pretty much the worst sports injury that you can completely recover from. It’s generally considered to have a 1-year minimum recovery time, though the history of professional athletes who have returned after the injury isn’t very promising.

I’ve tried to chronicle my recovery journey on this blog, both to help others who are going through this, but mostly to make sure that I remember the details myself.

I wrote my last update at the 7.75 month mark, shortly after returning from a literally around-the-world trip to Dubai and India. At the time, I was able to run using a reduced-gravity treadmill, and I promised to provide an update after my next physical therapy session on March 13.

The world has changed quite a bit since then. Somehow, my goal of writing an update on March 13, the day that Santa Clara County issued a shelter-in-place order in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, slipped my mind. (You can read my various thoughts on Covid-19 here.)

I did go to my physical therapy appointment on March 13, but only after both my London and Germany trips had been cancelled. Later, my Singapore, Brazil, and Spain trips were also cancelled. Since then, I’ve been doing virtual physical therapy, but at the insistence of my therapist, actually visited the clinic in person on Monday.

The update is that I am probably about 90% recovered. I can and have easily walked several miles without any ill effect. As part of my therapy, I now regularly jog continuously for about a mile (though my pace is definitely slower than pre-injury). I don’t actually know if I can play basketball, because my gym has been closed this entire time, so I haven’t tried to play, but I am fairly certain that I’m not ready for full-court basketball yet.

At my physical therapy visit this week, my therapist basically kicked me out, saying that I didn’t need any more help, since I was doing all my exercises on my own. On the one hand, I was a bit miffed that I was being shoved out the door, but on the other hand, it’s definitely a good sign.

I’m going to keep working hard on my exercises (which have progressed to the point of hopping on one foot to strengthen the jumping muscles in my surgically-repaired leg) and I hope that by the time my gym re-opens and I feel safe returning, I’ll be able to return to playing basketball.

Wish me luck!

1 thought on “Achilles Tendon Surgery Recovery: 1 Year Update

  1. Chris Yeh I admire your candor, specificity and persistence, truly, as that clearly helps you stay on a path most apt for you, and inspiring others to emulate your modes of thinking, kudos to you/

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