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Introduction and Timeline

On Oct 13, 2014, I ruptured my left Achilles. At the time of the rupture, I was a healthy 35 year old male, 6′ 2″ and about 210lbs. My physical fitness was semi-active. I work from home but try to manage cycling 1-2 times a week and play full court basketball at least once a week. So I wasn’t completely out of shape but I wasn’t in super great shape either.

In hindsight, I don’t think you can pinpoint the cause of the rupture. I played competitive sports throughout high school and lettered in volleyball, basketball, and soccer all 4 years. I put my body during those years very hard. I was young so I thought. Much of my problems came from my knees but never any foot or ankle problems.

About a year before the rupture, I did see the doctor to have my left Achilles checked out. I often would wake up in the morning with a very stiff left foot. The doctor indicated it there was some swelling on my Achilles and was diagnosed with tendonosis. I was given a few leg strengthening exercises and off I went. One more checkup and the pain went away. Laziness got the better of me and I stopped doing the exercises. At no point did the doctor say there was going to be a risk of a rupture. Thinking back, it was likely precursor to the full rupture.

Here is a timeline view of my blog posts of my recovery.

Oct 13 2014 – The Rupture
Oct 14 2014 – visit chiropractor, MRI
Oct 15 2014 – MRI confirm full rupture
Oct 16 2014 – Dr. L. No surgery date. Soft cast taken off
Oct 17 2014 – iwalk arrives
Oct 18 2014 – First Weekend
Oct 21 2014 – Dr. J. Surgery confirmed for Tuesday Oct 23
Oct 23 2014 – Surgery
Oct 23 2014 – Immense Pain Post Surgery
Oct 25 2014 – Side effects
Oct 29 2014 – Pain in Calf / Cast Removed
Oct 31 2014 – Nutrition post Achilles surgery
Nov 4 2014 – Post Op appt, stitches removed, limited exercises
Nov 14 2014 – physical therapy
Nov 18 2014 – Post Op appt – 50% weight bearing
Nov 21 2014 – physical therapy
Nov 24 2014 – physical therapy – 75% weight bearing
Dec 1 2014 – physical therapy
Dec 3 2014 – physical therapy
Dec 8 2014- physical therapy
Dec 10 2014 – physical therapy
Dec 15 2014 – physical therapy
Dec 16 2014 – Post Op appt – No crutches!
Dec 17 2014 – physical therapy – 50-50 Boots
Dec 22 2014 – physical therapy –
Dec 29 2014 – physical therapy – no boots
Jan 13 2015 – Post Op appt
Jan 21 2015 – physical therapy
Jan 23 2015 – 3 months post op update!
Jan 28 2015 – physical therapy
Feb 4 2015 – physical therapy
Feb 12 2015 – Legoland Trip!
Mar 11 2015 – 4 months post op
March 26 2015 – 5 months post op and end of physical therapy
May 2 2015 – Business Trip
June 29 2015 – 8 months post op
Oct 2 2015 – Jogging
Dec 18 2015 – one year and 2 months post op
Jan 4 2016 – Back to basketball!
March 25, 2016 – Visiting New York City after Achilles Rupture

Visiting New York City after Achilles Rupture

2016-03-27 14.10.27
In March for my son’s spring break, I promised my son he could visit any city he wants. He said he wanted to go see Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, and go see an NBA game. So plans we made for a father and son trip! I wasn’t as nervous as I’ve already flew and gone on previous trips. The only minor concern was all the walking. I started using Android Fit app synced with my smartwatch which counts how many steps I take. I was looking forward to see how much walking I would be doing. I also reminded myself to not force it. With a 7 year old child, don’t be a hero to try to keep up. If I was tired, just use uber or lyft! Want $50 credit for your first lyft ride? click here. (Disclaimer – I get something too.)

The entire trip went smooth. The only snag was the 3 hour delay we encountered when we left LAX. It was really surprising as Virgin is very good about departure times. Our 10pm arrival time got pushed back to 1am.  Not the way you want to start a vacation with a 7 year old but oh well.

When we arrived in NYC, I had three options to get to my friend’s apartment – lyft / uber, yellow cab, or Asian taxi service. Upon landing, I checked quotes for lyft / uber and seemed reasonable but I wasn’t sure about the pickup arrangements. Yellow cab lines were really long. I decided to call the Asian taxi service. Boy was I glad! The pickup area for cabs, lyft, and uber were a big mess. There were cars waiting for their passengers mixed with passenger cars as well as limos. You wouldn’t be able to tell this was a 1:30am in the morning.

Despite being in March, we had great weather. First day it was actually in the high 70’s and we were way over dressed. After taking a walk around Battery park, Statue of Libery, Ellis Island, and walk around Greenwhich Village, I was beat. We took a Lyft back to the apt.

2nd day also had a lot of walking. But the good thing about New York City is that there are Lyft / uber everywhere. I secured a 20% discount throughout my trip so it was extra nice perk to have.

All in all, we had a wonderful time. No strains or swelling in my Achilles but it was noticeably weaker. Something I need to work on.

Finally! Stepping back on basketball court after Achilles rupture

The day has finally come! I’ve overcame my fear and stepped back onto the basketball court 15 months and change after my Achilles injury. I honestly thought I would be playing an year after surgery but recovery took longer than I imagined. Part of it is due to slowing down of my rehab. I lost my consistency to do my exercises I’ve picked up from physical therapy since my insurance deductible reset back in April of 2015. It is really unfortunate. I did have alternative options such as gym membership or just using the machines at the physical therapy center but I elected not to. I did a lot of biking but stopped when the weather got cold. I did manage to go jogging a few times but again nothing consistent. It is much harder in the winter months and daylight savings as it gets really dark by 5pm.

The opportunity came to play basketball. I’ve stayed connected to my basketball pick up games facebook groups where we rent a gym at a neighboring city. It was the holiday and my son’s league took 2 weeks off. I was oddly free for the entire Saturday! I decided it was the time. I haven’t felt any pain when jogging for some time. I just haven’t really tested my Achilles or my leg on more explosive activities. I realized that this was also a mental issue. I had a mental block and some residual fear. Fear if my repaired Achilles would hold up but the bigger fear was how my non-injury Achilles was. Since this injury, I became a bit concerned at the structural integrity of my other Achilles. There is no fact to back this. It’s all in my mind.

A week before open gym, I jogged around the neighborhood twice and ended each run with a sprint. I felt good. Aside from being a bit short of breath, I was fine. I was ready.

Game day came and there were of course no fanfare. I did joke to my friend’s to get the intro video ready! Some of them were really conscious that I haven’t played in a while and expressed some concern asking if I was ready. I made sure to do some warm up and stretch well before starting. I moved quite well which was surprising. I guess playing organized basketball for over 16 years does a number to your body. My mind was triggering my body to do the motions but the question was if my body was able to keep up. After all, that is how injuries happen to people like me. I reminded myself to not explode 100% and not to jump high. There were a few defensive sequence where I forgot and jumped high to block a shot. I was fine. I believe my weight loss highly contributed to this. Surprisingly, I still had wind left in me. It may be because I was moving on the floor strategically, not wasting energy. About the 4th game in, it happened. I went for a bank shot and jumped – I sprained my left foot. It wasn’t the ankle but the upper left side of my left foot. I limped my way to the bench and asked for a sub. The gym became eerily quite as I assured everyone it was just a sprain. I took in some water and called it a day.

A week later, I went back. I recovered quite well and also ran about 2 miles leading up to the open gym. This time, I felt more comfortable on the floor. No cramps. Made some baskets. In the end, played about five 10 min games. Recovery was fine. I can now say I have returned to my old self. If I play another 4 weeks, i can probably regain my explosiveness prior to the injury.

1 year and 2 months post operation

It’s been a bit over a year since my Achilles surgery and it is time for a quick update. To sum it up, no major issues which is a good thing. On the other hand, no major advancement either. Part of it is because of my own schedule and the season change. The weather has really turned in Los Angeles and with daylight savings, it is really hard to get out after work to do a quick bike and run. One thing you don’t want to do is to go out exercising without the proper warm up. Not warming up while exercising will lead to injuries. In general, my Achilles feels strong and I am able to sprint, jog, jump without any challenge. There are still significant scar tissue which is inevitable and not sure how much of it will go away. You really don’t notice unless you are moving your fingers directly along the Achilles. There are instances where it feels tight but nothing like what I had earlier months immediately after surgery. I haven’t played any basketball but have been shooting hoops with my son which is nice.

Weight Cause of Injury? Then weight should I lose!

About 4 months ago, 7 months into my Achilles recovery, I had to confront one lingering issue which contributed to my injury – my eight. It was one undeniable fact that I had confront if I were to be healthy and active again. Simply put, I am overweight. I was able to deceive people around me and myself for years as I am a relatively tall person. It disguised me as someone who had a normal weight band. However, if you look closely at my numbers, I was not. This in turn led to fatigue in my body and made exercise that much more difficult. I was having frequent back issues and a year earlier, I had Achilles tendonosis. I decided enough was enough and I had to do something. As I couldn’t perform any high intensity exercises, I had to tackle my weight from another dimension – my diet.

Dieting has always frustrating me as I tried many fads without much success. I’ve tried fasting from meat for lent but it still didn’t work. what frustrated me the most was I didn’t really change my diet much. My weight gain was largely due to the slowdown of my metabolism. I talked about this in detail with my primary care physician (PCP) but she just nodded that this is likely due to age (35 years) and slowdown of metabolism. Life isn’t fair lol. So in order to lose weight through diet, I had to eat at a deficit.

One day, I was stumbling through some weight loss forums and a member posted a progress picture which absolutely stunned me. Over the span of a year, this gentlemen lost some 60lbs and went from a 40 year old obese man to looking like a 20 year old boy band rock star. The loss of weight helped him look much younger. He did it through watching his intake and monitoring his macros carefully. Macros is to calculate the food based on protein, fat, and carb intake. There are many different ideology in the percentage breakdown you should eat but key is sticking to it and staying below your caloric intake. Based on this, I figured out the following. I was 212lbs and at 6’2″, I had to eat 2200 calories to maintain my weight. I started using MyFitnessPal app and started to log my food. It wasn’t a surprise that I was eating just at or over 2200 calories a day which explains why I was slowly gaining weight. I decided something had to change.

I started with cutting down my carb intake. I religiously had carb for breakfast (toast or some other form of bread, lunch (rice or noodle), and dinner (rice). I usually had two cups of coffee with a few teaspoons of brown sugar or liquid sugar without any thought. I also loved milk tea which was also sweetened. I also had a sweet tooth. I found myself looking for snack well into late evening despite having a large dinner. I had to fulfill my cravings and would down anything I could find in the kitchen. I had this sense that I am not to sleep with a empty stomach. So instead, off the bat, I limited my carbs. I started to count my carbs and made sure I didn’t exceed the amount allocated through my macros.

So what exactly have I done? I’ve set a goal to eat 1400 calories a day which is about 600 calories deficit. This deficit should aid in me losing 1-1.5 lbs a week. I stopped adding sugar to my coffee. Occasionally, I would use Stevia or other zero calorie / carb sugar substitutes but I usually go without. I still use 2% or half and half as creamer. I stopped eating carbs. I’ve eliminated virtually all complex carb from my diet, no rice, noodle, or bread. Yes, cold turkey. It can be done. Amazingly, after a few days, I stopped craving for food. The late night cravings went away as well. I started drinking a lot of water. It appears that a large portion of my weight loss was attributed to my water weight.


Spectacular. I am 110 days into this and I have lost 22 lbs! This will ultimately aid in my recovery and prevent injuries down the road. I figured if I want to be able to play basketball and soccer again, I had to lose weight. I’ve went from 212 down to 190lbs. My goal is to reach 180lbs. I have noticeably been less ‘bloated’ as my wife says. My pants are noticeably much more loose as well. If you know you can lsoe a few pounds, I highly recommend you see where you can cut!


It’s coming close to a year since my Achilles rupture so on the eve of the anniversary, I thought I post a much delayed update. I have been consistently exercising by the means of cycling but have not done much more than that. I manage to go out on my road bike at least 2-3 times a week usually between 5-10 miles. But I knew I had to transition to a much more strenuous form of exercise if I want to strengthen my Achilles and the next logical step was jogging.

About two weeks ago, which is just over 10 months post surgery, I started running. It is much later then most people but I am not in a rush and I wanted to be sure I can handle the pressure. If you can, try to find a well maintained grass ground to start jobbing. I don’t have a lot of grassy areas around my house so I had to run on concrete. A few months ago, I tried jogging and after maybe 100 yards, I started having pain in my legs. I went back to cycling. I meant to e-mail my PT to ask if I should run through pain but never got around to doing it. He did offer me to go back and visit whenever and would be happy to answer any questions. I guess that is how it is the more departed you are from your treatment, the more separated you become to rely on them.

Finally, I set my sight to run around the block. I made sure I was well hydrated and stretched before starting. I stretched my calves, hamstrings, and thighs. I usually stretch either from top to bottom or vice versa so I can keep a tab of my major muscle groups. It works really well.

I started off really slow. Just as my surgeon, Dr. J told me, job by rolling off the balls of my foot. My goal was to run around my block which comes out to just short of a mile at .7 miles and not stop. I succeeded. I was not as out of shape as I thought probably due to my cycling habits. However, I was feeling pain in my other parts of my leg. My knees in particular. Since then, I have gone jogging 3 more times and I have my good days and bad days. But I never had to stop which is a major accomplishment. Post running pain is minimal and there have not been any swelling either. I think this is largely in part I’ve lost 20 lbs in the past 3.5 months.

8 month in my Achilles recovery

It’s been 8 months since my Achilles surgery on Oct 23rd. Well the journey has entered it’s last spurt. I recalled Dr. J telling me that by 8 months I should be back to 100% all sports activities. It hasn’t happened but I am not dissapointed. I haven’t visited Dr. J since my month 6 appointment and in all honestly, there hasn’t been too much major improvement since then. I think from here on the progress would be less apparent. Currently, I am experiencing the following:

  • Minor tightness when I wake up in the morning or from sitting too long in one position
  • I am able to jog in good form with very little pain up to 10 min. Pain starts to come after with minimal swelling
  • Sprint very short distance
  • Bike with no pain or swelling
  • Jump with no issues. Not much vertical though
  • Less scar tissue and Achilles more defined although not as much as my right foot
  • No pain whatsoever even walking at long periods (mall, amusement park, beach)

It has been a challenge to do all the exercises I should continue to do. Occasionally, I take out the band and do some foot pumpts and diagonal pumps. During shower, I would do some heel lifts. I can do 10 single leg toe raisers but still find it difficult to do them unsupported. It is interesting how even putting one finger against the wall helps with the balance and is less load on my calf while doing calf raisers.

Even with professional athelets with a great training staff, it takes 8 months to get into full recovery for fitness. I know I need to be much more patient.

Currently, I am trying to lose weight before I attempt any streneous exercising. One major issue I notice is the weight I have been putting on my legs, back. The extra weight strains my body and my heart. I do not think I am in any ways obese but at 6’1″, I should weight around 190. I was around 210-212lbs when I ruptured my Achilles and being lethargic didn’t help. I have since lost 13 pounds and weight 198lbs. My target is to drop to 180-185lbs then start working out aiming to be able to play basketball and soccer again.

I know I haven’t done a good job but I will work to fill in previous blog posts and create an exercise video to help everyone!

Achilles Injury and Business Trip

achilles travelI just got back from a 3 week long business trip. This was the business trip I was supposed to take back in 2014 but had to cancel because I ruptured my Achilles. Good thing I didn’t book any non refundable tickets or hotels! But time has come where I felt confident I could travel internationally but was still a little anxious for the trip. To overcome any nervousness, I typically do whatever I can to control the variables and unknown of the trip as possible. I review all flight options and book each hotel personally. In this trip, I went across 3 countries, 7 flights, 5 hotels in 21 days. Yes, you heard that correctly!

My biggest concern was with the long queues which you often encounter at various country’s immigration processing. In all the countries I’ve visited (and return to US), I have had bad experiences. Before the trip, I bought new walking shoes. Something really comfortable with lots of support. I got some Nike Air Max on sale at the outlet for only $40! This is when I miss having a handicap placard. But even so, I doubt I would feel comfortable getting wheeled around in a wheelchair when I am capable of walking with no noticeable limp.

I went to two countries. First country was in India where I had a chauffeur with me pretty much at all times. Also, there were a number of Uber like taxi apps so I didn’t have to walk long distance at all. Interestingly, I was able to exercise at the hotel gym almost every day which was great. I’ve been at this hotel before and being that it was only 10 min from my office, I had lots of time to work out in the morning. The only thing I was bummed about was not able to swim because of a burn I had on my arm which got infected.

The 2nd trip was to the U.K. The immigration queue was a nightmare. It took a full hour to get through and I tried to pass the time by reading a book I took with me. I am quite experienced traveler and had a carry on which has wheels so I never had to carry more weight than my own at any instance. Hindsight, I could’ve sat on my carry on but I didn’t. By the time I got out of the airport, it was already 8pm and I called it a night.

The following day, I spent walking around and traveling around London. This was the biggest challenge for me the entire trip as I had to walk and travel using the tube (subway) and bus. I started the day at 9am until 7pm. My pedometer said I walked 40,000 steps! I did my best to find a bench and a place to sit and rest as much as I could but by the end of the day, I was extremely exhausted and noticeable pain on my Achilles. I took some pain medication and went to sleep. I was fine the following morning.

The remainder of the trip was fine. I was a bit concerned about wearing dress shoes but I didn’t have much issues. Every time I ventured out or if I knew I would do a lot of walking, I would put on my Air Max. All in all, it was a good trip and it gave me confidence that I can do more and my recovery was on track.

5 month post surgery and last physical therapy

This week I had two milestones. It has been 5 months since my surgery to repair my Achilles and yesterday I went through my last physical therapy session. I don’t know if it was a mental thing but I also felt very comfortable walking without any pain and only minor tightness. When I wake up, my Achilles is tight but slowly becomes more loose. I can feel strength and barely limp especially when I have shoes on. When I am on my bare feet, there is still some struggle when lifting my heel off the ground when I take a step.

All in all, I am happy with my progress. I was hoping to be able to get into full activity including sports by month 6 but that looks like it will have to be pushed out. I still cannot jog or jump. I can somewhat manage a job but its really oblique and doesn’t look or feel like a job. It is best not to push it and slowly stay with the strengthening regimen of strengthening my calf and muscles around my foot.

I decided to end my physical therapy due to two reasons. The primary one being the cost. On April first, my deductible will reset and  I will need to pay the full amount out of pocket. Second reason is that I am already set with my exercise routine. As long as I am disciplined, I should be good to go. The physical therapy office I went was a godsend. They were very helpful and diligently worked with me to ensure I did my exercises correctly and pushed my reps just the right amount. I left them with some cream puffs so I hope they enjoyed it! I would highly recommend them if you are looking for a place near Pasadena.

4 Month Post Op

I have a lot of catching up to do! I had my 4 month post Achilles rupture operation appointment today. The doctor asked me to demonstrate a few calf raises for him which I did. I didn’t work out the previous day so I was able to do a few controlled calf raises. He was happy with my progress. He indicated that a lot of patients at this stage would thrust or lean towards one side to come up to their toes. I was able to do calf raises upright.

Now the next challenge.

“Can you do one leg?”, he asked.

I couldn’t. Actually, I never really tried. I explained that I still had a fear of pushing too hard and re-rupturing my repaired Achilles. He felt my Achilles and explained that at this point, it will not re-rupture. Given some assurance, I gave it a shot and was able to come up maybe 1.5″ off the floor! I still had work to do. He explained by the next appointment, I should be able to do one foot calf raises at ease.

I hope so!

Achilles Recovery and Legoland

Legoland: My first challenge since my Achilles surgery is about to happen. We love to take short trips and being in Los Angeles, there is no shortage of wonderful places to visit. My kids have been wanting to go Legoland for a while but I dreaded the walking, standing, and waiting in line pretty much the whole day. This would also be the first true test of the strength and endurance of my Achilles. I already had a game plan and set the expectation for my kids. I told them that daddy will do his best to go through everything and participate on all the rides but daddy may not be able to line up with you and go on all rides. They understood. This made things easier and less pressure on me to perform. They were actually more behaved than previous trips too 🙂

I stayed at the nearby hotel which had a shuttle so I didn’t have to drive to Legoland. The hotel also had its own entrance which was a quick walk away so I can go back after or even take a break back at the hotel if I wanted to.  I knew that wouldn’t be necessary. First, I went to the customer service and inquired about the wheelchair. It cost money to rent it so I passed. It wasn’t like I couldn’t walk but I was just curious. One mistake I made is that I should’ve brought my handicap placard. Had I brought my handicap placard, I would’ve been entitled to a ‘fastpass’ which would’ve allowed me to skip the lines. I actually did think about this but didn’t feel comfortable skipping the lines when I didn’t appear handicap. That’s why I went to inquire about the wheelchair 🙂

The day went smooth. I did feel tight with all the waiting and walking around the hills. I pick and chose my rides and also spent a good time sitting where I could find a nice and shaded bench. My wife was superior. Anytime they wanted to stop to get a drink, she would take the kids. Same with the restroom. Overall, I think we spent the same amount of time at Legoland as we would have when I was fully capable. I was quite exhausted that evening and put some ice on my foot. I had no pain the following day which is a GREAT sign! Can’t wait for my next challenge!