Category Archives: Exercises

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.

Jogging

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!

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.

Feb 4 – physical therapy

Starting this month, I changed the frequency to my physical therapy for my Achilles. Until now, I was doing twice a week and now changed to once a week. Several factors played into my decision. First, I still haven’t received a bill. I guess I could’ve asked to see how much I was paying but it never happened do there was an unknown. 2nd, I felt the exercise was becoming routine and I was able to do almost all the exercise at home – just needed discipline.

The good thing about going to the physical therapy center was being made accountable to make sure I was doing all the reps and doing the right. I could also ask the therapist to make sure I was doing it at the right form to avoid injury.

From here on, instead of going twice a week, I will attend therapy every Wed. So far so good!

Achilles physical therapy – 75% weight bearing

gamereadyNov. 24th. I’ve been to physical therapy several times now and know what to expect and am very comfortable. Due to improvements to my condition, I am now able to go 75% weight bearing which means I can use only one crutch on the opposite side of my foot with the Achilles rupture and walk. This is much more natural as I am able to swing my arms the way I would when walking. I always start with scar tissue treatment using the Granston method and deep tissue massage on my calf. Here is a list of exercises I do regularly at physical therapy and at home.

1) Ankle pumps to loosen up the Achilles – 20 times
2) Rotate my ankle – 20 times each direction
3) Write out the alphabet with my toe from A to Z – 2 times
4) Band exercises – various
-dorsiflexion and plantarflexion – 3 x 15
-45 degree plantarflexion inner and outer  3 x 15
-90 degree plantarflexion inner and outer 3 x 15
-clams to work on hip both sides – 3 x 15
5) Picking up marbles with my toes onto a plastic jar
6) Seated calf raisers

I end each session icing my foot to decrease swelling. The physical therapy center uses a GameReady compression machine which really helps. It circulates ice water while compressing on your injury.

Nov 21 Achilles Physical Therapy

Just shy of one month since surgery to repair my Achilles, I had my 2nd physical therapy session. I’m still in the boot most of the time but it is nice that I can now take a bath without any concern. Being that this was the 2nd session, I was less nervous. The session started with more observation of the scar and swelling. It still swells especially if I move it a lot of put it down. I have occasional throbbing pain but not as bad as when the first two weeks out of surgery. Steve worked with me using the grastron technique to settle the swelling and scraping the scar tissue. He also helped massage my calf which is actually more painful then my Achilles and worked on my actual surgery scar. He encouraged me to use my fingers to break the tissue around the scar so it won’t heal firm.

Now finally to some exercises. This is the menu I was given which has a list of exercises, movement, and icing.

  • foot pumps x 30
  • Write alphabet with my toes x 2
  • Seated toe raisers
  • Band exercises
  • Clam (for my hip)
  • Ice

I’ll upload a video that is probably easier to explain.

Update:
I couldn’t find the video that was taken at this time so I just made a new one. Disclaimer, I am not 11 months removed from my surgery so the range of motion will be much more than someone who just had surgery a month back.

 

Achilles Post Op – 50% weight bearing

Roughly 3 weeks after my Achilles surgery, I had my 2nd post operation appointment with Dr. J. Everything was going smooth. Very little progress was felt on my end as I was still in my boot majority of the time and I was 0% weight bearing which meant I was not allowed to put any weight on it. At most, the only exercise I was getting was just moving my toes and pressing my foot against the boot and sofa. After this appointment, the doctor cleared me to be 50% weight bearing. I honestly wasn’t sure what this meant. After discussing, he explained that I could place my foot on the ground as I used my crutches. This meant a bit of a change in my routine as I was on my iWalk when I moved from point A to B. I now I had have my crutches with me and place my left food on the ground as I moved.

Here is a video on how to walk with 50% weight bearing on the foot with Achilles surgery.