I am now eight months post-op after fully rupturing my left Achilles tendon. I have tried not to make a big deal of it. I have not posted all that much on what I have been doing or did to get to this point. I put up a few videos, but never really went in depth as far what I have been doing to recover from what many call a “devastating injury.” But I am going to do so now because I finally feel that it is time.
When I first ruptured my Achilles back in March, I immediately began taking the necessary measures to prepare myself for surgery. Overnight I changed my diet to only eating things that would reduce my inflammation. I also saw Dan Wick, my sports therapist since I was fifteen years old, to get treatment in order to reduce swelling and improve healing.
After a week of being extremely diligent, my body was primed for surgery with virtually no swelling or bruising. Some people have to wait several weeks for this to happen, as surgeons typically want the body to be ready for such a big reconstruction.
As soon as my surgery was done, I began my recovery. I went on a whole 30 diet and continued to eat inflammation-reducing foods. I consumed supplements that my mother, a functional medicine provider, prescribed for me that would increase my collagen stores and above all else, I remained positive.
I saw the situation I was in as a blessing rather than a curse. A means to slow me down and take a look around – to enjoy what life had to offer me besides training. Sitting in that surgical cast, I only wanted to do three things:
1) Be able to walk in some way, shape, or form to help my wife take care of our children.
2) Be able to run so I could play with my kids again. I wanted this more than anything. I felt so hopeless. If anything were to happen to them, what could I do to help? This was a horrible feeling.
3) Coach. I wanted to become better at my craft. I wanted to put all my effort into being great. This was a long time coming and this injury put me in the right mindset to take on this task. It also was one of the only things I knew I could still do well.
I started by wiggling my toes a lot. Funny, I know. I then began to hop around whenever I could. Believe it or not, this was very taxing. Soon the weeks started to blend together as I went from cast to cast and then finally a boot. My gosh, that was an awesome day! It meant I got to start rehab.
Once rehab started I literally jumped in head first into a pool to do therapy three times a week for a month. Everything they told me to do, I did like my life depended on it. I worked my ass off using that same work ethic I had always been known for, but this time I felt as if it was for my survival or even my children’s survival.
I was motivated to get better as fast as possible. I put in extra pool workouts whenever I could. Hops, raises, lifts, I had a whole written plan. When that was done a month earlier than most, my surgeon was not surprised clearing me to work with Dan and do weight bearing activities.
At every appointment my therapist, Dan, would do something called remodeling. He would painfully work my Achilles with various tools to reduce the scar tissue so it would heal correctly. These were some of the most painful experiences I can remember. Excruciating at times, but I did not care because I was going to get better.
I would then do various lift drills along a wall or on a special machine they have at Custom Physical Therapy. Without this place I would not be where I am today. Once this was done, I began plyometric and hamstring strengthening drills. Single leg hops, T drills, triangle drills, single leg broad jumps, and yes – single leg rebound box jumps.
Part of my therapy, once I began progressing, was rebound box jumps. I worked up from a six-inch box to a 24-inch box. I did sprint drills and various stair drills. Yes, that is right – I hopped up stairs with one leg.
The best day ever was when I got to wear tennis shoes again on both feet. The next day, I got to coach my gym’s Precision Masters at the Silver Fox competition and watch them take multiple podium spots. This was very satisfying for me.
For me, it was so nice just to walk. Although with a limp, I walked. But that day when I chased after my kids again, wow. I don’t recall the exact day but I just did it. And then I cried. I was so happy to be able to move with my children again.
During my recovery I continued to see my surgeon every month, sometimes twice. He would check me out and was always happy with my progress. In fact, my tendon healed to be thicker than it was previously, making my potential re-rupture rate very low.
My surgeon would also check on my progress with Dan. So when I was cleared to compete at a local competition, the “Battle of the Boxes,” it was no shock to anyone. As many of you saw I stayed in shape doing lifts from my knees and modifying whatever I could. I learned how to swim, which is a new found love of mine, and did tons of rowing repeats. I was cleared to lift again at 5 months.
All this allowed me to do what I do best – make myself strong again. I sit here almost 100% recovered as far as my strength is concerned. I am not back fully, as my body will still be adjusting and recovering over the next few months. However, what you saw at the “Battle of the Boxes” was a result of hours and hours of hard work, dedication, a clean diet, and persistence.
I always listened to my medical advice and did what I was told. I recovered from a ruptured Achilles tendon and at 7.5 months post-op I competed again in the sport of CrossFit. It was not by chance and it was not due to luck or faith.
“You can do anything you set your mind to” – I have always lived by these words. I know what it is like to come back from a devastating injury and compete again. It is a huge accomplishment regardless of the competition outcome. If you are in this situation, by coming back from your injury, you have already won.
Thank you to my family especially my beautiful wife. She was my rock. Her selflessness, and ability to take care of our family was just incredible. I’m here today because of her. To everyone who helped me during my recovery I am eternally grateful. To my Mother and Dan Wick you two are incredible. Thank you Precision for all of your support! I love you all.
10 Air Squats
10 Push Ups
10 Pass Throughs
…YES 45 MINUTES!
Row for Max Meters
*Score is total meters completed. Compare to 7/2/14, 7/30/14, 9/4/14, 9/24/14, & 10/30/14
Work your oxidative system! Get better today!