You will be in an altered state for many moons...

If your Achilles tendon is ruptured, torn, or even simply inflamed with tendonitis, your life is about to change. Mine sure has - so I decided to chronicle these events, and create a place for others to share their experiences, advice, resources and emotions during our journey toward recovery.

Nothing in this blog is meant to take the place of the medical advice of your physician. Follow the instructions of your medical professionals, not me.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

4. Speaking of work and time off...

When you return to work depends on a lot of different factors - your type and severity of injury, your self care after the surgery, and of course your work environment and responsibilities. 

Or, if you prefer, how much you can milk your particular system for!  I'll leave that to you, your doctor, your tendon, and your conscience.

You may qualify for short term disability.  Check into this as soon as possible and get the paperwork off to HR as soon as you have a firm surgery date, even if you do not plan to be off work more than two weeks.  You just don't really know how well you will be doing at that two week mark - leave your options open.

I work at a bank, and though it's a "desk job," there's a lot of walking involved, because it's a large bank.  The breakrooms, bathrooms, etc are spread out and pretty far from my office, and even the printer/copier/fax machine is a good thirty feet from my desk.  So before I left, I compiled a list of what I consider to be "reasonable accommodations" for this period of disability.  Your company is required by law to reasonably accommodate your situation, so hold them to it.  They will probably be fair with you - so don't feel like you have to push your physical limitations to please your boss.  They don't want you to re-injure yourself or impede your recovery any more than you do.  They want you to be healthy and agile again as soon as possible.

I requested a printer to be placed IN my office so I don't have to get up and down on crutches.  This would be difficult and would also probably worry my customers unnecessarily.  I made sure that my walkway around my desk was large enough to navigate with the crutches.  I am going to carry a little cooler with me when I get back, and stock it with bottled water, so that I don't have to get up just because I'm thirsty.

Make sure that you are able to elevate your leg often throughout the day.

Make sure that you have everything you need within arm's reach. 

Be sure that you have easy access INTO your business and work area.  If there are a lot of steps, you are going to need to find another entrance if possible.  Steps are difficult to navigate with crutches, and you may be asking for trouble!  I read one blog where a woman returned to work after two weeks, only to fall trying to get up some steps, and she broke her OTHER ankle and ended up in a wheelchair! Augh!

Walking with crutches will make you tired.  You may have to ease back in to your workday - maybe even cut the days short.  Prepare your boss for this possibility.  Stress to them that you absolutely will not compromise your health, and that if you need to adjust your schedule, that's just how it's got to be.  I did some checking into the typical Achilles tendon surgery timeline, and two to three weeks off work (for office work) is pretty much the minimum.  Your doctor may recommend even more time off.  Follow his/her orders first and foremost.

When you get back to work, you will still have follow up appointments, and, very importantly, PHYSICAL THERAPY appointments.  Don't be a "hero."  Take off the time you need in order to keep these appointments, and in order to heal properly.


  1. I work at a meical factory in the warehouse. Which I drive forklifts, standups, lifts, and I am on my feet 10 hrs aday 5 to 6 days aweek. I just had surgery on my heel and achilles tendon repair on March 5th of this year. My first postop appt. was 9 days after surgery and they put me in a small patted boot and I am not suppose to put any weight on the foot until April 11th or when I see my surgeon again. I just found out that my short disability said I could return to work on April 1st not even 4 weeks after my achilles tendon repair. Because they do not call Achille's Tendon Repair a short term disability, I am not even in a walking boot yet, I was adviced by my dr that I would be put in a normal walking boot at that time and then we would talk about therapy. 5 years ago I tore my left achilles tendon in half and had surgery also to fix it, I did not get out of the boot for a long while. I will not have no where to put my foot up threw the day, and I have to have a closed toe shoe for the work area's that I could possibly work in because they are all sterile areas. I just don't know what to do with what they have decided about my returning back to work, seems like to me they would rather me come back to work so when I have to miss the days for postop visits and therapy they can just let me go because I will have points against me for it. I just don't know what to do!

  2. Have your doctor notify your disability insurance of your next appointment date. I had my surgery on 12/21/12 and after each doctors visit the doctors office has to submit a reply to my disability carrier letting them know I am not released yet. I'm hoping they will release me next week if my work will allow me to return on crutches. Good luck!