The surgery was set for a couple weeks later, after which Craig began a personalized rehab plan, participating in a study led by Dr. Kadakia on how post-op protocol impacts when and to what degree flexibility and functionality return. The research, specifically on the evaluation of operative versus non-operative management of Achilles tendon ruptures using computerized adaptive testing (CAT), was one of a series of studies Dr. Kadakia has led comparing the outcomes of surgical and nonsurgical treatments for foot and ankle injuries.
Years ago, Craig had shoulder surgery for a rotator cuff tear which limited his function. Throughout rehab, he was unable to do everyday activities normally and to the extent he wanted to. He remembers the care he had to take during recovery, being very measured, never over-exerting his body. Following the pace of his rehab plan was worth it to return to full-function, and he never forgot how the injury impacted his quality of life.
High-level athletes approach physical therapy in a unique way, oftentimes with an ambition that outpaces that of their more casual peers. An injury can represent a drastic change to their everyday, not only impacting their ability to do simple tasks like walking, but also their ability to perform at the level they are accustomed to in the activities they love.
Dr. Kadakia understood what I wanted to do, post-op, in terms of still being able to be active.”
Dr. Kadakia understood completely. From the moment Craig arrived at Northwestern Medicine Center for Comprehensive Orthopaedic and Spine Care, the team helped him set realistic benchmarks, taking into account his goals as an athlete and his knowledge as a personal trainer, answering questions whenever he had them.
“He was able to relate to me,” Craig said. “He understood what I wanted to do, post-op, in terms of still being able to be active. Communication was the most important thing. One, to make me feel comfortable and also, to let me know where I was so that I didn’t steer outside the guardrails.”
To wit: The Northwestern Medicine team made sure to communicate what was at stake if he went too fast. His enthusiasm was obvious, and Dr. Kadakia cautioned him not to over do it. But his commitment to a speedy recovery was matched by his commitment to preventing a relapse, and he followed Dr. Kadakia’s plan closely.
By September, Craig was walking again, by March, running. A little under a year since the tear, he was back on the basketball court in June. He was hesitant in his first game, but it wasn’t long until he was back to playing with confidence.