One year Anniversary

Well how time flys !! I thought 12 months ago I would never be the same again but I can assure you there is hope at the end of the tunnel.

My Achilles is in no way inhibiting my sporting life. My surgeon said it would be stronger after the operation and I think he was right.

My ruptured Achilles is still about 4 times larger than my other one and I believe it will always be like this. Whilst it does feel slightly tighter I have the same flexibility levels with both calfs and I am playing at about the same level in squash as I was a year ago. In fact I am moving so fast around the court I have developed a "new" problem - Hamstring tears !! Mind you I have had problems with hamstrings for 15 years. So now my life has switched from stretching my calfs to an intense hamstring strengthening program. Gosh, when you get old the body just ain't what it used to be. But hey, I am not complaining - 12 months ago I thought my life was going to change forever - but it didn't :)

111 comments:

R said...

David,

Thank you for your blog, which is very informative and inspiring.
Reading about your experience and the comments from other people, it looks like different orthopedics have different approaches for the length of time the hard cast and boot have to stay on. So here is my story…

I ruptured my Achilles tendon playing soccer on May 8th. Had surgery on May 15th. It was a full rupture. Surgery went well with minimum pain. I had a hard cast on for about 2 weeks, and of course I suffered all the usual swelling, numbness, itching, etc… associated with the cast! The hard cast came off 2 weeks post-surgery.

Now I’m fitted with the hard boot that comes all the way up to my knee almost, and I still have to use the crutches (no weight on my foot at all). My orthopedic said that for the next 2 weeks I could gently rest the front of my foot on the ground, then for the following 2 weeks I could possibly put more pressure on my step. I still have some burning sensation at the incision area. I use the boot only when I get out or do a lot of walking at home. Otherwise, when sitting or lying down the boot is off.

I’m scheduled to start physical therapy in 2 weeks (4 weeks post-surgery), 2 times a week for 6 weeks. The boot will come off at 12 weeks post-surgery. Full recovery time will depend on physical therapy and my will!!!

Radwan
Berkeley, CA

Chuck, Kalamazoo MI said...

I've got to echo the thanks, I'm on day 40ish right now, just starting to walk in the boot... I blew out my other Achilles about 7 years ago playing racquetball, the boot lasted almost 6 hours for me before I threw it out. My wife is making me stick with it this time. I'm hoping on running by the end of July, about 13 weeks after my surgery, so I can get ready for a marathon in the latter part of Sept. I was thinking it may be impossible, but I'm sticking with it...

Anonymous said...

Dude...so im not the only one then!!Your blog is a real nice form of support because ive been cut down in my stride(playing netball).Im on week four and got the wheelchair on day 2 so im out and about but what a shock.I've been doing loads of other exercises to keep in shape too but i just wanted to say thanks for taking the time to put all that online,
lizzy.a/e nurse.london

Anonymous said...

thanks for this information and story. i was playing football (american) when someone landed on the back of my leg, rupturing my achilles. I am fairly young and i love sports so its good to know i will be back to normal or even better.

Anonymous said...

Just undergone a percutaneous repair under Local Anaesthetic, and in a bivalve cast for 2-3 weeks. partial weight bearing. Then take off the back of cast to maintain foot in down position for another 3-4 weeks - but mobilising. A different technique, judging from the amount of spectators in theatre watching the procedure. no pain at the time, but boy, is it hurting now!!!!

Cllr Lynne Faulkner said...

Hi David. Thanks for your great Blog. I am English, female, 64, and ruptured my AT on 31 May after a tough 6 week election campaign, which I lost after 20 years as a Conservative Councillor.

I strained my left AT in 2004 and thought this was a strain but it just got worse. A physio did the Thomson test and diagnosed a tear/rupture - confirmed by a scan. Finally saw the orthopaedic guy on 2 July. He did not want to do surgery, mainly due to my age but put me into a boot (I was able to walk with a limp) for 8 weeks. This has been extended to 11 weeks, as it is healing very slowly. I do calf and foot exercises, but am not allowed to drive or remove the boot.

I live alone and have to rely on friends for lifts, and try to be
patient. Hopefully my boot will come off in late September.

How is your AT now?

Lynne
lynne.faulkner@yahoo.com

Cllr Lynne Faulkner said...

Hi David. Thanks for your helpful Blog. I am English, 64, and ruptured my AT during a hard election campaign which I lost after 7 years as a Councillor.

My GP diagnosed a strain, so I limped around for 3 weeks until a physio did the Thomson test and a scan revealed a rupture. Finally I saw the orthopaedic consultant on 2 July. He refused to do an op, due to my age and put me in a boot for 8 weeks (I was able to walk). Now it has been extended to 11 weeks as the tendon is healing very slowly.

I am banned from driving and must wear the boot all day and do calf and foot exercises but it gets very boring. I am now used to the boot, and it protects me from further injury until the tendon has healed properly.

How is your AT now?

Lynne

lynne.faulkner@yahoo.com

EricFortune said...

Thank you for all the information here. I'm from the US. I don't have health insurance. So I've been reading up on my injury. And trying to do the best I can for myself. This has been very helpful. It's good to see that my experience is very similar to everyone else's. Curious to know if the thickness of your healed tendon ever goes down. If so please post. Thank You!

David said...

Boy Eric, you are doing it the hard way without surgery :(
Yes my achilles is still about 4 times the size of the other one. And i think 4 times as strong. I am back to full competitive sport with no problems. Good luck.
David

Nick said...

David,

Your blog has been very informative--Thank You. I am post-surgery 3 weeks-4 days--absolutely hate the caste and can't wait to get it off. I ruptured my achilles in two places doing gymnastics at the park--body was able but just couldn't take it. I have had to get creative with my ADL's such as cooking and eating of the kitchen counter(better than a sack or carrying in your mouth), driving w/ my left foot (not a big deal), and using a towel under my crutches so I don't slip on the floor (have 3 young children who destroy the house). I did not have health insurance and so far the cost incurred has been about $3000 us which I think they have reduced because I am private pay. Looking forwards to hitting your milestones (feel lost not being able to bike and run). I was curious if your reference to occupational therapist in Australia is the same as one here or is it a physical therapist? Use to live north of Adelaide but has been 20 years. All the best and thanks for the valuable info.

Nick
Lawrence, KS

Robert said...

David,

I ruptured my AT playing squash too. It happened back late January. I had surgery within 2 days.

So here I am coming to the end of 7 months. I have made improvements but want to pick your brain if you don't mind.

1) How is your connection at the point of the gastroc muscle and the achilles tendon? Do you feel stiffness there, do you feel any internal scar tissue, or did you experience any issues there at all?

2) Same question (as #1) for the connection at the heel. Do you feel any pulling strain?

3) Do you get stiffness in the morning, upon waking? If not how did long did it take to subside?

4) Did the surgeon replace your entire tendon with a graft? I would presume so because yours and mine thickness is x4 the normal achilles.

David said...

Hi Robert, in answer to your questions.
I have no stiffness in the morning or anytime. The only time I feel any difference is if I stretch out my achilles at which point it definatley feels tighter although this does not inhibit my squash or exercise. I just did a stretch test and my ruptured achilles is about 1/2 cm less flexible than my good one.
As far as the surgery goes I believe my surgeon just sewed it back together. I actually believe one leg is ever so slightly shorter than the other but i have no proof of this. I am still enjoying my squash, running, cycling etc and my great big fat repaired achilles doesnt seem to be causing any problems.
Good luck with the recovery and feel free to keep in touch.
cya
David

Ceri said...

Hello David, I am 39 years old & two weeks post OP for full rupture of AT whilst Gymnastics training.
I have to thankyou for your story mate...brought tears to my eyes to see you recovered so well....fighting off the depression that comes with this injury & subsequent immobilisation. Your story gives me hope that I can kite surf again one day & run even.
I think they have damaged some nerves in my foot because the whole outside edge from little toe to heel feels numb but burns...that's scaring me right now but we will see.
I can't thank you enough for yor blog. You have gone to great effort to do this & the relief I feel after reading your story is immense.(Understated)
Cheers mate,
Ceri

ryho1372 said...

David,

If you are full standing on the tips of your toes without shoes and just leaning for support, do you feel any dimpling or some other squeezing sensation at the tendon point of rupture/suture? Does it feel like a hard knot now or in the past few months?

I have this sensation currently and am not sure what to make of it. I have talked to the orthopedist. I am afraid it is the (tight) suturing that has created a knot-like sensation. I look forward to your feedback.

Thanks David.

Robert

Graham said...

Hi David

Just ruptured my achilles yesterday jumping over a medicine ball in the gym. Was training for a half marathon in 3 weeks and was feeling at peak fitness. Am absolutely gutted as not sure how I can cope with being so immobile.

I was offered two choice at hospital. Non-intrusive where you are simply put in a case for 12-16 weeks and it heals slowly. Or, surgery. I initially chose the former but coming home today I have read your blog and others and rang the hosiptal to change for full surgery in the next few days. I hope this will give me a stronger AT for all my sport in the future as the non-intrusive method would not be as tough.

Already I am dreaming of running (I run 3 times a week and play squash, cycle, gym, football with my kids, all sorts). Roll on 6 months time.

Thanks for your blog - there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Graham, Stamford, UK

David said...

Graham, I definatley think you made the right choice. You will end up with a much stronger achilles and it will heal fast. Let me know how you go.
cya
David

stevie82_ said...

Thank you so much David,

Your Blog has been an inspiration to me, and I look forward to starting my exercises in the next month or so.

I wish you all the best hoping you stay in good health in the future, and continue to enjoy a prosperous sporting future.

Stevie (UK, London)

Jennifer said...

Hi David,

I am 14 month post-op and started back with my soccer team. I am a 37year old female. I still feel a huge tightness in my achilles after subbing, and after games. This leaves me limping for a full 24 hours. It ends up fine - it just take time. From one player to another - did you feel this too when you were just starting back?

David said...

Hi Jennifer, no i didnt have any tightness that I remember. If it helps i did alot of stretching after the op so by the time I was back to squash and running my flexibility was just about the same on both calfs. Are you warming up and stretching lots? cya
David
ernst@iinet.net.au

graham said...

Hi David
I am now 13 days since my op/15 days since my ATR. I was told I had a new key hole technique and my scar is only 1-2cm. Saw the surgeon yesterday and my cast was removed and I had the Aircast boot. He also told me to fully weight bear as much as possible. I was stunned. It seems this is even more agressive than your regime! More details and some pics on my blog at achillesblog.com/graham.
I dont want to rush anything but already am dreaming of running and playing squash again!
All the best

Bill said...

David,

Thanks for all the time and effort on communicating your progress. It was very hulpful, since I ruptured mine and had surgery on March 3rd. My progress was helped by seeing your experiences. I went on a three week bike tour in Italy (Tuscany) and had very little pain. I am looking forward to skiing this winter!
Thanks Again,

Bill

AlexSJ said...

everyone I guess

I am a 38 y/o male, day 20 post op, I did mine playing with my boys under 13's football team, the things we do for our kids eh!:), I don't even play the damn sport. Mountain and Snowboaring is my thing. Everything mentioned is what I have experienced only unlike David I have ruptured my AT from the calf and have a nice 8" scar. (anyone else done the same injury? how's was your recovery?)
Anyway the Dr's were adamant I would not be going boarding in Italy 27th December. They said it was going to be 19 weeks before I could even start physio, this I found hard to swallow at the time and after alot of deliberation with my lovely wife (for which I cannot thank her enough for the support she has showed me, she wants to do pretty much everything for me so I can recover as quickly as possible, thank you my love), we had to agree with the Dr's and we cancelled our holiday in the snow.
Boo Hoo :(
NOW I decide the search the net!!! and found David's Blog. David you have given me hope and for that I thank you!! so I am now going to go with my instincts, disagree with the Dr's and get training, lightly off course, wouldn't want to go over doing it now.
But you never know, we might be able to get a last minite booking for mid. Feb. so this sounds like a good goal to set.
I'm back at the hospital 04th Nov. for another cast and they tell me I will have a new one every 2 weeks until I have full movement.

Alex

Anonymous said...

David, I want everyone to know there is a device I rented called a rollabout, you rest your knee on it and glide everywhere effortlessly, saving the shoulders from the crutch pains. I cover lots of distance at work and there is nothing better for mobility during the weeks in a cast. I ripped my achilles water sking and I to am recovering at a good pace. My dock says I won't need therapy, he says walking and self massage will take care of it. Just wanted to let people know about the rollabout it is the best thing you can do for yourself in this recovery. Thanks Mark

no said...

Hello,

Been 5 months since my full rupture and surgery (playing in a basketball tournament and trying to dunk it)(I'm 41 yrs old). My surgeon used another tendon and weaved it through both ends and then sewed the tendon together. My surgeon didn't want anything to do with progressive techniques in rehabilitation. I actually pushed and got out of my third cast 2 weeks early. I had some great physical therapists and my rehabilitation was quick. I weigh about 275 lbs and am 6'6". Regular crutches killed me as I am a elementary teacher and had to get back to work right away. I found crutches called "HOPE Crutches" at crutches.net. They are made for NFL, NBA, professional sports players. WOW,, what a difference and I had alot more mobility. I still have numbness from my little toe to my heal. Dr. looks at me stupid everytime I mention it and says, 'It shouldn't be okay I didn't move any nerves around there".Hang in there everyone, it gets alot better with time and exercise.

Gary (USA, Wyoming)

Anonymous said...

Hi David (and all the other poor unfortunate souls that have stumbled (excuse the pun) across your excellent blog),

I snapped my right Achilles in Jan 1999 playing squash. Recovery was incredibly similar to yourself as I worked equally hard at it and recovered fully. For all your information the size of the repaired tendon doesn't get back to normal. 10 years on it's still very thick. But I have had no subsequent trouble with it.

Sadly the same is not true of the other Achilles...I snapped the left one on 1st Nov playing a friendly game of badminton! So now have the recovery ordeal to endure again! At least I will have matching scars!!!

Regards
Steve

Anonymous said...

Good Evening Everyone,
Day 51 today, in which I went back to hospital for my plastic shoe.
What they gave me is 2 heel gel pads, is this the norm? not the plastic shoe I was lead to believe I was receiving.
David I don't know you were managing to ride 20km a day, I am either not doing the right thing, or my recovey time is not what I expected.
Good job I cancelled our snowboarding trip 27.12.09 I don't think I would have made it!!!

Anyone else in the same boat with ref. to the recover time? they do say that everyone heals at different rates, but when you read David's diary, it puts me to shame.

Steve, my heart goes out to you, I would because it's what we do, but I really don't think I, or my wife, could go through this again.

Good Luck!!!!

Alex

Anonymous said...

Thanks Alex - you just wouldn't wish it on anyone would you?!

I was back at hospital on Tuesday 1st Dec (rupture on 1st Nov) and managed to convince the consultant that a boot was a better option for me than another cast! Fantastic - only 4 weeks in plaster! Last time I was in a groin-length cast, toes pointed down for 8-weeks and as a result couldn't get my ankle to 90° for ages (memory a bit fuzzy on how long it took - but a while!). This time only 2 weeks in plaster with toes down and 2 weeks slightly less pointed down. Now I can already get my foot to 90° so this is a significant improvement!

I strapped the walker-boot on and manged a few steps so got out of the hospital asap!!! Am now using therabands (well actually an old cycle inner tube!) to stretch (very gently!) and strengthen the calf/tendon. Great to be able to shower without the waterproof bag and am now able to hobble about the house and can even make a cup of tea and carry the fruits of that labour back to the sofa! The thermos flask is back in the cupboard!

Steve

SALLY said...

hi David,and others.
im 41,female from england.ruptured right Achilles tendon 1st Dec,so now into week 4.your blog has given me so much support and advice.you r such a possitive person as are all the other people that have commented.ive been feeling so low.Had my birthday christmas and new year incapacitated on crutches and a non weight bearing cast.my left Achilles has tendonitis and im worried it might rupture.any advice from anyone how to ease it?
im in plaster until Jan 13th then they will change to a boot.

David said...

Sally, there is a very very slim chance of rupturing the other one on crutches so dont dispair. For the tendonitis try the massage with a thick object which u can see a day 97 titled "The rehab I have been doing". I still do this every day and it keeps the achilles very supply. Good luck when the cast comes off. BTW. how did u rupture it ?

SALLY said...

HI DAVID. thanks for the stretching advise.I ruptured my achilles running.im used to cycling every day so looking forward to getting back on my bike,hopefully in about four weeks or so.

francisb said...

Hello David,

Thanks for sharing this! I'm in a similar boat as you, snapped my achilles playing racquetball, and am 49.

I thought being fit, active, and consistent in my exercise would avoid this type of injury, but apparently not.

I go in for surgery on Thursday.

Just to let you know, I did this on the other leg about 15 years ago, and the tendon is 4-5x as thick as the (now severed) one, but I've never felt it was weak. If anything, the repaired tendon is stronger than before. If anything tears in my leg again, it won't be the achilles but something else.. :-)

Keep up the good fight.

David said...

Gosh, I hope I dont snap my other one !! Well actually I am about to take a forced 6 months off squash. I have a small tear in the tendon in the pelvis area and the only way its gunna get fixed is 3 - 6 months rest. Unfortunately I dont do "rest" very well :)

Anonymous said...

Dear David

I echo everyone's thanks for your excellent blog. I'm 65, complete rupture of Achilles Tendon (AT) playing tennis, all symptoms same as yours. Incision about 3 inches.
I had surgery - day 2, now at 2 weeks from surgery. Been getting about by strapping a Bledsoe Boot over the cast. I figure that as long as the cast stabilizes the AT and ankle there is no harm. I live in Boston, and feel getting around with the boot on ice and snow is safer than balancing on crutches.
Ran into the surgeon while we were walking our dogs on the beach.
Had the Bledsoe Boot from 11 years ago when I fell out of a tree, breaking both the ankle bone and the posterior medial tendon. Had the heel wedges so could duplicate the angle of the cast.
Have not had any pain after initial rupture. Only pain med was 2 oxycodone after surgery, none since.
Have you tried heel lifts under your left ankle? I found a 1/4 inch lift made a huge difference in resting the ankle opposite an ankle with limited range of motion. My right ankle has a limited ROM from the earlier surgery, and I believe if I had a heel lift under the left ankle it probably would have saved my left AT.
Keep up the great work.
Lou in Boston

David said...

Dear Anonymous, would u believe i actuaklly think the heel lifts were responsible for snapping it !! I started wearing them 2 weeks before I snapped the AT and was wearing them during the game. I think maybe they could have changed my running style. Could be a coincidence but I dont wear them any more.
Regards
David

Anonymous said...

Hi David

The comment about using heel lifts is interesting. I used to use them in my left foot to balance the limited ROM in the right. I noticed the commercial ones got soft rather quickly, so stopped.
It is possible that when you used them initially they were thicker and so allowed your tendon to shorten, but then as the lifts got softer with 2 weeks use the now shortened tendon got over-stretched, leading to rupture.

Lou in Scituate (near Boston)

David said...

Hi Lou, gosh, who know what really caused it. I was 47 yo and in the middle of a intense game against a younger opponent when i did it so it was probably a combination of a great many things (I can hear my wife saying now "david you were too old to be running around like that :)

ryho1372 said...

David,

The surgeon cut too high into my tendon to suture. The width of my repair tendon is less than the upper tendon. So when I plantar flex there's a bulge (of scar/suture) which juts out at the point of repair. Does that occur in your case (or anyone else's)?

Also how's your tendon alignment so far? Your vids make it look like you've got good alignment like your other leg.

I heat/massage/ultrasound my tendon as much as I can even after 1yr post-op.

sevendeu2u said...

So glad I found your blog! I am at 7 months post surgery and the PT has been taking things so slowly I wondered if I'd ever be back to playing basketball. After reading your story and watching the videos for tips, my achilles has made incredible progress in the last couple weeks. Thank you for the inspiration :)

Danny said...

David,

Really appreciate your blog... just had my achilles operation a few days ago. I don't have a cast... and I am not wearing the boot... just staying off my right foot.

Hope it works.

--Danny

David said...

Hi Danny, did you have leyhole surgery?
David

Friendship Cup said...

Reading your blog was inspirational. I tore my AT in a tennis game Feb 24, 2010 and now wearing a full length leg cast on my left leg after surgery. Getting around on crutches as Seoul is not very wheelchair friendly. Looking forward to removing my cast on April 7 and getting into a boot and losing my crutches.
Charlie

tobiremote said...

Hi David,
thanks for being the worlds no.1 AT authority now! it was inspirational going through your experience, now being 10 days post-op.

I was just surprised about you choosing a wheelchair! I found this artificial leg that you strap your injured leg on, and I started walking again 5 days after surgery.
Admittely it looks a bit weird, but i have my hands free for a coffe and phone. And it keeps at least the upper leg busy and trained for the duration of the plaster.

Thanks again! .......... Tobi

Ed said...

David,

Thanks so much, after reading other blogs from others with this injury I too thought my life as I kenw it was over. However, I learned there was someone else out there as crazy as I am. I tore my achilles (Dec 20, 2009) when I was chasing a Drug Dealer (Im a cop, not a drug user). Strangly enough, there was no pain.

I had surgery on Dec 29 and still had no pain in it. I began to read everything I could find about recovery from this injury and became depressed at everything I read....untill I read your blog. I quickly came to the realization that recovery is of the mind; The body heals itself.

At 4 weeks I was still in a cast but I began to put weight on it. My doctor took me out of the first cast and put me in a walkng boot instead of another cast as planed. I began the rubber band streaching and it felt great.

By my next doctors appointment I was already in a regular shoe and he didnt even notice when I walked into his office without the boot. I told him I was Wolverine and had Xman mutant healing powers. He replied by saying he wouldnt argue with that and that he thought I was from a different planet.

I wasnt able to do the upper body workouts because as soon as I lost the crutches I had shoulder surgery to fix an old injury from 2001.

Here I sit, March 23, 2010. less than 12 weeks post op and I have already hopped on the tredmill to run (6 mph for 1 mile). I dont want to overdo it, but I need to push it to recover to the level I need to be at.

I get pain in the ankle after workouts unless I soak it in the hot tub afterwards. It makes sence seeing how a contributing factor to the rupture is lack of blood flow in that area. I heat it up to stimulate the blood flow.
The hot tub jets feel great on the achilles too.

For those of you wondering... I still caught the Drug Dealer while running on one foot.

Ed

Ian said...

Hi David,

Thanks for your Blog. I have found it very humourous and very encouraging.
I completely ruptured my achilles on the 3rd of May and thank God I have had little pain since. Had surgery 3 days later on the 6th. I have aiming be walking in 6 weeks (from surgery) as my wife is expecting our first baby.
At the moment I am in a bandaged cast which is holding my foot pointing downwards.
Have a post-op appointment with my surgeon on the 18th. Hopefully he has something good to say then.
One thing I must say though is that the staff and facilities at St John of God Subiaco (I am from Perth too)are excellent. the nurses there were chekcing up on me all the time to make sure I was ok and nothing was too hard for them to do.

Thanks agin for your blog

Ian

TihomirK said...

Hi,

David, great blog... I did not find any in Croatia so I decided to be first...

I am 31 male from Croatia and I am one of You - my Acilles ruptured 6 weeks ago, playing soccer !!! Nasty feeling...

I had hard cast on for about 6 weeks. Yesterday I went out from cast :)
I am little bit "crazy" like you, love sport and ride station bike 5 week postop without any pain.

Yesterday, I ride my bike after 6 weeks. It was fantastic, without any pain but sudenly I had little accident.I dont how ( and why ) but i stand on my bad leg for less of second ( when i sit on bike ). I feel pain and burn in my Achilles, not like first time when pain was diferent ( like somebody kick me ).
I can move with my leg and I feel conection with muscle so I hope that is not full re-rupture.I can push toe fingers.
I am laying peacefully now with little bit swelling, only one side of the leg...
My specialist is on holliday and he will back at 7th June...I think that the best will be to wait him ???

PLEASE HELP - with your sugestion!!!

Anonymous said...

Tihomirk

I am nearly 19 weeks post rupture now, so the feelings are fresh in my memory.

As I see it, you have pulled/strained something, but not necessarily done any major damage. The fact that everything appears to be intact suggests that, at the very worst, you may have partially re-ruptured the tendon.


However, this may be no more than a slight "tweak." I had a couple of similar things happen to me and it fills you with dread at the time. But, over the next day or so things improve.

You are at an early stage of recovery and resting will be the best thing to do. Leave activities for a couple of days and just see how things progress. You might find that the achilles settle down and you are OK.

Whatever happens, just let the healing process take it's course until you feel confident again.

In the meantime, you have only a week or so before you see your surgeon.

Jeff UK

David said...

Tihomirk, yep, I agree with Jeff. I wouldnt be too concerned. You have probably just torn a few muscle fibres. I saw a girl last week who had done the exact same thing and she recovered quickly. But doo of course see your specialist and take their advice.
cya
David

TihomirK said...

Dear friends,

Today, I meet my specialist and everything is OK ;o)

PT start in monday...Now I can start writing first achilles blog in Craotia...

Tihomir, Croatia

Mare said...

Hi david..wow great to see someone so positive, i am 8 days into my cast and hating it. i have two daughter swho cant drive and no partner so I am feeling horribly trapped and claustrophobis. i dont care if i can never play netball again which is how I did this but I want the cast off and I want to be able to drive and walk albeit slowly. the surgeon was -10 in compassion and sensitivity. I have excema so hate being itchy and trapped.

No surgery for me apparently. I dont play alot of sport so its Ok if i cant run for ages..just want to be able to swim. Asked about water-walking with a plastic bag but the surgeon looked at me crazily. Like you i am worried about the effect on the rest of my body..
I am alreay abit over-weight and dont want to end up like a pumpkin or having to get all my fitness back after my cast comes off.
meet with the surgeon in 11 days again presumably to go into a fibroglass cast which i am more worried about because If I really paniced I couldnt get it off..
Regards mary Courtney AUCKLAND

David said...

Hi Mary, if u have in fact snapped your achilles, which i assume u have , the only problem with not having the surgery is u r in for a much much longer recovery time. Out of curiousity why did your surgeon choose the cast method of recovery?

Anonymous said...

Glad to hear of your recovery sooner than most, but you were LUCKY to not rerupture your tendon with trying to out think a trained medical specialist.

Even for trained professional athletes in their 20's, one year is the usual recovery time.

You seem to be doing well but you also look like a rather slight frame and didn't weigh much to start. If a person that was 6 ft tall, say 200 lbs tried to remove their boot so soon they would have torn their Achilles in a new spot and been back to square one.

You really should have a disclaimer that your results Areca typical even for world class athletes.

Anonymous said...

In response to the previous point, I am 6 feet tall and weigh 170 pounds - and it worked for me.

Even reading some of the comments on the blog tells you that surgeons treat the injury in vastly different ways. One person was not even put in a boot or a cast. He was just told to "be careful" with the injury. Others were told to go about their normal business after 6 weeks.

My UK (NHS) doctor was very cautious and he discharged me after 10 weeks - he did not want to see me again. He also told me to refrain from competitive sport for 6 months - not 12 months.

I have been fortunate in that when I began playing squash again (a resticted game) at 15 weeks, I played a person who has had the same injury and I was watched by a friend of his who is a Doctor - he knows my Surgeon. Both of them said that what I was doing looked OK to them!

In life, you generally get out what you put in. I spent hours doing simple movements and exercises during the first few weeks of my recovery - this is the key.

Going back 15-20 years many people spent much longer to recover. This is probably due to the fact that they were encased in a cast for too long a period. I was in a cast for 3 weeks and a boot for 3 weeks. After this it took me another 15 weeks to fully get rid of the limp - caused by weak muscles at the lower calf region.

Hope that this helps some of you out there.

Jeff UK

David said...

Dear Anon on the June 30, 2010 2:14 PM.
I can assure you I am nowhere near a world class athlete. I am exactly 6ft tall and weigh 184lbs. I was also 48 yo when I snapped my Achilles which means my blood supply to my tendons and muscles
has been reduced significantly since I was 20 years old (the age at which it peaks) and hence my recovery was also going to be slower than a younger person. I am really just a plain old bloke that chose the pathway of active movement and stretching of the damaged area as soon as it felt safe to do so as a part from total inactivity of the area (which most surgeons will have you do). Heck, it was only about 50 years ago women were made to "lie flat on their backs" in bed for 2 weeks after child birth. How times have changed.
My blog initially started out as a way for me to relieve my boredom but I guess now it has become (thanks to all the posters esp. Jeff) a place that injured people can share their experiences and perhaps chose a path that best suits their needs.
Best of luck everyone
David

Tihomir said...

Dear David,

I am very happy and can say I AM WALKING AGAIN !!! Start walking at July, 10. - 3 months after operation !!!

I start to write my blog, it is on Croatian language but I writeing about Your blog and link on it is there...

This is link of my blog: http://ahilovatetiva.blogspot.com/

Thank you all for currage me...

Best wishes to all !!!

martin said...

hi david
total rupture of my achilles a month ago,ive had the operation and they put me in a "beckham boot"with the heel raised about 4 "odour eaters".3 weeks later im down to 2 now.done it playing squash which i dont play a lot and felt like an idiot ,ive got 2 weeks to go and back to the hospital.
im a self employed lorry driver so getting a bit fed up limping everywhere and paranoid that it will snap again when i have a shower or never be the same again.
anyway the point is thanks very much for doing this blog as you have made me feel like there is hope and im just worrying like an idiot.thanks again.
p.s.
rupture on sunday ,doc on tuesday ,hospital tue night,operation friday at st peters in weybridge ,i cant thank the n.h.s.nurses and doctors for all the help they have given.
p.p.s.
thank you again for your blog ,its all happy days again

Chris said...

David
Great blog ,I have just come back from the Doctor to ask why I am in a lot of pain and limping 18 weeks after a Partial rupture.
You have explained quite a bit and I have adjusted my expectations
Thanks Again
Chris

Real said...

I'm not sure that massaging will ever get rid of that achilles scar tissue lump and as long as you have that it will have some kind of bad effect.

In the past, I have had severe problems with Plantar Fascitis scar tissue. That's where you tear the tendon that runs from the arch right into the heal bone. I had a severe case of it that lasted for a year with no improvement whatsoever. Then I had a cortisone shot from Dr. Sobotnik in San Leandro California who also includes homeopathic drug with his cortisone that purposely causes slight inflamation to make the cortisone act more effectively. In any case, after the shot I had a miraculous recovery and the scar tissue was completely gone. Other patients of his have said the same thing. It's a radical improvement.

Years later, I got plantar fascitis again on my other foot and after 4 weeks with no improvement, rather than waiting a year to see what happens, I went to him for another shot and again I had immediate recovery.

Perhaps, a podiatrist who is experienced with that, or perhaps Dr. Sobotnik himself can recommend how to use cortisone in the achilles tendon without causing any permanent damage. I had no weakness or permanent damage from my cortisone shots in the heel.

It is not that easy to get rid of this terrible nagging scar tissue problem so I hope this tip might give hope to others.

Anonymous said...

Hi

Mine is exactly 9 months post op and the tendon seems to be becoming thinner. It appears to be a very slow process but it is thinner that a few months ago. Exercise seems to help it. The tendon is noticably thinner if I have had a game of squash.

A friend of mine ruptured his Achilles four years ago playing football. His is now very much the same as the other tendon and the scar is virtually invisible - but again, he keeps himself active playing squash 3-4 times a week.

Maybe exercise is the key?

Jeff - UK

David said...

Re the tendon fatness. Its been just over 2 years for me and I am back to playing squash 3 times a week and running and cycling on the other days. I just had a real good look at my tendon. It is certainly about 4 times fatter than the other one but it actually feels pliable and soft so I am thinking that maybe its not scar tissue but more to do with the way the tendon has been rejoined. Either way it is of no concerns - I am just happy to be back playing sport. And the best news is I am now 100% injury free - I just hope I didnt hex myself saying that !!

Anonymous said...

Hey David,

quick question, how is your tendon in the mornings? DO you still get stiffness after 2 years or does it feel like your good foot?

Hague,
Toronto

Anonymous said...

I am 10 months post op. No stiffness at all. It's better than the other tendon; more flexion, less aches etc.

Jeff UK

Anonymous said...

Hello Jeff,

Thanks for your response, I appreciate the insight. I'm 26 years old about 200lbs. PLayed basketball my entire life, first time in my life I've had such a bad injury. Actually first time in my life I have hurt my ankle. When I had the injury, I assumed I rolled my ankle, since I had not done it before in my life and assumed that's what it felt like.
I waited 4 days to go the hospital at which point they immediately did the surgery.

I think my rehab is going quite well, I just wanted some insight as to what I should expect in the long term? Are you able to run and cut and stop as you did before or is it much more cautious? Can you jump as high as you did before? Do you have aches in your newly repaired achilles that you originally didn't or does it feel "natural"?

all the best,
Hague

David said...

Hi Hague, well I am almost 2.5 years since I started this blog. This is my typical week. Play squash for an hour 2 - 3 times. Play tennis once a week. And cycle or run 5 km on the off days. I have no aches, no discomfort and to be honest, i have completly forgotten I snapped it !! I think both Jeff and I agree the importance of staying active early on in the piece and trying to get back into a steady and safe exercise, stretching (and possible massage) routine ASAP. Good luck. David

Anonymous said...

At 10 months post op, my achilles feels really good. David's blog gave me a target to aim for and ASAP I started to exercise it. I was only in a cast for 3 1/2 weeks and a boot for 2 1/2 weeks, but the calf muscle had lost quite a lot of stregnth and firmness. Also, my stamina had deteriorated.

I started on the static bike and took things from there. I am certain that you will make a complete recovery and forget that the tendon was ever ruptured - it just takes time to get over the "mental" side of it. Even now, when I have played squash, I am pleased to get off court with everything intact. This feeling is gradually going.

Jeff - UK

Dave, Northants UK said...

David

Thanks for such an inspiring blog. I ruptured my achilles whilst trekking in the Himalayas. I was helicoptered back to Kathmandu where I was diagnosed with a sprained ankle and spent 9 days hobbling around awaiting a return flight.

On my return to the UK I went to A&E fearing DVT, as my calf had swollen up on the flight home, where I was given the news that I had an ATR and I had surgery 3 days later.

Had some quite bad pain as a result of getting up to the toilet a few hours after surgery as I couldn't pee into one of those cardboard bed pans lying down (psychological I think).

24hrs later the pain was completely gone as if switched off.

Now at day 14 post op, bored with being in a plaster cast, I'm back to see the specialist in two days and will ask about early mobilisation.

Thanks to your blog I have a much better mental outlook for full recovery.

Thanks again
Dave

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting your story. I ruptured my AT on 12/6/10, and had surgery two days later. Like you, I'm an avid skier and snowboarder. I had a trip booked for Feb next year, but I'm hoping I'll be healed up by March.

I'm already thinking about how I can accelerate my recovery. After 1 week, I'm already driving and I can feel my calf move a little bit when I wiggle my toes.

jgm_spd said...

Hi David,

Thank you for posting this, It helped me a lot, I had an AT Full Rupture last June 2010, in a Badminton tournament. My Ortho do a Percutaneous Repair and Had my foot on hard cast for two Months, The cast was adjusted every two weeks and i use crutches. After two months I start the Tendon Massage and on my fourth month I start the strengthening exercises. Now after 6 months, am running 2 to 5 km straight and back to competitive badminton.
Thank you and God Bless!

Julius

Muntinlupa City, Philippines

Anonymous said...

I have posted at David's milestones as I have been following his progress - and keeping up with him. I am 12 months post op now, so this is definately my last update.

12 months on and I am completely back to normal. No aches/pains/irritations - in fact, nothing. My tendon is probably twice as fat as the other, but I just never look at it any more. Can't remember the last time that I looked at my scar.

The advice that I would give to others is mainly concerned with positive thinking. Even with a cast on you can do certain things to keep fit - sit ups, press ups, weights etc. Don't just wait for the cast to come off; do something.

Once the cast is off, it's all down to you. By all means take it easy, but you can start to move the ankle, massage it, very light non-weight bearing stretches.

At c6 weeks post op, things become easier still. I discarded the boot and put heel wedges in trainers. I also started going to the gym. Just a static bike for a few weeks, then at 10 weeks post op, a range of other exercises.

The key to the whole recovery is to keep pressing ahead with the exercise - but always within a controlled situation. For instance, the static bike is controlled by you - the running machine controlls you!

The hardest thing in many ways that I found was losing the limp. This was only really evident when walking at pace, but it takes many months to lose it.

Jeff - UK

David said...

Thanks Jeff for all your comments, suggestions and support over the past 12 months. Congratulations on such a great recovery :)
cya
David

Antoinette said...

Hi David,

Antoinette from Ireland here. I just wanted to begin by saying, like everyone else, thanks a million for your blog.I spent the afternoon reading through it and the comments.I fully ruptured my achilles tendon last Thursday 27th of Jan 2011 playing badminton league match.(Sadly the next night I was in the final for the Leinster Cup but obviously couldnt make it) Had operation on the Saturday and am in hard cast now.Surgeon wants to leave me in the cast for 6 weeks and to move to the boot then for maybe another 4. Seems to me though from what Ive been reading, the sooner one gets out of the hard cast the better, so as not to allow calf muscle to deteriorate etc. Have no appointment to see the surgeon and dont know if I can track him down but will endeavor to. Think I need to get out of this cast sooner then the 6 weeks. Would you agree?
Anyway thanks for your blog. Helps so much!
P.S. My team mates went on to win the Leinster Cup on Friday.Said they brought it home for me.Im so honoured. Every cloud and all that!
All the best,
Antoinette,
Dublin

John Chang said...

Hi David,

Is the size of your calf muscle the same on both legs? If so, how long did it take for you to get them back that way?

Has your foot speed or jumping height changed?

Anonymous said...

The calf muscle returns to normal(ish)stregnth fairly quickly, depending upon how long you were in a cast and boot - maybe 6 months. However, the actual muscle size takes about 9 months to regain its former bulk.

Jumping height feels back to normal in around 12 months. There seems to be the same amount of "spring" in the tendon as before to me.

Jeff UK

Darrel Cooper said...

It has been two years since you've recovered from your ruptured Achilles tendon, and I hope there isn't any lingering pain plaguing you. But I gotta say, it has become a learning experience for you, and a way for all of us who isn't affected with ruptured tendon to know how it goes.

Art said...

Howdy all,
I ruptured my AT about 10 years ago. Unlike some of you, I don't think mine ever fully recovered, as my 'bad' calf is still about an inch or so smaller in diameter despite lots of strengthening work, and the achilles still gripes a bit under heavy activity. But, despite the 'losing a step,' I feel blessed I can get back to being active once again nonetheless.

Unfortunately (and what brought me out to internet achilles searches again!), is now my 'good' achilles may have some damage. I haven't had any issues with this achilles before...but after what was really just a basic jog..nothing out of the norm of what I've been doing the last couple years. No new shoes, no crazy speed work or hills, not even very long of a run. But by evening, my 'good' achilles was in a bad way, with major inflammation, very tender to the touch, and I had a lot of difficulty walking for a couple days. A couple days after that it improved, to the point of just a slight limp, and tenderness in a smaller area near the heel bone. But unfortunately it hasn't improved any further. So, this time I'll head off and see the doc to get it checked, alas. I figure if I have a partial tear, taking care of it now may save me from a rupture later on, which is what happened in my 'bad' leg all those years ago.

Who knows..AT's are frustrating injuries, as anyone reading this knows! And going through an achilles injury more than once doesn't exactly appeal to me. I'm just trying not to curse TOO often about it until I go get it checked and see what time frame we're looking at on this one.

Just wanted to drop a note of empathy to all enduring their AT troubles..it does get better, that's the good news! And I have to say it makes you feel all the more blessed about getting out and doing the various activities you enjoy.

Take care all!
AC

Spot said...

Thanks! for your awesome diary. I ruptured my right achilles day before playing soccer and can't help feeling sorry for myself. I'm at day 3 but I'd rather be at day 240. Its gonna be a long hard slog...:(
Nimesh, Boston

Attache familier said...

David,
I am not sure my morale would be the same on Day 3 afer rupturing my achilles if it weren't for your blog. I snapped mine playing competitive tennis. I'm 42, considered myself to be in terrific shape and here I am now, after one ill-fated sprint to the net, immobile for weeks in a cast. I've gone from concentrating on my second service percentage to wondering if I will ever play again. I started reading your blog the afternoon of my injury- day before my surgery. I just want to say- thanks for taking the time to record your progress, I know it was probably very helpful to you through your journey to recovery, but to someone like me who was in a bit of despair earlier this week, it really inspired me to keep my chin up and stay the course to full recovery and competitive tennis once again.

You're awesome. Thanks again.

P.

David said...

You are welcome. Take it from me - I am at the 3 year mark now and my tennis is the best it has ever been :) cya David

Friendship Cup said...

I am at 16 months and my tennis is almost back but I am not as adventurous on the overheads and reaching for passing shots. Still, it's good to be back to almost normal.

Charlie

Brian Burns said...

Sat in UK feeling inspired by your blog. It's 3 weeks since I ruptured my Achilles and I'm told I'll be in a cast for 12 weeks (no surgery)!! From what I read, it seems a case of mobilising the limb as soon as possible. If it's good enough for the Aussies, it's good enough for me - thank you (onwards and upwards), Brian Burns

Serdar Cevher said...

Serdar Cevher, 25, from Istanbul/Turkey:
---

Hi;

First of all, I want to thank David and every one sharing their experiences of ruptured achilles tendons. If I had not read this blog, I possibly would keep my ankle as immobile as possible in order to avoid any damage. But I saw that exercises are very necessary to come back to normal life as soon as possible, so I tried to stretch my ankle regularly and it started to feel better.

I damaged my left foot when I was playing soccer in June 17ty and I had surgery on June 22nd. After wearing a very long cast (up to my groin) for 4 weeks, I switched to the boot with my doctor's advice. Now it's the end of the first week with my boot (36 days after the surgery).

Another detail is the "shock therapy" that my doctor advised: I put my foot in cold water for a minute, and immediately in hot water for a minute, I make this for about 10-15 minutes and I repeat this procedure three times a day. My doctor claimed that this would avoid my ankle to become too swollen. And I can say that it works, my ankle was much more swollen when we first put away the cast.

My question is to the people who suffer from this injury and used to drive manual cars. :) I was used to drive an automatic car but I sold it four months ago and bought a new one with manual transmission (what a misfortune). If I would not change my car, now I possibly could drive it. Anyway, now I wonder when I can use again the clutch pedal.

It is said that I will slowly start to walk in August 5th, but I am not sure when it will be convenient enough for me to drive a car with a clutch pedal.

Thank you all for your replies.

tim said...

As so many others are saying: Thank you.

I ruptured at the end of July, and I'm 2 weeks post-op. I get quite worried and depressed at times, but your posts and videos help center me, and keep me believing that all will end up well.

*EAV15 said...

Hi David,

Your Day 60 blog is much like my day 110, bearing in mind I only came out of cast on my day 80 therefore had lost a lot of strength in my left calf and basically had to begin from when the cast was removed. I never was operated on and was unable to get a boot as I have 26inch calves from lots of cycling and weight lifting.
It took a month or so for the pain to subside and my limp to disappear but going well.

It is now nearly 7months since I ran up my steps and 'BOOM' it went but I can say one thing getting mobile early in my mind too has helped the recovery. And against doc's advice I played pool every Tuesday throughout, difficult on wood floors but it was just nice to get out.

I am now 20st8lb or for the metric people 132.5kg and about 5ft8inch, but not unfit, few extra pounds from being imprisoned at home whilst recovering though which I'm trying to work off at the moment.

Anyway...I am now riding bikes comfortably, or be it a downhill bike I bought before the above, for over 20miles/32km. I am at the gym full time and have no pain or limp at all. I am still struggling for full strength and I'm work on declined dips to strengthen up.
I must say that I have only just braved it to run because of the fear of doing some injury with the impact, but =) all was good and I'm probably better now with the conditioning I've had to do to get leaner. I had a fitness test with a PT and she couldn't get over how I appeared compared to my fitness levels especially after explaining my injury. I managed 15minutes at full friction and a hard pace on the cross trainer.

Once again thanks for the blog, much help and has helped to drive me on. A bloke at the gym has just done his so I told him to have a look.

I will drop an update in a month or so to let everybody know how I'm doing

thomas said...

David
Thanks for this it is really great to see someone who has taken this on and had such an impressive recovery. Very good when I feel a little depressed about the whole thing. I particularly appreciate the massage advice and have found this effective.
Cheers
Thomas

Goksan72 said...

Dear David, My name is Goksan from Istanbul-Turkey. I am 39 yo and I am a sport addict . I snapped my achilles on Dec 13, 2011 while playing football, and I had the surgery on Dec 15, 2011. Today is my 36th day post-op and I started rehab exercises by taking reference from your early full-motion mode. Thanks a lot for your effort and dedication while preparing such a hope giving blog to the achilles victims. Regards. Goksan.

Steve said...

David, I am glad I found your blog, it is very inspiring!! I too completely rupture my AT playing squash. I am 9 weeks post-op, still in a cast-boot and was told by the surgeon to wait until 12 weeks before starting PT.

However, after reading about your success I am considering starting PT very soon, they do a full assessment before starting the rehabilitation and I like the idea of being regularly monitored (my next appt with the surgeon isn't for another 6 weeks!).

I hope I have a similar success story to yours and hope to get back on the squash court in a few months or so!

Steve from Canada

Peter G said...

David,
Thanks for the blog, I ruptured my tendon five days ago and am awaiting surgery.

I had no idea recovery would take so long.
Thanks again for the blog, I now go into this fully armed with all the information I need.

Peter
UK

christian said...

hey david, thanks for the blog man! im only 23 years young (i know, very young) and i felt the horrible feeling of geting kicked in the back of the heel.. im scared of surgery and not having insurance makes it even worse. but watching this and reading this blog has convinced me to go get surgery. im not scared anymore and am ready and willing to face this head on with no fear!! thanks man!

Anonymous said...

Thanks David
I severed my tendon 2 days ago and I am waiting for the surgery.
Your blog has made me much more confident in maybe playing badminton again.

I must admit watching you rub that base ball bat up and down your calf made me cringe in my current state.
many many thanks for documenting your recovery.
Brian Tomkinson
Ottawa, Canada

grahamer said...

your some man david i have to say a big thanks for posting all this info it gives me some hope of getting trough this thanks mate

bob said...

Hi I had surgery about 3 weeks ago its been tough but im walking some without crutches and theres small victories to enjoy like showers,doing laundry,and getting back to work to name a few this blog is great if i can help anyone please email thanks bob

G said...

Hello David,

Great blog!!!

How bad was your rupture?

My dr. said mine was 100% torn and had "mop like ends".

Thanks for making this blog!!

Anonymous said...

Nice Blog. I have 10 days left in the cast and then I go into the boot. Being in a cast has sucked big time.

Scheduling physical therapy today. After reading how painful it is, I'm not looking forward to it!

Aaron

Washington DC

Mohd Ali said...

Hi, Thanks for sharing your great story. It is helping us. Thanks.

Ken said...

Hi David:
Great blog!

It is now five years later - is your Achilles still good (I hope!)?

You may want to check out the Preventing Achilles Tendon Injury page of my web site www.AchillesTendon.com, which was just updated based on an analysis of a ton of peer reviewed medical research papers.

Neither of us want a re-occurrence of our Achilles tendon injury!

Ken
Melbourne

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

I wish I found your blog sooner. Because unlike most of you here.. the conservative doctors here in Canada decided to slap on a cast right away. I wasnt even given the surgery option.

Im at the lowest point of my achillies recovery here. Im depressed. Its been about 31 days now in a unbearable cast. I saw the specialist today hoping to get my cast off into the moon boot. But he told me to keep it on for ANOTHER 2 MORE WEEKS. Devastating blow considering I was looking to get this thing off for a proper shower. The doctor piled it on by saying id have to be in a moon boot for another month as well.

Today I discovered this blog.. and I regret not taking action to do my own research and get surgery. I put too much trust into our doctors here. This whole experience has negatively affected my work, school, personal and family life. Im 33 years old. Not exactly elderly. There was no reason to be so conservative with the healing approach in my opinion.

Most damning is my once very active with sports life is delayed for no reason. The recovery time is going to be much longer for me going the hard cast route, more difficult to get my leg back into top sports shape and I will have to fight deterioration of my calf muscle as well.

Sigh... Going to get a second opinion on the whole thing next week.

garyk51188 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Randall Lackey said...

anyone going threw a echilles tendon ruture let me know some feed back would be good...

Tord Steiro said...

Dear David, thank you so much for your blog!

Also thanks to Alistair for the useful comments!

I will be 9 weeks post-op on monday (writing saturday). Is now at day 61 post op.

I can see that I am about the same palace as you describe at day 60. Walking with a slight limp, lacking some strength in your calf.

However, I also have lots of general pains in my ankle, and my operation scar is causing me problems, as it appears to have grown together with the tendon itself. I am not sure how serious this will be in the end, but at the moment it is causing lots and lots of pain :(

For the skiing part, I see that you got your skiing trip after 14 weeks. I also see that you tried to run on day 111.

Initially I thought to try running on October 31st, that would have been on day 157 post-op, however, considering my current state, I think I can try to run already after 12 weeks, that is, day 84 post-op. unless something, like the issues with my operation scar, complicates things.

So what did I do to get there then (besides being in moderately good physical shape and 32 years old)?

Not nearly as much exercise as you - caring for a 15 month old boy and a pregnant wife with all the usual complications (and a full-time job) doesn't give all that time for exercise. But I do as much as I can.

Rather, I believe early mobilisation has been important. And a lot of mobilisation too.

I wore a 'half-cast' or whatever you call it, for 17 days. then I was placed in a moonboot, and started physiotherapy at the hospital.

I had strict orders from the PT to take a 5 minute walk every hour I was awake, and to use crutches moderately, using pain as guidance.

Needless to say, running after the 15 month old made me walk much more than that, and forced me to suspend crutches from time to time, as I would not have the time to fetch them before I had to catch up with junior.

The boot was fixed at 110 degree angle for the first two weeks, then 100 degrees, and finally 90 degrees for a week. I am now without the boot, but because of the amount of walking I do every day, I insisted on keeping it, and wearing it every now and then. The orthopeadien was less than excited about the idea, but I kept insisting, and she let me go with it.

Now, I don't use the boot that much, but considering the fact that I have walked almost a 100 km in the week since I was supposed to give it back to the hospital, I am most grateful to still have it. It simply feels great to put it back on when the pain becomes unbearable, and you have to walk 2 km to the kindergarden to pick up the boy, and then walk 2 km back afterwards...

So how did I rupture my tendon?

By playing 5-a-side football while abroad on vacation, of course. After some 45 minutes, as I was accelerating 100% on a counter attack long ball, I felt a strong recoil up to my left knee as the tendon snapped. I didn't feel the snap itself, but the recoil was very strong, like when you pull a thick rubber band until it breaks. I obviously lost my balance in the stide, and fell down full force on my injured leg, which obviously gave way and made me fall to the ground like a sack of potatoes.

The pain was unbearable, and I struggled with an immediate muscle cramp in my left calf. A cramp that lasted until operation, 4 days later :(

I'll obviously never try to play 5-a-side again, but I look forward to pick up running and cross country skiing again.

Steve Rudin said...

David, thanks so much for blogging about your atr injury! It has been the most useful resource I have found on the injury and subsequent recovery. I'm 6 weeks post surgery and feel much more comfortable after reading about your experience. Thanks Again!!

Steve

Eric Rickard said...

Thank you for the blog.
I am two weeks into the Rupture. Surgery went well and i am in a splint. I too am an older athlete and will try your schedule as well. I am seeing my surgeon in 3 days and will bring my boot. Wish me luck

Anh Nguyen said...

Hello everyone,

my doctor never recommended any PT. He said that just by walking, I will regain my stregnth. It seems like everyone I talk to or all the blogs I have read that their is some kind of PT involved. Has anyone not been recommended PT?

I am 40yrs old.
I am 9 weeks post op.
Tore achilles on 3/11 playing basketball.
Operation on 3/17.
Soft cast 1 week. Hard cast 2 weeks and then staples removed/hard cast for another 3 weeks/walking boot for 2 weeks but I stopped wearing it regulary after 2 day.
I am now walking fine with a slight limp. No running or jumping. My only issue right now if the blister at my heal and the insicion. If I wear shoes, the back part of the show would rub on the place where the tear occured. Doctor told me I can run in 6 more weeks and that's the last visit with him. No followup visits? No PT? just feels strange.

Anonymous said...

Hi David,

Thanks for the blog. I also tore my left Achilles tendon playing squash but unlike you when it happened I thought I had just sprained my ankle very badly. I limped back to my car (stick shift) and drove home. After about a month, when it was not getting better I went to the doctor who did an MRI and confirmed a complete rupture! Since so much time has passed it was not recommended that I have surgery. Although that worried me at first, after doing some research it appears that new studies show about the same outcome for op and non op treatment. That put me somewhat at ease.

Doc put me in a boot for about a month, and started me on aggressive rehab. I am now at about 4 months. I do about 2 hours of stairclimb/incline treadmill/eliptical/pool 2 x per week and PT with my therapist 2x per week. On the other days I do theraband, stretch and heel raises.

I feel pretty good now can walk well and hopefully will be able to start playing squash again in a couple of months.

I think the thing that strangely helped me recover quickly is the fact that my foot was not immobilized for a long time and so I did not lose a lot of mobility in my foot. Also the aggressive rehab. The most important thing I realized is to not baby the injury. You get kind of used to putting more weight on the other foot and then you start doing that unconsciously when what you want to be doing is putting as much force on the injured foot as possible especially when just walking. Really push off hard so that you get used to using it again and not being afraid of some pain. AT least that is what is working for me.

Best of luck to all in your recovery.

MS

Anonymous said...

Hi

Unfortunately, this is my second stint of posting - ruptured the other one on the 14th of Dec 2016, almost 7 years after the first. Playing squash again and after this, I might try another sport.

The first time, the tear was 2-3cm above the heel and I had surgery. I followed David's blog and recovered in much the same time as him. I have passed the blog to many people since and also my own recovery record. A friend of mine ruptured his at 63 years old and actually beat my recovery time - so it can be done at any age.

This time the tear is much higher up the tendon. Maybe 10cm above the heel. After the various scans and inspections, the Doctor persuaded me NOT to have the operation for a number of reasons:

1. The tear is much higher up and the area contains more muscle and other tissues. He felt that the healing process would be better and that the operation might actually be counter-productive.
2. There is a risk of infection and the wound not healing with surgery.
3. He felt that the recovery time would be broadly similar, but that it would take slightly longer (a few weeks) to get back to full strength.
4. The Doctor said that I would only be in a cast for 3 weeks. Last time it was 3.5 weeks and I had to wait 4 days for the actual operation.

I have done some research and it seems that current protocol is moving back towards not having the operation. Anyway, for me, then decision has been made. It seemed that by having the cast straight away I was saving some time. My only reservation was if they actually removed the cast in 3 weeks and did not put another one on.

I had a cast removed after 3 weeks to the day and am now in my second day of an Aircast boot. I had just forgotten how horrible these things are. How someone could not come up with a better design baffles me.

So far, things seem great. I am walking around in the boot and taking it off in the house. I am walking in the house (with great care) in carpet slippers, albeit with a shuffling gait. At least I am free of the cast. I have to see the Physio soon to determine the rest of the recovery protocol, but at this stage, i feel that i am progressing.

Doing some light movement of the foot - just enough so that I don't feel any pain or pulling on the tendon. Really, just starting to get some movement in the stiff ankle joint.

At 6 weeks post op last time i started going to the gym, just a stationery bike at first. I have kept the gym going and this time i have continued to go 2-3 times a week with the cast on. Doing some upper body work and exercises that can be done with one leg. Maybe his will help? I will soon find out!

Jeff UK

Unknown said...

I think your doctor is giving you primo advice and I would take it. Most doctors would say surgery and leave it at that. My surgeon told me to have surgery and I did and he told me after the fact that they would heal just as well without surgery if you stayed off the leg.... Wishing I had gone that route. Felt a little duped. I followed the advice here and started biking in my cast two weeks after surgery and cut my cast off after 4 weeks and have had good results 7 years later. I don't have as good a range of motion but it is pretty close.

Unknown said...

Think my range of motion may have been a bit better without surgery but that is guessing.

Anonymous said...

My motion in the first tendon that was ruptured 7 years ago, and was operated on, is pretty much perfect. In fact, it feels much stronger than before.

This time, i have read some recent research and it seems that without surgery, the best results come from EARLY mobilisation. Without this, there is more chance of re-rupture. That's music to my ears! Without the cast, i just feel that the recovery in in my hands.

To be honest, its only 2 days since the cast came off, but the tendon feels really good. I am optimistic at this point.

Jeff UK

Mark said...

Hi
Ruptured my Achilles playing football, 47 years old.
Can anyone shed any light on this for me.
I had ATR injury on 20th April. 2017 2 weeks in cast that was not set at correct angle, gap remained and had surgery on 4th May and had cast with no weight bearing.
Went into boot on 31st May and further 2 weeks of no weight bearing.
On 14th June began weight bearing and walking in boot without crutches and started pool physio walking in chest high water and doing heel raises and stretches.
At check up with physio on 27th June they conducted Thompson test squeezing calf got no movement and got second option from senior physio. Both concurred thought 75% certain not attached. I saw consultant on 28th June who also had concerns as tried about 10 times and could not get a result. Advised me that too early for MRI as scar tissue and trauma from surgery would make it difficult to be sure. I told him that I could feel the tendon during and after exercises and felt positive I was progressing. He advised to continue with physio rehab and revisit him 4 weeks later.
I have continued pool physio and felt improvement each time.
Physio checked again with Thompson test on 12 July and still no confirmation of a reaction. He did say that he could feel the tendon along the full length, he said it felt a bit thin in places and a bit lumpy in others.
Appointment is with consultant on 26th July where he said will look at physio notes and evaluate any improvement, he will also speak to the surgeon who undertook the operation.

My question is is the Thompson test definitive in assessing the progress?
Is it possible that it just may be slow healing?
All the physios I have spoken to seem to think it is not attached or not fully attached and just waiting for the inevitable. Some think ankle muscles more contributing to movement than Achilles' tendon.

I still have a lot of swelling when walking. However I can stand equally on both legs weight bearing without boot.
If I stand for a while without boot or even stand with no weight on injured leg without boot, eg in the shower my foot goes a deep purple colour. Upon putting boot back on or elevating foot it goes back to normal colour. It is not cold or blue.
It is almost as if when in boot the pressure of the boot aids the circulation back up the leg and when not in boot blood just flows to ankle and sits there making foot appear purple. Does this make sense.

I have not tried walking yet without boot (ie no boot but still use crutches) as I am getting a burning stinging sensation in my tendon when weight bearing in boot. This has been going on for a few days with no lessening.
I plan to do this after completing more physio work and anticipate doing this weekend of 15th/16th July.
I don't know if the physios looking after me are being to conservative or just resigned to the fact I need to go back in for an opearation.
I am reluctant to push too much because if it does have another tear I would rather give it a chance to heal rather than re rupture it.

Cheers
Mark

Unknown said...

Something isn't right... you should go back to your doctor asap. I would say the Thompson test is definitive in that it merely assesses if the muscle is doing what it should. I'm not a doctor but this gathered from my experience and reading. I am 6 years post Achilles rupture and feel a little tightness but have good range of motion. I am a runner and run fairly long distances -25-30 miles/week. Noticed the leg that had the repair doesn't get as tired as other leg. Could be the difference in muscle? Random thought--but get yourself looked at hopefully get it sorted out. Riding a bicycle was crucial in my recovery. I rode (idea from David :)....) in my cast. No pain and was good I think--just don't wreck.

Unknown said...

Looks like test is .1/13.7 definitive according to wikipedia or 993/1000?

Mark said...

I am going to see a physio who specialises in sports injuries, I believe he worked actually at a professional football club.
Have spoken on the phone and he keen to have a look even if it is just to give me a second opinion. My hospital physios have been great but as I mentioned before I get the feeling they sort of switched off and waiting for the specialist consultant follow up in a few weeks or that may just be me picking things up in my head. One thing I have learned is the mental effect of the injury is equally a part as the physical.
I am hoping the burning or stinging is more nerve related than actual tendon related.
As my tendon area is still rather swollen it is hard for me to actually feel the tendon ( as opposed to how easy it is on my other foot)
Regarding the bicycle, it's interesting as I mentioned right at the start that I had a gym in the house and a recumbent bicycle and asked what excercise I could do to limit the muscle wastage but was warned off by my physio.