Shall We Begin?

July 9, 2009 | |

Hey everyone,

I discovered this site in the days after meeting with a specialist (I met with him one day after my rupture on the night of July 1st - just last week) and having been told I will need surgery to repair my ruptured Achilles tendon. I injured it during a basketball game for a league that I play played in on Wednesday nights (silver lining: my team hung in to win the game, despite us only having 5 people, which went down to 4 when I went down with about 3 min left in the game). I have to say that this site is truly a wonderful tool and it certainly provides an in-depth preview of some of the things I can expect in the coming months.

I am 24 years of age, so I am definitely younger than your prototypical ATR victim. However, I am very active, and I intend on continuing to be so once I tackle this injury and fully recover. I played three sports when I was in high school (Football, Basketball, and T&F) and continued to stay active when I went off to college, playing in intramural leagues as well as maintaining a consistent weight lifting regimen at the gym. In January of this year, I had decided to ride in the upcoming Pan Mass Challenge (www.pmc.org), which is a 200-mile bike ride from Sturbridge, MA to Provincetown, MA. I had purchased a road bike in February and began training in May, riding upwards of 30-40 miles per ride with intentions to increase this leading up to the race. Obviously, this will not be happening in light of my Achilles rupture last week, although my fundraising efforts have not diminished. The rupture itself was fairly painful, but not as bad as I thought it sounded before the whole ordeal. It happened as I was planting my right foot while stepping backwards in order to change direction longitudinally (forward). Right as this was happening, I believe my defender stepped on my foot and as I shifted my weight, “POP!” I went down quick and knew this was not your typical ankle sprain. As I have read others describe on the site, I initially thought someone had kicked me in the back of the ankle or something of the sort. I actually looked up to see if someone who was running around on the 2nd-floor track that went around the gym may have accidentally dropped a dumbell that found its way to my heel. Reality slowly began to set in. I was helped off of the court by two teammates, asked someone to call an ambulence, and eventually landed in the ER.

In the ER, I was treated promptly by a doctor, who administered the dreaded Thompson test on my affected leg, which I proceeded to “fail.” She ordered some X-Rays that were negative on any bone damage, and then gave me a preliminary diagnosis of a ruptured Achilles tendon. I headed home, dejected and despondent, but not before being prescribed some Vicodan. I was also placed in a splint that ran from the middle of my foot (bottom) and halfway up my calf secured by two Ace bandages. I visited an orthopedist the following day, who confirmed the ER doctor’s diagnosis. He then advised that I undergo surgery to repair the damaged tendon, which is what I had expected having visited several websites after a simple Google search on the matter. Since I am very active, I wanted to get the surgery done ASAP and begin the recovery process. We scheduled it for Thursday, July 9, which just so happens to be today!  I will devote my next post to the details of the surgery. I can say that it went well, and I am not in too much pain (I am taking two 5-500MG Hydrocodone tablets as needed for pain). So far the experience has pretty much in line with expectations as formed by reading the plethora of information on the web and on this website. I was a little bummed to learn I would be put in a cast for 3 weeks following the procedure, as I am anxious about atrophy, but I am not totally opposed to this.

I have read several accounts of people who seem to elect the accelerated recovery path. This seems great and all but, despite my unease about my cast and impending atrophy, I still have my qualms about this approach as well. I will bring this up with my doctor when I go in to get stitches removed in a week or so, but I am not convinced early weight bearing is necessarily good for my purposes. You see, I am young and active and often play high-impact, fast-paced sports. Before this injury, I could dunk a basketball, which probably put a tremendous amount of stress on the AT. That being said, I would rather endure a slightly longer recovery process with the peace of mind that comes with knowing the tendon is fully mended and ready to be rehabbed. I do not doubt that I could adopt some of the early weight bearing methods I have read about and that I could subsequently get back into shoes much sooner than a more conservative approach to recovery, but I question the long term implications of this. I fear that in the context of my sports activities, I might be more likely to rerupture the tendon compared to if I am a bit more conservative in letting the tendon heal. I am not a doctor by any means, but I wanted to get that out there and see what anyone else thought of it. I’ll post something on the surgery tomorrow.

Thats all for now…sorry for the length! I’ve been sitting on the couch all day so I am a little bored. Looking forward to recovery.

- Eric


Comments

5 Comments so far

  1. dennis on July 9, 2009 9:29 pm

    achilleszeal - glad that you found this site. Get plenty of rest for the next few weeks and let your body heal. I hope the information on the site regarding EWB vs conservative approach was helpful. If you do find other resources on the web, please let me know and I’ll add to the list.

  2. chukeer on July 10, 2009 11:14 am

    Hey Eric, you’re not alone…I am 24 years old and pretty active as well so changing into this whole sedentary has been somewhat of a culture shock for me. I originally tore my Achilles on May 15th and was on what you considered the accelerated recovery process, however I got to comfortable with it and by week 5 a lot of the time I spent at home would be out of my boot. I tripped, landed on on my bad foot, and snap I re-ruptured my Achilles. Just had surgery again on July 2nd.

    I think the accelerated recovery procedure is a great procedure, at no point was I ever in pain during my physical therapy. It just feels great to get your ankle moving around a bit after being stuck in a boot / cast all day and you get to get rid of the crutches and get back to walking (in the boot) which makes things much much easier.

    Anyways good luck to you!

    Chuck

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