The Achilles Face/Keeping fit

October 29, 2009

I managed to get back to work today, eight days after the ATR.  I mainly work in an office so should be able to get my job done without any great problems. 

I’ve found that using crutches has become much easier, even after a week.  It’s not necessarily the control, but my stamina seems to have increased so I can go further.  Still, I think a couple of hundred metres is my limit at the moment.

How have others got on with crutches?  Do you find yourself able to go further and stay on them for longer?

Of course, everyone wants to know what I’ve done, which is really nice, of course.  But it can get a bit repetitive.  I’m currently developing three versions of my story. 

The full version, for family, friends,  those who are really interested, or those I think I can get car lifts from in future.

The medium version for most work colleagues.

And the short version for those who are just being polite, or look like they’re in a hurry.  This one is:  “I’ve just stretched some ligaments in my ankle.”

I’ve found the moment you mention the Achilles tendon, people want to know everything.  It’s great as most people have exactly the same reation.  Their lips purse, there’s a sharp intake of breath, the nose scunches up towards the eyes, and the forehead comes out in deep furrows.  It’s what I now call ‘The Achilles Face’, and it’s followed by ‘The Achilles Sound’.  This is a long ‘oooooooooooo’.  Like the vowel in ‘boot’, but longer.  It’s certainly an injury people feel particularly squeamish about.

My next goal is to start exercising what I can.  I obviously won’t be going jogging, but assume I can do other stuff to try and keep in some kind of shape.  I would welcome any advice or suggestions on this as I haven’t read up on it yet.

Black, White, Blue? Or Pink?

October 27, 2009

Just back from the Fracture Clinic at Addenbrookes, having decided to go for the conservative approach. 

With so many studies and accounts to consider it’s not possible to be totally happy with a decision, but that’s it made now and I have to stand by it (assisted by crutches).

The consultant said that while there will be a higher risk of re-rupture, it is still commonly a successful treatment, which would require the same time in cast as having surgery.  I feel comfortable with the advice I’ve been given, though part of me would have preferred them to tell me what to do instead of offering plenty of reasons - any combination of which could have led me down either path.

I’ve spoken to a lot of friends in the last week about the choice I was having to make on surgery.  With few exceptions they’ve said: “I think you should go for the surgery.”  But when I ask them what they are basing that on, no-one has been able to say why.  I think the assumption is that going for surgery is the best option, and you’d only avoid it if you were fearful of it.

I’ve been convinced by the consultants I’ve seen that opting for non-operative treatment is not a cop-out, and rationally it’s as sensible as going for surgery, if for different reason.

If I’m unlucky and it does re-rupture, then I can always go for surgery then. 

So, I’ve got a fancy new hard cast that I’ll wear for the next three weeks.  I chose the white option, though I could have had it black, blue, yellow, or pink! 

When Eric, who put me in cast, took the temporary “back-strap” off, my ankle was swollen, with yellow bruising on the calf and dark red below the ankle.  Didn’t look too bad though.  Scratching my calf for 30 seconds after he took the old one off and got the new one ready almost made this whole ordeal worth it!

I’ll wear this until mid-November, with the toes pointing downwards, then swap it for one where they’re brought up slightly.  I’m looking at eight or nine weeks in plaster, then on to the next step.  I’ll worry about that when it comes.

Some very good news is that I can go back to work when I like, so I’ll see if I can get in later in the week. 

I could do with one of those Segways.  Anyone have one spare?

Plenty to think about, plenty of time.

October 26, 2009

I suffered a full rupture of my Achilles tendon playing football on Wednesday 21st October. There were no warning signs but as soon as it went I knew what had happened. I’m 32.

I was taken straight to Accident and Emergency, and less than three hours later I was back home in a cast.

The treatment I was given was excellent. But, it was all so quick I didn’t get the chance to ask all the questions I wish I had.

I’m off to the Fractures Clinic tomorrow where hopefully I can get answers to these.

In no order, here are some of the questions I hope to get answered:

1) Should I go for surgery or not? I suspect at my age that would be best, but I was told that both operative and non-operative treatments were decent options - with the understanding that non-operative treatment results in a higher re-rupture rate. However, surgery comes with a risk of complications. How big are these risks?

2) How long will I be immobile for? Will I be able to get back in to work on my crutches soon or not?

3) Will I ever be able to play football again? And when is that likely?

4) When am I likely to be driving again?

5) How is this likely to change my life in the long term? Will I always need to be cautious?

Hello world!

October 26, 2009

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