My Achilles blog

Firstly, I’ve been on the main blog site, reading and posting.  There are so many great people on this site it’s amazing.  I just wish we didn’t have to meet this way….

Well, my story:  I am 42, have been active all my life, play various pickup sports, go hiking, biking, etc.  Some of favorite sports include ball hockey, soccer and badminton.  Three weeks ago I was playing drop-in badminton, 40 minutes in so was fairly warmed up.  The opponent did a drop shot on me so I started to lunge forward.  As soon as I pushed off, I felt something pop in the back of my right calf.  It really felt like if you yank a string really hard and the string breaks with a snap, except this was much louder, more intense , and extremely painful.  I was in so much pain.  I tried getting up but I couldn’t.  The pain was just too intense.  I got to this hospital in an ambulance and the ER doctor did the Thomson test and immediately told me it’s a torn Achilles.  He said he could feel a gap where the Achilles should be.  However he sent me home in a splint and asked me to see a bone doctor the following day.

Upon hearing everything the doc said, we decided against surgery.  This is the trend nowadays, he said, and the difference between having and not having surgery is not that great.  With good physio, the difference becomes insignificant.  The process is slower, though, but there is no risk of surgery or complications of surgery. I was put in a cast, and was told to keep weight off the leg.  That was the most painful two weeks ever!  On Tylenol 3’s for about a week.  The only thing that helped was to keep my leg elevated above the heart.  That meant I was lying down a lot.  It’s been frustrating, for me this is one of those situations where a person doesn’t know just how much life is impacted with the loss of use of one leg.  I can’t do any kind of housework and at first even standing on the one leg while brushing my teeth was hard.  Getting up meant the blood rushes down to the injury and the pain comes back with a vengeance.  The second week was worse for pain, and only with a triple combo of acetaminophen, icing the leg, and elevation working.

The most encouraging thing I found though was this site.  Reading about how a lot of people recovered and back to doing normal activities made me think I can do it too.  Further, seeing the support that you folks give each other definitely gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling and everything just seems better.

Last Monday the cast came off and in a boot, but touch weight bearing only.  Went to my first physio appointment yesterday.

I’ll update this as I go along with the physio.  I hope everyone going through this gets better soon and gets back to normal.



update #1 - 25 days after rupture

In the boot now for two weeks this Monday.  Went to PT 3 times. After PT I’ve noticed the swelling went down.  The first swelling measurement on Nov 27 said my ankle area swelled by just over 2 inches circumference compared to the good leg.  (The good leg circumference at the thinnest point of the ankle is 9 inches) After the 3 PT treatments the swelling is under 2 inches now.  The pain has been easing too as the swelling went down, so getting up is not a new definition in throbbing pain every time anymore.  Gotta continue the PT for sure!

Update #2 - 32 days after rupture

Lots of pain, but not from the ATR. Apparently I’ve been on the wrong height settings for my crutches (which the cast clinic nurse adjusted for me from day 2) and the leg lift exercises caused my back to completely stiffen up. I’ve got major back spasms and my doc told me I also pulled an abdominal muscle. So, back in painkillers for a bit and now I have to lay down quite a bit to let things calm down. PT recommended a different set of leg exercises, less back intensive.  A minor setback, but I’m sure I’ll get back on track.  I really looked into getting the scooter but my place is 3 storeys and the scooter just ain’t good for all those stairs.

Update #3 - 44 days after rupture

Had my follow up appointment with the doc.  He says recovery is progressing and this point I can go FWB any time I can now.  I am to start weaning myself off crutches by the next 2-3 weeks.   He has taken out one of the wedges in the boot and I have to take out another two by second week of January.  I go to PT again tomorrow and I’m sure I’ll start the real exercises.  As of right now, I’m doing:

  • 3×10 toe curls
  • 3×10 leg lifts for quads
  • 3×10 side leg lifts for hips
  • 3×10 butt crunches
  • 3×10 foot dorsi flexes up to neutral
  • cross-arm back stretches for both sides
  • neck stretches for both sides