apollo’s AchillesBlog

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May 24, 2013

May 11, 2013 — The Rupture

Filed under: Uncategorized — apollo @ 12:04 pm

For me, like many others, it happened on the (outdoor) basketball court, making a simple move I’ve made a million times — spinning reverse tomahawk dunk.  Ok, just kidding, more like running after my own rebound after missing a jump shot (a move I truly have made a million times).  I’ve heard the incident described by some as feeling like a gunshot, kick to the leg, etc.  In my mind, it felt like some heavy random object had just landed on the back of my leg (airplane part?!), I let out a primal scream, and then just went down, knowing something very, very bad had just happened.

Went to the ER, got the initial diagnosis that it looked like a complete Achilles rupture and then, of course, started googling “achilles tendon rupture.”  I think the first thing I read was the wikipedia page.  And, soon after, I found this tremendously useful website.  I think, for me, the biggest shock of all was the amount of recovery time needed for this injury.  I knew it was a big deal, but half a year to a year?!  Ugh, that took a while to sink in.  Looking back, I definitely went through the stages of grief, starting appropriately enough with DENIAL.  I can probably still go with my family on our planned trip to Europe in 6 weeks, right? (Response 3 days later from surgeon: Europe will be there next year.)

Got the surgery 3 days later, on May 14th.  And now I’m waiting for my first post-op visit, scheduled for May 29th.

More about the incident:  I didn’t stretch before playing.  I hadn’t played in a few weeks (–I normally play around 2 times a week).  I don’t otherwise exercise regularly, although I like to play tennis and swim, which I do only occasionally.  I’m 37 yrs old.  I was wearing basketball sneakers that have an unusual strap inside the shoe that wraps around the ankle, ostensibly to guard against ankle sprains.

One thing I’m pondering:  even if I hadn’t taken that triggering step on May 11, was this likely going to happen to me anyway?  I understand it wasn’t inevitable in the sense that I could have been a better stretcher, a regular exerciser, etc.  But assuming I had continued along my path of being a 1-2 times a week basketball player who was not good about stretching, was this likely to happen a week, month or year from now?  Had my tendon deteriorated in some way that made this a likely outcome?  Or is it more random than that?  Because there are plenty of people like me (weekend warriors!) who don’t rupture their achilles tendon.  In fact, the vast majority don’t.  So, I’m just wondering if this was a random unlucky alignment of variables that caused my tendon to snap that particular day, or if my tendon was particularly susceptible to injury because of deterioration (i.e., that this was going to happen to me sooner or later anyway).  Anyone have any thoughts on that?

And before I sign off on this initial post, just want to say thanks to all those out there who have shared their stories, their setbacks, their triumphs, their knowledge…  It helps to know there’s a community out there going through, or having gone through, the same thing.  And it’s an incredibly effective way to learn.