21 weeks Wow! How quickly time has gone.
On reflection I have to say it was no where near as bad as it seemed at the beginning. From the time of accident when I snapped my right Achilles’ tendon, the daunting feeling of the realisation of what. I had done, to the devastating diagnosis and the first Ortho Surgeon I saw, who basically said I was too old to have surgery, too many complications with infection & wound healing, who looked me in the eyes and simply said ” Prepare yourself, it’s going to take a long, long time to heal 12-15 months” fitted me in a crappy boot with 4 wedges and said he’d see me in six weeks. I was pretty pissed off with his attitude and I thought ” I don’t thinks so buster”. I then did more research went to my sons sports physio and asked her to refer me to the best Ortho Surgeon she new of. She made the phone call and got me into him 3 days later. I had to get another referral from my doctor but that was fine. I had my visit to the new Ortho Surgeon who actually looked at my photos, explained what was going on, said with such a rupture almost 4 cm it would take time, he explained the difference of surgery versus conservative, pros & cons of both, but recommended surgery and said with his technique I could FWB in hinged boot within 7 days of surgery subject to pain tolerance. Now that all appealed to me, no hard casts, no crutches and no wedges. I opted for surgery he fitted me in the next day and true to word I was walking in hinged boot FWB within the fortnight following the surgery. Took me a couple of days to get the hang of walking in the boot but with helpful advise from beanie I was up and running. Early mobility I am sure helps with moral and positive thinking and focusing week to week on the small milestones instead of looking too far ahead.
Here I am at 21 weeks post surgery and can walk without any limp, fast, slow and in between. I can do both double and single heel raises comfortably. (Let me say that I had to practice the single heal raises on injured leg for about three weeks before I succeeded, that was my hardest task and it took the longest to achieve) I can do a gentle jog with no discomfort all that is really left to achieve is getting the full strength back to how it was prior to accident. My chicken leg is no longer, only two cm off my good leg now. Muscles are building and getting stronger, just a little way to go and I’ll be there.
This blog sight has been a godsend as I got as much information from the supportive bloggers as I did from my surgeon & physio, we have all offered each other support & suggestions from our own experience and cheered each other on as we reached different stages. It kept our sense of humour intact, it kept us positive, we were in it together and we understood what each other were going through, kept things real & positive and in a sense fun.
Get yourself a good physio who has experience in Achilles’ tendon ruptures & start as soon as possible, sports physios, if you’re not happy with your surgeon, get a second opinion, constantly do your exercises fitting to the stage you are at, work on short term achievable goals, week by week, if feeling down send off a post to one of your fellow bloggers as they will respond & cheer you up in no time. Don’t focus on what you can’t do, focus on what you can and keep your mind active.
I can’t stress enough do not become complacent. A couple of friends of mine did their Achilles several years back and once they could walk again they just thought it would all just continue healing on its own and would eventually be like it was before. Neither did any physio, neither stuck at the exercises once they could walk. Neither can run to this day, neither can walk on their toes today and neither can do a single heel lift without great effort and both have still got their skinny chicken leg as they didn’t rebuild their muscles correctly. One actually still has a very slight limp.
We have all come through with different surgeons, different protocol, surgery & none surgery however none of that matters so long as we are determined, stick to the exercises befitting to the stage we are at, early weight bearing as soon as possible, no being silly and taking risks that could event in rerupture, being guided by an experienced physio and keeping up with the routines well after we can walk until we achieve the results we are looking for. Remember it’s not just about mending our ruptured Achilles’ tendon, we also have to recruit and rebuild all the muscles that broke down through immobilisation in order to get out leg back to being as functional as it was prior to the incident. Understand the dynamics in order to get the best results.
My stages are noted in my posts and I do hope that some of that information will be of use to those just starting on their journey of recovery. Please if any of you want any information just send me a message, I am so grateful to all who were there for me, my fellow bloggers, thank you all so much.
Happy to say my long, long recovery became a much shorter journey what felt so daunting at the beginning became quite a positive challenge, the weekly wins became my motivators as did those who were sharing their recovery with me.
Take heart as it is no where near as bad as it seemed at the beginning. Just gather as much good, positive advise as you can, draw on you sense of humour stay positive & commit fully to your recovery.
I wish you all a very safe, positive and speedy recovery and again a very big thank you to beanie, manny and all my other helpful and supportive bloggers who shared the journey with me and who gave me all the support and cheer ons that kept me going. I feel like throwing us all a party, glasses up Chink Chink
My 6oth is on the 24th of April and that was my goal to be back to normal by then, Yahoo! I made it
Congrats to all and a very big thank you
Kind regards, Robyn
Just thought I’d check in again and say hello and hope you are all progressing well with your recovery, whatever stage you are at. Take heart in knowing it does get better each week and the more you research and involve yourself in understanding your injury and commit to doing what is best for you at each stage the more positive your attitude becomes.
I had another visit with my physio on Wednesday and she was very happy with my improvement from the week before. I have very little swelling in my ankle now even after the busier long days, my gait is practically normal now, the more I walk each day the better the gait is. Sometimes my ankle starts off a little stiff but the more I move around the better it comes as the day progresses.
The Achilles itself feels really strong and no inflammation in the repair site anymore. My incision scar looks fabulous, and no more hard areas underneath that area just all feels normal again. My incision was down the inside of my leg, not at the back.
My exercises still consist of
10 X double heel raises twice a day. 10x neutral to planterflexion with therabands to work against for strengthening twice a day 10 X circles to the left and then 10 circles to the right working against the theraband twice a day, hydro therapy in the pool doing the same without therabands but working in the water
Walking as much as I can in a day but still avoiding steep inclines & declines until muscles become stronger.
No pain, no throbbing or aching just not walking as quick paced as normal but I would say a regular pace for many.
The physio did some sports needling on Wednesday which assists healing & activates blood supply and breaks down colonies of scar tissue and fibres that have gathering during the healing process. Must say it really makes a huge difference to ROM and dorsiflection is most certainly starting to improve
The physio doesn’t want me to start and stretching of the Achilles as yet as she said it wasn’t necessary as I haven’t heal short or tight so not a lot of stretching out exercises will be necessary outside of normal movement. Basically it is just about building back the feet, ankle & calf muscles and strengthening for me at this stage.
I’m back in regular shoes instead of half a size up which I needed at first due to the swelling in bad foot, but that has now all subsided happy to say
Im really pleased with my progress and especially happy I have not had any set backs at this stage. Yahoo I have hit 12 weeks so out of the prime danger zone but of course I am still mindful of being cautious and not getting too confident there is still a lot of work to be done to get back to how it was prior to accident
Im still drinking one raw vegetable green juice daily with pineapple to boost Achilles’ tendon recovery, still massaging natural coconut oil into scar and surrounds, still taking Vitamin B complex for cellular restoration, magnesium & Vitamin C for boosted healing and one protein drink post exercises. Did I mention I have lost 4 kl since the accident still eating the same I guess the health component of my healing boost has also given my metabolism a boost too
Happy healing people, stay positive, stay disciplined and commit to a positive recovery It does get better
Thinking of you all Robyn
Just a quick update post my physio consult yesterday, I’m now walking with almost a normal gait abeilt slower than more normal quick steps.
Incision Scar looks brilliant, no lumps or bumps post the acupuncture I had to remove the last small bit of the scar tissue adhesion at top of my incision. Everything is moving freely now and looking pretty normal
By the end of my working day my ankle still has a little swelling but certainly not enough to be a bother. No pain or discomfort at all. I’m back in my regular work attire & shoes ( small wedges) so am really happy about that.
My new exercises using the resistance of the theraband are
planterflection & holding for 5 secs x10, inversion & eversion X 10 each way
double leg heel raises X 10 distributing weight evenly to both sides
walking on toes & heel raises in swimming pool daily
Using the medicine ball to roll from toe to heel, heel to toes, circles to left , circles to right Alternating all for 20 minutes when sitting.
To minimise redness on skin, use a soft nail brush or exfoliating glove and work up from toes to mid shin & keep repeating for about 30 secs before getting in the shower
All in all progress with rehab going really well at this stage
10 Weeks post surgery
Two weeks back in shoes and doing really well all things considered. I have continued massaging the scar and releasing scar tissues adhesions. Must say that nearly all the tight lumpy areas beneath the scar have almost gone and the area is feeling very free and almost normal again. I’m continuing with all the plantiflexion & dorsiflection exercises along with the circles to left & right and working with the yellow theraband. My planterflection is now the same as my good foot, so toes pointed down are looking great, the dorsiflex is still not much past neutral so working on that. I have very little limp and consciously think about wwalking correctly, that is heel roll through to toes and it is working well.
Have to mention I am using a 2kg medicine ball, you can buy them in the sports section of variety stores or sports shops and what a difference it has made. They are like a soft bean bag surrounded by soft rubber and very pliable. About twice the size of a base ball. When sitting I roll my foot over it firmly, toes to heel, heel to toes, backward & forward about 20 times, it really soothes and massages your underfoot and helps your toes to get a grip, gently. Then I do foot circles over the ball 20 to the left & 20 to the right. Seriously it is soothing, it really helps with ROM and it makes my ankle, toes, heel and underfoot feel so relaxed and free. Then I follow with massaging out any swelling and stretching the scar tissue with oil & massage. Cannot believe how well this has worked, I saw my medicine ball in the cupboard, I used to use it at my Pilates classes, had an epithany and thought that just might be the thing I need to work with my foot.
So happy with the result and how much better it makes my foot feel, it’s gentle, relaxing and easy to do while sitting.
Whatever stage of recovery you are at, take heart, things do continually improve
there is light at the end if the tunnel, stay focused & patient & keep your mind positive. Cheers Robyn
8 weeks post surgery
I attended my 8 weekly appt with surgeon and am happy to say he was so pleased with
progress that he said I could go back to two shoes & start physio rehab as soon as possible.
Impressed that I don’t get over confident, just continue with exercises, no running, jumping,
squatting or picking up heavy things that would strain lower leg and ankle. Must be very careful on inclines and going up hill just avoid for a few more weeks. Extra careful on stairs using rails and putting flat foot down not toes or heel & this stage.
Can do exercises in pool or spa, avoid uneven surfaces until more rehab and strength improves. Massage & stretch scar tissue important
No wedges however best to get inserts for flat shoes, small heels fine but keep away from high heels altogether. All very logical really.
Walking with mild limp due to a little stiffness but otherwise not too bad.
Very happy to be out of boot as we are in the Middle of heat wave here in Adelaide, hopefully you are safe in Sydney. No doubt I will probably boot it when outside for a bit longer just to be safe
but have to say, pretty happy.
Hope all are progressing well, inch by inch it keeps getting better
Had my post op visit yesterday to have stiches removed and new protocol for the next 6 weeks. Was fitted with a ROM Airwalker hinged. Was told all looking very good, very little swelling and the wound looking great. I can ditch my crutches whenever I’m comfortable with that, use boot when on my feet & walking, boot can come off at night or while resting up, but other wise on. In week 7 post op I can practice walking in the home with no boot prior to my 8 week check up and discussion regarding Physio Therapy and booking appointments. In the meantime I have a few gentle exercises small ankle circles, writing the alphabet gentle with foot. I can shower without boot but must sit on chair for safety. All feeling really good at this stage, no pain but I’m having issues ditching the crutches, don’t seem to be master a walking technique with boot on. Bad leg is fine, good leg just seems to hop through rather than walk. Any suggestions for mastering walking with the boot would be greatly appreciated as I just don’t get it as yet. Did anyone else have issues getting the walking with boot down pat or is it just me.
Wishing you all safe & progressive healing. Keep your sense of humour as we’re all on a bit of a journey here
Here’s my story so far, early days yet
I stepped from a landing onto a step below which collapsed with my foot/ heal going through it.
Landing heavily with full weight onto my right heal. Trauma injury to foot with fully ruptured Achilles’ tendon
10/12/2015 UltraSound Confirmed acute complete rupture 4 cm
10/14/2015 Appt with first Surgeon who said very little didn’t explain options but recommended conservative and had nurse fit a Cam Boot with two wedges
10/17/2015 Appt with Physio who recommended second opinion
10/20/2015 Appt with second Surgeon who fully explained injury, all options and what pros & cons of each, recommended surgery given I work full time, very busy & active and crutches would be gone much quicker
10/21/2015 Right Achilles Tendon Reconstruction surgery, foot secured in Cam Walker, block should last 15-24 hours, pain killers prescribed, Boot on 24/7 until post op appt,above heart elevation as much as possible first 48 hours, rest, then elevate each night or as required.
11/05/2015 Post Op appt when stitches are removed and hinged boot fitted & next part of recovery explained
Was told given new technique I could weight bear as pain allows post the first week of surgery
Now 7 days post op, only needed pain meds the night the block wore off, have been feeling pretty good so far and feel very confident changing Ortho Surgeon was a very good idea.
Any advise or information is so welcome, thanking you in advance
Work in progress, wishing all a very successful healing. Love this blog, have found it very interesting & reassuring. Thank You
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