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

I

Comments

beanie on 16 March, 2016 at 11:38 PM #

Robyn what a great post! Congrats on all your achievements and for pushing hard to get back to normal and succeeding! Everything you said in your post is so true! You were such a great inspiration for me and so helpful with advice regarding health and scar tissue, thank you so much. I will be toasting you next month on your Birthday and wishing you many happy and healthy decades to come!


pozaicer on 17 March, 2016 at 8:09 AM #

Robyn, almost tears in my eyes. thank you for this great reflection on what it is a dark ATR episode in our lifes and how even in the distance one can find a supportive peer group to get us through it.

all the very best on the next few leaps and celebrate wildly!

suerte


s40love on 17 March, 2016 at 9:52 AM #

Very nicely written. Congrats on reaching your goal. Shame on that surgeon who said you were old! I wish you the best going forward!


Manny on 17 March, 2016 at 12:47 PM #

Awesome post Robyn! :-) You and the others have been great inspiration and true guides for me in my recovery process, helping me push harder safely, and to understand what was going on. And, I’m turning 63 on April 14th! We can celebrate together! LOL
Happy Healing!…………. Manny


bobbie24 on 18 March, 2016 at 6:40 PM #

Manny we can celebrate our awesomeness together, Wahoo! Party time
Beanie how good is it to be the other end of the marathon,
suerte we’re in it together so never alone on this journey, this bloggers sight was the best thing ever, so happy we found it, & wild celebrations, yes, yes, yes. S40love thank you, the surgeon was a fool I’m 60 years young & raring to go I should really go thank him because I was so determined to prove him wrong, he was my first motivator.
Thank you all so much and of course wishing you all a safe positive recovery
To the creators of the site I hope you know just how important this bloggers sight is to the positive recovery of fellow ATR patients its GOLD big cheer of appreciation, Thank you


Manny on 19 March, 2016 at 8:42 PM #

Bobbie, Yes! we can celebrate walking and dancing, and I’ll leave the “jumping for joy” and “running down taxis” to Beanie! LOL
It is great sharing with all of you.

I’ll be flying in a couple of weeks, so today I wore the compression socks all day. They actually helped. the foot is tired, but it doesn’t feel swollen.
I guess I’m travelling with the compression socks! LOL
Happy Healing!……….. Manny


Loulou on 25 March, 2016 at 6:58 PM #

Wow…great to hear you’re about to achieve your goal and enjoy the party!!! I’m only a few weeks behind in recovery date wise, but have so much still to achieve. Thanks for sharing


Chris on 1 June, 2016 at 4:28 PM #

Hi bobble,

This is a really great and it looks like things went really well for you!!! I am new to this website and wish I could have seen it weeks ago!!! I just have a question as I am currently on 18 weeks but my leg is still quite weak and I am not able to do a single leg calf raise.

I saw that you said you had to practice for three weeks before being able to do a single calf raise, was there any routine you followed or anything you specifically done which helped?

Thanks, appreciate the help!


Stuart on 2 June, 2016 at 3:04 PM #

Chris - Many people struggle with this one task and it may be you will never be able to do it. Unfortunately some people may heal a little long which affects the plantar strength of the leg which is needed for you to lift your body up. You may be able to get a little way up but then you fatigue or find you cannot get any further. Sometimes it is just a matter of strength building and to do that you should change your focus from the going up to the going down. This is eccentric and is much better for strength building. Go up on your good leg (or both using more of the good leg) and come down very slowly on your bad one. You should also do this with a straight leg and with a bent leg as that works both muscle groups. The bent does the soleous and the straight the gastroc. Do not overdo them at first. I have no idea how you have been treated to date so ease into it. Some doctors have patients locked up non weight bearing for 12 weeks and this means you tendon is still very weak. If that is the case then an exercise like this could put too much strain on the tendon and I would start it for another 6 weeks. If however you have been in shoes for a couple of months and walking fine then you would be OK with it but again it is not something to do more than 3 times a day and increase the reps slowly.


Chris on 2 June, 2016 at 8:54 PM #

Hey Stuart,

Thanks a lot for your advice, I appreciate the help, It seems I need to build up the plantar flexion strength as I had the boot off quite early.


bobbie24 on 3 June, 2016 at 8:49 AM #

Hi Chris
Stuart’s response is spot on, and just what I practiced to get the strength back. Up on both legs, slowly down on injured leg only. Leg does indeed fatigue and it’s slow going initially but just keep at it, be patient and stick with it. If healing has taken place correctly it won’t take too long.
If not already doing so go visit a good sports physio for a set of strengthening exercises and stuck at them Happy Recovery Bobbie


Chris on 27 June, 2016 at 8:38 AM #

Hi,

I have been trying this for the past few weeks, but I still am not able to stand and the tip of my injured side or even go down on one leg doing this excercise, even when using the calf press I lack the ability to push off my toes at a relatively light weight,although I can get a little off the floor (1 cm). Any thoughts, thanks


bobbie24 on 27 June, 2016 at 9:31 AM #

Hi Chris I cannot find your page so at this stage do not know your history. Did you have surgery or conservative, when did you start FWB, have you been coached by a sports physio re excercises etc. Depending on circumstance some don’t start single heel raises until 26-28 weeks and as Stuart mentioned some don’t manage them til much later if at all. We have all had different direction from our surgeons & physios so bit hard to comment without knowing your details to date. Maybe you still need to build strength & muscles however best to be guided by your physio who can examine and comment. Cheers Robyn


Chris on 27 June, 2016 at 9:55 AM #

Thanks for the response, I only saw the website at 18 weeks (now at 22) but basically I ruptured mine on January 25th and I was fortunate enough to get surgery the next day, by 8 weeks I was out of the boot and walking with crutches and by 10 weeks without crutches, by week 14 I had full range of movement and no issues with scar tissue.

I have done ankle strengthening excerises and balance work, although I changed my physio as from weeks 14 I have not made much improvements in terms of strength and muscles, and while I feel my progress was good up to week 14, I feel after that I have plateaud.


mibball on 27 June, 2016 at 3:12 PM #

Chris,

You’re having pretty typical hang-ups. I started PT at 12 weeks (due to my calf having really atrophied badly) and only then did I attempt a bilateral heel raise. It’s been very slow since then. I’m at 21 weeks and cannot single leg heel raise yet, though I’m close. Jumping drills and slow controlled unilateral movements are helping.

I have the same hang-up you do in getting the heel up off the ground. My strength below that range (in the eccentric range when the heel dips below the toes on a platform) is progressing nicely. I can do 15+ reps in multiple sets, but as soon as my heel gets parallel with the ground I can’t push up much further. Though this has progressed with strength training, it’s been VERY slow.

Stuart and Beanie are spot-on. Try to really focus on going up on two and down on the one, even if you must support yourself. You’ve got to get that tendon and calf loaded to get strength gains. Do everything incrementally when you’re adding weight.

Are you able to at least go up stairs on your toes or walk on your toes? The plateau’d feeling is also very typical. If your PT or surgeon are OK with it, start incorporating some light jumping and jogging. I was green-lit for that at 16 weeks and stepping each of those up incrementally has helped push me through that seemingly typical 14-20 week plateau.


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