Mud, Sweat & Tears

Happy New Year to all on the Blog.  2012 will be a great year for all of us as we will be further down the line to full recovery.  Yesterday I decided to get my mountain bike out for a spin.  Now before some of you question where the mountains are in Warwickshire, it’s pretty flat but there are lots of bridleways and plenty of mud.  To remove some of the Xmas excess I decided this wasn’t going to be a leisurely ride around the leafy lanes but a ‘ride as hard as possible’ ride.  Well 2 hours later I returned home, looking like I’d done a shift down a coal mine, covered from head to foot in grime, well thick mud actually.  And you know what, it felt great!!

I’m now just past the 27 week mark and although I have to see the physio in a couple of weeks time to see how my calf is progressing, I’m back to normal and don’t even think about my achilles injury anymore.  When I had my ATR I remember sitting on the sofa feeling sorry for myself, mainly from not knowing what the next 12 months would hold, and being told at the hospital to forget any exercise for a year and it would be a long haul to recovery.  Well that is partially true, it’s a long haul to recovery.  The Achillesblog website has been a huge help. But no exercise, forget that!

Opting for the non-surgical method I believe was a huge positive.  I had my doubts as I couldn’t work out how this big, thick bit of elastic would heal without joining it together surgically. It does, have no doubts, and more to the point if you get given a choice of surgery or not, opt for non-surgical.  Clearly I can only go on my experience but also from what I’ve read on this Blog about surgery and post-surgery issues.  The Aircast boot is a fantastic invention.  I was in mine 5 days after rupture.  Because I was so useless on my crutches I was weight-bearing a few weeks later.  To add to this I have experienced no pain since the first 2 weeks following my ATR.  It’s not that I’m pain tolerant, it’s because I was lucky and it was never really there.

I’ve continued to exercise since the first couple of weeks.  I’d go to the gym and go on the weight machines, sitting there with my Aircast boot on.  I’d go to some of the classes, but more importantly any opportunity to walk with my Boot on I took it.  On holiday I’d just walk up and down the beach.  I might have looked odd, and it didn’t do much for the suntan, but I felt better about myself and I’m sure helped in the healing process. Last week I took the dogs out through the local woods and jogged 3 lots of about 400 meters.  Happy face!

The muddy bike ride pushed me hard, but more importantly convinced me my achilles was strong.  So it’s onwards and upwards for 2012.  For all those just starting the recovery marathon, the light at the end of the tunnel may be small but it will get a lot bigger one day.  My advice is do as much as you can in the Aircast boot as early as you can.  It won’t hurt you, so get out and feel better about yourself and help in your recovery.  Non-surgery may not be an option for all but where it is an option, take it.  My ATR was 3cms.  The body heals, and touch wood everything is looking good.  So for me life back to normal, more exercise and lots more mud please!  Be positive, happy healing, and a Happy New Year to you all.

9 Responses to “Mud, Sweat & Tears”

  1. I read this early this morning Neville- and you inspired me. I pulled the mountain bike down, headed out to one of our local trails, and did a solid couple of hours on the bike.

    It’’s been a few months since I’ve been on the bike (it’s ski/skate season here); but out snowpack is so poor, that some of the lower elevation trails are quite ride-able The time between rides made the improvements very noticeable. I could get out of the saddle- and power over hills and obstacles which previously I had to “spin” over. I got around this whole loop in my middle ring (not using the granny), which - even pre injury - was a bit of an accomplishment for me. I’m definitely feeling the effort tonight though ;-)

    Great way to start the new year- thanks for the motivation!

  2. First Happy New Year to all.
    I also went non-surgical and am a long way behind you at about 11 weeks since start of treatment. I agree with your comments on choice oif non-op, although as I am far older (69) it was probably a much easier decision. Like yourself I haven’t suffered any pain of any significance at any time - real pain seems to be surgery-associated. I got into aircast boot at 5 weeks and was FWB in a couple of days as like you was rubbish on crutches. Still supposed to be in boot but haven’t used it for about a week now but will for any outside walking of more than 100 yards or so (prob with one crutch) where I still feel uncomfortable in shoes. Drove for the first time a couple of days ago, just round the block - - and yesterday took my son to Heathrow (about 45 miles) without any ill effects that I can judge.
    Thanks for the post - gives me a better idea on non-op progress. Most bloggers seem to have been operated on so its good to hear experience of someone else who has chosen the non-surgical route..

  3. I went for the OP as was informed that it would give the stronger fix, although the stats show its only a few % stronger, it seemed to be worth the extra effort.
    Since moving on from the ortho consultant and under the physio consultant things have progressed really well.
    I’m yet to give the MTB any use in anger though have done a couple of test rides up and down the street, plus I use the exercise bike at the physio gym regularly.
    The wobble boards have been my main tool, and the bottom stair. The rest of my physio is mainly normal ‘use’ and of course some stretching exercises.
    I’m at nearly 18 weeks, about a week behind Ryan, and generally speaking its pretty much fixed. I do have to build the strength up as the one legged lift to make transition from flat foot to up on ball of foot is well behind that of my good leg. I can lift a bit and it’s improving gradually!!!
    For those lucky enough to be somewhere warm, I would recommend stand up paddleboarding as a fun rehab exercise, combining wobble board and hydro therapy with a physical work out thrown in for good measure. Just do it in deep enough water so you don’t jolt when ’stepping off’! Obviously, take pro guidance before doing on my suggestion …. But it worked for me, and sadly it was pretty chilly here in UK when I did :(
    Windsurfing pushes things a bit further …. I’ll be needing full strength back before I can really go for it but I’ve had some fun testing the water in rehab friendly conditions :)
    With all of these exercise options, it is possible to do a lot of them at a reduced level to that which you may have done pre-ATR, and to build back up through the levels ….. Although your physio / consultant may simply give you a big ‘no’ that is often to protect you as a ‘yes’ implies that you can go full tilt ;)
    Happy new year and let’s hope it’s a good one with more doors opening as things improve ….. When mine snapped it was like a cell door slamming shut with a 12 month sentence ….. A bit like ‘bird’ I am at least getting out early for good behaviour ;) Keep your nose clean, pay attention to the physio, do your bird and see how soon they’ll let you out ;)

  4. Hi Neville.

    Cracking report, and one I share - athough I am around 6 weeks behind you.

    I’ve just posted on my blog, but I have just finished my NHS physio class. I can now do a very slight heel raise, but am some way off doing it comfortably.

    Can you do a single leg heel lift on the bad foot, and if so when was you able to do it without thinking?

    I’ve been riding my mtb in the garage on the turbo for 30 minutes at a time (clipped in), but it has got so boring I have now switched to the cross trainer instead.

    The PT said I could look to ride my mtb out side in a couple of weeks, but to stay off the trails until I can at least do 4 or 5 heel lifts without pain.

    I’m in no rush to get back to the trails tbh, as the weather is pants and I’m happy enough just being able to train on the cross trainer / punch bag / weights etc.

    Ultimately though, I would agree with you and suggest non op recovery is wonderful. I’ve had no problems really and although the final recovery takes longer, I don’t feel it will impact my life much if at all eventually.

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