Six Months On……

It is now six months since my tendon ruptured.
I was treated conservatively in various casts for 10 weeks then a heel raise on one of my shoes which i had to wear whenever i had my weight on my foot for a further four weeks.
I am happy to say my tendon seems to have healed ok, a bit thicker than my good tendon and still keeping my fingers crossed and being careful but it feels ok.
I am getting physiotherapy mainly focusing on single heels raises, my calf muscle was not as bad as i thought it would be after being in a cast but they are still not identical and it’s still weaker than my good leg. I can get a few single heels raises from it, not as good as my good leg but it is slowly coming.
I have been doing a lot of walking to try to build it up naturally and regularly do around 8 Km (5 Miles) with some hill walking too.
The only problem i have is in the morning my tendon can be a little stiff, the same if i sit for a while but a stretch and a few twists of the ankle and it eases off.
The Physiotherapist has had me doing some light jogging on the treadmill and had me on one of those small trampolines, i was a little hesitant to be honest but apparently there is a higher rate of the dreaded re******* (i don’t even want to write that word) in the three months after the cast is removed so i gave it a go, jogging lightly for about a minute at a time but still being very careful.
The NHS in the UK sometimes takes a bit criticism but i was lucky and received good treatment and would like to thank everyone at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh who helped with my treatment, especially Jake and Toby.
There is a lot of questions asking which is the best treatment for an ATR. The only experience i have had is of course the conservative way which seems to have been ok for me, the only thing i will say is my leg was in a cast within 4 hours of my rupture and that may have helped greatly.

On the Mend

Today i had another appointment at the hospital and they said they were pleased with my progress and that i was now finished at the hospital and in the hands of the Physiotherapist.
That has now been 14 weeks of treatment, 10 weeks in various casts with my foot at different angles and 4 weeks with a heel raise on my shoe.
I have been cleared for swimming and the Doctor even said i could have a go at the Cross Trainer as there is no impact on my foot.
Physiotherapy is going well, i have various exercises to do three times a day to stretch my tendon and to put some more strength into the calf muscle but from the front they look more or less the same size so I’m happy with that.

First Physio Session

I had my first physio session yesterday and everything went well.
The Physio tested my leg muscles and the motion of my foot and seemed pleased. My ankle is a little stiff and she has given me some exercises, one is pulling back gently with a towel and I’m quite pleased with the progress, when i stretch my legs out and pull both feet back as far as possible they more or less are coming back at an equal angle which was not happening when my cast came off.
I still have my heel on my shoe for another two weeks and I’m walking ok, can even rise on my toes but not going to push that too much just now.
I am pleased i went down the conservative route, it’s early days and I’m keeping my fingers crossed but my opinion is if anything can be healed without being cut open surely that’s a good thing.

My Leg Is Free

I was at the hospital today to get rid of my Aircast after ten long weeks.
I had taken a shoe in two weeks ago and they put a heel on it, i honestly thought i would get a wedge inside my shoe but no, it has a sort of Cuban heel stuck onto it which i have to wear for four weeks and not to put my weight on my leg without the shoe on.
I will not get physiotherapy until then as the Doctor said simply they may snap the tendon but i have been told to exercise my ankle, moving my foot back and forward, in a circle motion and even spell out the letters of the alphabet with my foot so i guess that is a sort of physical therapy.
I am walking ok but there is a little bit of swelling after a while but it is not surprising as my ankle has been immobile for ten weeks.
My conservative treatment seems to be going along fine, it’s just a case of taking my time and being patient.

Removing the Heel Wedges

Today i had another appointment at the hospital.    
The consultant had me kneel on a chair where she examined the tendon and performed the Thompson Test and was very pleased that the gap (as was i) was no longer there.
I had three heel wedges in my Aircast and she said it was now time to get my foot to a natural position, she pushed my foot back slightly to see how far the tendon would comfortably stretch, she then had me take one wedge out and put my weight on it to see how it felt which felt fine, then another to which i felt a slight stretch so she told be to keep one wedge in the Aircast for a few days then take the last one out which we agreed would be on Friday in five days time.
I also had to take a shoe to be fitted with a wedge, this will have to be worn for a few weeks after the Aircast is removed.
Everything seems to be going good just now and I’m praying it will continue.

Another Small Step

Today i have plucked up the courage to fully bear my weight on my injured tendon thanks to the Aircast.
When i got it last week i was told i could bear my weight on it but i was very nervous about doing so, the fact i could actually feel my tendon stretch a little when i put in on had a lot to do with it but i also didn’t want to rush things but with gaining more confidence and the help from people on this website i plucked up the courage.
I have only been hobbling around the house without the crutches but the difference is amazing. Just being able to go to the toilet or make a cup of tea and just generally moving around the house is great but i am not going to push it and take one step at a time if you pardon the pun.
Another great thing about the Aircast is you can take it off, you have to really, everyone with an Aircast will know what i mean but you have to change the sock.
It also meant i could wash my bad leg for the first time in over four weeks and the warm water in the bath felt amazing but i cannot stress strongly enough to be VERY VERY careful.
I get help from my Wife and have a chair right next to the bath to help me in and out.
The weight bearing aspect has some great advantages i feel, not just moving about but my thigh muscles are being used and with my tendon being stretched that little bit onto the three heel wedges i am hoping this will aid my recovery when i get the Aircast off.

In My Aircast

I am just home from my second hospital appointment and I’m now fitted with an Aircast.
I am flying on holiday in a few weeks and when i ruptured my tendon (just over four weeks ago) i asked if i would have problems with wearing a cast, no they said we will give you an Aircast as you can release the pressure in them if my leg swells up on the plane, which was great.
Now, here is the strange thing. When i went to the hospital the guy who puts the casts on said i would be getting another plaster with my foot at a slightly different angle, again non weight bearing. I reminded him i was to get an Aircast and he said oh yes that’s right you are going on holiday so he made a call and within a few minutes a guy brought down my Aircast ready to be fitted. I asked again if i would be non weight bearing to which he replied no, this is Aircast walker and you can put your full weight on it. I couldn’t believe it, i have read stories on the net about new methods of doing the conservative route and trying to get weight bearing as soon as possible and really couldn’t believe that with a plaster cast i was non weight bearing but with an Aircast i was full weight bearing. I asked another two people including the consultant and he said it was fine.
I am a little nervous about putting my full weight on my foot so soon so i have declared myself partial weight bearing until i get more confidence but i feel great, i have three wedges in the heel which i must keep in for another four weeks. I know it is very early with my Aircast but i would urge anyone to enquire about an Aircast after their first cast. The feeling of putting your bad leg in front of you and not dragging it behind you when you are walking even though i am still using my crutches at the moment is amazing and hopefully my calf muscle will get exercise too. Even if you have to tell a small porky about flying i would recommend asking about it, it is slightly heavier and bulky but it is the weight bearing aspect that i am finding a Godsend.
I again asked the consultant (a different one from the last one) about surgery and the conservative route and he said surgery will get you back playing sports quicker but after a year which is the time everyone seems to recognise will take for the tendon to fully heal, it makes no difference. i did mention the American way of surgery and he said surgeons make money from doing surgery, his words.
Special mention to our good friends Arch & Julie, hope you and the kids are having a great holiday.

Starting The Road to Recovery

I am 38 yrs old, fairly fit and was in a gym class when i stepped back and to the side then pop, i knew i had done some serious damage. I had very little pain and it honestly felt like my foot had gone through a hole in the wooden floor until i looked round and it was still there and realised it hadn’t. 

Came home and wife asked if i wanted to go to hospital and i said yes. Into A&E and after a few tests including the Thompson test it was clear i had damaged my Achilles Tendon. Temporary cast was put on until an appointment with the consultant three days later.

Saw the Doctor at the hospital who ran his finger along the tendon looking for the gap and a rupture was diagnosed. I was never offered surgery and when i asked he said 90% of all cases heal without problems so i am now in a full plaster cast with my foot pointed forward.

I have since learnt from a friend who works for a football team in the lower English leagues who said the Physio told her to avoid surgery if possible as it can be very messy with complications, it is different for a footballer as the club wants them back ASAP so i am fairly content with the route i have went down as i was concerned as there seemed to be a bias towards surgery.

Have had this plaster on for two weeks, another two weeks and i have another appointment the hospital where i may get an Aircast with heel wedges. Will see how i get on.