My repair in Ireland

Just another weblog

Almost 5years later

All good. Even did Tae Kwon Do for 2 years since with no problems so long as I did a good warm up for my ankles and calves. Only incident of signifigance was this February, I got brave (Vodka was had) and was dancing the same bloody dance that started this when I felt agonising pain in the back of my left leg:-(

Was in a lot of pain and unable to straighten the leg. Made my way to doctor next day who suspected I had pulled the calf muscle and I would need physio in a few days when I would be able to handle the pain of their manipulation. So off I went limping again. I had no swelling or bruising till about day 3 then OMG the whole calf went black and a bit around the achilles repair scar.

Physio confirmed I had a grade 2 tear basically the Achilles repair was so good that the calf muscle almost gave way. Recovery was similar to last few weeks after crutches. Elevate, rest, massage, light stretches gradually doing more strenuous ones with the elastics then off the edge of a step etc.

Its still a bit tender, especially in heels but thank God it wasn’t the achilles again :-)

Ps I don’t know about the rest of ye but my achilles is still thick and undefined compared to my uninjured leg and the scar is still purplish and that area is hard to touch can still be tender  sometimes???

Week 13, Another Wedding……Scarey

Scar gone bad

Scar gone bad

Went to Doctor 14/10/09 and he was happy enough with scar said it may be friction from socks and stretching, after doing so much in gym etc when it hadn’t been getting so much use for so long. Just have to use antiseptic cream for next 3/4 days and come back if no improvement, am much relieved.

15/10/09 back with physio and he didn’t like look of scar but agreed with doc.  he did some work on the leg causing pain as usual, diggin’ his elbows in along the calf ‘argh’  People in his waiting room must be petrified by the time it’s their turn Lol  He did the acupuncture needle in the tendon again and it was fine till he moved it a bit, near lifted me straight off the bed with the sting of it, don’t know what he hit but it hurt.

Got a call from my husband and would you believe it………….my sister in law was on her way to hospital in an ambulance with suspected achilles tendon rupture, she had been at circuit training when she heard the POP and went to the ground thinking she had been victim of an attempted assassination Ha Ha Ha, Ouch.  He called later to say she was awaiting surgery, confirmed tendon rupture, WTF you never hear of it then two women in one family so soon ???????????????????????????????????????

16/10/09 a dreaded wedding :) I love dancing and now I know how dangerous it is :(  Had a great day and minded the leg till about 10:30pm, couldn’t resist getting up for a bit of a wiggle, seeing as my husbands band was playing for an hour (singer is the groom) got on well so I hardly sat down for the rest of the night :P did lots of walking too, still got a limp most of the time but getting less and less, yippee.

Got a call from the bro in law looking for hints, poor divil did her right leg so she is really scuppard for driving.  Told him about wet and crutches -  not friends, get spare fennells (crutch rubbers) try borrow shower chair, how to get to use two hands in kitchen/anywhere ie stool/chair under knee of bad leg to relieve pressure off good leg.  I also warned him to get used to doing all the work but he reckons he has been fore warned by my hubbie :)

17/10/09  Went up to the big smoke for the night, walking, walking, walking, don’t think I’ve walked so much since forever but kept going slowly but surely, could feel back of leg tiring but hey am happy out!!!

week 12, bye bye crutches :D

Next physio session was Sept 25th nothing too impressive to note in between, tried drive a car but felt too much pressure on the tendon, I go around the house with no crutches and always use the two out and about.  I still have that little area on my scar that looks a bit like a scab, have been rubbing bio oil in twice a day since the cast came off but by the end of the day the scar always looks very dry :(

Sept 25th after more of the usual from my very nice :) sadistic :) physio he gave out to me for not using crutches then told me I can use one crutch at home and two out, so we are getting there, also I am now allowed to do up to 15 min a day on a stationery bike with no resistence or a bit of light swimming, of course to stop if any pain.  He gave me little heel lifts to place in my runners as I shouldn’t be using my foot totally flat yet.

I went to gym on 26th and all was good, was getting a lot of strange looks when I went in on two crutches and placed them down beside the bike :D I really felt the work out in my right leg the next day, I’d obviously been overcompensating.  Got the gym in twice more and made sure to get the bad leg to do its fair share before I met with my surgeon again.  This week I am able to go upstairs almost normally, the bad leg goes very slightly to one side to avoid too much of a stretch on the tendon but I can get up normal speed.

October 1st - No offence to Mr O’Riordan (my surgeon) but I was delighted to hear him say he didn’t need to see me again.  He was a bit curious as to why I still had two crutches but was content to hear it was ’cause physio insisted, surgeon says it’s all up to physio now, I must work at pace physio says and all should be well.  He did say it is an individual healing process as he would regularly see people at this stage already crutch free and driving, I was a bit down after hearing that.

Oct 2nd - week 11 - a big day with physio he greeted me from top of his stairs (YES stairs to a physio office where people go when they have back/leg injuries etc) while I walked up, two crutches in one hand, I could tell he was impressed, well I was chuffed anyhow.  Got the usual painful assault on my poor left calf and was delighted to leave the premises on one crutch, he says aim is to get rid of other one next week….hurray.  Got a loan of an automatic car for the next week.

Maybe Mon or Tue I got into bed wrong and had to ‘hoosh’ myself up a bit onto the pillows, not thinking I put the two feet on the bed and pushed, OMG I felt a snap inside and had a sharp pain at ankle, I closed my eyes and prayed for what felt like an hour, one second later I tenderly tried move the foot and……… hey presto it felt so much better, not as tight as it has been for last 5 weeks at all :).

Oct 9th - THE BIG DAY - Have had a lovely Merc E320 Auto for the last week and it was like a little piece of heaven, the car, the freedom, the ease of driving an auto…why does man drive manual?????? Was very good for last week going to gym/swim can now come down stairs without looking like a child doing it one step at a time but still look a bit silly, have to put leg way off to left to lessen the pull on the tendon as the right foot goes a step further down but it is working.  Have been a bit bold not using crutches on short journeys ie going to pay for fuel, not too bad I think.

Told physio about the snap incident and how good it feels since, he reckons it was scar tissue adhered to tendon sheath that the movement released and that has been what he has been working on for last few weeks.

My physio today told me what I have been waiting to hear for the past 12 weeks - DITCH THE CRUTCH - be careful, I can try drive, listen to the tendon it will let me know what not to do, no sharp sudden movements to be made on the leg, he gave me a new exercise, stand with toes on edge of a step most of foot off the step and stand up on tippy toes the slowly lower down to heel until you can’t stretch tendon any more, try not to over compensate by putting all weight on good leg and he would see me next week.

I had asked him about my scar, if he thought it looked okay? he seemed happy with it, said it looked like an area that the edges of the cut hadn’t quite met and it would heal up soon. Unfortunately I can’t try wear a half decent feminine pair of shoes to a wedding next fri but hey the dress can hide bad shoes and scar :) it couldn’t have hid a pair of crutches.

13th Oct I have been driving my own (manual - baby wagon) car now for last few days, could feel a bit of a pull for first day or two but no problem now.  Tried a cross trainer machine at the gym but felt I had to keep some weight off the leg so my arms were killing me from holding myself up a bit :) won’t be doing that again for a while.

Sat or Sun my scar was looking very dry along the length of it (not where it has been scar like since week 6) so I picked a bit, thinking I’d get the bio oil in under and sort it out, now its all red and raw looking and one or two places have a bit of blood on them :( :( :(  since then it has started to feel like the skin is a bit tight (as well as the tendon) and it has gone a bit red and radiates slight heat………..I went into a pharmacy today to ask their advice so I am having a trip to my GP in the morn. Wish Me Luck!

9 weeks since the injury

Sept 18th, had fourth physio session and each time so far within 24hrs I have noticed substantial improvements.  I found this session the toughest so far, to date he has been working on scar tissue on a relaxed tendon, today he pushed the toes up and worked on the scar tissue of the stretched tendon OMG the pain, I went home after and sat with my foot up for the rest of the day feeling sorry for myself but think I have a little more upward movement in my foot today but nothing as obvious as the previous improvements :( Sessions are only weekly from now on and I was given 1 new exercise; to stand, feet together flat on floor, no shoes and bend knee of sore side till feel the pull and or stand barefoot and place good foot out front to stretch bad side.  Under strict instructions to use both crutches and not to put full weight on bad side when walking yet but to keep using it heel to toe to try get the flexibility back into it gradually.  Its all so slow……..

week 8, improvements

Two Shoes

Two Shoes Sept 3rd

10th Sept, I bought myself a pair of wedge shoes a bit lower that the ones I’ve been wearing and all is well, kept trying pairs lower than I had till I found a comfortable one(of course the swelling meant I bought wide and cheap because they’ll only ever be worn while my ankle looks like an elephants :D )

11th Sept back to physio and a lot more massage and ultra sound a bit sore but you know what they say “no pain no gain” had to get new rubber ends (”fennells” I believe) for the crutches, one had nearly gone through to the metal and made them absolutely lethal in the wet.  Local Health Clinic was able to assist in obtaining these.

12th Sept much more confident on the foot, still feels like theres not much movement even when I am doing the exercises with the rubber band but la lot less pain and tightness when I am walking and I can stand for longer because I can put a bit more weight on the foot :)

Then tonight I discovered two things that sadly made me extremely excited and happy;

1:     I although I am not supposed to can now manage to get up and down the stairs with just the banister and no crutches.   shhhh don’t tell my physio :P

2:     I also (though not supposed to) discovered that I can do the very wobbly hobble, unaided and with no foot wear for a short distance - only ye fellow sufferers will realise the extent of exhilerating happiness this can cause - side of bed to ensuite!!!

Sept 10th New Shoes

Sept 10th New Shoes

13th Sept, every day is getting better, today I went clothes shopping for the first time since “the incident” and I could use the changing rooms and change clothes easily and carry a basket(again although not supposed to because it meant using only one crutch) while my partner in girly pampering was otherwise engaged. Yeah!  Lots of crutching involved which my poor calloused hands could now manage because they and my right foot no longer have to take the full weight of my fairly substantial frame.  Yippee!

My injury up to week 7(Physio)

Hi, I am a 35 yr old female from Ireland who went to a lovely wedding on July 17th in Cork, during the night whilst dancing fairly boisterously I banged the back of my left leg off a chair leg and immediately knew something was wrong as the ankle ballooned and the pain was bad.  Don’t ask how(maybe the Vodka intake) but I remained at the party till early morning and managed somehow to hobble, barely using my left toes, back to my room.

Next morning the swelling was still bad even after hours of being up in bed.  I hobbled down for breakfast and into the car for home.  I got the Husband to stop at our local Hospital in Wexford where I was now unable to put any weight on the foot and he had to get a wheel chair to bring me in.  About 2 hours later I was diagnosed as having ruptured the Achilles Tendon with the calf squeeze test.  They cast my leg from the knee (in old fashioned plaster) and gave me crutches to do me till I got to our regional Hospital in Waterford where I had to be seen by Orthopaedics.

In Waterford an attending saw me after about another 2 hours and she confirmed after removing the cast and x-raying the ankle that it was ruptured but wanted her superior to confirm so another 2 hours to wait.  Yes its ruptured, maybe I have a cracked ankle for good measure but both will heal in cast.  I was recommended surgery as its less likely to rerupture and could be done the following morning July 19th 2009.

I was given a spinal and sedative but could still feel the surgeon poking my leg so I had to have the anaesthetic too but woke up fine in my bed, in my ward, 2 hours after being wheeled out of it.  There was a bit of pain but mostly discomfort as my foot was now facing down and in like a ballerina (to keep the tendon at its shortest till it took)

I left the hospital Monday July 20th after I’d fallen in the hospital shower, crutches really don’t like the wet at all :) Painkillers in hand I left for home but never really needed them.  Kept the leg up most of the time for the first week because the husband was home to look after me and the 2 young kids and anytime I tried go anywhere in the wet, miserable worst ever Irish summer I’d be nervous as hell that I’d slip or fall again, I have had a few close calls and the shot of pain that goes up the leg is cruel.

NB; Yawning is a problem, had to bend my left leg when I needed to yawn, only way to stop my body trying to stretch the muscles in the cast.  I got a shower chair so I could have a wash in comfort.  Have to use surgical tape to seal a bin liner over the cast and keep it dry. I use a chair to kneel the left knee on when I’m doing make up or preparing dinner, gives me 2 hands free and relieves some of the pressure off my right foot.  New casts are very uncomfortable for a day or 2 and start feeling very loose after about 8 to 10 days.

Stitches July 30th

Stitches July 30th

Went back to Consultant 30th July and had cast changed so they could check my scar (take out the stitches) and recast the foot in a slightly more natural position.  I am being given fibreglass casts.  Scar is about 3 1/2 or 4 inches long with 9 or 10 stitches and a bit red and raw near the heel where it was wrinkled in the cast, got a few paper stitches to keep it secure and a new cast, a kind nurse took pity on me and gave the leg a bit of a wash. Foot and ankle are very swollen and bruised looking.

Raw scar August 13th

Raw scar August 13th

Back to Hospital 13th August, cast changed, foot moved a bit more toward 90 degrees, paper stitches removed still some bruising and very swollen.  Paper Stitches took off a bit of skin looked raw :(

Raw scar August 13th

dried up Aug 27th

dried up Aug 27th

Back again August 27th got foot to 90 degrees-ish, new cast and wound looking nice and dry, swelling is still a lot but bruising is gone.

the scar

Sept 3rd The scar

3rd September I met with surgeon who said I could keep cast off and try putting a little bit of weight on the toes, have to wear shoes with a litle bit of a heel so I am not over stretching the tendon.  Can start having physiotherapy.

Scar Sept 4th

Scar Sept 4th

4th Sept. went to physio for 1st time ever, they are cruel, I was nearly crying as he pummelled the scar tissue, got some ultrasound therapy and felt better leaving with some exercises and rubber band to use as a force for the foot to move.

8th Sept. back to my physio who massaged the tendon and calf area a lot today and put 2 needles (like acupuncture needles) into the back of my leg to loosen the muscle while he worked, not a lot of pain thank god and he reset the height of my crutches so they are a lot more comfortable (kids keep playing with them) and gave me a stronger rubber band to make the foot work harder.  He says I’ll probably need 6 to 8 sessions to be back walking right. I am now to try using my heel to toe movement but still only about 20% weight on the left foot.