cayles’s AchillesBlog

Signing off

August 25, 2015 · 1 Comment

Hey folks,

Long time since I have posted, and you know that must mean good news.  I am now almost 9 months post-injury and honestly, it’s a distant memory.  I have gotten back to mountain biking, hiking and hockey with no trouble from my healed tendon.  (Far more focused on the other knee, which needs arthroscopic surgery.  And my arthritic big toe.  And my sore back.  I know, cry me a river.)  My injured leg is still not back to full strength, but it works well enough that I forget my physio - therapist would not be impressed, and I must get back at it.

Anyway, take heart, especially those of you with new injuries.  ATR sucks, but it won’t define your life for long.  Just take care of it properly and try to stay positive.

Unlikely to be posting here again unless I have another Achilles rupture - God forbid - so it’s ta ta for now.


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February 20, 2015 · 6 Comments

Well, I permanently ditched my boot and started physio 1.5 weeks ago.  Found the transition very easy, probably because I had been practicing 2-slippers at home against doctor’s orders.  Now that I can finally move, mobility and stability are returning quite fast.  I have gone for some walks and stationary bike rides without issues, and hope to be back on a real bike within a week or two.  The tendon is awfully thick with scar tissue, and my lower leg is clearly still atrophied and swollen a bit, but the physio seems to think I’m in good shape overall.

Must say, I’m quite annoyed that my OS discouraged me from earlier physio, as she would have given me piles of exercises to do while booted.  I will be telling the doc this, though I doubt it will persuade him of anything.  If this ever happens again, god forbid, I’m going to get a physio consult early.

Anyway, hope the rest of you are making good progress too.  There’s light at the end of the tunnel, and it’s not necessarily a train.

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Barefoot sleeping

January 20, 2015 · 1 Comment

For anyone out there wondering when it’s safe to sleep without cast, splint or boot, here’s my recent experience.

Ever since I got hurt, I have been wearing a sleeping splint that holds my toes pointed downward.  This weekend I finally removed enough heel wedges from my boot to start feeling some stretch in the healed Achilles tendon.  Now the splint was working against the boot, resulting in renewed tightness when I strapped it on every morning.  So last night I took the plunge and slept barefoot for the first time since Nov. 30.  It felt great, no jolts or surprises during the night, and this morning, sure enough, the foot went into the boot much more naturally, with less tension.

Bottom line:  barefoot sleeping at 7 weeks seems to be safe, and helpful with getting your foot back to neutral.

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Heel wedge question

January 17, 2015 · 1 Comment

So I just removed another heel wedge (1.5 to go) and now I can feel a bit of strain in my tendon.  No pain, but definitely some strain.  This would seem inevitable as I gradually test the scar tissue whilst returning my foot to neutral, but how much is too much?  I’m thinking I will keep the weight mostly off today and see how that feels at bedtime.  Having some scary visions of re-rupture…

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January 14, 2015 · 2 Comments

Last weekend I started removing heel wedges and transitioning to FWB.  I removed 2 wedges and added a Superfeet insole to support my foot more evenly, so that’s probably like removing 1.5 wedges net.  Maybe 1.7.  Also bought an Even-up for my right foot, and now I find I can limp around semi-normally.  Have already experienced the “Norm breakthrough” of forgetting where my crutches are - often in separate rooms.  I am surprised how easily I got used to the more neutral foot position - no strain or pain at the injury site at all, and the walking seems to be giving me better ROM when I have the boot off.  I find it easier to imagine transitioning to 2 shoes soon, although I now fully appreciate how scary that moment will be.  Calf will be thinner than my arm by then, which is saying something.

Progress, yes?

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Waiting for Physio

January 7, 2015 · 6 Comments

Saw my OS on Monday morning.  He seemed happy enough with my progress, but much to my chagrin, wants me to spend 4 more weeks (at least) in the boot, gradually discarding heel wedges and crutches, before ever seeing a physio.  Argh.  Looks like 2 shoes and physio will be beginning around the 10 week mark at the earliest.

I find myself hating my surgeon for being so conservative.  OK, all you positive-thinking Achilles gurus, talk me out of irrationally changing doctors.

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Happy New Year, fellow gimps

January 1, 2015 · 2 Comments

Man, that was a long first month of recovery.  Started PWB this week on my own initiative, hopefully the OS will support my call.  Other than a couple of little stumbles and jolts it has gone without disaster, but today I am feeling incredibly sick of crutches, close to snapping from frustration, and a long, long way from being able-bodied again.  No point in self-pity with all the worse problems in the world, but ATR truly bites.

Have a good one.


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Danger: wet tiles

December 18, 2014 · 18 Comments

Visiting Quebec during holiday season in NWB mode is not optimal: snow, ice, slush, etc.  But the most hazardous surface, by far, is shopping mall floor tiles, especially the puddly ones near the door.  Wet, waxy death traps.  I blew a crutch today in such an environment and slapped the boot down, giving my tender tendon a rude jolt.  Hope I haven’t set back my rehab too far…

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Boot upgrade?

December 14, 2014 · 5 Comments

So I found a 2010 model Vacocast on Craigslist.  Everyone seems to like Vacocast best, but is it worth $200 to upgrade from a fairly comfortable Ossur?  Main advantage I can see would be to maybe shave some weight, and find an outlet for my gearhead tendencies now that sports are out.

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Recovering in Victoria

December 9, 2014 · 4 Comments

Hello, Achilles world.
I ruptured my left Achilles on Nov. 30 when I hopped off my mountain bike and landed on some sloping ground.  Felt the pop, knew it immediately, even though it wasn’t all that painful.  I limped out leaning on my bike, toes pointed down, and after lunch I settled in at the ER.  There, a GP diagnosed me and told me all about his own Achilles odyssey, and his successful return to Iron Man races.  The orthopedist on duty confirmed it, recommended non-surgical treatment, and got me into a temporary cast.  Air cast boot the next day, and then I got a fiberglass splint for sleeping and forearm crutches for less painful locomotion.  Now I’m just over a week into recovery, waiting for my next specialist consultation tomorrow.
I have just read the UWO study everyone here knows about, and I believe I will be on those protocols.  Goddam foot is swelling quite a bit and my calf aches, so sleep is not great, but better than sleeping in the air cast.  Main lesson so far:  if you need crutches and you are rich and/or insured, you MUST get some Sidestix forearm crutches!  So, so much more comfortable than armpit crutches, way better designed and safer than cheaper models, and designed / built in BC.  Maybe they will give me a discount for this plug.
Anyway, I was amazed and relieved to discover such a vibrant ATR community here.  I will post updates whenever it seems relevant.
Victoria, BC, Canada

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