Nov 29 2014

cjw1

Slowly but surely - 5 weeks post TA rupture, non-surgical

Posted at 4:07 am under Uncategorized

Hi there all

I’m grateful for finding this page.  Its been such a great support and so valuable in so many ways.  I hope everyone is healing well.

I ruptured my right Achilles tendon approximately 5 weeks ago, on 22 October 2014, while playing indoor soccer.  I am probably in a better frame of mind now to set up my blog (apart form the fact that I am so IT challenged and couldn’t work how to do it anyway).  I think I would have been worried about how negative and down I may have sounded if I posted earlier.

I am a 41 yo male, living in Australia and have always been physically active.  I enjoy my running, gym and cycling.  I run once or twice a week and do the odd fun run.  I cycle to work occasionally and I go to the gym a few times per week and I completed my first half marathon in July this year.  I definitely have set myself a goal of doing more of these in the future.

I decided to go the non-operative route, which was against my Orthopaedic Surgeon’s recommendations.  I had an MRI which showed the rupture was in the mid Achilles (the hospital initially conducted an ultrasound and said the tear was higher up, but I later sought a second opinion).  The MRI report said there was a gap of at least 2.5cm between the torn tendon ends.  I advised my surgeon that I did not want surgery as I am not a fan of surgery, and don’t want any surgery unless I really need it.  He respected my decision and said it should heal ok taking the conservative approach and referred me to a physio and both seem to be recommending a fairly fast, aggressive rehab protocol.  I did feel better and relieved that my decision had been made and was now on the - very slow - road to recovery.

I have been in an Aircast boot since the start of week 2 (when I saw the second Ortho), I was in a front cast prior to this.  I started physio after 3 weeks with some gentle mobility exercises performed 2 - 4 times per day, as well as ‘desensitisation’ twice a day.  I had my second physio appointment a week after the first one and I progressed to using a thera-band to provide some light resistance exercises in addition to the other exercises.  I have my next physio appointment next week and I will be very interested in what he says as I feel like I have made some good progress.  I’m doing so much better with the thera-band and able to flex down against and through it while pulling resistance back.  I’m down to two wedges in the boot (started with four and am removing one every 10 days).  I get a bit of pain here and there and have had difficulty sleeping with the boot on.  Hopefully I can start sleeping without it soon.

I have been trying to be as philosophical as possible with this injury and have been trying to use it as an opportunity to do some positive things that I would not normally get the time for and just having the time to think about anything and everything has been good.  I have been re-evaluating so many things in my life.  I have returned to work last week on part time hours.  Thankfully I have a lot of paid sick leave I have built up to use.  I do believe things happen for a reason and this has made me slow down a lot which isn’t a bad thing.  And I will never take my mobility, health and independence for granted ever again, once I am healed.  I day dream and visualise about walking and being able to drive again, and it always brings a smile to my face.  I have been told by my doctor and physio that I will have the boot on until January and that I cannot drive until I don’t need the boot.  And I have a manual car so I couldn’t drive anyway if I wanted to try.  I live alone, and my apartment does not have a lift and I am on the top floor (of only two floors) and have one flight of stairs.  Thankfully this has been fine so far as I have gone well with the crutches.  I have been partially weight bearing in the boot since after about 2 weeks and am now not using the crutches except for longer trips outside and at work, etc, mainly to keep people away and to make the walking on both feet faster.

This has been so challenging physically and possibly even more so mentally.  I wish everyone a safe, speedy and full recovery and thanks again for all of the information.

Cheers.

4 responses so far

4 Responses to “Slowly but surely - 5 weeks post TA rupture, non-surgical”

  1. herewegoagainon 01 Dec 2014 at 12:15 am 1

    Sounds like you are doing well. I am a couple of months ahead of you (also non-op) and it all sounds familiar. The theraband exercises are great and like all the stages of rehab, one movement evolves into another. As long as you are in for doing “a little a lot” then progress is good and relatively effortless. As far as sleeping goes I stayed in the boot till around 7 weeks and agree that a restful night can be elusive. A pillow under the boot helps a little.

    As far as the big picture goes, yes ATR slams the brakes on life and that comes out of the blue for most of us. Once the initial shock has passed then I totally agree that the slow lane gives a profound appreciation of all we have. Both times I feel like the ordeal has actually done way more good than harm.

    All the best for more of the same great recovery experiences, keep us posted now you have conquered the blogging!

  2. Paulon 06 Dec 2014 at 5:38 pm 2

    Hi
    I’m 7 months into a ruptured right achillies and went non surgical option on the surgeons advice. It was pretty ugly as far as getting around went but don’t let it get you down.
    I’m 49 and reasonably active (mountain bike, surt etc)
    I was 3 weeks in plaster then into a boot with movement gentle exercises. It’s been a slow build up to where i am now and my biggest issue is getting strength back into the calf - cant quite lift my weight on that foot yet .
    I’m in the Melbourne region so feel free to contact me through linked in : Paul Lloyd account Manager Print Media Group - I found that it helped just to chat and hear what other locals were doing especially those going the non surgical route.
    Cheers
    Paul

  3. cjw1on 12 Dec 2014 at 7:06 pm 3

    Thanks to you both for your comments and advice guys. I will definitely take it on board.

    Herewegoagain, it sounds like you are going really well, I hope I progress as well as you have. Good call about the pillow under the boot to help with sleeping. I have been a bit daring and have tried a couple of nights sleeping without the boot on. It went well and was able to sleep well but I think I might be pushing my luck too much if I keep doing it, so back to the boot for sleeping.

    Thanks for the details Paul, I will contact you. Its reassuring to hear that others have gone through the same thing, with all of its challenges and have come out the other side really well. It sounds like you are doing great.

    Im scheduled to see the ortho on Monday, and I cannot wait. I am hoping to get the ok to start two shoes and driving, but it could be wishful thinking. I see the physio again the day after the ortho. Have been going ok with the exercises and making some small amounts of progress.

  4. Yuleon 15 Dec 2014 at 7:25 am 4

    Hi guys, I also would like to share my story. I ruptured my AT in end of September with 7mm gap. The doctor put me on conservative treatment with 1 week in cast in plantar flexion then another 2 weeks still in a cast with my foot pointing upward a bit more. then 2 weeks in a boot with 2 wedges, another 3 weeks in a boot flat. Now I’m off the boot and start using my normal shoes but still limping along. Overall I am happy in my progress so far and pretty confidence I could start walking normal by the end of January next year. Yesterday I even tried to drive manual for a short distance but please don’t copy me, it’s a stupid move.

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