Colin Dooley’s Achilles Tendon Rupture & Recovery

Just another Achillesblog.com weblog

80% chance of rupture of opposite AT within 18 months. Lord have mercy on my soul.

Has anyone ever hear of this statistic? I have heard it twice now, once from a PT and the other from an athletic trainer. They work at difference locations and both have multiple experiences with this statistic. The athletic trainer works at a high school and has seen 10 ruptures in 20 years ( all coaches, no students). 8 out 10 ruptured the other tendon. Most within 12 months. My PT has seen similar statistics, one very recently was Cop who who was 18 months and 1 day post op when he ruptured the other one chasing a suspect.

Both say, besides good stretching and strength training, there is nothing you can do and shouldn’t modify your life. Some opposite ruptures have happended stepping of the curb or raking leaves. Anybody know of any studies that can be referenced?

Good health and speedy recovery to all!

PS. This 80% statistic came from an actual study, not just the 10 people one athletic trainer has seen.

77 Responses to “80% chance of rupture of opposite AT within 18 months. Lord have mercy on my soul.”

  1. eriedutchgirl Says:

    Ok. I choose to ignore this. I don’t even *want* to know how valid these stats are. I can’t live my life thinking that 80% of people who do this, do this twice. I’m going to do some shots now, Colin. And it’s not even 10am here. Sheesh.

  2. matts Says:

    Colin, I did know that you are at a greater risk for re-repture of your (Good) tendon, but I did not hear that is 80%. Like yourself, I am in the Law Enforcement field and as you know at some point I will have to run after a suspect sometime. Atleast we know exactly what it feels like to blow out your Achilles Tendon and how to protect yourself if it blows out in the heat of the moment. The good news is that two members of my family have suffered from Achilles Tendon Ruptures and have not re-ruptured and both suffered the injury 25+ years ago and ironically for me we all ruptured our left tendon. Don’t worry bro, you have to think that we are in that 20% of people that won’t re-rupture.

  3. Mike Says:

    You do know the old saying - there are lies, damn lies, and statistics, right?

    I vote for the “living a healthy lifestyle” is the best defense method. No defense is perfect, but I’m sure we can tilt the playing field in our favor.

  4. Lewis Says:

    Thanks for replying Colin and I appreciate the info.

    80%? Ok, that’s disconcerting but what are you gonna do? I played basketball at the jr. college level, am 37, went through several years of off and on activity. I started smoking, not heavy, but enough to keep me off a court for a while. Finally I got myself together and quit smoking, was a staple at the gym again and started doing a little cardio to get prepared for, what I told all my boys, was the greatest basketball comeback in history! lol.

    1year 4months in, snap.

    Point is, I hadn’t felt that alive in 20yrs, pre injury. I’ll be cautious, but I’ll be back. And it sounds like I’m not alone.

  5. Jim Says:

    Not a big enough sample size to to give it any statistical significance. Also, most of us fit the roughly 30-50 age group. If you are popping a tendon in high school, there may be other factors at play.

  6. w8kbrd Says:

    OH MY GOD!!!!
    I do not even want to think about this statistic. The problem that I have is that my right achilles tendon was the one giving me at least a months worth of aching and throbbing. I had been really taking care of the right one and icing/heat/elevation. THEN…. POP goes the left one. My thoughts are that i overcompensated and ruptured my LEFT achilles tendon. Since I ruptured my left achilles all of the pressure has been on my right one, the one that is actually very weak.
    My concern is definitely that I am going to go thru this process and rupture my right one. It is a haunting fear that may not ever leave my mind. The doctors have looked at it and confirmed that it is all in tact and strong.
    I think that once i begin PT for the ruptured (left) achilles I will also work to strengthen my right one. Has anyone had this experience. I am a 28 year old female that has played College and Professional Basketball. I work out at least 5 times a week and Wakeboard during the summer in the mornings and evenings. It is so strange that someone my age and with my activity level would have an injury like this. I just hope that I do not rupture my right one b/c I swear I will probably go into serious depression mode. Any thoughts???

  7. Mike R Says:

    Yes, you MIGHT pop your other AT, you MIGHT win the lottery, and you MIGHT get hit by lightning.

    If I lived my life in fear I would have missed most of the fun I have had. If basketball is your love, play basketball. Mine is surfing, and I will definitely be back in the water, big surf, small surf, because that is my love.

    This may be a cliche, but it is something I truley believe in:

    Live each day like it is your last, because some day it will be.

    Trrust me, I sure as hell don’t want to go through this again, BUT I have, and am going through it, and although it is a big pain in the ass, I am sure if I HAD to do it again, I could.

    Like Tom Petty sings, “most things that we worry about, never happen anyway”.

    Mike R

  8. annieh Says:

    My friend is a Badminton coach and she told me some years ago that if you rupture you achilles then it is quite likely to either re-rupture or to have some problems with the other leg at some time.

    I thought about what she said only the other day, just fleetingly, then I chose to dismiss the memory to the back of my mind and there it will stay.

    Annie

  9. dennis Says:

    collinpd -

    Without any evidence of hard data and study to back it up, I think all this is doing is causing unnecessary “fear” in everyone’s minds.
    Which “actual study” are you referring to?

  10. w8kbrd Says:

    This is definitely a haunting thought and I would like to have some reference to where this was heard. I have chosen to stay positive and that is what I will do, but man I wish I had not read this one.

  11. dennis Says:

    w8kbrd -
    I think it’s safe to ignore this statistic, as I am sure there is actually no real scientific study to back up this claim. This is how urban legends/rumors get started.. sigh :(

  12. colinpd Says:

    My comment did say, “has anyone ever heard of this”. I never said I had the article in front of me. I am still searching for it. Hopefully it doesn’t exist. The fact remains, the last three health care professionals I have met have first hand experience of this occuring. Study or not, I will not ignore it , but in fact it reinforces the need for proper conditioning of both legs.

    If anyone is fearful by nature, this site is definitely the wrong site for you.

  13. dennis Says:

    colinpd -

    When you phrase it like: “PS. This 80% statistic came from an actual study, not just the 10 people one athletic trainer has seen.”
    I expect to see a link to the study so that I can find out whether it’s a valid statistic or not.

    Until then, I think it would be kind of you if you could edit this post and qualify that statement with something like:
    “I have yet to find the actual study, but some people that I talked to claim that there is this study that..”

    I agree with you that proper conditioning of both legs is important, but I don’t want to think that I am strengthening my legs to beat the slim odds of not rupturing my healthy achilles.

    At 80% you are basically trying to beat slim odds.. It’s a figure that instills fear in back of people’s minds when we are already feeling vulnerable about our achilles.

    It does more harm than good.

    To claim something like that, it really needs to be backed by solid proof.

  14. daveleft Says:

    I wasn’t going to say anything but…

    Dennis was polite. I wish I was.

    “80% chance of rupture of opposite AT within 18 months,” I call BULLSHIT.

    Not only is this absolutely unsupported, it seems absolutely preposterous.

    To wit, I started PT and the first thing I asked all the MPTs was this question. Not one had heard of a secondary rupture…especially within 18 months.

    In fact, my PT said that the good leg and its tendon actually gets stronger from being used during the healing. I suppose if one were to overwork it or not take care in getting that good leg up to speed to handle twice the load, there is potential for injury.

    I know, for one, I ain’t going to be playing basketball on one leg so my chances have dropped substantially.

    If there is any study that supports this, maybe there should be a discussion. Otherwise, I request you change the title of this post.

    dave

  15. eriedutchgirl Says:

    Daveleft, I’m with you.
    80%? Puh-lease. That means that every time an Ortho performs this surgery on someone, just less than half of them already have a scar on the other leg. I feel like someone would have put this together by now! Otherwise, the first question out of any ortho’s mouth on this injury would be “Is this the first time you’ve torn your achilles tendon?” I mean, come on.

  16. Tom Says:

    All of the articles that I’ve read concerning “contralateral” ruptures seem to reference a 2004 study by Dr. Aroen. Here is a link to the study:

    http://tinyurl.com/6jxuan

    The study shows that 6% (10 patients) of a group of 168 rupturees suffered a rupture of the opposite tendon within 4 years. So, maybe everyone can breath a little easier.

    However, the 6% is almost a 200-fold increase over the normal risk of rupture for the general population (1410 per 100,000 vs. 8 per 100,000). Perhaps this is where an 80% figure could come from??

    Like Jim mentioned earlier, small sample groups can result in skewed percentages. I don’t think anyone needs to panic about rupturing the other tendon, but we should be aware that it does happen.

  17. daveleft Says:

    Tom,

    Thank you for the information and calming post. I look forward to looking at that study.

    And you know what? I can easily live with a 94% chance that a contralateral rupture won’t happen.

  18. dennis Says:

    Tom -

    Thanks for the information. I’ve added it to the AchillesBlog resource:

    http://achillesblog.com/atr-rehab-protocols/

  19. colinpd Says:

    Holy Cow! I didn’t even know it was pile on Colin day. You would have thought I beheaded a few puppies for public amusement. Like I said, just passing some information on that was told to me. Take it was grain of salt or choose to ignore it altogether which is what I probably will do.

    I work in a firehouse where there isn’t a lot of hugging and emotional support going on so you’ll have to forgive me if I come off slight abrasive or blunt.

    Tom, thanks for the info and more importantly not kicking me in the balls like the rest of the group. I don’t think they could have handled one more.

    I think my real calling is advertising, the way I lured everyone in with my “unintentional” catchy headline. Screw emergency services advertising is where it’s at.

    Gotta go ice down and I don’t mean my achilles.

  20. dennis Says:

    colinpd -

    hey, no hard feelings. Let’s just say that Tom summed it up best, and we all learned about contralateral achilles tendon rupture. :) The paper is now on the site for everyone’s benefit.

  21. daveleft Says:

    “No hard feelings.”

    Same here. We’re all stuck in this together. Best wishes to a speedy two shoes and healthy recovery.

  22. eriedutchgirl Says:

    Colin,
    Didn’t mean to beat you, just those odds! All the best on quick recovery and AT health all around.

  23. w8kbrd Says:

    Colin,
    I am with everyone else, sorry if you felt ganged up on!! Not my intent at all. When I read your title it really did bring fear. At this point I think we can all rest assured, you included, that this is not an accurate statistic. Healthy Healing!

  24. Kim Says:

    “However, the 6% is almost a 200-fold increase over the normal risk of rupture for the general population”

    I say that makes sense, because we are in a group that is more likely to be MORE active, do sports etc.

  25. sfcat Says:

    I agree with daveleft and Kim on the stats. There are so many confounding factors. I am, however, one of those people who ruptured the other tendon and ironically/coincidentally exactly 18 months (to the date) after the first one. Go figure.

    My surgeon says it’s rather uncommon. In his many years of practicing (10+; I don’t remember the number but I think I wrote about it on my blog, so you can check there if you’re interested), I was his second case. The other person was also an active person that wouldn’t let up on the sports. I have to say, playing sports competitively will likely increase chances for any number of sports-related injuries.

    That’s my two cents.

    Cheers to healing well and staying healthy.

  26. sfcat Says:

    Just realized that post was from about a year ago. How are both of your ATs doing?

  27. Sa Bum Nim Len Says:

    I tore my left achilles jumping while doing a martial arts demo. I was 51 then. Had it repaired surgically. I distinctly remember the doc telling “now you have to be careful with the other side”. Well, six years later (57 years old), I am doing some light sparring (not crazy), and “pop” the “other” tendon blows. But that was 6 years later. I felt it coming. I had been feeling some soreness around the tendon for a couple of months. Well, had that one surgically repaired also. It’s been 5 weeks and it seems like it is healing beautifully. I expect to have an even stronger achilles tendon now.

  28. Andre Hechter Says:

    I ruptures my left achilles in august 2011 , went through rehab and everything and started playing rugby again end of february , im sitting here today the 8th April in a cast again , and ruptured my right achilles , didnt think it was possible but know i know it is , worst 12 months ever.

  29. gabe Says:

    Hi, I’m very sorry for your contra rupture Andre. Hope, you recover quickly and well. I will add my 2c on the discussion above: I had looked carefully at that research study with he 6% figure risk for contralateral rupture. It is a relatively small study from a small Norway Hospital and for what it is worth, most of the folks that ruptured the other side were blood group B+ (they don’t comment on how common B+ is in that population though…). Good luck to all,

  30. PATRICK lAMB Says:

    I started pt on my left Achilles 2 weeks after surgery for rupturing my left Achilles on May 30th. Operated on 6 days later. I ruptured my right Achilles fifty weeks earlier. I spent six weeks immobilized that time and was released to play tennis ten and one half weeksafter surgery. My surgeon said it was the quickest recovery from a complete Achilles rupture in medical history. After surgery he told me someone young (I’m was 60 at the time) might recover in a year but I should expect it to take longer. He was stunnned by my quick recoverey.
    This injury he skipped the cast and let me go to weight bearing in the boot at two weeks. He showed a PT intern my ankle flexion and said “This normally ,ten degrees of upward flexion , occurs after several months of rehab. My stitches were completely healed. For the first time in his career he sent someone to PT two weeks after surgery. My secret, I went to an Angelic healer both times. The surgeon agrees this is the only variable that accounts for my healing sucess. She has stopped cancer in several of my friends ANd the doctors there said “We can’t explain how the cancer was there one day and gone the next.”
    I was told that 5% of people break their second tendon but in my group 100% do. The way my tendons are repaired they not only stitch the tendons together but then wrap the tendon with a collagen patch so the tendon absorbs that and strengthens. I suggest people look for healers to help their healing. It can’t hurt and in my case it appears I’m on track to be playing sports again in less than three months.I don’t belong to any religious group and the healing occured. My research shows for that stuff to work you need to believe it can work. Having friends cancer cured overnight (medically verified by tests) made that pretty easy. If you want to get better fast work your rehab and get support wherever you can.

  31. PATRICK lAMB Says:

    About the 80% rupture the other tendon. My sports medicine surgeon is 39 years old and does about 35 Achilles surgeries a year for 7 years. He’s done well over 200. I am the only person to rupture both tendons that he has seen. He say the good news is I only have two tendons. He’ trying to find data on people who re-rupture a repaired tendon. He doen’t recollect that happening to any he has repaired. Any studys that cite re-ruptures. I want to know before I start hitting my serve again. I ruptured both my tendons coming in after my serve. Makes sense bending your legs then extending and then landing and starting a sprint. So please any info on reruptures will help. Iwas very fit walking 20-30 miles a week when I was injured the second time.

  32. gntwagner Says:

    Wow, Patrick! I need someone like that around here so I can be up that quickly! How do I find somebody like that?

  33. mandy Says:

    hello people i ruptured my right achilles tendon in 09 walking ,8 months later i ruptured my left walking down steps this leg has went through physio ,lazer treatment , plazma injections and a further operation opening it back up again and had it lenghtening of tendon.no it will heal up and 6 to 8 week it breaks down again and blisters up all along the scar,i walk with a limp and it take an hour or more every morning too get my leg working some way right too walk on it ,, i take pain killers every day ,, its depressing for a 38 yr old women health and living life too end up suffering in pain every day ,i would not wish this on any one ,, too top it all the doctors now say there is nothing more they can do for me ,,so going now for a second opinion ,some times i want too cut it off,, wih anyone going through this the best and hope you get well and back on your feet

  34. housemusic Says:

    For what it’s worth, check my post titled “My doctor predicted I will rupture my other tendon”. This is a very real possibility for people who have suffered one ATR. Sad but true.

  35. baezlyons Says:

    Thanks, i read it and found it helpful. I hope i am fully recovered before the next one goes.

  36. normofthenorth Says:

    Patrick, if you read the top 30-ish posts, you’ll see that the 80% was corrected. It’s actually ~6% that rupture the “contralateral” (other) AT within the first 4 years. That is ~200 times the baseline ATR risk — and 4 years isn’t the end of the elevated risk, by far. (I ruptured my other AT 8 years after the first, and others here have reported longer intervals — 11 yrs comes to mind.

    The risk of re-rupturing a fully healed AT (op or non-op) seems to be vanishingly low. I’ve never actually heard of one, AFAIK, and I’ve certainly never seen a study of them. (How study something you can’t hardly find?)

  37. basketball mom Says:

    I came across this just now, a little behind the actual conversation. from what i’ve read, 80% is not correct, many studies show it at 1-5% for the same or opposite leg. which is more then someone who has had no issues, but definatley not 80%

  38. crutchesintx Says:

    Just thinking out loud. Some people never have any Achilles issues in their life. Why is it all of a sudden that when we have one ATR, we are a higher risk for an ATR in the other foot? Is it due to the load we put on it during recovery of the original ATR? Do people who have ATR issues have something in their make up that make them a higher risk?

    Thinking back to all the pro athletes that have had an ATR, I don’t think I have heard of any of them rupturing their other Achilles.

  39. connecticut yankee Says:

    >> Some people never have any Achilles issues in their life. Why is it all of a sudden that when we have one ATR, we are a higher risk for an ATR in the other foot? Is it due to the load we put on it during recovery of the original ATR? Do people who have ATR issues have something in their make up that make them a higher risk? Thinking back to all the pro athletes that have had an ATR, I don’t think I have heard of any of them rupturing their other Achilles. <<

    There’s an important distinction to make: was the rupture traumatic or not traumatic? Most athletes with an AT rupture get it because of a hit (traumatic). They’re likelihood of recurrence or getting an opposite rupture depends on whether they get hit again.

    On the other hand, for those of us who have a non-traumatic rupture (like me, a 62 year old guy who was about to start running to his car in the rain when the rupture occurred), the rupture is a result of the tendon eroding or otherwise getting weaker over time. Obviously, most people have tendon’s that don’t erode or get weaker, but some minority of us do experience tendons that degrade. The higher risk of an opposite rupture is based on the logic that whatever caused one AT to weaken (genetics, blood chemistry, something else) is probably acting on all our tendons, including the opposite AT. Thus, having one rupture is an indication that we might be walking time bomb.

  40. normofthenorth Says:

    With respect, CY, I think that the vast majority of athletes who rupture an AT DO NOT do so because they got hit in the ankle — though most of us initially THOUGHT we did! ;-)

    There is a tiny minority here, and in the ATR world, that had their ATs severed, by broken glass, closing (screen) doors, axes, etc., etc. They are unusual, and were not the subject of the study cited above that showed an elevated “contralateral” ATR risk. Unless they make a HABIT of getting sliced in the leg, they should not be at any elevated risk.

    But those of us who TORE our AT(s) by tensioning it until it ruptured — often in high-risk sports, but certainly not always — WERE the subject of that study, and also of a bunch of anecdotal evidence (like my two near-identical ATRs 8 years apart) suggesting that something makes us “special”. I don’t think that “abuse” during rehab for the first ATR has much of anything to do with it — though some people unfortunately do seem to find “creative” and harmful ways to get around on crutches, in a boot, and in 2 shoes.

    Some of it is likely genetic, some is age-related (it’s rare in youngsters), some of it may be chemical — certainly for people who have taken Cipro and other fluoriquinolone antibiotics, and who knows what other drugs or supplements or even foods affect ATR risk — and some of it is probably lifestyle. E.g., those of us who play competitive volleyball, basketball, soccer, US football, squash, badminton, etc., are clearly subjecting our ATs to more high-stress shock loads than those who are more sedentary, or who get their exercise in a lower-stress way, like bicycling or swimming or even beach volleyball.

    In general, our bodies move because each of our muscles pulls on a tendon, which moves a joint. And “by design”, every tendon in our bodies is SUPPOSED to be significantly stronger than the muscle that pulls on it — otherwise we’d be tearing tendons all the time. But we don’t, it’s quite rare, and it seems to take a combination of things to make it happens, including some kind of deterioration or weakness (most often symptom-free). There are theories about how and why, but I’ve never seen any good evidence — and a recent study undermined one of the more fashionable theories (that one spot on our AT was in a “watershed” between two blood-supply regions, so its blood supply could stagnate, leaving that “weak link” of the AT mal-nourished and weak).

    Most people here go through a phase of blaming themselves for their first ATR, either for not stretching properly (though the evidence suggests NO benefit!!), not warming up properly (though many or most of us who ruptured in sports did so well into the match), or not listening to subtle signs of trouble and backing off (though most of us had no prior warning). It’s a natural part of the way we cope with any crisis to go through a “Why me?!?” phase, but it doesn’t seem to be related to any real guilt we bear. Stuff happens, and it’s our job to make the best of it and get on with our lives. . . If you can maintain a good attitude, you may discover some real benefits from the whole experience.

  41. Raj-UK Says:

    I first ruptured my left achilles in 2009 - and on Boxing day 2013 I have now ruptured my Right Achilles.

    In England they don’t opperate any more and let it join itself. 9 weeks down the line I now have the boot off and able to walk with out the crutches.

    Probably another 6-8 weeks before I can drive a manual car or walk up stairs with weight on my toes.
    VERY PAINFUL - RAJ-UK

  42. Hillie Says:

    Raj, doesn’t matter but you’ve joined a long running but old blog here.

    Interesting comment about not operating anymore.

    I was a non-surgical case too and benefitted from one of the faster rehab schedules. There is no point in surgery and its associated trauma unless it is required for sound medical reasons such as the state of the injury. In the UK I don’t know the split between surgical and non-op cases but it is likely to be something like 60/40 in favour of non-op at those clinics where they select the protocol according to the actual need, rather than professional bias or hospital budget. So, surgery is far from dead in the UK (including England).

    Are you exercising or receiving physiotherapy? By between 8 and 12 weeks most, under the latest protocols, can start driving and stair walking. Also, if still very painful you should seek a review of your recovery level.

  43. normofthenorth Says:

    Yes, what Hillie said! It should not be painful, much less very painful! Where’s the pain?

  44. Mike Keen Says:

    I tore my right Achilles on April 16 2013 playing basketball. I took a knee right below the calf. So that was caused by blunt force trauma. Now on March 9 2014 I just tore the left one playing basketball again. This time I just took a step and it popped.

  45. normofthenorth Says:

    Tough luck having two ATRs within a year of each other, Mike! You weren’t taking Cipro-type antibiotics, were you? They’ve been proven to increase the risk a lot. Or you’re just a member of my club — aggressive athletes who play high-ATR-risk sports and probably have some congenital tendency toward ATRs (as most of us here probably do).

    Even if these ATRs didn’t involve Cipro (fluorochinolones), I’d try to avoid them in the future.

  46. Ron Says:

    Mike, you should definitely start your own blog page. I agree with Norm, and I am sorry to hear that you ruptured both Achilles (legs) within in year.

    Unfortunately, I am a believer in the if one fails, the other will follow, just like brake pads, and have had many conversations with my Ortho and DPT about my ‘good’ leg. I am overly concerned about it now and am looking for ways to prevent a re-rupture and\or new rupture.

    I was told that only doing heal raises (coming down very slowly), building all surrounding muscles (foot, ankle, calf, etc) and stretching every muscle from the toe up. (?)

    That said, did you have surgery in April of 2013, and how about March 2014? I’m sure you have a lot to share, so please do.

    Good luck,
    Ron

  47. Mike Keen Says:

    Norm I took cipro back in 2008 and had an allergic reaction. I don’t know if the medicine affected me or not.

    Ron I had surgery on in May 2013 and recovered well. I was back at work in 6 months and back playing sports in Jan 2014. I stretch before and after playing ball. I don’t know what to do different but I have months to figure it out. I just had surgery on Monday and I think I’ll take a slower approach on rehab this time. Don’t want to run the risk of hurting either leg!

  48. Brian Says:

    Short story! Tore left achilles at 40ys old; tore right at 47yrs old. What are them odds? LOL 50yrs old now! My daughter said, I am not Jordon. I have retired basketball playing now. Christ’s love Brian

  49. Athlete Says:

    I ruptured my right Achilles Tendon back in April (2014)… I’m scared to death about rupturing the other one. I’m in tears because I’m devastated at how difficult this struggle is… I’m still recovering from my right one and to think that it will happen to my left one. I am writing mostly to vent. I really wish things were different. I guess I’ll be crying myself to sleep tonight. I’m a very competitive athlete… For me to rupture my Achilles’ tendon and give up physical activity for the past three+ months is frickin hard. Whatever.

  50. Erik Eide Says:

    I ruptured my second Achilles 5 years to the day apart. . Never thought in a million years that would happen.

  51. normofthenorth Says:

    Erik Eide, you came to the right page! Lots of info above. I took 8 years to rupture the other AT. We’ve had people here who do it more than 10 years after the first. And of course, many never do, whether or not they return to the high-risk AT-challenging activities that ruptured the first one.

  52. K.C. Says:

    June 9, 2014: Full rupture of right AT moving backward after throwing a pitch in slow-pitch softball. Surgery June 17, PT & full recovery. I was encouraged to return to normal activities once I was cleared from PT as soon as I could and live my life because this was going to happen no matter what I was doing.
    June 28, 2015: At least a partial rupture of my left AT doing the exact same thing. I just had my MRI after seeing my surgeon again.

    I asked the surgeon how likely it was that the other AT would have problems and he said not likely, but that you never know. I would love to read this study. I’m also a teacher and coach and my trainers echoed what my surgeon told me. Wonder if they don’t tell you in hopes that it doesn’t happen, but that it does quite often so they just wait it out. Was explained that it is probably a genetic thing and there is nothing o could have done to prevent it. Not very encouraging, but what can you do?

  53. Leigh Adams Says:

    I’m a 14 month man. Snapped the right playing cricket in London,England in May 2014 and then the left today — same activity.
    Had done all the physio and had played, pain free, for the last 4 weeks. OK first time back batting, I was sensible but last time actually got a fair score of 20 runs, against some fit opposition.

    I guess, as a 53 year old, I have just retired from a sport I have played for 40+ years.
    Currently going through the anger at own body phase, blues tomorrow and then into the reality of finding a way to make a living from home over the next few months again. Any advice appreciated

  54. bobfv Says:

    I am recovering form surgery on my right AT and I have absolutely no worries about rupturing my left one in the future. I had three cortisone shots in three years in my right AT leading up to the rupture. I have no doubt that caused the rupture, and I have no similar risk factor for a future rupture. The problem with all of the anecdotal remarks above about teachers at a school rupturing, etc, etc, is that they are not controlled, peer-reviewed studies. You have no idea about these populations - did they have injections, pre-existing conditions, did they use broad spectrum antibiotics? All you can do is live a healthy lifestyle and not worry about silly anecdotal observations.

  55. Stuart Says:

    Leigh - why are you considering retirement from cricket? The bad news you already know i.e. how long it will take to recover but now you have done the other tendon the probability of doing it again once fully recovered is so low and much less than the probability of rupturing your first tendon. You should be able to return to whatever sport you like without fear. My only caveat is some people have a degenerated tendon and have ruptured in a different spot of the same tendon but the tendon repair area was strong.

  56. Tom Kearney Says:

    I snapped the left playing basketball at age 43. Now 8 yeas later I snapped the right side diving at age 51. I was told that this might happen, but for the past 8 years I kept an active lifestyle and tried to not think about that possibility. Had surgery 3 days ago and I have a long road ahead. The good news is that it’s a road I’ve traveled and I know the way home.

  57. Manny Says:

    Well, Tom, I guess its “Welcome Back” to the Achilles Tendon Rupture Tribe. I hope you get fitted with a boot quickly so that you can get back on your feet ASAP.
    Happy Healing!……. Manny

  58. kpeters Says:

    Tom - that is my worst fear. Godspeed on your recovery.

  59. Gareth Says:

    Old thread, but I have heard if you are prone to one side then you are prone to both. My right went 5 years ago (just standing around and went to walk), left went 2 weeks ago, same scenario.

    Right one with hindsight gave some warning in the months prior, left none. Have been stretching and strengthening both sides for 5 years.

    Horrible injury.

  60. Hillary Says:

    I ruptureed my right in 2008 when I was in the best shape of my life and always thought I couldn’t handle it if it ever happened again. Well… I just ruptred my left earlier this month. What a freakin nightmare mentally for anyone that wanted to still have a physically active life.

  61. MARTIN@Ire Says:

    Folks, just cam across these comments and find them all very interesting. I ruptured my left AT in November 2015, playing handball. Just went to take off, and bang, a full rupture, no surgery, in cast and boot for 10.5 weeks. I went through the full rehab, and nine and a half months later I was back playing handball. On April 9th this year, playing handball again, turned to retrieve a ball off the back wall, bang, a full rupture on my right AT.
    Am sitting here now, eight weeks in a cast, no surgery, feeling very frustrated about my AT’s.
    Not sure I will play handball again, am 54, and understand that age and impact in such a sport as handball are very hard on AT’s.
    Never had any trouble with either AT, no signs that either was going to give me so much bother. Certainly didn’t think that after first rupture, I would endure the same situation with the other. Would offer the opinion that as I was recovering from the first injury, the rehab I was doing, I also did the same stretching on the good AT at the time. Just wondering is it possible that by doing all this stretching on the ‘good AT’ that I may have over stretched it and so weakened it. As I say this is only a personal view on what may have happened, have no medical evidence to back it up. Have heard that blood flow to the tendon can be an issue as you get older.

  62. Albert Says:

    Hi everyone. I ruptured my right AT in June 2016 when I made a sudden dismount from my motorcycle. I know….probably first time you have heard this scenario. So I got casted for three weeks non op then in boot for next 6 weeks and bunch of physio. Throughout the past year been very active in gym to strengthen back my leg. Last month was feeling better than ever. Able to do hikes, long bike rides and started playing basketball. Then yesterday June 8 2017 almost a year after my right ATR I was playing basketball and my left AT snapped. Throughout the past year I always felt my left tendon was kind of thin. Don’t know if it has been thin all my life or more so in the recent years. My healed right tendon is much thicker now and I hope my left on also heals to the same thickness and strength. I’m 42 now and hope for speedy recovery second time around. Positive this time is I can still drive! Thank goodness

  63. Stuart Says:

    Albert - Even more positive is you are not likely to rupture either of your AT’s again once healed. The likelyhood of doing both is about 200 times more after you have done one. That puts you in the one in every 1500 class. It sounds like you did a good job fixing the other and you should share your experience here, particularly since you went non-op. Hope it goes well for you. The anti-spam word for my response was positive as well.

  64. Stuart Says:

    Martin - It is more likely the years that took the toll on your first tendon was doing the same on your second. While going through rehab for you first you do rely on your good tendon a bit more but the damage was already done and once you started serious activity again it ruptured. Tendons do not stretch much and I am not an advocate of stretching before exercise anyway but I doubt that would have caused the second rupture. Warming up muscles and tendons is better for the body and much gentler. I am sure you will be back on the court soon enough stronger than ever.

  65. MARTIN@Ire Says:

    Stuart, thanks for that, much appreciated, every little bit of support and advice is very welcome. Have got the cast off four days ago, didn’t meet main surgeon this time but one of his juniors. When I told him how long I was in the cast, he seemed a bit surprised. Put me in a boot, told me to wean off it over the next couple of weeks, recommended me for Physio appointment (which I am waiting to hear about) and that I didn’t need to come back to the clinic in two weeks, unless I have some problem. Now, here I am, have more or less got rid of the boot, seem to have a lot more movement in leg at this stage than with first ATR. Am able to put on sock and shoe (although I’m preferring sandals to help reduce swelling and impact marks of sock), have just got back driving. I am delighted to be so good after eight weeks in cast and am looking forward to getting full movement back in a shorter time.

  66. Reggie Says:

    Seeing some of these post made me feel better about my situation. I’m 27 very competitive/athletic. On feb 1 2016 I ruptured my left achellies tendon. Surgery went well and im 90% recovered. Yesterday July 25 I ruptured my right achellies. I was shooting a basketball and when I came down I heard a pop and knew what it was instantly. This is most depressing thing that’s ever happen to me. I’m only 27 and know that I will have to give up competitive sports. I’m trying to remain positive. I know someone else out there has it worst than me. But this sucks, being ina cast is the worst!!

  67. Stuart Says:

    Reggie - there will be no need to give up sport once you have healed from this. Now you have done both it is quite rare for the ruptured tendon to rupture again. Yes it sucks now but you have a long time ahead of you to play sport.

  68. Albert Says:

    Reggie - I feel your pains. You story sounds almost like mine. Just an update to my situation.
    I was casted immediately the day after my second ATR - non op for only 2 weeks. Then straight to my OPED Vacocast boot. It is approaching my 8th week and I am starting to walk around the house without the boot. My Achilles seems to have healed faster with less swelling than a year ago. My spirits have been much better this time around as I know a full recovery is only a matter of time. Perhaps positive thoughts have made a difference! Happy healing everyone!

  69. MARTIN@Ire Says:

    Reggie, just saw your post. I would agree with Stuart, there is no need for you to give up competitive sport. I am in my mid fifties and when I was speaking to my Physio last week, she told me I would be able to play Handball again (Handball is an Irish court game, similar to squash, but played without the racket). I was sceptical before this as I felt that there would be too much risk, at my age, to play again. She reassured me that with the correct rehab, I should be able to play. Probably like yourself, I am trying to gather as much information as possible about the injury, particularly having ruptured both. The Physio told me to get the tendon right over a period of time, and then when fully repaired tp work on strenghtening and stretching exercises eg jumping from one foot to another, skipping is also very good for it. Check this out with your physio, see what they say. I have more optimism now about playing again, although getting my head right will be the challenge. I also see that you are in a cast. I was in a cast this time (8.5 weeks) and I would say I am further along the road this time round than the first time. It will be 17 weeks on Sunday (who’s counting) but I seem to be stronger and more flexible this time. Hope this is of some help, best of luck with the recovery.

  70. Corey Says:

    Hi. I am a double AT survivor! Blew out my left AT trying to be a cool dad showing my kids a Diet Coke - Mentos bottle rocket experiment. 23 months later, blew out my right AT playing basketball with kids. First time was 6 month recovery before back to working as an airline pilot. Second time was surgery as well. Thanks for posting everyone, it helps to know one is not alone on this long journey. “Life is what happens when you are busy making plans…” ~ John Lennon

  71. nicolaatr Says:

    Hi all. Very interesting thread. I am unfortunately another double ART statistic. L ATR August 2016 playing competitive netball. Returned to the court April 2017 and got through a whole season. Then I decided to train for a half marathon for a new challenge!! I played netball the day after a 15 km run and *bang* R ATR on September 25th. I’m sure the fatigue contributed, but I’m convinced there is a genetic factor at play (I’m 28, and my mum’s had Achilles issues for years). It’s reassuring to know I’m not alone, but that a return to sport is on the cards. I can get through this one, but a third injury would be my retirement card!!!

  72. MARTIN@Ire Says:

    Hi, hope you all on the way to a full recovery. On Friday January 5th I had my last Physio session, my 11th overall, and I got the all clear. My leg feels great and I have no ill effects from the injury in April. Not sure I will play handball again, will see how it goes over the next few months. I haven’t really missed it that much and at my age I’m not sure how much I will get from it if I go back playing. Am going to the gym about 5/6 days every week and am really enjoying that.
    During my sessions with the Physio I got to know a lot more about the injury and how to recover from it. One thing that stands out is the importance of belief that the injury won’t impact on performance and that a person is not worrying about it happening again when they get back playing their sport. It won’t necessarily bring on another injury but it definitely helps prevent one if a person is happy in their mind going back playing their sport. Hope this makes sense.

  73. Jon Says:

    I tore my right achilles playing basketball. Roughly 14 months after surgery on the first I tore my left achilles. Really wish someone had told me this statistic ahead of time. My surgeon (same for both) said that it isn’t uncommon for people to tear both, but he didn’t give me any statistics.

  74. Michael Says:

    Tore my left in July of 2016 at 57 playing basketball, had surgery and went offroading in Colorado three days later. Now at age 59, I’m noticing soreness in the right with no strenuous activity. The right AT feels much thinner than the left. Reading thread I’m surprised how many have torn both. At least if it happens I know I’ll have lots of company.

  75. Luis Says:

    I tore my left AT June of 2017 playing Basketball. I had surgery and 10 Months later feeling better, I went back to basketball and ruptured my right AT. This injury has been the worst thing I have endured in my 34 years of life. I have found some strength in knowing I’m not the only one experiencing this situation. Wishing you all a speedy recovery.

  76. jeff16 Says:

    @Luis. Sorry to hear about the multi-injury. I’ve also had ATR on both, however, mine were spaced by 20 years. You’re still young enough to have a full and speedy recovery. Best of luck!

  77. Colin Dooley Says:

    Hey all, I started this thread back in 2008 after rupturing my left achilles playing basketball. For the past 6 months or so I have had trouble plantar flexing my right foot, especially in the morning and the evening. Physical exam showed a lump on my achilles with pinpoint tenderness.

    Fun facts, post Achilles rupture, I fractured my right fibula playing indoor soccer, and my right tibia playing softball after a bad outfield collision almost 5 years apart to the date. Achilles was the toughest rehab, but the Tibia Fx was unbelievable painful.

    The wife ended my weekend warriors antics after those three injuries. Since then I’ve had about 10 knee surgeries including bilateral partial knee replacements, which I destroyed in 18 months after returning as a front line firefighter. The partials we upgraded to total knee replacements, with numerous revisions. It turns out a very small percentage have sensitivity to the metal components and cement. Forced me into early retirement, But I digress.

    MRI completed on my right achilles yesterday. I’m thinking some type of partial tear or significant tendonosis. See the doc tomorrow morning, wish my luck.

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