Achilles Tendon Rupture Recovery

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Should you go to the Emergency room after a rupture?

April 19th, 2008 · 99 Comments

Achilles Emergency Room

I was thinking about my Achilles tendon rupture, and I don’t think it was necessary for me to go to the Emergency room.

If I made sure that I didn’t move my foot and stayed in bed the entire weekend until I could make an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon, I think I would have been fine. I didn’t have much swelling, and I wasn’t in a great deal of pain.

I’ve noticed that some of the people who ruptured their achilles tendon went immediately to the Emergency room.. (like me), and some others just stay put until they could get the earliest appointment with their physician.

What was your experience, and do you think it’s necessary to go to the emergency room?

Tags: achilles injury · emergency room · surgery · swelling

99 responses so far ↓

  • 1 brendan // Apr 19, 2008 at 8:02 pm

    I was lucky (well not really) enough to tear on a Tuesday evening…once I was certain that I hadn’t broken my ankle and since there was not any severe pain, I decided to head home instead of the ER. In hindsight, it was the right decision. I did an “e-diagnosis” that evening and was pretty sure of what I had done. Most of the stuff I read online that night said that if I had surgery within 7-14 days of the injury, then I was fine…so that reassured me that I didn’t need to go in to the ER. I did spend a $30 copay seeing my PCP that next morning…and he just sent me on to the Ortho Clinic in my town, but I think his referrel helped to get me into to the Clinic on the same day, so I guess it was worth it. At the time I saw the PCP, I was still hopping around..and if I had to do it over again, I would have asked him for a splint and some crutches if he had them…but as it was, I hopped around that day until my appt that afternoon with the Ortho. I think a trip to ER would just be a more expensive diagnosis…but there is something to say about the value of “peace of mind”…just not sure it would have been worth $500 bucks or so.

  • 2 tulsatime // Apr 19, 2008 at 10:07 pm

    I’m very blessed and fortunate in knowing an ortho surgeon - I called him on a Tuesday night right after it happened. He said to not go to the ER, that I’d sit for 3-4 hrs and that they’d give me ice, painkillers, a splint and then send me to a doctor the next morning - he had me ice it all night and see him the next morning. I had surgery on Thursday that week.

  • 3 nancy // Apr 20, 2008 at 1:23 am

    i went to the ER, they treated me quickly, iced it, splint it, gave be T3s and because the surgeon on call was sleeping(…), they sent me home but got referred to the ortho.clinic for the next morning
    went back the next morning, waited 5 hrs to see the surgeon…
    then came back the next morning for surgery
    i guess it all has to do with how quick you can get in to see a specialist
    usually it’s quicker once you’ve been through the ER (in Canada) and free..
    good luck with your survey

  • 4 Tom // Apr 20, 2008 at 4:27 pm

    I went to the ER following my rupture. I have the good fortune that my partner’s sister is a doctor (internal medicine) so she was able to get me the VIP treatment at the ER. A nurse greeted me with a wheelchair at the check-in desk and wheeled me back to an open room, no waiting around. My self diagnosis was confirmed quickly by the ER doc and I was sent on my way in less than an hour after they splinted my foot.

    I was 99% sure I suffered a rupture when the injury happened. I knew the ER was not likely to do much, but still wanted to get things checked out just in case I mis-diagnosed, or there was some other damage that needed immediate treatment. In hindsight, it probably wasn’t necessary, but a little reassurance made me feel better. Plus, I got a Vicodin script that night, which helped me sleep a little better.

  • 5 mbargo // Apr 20, 2008 at 8:14 pm

    I went the ER right form the Basketball court. Drove myself and I just happen to live close to hospitol so that helped my decison. For me deep down I knew what I did but I was holding out some false hope maybe it was something not as severe. But as I laid waiting I pulled up on my blackberry enough info to tell me exactly what was going to happen. They gave me some painkillers put me in a splint and actually made an appointment for me two days later with the ortho doc.

    I ended up going to a different ortho next day and actually got the surgery two days later. After knowing surgery was the answer and having the right doctor I wanted to get the surgery done ASAP so recovery could start.

    If I was thinking more clear and did the research first I could have avoided the ER. The ER is not necessary and just cost a little more. But the peace of mind and being in the splint did help. …. Anyway heres to hoping not ever have to make that choice again!

  • 6 johnskier // Apr 20, 2008 at 8:55 pm

    I have had surgery on my knee before (meniscus, cartlidge) and I think the surgeon I used is very good. So I called his office from my car (left foot injury) and it happened to be is “office” day. They asked me if I could be there at 4 p.m. and it was about 3:20 and I was 20 minutes away. That was Thursday, February 14 (popular with my wife, eh?). They confirmed what I already was pretty sure about. I also had an MRI and the MRI technician showed me the MRI on the screen and told me “I can’t tell you this, but your achilles is ruptured”. I could see it on the screen. Freaky! The surgeon was totally booked for the next week so he said “let’s do it on Saturday” (2/16).

    If you don’t know a surgeon or it you can’t get in…then ER may be the thing to do…so you can get meds, splint, referral, etc. Not sure if there are potential complicaitons that could create more urgency.

  • 7 colinpd // Apr 21, 2008 at 8:30 am

    My injury happened on a Saturday so that affected my decision somewhat. I am on the fence about this one. Like many on this blog, I knew my Achilles was damaged. I just didn’t know how bad. I had a ortho from two previous unrelated injuries, so I didn’t need referral. What I needed was a confirmed diagnosis( peace of mind), a splint, and some pain meds. I realize some of my fellow invalids didn’t experience much pain, but I can tell you mine hurt like bitch. See my page for pictures.

    In retrospect I’m still comfortable with my decision to visit the ER based on the day of week, excellent health insurance($25 ER copay), and my need for pain relief.

  • 8 lamar // Apr 22, 2008 at 7:53 pm

    I tore mine on the 12th. Found out today I have to have surgery on Thursday if I call in the morning and make the appointment. I’m scared as heck. I’m considering not calling and making the appointment

  • 9 Jim // Apr 22, 2008 at 8:09 pm

    Lamar

    It’s OK to be scared, I was terrified. Just go through the motions and make the appointment, go in for the surgery, etc. I fought it the mentally whole way, but I knew the outcome would be good. After surgery is over, your only job is to heal. Do it. Pretty soon you will be like me, 7 weeks post op and on your way to doing all the things that make life fun!!!

  • 10 johnskier // Apr 22, 2008 at 8:23 pm

    It is scary Lamar. Some on this site elected a non surgical technique. Most elected to have surgery. It ain’t fun…but it ain’t that bad either. Ultimately you have to have it treated one way or the other and the sooner you make the call, the sooner you will be on the road to recovery. Also, there is benefit to not dragging out the surgery. I believe it’s a much more difficult repair later. Have you tried another opinion? That could help get you more comfortable with the surgery. You can do it!

  • 11 mbargo // Apr 22, 2008 at 9:03 pm

    Lamar- Most of us went through the same feeling. Just two weeks ago I found the site. Just came off surgery . I made the choice because I had the right doc and knew that the clock would not start ticking to full recovery until I did the surgery. I was mad, scared you name it. Got some good advice from others and you know what a week later I went on a 10th aniversary trip to mexico (had it planned for months) That made 5 days fly by ….cervesa, Tequila and an ocean do wonders. We made it work.

    Now 2 weeks and few days laters I am actually adapting to getting around pretty good. Its a long road but everyday I get the “hows your leg doing” I reply “today I am one day closer”. You cant start getting closer unitl you make your recovery choice. Most lean to surgery if you want to be very active in the future. Good luck!

  • 12 tulsatime // Apr 22, 2008 at 10:11 pm

    Lamar: It’s natural to be scared. I was on 4/10, two days after I ruptured my AT. It was my first surgery. But all went well and here I am, nearly two weeks post-op. You get to the point where the days of recovery go by. Plus, the fellowship of this website make things a lot easier. You are definitely not alone.

  • 13 lamar // Apr 22, 2008 at 11:23 pm

    thanks alot guys for all the encouraging messages, they really do help! Hopefully I can muster up enough courage to make the call for the appointment. Best wishes in all of your recoveries and I will keep you all posted. Thanks again

  • 14 Doc ross // Apr 23, 2008 at 12:30 pm

    Lamar…
    We know how you are feeling. It is best to do it, and get over it. Read up on the procedure, ask us questions and you will feel more prepared and definitely more relaxed.
    Good luck

    Doc

  • 15 lamar // Apr 25, 2008 at 8:37 am

    Hello all. I am now about 24 hours post-op. The pain last night was unbearable. I’m glad I got it done and over with but now I feel like I may be experiencing some shortness of breath? I hope this turns out Ok.

  • 16 Doc Ross // Apr 25, 2008 at 9:29 am

    Lamar..

    Relax, go slow, each day will get better. Make sure you are elevating and drinking water. The physical stress of surgery can dehydrate your body for 48-72 hours. Good luck and let us know how you’re doing

    Doc Ross

  • 17 brendan // Apr 25, 2008 at 4:06 pm

    Lamar - how did you rupture your tendon? I can tell you the first few days are the roughest…but each day gets better. As Ross said, elevate and breathe..you can read about my first few days here: http://achillesblog.com/brendan/2008/03/07/post-op/

  • 18 mick s // May 1, 2008 at 1:05 pm

    ruptured mine 17th April 2008, went to emergency who put me in cast and said do not need surgery. Read up that night on net and decided needed surgery asap. Met with ortho consultant a week later who operated that day.Now one week since op glad i had it was in pain firstfew days. Today my toes see to get cold and need to keep wiggling them and also calf is aching a bit for first time.

  • 19 johnk // May 1, 2008 at 1:51 pm

    Mick,

    I never had surgery and feel reading from others that this is an option that should be offered, no scar injury to worry about.

    My ten weeks in plaster have been really smooth no pain or discomfort.

  • 20 eriedutchgirl // May 5, 2008 at 4:12 pm

    Two things:

    1) I totally agree that the Emergency Room may very well be a step you can skip. I had 5 athletic trainers diagnose me on site. I heard the pop. I felt the telltale kick-in-the-calf. I know my body. There was no mistaking the ATR. I did the deed at 10:30 at night, though, so I’d have had to wait 12 hours to see and Ortho anyway.

    2) HOWEVER, Emergency departments usually have an orthopaedist on call. On call Orthos usually have to keep appointment times open for ER clients. So I was able to get right in with a good Ortho, and I didn’t even have to call to make that appointment. I mean, good luck getting a quick appointment with an Ortho with a self-diagnosed ATR and no X-ray films in hand. You might as well stamp “Malpractice” on your forehead first. Seriously. Also, they casted me up, so I was able to sleep that night without freaking out that I was hurting my tendon further.

    In conclusion, better to have your X-rays so you can wave them at an Ortho receptionist with your ER diagnosis (is there any word that makes you cringe quite as much as “rupture”?) and get in pronto. I think it’s a necessary step.

  • 21 w8kbrd // May 11, 2008 at 2:07 am

    I probably didn’t need to go to the ER; however it was in fact the ER that misdiagnosed and said it was less than 25% torn and did not require surgery. I asked at least three times how such a significant sound could only cause less than a quarters worth of damage. They performed an ultra sound as well as X-rays and said it was only partial.

    The ER then put me in an air cast, (yes, an air cast) and said to keep it moving and see an ortho in 7-10 days. Thenext day I decided to make an appointment. My injury was on a Tuesday and I saw the SM doc on Thursday. He only did a physical exam and he said you ruptured this and will require surgery with the level of activity that you do. I was shocked to say the least because of what the ER said and then rather pissed to think I may have waited 10 days to find out the news.

    So, all in all even though I knew it was torn the ER still questioned it. I would probably not go to the ER if I had it to do over again. It is just important to see a doc right away.

  • 22 annieh // May 19, 2008 at 5:01 pm

    If I had known the consequence of not going to Accident & Emergency then I would have gone straight there.

    I went to a walk-in-centre and saw junior doctor and nurse who, diagnosed immediately that it was achilles rupture, but their advice was wrong.

    I was told to keep off the leg as much as possible and just to use hot and cold compresses.

    2 weeks later I eventualy saw a specialist who operated the next day, as a matter of urgency.

    So, my advice, yes go to Accident & Emergency immediately.

  • 23 mlbstar00 // Jun 28, 2008 at 10:31 am

    I made the decision to go to the ER that night to get X-Rays. I hurt mine while playing volleyball and my buddy who is a PT was there while it happened and made his diagnosis. I debated on going to the ER, but felt it was necessary since I didn’t know if there were any broken bones. I guess when the tendon tears, there is a chance it could take some of the heel bone with it. I think going to the ER and getting x-rays right away are a good idea.

  • 24 chris67 // Jul 1, 2008 at 2:32 pm

    I went to the ER on the night of my injury and, in hindsight, I really didn’t need to. They set me up with a splint and crutches, but my first call should have been to an ortho (that was my first call the following day).

    When calling the ortho, be sure to stress the emergent nature of your injury so that you will be seen immediately and not when they have their first available appointment. My ortho saw me the day I called and had me in surgery on his next operating day (2 days later).

    Bottom line: if you can ambulate well and aren’t in tremendous pain, I would skip the ER and head straight to an orthopedic surgeon ASAP.

  • 25 Gerald // Jul 5, 2008 at 1:13 pm

    Hi. I’m a 70-year old Brit who has been attending a conference in New Hampshire. On the last day of the conference I climbed a 3000 ft mountain running up very large inclined boulders. Near the top I had the classic sharp pain in my Achilles and fell to the ground. As I couldn’t summon help I had to hobble several miles down the mountain side. I can walk quite fast on the flat but can’t flex my right foot and tend to point it sideways. It must be only a partial rupture. The next day I flew back to the UK. From the blogs on this site I realise I need to go to the ER (A&E in Britain) but I’m too jet-lagged to do this today. I’m also worrying about how I can cope in my tiny village if I have a leg brace for weeks. Will I be able to drive for example? Will I be able to climb my (17th century) spiral staircase etc etc. Your advice would be much appreciated.

  • 26 dennis // Jul 5, 2008 at 2:18 pm

    Gerald -

    As far as driving goes, you should speak to your doctor whether you are cleared to drive. I am not sure about driving laws in the UK regarding this.. so you may have to contact your DMV (department of motor vehicles) equivalent over there and see what the laws are.

    For me, I started driving about 2 weeks after the surgery. I injured my left leg, and I have an automatic car, so I really don’t use my left leg for driving anyway.

    The staircase is a different matter though. I’d be very careful.. maybe going up/down slowly in your buttocks is the best method. Try to avoid using the staircase if possible..

    I hope this helps, and you can also go to the main page, http://www.achillesblog.com and use the Google search on the upper right of the page to search things like driving or stairs and you should find plenty of comments and posts about those things.

    I hope this helps, and I hope you see a doctor real soon!

  • 27 Gerald // Jul 5, 2008 at 3:21 pm

    Thanks Dennis I’ll look these up. I think if I can’t drive, I’ll get very slim, and if I can’t climb the stairs, I shall get very sleep-deprived. I’ve just been on the phone to our NHS-direct service. They’re much more laid-back than in the US, and think a good night’s sleep will cure all! They were very nice and helpful but I suspect reality lies between these tow extremes.

    Gerald

  • 28 marathon after achilles rupture // Jul 9, 2008 at 7:32 am

    [...] [...]

  • 29 Jeff Pheffer // Oct 9, 2008 at 12:58 pm

    Hello All. I ruptured my AT doing martial arts (Tae Soo Do) June 2006. I had all the signs of something I had never experienced before so I knew it was something worse than a sprain or even fx. I called a chiro friend and then an ortho and within an hour was pretty sure I had torn my AT. the ortho said to go get some crutches and a brace (which was not really needed as long as you keep the weight off) and see him on Tues. (the injury was sat) there is a simple test where you lie face down and they squeeze your calf. If the foot does not flex, your AT is torn. I saw 3 other surgeons before I picked the one who I trusted and understood and had the surgery that friday , which was 6 days post accident.

    I never went to the hosp , had an MRI or x-ray and if you have this injury there is no need for these expensive tests. you need crutches and a good surgeon.

    This surgery is relatively routine so you realy don’t have to search high and low for someone who can do it well. the MOST IMPORTANT part of recovering from this injury is the post surgical rehab, which should start the minute you wake up–by moving your toes. flex and spreading. then as you get stronger move your foot or ankle in the cast.

  • 30 tiancai17 // Oct 9, 2008 at 1:08 pm

    When should you start the rehab, the day after surgery? How long should you move toes, flex, etc. for? Any good websites with this information? Thanks!

  • 31 dazf // Oct 9, 2008 at 1:35 pm

    I was scared stiff to of having the operation because you hear of all the possible side affects. I am now 10 days post op and its not been too bad really. I had pain for 3 days but after that it was ok.

    @ tiancai17
    My orthopedic therapist told me to move my toes daily from the day after the op. I have read other ATR sufferers have been told not to.?

  • 32 gw0508 // Oct 9, 2008 at 2:07 pm

    I went to urgent care (kinda like the ER) 8 days after my ATR. Partly because I was 1200 miles away from home & partly because of denial. I did have lots of swelling (I had a cankle instead of a calf & an ankle by then) & I was limping pretty good. When I finally called my doctor, they told me to head over to urgent care. I came out with an aircast and told to see a orthopedic surgeon and get an MRI to rule out bone chips but they were sure I’d ruptured. Then my insurance guys goofed it up and took 5 weeks to get me to see an orthopedist that worked on legs. (They sent me to a hand specialist 1st!) Glad I did it. Now I’m on the mend and not just limping around trying to make the best of it. Wiggled my toes & flexed my foot often as possible after surgery & still doing it. I continued doing that even while in the cast with the hopes that it would help range of motion once set cast free!

  • 33 tiancai17 // Oct 9, 2008 at 3:27 pm

    JeffPheffer, Dazf, and gwo508 - thanks for informing me the importance of wiggling/flexing my toes/foot; I’m going to be sure to do that as much as possible. Thanks again!

  • 34 Jeff Pheffer // Oct 9, 2008 at 7:20 pm

    for toe spreads, do it in sets of 10 reps 2 or 3 sets. you really can’t do too much of them, but every hour or so is fine. ALSO very important, while you are recovering, and still in a cast on crutches, you must exercise the rest of your body. there are many things you can do to work out your upper body (chest, back and arms) as well as the quads. 2 weeks after my surgery I was working out with my trainer. then after the cast came off we started in the pool or jacuzzi doing double leg calf raises holding on to the rail or side and finally single leg. then a theraband flex and extension of the foot. and ankle rotations. sets of 10–and do BOTH feet not just the injured one. then I would strap on the stim machine and wrap my foot in an ice pack and put it up on a stool.

  • 35 PaulT // Nov 3, 2008 at 3:31 am

    I went straight to the emergency department, where they asked me to stay overnight, and put a drip in my arm. I really don’t know why, the only pain (and minor at that) I was in while still was from the cannula itself!

    In hindsight I should have waited until the next morning, gone to my local general practicioner and then been referred to an orthopedic surgeon (a referral is required in Australia). But then again, I’m lucky to have a loving and patient girlfriend to drive me around town while my driving foot is immobile. If you are without a support network (e.g. single and just moved town, carless or traveling when the rupture occurred) I’d imagine it would be a real nightmare, so the ED could be the answer.

  • 36 SFCat // Jan 7, 2009 at 8:47 pm

    I’m on my second ruptured achilles now.

    The First Time - I knew immediately it was torn because I took 8+ years of sciences and was premed but apparently didn’t know about the application of medicine or the way the medical system works. I went to ER thinking they’d get into surgery right away - after waiting what felt like a lifetime (plus ten years) experiencing level 9 pain and dealing with incompetent nurses…the ER doc, very nice but could only say “yes, torn achilles…nurse will give you T3 prescription, splint and crutches. On Monday, call our billing department to give your insurance information and your PCP for a referral.”

    The Second Time (this time) - I went home, got out my crutches and started R.I.C.E. therapy. It hasn’t hurt as much this time because I was able to manage the swelling almost immediately and maybe because my pain tolerance has gone up. Fortunate for me, my PCP trusts that I know what a torn achilles is and gave me a referral to the same surgeon as before, without having to see me. Unfortunately, my surgeon was on vacation (I have a knack for getting injured around major holidays - 4th of July in ‘07 and NYE in ‘09).

    Anyway, I would recommend not going to ER, unless you think there are broken bones. Ruptured achilles are pretty straight forward. Easy to diagnose and swelling tends to be very concentrated. If you can’t even bear weight on your heel or it wasn’t a simple “pop” injury, as in there was twisting or other stuff going on, then I’d probably go to urgent care (or ER) so they can run MRIs to see how bad the damage is. They can also prescribe painkillers if you have low pain tolerance. Plus, ER is good if you don’t have a pair of crutches (or old walking boot) in the closet, like me. But I’ll never go to ER again for a ruptured achilles, personally. Only go if it will give you peace of mind and you have the insurance to cover it. Otherwise, not worth it.

  • 37 David Ernst // Jan 25, 2009 at 9:19 am

    I went straight home and you can read about my experience here http://rupturedachillestendon.blogspot.com/

  • 38 landlockedtxn // Feb 14, 2009 at 7:18 pm

    I am a nurse who works for a foot/ankle doc…unfortunately this was the sat before Christmas, he was on vacation out of state….however, I knew I had ruptured it, felt all the classic symptoms stated previously…called the orthopedist who did my knees years ago, told him what happened, and the first thing he said was dont go to the ER…told me i would be just wasting money cause they would do the same as I could….asked me if I had a boot, ace bandages, ice pack, pillows, and pain pills…fortunately for me, I had just gotten my new boot, and had a Rx for pain pills for future pain….he just told to RICE it, take pain med prn and call him and the surgeon on monday…had surgery 9 days later. Was very glad did not go to ER would have been 5K I didnt have for them to tell me the same things I was already prepared for….

  • 39 Evan // Jun 9, 2009 at 9:36 pm

    will i get crutches for a cut foot if i go to emergency room or urgent care facility

  • 40 Dylan // Jun 24, 2009 at 1:24 am

    If you have any question about whether it is only the tendon involved (i.e. no bony injury), and can’t get in to your normal medical practice, or don’t know how to treat to prevent futher injury until you get an ortho consult, it’s probably worth going to ER.
    I have reasonable medical knowledge (wife is anaesthetist/anaesthesiologist) and I knew straight away what I had done, classic pop and no power through my foot. Went to the ER to confirm diagnosis and get assessed for appropriate treatment.
    In my case the rupture is quite high, which meant there was no need for x-rays. It also means I’m probably not a candidate for surgical repair. I waited a minimum time (given I arrived about 8.30pm on a Monday) to be seen by the ER resident who consulted with ortho by phone. I was out of there with a back-slab cast and an orthopaedic clinic referral by 10.30pm. Even though I have very little pain, it is much more comfortable wearing the cast as it prevents the foot flopping around, and distributes pressure on the calf muscle which is quite tender.
    Lucky to live in OZ where ER and ortho follow up is free (although I also have private insurance so I can skip the wait for elective procedures).

  • 41 Mikki Salas // Oct 11, 2009 at 10:03 pm

    My son ruptured his achilles last Thursday but we didn’t know for sure until today. He’s going to the ER and doesn’t have insurance; he’s a student. It’s been almost ten days…did he wait too long? We are going tonight or tomorrow to the ER. I’m afraid for him, his dad died at 44 from a massive heart attack and I don’t want him going under anathesia.

  • 42 smoley // Oct 12, 2009 at 9:49 am

    Mikki Salas,
    So sorry to hear about your son’s injury. Don’t fret too much about the delay, some people seem to go undiagnosed (or misdiagnosed) for weeks. ATR’s are often treated surgically but plenty of people opt not to have surgery. The doc will advise. I can understand your fear of anasthaesia, but I’m sure the doc will be able to reassure you that your son is fit and well enough. Alternatively, he might be able to opt for a nerve block or epidural rather then a general anasthesia. Good luck with whatever you decide to do. He’ll need lots of help and support but he has you and you care enough to find a web site and get typing so he is in good hands! Best wishes,
    Smoley

  • 43 Glen // Oct 27, 2009 at 11:13 pm

    I went to the emergency room. I was very fortunate to meet a fantanstic Orthopedic surgeon. I mention to him that I had a vacation coming up in 7 weeks and would not go on vacation in cast using crutches. He told me if we do the surgery that night I’d be in a removable boot by my vacation. So we went for it. My decision to go directly to the ER was a good one. For me anyway. I’d suggest the ER.

  • 44 klaus // Jan 18, 2010 at 12:53 am

    7 days ago i was playing indoor soccer.It was just a practice game.One of my teammates kicked me from behind and i heard a weird noise.I tried to get up but fell back down.I went to the ER they looked at it and said it was only part. ruptured.I have an appointment tomorrow with an ortho doc.Hope no surgery required.I can move my foot up and down with no pain.
    Hate surgery!!!!!!!!!

  • 45 Charlie // Mar 7, 2010 at 1:54 am

    Complete rupture Feb 24 in a tennis game (got the bat in the head sensation just as tear occurred so this appears to be a similar sensation with others who tore AT); swelling and pain so got MRI Feb 25; doctor recommended surgery & got it done immediately Feb 26th. Laid in bed for 4 days and now in full leg cast, completely immobilized, and hopping around in crutches for next 5 weeks. My doctor explained that surgery performed immediately after the tear is the best. Mine was 48 hours after occurence.

  • 46 normofthenorth // Mar 7, 2010 at 2:56 am

    Charlie, your cast goes above your knee? That’s a LOT of immobilization for 5 (or more) weeks! (What did your knee do to deserve that?)

  • 47 Frank // Jun 21, 2010 at 3:01 am

    I have a quick question. I’m 21 and I just got out of college and so I’m in a transition period of having/not having health care insurance…my parents aren’t too well off. I was playing basketball today and I went for a drive when I felt like someone threw a rock at the back of my right foot. Turned around to see no one behind me. Funny thing is, there was no pain, but when I moved my foot up and down, my calf muscles didn’t respond. This kind of worried me so I’m wondering if anyone here has any suggestions about cost effective ways of finding out whether I need surgery or not. Thanks so much. You can email me at Frank.K.Xia@gmail.com.

  • 48 normofthenorth // Jun 21, 2010 at 1:20 pm

    I just sent Frank an e-mail along the lines of my recent “rants” promoting the 4 post-2007 randomized trials that show that there’s no benefit from ATR surgery, compared to a good modern non-surgical protocol. Details on my own blog, and spread liberally around this website, too! :-)

  • 49 Steffen // Jun 25, 2010 at 11:39 am

    How about those who do not have medical ins.I ruptured mine wed nite and it is now friday.I dont know where to start my company does not offer ins.

  • 50 normofthenorth // Jun 25, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    Steffen, my answer is the same as I gave to Frank above, and others. And you’ll probably hear the same from gunner and mikek753 and gerryr here, too. The expensive step is the surgery, and the recent “randomized prospective” (=~ “believable”) studies, 4 of them, have ALL shown that there is actually NO benefit from the surgery!

    The trick is to find a doctor — usually an orthopedic surgeon, ironically! — who’s willing to treat you (a) without surgery, (b) in an orthotic boot, not casts, and preferably a hinged orthotic boot like the VacoCast that gunner used, and (c) following a modern protocol like the one used in the latest study (from UWO in Canada) and posted on my blog-site.

    I’m guessing you’re in the US. Gunner and mikek753 are too, and they made this work and they’re healing well, as am I.

    You’ll have to pay for the surgeon’s time a few times, for the boot (maybe $200 max?), and for Physio if you go for it. (And most folks here think it’s important, if not vital/essential/etc.)

    The UWO protocol that the three of us are following is at achillesblog.com/normofthenorth/the-non-surgical-protocol-ive-been-following/ . And just go to my blog for the info on the studies themselves, if you’re interested. (Your doctor may be interested.)

    You can also find similar information (at least today) in the “Treatment” section of the Wikipedia article on “Achilles tendon rupture” (which I edited myself!). The 4 recent studies are footnotes 5 through 8, at least until somebody re-edits it.

  • 51 rawz // Jul 1, 2010 at 5:15 am

    it happens. My left ATR on June 17, 2010. And just like most, I drove myself to the E.R because it felt different than a twisted ankle. i knew i hadn’t broken any bones because I broke the right ankle several years prior playing b-ball, and it just didn’t feel the same. Looking back, I could have save the $50 copay and went straight to the ortho doc. The E.R set me up with a splint, some crutches, and some pain med (T3).They took my fifty dollars and sent me home. That was on a thursday. That Saturday i was in to see Dr. ortho. He did the pinch calf test rubbed my torn tendon several time, which made me jump out of me seat and scream: “HOLLA LUE YA!” We spoke about my option and we talked about the pros & cons of each. I choose not to have the surgery. I’m in a short leg cast most of the pain has gone away now it just the discomfort of the cast that bothers me. It been two complete weeks and i see Dr.
    ortho in three more weeks to re-adjust my foot in a ninety degree angle then another four weeks in a cast, again, or an orthotic boot. I hope I made the right decision because I love sports. Besides, they promised me I’ll still live well and thrive, so I’ll keep yal posted.

  • 52 normofthenorth // Jul 1, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    Rawz, the decision to avoid the surgery is fine, but the only good studies that show success without surgery, use a rehab protocol that is faster and more modern — and more convenient! — than your Dr. Ortho is putting you on. The evidence from older and slower protocols without surgery isn’t very good, esp. a higher re-rupture rate.

    You can go to bit.ly/UWOProtocol to find the fast protocol that produced great results in a recent study from a study at U. W. Ontario.

    You’ve got to get into a boot NOW, and start wiggling your foot around and doing PT around now, too! Your Doc’s move to 90 degrees is 1 week faster than the study protocol, but everything else is way slower. And boots work better than casts, the studies say.

    The quick link to my review of the studies is bit.ly/AchillesStudies , if you think your Doc has time to read scientific studies. (Most don’t, I think.)

    Good luck and good healing! So far, 3 of us here are following that UWO protocol with good results. Me, I’d definitely get a HINGED boot, like the one gunner has used (check his blog here, achillesblog.com/gunner ). And I’d smooth out the sudden withdrawal of the 3cm heel lifts, over a week, rather than on the day you hit 6 weeks. Otherwise, it’s perfect!

  • 53 Slo-picth // Jul 13, 2010 at 5:24 pm

    Injured Jun 13 and went to clinic Jun 14 and ultrasound. Referred to emerg (Canada) that afternoon and was casted on the spot (3-4 hrs waiting) and released that night with crutches. Readjusted after 9 days for angle and now have been delayed to new cast and adjustment for 3 1/2 weeks (worried it’s too slow). Thx for info on hinged boot - will ask at my appt this Friday. Also will read up on website for info - Thx! I resist surgery but also was worried about healing and re-injury even though they did say results were the same with no chance of post-op infection if no surgery - which is why I went that route. Thanks for all info! Good luck to e1 spending the summer in a cast like me! Did anyone get ultrasound/xray done mid healing to confirm everything was on track (especially those not doing surgery)? Is this recommended?

    Thx.

  • 54 rougemac // Jul 13, 2010 at 6:19 pm

    Hey slow pitch, your story sounds very similar to mine. Blew my left wheel rounding firstbase on June 27th, went to er in Orangeville that night, but left due to the wait. Went to Brampton Monday and they put a splint on and referred me to their fracture clinic on that Fri. Surgeon said he would operate the following wed. That is the biggest difference I notice about our friends from the US, their surgeries happen a lot faster. 6 days post op and I am pain free (good thing I ran out of pain meds 4 days after operation). I see the surgeon on Monday to remove the plaster and into an aircast. Best wishes on your recovery……keep on running out those singles!!!!

  • 55 normofthenorth // Jul 14, 2010 at 2:22 am

    Slo-picth, it’s natural to be curious and want proof that you’re healing, especially with the non-surgical “cure”, which seems especially “magical”. X-rays are useless. They’re sometimes used in initial diagnoses, but if there’s any good reason for them, it’s just to rule out broken bones and the likes, AFAIK.

    MRI and UltraSound are both used on ATRs, and they have supporters and detractors. I had three USs at 1-week intervals on this (my second) ATR (to guide PRP injections, not for diagnosis), and I think I got 3 different stories about (a) the size of my ATR gap and (b) what kind of rupture it was (complete, partial, or partial-but-multiple)!

    As long as you can get in a reaonable protocol that resembles the ones that were tested in the 4 modern studies, the evidence says you’ll very likely be just fine. But that means getting out of those casts about NOW and getting into a boot, and getting into physio.

    Your angle adjustment is faster than most or all of the studies (which may be risky for the non-surgical cure), and the rest seems way too slow. See the response to Rawz, above. . . and start your own blog, too.

    As far as testing it to make sure it’s healing, I often tell the joke about the farmer who liked to uproot all his carrots to double-check that they were growing well. Just follow the protocol and have patience. You should be starting PT at around 2 weeks, and a few weeks after that, your physio might start gently squeezing your calf to see if anything happens. But there’s no need to rush it, IMHO.

    Where in Canada?

  • 56 Seth B. // Aug 14, 2010 at 10:49 pm

    I think there is a good reason to go the ER if one has torn their Achilles tendon. In my case, I rushed there because in my mind I had just torn the biggest tendon in my body and I just kinda freaked out. I must admit I was not in any kind of emergency that required me to be seen by an ER physician. In most larger ERs, they have an urgent care usually being overseen by, at most, a couple of NPs and sometimes an MD. This is where I was sent to which was great because they usually don’t have the wait times like the main ER. I was seen very quickly. They X rayed my foot (not needed) to ensure there were no fractures. I happened to show up at the ER when there was a Foot and Ankle specialist on call that night for orthopedics and he happened to be the very doctor that performed surgery on my ankle. The biggest positive to come out of my situation is that all the right docs and nurses kinda fell into pace to schedule me to have surgery approx 36 hours later which is great considering the trauma needed to repair an already healing tendon. I was able to get in a lot faster for surgery instead of waiting a week.

  • 57 trupahdwn // Oct 10, 2010 at 11:17 am

    As fate would permit, I was almost a thousand miles away from home attending a business conference when my supervisor and I decided to engage in a game of geriatric basketball in the indoor basketball facility provided by the hotel. I raised up on my toes and swished a basket from the free throw line and felt a whack on the back of my right calf. Swelling occurred almost immediately and the pain was excruciating. I limped to my room, elevated my leg, and took aspirin to reduce the pain. Since I had traveled via automobile to the conference site with others and we were only on day two of a four day conference, I toughed it out in my hotel room swallowing pain killers until I could return home to see a doctor. In electing to forego a visit to the emergency room and deciding to self medicate and elevate in my hotel room, it appears I did not exacerbate the injury.

  • 58 eaward47 // Nov 28, 2010 at 9:22 pm

    I fell off my pony on a Friday faternoon, landed on my hands and knees, but when I stood up I couldn’t push off the ball of my foot. I waited until Monday to see my doctor,who didn’t think I had ATR because he couldn’t feel the end of the AT. I wish I had looked for information on my own, because finally I am ultrasounded, will have an MRI and surgery in 2 weeks, on December 14th. My surgeon, Dr Holmes at University of Michigan,said that he would remove the tendon that connects my big toe and use that as a bridge to connect the 2 ends, which are 5cm apart.
    What questions should I ask at my pre-op?
    What equipment do I need for the first few weeks?

  • 59 Barbara Schram // Dec 1, 2010 at 2:44 pm

    Hi, I am in Walnut Creek CA. and had my achilles tendon surgery on Nov. 24th. I was interested in keeping in touch with you since I too had a surgeon who used the big toe tendon to reconnect the AT. My doc in MA where I live part of the year didn’t agree with that proceedure so it was a rather chancy thing for me to do here with a new doc but I did it. I would welcome keeping both of us posted on the next steps. Most folks on this site haven’t used the toe tendon protocol . My cast cones off on Dec. 6th…then the boot with wedgies and then after 9 weeks I start PT. Good luck to us both. Barbara you can answer me directly at my email…mvob8barb@yahoo.com.

  • 60 ryan hay // Feb 26, 2011 at 9:13 pm

    GREAT! I am a tennis instructor. I was just playing doubles, went to serve, and my foot was gone! I mean it wasnt where it was supposed to be, and I fell. I am pretty sure I have ruptured it to some degree. Now the tricky part…. I have no health insurance! I have a regular doctor that i see for like $35, but he is no surgeon… I am going to see him Monday. Not really sure what options I have…. one of the many Americans that are not wealthy enough, or work for an employer that supplies health benefits… I work for myself. Any suggestions???

    Ryan
    Ryan@Houston

  • 61 dennis // Feb 26, 2011 at 10:57 pm

    ryan - Please check out this page. I think you’ll find it to be useful: http://achillesblog.com/medical-care-for-the-uninsured/
    There have been others who did not have insurance when they ruptured their Achilles, so you can read about their experiences, as well as contact them to see how they were able to get medical care.
    One thing that I’ve learned is that some hospitals are willing to work with you and give you a significant discount if they know that you don’t have medical insurance. That book about health insurance may be useful as well.

  • 62 normofthenorth // Feb 26, 2011 at 11:46 pm

    Ryan, there are two new-ATR bloggers here who are also coping with financial pressures. One — suthrnman, see achillesblog.com/suthrnman/ — has the cash, but decided to skip the surgery and follow a well-proven (and much cheaper) modern non-op protocol that seems to produce comparable results without the incision and the risks.

    The other — achillesblog.com/chooyong/ (aka “username1″) — is delaying surgery for 6 wks until he gets covered, but following a good non-op in the interim. He can still decide to skip the surgery 6 weeks from now, if he’s happy with his progress.

    I’ve been one of the members of the “skip the surgery” glee club here, though I also had the surgery (late 2001, first of two ATRs), with excellent results. There’s also been a LOT of discussion here about the randomized studies comparing “op” and “non-op”, and the newest and best of the studies is posted here, in full. Check the discussions on the two aforementioned blogs, and mine too, for more details. There are also quite a few bloggers here who are happy with their non-op results, and a few who regret getting the surgery. (Also lots who are happy with their surgery, and a few who regret skipping surgery.)

  • 63 suthrnman // Feb 28, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    Hey Ryan,
    Are you in Houston? I went to Fondren Orthopedics which is one of the largest best known in Houston. They presented me w/ the two options of non-op or surgery. At least some of the docs there are pretty up on the new protocols. I went non-op for a number of reasons, but you owe it to yourself to at least familiarize yourself w/ the choices. My doc is Korthauer in Kingwood and I think he is a good guy.

  • 64 dazhi // Apr 22, 2011 at 8:12 pm

    very glad i found this site, but very not glad i was looking! i was playing squash, lunged forward pushing off my left foot, heard a pop, felt like someone hit my lower calf/ankle with a racket (actually looked around to see who had thrown something at me…alas no one was there). iced it for about 30mins right away.. now it’s been 3 hours, and i’m at home (missing my friend’s bachelor party). seems like there’s not much point to go into the ER. i’ll try to find a brace from the drugstore. wierdly, i have almost no pain and no swelling - is it because i iced it right away? i did the calf squeezing test - no movement in my left foot. also on my right foot, where the achilles tendon is, it feels hard. but on my left foot, it’s soft and kinda mushy… just wondering what i should be doing at home, and what i should avoid? what is RICE btw? will go see an ortho on monday if i can book it (it’s good friday 8pm right now….).. thanks!

  • 65 la143 // May 19, 2011 at 2:54 am

    I posted some of this on another post, but I figured that it was worth reposting on here. I ruptured my Achilles tendon on April 22. It is a partial rupture, but the Dr is very concerned about the chance of that turning into a full rupture. I went to the ER on Easter(two days after my injury) almost a month ago, and they told me I had a just had mildly sprained ankle and sent me on my way not even bothering to give me anything for pain except for a few pills to take home. The Dr at the ER actually said to me two days after I did it, “Well you are going to have to start moving it around soon and walking on it or your ankle is going to get stiff.” So at that point I was trying to walk on it “not wanting to get a stiff ankle”, and I felt another horrible pain.When I went to my Primary a few days later she was concerned that this is what I had done though, so she referred me to the ortho. The ortho is pretty sure that I tore it worse at the point when I was trying to walk on it due to what the ER doctor said. In my experience (I played soccer for 17 years and in that time had to have several knee surgeries) the ER doesn’t do much for soft tissue injuries. Unfortunately a lot of the ER doctors go with the x-ray it, it’s not broken, you just have a mild sprain approach. I think that is sad, because a lot of times soft tissues injuries (such as ATR) end up being worse, especially if not treated promptly. I hope you all are healing quickly. I just got my cast today. Hoping I can find a comfortable position to sleep in!

  • 66 Crystal // Aug 15, 2011 at 10:54 pm

    I just got home from soccer where I tore my achilles tendon. I have it elevated, iced and have taken advil (as advised by a physio who plays on my team) - she told me to see the doctor first thing tomorrow. I am not in terrible pain, although the ice helps with that, but I have sudden bursts of pain. After researching for the last 30 minutes on line, I am wondering if it is a full tear or partial? I can move my toes, but I can’t straighten my leg without pain, and walking or putting any pressure on is impossible.
    Has anyone heard if surgery is required for partial tears?

  • 67 deana // Aug 16, 2011 at 12:33 am

    Crystal, try doing a Thompson test. Is there anyone there who can do it for you? Look it up online, but essentially, put your knee on a chair and let your foot dangle off the edge of the chair. Someone needs to gently squeeze your calf muscle. If the foot moves, the achilles is still attached. If your foot does not move it’s not attached. Quite honestly, I’m not sure having a partial tear is much more of a blessing than a full . . . it’s going to need time (and likely a cast) to heal. Don’t panic — it’s a long recovery, but we do recover. Also, there’s a lot of talk around here about ibuprofen not being the best for tendons, most of us use Tylenol instead. (worth Googling.) These first few weeks are the worst, hang in there, and do start a blog. It helps a lot to have others to share with and ask questions of. Good luck!

  • 68 bcurr // Aug 16, 2011 at 5:45 am

    Hi Crystal, when I did mine I could wiggle my toes and had some foot movement but this was due to other muscles doing the work. A Thompson test is about a good an indicator as there is.

  • 69 Adolph Nahrwold // Nov 23, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    It’s a shame you don’t have a donate button! I’d definitely donate to this outstanding blog! I suppose for now i’ll settle for bookmarking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account. I look forward to fresh updates and will share this blog with my Facebook group. Talk soon!

  • 70 David // Dec 20, 2011 at 5:47 pm

    I snapped mine last Wednesday. I went to urgent care the next morning. I knew something was wrong but not sure what. The night I snapped it I saw a video online called “Thompson test”. Based off the thompson test i was sure i had a ruptured it Well urgent care took X-rays and told me all was ok. I left and called the orthopedic. He saw me early the next morning. Spent less then 5 mins with me and told me I had a complete rupture. He preformed the thompson test to verify this. He never looked at the X-rays and even said they don’t work for diagnosing this injury. I had surgery 2 days later.

  • 71 Rome // Dec 20, 2011 at 9:48 pm

    david i’m sorry to hear about your ATR. how were you injured? the best advice i can give is follow your docs orders to a T! don’t rush anything as in the end it will only set you back and make your recovery time longer. i basically went through the same process as you… family doc/xrays, ortho doc/mri, surgery 5 days after injury. i’m now 5 wks post-op, and a wk away from a boot. best of luck to you david!

  • 72 feedthegoat // Dec 21, 2011 at 3:20 am

    Crystal - I had 100% exactly the same experience as David (2 above).

    All seemed to be quite low tech to me as I was expecting MRIs and what have you. But the orthopaedic surgeon was absolutely firm (and, as turned out right) based on the Thompson test.

  • 73 Terrbear300 // Dec 27, 2011 at 1:52 am

    On December 2nd I was at the gym sprinting on the basketball court when my ATR occured. It was horribly painful and I actually thought I may go into shock. I had felt the bang on the back of my heel and at first thought my foot had detached from my leg (can that happen?). I went straight to the ER. I would’ve never been able to deal with the pain I was experiencing without pain meds. They gave me a script, cast, and crutches. I made an appointment with the OS the next Monday and had surgery on Tuesday Dec. 6th. I am now in a cast and in 3 weeks I will get my walking boot - and can’t wait to be able to walk again!! My pain was very severe (and I’ve given birth without pain meds so I know severe pain) and I don’t think I would’ve been able to deal with not going to the ER. As soon as my leg was splinted the pain was significantly diminished. I am amazed some of you didn’t have much pain!! I could barely breath my leg hurt so badly!! I vote ER!! :)

  • 74 Tory // Jan 10, 2013 at 7:14 am

    When I tore my Achilles I was at volleyball practice and had no idea what was happening. I was on the ground looking up at everyone and wondering why they were so tall after trying to get up and falling back down I crawled to the side of the court. Since I was sitting down I was feeling both my right and left foot to compare what could be wrong. I started with my ankle, both sides were good. I also had a feeling it wast my ankle because I didn’t really feel any pain like you normally would if you broke your ankle. Next was my Achilles I felt it on the right side, felt normal and had resistance. Felt my left Achilles and the complete opposite. I couldn’t feel the tendon at all and there was no resistance when I poked at it. I drove back home climbed three flights of stairs one step at a time because there is no elevator and lucky me I live on the third floor. Went straight to my laptop and webmd symptoms of an Achilles’ tendon tear. All symptoms listed were accurate to those I had. I thought about going to the ER but the pain wasn’t that bad. Half an hour later I had big dark bruises behind my leg and my roommate couldn’t stand seeing me limp around anymore and decided to take me to the ER. It was such a waste of her time and mine as well. We went to the ER and I got taken in immediately. When asked what was wrong by the nurses and attending doctor I told them before they even examined me “I think I tore my Achilles”. None of them believed me so they did X-rays. I basically say in a cold room for two and a half hours only being checked upon twice just for them to tell me I sprained my ankle, get some pain reliever and to get an air cast. They said if I could bear weight I didn’t need crutches. I could bear weight and as I’m getting ready to leave a nurse comes in and starts opening crutches for me. After she opens them another nurse tells her “she doesn’t need crutches”. She had the nerve to tell the other nurse “well I already opened them, so she’s going to have to take them”. Uh no thank you I have several pairs of crutches at home not necessary but she forced me to take them home regardless. The following week, I flew back home and I was taken to the doctors because my bruises and limp didn’t get any better. The doctor takes one look at my foot and tells me to kneel on the chair. He performed the test and sure enough I had torn my Achilles. He could not believe that I knew what was wrong with my foot, told the ER workers what was wrong with my foot, beat his youngest patient by 7 years and the fact that they diagnosed me wrong. So in my opinion do what I did for who knows, the ER could misdiagnose.

  • 75 jay111 // Jan 10, 2013 at 3:41 pm

    Looking for some advice! Like most on this great site i Ruptured my achillies, the date was December 20 2012 & i had surgery on the 22nd. I had my 1st follow up with the surgeon yesterday ( Jan 9 2013) prior to my follow up i had spent a fair amount of time reading and looking around on this site and my attention was always brought back to the “Vacocast” i have done my homework and felt this was my best option to get my recovery started.
    Yesterday during the follow up they took my plaster cast off and while i was lucky enough to have the surgeons attention for 2 mins i asked him about the Vacocast, he said he knew nothing about it, it costs lots of money and said they have done studies with there current cast ( he’s been a surgeon for 3 or 4 years) and then brought out a boot called an “aircast” put some wedges in the heel, pumped some air in it and said get on your way come back in 2 weeks.
    I have to admit i was Pissed about this.
    cost is always an issue but if the vacocast gets people out and about walking sooner and is more comfortable then im all for it, my current boot is huge uncomfortable and my heel keeps sliding up the boot. apparently all of the surgeons in my area use the “aircast”.
    My question’s are is it worth it to order the vacocast and use it? is it to risky? is it worth it knowing how long this recovery is and going agaist the surgeons recomendation knowing he has had success with the aircast.
    i could always put the aircast on for my follow ups.
    thanks for your time

  • 76 dfoss // Jan 11, 2013 at 11:47 am

    Jay111, you asked about the Vacocast. My surgery was on Nov. 27th 2012. I don’t have one but my experience with the doc is similar to yours. I already had a boot from an earlier injury that was almost identical to the one he was going to sell me so I passed on his. I later called his office and asked if they would give me a script for the Vacocast and was told no. As usual they threw is a snarky comment to my question saying he is familiar with it and thinks it is a gimmick.
    It’s the Mercedes Benz of boots, all the bells and whistles and 2 or 3 times more expensive than the rest. My boot is a big black thing sold by several boot makers with a base cast from the same mold. I’m surprised at how comfortable I’ve gotten in it. BTW, ryanb has a good video on his blog showing the proper way to walk in the boot. The distinctions in form are subtle but important. It might make life in your boot more tolerable.
    What I really think I want is a ROM boot to safely accelerate the transition to 2 shoes when I go back to work in week 8. I have my eye on a Breg boot on ebay for $80 that I may get this week or next. It is almost identical to the one I’m using but with a hinged ankle. If anyone has experience going through this transition with a ROM boot I would like to hear how you thought it helped, or didn’t.

  • 77 hungtheviet // Jan 12, 2013 at 7:20 pm

    I tore my Achilles tendon playing basketball mid December 2012. I felt that someone had “kicked” me in the Achilles tendon and told all the players that had happened.

    I limped off the court and somehow managed to walk it off. I drove home myself thinking it was a high ankle sprain. I didn’t go to the doctor for a month since I felt like it was getting better everyday. I could only walk flat footed.

    In between my injury and seeing the doctor, I had a vacation/adventure sin Costa Rica. I was able to keep up with everyone on the hikes on all the excursions/tours. At the end of my Costa Rica trip I felt no more pain, but I could still only walk flat footed. All the swelling was gone so I could see and feel that my tendon was torn. I felt a gap in my Achilles tendon. Before it was too swollen to feel it.

    So I came back to California and did an MRI. MRI confirmed a complete tear. A week later I had surgery which was yesterday, January 11th. The Doctor expect a full recovery.

    So I was stubborn and didn’t see a doctor right away, but I did a month later. I’ll let you guys know how my recovery goes. Thanks.

  • 78 kkirk // Jan 12, 2013 at 10:43 pm

    Hungtheviet

    Your story sounds very similar to mine (see my blog). I partially tore mine playing basketball and didn’t go to the doctor for 3-4 weeks, thinking the same thing as you. I also spent 3 more months fighting insurance and stupid doctors. Anyway, it does get better. I’m 3 months into my recovery now and doing very well. Happy healing and Good Luck!

  • 79 Dan // Jul 18, 2015 at 7:07 pm

    I was playing soccer, went up for a head ball and when I landed I heard a popping sound. Went to the emergency room sat around for a few hours, they said I ruptured it and the ER doctor wanted to do surgery right then and there, the resident podiatrist said no surgery, so after they argued about it for a few minutes I told them I would get a second opinion, the Put me in a splint gave me crouches and out the door i went.I went to a sports podiatrist, failed the Thompson test and have no ability to move my foot up or down ,he said i need surgery but my foot was so swollen that he said he couldn’t operate until the swelling goes down. So my main concern is that this injury happened on the 10th and surgery is slated for the 28th that’s 18 days to surgery is that to long and will cause complications

  • 80 Stuart // Jul 19, 2015 at 3:01 pm

    Dan - interesting the doctors argued with each other but didn’t bother asking what you wanted. Surgery is not the only option and if you foot angle has been adjusted so the tendon ends are together then you are already healing as long as you don’t break them apart. Surgery in a few weeks will be OK if that is what you want. Have a search on this site’s search box for non-op and see what you find. Normofthenorth’s page will have lots of info and he will give you lots of help if you post on his page. Go back to the first podiatrist and ask what he had planned for you and why. If treated right then non-op will give as good a result without surgical complications. Google Dr. Richard Wallace in Belfast and see his research.

  • 81 Emergency Room Cost No Insurance | INSURANCE // Sep 27, 2015 at 7:41 am

    [...] Should you go to the Emergency room after a rupture? – I was thinking about my Achilles tendon rupture, and I don’t think it was necessary for me to go to the Emergency room. If I made sure that I didn’t move my foot … [...]

  • 82 Steve // Jan 3, 2016 at 1:27 pm

    I ruptured mine yesterday. No pain but felt funny and could not feel achellis bone with my finger. Felt like someone hit me with a baseball bat. Went to local clinic right away said ruptured see ortho. I am in dunedun fl on vacation for 5 more weeks. Have great Emory dr. In Cumming ga where i live and great recommd. Here in fl. from friends we met .
    (Her brother is a MD and highly recommed the fl. Ortho) He he did extensive research on him before she used him so I fell good with either fl or ga ortho
    Hope to be able to see ortho. Tomorrow here in fl and see what he says.
    It happened so fast my next question is all things being equal would u go home to atl. Or get started in fl and finish up in ga. In 5 wkds
    Guess will see what local ortho says and go from there. If surgury is needed will prob. Go to atl and see ortho there by the end of wk. Sorry if i rambeled nothing good about achillis repture and thanks for all the posts great info.

  • 83 arib // Jan 3, 2016 at 7:03 pm

    Steve,
    sorry to hear..If its a full rupture what I have heard and read is that surgery is the best because you have a much less likely chance of rerupture. plus if you want to be active that may be the best route. I have had surgery and it is a lot longer than you realize…if it is a full rupture and depends on OS and there philosophy. I am 8 weeks this week and just got into a boot about 2 weeks ago from cast. I have 2 more weeks and then partial weight bearing. It is about 6 months with PT until you are walking normally in a shoe ect …but again there is no set time and everyone is different. If you go the surgery route ask your OS about the Sural nerve(very close to achilles) as I have had terrible issues postop and causes a tremendous amount of pain. other than that it is a process and this board is a lifesaver with great people to try and help. Best of luck

  • 84 steve // Jan 3, 2016 at 9:19 pm

    thanks for the reply so much info. I am real active but will also be 64 in june 2016. Thinking of
    giving up the sports tough on the body and sicking
    with walking cycling weight lifting and yoga. get rid of pickle ball and running. Hopefully I can get an appt. tomorrow but leaning on going home to Emory if it looks like surgery Lucky my wife is also retired.

  • 85 George // Mar 4, 2016 at 4:53 pm

    I hurt my Achilles playing ball on a Monday evening. I would define the physical pain as mild, but the emotional pain as extreme. From what I’ve read so far, you “know” its popped. Thus, I bypassed the ER visit (it was late and didn’t want to sit around for hours), set up an ortho appt for Wednesday morning and had surgery Friday morning. All decisions I would recommend to all. Though if pain is severe, go to ER, at least for the more powerful drugs.

  • 86 emyyau // Apr 14, 2016 at 6:42 pm

    I had my injury on monday evening at at clubbercise class. It was a loud class and I didn’t hear the rupture and thought I twisted my ankle and couldnt understand why i could lift or put down my foot. I got first aid i.e. ice pack and hobbled home. Rest Tuesday and Wednesday & felt a bit more mobility to seek help. After calling round - I went to Urgent Care Centre (not A & E). The ortho should contact me before next wed for scan etc. Hope this helps others

  • 87 Sai-fi // Jun 16, 2016 at 4:41 am

    Tore my Achilles a few hours ago. I was playing basketball and dropped to the floor when I thought someone kicked me. I knew it wasn’t an ankle injury or anything like it. Being a Kobe fan, I knew almost immediately it was an Achilles tear. I injured it almost the exact same way.

    I felt like crying. Such a blunder of emotions. I wasn’t even supposed to go to the gym tonight. I limped off the court and thought about the long road to recovery and how much work it would take to get back to normal. Really sad that I won’t be able to play basketball or hike or do any of the stuff I love to do.

    I’m 31, just got married and just got a new job. I decided to not go to the ER in fear of a crazy hospital bill. Instead I made an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon tomorrow.

    Really appreciate this blog and I hope you guys are feeling better. I’m trying to stay positive.

  • 88 Ronaldo // Jun 29, 2016 at 11:34 am

    So there I was playing volleyball on a Costa Rican beach with aa bunch of teenagers. I heard a pop and then a pain in my calf. I knew immediatly it was more than average o the injury scale. After reading a lot, I am sure it is a partial rupture. My foot paasses the thompsen test but I am limping.I can almost walk normal if Igo slow. My ambiant pain is minimal to nothing. I can roll up on my toes but it hurts. I havent went for a professional diagnoses as I am away from any big cities and I feel fairly sure of what I have done. My DIY diagonoses says I have a partial tear on the upper part of the tendon. That is where I felt the initial pain/pop and where all current pain is. The lower part of the tendon feels intact and firm. I am alone with my 2 kids(read sherpa) on foot and public transport. I am 54 and in good shape.
    Should I fork out the $$$ and get to abig city or can I carefully continue on for the next 2 weeks. As I said, pain is minamal and I can bear weight and walk slowly.
    Thanks
    I am so happy to have found this site
    Ron

  • 89 xplora // Jun 29, 2016 at 3:43 pm

    Ron - you could be right in what you have diagnosed. If the tendon has ruptured high up near the muscle then it may have been a small section as it branches to the muscle which will allow you to walk and actually fail the Thompson test. Failing means you are OK and passing means you have ruptured. Go figure. If it is a high rupture then you will not have a surgical option anyway. The tendon attaches to 2 muscle groups as well, the soleus and the gastrocnemius and both have 2 sides. There is also another muscle there not attached to the AT which can aid walking but it is not significant. If you could get hold of a walking boot which will allow you to point your toes down then it will help in the interim. Even a flat boot with wedges under the heel to raise it would help. You really need and ultra-sound to determine the extent of the injury but many people have gone more than a couple of weeks and recovered fine. It would however be best to start some treatment now. Partial ruptures have a way of becoming full ruptures in time anyway. Limit your walking and in particular any stairs or using your toes to push off. Go up and down stairs on your heel. Shorten your stride to limit the flexion of your foot. Even put a wedge in the heel of your shoe to take pressure off the tendon. Good luck with it.

  • 90 Ronaldo // Jul 2, 2016 at 1:31 pm

    Thanks for the response Xplora.
    I am sorta in denial as there is such a lack of pain. I am defiantly limping without noticing. I am attributing it to partial loss of muscle use due to the tear. I can walk normally but it requires thought…. Strange.
    I will be watching for a boot to cross my path, but it is unlikely in the area we are at.
    I am also taking it real easy and trying to keep my toes from extending upwards more than 90 degrees for any reason.
    I am on a surf trip!!! Fortunately I am happy enough just laying in a hammock watching my kids, oh well just goes to show, when life is looking kinda bad , it’s still pretty nice in the tropics.

  • 91 Ronaldo // Jul 2, 2016 at 1:57 pm

    Ok so I just wrote that and plopped into the hammock only to look aty ankles and see that I am now , one week after the injury starting to get swelling in the ankle. Like I said there is hardly any pain and the pain there is , is in my mid to upper calf. I WAS carrying my backpack yeaterday. Is it time to go back to the city and to the doc? Or just keep it elevated and stay off of it?

  • 92 Stuart // Jul 3, 2016 at 4:12 pm

    Ronaldo - these decisions are entirely up to you. Since you now have a cankle I would suggest it is more than a muscle tear so your original diagnosis may be correct or it could be a complete rupture. Rest is good anyway. I would always encourage people to look at the long term but I understand you have your kids with you and to head to the city would spoil things for them. If you are worried that it is only a partial rupture and what you are doing will cause it to fully rupture then I would say there is every chance that would happen. But partial ruptures often fully rupture even after treatment. Pain in the mid calf is normal for an ATR particularly when the leg is straight and you are standing.

  • 93 Ronaldo // Jul 3, 2016 at 5:43 pm

    It’s funny to think what might spoil the kids Vacation is even on my thoughts but yes it is.
    As long as I am ambulatory I want to keep going .
    Once I get home I can collapse into depression and rehab and or surgery . I just don’t want to cause any irreparable in the mean time.
    Although a dramatic collapse on the side of the trail with an expensive small plane ride to the hospital might make a great start to; How I spent my summer vacation, for the kids essay and for me a workout in advanced medical Spanish .
    In the last couple of days I have done a fair amount of reading. I feel like as xplorer said a boot would be the best thing as soon as possible.
    If I elevate my foot the swelling immediatly goes down and there is no discoloration or pain.
    I am walking slow and hoping for the best.
    Thanks for all of the replies. I will definitely post how it all turns out. I am breathless with anticipation.

  • 94 chinaexpat // Jul 4, 2016 at 5:34 am

    Ronaldo, It took 1 month from my injury to surgery. Limping around made a lot of damage to my body. I have a much harder way to recovery so be careful

  • 95 Holdfast // Sep 7, 2016 at 9:33 pm

    I went to the ER after falling 10 feet off a ladder.-I suspected an Achilles problem because it felt mushy near the ankle.. they put on a temporary cast and I saw a surgeon 2 days later. He is definately in the non-surgical camp. I was scheduled for an ultrasound 1 week later and find out its a full rupture. I don’t see the surgeon again for 8 days to disccus the results. I really don’t know if non-surgical is an option but I guess I find out next week.

  • 96 marie // Aug 17, 2017 at 7:03 am

    Hello fellow Achilles Bloggers. I ruptured my Achilles’ tendon just over three weeks ago. I was miss diagnosed (no MRI, Ultra Sound or X-ray) at A&E and sent away with pain killers. After visiting my GP ( earliest appointment was ten days), she highly suspected that I’d ruptured my Achilles. I got a letter from her which I took to the hospital and was finally booked in for Ultra Sound and X-Ray the next morning. It was confirmed I had a ruptured Achilles (75% tear with 6cm gap and some fraying of tendon). My foot and calf had been put in plaster for a week and it was taken off yesterday and replaced with an Aircast Walker Boot and 3cm heel rise. I question weather the heel rise is adequate when there is supposedly a 6cm gap! I had originally wanted a non-surgery Achilles recovery when the accident had occurred. However, due to the delay of treatment and what I’ve read on blogs and MedWeb the deadline for this option appears to be one week with 3cm or less tendon gap tear. I enjoyed regularly running between 6 and 12 miles, four to five times a week prior to the accident and would like to get back to doing this. I’m concerned about rerupture or elongated ‘repaired’ tendon that inhibits my ability to walk or run properly. I would be very grateful for people’s views or if they are going through or been through similar hurdles and what they did to overcome them.

    Many thanks in advance.
    Marie

  • 97 amurfey // Sep 21, 2017 at 10:31 am

    Hi all,

    I ruptured my left Achilles on the morning of August 26th while playing tennis. After my playing partner helped me hop off the court and to my car in the parking lot, I drove myself home. I realized that it was probably the Achilles based on the pop I heard when it happened, and by the fact that I had no ability to put weight on the left foot.

    Within an hour of the injury I went to an Urgent Care clinic near my home. This was my first visit to Urgent Care, and I have to say it was overall a very positive experience (other than them confirming that I ruptured my Achilles!).

    They saw me within a couple minutes of me hopping in the door. The nurses and doctor were all well versed in diagnosing and treating Achilles injuries. They put me in a temporary cast, with my toes angled down (equinus). I followed up the next week with a podiatrist, and then an Ortho surgeon(more details in my achilles blog)

    Overall, I would highly recommend Urgent Care vs. going to an ER for initial treatment. This is exactly why these facilities have been created. ER visits are usually painfully slow and expensive. The ER also may not be well-versed in treatment of these types of injuries. Cost-wise, the visit to UC was very reasonable, and covered by my insurance plan.

    Just my $0.02…

  • 98 Mm1227 // Oct 8, 2017 at 1:42 am

    What happens if I ruptured my achillies and just immobilize it and do not get surgery ? I’ve heard it can potentially be better ? As I don’t have insurance and can’t afford to get the operation

  • 99 NDK // Nov 22, 2017 at 9:38 am

    I just popped my achillies last night at bastketball, I lunged forward for a drive, the foot I lunged from made a large popping sound that everyone heard, I fell on the floor screaming grabbing the back of my ankle. One of the guys there specialized in ankle and foot supposedly but he just said a bad sprain, wasn’t until I went home and read around and asked my friend who was a doctor to do the test where you squeeze on the calf to see ankle movement that I knew what it was.

    I am going to see my doctor this morning hopefully, and get it diagnosed. This is really terrifying and I am still pretty upset, I know this is all mental, but reading everyone elses experiences helps. Just hoping I can get the surgery ASAP but not holding out hope as Canadas heathcare system has long waits.

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