Achilles Tendon Rupture Recovery

Aiming for full recovery!

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About

On Crutches

I ruptured (fully tore) my achilles tendon in my left ankle while playing basketball on Feb. 8th 2008. This happened about 3 games into the night, and I thought I’d warmed up enough and had stretched a bit as well. The problem is that I have had achilles tendonitis for several years, and it looks like it caught up to me finally.

After the surgery, (bed-ridden with a laptop) I googled to find other people who are recovering from their achilles injury as well, and I discovered numerous blogs and forums.

It’s been helpful reading about other people’s experiences with achilles tendon rupture (ATR), especially those further along on the road to recovery. They’ve all been supportive and willing to share their experiences.

It’s strangely comforting to know that there are others just like me who are also making sure to keep their leg elevated, using a shower chair, and limping around in crutches.

I decided that AchillesBlog would be useful for people who are temporarily side-lined by this injury. It helps you stay positive when you can see that full recovery is possible in the end.

You can share your ATR stories here. You can create your own blog and keep track of your recovery progress.

My AchillesBlog is: http://achillesblog.com/dennis

You can create your own here.

I’ve also been gathering and posting a list of external blogs and forums related to achilles injury, as well as other useful resources. If you find valuable information that you would like to share, please email (admin[#A0TT&achillesblog .com) them, and I’ll add to the list.

Dennis

38 Comments

38 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Bridget // Feb 23, 2008 at 6:35 pm

    Dennis,

    Nice work with the web page. Congratulations. It is awesome that you found something that you are so excited about.

  • 2 skigirl // Jun 1, 2008 at 11:32 pm

    Dennis,
    I have just had surgery on my achilles to have nodules removed and the fluid build up. I fortunately did not have a tendon rupture, but am definitely struggling with the injury and the boredom. I wanted to get it fixed before next ski season so that I can ski without pain. I am wonderin if it is okay for a blog here or not really appropriate?
    Michelle

  • 3 dennis // Jun 2, 2008 at 11:24 pm

    skigirl -

    You are more than welcome to start a blog here. Welcome, and I wish you speedy recovery. Looking forward to reading your story, and keep us posted.

  • 4 hobblit // Jul 5, 2008 at 12:33 am

    Thank you for all your work Dennis. Helps a lot as I had no idea what an ATR injury was prior to my own incident and this website.

    When someone makes a comment, it appears on your blog and you get emailed. Where should I respond? If I respond on the blog does the other person receive a comment back. I know if I respond by email it won’t show up on the blog. Thanks, sorry, new to blogging.

    Kevin

  • 5 dennis // Jul 5, 2008 at 2:31 am

    hobblit -

    No problem. Glad that you’ve found the site helpful.

    If you like, you can change your settings on your blog so that you don’t receive emails when people comment on your pages.

    It’s really up to you on how to respond, but I think it’s better to respond to the person on the same page as where the person commented. This way, it keeps the conversation in one place for you to refer back to, if you ever need to..

    If you respond on the blog, the other person doesn’t receive a comment back as e-mail (unless you’ve responed on their blog, and they’ve not turned-off the e-mail notification), but it’s typically better to respond on the blog, instead of via e-mail.. unless you want to send a private message.

    I hope that made sense. :)

  • 6 despina // Nov 8, 2008 at 3:04 pm

    Dennis,

    This is a wonderful site - so much great information and a fantastic forum.

    Nice work. Thanks so much.

    Cheers,

    Despina

  • 7 dennis // Nov 9, 2008 at 5:40 pm

    despina - thanks, I am glad that you are finding the site helpful. Good luck, and looking forward to reading more about your recovery.

  • 8 Pattie // Nov 18, 2008 at 1:33 pm

    Dennis: thanks for the great blog!!!! I ruptured my left achilles about 3 weeks ago. I thought it was a sprain. I did wonder why I couldn’t walk. Had surgery last Monday, a week. How long do I have to stay in this cast? I want a wheelchair-bike because theses crutches are hard. I don’t have great upper body strength. Anyway, I ‘m so glad you are doing well. We have to take care of our precious achilles, eh? Especially you being an athlete. I’m 48, a mom with a dog. But I need to move!!!! Take care. You are now my hero in the recovery world.
    Peace.

  • 9 Pattie // Nov 18, 2008 at 2:15 pm

    Dennis:
    I can’t create a blog. What does “append” mean?

  • 10 dennis // Nov 18, 2008 at 8:04 pm

    Pattie: “append” means to “add to”.
    For example: if you have a word “clinton” and you want to append to that the current year, it would be: “clinton2008″
    Now if you want to append the current month to that, it would be: “clinton2008november”

    I hope this helps. We have to do this to stop the spammers.

  • 11 SFCat // Jan 7, 2009 at 8:56 pm

    Yay! Wish this was around in 2007 when I ruptured my left one but glad it’s here for the right one. Thanks for creating this site. What a great idea!

  • 12 screwdriver // Oct 14, 2009 at 10:35 am

    hey dennis - have you seen the recent espn the magazine -body issue october 19-2009- check it out starting page 88. talks about genetics and its relation to injuries and such , its too early of a study bu interesting .

  • 13 Andrew Tucker // Jun 1, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    Dennis,
    Your blog is awesome. I ruptured my achilles April 28, 2010. I just started my own achilles rupture blog using WordPress before I stumbled across your site! I really want to share my story with everyone as I’m pretty young to have this injury - 25 - and I will be displaying video of my rehab. My site is at http://www.achillesruptureblog.com, so if you can add me to your network, I would really appreciate it!

  • 14 dennis // Jun 2, 2010 at 8:06 pm

    Andrew, I’ve just added your blog to the ‘External Links’ on the main site. Glad that you found this site, and I wish you speedy recovery.

  • 15 rsn // Aug 21, 2010 at 9:09 pm

    thank you for your leadership on this blog! just ruptured mine august 2010 and i cant tell you how helpful this has been!

  • 16 Jan // Oct 21, 2010 at 3:17 am

    Hello
    I live in Wales. A doctor at the practice said I have torn my achilles tendon at the bottom and said it would take weeks to heal - unfortunately there was little other advice, he was even reluctant to agree that I might need to rest it for a bit. I am left wondering if I should be trying to move around as normal, drive, swim, go to work (I have lot of travelling/walking in my job) etc - honestly I could not get a straight answer just more or less “do what you can, but don’t overdo it”. I am walking on tip toes most of the time and trying to elevate it at least in the evening as it really hurts by the time I go to bed and taking the Ibruprofen the doctor prescribed,but would really welcome some advice - have booked another appointment with a different doctor and would welcome what comments to ask.

  • 17 manupstairs // Oct 21, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    Jan…honestly if possible, make sure they do the test to see how far off your foot really is. I don’t understand why they don’t just get an MRI and see what’s going on inside. Maybe its different in europe so I don’t wanna sound overly american but I can’t figure out how can they really know whats’ going on in there without it. Perfect case if you..did u tear it? is it partial tear? is it complete rupture? is it just strained? Or is is just weakened. I really don’t understand how any doc can know and make a diagnosis without seeing the tendon itself. I guess its just me..but that MRI changed my life literally. Who knows what I would or wouldn’t have done or what the docs would have tried to do if they just had to guess. They were telling me I was fine and seems like i’m good to go..I really really really wasn’t!!!

    Anyway i’m sorry jan you’re having this experience but if u are traveling, walking, etc..uhm I’m assuming you’re ok and maybe you have a partial tear. After reading about my pain..I mean there is simply no way I could have done anything you are doing. I could not get around, walk, stand, etc. So maybe you just strained it or its a partial tear..but even a partial can be incredibly painful…but if doc thinks its partial..then ok fine, i guess i understand maybe he feels its not a severe tear. I had tears in my achilles already and it just went finally one day. That’s why i am watching my right now because it feels weak also like the other one did thru the years.

    Maybe provide little extra info about your pain and when it hurts.

  • 18 Jan // Oct 21, 2010 at 6:18 pm

    Thank you - saw another doctor in the same practice today, who now thinks I have “strained” rather than torn the tendon?! she was concerned that I could not flex my foot towards me - mmm think the tendon problem may be the reason for that, just guessing, she said I needed emergency physiotherapy today but I had to ring local hosp physio self referral line, which was only open until 1pm and I couldn’t get through, well I did eventually only to be cut off!! Perhaps this is the British experience of public health care - anyway I am now seeing a private physio tomorrow who works with Welsh rugby players, so he should be able to give me a proper diagnosis. I tried getting back to the doctor by phone, but she relayed through her receptionist that if she made the referral for me to the physio dept at the hospital it could take weeks or even months for an appointment to come through. I will let you know how get on tomorrow, I just want a proper diagnosis and begin treatment/rest or whatever else is required to get me back on two feet! Thank you again.

  • 19 normofthenorth // Oct 22, 2010 at 12:27 am

    Jan, for most of us who tore an AT (and I’ve done ‘em both!), the only thing preventing us from flexing our foot upwards, in the so-called “dorsiflex” direction, is the terrible feeling it creates from pulling the ends of the torn AT apart.

    Ultrasound and MRIs are recommended a lot, but I think there are two very reliable LOW-tech tests (which your PT could do) to see if you have or have not:
    1) The Thompson test. It can’t be reliably self-administered. Lie on a bed, prone, foot hanging over the end. Somebody else gives your calf a good squeeze. If your foot moves (toe down/away = PLANTARflexed), you’ve still got a connected AT; if not, not.
    2) You may have already done this “test” yourself: Try walking up some stairs, normally, with your (injured-foot) heel hanging out “over air”. If your life flashes past your eyes soon after you put your injured foot on the step (when you start transferring your weight to that leg), you’ve torn your AT. Most of us ATR patients learned INSTANTLY to put our ENTIRE injured foot ON the step, and “gimp-walk” up stairs!

    Good luck!

  • 20 Jay // Dec 3, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    Hi Dennis,

    I just tore my achilles a month ago and am 2 weeks post op. I also live in NYC and wanted to get any recommendations for PT in the city?

    Your site has been very helpful and I’m looking forward to getting on the road to recovery and back to an active lifestyle.

    Any recommendations would be appreciated.

    Thanks. Jay

  • 21 dennis // Dec 3, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    Jay, glad to hear that you found the site helpful. Here’s a link for helping you find a PT: http://achillesblog.com/gerryr/2010/06/16/finding-a-physical-therapist/

    The key thing is to find somewhere close to either your work or your job that accepts your insurance and follow the above guidelines. I haven’t had a good experience so far in the city, and if you find someone that’s really good, please feel free to share!

  • 22 mickh // Jul 18, 2011 at 3:17 am

    I have a great product that I think many of your followers would be interested in. It’s called the Easy Crutch. It was designed by me with some help from some friends after I ruptured my achilles playing basketball 2 years ago. Two years later it has been perfected and produced and is ready for market. Please check out my website and let me know what you think. easycrutch.webs.com

  • 23 connie1964 // Apr 13, 2012 at 9:42 pm

    Dennis,
    I’ve been dealing with Achilles Tendonitis for 8 months now under medical care, but it took me 3 months to finally go to the doctor. I also have Haglunds Deformity which is extra bone one the heel bone which is poking into my very tight Achilles. I have worn a boot, have had my foot and calf casted twice, and just started my 3rd round of Physical Therapy. Surgery is looming if things don’t get better this time. I have a question about ultrasound therapy. I just had my first two PT sessions after getting out of my second cast. During the first session, I experienced painful cramping once near the ankle bone. During today’s second session, I had cramping again twice and it was horribly painful. So painful that I actually said something to the tech. The pain stopped immediately when the tech pulled the ultrasound away. The physical therapist said this was abnormal. Ok, so now I’m quite concerned. I’m wondering if anyone knows what cold be going on?
    connie1964
    connie

  • 24 Xpf72q // Apr 14, 2012 at 10:10 am

    Connie, like you I have been dealing with Achilles tendonosis for nearly 8 months beginning with left tendon thickening and severe pain last September only seeking medical care after 2 months or so of limping around. Have u had an MRI? Mine indicates thickening but “no discrete tear” although I suspect there are many micro tears in there. The ultrasound may have just triggered a muscle spasm that can resolve itself but I’d void it for a while. Are u doing eccentric heel drops as well? They have proven results alto I have been doing them for months with little help. What r the surgery options your doctor mentioned? Mine indicated tendon debridememt but said it has ,iced results! And is painful and said the best for now is to do all we can to let it heel naturally so I am in the boot during the day and shuffle around home in the evening. Best to you…

  • 25 rogernichols52 // May 31, 2014 at 3:36 am

    One week post injury and 3 days post operation, I would like to share my experiences. I am 62 but look and feel much younger and keep pretty active, have two young daughters adopted from China and was is a a sports nut, so have to keep up with her. Playing in a Dad’s cricket match on Saturday. May 24th 2014, went to drive of to take a catch fielding and collapsed looked behind me to see who had kicked me in the back if the ankle and of course no one was there. I immediately know what had happened. Got carried of the field immediate ice pack and elevation bit leg started to swell. Managed to drive myself home and them my family took me to A&E at Stoke Mandeville. Physical tests, they could feel the gap, and the Thompson test confirmed a full rupture. I was put in plaster and sent home with blood thinking injections and crutches.
    Next day started searching the web and realised I was in trouble. I run my owned executive search firm and had flights booked to Johannesburg, Istanbul and Moscow over the next month. Started to read about non operative treatment as an alternative and the long recovery time. It was a the spring bank holiday weekend so could not speak to any doctors until Tuesday morning, Ye then I had done my research and had selected a specialist clinic for for and ankle problems in London. They phoned me at 8.45 am on the first morning they were open (Tuesday) and told me to come straight in. Diagnosis was reconfirmed following an ultrasound scan. I had my operation on Wednesday morning and had a minimally invasive technique to repair the full ruptured and messy tendon.
    Back home on Thursday morning in plaster, lots of pain, elevation, rest etc.
    Appointment to see the surgeon in two weeks, don’t know what the recovery period will be like.
    Hope the pain soon stops as I am not very good with painkillers, they upset my stomach. I am having to re-plan all my work commitment and holidays. I was due to go to St Thomas in the USVI in 8 weeks but not sure if that is a god idea. Will I be in a boot still, can I swim etc?

  • 26 hillie // May 31, 2014 at 12:51 pm

    Hi Roger

    You are on old page here which doesn’t matter much but I’d go to the home page and set up your own achilles blog within the main one. You’ll also see there just how to establish a timeline, how-you-did-it and so on, if you wish.

    By messy, do you mean too messy to repair without surgery, although you don’t say if you had a scan to confirm need for surgery?

    You seem to have left your private clinic without a rehab schedule which you deserve (and even more so if you or your insurance paid mega£).

    Take a look at /Suddsy (lots of very informative posts including the latest UK and other protocols) and /Cecilia who has compiled some research data as well as her own experiences. And lots more too as you have probably found out.

    Ask your doctor about long flights (and DVT), and be prepared to still be in a boot at 8 weeks. Critical period for re-rupture at that stage, less so after 12/16 weeks, and up to 12 months for what might be called a full recovery. I was able to swim carefully after about 10 weeks (YouTube has videos of guys swimming while wearing a boot).

    When you see your surgeon in 2 weeks you should be setting up a physiotherapy routine - key is early mobility and keeping some flexibility and muscle mass.

    Good luck.

    H

  • 27 Roger Nichols // Jun 1, 2014 at 4:40 am

    Thanks for your reply very helpful. The comment about messy was following an ultrasound scan which confirmed the full rupture but also that the tear was messy. My surgeon later confirmed it was like spaghetti. I guess it all happened so quickly that you find lots if questions unanswered. Saw surgeon for 30 mins on Wednesday morning then lots of drama trying to find a bed in the hospital, sent for a scan Wednesday evening, saw the surgeon again before the operation on Thursday, operated Thurday lunchtime, saw him again post op, then 30 mins with a physion then home. I have an appointment to see him in two weeks.
    I guess the recovery protocol and physio start then.
    I am going to delay my holiday so that it will then be 10 weeks from the op so hopefully I will be able to swim.

  • 28 hillie // Jun 1, 2014 at 10:11 am

    Roger

    If you haven’t seen the feature already you will probably be interested in reading what happened to the BBC’s Andrew Marr when his AT popped.

    telegraph.co.uk / health/3344831 / No-its-nothing-Serious-honest…. (fill in the gaps in the url, may help with the moderation issue we sometimes have here).

    “A combination of shredded blotting paper and rotten crab-meat.” Oh, I said, that is disgusting. Blotting paper and crab meat? “No, rotten crab meat.”

    It’s interesting for any ATR victim to read as it is a reminder of how the injury was treated and rehabbed 8 years ago.

    Ironically, modestly and ultimately rather sadly, Andrew also wrote “There are enough cancers, strokes and heart attacks around for us to keep our sympathy focused there, and not on middle-aged people who insist on doing a little more than their body feels is reasonable”! Early last year, Andrew himself suffered a stroke… The good news is that he has made sufficient recovery to present his political programmes on the BBC.

  • 29 normofthenorth // Jun 2, 2014 at 1:49 am

    Roger, if you’ve done more research you may have already realized that “the long recovery time… of non operative treatment” is an old wives’ tale, or maybe an old surgeons’ tale. Cf., e.g., AchillesBlog.com/Cecilia/ protocols for a summary of some modern and highly successful non-op treatments that may be faster than you’ll go post-op.

  • 30 hillie // Jun 2, 2014 at 11:13 am

    Norm

    As you know I am a proponent of non-op but aren’t there cases like Roger’s (spaghetti) and Andrew Marr’s (rotten crab meat - see note posted above) when surgery is necessary for a sustainable repair?

    In my own case, my specialist considered surgery but wanted to see how successful a spell in the boot would be before taking that decision. For me this was the ideal scenario - if the low risk approach wasn’t working after 2 (?) weeks, then surgery would have been back on the agenda.

    Non-op worked great and I was out of the boot indoors in just under 9 weeks (I did take the 9 weeks before wandering outside without the boot but I do live in a location where flat surfaces are few and far between apart from indoors).

  • 31 normofthenorth // Jun 2, 2014 at 1:19 pm

    Hillie, it sounds logical - and many surgeons seem to tell almost EVERY post-op patient that their ATR was so “special” that they would have been doomed without the op. But Wallace’s amazing non-op results with 945 consecutive patients apparently gives those reassuring claims the lie. IIRC, Wallace got good results with ALL of his primary ATRs non-op - if not the first time around then the second time (after his <3% reruptures)! Some injuries were excluded, e.g., if an Xray showed an avulsion, but everybody else seems to have healed well - e.g. well enough that they all returned to their sports! That presumably includes horses’ tails, crabmeat, and all the other soft tissue horror stories that OSs love to tell.
    The two different “databases” may help explain the durability of ATR operations among surgeons, despite the amazing evidence from Wallace et al. While a lot of the bedside chatter from OSs is just loose talk, any experienced OS who fixes ATRs really WILL have seen a wide range of tendons, gaps, etc. And it really IS hard to believe that just keeping the torn ends approximated then gradually moving and pulling more, will fix them ALL! Hard to believe, but facts are facts, and evidence like Wallace’s is evidence. As the physicists like to say, If it exists, it must be possible!
    BTW, the bedside post-op sweet talk is NOT restricted to OSs or to ATRs. It seems to be a common practice among surgeons in general. (I got it after my ATR surgery and my heart-valve surgery too.) It is often a harmless antianxiety pill with no bad side-effects: the patient feels better during rehab, and is more impressed with their (still human, still <100% grades) surgeon. But in ATR care, it’s also distorting to the search for truth about treatment options.

  • 32 scrappydodah // Feb 16, 2020 at 6:16 am

    Dennis How do you start a blog? I’ve searched your site and clicked on starting a blog but it just takes me to the home page .

  • 33 scrappydodah // Feb 16, 2020 at 6:16 am

    Dennis How do you start a blog? I’ve searched your site and clicked on starting a blog but it just takes me to the home page .

  • 34 scrappydodah // Feb 16, 2020 at 6:19 am

    Dennis How do you start a blog? I’ve searched your site and clicked on starting a blog but it just takes me to the home page .

  • 35 scrappydodah // Feb 16, 2020 at 6:25 am

    Dennis How do you start a blog? I’ve searched your site and clicked on starting a blog but it just takes me to the home page .

  • 36 scrappydodah // Feb 16, 2020 at 6:26 am

    Dennis How do you start a blog? I’ve searched your site and clicked on starting a blog but it just takes me to the home page .

  • 37 blobsworth // Feb 17, 2020 at 7:39 am

    Hello Scrappy. These are the instructions for getting going. I’ve just cut and pasted them from the site:

    To create a new blog, please create a user account first. And then, please send me an e-mail (achillesblog@gmail.com) from the e-mail address that you registered with, and I’ll create a blog for you. Please tell me what your username is, and mention briefly how your injury was caused. (The amount of spam blogs that gets created on the site is becoming unmanageable, so I’ve decided to restrict creation of blogs to just me.) I check the site frequently and check AchillesBlog e-mails from my phone, so it’ll won’t take long for you to get your blog up and running.

  • 38 scrappydodah // Feb 17, 2020 at 1:54 pm

    Fantastic! Thank you.

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