Ruptured at my nursing graduation ball

Hi there i was hoping to create a new post to share and compare my experiences with others.
Im British and rutured my achilles on 14th September at my nursing graduation ball. Im 47 and was very excited to start my new nursing career. At my graduation ball I had been dancing barefoot, a bit of cha cha sliding and all was well. Sat down for a little rest and ruptured walking back to the dancefloor.
Unfortunately, the next day I presented at minor injuries clinic (aka as urgent care centre) where the rupture was missed and tghe practioner thought i had some soft tissue damage in my calf. Subsiquently I continued working and mobilising the whole of the next week. I was drenched in diclonfenic gel and walked flatfooted with a severe limp. Had a lot of pain but as I had been checked over felt ok just working through it.
After five days I made myself an appointment with a private physio. He immediately diagnosed a complete achilles rupture after doing the thompson test. I refused to accept my diagnosis and trotted ( well limped) off to my GP who confirmed a complete rupture advising me to go straight to A and E. Like anyone else whoevers ruptured their achilles I was devasted ! Had a bit of a cry and was terrified that i would loose my job.
Anyway ended up in a below the knee cast for just over x2 weeks. I was truely terrible on crutches. My ‘good’ weightbearing leg has severe osteoarthritis and had undergone cartlidge repair just the previous month. Every step was agony. I looked online and discovered the iwalk 2.0, its like a pirate leg and just gave me the ability to get around a little. I really recommend the iwalk 2.0 if you are struggling on crutches. Cost £170 and I used it for aroynd 10 days as i then went into a boot. Despite only using it for a few days it was worth every penny, ill ebay it when ive convinced im not going to rerupture.
Im booted now and due to have the rest of my wedges removed this week. Ive had the boot on for 4 weeks. This will be the first time ive seen any nhs professional in 4 weeks. At fracture clinic ( where i went after A and E) I saw a consultant. After casting my next nhs interaction was with a physio who supplied my boot, advised to use with crutches but weight bear as soon as able. I only needed the crutches for the first couple of hours. I took to the boot well and can walk ok in boot. I find the boot hot, sweaty and bulky. I wear it all the time and remove it for washing only, recently Ive been taking it off for an hours treat every evening,  my foot is elevated and im incredibly careful. Now its 4 weeks later and ill see the phsio again just for wedge removal and instruction on flat foot boot walking technique. How does this compare with the interventions that others have had in other areas of the Uk ?
I have gone and seen my own physio privately this week whos given me some excercises for my toes. Its expensive but I feel my recovery is worth it. Im signed off sick for a total of 12 weeks from discovery of injury which takes me to end of December. My undamaged leg with osteoarthritis is so painful as it was still recovering from cartledge repair on it. So i feel like Ive had a double whammy. Im desperate to start my new job as a community nurse, I feel so gutted.
So in summary
week 1 post incident rupture missed
week 2 rupture identified by physio, consultant referred for ultrasound and cast.
week 3 in cast….cast worn 2 weeks and replaced with boot.4 wedges in boot.
week 4 in boot 4 wedges
week 5 following instruction from phsio when i first got boot removed 2 wedges, leaving only 2
week 6 boot worn 2 wedges insitu, went to see private physio.
week 7 i have appoint with physio at the end of the week to remove wedges but will continue to wear boot 24/7 for another 4 weeks
So my question is firstly can anyone any hints, tips or comments ?Secondly how long after coming out of the boot before you could a) drive and b) walk competently  ?
oh and i forgot to say that i am overweight, probably moreso now that ive been comfort eating so how long before swimming, crossing training etc ?
I feel like a coilled spring raring to start my new career ….. everyday is a day closer to recovery !

6 Responses to “Ruptured at my nursing graduation ball”

  1. Hi, this is a comment.
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  2. I also was misdiagnosed for a week. I’m at 8 weeks this Thursday from getting in the boot and 9 weeks from injury. I started PT at 6 weeks and walking in the boot at 7. My doc says 12 full weeks in the boot. I’ll be down to one wedge in a few days.

    I can’t advise on some of your questions since we are at about the same point in recovery, but my PT cleared me to do any upper body exercises I want and lower body that doesn’t cause high tension on the tendon. I’ve been doing a lot of recumbent bike riding and elliptical (in the boot of course). The exercise makes a world of difference with my mental health!

  3. Hi Bruiser,

    thanks for your response. So im in east yorkshire HEY trust and standard protocol is non op, 2 weeks in cast non weight bearing with crutches, then x8 weeks in the boot weight bearing as tolerated (x2 weeks 4 wedges, x2 weeks 2 wedges, x4 weeks no wedges). Since boot went on Ive had no nhs intevention. Appoint with nhs physio is this friday 9th nov to remove final wedges. How does this compare to your journey. My injury was 14th Sept …. is that similar to yours?

    Ive been thinking about static biking and cross training at the gym but i cant really get there. Think youve motivated me to confirm im ok with the physio and tag along with my husband next time he goes, I will persuade him to take the car instead of cycling there as he normaly does…. i am starting to go a bit crackers.

    You off work too ? I cant wait to get back but as a community nurse I need to be able to drive and my job is quite physical. I cant bear the thought of risking a rerupture.

    Keep up the good work ….everyday is a day closer to recovery!

  4. I had a heel spur removed so I had surgery which means things are held down with sutures and anchors. For my right leg which is used for accelerating and breaking I was able to drive at the 6 week mark. My doc had me push on his hand with my toes to check my strength and it was good enough to use for braking. I was still in the boot for another 2 weeks but could put a shoe on for driving. For the non-op route it would be up to your doc to let you know when you could drive.

    And, as Bruiser said, you should be fine exercising with the boot on. I was doing the rower and recumbent bike with the boot. At week 8 I got the OK to put a shoe on for the recumbent bike. I could have been doing the elliptical but haven’t done it yet. My doc told me to keep the elliptical on flat since he doesn’t want me doing any hills until the 6 month mark. But you can bump up the resistance on the elliptical to get a good workout even on flat.

  5. Hi Sharon,

    I ruptured on 9/6 playing basketball. I went to the ER that evening and was told it was a strain and to see an orthopedist in a week if it didn’t improve. Four days later I was playing around with an ultrasound machine (I’m a medical student) and decided to ultrasound my tendon…it was clearly ruptured…I could even see fat coming up in between the gap…it was pretty disgusting. I made an appointment with the orthopedist and was in a boot with about 1.6 inches of wedges. He told me to get an MRI so we could decide about surgery. The MRI showed that my rupture was higher up (about 2 inches from the heal) and had only separated by about a centimeter so we decided no surgery. I was NWB for 2 weeks then PWB for another 4. At 6 weeks I started PT and began walking in the boot. In a few days I’ll be 10 weeks from rupture and 9 weeks from starting treatment. Doc says I can be out of the boot by 12 weeks.

    I remember being very surprised at my 5 week checkup that the tendon was completely connected. I could flex my calf and see some slight movement. Really once I started my PT things got much better…I began walking in the boot a few days after (which is the best thing ever after being NWB). I started doing exercises with resistance bands (no movement past neutral) and started riding the bike and doing a lot of upper body work. Exercising is great for your recovery (there is a ton of academic info on the importance of “loading the tendon” early on) but it is even better for your mental state. As long as your doctor gives the OK, get at it and start PT ASAP.

    Unfortunately I’ve had to keep up with school during the whole ordeal. My university has let me postpone a few things and it allowed me to get caught up, but man that first two weeks of NWB I got pretty behind. Luckily I don’t have to be on my feet to study…I can only imagine what you’re going through as a nurse…it can be such a physical profession.

    I’m worried about rerupture too. I ultrasounded my tendon again this past week and it is noticeably thin at the site of rupture…connected but thin. Imagine a bridge, that’w what it looks like. I will let my doc and PT know but from what I’ve read it’s fairly normal to look like shit for 6-12 months.

    One of these days I’ll take the time to blog about my whole experience. Until then, best of luck with your new career and your journey of healing. Hopefully this time next year we can look back and smile about all the character we built with this ordeal!

  6. Hi Sharon

    I can’t really help as I only ruptured my left last Saturday playing hockey. Had been playing for 30 mins with a thorough warm up (I am 45) and until 5 years ago when I ruptured my ACL I was skiing for Great Britain. I am sanguine about the injury but I am not one to sit around and yes it is driving me crackers too.

    I am sorry that it is impacting your job and getting out into the community is pretty much what you do so not a lot you can do to get around that.

    I have opted (not pushed for surgery) for conservative - had too many ops over the years to put my body back together.

    I wish you all the best with the rest of your recovery but I think that you have cracked the back of it. If I have learned anything about rehab (from my ACL and a complete AC joint rupture in my shoulder) take it a day at a time - there is no rush - get it right so that it doesn’t continue to plague you for years.

    Good luck.


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