Jul 03 2012


My story to date

Posted at 11:02 am under Uncategorized

I am a little late to start a blog but better to start my story than not to start at all.

The Rupture Story:
I ruptured my Achilles almost 10 weeks ago on 4/27. I was playing pick up soccer every Friday night in a small group of regulars. A fun night to get my soccer “fix” in. I coach kids soccer almost year round so getting out there myself was much needed. Anyway, that night was one of those night where I was “taking it easy” so to speak. I was left wing on offense, had the ball in the corner and went to cross it. I didn’t even get to kick the ball when I fell over thinking someone came up behind me and kicked me in the back of the leg. I didn’t hear a snap or anything, just fell over in pain while looking behind me for who would have done such a thing to me. However, no one was around. Hobbled to the bench hoping it was a severe cramp or pulled muscle. I tried to stretch it but that didn’t help. So as I sat there focusing on the pain, I then knew what I was trying to deny. Its the Achilles. Oh god why?

Initial treatment/Surgery:
Now at the ER that same night as the rupture hoping to hear I was wrong. The Dr did the calf squeeze and of course nothing. He put me in a splint, gave me crutches, and a prescription for pain meds. On Monday 4/30 I was to call the Orthopedic surgeon and get in right away.

So, I go through the weekend with no pain really. Thinking this ain’t so bad. Maybe the ER was wrong. (still in denial). So I get in to see the Ortho on Monday morning. I proceed to ask, are you sure its ruptured? The Dr then goes, “you see this hole right here?” Proceeding to stick his finger in a hole where the Achilles should be. So I reply, “damnit!”. Splint put back on and surgery scheduled for the very next day. Nothing really to mention about the surgery as it was rather uneventful.

Post Surgery:
Now I am at home, in a half cast with a follow up appointment scheduled for 2 weeks later. I know typically its within a week, but he was on vaca. Now I feel the pain. My only relief is laying down with my foot up. Soon as I stand I want to scream from the rush of pain down my leg. I hate taking pain meds but I soon got past that. Thankfully we have a sofa that pulls out to a bed. I slept and layed around in my living room while my wonderful wife helped me with just about everything. I was ok with this for a few days but my active nature soon got me angered and frustrated. Figured I could return to work by the following Monday. Sure why not? Nope!  Not only was I trying to get there, my boss was being a voice of reason and telling me I had to take the time off.

2 weeks post surgery:
I see the doctor 5/15 to remove staples and get my cast. My only gripe about the appointment was that I should have received a blue cast to support the soccer team I coach, but he “accidentally” put on white. Oh well. Next appointment set up for 6 weeks later.

During Those next 6 weeks:
So I return to work the very next day on 5/16.  I had been driving with my left foot 1 week after surgery.  I gotta get around!  I am still coaching kids soccer and believe it or not, filling in reffing games as needed.  I figured once others saw my situation they would step up to help.  I quickly found out they could care less and still gave me crap about missed calls.  Seriously?!  Anyway, I found a couple people to carpool with to work so its only a short drive to meet them.  I also have a great boss and was able to ice up a few times a day and lay down in the nurse’s office here on site.  He also wanted me to work every other day but I was working from home Wednesdays only.  Yes I am that stubborn.

My only pain is when I pushed it and didn’t keep my foot elevated.  Until about week 4 I felt a pain in my calf which worried me.  It happened on a Friday afternoon and I went thru the long holiday weekend worried I had done something wrong.  Finally talked to the Dr on that Tuesday and he reassured me I was fine.

The big question:

Why was my treatment plan to have a cast for 6 weeks?  Why do I see most others going into a boot just a few weeks after surgery?  It seems as though the boot is the most common or most utilized treatment plan.  I did set up an appointment with my Dr to discuss that along with asking if my cast was too tight.  He mentioned that was just the way he had always done it and it makes him nervous to move to the boot for fear of re-rupture.  Good enough answer for me.  I will just wait it out.

6 responses so far

6 Responses to “My story to date”

  1. sheenaon 03 Jul 2012 at 11:55 am 1

    Hi there,
    I was in a cast for six weeks. I didn’t have the op but it seems that some docs don’t like boots for six weeks. My doc said he didn’t trust me not to slip when I wasn’t wearing the boot as I had slipped before. I got the boot yesterday at six weeks as am walking around now without crutches. It seems most people end up around the same place at about 10 weeks. My doc warned me not to overdo it though. Good luck!

  2. normofthenorthon 03 Jul 2012 at 1:33 pm 2

    Unfortunately, your Doc’s “that was just the way he had always done it and it makes him nervous to [do it differently]” explains about 98% of the variation in ATR treatment and rehab. If you didn’t get a serious pitch about the non-op way, that quote explains that, too. ATR treatment is generally a neglected sideline in O. Surgery, “the tonsillectomy of the leg”. So the Docs don’t bother keeping up with the new studies, because the whole thing is boring, and the old ways work well enough. And the patients mostly attribute God-like properties to their Docs — or at LEAST assume they’re paying attention to the best evidence. And the insurance companies keep overpaying for treatments that don’t help, or hurt.
    This great site has shone some light into that pit, but many important decisions are rushed and made with uninformed consent, or none. Don’t get me started — oops, too late! :-)

  3. hillieon 03 Jul 2012 at 1:49 pm 3


    I felt much safer when I was in my boot (after 2 long weeks in my blue cast). I was very securely fastened in (velcro allowing me to adjust for changing shape of leg), the boot had a decent, ‘anti-slip’ sole (Achilles wedge sole to start with), and it was made mostly of hard, protective plastic with a removable soft, comfy washable liner, which also meant that I could wash my legs and foot and be bootless in bed. Different doctors, different protocols.

    A few with right ATR’s have driven left footed. I didn’t try it but it sounds more scary than any walking around in crutches. A few weeks ago there was a string of comments on this subject here on AchillesBlog.

    Good luck with the recovery.

  4. dizmarkieon 03 Jul 2012 at 2:28 pm 4

    Thanks for the feedback everyone. Sounds like Norm shed some light on the different recovery procedures. My Ortho did talk to me about non surgical treatment but it sounded like the recovery time was longer and a higher chance of re-rupture. So I opted for the surgery.

    Hillie- you trying to make me jealous? ;)

  5. hillieon 03 Jul 2012 at 5:10 pm 5

    No need to be jealous. You are talking about the colour of the cast aren’t you? Because it was a split cast, it was actually predominantly blue on white (WBA, oh no) - I couldn’t get claret and blue!

    If you are jealous about short time in cast - not my fault. I just had ortho consultant and hospital that follow best practice… I was non-op but protocol timeline was same for op and non-op.

    Also, while non-op may be the way to go for many/most, there are still probably significant numbers who have to be operated on because it can be just too big a mess to heal conservatively ( I hate that word in this context, as the latest treatment is far from conservative - accelerated, aggressive yes).

    Week 17+ now and going to gym and PT.

    Looking forward to reading more…

  6. dizmarkieon 05 Jul 2012 at 10:23 am 6

    Yeah I was only talking about the color of the cast. :)

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