Hello fellow ATR-ers (is that a term?),
First of all, thanks to my friend, Gerry (fellow AchillesBlogger), for referring me to this great community! So much great information here! I trust my doctor very much, but it’s so nice to get the injur-ee’s personal, unfiltered POV on this site. (sorry for making up words, my internal thesaurus isn’t on yet. need more coffee…)
Anyways, very similar to many people here, I tore my Achilles playing basketball. The cover story that I tell other people is that I tore it playing one-on-one with Kobe, but in reality, I just tore it playing … by myself. That what I get for trying to be active. You can’t win if you don’t play, but I guess you can’t lose if you don’t play either.
I’ve never broken any bones or tore any tendons in my life, but when it happened, I knew it was something bad. Somehow I managed to drive myself home. My wife took me to the ER and was splinted up right away. I got a MRI the same day and was in a full cast by day 4.
I opted for no surgery for a couple reasons. A) I am not really an athlete (anymore). After my son was born, I rarely have time to workout. Getting back to peak physical state was not necessary for my day job. B) It sounds like the re-rupture rate for the non-op route has improved in the recent years with better rehab equipment (Vaco) and improved rehab process. C) There’s no risks/complications that are associated with any surgery. I am still long ways from full recovery, so time will tell whether or not non-op was a good decision.
After getting casted, I was in minimal pain if I keep my foot elevated. Standing up for any period of time in the first couple days was excruciating! The worst part of the cast is the ITCH! I was very desperate. One tip that I found off one of the Amazon reviews is to use the handles on kids beach buckets. It’s long, thin, and flexible. Perfect for getting in the cast for an itch relief. Sani-cast is a $25 version of that on Amazon. The thing that worked the best for me is CastCooler (http://www.castcooler.com/). Basically you use your home vacuum to suck air through your cast, making your cast dry and comfortable. It’s a bit overpriced at $40, but it works well. It’s just a piece of plastic that ensures a tight seal.
I got bored at home, so I was back at work less than one week after the injury. What I didn’t realize was everything at work was further. Bathroom was further. Water was further. Food was further. I was working up quite a sweat at work! Everything seemed so far!
At first, I was sticking to crutches because I wanted to make the best out of the situation and strengthen my arms with the crutches. After a week, I gave up. It made no sense to make my body build up the arms when it should be focused on fixing the AT. I ordered the “Deluxe Steerable Knee Walker Knee Scooter Knee Cycle Leg Walker Crutch Alternative in Blue” on Amazon (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009VLBPI0). I loved it! It was so much faster to get around. I can use my hands again. The basket was very convenient for carrying stuff. The brake cable was a bit long, so I fixed it with some Velcro ties. Highly recommended! Everybody at work was jealous of how fast I was going. The security guards wanted to put up speed limit signs.
Two weeks after my injury, the doc cut open the cast to make sure the tendon reattached by itself (or else I would need surgery). Everything looked good, so I was re-casted for two more weeks. I asked my son what color I should get for my next cast and my son replied “rainbow”. Fortunately, the doc was in a good mood (day before long weekend) and I got the rainbow cast. It was a hit among the kids and my coworkers.
So fast forward two more weeks, recovery was going as planned. Cast came off and on goes the Vaco cast. It took a few days to learn how to walk again. It’s not as fast as my knee scooter, but still nice to be able to stand on both feet again. It’s also awesome to be able to clean my injured leg and SWIM!
I start PT tomorrow and one week away from FWB. Making progress. Hope everybody’s recovery is going ok! I’ll update again soon.