10 Weeks: Recovery and Uncertainty

Well, 10 weeks are in the books and 2 weeks since the dreaded re-rupture scare and things seem to be back on track somewhat. My physio noted yesterday that my AT had some lumps on it that was not there previously. We’re assuming it’s from the torn scar tissue. I’m hoping that it wasn’t scar tissue that was keeping the AT together. I still have a lot of bruising from the incident but he did note that my strength is back to where it was, so hopefully that’s good news.

I find myself unsettled by the fact that I just don’t know if I have caused any long term damage. My hope was to be able to play competitve sports again, but I am absolutely in fear that the AT could pop at any time. does this journey ever end…


#1 benz on 08.08.12 at 1:27 PM

Hang in there Eva! I’m sure you’ve heard this a million times but just take things slow & be patient & everything will work itself out, especially if the physical therapist said you are getting your strength back

#2 kimjax on 08.08.12 at 4:18 PM

Eva - the fear starts to go away around week 12 :). If I run two fingers up each side of my AT, there is a distinct bulge at one point - I’m assuming where the sutures joined the two parts. It’s pretty creepy, and I only feel it after lots of walking and it swells. I never had it before this week (14 weeks) - and haven’t injured it in any way. You’ll feel all sorts of weird kinks and bulges as you go along - they come and go. Of course, if it’s still there next week, I’ll probably start freaking out along with you, lol!

I’m sure we’ll look back on this and laugh next year - but when you’re in the midst of it - yikes!

#3 pauls on 08.08.12 at 8:11 PM

Keep your chin up! Keep working it slowly and carefully and you will get there!!!!

#4 eva10 on 08.08.12 at 10:32 PM

Thanks for the kind words everyone. You all are right! And I hope you’re right Kim, hope we can all laugh about it in a year :)

#5 normofthenorth on 08.09.12 at 1:50 PM

For sure, once it heals up, it’ll be much safer from ATR than your other leg! That’s the good news AND the bad. . .

#6 davidr on 08.09.12 at 2:41 PM

Safer from ATR than the other leg? I’ve been told the total opposite!

#7 Stuart on 08.09.12 at 6:03 PM

Eva - Norm is right. Once you have healed then that tendon will be stronger. The healing process continues for some time after the 12 weeks but the re-rupture danger does decline after that time. You will still have to be careful but there is no reason why you cannot resume explosive sports in due course. There will be a danger to the other tendon and it would be best for you to speak to your PT about ways you can lesson that risk. Whatever you do in the future will come down to how you want to live your life. Having been bucked off a horse many times, for some reason I still get back on. It is not always easy and the knowledge that I will most likely get thrown again some day only serves to steady my resolve. I enjoy riding. My advice is to do what you enjoy and live life to the full.

#8 Stuart on 08.09.12 at 6:38 PM

Eva - a further note. I just reviewed my page and remembered I had a post about this very thing. Have a read if you like. I am not in the unusual. Mostly very ordinary compared to many others here.

#9 normofthenorth on 08.09.12 at 8:25 PM

I’m 100% with Stuart on this, but the decision to return to high-risk activities is obviously about as personal and value-laden as decisions get. There’s a study linked on this site’s “Studies. . .” page showing the elevated risk all us ATR folks run, of rupturing the other ATR. Search the page for “contralateral”, which is their fancy way of saying “the other side”. They only followed up for 4 years post-ATR, and they found a several % risk of tearing the other AT, almost exactly 200 TIMES the “background” or “normal-person” risk. Compare that to a significantly lower risk of tearing the healed one again, and the risk is lopsided. And many of us tore the other AT well after 4 years later (me 8 years later, I remember another guy 11 years later), so this study doesn’t capture all the risk by a long shot.

I think I’ve “met” maybe another 10 or dozen fellow “both-siders” on this site over the ~2.5 yrs I’ve been hanging out here. My most extreme reflection of the elevated contralateral risk: Sitting beside my crutches in my sports-med-clinic’s waiting room after ATR #2, I struck up a conversation with a guy. He used to work in a PT clinic. He said that when they discharged an ATR patient after rehab, they’d usually say “See you soon!” because so many of them came back after they tore the other AT. That seems a bit too extreme, but the direction is correct, based on the evidence.

#10 normofthenorth on 08.09.12 at 8:29 PM

And in addition to a fairly solid guarantee against re-rupturing the healed AT, most ATR patients who’ve had trouble with Achilles tendinosis or other AT pains or discomforts find those problems lessened or eliminated after their ATR heals. I’ve never heard a convincing or conclusive explanation of the mechanisms involved, but I vote for taking the good news without asking too many questions! :-)

#11 eva10 on 08.10.12 at 7:25 AM

Thanks for all the comments everyone! You all must have secret magical powers because everything took a noticeable step forward yesterday. Finally at the point where I think I just need to regain strength again.

@stuart that was a great post, and I have a feeling that those sorts of thoughts tend to creep up throughout until you reach the 1 year mark.

@norm well if you all say it will be stronger then sports it is! But I will definitely have the PT equip me with techniques to avoid another rupture.

Just need to realize this is a marathon recovery and not a sprint, even though we would all prefer that the recovery time was considerably shorter! :)

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