Future dancer

This site has been a great source of information and comfort over the last two weeks since I joined this club so I figured it was time to add my own simple story.

I’m a near 50 year old male living in Australia who started playing squash again recently after many years off the court.

A couple of weeks ago on the 16th February I was well warmed up after playing 4 or 5 games when I made a sudden turn and felt a sharp pain at the back of my right ankle.

I naturally accused my 13 year old son of hitting me with his racquet but realised that there was no way he could have done so as he was standing on the other side of the court! Assuming I was so uncoordinated that I must somehow have hit myself I hobbled off court promising to be back in a minute.

First thing I noticed was that my sore right ankle looked visibly different to the good left one, a bit less definition, slightly swollen and not solid to the touch….hmmm.  It was sore but not unbearable and felt slightly floppy but with a mostly normal range of movement.

By chance one of my mates in our social group that afternoon was a nurse.  I asked him over and said somewhat naively “this may sound like a dumb question but can you just snap your achilles?”, he looked at me and I knew from his expression that this wasn’t good…’’ this is going to take a long time to heal” was all he he said!

My mate said that he’d never actually seen a snapped achilles but given the pain and pure sponginess at the back of my ankle I should go to emergency to get it checked out.

My next mistake was trying to drive myself to hospital in an act of pure bravado, I got in the driver’s seat but as soon as I gently touched the brake pedal I knew this wasn’t going to be an option so I asked my mate to drive me instead.

At the emergency department I got seen separately by a nurse and a Doctor who both declared immediately that I had completely ruptured the tendon.  From reading this forum later I guess they were using the Thompson test to determine this but I didn’t know that at the time.

No imaging was done and I was put in a half cast with my foot pointing down, sent home and told to call an Orthopaedic surgeon in the morning, they said that I would need to be operated on within two weeks for best results.

I googled some of the surgeons names and found one who’d worked on some famous Australian tennis players, figuring that they would have had money and got good advice I managed to get an appointment the following day.

At the appointment I was given the option of a conservative or surgical approach and he fairly described all the pros and cons around chance of re-rupture, strength of join, risk of infection etc.  I had already done some reading around this and opted for the surgical approach mostly because I wanted to get active again as soon as possible and minimise the recovery time if possible.

The surgeon told me that his expected recovery plan was:  2 weeks in full cast post surgery, 6 weeks in a boot after that with gradual weight bearing, physio commencing after eight weeks.  He told me I couldn’t drive for at least 8 weeks, should be walking well after 3 months and back to sport in 6 months.  All in all this was somewhat better than I had expected!

I was booked in for surgery on Tuesday 25th (9 days post injury), he said he preferred to leave it 10 days or so as the tissues are easier to deal with after that time.

A week after the achilles rupture I thought it would be a nice idea to cook dinner for my family whilst my wife went out for a run.  I was in the middle of preparing everything when I decided to cut a corn cob in half, slipped with the knife and just about sliced the end of my finger off.  Back to emergency for the second weekend in a row, six stitches and a giant bandage on the finger.  Unfortunately this doesn’t help much with crutch agility, washing myself etc but it did cause much hilarity amongst my work colleagues - silver linings?

Surgery went well, I had a GA and a nerve block that lasted 24 hours.  I was kept in hospital overnight - the worst part of which surprisingly was trying to pee in the stupid bottle they give you, for some reason I found this extremely difficult, not sure if it was performance anxiety on a shared ward, the effect of medication or just the physics of peeing when lying mostly flat in bed - I was never so happy to go to a proper toilet again the next day I can tell you!  Sorry if this is too much detail :)

Went home the next morning with a prescription for Oxycodone (synthetic morphine).  When the nerve block wore off it was sore and I couldn’t seem to find any comfortable position to lay in bed without the cast digging into the wound.  Luckily this seemed to resolve itself after half a day of elevation and since then I’ve been mostly pain free.

Spent the first week after surgery pretty much in bed with feet up -a great chance to catch up on some reading and TV watching .  I haven’t been sleeping well though, I’m restless and twitchy at night, already starting to get paranoid about the possibility of re-rupture whilst in the cast due to excessive leg movement.  Is this even possible?

I’m going back in to the office today (8 days post surgery) for the first time, I’ll sit with my leg elevated and just see how it goes.  The cast is due to come off in another 7 days and hopefully I’ll go into a boot.

I also had the stitches out my finger yesterday so things are progressing in the right direction…one day at a time…

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