Two shoes - official!

Had hospital appt on Wednesday and was at last told I can stop using the boot and go into two shoes - although had already been doing so in and around the house for some weeks.  Tendon still weaker than I would like but find myself walking with only an almost imperceptible limp.  Still nowhere near a single heel raise on the injured heel, but otherwise flexibility pretty good.  Am hanging on to the boot for the moment as have business trip to South africa a couple of weeks ahead and may need to walk quite a lot there so may take it over in my baggage as a standby.  Progress at this stage seems a little slow, but at least am now driving and walking reasonable distances so mobility is back which feels terrific.  Still a little awkward on steps and stairs and perhaps am over-cautious at times, but doubt that is a bad thing!

Am I taking a risk?

Just about 11 weeks since start of treatment - non-op. At last appt 2 weeks ago, new UK NHS doctor at the hospital said that I seemed to be doing pretty well but I should stay in aircast boot another 3-4 weeks and then probably go into 2 shoes at that time depending on next examination. Past few days though I have only worn boot (plus one crutch) if going out for longer journey on foot (like to church on Christmas Day - 10 min walk) but have been walking round home either barefoot or in shoes - I’ve been careful, particularly going up and down stairs etc. But is what I am doing too risky? Should I be staying in boot in the house regardless even though i find wearing the boot painful on the underside of my heel. I can’t really walk without a limp without boot (but unsure if limp is due to my achilles, or calf muscle (or prob a combination of both). I’m not in any pain either (although its strikes me reading these blogs that pain may be more as a result of having had an operation which, of course I haven’t had.) I’m due back for my next appt in 2 weeks now and will, of course, be wearing my boot for it and am assuming - barring accidents meantime - that I will then be told i can do what I’m mostly doing now anyway with doc’s approval. I can do double heel lifts at the moment but find the idea scary so don’t push it. have not been recommended physio at all. I do have a redundant exercise bike which I could use - and no doubt will shortly, but so far have been dubious about using it. Any advice from others who have followed a non-op recovery?  One other query.  My hamstrings both feel particularly tight and uncomfortable, particularly in the mornings.  Has anyone else found this to be the case?  Might it be a result of having my heels elevated (1.e when i was using the boot also used to put a balancing heel lift into my other shoe.)

Meanwhile a belated happy Christmas to all and wishing those in achilles rehab a swift recovery in the year ahead.

Another 4 weeks in boot!

Had hospital appt yesterday - seen by new doctor. Reckons progress is very good. Seemed impressed with dorsiflexion and general mobility in ankle, but even so said I should take another 3-4 weeks in boot. Given this is Britain’s NHS system unable to secure appt in 3 weeks so now due back in 4 weeks time when he reckons I’ll be able to progress to 2 shoes and says I should be walking reasonably in 3-4 days which seems a bit optimistic to me. Can’t say I’m too unhappy about additional time in boot as it somehow feels a lot safer. Even so have taken to walking around in bare feet a little more at home, but very cautiously as I guess peak period for re-rupture is in the next few weeks. Disturbingly Doc said my conservative treatment will still suggest a 20% chance of re-rupture after this period which isn’t necessarily what I’ve been reading here. He says self-repaired tendon remains weaker forever! Anyone have anything to refute this re conservative treatment?

9 weeks and next appt.

Going to hospital for next check up tomorrow. Will have been in aircast boot for 4 weeks. (Non-op - 5 weeks in fibreglass cast then the boot) Found that with the boot I went from NWB to PWB to FWB in a few days without any discomfort and now walk around in the house in evenings without the boot - but slowly and v carefully and don’t push it too much. ave just come back from a short holiday in Germany with quite a lot of walking in the boot. Usually used one or two crutches when I knew quite a lot of walking involved as I am faster with crutches than without. Haven’t had any PT - was advised not to by doc who said the incidence or re-ruptures due to over aggressive PT was a potential problem, but as the tendon strengthens will possibly follow this option, but perhaps after the 12 week mark when I believe rerupture incidence is substantially reduced. Will be interesting to hear when doc (who is v conservatively inclined) suggests transfer to 2 shoes - Maybe by Christmas or the New Year.

No crutches - most of the time at least

I’ve been just over 2 weeks in a boot (after 5 weeks NWB in cast) and with a 1 inch heel lift in my other leg’s shoe I find I can walk around without crutches at all most of the time.  Have hardly touched my crutches the past couple of days and have returned my hired knee scooter which was invaluable when I was NWB.  No discomfort at all in my tendon.  However I wonder if the fact that I was non-op gives me a false sense of security?  Have not had any pain at all so far at any stage, but those who have had the operation seem to suffer quite a lot, yet perhaps the degree of pain suffered is a more accurate indicator of the healing process than my situtation?  Anyone got any comments on that?  I do try out walking in bare feet for a few feet usually in the bedroom but this feels precarious (but not 100% sure if this is because of calf or tendon weakness, and I’d certainly be nervous when I eventually progress to two shoes which i assume will be a few weeks yet.

Coming up to 7 weeks

Tomorrow it will be 7 weeks since started treatment (non-op). 5 weeks in plaster with toes pointed down and now 2 weeks in boot with a wedge. Haven’t really had advice from doc on when I could go FWB - but effectively am already.  To an extent following advice of some of you on this blog.  Am sending back knee scooter as now find it easier to get round on crutches now I can put both feet on ground. Have bought 1 inch heel lift for my other leg’s shoe and find can walk better without crutches using this. although don’t walk any distance without crutches. Longer distances use two crutches, shorter sometimes one. Have taken the odd step in bare feet, but left leg feels very weak (but not sure if weakness is tendon or weaker calf muscle). I stand up very cautiously in shower bare foot. I suppose ultra caution is the order of the day any time I’m not wearing boot. Only pain is underneath of ankle, so loosen boot when I’m reasonably static working on computer, and sometimes take it off altogether to give it some air - but back on with it if I have to move. Its very difficult to know how well achilles is healing, but I can flex ankle pretty well up and down so guess this means at least some repair has taken place? Any advice on how much one could/should be able to walk in the boot at this stage (with crutches) as off on  5 day Christmas Markets cruise on the Rhine in a week’s time and although may be pleasant would be a bit boring to be stuck on the boat the whole time.


At the moment getting around with or without crutches but still have knee scooter upstairs in case I need to go to bathroom in middle of night and don’t want to go through rigmarole of strapping up boot. As I mentioned earlier my boot is an Aircast FP Walker and, as I am sending my scooter back in under a week, am wondering if a compromise for bathroom trips may be just using my boot without the front panel for such short trips and not blowing up the air bags. Saves me scratching around in the dark. Did that today and it seemed OK as as long as I do the velcro straps up tight I’m pretty well confined within it and it strikes me as a fairly easy compromise. Anyone have any comments? Also stried putting a little weight on bare foot last night but it did feel very strange and first time I’ve really felt the achilles. It was sufficiently uncomfortable for me not to repeat! Not painful, but could definitely feel the location of the tear. We go on holiday on the Rhine in about 12 days time so will have to negotiate air travel and then a boat. have asked for wheelchair at airport but will feel guilty being pushed around in one. Flying from small airport (London City) so walking distances not bad, but no jetways so will have to climb steps on to plane. Will be slow but should be OK as I’m negotiating stairs at home. On holiday will be 8 weeks post beginning of treatment (non-op). Anyone got any thoughts on how far I should allow myself to ‘walk’ in crutches when we get to Germany?

Advice on weight-bearing appreciated

I’m confused. Now I’m in a walking boot - 5 weeks since non-operative conservative treatment, but a week earlier than my doctor would seem to have liked - I find I can get about pretty well with one or two crutches - and occasionally without any at all, but I am being very cautious as well. My assumption is that as long as I don’t put the tendon into tension I should be pretty well ok, but putting under a bit of compression shouldn’t do it any harm? Not getting any pain in the tendon at all, but perhaps a little under my heel because of the slight elevation of the ankle in the boot. Also I assumed I could take the boot off at night and do so - but I see on some blogs that the wearer is told to keep the boot on in bed. Why should that be? Any advice on weight bearing would also be appreciated - i.e. how much? Thanks.

Further to previous post

The Moon Boot I’ve been put in courtesy of the UK’s NHS health care system is a brand new Aircast FP Walker. However hospital had run out of wedges, but the technician put an orthotic heel
lift in and it feels comfortable enough. I get no pain if I walk on it using single crutch. Have managed to use it to come down stairs but not to go up stairs yet - still doing that on my knees (I have gel filled kneepads for this which I would recommend) as getting around on knees with wooden staircases is not comfortable without! Using my knee scooter got back from hospital on public transport (London Bus) with no problems. Tomorrow am going to try bus and train journey to town 25 miles south of London. Adventure time!

Moon boot

Hospital visit yesterday - registrar seemed slightly put out that it was technically a week early - but that was appt. I managed to make. Persuaded him to put me in moon boot instead of plaster so can now put limited weight on foot, but still a little nervous about how much and how often? Any advice from boot users in this situation would be much appreciated. I find I can get around in house using one crutch, but wouldn’t want to try this over any distances yet and would be nervous on uneven ground. Will still use knee scooter to get around.