First an introduction.
I’m Simon, 37 years old from London, UK. 6′3″ and 20st 5lb (that’s 285lb for my American cousins, circa 130kg to my European brothers)
I’m an active individual, brought up on sports and weight lifting.
Prior to injury I trained 5 times a week, a mixture of weight lifting (powerlifting movements) and boxing.
I’m 10 weeks post injury and this is my story up to this point
On Friday 15th July, I went into the gym before work for my usual boxing session, working on combinations and moving into range throwing shots, then moving back out of range.
All was going wel, sprang out of range then went to drive forward…
I felt and heard the almighty snap we all know so well. I looked behind me as I aware of a machine a few yards back.
Naturally I thought I’d gone into it, then I realised it was too far away, as I tried to walk it off the hard floor felt like a sponge, I knew what I’d done, but I had no idea on what was involved in recovery.
I picked up my bag, announced to my gym bro’s what happened and they all gave me that look of “ooooh, see you next year mate”
I limped about 200 yards to the local Sainsburys where I ordered a mini cab to a&e, rang my Mrs and told her I think I’ve done something serious.
By the way, my Mrs was 8.5 months pregnant with our first…
Fast forward to a&e and me wearing my fingers down to the bone googling Achilles and calf tears. Based on everything I read in that hour or so I diagnosed myself with a partial rupture.
This was confirmed by triage when they performed the Thompson test. They pointed my toe down, put me in plaster of paris and sent me on my way.
I returned to the hospital 10 days later for my first appointment.
After waiting almost 2 hours I met with a consultant. By this point I’d read up on different protocols (mostly full ruptures) and pushed for CAM boot. The consultant said he didn’t like them and said 9 weeks, 3 plaster casts at different angles.
They sent me in to another room with a plaster guy, the same consultant joined us and actually had a feel of the tendon and said based on where the rupture is (higher up) I probably wouldn’t need as long as originally thought.
They put me in a funky blue plaster and sent me on my way.
My son was born 5 days later, that was pretty eventful, but this post is long enough as it is.
I arranged to work from home as I’m a digital analyst so during this entire ordeal I haven’t taken a single day of sick leave including the day of injury.
Fast forward 2 more weeks, 3.5 weeks in total since the injury.
Went into the clinic expecting plaster but instead found they had a nice big shiny CAM boot (shorter version) waiting for me with heel inserts.
They didn’t have to tell me anything about it. By this point I’d done enough research to know about CAM boots.
They felt along the tendon, tested current plantarflexion and gave me 5 inserts. I was instructed to remove one insert every 2 weeks.
The consultant said put as much weight as pain allows. I didn’t have any pain at all, just discomfort from the collosal size of this monstrosity of a boot.
I used my crutches when out and about but didn’t use them at all indoors.
I slept with the boot on for a while but found it too uncomfortable. I wore a plastic bag over the boot for showering but found it cumbersome and my foot would sweat a lot.
One day the bag had split and my boot got flooded, a total disaster. I had to remove the boot, which leaves you feeling totally vulnerable. To make it worse my crutches then slipped on the wet floor and I almost landed on my bad foot!
All in all I was happy to have the boot, it made me feel normal again, I could carry drinks, stand and cook, help out more with our new born son etc
7.5 weeks post injury, I wasn’t sure what to expect as you read varying accounts at this stage of recovery depending on the severity and location or other factors of the rupture.
By this point 2 heel inserts had been removed. The consultant had a look at the angle of foot (that was after thinking I’d come in for a boxers fracture which actually happened in 2009…).
He took another insert out and said take one out each week and see in 3 weeks time when your foot is flat in the CAM boot.
So off I went, a little disappointed with progress. So at week 8 I started taking my boot off to perform range of motion movements.
My foot barely moved, it was like that scene from Kill Bill where Uma Thurman Is staring at her toes demanding they move.
After a week I began to get much more movement in ankle. At week 9 I started placing my feet on the floor from a seated position and also performed light stretches using a resistance band.
Towards the end of the 9th week I began standing without my boot and walking a few steps, when I say walking I mean limping carefully and slowly.
By this point my foot was flat in the boot and range of motion had improved alot through stretching, self massage and foam rolling.
Fourth and final appointment
So this happened yesterday 26.09 10 weeks, 3 days post injury.
It was a different consultant, he thought I was in to have the rest of my inserts removed so I had to explain that I was instructed to remove them and that I’d been performing rehab exercises.
He tested my plantarflexion and said he was happy to discharge me and refer to physio.
He confiscated my crutches and would’ve taken the boot too if I’d brought my right shoe.
So I’m now full weight bearing in two shoes, range of motion is pretty good, my Achilles and other supporting muscles are obviously tight.
Naturally I can’t push off from my toes when walking but I can perform seated heel raises.
So that’s where I’m up to almost 11 weeks post partial rupture.
I plan on returning to the gym this week to start upperbody training again and for the purpose of venturing out on to public London transport.
Achilles really is a terrible injury, not in terms of pain but the length of recovery and that nagging threat of hearing and feeling that snap again.
I will never forget that moment.
I will continue to post my progress so watch this space!