Aug 25 2011

11.5 weeks, no surgery - 2 shoes!

Published by mtbrider at 8:11 pm under Uncategorized

Yes another milestone! Went to the physio yesterday and became part of the 2 shoe club. Even though I have been sneaking around a bit at home in my bare feet I am now official.

I would say my walk appears to be about 85% normal looking. Not too much of a hobble and what hobble there is I feel will disappear with more walking as the foot/muscles start to move. It is now the first 2 shoe evening and the pain is about 1 out of 10 which I am stoked about. Interestingly, where I have the most discomfort when I have a stretch is on the top of my foot/bottom of my leg- where the foot meets the leg. Does this description make sense?

My new exercises are to do 2 foot calf raises whilst holding onto the kitchen bench for support, and also what I would call a calf stretch whilst leaning against a wall (doing this both sides). I also get to have a crack on my styley as new exercycle which will be cool (a retro 1969 tunturi W1 - 20 NZ dollars- google it!)

Something I have found pretty amazing is when I am bare foot walking on our wooden floorboards at home I can feel every slight imperfection in the floor though my foot and ankle, such as the cracks between floorboards and where two boards next to each other are not exactly level. It shows you just how many muscles you have in your foot and ankle, and how much work those muscles do (and how much more work I need to do to those muscles!).

Also I am stoked that I have been getting replies from people telling me they read my blog and it is helping them and motivating them. So to all those people who reply or even just read this, you guys are motivating me too. It feels that I have all these people on this website following my progress to see what may be involved for them. So I feel I am doing my stretches and exercises for you all too, to try to be the best example I can be for others.

So to all those out there in achillesblogland it does get better, the hardest part for me was the first 4 weeks, when you feel like your life is over for a year… then you start to PWB. From PWB it is just a whole lot of exciting steps along the way to recovery so keep positive, this do get better and you will feel incredibly proud of yourself as you begin to look back at how far you have come, physically, but more I feel more importantly, mentally.

Take it easy all.

mtbrider (aka 1969tunturiw1exercyclerider)

14 Responses to “11.5 weeks, no surgery - 2 shoes!”

  1. Neville Clementson 25 Aug 2011 at 11:16 pm

    Great news for you and as I’m virtually at the same stage - no surgery, 2 shoes and 9 weeks down the long line - I follow your posts with interest. I relate totally to your comment about feeling everything under the bad leg when barefoot. I noticed this sensation too, and it is such a strange feeling as if the foot is hyper-sensitive. It is the ceramic floor tiles in my kitchen when I notice it most - every imperfection between the tiles seems like a huge gap!

    Your discomfort on the top of the leg/ankle joint appears commonplace. I walked my dogs along a local bridle path yesterday. Perfectly flat as it used to be an old railway track before being pulled up. When I got home my ankle and top of the leg joint was twice the size, so ended up with a bowl of iced water for my leg and plenty of high elevation. It’s good to go again today and I have a noticeable limp when walking. My better half keeps nagging me to ’stop limping’. It’s easier said than done. I think I’m just scared of over-stretching the achilles in these early 2-shoes days.

    I’ll look up the cycle you’ve bought. I am itching to get on my bikes again for a gentle peddle. I have cleaned and serviced my road and mountain bike and they sit in the garage glistening and waiting to be used. I’ve decided to buy an indoor cycle trainer and do some gentle miles starting after the weekend. Gotta get those legs turning again.

    I must admit those first 2 weeks of thinking I’d be housebound, sat on the sofa for 6 months watching rubbish TV have long gone. Moving to the boot quickly was fantastic as it gives you back the freedom you lose by being attached to a pair of crutches. The challenge for me now is to remain focussed on the end game of being 100% fit, don’t rush the recovery, don’t be tempted into pushing too early. My first proper PT session is still 3 weeks away and I’ve had no real advice apart from take it easy, yes the ankle will swell up in 2 shoes, yes plenty of ice and elevation. Looking forward to the day of being told yes you can get on your bike and pedal down some Singletrack.

    Good luck to everyone whatever stage of the journey you’re at.

  2. normofthenorthon 26 Aug 2011 at 1:07 pm

    I don’t know anything about singletrack, but I started bike riding (around the city) while still in a boot. First a fixed boot, then a hinged one. For the first little while after I was walking in 2 shoes, I strapped the boot back on for cycling, until I felt confident enough to bike in 2 shoes. Initially I kept the pedal near my heel, then it gradually slid toward the ball of my foot.

    On one early 2-shoe bike trip, I flew over a bunch of pot-holes, with the pedal fairly close to the ball of my foot. It wasn’t exactly painful, but more like “Let’s not do that again for a while!” But if you’re sensible and “incremental”, I don’t see why “real” cycling on the road should wait so long.

  3. Deanoon 26 Aug 2011 at 8:02 pm

    Thats good news I joined the club two weeks this saturday, and must say my confidience has grown and grown, currectly have two wedges in my shoe which will be reduced to one wedge after a further two months then none after the next two months so four months to go with wedges then home dry. I have seen a big improvment over the past two weeks but i must say take it easy still as one day i just went to a local grocery store but half way around i just couldnt move any further and sent two days in bed waiting for my leg and foot to get me back again. your note are refreshing also to read that i am not alone in this long process, regards

  4. Adamon 06 Sep 2011 at 12:31 am

    Hi mtbrider.

    A fellow mtb rider here from the UK :o)

    I joined the club 3 weeks ago when an ‘off’ on the mtb resulted in my left AT popping.

    Not sure if it partial or full, but was given a front slab cast 3 hours later and a vaco-ped boot after another 36 hours.

    Have been full weight bearing in the boot since it was fitted, and although walking without the crutches is ridiculously slow and stressful, it is do able. I choose to use crutches when not just in one room and try to get out walking around 30 mins every day with the crutches.

    The hospital told me to get on with life as normal and not to sit and rest the foot / leg.

    When I asked the consultant about options, I was told that they no longer offer surgery and she tried to sell me the benifit of conservative treatment. However when she found I had private insurance, she advised surgery…. doh.

    So now I am waiting to see a private consultant (tomorrow) for a better diagnosis and hopefully at least a scan so I know how much damage to what I have done.

    At the moment the top of my calf (just below top of boot) is very tender and sore. The top of my foot gets painfull very quickly, and my big toe is more numb than normal.

    I should create my own blog but am too lazy. lol

  5. Neville Clementson 06 Sep 2011 at 4:48 am

    Hi Adam
    It’s good/bad to hear from another UK mountain biker going through the pain of an ATR. Although I ruptured jogging playing soccer, I would have preferred to relate to others the fact I did it mountain biking rather than jogging! Firstly, get a BLOG going as it will motivate/help in the recovery. Secondly, I’m at 10 weeks, non-surgical and very happy with protocol advised and recovery so far. I was adamant about having surgery before seeing one of the consultants at Coventry who was involved in the Canadian research into surgery/non-surgery ATRs. Clearly only time will tell for me, the true test being the strength and ability to ride for hours on some of the UK’s finest singletrack in months to come. Good luck in your decision and your recovery.

  6. Stuarton 06 Sep 2011 at 8:56 am

    Adam - I had surgery a couple days after the injury but you are now at 3 weeks. If your foot has been pointed down in the boot then your tendon has already started to reconnect. In another 3 weeks it should be completely connected but not strong. By the time you see your consultant and lets say you decide to have surgery, it will be another week before surgery. You would be a third of the way through to the 12 week magic mark. Surgery would start it from sqaure one. There are good to excellent results without surgery if your recovery is managed well. Go to Normofthenorths page for more info on that. Norm will be more than happy to help. If you have not been managed well up to now then you will have to make the decision based on all the information. It will be a while either way before you will be back on the trails.

  7. Adamon 08 Sep 2011 at 4:58 am

    Thanks for the kind words Neville and Stuart.

    My trip to the consultant has left me with good feelings and thoughts about a non surgical repair.

    I also have my own blog so will not post too much here and detract from mtbriders inspiring blog :o)

  8. mtbrideron 08 Sep 2011 at 4:48 pm


    I have been waiting to see what your consultant has said. I completely agree with what Stuart said about you already being at the 3 week mark and is it worth it to go surgery and start all over again.

    As far as my experience has gone the non-surgery option has been fine. not going to say more than that as I do not want to jinx myself.

    Spring has hit NZ now and the days are getting lighter and weather lighter. Pretty hard not being able to ride my bike on the local singletrack but hopefully I will be able to get out on the flat rivertrails with my daughter soon. An exercycle just does not come close to the real thing for me.

    On the plus side I have some cool new bike parts in my room waiting to be put onto my bike when I feel up to giving it a service.

    What is your blog Adam?- I will read it with interest.

  9. Stuarton 08 Sep 2011 at 5:19 pm

    Mtbrider - I did my first XC single track today. Nothing fancy and I was certainly not smoking. Had one off but it was more of a fold than a fall. Fortunately I fell on soft stuff and did no damage. Still not using my spd’s but it will come. I also managed to push hard at times and out of the saddle. Maintaining level pedals and holding my weight up off the saddle got me a little tired. Beautiful spring days are hard to let go doing nothing. It should not be too much longer for you.

  10. phlavor311on 13 Sep 2011 at 4:34 pm

    I am just entering the land of recovery. Had a full ATR this past Saturday night. Saw the doc today and he mentioned both options but seemed to lean towards surgery. I told him I needed to think about which would be the best for me. After reading posts here and elsewhere I’m pretty certain I will be going the non surgical route.

    Currently I’m in a boot with a heel lift. I’ll get to stay in the boot vs. Cast which I am grateful for.

    Hopefully non surgery turns out to be the right decision…fingers crossed

  11. Adamon 13 Sep 2011 at 5:11 pm

    Hiya mtbrider.

    My blog is /adamp if you’d like a look.
    Cheers, Adam.

  12. mtbrideron 13 Sep 2011 at 8:15 pm


    Good luck to you. My biggest piece of advice is to look forward to all the little things along the way. In the first 3 months there is heaps to look forward to so remember, just lots of little goals and then before you know it you will have achieved the big goal… 1 year on!

  13. shootingthebreezeon 14 Sep 2011 at 4:51 am

    It’s interesting that for non surgical you are in the boot. My options were surgical or passive but both described such that I’d be in a cast. If I’d been offered a boot for non surgical ‘passive’ option then perhaps I would have taken that option.
    As it is, I opted for surgery based upon stories of a stronger fix and less likely re-rupture …. Seems it depends on what they are selling that day as to what’s best?
    No evidence that any one option is better than the next ?!?
    I had surgery 3 days after full rupture and was discharged with a boot and splint combo with partial / full weight bearing (crutches for confidence only). I was able to dump the crutches at the front door and get around our 3 storey house without them (although I did spend long periods of time laid down with foot elevated).
    The boot was massive so I arranged to change for smaller size 3 days later and ended up being switched to a completely different recovery plan …. Plastercast and non weight bearing . Now at 10/14 days post op/ATR I’m back in a boot (after a degree of insistence) but NWB …..
    It’s not just a physical challenge, mentally it’s really hard, and coupled with an apparently random recovery plan …. It’s looking like a long slow process …. At least the boot is comfortable, even if the right size one is still too big due to the raised heel wedge set up ;)

  14. Phlavor311on 14 Sep 2011 at 2:44 pm

    Going back to the doc tomorrow to discuss the vaco cast. From everything i’ve read this is the say to go. We’ll see how that goes. Hopefully it won’t take too much convinving on my part

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