My first major injury ever!

So I got to almost 50 and then bang (or pop is maybe more like it!).  I wouldn’t describe myself as a keep-fit fanatic, but I’ve always tried to be active and recognising old age symptoms creeping up on me, I decided about 4 years ago to take up a regular class at my local gym.  On Monday evening, a week ago today, as I was running I felt and heard a pop or snap and the ground beneath my left foot just disappeared as if there was a hole under it, or the heel of my trainer had broken.   Next thing I was on the ground; trainer intact and no holes, so I knew there was another, less simple explanation.
My trainer suspected I’d damaged my achilles tendon but hoped it was just a strain, so I didn’t put any weight on that leg, kept it raised and put an ice pack on it.  The next morning I hopped into see my GP who did the Simmons/Thomson test and declared I’d ruptured my achilles tendon and sent me with a letter to the A&E.  They repeated the tests and agreed (no scans) and said they tend to treat ATRs conservatively (for my age and activity) and stuck my leg in plaster from knee to toes with toes pointing down.
I’ve to be in cast for 4 weeks (1 down, 3 to go!) and then if all looks well, I’ll be in a WB for another 4 weeks with various wedges, I’m not sure at what point I start to put weight on that leg.  Then physio for weeks after.  If not all going well, then it sounded like an operation was the next step.  I’m hoping that because I didn’t put any weight on my leg at any time after it happened and kept my foot raised as much as possible that I’ve not made things worse.  We’ve booked to go to Malaysia at the end of September and the orthopedic doctor was very non-commital if that would be possible or not.
I’ve never really had any pain - the back of my leg ached severely for about 10 mins after it happened and for about an hour.  I do have a lot of twinges, which is weird but not unpleasant.  My hands are aching from crutching - they gave me the wrist type, not underarm ones and so I’ve been using my weight training gloves which helps.  Shoulders were sore, but they’re ok now.  My hip on my damaged leg hurts if I crutch too much as it’s taking the dead weight, so I try not to do too much.
My biggest worry (apart from boredom!) is how much moving around I can do without causing any more damage.  I can’t help feeling that I’m tensing my calf muscle when I crutch and I’m sure that can’t be a good thing to do?  Can anybody advise me on this please?
Not looking forward to the next 3 weeks!  Ironically, I retire from work in 2 weeks time!  I’ve never had more than a week off any job before and then this happens.

12 Responses to “My first major injury ever!”

  1. Welcome. Sorry that you are in the club. Your protocol, experience and age sound very similar to mine. I just graduated to a boot at the start of week 5. I do remember the twinges especially at week 2—I think it was due to immobility of the leg. It does seem to go away though. I don’t think you need to worry too much about causing your casted leg damage. The way that it is casted (pointed down) prevents you from using your achilles. I don’t recall ever having the sensation that I was tensing my calf muscle and I was pretty active while in a cast–but largely because I didn’t have much of a choice. Good luck!

  2. Thanks kellygirl, that has made me feel better knowing that I shouldn’t be able to do any damage. I thought that would be the case - what’s the point otherwise! But I so want this to go well without any hitches that I’d do anything to help (and not cause more damage).
    I hope things are going well for you in the boot :-)

  3. Don’t go and try and prove me wrong, Pam. I would err on the side of caution and not do anything crazy. I do think that with normal activity and NWB it would be hard (but not impossible) to do damage–lol!

  4. yeah, don’t worry Kelly, I’m trying to rest as much as possible with my leg raised. Amazing how difficult it is though, when it’s enforced! :-)

  5. Unfortunate to see another member to the club Pam. The best advice I can offer you is to review the UWO recovery protocol. By following this protocol I was able to travel to Hawaii 5 weeks after I ruptured and was able to walk around without crutches (albeit very gingerly). I had another trip booked for 12 weeks and by then I was only using the air boot as protection from others around me. I think you will have a great shot at going to Malaysia - you may have to make some adjustments but there should be no reason why you couldn’t make it. Make sure you can get into physio as soon as possible, I started after the cast came off (2 weeks) and I do believe it aided me greatly in my recovery. Hang in there!

  6. thanks Eva. Did you have an op? I’m staying optimistic for my trip.

  7. Hi pam
    Sure you wil be fine follow Uwo , I had hols in boot and then 3 weeks after in shoes, The twinges are normal according to my experience and most of the comments I’ve read on here, where in Malay r u going

  8. Hi pam
    Sure you wil be fine follow Uwo , I had hols in boot and then 3 weeks after in shoes, The twinges are normal according to my experience and most of the comments I’ve read on here, where in Malay r u going , I am non op

  9. Hi Ripraproar, we’re stopping over in Dubai (from Glasgow) for a couple of nights, another couple in Singapore and then we’ve yet to firm up our itinerary, but will be going to Johor Bahru, Melaka, Ipoh, Cameron Highlands, KL, Penang and Langkawi not necessarily in that order. We were there a couple of years back and wanted to spend more time there. Love the food :-D
    Good to hear from a fellow non-op. I’ve read the UWO paper, sounds hopeful, didn’t fancy surgery.

  10. I went the non-op route Pam. If you follow the UWO protocol I trust you would have very similar results. The first four weeks when you’re on crutches are the worst, but after that, it becomes 1 step forward everyday. And I can’t stress physio enough - it was worth every penny and then some!

  11. thanks Eva, fully intend to get back on my feet asap and do as much physio as required to fully recover. It’s good to hear from people who have been through the same experience.

  12. Hi pam u have similar itinerary to me I oftern stop Dubai go Singapore Johor and kl, the food your right excellent and good value, would take Eva advice on pt but also do hydro you can do in the pool in f east

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