11 weeks: country walks and Christmas parties

December 20th, 2010

I have been going to the Gym (definitely not…everyday) now for 3 weeks and am seeing small milestones, even if progress feels very slow. I am walking on a treadmill at a small incline for about 30 mins, cycling in trainers for 30mins (and actually getting sweaty again!) and doing the regular heel raises and now step-ups too. The scariest moment was when my physio simply asked me to stand against a wall and bend my knees - I was horrified when I realised how little I could bend. This bend remains a challenge although, little by little, there is an increasing range of movement. Life has been complicated with the British weather and the onset of Christmas festivities so my boot has become my new best friend, going with me everywhere when I am not in my home or my office. I have taken to wrapping my sock in a plastic bag and then putting it in the boot to add some waterproofing in the snow and have had some joyous, dry, 2 hour walks around parks and countryside in the last couple of weeks. The achilles seemed fine on these, but certainly started complaining when I tried dancing at a Christmas party the other night. I had to resort to lots of upper body wiggling and a bit less of the hopping from leg to leg! Having just caught up with the blog, I was shocked to read of the recent re-ruptures and remain firmly attached to my boot and treading more warily to minimise the risk. Is there a magic point when the risk of re-rupture diminishes dramatically? I’m getting ready to think about getting back on my bike outdoors but perhaps I should start in the boot (once the ice has gone)?

8 weeks, a standing shower and 2 shoes!

November 29th, 2010

On Friday I had my second physio appointment where my PT found a proper twitch on the Thompson squeeze which apparently was real progress fromt the week before where there was barely any movement at all. She then proceeded to ”massage” my achilles which had me sweating with the pain after only 5 minutes and having to strip layers the longer she went… She got me a heel raise for my trainer so that I am now walking around indoors in trainers, but still using the boot for all the scary stuff outdoors in the ice which has descended on the UK this week. It’s weird, I can do heel raises with both feet, but if i even try on my bad leg alone - there’s just nothing there. It’s as if I’m talking to my left leg and it’s just not listening. It’s hard work and leaves my achilles feeling quite sore, but my understanding is that this is quite normal and if that’s what I need to do, then I’m totally up for it. I also had my first shower last week standing on my own two feet - that felt soooo good. It was like being the “real me. ” I remember that 6 weeks after I’d had a baby I went to the gym for the tiniest workout ever but it was when I was standing under the shower - something i have done after excercise for so many years - that I suddenly re-connected with my pre-baby self and felt “me ” again. I didn’t expect to have that sensation again, but I did, after that first shower without crutches. There’s another mile stone on this long journey!

7 weeks and PT

November 20th, 2010

I went for my first physio on Thursday and was quite shocked at the thickness of my achilles and how much muscle has already atrophied in my calf. Also, how weedy the excercises feel - gentle swaying back and forth and leg raises etc, but clearly I need to take things gently and I am prepared to be obedient, especially as I can barely sway!! I have decided to stay in the boot for all outdoor stuff (getting to and from work , shopping etc) and to take the boot off at home and in my office where I am on a level surface and under no pressure (although currently still putting it on to go up and down stairs).  My physio was very supportive of this approach - even though my consultant had said i should move to two shoes last week - especially as we have rain, leaves and frost as the current outdoor hazards. After just two days of rolling my foot on a tennis ball and scrunching my toes, the numbness I had under the ball of my foot and the swelling of my foot have both started to subside (I believe these aspects are more to do with being in a boot than the ATR?). I can start to see now how long and slow the process is going to be and I am just going to have to learn to be patient….

6 weeks and rather apprehensive

November 17th, 2010

I was told by my consultant last Monday (5 weeks) to drop the crutches fully and go to 2 shoes this week (i.e. at 6 weeks). So since last Monday I have been FWB in the Aircast boot, sleeping with bare legs (hooray!) and even walking barefoot to the loo first thing every morning, albeit very carefully. However, on Saturday night I went to my end of season waterski party and caught up with the owner, who had ruptured his AT 3 weeks before I did mine, only to discover that he had gone into trainers and slipped as he was walking up the stairs the week earlier and re-ruptured his AT. He’s now had surgery (using his big toe tendon) and is back to square 1. So I have decided to stay in my nice solid and protective boot a bit longer as I am really worried that I may overdo things and massively regret it. I’m normally someone who can’t sit still and if I need to go anywhere it’s always at 100 miles an hour and it’s hard to knock that urgency out of your system if there’s nothing physically stopping you? I guess it’s a balance of head vs body and trying to let the head rule (for once). First physio tomorrow which I am hoping will provide great revelations and a programme of excercises for both the leg and the expanding waistline….

We all heal differently - 5 weeks post rupture and no more crutches

November 9th, 2010

I saw my consultant yesterday, 4 weeks after he put me in a boot, 5 weeks after my rupture, and was hugely relieved when he said that my achilles was intact. He advised me to put away my crutches and spend only one more week in the boot before moving to 2 shoes (plus a saftey crutch) and physio from week 6.  This was hugely reassuring as I have increasingly been feeling confident about walking without crutches (from week 3) and was worried that it didn’t seem to follow “normal” patterns. I told him how much I was appreciating this blog and how I was interested in monitoring my progress and protocol against that of others. He then said I need to be careful not to compare apples with oranges as we are all different, our ruptures will be different and each of us will need protocols relevant to our individual situations. My rupture was right up near the calf muscle and therefore will heal in a different way (and speed) to ruptures lower down in the achilles. In particular, a tear near the calf is fuelled with the  extra blood supply from the calf. I am really nervous about moving to 2 shoes as I feel so protected in my boot - however I slept without my boot for the first time last night and it was absolute bliss. Is anyone else recovering form this kind of rupture? Would be fascinated to compare notes. Have loved being able to make my own cup of tea in the office and carry it to my desk for the first time in 5 weeks - amazing what a boost such small things can be.

When is it ok to lose all heel raises?

November 3rd, 2010

I was put into a boot with 3 heel raises at 10 days after rupture and told by my consultant to remove one a week and to go back to see him after 4 weeks. I was slightly freaked by the idea of 3 and chose to use 4 at first although quickly dropped to 3 after a couple of days, and have been removing them one a week since then. This means that I ought to be taking the last one out today, which would put my heel flat at 4 weeks and 4 days. This feels early compared to what I have been reading on other people’s posts and I wondered whether anyone had any opinions or whether I should just trust his recommendations?

I am totally torn between feeling good about my progress (feel very comfortable doing short steps across room without crutches) and then wondering whether or not my achilles is healing or whether I’m going to get a hideous shock next week when I see the consultant. I was advised that I could move to partial weight bearing “as tolerated” over these 4 weeks between 1st and 2nd visit and again, I am wondering whether this is too fast and I should take it a bit slower?

Would love to  get any thoughts and advice that people may have on these two questions and thank you in advance if you can spare the time!

Parisski joins the band….

October 30th, 2010

Huge thanks to Dennis for getting me up and running, so to speak…

Have found it incredibly useful to read everyone else’s blogs and to feel that I am not alone. It’s clear that somebody somewhere has gone through the frustration, worry and occasional terror that have been my partners for the last 4 weeks. Hopefully there are people out there who can give me advice or take some solace from my experience as I have from those of others?

My “snap” happened on 2nd October as I was taking off my waterski after a glorious Autumn  session in reasonably calm water.  I’d had a slightly sore achilles from playing tennis in the morning and had made sure that I stretched it well before I went skiing, but it was obvisouly destined to go.

Since then I have gone through the confusion and uncertainty that plagues any medical consultation. It started with the Accident & Emergency team who confirmed a rupture and said it was only really “Premiere League footballers” who should have the operation and that I’d be fine with  going the conservative route. I may not be a multi-million pound football player, but I am an incredibly active mum in her 40’s and I was really upset at being relegated to what felt like the ”not important or young enough to be operated upon” group. I was then recommended a cast for 12 weeks, and sent on my way with no further consultations at all, just plaster clinic bookings! In desperation, I turned to my friendly and very helpful knee specialist (having snapped 2 ACL’s in the past 10 years too!) who wasn’t as reassuring as I’d hoped and agreed I should sit tight in a cast.  Finally I researched potential consultants who were in the business of looking at ATR’s on a daily basis and found a brilliant one in central London who confirmed going the “no-op” route (but elaborated with an explanation at least: tear up near the calf muscle and already showing no separation on dorsiflexion after 2 weeks) who took me straight out of the cast and popped me into a Vaco-Boot, which is great.

More info soon..