Posted by: pezfuerte | November 18, 2008

Recovery Timeline Questions

Hello,

I am writing with a few questions about how long this recovery is going to take.  Here’s my story:

2 weeks ago I was unloading some old aluminum frame windows at the dump when one of the windows that I was lifting out of the truck broke.  A piece of glass fell and cut my lower leg through my pants.  Turns out the cut was deep enough to sever the achilles tendon as well as a second tendon which I believe they call the flexor digitorum.  I had surgery a week ago to repair both tendons, and today I had the staples removed and was put in a solid cast.  Unfortunately I’m going crazy being couped up in my house and am trying to find some positive news that will lead me to believe the recovery might go a little faster than expected.  I know that you are thinking that I’ve only been on crutches for 2 weeks, but there’s a little more to my story.  In July I had heart surgery to replace a faulty aortic valve that I’ve had since birth.  My full recovery from that ordeal came on October 15th, so I had only been back in action for a couple of weeks before this happened.  I’m 26 years old and super active doing things like surfing, rock climbing, mountain biking, etc.  I’ve only met with my surgeon once and won’t see him again for another 2 weeks, so I’m looking for a little more info in my down time.  So here are some questions:

Does anyone think that I can be back doing strenous activities in less than 6 months?

Also, I had surgery a week ago and it is still pretty painful at night.  Actually painful is probably the wrong word.  It’s not bad, just bad enough to be constantly uncomfortable and making sleeping a disaster.  Is that normal? How long did other need to take pain meds to sleep at night?

I think that’s it for now, but I’m sure that I’ll think of more.  Thanks in advance for your responses.

Danny

Responses

From what I’ve read - recovery time varies fairly widely. Your doctor and physical therapy determine a lot of it (I presume based on your recovery). At the first post-op appointment, I made the doctor go through the detailed timeline with me.

E.g. Will I be driving by Christmas? No
Swimming? 3 months.
Sky diving? … just kidding.

Back to activity in 6 months? Don’t push it on the ankle (re-rupture would be a super- bummer) On the other hand, you can find activities that you can do without stressing the tendon. I’ve kept on my previous work out schedule - but upper body only. I think I’ll take up kayaking as soon as I’m out of the cast and the weather allows. Everything else … i’ll wait 6 months or more.

I found the post surgery discomfort to drop in steep steps. 1st week was quite uncomfortable. I’m at the 2 weeks after operation, and rarely need to elevate my leg anymore.

Couped up? Just get out as much as you can. Hobble around the block, if that’s all you can manage.

Hi, I ruptured my achilles tendon during a dance class at the gym on Nov 3rd. Nov 10th I had surgery to repair it. The doctor informed me that I would be able to run in exactly 6 mos. I’m 27 yrs old very active with a 4 & 2 yr old not to mention this happend on my right foot. So believe me when I say I feel your pain. The first 2 weeks yes I needed pain meds just to sleep, but now this is my 3rd week & I haven’t needed anything to sleep. This Friday I have an appointment with my doctor and she stated that she would be removing the soft cast and giving me a boot where I can put some pressure on it, but not all. I’m so sick of t. v. and surfing the internet that I’m going stir crazy! I do try to get out as much as possible just to get out of the house. What I wanted to tell you is that I did come across something on webmd.com that might interest you and any other people who have suffered an achilles tendon rupture. It’s some type of therapautic treatment that you can do at home that supposedly helps with pain, swelling and to heal faster & properly. I don’t know if it’s true or if it really works it says it has a 100% satisfaction guarantee. The actual website is http://www.aidmyachilles.com maybe this might be something you want to check out. Well I hope everything gets better for you and just hang in there and try to positive about the whole thing it might help your situation pass faster. Good luck!

Hi Danny,

Hang in there man. During the first few weeks you MUST be patient. Follow your doctor’s instructions I am sure he is doing the right thing. I ruptured my tendon on June the 21st, had my surgery the same day and then I started driving 3 months after my surgery (yes, it was my right leg’s tendon the one that was ruptured). I used this boot after they removed the cast:

http://www.breg.com/foot-ankle-bracing/walker-boots/pin-cam-walker.html

As of today (almost 5 months after my surgery) I am fully recovered. I am jogging almost 10 km every other day and I go to the gym 3 times per week. I was already walking without the use of the walking boot from 3.5 months. So it is possible to go back to your normal life before 6 months. Nevertheless, be careful the first few weeks. Patience, patience, patience, you can do it.

Hope this helps.

Alejandro.

It’s pretty frustrating to be only 27, just recovered from one serious problem (your heart!), and then have to start again in bed. But there may be ONE upside to this, from what I learned since Friday, June 13th, when I ruptured the right AT while dancing. I LOST weight because somehow lying around and doing little, I lost my appetite; my hypertension went way down, and I got off the angiotension pills! SO resting is absolutely important. Your body really needs it when you’re injured. Speeding up resumption of activity is sheer folly, I think. It’s all out there forever and ever - you’ll live to be 97, so take it easy!

Mary

pezfuerte - I think shooting for 6 month recovery is pushing it. about 9 months is reasonable.. with gradual increase in activity up until 9 months where you’ll be doing most of what you used to be able to. But, you should also check with your doctor, as he will have the final word on what you should/should not do.

You can check the blogs of people who have passed their 6 month milestones and see where they were/are at 6months. That should give you a general idea on where you should expect to see yourself. :)

I hope this helps.

Hey everybody. Thanks for the reponses. I kind of knew this thing was going to take a while to heal but was giving a false hope to some chance of a speedier recovery. I know that pushing it isn’t wise and I plan to follow all the docs orders and take it easy until it’s really ready to go hard again. The thought of a re-rupture is all to agonizing. Thanks again for your inputs.

Danny

I’d have to agree with Dennis. I’m at 8.5 months and feel so close to being able to do anything I want. I’m not up to full strength yet, but that’s coming slowly. In a few months I’m sure I’ll be back on the snowboard!

Jim

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