I tore my Achilles Tendon badly on Wednesday 17th February and want to start a daily blog to help others with the same injury.
DAY 1 Wednesday 17th February 2016 I launched myself off the kerb into the road intending to run across the road as there was a car coming. I felt an internal explosion at the back of my ankle. My heel dropped as if I had been wearing high heeled shoes and the heel had just broken off.
I spent 5 hours in A & E, mostly waiting for treatment, and left without any x-rays or scans and the wrong boot with incorrect instructions as to when I could remove it. I was told I could take it off at night and to shower. I was treated by a nurse and categorized as elderly and inactive as I am 70 years old.
I managed to get upstairs using a stick on the lower stair to leaver my heavy booted foot up to the next stair each time.
I took Paracetamol for the pain 3 times during the night.
DAY 2 Thursday 18th February 2016 I woke up with grave concerns about my treatment. I intended to phone a specialist at 9am but at 8.30 am I received a phone call from the Royal Surrey Hospital asking me to return immediately.
Eventually I had x-rays and an ultra sound and saw a registrar. I was fitted with the correct air cast boot with 4 wedges so that my toes pointed downwards allowing the severed Achilles tendon to meet so that healing could start. I was instructed not to take it off at night or for a shower. I was told I would probably be in the boot for 10 weeks. I was told physiotherapy would start in 2 weeks, but I was given an appointment for 4 week’s time.
I had originally been categorised as elderly and inactive but the registrar I saw reclassified me and 55 years old/active and gave me the appropriate pathway for treatment.
I realised that now my left leg was 4 inches shorter than my right. It was impossible to balance on my two uneven legs and my hip and back were clearly in danger of being damaged. I was not given crutches.
When I got home I went onto the internet and ordered three pairs of platform shoes. I was desperate and felt if I ordered 3 pairs then surely on pair would fit.
I ordered 3 pairs of track suit bottoms as I had no trousers which would stretch over the boot.
I went to bed taking Paracetamol for the pain.
DAY 3 Friday 19th February 2016 I had to strip wash as unable to take a shower because I couldn’t get the boot wet.
I ordered a shower stool so that I could sit while in the shower and a cover for my boot (this proved to be a cover for a plaster cast and was no use)
My first pair of platform shoes arrived and I felt a different person. I was 3 inches taller but best of all I could balance without a stick and walk.
I slept well as I was exhausted after the extra effort to get around wearing a large boot.
DAY 4 Saturday 20th February 2016 Saturday passed quietly.
DAY 5 Sunday 21st February 2016 I managed to resume my photography and created a few images in my studio. It was an exhausting and difficult process but I was determined.
DAY 6 Monday 22nd February 2016 My second pair of platform shoes arrive. They were thigh length boots with a 4 inch heel and 1 1/2 inch platform sole. At last my legs were finally the same length and I was walking tall.
A friend came round for coffee which was very welcome.
I decided it would be a good idea to elevate my leg at night so I put an enormous cushion at the end of bed and rested my booted foot on it. My foot felt much more comfortable.
DAY 7 Tuesday 23rd February 2016 A friend took me out for coffee which made a nice break.
I bought flowers for the assistants in the shoe shop as they had brought me home when I tore my Achilles tendon. I managed to take them round only walking a short distance with a stick.
DAY 8 Wednesday 24th February 2016 I decided to phone a foot and ankle specialist and to get a second opinion privately. I was given a cancellation appointment at midday. The specialist could bring up the ultrasound scan on the computer, although it had been carried out on the NHS, and he confirmed that I was having the correct treatment. He changed the order of wedge removal slightly and I had an appointment to see him in 7 weeks.
Joined my walking group friends for a coffee. Disappointed that I will not be able to go on the weekly walks with them for a very long time.
DAY 9 Thursday 25th February 2016 I finally had a shower. I covered the boot with two black plastic rubbish bags and secured the top in two places using luggage straps. One was fastened below the knee and the other above. It worked very well.
My sister came to see my so I sat down for most of the day which was probably a good thing. We went for a short walk along the road but found it impossible to go uphill without pain. She noticed that the walking stick I was using was too short and I changed to a longer one which is much more comfortable.
Two absorbent cotton liners arrived for my boot. My foot gets very hot, particularly at night, so these make the boot much more comfortable.
Pot of arnica gel I had ordered arrived and I started to massage it into my calf which was bruised and painful. One of the inflatable air bags in the boot presses hard on a painful area so I started to inflate the boot mostly on the left to relieve pressure on the hot swollen area on the right.
I can now get upstairs without the stick.
Day 10 Friday 26th February 2016. Went shopping with my husband but just chose a few items and then returned to the car while he finished the shopping as it still hurts to spend too long on my feet. My new black velour trousers arrived which are so much better looking than the track suit bottoms. Things are looking up. I finally started my blog.
Washed out the absorbent cotton liner and realised as it was absorbent it held water and would not dry quickly so I ordered 2 more. I also ordered a cover for my boot so that I could walk round the garden and go out in the rain.
DAY 11 Saturday 27th February 2016 I had a wonderful shower and washed my hair this morning. I put a rubber croc on the good foot which gripped well and sat on the plastic and metal folding shower stool with my air cast boot covered as before.
I have had some pain and swelling down the right side of my calf so I have been massaging it with arnica gel which seems to help. The massage may help as much as the arnica.
Each morning I take my foot out of the air cast being careful to keep my toes pointed so that the Achilles tendon is not disturbed. I dip my foot in warm water then change the absorbent boot liner. It is a pleasure to feel refreshed.
The pain is definitely decreasing and I generally feel more comfortable.
Went to a garden centre for some polyanthus. I thought I’d be able to walk round with a stick but I soon found it was too painful so my husband pushed me round in a wheel chair, a brilliantly effortless way to travel. I found pushing the trolley full of plants in front of me a bit of a challenge, especially round the corners.
DAY 12 Sunday 28th February 2016. I discovered the air sacks in the air cast boot were not fully deflating before I took it off to change my sock. This meant that when I put it on again air was left in the sacks and the fit wasn’t as good which lead to discomfort. I found that if I put my hand inside the side of the boot I could reach the air sacks and squeeze all the air out of them. This lead to the boot being much more comfortable.
I went to an art exhibition and managed to look at all the exhibits before discomfort forced me to sit down. Most of the pain was coming from a condition known as plantar fasciitis i.e. pain under my heel.
DAY 13 Monday 29th February 2016. It was a beautiful sunny day so an attempt at gardening was a must. I managed an hour or so but over did it a little so had to lie down and raise my leg to recover from the discomfort.
I ordered some platform soled jelly sandals for gardening so that I could wash the mud off them after gardening and save my sued platform soled thigh length boot from destruction.
I found gardening tiring and didn’t achieve as much as I would like to the rest of the day.
DAY 14 Tuesday 1st March 2016 A good day today. I managed to pack up all the things I ordered on the internet which proved to be no use. Back went the platform sandals that were too small and so did the heavy unglamorous track suit bottoms. The outing to the post office went well. It is always good to get out of the house. The two boot covers for the shower will be collected by Amazon tomorrow. They proved to be for a plaster cast so didn’t fit over the air cast boot.
DAY 15 Wednesday 2nd March 2016 I decided to do a spot of gardening. It took me ages to put the two covers on my air cast boot and find a shoe for the other foot. I went out into the garden and it rained, then it snowed. So it is back at the computer with my foot up.
DAY16 Thursday 3rd March 2016 Last night I took my first 1/2 inch wedge out of the air cast boot as instructed. It felt weird being shorter and I spent the day trying to adjust to the new angle of my foot in the boot. The boot became very uncomfortable and I fought all day to adjust it for more comfort. My big toe and second toe became numb which was worrying. I discarded my thigh length 4inch platform boot for the good leg and started to wear a 3 1/2 inch platform sole pull on sued boot.
I slept really badly at night as my foot was uncomfortable and at 3am I got up, took my boot to pieces and re constructed it. Things improved after that.
DAY 16 Friday 4th March 2016 . Glorious sunshine so covered the air cast boot with two protective coverings, put a plastic bag over the boot on the good foot and went outside to do some gardening. I didn’t last long but I did manage to fill a wheel barrow while working towards bringing the garden into spring.
Did the weekly shop with my husband and almost survived, although I had to sit down towards the end.
My air cast boot felt more comfortable towards the end of the day.