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Don’t think your world has come to an end because you have ruptured your achilles. I ruptured mine in feb 2004 and was told that was the end of my squash and tennis days. I was 40 at the time and had the traditional method of care. That is long incision and pkaster for 8wks with ankle angle changes. Four days after the plaster was off I went to Thialand on holiday with one crutch and hit a few tennis balls while away. When I got back from holiday I started playing squash and tennis again. I did have physio twice a week and did all the recommended exercise regularly. By the end of 16wks I was back playing sport and running. Not fast but doing it. When the squash season restarted in the september I was in the first team and played all the matches. While I was in plaster I went to the gym and did cycling. When I asked the surgeon if that was ok he honestly answered… ‘I don’t know. If you can do it, it can’t do much harm.’ guess what, I did it and it was fine. Four months may seem an eternity but in the bigger picture it is nothing. Get your mates round to take you out. When you’re in the pub with plaster you loads of attention. Enjoy it.
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I did mine in July 2004. I had a boot on for 6 weeks, then gradually put weight on it after that. Toss the crutches as soon as you can - I kept them for 8 weeks, 6 would have been more advisable.
The biggest issue was muscle loss in the calf …you lose it easily and it’s tough to get it back. The trick is to get back to using the leg as soon as you are able (and allowed).
It’s important to do all the exercises the physio tells you. Wiggle your toes the first week. Point foot forward the 2nd week, then use therabands as much as possible.
Do heel raises (assisted at first and then gradually put more of your weight on it) as instructed by physio. Stretch that calf AND the achilles as well …very important.
Lots of massage on the scar (from the end of week 2) is important too. It didn’t really hurt ..phew.
As far as I can remember, after about 8 weeks or so I was on a mini-trampoline. Initially, just stand on one foot (the bad one) and balance …it’ll strengthen the ankle joint.
Apart from that I found walking was the best cure. After about 3 months, I was tiring myself out by doing heel raises but progress was slow. I couldn’t really step unassisted off the bad foot for about 6 months(although, by this stage I could jog - in fact, I started jogging - with a pronounced limp after 12 - 14 weeks).
I had a lot of trouble getting comfortable shoes that didn’t annoy the scar and the swollen achilles. Runners were ok but I had to cut the backs out of a few other pairs to make them comfortable.
Another thing to remember is not to forget about the other foot. Keep exercising and stretching that as well.
In summary, the main two issues I had were calf muscle loss and scar tissue being annoyed by shoes. It took a year before both were “normalised” but, really, I was back to fairly normal running after 6 months. I retired from soccer (I WAS 42 so I was planning it anyway) but would probably have written off one season if I was playing on. Someone who’s younger could probably play soccer after, maybe 8 months but I reckon that’s pushing it. Good luck …the good news is that normality DOES return.
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