Great Recovery Stories

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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. on

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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66 Responses to “Great Recovery Stories”

  1. This site has renewed my hope for getting over this I decided to go out for a short drive…I hadn’t drove since Feb 19th…Just be careful in tight traffic the right foot still wants to go for the brake, even though I was using my left for that….Kevin

  2. These recovery stories and yours in particular are very reassuring. I’m 64 and thought I was in good physical shape until I completely ruptured my right tendon playing frisbee! I am not a person who loves the sedentary lifestyle so this injury really sucks. I am 23 days post op and am walking with and without the aid of a crutch. My heel hurts like hell at times but my AT feels OK. I am wearing an Aircast pneumatic boot which restricts the motion of the AT. I can walk short distances without too much pain in my heel. I have had only minor swelling in the affected ankle. I see my orthopedic surgeon tomorrow. I would like to ditch the walking boot as soon as safely possible. Thanks for your great recovery story! I hope you are doing well now, Jim from Providence, RI USA

  3. Hi Jim, Sorry about your ATR but I’m not far behing you in the age stakes. I am now 17 weeks since injury and 15 weeks since operation.

    I have had considerable pain in my heel for weeks now but after talking to me Consultant on Wednesday he assures me it is nothing to worry about. He explained that my tendon was damaged quite badly so the section running from my toes right up to the back of the knee is very very taught, until that loosens up more I will have heel pain.

    I was actually gardeneing today, and even cut the grass, that was quite a thrill for mee.

    Good luck, hope all goes well for you


  4. I raptured mine at a rugby session.I’m 30 now but very active.I had been doing weights includinding on my calves so rapturing my tendon came as a surprise.It all felt dark,had never been in crutches before.

    These stories have given me mixed feelings.I dont think I will play rugby again.This has been the worst I’ve felt as a human being and getting used to crutches wasnt easy.I really wouldnt want to experience this so my boots are hanged.

    I’m still in a cast and it will be removed in 2 days time.

  5. Hi - i had a reattatchemnt surgery, the tendon did not rupture but was pushing away due to something called a fashitis. Anyway i am 45 and play regular soccer, run and cycle. My op was in May 09 - this weekend November i played my first game of competitive soccer / football. My tendon was very stiff for 4-5 hours after but hey i managed 1 hour on the pitch. I am still not 100% right, i have a slight pronation still and also sprinting off my left foot is not all that good, but its a great start - i will post again after Christmas and see how 2 games of soccer a week strengthens the tendon and legs - good luck all - rb

  6. hey
    I ruptured my achilles June25 playing tennis. Just running back and turning for a shot. Had the reattachment surgery 5 days later and learned the meaning of pain when the nerve block wore off.
    I had a plaster cast on for 2 weeks and now am in the air cast boot. I was told by the surgeon not to put any pressure on the foot for another 3 weeks but have been balancing on it and it’s ok. I hear that it will be another couple of months before I’ walking normally….and can

  7. Well, this may sound really pathetic (and it is),
    but some aspects of being inactive are great.

    no joke.

    i am a nursing student, and the fact that I was sitting down so much, forced me to get into my books and read a lot, and do a lot of written work.

    if it wouldn’t have of been for this focus on sitting down, and being forced to read……i was sitting down anyway…might as well have of been productive….then i think that i would’ve dropped out of my course.

    im doing a fast-track nursing course short-cutted from 3 years to 18 months, yes it is full on.

    im 4 months post op. but during all this time, i listened to my physician, listened to my physio, walked heaps (attended all my classes crutches or no crutches….just because you have one good leg doesn’t mean your mind is gone, adaptability is the human species greatest strength, and why us little monkeys survived the ice age, over big cats, and other big animals.

    source of joy….is that after 4 months of recovery, im going to do the melbourne marathon (walking it……5 kms).

    be focused on recovery….keep your mind focused on a target….
    think that the recovery is purposeful and has meaning, as it allows you to reassess your life, for me it was getting stuck into my science books, which is and was a challenge, but without me doing this….i would’ve failed my course by now.

    there is a reason why everything happens.

    Truth hurts, but it will set you free.

    failure is A FAR greater teacher than success.

    and another favourite.

    life is not a sprint, it’s a marathon.

  8. I ruptured mine 100% on August 28th in Florida. Went to local hospital they put on full leg cast so I could get back to Virginia where I lived. Had surgery 18 days after complete rupture. It was open technique without staples, had a 5 inch incision. Wore plaster cast with toes down for 7 days, 4 days after I got cast off I went to dinner with a flip flop on, following week walked 1.5 miles unaided , no cane, crutch, walker, on sons college campus and drove 200 miles there and 200 mile back my rupture was my driving leg Right side, 2 weeks after cast off rode my bike in neighborhood, 3rd weekend post op drove 1700 mile to do a boat delivery with right foot. Have been doing double calf raises and am delighted to be so close to 95-100% again, I dont even limp when I warm up calf with a baseball bat handle. I did invest about 700.00 in a therapy items and use them daily, the best excercise you can do is walk.

  9. truly an ironman

  10. Gerry,
    Thanks, I was very humbled by this injury and from the moment I realized what happened it all became a mind game to become 100% rectified and gain my mobility ASAP, I could not stand being in bed , or crutches, etc. I did also inject large doses of vitamin C for collegen rapair , as well as B12, and B complex, second week I went to workout with 45LB kettlebell wore boot, now I have been swinging the KB with sneakers on, just a touch of scar tissue buildup near the repair site, only thing I cant do is single calf raise with repaired leg, that will come with time, today was 6 weeks post op, I feel blessed , to be able to walk normal so quickly, never give up, and fight the urge to be discouraged, it’s a huge injury but you can all recover quickly with positive thinking and a fast track protocal.

  11. Ok…I am new at blogging…I am 52 years old, semi active. Not an athlete by any means. I had a very large heal spur that totally ripped up my achilles. Heal spur was ground out and the bad part of my achillese was cut out & it was re-attached to my heal. I had my surgery 10-6-11. Today is 1-27-12. I began my physical therapy at week 8 and was released after 18 visits. I’m continuing with a very aggressive wellness program. I am jumping, skipping, hopping, biking, tread mill, rebound drills, UBE, bridges, and various leg lifts. I didn’t even do this stuff BEFORE I had my surgery. I am very happy to be able to be this active. The problems I an seeing are my outside ankle on my injured foot (right foot) is always very swollen, I have numbness on the entire top of my foot, my outside calf is pretty sore most of the time & my injured foot wants to roll out. I am actually surprised I am having NO pain on the actual achilles. My incision on the back of my heal area is extremely sensitive when I wear my shoes, but I push through it. I’m feeling (after reading several posts) that for a non-athletic 52 year old woman, I’m not doing to bad. I would love to read any comments. And are these other symptoms normal. I do see my surgeon next week. I’m wondering what he’s going to tell me???

  12. ice,ice,and more ice.

  13. 2 months post surgery now and just wondering if anyone can give me an indication of how their swelling was doing at this point. Mine is still pretty swollen around the ankle and just above the ankle. My physio measured it on Wednesday and it’s about 2cm larger than above my good ankle. Have to admit the swelling and wearing socks over top of the swelling is driving me nuts. Also I’m curious if anyone else’s incision can be quite tender at times. It doesn’t hurt to touch the incision with my finger but as soon as I put socks on and then winter boots there’s a lot of discomfort, not sharp pain, just quite uncomfortable.

    Other than that, I have to say I’m happy with the recovery so far. Range of motion is coming back fairly steadily so far (cast came off 2 weeks ago and started physio right away) and I think it’s about 50% of the way there. Strength is quite weak though - shocked at how impossible it is to do a heel lift. Same experience for other people? Can’t wait to be able to lift the heel a bit and stop limping everywhere.

    It’s great to read everyone else’s blog posts. I know it sounds corny but it helps to know others are going through the same thing.


  14. ravi… same experience here. swelling is like a balloon it blows up around ankle..looks like a fish in sock..then i elevate and massage down until i see ankle again. the scar does have burning sensation. i think swelling pulls the scar…so its burning sensation at time has me use a lotion. it burns at times in certain shoes as well. it does pass…and it’s happened so much less at this point (week 16) but still does from time to time. what you experience…is what happens to us…FOR NOW. it too shall pass.

  15. Hi Ravi, I had lots of swelling and it took a while to get under control. The best way for me to manage it in the end was to wear a compression sock or flight sock. I had tenderness in the scar area too, the best way for me to cope with it in my case was by touching it (massage) which helped to desensitise the area. If you are worried about the origin of the sensitivity (to rule out infection for example) ask your doc/physio. The single heel raise took a bit longer, at 2 months its still fairly early. Bcurrs blog is helpul in that he talks about slowing the gait right down and concentrating on quality of movement i.e. normal movement pattern over quantitiy. When you break the components down in the gait pattern, each various stage needs to be right. It took me a while to get a decent ‘push off’ which is why I was limping initially. I found myself practicing heel raises all over the place (and getting some odd looks ;) ) I think it is often one of the last components to come back. Keep up the good work.

  16. Hi Ravi, I had lots of swelling and it took a while to get under control. The best way for me to manage it in the end was to wear a compression sock or flight sock. I had tenderness in the scar area too, the best way for me to cope with it in my case was by touching it (massage) which helped to desensitise the area. If you are worried about the origin of the sensitivity (to rule out infection for example) ask your doc/physio. The single heel raise took a bit longer, at 2 months its still fairly early. Bcurrs blog is helpul in that he talks about slowing the gait right down and concentrating on quality of movement i.e. normal movement pattern. When you break the components down in the gait pattern, each various stage needs to be right. It took me a while to get a decent ‘push off’ which is why I was limping initially. I found myself practicing heel raises all over the place (and getting some odd looks ;) ) I think it is often one of the last components to come back. Keep up the good work.

  17. I was walking in May 2011 when I felt a pain in my right calf. Did not have surgery until Dec 27, 2011. I had soft cast on first 2 weeks then hard cast for the next 4 weeks. I went into a boot Wed Feb 8. Because of this site and my wonderful husband who has to drive me everywhere, I have survived this site. I am a teacher and went back to work 3 wks post op. I am really getting bummed with this now. I am guessing I must be about half way after reading this blog but I want to walk. I am told not to walk everywhere in the boot yet to use the scooter and not to walk at all without boot. I have to say I have walked a little without the boot and I feel fine but I am worried because I was told not to. I need advice and encouragement. Would love to check back and see someone else who is feeling the way I did or felt the way when they were there. Thanks for all your comments.

  18. I had ATR on 12/20/2011. I’m walking now with a slight limp, but getting around well. The pain after spending the day on my feet is enough to keep me awake at night. For those of you that have been through this, how long should I experience the pain?

  19. I genuinely treasure your piece of work, Great post.

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  21. I got what you intend, regards for putting up.Woh I am thankful to find this website through google.

  22. Two weeks ago, Il was initiated into the ATR Club. Mother Nature took me down in a snow slide torquing my foot and blowing out my Achilles.

    I was wondering if there are any cyclists out there who have confronted this injury? I’d like to know what I should (or should not) be looking forward to as far as most likely scenarios for getting back on my road bike, or even a stationary trainer.

  23. I do quite a bit of cycling Charley: just getting geared up here (in Utah) for the spring season. I got back onto the bike pretty quickly: stationary trainer within 4 weeks, back on a real bike at 7 weeks. You can take a stroll through my blog:

  24. Hey Charley,
    Like ryanb I was on the stationary pretty early on… I got out on the road at around 10 wks post-surgery. I am at 15 wks now and riding around 90 minutes on road with some good climbing in there. I think cycling is one of the earlier things you can get back to… hang in, won’t be long…

  25. Hey Ryan

    I found your website hugely inspirational…and, yes, I have even included it in my “Favorites” so I can reference it frequently. Like you, I’m very much a competitive athlete, with a craving for aerobic challenge. I’m 63, but until the moment of injury, exceptionally fit. Three out of last four years, I’ve completed the 110 mile Tour de Tucson in sub 5 hrs. and always in the top five for my age group. I do Masters racing around here in Seattle.

    And Pablomoses - relieved to learn that spinning on a trainer is someting that my recovering AT can tolerate early in the process. Fortunately, I left running behind years ago.

    I may try to begin a website, however, it sounds as though this site’s promoter has grown frustrated with spam attacks and has limited the ability to launch personalized blogsites through this site.

    Again, thx guys.

  26. Hello. All these storiea.are.very encouraging. It has been two weeka since my surgery i am now in a cam boot. The swelling is really bad especially in the ankle. Ut easy to get down about it. But i am trying to stay positive. So glad i found

  27. Maria, I had some pretty bad swelling too when I went into my CAM boot. I put on a compressions sock and the swelling virtually went away in 3 days.

    Just live each day in the present knowing that if you do as you are supposed to, you’ll recover from this and your ATR is just a bump in the road. I actually did find something positive in the experience. I was able to catch up on a ton of reading and develop a better understanding of what is really important. Staying positive is a bit part of the battle.

  28. Thank you for your response. I havent yet even though i work in a office enviroment. I drive almost a hour each direction. I want to make sure the swelling goes down. I.dont want to go.back and have something go wrong. Anyways staying.strong and to pick me up some 5 lbs hand.weights.

  29. The swelling creates a vicous cycle where you don’t move and have to elevate and be chained to a bed all day which plays on your psyche which affects your whole healing.

    Use motrin 800mg three times daily (really bomb it) but only after your surgical wound has healed decently (e.g. 2 - 3 weeks post op).

    That got rid of the swelling for me.

  30. Assuming you aren’t allergic to motrin, have kidney disease, or ulcers.

  31. Tore tendon while playing tennis 5 1/2 weeks ago. Cast horrendous, was allowed to change to Aircast boot after 5 weeks - bliss…. Had following advice today from doctor…
    “The old advice was to immobilise in a cast for 8 weeks - as per the
    recommended advice from clinic. The newer advice is to use a moveable
    cast which allows the foot/ankle to move downwards but not upwards, the
    degree of movement allowed is then increased with time. The wearing of
    the cast protects the tendon as does the limitation of movement so you
    should be allowed to mobilise with it. It appears from my conversation
    last week that the outcome is similar with both methods but the newer
    one is much more user friendly! I think the only reason the hospital still
    follows the older advice is through lack of sufficient equipment.” Amazingly I have no pain…. though ankle swollen.

  32. I’m really thrilled to have found this rupture early this week. I’ve decided non surgical approach. I’m in a cam walker for 6 weeks @45 degrees.Brace cannot come off according to Dr. at all..I have electric stimulation device my husband uses for his knee..and ordered an ultrasound to help prevent excessive scar tissue. I’m massaging my calf and taking supplements of bromaleine, chondroiten-glucosamine and Vitamin C. Anyone else been this road? Any tips?

  33. Hi all.

    Nice blog with lots of usefull info. Had a complete rupture of my right achilles 9 months ago while playing team handball. The injury was consertively treated with a ROM walker for 8 weeks - followed by 8 weeks of physical therapy.

    While in physical therapy my instructor asked my to sprint while accelerating/decellerting (16 weeks after inj.). This was not a god idea … I got a new minor rupture in the area of the original rupture. So …. back in the walker for 3 more weeks. After the 3 weeks in the walker I returned to physical therapy where I experianced yet another but smaller “crunchy” sensation around my damaged tendon.

    This experience was apparently more than my mind could take an I had a minor panic attach lasting for 2-3 hours (Tony Soprano style).

    From that point on I took control of my own training in the gym and I’m now doing heel lifts with 50 kilo’s on my schoulders, MTB cycling and starting to jog in the gym.

    But my handball days are over.

  34. Hello, My name is Tim.
    I ruptured my achilles playing basketball by simply just jumping up for a rebound. I would consider myself as a explosive athlete I played college football at Cal U of PA and now I been in many basketball leagues before i had this injury. The doc said it was a very rare tear/ rupture from what they have normally seen. He said that the tear was really close to my heel and when in surgery he found that the achilles itself had tears in it. So he had to repair that first and then attach the tendon back together. He also said he put in 2 anchors to hold it there in my heel also with sewing it. The question that i have been asking myself is: Since this is rare from other ATR injuries does this mean that my recovery process will be extended?? Why and how so? I also want to get back as soon as possible to activity, i feel poopy about myself being only 8days post op and not being able to do anything. Considering i would be active in many activities at least 5 times a week. I do understand that I have to be very patient as well but i am just wodering if there are any secrets or things that helped others out to speed up their recovery.

    As of now i am in a soft half cast and see the doc in a couple days for my first check up. I am wondering what goes on during that and what gets done. I have been elevating and iceing the back of my knee. Taking ibprophen to reduce swelling and aspirin for blood clots. I do have knee scooter and i really suggest that rather than crutches. The scooter is heaven compared to crutches.

    ACCIDENT- i was getting out of my friends car and as i was trying to balance myself on one leg i was beginning to fall and quickly with out even thinking caught myself with the bad leg. i didnt feel instant pain but just a very very uncomfortable feeling through my entire leg going up to my calf. It was a sore and a little painful that night but went away the nxt day. Does this mean i am all good? Or might i have done something to myself?

    I am new to blogs and everything so if this isnt the correct way, my bad. I am really curious and would love to know more information on my situation

  35. So, So glad I found this site! I’m going under the knife in 2 days to have a tumor removed from L. Achilles. Doctor will cut out portion of tendon affected, reattach, & graph tendon from big toe to reinforce….joy. I’ve never injured my achilles; didn’t even pay attention to the fact I Had an achilles!! I haven’t seen any similar conditions on the website but still find everyone’s comments helpful as well as reassuring. I’ve requested the opportunity to start a blog but haven’t received an email back giving me the go-ahead. Thought the blog would be fun(?) and give me something to do while laid up.

  36. J1010….. I am getting ready to have the same exact surgery….scared to death…yikes!!!! You have had your by now and i want to ask how bad it was but i dont think i want to know…..yea, i wanna know… i dont….i do!!! Helpppp

  37. Hey everybody! First I want to say good healing to all….

    I ruptured my AT playing basketball and I chose the non operative route. I am 9 1/2 weeks from injury and 8 weeks from the non op protocal. I went to the doctor todayfor my 8 week check up and I walked in in 2 shoes. The doctors were impressed considering I’m still supposed to be in the boot. I’m a little impatient so I’ve been walking around the house since 5 1/2 weeks in gym shoes and sandals. I’ve also researched alot from blogs and you tube video’s. So I was working out my AT quite a bit. I feel because of my impatience, info, healthy diet, and positive thinking the doc released me today and told me to keep doing what I’m doing.

    Happy Day!!! Good luck everyone!!!

  38. I don’t know if people still come here, but I tore my Achilles Sunday Feb 15th 2015 while playing basketball. My surgery is tomorrow (in 8 hours) and I’m nervous. Not just for surgery but for the long road of recovery and pain. It was a complete tear and Im told I’ll be in a splint right after with my foot pointing Downward for 6 weeks. Wish me luck, the recovery Starts

  39. kappa101 we are very active. To participate you can start your own blog.

    From the main page:

    To create a new blog, please create a user account first. And then, please send me an e-mail ( from the e-mail address that you registered with, and I’ll create a blog for you. Please tell me what your username is, and mention briefly how your injury was caused. (The amount of spam blogs that gets created on the site is becoming unmanageable, so I’ve decided to restrict creation of blogs to just me.) I check the site frequently and check AchillesBlog e-mails from my phone, so it’ll won’t take long for you to get your blog up and running. :)


  40. I had severed Achilles tendon and fractured bone spur surgery 7mos. ago… and am still having a lot of swelling at the surgery area where the 4 titanium screws are and where the bone spur fragments where removed and my heel bone was reshaped…The swollen area looks blue like a blood vessel broke and it stings at times…I am still under my Ortho doctors care and was told it could take a year or more to heal completely….sometimes I can’t wear shoes and have to wear mule shoes with the back open or sandals…anything that touches the heal makes it very painful at times…I am wondering if it is possible that they bone spur is returning and that is what is causing the problems…I go back soon for my check up and will ask this question…has anyone else had this problem after having this type of surgery??

  41. txgirl2 you can put the word “bone spur” in the search box on the top right and read every blog that uses that word. You might find an answer to your question there.

  42. 40 yrs old and active In Karate. Full rupture on March 19th sparring at a seminar. Surgery was 8 days following the injury. Splint was removed after 2 weeks. Dr forcefully moved foot from forward to nutural after taking of the splint. I almost passed out from getting lightheaded. Placed in the aircast in nutural and gave me the ok to bear 20% PBW. stitches removed at 3 weeks and told to go and start 50% PWB. Now 4 weeks and I am 50% WB but can walk FBW with no pain. Also started PT this week. I have been moving my foot lightly up and down. Ankle from side to side. About half way there with ROM. Do ROM exercises everyday twice and RICE after. I walk a lot so it helps with the healing. I have my 3rd follow up in a week or so. Feeling good just general soreness.

  43. [...] Achilles Tendon Injury Recovery Blog » Great Recovery … – Unregistered on Hi Don’t think your world has come to an end because you have ruptured your achilles. I ruptured mine in feb 2004 and was … [...]

  44. Alright, hello al I’m a Lt. In the SFFD and I tore my achilles on vacation. I am 1 week out of surgery. I take my boot off 2-3 times a day and try and do RightFoot down movement. It’s moving a little but it seems quite frozen at this point. The toughest thing so far is the sitting around. I do leg lifts in my boot. Wiggle my toes. When I sit upright I get my weights out for overhead shoulder lifts. I also do lying down dumb bell presses. The crappy thing other then this whole recovery is I had to cancel my trip to Japan. I was going to take my daughter for her birthday. She was so looking forward to it. That hurts me more than the injury itself.

  45. firguy- where you instructed to do this ROM exercise by your doctor? If not then I would suggest you put your foot back in the boot and leave it there for another 2 weeks. Your tendon is laying down the first collagen and by doing this you could be leaving yourself open to healing long which will mean more problems in the long term. Trust me on this.

  46. Yes, my Doctor said to take my foot out of the boot and do what he called “a glide up and down slightly 2-3 times a day.”

  47. xplora, Doc says by moving down and only slightly up it does not effect the tendon.

  48. So I’m 31 yr old bodybuilder/athlete and I ruptured my left Achilles 6 weeks ago doing sprints in the beach and had the surgery 25 days ago. I had the cast/splint off at about 2 weeks post surgery. My incision was completely healed at that time. Was put into the boot but kinda got fed up w that quickly and decided to just try and walk. So for the last 4/5 days I’ve been just gingerly walking on it. I don’t really have a choice due to my job and the need to get back to work and training also. So far no issues and I even cut the grass w a push mower yesterday. I think the more aggressive you are in your recovery the better. 11 weeks without walking I could not imagine man. You definitely have patience. Now granted I was in superb shape when the injury happened about 250lbs at 5′10″ 10-12%bf. Also while I wasn’t on anabolics during this recovery I am just on a basic testosterone weekly dose of 250mg. So maybe that might have something to do with recovery of a tendon idk. I’m currently just walking w a slight limp as I have no push off strength off the ball of my foot. I guess the strength will gradually come back. As far as my calf it has atrophied some and obviously has very little strength. I’ll probably wait another 2 weeks before I attempt any light calf excerises.

  49. schafer8511 - I wish you the best with your recovery but you are not doing yourself any favours. It is not uncommon for body builders to approach the recovery of this injury the way you have. Many treat it like another muscle tear. It is way more serious than that and most likely the use of anabolics has caused the degeneration in your tendon. Testosterone will do nothing to aid healing. The 2 main risks you face now are re-rupture as your tendon is not strong enough to take load and healing long. That is when you cause a gap in the tendon ends and it fills with new tissue. What you are doing now can cause that gap. Long term that will mean less push off strength and another surgery (start over) to fix. Understanding an injury is important so you should read up on how tendons heal. I would not recommend your light calf exercise if it involves squats or weights. Do yourself a favour in the long term and put the boot back on for another 3 weeks. You can walk in it and do most other things. Perhaps consult with a PT for some guidance.

  50. Xplora I hear you but I have to get back to work and my job does not allow me to wear a boot. I’d love to just sit on my ass and listen to the doctor but he’s not paying my bills. Also not saying I’m completely healed by any means but I have to believe not everyone heals at the same rate. I read there’s people here still in pain just walking after 12 weeks post op. I’m 4 weeks and have no pain.

  51. schafer8511 - don’t take this as a rebuke. I believe people have to make their own choices but your choice is looking at the short term gain and not the long term detriment which will cost you more. We can also choose to believe many things which are not based on any fact. There is no magic fix for this injury that will have one person heal quicker than another. The difference in how people feel can be due to other factors such as the surgeon’s hands or infection. We do however relate pain differently. I do hope it goes well for you. Money is important as well and I understand you need to keep working. The risk involved In that is unknown to me but you should not look to doing any gym work on the leg for quite some time. Again the choice is yours as it is your body. Hope it goes well for you.

  52. Schafer, you should be in a boot for six weeks minimum no matter op or non-op route. You’re at grave risk of re-rupturing, and also at risk of seriously jeopardizing the long-term integrity of the tendon. Ortho surgeons, podiatrists, and other specialists do not have patients boot-free until at least 6 weeks (usually quite a bit longer even for athletes) for a reason. They differ on weight bearing and non-weight bearing timeframes (some have patients walking in the boot at 2-3 weeks) but they’re still at least in the boot for 6 weeks minimum for protection and to control the degree to which the tendon gradually stretches out. .

    How does your work not “allow” the boot? Get a doc note if necessary. Wearing the boot doesn’t mean you’re immobilized, it just means you have a piece of plastic protecting your lower leg.

    As xplora’s alluded to, when you’re stretching and moving out the tendon that early, it’s going to develop a gap and/or heal long. It needs time to stay within a limited range of motion and certain angle to heal properly. Yes, people heal at different rates, but there’s a general consensus in the medical community that certain things heal in certain timeframes. You’re at increased risk for re-rupture basically up until 12-16 weeks.

    ATR is nothing to mess about with. Not trying to attack you here but you really should consider taking this slowly, incrementally, and listening to your doc.This injury’s taken down many professional athletes. They don’t really heal up much quicker than anyone else despite regaining strength quicker due to access to top of the line care and PT.

  53. Midball. I’m a fugitive extraction agent contracted through a private contractor. Therefore no disability pay since the injury did not happen in a work environment. I can’t exactly walk into prisons and take inmates with a moonboot on. Not exactly a sign of strength. Like I said before I’d love to play it conservative and listen to doctor but I doubt he will pay my rent and bills.

  54. I hear you. Tough call. You said you have a slight limp (as expected), so in your circumstance that’s probably better than openly wearing the boot, advertising the injury. Any way they can post you somewhere less ambulatory for the time being or partner you up? Best wishes there.

  55. Unfortunately no there’s no administrative position I can temporarily take. I know it’s not optimal to push the envelope. About how long do most take to walk completely normal again w no limp or anything?

  56. Totally depends on when you’re given the green light to start PT/strengthening. I started at week 12 (my calf atrophied bad) and within a month from that point I was walking naturally without a limp again, around week 16.

    I’ve noticed, at least from people’s stories on here, that it typically takes a month of strengthening/PT to lose the limp. So if you start at week 6, you could be limp-free at week 10.

    You’re into bodybuilding, so you already have the mindset required to conquer this injury faster than most. Wishing you the best.

  57. When does your ankle ever look somewhat normal again. I still have a major cankle… I’m 6 weeks post op now.

  58. I am 47 and I had a full rupture of the right tendon playing football (the type you play with yout feet..).
    Here is my recovery story upto this day.
    - full rupture of right achhilles on june 1st.
    - operation on the 7th (wire through a hole drilled in the heel bone attached to the upper end of the tendon), back home the same day.
    - in a cast splint after the operation (and back to desk work with crutches after three days).
    - splint removed in the hospital after one week, wound looking good. send home with crutches and two elevation heels for the right shoe of each a centimeter. Instruction: start moving the ankle/weightbearing carefully as far as comfortable. No boot or brace. See you in six weeks.
    - after three weeks removed the fist heelelevation,
    - after six weeks another visit to the doctor. All looked good. Achilles felt good. The second heelelevation was removed (followed by a great 2 week vacation in Spain with lots of swimming, cycling and even walking)
    - I am now 9 weeks after operation. I am walking quite well allthought I have to keep focus on propperly rolling of both feet. My strengh in the right calf is still limited. I am exercising (biking and heellifts etc) to improve this.

    I am quite suprised about the treatment most of you seem to get. My doctor told me that immobilizing the ancle/ and non weight bearing for a long time is a bit old fashioned, since this will make sure that recovery will take much longer and regained mobility and strengh most likely will be less than in case of a more speedy re-using of the ankle.

    I am Dutch and was treated here in the Netherlands. If the fitness of the patient is ok, my protocol is quite standard in the netherlands.Perhaps doctors here are willing to take a bit more risks than in the USA and don’t feel compelled to advise patients on the safest possibility.

    I wish you all a good and full recovery. Lots of strengh and faith during the long uncertain period!

  59. BTW: In the first two weeks reading this blog was very helpfull and in some strange way even comforting. Thanks to all the people that give such great uplifting positive input!

  60. Willem, i wish i heal as quickly as you!
    I am 48 year old female, and probably the fittest i’ve ever been for years, i slalom waterski, run, surf and wakeboard, and have been doing it all year. Until the 15th July when i crashed on the slalom course doing 28mph (50mph across the wake), cartwheeled over my ski and my foot didnt come out of my boot. This resulted in a complete rupture of my left Achilles tendon very close to the heel bone.
    The accident happened in Cambridge but i live in North London, so getting transferred to my local hospital for treatment took a bit longer than expected. I eventually got the operation on 2nd August. Fitted with a half cast.
    I went back on 10th August so they cleaned the wound, stitches look good, no infections, sent me home with a full cast with toes pointing down, and I am to go back in a weeks time to get the stitches taken out.
    They have told me that i will then be in a full cast for a further 4-6 weeks. They said that they can’t risk the Achilles Tendon coming off the bone so hence the cast.
    Its only been nearly four weeks and already i can see the muscle wastage in my left leg!
    I’ve bought an iWalk2.0 as I could’t do anything with my crutches, at least with the iWalk i have some independence and can walk around the house and outside carrying things.
    I’ve also started doing some light exercise today, sit ups, leg raises, press ups…i’m gutted i’m going to loose all my fitness.
    I am a single mom with two kids and i run my own company….this is going to be my biggest challenge yet…
    This site has been great for loads of info and i’ll set up a blog to report my progress….but i reckon there will be no skiing for me now until next season…

  61. Hi Julia, i just read your post. Sounds like your rupture is a bit more complex than mine. My rupture was well above the heelbone and i understand that this makes an operation and recovery easier than in case of a rupture close to or even from the bone.
    I hope you’re doing well and that the cast will come off asap. As a single mom and businessowner it must be difficult to have the phys.limitations. Be sure to ask for help from all the people around you! My experience was that everybody was more then willing to assist. I am sure that after the cast is removed your mobility will get better very quickly. Your apperant appetite for sports will surely help. Hang in there, take care and get well.


    What’s up guys! Just wanted to share my story and why I highly advice non surgical recovery. I’m 26, quite active and athletic and play sports regularly. I was playing basketball and fully tore my left Achilles April 19th, 2016. Yikes. Not a great day as you all know. BUT, after much consideration (and many people telling me I was crazy), I went for the non surgical approach to recovery.
    I’m so happy I did. Surgery was not worth it to me tbh. The time off work, inability to drive (manual transmission), surgery costs, chance for infection, etc etc. My recovery was great. Just throw the boot on for a couple of months and it’s totally fine.
    April 19th - tear
    May 8th - traveled to Thailand for 3 weeks (wearing the boot was not fun - wayyy too hot over there and everyone thought I was Robocop or something.
    End of June - phased out of wearing the boot - started PT once a week
    Mid August - went on my first run
    Today (12/28/16) - I am about 98% recovered! Doctors told me it’d be at least 12-14 months before fully healthy but I have proved them wrong and it feels awesome. I went snowboarding last week after essentially writing off this season months ago. I play basketball 2-3 times a week. I run stairs regularly. Full range of motion (since June actually) and can do about 7-8 one legged calf raises (still working on that).
    If you do the non surgical, which I highly advise, just know it won’t be that bad at all! Strap the boot on, be patient, and everything will be fine! It took me a mere 6 months to be running comfortably so it really isn’t that rough.

    I remember when I was researching nonsurgical, I did not find much at all. So I hope whoever reads this is inspired and if you have any questions on my story or my recovery please hit me up!
    Wish you all the best and have a great recovery!!

  63. Hi - I posted this as a comment on another blog post already, but think this might be a more appropriate place so hope no-one minds if they read it twice. I ruptured my right AT playing badminton 12 days ago, and and the blogs and comments on it are the best source of info and advice I’ve found online.

    As a bit of background, I’m 52 and live near Southampton in the UK (this seems to be a fairly US/ North American focused site so things may need translation e.g. dates!). I’m pretty active, playing badminton weekly, doing martial arts twice a week & cycling 30 miles every couple of weeks, so this has come as a bit of a shock. I guessed what had happened immediately as one of the guys I play with also had ATR about 20 years ago, though as I could still move my foot a little I thought it might just be a partial tear. I went to A&E (ER) that evening & got a half leg cast with my foot at about 30 degrees, an appointment with a consultant 8 days later, and advice to hang the leg up & behind when using the crutches. I’m not good at sitting doing nothing so after the first 24 hours I was up & doing what I could around the house on 2 crutches or 1 crutch & a stick, & managed to do a 400 yard circuit to the shops once, though found it pretty tiring. All NWB other than the very slightest sometimes needed to maintain balance e.g. taking a leak!

    After a couple of days the initial swelling seemed to reduce as the cast became a bit loose and started to slip down onto my toes pushing my foot lower, becoming uncomfortable and sometimes causing pain in my heel maybe by pushing the torn ends together too hard?

    I saw the consultant on R+8, and an ultrasound showed it to be a complete tear in the musculotendinal area with a 3cm gap, which the consultant said wasn’t appropriate for surgery, so I got fitted with an Aircast boot which from what I’ve seen is quite similar to the walkboots which get referred to a lot on here. It has a flat sole with the foot at 90 degrees, but I have 3 wedges giving about 20 degrees of flexion. Again I didn’t get much advice on using it with crutches, but it’s a lot easier to get around in than the cast was. As a result I’m not just hanging my leg as I use the crutches; I’m putting my injured foot forward with the crutches and putting a very light load on it so creating a partial walking motion, and round the house I sometimes use 1 crutch on the injured side only. It’s also a lot easier to stand without crutches (taking a leak, making breakfast) though almost all of the weight is on my good leg.

    Perhaps as a result I seem to have been getting more swelling in my calf and ankle than when I was in the cast, especially late afternoon and evening, to the extent that it gets uncomfortable and there’s a bulge above the top of the boot and either side of the elastic of my sock when I take the boot off, so I’m therefore going to be taking it easier from now on, at least until my first physio session which should be in about 10 days time (R+22). I can flex my toes up & down and raise my foot slightly in the boot when its loose but don’t dare try with it off yet.

    Looking up I seem to have written half a blog already, so perhaps I should start one, but in the mean time if you read this far, any advice or comments if anything seems unusual would be much appreciated. Cheers, Richard

  64. Hi Richard- just read your post and not sure if I will be any help to you but thought I would share my experience. We seem to be at a similar time frame in regards to injury as I fully ruptured my R Achilles on 29th january this year. In A&E I was put into a half cast splint for 5 days then an aircast boot. Only saw a physio at the orthopaedic clinic who diagnosed it by the Thompson Test I think it’s called. No X-ray or ultrasound. Did not see a doctor there. Opted for non surgical path. They didn’t really make it clear whether I should be weight bearing or not but just sort of said toe touching with 10% weight on the foot. Bit difficult to put 10% only through in my opinion! So I basically hopped around for two weeks as I read that’s the usual advice. When I saw the physio after 15 days she told me I should have been 10% weight bearing. Anyhow am doing that now and was shown some foot/toe exercises to do every 2 hours in the boot and out of the boot. Am fed up of wearing this in bed! I almost got told off by my physio for not massaging the swelling away! I am doing that now gently. Like you my cast kept slipping down. I was told to elevate the leg as much as possible now to help reduce the swelling. Were you given Fragmin injections at all to prevent a blood clot as that’s what I am on right now. I am in Bournemouth incidentally and it’s been interesting to read your treatment so far seeing as we are both in the U.K. Sarah.

  65. Hi - thanks for getting in touch; I wasn’t certain how active this site was, but you’re the second person who’s responded and the advice etc is really handy.

    I got no advice at all really in terms of how much weight to put on the boot/ crutches, but I think I must be about 10% weight bearing when I’m just using the one crutch around the house, and will try to put a bit more weight on it when I’m out & about on both.

    I’m really interested to hear about the massage for reducing swelling; someone else on here said they’d received “lymphatic massage” for this, maybe the same thing? I’m reluctant to do too much before I get advice from the physio, but can you describe how your massage works please, e.g. whereabouts, direction of movement, amount of pressure?

    I’m also trying to spend more time with it elevated, but I’m not good at sitting around doing nothing and am trying to keep up with some of the housework since my wife is having to do a lot more in terms of running the kids round to clubs etc. I’m not on anything to prevent blood clots, and do get a slight twinge of anxiety whenever my calf aches, but hopefully if moving around a lot isn’t good for the swelling, then the upside is that it’s keeping my circulation fairly high, as crutching is surprisingly hard work!

    Do you have wedges in your boot and have you had any removed yet? I was hoping to have the first one removed this week, but the waiting lists mean it’ll be 2 or 3 weeks before I have my first physio, so I’m hoping the delay won’t cause any problems in terms of the tendon being too short & having to do a lot more physio to stretch it out later on.

    It’s really handy having someone on the same treatment & timescale in the UK - please keep in touch! Best wishes,


  66. A lot of good recovery stories.
    Always admired the will power of the people. I want to write books about such people, I hope this will be helped by a team of professionals in writing
    Best wishes for recovery!

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