Aren’t you getting a little old to dance like that???

Hi there achilles bloggers old and new! I guess it’s been around 3 months since my last post, but it seems a lot longer. I never would have believed, 9 months ago, how little time I would spend thinking about my injury at this point…but it’s so very true.

I ruptured my left ATR dancing on my birthday in late October, and had surgery 10 days later. With the help of a fabulous partner, a very very skilled physiotherapist, and a commitment to the pilates reformer machine, I am basically fully recovered.

I can now do more calf raises on my left side than I can on my right. I am doing regular Zumba lessons and will be getting back to hip hop once I improve my leap a little…another month or so. I am doing spin classes and regularly going for long walks (I have never been a runner) and in a few weeks will be taking part in a 10km walk to raise money for our local Spina Bifida support group, as my friend had a baby a few months ago who has SB (which puts a lot of things into perspective). So I have been building up to that distance and everything feels totally fine.

I have laid off the reformer a little of late, but a recent trip to the snowfields in the south of Oz reminds me that, for the sake of my non-ruptured achilles, i should be getting back to it. I was only tobogganing with my son, but hours of trudging up the steep and slippery runs certainly told in the aching of my right achilles. The left, I am pleased to say, made not the slightest complaint! So, back to pilates to strengthen my core and take the strain of my calves and achilles…tis the way forward for me!

Great to see some of my ‘contemporaries’ have been posting their wins and progressions…it’s wonderful to be able to check in from time to time. Those just beginning on this journey, be sure to read the posts of those who are further along in their rehabilitation, for your own positivity and peace of mind, know that it gets easier, and eventually life takes over. Take your time, honour yourself, you will get there.

Best wishes to everyone with your recoveries :D

July 20th, 2010 at 8:59 pm | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

Been a little while since I updated - hi to all!

Well I am 15 weeks post-op now, and really can’t complain about anything. When I first ruptured and was told 12 months recovery time, I imagined the worst. But less than 4 months through it, the injury is not impacting upon my life in any really major way, apart from that I am not back to dance classes yet.

I am still having physio twice per week, he also uses acupuncture needles to release tension in the muscles and fascia - which is quite unpleasant actually! It causes spasming which really hurts at the time, afterwards however, it feels fantastic and my range increases quite dramatically.

So, I am keeping up with the pilates and the spin classes and have added in Yoga now, which is interesting, particularly through the balance phases!! But I am improving gradually. I can also perform a fairly awkward looking jog - I have never been a runner and have always been pretty awkward at it but doing a little bit just to focus on getting the gait right and pushing off the ball of my foot…in preparation for my hip hop moves!!

Double calf raises feel fine except that I still get a ‘bunched up’ feeling at the top of my tendon when I am up on my toes…my sister who is a physio explained to me that this is most likely caused by the tendon sheath having become too tightly attached to the tendon (at least I think that’s what she said!) and that massage will help. So I have my wonderful partner diligently employed each night doing some good firm tendon massage. This has definitely assisted with softening and mobilising the scar tissue, the tendon feels more and more like the unruptured one all the time.

My range is ok, I can get my knee to the wall with my toes about 7 cm out, the other leg is about 11 so I guess I am getting there! My limp comes out to play sporadically, depending on the sort of day I have had, and I still have to elevate and apply heat if I have been on my feet a lot, to bring the swelling down.

All that said, it’s amazing just how little attention I actually give the thing now. Going to pilates is no longer really about rehab, it’s about going because I love it. Of course the injury is still in my mind and I am naturally more cautious and it still affects me in a myriad of ways….but not nearly so badly as I expected when first it occurred. I am really pleased to say that life is good and I am just getting on with it.

Sounds like lots of you are doing great stuff as well, thanks as always for the positive and motivating posts.

Best wishes to all with your recoveries…will check in again soon!


February 24th, 2010 at 7:01 pm | Comments & Trackbacks (4) | Permalink

Hi everyone

I went for my 10 week post-op hospital visit last week, and met the head orthopaedic clinician for the first time. He pronounced my range of motion ‘damn good’ and told me that they would not need to be seeing me again. Which is great by me, doctors and hospitals give me the heebies…despite my gratitude for what they have done for me, I am pleased to not be returning.

So it’s down to me and the physio now! I have been downgraded to fortnightly physio sessions, and am going to the gym 3 or 4 times per week to do pilates (reformer and matwork) and spin classes (really i just ride to the music paying no attention to the sprints, jumps and hovers but it’s more fun than sitting on a bike on my own). Still have not managed the entire 45 minute class due to the decrease in leg strength and cardio fitness but it’s getting better.

I forgot myself for a moment after the weekend and started running for a bus. I didn’t get far though - pushing off that foot felt so wrong and weak and hopeless. Thank goodness I didn’t seem to damage anything….just goes to show how daily life has overtaken my focus, I am amazed that I ‘forgot’ even for a second!

I bought myself a pair of crocs on the weekend. My friends will give me hell no doubt but I have to say, since I have been wearing them the swelling and heel pain have both been dramatically improved. The problem is the subtropical climate and plastic shoes, well, it gets a little slippery :/

Onwards and upwards!!

January 18th, 2010 at 11:01 pm | Comments & Trackbacks (1) | Permalink

Hi folks, a very happy new year to all…no doubt it will be better than the last!

Well the 1st of January marked the happy day when I could abandon ‘the boot’ and don my trusty Asics trainers. What a feeling! To be honest, on the advice of my physio I had been getting around the house in bare feet for two weeks prior to that, just wearing the boot when I ventured out, but to put a running shoe on left me with a pretty stupid grin I must admit.

And everything is feeling great, I even managed a wee little (and VERY low impact) dance with my friends on NYE! I almost cried, I missed it so…

I have much to thank my physio for, I have been seeing him twice per week since week 2 or 3 (significant that I cannot remember!) post-op, and believe this has been absolutely of the essence to get me to this point in a short time. I am now doing single calf-raises on the reformer (set on the lightest spring and doing 30 reps), as well as squatting as deeply as I can, and balancing on my bad leg…that has gone from about 0.5 sec to easily over 10 seconds in a week. I am also doing 30 second prone planks to strengthen not only my core (which when working properly takes pressure off the AT’s) but also my toes!

The heel does get very sore after 10 or 15 minutes walking on it, and I am really trying to focus on getting the weight more evenly spread across the whole foot, and this is improving as evidenced by my much diminishing limp.

So….getting there.

I have set a goal to climb the cliffs at Kangaroo Point, which is on the Brisbane River right in the centre of the city, it’s very beautiful and they have a range of climbs…I am going to attack AT LEAST the easiest one by my next birthday, which will be exactly 365 days post-rupture. I have not climbed in years so am keen to prove to myself that I can train for that goal, and conquer it.

All the best to you all for your ongoing recoveries!

January 2nd, 2010 at 8:08 pm | Comments & Trackbacks (6) | Permalink

Hey everyone, hope all are well out there and progressing well through their journeys, remembering to enjoy the upsides!

I had my 6 week post-op appointment today, and was really determined to make my consultant laugh. I failed in this endeavour, however he did crack a smile….I think my happiness at the outcome of the meeting must have been just a teeny bit infectious!!

So…had the boot set to 10deg dorsiflexed - not a problem, could get there on my own anyway. He had a feel of the tendon and said that he feels I am healing extremely well. I have been managing on one crutch around the house for the last week or so, and for the last couple of days, even without the crutch. He said this is fine, just to keep going with that, and listen to my body.

Now my boot is due to come off on 1st January, which is a public holiday. Rather than make me wait, doc said he was so happy with me that he would entrust me to remove the boot for the final time that day, and get myself into a pair of shoes. I could have hugged the man!!! (particularly as he is quite handsome lol).

The worry now is, will I be able to wait?? It’s not like anyone is going to know…..except you guys! I feel sure that you will all keep me in line, though, which is a good thing….I can be prone to a little overexcitement! No, I will be good…and I am going to step out of bed on new years day a new woman, with a nice shiny new pair of trainers!!!!!! Bring on 2010!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So I have clearance now to do anything low impact - swimming, cycling, running in water, elliptical etc etc. At 8 weeks post op I can begin double calf raises, and at 12 weeks I can do whatever I want - listening to my body at all times of course.

My physio is amaaaaazing. So very good at his job. He has been working lots on my right (good) side as I have mentioned in previous posts, I have had a lot of pain and he thinks it is pretty high risk. We have worked out that this all came about (most likely) from childbirth 5 years ago, when I suffered a separation of the symphisis pubis on one side, and my pelvis was twisted. Looks like the rehab I had for that was not particularly successful…it eradicated the pelvic pain but did not restore proper function, so now my lower legs are compensating. Physio estimates I am loading about 3 times my actual body weight through my AT’s. Best I get that sorted out now!!! To that end he is doing lots and lots of really painful calf massage and has me on a regime of core strength exercises combined with single calf raises. Happy to report, no pain for the last two days….excellent!

Today, we start rehabbing the ‘bad’ leg more seriously. He does dry acupuncture needling to break up the scar tissue which is apparently very effective, not sure at this stage what else he has in store for me. Whatever it is I am sure it will hurt, but I am sure I will sincerely thank him for it regardless!

I wholeheartedly wish each and every one of you the happiest of holidays, and hope that you are enjoying your milestones and rolling with the punches. This site is so important for us to connect with, support, encourage and humour one another, and yes I too have a pen pal from across the seas which is an entirely unexpected bonus, and a very welcome one! It’s all about getting the most out of the experience I guess!

I will post again in a couple of weeks, in two shoes and ready to take on new challenges.

warmest wishes to you all :)

December 17th, 2009 at 10:47 pm | Comments & Trackbacks (1) | Permalink

Attended my second post op clinic on Friday and it was good news all round. Had the boot re-set to neutral and given authority to weight bear as tolerated. This was terrifying and difficult at first, but within a few hours I was cruising around the house with one crutch - elation, the freedom!! To be able to carry my own cup of coffee, and make my son breakfast!!!

The incision has healed up great, and I am truly lucky to not have suffered a great deal of atrophy, the size difference in my legs apparently is not noticeable to anyone but me.

I also got the go ahead to start swimming as much as a like - any stroke, just being careful not to push off the injured foot. I can’t wait to get in the water tomorrow, out of the heat and getting the heart rate up.

Also got clearance to start physio (even though I already had!). I went straight to physio clinic and my guy massaged the swelling out of my foot (OUCH!) and gave me a pressure bandage…this has worked really effectively to keep the swelling at bay. He also did lots of work on my overused, tight right side, which hurt a lot but was a revelation afterwards. As of next week I start twice weekly - one session per week is purely applying electro therapy to the calf to start to create tone. I am doing range of motion exercises with a theraband 3 times a day, just trying to gain control over the movement.

Dinner’s ready and it looks GREAT…continuing best wishes to you all, take care!!!

December 6th, 2009 at 1:42 am | Comments & Trackbacks (3) | Permalink

Had a physio come to my house over the weekend, a friend of my sister’s (who is a brilliant sports physio with 30 years experience but whom unfortunately lives 1500kms away!!), who says he owes her a lot so is going to treat me as a favour to her. Happy days, because I am not insured for physiotherapy and am only working part time at the moment! Anyway this great guy came around primarily to do some work on my ‘good’ side, firstly because I have been worried about rupturing my other achilles, which has been sore, and also because I was experiencing huge tightness in the glute region, doing so much hard work. He really loosened me up and got me more mobile, and gave me pilates strengthening work to do.

He was completely gobsmacked at the lack of information or direction I had been given by the doctor when I got the boot on. I was told to touch weight bear but not told what this really means, nor how often to do it…as a result I was doing it pretty much all the time, and ended up with a nasty inflammatory response which was actually inhibiting dorsiflexion. Since I started going easier, I have gradually got my foot flat in the boot which is set to 20deg plantar, and can pull my toes back further, so feeling much better about getting to neutral without enduring the absolute agony I suffered after the orthotics specialist worked his ‘magic’ on me!!

The physio’s advice was not to do ANY work involving soleus or gastrocnemius for now, until I am a little further along the healing process. He suggested that massaging the calf will assist healing, and that light self-massage of the tendon would assist in creating strong but mobile scar tissue. And the biggest lesson - trust myself, listen to my body…if it’s too painful it’s probably not right.

Did my third day at my new job yesterday, and boy it was tough. I work in an office on my own, although there is an associated organisation in the same building and we share many facilities. Normally my husband would pick me up and drop me off to work but yesterday I just needed to go for a couple of hours (or so I thought) so I decided to drive, and park in the one hour parking bays a few hundred meters from the office. Figured I could go refill the meter once!! Well….of course in this state, everything takes much longer than when you have two hands free, so I had to go refill the parking meter three times….uphill and beneath a beating sun. By the time I had to go a fourth time, I was exhausted, my hands were blistered…I knew I could not do it! I only knew one person’s name so I asked him if he would mind going….he told me he was too busy! I went into my office and began to cry…when a woman walked in thinking that I might need someone to get me some lunch. I was so embarrassed to be found in that miserable state by someone I did not know, but bless her she went and filled the meter, and I do believe I have made my first friend at work!! :0)

I have a new little challenge now…I have a couple of finger joints that have become painfully swollen from crutching. My mum suffered bad arthritis in her hands and I have been thinking for a while that I might have some slow arthritic changes happening…well I am not sure if this is possible but it feels like the crutches are speeding up these changes. Onto the glucosamine I go, for the moment…if they don’t show signs of improvement once the crutches are vanquished I shall take my hands to my trusty naturopath for treatment.

All the best everyone!!

November 23rd, 2009 at 8:15 pm | Comments & Trackbacks (1) | Permalink

Had my first post-op appointment today, and the sutures out, which was a little ouchy but not too bad. The wound looks great, no problems there at all.

Much to my delight I was told I would go into a range of motion boot, rather than the fibreglass cast recommended in my op report.

The prosthetist/orthotic guy came to fit me in the boot and just gave it a big dorsal push, saying they needed to get me to 10 degrees off neutral. The sensation was absolutely horrible and terrifying, the pulling was intense, and he was unable to get me past 30. I don’t know if I was just being a complete squib, but my foot has been almost completely plantar flexed for 16 days now and I actually think it’s pretty amazing that I got it as far as I did!!! And I already feel like I can go a little further, so maybe slow but sure is the way for me?? Did others have this happen?? I know I have to get to neutral before they will let me PWB and I know that won’t happen by me doing nothing….but well, that pulling sensation just absolutely terrified me - more than anything it felt as though the whole tendon was going to break through the skin!!

Anyway they have left me with some room in the boot so that I can touch weight bear and hopefully get my heel down flat at 20 deg before long. I am confident it won’t take too long….in the 2 hours since I have had it on, I have managed to straighten my leg with my foot in this position, which I could not do at first.

I got barely a chance to speak to the surgeon at all, apart from hearing him say the wound looked great. I really wanted to ask if it’s ok for me to start contracting my calf muscle. Anyone know?? I am seeing the physio tomorrow anyway so hopefully he will enlighten me.

I sure did not get any tendon massage, or foot bathing out of the team I saw today, though!!!

My left calf is now a little smaller than the other, though I am sure that will become more pronounced. Funnily enough it’s also BROWNER. I had a spray tan a couple of days prior to rupturing, and it’s worn off the rest of my body but stayed on under the cast!!! Eeewwww. Definitely looking forward to that shower with the boot off, when hubby gets home!!!

So next appointment is 2 weeks, by which time hopefully I am well and truly comfortable at 20deg and ready to go for 10 or even neutral.

Ok, I am off to squash some pretend flies with my left toes!!!

Here’s to everyone’s recovery. We will get there!!

November 19th, 2009 at 10:21 pm | Comments & Trackbacks (4) | Permalink

Had a bit of a fall last night, and before I could get my bad foot out of the way, caught some weight on my big toe. Didn’t feel too bad at the time, but today I have some aching in what I assume is the wound area…hopefully this is just a normal part of the healing process!

My greatest concern though, is my good achilles. It’s got a fair amount of thickening, and is quite tender, and I also have a lot of soreness through the instep. Hubby is going to procure me a heel lift for my good foot today, and then I think I might start seeing a physio for some preventative assistance - I am coping ok, one leg down, and feeling pretty positive about things….but 2, now that would be hard to deal with!!!

Anyone else who has had similar concerns found ways of alleviating the stress on the good foot??

Apart from that I am finding that housework is a pretty good workout, whether on crutches or the scooter….all that bending and straightening and lifting etc etc!!! Never felt so good about cleaning my house!!!

Really looking forward to going into my fibreglass cast next week, as the weather is warming up and Brisbane is relentlessly hot in summer…and apart from that it will just be my first post op recovery milestone so should do the mental framework no end of good!!

My 4 yo boy and I have found a fantastically fun way to play together, while he has been confined to the house with chicken pox, that involves me sitting him on my scooter (which is actually a mobility walker) and zooming from one end of the house to the other, stopping at various ’stations’ along the way to pick up his stuffed toy passengers. Thank heavens for wooden floorboards!

Other than that, am enjoying catching up on Dexter, reading heaps of books, and am going to hit the pub for a bit tomorrow, yayyyy!!! New job starts Monday so hope I hold up ok for that one!!

Cheers everyone!

November 13th, 2009 at 7:48 pm | Comments & Trackbacks (2) | Permalink

Just wondering at what point of recovery folks found themselves able to do any cardio training…and what kind of training did you do? I know its early days for me but I am concerned about weight gain….I am already carrying about 10kgs too many and really don’t want it to blow out. Any advice most gratefully received - thanks :)

November 10th, 2009 at 3:16 pm | Comments & Trackbacks (8) | Permalink