Foot_Fault

My achilles tendon repture & recovery blog.

Hello world! - My Story!

Hi All! What a great forum to find during this time.

My ATR story starts with the decision to play in a tennis tournament over Memorial Weekend. I was going out to San Francisco to visit a friend and we both play (or did in our youth) and we thought it would be fun to participate. I hit a couple of times and practiced serves, but was still quite rusty when the first day of play came up. We decided to go hit on our own to warm up and practice serves. So we hit for about an hour then walk back up the STEEP hill (this is SF after-all) to the truck and drive out to the tournament. There we sit for 4-5 hours watching matches and waiting for ours. When I’m finally called, I go down, start hitting and begin my doubles match.*

We were tied at 2-2 when I had to turn from the net and race back to hit a soft lob that had gone over my head. I hit the shot over my left shoulder, turn and planted my feet to charge the net again when I heard the pop and hit the court. My team mates assisted me off the court, found a doctor and began icing it down. I don’t recall the doctor ever saying anything about the tendon. The best I recall he felt it wasn’t broken, and it was a pulled muscle or strain, and I just needed to ice it down and be gentle with it. I asked if there was anything to be done in the ER (since I was from out of town/state) and he didn’t seem to think it would help much.

So my friend picked up a brace/support from Walgreens with laces and velcro straps which provided a lot of support for the ankle. I was able to continue to walk on it, with a limp and of course, only walking on the heel. During the course of the remaining week I was there, it seemed to get better unless I stepped on uneven ground and my heel dropped, then I had shooting pain up my calf.

I flew home 8 days after the initial injury and my leg was throbbing the entire flight. The flight attendants gave me an icebag and Advil to help, but I couldn’t wait to get home, elevate it and ice it down. Since it was hurting so badly at this point, I decided I needed to have it checked out so went to my regular doctor the next morning.

She looked it over and within 10 minutes said she was referring me to an orthopedic specialist. I was a bit stunned, still thinking it was a pulled muscle - not realizing what the note “ruptured tendon” mean on my paper work. :)

5 minutes into the visit with the orthopedic surgeon, he said, “Oh yeah, you’ll need surgery.” Once I realized what they were able to visually see (or rather not see) I understood why it was so easy to be able to tell the nature of the injury.

That was Monday, my surgery was Thursday (June 5th). Fortunately my office is letting me work from home these first few weeks, so I’m able to keep it elevated as much as possible and rest when needed.

* Oh, I included the bits about tennis earlier in the day before the rupture, because I suspect having warmed up my muscles through hitting and that elevated climb to the truck caused a lot of tightness in my legs and had I stretched a bit before the match, I may have avoided this problem. Won’t know for sure, of course, because as my brother likes to remind me, “We’re not 19 anymore.” :)

10 Comments »

maria wrote @ June 21st, 2008 at 9:47 am

i have a ruptureachillestendon doctor has chosen non chirurgical method how long takes this to heel

sheila wrote @ June 21st, 2008 at 12:14 pm

Do you know if it is a full rupture - in that the tendon is fully torn or is it just partial? I wonder if maybe it isn’t a full tear so that doctor feels surgery would pose unnecessary risk of infection, when it could heal on its own. Is there another doctor you could go to to get a 2nd opinion, if you feel it is more severe? I’m not trying to alarm you, just that the more severe injuries don’t heal well on their own from what I have read and surgery is almost the only way to get full function back from those type of injuries.

Good luck with your treatment and please keep us posted here.

johnk wrote @ June 21st, 2008 at 1:10 pm

Shiela,

The non surgical route involves you being in 3 plasters for 10 weeks, 4 , 4 and 2, at every change they move the foot to stretch the tendon. At 8 weeks you become FWB.
The total recovery time is no different to the surgical route.
I ruptured my left AT on 20 Feb this year and I am now 4 months into recovery and receiving PT twice a week.

Hope your recovery comes along as well as mine has.

Johk :)

maria wrote @ June 21st, 2008 at 2:10 pm

because of my poor english i did not explain my situation.me too i ruptured my rigth AT on 27 feb.ihad a rupture 6cm.doctor put the foot on a plaster fo 40 days .now i took physiotherapies 3 days a week.but i limp and the worse is the steps.when i recover again ./?thanks to Johk and Shiela

sheila wrote @ June 21st, 2008 at 10:46 pm

Thanks for the note, John. I was reluctant to post that, but in my (as noted) limited research when I first learned of the extent of my injury, the articles I found suggested that nonsurgical treatments aren’t as strong as surgical. Good to hear that it seems to be as effective as surgery. And I see that for every doctors it seems there are as many different lines of treatment, as well. That’s one of the great things about a forum like this - to be able to learn from so many people with similar experiences.

My doc did the long surgical cut instead of the little orthoscopic type and his belief is that it makes for better access and a better repair. Of course he’s a surgeon, so no surprise that his preferred line of treatment is surgical. :) Maybe since I went 9 days w/o treatment, continuing to walk (flat footed, but walking) it also made a difference in what was needed. I think I did read that non-surgical is most effective when the ankle is immobilized early on.

Anyway, glad your recovery is full and thanks for the feedback!

tennisfreak wrote @ June 22nd, 2008 at 12:31 am

Hi there!

Another tennis player. Who knew tennis was so dangerous? =P I’m sorry your trip to SF included one very bad souvenir. I live in SF so I know what those hills are like! And you know, I’m thinking more about what you said regarding the tightness … I still can’t figure out why this happened to me, but I do know that I was going a little overboard the 2 weeks prior to my ATR. Lots of running, lots of tennis … I did feel pretty sore in my calf … is that really why? I wonder …

Oh, and uh … you may not be 19 anymore, but apparently this can happen to 26 year-olds like me too. Go figure.

Hang in there!

vicky wrote @ June 22nd, 2008 at 6:52 am

hi sheila!,
i am also recovering from right AT rupture mine was a complete rupture it occured while playing cricket on mon the 16th june 08 and it was repaired surgicaly on 18th june and this was the second time it happened to me earlier it was my left AT exactly 4 years ago that to in the month of june. it took 2and a half month to walk on my feet back again now again it will be like this only………..my doc has made a long surgical cut 4 inches long, as he say’s provide better accessbility to repair,
And your brother is right we are nomore 19 now……….

sheila wrote @ June 22nd, 2008 at 7:20 am

Interesting to me how many women are here! My doctor said it is unusual for a woman to have this injury - it is usually men who come in with it.

@Vicky - was the previous At rupture treated with surgery also?

@tennisfreak - ha! no kidding about tennis being dangerous! They should put a warning label on those balls! :) One friend upon learning of the injury said, “See, this is why I don’t do anything outside!” But it has made me appreciate all the conditioning & stretching we did back in high school tennis.

Side note: my doctor said my calf muscle went all the way down to my ankle - I guess that isn’t typical? There was also something else he said that was unusual about my leg - but I can’t remember that one. Fascinating the things we learn about our bodies. :)

I am in my second cast as of Thursday and I’ve been having same pain radiating out from the calf area. I assume this is from the foot being adjusted slightly in this 2nd cast to stretch the tendon a bit. Can anyone verify this pain is typical each time the foot is adjusted? It was adjusted Thursday with pain started Thursday evening (nothing at all during the adjustment or re-casting). I’m back to using the stronger pain meds off and on since the adjustment, although I had been off them for about a week prior.

Tom wrote @ June 22nd, 2008 at 10:07 am

Sheila - I think the pain you’re experiencing is normal. I had some muscle soreness for about 24-48 hours after being recasted. I’ve heard others say the same thing and I think some have taken pain meds after an adjustments.

marianne wrote @ June 22nd, 2008 at 4:14 pm

Sheila,

Hi! I had surgery on June 4th, so we are ATR surgery buddies….I am turning 50 on July 2nd and was planning a vacation to SF on the 14th before this injury occurred :( I grew up in the Bay Area and was looking forward to showing my 13 yr. old daughter and husband my old stomping grounds, but don’t know about that now….lots of mental and physical obstacles between now and then. There definitely won’t be any “stomping” :)……

Well, Keep Posting and sharing…..

Marianne

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