Big scare and note on flying

Its been 10 weeks since my surgery and my doctor said that there should be no problems with flying, so last week I took a trip to see some family. Being 10 weeks out, I am in a walking boot and have felt pretty confident getting around, not much pain in my foot, decent balance and walking speeds at 60-70% my normal pace. Overall I felt good and was overconfident about the strength and condition of my foot.

But while I was walking in the airport, I was looking back to check something while walking and someone cut in front of me with their luggage so while my body was leaning forward, my bad foot could not step properly and instead of landing on my heel, my foot came straight down on the ball of my foot. As you know pressing the ball of your foot while leaning forward causes significant strain on the achilles and the moment my foot touched down, I felt this strange release of tension in my foot. Now any sort of sudden change of feeling in my foot seemed like it would be a bad thing, so I sat down, took my boot off and checked my foot. Everything seemed ok, but when I squeezed my calf with my hand, my foot wasn’t moving. It didn’t hurt, but it felt strange that my foot wouldn’t move with my manual calf squeeze.

I went home and did a full Thompson test and it seemed like my foot wasn’t responding so I got freaked out and messaged my doctor to see if I had damaged anything. Thankfully, there was no damage ( I must have done the test wrong or missed the movement) , but the 3 days waiting for the appointment felt like forever and the thoughts of redoing surgery, cast, etc. was almost too much to think about.

The moral of my story is that you must always be mindful and protective of your foot, even if (or maybe even more) you feel like its recovering well and things feel fine. Be more extra alert and aware of your surroundings - especially airports. I had been fine walking through train stations, bars, Costco, etc so I thought the airport would be no different, but it is very different. Airports are more dangerous than most public areas because everyone is constantly moving, generally in a hurry and they have carry on bags which bump into a lot of things. My scare happened at the gate where there’s a mass of people just waiting to board and moving as a herd whenever there’s any announcement. Also, don’t be afraid to use the wheelchair service when getting your boarding ticket. They are very friendly and helpful and will wheel you all the way to your gate, which is sometimes a pretty long walk for a walking boot.

When I first got hurt, I read a lot of blogs and people’s experiences with their recovery so I hope anyone that flies with this injury will be a little more alert at the airport or anywhere there’s a high density of people moving really fast.

4 Responses to “Big scare and note on flying”

  1. Since I was given a disabled pass that was good for the first 5 months I had no qualms asking for help when I needed it. I also made me doctor explain why he limited me at the various phases during recovery so I had a better grasp of what the physical reasons were for the limitations and could better guess what I could and couldn’t do. I guess some folks don’t want to ask for help - but airports are glad to give it to you as are many stores.

  2. I flew for the first time last week and it was pretty unusual to extend my foot into the isle without a shoe on to get some swelling relief. I also noticed that it was dangerous to walk through the terminal. Someone could easily bump an exposed achilles out of a boot. Glad you are ok!

  3. I flew home from Kenya last week, 42 hours after rupturing my achilles. Got loads of help in Kenya with staff waiting and helping me board the plane, luckily flying up front so got a bit spoilt.

    However when I got to Heathrow it was a different story, got a wheel chair of the plane, to a buggy and a 20 minute wait, then to immigration which I had to hop through and then hop to the wheel chair station, had a 30 minute wait for a porter to take me to get my bags and then a 30 minute wait for my taxi driver to find me. Not the best experience after 16 hours travelling

  4. As I would see it, we should scan for a totally unique flying machine, in light of other flying standards. I had a feeling that I was flying without a net. In any case, once I understood that the gathering of people was my accomplice, I was flying a fly, in light of the fact that the general population would enable me to build up the character in front of an audience.