One Year on

Well, I’ve made it past the first anniversary of my ATR. The good news is that everything seems to be going well. Physically my leg is 100% Psychologically I still have some reservations… I haven’t played badminton and I’m afraid to get back on the court. I know that’s daft and there shouldn’t be any issues but there remains this nagging fear. Instead I’m throwing myself into cycling for exercise as it feels much safer.

If you’ve just had your ATR or are feeling down because it seems to be taking forever to heal, don’t despair. It does get better and it will heal, honest!

Another milestone

I passed another key stage in my rehabilitation two weeks ago and thought I should update this blog. I can now (finally) raise my body weight solely on the the ball of my ‘bad’ leg. This is a major success and I am finally beginning to believe that I could maybe return to sport in the spring. Whether I do or not remains to be seen but at least I now believe I have the choice.

I’ve also set myself a stretching target for next year… I’ve signed up for a 100 mile cycle ride in London in August next year.  That is a big step beyond anything I’ve done in the past but seems like a good target to aim for.

Progressing well

I thought it was about time to post an update. In two days time it will be seven months since my ATR. I am happy to report that I can now do pretty much anything I could before - with the exception of running or playing Badminton, neither of which I have tried. I’m wearing normal shoes and walking without a limp. I still have a little way to go in terms of strengthening my achilles and the surrounding muscles but all in all I’m very happy and feeling good.

The single most useful bit of therapy that I have found is cycling. I took to my bike again in July and started slowly, cycling a mile or two a night at a steady pace and gradually increased it. I’m currently on a 10 mile circuit at a 12mph average - not too bad for an old mountain bike.

I’ll try to remember to post updates until I’m playing sports. The Achillesblog site gave me a lot of support when I first realised I’d torn my Achilles and I would like to say to everyone who has recently joined the club here - it does get better. There will be days where recovery seems so far off and all I can say is persevere. Push your doctors for a more aggresive recovery plan but even if they don’t listen, stick with the physio plans and it will improve.

Good luck to all of you.

Progressing cautiously

Well, it’s been a while since I posted any status updates but I’m happy to report that my recovery is progressing well. Although my ankle still looks swollen compared to my ‘good’ leg and does still swell significantly on some occasions it is generally behaving itself well. I can walk normally, albeit slower than I used to if I want to avoid a limp, I can cycle, swim and ascend / descend stairs without any major issues - I still turn my foot at an angle on the stairs when ascending and use my heel when descending though, primarily because my size 12s and the lack of strength in my calf mean that small stairs are still an issue.

I have still only worn ‘normal’ shoes on a few occasions, I tend to play it safe and stick to a trusty pair of walking boots that have been my daily footwear for the last two months. I’m still very nervous about walking any distances on uneven ground (after my minor mishap back in June) but can manage pretty well in normal everyday life.

Will I return to Badminton at some point? I honestly don’t know at this point. I played it continuously from age 11 to 41 so not playing again would be a wrench but I don’t know if I can face the risk of doing this again. I’ll see how I feel next spring but I definitely won’t be playing for at least the next 6 months.

All in all, I’m feeling very positive at the moment, my Achilles feels stronger by the day and I’m slowly gaining confidence in it. I can even take around a third of my weight on the ball of my foot now which is definite progress.

Back on track

Having had an enforced weekend of rest due to illness last weekend I can report that my achilles is definitely better for the respite. As long as I walk slowly I can once more walk without a limp, athough it does reappear if I try to walk faster.

I will be taking great care on uneven ground in future and may resort to my trusty boot on occasion for a while yet.

One step forwards… two steps back

Well, my physio / rehabilitation class has been going pretty well so I was feeling very brave and drove my 40 year old mini to a car show last Sunday. It was great, it’s the first show I have made it to since I finished rebuilding it over the winter and it was great to see it in a field of similar cars - not to mention great to drive it too!

As I was walking round the field I stumbled on some rough ground (I didn’t see the small rain gulley…) and felt an all too familiar sensation in the back of my achilles. Thankfully I haven’t torn it, well not badly anyway. I’ve been limping quite heavily since then but ignoring the discomfort. My physio watched me limp into the room today and asked what had happened. She promptly sent me home to rest it and booked a session for a week’s time. Oh well, I can still walk and drive so at least it’s not a total loss and just a temporary set back.

Not quite how I wanted to feel 16 weeks after my ATR.

Progress is good :-)

Well, I’ve just had my 2nd "lower limb rehabilitation" exercise class. I’m having one of these classes per week for a total of 6 weeks courtesy of the NHS. It’s amazing how much some of the simple exercises hurt but the good news is that last week I was introduced to the exercise bike and told that I could try a real one again as long as I stuck to the flat and avoided hills… I did and it was great to cycle again even if only for a few miles.

I’ve been walking as much as possible and the limp has mostly disappeared - at least it has most of the time. I still have days where it just doesn’t want to play ball, but thankfully not too many. I do find that my ankle still swells hugely during the course of a day but elevation in the evening seems to help it return to roughly normal size.

Oh - I accidentally tried to run at the weekend (I forgot I couldn’t!). I took a pace with my good foot and nearly fell over when the bad one took over. Oops! Thankfully no damage done, it will be a while before I try that one again.

My next big target is to try driving my 40 year old car. It requires much more leg effort than a modern car so I’ve been more cautious about trying it but I need to drive it soon, it’s car show season and I’ve already missed too many.

Driving again!

Well, I saw the physio for the first time last Wednesday - 12 weeks 2 days after my ATR. The good news is that thanks to the exercises recommended by the excellent people on here I am making good progress. I’ve ditched my aircast boot and am now back in 2 shoes and actually driving again.

After 3 days in shoes I can say that my foot and ankle are still swollen most of the time and I’m walking with a significant limp but… I AM walking and driving. That is a fantastic feeling :-)

Two shoes - for the first time!

Well, as the title says - I went out in a pair of shoes today for the first time since my ATR on the 20th of February. That was 12 long weeks ago and I am happy to report that I managed to wair a pair of shoes to the local swimming pool today. It felt great… and was stiff and awkward and yes, my foot is still swollen quite a bit but it’s a significant step on the road to normality again.

I’ve been following the exercises from here since I managed to get my foot in a boot and it’s definitely going well. My ROM has improved steadily although my foot still feels weak and ‘odd’ but then I haven’t actually seen a Physio yet! My first session with an NHS physio is this Wednesday, 12 weeks and 2 days after the ATR. Hopefully I’ll be cleared to drive by next weekend, that is certainly my target.

Oh, and the shoes I wore today? They were the same pair of trainers I was wearing on the Badminton court when the rupture happened. It seemed appropriate somehow :-)

Getting there, one step at a time

Well, I’ve had my aircast boot for two weeks now and I think it’s great. The ability to walk on my own feet (albeit not in my own shoes just yet!) and not have to rely on those infernal crutches is fantastic. Not only that but being able to take it off and enjoy an evening with my foot uncovered is fantastic after all those weeks in a cast.

The wonderful NHS is progressing at it’s usual glacial pace and I don’t have an appointment with a physiotherapist for another 3 weeks - roughly one week after I was told to stop using the boot. Thank you to those who sent me their exercise regime, I am following your exercises and hope to be way ahead of the game when I finally see the physio.

I’ve found that my right foot now has roughly 75% of the ROM of my left foot and I can lift my toes quite well. Lifting my heel however is much harder. I’m treating my achilles with kid gloves although I am starting to take small steps at home without the boot or crutches. I’m very conscious that I’m in the ‘danger’ window for a re-rupture but it does feel very good to do it.