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.

9 Responses to “Progressing well”

  1. Good post. I have also been looking into biking. I think I will definitely be picking up a mountain bike in the near future and will use this for exercise and strengthing the leg. Also, to just get out of the house and enjoy the outdoors. Where I live we have a ton of mountain bike trails, from flat to hilly. I really never thought I would venture out onto them as biking wasn’t my thing. My have things changed.

  2. Ahh SMD good to see you are receovering well, good advice on the cycling - I need to lose a bit of timber as well so cycling seems like a nice way to do it.

    It’s well worth re-enforcing the fact that things do get more normal and things do get easier over time, the first 6 weeks are the worst.

    Stalledminidriver at 28wks (6months) and edging so much closer to running or perhaps a return to badminton?

    Happy continued recovery :)

  3. Some of us happily returned to our “high-risk” activities (like my volleyball and SMD’s badminton), while others didn’t. Purely personal decision. The risk isn’t so much to the healed AT as to the Other one…

  4. normofthenorth,

    why do you say that the “risk isn’t so much to the healed AT as to the Other one”? do you think the injured one eventually comes back better than before after a few years. I would think that the injured one would always be weaker than the good one. I guess you would know since you broke both. Also, since you’ve returned to your sports, do you wear any type of athletic ankle brace?

  5. Californiaguy- statistically speaking, once the ATR heals, it is very (exceedingly) rare to rupture it again. However, again just statistically, if you’ve ruptured one side, your are at a much higher risk (like 200 times higher) than the general population for rupturing your other side. Now, before you panic too much, keep in mind that we’re talking very low numbers. Something like 6% of people who rupture one side, will rupture the other. This is compared to something like ~0.03% risk for the general population.

    Why the higher risk? I can think of lots of explanations, all of which I have zero data for: they’re just conjecture-
    1) You might weaken your good side from over-use during the ATR rehab.
    2) Some ATR’s result from chronic degeneration- the type of thing that tends to be symmetric.
    3) Genetics. Some people are just pre-disposed.
    4) Activity- ATR’s are often the results of hard sport activity. Go back to it, and you elevate the risk again, makes sense that athletes are at higher risk.

  6. Hi Ryan, Norm and all,
    It’s been a while since I’ve visited, I hope everyone is healing well.
    I’m about 10 months from surgery and seriously considering playing tennis again. I have reasonably good strength in the repaired leg, The lateral stability is still “challenged”. I was doing a search on the site for ankle braces when I came on this discussion. My surgeon has done >300 procedures., including many athletes. He told me that if I return to my sport, there is a 20-25% of rupturing the other “good” side within 3 years. He said that the reasons were unknown…
    It’s definitely food for thought.

  7. Humbland, I think it’s cloer to 2% chance of rupturing your other AT in the first 2 yrs after your first. The only study I know of is linked from this site’s Studies and Protocols page — look for “contralateral” in the title.
    That study found that we ATR folks who ruptured “normally” (in sports or dancing etc.) are 200 TIMES more likely to have an ATR on the other leg than the population as a whole. Big increase, but starting with a small risk, so math helps. The annual risk probably tails off in the following years, but it obviously stays elevated, so the total risk keeps going up. (More math.) Most of us “both-siders” took longer than 2 yrs. Mine was 8yrs later, several were 11, one was 13, the longest I remember.
    The good news: as one 2- sider said here, “Unless I grow a third wheel, I should be finished with THIS injury!” (Too bad there are so many parts that have to work so well: now my right knee is threatening to end my volleyball carreer, and the Docs and techs think it’s perfect!)

  8. Hi Norm,
    I’m glad that you are still here helping people. I have gained much inspiration and knowledge from your help.
    You know what they say. “Lies, damn lies and statistics…”
    It could be that my surgeon has worked on a different “subset” than the general population. For instance, it stands to reason that if you are working on older athletes (like me and you) that have years of wear and tear, then their chances of rupturing the other side are higher. He was very specific, saying in his personal experience, if I returned to the game, there was a 20-25% chance that I would see him again in <3 years.
    That being said, I don’t want to live in fear. The warming weather is calling me back to the courts. Now, if I can just find some comfortable lateral support.
    Happy Healing,

  9. I met one wag in my sports-med clinic’s waiiting room who used to work in a similar sports-med clinic. He told me that whenever they discharged an ATR patient, they’d always say “See you soon!” because so many ruptured the other AT. That also seems over the top based on my reading and experience.

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