It’s been a while - now 14 weeks post op

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I got a notification of a comment on one of my old posts and it brought me back here for the first time in weeks. Having been a many-times-a-day visitor in the early stages, feeling hugely relieved and grateful to the other people posting their experiences and offering reassurance, I have now basically reached the stage where I’m back to normal.
Now, normal is not actually normal - can’t run, can’t single leg calf raise, weekly physio, swollen ankle, limp after walking more than a km or so…but it’s normal enough to get on with day to day living umimpeded by a wonky tendon. It’s good to hear from some of the old faces, and my message to those earlier on in the cycle would just be that with ATRs it starts off hard but gets easier - no one is prepared for it, but once you get your head round your new situation you are well on the way to recovery.


Week 8 and I’m in 2 shoes

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Yay…I’m in 2 shoes!  Just practising around the house and garden with a 1 cm heel lift in my ‘bad’ shoe, but balance seems OK.  My calf is shrunken and my ankle still swollen, but how I look really doesn’t matter to me…I am on the mend!

physio on Friday was all about balance and preparation for the exercises I can start this week - stretches, 2 legged heel raises leaning on a table and lots of different activities while sitting on a gym ball.  I think I’ll still wear the vacoped on the train commute for a few days, but then straight into shoes for the working day.  For all those just starting out, I can honestly say that progressive treatment, with incremental steps each week, has so far meant that (other than for the first 2 weeks of total immobility) the time hasn’t dragged.

Week 5 - getting there little by little…

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So, halfway through week 5 in a sweltering (by our standards!)UK…where have I got to?

  • boot is off at night and has been for a week and a half, felt a bit odd on the first night but great now
  • Physio now includes seated heel raises, pushing against a theraband, rolling foot around a football as well as massage to get the ankle joint mobilised, and pressure on the tendon as well
  • I’ve now got the vacoped set with 10-30 degrees of movement, still on the rocker sole with an even up sole on the left foot, and I’m not using crutches at all
  • Still icing a few times a day - a bit obvious I know, but the more I sit around with the boot on and leg not raised, the more swelling I get!

 I’m trying to figure out how to add pictures - it it works here’s a leg comparison …must be an angle thing, my feet aren’t really that small!

And here’s the back - I’ve got a 2inch scar with a tiny bit of scabbing that I’m too wimpy to pick off and an odd dent above and below:

I’m off to watch a day’s cricket at Lords on Friday, which is normally quite a boozy affair but given my current unwieldiness I think I might take it easy.  The advice I’m getting sounds like I’m not into 2 shoes until the 8-9 week point, by which time I can also return to driving which will be great.  Sadly, given the possibility of overbalancing and dropping 200kg of weight onto a not 100% achilles, my poor old triumph street triple r is staying under its cover for a while longer:(

Physio and crutches dilemma

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I had my first physio yesterday - a little massage, a little passive stretching of the foot and ankle etc. The only pain came when he stretched out my big toe flexor  - I didn’t know I had one, but it reaches right up the back of the calf!

The physio advised a bit more icing ( every couple of hours if possible) to further reduce swelling, and to work on moving my foot a bit.  What then confused me was he advised I stay on 2 crutches for the time being to protect my ‘good’ hip and back - I turned up on one, and am taking short crutch less journeys round the house.  I’ve left a message to check with the surgeon to check, but this doesn’t seem right…I’d appreciate thoughts from other UK accelerated protocolers…?

End of Wk 2 - Wow, progress!

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Taxied into central London for my 2 week post op consultation…and it was all very encouraging.

I’ve been in splint with my foot well elevated for pretty much all the post op period, and being well-behaved appears to have paid off so far.  After the nurse took the stitches out of the neat 2 inch horizontal cut across my Achilles, the surgeon came up for a look.  It is apparently healing very nicely, and he got me flexing my foot up and down a bit and seemed happy. I was then fitted with a vacoped boot and he went through the next few weeks in outline:

  • Physio starts now, twice a week at first, to a protocol his secretary is emailing me
  • I’m weight bearing fully from now, but with the boot still locked/set at quite an angle.  Saying that, I’m still using crutches until I find my balance and build my confidence a bit!
  • Boot stays on at night, but that may well change after my next 2 week consult
  • Moving towards boot off after 8 weeks ish

This is all good stuff and very encouraging…I hope this increased movement will ease some of the cramps I’ve been getting down the muscle on the outside of my shin…and I’ll actually be able to contribute a bit around the house as well.  Back to work tomorrow for a week of shorter days as I try to avoid crowded trains, but as the title says, Progress!

6 days after surgery

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Firstly, what a great site!

My story so far:

- playing lads and dads 5-a-side football at centre parcs, I was getting well into it, and in hindsight pushed my 39 yr old ‘used to be fit but now not so much’ body a little too far.  I pushed hard off my right foot, heard a pop and felt like I’d stepped in a hole whilst someone had kicked the back of my leg.  It felt very odd, and hurt a bit…but I couldn’t walk on it.  I hobbled to the side, and then my son and I made very slow progress to the medical centre.  The nurses there diagnosed a calf strain and gave me a few painkillers - I then hobbled around for the last day and drove home.

- things didn’t seem to be getting at all better after a couple of days, so I made an appointment to see my GP.  He didn’t even touch my leg, but said it was a calf strain and he would refer me to physio if I really wanted- since work gave me private cover I did.

- got an appointment to see a physio close to work 4 days later, leg still v swollen and only walking in a sort of caveman shuffle.  I could still ride my motorbike on the commute as it was my right leg, and I seldom use the back brake anyway!  The physio took one look at me and did that squeeze test on my calf, and then said he was 99% sure I’d ruptured my Achilles and it needed an urgent scan.  This was rapidly organised, met a consultant and was in for repair surgery 11 days after the injury.

I am now on day 6 after surgery with my foot up, watching loads of sport on telly, playing computer games, reading books and trying not to get too bored.  My family are being great looking after me, but I must confess to feeling a little daunted at the length of recovery time ahead of me.  Next appointment with the consultant is in 8 days, in the meantime I plan on being as well behaved as possible to get healing on its way.

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