teresa1’s AchillesBlog

6 months on,life goes on but no shoes yet!
March 18, 2011, 6:38 pm
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Thanks to a prod from Liverpool lass, I thought it was time to post my progress. I am now back to full time at work, swimming my usual mile three times a week and managing to do some hiking. All has gone quite well but I tired so easily at first, trying to cope with a swollen and stiff ankle when I didn’t have the time or place to rest at work made it hard at first. Driving has also been difficult, stop/ start driving in traffic put a lot of strain on my AT.
BUT whole days go by now when I’m totally unaware of my AT, I’d ask anyone following behind me to hold on to that- you do get your life and your mobility back and it stops ruling your life.
Only problem is, I have a lot of lumpy scar tissue around the site of the AT, and it is still very sensitive which is making it difficult to wear shoes. I’ve been wearing boots all of the time.
A physio told me that the only way to get rid of it is hard massage - any tips on how to do this, videoed demos would be great.

Week 16 or is it
December 24, 2010, 5:14 pm
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Not much to report this week, no amazing number of leg raises achieved, no feats of endurance in the gym but up to swimming 1k now. BUT the most amazing thing has happened- my AT has ceased to rule my life. I’m actually unaware of it for ever increasing periods of time! It isn’t the first thing I think about in the morning and only starts to complain towards the end of the evening, or if I drive for more than half an hour.
Four weeks ago I couldn’t see this happening, it’s so liberating! So to all of you following on behind me, keep going , do your physio and one day you will wake up and think of other things. Happy Christmas.

Week 15 discharged into the big wide world!
December 14, 2010, 12:35 pm
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I had my hospital check up, the new registrar I saw thought my AT looked good and was impressed by the amount of function, he explained that though it was quite thick at the moment it would thin down over time, though it will never go completely back to normal. He felt that it was the right time to discharge me. Sod’s law that I get a doctor who has read all the recent research and protocols and is in favourite of using a boot and early mobilisation on my last visit! He also talked to me rather than my foot. Was also discharged from the physio today, not doing that well with the calf raises, partly because of being rather tired this week, but I will carry on regardless- hopefully I will get there in the end.
I am still on short hours at work as my ankle does tire easily, towards the end I do find I am limping a bit, and get caught by the physios. The driving is still difficult, any more than a 30 minute drive and I do get some pain and stinging. I am finding it a bit easier with each day, and I finally feel that I am returning to my normal life. I’m not an athlete or in any way sporty, so I’m happy just to get back to normal and to be able to do the things I used to do.
Each week I find I can do something that I couldn’t do before, this week I’ve got the hang of walking normally downstairs which feels like a major accomplishment!
I have booked a session with a personal trainer at the gym this week with the idea of gradually getting fit, 12 weeks of sitting on my bum has left me feeling rather unfit.
Still struggling with the shoe thing, can only wear one pair of shoes, and boots with zips. Can only wear my trainers for short periods. But hope to find something in the
sales. Fellow shoe lovers will understand!

Week 14 back to work - diary of a wimp
December 7, 2010, 1:37 pm
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Went back to work yesterday, 45 minute journey along icy roads in freezing fog. At least everyone was pleased to see me, in typical NHS fashion, my appointment with occupational health won’t be until next week. Got straight down to ICU and started work, reviewing a man who has a chest infection and has been quadriplegic for ten years helped to put my AT into perspective a bit, at least I will recover eventually. I felt like doing a flyer with all the details of my injury to hand out. I lost count of how many times I needed to explain what had happened to me.
I coped OK for a while but by lunchtime, my ankle was sore and beginning to swell, my heel hurt and I was desperate to sit down and elevate my foot. Just about managed to finish most of the patient assessments, and hobbled back to the office about 3. I was seriously limping by this stage. I didn’t realise just how much walking I do in the course of my job. I was exhausted and still had to drive home, which I found really difficult.
By the time I got home I was fit for nothing except falling into bed.
This morning the physio confirmed that my ankle was stiff and a bit swollen (I’ve had very little problem with swelling up until now). I had some ultrasound and massage and went for a swim which helped.
I feel a complete wimp, it seems that most people on this site manage to return to
work with no problems, has anyone else experienced this? I didn’t even make it through a full day!

Week 13 - ain’t no stopping me now!
November 30, 2010, 12:57 pm
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I’m on the move, well no not exactly! Thanks to everyone for their help re car insurance, I did decide to let them know, all they did was to make a note of it. I have been cleared to go back to work next week on reduced hours, and I think I’ve even been allocated a disabled parking space temporarily.
So my goal this week was to practice driving to make sure I can make the 35 min journey. But we have snow, ice and daytime temperatures below freezing. I can hear our Canadian cousins sniggering, but it’s fairly rural round here and only the major roads are gritted. The main rout to work is scenic but narrow, windy, and treacherous in bad weather. We just aren’t very good at snow in the UK.
On a positive note, my physio feels I’m making excellent progress, another gold star! I am now doing one leg calf raises and sitting back on my heels in plantar position to improve my ROM in plantar position. My dorsiflexion is near normal. The main work I need to do is to improve my gait by practising exaggerated heel to toe
walking. I can now go to the gym and start on the cycle, treadmill and cross trainer which should help providing can get there!
I suspect my addiction to this blog might wane once Im back to work, but I think I will return to work with a better appreciation of the patient’s perspective - a silver lining perhaps?

Week 12 - milestones! (and car insurance query)
November 23, 2010, 3:47 pm
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- I can wear shoes, well some of the time,my AT is less sensitive and I have managed to wear trainers for some of the time.
- Crutchless! I walked to physio and then to GPs without stick or crutches, I felt a bit naked without a crutch, and I think I’ll still need it in crowded places or on longer walks
- I have been cleared to start driving, I have practised braking in the car on the driveway and it felt fine.
- the penny has dropped about calf raises. I have to admit that I couldn’t quite understand why everyone on this blog got so excited about them, but after doing a lot of work on my gait with the physio today , I understand how important they are
for walking normally. I’m not there yet, still have a lot of work to do
- GP thinks I’ll be fit for work in two weeks, I’m not sure I’m looking forward to it now it’s so close, I’ve got used to being at home. He also said I have to inform my car insurers of my injury - has anyone else had to do this?
Life is beginning to seem more normal, in a funny way I’m finding this bit scary!

Week 11 - wearing boots but not shoes
November 16, 2010, 10:16 am
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I’ve just come back from physio with a gold star and yet more exercises, now doing slow lunges, and more calf raises. She also tried to get me standing on the bad leg, which was VERY difficult, mind you I’ve never been very good at that. I’m a bit dyspraxic which is probably how I fell off the kerb and did my AT in the first place.
I’m now allowed to try driving up and down the drive, though not out on the open road.
The swimming is going well, I’m up to 500m, and it really loosens up my AT, I definitely recommend it.
I have also been advised to ditch the boot and just wear normal footwear, tell the truth I haven’t got on with it that well, I find it puts a strain on my knee, and it’s not training me to walk normally.
The only thing is, the back of my ankle is very sensitive, and I can’t wear any shoes, not even trainers. I’m using crocs and knee high boots. Are there any other
surgical people out there that have experienced the same? If so, how long does it last?

Week 10 update - 2nd physio appt and swimming!
November 9, 2010, 4:38 pm
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Well it’s been a good week. I went away for the weekend and learnt to love the boot. It did make it easier to walk around especially as the hotel was about 500 years old and the floors sloped in all directions. We were on the Suffolk coast and it was very windy so the crutches were needed too. But it was great to be out in the fresh air and walking around.
I have also been swimming, it was bliss to be in the water. The local pool has a staircase into the pool which they kindly set up for me which made it easy to get in and out. I only managed 12 lengths (300m) but it felt great.
I am walking around the house in crocs without crutches and just rest when it starts to swell. I try to resist the temptation to ‘crab walk’ and make an effort to walk normally.
The physio noticed a big difference in my ROM and has given me more exercises - standing on tip toes while holding onto furniture , some long slow lunge stretches and kneeling back with my feet in plantar position. It’s great to have something to do to help myself.

1st physio appointment
November 3, 2010, 4:19 pm
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Struggled into my boot today ( thanks for the tip about the straps, Norm, didn’t get into a muddle today) and toddled off to the physio.
She said I had a good range of movement considering and that my strength was relatively good for the stage I’m at - I found that so reassuring. She spent some time massaging my AT, bit uncomfortable but felt so good afterwards. I’ve been given a theraband and a raft of exercises.
Mentally I feel so much better as I now can DO something to help my recovery.
I’m getting the hang of the boot and will use it when I’m out or doing chores, I’m off to Southwold for the weekend and it will enable me to be more mobile.
The physio thinks I can start driving in about three weeks time, this will mean I can get back to work. Yay!

Goody two shoes! (sort of)
November 2, 2010, 4:00 pm
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The cast came off today -yay! But I was then given an air cast non hinge boot and told to use it to wean myself off the cast. This certainly wasn’t what I was expecting and I felt a bit deflated. The doctor was rather vague as to how should do this.
First thing I did was to run a bath for a good soak, it took 10 minutes to get out of the boot, the Velcro straps kept sticking to each other. After a good bath, it took 10 minutes to get it on again. This boot is going to drive me nuts.
It doesn’t feel any different to the cast to be honest and I don’t think it’s taking me forward. I have my first physio appointment tomorrow so I’ll see what she says.
I have felt very dizzy and wobbly, so haven’t done much today, I think my proprioreception is a bit shot.
Well here’s to tomorrow.