Mar 01 2014

1 Year Achilloversary!

Published by trin74 under 12 month Mark

Well - it has been 1 year already! (and 8 days, but who’s counting!?). It’s amazing how slowly this injury goes at the start, and then once your life resumes some normality it just flies by!

So where am I at after 12 months? I have been back at dance classes for a few months now - I could have gone back earlier, but I continued to build up strength first to be more safe, and to minimise the chance of another type of injury! I have also been back skiing a few times, and off again tomorrow. Glad to say that with the skiing I have seen no impact at all from my injury, and minimal from the dancing either. I am still loath to do a lot of jumps/leaps - but that is a psychological barrier more than anything.

There is still a slight difference between the size of my calves - I wonder if I will always have that now. But it’s only noticeable if you look for it, which is a big difference from the muscle wastage in the first 5 weeks. Heel lifts are a breeze for me (sorry to all those who can’t!!) and I actually think my balance is better on that leg as I have focussed on it. I rarely notice any stiffness in it now - but still remember the days of waking up and having to stretch/warm up f I wanted to be able to walk without a limp.

For those of you on the start of this journey - don’t despair. All of us on here have been through what you have - and even though it is such a difficult time, and you have so many doubts about what you’re going to be able to do or even when- know that we all recover at different rates, and that one day you too will be where I am, and where many of us have also been. There IS a light at the end of the tunnel - I know it may seem like such a long way away! It is a time where you get to appreciate what you have, where you find an inner strength, focus and resolve to get better. It can be a time when you get to stop - and focus on other things in your life. I took the time to read more, appreciate music, start a photography course. I counted off every little achievement along the way - which made me feel like I was continually improving, and really helped me keep positive. The fact that it made me stop, also gave me the opportunity to look more closely at the world around me - and gave me the opportunity to meet my partner (ok - bit of an extreme way to meet someone, and I totally do NOT advocate rupturing an Achilles as a dating method!!).

I also learnt to QUESTION. Medical professionals sometimes need a guiding hand, and through reading other people’s experiences and recommendations I was able to come up with a plan of attack, and convince my consultant and physio that it was the right path for me. As such, I have more than exceeded their expectations of recovery, and have hopefully helped those that will come after me. And for this I thank all of you on here, some more than others (you know who you are!) for your support, kindness and words of wisdom. Only you have been able to understand what a journey this is, and what an impact it has on our lives.

Meanwhile I will continue to get on and read about other people’s progress - and hopefully pass on some of my own wisdom/experience.

p.s. I can’t tell you how good that red circle looks at the end of the marathon!

5 responses so far

Oct 18 2013

8 Month Mark

Published by trin74 under 6 Month Mark

Hard to believe it has been 8 months already, and sometimes it is hard to believe it is ONLY 8 months (or very nearly!). Life has been pretty busy. One of my biggest goals when I first ruptured was to be able to be recovered sufficiently to attend a field trip for work in Spain with lots of hiking and hill climbs. Well, the field trip was 2 weeks ago, and I was more than capable of the activity. My physio had wanted to stop seeing me about 1.5months ago as she said there was nothing much more she could do for me than I was doing for myself already, but I asked to keep going until last week. It felt great to “close” a book on that chapter, but I also felt a little emotional as well which I wasn’t expecting. As to where I am at right now - well, I barely notice my Achilles for normal activities. Sometimes first thing in the morning if I have done a lot of activity the day before I notice a slight tightness for the first few steps. My calf is close to normal size, still a little bit more slender than the other, but working on it (I think it actually looks more defined than the good one). I do notice calf tightness which I have to be careful to stretch/release. I am very stable with heel raises and walking on my toes, or even balancing on the bad side on my toes. The physio could not notice a difference between the two, but I do still a slight difference in strength. I still do my ballet, but am now focusing on getting the spring back into my foot for jumps etc to be more similar to the good leg. I am definitely further down the track than I ever expected or hoped to be at this stage. This website and the help and advice from people on here were definitely a major contributor - THANK YOU everyone!

6 responses so far

Aug 21 2013

6 Month Mark “already”!

Published by trin74 under 6 Month Mark

Well - I hit the 6 month mark today. It’s hard to believe that half a year has passed since I first ruptured my achilles. I remember thinking how far off the 6 month mark was, and how it felt it would take forever to get here, and then you start weight bearing, the boot comes off, you progress in 2 shoes… and suddenly you’re there. I definitely did not expect to be as far along the recovery path as I am now - I didn’t expect to feel so normal. Yes - I know that I can expect full recovery around the 12 month mark - but really the only time I notice my achilles now is first thing in the morning - or if I go for a longer hike and it start to tire. I have been back doing ballet again everyday for the last month - just at home even though class would probably be fine - but in a class situation I know I would push myself further than I probably should. I still see the physio every 3 weeks, and she is continuing to be extremely pleased with my recovery, especially when she compares me to her other Achilles cases at present (surgical cases I might note!). She says the Achilles feels almost normal now, is 2-3 times thinner than her other case at this stage, and my calf circumference needs a little bit of work - but is almost back to size (ballet definitely helping with that). Doing lots of lunges forwards and sideways, single jumps forwards/back and sideways (and holding the landing), lots of heel walks and toe walks (I do these up and down the hallway at work to my colleagues’ amusement), and the ballet has a lot of holds on demi pointe which has really helped with my strength (and also core work). I can go for long walks - and hiking in uneven terrain. I no longer have a slightly pinker leg when I stand, and there is minimal swelling after “hard” use. My goal at the start was to be able to handle rougher terrain for a field trip in Spain next month - I no longer have any concern about that which is great. Yes - of course I will still be careful, but it’s another month away and I have been able to handle longer hikes in rough terrain for almost over a month. My new big goal is my full return to dancing. As irish dance (what I am a qualified teacher for - and the activity I was doing when I full ruptured) is very demanding - I know it is at least 3 months away - but I hope to return to ballet classes before then. Meanwhile I do up to an hour and a half each day at home - and it has been great watching my strength start to increase again. Doing exercise to music is way more fun for me than just straight exercises! WIll keep everyone updated as I hopefully reach more of my goals - and hoping that everyone is progressing well in their recovery!

6 responses so far

Jul 01 2013

4 Month Video Update

Published by trin74 under Countdown

I keep forgetting to post this video update of my progress. You can see that I am not getting the same height on the left leg as the right leg, but pretty happy with my progress, especially my single heel raises.

Video was too big to add so have just included a link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Am3HBNcnuO8&feature=youtu.be

And I have progressed to small jumps with the physio. My left knee is making some interesting noises with the single leg bends, so we have gone back to doubles until it gets more strength. Doesn’t hurt, but it doesn’t sound great either! Another week before I go back - up to 2.5 weeks apart, and focusing more on my core now than my Achilles.

17 responses so far

Jun 06 2013

Released from the surgeon!!

Published by trin74 under Countdown

15 weeks since injury today, and I have been released from my surgeon. Well, he didn’t operate so technically my consultant.. But he doesn’t want to see me again which is awesome! And the best news is that he is going to get the private hospital that I was going through to stock the Vacocast now instead of what they are currently using because of the success I have and with it. Feels great to know that my injury and recovery is going to help others. In other news I am allowed to progress back into dancing in 2 months and I can wear HEELS!! No skyscrapers, but heels!! Will start very small as I don’t want to reinjure myself. He was very happy with my ROM, particularly dorsiflexion, and the feel of my tendon. and he said that my walk is so good that you wouldn’t know i had ever been injured. And my single heel raises are progressing very well. I can control the raise up whilst holding onto something, but not attempting to get my heels right up at the moment. Incrementally… Still being very cautious on stairs and stepping off kerbs etc, but Life is good :)

4 responses so far

May 22 2013

13 Weeks and starting to feel semi-normal again

Published by trin74 under Two Shoes

13 weeks tomorrow - and I actually am starting to feel normal again (I know - don’t get ahead of myself, remain cautious etc!). But, I have gotten to the point where I am walking normally with push through, I can walk downstairs normally in both shoes and bare feet (I always make sure the whole foot is safely on the step still), my ROM is almost 100%, and the tightness in the dorsiflex position has decreased heaps. People who don’t know about my ATR can’t tell. It feels great. I know I have a long way to go - and everything is incremental - but it’s great to stand up from my chair at work to go get something without having to stretch first just to walk semi normally. On the weekend I was away in the countryside, and went on heaps of slow walks over uneven ground. Pulled up really well afterwards - and was really happy with how my Achilles coped with it seeing I am used to mainly walking on flat ground at the moment.

I had another physio appointment today - she was very happy that all the exercises she set last time I can do. My two legged heel raises are now executed with my heels right up, with slow lowering down on the bad leg. One leg heel raise is progressing - heel is just up slightly - but not pushing it as keeping it incremental. My new exercises (which I was already doing some of) is straight and bent leg stretches against the wall, keep working on the single heel raise, and on a step to do 10 repetitions (x3) of slight stretches with a small amount of load bearing with my heel over the edge (weight still on the other leg as well) for 2 seconds at a time. Have to be really careful NOT to put all the weight on my bad leg- just minimal for the moment.

Off to Edinburgh for the weekend. WHen it was booked ages ago I was so worried that I would have to walk around Edinburgh in my boot, and not be able to do much. It’s so great to be progressing so well. I think a positive attitude (and sticking to your exercises) are key! Wishing everyone well in their recovery! 1/4 of the way there now!!

3 responses so far

May 10 2013

11 Weeks, we have progress!

Published by trin74 under Two Shoes

Another physio appointment this morning. She was happy with what I was achieving on my “homework”, and also the fact that I had steadily added to the difficulty level. I’ve been set a new exercise to transfer my weight onto my ones (without lifting heel) on my bad leg only. My brain definitely did not let me do it with her. It’s like a connection has been lost, or that my brain is in protection mode. It was so strange… But something to work on. I was able to show her all my exercises in bare feet today which shows me how much progress I have made in the last 2 weeks since I saw her. I’ve also been given the challenge in attempting to walk down stairs normally rather than our easy way, which I can do pretty much in shoes, but not in bare feet.

The big difference this week has been with my stretching. Instead of doing the short, more intense (not that they are intense, but they can sometimes feel like it) stretches, I actually in the morning when I wake up and when I go to bed I just sit as I’m reading or whatever and lightly stretch for a period. Sometimes I just sit with my foot in my boot set at 10 degrees past neutral and very gently let it stretch. The physio was happy with me doing this. I only ever let it stretch until I feel a very gentle stretch, and that way my leg stays more relaxed and I get a much improved stretch. So it’s not a new sort of stretch, I just spend more time doing it more gently. Even prior to the injury I have always had to be a little more gentle with my stretching or my muscles tend to tense up and I get tighter. So this is what works for me. The physio said she could feel a massive difference from last time, tendon is much more pliable, and my calf is also much looser. So will keep up with this. I am now walking so much better, I have been taking out layers on my heel wedges, and I can actually bend my knees when standing in parallel. It just feels so much better, much less like there is a steel pole where my Achilles is. I feel so much more normal!!

Next physio is in a week and a half, so will work at the stairs and my weight transfer. Oh, and asked about ultrasound, but she said my Achilles is progressing so well that she wouldn’t recommend it for me at this point. That it’s best if I can heal through my exercises, and that there isn’t a lot of scar tissue to break up. But, if things change then we’ll use it.

4 responses so far

May 01 2013

10 week mark ROM

Published by trin74 under Two Shoes

Some pictures of my ROM for the 10 week mark (well, 9 weeks and 6 days). I have had most of the ROM for about 4 weeks now, just trying to work on the dorsiflexion. I am am starting to walk faster - but it does still feel (and is) very slow. When people see me after a break of a few days or more they say I am moving faster - I suppose it is easier for them to see it than me. Can balance on my toes now - with heels low, Only trying up to 10 seconds with rests, not feeling any pain. Still can’t do my dreaded knee bend exercise very well, but there is a small improvement I think. Have started balancing on a wobble board but holding on at present while I build up more strength. Was a bit slack when I was in London with my exercises - but was doing a lot of walking which I suppose made up for some of it. Almost can’t believe it has been 10 weeks already!

Comparing Leg size

Comparing Leg size

Plantarflexion - very similar to the good leg

Plantarflexion - very similar to the good leg

Dorsiflexion, this one I am struggling with

Dorsiflexion, this one I am struggling with

Pretty much the same as pre-injury

Pretty much the same as pre-injury

The same as pre-injury

The same as pre-injury


photo-11
photo-31

6 responses so far

Apr 27 2013

9 week mark

Published by trin74 under Two Shoes

Had another appointment with the physio on Friday. The level of intensity of the “massage” has definitely increased that’s for sure! She is still happy with my progress, except for my dorsiflexion, and moved me up to the blue theraband seeing as I was at the limit on the green. I had already progressed my balancing exercises past what she wanted, and was happy I could already do the next step. I have noticed since being in 2 shoes how quickly the muscle tone has recovered, and even she commented on how my leg looks like a leg again. (Rather than a twig). She is so happy with my daily regimen of exercise (as well as my set exercises, the core work, weights for upper body and exercise bike I have added in swimming and exercises in the pool) that she doesn’t want to see me for 2 weeks. Not sure if I’m totally happy with it, but as she said, I am doing her job for her.. Just have to slowly work at increasing my dorsiflexion, but know I can’t rush it. Have to go for London for work for 2 days early next week, will take the boot with me, but she says that unless I have to rush anywhere (won’t be taking public transport), she’d like me to try to stay 2 shoes. I’ll see how I feel Monday morning.. Meanwhile the past week of being two shoes has been great, but definitely slower!! Although I have managed to start driving again, emergency stop tested beforehand!! Trying to limit how much I do, but great for getting to and from work. ¬†And now the sun is shining, so might make the most of it!!

13 responses so far

Apr 22 2013

Dorsiflexion, or lack of!!

Published by trin74 under Uncategorized

I have been very diligent in doing my physio set exercises since I have been in 2 shoes, however one exercise I just can’t do. Standing with my feet in parallel (in my shoes with heel lifts) I have to bend at the knees. I just can’t do it! The amount of bend is so minimal it’s barely noticeable.. I am loathe to use more pressure than I am currently comfortable with.. Which led me to the question, does everyone really struggle with this?? I know I am only 4 days into 2 shoes, but it’s more just wondering if I am alone here. All the other exercises are going really well, but I know that of I can do this one my walking is going to be so much better. I also know not to force anything!! Feedback much appreciated!

10 responses so far

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