9 weeks 5 days post OP double rupture

Hi everyone, this is my first attempt at any sort of blog so bear with me. Here is my story. I am a 54 yr old male in good health. Over the years I have enjoyed high energy sports, Motocross in the 70’s, Hang Gliding in the 80’s, back to motocross and motorcycle road racing as a Pro in the 90’s, finally retiring in 2000 from all those activities. Well June,3 2012 rolls around and I go with my 25 yr old son to a practice day at a local motocross track. I brought my protective gear (first mistake), should have just taken the folding chair to watch. Got the itch, suited up and went out on the track. Everything felt great……back in the saddle again! A 65′ double jump was just ahead, didn’t think twice (second mistake), and hit it like the old days no problem. Hanging 30′ in the air heading towards the landing ramp I noticed I was going to come up short. Well, I hit the peak of the landing ramp on the frame right under the foot pegs and immediately snapped both of my Achilles Tendons, tore my right shoulder rotator and was knocked out. Woke up with my son and paramedics over me calling my name. I noticed my feet felt a little numb. My boots were pulled off and both my ankles were the size of soft balls. After 30 min of observation for concussion the paramedics made me sign off as I wanted my son to take me to the hospital of my choice. I was helped to my feet and was confused why I couldn’t hold my self in a steady stance to transfer to truck seat. I later found out after further examination at hospital that I completely ruptured both of my Achilles Tendons. Surgery scheduled next day,less than 24 hrs. after injury. Oh yea my shoulder hurt too but I could still use it a little so we would address that after the Achilles deal. Surgery went well. Surgeon said it was the worst he had seen. He had to use plastic screws to connect some thingy with sutchers to connect them both back to my heal bones. I had virtually no pain after surgery and refused all pain meds except Tylenol. No weight bearing for 6 weeks. I was in the hospital for three days and in a restorative care (I call it a nursing home) facility for 4 days. They had to teach me transfers from wheelchair to bed,toilet etc. After 4 days I requested my release and went home. Nine days later I went for my first post OP visit where I was casted both legs 30 deg. plantar. I was told no weight bearing 6 weeks. Got home and started doing research on the web like I am sure most of you do and came across a product called Vacocast Pro Achilles. I called them ans ordered a pair. I went back for my second post OP visit 5 weeks later and brought the boots with me. They wanted to recast me with my feet in a different angle and I told them NO, I wanted to be put in these Vacocast boots. The Surgeon had never seen them before and was impressed and said ok and that could slowly start weight bearing on my feet. Got home, used a walker for 1/2 a day then started using a product called “Smart Crutch” that was easier to manipulate. Used the crutches for 4 days and put them aside and started FWB normal gate walking. I have been this way since with no pain at all. This Vacocast boot allows you to adjust range of motion or lock in place at any position in 5 deg increments. When I left the Dr’s office after the cast was cut off I has the boot locked at 20 deg. plantar with the wedge sole(supplied with boot) attached. The Dr. told me when I came back in 4 weeks he would lock me a 0 deg. After I set the crutches aside and was FWB 5 1/2 weeks post OP I started opening range of motion 5 deg. a week towards dorsal. This allowed my calf muscle to start pumping again and get the fluids moving. After two weeks my body was telling me things were getting stronger. I just got back from my 3rd post OP visit 2 days ago and th Dr. was amazed at the rate of healing and told me I could start wearing shoes in 2 weeks. I get home and immediately put on shoes with a Gel heal wedge and walked around for a few hours. My ankles swelled up pretty good but the tendons after an easy stretch before walking felt fine….a little tight but would ease up as I relaxed and tried to normalize my walk. I am going to wear the boot one more week before shoes again. Well that sums things up for now. I am scheduled for shoulder surgery in 4 weeks so I hope I am in shoes and walking good or fair before then. I’ll keep you posted.

12 Responses to “9 weeks 5 days post OP double rupture”

  1. Wow, twinworks, i am also a double rupture, mine playing basketball, am 40 yr old male and also had retired for 10 yrs, but forgot my age and proceeded to play, big mistake. I am about to complete week 4 of NWB and basicaly in the bed or wheelchair, mostly in bed. First followup went good and Dr said everything looked good and was healing nice, put me in 2x Aircasts and to come back at 6 week mark, which is end of Aug. If all looks good he is going to let me put some weight on. Havnt really had a lot of pain, just discomfort here and there. I have kept my feet elevated 99% of time. Just looking forward to getting back on feet and starting rehab and getting back to some normalcy. My kids are really having a tough time, especially 3 yr old. I havnt been able to figure out how to blog entries yet

    Hang in there and keep up the progress

    How did it feel first time you put weight on? Have had access to any pool therapy to reduce weight? I am looking into this. Right now all i do is the foot flop, raise your foot and let it fall, this is what Dr instructed

  2. Well the first time I stood up from the wheel chair with the Vacocast boots on it felt real unsteady and I thought to my self “I don’t know about this” I got in the car went home, transferred from car to wheelchair, rolled in my basement and had the task of climbing 17 steps to the living level of my house. I had to really push thru it but was able to do it ok. I think being non weight bearing for 5 weeks my legs were a little shaky and I still had swelling in my feet that felt strange. As soon as I got upstairs I grabbed the walker and started taking baby steps. After a few hours (with rest periods) I started getting my legs back along with my confidence. The next day I was walking with “Smart Crutches” and removing the boots while sitting to put my feet on one of those “Homemedics” foot massagers that have the rotating ball bearings deal. That thing helped move all the fluid and helped with the foot swelling. I was doing some passive range of motion while sitting and advanced to using a theraband for some resistance range of motion after a week. I always let my body feed back tell me when to stop or back off. I wish I had a pool to work out in, that would be great.

  3. The last sentence of my last post was: I wish I had a pool to work out in, that would be great. I don’t want anyone to think that I have other problems. :)

  4. I am in my 9th week post op (left AT snapped playing badminton) and got rid of the boot. I can walk around in running shoes. Tendon is doing good though pretty stiff. I even cut the grass today. believe my relatively fast recovery is due to spending a lot of time floating in an inner tube on the lake. Nothing beats hydrotherapy and weightlessness to steadily stretch the AT- painlessly too!

    Twinworks. A double rupture would be my biggest nightmare. Hope your recovery is fast.

  5. Luke, Glad to hear you are progressing well. I wore my shoes all day for the first time about 10 hrs without taking them off. I find that I have to do light stretching of the Achilles before I stand up after sitting. When I walk I have to mentally force myself to walk…Heel,Ball,Toe to keep the action smooth and tendon stretched. While on my feet I occasionally do a light “pre-workout” kind of stretch when the tendons feel like they want to tighten up a little. I am using large band aids over my incision areas to keep the heel of the shoe from irritating the wounds…..that has been working great so far. I have bought several types of New Balance shoes to try out. Will post when I finish experimenting.

  6. twinworks, that sounds horrible! Best of luck on your recovery! I think you got us all grabbing our Achilles & being thankful! Though I’m working thru my 2nd rupture, they didn’t happen together!

    luke, I snapped my left ATR in badminton too. Who knew badminton was a dangerous sport?

  7. gntwagner,
    yea it’s been tough but It has been just shy of 11 weeks post OP and I am walking in shoes. I bought a pair of New Balance 974 country walkers from Cabellas ( they have the exclusive on them) and I tell you they are stable, comfortable,and give good ankle support. I added some 1/8″ gel heel wedges and I can walk normal stride without a limp…..amazing! I do place a 4″ x 2 7/8″ band aid over the back of my heels to cushion incision area from heel rub. I can walk around all day with no pain. It still feels a little tight but I am careful to do gentle stretches through out the day. At night I do foot massage and apply cream to incision areas. Good luck with your heeling!

  8. Hi Twin, wondering how the progess is coming with walking. Didnt you begin FWB at 5 weeks? My 6 week mark is next Mon and Dr appt is Wed to see what they say on WB either partial somehow or full. Should be interesting. Any advice on beginning to walk again? I got up on both of my knees in bed the other day and man even that felt very strange and wobbly, going to start doing this every day just for some help with balance. Looking forward to the next part of this journey and getting back upright some. Did Dr give you any timelines for walking without boots etc and physical therapy etc

    Brian

  9. Brian,
    Walking is going good. I am at a little over 11 weeks post OP. Finding the right shoe for me was the key for stability and confidence. When I first tried to stand I felt unstable. I used a walker for about a half day taking baby steps until I felt good enough to use crutches. I used a product called “Smartcrutch” look it up. These were really manuverable and are quick to plant and are were stable. Walking at first in the Vacocast was fast and easy to master. I put the crutches aside after the first week FWB. I locked myself at 20 deg. plantar for a week and started adding 5 deg towards dorsal a week until I got to 5 deg dorsal. This was all FWB range of motion. I believe this helped me heal faster. This was a little counter to what Doc wanted to do but I studied research on line and came up with a plan for me. I never did anything that caused pain, I let my body clue me in to what was too much and I would stop. I must have done something right as the Doc at my 3rd post OP visit was amazed at the progress. You need to do what is right for you and listen to your Doc as everyone heals at different rates. If you go on your own you take a chance. Do your homework and listen to your body. I go back in for Rotator cuff surgery in 3 weeks. I wanted to be sure I could walk good before I took that on. Good luck with your healing!

  10. Having a few folks around who tore both ATs at the same time — and therefore could NOT use crutches while they were NWB or PWB — should quiet down some of the understandable “Oh God how I hate crutches!” moaning. Having to use crutches is about the worst thing in the world — except for not being ABLE to use them! ;-)

    A propos, one of the knee-walker-type crutch substitutes I’ve seen over the years has a spring-steel “foot” that straps onto your knee-and-thigh, kind of like the So. African Olympic runner’s artificial lower limbs. (I don’t remember the trade name.) I’m wondering if some of the double-ATR patients could learn to spring around the house on those things without crashing too often.

    I’m another person here who’s torn both ATs but years apart, so crutches worked well enough for me to complain constantly about them. . .

  11. Hi Normofthenorth,
    I was in a wheelchair for 5 1/2 weeks post OP NWB. There was not going to be any PWB as far as I could see recovering from a double ATR. I went from wheelchair to FWB in 5 1/2 weeks. Without the confidence and support of the Vacocast gave me I think it would have been a lot more difficult. For me after being casted up for 5 1/2 weeks NWB a wheelchair was easy on my back and made transitions to and from toilet,bed and shower straight forward. The wheelchair was a lightweight model with removable arms. I am somewhat familiar with the device you talk about only from what I have read. I know for 3 weeks post OP I got tired easy as I am sure my body was focusing energy towards healing So the wheelchair was something that was very versatile and stable (except while doing wheelies) for me through this stage to FWB.. All I know is the last thing I wanted when I went FWB was a pair of pole vault sticks under my arm pits that were going to be hard to control over objects and stairs, not to mention an injured rotator I had as well. I tell you I think you could almost run using these Smartcrutches. They worked great for me as they put the load on me forearms and were super stable,angle adjustable and confidence building. My 30 year old daughters’ first comment when she saw me in the pair of Vacocast boots and the crutches clipped to my forearms was “Run Forrest Run.” You know I was thinking about a design of something like the” propos” as I was in the wheelchair. I would have given them a test drive if they had been readily available to me.

  12. Frank, there’s ONE kind of PWB that would work for you both-sides-at-once folks (and maybe that’s what you’re describing with the Smartcrutches?), and that’s two-legged crutch-walking. Keep your booted feet together, swing them through between the crutches, stand and rock forward while you swing the crutches forward, repeat. Each foot would bear a smidge more than 50% of your body weight, PWB @~50%.

    BTW, the crutch alternative I was thinking of is similar to the one at iwalk-free.com/index.html , with videos and everything. I can imagine that a reasonably fit double-ATR person could get around on two of these, though there might be some spills, especially at first.

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