Ruptured my Achilles First 5 weeks

This is my first post so I need to give the back story.  My future updates should be much smaller.

WARNING: Gross surgery pictures attached below…

I fully ruptured my left achilles tendon 8/26/2012 playing backyard kickball of all things. During the game leading up to this I started to notice my lower left calf/ankle feeling sore.  That should have been the sign to stop but I have been active all my life and what is a little soreness. Being left footed I figured it was partly from kicking a heavy rubber ball over and over.  It was maybe two hours into playing, I kicked the ball, planted my left foot to run, just as I did the entire game. As I pushed off my foot I felt ripping in my calf area.  I had no pain but my foot was not working right.   I could not push off my foot.   I was pretty calm up until the point I pinched the area of where I you normally feel the “hard cord rubber thing” behind the ankle and all I felt was mush.  I knew I did something major at this point.

It was confirmed at the ER that day I ruptured my achilles and I had surgery to repair it 8/30/2012.   In hind sight, aside from obviously stopping at a sore leg before I ruptured my achilles, I should have skipped the ER as it was a hefty bill to put me into a splint and tell me I need to go to another doctor.  Live and learn I guess.

Week 1 post op was not soo bad.  Just kept taking my Percocet which made me sleep most of of the week.

Week 2 was a little better.  Started to get a little better at the cruches.  Leg throbbing when it was below my heart started to go away.

Week 3 got my stitches out and put into a boot. YAY.  Was told could do some limited ROM.

Week 4:

All was going great, I was just put into a boot and started ROM. Sept 29th, around 4 weeks post op, and then I slipped on the stairs. To prevent falling I put full weight on my bad leg.  As the weight came down I felt tingling in my foot and as I came to a stop it shocklingy felt pretty good.  It was my first time on my leg in 4 weeks and nothing hurt. This was immediately followed by the feeling of something in the area of the tendon letting go.  It did not hurt but was just a small release of some kind.  I kinda wish it hurt a little so I could know if all was ok or not.  I did a self exam and it looked OK but that feeling I had could not have been good.  

Went to the doctor four days later who did a physical exam.  He said what ever it was I felt, my tendon still appears to be attached.  It is possible for a small tear to exist but felt it less likely.  He mentioned I have permanent stitches (which with the pictures I have look very well sewn in there) and it would be very difficult to re-rupture with them.  He followed that up with a however, anything is possible with the right amount of force.

The doctor said an MRI is not an option at this point as it will be inconclusive with too much mix of healing tendon + possible damaged tendon.  In feeling no gap in my tendon and still noticing my concern he gave me four options in ranking falling somewhere between super conservative to more extreme.   Do exploratory surgery to see if anything is wrong, go back in a cast for 2-3 weeks, rest it for a week including no ROM, continue as normal.  I chose the middle ground to rest for a week and take it from there.

Two things that still worry me is 1) What was it I felt that let go? and 2)  My calf muscle has begun to ache (maybe throb a little) when I first stand up after a long time of sitting or sleeping.  The longer I am not standing the more it hurts when I do.  It goes away after a few minutes.  The doctor said this is normal but what concerns me is it was not doing that until after I fell.  He guessed it might be a side affect from when I slipped causing my tendon to pull at my calf which has been unused for soo long.  He could not know for sure unless we did the exploratory surgery which I opted against.

That is all I have for now.

WARNING: Gross surgery pictures attached below…

Here is some photos of the surgery

6 Responses to “Ruptured my Achilles First 5 weeks”

  1. A number of posters here have reported ripping sensations that were not reruptures, and they often experienced better ankle “performance” soon afterwards, and interpreted the experience as a break-up of scar tissue, including attachments (binding of adjacent layers — layers that should slide past each other — by scar tissue). That may be what you experienced. Alternatively, a slip on stairs can easily cause a minor injury (muscle pull, strain, sprain, etc.) to a healthy, fit, and strong ankle, and an ankle that’s been left to atrophy for a month is probably more prone to any and all of them. Legs aren’t simple. I’d stay the course with your plan, and I’d expect (and hope!) that the rest and time and near-magical healing will solve the problem.

  2. Hi there,
    I re ruptured at 14 weeks and felt it snap and heard a pop. At your stage of recovery you wouldn’t neccesarily hear a pop. Hopefully you haven’t re ruptured. The reason I’m replying to you though is because after my re rupture the most painful part of my leg was my calf. It felt as though I had been booted by a donkey it was that sore. I know you’re not so bad. I would push for an MRI as soon as it would give you a good result. I knew mine had gone again but a new doc I saw as mine was on leave wasn’t sure and an MRI did confirm for me.
    I was non op though and your stitches sound very strong. Time will tell but an MRI, will confirm.
    A question though, are you passing the Thompson/Simmonds test. Seems to me that mechanically that is the most sound way of telling if you’re still intact. I failed it on my re rupture.

  3. Sheena,

    I asked my doctor about the Thompsons test and I was actually trying the Thompsons test before I fell. I failed before I fell and failed afterwards. The doctor said that was because my ankle is resting at where the Thompsons test would end. My ankle is still pretty stiff and pointing maybe 75 degrees down still which makes sense.

    I most definitely hope it is not a re-rupture. I do loose sleep still thinking about that moment and every possible thing I could have maybe done to avoid putting my foot down. Like just taking the fall which did flash through my head a split second but I was half way up the stairs and that is a ways to fall. Most other damage would have been worth it probably should I trade that for a re-ruptured. Or I could have broke my good leg and been completely immobile. Who knows now.

  4. Bummer
    I don’t envy you but I reckon you’ll be OK. At least the squeeze test is the same before and after. Hope it is good news.

  5. Great pictures. How did you get those?

  6. cgdh13,

    My surgeon gave them to my wife in the waiting room without me ever asking for them. I didn’t even think that was an option. I am glad he gave them and I will ask ever surgeon for photos if I ever need another surgery (I hope never again though).

    I think part of the reason he gave the pictures is he has a good sense of humor and right before I went into surgery I asked him “Do I really need this, I can still point my toes?”. His first words to my wife when he handed the photos over was “Your husband didn’t think he needed surgery”.

    ALSO, I am pretty sure most surgeons take photos of all surgeries for their “resume” of what they have done AND for insurance purposes OR to at least protect themselves should they get sued.

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