I know I haven’t posted in a while, but I was reminded by my wife that I had just passed the 6 month ‘anniversary’ of my injury, so I thought “what the hell” it’s about time I wrote some stuff down.
I have been seeing my Physiotherapist now for about 3 months with absolutely amazing results. In the last month, I have (finally) felt pretty normal and I walk without even a trace of a limp. In fact unless you knew that I have sustained this injury you wouldn’t know by just looking at me walk.
The look and feel of the tendon is back to normal, and I have regained all of the flexibility. I still am working to restore the calf / tendon strength I need to return to active sports, but I’m taking it very slowly, as I have heard of numerous re-rupture cases occuring at this stage.
I will stop Physiotherapy next week, and continue with the strengthening exercises and training on my own at the gym. I figure I’ll be back to where I was prior to the injury by May 2010 - that is my goal, and I’m gonna achieve it.
Anyway - keep the faith. Looking back, it seems like a lifetime ago since this awful thing happened, but now I guess I’m always conscious that terrible injuries could happen if you don’t pay attention to the warning signs. If you have tightness or pain in your tendons at all, the I advise you to seek some sort of therapy / treatment IMMEDIATELY! Don’t wait, or “walk it off”, just go get help.
I can’t believe that it has been 3 months already, but the summer seems like it’s fading fast. I crutched around a bit last week and progressively added more weight in shoes while ‘walking’, and the tendon feels good, albeit still tight. I ditched the crutches for the most part now, unless I know I’ll have to travel long distances, or if the ground is uneven. I walk with a pronounced limp, though.
I’ve now had a couple of PT sessions with an awesome sports physiotherapist, and I have to say WHAT A DIFFERENCE!!! My sister is actually a Physio and she recommended that I look for a Physiotherapist with an FCAMT designation. She helped me do my research, and then advised me to go and see Peak Performance Physiotherapy, located in Hamilton Ontario (Canada). Check them out at www.peakperformancephysiotherapy.com
My Physiotherapist started with an assessment of how I had healed, and how I was progressing, and took the time to understand my recovery goals etc. He proceeded to really work on loosening up the entire ankle and surrounding area with a deep massage. I had anticipated a lot of discomfort, based on what I’ve read, but it actually felt good for the foot, and the tendon to be really worked out! He massaged the calf also, and also performed acupuncture. This was different for me, as I had never had any acupuncture done before - again felt great. Today’s seesion followed the same regimen, but concluded with some proprioception (balance) work on a balance board - trying to stay neutral was tougher than I thought, but I felt pretty good after the 5 minutes.
I’m seeing him 3 times a week for now, and plan to continue seeing him until I’m back to where I want to be for sports.
The only pain I feel is when I walk barefoot on a hard surface - feels like the worst heel pointer…I’m sure this will also go away in time.
Anyway…for those coming along behind me in their recovery, stay patient and follow advice given. Do your research and learn what to do and what not to do from the people who are further along. I’m a big believer in learning from other peoples’ mistakes
Another milestone reached! Yesterday I visited my Orthopedic surgeon for an assessment of my progress, and I think he was pleasantly surprised to see me trucking along quite well in my boot. based on my progress, he advised me to only wear the boot as a convenience, and to start back into “walking” with my shoes. Now, he suggested that for the first little while to start off using my crutches to take most of the weight, and to begin re-training the proper heel-to-toe gait. he advised that this is for protection, and that I should progressively add more weight at a conservative pace - 5% - 10% - 20% - 50% and so on.
For conservative treatment, the tried and true method suggests a very slow progression to normal (2-shoes) walking, but he advised that the recent research showed that earlier mobilization has produced extremely good results, provided that the patient not over-do it.
He also gave me my order to begin physiotherapy - so I’m absolutely thrilled. To me this marks the real start to my recovery, because now I can actively do something to get back to normal activity. The order was for ‘gentle’ strength therapy, and range of motion work, so I expect that I’ll be into Therabands, ROM exercises, massage etc. - all sounds good.
The tendon is very tight, which the ortho said was good (over stretched tendons tend not to able to produce power when lifting up onto the toes and pushing off). He advised that today’s appointment with him was my last, unless I had questions or concerns; in which case I could book a short appointment with him in 6 weeks time.
So, off to the races (so to speak)…..gonna be a tortoise not a hare in order to win this race
To those still very early on that happen to read this, keep the faith….things will get better. Keep smiling.
I’ve been in my aircast for 2 weeks, and have oeen pretty much FWB with no crutches for the past week! It has been great to have the use of my hands back.
I have been very careful to bear weight through my heel only, so I’ve walking around with a pronounced limp (like Frankenstein). I call it the ‘boot walk’. Also, I lost the last heel wedge this morning, so I’m back to 90 degrees. I noticed that each time I removed a wedge, I could feel a slight stretch on my tendon…not pain…but a definite ‘warm’ stretch. This lasted less than 30 seconds each time, and I was very comfortable after adjusting the snugness of boot with the velcro straps, and air pressure.
After the first (sleepless) night, I abandoned the rule about wearing the boot in bed at night. I haven’t had a problem, but I have heard of other people preferring the added protections.
I’m VERY satisfied with the conservative treatment route. I know the majority of ATRs are treated surgically, and I have spent A LOT of time reading posts from other and researching any and all available information on treatment options.
Click this link to read a great review article on treatment of Achilles tendon ruputres: http://www.josonline.org/PDF/v8i1p97.pdf
Regardless of the treatment option, I believe that choosing the right Orthopaedic surgeon is the key. I’m fortunate to be under the care of Dr. Doug Armstrong in Burlington, ON (Canada).
My next appointment is on August 18th - I’m not sure how he will react at my FWB :) So much for being patient.
After 7 weeks in a NWB fibreglass cast, I graduated to an Aircast boot today! I’ll still need to use both crutches - NWB for another 3 weeks yet, but still I feel like I had a little ‘win’ today.
I have 3 heel wedges in, and plan to remove 1 every week for the next 3 weeks. I expect at that point to begin some weight-bearing (and hopefully physio). I have to say that after 7 weeks immobilization, a really long, hot soak in the foot bath was just UNBELIEVABLE!!!
My achilles tendon, and ankle area in general are very tight and stiff, and the bottom of my heel is sore (like a heel ‘pointer’ feeling) from being in the cast for so long. It feels like it will be quite a while before I have the range of motion I used to have; but I’m determined to do everything I have to do to heal and recover from this injury properly…including being patient and taking the necessary time for things to happen.
I have seen considerable atrophy to my calf, but again this is due to the 7 weeks in a cast, so I’m not too worried about it - hard work when it comes to the Strengthening stage will take care of regaining size.
Anyway, still very happy! Cast is gone, boot is on, next step losing the F*&%ing crutches
June 26th, 2009
Well, it’s been a very interesting three weeks since my injury, and I have been doing quite well under the circumstances. Although, I have a new level of hate for crutches. I can’t wait for next week, when I go back for my next visit to the surgeon. I’m anxious to get this cast off, and proceed with the next one. Hopefully the surgeon can give me some insight as to how I’m progressing…I’d like to get into a “boot”, but I think this is doubtful based on everything I’ve read.
My wife has been an absolute star so far, she has helped me to stay positive, and has done everything around the house, and with the kids.
Fortunately, I can still drive around, as the injury is on the left side, and I have been able to continue working.
So far so good…
June 9th, 2009
After a very long weekend of doing the R.I.C.E. therapy, and getting used to getting around on crutches, I finally get to go and see the Orthpaedic surgeon this evening. I’ve also discovered this great site, and have been buried in the vast amount of information provided - THANK YOU!!!
My leg is really swollen from the back of my calf and down into my foot - I cant even see my ankles! I now realize that this is not an injury that one can recover from rapidly, but I’m still optimistic. I’m going to buy a shower chair with a back, and some sort of water-proof thing that can be placed over my cast. I know that a cast will be inevitable.
My surgeon was extremely well informed, and after examination he recommended that I proceed with a non-surgical approach. The tendon ends came back into contact well with each other by flexing my foot downward, and he believed that immediate casting in this position would provide for good adhesion and healing, without risking complications arising from surgery.
Based upon my reading, I asked him about liklihood of re-repture rates associated with the non-surgical approach; but he explained that in my case, the liklihood of re-rupturing the tendon would be about the same, and certainly not worth the risks of infection etc.
So now I have to wear this cast (no weight-bearing) for 4 weeks. Going back on July 7th
June 5th, 2009
I’m sure that many people have thought the same thing…this could never happen to me. Especially if you are in good physical condition - I was wrong…
In fact, I have always participated in multiple sports (some like Karate at a very competitive level), and have never really had an injury that relegated me to the “sidelines”.
I was playing football with my 10 year old son’s team - they had challenged the parents to a pick up game to show off their skills. I had just thrown a touchdown pass to another dad, and turned to give my teammate a high five in celebration when I heard the loud “SNAP” and felt a sharp pain (like someone had taken a full swing at the back of my leg with a 5-iron). I immediately knew that I had ruptured my achilles tendon on my left leg. The swelling was immediate and pronounced.
Fortunately, the intense pain only lasted for a couple of minutes, but that was replaced by feelings of panic and helplessness at the same time.
My son came to my aid immediately, and ran to the car and called my wife using my cell phone (it’s at times like this when you feel pride in your children and their abilities to deal with stressful situations).
I attended a walk-in clinic, and was seen by the on-call physician within the hour. His examination confirmed a full AT rupture, and he outfitted me with some crutches, referred me to an Orthpaedic surgeon (the appointment was booked for the following Tuesday - today is Friday), and gave me instructions to remain off the foot, and R.I.C.E as much as possible.
Not sure what to expect…will I be able to return to normal activity, and play sports with the same intensity as I used to? Will I be able to walk again normally?