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Achilles Tendon Rupture Recovery Manual

Reading Time: 12 minutes, (but if you follow all the links an hour or so); Skimming highlights, 2-3 minutes.

Before we get into the very serious business of making sure you can heal your ruptured Achilles tendon in the best way possible, I think we can all agree that if that statue is a faithful representation of Achilles, then we can better understand why he was eager to live fast and die young. He certainly wasn’t going to be remembered for his penis size was he?

Secondly, let me add the standard disclaimers: I am not a doctor, the information provided here is for information purposes only, blah, blah, legal crap, blah. Bottom line: You take responsibility for your own outcomes. I present this information here because when my injury happened to me it was very hard to find any good information on how I could go about ensuring I didn’t remain a functional cripple for the rest of my life. The information relating to the recovery of full Achilles tendon ruptures on the net was so wide-ranging it seemed to be the work of a thousand monkeys. Recovery rates and times varied wildly and it was hard to understand why. I personally contacted other people who had this same injury and again, it seemed their recovery rates differed from mine quite drastically, but by speaking to them I could begin to understand why. Their recovery regimes differed from mine in several important ways and it is my personal view that this had a lot to do with it.

Type of injury: The type of injury you actually have will of course affect everything. Mine was a COMPLETE Achilles Tendon Rupture. That is, the tendon was fully snapped. There was about an inch gap of “empty” flesh where the tendon at the back of the leg, just above the heel should be. So these notes are mostly for those type of injuries, which is also the most severe kind. Important: If you have this type of injury it is imperative you receive surgery within 48 hours according to most good medical experts I have discussed this with. On a personal note, I was also strongly suggested by the doctors and nurses on duty at the hospital shortly after my injury, to NOT have surgery. Again, this is just my opinion, but I am sure that had a LOT to do with trying to save money for the NHS and nothing to do with what was best for me. I am a layman, not a doctor, but it is my considered opinion that if you ever want to be able to walk and use your leg normally again, the only way to do that with this type of injury is with surgery. And good surgery at that if you can get it. So don’t let the docs “persuade” you to do the cheaper and easier thing for the government.

Expected prognosis: Assuming you had surgery within 48 hours and assuming your surgeon was not trained in a sausage plant factory, you will generally be told that you should be “back to normal” within 6 to 9 months if you are fit, have no health problems and generally heal well, otherwise they will tell you 9 to 12 months but up to 18 months before you are “fully operational” again. This can all be a bit confusing, so here is my interpretation:

  • According to a search done on the rather extensive NHS database for physiotherapists and doctors that my physio did for me, the actual tendon, once ruptured will take on average about 6 months before it has healed to full strength. As with all things biological, this is just a guideline.
  • The main issue with proper healing of this injury is to have good blood-flow through the area. Blood pooling is common unless you keep the leg elevated, this is especially important for the first few weeks after surgery, but is a generally important point to keep in mind. Promoting ACTIVE blood-flow through the area and preventing the stagnation of blood in the area after surgery is important and probably the single most important point regarding healing of the actual tendon.
  • Even while healing, if you do not take APPROPRIATE action to manipulate, exercise and generally “activate” the area, the healing will not be ideal. The important point here is that you need to do enough to stimulate growth, healing, reacquisition of proprioception and so on, and not so much that you re-injure or impair healing through too much work on the injured area. This is the single most important point and it is really the crux of whether you will heal well or not. My personal experience was that everyone was telling me to take it easy, when instead I felt I had to do more work on the area. As it turns out, I was right, but it IS a fine balance, and it is EASY to make a mistake and re-injure yourself. I was EXTREMELY CAREFUL with all of my own invented little exercises, and I always used my own sensation of my own body as my guide. I cannot teach anyone else how to do this, you have to find your own way, but if you CAN do this, your healing of your injury will outperform most professional expectations. this at least, was my experience.

Actual Recovery Time: I snapped my tendon on the 22nd of June and had surgery on the 24th of June  2010. I am writing this on the 9th of March 2011, so about 8 and a half months after the surgery. My initial aim was to be able to walk properly 5 months after the injury as I was getting married at that time and would be in Brazil and I wanted to be able to swim in the sea, run around, train with Brazilian Ju-jitsu people and so on. I am happy to report that despite the fact I was repeatedly told these were unrealistic expectations, I hit all of my targets. After 9 months I wanted to be back to performing in training to the same level as before the injury. This was also considered wildly optimistic and unrealistic by many professionals I discussed it with. It is not quite 9 months yet, and I am not quite 100% as capable as I was before the injury (and I will give you details on that) but I would say that I am at least 90% of the way there. In some respects I am probably more than 95% of the way there, so I am still on track, and in the next two weeks or so I may well achieve my target or at least be very, very close to it. I also have no doubt that in time (however long) I will be as capable (or more, with further training improving my ability anyway overall) than I was before the injury.

Things I did that I think made the most difference

Immediately after surgery and for the next 3-4 weeks: Kept my leg elevated almost constantly. Did some self-hypnosis to improve circulation, if I lowered the leg, for a brief time it would feel “full” of blood at the bottom, so I would then also lift it again to ensure blood did not pool there. I spent most of my time with my leg elevated and not an inconsiderable time with it higher than chest level. This can (and did) cause me problems in the hip area later, but I am not sure how you could minimise this. I also slept with several pillows under the leg to try and keep it elevated during sleep. Getting good sleep made a LOT of difference and I would advise you to try to ensure you have good, deep sleep of long enough duration. I did not take many painkillers, but I did so for the first few days to ensure I slept as deeply as possible. In particular, a drug which helped me in this regard was the dihydrocodeine tablets (30mg), which I took only before sleep (1 tablet) and not even every day, but for the first 2-3 days after surgery I did. I also used a lot of self-hypnosis just before sleep and at various times throughout the recovery period to improve healing, relaxation and blood circulation.

After removal of the solid cast and use of the Air-boot: I was kind of lucky/unlucky with my casts, depending on your approach to things. My first cast was very heavy and solid and this caused me hip problems. I didn’t know when they put me in this cast that they had done so because they got the weird idea that being a sportsman I was a “dumb jock” and would probably try to run around my block or something, so they used plaster of paris and a heavy cast to help “immobilise” me. The result was an inflamed hip and knee joint due to the unrelenting weight which became pretty uncomfortable. I only found this out  on my return to the hospital when the nurse on duty told me, as she was busy replacing my cast with the new, lighter (and colourful) fibreglass version. This was a godsent in terms of weight, but as it turned out, it had been put on a bit too tight and it blocked circulation a bit, causing me pretty impressive pain after about a week or so. So I had to go in before time and have it removed. At this point, though it was in contravention of what the doctors originally all told me, for some reason, they issued me with an air-boot. I suspect this was due to the fact that in their version of events it should have been solid cast, then fibreglass cast, then when that comes off air-boot, and that is what they did, but without checking the timeline. This was actually a GOOD thing from my point of view, because it allowed me access to the wound for the first time, and so I could also very gently begin some massage to help circulation as well as proprioception and healing. I had spent a total time of only 3 weeks in rigid casts as opposed to the minimum of 6 weeks I had been told would be mandatory. The down side of this is that at this point, your tendon is VERY fragile and if you screw up just once by falling, being careless, or somehow putting too much weight or pressure on it you have a very real risk of popping your tendon again. SO…if you ARE a “dumb jock” it’s safer to keep you in a rigid cast for another 3 weeks, but if instead you are more of a Batman, supercool, and supersmart jock, then this is the best way forward. You can even let your leg get a little sunshine (if you live in a country with sunshine) and let the leg “breathe” without any cast when you rest it carefully on pillows while you watch daytime TV and feel your brain cells dying even as your leg cells heal.

Important: If you live with animals, small children or careless adults, this is a dangerous option to take. A simple mistake of someone bumping your injured leg when it’s out of the cast can have some bad results. I was lucky in that I had Redhead Girl looking after me like only she can. Everyone should have a girlfriend as dedicated to nursing duties as she is!

In summary then, if you can get an air-cast sooner rather than later, do so as long as you can be careful. During this period, some exercises I think helped quite a bit, generally try to move your foot, do gentle resistance work and so on, always being careful to feel your limits and never push even just to these, but always hold a bit back.

The most important things I did here were:

1. Using the BEMER System. In fact I would advise you to use this immediately after surgery if you can. If I could do things again, I would use a BEMER mat right from the start for the first 4-6 weeks I think.

2. Swimming. You have to wait until your scar is healed to make sure there is no chance of any kind of infection, but swimming and walking in a pool was the single most useful exercise for the leg overall. After each session i could feel an improvement in proprioception and even range of movement, dorsiflextion etc. Sometimes when you have exercised the leg a bit too much, movement range decreases for a bit, but a couple of days later it suddenly makes a jump forward again.

3. Getting the right mental attitude. more than the swimming and the BEMER machines, has been my general attitude that I would do whatever it took to get back to 100% capability of use. Often that attitude resulted in me having to RELAX and take things easy and NOT stress instead of me being aggressively pro-active. Sometimes, the best thing I did was…nothing. just sat on my ass and read a book and took things easy. Also, the pretty constant self-hypnosis helped more than even  would ever have guessed. Sometimes a dream or a self-induced trance allowed me to literally increase the movement range by almost an inch in a day without any effort or pain, just a shift of internal proprioception and muscular tension. This may sound like Voodoo, but it’s actually got a name: Psycho-cybernetics. Your mental attitude and self-identity really affects your body a LOT more than anyone believes.

4. Get a big shoe to match the height of your air-boot, so when you walk (assisted by crutches) you have the same height for your hips. this all goes to avoiding hip/knee inflammations which were the biggest problem for me. Besides, wearing platform/really thick flip-flops/stripper shoes for men is so much fun.

 

After the Air-boot:

1. Use your toes — do exercises to use your foot and move your ankle as much as you can. “Grab” the carpet with your feet, and “walk” your leg forward (from a sitting position) position by using your toes.

2. Do little “push-ups” with your foot. I found the best way to do this is to “stand on tip-toes” with my injured leg, BUT only from a sitting position at first. So at first I was only lifting the weight of my own lower leg, later I added weights on top of my knee (a box, a child, the girlfriend) as I got progressively stronger. I found that being in a rush to be able to stand on tiptoes or “spring” on your injured leg is NOT a good idea, instead focus more on getting full proprioception of your leg, that is, learn to use the whole foot again as much as possible. Play with it. Use a ball to increase its ability to “manipulate” (“pedipulate”?) objects and so on. this is key in my opinion for good recovery.

3. Massage. The way this was explained to me by a doctor is: Liquid accumulated in the injured area and other joints and eventually hardens and solidifies making movement difficult. By massaging the “liquid” up into the main body of the leg you promote better circulation and reduce swelling mechanically, which all helps your foot, ankle, and leg in general to stay “alive” and not get atrophied not just muscularly (which will happen anyway) but proprioceptively (proprioception is your ability to perceive, be aware of and use in fine detail, a specific part of your body)

4. Focus on proprioception more than strength. Don’t worry if you can support your body-weight well on the injured leg for a while, concentrate instead on making sure your MOVEMENT of the foot is correct. As soon as you begin to walk without an air-boot concentrate on ensuring the motions your foot goes through are correct. practice in a pool if you need to.  I began to be able to do this about 7 weeks after surgery, which again was WAY ahead of schedule, (I should still have been in a solid cast according to them) but I must re-iterate, this new found mobility is probably THE MOST DANGEROUS TIME, and you should really take extra care. This is a critical period. A simple thing like a wrong step, tripping, or stepping inadvertently off a curb or onto some obstacle will break your tendon again, so TAKE CARE!)

5. Use a pool. Seriously, even if it means you have to get your crippled ass on a bus and then to a gym with a pool, do it. The use of water to be able to walk with a much lowered weight so you can make sure the foot is moving correctly when you walk in slow motion is very important. A LOT of problems are avoided by ensuring your motion and proprioception are correct. Exercising in the pool also lowers the “fear threshold” your injured leg will have. It is important you make your leg do the right movements, but you need to do so WITHOUT ANY WEIGHT at first. In fact, you can begin by manipulating your own foot with your hands, very gently before you begin trying to get your leg to do it by itself. Concentrate on getting the movements to be smooth and natural instead of jerky and sporadic. The smoother and more natural the movement, the easier you will be able to use your leg again when it has strength. Strength, of both the tendon and the surrounding muscle tissue, is easily increased once the tendon is FULLY healed, but recall this takes AT LEAST 6 months. So you need to make sure all your movements are correct and working well BEFORE you have the strength to do the movements with your full body weight. This point, the understanding of how important it is to make your leg move in the way it should move when it is healed or when it was normal before the injury, while at the same time understanding that your physical strength and structural strength to do so will not be available until MONTHS later, is probably the single most important point for correct healing of this type of injury.

After exactly 5 months:

This is how long it took me be able to walk like a normal person. Almost to the day, which was also the day I left for Brazil, it was 5 months before I could physically make my body walk in such a way that a bystander would not notice I had been injured.

There are a few corollaries to this though:

1.) I could make it look like I was normal but I could very well feel it wasn’t quite there yet, and I also had to walk slowly.

2.) The pain in my leg/ankle/foot throughout these 5 months was pretty constant. Every step I took was painful. Every day was painful, and the leg still swelled up if I walked for any length of time or was on my feet for more than an hour or so a day. I often was on my feet longer than this but I also massaged (or rather, my superhot girlfriend massaged) my leg every evening to move the fluid back up the leg. I mention the pain, because it was a constant and some people are afraid of this. Pain has never really troubled me in that I only used it as information. More relevant to me was if I felt the leg was “scared” of certain movements. Pain was a constant throughout. Literally every step I took was painful for the first 6 months at least, probably more like 7 months and a half at least actually, but the fact I was feeling pain was not important to me unless the pain was indicative of a warning. Because of my training and my being able to sense my body to a very refined degree, I could easily make this distinction even before the injury, between RELEVANT pain and just painful pain. If you do not know how to do this, then I suggest you really try to learn it over the course of this injury, because it is important. Pain tends to make us flinch and in a Pavlovian way we then stop using our limb as fully as we should. after months, if you don’t use it, you lose it, resulting in restricted movement that is going to be permanent or at least VERY difficult to fix later. So do not let pain stop you from increasing your proprioception. At the same time, do not ignore a fatigued limb, as this is the surest way to re-injure yourself and making this whole shitty situation a lot worse.

If you can keep these two things in mind, then you CAN walk like a human instead of a retarded zombie after only 5 months, but be careful.

You can now start on these activities:

1.) Walk on sand beaches if you can. Sand, sea and swimming is a great combination. I could do this for a couple of months, so it was great. I was walking normally and much better by month 6, and in fact I even took part in some (careful) wrestling with some great Ju-jitsu guys after about 5 and 1/2 months from surgery.

2.) Gentle jogging. Cycling in a gym, and trying to stand on tip-toes (this is still the hardest exercise for me and I did it with my other leg helping a lot to remove some of my body weight).

3.) Stretching. you should have been doing this pretty much throughout, very, very gently, but now you can begin to start doing so a bit more regularly and specifically.

4.) Re-building some of your calf strength, the best way to do this is by walking and even hiking in gentle hills an hour or so a day. I ended up going on a 6 hour hike in the jungles wearing flip-flops, which is absurdly stupid, so don’t do that, but do exercise your leg a bit, and consciously begin to not rely on the other leg for support as much. Begin to re-distribute weight evenly and make the injured leg carry its own load as much as possible without straining the leg.

After 8 months:

I can now run, jog, and walk normally. I still would be a bit scared of a sprain or sudden badly placed foot on odd or broken ground. Obviously this could cause an injury even on a normal leg, but I would be a lot more worried of that now than I used to be in the past.

Hip and knee problems are still niggling at me, but these are also due to my own previous over-exertions and damage from martial arts training of a decade and more ago, so it may not be as pronounced with you, but my left leg (uninjured) took strain and my knee joint is a little “impacted” as a result…BUT…I also moved home 3 times throughout my period of recovery (Once in September 2010, once in October 2010 and Once in January 2011. The lifting and moving of heavy objects in January certainly didn’t help, nor was it smart of me (it was just necessary, unfortunately), so don’t enter any weight-lifting competitions and you should be fine. I was overcompensating on the left leg and put it under too much strain. Despite this, I am recovering very well and although I can’t do full rolls from a run yet, I can roll to the floor from walking or standing without problems. I can also punch, kick and move around without any problems. Squats and duck-walking are painful on the knee/hip and will have to be entered into gradually, but I am not a million miles away from my pre-injured status in terms of ability on the gym floor at training. Once I am completely comfortable again with going to the ground as a result of wrestling, attacks, breakfalls etc. I will then be back to my old self, and I expect this will not take much longer. I also have had to cut back on training for reasons unrelated to the injury, so this obviously had an impact.

Final thoughts:

For a more detailed and blow-by blow account of the earlier periods with lots of detailed notes on the BEMER systems etc, see the ONLINE DIARY HERE

 

 

 

102 Responses to “Achilles Tendon Rupture Recovery Manual”

  1. Vicola says:

    My mum got her Achilles tendon sliced right through by a glass shelf when she worked as a Saturday girl in Boots in the 60s. She’s got a cracking scar, one ankle much bigger than the other and she limps when she gets tired. Clearly treatment has moved on a bit since then!

    • G says:

      Actually I don’t think treatment has changed much. The basic cure is:
      1) grab ends of tendon,
      2) stitch together in nice sausage-looking job mixed in with random bits of leg-meat,
      3) tell patient no reliable information is available regarding exact (or at least broadly accurate) results of healing

      Most of the healing/recovery is so badly explained (or rather not explained at all) which is why I wanted to give this small “manual” so people who need it can read up on it.

      The thing that has changed is the legal field. If your mom had that accident today you would never have to work again as she could keep you in limousines and pretty pool boys with the interest she would be earning from the payout from Boots.

  2. Luke says:

    Thanks for taking the time to document your recovery.

    I came out of my cast after 6 weeks was given the aircast boot which I only wore for a day or two, my thinking being that the more I use it the stronger it would get.

    Big mistake! Re-ruptured 8 weeks post op, I was so happy to have my mobility back I went crazy with doing things, I even started working (I am a freelance lighting cameraman) and broke it again when I went to sit on a low wall because I was tired from walking too far, the pushing up motion to sit on the wall snapped it, or rather it was the straw in the camels back.

    Well lesson learned all be it in a horrible way, this time round they are saying 8 weeks in a cast and then 6 weeks in a boot.

    My 2nd operation was on April 4th, I have been offered a job on August 1st, its in The Cook islands for 9 weeks, now clearly that is a job I want to say yes too specially as all I do right now is turn down work, being self employed its all a bit of a nightmare.

    It will be about 4 months in total f I do the job, I wonder if I will be able to?

    Do you think you could do it at the 4 month mark?

    I am relatively fit with my work and ride off road motorcycles (which people don’t realize its very hard work) and I am 40 years old and am very used to injuries being a motorcycle nut all my life, however I have never been struck down so hard.

    Well done with you recovery it is somewhat inspirational.

  3. G says:

    Hi Luke,
    I reply here so others can also benefit. As I say in point number 5, it takes AT LEAST 6 months for the tendon to heal, so at 4 months you will still be only 2/3 of the way there and mobility will definitely be an issue. I would suggest you absolutely ensure you keep your leg raised as much as you can and get yourself a BEMER mat if you have not done so already. The job out there will be a problem if it involves long days, lots of mobility etc. You may still be able to do it but if so I would be using the aircast while working. Also your flight will be a problem as you will get a swollen leg most likely so I advise if you do fly there to use a pressure sock that can be bought in some airports.
    All in all keep in mind I am not a doctor and you should always consult a professional, these are just my suggestions as layman.
    Also, you are “used” to being “banged up” you say and in my opinion this is a big part of the problem. If you do not take care to really FEEL and sense your own body’s limits the likelihood of re-injury even through a silly little movement is high.
    You almost have to become supernaturally aware of your body and what it’s telling you in order to make the healing proceed in the best way.
    I can’t really advise you on whether to take the job or not, that’s up to you, but if you do you will have to be extremely careful and hopefully have a good support structure. I had my gf (now wife) who is a saint basically help me throughout with everything.
    As for the frustration… I know very well what you mean. Try writing a book or doing stuff you can do sitting down.
    Good luck man, this injury is a bastard of a thing, to be sure, but if approached in the right way it can be a very important life lesson on very many levels.

  4. Anne O'Brien says:

    I ruptured my achilles tendon on Friday 13th May a day I’ll not forget in a hurry and had it operated on the following day.Reading your recovery manual has given me great insight into what to expect during recovery of this injury.I’m a very active person and love kettlebell training going 5 times a week which I’m going to miss terrible but by following your guidelines I hope to be back in the swing of things sooner rather than later.I am trying to keep my upper body mobility with some easy exercises from a sitting down position keeping leg elevated at same time :)
    It is so good to read about real life experiences as it helps relate to what I’m going through.I wish you the best with your own recovery.
    Anne

    • G says:

      Hi Anne, sorry to hear of your injury. It is a bastard of a thing to be sure, and no, there is no polite way of saying it :). BUT. If you are careful and sensible it can also be a great life lesson. I am recovering very well and if it were not for another niggling injury to my left knee, which was due to my trying to move my own apartment by myself while still compensating on my left leg, i would probably be back to 99% efficiency. I also suffered a further injury on the left leg at martial arts training so that has slowed things down a bit, BUT. My right foot has now healed to a level of functionality it did not even HAVE before the injury, so I have definitely learned a lot from this injury. It is after all a very expensive lesson, so you might as well get the most out of it.
      In terms of my physical ability, i am almost back to 100% ability with the injured leg, so I am happy of how it has healed. I will still be a couple of months before I am back to where I was overall, but on the plus side, i have gained a lot that I didn’t have before.
      My advice is to make really sure you do not re-injure yourself by doing too much to soon. Proprioception is more important than strength. For the first 6-7 months your main aim should be to retain proprioception (or rather, re-build it from scratch) and gradually increase mobility, but always with extreme care to not overdo the “testing” of the strength of the tendon. Remember it will take AT LEAST 6 months before the tendon is actually healed. So be very careful to not over-exert it. At the same time, mobility and proprioception will be lost if you do not CAREFULLY work towards retaining these.
      As with most “bad news” you can turn this around and make it a good thing in your life with the right attitude.
      I wish you a speedy recovery and look forward to your updates!
      G.

  5. tracy says:

    Thanks for the timeline-been 4 months and progress has seemed slow but helps to know this is normal. Just wanted to comment on surgery as being the best choice-I chose the nonsurgical route as a study completed last year in london, ontario compared surgical vs conservative(non-surgical) patients after following them for 2 years and found very little difference in the healing but the surgical group had infections and more blood clots which obviously affected these surgical patients outcomes-food for thought!

    • G says:

      I had a fully ruptured tendon. Without surgery Chances are good I would be permanently crippled. My opinion on this is really clear, but of course you must do what you think is best for you.

  6. Edwin says:

    I ruptured my achilles but this was missed in the diagnosis immediatley follwing the injury. so now I am 10 weeks later and going to an ortho. Anyone else have the same type of experience and describe how it turned out.

    • Hi Edwin,
      Wondering if you had any follow up to your question? I am in a similar situation. Wrong diagnosis about three months or so ago, am booked in for hospital around end of January. I am wondering about recovery time and recovery success. I was hoping to learn how to paraglide in about five or six months, but that might be a bit hopeful!?

      Regards,
      Tim

  7. Robert says:

    Sorry to blow up your comments but I just wanted to let you know that I know your not a doctor when I asked “will my ch tendn never be 100%” I just wanted your opinion.

    also I am a student, and have to walk to the bus, where you able to go on long walks (with crutches i assume) while in the boot?

    • G says:

      Comments that are not spam are always welcome :)
      I live in London so never had to go for really long walks, other than to physio, ironically enough, and yes I did use the bus and tube etc. but was always fine. As for your healing, as you can tell by the other comments here and my post on it, your own actions make the biggest difference. Some of the other commenters (Alex in particular) make excellent suggestions. Just remember that you are ultimately responsible for what you decide to do or not do regarding your healing. Best of luck and let us know how it is.

  8. Victoria says:

    The first website I have seen which gives me some idea of what to expect now I’m finally out of a cast so thank you!!

    I also had a full rupture, from playing netball, but was not offered the surgical option. I have been in a cast for the past two and a half months (non-weight bearing) which seems to completely contradict everything that I have read about treating this type of injury successfully. As of this week I have been given a ridiculously huge boot to wear for three weeks to allow me to be more mobile (SERIOUSLY who designed these things!!!)

    I’m still optimistic and determined that I will return to netball sooner rather than never – being ‘crippled’ is not an option.

    Thanks again for the useful advice and insight you have provided.

    • G says:

      You are most welcome. Please feel free to give us an update now that it´s a few months on (and that I have noticed your comment was quarantined by my anti-spam software. Apologies for the long delay in replying!)

      • Victoria says:

        Thrilled to say that despite the long recovery process I have returned to netball 6 months after my original injury and if anything my achilles seems to be in better condition than the other one.

        Thanks again

        • G says:

          Excellent news!! Well done, and yes, I know what you mean about it sometimes feeling stronger than the other one.

  9. Andy says:

    Snapped my achilles on 27th May, Had op on 30th May. Splint on till 11th June and then had this changed for lightweight cast. This being changed for ‘boot’ on 27th June when phhysio will start.. Due to go on holiday to America on 3rd August. Will still be in boot and on crutches… Do you forsee any issues and have you any advice.
    I am fit (or was!) 59 year old, very active and am office worker.. (now back at work part time)..

    • G says:

      Basically read my whole diary and judge for yourself. I am not a doctor, and each situation is unique. i would certainly take it easy in your situation as it took me several months before I could even think of walking on it. Don’t overdo anything but read up on what I did in terms of regaining proprioception as this is key to an eventual full recovery and in my opinion you do need to start this very gently as soon as you get a chance.

  10. Julia says:

    Hi – this blog makes good and interesting reading – I completely reputured my achilles during a dance practice 2 weeks ago, seriously painful, I went to A&E, was put in a cast and sent home, I was told that I would be in a cast for 8 weeks and a special boot for 4 weeks and strong enough to dance after 6 months. But I am quite surprised that no scan has been done (how do they know how far apart the ends of the tendons are? can it really heal naturally if there is a great big gap?) Doctor said to me that they no longer repair achilles tendons with surgery as studies say there is no proof that surgical repair is stonger, I find this hard to believe. My dancing is so important to me, I need my achilles to be strong. Anyway, I’m paying for a second opinion from a private consultant on Monday and we’ll see what he says, I cant help but think the reason the NHS doc has told me surgery is not necessary is to save cost….

    • Alan says:

      Hi Julia
      This sounds very familier i was told the same(NHS) but pushed hard for surgery my op was on june 4th 2012 by the 15th june i was in a CAM boot (at my request).
      Have already gone down to just 2 wedges in the boot but still unable to walk without crutches,I have read lots of websites and can honestly say surgery is the only way forward.
      Hope all goes well for you.
      Alan

      • G says:

        I agree. You are doing very well too, just be careful not to reinjure it by trying too much too soon.

    • G says:

      The NHS only cares about taking long lunches. I was forceful and unequivocal about wanting surgery immediately. I hope you got the name of that doctor and begin suing him personally as well as the hospital in question. I wish you the best but without surgery I am really not sure how things will go. Maybe research that online too.

      • Robert says:

        I’m not sure you can just sue in the situation here. There are always two options for ATr, surgical repair or non surgical repair.

        Non surgical repair is told to be just as strong as the surgical repair. I’m sure they have to have a reason for choosing non surgical repair for her, instead of the surgery. I think she could’ve went for second opinions…but I’m sure surgery isn’t the bet for everyone…though itd seem that way to us. I’m sure there’s reasons behind no surgery, like diabetes or other medical conditions that the surgery could put bigger risk on patient. Not saying she specifically has diabetes, but they ask you about 59 questions prior to surgery…those might’ve made a decision for the doctor. I’m not being an advocate, but just trying to put a different light on the subject here…maybe you guys are right and they’re trying to skimp out on high costs…but just thought I’d give a different possibility!

        • G says:

          Sorry but we will have to agree to disagree. The NHS staff are in my (very clear) opinion “trained” to save money and time and to give the least expensive “treatment” instead of the BEST treatment. Also, as far as I am concerned, with a full rupture there is no question in my mind that surgery is the only sensible option. There is a reason slaves were hobbled by having their achilles tendon cut in the past, and that is because it cripples you, and no, I don’t think it ever heals 100% without surgery! Even then, it’s a long slow haul.

  11. jan says:

    I had a achilles surgical decompression on wednesday 27th June in a cast to my knee. Was told to take paracetamol and 2 aspirins a day. 48 hrs later I am in agony can hardly put my foot down even though i have a shoe they put over my plaster cast adn crutches. Seems to be getting worse to walk on feels really sore at back of ankle. Any suggestions

    • G says:

      Go back to your doctor! Seriously…why are you wasting time asking some stranger on the internet?

  12. Alex Rodgers says:

    Male Aged 58. Totally ruptured my Achilles tendon on 23 May 12. Only a few minutes into a mountain bike ride – no crash, it just snapped. I knew immediately what I had done, but never thought it would happen to me. I was very upset.

    I have read with interest the article of Giuseppe and wanted to add my experiences.

    My background: high impact endurance and hard core adventure sports; Army PTI for over 40 years; personal trainer and sports therapist, including sports massage; coach and teach many adventurous activities and sports. Sports Science background.

    I have been involved in training and rehab of soldiers and injured soldiers and have seen the no-nonsense military approach to rehab: continue doing whatever you can, whilst carefully isolating the injured part of the limb. Expect no sympathy, it’s your life, so get on with it. Of interest, the US Army is taking a very dynamic approach to rehabilitating serious injured soldiers, reportedly with great success.

    I took the advice of the busy, bemused consultant, not too used to being asked informed questions (pinned him down and asked some searching questions). After I asked him to put himself in my place, he advised (because of my age and possible healing and infection problems), taking the non-surgical approach. Having done my homework and lots of reading of the literature, I agreed. Had a removable boot fitted (but told not to remove it), plantar flexed to allow the tendon to rejoin and repair.

    WHAT FOLLOWS IS MY OWN (INFORMED AND EXPERIENCE BASED) TREATMENT – I DO NOT RECOOMED IT TO ANYONE ELSE. FOR ME, IT MIGHT GO BADLY WRONG.

    2 days after the injury, I was back on my indoor bike, working only my good leg, with the injured leg resting on on a bench. Uncomfortable, but determined to maintain my aerobic fitness. I think the loss of activity, fitness and losing all the benefits of fitness is probably the main reason some people take so long to recover from injuries. With a few limitations, also continued with my resistance (weight training) training programme as normal. Difficult, but I just cut out injured lower leg exerises and squats (for a few weeks anyway).

    Other things I did straight away: within the limitations of the boot, move the toes, feet and leg muscles. Did ‘static’ exercies (resist against the boot, even though movement is minimal or impossible – trying to move muscles has a similar effect to actually moving them). Did lots of ‘static quads’ exercises throughout the day. After one week, I removed the boot and started to gently (to begin with) massage the whole lower leg and concentrate on the tendon. within a few days, I was spending 20 minutes doing quite firm massage and frictioning, with my thumbs, the swollen areas and where I think the site of the severance was. All muscles of the lower leg were sore and I did a lot of sweating – effort and pain. I have progressed to very firm massage (now 6 weeks post injury) and am using ‘The Stick’ (google it), which I have found to be an excellent self-massage tool. I have also bought a Scholl electric home massage device, which I am using to reduce (sucessfully) the swelling in the leg and ankle. I massage up to 3 times a day and it works for me.

    3 weeks after the injury, I returned to the consultant. The orthotist decreased the plantar flextion (and therfore increased the dorsi flexion) of the boot, which was very uncomfortable for about and hour – sweating again! The consultant’s colleague asked me how it was going. I told him all of the above (thought I was in for a slapped wrist). He grinned, said ‘excellent’ and that he wished everyone would take such a proactive approach to their rehab. Emboldened, I asked him if I could now cycle indoors with BOTH legs – Yes, as long as I was wearing the boot and did nothing to stretch the tendon (which the boot prevents). Yes, start weight bearing, but using crutches. No need to tell me twice, Sir.

    I visited a former Army physio, who has worked with war injured soldiers for the last 4 years ( I intend to use him for additional rehab guidance when I am out of the boot). I confessed what I had been doing and he told me that he agreed with my approach. HE DID HOWEVER WARN ME THAT, UNLESS I WAS CAREFUL AND CAUTIOUS, I WAS IN DANGER OF GETTING TOO CONFIDENT, TOO SOON AND THAT HE THOUGHT IT WOULD TAKE ME ABOUT 18 MONTHS TO GET BACK TO ‘NORMAL’. I will heed his valuable advice.

    He showed me extra, useful strength exercises and confimed my thoughts that PROPRIOCEPTION (look it up) is crucial to a speedy recovery.

    I immediately went to the gym, strapped my booted left foot to the pedal and did a good aerobic trainig session (I have also been doing turbo interval training sessions and my upper left leg strength is improving very well). I incorporated Swiss Ball, back-against-the-wall squats, with a wedge under my good foot . No problem. Just a bit uneven and slightly scary to begin with. I also started weighted leg extensions on a machine (I do not normally advocate or do single joint resistance exercises, preferring narural, functional ones). However, beggars can’t be choosers. I need to strengthen my quads.

    5 Weeks after the injury, returned to consultant. Boot dorsi flexed to ‘netrual’ postion (90 degrees). Very uncomfortable for about an hour (brain and proprioceptors resetting to new angle) – more copious sweating. Consultant (different one again) happy with progress – continue with my approach. Do more weight bearing, but still on crutches. Doing very easy, sitting toe raises and scrunches barefoot.

    6 Weeks after injury. Have been doing (VERYcarefully) barefoot balancing exercises (alternate knee raises to chest and side steps) and slightly stretching the ankle and tendon (my physio friend warned me that one of the problems with ATR is stretching it too much and getting a permanently overstretched tendon). Started very gently walking a few minutes barefoot around the house (no obstacles). Leg stiff and strangely numb, but okay. Tried on shoes last night and walked for a few minutes, very slowly and carefully. I Can now balance, unaided, barefoot on injured leg for over 2 minutes. However, I am slightly worried that I am doing too much too soon. At work (did not miss any work days – now have an office job), I can walk around easily without crutches (in boot). I am having to force myself to use the crutches, but know it makes sense. I do not want to develop a lop-sided, habit limp.

    12 Jul 12: I will have an appointment with the consultant. I hope that, if he is happy with progress, the boot will be removed and I will return to shoes with wedges in the heels. I am under no illusions – when the boot is off, that is when the real danger and challenge begins. I will report on my progress (or otherwise).

    • G says:

      EXCELLENT COMMENT! My apologies for being so busy that I checked my quarantined folder only now! I would completely agree with evrything you did so far except that you nedd to take care to not re-injure and stretching now could be a problem because a tendon takes some 6 months to actually re-join/heal to full strenght. That said, I expect by now you know how it´s going. If you can, please do give an update.
      Your approach and mine were very similar except I didn´t do any strength exercises (I never have really, kind of hate pushing weights) as I was also scared of re-injury, and as you said yourself, I would not advise your approach to everyone, but for people like us, i think you did everything right. The important thing is to PAY ATTENTION. Like you are defusing a live mine kind of attention. Glad you and your doc buddies also confirmed for me that proprioception is the key. Something I have been saying from experience but which no doc I saw seemed to know a damn thing about. Glad you have better docs there than I did too!

  13. tracey says:

    Hi I had an Achilles rapture in 2009,and still to this day im having allot of pain ,especially when i walk,theirs like this sharp pain that just stops me in my tracks,you see i had an operation on my right Achilles ,was in a cast for 5 weeks, on the day i had the cast removed the hospital decided i go to physio that same day,so on the way down to the physio dept and still on crutches and not allowed to weight bear ,my crutches slide on water and i went flying yep you guest it right on my right foot ,the frigging pain was unbearably and my foot swelled up bigger then the previous Achilles injury,i was then sent back to the fracture clinic and a cast was re- applied ,they didn’t do an ex-ray or out like that ,just told me to come back to the hospital in 2 weeks time , so i did .i had all the physio after that but im now still in alot of pain and one my right leg in alot smaller than my left leg,and the muscles in my left leg are alot stronger than my right ,so do you think ive done more damage ?

    • G says:

      Again…I am not a doctor. you should definitely see a specialist, possibly get MRI scans first if you can so they can see what s going on. The shrunken leg will get back to normal size once you are fully healed and can exercise again, however you should not be in a lot of pain as far as I know. My pain threshold is pretty high, but I don’t recall it really ever being an issue. Definitely get checked out from someone who is specialised in this though.

  14. Alex Hochhausl says:

    For what it’s worth, I thank you deeply for your informative write-up.

    The funny part is I ruptured (complete) my achilles on June 22 (this year). Last year I had surery on my birthday June 27 (unrelated to this), and guess what I did this year on my birthday – have to stop this cycle!

    This injury, besides the obvious physical impact, caused just as much emontional damage for the first week. I am by no means a professional athlete, although I guess I would put myself at above amateur level. 4 years ago (at 40) I made the change from a “meat-head body builder” to “triathlete”. It was a huge change, but I’ve never felt better – getting faster every year. I went from bearly being able to run 1/4 mile to regulary running half marathons, and have placed as high a 4th in triathlon in my division. I note this not to brag, but to give credit to the positive impact that the inspiration of others can have (mine was others who let neither age nor disability stop them from incredible achievement).

    This spring I ran a personal best 13.2 @ 7:50 avg pace and was just getting into high-gear training for my fall Tri race schedule when a really dumb diving board accident (june 22) took me out of the game for the rest of this year. Game over.

    The surgeon I went with came highly recommended, and is putting me on an accelerated recovery schedule, although I know I’m done for the year. Seems I have been following good practice based on his and your recommendations.

    Reading your experience, and those of (professional) athletes, who have come back 100%, offers tremendous emotional support, and I am truely grateful to you and others for that. As they say, and I have experienced, racing is just as much (if not moreso) mental as physical, especially long distance events; Recovery from injury is just the same.

    I thank you and your contributors for taking the time to offer such valuable information, and hope.

    Regards,

    Alex H.

    • G says:

      Thank YOU Alex, your comment means a lot as it was the whole point of me writing all I did on the achilles tendon rupture, mainly to help people with the very real point that if you don´t get your mind right, the healing will not be as it should be because instead of taking some small positive action every day several times a day, you get depressed or despondent or lazy or too scared to do the right things. Good luck and let us know how you are. Sorry I took so long to reply, my spam blocker quarantines new posters the first time and I have not checked the quarantine box for ages!

      • Alex Hochhausl says:

        It’s hard to believe 19 weeks have passed since surgery! As much as it went fast, it’s been a long road. I’m happy to report I’m back to running starting about 4 weeks ago. It was very slow going at first, being very careful to limit exertion and degree of rotation. Started with slow 1/4 mile jogs to 8 mile run yesterday (wow is my calf sore today – the muscle though – a good sore). It is still slow going, but I can see weekly progress! It is a bit aggressive, but the doctor said I have a strong repair.

        My 2c worth: Physical therapy the first 4 weeks was crutial: listen, learn & do, do and do some more. As you said – do not sit on the couch and sulk! I was back in the gym 1 week after surgery. Although in a cast, there are many excercises you can do to limit atrophy – this is crutial to ensure a strong recovery. I found that walking and heel lifts in the pool was the best. The elliptical – in boot (straps adjusted as required to limit degree of rotation), and after the boot, to work up to jogging, was great to maintain cardio fitness and leg muscle tissue mass. Even if you have to join a gym for a few months – I highly recommend it. Listen to your body to make sure you don’t push too hard.

        One word of caution: When they took off my cast, they told me to go walk to the next room (with no crutch, brace, anything!) to get fitted for the boot. When you have not used your calf/foot muscles for 6 weeks, and at such a critical stage of recovery, you have basically no control. The slightest mis-step you can trip and tear that repair in a second! I remembered reading one of your posts where someone fell doing this (and tore their repair). So I said – no way, and insisted on a wheel chair. I give you 100% credit for putting that thought into my head, and avoiding a potential set-back.

        So my first race should be May 5th. I don’t expect to set a personal best, but just being in the game will feel like victory, when looking back. I will keep you posted. Thank you and best wishes to all!

        • G says:

          Thanks for the update Alex!
          Great to hear you are recovering well, and thanks for your input. It helps others who are just at the early stages of what we all went through here.
          Keep up the good work.
          G.

  15. Rob Hold says:

    Great manual, very educational.

    I completely ruptured my achilles tendon on the 3 May 12 after stepping up on to a kerb. I went to A&E on 4 May 12. Doctor at A&E did a cursory investigation, felt up the back of the leg and said it was a bad sprain and that I had two options – immobilise it or leave it. Obviously I went for immolising it. It was put in a half cast and I was given an appointment for the fracture in two weeks.

    Two weeks later and saw an Ortho Consultant who after investigation, Thompson test and an ultrasound the next day confirmed it as a complete rupture. Told surgery was not an option as the healing process had already started. He said I would be in a cast for 12 weeks and then walking boot for 4 weeks with physiotherapy. Knowing the seriousness of a re-rupture I accepted my fate.

    After a couple of replacement casts, I was seen by another Ortho Consultant and finally had the cast removed after 11 (10 Jul 12) weeks. I was given no boot nor offered any physiotherapy as Consultant said physio entertains re-rupture. Another appointment has been booked for 3 weeks time. I’m a little concerned and slightly confused about the mixed course of treatments mentioned by two Ortho Consultants – is this another NHS cost saving exercise?? Have written to my GP for his comments.

    In the meantime I will use gentle exercises to gain leg strength. I can walk with a hobble and my heel kills me. Walking on the beach is great as is the cold sea water. I work for the NHS so not in a hurry to get back to work.

    • G says:

      Sounds like rank incompetence to me. I am no doctor but my own full rupture was obvious to me. I am however not surprised, the level of medical experitse in the UK is, in my opinion, little improved since about the year of our Lord 1440 or so. I would not have been too surprised if they had placed leeches on me to heal the leg. I think part of the reaosn I had surgery was that I was so clear and forceful about it. Most people in that state expect that the doctor would know best. Given you work for the NHS, I would seriously consider suing them if I were you.

  16. Jeanette says:

    Thanks for posting your experiences. I found your site after my upteenth search on the internet looking for some guidance on my situation. Apologies in advance for the length of my post.

    On June 11 2012, I ruptured both of my achilles tendons whilst on holiday. I didn’t know that that is what I had done – I thought it was a sprain and continued walking around on them, albeit painfully, until I got home a week later. I immediately went to the GP on 18th June who agreed it was a sprain and told me to take ibuprofen and use the RICE principle.

    A couple of days later I sought a second opinion from a private GP who sent me for tests at a South London hospital. The hospital carried out a number of tests, including two scans. Notwithstanding the fact that the nurse who initially saw me told me she suspected an achilles tendon rupture, the doctors who saw me, including an orthopaedic consultant, concluded nothing was wrong. The consultant in fact told me to exercise my ankles, including by hanging my heel off a stair. She may as well have asked to me start doing back flips!

    I went back to the private GP a couple of days later, this time looking for a physio referral. However, he sent me to a specialist sports doctor who in turn sent me for an MRI scan. The results came back a day later and I was told at that time that I had two completely torn achilles. He said he would refer me to a surgeon, but after 2 further days of hearing nothing, I picked up a phone and made the appointment to see the surgeon myself.

    The surgeon told me that the left achillies tendon was completely ruptured – 6 cms, the right tendon was partially ruptured. Apparently, missed diagnosis is pretty common. I had my operation on Monday 9 July (about a month after the initial injury) but only on the completely torn left tendon. I was given a walking boot for the other leg. I was told that I only needed the walking boot when putting weight down on the leg (which I have to do from time to time as it is the only way for me to get around – e.g. to the bathroom and back).

    Since that time, I have been at home with feet elevated. However, I am very worried about my recovery. My main concern is that, given the length of time it took to get diagnosed and treated, I won’t recover fully. In particular, there is something going on in the right leg – a kind of hardish lump has formed where I think the tear is. I have no idea whether it is a good / bad / temporary development. I have an appointment on Monday so hopefully can use that to get some specific advice.

    I appreciate you are not a doctor, but any thoughts you have would be welcome. If anyone has any (hopefully positive) stories about recovery after delayed diagnosis, or treatment received for a partially ruptured tendon, I would be happy to hear them!

    • G says:

      Hi Jeanette, sorry for the delay in replying but I am tragically busy at the moment. Your comment really made me feel for you. My advice would be as follows:
      1. By threat, cajoling, bribery or whatever, get a full MRI scan on your legs, particularly the right one.
      2. Consult with a specialist that deals with this type of injury regularly and preferably one that is also a surgeon. This may be harder in the UK than it is overseas but it should still be possible.
      The above two points are necessary more in order to give you a mental reference point which is important in order to heal (I think so anyway) than to fix things by surgery, which may still be a possibility but it would probably be related to reducing the “lump” and streamlining it, which might not be a good idea to do now anyway. The lump is in all likelihood a neuroma, I have one in my wrist where I went through a window at 16 at school and it slashed my wrist (long story). It does not necessarily cause a problem unless it compresses other tendons/areas, which depends on the size. To some extent a neuroma is necessary in order for the tendon to heal. When tendons re-attach they form a ball of fibers that interlink, that is essentially what a neuroma in this case is.
      3. WHATEVER the doctors say relating to your expected recovery rate you can (again, in my non-doctor opinion) ALWAYS do better than they tell you. My best advice is to follow my own diary closely and pay particular attention to increasing and improving proprioception as soon as possible but without putting any unnecessary strain on the healing legs. Proprioception is in my opinion the key. Increase of motility, strenght etc, all come with time, but if you let the proprioception fall away, you are going to have real problems later. In any case, a certain amount of fluid/calcification buildup is probably going to happen but you should be able to deal with this well later as long as you are consistent in working on the problem in many ways and in a multi-pronged approach.
      4. GET A BEMER MAT AND USE IT AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE. This thing helped me heal an underlying injury I had had for almost 2 decades, the sooner you get one and use one, the better. If you need the number of someone who hires them PM me as I have it somewhere, her name is Kathy, you don’t need to listen to her ideas, unless you want to but the mats work.
      Let me know how it goes.

      • Jeanette says:

        Thank you so much for taking the time to reply. I really appreciate it! Its good to get a different perspective. At my appointment with the surgeon last Monday he insisted that the damage to the right leg will get better over time on its own. However, for peace of mind I will definately head back to the hospital to get, yet another, opinion / scan on the right leg … sigh.

        I will take a look at look at your suggestions regarding Proprioception and the Bemer Mat. If there is one thing this experience has taught me, it is that you really need to take control of your own healing and listen to your body because doctors can and often do make mistakes.

        Thanks again
        Jeanette

        • G says:

          Doctors are humans, and humans have a poor track record of excellence in my opinion. If aliens ever land here a lot of us will be used for food or as neutered pets I suspect! :)
          Keep positive and let me know how you get on. Sorry for the delay in response, I have a harsh (but sadly needed) spam filtering package and things get quarantined quite a bit.

  17. Julia says:

    Hi
    I posted a comment further up this chain on 22nd June, so thought I would come back and give you an update

    After my last post and feeling pretty let down by the NHS, I went to see a private consultant and it was the best thing I did, after seeing him it all seemed to make sense – so I thought I would share what I have learned:

    The reason there is so much controversy as to whether to stitch a ruptured Achilles or not, is because, basically no one really knows the answer – it would takes years of study and hundreds of patients to be able to accurately say if stitching a ruptured Achilles makes it stronger than one left to heal naturally and this has never been done, so ultimately we rely on the personal judgement of the doctor we end up seeing.

    One thing my doc stressed is – it isn’t so much about whether you stitch an Achilles that determines how strong it is afterwards. It comes down to how much hard work and commitment the patient puts into the rehabilitation and the physio, that makes it strong in the future. If a patient is complacent, lazy or in too much of a hurry, then there is a much higher chance of re-rupture.

    The private consultant I saw immediately sent me for an ultrasound scan – this is essential to know the extent of the damage and to decide on the necessary treatment. Now, I am no doctor and have no medical experience, but once I could actually see my injury inside my body, the decision made sense.
    My scan showed the two ends touching with no gap – I was 2 weeks post injury and the healing process had started so the doc decided it wasn’t necessary to op. I could buy this, it made sense. (if there was a gap then he would have operated, it isnt rocket science!)

    I was 5 weeks in a cast (changed 3 times in that time, to alter the foot angle), I have been in a black boot for 2 weeks, with dials to limit movement. I go back for another ultrasound next week to check on the healing process, then after another one week in the boot, hopefully I move into in a trainer, then the physio and hard work will start.

    I am determined to be dancing again by Christmas!

    • G says:

      Hi Julia, Re: Why there is controversy, you are absolutely right…at least from the “doc” perspective. However, it is my considered opinion that a severed or ruptured tendon without surgery will not heal as well as one that has had GOOD surgery done to it. There are a few simple common sense reasons for this and for me at least 2 life experiences that tell me the same ( I had a severed tendon in my wrist at age 16) Firstly, if the surgeon is competent you get an immediate (albeit artificial) Re-link of the cut ends, so to speak. The tendon ends do not have to “search blindly” for each other by growing semi-randomly until they link up. Secondly, the amount of unnecessary neuroma will be more without surgery. This may be counteracted by the amount of scar tissue that surgery causes though, so it may be hard to say which is better/worse, but for myself, having extensive experience of scars and how to minimise scar tissue formation, I will tend to err on the side of surgery almost every time.

      That said, the rest of the advice he gave you, which is basically (it´s up to you to take the care to sort it out best!) is 100% spot on. He sounds like a professional and your injury thankfully sounds like it´s on track to heal well. And you are also 100% right: IT ISN´T ROCKET SCIENCE!! And that applies to pretty much everything. Including rocket science actually, if you read up on rocket history (an excellent book is Dark side of the Moon about Wernher Von Braun (the Nazi most responsible for the Apollo program – allegedly) you get to find out what civil engineers like me know from experience: All so called “exact” sciences are just the best guesses we can make by paying attention at the results we got from the guesses we made earlier!
      Well done on your approach and attitude and please let us know how it goes. And I need to check with my IT guy, but if you can, post a picture of you dancing :)

  18. Robert says:

    Hi, I was reading this as I have been reading hours and hours of material of hundreds I different experiences with the ATR (Achilles tendon rupture) the past few days…anyway just wanted to say congrats on the healing! I have read about a couple people walking full strength after 2 months and some that we’re longer than 8 months.

    I had my left ATR on July 3, 2012…got a splint cause ortho closed in July 4 for holiday. Say ortho on july 6, 2012 (July 5th was used for WC doc to ok the specialist)…it’s already been 3 days and well past that 48 hours of surgery. Ortho wanted surgery on the same day I saw him the 6th, but couldn’t because of space issues, so he scheduled me the 11th. 8 days after ATR. Had surgery 11th, splint until the 17th and then fiberglass cast currently (until the 27th). Then he said he may put me in a CAM boot…if he does this, it will be barely over two weeks from time of surgery till I get the boot. Is this a good thing and is there a possibility he’s thinking I’m healing better than expected? I know you guys are no doctors here, but it does seem interesting I’ve read about a very few people who had the boot after two weeks and keep it for about a month and a half and then will be on their way with physical therapy. I hope this is my situation, but at the same time don’t want to reinjure if it’s only been a short period of time (assuming it’ll be only 2 months exactly)…well short of the 6 months it takes to fully heal! I know everyone is different in healing times and pain tolerance level, but would like to say one thing…anyone in the ATR club, I give you props for the patience to heal correctly and going through what you did! I’m only 3 weeks in and it’s driving me nuts big time! The pain, not being able to do ANYTHING, not being able to work….just a general pain in the A**! Anyway…any information is greatly appreciated! Thanks!

    • G says:

      The tendon takes 6 months to fully heal and this is the time in which re-injury can happen, but in that time you should be doing gentle exercises like massage and walking in a pool so you have no weight on the injured leg, wiggling your toes, etc etc (read my recovery diary for more ideas) to increase proprioception, which in my opinion is the key to healing. If you had a good surgeon that improves things a lot of course. Good luck and give us updates.

  19. Barry says:

    Hello everyone… I had a complete tear of my achilles tendon on July 13, 2012 while playing tennis with a co-worker. I am a 44 year old male in good shape but had not been active playing sports on a regular basis for some years. I’m sure this contributed to my injury but was a bit shocked that it happened and at the severity of the tear.

    Surgery was performed six days after the injury at an orthopedic out-patient center in the town where I live… I was in and out in just about three hours. The physician team was professional, competent and everything seemed to go very well. They were responsive at my request for a change in medication…

    As I write this post it has been six days since my surgery I can say that I believe things are going well… of course it has helped considerably that my dear mother is staying with me to tend to my basic needs like cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc. Everyone with this type of recovery should have some level of caregiving… however you can get it!

    So far I have managed to keep the foot elevated most of the time… except when I feel the need to move around and wiggle my toes, get the blood flowing, etc. Also, for me it was important to manage my pain while maintaining my coherancy… right now I’m doing 5 mg every six hours which seems to be working well for now.

    • G says:

      Well done. sorry for the long delay in responding, but the spam filtering quarantines new comments until I have a chance to go through them. Feel free to update us on your progress any time.

  20. Hi there

    I am a fit and strong 42 mum of 2 living in OZ and completely ruptured my achillies playing netball! Had surgery on 31st August. Been in a cast since surgery and have had stitches out, all looking ok at this stage. Like everyone else was told initially that I wouldn’t need surgery but they changed their mind after seeing how active I am. Am in a cast until 8th October and will be fitted with a walking boot for another 4 weeks for weight bearing. It’s interesting to hear other people’s stories and I think looking at the big picture positively instead of the negative is the best way to go. Am thankful that I won’t be in a cast/boot during the hot summer!! Eveyone thinks that this is a message for me to slow down and I think that they are right. Am planning on doing more sports such as swimming which is less stressful than running when I am able as I am worried that I will end up like this again. Am finding that eating extremely healthily, lean meats, fruit and veg and protein helps the energy levels and helps promote well being. I am hoping that if I feel healthy then I won’t get dpressed at the length of time this takes to heal. One last thing, what on earth is a BEMER mat??

    • G says:

      Hi Sally,
      sorry to hear about your injury! All good points I think. A BEMER mat is something I wrote a whole post on. Use the search tool on this site to find anything I wrote about it as there may be more than one article I also put links to it so you can find it easily online. I may have spelt it B.E.M.E.R. I am not sure, but the search me function on my site is great so go ahead and use it, it will bring up anything I wrote on it.
      Best of luck in your healing process.
      G.

  21. Scott says:

    Hi I’m looking for a contact for any one who hires the BEMER mat. I am due to get my cast off in 2 weeks following surgery and I’m hoping to use the mat. Thanks for your time on this.

    Thanks

    Scott

    • G says:

      There are some links I provided in my BEMER mat post. I suggest you go there first.

    • G says:

      If you do a search for BEMER on my site you will see a whole post dedicated to it and I think I gave a link to the place I used as well as some general information links. This is for London though. If you live elsewhere I suggest using google for a bit. Germany produces them so if you live there it should be easier.

  22. Jens Henschel says:

    Hi,

    I tore my Achilles 5 weeks ago and have had a boot on for 3 weeks now. In 10 days I should be going to 90 degrees and possibly the boot will come off. I have just ordered a BEMER possible a bit late, but probably never too late. What I wanted to know is how you used the BEMER. I have purchased the base unit and got a B.Pad with it for the Achilles. Do you have specific settings, frequency of use and any other tips to get the most out of this expensive unit.

    Did you go to Physiotherapy at all?

    I am a cyclist and wanted to know if you believe cycling would be a low intensity exercise that one could start to get the movement in the foot. Thank you for a very good and detailed insight into your recovery. I read it every other week as I need to be patient and your warnings keep slowing me down.

    Look forward to hearing from you. cheers Jens

    • G says:

      Hi Jens, sorry for the late reply, spam defence had quarantined you as you were a new commenter and I have been busy so not checked it for a while…but as with the BEMER, better late than never! I think how you use the BEMER depends at least a little on your psychology. Please read through the diary of recovery and search for BEMER keyword if you want to skip the other bits, but I think I mentioned there that the BEMER essentially felt to me as though it placed you in a mechanical trance state. I know how to put myself in a trance state anyway (and did, as I think I also reported) and for me the full mat felt a bit weird, but my girlfriend found it fine. I used the small mat wrapped around my ankle and then there was a little box, really tiny one and I used that the most on localised very small areas. It fixed a bone callus I had under the foot from previously impacted joints that I thought I would live with for the rest of my life.
      I went to 2 or 3 sessions of NHS physiotherapy (UK state health) and frankly, they were mostly a waste of time except for when I could use the pool, but I had a pool in my complex and taking the weight off and learning to teach your foot to walk again from scratch is very useful so walking in the pool helped a lot. I also used a jacuzzi in our apartment complex to use the jets to massage the leg area after it had healed over. It´s a gentle massage and stimulates circulation. I also went to private phsyo a few times to get hard massagges (this was after full healing of the tendon) to break down the excessive scar tissue I had internally due to my surgeon having been trained in a sausage factory in Delhi, judging by the mess he made. This was an eye-wateringly painful experience akin to torture, but I knew from previous life experiences the need for this, and in my case it was a high need due to the level of scar tissue.
      I hope that helps. Again, apologies for the delay in replying.

  23. sharon wilson says:

    Hi
    I suffered a total tendon rupture on the 15.9.12 playing netball (same as Sally). I went straight to A+E and was immobalised in a cast with my foot in the equinus position (toe pointing down) to reduce the gap and re-align the tendon. I was given the option of surgery v conservative management and due to my wish to get back to sport, advice from a foot and ankle surgeon and the fact that I was low risk for surgery or infection, chose the surgical route.

    The research indicates that risks of surgery can be infection, (especially as the achilles area is not very well perfused with blood at the best of times), deep vein thrombosis, sinus formation and a smaller risk of re-rupture. than the conservative management. There is also the risk of anaesthetic/spinal or general, therefore you would have to be medically fit to undergo surgery. The non-surgical route carries a greater risk (x3) of re-rupture but no risk of infection or the other complications of aneasthetic.

    The decision should be made with the orthopaedic surgeon, (better if they are a foot and ankle specialist) considering all the information and depending on the age, health,mobility, weight and other factors such as diabetes eg or other circulatory problems can greatly increase the risk of infection. I would say get a second opinion if you are not given a choice or if you are not happy with the information given.

    I had my operation under spinal anaesthetic on 20.9.12 and was placed in a cast for 3 weeks non-weight bearing with daily heparin injections to reduce the chance of deep vein thrombosis. I was reviewed last week, all was healing well and I’m now in a pressure boot but have to stay non-weight bearing using crutches for 3 more weeks.

    This boot is driving me mad! It is difficult to get the pressures right and a nightmare (literally) to sleep in. I found the timeline very helpful and plan to look after my foot and take my time to get better bit by bit.

    I’m unable to do my job (midwife) but have full sick pay luckily and have decided to retire from netball and aim for something more sedate, join a gym and use the pool on your advice. I am terrified of a re-rupture more than anything so will be following all the advice to the letter!

    Sharon

    • G says:

      Thanks for adding to the conversation. As you know this injury is a real pain, so any help people can get is good. I had found so little on the net that was quantifiable that it prompted me to write up what I was doing. The main difference was that due to how I have lived I have built up a very strong mental image that what other people tell me is possible is often far short of what I can do when i set my mind to it. I am loathe to give this advice because unfortunately much of our global consciousness today is AmriKan influenced and people take this to mean “go at it aggressively” which is possibly the worst thing you can do in this case. Achieving good result has little or nothing to do with “going at it aggressively”. It has to do with going at it intelligently! Which it sounds like you are right on track for doing.
      Good luck and please come back and give us updates.

  24. JOHANA says:

    Hello, I’m a very healthy 32 old mom I had a complete ruptured of my left Achilles tendon on 6 October 10 , 2012 playing a tennis match worse part I was just starting to play on the league and that was my second match, but my main sport is lifting weights and I was training hard to start competing even when i just had 3 months training my results starting to show up.. then my rupture come with a terrible pain, that happened on the night so the next morning I went to ad urgent care i have just a little of idea what happened to me and when the doctor check me she give me naproxeno for pain killer and come back on monday to see how I was doing she told me was an Achilles tendon problem but don’t tell me if was a rupture or other thing, so by Monday i didn’t feel any better and after made my own research so made an appointment with an orthopedic on Wednesday October 17, they take x rays and yes was a complete rupture of Achilles was made and the doctor told me I can have surgery next day but when i told him i have no insurance he told me it was another method to recovery non-surgery with the cast and walking both I have to ask him what was the difference and he told me the difference it was that I would have to be twice as carefully because I can have another rupture and then it wouldn’t be other option just surgery. So with no insurance I have to choose not surgery so I have to have this heavy cast for two weeks my next appointment is October 31st. I keep my leg elevated most of the times and I am thinking on rent one of those seated scooters because when i used my crutches my leg swallow very quick and after all I been reading about recovery I got scared.
    I didn’t realize how delicate this injury is and I was thinking Ill be able to walk again after couple weeks but I see this wont be possible.
    I have a little question, once do you get the walking boot I still wont be able to put my feet on the ground right?

    • G says:

      You will be able to but only very lightly. I have no experience of fixing the injury without surgery so I am not sure what might play out differently. I wish you all the best, but please get some expert advice too. My suggestion is that educating yourself about the particulars of your situation is always best, as doctors tend to just see you as patient number 7,942…

    • G says:

      You will be able to but be very very very careful and use your crutches until you are really sure you can walk without them. Keep positive and read through my diary of recovery (link at the end of the achilles tendon post) to get other ideas and inspiration on recovery.
      Let us know how it goes.

  25. Gday Guys,

    Hmmm, reading the previous comments I feel a little scared and over-whelmed. I have just come back from specialist/surgeon and I don’t know if he was very positive. I fully ruptured my Achilles Tendon two and half months ago, my GP wrongly diagnosed a ruptured plantaris muscle (I suggested and ultrasound, she said no need). I have played a number of soccer matches on my leg and six-a-side games but find it a bit difficult to get to the ball (I am/was a goalkeeper). The ultrasound guys looked at me as if I was an idiot, but I was assured by GP it would get better, and it was improving, but not as it should. I limp like an invalid.

    I am scheduled to get in for an MRI scan for the surgeon in a week. Which means an op would still be a long way off down here in Australia.

    G speaks about: “getting surgery within 48 hours”. Am I wasting my time getting surgery after two and half months? Evidently there is a lot of scarred tissue. I have opted to go for surgery because I want my leg use back (dependent on the MRI reading by the surgeon). I am 51 years old, but am reasonably active. Other view points appreciated.

    Regards,
    Tim

    • G says:

      Hi Tim,
      I have no experience with your specific case so am not sure what the best route is. I would suggest getting a competent doctor specialising in this sort of thing to advise you. Keep in mind however that ideally you want a competent doctor that is not swayed by 1) the financial motivations/pressures of doing/not doing surgery and 2) not swayed by the potential for experimenting on his own pet theories. My suggestion is to always educate yourself in the matter at hand and the first step in doing this is to ask very specific and pointed questions to the doctor concerned. And then checking their answers. I would also seriously think of suing the first doctor who was really responsible for the situation you are now in.

      • Tim says:

        Just an update on this if anyone is interested. I had three opinions on my full rupture of Achilles Tendon (initially wrongly diagnosed and therefore was a delayed repair). Two surgeons, even though competent had far too much business and I was going to be pushed to the back of the queue for 12 months (one was opting for Lars treatment)! I went back and whinged to my Doctor who went into bat for me and I managed to get into hospital under “Emergency”. My surgeon was fantastic (in fact, I have seen him on RPA on TV doing surgery), he opted not to go for Lars treatment but instead preferred using my own tissue to repair. It was a five month delayed operation, so there was a lot of pulling the calf muscle down and also other “meat” was used in the repair. Surgeon says it went well but I am very hesitant about really doing anything with it. Surgery was six weeks ago, two weeks in an initial semi-plaster cast until swelling went down, then four weeks in a fibreglass cast (with my own football team’s colours – go Western Wanderers!). Now in boot with two wedges with slight (10% to 20%) of weight bearing on leg for weeks. I am about to book into Physio and aim to go to gym in about a month. I am being cautious because I am a 110kg male who works at a computer all day so not exactly peak athlete material :-). I am just so grateful to my surgeon and the RPA and would like to say thanks to them for their professionalism and care. Worst part about this situation (I live by myself basically) is toilet and showering. Soon though I will commence taking off boot to have shower.

  26. Campbell says:

    Hi guys, without wading through the entire message board (although what I have read so far has been both amusing and informative), how many fellow ‘sufferers’ have adopted a non-surgery approach to recovery? It’s been 7 weeks since my ill-fated 5-a-side football match! I spent 3 weeks in a plaster cast and am now sporting a very fetching AirCast boot. There are so many website offering differing strategies and advice, it’s almost impossible to know what the best course of action should be! Like so many others, I was dissuaded from surgery – time shall tell if this was good advice. The amusing (?) part of this is, I’m a 47 year old guy who had decided to get back into ‘fighting shape’…..I was playing squash and football once a week – was cycling twice a week and had taken on the services of a personal trainer! Net result – 12 weeks of misery!! Ironic or what? My biggest concern is around my post-boot activity. I’ve no intention of taking up darts or reading as ‘sports’…but am unsure re where my expectation levels should be set. Ok, so may be full-contact sport should be avoided, but what about golf (my other vice) and general ability to do star-jumps….if the mood takes me?
    Any thoughts/comments/ideas would be very much appreciated…..

    • G says:

      Sorry for the delay in response…as I explained above, my anti-spam software nukes a lot of stuff (it has to, I get several thousand spam comments a month!). I would strongly suggest you put it in your mind that with caution and care and attention to detail, you decide that you will become as fit and able as you like. The human body´s capacity for healing is incredible, all you really need to do though is really pay attention and take great care. Train correctly rather than hard. Focus on proprioception before strenght. If you really want to go the extra mile, I wrote a book on the Russian Martial System and although not directly relevant, a lot of the attitudes and neural training is applicable to any aspect of life and ANY sport, and these are the BEST and most correct ways to train in sports known to the most extensive study of military science done by the Soviets, so…pretty good really :) As a wiser (not older, WISER) man, correct training become radically (exponentially) more important that even frequency or duration. And mental attitude becomes similarly paramount. I can beat guys younger, faster and stronger than me mostly because of correct technique and mental attitude, so these two points are key in anything involving using your body.
      Good luck and let us know how you do.

  27. MAYRA ROBLES says:

    Dear Giuseppe,

    Last Aug 28th I had complete Achilles rupture while taking a circuit training class, it was just like you described ,” a gap of empty flesh” . I am 40 and as in your case, I have been all my life a gym rat , the worst part is that it happened because I skip the warm up and stretching part! In my case I was told that it was out most important to have surgery the sooner the better, so I had surgery the following day. The first 3 weeks were like hell, they put me a fiberglass boot up to the mid leg, I must mention that after the first week the Dr cut both sides so the boot did not strangle circulation because inflammation. After the 3rd week the surgeon changed my big fiberglass boot for another under knee with free toes so I can move them and flex my knee thus I had a more comfortable position for sleeping and other basic activities. Finally next Saturday 27th he will take out this boot. I thought that the following day I would be able to drive my car and go to the gym..but as I read your experience, I am still far from that dream.
    About 20 years ago I had a fissure on same foot , but I received therapy with magnets twice a week , they told me it would be 5 weeks but by the 3rd week they took me away the boot, the best part is that 1 month later I was back kicking asses in my kung fu class!! I most mention that I used to be the only girl in the group. It is clear that I am not on my twenties anymore..
    Thank you for sharing your experience, I will help and inspire me on the long road for recovery, which I expect it to be not so long. Greetings from Playa del Carmen in the Mexican Caribbean Mayra Robles

    • G says:

      Hi Mayra, warm up and stretching may have had nothing to do with it, as there is no real scientific evidence it makes a blind bit of difference. The best I have found so far is that after a certain age things begin to “crystalize” and crystals are not as flexible and people who have been active all their life can have this happen to them.
      I strongly suggest you use a BEMER or similar system to the magnets, please tell me more about that as I had an MRI on the tendon and I SWEAR I felt it do something good to me. This is an untapped area of healing science I think.
      Sorry for the long delay in replying, my spam is huge (several thousands a day!) and a few legitimate comments get quarantined by mistake so I only see them when I have time to check my pending spam box (which is almost as bad as my spam box).

  28. Robn says:

    I had heel surgery due to heel trauma…the Achilles had to detached and reattached during the surgery. I was in a bulky cast first week….no problems t all. The second was so tight….I basically complained to them so much that first week that I think they thought I was nuts. Finally after 5 days…they put me in a cam boot and told me no walking and i a, not allowed to take it off. I am now on my 2nd day with cam boot….I release the air while resting…but when I am moving bout with myknee walker I pump it up. I thank you for letting me see there is a light at the end of the tunnel…..and for letting me see I wasn’t crazy about the second cast being so tight. Haha

    • G says:

      You are welcome. Knowing there is light at the end of the tunnel and that it´s not an oncoming train is important for your healing process too by the way. Also…remember, your body knows your body better than any doctor. Doctors are to be used like libraries or books, to educate you, but the ultimate decision is always yours, don´t forget it nor let them think otherwise!
      Thanks for your comment and good luck.

  29. maxco says:

    Today I was told that I have ruptured my achillies tendon. I am seeing a surgeon tomorrow.

    From the ultrasound, it looks as though there is a 5cm gap between the between each end of the tendon, probably the result of an 8 day delay in getting medical attention ( I injured my ankle when I fell down a hole on holiday and only sought medical advice on return home today).

    Do you know if this kind of development (5cm gap) makes for a more serious injury and therefore a more lengthy process of recover?

    Normally I am a pretty active guy, and in a pre-injury week would run, cycle, swim, yoga, gym. So my achillies tendon was fairly healthy before the snap. I am assuming that I will not be back to my normal routine within next 6 months. Right?

    You hardly mention anything about physiotherapy in your blog. Why is that?

    Maxco

    • G says:

      Hi Max,
      I think as long as you get decent surgery it should not make much difference either way. To be back to normal in 6 months is I think unrealistic, because it takes 6 months for the tendon to heal fully (assuming you don´t overdo it and re-injure or micro-injure it) at this point you will not have had full proprioception recovery unless you have been taking your own actions to ensure your brain re-learns to use your foot. Even if you did everything right, your leg will still be atrophied compared to the other one from lack of exercise. It´s now 2.5 years after my injury and I have full 100% use of my leg, although it did cause some hip problems that recurred for a while from time to time for a while. I would say give it 9-10 months to be back to 90-95% if you do everything right. If you follow the link at the bottom of the póst it takes you to my online recovery diary and there is more details there. I didn´t do much in terms of “official” physio as I used my own judgement and exercises and they gave me far better results than I was going to get from a once every 2 week visit to the NHS appointed physio. I did use a private physio for some hard-core massage of the area after it had been fully healed, in order to reduce/break down internal scar tissue. It´s eye-wateringly painful but I believe worth it, but only do this after full healing has taken place. Gentle massage throughout should help reduce the scar tissue anyway if you do it right.

      • maxco says:

        Thanks for your reply.

        Well I had the surgery and was in a ‘backslab’, and not able to even touch ground with bad foot. So basically on my back with leg elevated for 7 days post op. Then I was put in a ‘moon boot’ with instructions to ‘weight bear’ as tolerated using crutches, which is pretty much where Ive been for past 3 weeks. Even returned to work, which was great. I took a wedge out of the ‘moon boot’ heel last week (another 2 wedges to go) and see the surgeon 2 weeks’ time. Every morning I do some gentle flexing of the ankle with the boot off, plus some repeat during the day. It feels good.

        Because lower limb surgery is a risk factor for deep vein thrombosis, I am on a course of Clexane, low dose heparin-like , which I self-inject subcutaneously every morning. I thought this would be a hassle, but its not so bad.

        Since the heel wedge came out Ive had some aching on the front-to-side part of the shin, especially if Im in the boot I stretch forward to pick something up from ground. Im wondering if this might be due to reactivating muscles in that area which have been dormant since surgery. Or I might have pulled something when leaning against the boot . Anyway, it is not in the region of the achilles tendon so Im not too worried.

        Im hoping that I can soon get into a hydrotherapy pool – there is one about 5 mins from home – for some stretching. But I think I will have to wait until 9 weeks post op before any physio or similar begins.

        I simply dont know how people cope who have a AT re-rupture. The pain would not worry me – in fact Ive found this experience remarkably pain free other than the event itself. But just the hassle of it all.

        This experience has made me very humble, especially when I think that some people are permanently disabled and have to live on crutches, often in unfriendly environments.

        Maxco

        • G says:

          Physio and stretching are not as important as proprioception recovery at this point. Seems like you are on the right track though, Good luck!

  30. Cindy says:

    I just wanted to say thank you so much for posting this to the internet, I have had a lot of trouble finding information about recovering from my Achilles rupture and recent surgery. I tore it playing basketball – who knew that one attempted rebound could ruin your life? It’s been a whirlwind of doctors and confusion and incompetence. I’m just so happy to hear you are back at 100%. Reading these comments about people re-rupturing though is terrifying! I’m already having a high “fear threshold” with that leg and it’s pretty unnerving. I just had my first physical therapy session today. I’m a little over three weeks out from surgery and I’m trying so hard to be patient but being an extremely active persion, it is killing me. At this point I just want to be off crutches and have some free hands just to be able to get my own damn cup of coffee. At what point were you able to walk in the air cast without support?

    • G says:

      Hi Cindy,
      I popped mine stepping forward to demonstrate a punch to one of my martial arts students, so imagine how upsetting that was :)
      If you read my online diary (I think the link is at the end of the blog post) it gives you a pretty good report every so often. I was able to walk by myself unaided (but still with a massive spider sense about anyone behind me or being anywhere near my leg the day we left for Brazil on the 26th Nov 2010. I ruptured it in June 22 so that was 5 months. As for walking with the air-boot unaided, I seriously advise against it. Have at least one crutch if not both with you most times. I had become an expert crutch wielder prior to this as I had a badly broken foot when I was doing karate years before and had to end up having surgery it was 6 months of hell at the time but the up side (if you are twisted enough to see it that way :) ) was that I breezed through the whole using a crutch thing. People tend to be very unobservant so think nothing of using your crutches as barriers for the dumb or of “accidentally” whacking them in the ankle to pre-emptively stop them from trampling you. Best advice I can give you on the patience is that you need to try to be a “natural animal”. Being a savage myself this was actually surprisingly easy for me. Driving yourself crazy thinking about what you can´t do or what you are missing out on is not useful. I tried to always see it as a way to find another way to entertain myself or find a new way to do something. Hell you can look at it as a good way to meet new people if you take the wild optimist approach to problems :)
      Think how lucky you are to have both legs, etc. these things may sound harsh, but it´s the kind of thinking that actually helps. Think of it as practice for when you are old and have to rely on others. Think of little challenges (small ones, not risky one) you can do every day for yourself. Eat well. Rest. Read lots of books you didn´t have time for before. I wrote a book with my leg up. 190,000 words in 6 months and one of the most successful martial arts books in recent years, so don´t take it badly, see what you can squeeze out of this giant lemon life offered you.
      Good luck with your recovery and keep me updated. We should start a club or something, I get a few emails every month on this post.
      G.

      • Cindy says:

        G, thanks again for your support. I wanted to comment here again, since this blog helped me so much as I struggled to come to terms with my Achilles rupture recovery. It has only just come to my attention that Achilles ruptures can be caused by taking an antibiotic of the fluoroquinolone family, in my case, Cipro. This antibiotic can be toxic to connective tissue, especially tendons and often leads to Achilles ruptures in particular. The shocking thing is often the antibiotic can be taken months, even a full year before this kind of injury rears its ugly head, and is most common in athletes putting above average stress on their tendons.

        I believe I suffered from an intermediate reaction to this antibiotic, and was actually lucky, as many people have much more severe reactions with worse resulting afflictions than Achilles ruptures. It was a gradual, insidious decline in my tendon fiber. My sports medicine doctor was the one to let me know about the connection and it was only then I checked with my pharmacist that I discovered I had indeed taken a heavy dosage of the offending antibiotic for a routine bacterial infection. I post here only to caution anyone who might read this to NOT take this antibiotic and instead opt for any alternative. While this drug does not affect everyone the same, it is not worth the risk to your health because magnitude of the potential adverse reaction is enormous. Has anyone else here taken that particular antibiotic (or that family of antibiotic) and suffered an Achilles rupture?

        Thanks for reading.

        • G says:

          You’re welcome. I have done no research at all on this topic, but if true it’s certainly interesting. Good luck with your continued recovery. UPDATE: I do know more about this now and it is indeed an issue! Thank you for letting us all know!

  31. Robin says:

    Well, today….I got “released to walking boot/cam cast. I can take it off to sit…sleep. Tomorrow i can even bathe without boot….so happy! But must walk with it always. The knee walker is gone….crutches r gone. I walk like an old woman but can def. see the healing happening. I am right now sitting with an exercise band working my foot up and down. I got back in 3 weeks and was told to bring both tennis shoes so I could walk without boot.

    Things are looking p and there def. a light at end of tunnel now!

    Tis website was a God send! Thanks!!

  32. Alex Rodgers says:

    I thought I would give you an update (see my previous blog 5/7/12) . Background: 58 year old male, very active; full rupture left achillies tendon 23 May 12. I took the proactive approach, whilst listening to by body (and leg in particular). I decided the non-surgical option, which, for me, was the right choice.

    12 July, 7 weeks after injury: consultant removed boot (which I had taken off for massage, light exercises, balancing, shuffling and some light weight-bearing everyday since week 3). He tested my calf strength (toe push against his hand) and expressed surprise at the strength. The seated toe raises and resistance bands did the trick. He said it was a pity that I hadn’t brought my other shoe, because he might have tried me walking. However, I had brought the shoe, confident that I could walk. I put on the shoe, walked slowly up the corridor (the consultant was grinning). he told me ‘…you are discharged; carry on with your own rehab…’.

    Here is a summary of what I did (I know what I am doing, it may not work for you):

    - Do not despair (for a few days, before I got a grip of myself, I did despair). Decide that you are where you are, but you will get better.
    - Start to move your muscles and toes inside your ‘boot’ immediately. You cannot move the tendon, but the surrounding muscles still need to move to prevent atrophy (getting smaller and weaker). I started simple exercises 3 hours after the injury (feeling very sorry for myself).
    - I was on a static bike, using my good leg only, within 4 days. I got in some excellent aerobic and AT workouts with one leg (protecting the other leg). Also good morale booster for we exercise addicts.
    - I continued doing my usual weight and resistance training workouts, whilst isolating the other leg. I did squats on both legs (the consultant told me to crack on , as long as the boot protected my injured leg, whcih it did).
    - I removed the boot 2 or 3 times a day (carefully – did no muscular movement) and did light to increasingly (over several weeks) robust massage over both legs. This definetely increases circulation to an area of poor blood supply around the tendon and allows myofacial release. Learned to tell the difference between bad pain (that causes injury) and good (almost pleasant) pain that is just a result of massaging and moving very damaged muscles and tendons. I also bathed every day (after 3 weeks in the boot). I was very careful (and somtimes a little uneasy) getting into and out of the bath.
    - Progress how you feel, but slowly and surely.
    - Don’t wimp: at home, if you can, do everything you normally do. Don’t let someone else do things for you – the exercise and confidence doing it will do you good. I was (sensible and progressive) weight bearing in the boot after 3 weeks. Going for a pee is an excuse to exercise.
    - Do lots of strength training (see limits above). Just isolate and protect the injured leg and get on with it. I cannot over emphasise the importance of maintaining or developing your overall body strength. If you don’t know what you are doing, invest in a reputable resistance training coach with sports therapy quals and experience . It will pay off.
    - Resist the urge to progress too quickly – I surprised myself by being very sensible (not my usual approach!)
    - Use ‘trigger point’ techniques to relieve old and new muscle pains – brilliant! (see ‘Trigger Point Therapy for Foot Ankle, Knee and Leg Pain’ (Valerie De Laune, Amazon).

    I was back on my road bike within 8 weeks, cycling 6 miles to and from work to begin with. Within 10 weeks I was doing 30-40 mile road rides, including big hills. Achilles ached, but (non-damaging) pain is expected. I am walking fast and jogging, pain free. My muscles are even stronger that before the injury (more attention to detail and some boring, but vey effecive stretching) exercises. I have full moibility of both legs, but am still cautious of very dynamic exercises (for example, I would want to jump over a wall, yet!).

    I have been out (proper) mountain biking 4 times and am out tonight (in the dark, on lights) with my local club for 2 hours.

    Some key tips:

    -Balance, strength, maintain fitness, mobility and carry on as normal where possible. Get on an indoor bike and use one leg to maintain or improve aerobic capaciry. Progress to 2 legs, when advised to.
    - Use trigger point self-therapy (see author above).
    - After considerable pain whilst walking, cycling and jogging on area where tendon crosses the back of the heel: daughter googled for solutions. Answer? Cut 1-3 small 1cm vertical strips into the ‘heel tab’ in guilty shoes (most of mine). I already knew that, but had forgotten the age-old remedy. Result – instant relief and bliss.
    - When you start to walk, resist the urge and refuse to limp. Concentrate on walking properly (it might be slower than limping, but you will progress very quickly). Walk everywhere.

    I am now about 85% recovered. I still have some tightness and stiffness in the lower achilles. My injured calf muscle is returing to normal size. The time has passed quickly. I have actually enjoyed (in twisted sort of way) the challenge of progressing from despair (why me?) to returing to normal.

    Good luck with your recovery

    Alex

    • G says:

      Thanks for the update! I think you win a prize for fastest and most pro-active recovery. Also good to hear from someone who took the non-surgical approach as I would not have believed a recovery like yours would be possible, especially in such a short time. I definitely would not have been on a road bike after 8 weeks going anywhere, but then again, each injury is pretty unique. Glad you are back on your feet so fast, though be aware full tendon strength only comes back after about 6 months. At least, this is the best I could come up with with a lot of reasearch. I think you are doing great. I certainly was back in some sort of shape after six months, comparable to you I guess, though I took a slightly different approach, which worked for me. As you say, it´s important to take care and listen to your own body and be disciplined and patient.
      Thanks for your contribution, it helps others to know what is possible.
      All my best,
      G.

  33. Alan says:

    I ruptured my right achillees on 5 July 2012 after 3 sets of tennis. It was like a gunshot in my head when it ruptured.

    Luckily the top part of the tendon did not ping into the calf area and was adjacent to the lower part of the tendon.

    The medics strongly suggested I take the conservative approach for rehabilitation and not surgery, indicating that with a previous heart attack that a general anaethetic may not be in my best interests and also there was a minute chance of infection which would not be good.

    My mistake.

    It is now nearly 5 months and a scan last week revealed that it had not healed and that there was scar tissue between the ends of the tendons which would prohibit the healing process. I visit an orthopeadic surgeon this afternoon ?

    I have now heard of several acquaintances who took the same conservative approach and it has not worked. To balance this I have also heard of a number of people who got an infection and that was not good at all.

    I was in a cast for 2 weeks, then a moon boot for 4 weeks and followed by built up shoes for another 4 weeks. Sleeping upstairs was a pain, needing to crawl up and come down on my bottom. Being the right foot I could also not drive. The use of an office chair with rollers was magic particularly in the kitchen/family room area with a tiled floor. Being a keen golfer I have been grumpy at not being able to get out.

    I reinjured the tendon about 3 times when the foot rocked back on a step and once when the raised heal caught a lip on an uneven floor whilst entering a restaurant. The pain each time was excrucating. At times the foot generates significant heat particularly if I had been standing and not had an opportunity to raise the leg.

    I will find out my fate in about 90 minutes.

    • G says:

      Let us know how it goes, but keep in mind that there are alternatives (though probably not easy) to full anesthetic for operations, including nerve blocks.
      A good surgeon is essential and basic hygiene will take care of not being infected (seems hospitals all over are slacking at this. In some countries a patient getting an infection in a hospital would be considered a grave embrassemment. Not in the UK though, which seems to have hygiene practices from the dark ages.

    • Wenda says:

      Hi! My name is Wenda and I am a 46yo female living in South Africa I tore my AT jump-style dancing with my 15yo son. Yes yes, I know, rediculous! I think kicking my shoes off was the final straw. This happened on 4November. I wasn’t even given an option, I was taken to emergency room at local hospital and was told that it will be surgically repaired the next day. Here I am, day 22. In a cast (again) non weight bearing! What scares me is the approach followed by my surgeon. I will be in a hard cast for 8weeks without being allowed to put weight on it. I do not agree with him. Reading the blogs(hundreds of them) it is much better to start mobilizing the ankle and tendon as early as possible to avoid scar tissue and stuffening of the joint and muscle atrophy! Well, io believe that you have had the surgery by now? Hope it went well and without complications? I also believe that eating lots of fresh vegetables and fruits and taking supplements like magnesium, zinc, vit C and so on, helps withe the healing and infection. Also try and get blood supply to your foot going by massaging the limb a few times a day(or get somebody to do it for you if its difficult for you)…. I honestly hope you are well on your way to healing 100% and getting back to the same level(or even more) of activity as prior to the incident. It is really a trying time for me to be so inactive. I am a adult with ADHD so it is really very hard for me, I am always very active. Good luck! Wenda (I am on facebook if you want to see picks!) Wenda Scheepers

      • G says:

        Sounds like you are doing well, which is the main thing. Just keep at it in the same reasonable fashion and you should also recover 100%

  34. Roger Shew says:

    Hi I had a full rupture on my left leg in October 2012 while playing volleyball. I got it diagnosed after 5 days as it was not too painful and I thought it was just a sprain. After googling the symtoms I knew I had likely tore it.

    I decided to go with the surgical method as a number of people whom I knew had gone non surgical and had unsatisfactory outcomes.

    I was in a cast for 8 weeks and had a new cast every 2 weeks. The second cast allowed me to push down and keep the calf active. The 4th and final cast was a walking cast which was v light weight and allowed me to walk with full body weight. The walking cast was used instead of a moon boot as I found the boot too painful.

    After the walking cast came off 2 weeks ago (ie week 10 since the op) , I am now able to walk quite well with a slight limp and slight pain. I am using an elastic band and toe raises to build back calf strength. I am rehabing slowly but surely and do exercises everyday. My doc says to walk in the pool so I will try this soon.
    Some thoughts:
    1. try to get the best specialist possible, mine is an ankle and foot specialist and things seem to be progressing well.
    2. really look after the foot while in a cast and in the weeks after the cast comes off – don’t trip or fall
    3. ask for help and accept help if it is available while in a cast

  35. Carolyn says:

    Hi,

    I ruptured my achilles tendon on 15/12/12 and, roughly four weeks later, will be going into a boot in a few days. I have a couple of questions about the recovery. Firstly, I am a very sporty person, I was a sprinter until several years ago and since then I have continued doing sport, most recently CrossFit. I noticed that you mentioned that, after five months, it was still painful to walk, while other people have posted saying they were running within less time…Were you able to run by the 5-month mark? Or is that something I should not hope to much for?!

    The other question I have is, do you know the reason for choosing an air boot over a CAM Walker? I have an Aircast and took this to my appointment with the doctor and he told me I couldn’t use it and I had to use a CAM Walker instead, but I’m still unsure as to why the CAM Walker and not the Aircast.

    Thanks for this informative site, I’ve read it a few times now trying to make sure I am as well-informed as possible about this injury.

    Carolyn

    • G says:

      Hi Carolyn, always keeping in mind I am not a doctor (not even on the internet!), that said, my understanding based on the research I did is that the quality of the surgery is very important as are certain genetic factors of the patient. i am a very sporty person too, but I could not run (not like a human anyway, maybe like a slightly retarded zombie) after 5 months, BUT, I had a terrible surgeon and I also had a lot of other pressures that did not help my immune system. That said, my recovery has been essentially 100%. I did develop another injury on my left knee as a result of overcompensating a bit too much and I am trying to understand that now, almost 2 years later as it has not been doing well lately, but then i also did do karate for many years and that usually leads to problems in knee joints. I am one of the few that never had to undergo surgery, but there were previous underlying causes, so i would suggest manage yourself as well as you can and keep positive. As for the aircast/cam boot, I have no idea. My personal opinion is that maybe the doc gets a free holiday to Malta if he does X numbers of one or the other. I have found that doctors who cannot educate me are either useless or self-serving, so I would ask him the why and then ask him to back it up with data I can verify myself. If they don’t or can’t do that then they should not be doctors in the first place. PS: this advice works for ANY professional person really.
      Thank you for your comment too, it’s always good to know it helped in some small way.
      All my best,
      G.

  36. Danny Smith says:

    Hey there mate – just came across this article and was glad to read about someone who has been through the same as me. I ruptured my achilles on 5th Aug – complete tear playing football – 1st preseason friendly and managed to make it to half time. Had the op on 6th Aug which then meant 6 weeks in cast and 4 weeks in a walking boot with the last week a ‘weaning off’ period. Physio has been going well through the NHS and started muscle rebuilding physion around mid December following the programme given to me by the doctors. So, i am now just over 5 months post op and still the achilles feels 2/3 times thicker than the one on my other foot. I’m not concerned by this as the physios have said that this is normal and that it may never return to the original size. Was just wondering how yours feels now that you are fully recovered, or near. Does it feel a lot thicker than the other one. Have got a return date planned of 17th March for football – this being the suggested time by the doctors and some 7 months post op – but it will be a confidence thing as well as a physical one i think.

    • G says:

      I had a sausage maker for a butcher, oh sorry I think that was supposed to say “surgeon”, not butcher, but you get my drift, so yeah, my Achilles tendon on the right is about at least 2 to 2.5 times the one on the right. It was an issue for a while with new shoes and on some types of shoes I still have to wear a plaster so as not to lose skin, but otherwise it feel fine. It looks like a car-crash, but I wasn’t planning on ever being an ankle-model, so no worries there really. Sounds like you are healing well, just be careful not to overdo it at your game, the tendons take 6 months AS A MINIMUM to re-knit, so yours may still be more fragile than you think. Not saying don’t play, but play smart and cowardly not tough and stiff :)

  37. julie says:

    Hi,
    I had a complete achilles rupture on boxing day 2012. Basically I was dancing and it just snapped. I thought something had hit me in the back of the leg but obviously nothing had, there was also a nice loud bang like a full bottle of coke dropping on the floor, in fact thats what I thought had happened.
    I went to a&e the next day, they half cast my leg and booked an urgent appointment(jokes) with fracture clinic on new years eve, i went home with injections to do in my stomach every day to prevent blood clots. So new years eve i go to the clinic. see the most lethargic,distracted person i have seen in my laugh,oh joy it was the registrar. He took off the cast said yep youve torn that you can have surgery or not its up to you….no information, told me non surgery would be best, well yes i know now best for him….less work etc. I asked him if i needed any more injections he said it was up to me!!!!He then spoke to his consultant who said yes i had to have them. Well i went home wasnt happy rang as soon as they re started after xmas and spoke to consultants secretary, said im not happy after research i want surgery. She said she would call me back, surprise surprise no phone call, left umpteen msgs no phone call, in the end reported the situation to the patient complaints and got an appointment. When i told the consultant im a hairdresser, active and 44years old he agreed surgery was needed. So i had that on 9th january 2013 way later than i wanted, i was told the 2 ends were much further apart than they had thought. Anyway here i am 3 weeks post surgery but 5 weeks immobile in a cast, ive lost my business, and am totally fed up, plus i keep getting cramps does anyone know how to stop them please
    Julie x

    • G says:

      Look into getting a BEMER mat (use the search function on my blog to find out more if you missed it in the post about Achilles tendons) and make sure you are eating properly. Cramps can be caused by a number of things, many of them not clearly understood, but in general try to eat well, make sure you are not deficient in magnesium and zinc as well as calcium, and keep your electrolytes in check too. Do not overdo it with supplements because that can cause problems with your kidneys later too, so research a bit and see what works. You have time now, so use it as best you can. For me the cramps are often brought on by stress as well, and we all know how you feel, so…try to change your mindset as much as you can. You can always rebuild your business, but if you fall into the trap of making a negative mindset for yourself, that can stay with you for life. It’s not roses now, but find a way to make this be a “good thing”. I wrote a book while recovering. Maybe you can do something similar or find a new passion etc.
      Your mental attitude affects your entire life, including your healing process, so try to stay happy and healthy no matter what.
      We all know what you are going through, so keep your chin up. All my best for a speedy and healthy recovery.
      G.

  38. mike says:

    I am 64 endured a full rupture of the right achilles December 2, 2012 playing tennis. Surgery December 5. I am writing this time line February 19, 2013. Ten days after surgery the splint and staples were removed and I was placed in a cast for another week. At my insistence, I was given a boot which I put aside December 28, 2012. I chose to use a cane and be very careful with my “freedom”. With the help and advice of my PT, I started swimming at 5 weeks – stationary bike at 6 weeks.

    Here are my observations in no particular order of importance:
    Do not be afraid of the pain coming from movement and manipulation of your foot.
    Learn the difference between pain as a result of damaging action and soreness resultant from trauma (constantly challenge the latter – never flirt with the former).
    Your calf will not be able to absorb the blow to you heel when walking – always wear good athletic shoes (tennis or hiking).
    Swimming is absolutely great – it stretches your achilles and (if you are as bad a swimmer as me) it is great exercise.
    You will not be able to lift your weight with your damaged calf – that weakness will cause your limp and probably enflame the fermoris. Simply try to walk (slowly at first) without limping. Exercise the calf via toe raises – slowly try to increase the contribution of your damaged foot.
    From the 7th week on try balancing yourself on your damaged leg.
    Throughout the day constantly exercise your foot.

    I am now at 11 weeks subsequent to surgery. I intend to train again hitting volleys starting next week. I am told the achilles is nearly fully healed at 12 weeks. At this posting I have my doubts. I do not intend to chase down any shots for some time – if ever again.

    • G says:

      Thanks for sharing your experience. All my best wishes for your full recovery, which I believe is still possible.

  39. La-La says:

    Your article is explain everything I went and going through. I had surgery last year on my tendon in Sept. and I have two screws holding my tendon in place in the heel of my foot. I’m having a hard time healing for some reason and the pain is really bad on some days but the swelling is there everyday. The only shoes I can wear without pain are some crocs that allow your heel to be out. I want to get back to exercising on a regular without hruting myself. What are some you would recommand so I can climb stairs like regula people? I just don’t want to have this limp for the rest of my life.

    • G says:

      I would suggest you see a good and qualified medical professional for your situation. i am not a doctor and your injury seems to be quite different from mine as I had no screws. I would advise you do your own research but use doctors and surgeons to educate yourself as much as possible. Good luck with the recoveery. All my best wishes for you, G.

  40. Nick says:

    Hi,
    Full rupture on 4th jan after a fast run on the beach with daughter on back, silly in hind sight given my relatively poor fitness, but brain still thinks I can sprint like I once did. Achilles thinks otherwise. Am 39yrs and fit the profile well for these injuries. . Was put in a black strap cast within 4 hours. Had scan 3 days later confirming full rupture. Used some contacts to see a top surgeon and opted for non surgical repair. Controversial but turns out to be a good choice. Surgeon points out recent studies show very small differences between recovery rate and informs me that the NZ all blacks are now treated non surgically for these injuries. Good enough for thoses guys then good enough for me. Surgeon likes the back strap cast that emergency departnement in the hospital used and said keep for 2 weeks and come back for a boot. Got the boot and all looking good, told to wear for 6 weeks and come back. Also told to weight bare after 2 weeks and increase as able. I looked up the surgeon in NZ that looks after the all backs (Bruce Twaddle) and download his recovery protocal. Turns out he wants lots of movement 2 weeks after injury right after cast removal. I take off my boot every hour or two and do five minutes of range of movement flexing , not going past neutral for the first 2 to 3 weeks. In the end I only wore the boot for 3-4 weeks and then dropped the crunchers and boot and have been walking the last week.
    2 weeks in cast – wiggle toes a lot
    3 weeks in boot with weight bearing on crutches after 2 weeks . Massage and range of movement exercise every hour or two
    1 week in boot without crunchers and range of movement contin..
    1 week I’ve been walking around and am doing calf raises several times a day with range of movement exercise as much as I remember. Limp is reducing fast, but can only walk slowly.
    Am at 7 weeks post injury today.
    Am planning to back on road bike trainer next week with gental training program.
    I’m very careful walking and look at the ground to make sure I don’t over stretch or strain, but the rate of improvement with exercise and weight baring is awesome compared to what I was expecting. Be careful but be active in your recovery. Don’t think surgery is the only answer. It is not!
    All the best to everyone suffering this injury. Keep positive!
    Cheers
    Nick

    • G says:

      Thanks for a great comment and new perspective on recovery. Good luck going forward and all my best.
      G.

  41. Richard Bold says:

    Hi,

    This is the most informative site I’ve found on the net about my injury so far.

    I snapped my tendon playing football 7 weeks ago, and it has been something of a nightmare ever since. When it happened, I almost didn’t go to hospital, thinking it was just a calf muscle tear. Thankfully, common sense prevailed!

    Although the response by the NHS was commendably quick, I wasn’t offered surgery, in fact it wasn’t even discussed. It’s only now I realise it was an option. The lack of information forthcoming from the consultant was also an issue – I was basically given very little advice.

    This lack of advice hasn’t helped me, as I’m not the sort of person to take it easy (although I have tried), but have only more recently become aware of the gravity of the injury, and the need to rest it more.

    I’m getting my second cast off next week (first cast removed after one month, then a quick examination), so I’ve got my fingers crossed things are progressing well.

    Again, thanks for some excellent information and advice.

    R.

    • G says:

      You are welcome, it was the main reason I put this info up. I hope it is of some use in your recovery too. please look into the more detailed recovery diary and look at BEMER mats too, it all helps. Good luck with your recovery.

  42. Jo says:

    Hi, thank you for writing your story, I had Achilles surgery in July 2013 so I am about 12 weeks down the line. My physio stopped this week due to insurers only giving a certain limit. I have pain all the time in my injured leg and I feel like its a struggle everyday to walk around and Work, my ankle is swollen by the time I get home at night and I cannot sleep. I now feel a little better after reading all the posts that this can be normal and that I guess it’s still early days. This has really been getting me down as I feel like I should be back to normal by now.

    • G says:

      Jo: It was 5 months before I was even able to walk, carefully and without crutches. You are doing fine. I suggest taking it a bit easier on yourself and your leg. If you can at all take time off work. I was lucky that at the time I did not need to work at all. Also, if you can rest your leg by not working then swimming might be useful as would be gentle massages.
      Good luck with your recovery.

    • Alex H says:

      Jo:

      I remember those days, and yes, I also had pain and swelling. Pain especially in the morning when standing up – it sometimes took 5 minutes before I could put weight on the foot.

      To give you a glimmer of hope: I ran a half marathon 10 months post surgery (May this year), only 5 minutes slower than pre-injury (mainly just due lost training time), and did 3 triathlons the last 3 months, taking second place in one and setting a new personal best in the Olympic distance (beat my pre-injury time by 4 minutes) . Not saying this to brag, but to let you know that with good, careful recovery, you will be back 110% good as new! It’s a long road – you are likely sick of hearing it – believe me I certainly was.

      Did the physical therapist give you a schedule of what you are allowed to do and when and types of exercises? If not, ask for it. I wish I had mine, but got rid of it when I was recovered. It is very important to follow the exercise schedule. To not be too aggressive, and just as important, not doing too little. I agree with G, swimming was great. I believe the more you stay active (as feasible without compromising the injury like swimming, stationary hand cycle, etc. the increased blood flow speeds up your recovery by providing more nutrients & oxygen). I am not a doctor either – it’s just my opinion…. oh, and plenty of multi-vitamins!

      Hang in there & feel Better.

  43. Dan says:

    Hello;
    Read the entire post here. 43 yr old military soldier that just ruptured my AT during sports. I saw medical help within an hour and had my foot immobilized and saw a specialist within 17 hours (lucky I was).
    The orthopedic specialist laid out the bare bones on surgery and non surgery. He is going the non surgery route with me. I did do my research online and talked w/family members (Family Dr & Orthopedic Dr) and they said either way is the same w/re rupture, heal time etc …IT IS UP TO THE PERSON on how they do their physio etc.

    I had a splint for 1 week and now am in a fiberglass cast until Jan 14 for my next specialist visit.

    I was a FIRM believer on surgery but new studies and treatments are proving that non surgery is just as good…DO YOUR RESEARCH but ensure you read the dates of when the studies were done !

    I enjoyed this write up and learned a bit of stuff that I will look into for the post injury treatment. My Dr said the exact same thing that you posted here….do not rush it and make sure you do not re rupture it……

    • G says:

      Hi Dan,
      Of course you are ultimately the best judge of which route you decide to go. For me the option you took was just not reasonable, but I accept that for you it is. And I suggest that each person makes their own informed decision. There are a lot of factors to consider and the studies (unless something has changed drastically in the last 3 years, which it may have, I have not kept up as I am now 100% healed) are somewhat few and far between and not so great on the specifics i was interest in reading on.
      Personally, at my current level of knowledge I would still opt the surgical route but that doesn’t mean I am right in general or even specifically, it is just what I would choose based on my brain, my biases and my results. Others will have to decide for themselves and I would very much like for you to post follow-ups when you can as it all helps people like us who are going through it and want more information including anecdotal comments.

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