11 weeks post op and still unable to walk.

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I've looked through recent posts here but can't see my particular concern. Comments welcome.

Brief history: total rupture 14 weeks ago (25 September); plaster for 2 weeks awaiting NHS ultra sound scan; 3cm gap evident; operation 14 October. Plaster for 2 more weeks (totally non weight bearing); stitches out and into boot with 4 wedges, one wedge being removed each week and weight bearing. No exercises given this whole time and boot on 24/7, even in bed!

Now 5 weeks out of boot and although the pain is not bad, I still have complete tightness in the Achilles and all around the ankle. Range of motion exercises are loosening it a little but cannot get enough flexibility in the lower leg to walk a normal gait; it's a slow shuffle. Have lost all muscle in calf from the 9 weeks total incapacity and can weight bear but would not dare to try and stand on toes yet. Doing this two footed and taking some weight on my arms. It feels like I have a clamp around my ankle and lower calf that will only allow my leg to flex a few degrees. I'm female, 48 and a Personal Trainer, so this condition is killing me. I'm now seeing a private physio twice a week as the NHS just tell me to do a few exercises - they don't even touch the leg! Am I being too impatient with my progress?

Thanks, Cibby x

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16 Replies

  • Posted

    Hey Cibby

    I had a total rupture on the 17th of August. Was in a cast for a week then a boot up until about 2 weeks ago. I've not had the op. Started physio the day I came out of the boot and I can now almost walk normally. However! I also have incredible tightness on the front of my ankle and tendon when I try to push my knee over my foot whilst standing. It's reasonably painful when trying to walk normally and very painful when I go too far onto my tip toes.

    My point being, it's going to take a lot of time to get the leg back to 'normal'. My calf is also tiny compared to the healthy one so we both have a lot of work ahead of us.

    Wish you all the best

    Matt

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    • Posted

      Hey Matt

      It all sounds very familiar, especially the tightness at the front when trying to push the knee over the foot, and the pain when trying to push up into the toes.

      Good luck to you too with your recovery! I see my surgeon/consultant in a couple of weeks so I'll post back here if I have any pearls of wisdom from him.

      Cheers, Cibby

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  • Posted

    Slow and long process. I started PT at 3 weeks after surgery and back in boot 17 days after surgery and sutures removed. I tried doing things on my own within reason such as walk without boot. Be patient gonna take some time. I still have heel issues and occasional discomfort but that's from wearing ankle socks long ones much better. Don't rush it'll come back to dancing but no running or jumping. Maybe next month do PT and home exercises push yourself within reason after all it's you and not them dealing with it. Good luck.

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  • Posted

    I felt tightness for a while but as the foot becomes more flexible the tightness will improves.  At almost 3 months post op I now have better dorsi flexion than the other leg, my PT said "that means the operation worked!"  My calf was also this lump of flab but I know see definition again.  I go to PT 3 times a week.  I hated wearing the boot in bed, just awful.  My journey starts over again tomorrow. Having surgery on the other achilles tomorrow.  50 year old female.  Marathoner.  Patience, patience, patience!

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    • Posted

      Thank you Karen. Best wishes and good luck with the surgery on the other Achilles. You clearly don't do things by halves!

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  • Posted

    Hi Cibby

    I ruptured mine in April 2016 so feel your pain and understand your frustration.

    I also went private and going to your Physio is key! After the boot is off for the first 4 weeks I was going Physio twice a week and then slowly dropped down to once a week. They begun working on my calf I.e massage to loosen up as well as around Achilles and ankle... this provided more movement and really made a difference. If they have not done this at all I would ask them to do soft tissue massage and loosening the ankle. It's crazy that the NHS Physio didn't even touch you leg!!

    In addition to this I done a lot of self massage which really made a big difference (As long as your scar is healed).

    Every evening and also during the day I gently heated up mustard oil on the hob in a small bowl ( literally do this on the gas for like 10 secs but just be careful- you can buy this from ethnic food section at Tesco). Stick a towel underneath and gently massage your whole foot, ankle and Achilles. This really made a huge difference. You can also begin to massage the scar but ask your Physio how you should do this beforehand. It does smell a bit. It t works. If you don't have this just use baby oil for now and Bio Oil is also good!

    You should also soon be given elastic band so you can start doing gentle flex. I would also do the basi circular motion at any opportunity and keep it moving! Unfortunately it will take a long time! I am not at 6 months post Op and only now been able to tip toe on my bad leg about 4 weeks ago! Hoping to start light jogging very soon! It will get better trust me!! Just time and perseverance!! Hope that help

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    • Posted

      Thank you so much. This gives me hope, albeit I know I need to be patient! I am now having physio twice a week and like you, she really works my whole ankle and calf.

      I'm also doing the exercises given to me by the NHS, plus my physio has given me a wobble board which really works the ankle (I can only do this holding onto a chair for stability).

      After 5 weeks out of the boot I've finally noticed a little loosening. I see the consultant next week so I will ask him more about the whole rehab process.

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    • Posted

      Ps the tip toe on your bad leg at 5 months - was that single leg taking your full body weight? Just so I have a guage. Thank you and good luck with the rest of your recovery. Enjoy your jogging!
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    • Posted

      If now 6 months post op, how come the delay in the op if the rupture was April?
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    • Posted

      Sorry typo.... has now been approx 8 months... ruptured on 24th April, Op was 28th April. Tip toe with full body weight on just one leg (I.e the bad leg ) was at about 6 n half months.

      Good your on the wobble board and it's fine you hold on to the chair I was too... The key is not overdoing it either as I'm like you I just want to push on but remember rupturing it again is the last thing you want so literally one step at a time!!

      Are you still on crutches too?

      Hope that all makes sense?

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    • Posted

      Perfect sense thank you. Finally off crutches this week and starting to take slow small steps. Nowhere near full gait but it's a start and I can balance by myself.

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    • Posted

      I was eager to get off crutches very quickly but then my walking was being affected so use them as long as you need them to provide support!

      Good luck with the recovery and I know you have probably heard before but patience really is the key! Good luck!!!

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  • Posted

    I had surgery on August 12th for a complete rupture. I was in a boot for 8 weeks and then started physical therapy October 1. Just finished. It was 3 months. It was twice a week. I don't know what I would have done without the PT. Still have stiffness in my foot when I wake up, but I'm able to stand on it and walk for longer periods of time now. When it hurts, I rest and ice.

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    • Posted

      Hi skigras

      Do you mind if I ask if you are non UK? The fact that you had 'physical therapy' twice a week for 3 months wouldn't happen here unless, like me, you arrange it privately and pay a fortune for it. I'm lucky in that I'm prepared and able to do that.

      Good to hear that you're now walking ok. Best wishes on the rest of your recovery.

      Cibby

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