Achilles Tendon rupture treatment/recovery.

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I'm a 65yo Aussie male. I completed a 20km bushwalk on a Sunday 14weeks ago then ruptured my achilles tendon playing golf (15th hole) on the following Thursday. Hospital emergency examination diagnosed rupture at calf-muscle using Thompson Test and Ultrasound. Surgeon chose non-surgical initial 6 weeks CAM (Controlled Ankle Movement) boot full weight-bearing usage.

At 2weeks I began hydrotherapy in heated pool under direction of Physiotherapist. I now have limited capability but physiotherapist says in several (maybe 6) months I will probably realise I have full use again just take it easy. It's a serious injury. I'm twice-weekly walking 5km round-trip on a nearby ocean bush-track that contains 500 steps mostly natural rock of normal step height. I'm back playing golf albeit for-now driving an electric cart.

MY POINT of this comment is to possibly assist others in the process of walking while wearing a CAM boot (or moon-boot colloquially).

I bought a pair of "branded" shoes (from a local normal shoe store)5 sizes too big (easy to slip on and off) and almost as high off the ground as the CAM boot and added 3 inserts. They had an odd shaped sole. I had enquired of pediatrist orthotic suppliers and baulked at spending $250plus to modify one of my shoes.

Presto! I could swing the healthy foot past the other and not contort my back and hips dramatically increasing my mobility and reducing the necessity of using the Canadian-crutches supplied by the hospital.

Hospitals and/or surgeons may achieve better results and patient comfort by supplying a prosthetic shoe with the CAM boot.

I have no connection with the shoe brand. I found them by chance. It was the only pair they had. Size 13. They sold them to me at less than cost. I was wearing my moon-boot and using crutches. I said I only need one. I think they took pity on me. The result was well worth any cost for the 6 weeks I used IT.

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9 Replies

  • Posted

    Thats interesting, comparing different protocols not just within uk; there seems a huge range for similar injuries and all seem to have good and bad points. My history; 65 yr uk male, rupture left Achilles when i stumbled out walking 17 wk ago. I had an AirCast boot with 3 wedges, no weight bearing for 4 weeks, then gradual wedge reduction and partial weight bearing with crutches for 6 weeks. During the last 3 weeks, lots of ankle / tendon mobility exercises and stretches.

    I found a similar solution to walking with the boot by fitting heel lifts in the other shoe but my walk was far from comfortable.

    AirCast off at 11 weeks and physio and exercises. Slow improvement, and now I've just got a weak calf muscle; can't toe stand on the bad leg yet, but walking normally if I concentrate on using the weak calf muscle to push off when walking; 3.5km over quite a steep route, and a full set of gym exercises 2 or 3 times a week.

    Biggest surprise for me was how quickly I lost muscle strength, not just the calf but both legs seem very weak and tire much easily; determined to get back to full strength for the summer, but 6 months does seem a realistic recovery time.... good luck!!

    • Posted

      Get in a pool to chest height if you can and do some running. Don't expect miracles. It just feels good and can't do any damage. I've resigned myself to the fact that I have a slight limp but it will eventually dissipate with gentle persuasion and keeping active. I've put parachuting and skiing and horseriding on hold for a while.

      That's a bit tongue-in-cheek but having done all of those in the past doesn't preclude me from doing them again if I'm stupid enough.

      For now I can play 18 holes of golf but a sensible approach is driving a cart.

      Mine was left leg also. The shoe brand was "Shape-Ups" for anyone embarking on this setback. Maybe there's a site to view the thick (1plus inch curved sole) As mentioned further elevation equalised my gait eliminating hip and back injury

      Surgeons are surgeons.

      Physiotherapists are not engineers. In instances such as this they should wear a wedged and elevated CAM boot for a day or two and they might understand a little better what their patients suffer secondarily.

      Don't despair. Being active I've tended towards that but hearing others' plight satisfies me that all's on track and patience and sensibility will prevail.

      Good luck

    • Posted

      Patience isn't one of my key skills, but I've really had to bite the bullet and take it gently.I'll be happy to get back to 12 mile walks and not feel like i need an air ambulance to get me home :-)

      My physio suggested I look round for better shoes/trainers than I have; my arches are not in great shape and most shoes just don't have much support; I'm trying different gell supports for now.. I can get those Shape-Ups via the intenet, but I'd like to see them first...  are you an engineer too? Electronics here, but a healthy curiosity in how things work, especially mechanical type injuries like the tendon.. what a dumb design!


    • Posted

      To those who replied, my apologies. My email was hacked some months back and must have blocked messages from this site.

      I'm now almost 9 months down the track.

      My physiotherapist's approach was take it slowly and avoid toe-lift over edge of step or door-sill. Apparently the major cause of re-rupture.

      At 6 months with balance and calf muscle rebuild issues I hopped in my car and drove down the road 600 km to Albury to see an osteopath I met many years ago.

      I could walk and jog, but not walk fast.

      John Baker is a genius. I can now walk faster. A search will find him. People visit him from long distances and he doesn't charge like a wounded bull.

      After examination and massage he had me firstly walking then running on a treadmill in an air-filled harness pants-type apparatus at 70 percent of my weight. (range 0-100 that he controlled)

      His approach was a little more aggressive. Physio/chiro/osteo initial qualifications in yrs I think are 2/4/5 respectively so with his additional years of practical experience, including an achilles rupture himself, I felt in good hands.

      One exercise that has been noticeably beneficial to my situation is a standing single foot toe-lift with a touch of fingertip assistance on a tabletop. 10 x 5 repetitions is what I do at least once daily because John told me in MY case that's ok. I understand the muscle repair/rebuild occurs during reps 4-5.

      There are other exercises but everyone's situation is different and this is a serious injury so I hope what I've passed on is helpful. Be cautious but aggressive as appropriate with guidance to prevent re-rupture.

      Good luck.

      I'm playing golf again. Walking. And winning. Ridiculous handicap but that's what handicaps are for. Woo-hoo.

  • Posted

    Try suprementing with collagen 1,2,3. At your age you are probably deficient anyway but collagen helps with tendon healing.
  • Posted

    Oh how I wish we had lived in Australia. Your treatment sounds as if they did everything possible to aid your recovery.

    My husband didn`t survive his achilles rupture. Please read ...

    "Avoidable DVT Death Of My Husband."

    The more I read about moon boots, ultrasounds, wedges etc. the more my heart breaks.

    None of this was given to my husband, A/E just put a full, heavy, immobilising cast on his leg and sent him home without one word of warning about the dangers of DVT.

    I have been fighting the hospital, week in, week out, for almost 3 years. I want the world to know what they did to him. I would be so grateful if you could pass on my information. Take care, and thankyou.

    • Posted

      That sounds terrible;my sypathies. There's one thing I have noticed is the variety of treatment withing the uk; I suppose its due to splitting it up into regions that don't talk to each other, down to surguries with their own funding to organise. My experience has been the opposite I'm afraid, but I can't understand why the treatment was so awful
    • Posted

      Thankyou for your response Tim. There is only one word for my husbands treatment, " Negligence. "

      It would have cost them nothing, to voice the danger signs to watch out for, regarding DVT..They had a duty of care, which most definately was breached.

      I am so glad that your experience was the opposite, and I hope you are well on the way to a full recovery.


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