Full Tendon Rupture Information - 11 weeks into recovery

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All,

I am posting this as I found the information on this site more useful than what I have received from doctors since my injury.

I fully ruptured (snapped) my Achilles’ tendon 11 weeks ago playing badminton, long story short I played a lot when I was younger and hadn't played for a long time. I was jumping around like I used too and landed on my right leg - I heard the pop and a slight stinging, after figuring out I hadn't landed on something I figured out what happened pretty quickly.

I went straight to emergency (here in Calgary, Canada) and was booked in for an ultra sound the following morning. I was sent home with a temp splint which pointed my toe to the floor at an angle. The worst news I got was from the emergency doctor - stating I would not be fully recovered in 12 - 14 months. This rattled me to the core!

The U.S. confirmed a full rupture - I had no pain during this time. On return to the hospital my lower leg (below my knee) was placed in a hard cast, I was given crutches and told to come back in two weeks.

No surgery - conservative method here in Canada. Changed policy around 6 months ago.

I would advise people new to crutches to look up a how to use video including the best way to take stairs (I learned the hard way). Don't use your arm pits - they get sore and you have a big nerve running through there and your blood supply to your arm. Keep the weight across your chest and arms - you will get stronger believe me. Rubbing is to be expected - I wore an under shirt which also help when the crutches cause your shirt to pull out of your trousers!!!

It happened on a Tuesday night so I rested at home with my foot up for three days, I had considerable swelling around the ankle area which still falres up after 11 weeks. I got used to the crutches over the weekend and returned to work on Monday.

I would start looking for friends / colleagues to help you here - on crutches you can't carry much, bring a back back. Make a packed lunch to bring for yourself - include water. You can't carry anything much - coffee - snacks - lunch - photocopies - note book. At least I am in the office, people outside are in need of insurance!

I returned to the hospital after 2 weeks and had the cast removed, the tendon was not looked at but I was tranferred into an aircast. Much better but still on crutches with zero weight bearing. Very little input from the doctors on recovery expectations other than its a long process! There were three wedges in my boot and I was asked to remove one wedge every two weeks - no weight.

I returned after another 4 weeks of tough times on the crutches (including two falls where I hit the tendon while wearing the boot). Still very little input from the doctors and asked to return in 7 days.

This was my best appointment - the doctor actually examined the tendon. Had me push with my toes and confirmed it was attached! Woohoo! It got better - he told me to remove the remaining wedge in my boot and lose the crutches over the next 2-3 days. He asked me to start physio and said I could be out of the boot in the next 3-4 weeks. He said other stuff but at this point I couldn't hear anything for the cheering in my head!!! At this point I stopped sleeping with the boot on - even better,

The worst was over! I could carry things again, I could be useful around the house, help with the kids, not break into a cold sweat at the top of steep stairs, life was nearly back to managable. I am an active person and crutches had a big impact on me.

After nine weeks total I was told by my physio to remove the boot and start to move around without it - slowly at first. My right leg muscles had dissappeared - calf and quad.

Today I am at 11 weeks since the rupture - I can walk without a limp if I focus on it. I am able to live a relatviely normal life - my shoes match =)

The initial report of 12-14 months was bull - I should be back skiing and other activities after Christmas. I can cycle now and walk distances.

It is a long haul but not as bad as it can seem when you are stuck on crutches and you have no idea if you are getting better or not.

Ask any questions you have - this post is to help those to whom this has just happened and you want / need / crave more information. If you know someone that has had this injury then buy them a coffee or lunch and grill them for as long as you can. They know your pain.

Thanks and get well soon. Physio for me this afternoon and my nemesis - the Balance Board of Doom!

1 like, 9 replies

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9 Replies

  • Posted

    Thats interesting, as a comparison of treatments, especially on the recovery times. Pretty similar story here, 9 weeks, 8 into treatment. Aircast and no weight for the first 4, and signed off work... much easier sitting down watching daytime TV and crawling around. Uk uses elbow crutches where the weight is taken by the hands; I bought gell pads to ease the discomfort. Self inject anticoagulants too.. probably as I'm 65. Month 2 drive again (an automatic.. left foot injury). last 4 weeks start to careful weight bear with crutches and the boot, but boot off at night and in the evening. I've been wiggling it; its stiff and still swollen in the evenings.9 week (total) appointment on friday and I'm hoping to get into physio and out of the boot from then... I think the 12 months timescale is to get back to 100% ok.. to be honest, I'm hoping for Christmas to be able to do some outdoor hiking! How old are you, if you dont mind?

     

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    • Posted

      Morning, I am 38 so that can explain the difference. I get close to cramp - I can feel it but it never actually goes into spasm. 

      Good luck at the appointment. 

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  • Posted

    Hi all,

     I am currently 18 weeks into recovery! It hasn't been an easy ride i must admit! Injured training for a half marathon, left leg, full rupture, had exactly the same treatment, cast for two, boot with wedges for 10. It happened June 29 and i had the boot off September. Walking hasn't been too bad but i see my foot is pointed outwards so i really need to concentrate to bring it back round. I suffered from really bad cramps for a couple of weeks. Really really painful! Thought i'd ruptured it again. But they have subsided. Just struggling with hip and lower back pain now as i get back to some type of normality. The one thing that has shocked me is the length of time it takes to get back to normal! Should be back to work mid November(fingers crossed!) so been off just under five months!

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    • Posted

      Morning Nick,

      Like I said above I am on the verge of cramping during exercise but it never actually rolls into a full spasm.

      As soon as I got off the crutches my back went on me, I am guessing it was due to being lop sided while holding one leg up and supporting weight across my chest and back. One side of my back over developed and caused my to go out of balance.

      Get well soon.

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  • Posted

    Hi

        I first ruptured my left Achilles tendon in early this year whilst living in Thailand, the consultant I saw cursorilly loooked at my ankle agreed I had a ruptured tendon but no caste or boot just told t take pain killers & NSAID's keep wait of my foot for a few weeks, 3 months later while out walking loud snap, severe pain Tendon gone again waited untill back in UK with just pain and NSAID's as treatment again, back in UK went to trauma clinic, MRI scan next week, prognosis reconstruction surgery with possible tendon transplant in the new year, 8-10 weeks in caste followed by 10-12 weeks in an Air boot then several months Physio, because of the lack of treatment in Thailand although very hefty Dr's bill my left leg cannot bear my full weight and the calf muscle is 1/2 its original size, I also get cramps in my calf muscle, The UK consultant was very scathing about Thai treatment, also I was rejected for a claim by my Insurance  because since Thailand is now under Military Law after the Coup, Force Majeur rules apply and my insurance was invalid but despite that they would not refund any premium paid and in fact said that I would still have to pay the remaining premium as contracted, I took legal advice and was told, rather ironically that I would have to pay as I wouldnt have a leg to stand on as the contract was specific about military coup curtailing the cover but I would be covered elsewhere in the world just not Thailand.

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  • Posted

    Hi

        I first ruptured my left Achilles tendon early this year, I had a cramp in my calf muscle coming downstairs and overstepped the last step, landing with my foot extended the tendon went with a loud snap and a sharp pain , this was whilst living in Thailand, the consultant I saw in my local health clinic, cursorilly looked at my ankle, agreed I had a ruptured tendon but no caste or boot just told to take pain killers & NSAID's keep weight of my foot for a few weeks, then gentle exercise.. 3 months later while out walking loud snap, severe pain Tendon gone again waited untill back in UK with just pain and NSAID's as treatment again, back in UK went to trauma clinic, MRI scan next week, prognosis reconstruction surgery with possible tendon transplant in the new year, 8-10 weeks in caste followed by 10-12 weeks in an Air boot then several months Physio, because of the lack of treatment in Thailand although very hefty Dr's bill my left leg cannot bear my full weight and the calf muscle is 1/2 its original size, I also get cramps in my calf muscle, The UK consultant was very scathing about Thai treatment, also I was rejected for a claim by my Insurance  because since Thailand is now under Military Law after the Coup, Force Majeur rules apply and my insurance was invalid but despite that they would not refund any premium paid and in fact said that I would still have to pay the remaining premium as contracted, I took legal advice and was told, rather ironically that I would have to pay as I wouldnt have a leg to stand on as the contract was specific about military coup curtailing the cover but I would be covered elsewhere in the world just not Thailand.

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    • Posted

      That is terrible news on the insurance - sorry to hear that.

      Canada is similar to the NHS where it's covered by the country - no two tear system here so going private is not an option. Hence struggling through with a different doctor each visit.

      I hope you don't require surgery as it looks like a long process to get back up on your feet, longer than the normal process.

      Fingers crossed for you.

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  • Posted

    Update - 15 months in

    Just wanted to update the thread with my progress.

    No pain through normal or strenuous activity - calf muscle still smaller than the other but improving, strength is good. Tendon is siginificantly thicker than the other one.

    Thanks

    DP

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    • Posted

      Just the same here, 14 months for me. WHy oh why does it take so long to get that calf muscle back! Still cant do a tow stand, and i have to make a conscious effort to push off with the weak calk muscle when walking. Having said that, no pain, so I must be patient.....

       

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