Ruptured achilles tendon treated non surgically

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Hi there

I ruptured my achilles tendon on 12 June 2016 and am being treated the non surgical route in an aircast boot for 8 weeks. I am now at the week 6 mark and have 2 weeks left until I no longer need to wear the boot. I wanted to know from others experiences who have been treated the non surgical route too, that when the boot is removed at 8 week mark how far is one able to walk if so at all and how quickly does ones walking progress. For example at the end of week one etc. following the removal of the boot, how far were you able to walk? My consultant has been very vague about everything from the start which certainly does not help me as it leaves me wondering about the future and what to expect and really gets me down. I lost my job due to my injury and am not being paid at the moment which concerns me so was wondering when I would be able walk normally again so that I could get a new job? I am certainly not talking about walking miles or marathons or even playing sport (although this would be of interest), but just how long it took you to walk a fair amount just for normal days activities. It would be great to hear from those who have been treated consevatively ie. non surgically as I have been treated, as the timeframes I would think would be similar. Also how often and for how long one has to have surgery. Thanks in advance. Much appreciated.

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  • Posted

    Hi. I ruptured my Achilles' tendon 24th May 2016.

    I was advised by my consultant to go the non surgical route due to risk of infection etc. I have just come out of casts week 8. Now in a boot with two wedges no weight bear. My ankle is still very swollen. I took painkillers at the start but now had to start taking them again due to pain. I start physiotherapy in 2 weeks time.

    I was a very active sporty person so going from that to nothing has been very hard. At the start I was so determined that I would be back on my feet in no time but have realised this isn't a quick recovery and definitely don't want to re-rupture!

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    • Posted

      Hi Anne. Thanks for the message. Yes, I was very sporty too pre injury and sport was my life however certainly do not want to rerupture too! The thought of rerupturing is always at the back of my mind. I probably won't play sport for at least a year after the injury even if am able to at 6 months or whenever just to be on the safe side. I understand that for you your consultant has said not to weight bear at all for the 10 weeks post injury. Is that right? How many times a week will you have physio? I was having severe ankle and heel pain at one point but not for a few weeks now. At the time I started take regular painkillers (even at times when not in pain), put a foam dressing on heel and ankle to provide cushioning and compeed dressing for protection on all the red areas on top of my foot and ankle where I was getting the pain. The pain I have had since injury appears more so to be a result of the boot and it digging in etc. as opposed to the injury itself. My ankle area was swollen for 2 weeks or so post injury but I have been very diligent in keeping my leg elevated as much as possible over the the course of the day and found this really helped and have not had much swelling since week 2. You should see if your consultant is happy for you to place ice regularly over the area which I think could help too. Always best to check first though. I hope the swelling and pain improves and that you heal quickly. Keep in touch.

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  • Posted

    Meant at the end how often and for how long one has to have physiotherapy not "surgery"

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    • Posted

      Hi Ali. Thanks for info regarding swelling of ankle. I had a different consultant last time. So feeling abit lost as the appointment was so quick , don't feel I had much advice from him. I have gone from 2 wedges in boot to 1 this week. I start physiotherapy next week so hopefully feel abit more confident once I see them to how this will progress.

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    • Posted

      Hi Ali - RE how long one has to have physiotherapy. Today I was at my private physio, there is no right or wrong answer, it depends on the person and where they want to get to. For my case typically physio of 20 weeks, initially it ll be 2 sessions - as his opinion is that once a week is too long a gap to get good progress, then towards the later phase, it may drop down...I went for the surgery route. Well it gives you a very rough idea. Emily 
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    • Posted

      Thanks Emily for that. Very useful for forward planning. I assume you had your surgery private too? I don't know but wouldn't have thought NHS would give one more than 1 physio session a week and cos I know of a good private physio I thought I'd take one NHS and one private physio (ie. 2 sessions) per week.

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    • Posted

      Hi Ali,

      I went through NHS for my operation and check ups.

      NHS physio is once per week (1st appointment is 1hr, then follow up appointments of 30mins). I top up with private physio once per week. In my case I managed to get a private physio appointment before the NHS physio gave me a slot. Its a costly thing for physio but its really helping me.  

      Other things I have been doing and lessons learnt  (you may already be doing some of them, but I thought I ll share..)

      Get help – i am very independent and resisted help. But as I got help, it allowed me to do more things and feel better. Having good company is also very important

      Learn new things – I had stacks of reading and new things to learn so that was a problem

      Move as much as you can – all parts of your body. I used to hop in my crutches, walk in my boot with crutches. Get safe exercises from your physio that you can do at home. As you improve get more exercises from your physio e.g. this week, week 13 after operation, my private physio recommends I get back to gym to use the exercise bike, walking in the pool, exercises that are sitting down etc.

      Improve your nutrition - to help the healing and general wellbeing. Fortunately, I was always good with nutrition and now I just make sure I have a bit more protein

      Expect pain, tough journey and need to keep trying - biggest lesson learnt but I have been improving each day. When I first got out of the cast (after 8 weeks), my ankle leg was frozen. Now when I wake up, its nowhere near perfect but it feels better. Circulation problems in the bad leg have also improved. Now I just have to get through the new pain as I practice walking

      Walking gait – heel strike toe – once you are allowed to walk in trainers with crutches then without crutches. Your physio will assess your walking gait

      Let me know how you get on...

      Good luck

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    • Posted

      Thanks so much Emma for your comprehensive reply and sorry for taking so long to get back to you. Your tips and advice are much appreciated. I have been eating very well and make sure I buy foods with lots of protein and vit C in and high in anti-oxidants. I am usually very independent so have found it very difficult accepting help. How did you find it worked out having 2 different physios and I guess different programmes to follow from each physio? Did the NHS physio know you were having private physio and how did she or he accept it? Did your private physio speak with your consultant regards your injury or did he or she just follow their own achilles tendon rupture rehab protocol? Just wondered if it got messy having 2 physios? I intend to also top up with a private physio when it comes to me having physio. Hope you are doing well and thanks once again for all your help.
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    • Posted

      Thanks so much Emma for your comprehensive reply and sorry for taking so long to get back to you. Your tips and advice are much appreciated. I have been eating very well and make sure I buy foods with lots of protein and vit C in and high in anti-oxidants. I am usually very independent so have found it very difficult accepting help. How did you find it worked out having 2 different physios and I guess different programmes to follow from each physio? Did the NHS physio know you were having private physio and how did she or he accept it? Did your private physio speak with your consultant regards your injury or did he or she just follow their own achilles tendon rupture rehab protocol? Just wondered if it got messy having 2 physios? I intend to also top up with a private physio when it comes to me having physio. Hope you are doing well and thanks once again for all your help.

       

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    • Posted

      Hi Ali,

      Here is my experience of using 2 physios (6 or 7 weeks approx now). Also the key reason for my using 2 physios is that my healing is very behind schedule.

      Hope it helps you.

      Emily

      My NHS treatment plan after operation was 8 weeks in cast, 4 weeks in boot, swapping to trainers and 1 crutch at week 12, Im now week 15 – can limp in trainers with no crutch (although I do take a crutch out on long journeys for support), concerned that my tendon has been shortened and not lengthened so this is severely restricting my range or motions and progressing to other strengthening exercises.

      I hope your healing is more positive than my case and perhaps you won’t need 2 physios etc.

      1.How did you find it worked out having 2 different physios and I guess different programmes to follow from each physio?

      - I tend to have NHS physio on Mondays and private physio on a Thursday. The exercises are similar and by the time Thursday arrived, physio either evolved the exercises / gave new ones to try out.

      - The key difference with private physio is that he uses more manipulation / massage techniques e.g. extend massage treatment to the calf if needed – this was needed in my recent weeks.

      - NHS seem to have the approach of it takes time. Yes whilst that is true to a certainly extent, private physio / surgeon approach is to get you well as quick as they can.

       

      2.Did the NHS physio know you were having private physio and how did she or he accept it?

      - I didn’t feel the need to info NHS surgeon / physio that I m taking top up physios. My NHS physio and NHS surgeon do not communicate. NHS physio does not have access to the surgeon’s file. My NHS physio relied on me to explain my case and bridged the communications e.g. at week 12 – NHS surgeons says remove the boot, go full weight bearing, lose the crutch. So I passed this message on to NHS physio.

      - My private physio is aware that I have some NHS physio appointments too.

      3. Did your private physio speak with your consultant regards your injury or did he or she just follow their own achilles tendon rupture rehab protocol?

      - There is no access to NHS surgeon expect through me. The private physio didn’t speak to my NHS surgeon, I briefed him on my case etc and he made his assessment. Yes he has standard protocol. In my case my healing was already behind schedule before start of physio i.e. foot was not in neutral position at the expected timelines - so it has been adapted and we are hardly following the standard rehab protocol.

      4. Just wondered if it got messy having 2 physios? I intend to also top up with a private physio when it comes to me having physio. Hope you are doing well and thanks once again for all your help.

      - I think it just depends on how you handle things e.g. I always write up my own notes after each appointment, so I know who recommended what exercise etc and remind myself.

       

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  • Posted

    Hi,

    I ruptured my achiellis tendon on 19th July. After seeing ortho surgeon the next day and discussing treatment (as I had already competlely snapped my other leg 5 years ago ) I choose again to have non-surgical method to recover again. I was very nervous about Surgury so made it a very difficult decision to make but ortho understood completely and took the time to consult we me and also the head of ortho at hospital spoke to me as well to make sure I was happy with the decision and gave me their personal opinion which helped. I remember last time I was in the cast for the first 2 weeks which did my head in, I was a blubbering mess. Being a fairly active person made it tough to sit and do nothing and watch everyone else do things ( and not how I like things to be done lol ) so that frustrated me even more. So after discussing that with ortho he agreed that I can go in vaco-ped moon boot straight up instead of cast which has been better mentally as well for me. Few bad days first couple of days but being able to just release the straps for a few minutes and let foot have some air has been a God sent. Everyone says oh well you know what to expect because you have already been through it once just doesn't make it any easier.

    I took boot of to wash this morning as my leg and foot as was getting a bit smelly ?? And that felt good

    I have very little pain at the moment just more uncomfortable then anything. I find night time trying to sleep the worst time. How is everyone else coping at night ? I find it hard to relax unless I am really tired at the best of times, I do feel tired but just doesn't seem to help me fall asleep now.

    I have been taking Tramadol during the day and Endone at night which worked for a little while to help me sleep but last few nights haven't found it to be much help. I would dearly love to take moonboot off to sleep but just cringe at the thought of doing damage if I accidentally move the wrong way.

    I was told my next ortho app wasn't for 4 weeks, which I thought seemed a long time. Hopefully I get good news at that appointment and all is going well.

    Glad I came across the page as a lot of my research has found more people having Surgury and doesn't really help. Thanks for sharing everyone and look forward to talking more.

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    • Posted

      It's interesting, I've quite a few people talk about the pain, I haven't had any pain at all, mind you it's a partial, mid portion.

      Just completed 3 weeks, appointment tomorrow. And to add to this all I became a dad on Friday morning, so it's been real hard work.

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    • Posted

      congrats on the little one!  you are very lucky you have no pain =) I also just hit my 3 week mark and got my cast off today and upgraded to the boot...good luck with recovery!
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