So many achilles questions!

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Hello! My name is Amanda and I'm about 8 months into my recovery from a total achilles explosion as I like to call it. A little history, I've been an athlete for the last 25 years of my 30 years on earth, from rec sports to playing on three varsity teams at the collegiate level. So I've done a tremendous amount of physical activity. Of all the things I have broke, pulled, or damaged on my body, I never had even the slightest bit of pain in my achilles. Then this summer playing rec softball, I was running to first base and halfway there it exploded on me. I laid in the hospital for 5 days before I was finally sewn back together. I am now as I mentioned roughly 8 months later, and am curious about the amount of pain I still feel, as well as the amount of obvious scar tissue that I can still feel in there. I spent time every single day since I was released from my cast prison massaging and manually trying to break up the scar tissue myself, but still feel like there is SO MUCH in there. Does anyone know if this is normal? I am also just now able to almost complete a one legged calf raise, which I'm not sure if I should have been able to do that months ago. Its such a strange injury but definitely one of my most traumatic. Any help, advice, or similar stories shared would be appreciated!

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  • Posted

    Twice your age, not an athlete, and 5 months into conservative treatment.... but I have noticed here that theres a huge range of people's reaction to this injury; its not a straight this happens then this is the result. Medicine and surgruy are not like fixing a car. And don't forget we are mortal.. your body needs a bit of care and love if its going to serve you well for another 30 or 60 years! For me its been really frustrating how slow its taken to get back to any normal functionality; i can't understand and not had any really good explanation of why the calf muscle takes so long to get back into action again.. thats really the only thing thats holding me back as it messes with my walking. I'm going to the gym every other day, slowly working back up to my previous levels, and doing leg curls, also having physio. Patience is the word :-(

     

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    • Posted

      Yes this is definitely the longest recovery I've experiences. Broken bones were a breeze compared to this one. I have heard that your calf will never reach 100% again, which is frustrating when you want to return to an active lifestyle. Thats great that your sticking with the gym, and physio. I found variations of calf raises to help me the most with regaining strength. Lets hope we both find the patience needed to get through this one!
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    • Posted

      Hi there.Am new to this site and am looking for some achilles advice funnily enough! Injury happened on 5th Jan. Went down non surgical route and was in plaster, toes pointing down for two weeks, non weight bearing. After two weeks,plaster was removed and admitted with a boot and three heel supports. Still non weight bearing.at four weeks was advised to proceed with weight bearing,then to remove heel support every week. I'm at that point now,first heel support to be removed next Friday. Problem is,I wasn't given much advice about how much or how little weight bearing to do.i.e., am I still to use crutches and just start to gently touch the floor or am I to be more aggressive? I'm self employed so want to be back to work asap but at the same time, need to be careful not to injure myself again. Must admit, am a bit nervous about starting to use the foot again. Any advice welcome. Thanks
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    • Posted

      All I can say is Non weight bearing was just that.. crawling around, foot up, use crutches and keep the bad foot off the ground as much as possible. I gather the idea is like a cut on the skin... don't stress it or move it untill it heals over and joins up. Partial Weight bearing i took to be foot on the ground (still supported and held pretty rigid by the boot) and supported by crutches to take some of the weight. If it hurts, stop! It hurt my hands on the crutches more, so that was the limit. Moving round the house became easier, though stairs were still on the bottom. I don't think the calf muscle and the tendon can do much with the foot held rigid in the boot, its more to keep the rest of the leg muscles working. 5 months down the line and the muscle loss is my only problem

       

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    • Posted

      Hi Julie , I am just over 8 weeks in and nearly 7 in a boot , I was never told how much to weight bear in the boot but I have just used my own comfort and pain as a guide , I find crutches a pain and only use them if walking longer periods but I also have a knee scooter which I use when it gets more painful , I use indoors and out , use more so when I go shopping, I think maybe go with how you are feeling but would say take it easy after each wedge removal as you feel the stretch and don't overdo it , I am due to get boot off next week , fingers crossed , K 
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    • Posted

      How did you come across the knee scooter; are you in uk, I've never seen one out and about, they look a nice idea. I loaned a battery scooter for the main supermarket shop, great fun and i quite miss it now!
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    • Posted

      Hi Tim

      Yes im in uk . Scotland, i found out about it as a doctor at my work ruptured his ATR 12 weeks before me and he had hired one at £15 a week , not sure if someone in the profession told him about it , I googled it and came across a few mobility aids , I found the Drive Medical knee scooter on Amazon and figured I would sell it once I'm done with it , it was £240 to buy. It is certainly easier than crutches and i have had a few heads turned when I use it out , ( not through my looks lol! just the scooter ) I will say to anyone who gets one , dont go fast on it , I was going along a hotel corridor the other week and hit a hole or dent in the carpet and went smack onto the floor , thankfully due to the boot , i didnt hurt my ankle further , funny now but at the time was a bit winded.

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    • Posted

      Ouch! I saw them on one of the "about recovery websites" and thought they looked fun! I used gell pads on my NHS crutches and they really helped, and the co. i work for hired an automatic for me (!!!!!) (Left tendon) so I didnt have to walk too far. I used an NHS stick for a while to bridge between boot and no boot, but I was amazed at how much muscle my calf lost... its still pathetic!

       

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    • Posted

      can i ask , when you got your boot off , i have been told i will get wedges in my shoe and am not allowed to walk barefoot as I need to maintain the slight heel lift for a bit ,  were you the same and what did you do to shower if you arent allowed to go flat footed?
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    • Posted

      I hired a shower stool which was areal life saver (from the Red Cross). Otherwise it was really awkward and my husband had to hold me whilst I stood on one leg in a slippery shower!!
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    • Posted

      Didnt have to do that, though I was kept in the boot for about 9 week total; 4 no weight and 5 partial, with a no wedge in for the last 2 week. Consultant was a bit concerned about my weight (17stone at the time) and wanted to make sure the tendon was well healed. No problem with weight on foot after that. I did a lot of foot rotation and bungee cord exercises when I could weight bear, sitting watching tv etc. Balance and strength were the only issues

       

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    • Posted

      thanks Odette, i have a bath seat that goes over the bath but as I have a shower curtain , when sitting I have to lean forward to wash my hair etc and cant sit directly under water , I have a bad back and had to do this whilst in the plaster cast , but dont fancy having to do it like that again, just wondered if anyone had any other solutions , thought of wearing a non flat flip flop but dont think it would be very stable .
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    • Posted

      I found "Limbo Shower" (google them) waterproof protectors really good; had to have a special large one made (no extra cost) to go over the boot, but showers were easy with those
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    • Posted

      yes i have one of those , it is really good , the first one i had went over the cast but not the boot , but I was given a bigger one for the boot
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      I was so impressed when the replacement, made to measure from my info, arrived, no charge, the following day. Excellent support when you need it.
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    • Posted

      Hi there. Day one of partial weight bearing yesterday.felt ok at the time. This morning am in a little bit of pain, more like an ache really. Not sure if it's because yesterday was the first time I had used it in a month, so today it's just tired. Going to stay off it a bit today, just to be on the safe side. Surely, I can't have done any damage if it's supported in the boot? I was literally taking all of my weight on the crutches and just doing the action of walking with my foot only just touching the floor, no pressure on it at all really.
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    • Posted

      Prob best to take it a day at a time , your body will tell you when it's had enough , I usually walk around house without crutches must of the time , apart from the height difference in my legs it fine , when it's achy I use the scooter when I have to or rest
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    • Posted

      My boot had a rocker on the bottom so could only put front of thr foot down,just take it steady and don't be in too much of a hurry, once your boot comes off you can do cycling exercises and physio should kick in.
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    • Posted

      OK, so my first day of partial weight bearing caused a bit of pain the day after, so I rested it for 24 hours and started partial weight bearing again yesterday. This morning, I can feel a very slight ache but nothing like the other day, so am hoping this is a sign it's getting stronger. However, tomorrow is the day my other half has to remove the boot and take a heel wedge out. Once the wedge is out, I'll rest it for a couple of days to get used to the angle but the thing I'm worried about is my other half taking the boot off - when we were in the hospital last week, there was a nurse and a consultant doing the job, where as tomorrow he'll be on his own.  Do you think it's pretty much straight forward to do?
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    • Posted

      Julie, you need to keep walking with the boot your leg needs to build up strengh and get its flexability back, it will hurt and it will ache that is naturally normal. Dont stop because of this, it will slow down your recovery. worried about your partner taking your boot off? it is really simple to remove the boot, your not sleeping in the boot are you? its meant only to walk about it.
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    • Posted

      Yes, the consultant himself told me to wear the boot 24 hours a day. Thanks for the advice regarding pain and aching - I will make sure I walk on it everyday, it's just a bit unnerving when you feel the pain, think I'm a bit paranoid about snapping it again
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    • Posted

      I was worried and paranoid as well. i kept thinking i will snap it again and the when it was sore paranorma kicked it and that is still my concern today even thought i am walking around without a problem.

      Im very puzzled why the consultant would ask you to keep the moon walker on during when you sleep as when discussing it before with other people on here, i have never came across that. It might be worth checking you got that right? Because think about it you wont be putting pressure on it whilst you sleep.

      i have been through it all julie so please feel free to ask me about anything.

      all the best.

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    • Posted

      I had the same advice from the consultant, no cast, straight in a boot 24/7 for a month. I did cheat with a careful removal of boot while on the bed for a good scratch and a wash, but straight back on again. The second month when he was happy the healing was working, I could take boot off at night. After a couple of more weeks I started mobilty checks, leg off the ground out of the boot, rotating foot, and gentle pressure against a stretch band / bungee cord. Strict warning to put the boot on for ANY walking, even to the loo at night, so i ended up crawling a lot!

       

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    • Posted

      Hi Julie , it's nerve racking to walk after a wedge removal but as others have said you need to do it even a little at a time , I don't think you will re rupture whilst in the boot as I fell whilst wearing it and mine seems ok but I will tell you next week if I get the boot off , as for removal by your other half , my hubby washes my foot and changes the sock every other day for me and I febreze the boot liner , as long as your foot us resting on the bed and he is careful when changing the sock , you will be fine . I have my boot on ALL the time , bed included as this was what I was told , I put a pillow case over the boot to keep my bed clean , hope this helps K
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    • Posted

      No problem , I wish I had discovered this page at the start , I will let you know how i get in next week if the boot comes off as that is my 8 weeks up , scary stuff and I have a wedding at the weekend after but they've said I can keep boot and wear it to avoid any mishaps so soon after going solo 😁
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    • Posted

      I've found this place REALLY reassuring; but the big lesson is its going to take time, so try and be patient, but ask questions all the time. I've just been to a podiatrist becasue my foot is still a bit numb 5 months down the line, and shes' diagnosed a completely unrelated problem; nothing serious but the same foot, so I need to wear indole supports to help for a while

       

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    • Posted

      I am 9 months down the line I still wear insoles in my shoes, anything that softens the blow, I like talking with other people on this forum but you can't help comparing yourself with others, and my recovery has been particularly slow, we all seem to be treated in different ways and told various contradictory things, in the end you just have to go at your own pace and hear what you need . All the best
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    • Posted

      So the first wedge removal was fine. I felt the difference as soon as the boot went back on but it wasn't painful. Am guessing that's a sign that hopefully, my leg is getting stronger
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    • Posted

      Did mine two years ago now (playing 5-a-side), and went through conservative healing. I was in a cast for 4 months, and in a foot brace for 1+. The whole episode was a nightmare - I'd just started a new job that was 30 miles from home. Luckily a colleague lived close and could give me a lift. I recovered well, will minimal scar tissue, and my calf 'popped' back into shape.

      Although I suffered no pain throughout the injury or recovery, it has changed my life considerably. I have always been physicaly active, being particularly keen on running. Now I'm scared to run as I can't risk it happening again - I just can't face the time off my feet climbing the walls (figuratively!). I still go to the gym a lot, but whereas I used to snowboard, tried fencing, etc, now I don't dare risk it. I want to try martial arts, but again, can't take the risk. I wonder just how strong my achilles is now, and how far I could push it. I stretch off and warm my tendon in particular (and rest of my body, too), but do get nagging pain occasionally, which makes me back right off.

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    • Posted

      It's a bit daunting , mine was a bit achy with each removal , I got my boot off on WED yayy ! Foot is still a bit achy if I walk too much especially at the end of the day , swells a bit too if i don't rest it enough and walking is still difficult , back in the crutches and using my scooter if I'm out just now but hopefully on the long road to recovery , looking forward to bring able to drive again soon hopefully
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    • Posted

      Good to hear your boot is off. I'm back at the hospital next week for a check up and to find out my next stage. Took another wedge out today so am a bit achy.
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    • Posted

      Not surprised you are still worried after five years. That will be me as I am self employed so lengthy time off is a nightmare
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      So after my appointment today am feeling slightly more brave but also apprehensive. The consultant said to keep one heel wedge still in the boot but he is pleased with the healing process. I felt no pain when he was pinching the calf and heel and even managed slight movement of the foot in all directions. He sent me for a physio appointment straight after and both seemed to think I would be out of the boot and in shoes within a fortnight. Actually trying to fully weight bear was a different story so am still partial weight bearing with crutches but removing the boot and doing movement exercises four times a day.Hopefully, the exercises will make me confident enough to remove the crutches after a few days.......hopefully
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    • Posted

      Hi Julie that is good news for you, I am not using crutches at all now but don't walk far at all , my biggest disappointment is that I can't get physio till 9th March which is nearly 4 weeks from boot off , going to phone Monday and see if I can bring it forward , still can't walk properly and all I can do is basic stretches , back at hosp on wed so hopefully they can maybe get me physio there , just a bit concerned that I am not walking as I should and create bad habits , put the boot back in for a wedding for safety last week which allowed me to enjoy myself and not worry about damaging my healed tendon , will hopefully update after Wed
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    • Posted

      The boot came off on Tuesday. I'm still on crutches but getting stronger by the day by doing the exercises the physio gave me.Hoping to be on one crutch next week or even none at all. Next physio is Monday so we'll see what happens
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    • Posted

      That is good news Julie, I am now back at work on short hours , but get pains on and off , no two days are the same , have now developed plantar fasciitis , which was cause of my heel pain, this only happens when I walk or stand too much , so making sure I don't overdo it otherwise it's very painful, my first proper physio is Monday , so hoping that helps as I'm still not walking properly although not really needing crutches to weight bear but was told to use one to make me walk correctly as was twisting from my hip instead of using leg properly , ha and I thought I was doing ok too. Desperate to get driving again but will check with physio , 
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    • Posted

      So have been out of the boot nearly a week now and doing physio exercises.back at physio tomorrow where he said I'll be having a session in the gym. Have been feeling strong and managing ok apart from today my leg and foot are swollen and feel really tight. Hope this is ok. More rest and elevation do you think, or soldier through?
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    • Posted

      I'm afraid the swollen foot feeling is my experience too, and I came out in December :-(

      My physio said it was the calf muscle being weak, and not pumping the lymph fluid back up the leg as it should. I've started elevating the foot again in the evenings, and trying to keep mobile at work. The tendon is fine and no pain but the weakness of the calf and the slight numbness of the foot, also due to foot swelling is making walking a bit tedious.

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    • Posted

      Tim, I had similar and I think my time frame is around yours, I had a lot of swelling and pain in foot I knew it just didn't feel right. I requested another MRI and it showed impending stress fracture on foot from second metatarsal up! The bones have been weakened from tendon/muscles and ligaments not working properly and the period of inactivity to back to work where I stand for long periods was too much, putting pressure on bone. Every evening I had to elevate but now I'm back in boot again for 2-4 weeks with no physio allowed. Hope yours will improve soon!
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    • Posted

      Its not extreme enough to feel really worried, but on the other hand it seems to be taking a long time to resolve; which is what all the physio's have said would happen. Theres no pain, but it is making walking uncomfortable. Maybe go back to the doc if the discomfort doesnt seem to be resolving...

       

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    • Posted

      I'm at roughly 9,months now and still feel pain in the mornings... also does anyone who has had surgery have a really messed up scar? I wish we could post pics on here to compare...One part of my scar looks like the skin has healed to the tendon. It makes a fold and is quite painful sad
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    • Posted

      In response to this comment I'm a few months shy of a year and the entire outside of my foot is still numb and doesn't seem to be improving. Also where the nerves have reconnected, they don't match. So when I touch one part I feel it in another part... makes trying to scratch an itch very difficult !!
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    • Posted

      That really does not sound good at all! I had surgery on my other leg last time around and my scar is very neat. Tis time no surgery on this ATR. (Yes, unlucky to have done this twice) You could have just a build up of scar tissue which causes a knotting type look. I did have this for a time but I didn't have numbing! Has your physio commented? I would go back to doc. For a review?
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