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Achilles rupture surgery - support group

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  • I've been told that it's an insurance no-no to drive until the doctor says you can. I think the problem may come if sudden hard braking is needed - of course, that only affects right leg ATRs like myself, but it may be a nicety lost on the loss-adjusters.

    When can I drive is a topic fairly near the top of the list as we live far from anywhere with one bus a day that goes nowhere in particular. So I've been pressing my physio on this, and he says I can "have a go" at driving this week. I don't know what "have a go" means in this case - I tend to think that driving is something you either do or do not, as the Jedi said. Anyway I will drive very slowly in a place where there is no traffic, and see how I get on. Those stats again: full ATR, 9 weeks post-op, 2 weeks out of plaster, 2 weeks into physio on Tuesday. 43 old.


    • Full Rupture, Not sure about Surgery or conservative Option

      Please help me. I have fully ruptured my achilles. It was confirmed last week that it has completely tornin half. I did it playing netball when a girl kicked my ankle, not sure if it would have happend otherwise? What I dont know now is if I should go surgery or conservative? So far i have been in a out of a cast for three weeks, and with no specilists appointment in sight I might end up doing conservative method by default.

      Not sure what is best, or what works....

      Please tell me your thoughts and experiences...

      thank you


      • Jaclin

        First things, first, the girl that kicked you, probably didn't, I am afraid that's the first sympton of the rupture. when you read back on this site, you 'll see everyone thought the same. I thought someone had thrown a cricket ball at me, but when I looked round the cricket ball was 20 metres away!

        It appears that the operation route should happen as early on as possible i.e. 24-48 hours. The longer it is left the less chance of success. However, AMIS, had his done about 4 weeks or so into the injury and it seems to have been a success. The important thing is that you are receieving treatment. Conservative treatment does work. There are pros and cons for both although surgery appears to have the edge ..less chance of rerupture, but there are so many variables, health, lifestyle, attitude to rehab etc etc

        I suggest you kick down some doors or go to another hospital, you should have seen a consultant by now.

        I strongly suggest you 'google' around and read around the internet and get yourself well informed on the subject. Other sites include can be found on msngroups, yahoo, etc


        • Driving - I was driving 32 days after my op - fortunately I am a left legger and had an auto gearbox

          My op was 8 days after the injury - no implications caused by going outside the 48 hour time period.

          Surgery / conservative - it is obviously a decision to be made between your consultant and yourself, but if I had been given a free choice I would have opted for surgery (my consultant decided this for me)


          • Jaclin,

            I know it's impolite to ask a lady but it's very relevant here... how old are you?

            Also are you active? These seem to be the two biggest issues when it comes to whether to operate or not. If you are under 50 and generally active they tend to go surgical, but not always. See DavidG1's situation.

            Also don't let the nay sayers worry you unduly. I snapped mine originally 6 months ago, my surgeon still cut and spliced me (what a nice man/God).

            See what the hospitals say, also consider private, an ultrasound with BUPA costs about 175 and a trip to a specialist consultant who REALLY knows his/her stuff around 120. After that you KNOW you have the facts to go back to the NHS with. I know it's a lot and we pay through our wages for it to be free, however those two sums are less than a service on my car and I intend to keep this leg longer than my car!

            Often the wait in the NHS is to be diagnosed, not treated. Discuss the issues with your GP, in my case it was a nine week wait for a scan! Sod that! I know I was lucky being able to pay but you have to look at the whole picture. Good luck.


            • More than 48 hrs

              I ruptured my Achilles on a Friday and didn't have surgery until the following Thursday. My doctor actually recommended waiting a few days for the tendon to consolidated.

              When the AT ruptures, it's not clean - it shreds so that the ends look like an old broom. If you wait a few days, then some of those strands come back together. That way, they have to cut off less of the damaged portion when they approximate the two ends.

              If you've been in a splint for a few weeks, then you have good control over where the ends of the tendon are. With luck, the muscle didn't retract the tendon very far up since you've had your toe pointed down in a cast for so long. Depending on your doctor, you might be a candidate for surgical repair.

              Like they said above, go get a second opinion.

              As for driving, I'm a left legger and I have an automatic. I drove three days post-op and have been going to work every day since about 6 days post-op.


              • crutch covers

                Hi, any opinions on crutch covers? I'm two weeks post op and starting to crutch around a bit, but they're really rubbing me on the sides of my chest. I was wondering if this sort of thing might help? If the link doesn't come through, they're wool covers.


                • chriswarr
                  Leveraging more off the hand grips may reduce the pressure on the underarms.
                  Rob N.


                  • Jaclin: There you are even more confused...welcome to the club.

                    As said, read as much as you can and then you are able to ask the consultant lots of questions about the way forward and the whats and wherefores.

                    Reconstruction surgery is carried out where the tendon has degenerated due to time lapse i.e conservative treatment won't work.


                    • Pulmonary embolism

                      WOW. The number of people joining the exclusive AT rupture club has really picked up during this past month. Well my recovery has just taken a bit of a U-turn.

                      I was injured on May 27th
                      surgery on May 29th

                      nwb cast for 5 weeks and have been in a walking boot since that time.

                      I went on vacation July 18th and I was on my feet more than I would have liked. My leg swelled up pretty good on those days. However the swelling easily went down each night by simply elevating my leg. I had a little pain in the leg as well but thought that was also related to being on my feet a a bit more and actually using my leg more than I had for past month and half.

                      Got back from my vacation August first. Put my foot up and the residual swelling from my vacation disappeared and I had absolutely no pain in my injured leg.

                      Then this past Thursday I got this sharp pain in my right rib cage that felt like a cramp or muscle strain. It wasn't that bad but after dinner I just couldn't get comfortable and I noticed that my heart rate was a bit elevated. It was also painfull when I tried to take a deep breath. Knowing that it was most likely a pulomonary embolism (PE)--a blood clot that got lodged in the blood vesels of my ling---- I went to the ER and ending up spending the next few days in the hospital. I have several PEs in my right lung and will now have to be on coumadin for 6 months.

                      This was kind of unexpected because my surgeon said that you are a young healthy active man (I am 37) and DVTs shouldn't be too much of a concern for you. The bottom line is that we are all at risk for DVTs with this injury and I am lucky to be sharing this with you today because PE (which is a very real adverse outcome of a DVT when a portion of that clot dislodges and floats up to your lungs) is the third most common cause of death in the US, with at least 650,000 cases occurring annually.

                      The bottom line is be careful with how much you do and pay attention to the signals your body is giving you. I most likely over did it on my vacation and paid the price. Overall, it is often very hard to determine wether you have a DVT but here are the symptoms (note with our injury we can except many of these to occur):

                      1. Swelling in one or both legs
                      2. Pain or tenderness in one or both legs, which may occur only while standing or walking
                      3. Warmth in the skin of the affected leg
                      4. Red or discolored skin in the affected leg
                      5. Visible surface veins
                      6. Leg fatigue
                      7. Weak or thready pulse in our foot.

                      Another indicator is the Homan's sign (passive dorsiflexion of ankle resulting in a sharp pain in the calf). The problem with this is that most of us cannot perform this test post op or post injury so there is no way of knowing.

                      Then if you have any of these seek attention quickly these are the signs of PE. (my pain felt like a pulled muscle but I knew I did not pull a muscle and I had a elevated heart rate but none of the other symptoms)
                      1. rapid heart rate
                      2. shortness of breath
                      3. chest pain
                      4. cough
                      5. pink sputum
                      6. felling of apprehension
                      7. sweating
                      8. light headedness

                      Happy healing.


                      • Gater
                        That was a close shave Gater. How did you know it was a PE? Did you fly at all? I had my op on 1 June so timeframe is similar.


                        • Ami,

                          I did fly. But I made sure that I moved around a lot or as much as I could. It has now been suggested by several MD friends that taking an aspirin the day is pretty good idea which I will be doing in the future.

                          In terms of knowing it was a PE. I am a nurse and have seen some of the subtle signs of PEs before and know how they can end up. I wasn't 100% sure that I had a PE, but everything logically pointed to that as a possibility. I looked over the my risk factors: recent surgery, inactivity, and recent airplane ride. Then even though I did have all the sysmptoms listed I had that felling that something was different about that the pain I was expereincing. I was not having trouble breathing, I jsut didn't feel right. So, I thought it is better to be safe than dead especially with a wife and 2 young kids at home.

                          I am just glad that I went in instead of doing what I normally do which is I will see how I am in the morning.


                          • GATER:

                            This ATR thing injury sure is fun!

                            My jaw hit the floor when I read your post. Good job you recognised the signs.

                            My ATR was on 22 May and I flew to Corfu on 7 July....did the flying have someting to do with it ? or am I paranoid?

                            Glad your ok


                            • Gater: I am also near your age 39... I am still in h..ll !!!!


                              • Originally posted by David G1

                                This ATR thing injury sure is fun!

                                My jaw hit the floor when I read your post. Good job you recognised the signs.

                                My ATR was on 22 May and I flew to Corfu on 7 July....did the flying have someting to do with it ? or am I paranoid?

                                Glad your ok
                                Not sure if the flying had anything to do with it but flying is a risk factor for developing DVTs even without the ATR.

                                I really did not mean to scare anyone too much. I just wanted to put DVTs and PE on everyone's radar screens because early detection of either is very important.

                                When I look back I keep asking myself did I miss something. How much swelling is ok, what type of pain should I wory about? I still do not know the answers to these.

                                The pain I was experiencing with my increased activity was around my suture line which I expected and will expect for sometime in the future. However, I did not have pain in my calf.

                                The swelling was similar to the swelling I had when I first got out of my fiberglass cast. It was generalized swelling from my foot up to my calf. My surgeon saw this swelling when I got out of my cast and was not concerned with it. So when the same pattern came back with my increased ambulation and time on my feet I did not get too concerned.

                                My tip is just pay attention to subtle changes and ask lots of questions of your health care providers.