I live in Perth, Western Australia.
I have a fully torn/ruptured achilles but can still hobble around and have little pain.
It has been over 3 weeks already and I have the option of surgery or conservative treatment to be made on Tuesday 6/3/07. Initially my physio thought it was just a calf strain and it would get better.
My first bit of advice is to go straight into a doctor and get the appropriate checks and ultrasound to confirm the degree of damage as early as possible.
When it happened it felt like someone had martial arts kicked me in the back of the lower leg, could hardly move on it and lots of swelling. Sure signs something is up if it ever happens to you!
I am leaning towards surgery, as I am told it has the best statistical outcome for recovery and reduction in chance of re-ruptures later on.
I did it after dancing in a very energetic way at a night club for 3 hours.
I am 34, fit and healthy and like everyone else wondering why it has happened to me.
I personally think the mental effects of something like this at times can be greater than the physical ones.
I have certainly been doing a lot of soul searching and growing up over the last 3 weeks and to make matters worse, I am also going through a separation with my wife (1/1/07).
Rather than sink into a pit of despair, I'm trying to stay positive and thought it would be good to start a support group online and hopefully get some good news stories from people who have been through or just about to go through the same experience.
I'll be logging on as much as possible and providing updates on my progress.
Looking to hear from anyone who can say they have been through it all and come out the other side.
Hello everyone again,
I forgot to mention that I have heard the following from my surgeon (1/3/07).
If anyone has any updates on this, please post so we can all see and compare.
This might only be applicable in Australia but here goes.
Surgery = 4% approx chance of re-rupture.
Surgery = Very high chance of full recovery strength in leg (98% plus?)
Conservative method (no surgery) = 12% approx chance of re-rupture.
Conservative = 10% approx loss of power on average for rest of life?
I'm sure each person is different and there are inherent risks with any surgery, including infection and general anesthetic.
The above are only averages so could be better or worse depending on allot of factors.
Would like to hear more stats if anyone has access to real research material.
Hi Damian........am 8 weeks post opp, i live in the UK, and most of what you said is the same here. I Would go for the surgery as they say 3 to 6 months for recovery....and 12 months with out. and thats if your lucky,....you still might need surgery then....I did have a complete rupture and did it on the 14/12/06...left it three weeks, thinking i could walk it of , but nooooooo way., had the opp on the 3/1/07....(it felt as if i,d been shot from behind). spent 2 weeks in a back cast, then 6 weeks in a boot called a rom......told to leave it off last wednesday, and been walking without crutches since then. Still walk with a limp, leg aches at end of the day. There is still a lot of scare tissue around ankle. I have made other posts in some of the other threads, (plezzz take a luck) but dont take all whats said in them, and others, coz you,ll end up on a downer......hope you have a quick recovery and you get back to your boogying...lol......
Thanks for your post and encouragement, it does make a difference to know other people who are going through the same thing are making some good progress.
I will be interested to continue to hear how you go over time (seeing you are so far ahead of me). Sounds like your recovery is fairly rapid but as we all know, it's good to take it easy and not rush anything.
I'm off to speak with my orthopedic surgeon again today and give him the green light to go ahead with the surgery. Agree with your comments, I want a fast recovery and the best outcome, seems to me that surgery is best. Almost everyone bar one I spoke to said go for surgery, including my Physio, who said he had a 40 year old (in 2006) have a very fast recovery and actually go back to playing squash (scary!) after surgery. My physio felt that with surgery I should get back to around 95% to 98% of full original strength.
Just looking forward to being normal again and back into society.
Take care and talk soon,
Damien, good to hear that you're going with surgery. I'm 20 months post op and in good shape. As long as you take your time with your recovery you will be dancing very soon. I started dancing after about 4-5 months post op. I'm not much of a dancer though . I felt the same way that you did when I first ruptured my achilles, I was only 25 when it happpened. The doctor said it was a combination of ignoring soreness and rarely stretching before doing physical activities that can cause that to happen. I injured mine playing basketball which I used to play everyday. Did you ever feel any soreness in your achilles before your injury?
Elmo - Looks like your doing great in your recovery! I had just got out of a plastered cast at 8 weeks and you're already walking!! That's awesome, you're going to limp for a short while but you'll notice a bit a progress each week. It'll start to get a little easier for you and then eventually you'll walk normal. Does your foot still swell up at the end of the day?
I wish for both of yall a speed recovery. If you have any questions at all please reply I check these forums daily.
I ruptured my achilles in July 2006. I know how you feel.
Iwas running sprinting in the parents race at my daughters sports day. Complete rupture. I had conservative treatment.
10 weeks in cast to the knee and 6 weeks in a walking boot with heel lifts.
Just to show you things do get better. I can now walk limp free, I am wearing heels(I forgot to say I am a woman and these things matter) I am still having Physio because my ankle is a bit tight at times. This is because there is still some scar tissue in the area. But let me tell you I was down depressed and thought I would never be able to walk properly. but I can, and I am sure you will. Just don't rush it ask the health professionals as many
questions as you want to. Dont't be fobbed off. Let people help you and before you know it you will be on the mend.
Good luck and keep us posted on your your progress.
All the best
UPDATE: Went to Orthopedic surgeon yesterday 6/3/07, have given him permission to go ahead with the surgery and filled out my hospital admission forms. We talked about the procedure, which takes around 1 hour from being cut open to stitched closed. I have been told I will also get a Remote Block, which helps with the pain and is anesthetic at a particular nerve location in the leg to reduce the transmission of pain. I will also be given a self pain medication machine (morphine) post op, press the button and it relieves the pain without having to ask the nurse etc, it's administered via the drip line. My local GP has already given me some low dose sleeping tablets which should help me sleep better with the cast on while in hospital and at home. My surgeon thinks I'll be out the next day after surgery but would be ok with me staying one more day if I felt I needed it. I should find out by phone if I go in tomorrow 8/3/07 or have to wait until Saturday for my surgery 10/3/07. I am told the best way to reduce infection is to make sure I keep my leg elevated (top of toe is in line with nose) so the sweeling isn't as bad.
QUESTIONS: How did people go sleeping in bed, did you find it very difficult, did you have lots of elevation of the leg while sleeping? I'm sorta scared about the shower and toilet arrangements, wondering if I need something for the bed, or if getting up on crutches was OK for everyone. Not sure how much time I'll be able to spend at the computer initially in my study, if I haven't posted it's because I'm still recovering after my surgery but will come back as soon as practical.
RESPONSES: Thanks to sentence and dougdigital for there replies so far.
Sentence, interesting you had the conservative treatment and looks like you are mostly back to normal. Agree with how depression can strike, hoping people can read this forum, know things will get better and reduce the sadness and fear as much as possible. I have a technique of just trying to be in the NOW/present moment, helps me a alot. It's still a rollercoaster and comes very soon after my separation with my wife, a double whammy but hell I am going to be one strong person after all of this is over.
Dougdigital, 25 when your AT went, must have been really tough, a real loss of immortality sets in and a feeling of fragility occurs, a real growing up is felt and I suppose we feel more careful about sports and activities forever more! Would never have expected this to happen, always felt I was fit enough and strong enough to do what I
wanted, especially dancing. I never felt any soreness in my AT before injury, on the night of injury I felt I might have had a slight twist of the ankle but it certainly didn't bother me. Possibly an early warning sign I should have headed. I did from time to time get cramp in both calf muscles if I was pushing myself (cycling, dancing) but I would just back off and rest and all would be well. Maybe that could be a warning sign as well, who knows, my physio friend thinks I could have fatigued the AT that day, as I'd done a lot of exercise (gym, walking, dancing) and probably should have been smarter. Ahhh hindsight is a wonderful thing...LOL...anyone got a time machine lying around!
UPDATE: I go into hospital at 9:30am tomorrow (8/3/07). My surgery should take place in the afternoon, about to head off to bed shortly and get a good nights rest. My sister is taking me in and staying with me while it all takes place. Very thankful for that!
If you take St Johns Wort, by all accounts it can effect some treatment, so my advice, don't have it at least 24 to 48 hours before you go under for a general anesthetic.
Catch you all on the other side, will be away for a few days but will be ready to update you all again once able! Stay positive everyone! Hope everyone's AT recoveries are going as well as can be expected....Damian
Hi Damian again, glad to hear your having surgery, it will go ok, you probably wont read this till your had your opp. My opp lasted about an hour and a half, stayed in 1 night, felt fine to go home the following day, with no pain. Sleeping is ok. I found It no problem, and i had very little pain, after surgery. Yes i elevated it for the first 2 weeks, have a bath with your leg hanging out, it worked for me (friends never said i stunk anyway.lol) thats when your in a cast, after that ,if you have a boot you can take it off, have a shower of bath. BE CAREFUL NOT TO SLIP, we dont want to damage the repair, as some one has in another thread. Toilet is no problem either. Hope evething goes ok GOOD LUCK in your recovery
I'm glad to hear that you're getting the surgery. I know it will go well. My surgery last around an hour and I was allowed to go home on the same day. I had very little pain as well. You will want to keep it elevated as much as possible. I did the same thing as Elmoblue as far as taking a bath. Sleeping was easy, I just took about 2 or 3 pillows to use for elevation. I would put one pillow under the thigh and two under the calf to create a gradual incline. You'll find using the toilet simple as well. The doctor encouraged me to do leg lifts about twice a day to strengthen your leg. It doesn't really speed up the healing process but your leg will quickly adjust to wearing a cast.
The injury was definitely a wake-up call and it made me grow up. Now, before I do any kind of exercise I will stretch anywhere from 15-30 minutes and I will also stretch for about 10 minutes after the exercise. If I feel any tightness or discomfort in my achilles now I usually cease whatever I was doing. I haven't felt any discomfort however in a long time. I hope your surgery goes great along with your recovery. Keep us updated.