Thursday, 10 March 2011

Update 2011

I thought I would post an update just to let others going through the same experience know about my situation, now 21 months after the original injury, and to give a brief synopsis of my recovery.

I believe I was very lucky, in that I was in a cast for only around 6 weeks, after which I walked with a limp for a couple of months and was back on the dancefloor within 6 months. According to my physiotherapist I could have done so a couple of months before that, if I had wanted. So for me, luckily, the injury healed very quickly.

21 months on I am still very wary of jumping/leaping explosively, but in other ways am not affected by the injury. My left (injured) tendon is noticeably thicker than the right one, perhaps because I did not massage it as often as I should have done, but apart from that there are no noticeable differences.

I am glad I opted not to have surgery. I didn't want to risk post-operative infection. I also have a friend who received less than good treatment from my local hospital (and in fact died last year, partly through neglect). I also don't like the rather chaotic atmosphere there - it hardly inspires confidence.

Maybe if I had private medical insurance I might have opted to have had the surgery, but as a believer in the body's amazing capacity for self-healing, I also wanted to put it to the test.


  1. Thank you very much for sharing your experience, I searched all over the net for four weeks and your blog is the first one I found with someone that opted not to have surgery like I did. Friday March 18th will be the fifth week since my injury. My cast was just removed this past Monday March 14. I was given a big bulky aircast, but I don't feel confortable in it and am planning to go back tomorrow morning to see if they can give me a lighter aircast.

  2. Hi.. I ruptured my achilles tendon playing basketball back in Jan 2011. Could be from playing too long since it was my 3rd game of the night or not stretching properly or maybe of my low top shoes. But I didn't go to the doc until 15 days after and tried to walk it off.

    At my doctor's visit he said he recommended the non surgical treatment. So I was assigned to wear a cast for 4 weeks. Used crutches, showered with a bag, and continued going to school.

    After the 4 weeks I went to see the doc again and they took off the cast and assigned me to wear a removable cam walker boot for 6 weeks. It had 3 heel lifts where I had to remove one every two weeks. I wore the shoes every day even when I slept, but took them off when showering.

    After 4 weeks wearing cast, and 6 weeks wearing removable boot I had the boot completely flat. At the doctor's visit he said to start walking without the crutches and only use the boot outdoors as it has become optional now. They assigned me self physical therapy exercises to do at home 2-3 times a day.

    Now a little over 2 weeks I've let go the crutches, walking without a boot, but still walking with a slight limp. Pain is not bad, and tendon on the left still shows differences in sizes. But you can now start to feel the tendon on that area.

    Foot/Ankle still swollen after walking a lot and pain after I wake up in the morning.

    Walking long distances I still walk very slowly.

    Graham.. when you were recovering and took off the shoes did you start wearing hi tops, cross trainers, or what type of shoe did you wear? Did you have pain waking up in the mornings? And how long did the limp last?

    So far It's been Since Jan 2011 since the injury.. but I'm pretty patient so I know by the 6th month mark I'll feel better at most.

  3. Thanks for the info in this blog it is very informative and encouraging. I completely ruptured my Achilles tendon about 3 1/2 weeks ago doing Taekwondo training.

    I was put in an aircast boot straight away with 5 heel wedges and told I could partially weight bear straight away and slowly build it up. I currently have pains in my calf but am slowly getting more agile walking in the boot.

    I am due to see the consultant after 6 weeks them start removing 1 wedge per week up to 10 weeks where I hope I can remove the boot.

    The biggest problem I find is not being able to drive as its my right leg and am currently looking at options about Taekwondo training again as I have done this for 20 years but I dont want to risk going through this again.

  4. I have found your blog very interesting. I am 79 and ruptured my AT dancing last September. Unfortunately it was not correctly diagnosed until Christmas. Incompetent GP's and a sports physio. When I finally saw a consultant in January he put me in an airboot, and last week I was finally taken out of it. I'm still seeing a physio and exercising, but my ankle is still swollen and I get some pain, so it was reassuring to learn that this seems to be quite normal. I'd be interested in learning how you are now. I guess at 79 healing will take even longer.

  5. I am 65 and was otherwise very fit till I completely snapped my L AT 10 days ago. Thank you Graham for publishing your story as it a great help and reassurance to us newbies! I also found this youtube item helpful:

    I am in Nova Scotia, Canada and opted for the conservative route. My cast will be removed at 2 weeks and I am to be booted at that visit. The protocol I was given I can start protected wt bearing with crutches at 25% increasing 25%/wk to 100% in wk 5-6. It has been very helpful having the road map given to me near the beginning so I know what to expect so that it gets me back to normal sporting activities at 6 months.

    Interestingly I had very little pain after the cast was applied in the first week. Now in the second week I find that when I first get up in the morning the calf is quite sore. Also if the foot is down ( dependent ) for too long. But this may be because I am doing more and I find that when doing some things like going down stairs on crutches, I am unconsciously tightening the calf muscle.

  6. Hi, Thanks for sharing your story. It is for sure helping us. Thanks.

  7. It is now an additional two years later - is your Achilles still good (I hope!)?

    You may want to check out the Preventing Achilles Tendon Injury page of my web site, which was just updated based on an analysis of a ton of peer reviewed medical research papers.

    Neither of us want a re-occurrence of our Achilles tendon injury!

  8. Thank you for asking - nearly 4 years on from the original injury my Achilles is completely fine, apart from the slight difference in strength between it and the non-injured one.

    And thank you for the link to your Achilles website - it looks very useful and informative.

    I still find dancing a very good form of exercise for the legs, but the group I have attended for a couple of years stopped in December which is frustrating, so I'm considering running my own again.

  9. Hi Graham,

    Thanks so much for this blog, as all have said, it really helps to find confirmation that the conservative route works. I am at 7 weeks in a boot and have dropped to one wedge at 6 weeks, walking on the boot is a bit uncomfortable but getting better. I didn't expect that it would be perfect again but it is good to know that you say that you have almost original strength and that you recovered so quickly. Everyone told me I should have had surgery rather..... not for me tks.
    Once again, thanks for the blog,

  10. Hi Graham,

    Thank you for posting this. My Orthopedist is pushing hard for surgery but the voice in the back of my head is telling me to go the conservative route. I haven't found much information on non-operative approach (from a personal perspective) so your blog is a blessing. Thank you!

  11. Hi guys. I am in the same shoe now. I just ruptured my right AT twp days ago and i decided to go for conservative method. (As my background, i ruptured my left AT 5 years ago...sigh....and i treated that with surgical way)
    I am in a cast now and the injured part hurts when my injured leg is down. I am not sure if that is normal or not......