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  1. #1
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    Bonking ... not feelin' well Achilles Tendon Rupture

    I had a complete achilles tendon rupture (non cycling related) about 2 1/2 weeks ago, with surgery 2 weeks ago. I wonder if any of you have had this injury and if you could tell me about your recuperation, how quickly you were back in the saddle and any tips you might have for me. Thanks. This sucks right now.

  2. #2
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    Aaargh!

    Now you've got me spooked. My right achilles tendon aches from time to time and since it is on my good leg, I have often think how terrible it would be to tear it.

    I hope you have a speedy recovery. It sucks being hurt when you are an active person. Keep up your spirits!

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the kind words. Didn't see this injury coming. My only advice is to keep them stretched and avoid quick sprints, if possible, which is how I blew mine out.

  4. #4
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    Rehab Achilles Rupture

    Quote Originally Posted by aussieklein
    I had a complete achilles tendon rupture (non cycling related) about 2 1/2 weeks ago, with surgery 2 weeks ago. I wonder if any of you have had this injury and if you could tell me about your recuperation, how quickly you were back in the saddle and any tips you might have for me. Thanks. This sucks right now.
    I feel for you man. I also suffered a complete achilles tear (racquetball) several years back. It was very inconvenient as the casting period was 3 months. There will be significant atrophy in the entire leg, (but less than when I suffered the injury) because they typically don't use a full length cast anymore for the first month. The calf will atrophy the most. Rehab must be done under the care of a qualified thereapist and will include lots of calf related exercises, stretching the tendon and calf muscles, and electrical stimulation/ultrasound treatments.

    Cycling on a stationary bike will be done almost immediately when the cast comes off but my therapist didn't want me on a road bike until about 6 weeks after the cast came off for fear I might plant my foot awkwardly and reinjure the tendon. I was mountain biking again after about the 8th or 9th month (after suffering the injury). You'll definitely feel pain on early mountain bike rides as the jarring will work muscles and joints that rehab. exercises won't cover. Just use common sense and listen to your body. Full recovery, for me anyway, was after about a year.

    You may recover faster. Pro athletes, following this injury, resume play in their respective sports after about 8 months but of course, they have round the clock treatments that you and I probably don't have access to.

    One good point. After this injury is all said and done, the injured tendon will be superior to the tendon on the other leg as the scar tissue formation actually increases the integrity of the tendon. To quote my physician, "You'll never rip this tendon again."

    Best wishes for a speedy recovery!

  5. #5
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    I completely ruptured mine about 5 years ago. Back then, they would put you in a cast for 90 days. For the first 30 days, the cast went half way up my thigh, and my ankle was cast at a 45 degree angle pointing down. For the second thirty days, it was the same cast, but they chopped it to just below my knee, so crutches were still mandatory due to the angle of my foot. For the last 30 days, they recast my leg from just below my knee, but this time changed the angle of my foot to flat, so I could walk with one of those slippers over the cast. So what I did, was mounted an SPD cleat to the bottom of the slipper(booty), and used to ride around on the road on my mountain bike, to get my quads back in shape. Once the cast was removed, I was back on the bike within 2 weeks. It would have been sooner, but it takes a while to get the range of motion back. Even today I have some real minor arthritis in the ankle first thing in the morning. I understand that now they put you in a soft boot for 6 weeks, but it also seems to take longer to recoup.

    Incidentally, I tore mine playing tennis. I am very diligent about stretching mine on a daily basis now. I had just turned 30 when I tore mine.

  6. #6
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    I'm sorry to hear about your injured Achilles’ tendon.
    I had a complete rupture May 27, 2005 and had surgery to reattach it 10 days later. I was riding a trainer one legged within a month of surgery. Unfortunately for me I developed a slight infection after surgery. It was touch and go as to go back into surgery to deal with the infection. I did not need to go back to surgery but it set the recovery back a month.
    I was in a walking boot for two months before I finally got permission to go to the physical therapist. I was not happy with my original therapist so I stopped going. I got lucky and found someone who knew what I needed as an active person and helped me develop an aggressive therapy program to get me back on the trails and back on the soccer field.
    I went to therapy 2x's per week for one hour per session. I also had home exercises which I did every day. I actually did twice the amount required by my therapist every day. I bought a small ice chest, filled it half way with water and the other half with ice. I would put my foot in as long as possible every night until the ice melted every day for a year. The ice helped recovery which gave me the opportunity to work out every day.
    I was riding my road bike with flat pedals in two months. My right leg had completely atrophied during the first two months. I literally had to learn to walk all over again. It took four months to get the feeling of balance back in the injured leg. I remember the feeling well, it was like wow! I can feel the ground again. Before that it was like carrying a club around.
    After six months of therapy I was discharged and went back to work as a carpenter. I had trouble on roofs but other than that I was ok on the job site. I could run and bike after six months of hard work.
    It takes a lot of time and effort but you can come back from this injury. I look back on where I was and where I am now and it's incredible. I run 9-12 miles per week, mountain bike 3 to 4 times per week, ride rollers with my road bike for an hour at a time when the weather is bad. I have been on 60 + mile road rides since the injury. I have been on 3-4 hour mt bike rides in Skeggs, demo, Wilder, Coe (Calif).
    Advice is to find a good physical therapist, listen to their advice and plenty of ice.
    By the way I just had my 50th birthday last October and bought myself my first full suspension Ellsworth Truth, yeah!
    PM me if you need any advice or have questions.
    Last edited by Dantley; 04-22-2007 at 09:10 AM.
    "Do or do not, there is no try." Yoda

  7. #7
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    Thanks for all your replies. I am glad to hear you are all back in the saddle, although the routes you had to take to get there are quite different. I am supposed to begin PT tomorrow, but I am also scheduled to come to the US on Feb 6. I am an American living in Sydney, where my wife works, but I work in Minneapolis and Cincinnati. I am supposed to be in Cincy for 3 weeks, so I will find a good PT near the office there. I am going stir crazy sitting around here in summer, no less. I know they will have me riding a stationary bike, but with all tha hills here I don't know that I'll be able to ride my road back until 4 months after the surgery, at least that is what the surgeon said. Thanks again for taking the time to let me know how it went for each of you. I'll keep you informed from this end. If anyone wants to come to Sydney with their bike in 6 months or so, let me know!

  8. #8
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    Hope you get back into things soon! The worst part of recovery is not being able to do the things you enjoy...

    I have a question about this achilles tendon rupture. Did any of you that had this happen have any warning, or was it just a freak fall or sudden move that ripped it? Mine's been a little sore for a while and I'm thinking maybe I should see a doc.

    Az

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    Quote Originally Posted by Az Barber
    Hope you get back into things soon! The worst part of recovery is not being able to do the things you enjoy...

    I have a question about this achilles tendon rupture. Did any of you that had this happen have any warning, or was it just a freak fall or sudden move that ripped it? Mine's been a little sore for a while and I'm thinking maybe I should see a doc.

    Az
    Thanks Az. Mine happened suddenly when I took off on a sprint in bare feet. I had been riding 60 kms a day when in Australia with no problems. The only thing I can think of that may have been a warning is I was a little flatfooted in the morning when I first got up. I'd go see a good orthopod as you want to avoid what the rest of us have gone through, if possible. Good luck!

  10. #10
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    I had plenty of warning that I chose to ignore. I had sore achilles for a couple years from playing soccer. I would go easy on the soccer and the soreness would go away.
    When it actually ruptured it was a surprise but looking back it shouldn't have been.

  11. #11
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    Achilles Tendon Rupture

    Oh man ! Mine ruptured in sept. but didnt have surgery til mid nov. 8 weeks in a cast. 4 weeks in a boot. I start pt next week . Can't wait to get on the mtb. Doc told me could be along time depending on how PT goes, I'M a old dude 42, and waited too long for surgery.Keep us posted on your progress.

  12. #12
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    Why such a long time between the injury and surgery BIG JOHN?

  13. #13
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    Achilles Tendon Rupture

    First week or so hoping it would get better. Then when i decided i had better get it looked at, had issues with insurance. my company has really poor insurance! VERY EXPENSIVE operation.soooooooooo happy to be off the crutches!! I was told to listen to the doc to prevent re-injuring it,so i am all ears .but cant wait to start the pt,and riding again.

  14. #14
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    Ouch! Sorry to hear that John. Insurance is great, until you need it! I am curious how much your surgery cost. The reason I ask is I'm a US citizen living in Australia for the last 3 years. Everyone who is a citizen or permanent resident of Australia has their health care provided by the government. I am a temporary resident, so I'm not covered, but do have insurance through my wife's company. There are both public and private hospitals here as people can get health insurance on top of the care provided by the government. Anyway, I had my surgery done at a private hospital, which is not supported by the government in any way. The cost was as follows: surgeon-$A1155, hospital- $A1800 including overnight stay, anesthesiologist-$A700. 1 Australian dollar is worth approximately .78 USD. Anyway I was guessing (uneducated) that the surgery in the US might cost approximately $20,000.00, so I wonder how far off I am. Please don't feel obliged to tell me if you're not comfortable. By the way the surgeon here is a great guy, former Waallaby player (national rugby team) who used to be one of the team doctors for the Cleveland Browns, Indians and Cavilers in the late 1980's. I really lucked out finding him because finding a surgeon who isn't on vacation from Dec. 20 to mid to late January is almost impossible. It's not a knock on them, it is just the way it is during summer and the "festive season", as they call it here. A neighbor of ours is a retired doctor and he got the surgeon to see me the same day he called (which was the surgeons first day back from vacation) and to perform surgery the next day. Otherwise, I might still be waiting and, as you know, that is not the preferred way to go. Anyway I wish you all the best and a speedy recovery. I hope your PT goes well. Mine has started off slowly, but I think that's the way the surgeon wants to do it for now. Sorry for going on and on. Keep us posted on your recovery BIG JOHN.

  15. #15
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    Well Man I'd Have To Look It Up But My Part Was 5k.boy That Hurt Too, But It's All Good,look At The Posts Here, Some Got It Alot Worse, I Will Post About Pt Progress.

  16. #16
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    I ruptured mine in July 2003, right after I turned 40 (welcome to the club). Similar story. Playing tennis. Big first acceleration to go for a short ball. No big pop, but the feeling of multiple rubber bands popping as I fell face first. No big pain really, but I pretty much knew what I had done. Had surgury a week later to repair (August 1). Was in an aircast on crutches for six weeks. Off crutches another two. Followed by some rehab. I was actually back riding my mountain bike by Christmas, albeit with the instructions not to stand up and hammer. Slow process to build strength and endurance back up, but it will come. Bigger issue to me was/is the mental side. I don't want to go through that again, so I am a little paranoid now when something doesn't feel right.

  17. #17
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    I know exactly what you mean. I sure as hell don't want to go through this again and I can bet none of the other guys does. I didn't have much pain either, both after the injury and the surgery. It is funny though when you see people and they ask about your injury and you tell them, they always get this horrified look on their faces. No good comes out of this injury, in my opinion. The trick is to not do it again and I admit to being concerned about the other one as I hop around in my present state with all my weight on my "good" ankle.

  18. #18
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    It is a tough injury to over come mentally and physically. The hardest part is learning patience. My first instinct after recovering from the surgery was to go out and work as hard as possible to get back to walking and riding. Wrong! My leg muscles were virtually nonexistent. Probably the most work was building those back up with out injury to another part of my body. It's amazing how much the entire right side of my body had wasted away in two months of inactivity.
    I can look back now and laugh at my whining and complaining on how hard it was to do simple things. In all honesty, the rupture was probably the best thing to happen to me. I was sliding into middle age, gaining weight and riding less and less. After the injury I decided I wasn't going to let down the people who had supported me in my recovery. I had a friend who was a physical therapist and had one of his staff members see me for free. My wife and daughter were extremely patient with me the whole time. I had to go to my daughter's high school graduation on crutches a week after surgery and I know that I took a lot of the spotlight away from her even though I tried not to. Due to the loss of balance I dropped and broke a couple of my wife's collectables by accident and she was so nice about it, I felt horrible.
    I had plenty of support and am trying to pay it back by being fit and healthy the rest of my life as an example to others.
    Keep your head up, keep working, you can come back from this injury, lots of people do.

  19. #19
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    Yeah My Goal Too Dantley. Going To Get Fit And Stay Around As Long As Possible. I Had Just Started To Ride Regularly Again,was Lifting,after Getting Lazy.popped Mine Playing Volleyball.patience,patience,patience

  20. #20
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    Go for it Big John! Keep me posted on the progress.
    I was playing soccer when mine ruptured.
    "Do or do not, there is no try." Yoda

  21. #21
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    You are an inspiration Dantley! No doubt about coming back, it's just for the last year I've been riding more than I have in a long long time. No mas, at this time. Them's the breaks. I'm off to Minneapolis and Cincinnati for the next month so I'll get the traveling with crutches thing down. Thanks all of you for your stories and positive outlooks.

  22. #22
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    Hi,

    I completely ruptured my achilles tendon last wednesday (06/06/07) playing soccer-pushed off on left foot,heard 'pop' went to ground.The First aider at the sports complex advised to put ice on it an leave it raised!!The cheek!I knew it was my achilles,confirmed in casualty by Docs.Went back in next day to have smaller cast fitted BUT the doctor talked me into non surgical route!This was not due to any medical reasons - Im 27,fit and healty-so stressed now about not getting surgery.I know its not too late so looking for second opinon.I have lost a lot of weight in short space of time,started cycling (LEISURELY) and playing football an badminton.The day it happened I actually ran around more than I had in ages an with 5 minutes to go I dont my achilles!Was about to offer to go in goal to catch a breather but thought might aswell see out the last 5 mins before injury happebd!Sods law!

    Now not sure about surgery.Also worried about re-injury.

  23. #23
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    Hi Shamim,
    I am sorry to hear about your Achilles. I did my right Achilles playing soccer in mid Feb. I had surgery the next day and am just now walking with one crutch. I am surprised, that for one, that you seem to be quite young for this injury (It usually happens to old dudes like me i.e. 40s and I think its about 80% male to 20 %female). I guess its one of those freak things. Secondly, I am surprised that the doctor would not insist on surgery. If you leave it and it rejoins, there is no way to know if it will join that the proper location. Also, it is important to have surgery fairly soon after the injury because otherwise the tendon will retract into the calf and make the surgery more difficult. I would suggest that you get a second opinion. Best wishes.

  24. #24
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    Sorry you did that Mate. Your doctor must be a Kiwi! My doctor, an Aussie, says they hardly ever do the surgery over the ditch in NZ. He told me a number of All Blacks have not had surgery and recuperated. The downside is the rupture rate is, according to my Dr. 50% higher without the surgery plus the recuperation time is longer. Maybe there is a a correlation between your relative youth and successful no surgery outcomes. I know they almost always do the surgery down here and in the US. I agree with powerhd, if your going to have surgery do it soon, for the reason he states. I was told 10 days on the outside. On the plus side I did mine in on Jan 5 and had the surgery Jan 9. I can walk normally and will be back in the saddle in 1 month. Despite what others may say take the recovery easy. I have heard of more people pushing themselves and stretching the thing too much too soon. If you stretch it too much you are a gimp without further surgery. From what I've heard with the surgery it is 6-12 months till full recuperation. There are some other threads in here where guys are riding their bikes 2-3 months after surgery. From what I have experienced and learned that is nuts. No matter who you are the AT is a slow healer because it has relatively little blood supply. I'm no Dr. so I don't really know, but a second opinion from a respected surgeon very soon can't hurt you. All the best.

  25. #25
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    Hey Aussie:

    Sorry to hear that. I ruptured mine about 12 years ago - karate. Remember that is a non-weight bering cast for the duration and keep it elevated.

    As far as my experience w/physical therapy. I found that the easiest muscles to rehab are the quads and the biceps phemorous (right above your HAMMIE) most difficult is the foot, but it is the most important muscle group to focus on in the beginning. If your foot stays weak, then it is far more difficult to rehab your calf. But I felt just as strong about a year and a half after the initial injury and was biking and doing wind sprints less than a year after. Just get on the rehab as soon as you can and don't stop until your back.

    Good luck!

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