Ruptured my Achilles Tendon

I don’t share many personal things here, but if there’s any group whose advice, experiences and tidbits I’d love to hear, it’s the SDMB members.

I had to play one last game of pickup basketball yesterday, and what a mistake. I was already fatigued from restarting my leg weight lifting after a hiatus the day before. But I felt pretty good after playing for about an hour. I lunged for the ball and felt like someone kicked me hard in the back of the leg. I fell and yelled at my friend for kicking me… Except he didn’t. It hurt, but not too badly. I got up and just couldn’t push off left foot. It felt kind on numb. Sat down on a chair and all 6 of us on the court quickly figured it out. There was a nice noticable Achilles tendon on the right angle, and basically nothing on the left. I felt for it and it was gone.

I was able to walk to my car, as I didn’t (and still don’t) have much pain

ETA: to be continued since I accidentally hit submit

Ow! I’m sorry you injured yourself. :frowning:

Holy crap, yowch! I hope you’ve gone to the ER! I’m guessing you’ll need surgery to reattach it. Owowow!

Say hello to several months in a cast. Geez Loueeze that sucks. I’m sorry.

… The only pain was when I pressed on the spot. I went home, showered, went to McDonalds to eat and then drove to the ER. Friends offered to drive but I was fine…it being the left leg was the blessing. At least I can drive!

ER confirmed full or partial tear. I suspect full. I live in NJ and work in NY so commuting on crutches tomorrow won’t be fun. I will need to call an orthopedic surgeon tomorrow from my United Healthcare plan. I suspect surgey will have to occur at some point. I’m hoping for an aggressive Ortho so I can get in a boot quickly. Crutches suck because you can’t carry anything! Never realized that my entire life until today.

I need to talk to the boss. Scary because we just had layoffs and we’re way too short on staff. I will try to get her to approve a new monitor and printer so that I can work from home. I suspect commuting will be forbidden at least for a couple days after surgery. Luckily my mom is in town for 2 more weeks to help with food and cleaning the house. After that, I’m on my own.

I’ve picked up on using the crutches pretty well. The most difficult part is not being able to carry anything. I realized I won’t even be able to carry a cup of coffee or a food tray. Positives are that its the left leg and that there’s no pain. I’m guessing pain will come after surgery.

Sorry to hear about it! A friend of mine at the office did this a bit ago…by walking to his car. :frowning:

Get a good backpack, with a drink holder. Get a travel mug with a good lid.

He had surgery, and worked from home for a week. When he came back, he was on a knee scooter like this. Last week he was able to move into a walking brace, and is back to using crutches.

It’s been a long road. YMMV, depending on how good of shape you are in, and your age.
If your doctor thinks you’ll be using something like that scooter, make sure to prepare your house before surgery.

Good luck!


I am bloody amazed you could walk if it was a full tear.

I did a rather unusual thing and managed to have symptoms of both a full and partial tear at the same time. I also started with a partial tear which was kinda painful but I managed to walk it off and felt fine within a half hour, then two weeks later had a full tear. No way I could walk it off and the pain kept getting worse until I was in the cast and full of drugs.

Up the top of the tendon it splits into two and joins the bone behind and below the knee and I did a full tear on the left portion. Usually it snaps down by the ankle.

Four weeks in a downward cast (toes pointing to the floor) then another four weeks in a walking cast (foot flat to the floor).

The worst part was when they had to change casts and push my foot into the new position. The nurse said it wuld feel like I was snapping the tendon all over again, but not to panic because that would make everything tighten up and risk actually snapping it.

I swear I was looking around for a baby afterwards. Last time I hurt like that, at least I got the kid out of it.

Best wishes for a speedy recovery and all that jazz. I was bored out of my skull and hobbled into work after two weeks.

[QUOTE=Jackknifed Juggernaut;15453058 Crutches suck because you can’t carry anything! Never realized that my entire life until today.


I’ve picked up on using the crutches pretty well. The most difficult part is not being able to carry anything. I realized I won’t even be able to carry a cup of coffee or a food tray. Positives are that its the left leg and that there’s no pain. I’m guessing pain will come after surgery.

I had Achilles surgery way back, and a walker can be your friend, if for no other reason than you can get a basket to put on the front to carry things. (Though I did have a Velcro cup holder on my crutches, which I used with travel mugs now and again.) Even if you just use it around the house, it can be very handy.

Been there, done that too (although it was my right leg). It’s supposed to be a lot more painful if you tear your calf muscle as well. I snapped mine trying to step someone while playing a muck around game of touch on a Sunday. Initially I thought it was a strange ankle sprain so went to work the next day and saw a doctor at lunch time. Then off ot the ER to get an ultrasound and be put in a cast. The ultrasound will show you whether you have a full or partial tear. Mine looked like an old-fashioned string mop - not pretty when compared to the intact one.

They tried a cast to see if it would reattach without surgery for a month, no dice so I had to have it stitched up. I only stayed one night in the hospital. Several more months (maybe three?) on crutches after that. The good thing is your shoulders will get a great workout for a few months…

Some tips for dealing with being on crutches.

Put a chair in the kitchen and drink your tea/coffee at the bench.
I gave up on showers (too hard to keep the cast waterproof), and just stuck my leg over the side while having a bath instead.
When you get back into shoes I found a slight heel insert good for several months after.

It still feels a bit tight from time to time, I’ve given up any sport that involves lots of lateral movement or quick changes in direction, but that’s probably a bit too conservative. Pretty impressive scar though!

They gave me 2 discharge papers when I left ER: 1 for a complete tear and one for a partial. They were a bit surprised at the lack of pain, but there was zero response when they did the “squeeze the calf” test. My online research shows no major differences in the treatment options and recovery for full or partial tears.

Thanks for the best wishes everyone. I will definitely ask about options to replace crutches. The only issue is that I have to deal with steps and escalators quite a bit in NY. And I use 3 floors of my house.

Not doubting you at all, just bloody amazed. And no pain either - [Life of Brian]You lucky, lucky bastard [/LoB].

Agree that there’s no difference in treatment.

Hmm, it sounds like many of you received pretty conservative treatment. I found some links that suggest that one should go right from the surgery into a boot.

Also, I’m taking showers with the splint on with this nifty shower sleeve I found at the drugstore. I bought 2 so i can get around in the rain.

My co-worker was walking for several days after his injury. His doctor was amazed.
I sense a trend.


Will your cast be above the knee? I’ve seen a few of these walkers in use by people in lieu of crutches. You could hang a drink holder off the handlebars.

Edit: Oh, I see that Eva Luna already mentioned them upthread, sorry.

Are these uncommon or is the injury milder than I expected? I thought it’d be quite major, like a broken bone, but no pain? walking around after? surgery only a few days later? and it can reattach by itself?

I’ve had a complete rupture on one side and a partial on the other. The complete hurt a lot, and the tendon rolled up like a window shade. I had drop-foot symptoms, couldn’t walk except for kind of flopping my foot out forward. I had surgery and was in a pointed toe cast for a couple weeks, then a bent ankle cast for a couple weeks, then a walking boot for a couple weeks. It’s fine now, but for where the took out the stitches too soon. I’ve got a nasty scar from that.

The partial didn’t hurt and I was walking. I had no insurance at the time, so no surgery. Wish I’d had surgery.

Sounds like you’ve got a partial.

Ouch. My achilles is fine, but based on various knee surgeries, a couple more crutches tips:

You’ll be able fairly soon to carry small things, even plates of food from the kitchen to the table/couch (shoulder/two fingers keeping the crutch in place, while the other two fingers hold the object). However bowls of soup don’t work as well. Plan on sticky foods unless you have someone to carry for you.

It takes longer to go any distance on crutches than it does to walk. You only go a little slower when you’re moving, but you’ll need to stop and rest every hundred yards or two (your muscles aren’t used to working that way over distance).

If you can get things wet, but can’t put weight on them, a milk crate with a towel on it (for padding) makes an OK shower seat. Careful getting in and out, of course – I’d bet the vast majority of re-injuring occurs in bathrooms – but it allows you to wash everywhere without standing up or having to raise and lower yourself into a bath

Don’t skimp on rehab! (Since you have done weight training, you’re probably going to be OK with it). Don’t go faster or slower than the protocol. IMHO, (since you have lifting experience) you don’t need to see the physical therapist three times a week; just once every two or three weeks to make sure you’re doing the exercises correctly, and do the real reps by yourself at the gym or at home.

Thanks for all the advice so far. I have my first appt. with the Ortho in 90 minutes and will provide an update.

Ortho confirmed a complete tear. No MRI necessary. He told me the benefits of surgical and non-surgical option. He left it to me decide since the Orthopaedics community seems to oscillate between the 2. The only downside of surgery is the potential infection issue, although this is rare. He said that the surgery is not a big deal and pretty simple. It will take about 40 minutes. He said that some elevation will be necessary but that I should try to get on my feet right away. Basically will be in a cast for about 2 weeks, then the boot right away. Should be able to walk in about 2 months. Back to normal might take 6 months. He wrapped me back up and they are searching for some OR times. NJ is crowded so its hard to get time in the OR. He said they will try for tomorrow, Thursday or Friday. He said he wouldn’t recommend taking long walks for at least 15 days. The doc is very renowned based on Google. Also he said not to worry about putting weight on the injured foot. He said it’s actually good to do that before and immediately after surgery as well.

Now I’m going for an alternate assessment for a younger Ortho who just opened up his practice 2 years ago. He was an assistant team doc for the Baltimore Ravens and Washington Nationals. He even worked on Ray Lewis! I’ll let you know what he says.

Wow - sounds promising. Best of luck.