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Old 06-22-2013, 09:08 AM   #1
tigerboy OP
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Achilles Tendon ruptured, how soon before back on the bike?

I managed to rupture the Achilles tendon in my right foot a couple weeks ago, just running around the house. No, I wasn't out riding, nor doing anything cool, I was turning a corner, and it must have been the way my foot landed and twisted because I heard a SNAP! in my right foot and I immediately knew I tore something. I was even wearing proper footwear, not like I was running around barefoot. And the funny thing was, it wasn't especially painful.

So, I rushed to ER, had surgery the next day, overnight stay in the hospital to allow the freezing to wear off, and I have been hobbling around on crutches ever since. They put my foot in a brace and bandaged it up. I had pain/soreness for about 3 days following surgery and it subsided after that. Now, the only pain I'll have is when I slip on my crutches causing my right foot to put weight on it by accident. I hope this doesn't happen too often.

Yesterday they removed the stitches/staples and I got a special boot for this kind of injury to help with the healing process. It's supposed to keep my foot/ankle in place, and I'm to wear it while I sleep.

The recovery is long. Almost two weeks later, I feel some motion back in my right foot, but it's obvious it has a long way to go before I can put weight on it. I have lots of swelling in my foot, which they say is normal, so I'm taking the boot off for an hour or two each day and applying an ice pack to the swollen area to hopefully reduce this side effect.

I tried searching this forum for this kind of injury but I couldn't find much recent, so I'd like to ask riders here who might have gone through this, how fast they recovered and how soon they got back into riding, perhaps sharing some trials and tribulations.

Conservatively, I expect my entire summer riding plans to be shot, and the soonest I might be comfortable in riding again would be no sooner than Sept. Kinda sucks doesn't it, but what can you do, except treat the recovery with care and do EVERYTHING the doc tells you to.

Because it was my right foot and with this special boot, I can't even drive my car, so I have to ask friends to get me around.

In a way I was lucky. This freak accident happened at home, so I was handy to the local hospital. I can't imagine the nightmare if I was far away from home on a trip. So, if it had to go, it couldn't have happened anyplace better. The only positive thing I can say about this.

** Note to Mods ** I wasn't sure where to post this, please feel free to move to a more appropriate sub-forum.
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Old 06-22-2013, 09:48 AM   #2
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If your doctor asked/asks you to do special exercises, PT, stretches, or anything, DO THEM EXACTLY AS YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO. It might hurt, but it's the only way to heal properly.

I have never inured my achilles, but have had other injuries that keep me from doing things I like to do. It always sucks. Sorry to hear of your woes.
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Old 06-22-2013, 10:12 AM   #3
daveinva
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GF broke her ankle last October. Minor break, no surgery, but she was in a cast for six weeks, a boot for six weeks after that, and physical therapy for six weeks after that (and that was just to strengthen the muscles that atrophied from no use-- there wasn't any damage to tendons or the like).

She *just* started riding again in April. Her ankle still hurts from time to time, and is expected to hurt for up to a year after the break, and will probably tell her when it's going to rain for the rest of her life.

I imagine an Achilles will be comparably long.
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Old 06-22-2013, 04:10 PM   #4
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Happened to a friend and at first he had some less than ideal surgery which set back his recovery. Overall, from memory he was unable to ride for the best part of a year. Negotiating his front steps and getting in and out of his car were very difficult during his time on crutches.

He's a big bloke and as he came back to riding he told me it was the first time in his life he was aware of the weight of his R1100GS.

It's a nasty injury and healing is slow and as far as I know it ought not be rushed.

Best wishes for a full and timely recovery.
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Old 06-22-2013, 08:40 PM   #5
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6 months is not uncommon for return of "regular" activity. I dont suppose you took cipro recently did you?

D
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Old 06-22-2013, 09:23 PM   #6
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I tore a ligament in my ankle. Did physical therapy for quite some times. After several months of it and after I had all the moves and stretches under control, I was told to do them daily at home. Took the time to do them twice a day instead of just once. It was my left ankle. After 10 months, it was riding season again and I went for a ride. Sifting gears was hurting me bad. So I did a lot of freeway that year. 1 1/2 later, I could still feel it...
I'm fully recovered now, so there is hope. Just be patient and take your physical therapy very seriously.
But like it was said earlier, somehow it will always be something to remind you of your injury. For me, it's cold air on my ankle... Few minutes of it (like floor vent in a car) and my ankle hurts like hell.

Good luck and speedy recovery.
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Old 06-22-2013, 09:26 PM   #7
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I tore mine pretty good when I was about 9 years old or so. No surgery, but I was on crutches for about 2 months. Kid's heal faster, so I'd guess your riding plans are shot for the summer. And it does hurt BAD when you accidentally put weight on it, I remember that .

Good luck with the recovery.
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Old 06-23-2013, 05:15 AM   #8
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I had a complete rupture of my left Achilles Tendon back in 2001. I would plan on at 6 months before you start riding again and maybe longer depending on how it feels. At the 6 month point I was still feeling tentative on it and still didn't have the max range of motion I would eventually end up with but I was back to running and jumping (parachuting) at work...just being real careful. About 12 months after surgery I felt like I was at 100%, or at least as close as I would get.

Can't stress the importance of following the doctor's or physical therapists guidance on exercise and stretching.
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Old 06-23-2013, 05:59 AM   #9
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Sorry to hear about your injury. That sounds rough.

I had a partial rupture in my left achilles 4 years ago, I was able to ride my bike a couple of weeks after the injury, but it takes forever to heal properly. it has only been this past year that I have been relatively pain free.

The main thing is to give yourself time to heal, do your pt and try to get back to where you were.

Now, once you do get close to that stage then you have to figure out what caused it. Because, IMHO, there will be a reason. There will be a biomechanical reason why this happened.

Mine was caused by a lack of range movement in my hips and tension carried in my glutes, hamstrings and calfs, caused by a sedentary life and too much crazy. If you have a restriction somewhere, your body is clever enough to work around the issue for a while, but eventually there will be a point that fails. In my case my achilles.

I do not know your background but can I recommend a good movement or running coach. Look to move to a lower drop (heel to toe raise) shoe and start to learn to move how your body should. Stretch (yoga, tai-chi), and train your body back in to how it should be. Check out MobilityWOD, cracking videos for rehab. Figure out the underlying issue and correct it.

I wish you luck, heal fast!

Take care.
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Old 06-23-2013, 06:37 AM   #10
green hell
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i've had two surgeries to lengthen my left achilles' tendon, and the third to remove bone spurs and reconstruct what was left of the peroneal tendon.

the two lengthenings required 8~12 weeks in a cast, and recovery was slow afterwards. and that's when i was fairly young. now that we're all old and cranky these injuries can take as much as a year before you feel 100%.

the most recent surgery was 3 weeks in a cast, 3 in a boot. it was several weeks after removing the boot that the ankle felt good enough to putt around on my lightest bike.







good luck and heal quick!
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Old 06-23-2013, 12:27 PM   #11
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I can barely write"ruptured" and "Achilles" in the same sentence since I severed mine playing basketball with my kids... One thing that I think goes understated is the mental effect this injury has, i was a complete basket case, claustrophobia, etc, at least i quit taking that devil drug hydrcidone. many I have spoken with have questioned the fact that they would ever have a full recovery, as many sportscasters repeatedly refer to it as a "career ending injury". Though the recovery time is abnormally long compared to even a multiple fracture, rest assured that the repaired tendon will be stronger than before. You may have to be a bit choosy in your choice of footwear, as your repaired Achilles will be approx twice as thick as before and easily irritated. I'm somewhat ashamed to admit in this forum that, though I ruptured my right foot, I drove by throwing my leg over the console and used my left to accelerate/brake, YMMV.

Give yourself a solid 8 months; this injury is a booger, but you'll be back doing ballet before you know it.
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Old 06-23-2013, 12:55 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tigerboy View Post
In a way I was lucky. This freak accident happened at home, so I was handy to the local hospital. I can't imagine the nightmare if I was far away from home on a trip.
I had to drive a sitck shift car 4hrs home when my right achilles was ruptured. Worst part of that was at the ski area they set my foot in a right angle cast so I could drive, rather than extended so the ends of the tendon could touch. Stayed like that a few days til I could see a doctor back home.

Wasn't driving a stick shift car for a few months after that.

Less than 5 months later I was in the mountains climbing again.

Some time between those points I expect riding would have been fine. If you have an automatic bike and it's your left achilles, why not ride now?

I bicycled pretty much the entire time (wearing the metal boot).
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Old 06-23-2013, 12:59 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by wolfboy View Post
I had a partial rupture in my left achilles 4 years ago, I was able to ride my bike a couple of weeks after the injury, but it takes forever to heal properly. it has only been this past year that I have been relatively pain free.
Have you had PT? The painful kind that removes scar tissue adhesions? I was pretty much pain free within 5 months after my full achilles rupture.

I've got a partial tendon tear in my arm that's been painful for longer. Maybe partial can take longer than full when we continue to use it?
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Old 06-24-2013, 12:05 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by davidji View Post
Have you had PT? The painful kind that removes scar tissue adhesions? I was pretty much pain free within 5 months after my full achilles rupture.

I've got a partial tendon tear in my arm that's been painful for longer. Maybe partial can take longer than full when we continue to use it?
I did and I didn't, sounds like an odd answer, but the health service in the UK can be pretty bad for sports injuries. Was just told to rest and take pain killers. So i have had to work out causes and rehab myself. Am getting there. The worst part for me was that I had a partial in my left and by overcompensating strained my right. Then for the next year I didn't know what leg to hobble on! They just would not heal.

Had to work out what caused the issue in the first place and then work on that, once I had that then my achilles settled down. Still have some scar tissue but that is being worked on. Will get there.

Glad you were pain free so soon!
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Old 06-24-2013, 12:37 PM   #15
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Ruptured mine this past Feb in a skiing crash. No surgery on it...more common for this route nowdays. I have been on the bike for the last month and a bit. The biggest hurdle has been regaining strength and flexibility in the calf muscle/tendon area and of course the 2 months on crutches/boot cast sucked pretty bad.

This past weekend, I did go for a 30km mountain bike ride, nothing too crazy and it felt pretty strong. That evening and next morning was a little tender though.

I have heard times from 6 months to 1 year to be 100% again. If all goes well, I am thinking I will be in the 6 month group.

Eat good food, increase protein intake a bit, do your physio exercises, focus on proper walking when mobile, biking (pedal) is very good for it.

I found accupuncture was helpful to loosen it up a bit here and there

Good Luck...it gets better every day....just takes a lot of days.
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