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Ruptured Achilles

OrangeProOrangePro Posts: 28
Just back from the annual family hols in spain where i managed to completely snap my achilles tendon in my right ankle whilst pulling my young kids along on a surf board on the beach. After surgery in a very nice spanish hospital i'm now back home wondering how long the recovery period is going to be. I'll be in plaster for 2 months then followed by lots of physio :cry:
Has anyone had the misfortune of suffering the same and if so how long until they where back in the saddle?



  • Dr_DeathDr_Death Posts: 1,262
    Ages ad ages and ages and ages and ages and ages and ages.

    And ages, I'm afraid.....

    Bad injury, long time to fully heal and then a long time to get it strong enough and long enough to use properly. Do whatever your physio says, no more no less. Do too little and it will take longer, do too much and you'll break it again.

    Trust me, I'm a doctor!
  • mcbazzamcbazza Posts: 251
    Do you want the good news? Or the bad news?

    Ruptured mine last Oct. I'd decided to take up rugby (then aged 36) to try and get me more fit. I figured the MTBing I did would mean my fitness was a good start. It was. However, my tendons weren't up to it!! Managed the first training session ok. Was 10-15mins into my 2nd session when it went. So long as I live, I'll never forget the noise it made, or the fact that the young lad to my right said to me, "Was that your leg?".

    Down the hospital, in my rugby training kit, I got no sympathy. "It's quite common *in men your age*", I was told. Apparently, this means the 30-50 age range.

    No surgery was offered, as it wasn't a full snap. 6 weeks of casts (with toes pointing towards floor, then successively more towards 'normal/flat'), then 4 weeks in a 'Beckham Boot'. Terrible muscle wastage.
    Then the physio with the rubber band, to try and stretch the tendon back up. And lots of stretchy-type exercises to go many times a day.

    8 weeks after it happened I was back on the bike. Just for local loops around where I lived. I live on my own, so was desperate to get out and about. Had gone so stir crazy. Plus, walking to work in the 'Beckham boot' in the rain was a nightmare. On the plus side, my Sealskinz socks came in useful.

    Early Jan (this year), and I thought I was on the mend. I'd cycled to work in the pouring rain. I rushed from the bike shed to reception, and 'ding!", it went again. Fell to the ground clutching my leg. Rolled around in the puddles. Turned the air blue.

    No cast this time. Just back into the 'Beckham Boot'.

    Went snowboarding in Canada at end of Feb. 5 days after I got out of the 'boot'. Thankfully, I wasn't "going against my Doc's wishes", which meant my insurance would cover me. Which was fortunate, as I couldn't afford to ride without it.


    March-June - physio once a week, or every other week.

    About 3 weeks ago my physio said that he thinks half the affected calf muscle isn't working (the outer side of my leg). And that perhaps it never will. Says that had I had a scan at the time it went, it would have shown this up, assuming this is the case. Of course, I was treated under NHS at Watford General, so there was no option of a scan. So, I may never fully recover. I see the specialist again mid-Aug, and he should tell me what is what.

    Not that I let that any of that bother me.

    I'm off to Morzine/Les Gets for 10 days of DH at end of Aug! Bring it on.
    I go out on my MTB for my 13mile loop around town 2-4 times a week.

    I've just re-started training with the rugby club, where it all started. This season I've managed 2 full training sessions! Therefore, I've broken last years personal best already. I run like a girl, and am easily the slowest runner there.

    My leg is still noticeably weaker than the other. I can weight bear on the ball of the foot - so I am fine pedalling, and even coming off of small drops. I can't stand up on tip-toes on the affected leg, which affects me when I want to get the power down, and is the main reason why I can't run properly.

    However, the rugby training (running around the pitch - it's non-contact this early in the season) is definitely accelerating things along.

    I still haven't done any *proper* MTB'ing (trail riding) since before mine went. I reckon I'm okay to start again, but, I won't be able to climb how I used to. If it wasn't for the fact that my best bud/riding partner/driver is recovering from ankle surgery, I think I'd have been out on the trails by now.

    As soon as I get paid I'm going to seek out a *proper* sports physio, and suggest that when it comes the time for you, that you do to. As much as I try to back the NHS, they are all about getting you back on your feet (pun intended), and leading as normal life as you can. Getting you back to 100% MTB fitness is not part of their agenda.

    Common advice on AT (achilles tendon) injuries is that you shouldn't stress it for 16 weeks (4mths). Thankfully, cycling is non-stressing. Your physio may be ok with you cycling, or may not. But, anything that puts a heavy strain on the ball of the foot is out for a minimum of 16 weeks. And when your 16 weeks are up, you will have the strength of a 12yr girl in your affected foot. That's when the rebuilding starts.

    Thankfully, you have had the surgery, so your chances of a full recovery are increased, and your chances of re-rupture are decreased.

    But, apart from knee injury, AT is just about the worst injury a person can suffer.

    One thing I cannot stress highly enough is:
    During your recovery you will reach a stage when your brain is telling you that you can push it, and push it. Don't. You *must* recover slowly. If you push it, do things your body isn't yet ready for, you *will* re-rupture it. Try to learn to think long-term.

    Not sure if I'm allowed to make reference to other MTB forums, but, there's actually a small community of us AT sufferers over at

    Chin up, mate.
    It's bad. Really bad. But, it rapidly gets better. And as I said, focus on the long term.

    Feel free to PM/email me with questions/etc.
    Stumpy, Rockhopper (stolen!) & custom SX Trail II - that should do it!
  • OrangeProOrangePro Posts: 28
    edited July 2008
    see next
  • OrangeProOrangePro Posts: 28
    Thanks for the reply. You're right about the sound when the tendon snaps, suprisingly loud. I only knew what had happened as an old boss of mine managed to do his AT whilst playing squash and regailed stories at length the sound you just don't want to hear!
    You're spot on about the age range- i'm 39. Having given up rugby and football due to knee related injuries I got into mtb four years ago, reliving my youth when i used to race BMX and have never looked back. My wife muses at the fact that she always thought that a major injury would come from me behaving like a 'child' on my bike- but hey there is still plenty of time for that to happen.

    Spanish hospitals from my experience are spot on. Within 6 hours of the injury i was in the operating theatre. Signing consent forms written in spannish is something i've no desire to do again in a hurry and also having an epidural administered without anyone being able to explain what was going on. Vague recollections of Dido playing on the theatre sound system whilst vegged on vallium ( now that's a nightmare!) Had to place all my trust in their health service and so far so good. I've decided to learn spanish whilst i'm sat on my censored

    Fully acknowledge the need to take it easy with physio when it comes, also with trying not to fill myself with junk whilst sitting about!

    One very important note- whatever you do never leave home without as a bare minimum you're E11 card and private medi insurrance. Whilst the spanish health system would appear to possibly better than UK they will not touch you unless you show them the E11 card.

    I'll check out the link you provided

  • OrangeProOrangePro Posts: 28
    double post- need to learn how this all works!- plenty of time though
  • mcbazzamcbazza Posts: 251
    Heard you the first time!

    edit: Ah! You've already edited them! :D
    Stumpy, Rockhopper (stolen!) & custom SX Trail II - that should do it!
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