How rupturing my Achilles the first time was actually useful...

So in February this year I suffered a complete rupture of my Achilles Tendon while doing some sparring with some friends.  This was one of the most painful injuries and frustrating rehabilitation protocols I have had to go through (and I've been through a few!).  But it came with a silver lining.

In my first Krav Maga training session back after being cleared by my hospital physio, I took a step back and pop, it ruptured again.  While the re-injury was very frustrating - in fact it is possibly the most upset over an injury I have ever been - having been through it once before has taught me a few things.

The first thing I learned was that I am able to ask for what I want in terms of a cast, in some aspects at least.  When you rupture your Achilles Tendon you are put in what is known as an equinous cast.  This basically sets your cast in a position with your toes pointing down to bring the two ends of the tendon as close as possible.

While I could not change the position of my foot, the first time around I found that my shin bone rubbed against the cast and there were a couple of other bones that rubbed and annoyed me.  This time around, I was unconscious when put in the cast as I had been put in the cast during my surgery.  However before I got out I asked for the cast to be trimmed as it was rubbing against my toes which they did for me at the fracture clinic.  When I had the cast off to check the surgery wound I asked that they put extra padding along my shin bone (Tibia) to prevent it rubbing.

The lesson here is that it is not just up to the doctors and physios to look after your rehab, you need to take control where you can.

Last time around when I was trying to get around on my crutches I often found myself having to travel long distances on my crutches.  If you have ever spent time on crutches you will know that this is both exhausting and painful.  Painful because your body has to adjust to only weight bearing on one side and this throws your hips and backs out of alignment a little which gradually causes pain.

This time around, we talked to the doctors and nurses about whether we could get a temporary disabled parking permit which it turns out that I could.  This has made things a lot easier in terms of getting around especially when I am trying to navigate around the hospital which involves travelling long distances on my crutches.

The lesson is that if you can do so, it pays to make things easy for yourself as injuries can be fatiguing enough without making things more difficult.

One other issue I had last time was having a shower as in both a cast and a moon boot I could not stand while showering until week 8 of my rehab.  This time around, we asked for a shower seat before I left the hospital.  This has made showering much more comfortable than last time which saw me sitting on a stepladder and showering.  

The lesson here is that if you don't ask, the answer is always no.

These are just a few lessons that I have learned as I have rehabilitated from my (now second) Achilles tendon rupture.

Hopefully if you are ever in a similar situation these ideas may help you to make your recovery a little easier.  Just remember that you are in control of your rehab as much as the doctors and specialists.  You can drive it, and you can demand certain things that can make it easier for you.  You just have to ask sometimes.


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