My message posted at the Achilles Tendon Blog ( ) on 4-Apr-2012:



Did I break the record for the fastest ever re-rupture?


I am 43 yrs old and ruptured my right Achilles for the 1st time on March 8th near the end of a very intense soccer match (read story here). MRI a couple days later showed a complete tear all the way across, with about a 0.5cm separation (not bad). I had my first surgery on March 14th and all went pretty well. A splint was put on the back of my calf muscle and wrapped underneath my foot. The pressure on my Achilles was pretty painful, but I decided that I would tough it out until March 21 for my first follow-up appointment (probably a big mistake). On March 20th, I made my own very bad mistake and tried hopping up the stairs with my good foot while talking to someone…I tripped and landed on the tip of my right foot and felt the excruciating pain as before (this time it felt/sounded more like Velcro snapping apart…). MRI the next day confirmed indeed the stiches in my Achilles ripped right thru and I now had a 1cm separation. They fitted me with a new splint, this time on the front of my shin and top of my foot (MUCH better!!) and told me the 2nd surgery will be on March 28th.


For the 2nd surgery, they took out old stiches and re-connected tendon as before, but this time also wrapped the Achilles with a GraftJacket (I have a picture of my Achilles wrapped in GraftJacket shown here). I was an all-state center midfielder in soccer (and similar in track and ice hockey) back in high school and have stayed pretty competitive in soccer ever since.  I had an on-and-off Achilles tendinitis in my 30s and the doctor said my Achilles was pretty badly degenerated.  I quizzed him about whether any possibility of augmentation. He said the GraftJacket is the only method he would recommend, although cautioned that some people later complain that the Achilles doesn’t feel the same. We decided to try it out, considering my very physically active lifestyle.  Anyway, after the surgery, they put the splint on the top of the shin and foot and no problems so far. However, I got my foot wet (water somehow leaked thru the heavily taped garbage bag) in the shower a couple days in a row and noticed the skin peeling off my feet. Went into the doctor yesterday and he said I was lucky that the water stopped 0.5inches from my lowest stitch, that would’ve almost certainly caused an infection. They cleaned me up and put on a fresh splint. Almost took the stitches out yesterday because it looked so good. Also did the Thompson test and confirmed my Achilles is indeed intact and looking strong. Stiches come out next week.


I took Vicodin the first 3-4 days after each surgery, and also Naproxen for 8 days. Today is my last day for Naproxen as no swelling at all this time and I am dying for a beer tomorrow!


Anyway, just wanted to remind everyone about the danger of getting your stitches wet during the first couple weeks post-op. Be very careful! I am going with the sponge bath the next few days. I also cannot emphasize more about being very careful not to ever let those toes bend upward (dorsiflexion) the first month or two. Finally, do NOT hesitate to go back to the doctor if you are having any pain at all with the splint or cast!!!


This blog is great, a lot of very useful and encouraging info! I am amazed with the wide variety of post-op/recovery/PT options. Being a very active person, I am constantly wiggling my toes around and even pushing downward a bit–the key is don’t induce any pain at all on the Achilles! I am anxious to not let my right calf shrink too much–it was already 0.5 inches smaller than my left calf right before the 2nd surgery!!


Anyone else out there that tried out the GraftJacket? I see that Shaquille O’Neal is a famous (and successful) example…


Anyway, more later