My Achilles rupture injury and non-surgical recovery process

In December 2022, I ruptured my Achilles tendon while playing an interactive football game.  It was a devastating injury and I knew immediately what had happened when I heard the loud pop and the sudden feeling that I had been kicked.

In A&E an ultrasound confirmed that I had ruptured my Achilles tendon.  After weighing up the pros and cons I decided to pursue a non-surgical recovery.  I knew it would be a long and challenging process, but I was determined to do everything I could to be active again.

My recovery process began with a period of immobilisation.  I wore a plaster cast for two weeks to allow the tendon to heal.  During this time, I focused on rest, as using crutches was very difficult.  The plaster team at Kings College Hospital were also very helpful and understanding during my visits.

Once the cast was removed, I started using a Vacoped walking boot to help protect my ankle, provide support but also allowed me to walk again.  I also found that using an EvenUp shoe balancer to correct my limb length discrepancy helped to prevent back and hip pain.

Over the next few months, I continued to progress with my physical therapy and gradually increased my activity level.  I also had low level laser therapy weekly at Dulwich Podiatry which helped to reduced swelling and pain in the tendon.  I knew that I had to be patient and listen to my body in order to make a full recovery and not re-rupture the tendon.

After about six months of non-surgical recovery, I was finally able to return to light exercises and gain confidence again.

My non-surgical Achilles rupture recovery was a long and challenging process, but it was ultimately successful.  I am grateful that I was able to avoid surgery and make a full recovery.

Here are some tips for other people who are considering a non-surgical recovery from an Achilles rupture:

  • Be patient. It takes time for the tendon to heal.  Don’t rush your recovery, or you risk re-injuring yourself.
  • Listen to your body.  If you’re feeling pain, stop and rest.  Don’t push yourself too hard.
  • Be consistent with your rehab and physiotherapy as it is important for strengthening the muscles around your ankle and preventing atrophy.
  • Be positive. A positive attitude will help you stay motivated and focused on your recovery.

If you’re facing an Achilles rupture injury, know that it is possible to make a full recovery without surgery.  With patience, dedication, and hard work, you can get back to your active lifestyle.

By Michaela Shaw

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