Tag Archives: achilles injury blog

Day 2 – MRI and diagnosis

Despite the trauma I somehow manage to fall asleep. After all, there wasn’t much I could do and I didn’t have much pain. The ER doctor told me that if it was a full rupture I wasn’t going to have much pain. I kept mum at the time as I thought it was a partial tear. I wrote a quick e-mail to my boss and fell asleep.

The following morning, my wife helped me look for available in network orthopedic surgeons in the neighborhood that were part of UnitedHealthCare. That’s one thing good about having PPO is that I can directly go to any in-network surgeon without going through my primary care physician (PCP). I first attempted to call a referral from the same physician’s assistant friend. However, they outright did not take my insurance. I was a bit disappointed but nothing much I could do. My wife then found another doctor nearby who was available the afternoon. I hesitated. I’m not sure I want to see an “unknown” orthopedic surgeon with no reviews available that is so available.

I then recalled my chiropractor who helped me previously with some aches and pains. I called him. His admin explained that he normally does paperwork on Tuesdays but after giving her my name, he came on the phone. I explained I likely have a partially torn Achilles and he told me to come in right away.

I showed up at his office in about an hour. He also did the Thompson test and confirmed an Achilles injury. Below is a picture my wife took. You can see a well defined Achilles on my right foot but my left Achilles has no definition. It is rounded out and blunt. If you run your finger over it, you will feel an obvious gap.

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His administrator helped me call an MRI center down the block and I headed over there.

The MRI
I soon realize this was the first time I have been in an MRI machine. I laid down on the bare table with a huge ‘Siemens’ machine which we see on TV but I like to think of it as a time machine. A time machine to when I am fully recovered (wishful thinking…). The technician asked if I wanted a blanket and handed me earplugs. He said it was going to be cold, loud, and would take about 30 min. I accepted his offer and was glad I did. The buzzing and whirling as well as the sub 70 degree temperature was somewhat bearable with the blanket and earplug. I tried to take a nap but found it futile.

30 min passed and I head on home, waiting for the result.

 

Day 1 Emergency Room – Achilles

emergencyI wasn’t sure what to do exactly. Someone suggested that I call the ambulance but I thought that was an overkill. I thought back at my only other reference of an Achilles injury and that was Kobe Bryant. I remember quite vividly watching the game on TV when he ruptured his Achilles. Despite having a full rupture, he used crutches and answered questions from reporters. The following day he had surgery. It’s not necessarily apples and apples comparison but I also had left Achilles injured while playing basketball. But I knew I didn’t need an ambulance as my foot was not swelling and I didn’t see any major life threatening condition that would warrant an ambulance.

I had one friend drive my car and another friend drive me back to my house. My wife greeted me at the door with a concerned face. I sat down and called a friend who was a practicing physician’s assistant. He told me the best way to tell if I had an Achilles rupture was to perform the Thompson test. I laid down prone while my friends and wife tried to squeeze my calf. The result was inconclusive. It looked like my plantar didn’t flex but couldn’t tell if it was because of the rupture or because it was stiff from the injury. He suggested I go to the ER which I hesitantly obliged.

Before heading to the ER, I wasn’t sure what was going to happen to me so I took a shower. I wasn’t sure if I was going to be admitted, undergo emergency surgery, or be put into a cast. I also wasn’t sure how long I was going to be there. I didn’t want to further trouble my friends so I arranged my mother in law to watch our kids so my wife could pick me up when I was done.

By the time I arrived at the ER, it was just after 10pm. Luckily, it wasn’t a busy evening and there was maybe two people ahead of me. I actually brought a survival pack with my work mobile, some water, and an energy bar. I really wasn’t sure if I would be there for hours and hours considering I was probably a low priority on their list. To my surprise, just 15 min of waiting, an ER doctor personally called me in. Apparently, the x-ray technician was about to leave for the evening and he wanted to get me in beforehand. He took a look at me and did the Thompson test and told me that he was pretty certain it was a partial rupture. This gave me a bit of relief. (I found out the following day through an MRI that it was actually a full rupture.)

Shortly after, a nurse put me in a soft splint which molded to the shape of my foot. I was checked for blood pressure, temperature and given some pain medication. I was in and out in a record 20 min! As I thanked my friends for driving me, I silently looked out the night lights and thought what my next plan was going to be.

The only thing I can do to help my injury is R.I.C.E – rest, ice, compression, and elevation. I was recommended to keep my foot elevated when I went to sleep.