Snapped Right Achilles Tendon Playing Squash

by Tim
(Pietermaritzburg, South Africa)

Hi Mr Tucker, Thank you for a great site. It has given me more insight into my injury.

I snapped my right achilles about 18 days ago playing in a squash tournament. Had surgery the next day, the surgeon said that the two ends were frayed which he removed and then sewed all back together again, he said he fused another tendon onto the broken one or something, I was still a bit groggy during the explanation.

All seems to be going well, I am on the second cast which will be on for a month. The mental aspect of it all is hard however. Very depressing not being able to be as active as I was before.

Just a few questions, once it is back to normal should I play squash again or is this a bit risky.

How would I prevent the other one from going if I was to play again, and lastly my friend has just been diagnosed as having Tendonosis in his left achilles, he was given some voltaren to take, I see on your site you do not recommend any antiinflamatories. Should he treat himself with your ice treatment?

Thank you for your time.


Joshua Answers:

Hi Tim.


I'm going to work backwards here.

1. Yes, your friend should get to icing and massaging his Achilles if he's been diagnosed with Tendonosis. Absolutely.

2. You said "once it is back to normal should I play squash again or is this a bit risky."

Let me stop you there. You have a long way to go before you get 'back to normal'. That's not just going to happen by default.

You are on your second cast. I hate the concept of immobilization for Tendonitis and tendon issues, except for cases like yours where the tendon totally separates and has to be surgically reconnected.

It HAS to stay together without tension on it so that it will heal back together.

There are some problems
with this however.

The frayed ends were cut off and then the ends were reconnected. This means that the tendon is now shorter.

The surgery cut into you. The nervous system is not going to like that. It's going to tighten everything up.

The immobilization is going to have connective tissue shrinkwrap and constrict down.

You are going to have to do some work when that cast comes off.

1. Ice Dip the hell out of it for a while. You have PLENTY of Inflammation going on in there.

2. Ice massage with a frozen water bottle, and/or your bare hands. Aside from the benefits of cold, you will be doing spot specific stretching. You can dig into it as much as you want (safely, pay attention, don't hurt yourself) and open up all that shortened tissue.

Also, gently ice massage the surgery site to get new blood there to help it continue to heal, just like you would with Tendonosis.

3. Increase your protein intake. Natural anti-inflammatories like Omega 3's and turmeric.

Also, if you can wiggle your toes, and gently move your foot up and down in the cast (it doesn't have to move, just contract and relax the muscles), and keep it moving regularly throughout the day, this is a GOOD thing.

Even if it's barely moving, the movement and changing tension creates A LOT of benefit to an immobilized and trying to heal structure.

Joshua Tucker, B.A., C.M.T.
The Tendonitis Expert

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Mar 30, 2011
Been there, done that
by: Dave

I snapped my achilles playing squash, was operated on, and took the 6 months rehab in the boot. I was back playing squash within 12 months of the injury, and today, 3 years later, I have zero impediment. The only hangover from the injury is that my calf remains smaller than the uninjured leg, no matter what exercises I do.

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