A few days ago I went from being full weight bearing (FWB) with no problems to my current state of being non weight bearing (NWB). I have a long road to recovery and hopefully my blogging will assist others in their recovery in the future.
My main aim is to hopefully help you prevent it. Prevention is better than cure and I'm in a pretty miserable place right now so I'd urge you to avoid this at all costs.
As most of you know I'm fairy well skilled at rehab and am obsessed with nutrition. I also have asperger's and follow strict patterns and routines with my diet and lifestyle. The rupture is my own doing and given my time again I'd change the weeks prior to the injury. So, how did it occur.
- Increased activity - The number one rule in exercise/activity is to increase gradually, whilst I ride every weekend and also in the week. I don't often walk the distances I covered in Las Vegas, Hawaii and San Francisco. Near the end of our trip we walked a 14 mile trip to visit the Golden Gate bridge (we also walked to other places that day). Most who know me will know that I have an ability to carry on regardless so whilst I thought it was taking a long time, it never occurred to me that we should stop.
- Too much flying - When David Beckham ruptured his achilles at the age of 35, many considered him very young to have such an injury and pointed the finger at his increased flight activity trying to play for LA Galaxy, England and combine family life with promotional activities. For me, at 35 I consider my recent flight activity to be instrumental in my downfall. Travelers suffer the effects of dehydration at high altitude as the water vapor content of the air is reduced. Coupled with increased breathing this leads to dehydration. Nowadays were are no longer allowed to carry water through airport security and are restricted to paying for high priced airport water. So I landed in Vegas dehydrated and playing catch up with my water and mineral consumption. Upon landing I commented to Jen that my right ankle was swollen, suffering restricted blood flow and that the achilles was causing me problems. Luckily due to foam rolling, good diet and water I managed to get it back under control. I also kept a check on my pulse and body temperature.
- Altered diet and hydration - I always eat and drink in a routine, same food groups, same times, same water etc etc. (asperger's). While in the states I maintained this to the letter but also allowed myself the odd treat such as a Luna & Larry's ice cream (naked coconut flavor which I highly recommend). On the first day in Scotland I ended up drinking Buxton Mineral water which is lower in overall mineral content (TDS or Dry Residue) and in particular much lower in calcium. During the first day I suffered arm pump/cramp and asked my mother to pick up some Evian so I could continue drinking the same standard of water I had been on for the previous 2 weeks.
- Rushing - The day before my injury I suffered some minor electrical problems which needed to be sorted following day in order to continue competing. Lee and Mick at Pidcock's were on the job and I never had any doubts in their ability to guide me through sorting it. Sadly, all thoughts of water etc went out of the window. In the panic to get to the start I failed to stretch or foam roller, never drank any evian and forgot to pack any evan in the van. Once I got riding I realised I was dehydrate and that having no lunch break allowed me very little chance to rehydrate properly. Just after the halfway point I saw my parents and asked for my Evian. It was at this point I realised I had no evian and had to drink Buxton and Strathmore (nothing wrong with these waters but its different from what I'd been consuming for 2 weeks previously). Time is also notoriously tight on the Saturday, with no lunch break and riders keen to get to the finish it turns in to a mad dash which didn't help.
So, there you go, a catalog of errors. I nursed a sore achilles through almost 3 weeks and just didn't quite do a good enough job on the last day. Before starting riding on Saturday I commented that my achilles felt ready to snap, I just didn't expect to be that accurate in my diagnosis.
Their were tears shed between the section I did it at (last one at Ben Nevis), and the finish. As anyone who has had a rupture knows, its not that painful. After the initial feeling of being shot it goes kind of warm. Mine did hurt a little as I continued to try and ride across Ben Nevis for a few miles one footed in a desperate attempt to reach the finish. I even wiped my tears and tried to ride the last section as I knew it would be my final time riding for a considerable amount of time. The tears though were more likely due to the realisation of what I'd done, how long my road to recovery is. I also felt massive disappointment in failing to stop it happening. I have asperger's and my passion is anatomy, physiology and biology (nutrition). Within seconds of it happening I knew what it was and had worked out a plan, the jigsaw of how it happened fell into place while I way being helped out of the section. When I see a client I can formulate a picture (I see things visually) of what caused their issue so I really had though it through while the watching spectators were still wondering what had happened to me. The guy helping me said I looked white with shock (remember I'm tanned from Hawaii) and it was more the shock of thinking "how could I let this happen".
I've had lots of nice messages from spectators, fellow riders and some health professionals. It kills me to know I won't be riding for a while but I'll be back observing and helping out from the other side of the fence as soon as I am partial weight bearing (PWB). Hopefully once I'm in a boot with my foot at 90 degs I'll be allowed to ride a bike round flat ground just to keep me happy. Other than that I aim to take some photos at trials which I enjoy but just never get the chance. Hopefully I'll be able to snap Donald Young with his foot down...
Once I'm past the surgery stage, I know I'm in the best hands in terms of rehabilitation...my own!!