Like most of my injuries, the Achilles tendon tear came about in…unusual circumstances.
I had been having some problems with the tendon and pain, some days it would be fine and then some days I could barely walk on it. A workup by an Ortho Doctor at the Mayo Clinic showed, among other things calcification within the Achilles Insertion Region, and I was doing stretches and other work to try to get the problem resolved.
Things appeared to be going somewhat better, albeit slowly, when the day of the accident dawned.
In early afternoon, my wife was back from riding and I could hear her having some troubles with the horses unloading from the trailer. I grabbed my “outdoor robe” and was moving quickly down the hall when our 19 yr old Siamese cat decided to dart from the bedroom to the bathroom as I went past. With the right leg breaking over center (and the tendon stretched to its tightest as I was pushing off with the foot) I kicked the cat with my left leg as it came forward into the back of the right leg. There was a flare of pain, and I caught the wall rather than put my foot back down. I was just outside the middle bedroom, and remembering my crutches from the knee replacement a few years earlier, I hopped in and grabbed them, then making my way to my desk to sit down.
The pain was bad, but manageable, probably an 8/10. This level of pain was one of the first reasons I questioned if I had a tendon rupture, as opposed to a muscle tear. Tendon ruptures are supposed to be horribly painful injuries, and while this one hurt like a sumbitch, it wasn’t just agony. I also didn’t hear a “snap” or “pop” as you are supposed to. Oh, and the cat was fine.
After the injury, the leg swelled considerably and I was having trouble initially walking. However, the swelling eventually went down, and things seemed to be getting somewhat better, as the walking got easier and the stretching was going really well. Of course, it turns out the stretching was going well because there wasn’t anything to stretch anymore.
The next sign that something was amiss was the loss of the calf muscle. I am a big guy, but I move pretty good, and I have always had “Popeye” legs, with bulging calves. Now, I noticed that despite multiple weekly workouts with my personal trainer, the calf muscle was disappearing rapidly. At the point it was no longer visible at all, I called Mayo Clinic for a new appointment to have this checked out.