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Achilles tendon tear recovery time

Old 03-27-2024, 07:35 PM
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For people that had a full Achilles tear. How long did it take before you were back flying? Just tore my Achilles and now in a cast with nothing to do but watch Netflix and be completely useless. Internet says 6 months to start walking normally and up to a year for full normal activities. Wondering what other pilots experiences are with this injury
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Old 03-27-2024, 07:50 PM
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I was out 4.5 months until I was able to fully manipulate the rudder pedals and evacuate safely...altho still walked with a limp and was going thru rehab

Was a year until I felt back 100%
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Old 03-28-2024, 09:31 AM
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When I was a PPL I broke my ankle in the mil, similar recovery time due to soft tissue damage.

But I did get back in a 172 within 4-6 weeks with a rigid boot, it was small enough that it was fine on the rudders.

Not sure if I'd be comfortable with those optics while flying pax though. My GF (now wife) preferred the cessna to the motorcycle I think.
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Old 03-28-2024, 10:06 AM
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Yeah the optics of the boot just wasnt gonna cut it...and then theres the regression and atrophy once the boot comes off.
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Old 05-08-2024, 01:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Richmond454
For people that had a full Achilles tear. How long did it take before you were back flying? Just tore my Achilles and now in a cast with nothing to do but watch Netflix and be completely useless. Internet says 6 months to start walking normally and up to a year for full normal activities. Wondering what other pilots experiences are with this injury
I feel ya, brother. I ruptured mine in the middle of March, surgery on 27th and now exactly 6 weeks post op. Think i'm making better than average progress but it's kiling me. I anticipated being back in the jet by 16 weeks...but this may be too optimistic. Time will tell...
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Old 05-08-2024, 08:15 PM
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Old 06-09-2024, 05:18 PM
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Originally Posted by HercDriver69
I feel ya, brother. I ruptured mine in the middle of March, surgery on 27th and now exactly 6 weeks post op. Think i'm making better than average progress but it's kiling me. I anticipated being back in the jet by 16 weeks...but this may be too optimistic. Time will tell...

it's been a bit over 4 months since the rupture and I'm able to walk pretty good. Still very stiff but the biggest issue is the strength. I lost a lot more muscle than I thought and the physical therapist wanted to take it slow cause she didn't want me to rerupture which she says happens when people push to hard. Last thing in the world I want is to start the process all over again. I'm getting stronger now and I can lift about 40 lbs with the injured leg. Still can't do single leg lifts yet. Originally I thought I'd be back flying around 5 months but I don't think that's gonna happen. Tendon is still more stiff than I like and the strength is not back to where I want. Based on my progress I'm guessing 2 more months and I'll be comfortable getting back in the cockpit. Fortunately my company gas good LTD and no one is rushing me back to work. It's getting boring though I'm itching to get back to work.
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Old Today, 07:13 AM
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Torn quadriceps injury but the FAA had specific return to work requirements that might apply to the toran Achilles tendon. It was based on which aircraft you were flying and the s/e rudder pressure and duration requirements. I forget the exact numbers but it was specific - something like "63 lbs for 93 seconds." My understanding was that it was the time expected from an engine failure at V1 until some point in the clean up process?? AMAS/union medical advisors provided the specific numbers. Exceeded the requirements (see next paragraph re: first flight post recovery).

I did multiple different exercises (with PT approval...everything went through them!), squats, toe raises, inclined leg press, straight leg press, all as straight squats or with bent knees (various angles) doing ankle or knee flextion movements. First flight...and realized the brake pedal pressure was higher or at least a different angle. Barely able to release the parking brake. Very uncomfortable. Next time I'd add higher pressure events using more of the ball of my foot.

Knee did not like the pressure changes or staying at one angle for too long. Took about 10 ibuprofen a day to go from home >work >fly >hotel as well as frequent (every couple of minutes) changes to the angle of my knee.

Good luck.
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Old Today, 08:22 AM
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As an aside, as you get older strength training is highly recommended even (especially) if you're an endurance athlete, even if you never did much strength training before.

Hit the big muscles groups to stimulate hormone production (to offset natural aging decline)... that's important because the hormones in your system keep all the little muscles from atrophy (the ones that you don't even realize you have until you injure them).

Also do some focused work on injury-prone areas like rotator cuffs, hammies, etc.

I've had several friends with ruptured achilles, older guys play hoops, football on thanksgiving, etc. Calf lifts are important for that reason, but it's also one of the big muscles groups that you should hit for overall hormone production.

And core. Come up with a comprehensive back-safe core routine, especially in our job. You can do it as infrequently as once a week and it should go a long ways to prevent back injury.

Stretching and functional training is also good. You'll sleep better if you stretch before you get in bed after a long day in an airplane seat.
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