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Every year, surgeons in the UK repair 10,000 ruptured Achilles tendons. Gavin Thow, 33, a buying and production manager from South London, underwent a new technique with a speedier recovery time, as ADRIAN MONTI reports.
On the last evening of my holiday in Lanzarote in August, I was playing in a five-a-side football match at my hotel. About half way through, I quickly changed direction to reach the ball. Suddenly, something ‘went’ in the back of my left ankle and I fell to the ground.
Doctor - Achilles - Tendon - Back - Heel
A doctor said she thought I’d torn my Achilles — a tendon at the back of my heel — and used an ice pack to help reduce the swelling before bandaging it up.
I borrowed crutches and my partner Penny helped me back to our room.
Gatwick - Day - A - E - Crutches
Once we landed at Gatwick the next day, I went straight to A&E, still using the crutches.
The doctors said by touch they could feel the tendon had totally ruptured — an operation would be my best option. This would ideally be done in under two weeks on the NHS, but could take longer.
Foot - Cast - Toes - Downwards - Ends
My foot was put in a cast with the toes pointing downwards to bring the snapped two ends of the tendon closer together, which would help when they were stitched together in surgery.
Because I’d flown for more than four hours there was a risk of deep vein thrombosis, so I was given blood thinners to take during the next five weeks.
Consultant - Surgeon - Kumar - Kunasingam - St
I saw consultant orthopaedic surgeon Kumar Kunasingam at St Anthony’s Hospital in Surrey two days later using my private health insurance. He said with usual tendon surgery — where they stitch the two ends of the torn achilles tendon back together — it can be up to a year before you can play sport again.
I play hockey competitively, so that...
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