Marnie’s Season Ending Injury!

I was realistic when I decided to come out of an eight year “retirement” and play another netball season (before turning the big 40 later this year). I knew that I would probably need a few games off for a rolled ankle or two, sore joints or mid season blues after the cold set in! I didn’t expect that it would be a big career ending injury that would affect my everyday life for months.

I completed a thorough pre-season with Holbrook and felt really good. I was fit and pulling up really well from trainings. I was also really excited to be playing in the same team with my daughter Jess. Round 1 went very smoothly and we had a win against my old team Henty. I felt good and even though I couldn’t move as well as I used to, I discovered that I could use my netball smarts to get a few intercepts and rebounds.

Round 2 started off well as Jess and I were playing in the defensive end together. I didn’t let her call me “Mum” on the court but she was allowed to boss me around and tell me where to move. Late in the third quarter as the ball was heading back down our end, I started to move with my opponent. I had my back leg to her when I thought she fell over and kneed me in the back of my leg. To my surprise, she was standing at least five metres away and I was on the ground. It was then that I realised I had felt a large pop in my achilles area and I knew exactly what had happened.

The Achilles tendon is a tough band of fibrous tissue that connects the calf muscles to the heel bone (calcaneus). The Achilles tendon is the largest and strongest tendon in the body. When the calf muscles flex, the Achilles tendon pulls on the heel. This movement allows us to stand on our toes when walking, running or jumping. Despite it’s strength, the Achilles tendon is also vulnerable to injury due to its limited blood supply and the high tensions placed on it. 

I didn’t have any warning at all (not a single niggle), which I know is very common in Achilles ruptures. Lisa confirmed my injury at Osteohealth and put me into a boot straight away. By the end of the week I had surgery to repair the torn tendon. I chose to have a Percutaneous Achilles Repair, which works by passing sutures through the skin and pulling the ruptured ends of the tendon together allowing the tendon to heal back to its normal strength. It also meant that I was able to continue to wear the booth rather than be placed in plaster for an extended period of time.

The first six weeks following surgery I was non weight bearing and in a Camboot using either the knee shooter or crutches to get around. This meant that I couldn’t do much at all and even though the thought of not hanging out washing, cooking or cleaning was appealing to begin with, the novelty wore off pretty quickly! I saw Sheila in these early stages of recovery as she assisted with pain and oedema management and an exercise program to maintain strength of the surrounding structures.

After my six week review with the surgeon I was allowed to gradually increase my weight bearing status with my boot on and begin to move my foot in a protected way. This was tough! Sheila again provided some wonderful physiotherapy to help me increase my confidence in being able to put weight through my leg and begin moving again.

Four months down the track, I am no longer wearing my boot and beginning to resume my normal life again. I am having weekly osteopathy and physiotherapy to help resume my normal tissue state, progress my exercise program and increase my strength and movement. It is not an easy process and I have overdone things at times which has set me back. I have learnt that I need to be patient and trust in my health professionals!

My goals for the rest of the year include:

  1. RunWalk4BrainCancer in October. I can currently walk about 1.5km so am hoping to walk (maybe jog?) it all!
  2. Complete the Great Victorian Bike Ride in November. I have entered, so will be relying on Osteohealth to get me back in time! Fingers crossed!


-Marnie Lowry