Bright side of ATR

This is more of a “The Glass is Half Full” list, but it’s true. Let’s look on the bright side:

  • Your upper body will get stronger from using the crutch
  • Your healthy leg will get stronger from the hopping around
  • You’ll gain even more appreciation for your family and friends, if you are blessed with having good people around you.
  • If this is your first major injury, then this will be a major learning experience all around.
  • Depending on where you live, you can qualify for a temporary diability parking permit. In NY state, you can get it for up to 6 months with a medical certification (You just ask your doctor to fill out part of a form MV-664.1 from the DMV).
  • If you use your recovery time wisely, you’ll get things done that you’ve been meaning to do.
  • Hopefully, you’ve gained even more appreciation for the importance of good health, and you will take care of your body: diligent rehab, regular exercise, stretching and warming up properly before exercises, being in shape, eating healthy.

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28 Responses to “Bright side of ATR”

  1. Another bright side comment of ATR. I went to opening day of the Orioles on Monday and they gave me and my buddy awesome “handicapped” seats. Great view and lots of room.

  2. I ruptured my achilles tendon playing doubles racquetball on May 7th and had surgery to repair it the following day. I have never had an injury and have been athletic my whole life. Gymnastics, waterskiing, kneeboarding, racquetball, tennis, squash, etc. The only thing I have ever had is tenndonitis(sp)and a broken collarbone at 8, so this is really hard for me. I was in a cast for less than a week because my Dr. was out at the 1 week period so basically 6 days. I was put in the boot and did not take it out of the boot for about a week. My calf atrophied a lot in my opinion. Not sure what the norm is. This motivated me to start moving my foot immediately. This did make it sore that night but really did seem to help it. I exercised it the next day again doing small motions with no pain. The only thing that hurts is the inicision. Just soreness. This boot is way too hot to sleep in. They need to design something for sleeping with splints and holes in it so your foot can breathe. I never wear socks to bed so it is hard to fall asleep. I hate the crutches because I cannot believe they have not come up with a better device at this point. I have almost fallen several times and your instinct is to put your foot down to save yourself. I will be Jackie Chan by the time this is all over with my gymnastics moves to keep from putting my foot down. Good news for me is that it was my left achilles so I can drive. I am taking 50 mg of zinc twice daily beause it aids in healing of this skin. I also take glucosamine. I want to try today with some weight bearing. Going crazy doing nothing.

  3. totally agree with the points above . never broken any thing before but now its happened i do appreciate my family and friends so much more , and as for getting fitter / slimmer its high on my list . also i take a step back and think of people disabled / permantly using crutches / wheelchairs and think how lucky i am really as hopefully in a years time normality will return for me . the whole experiance is an eye opener . so remember our glass IS half full NOT half empty . x

  4. i am Chinese and here in China.i do appreciiate that you just express my feeling since my ATR on June 13,2008 into English. that is what i’ve learned from Dale Carnegie “How to win friends and influence people &how to stop worrying and start living”

  5. Thanks for posting the “brighter side”. This is my first experience with a serious injury and I have to admit I’ve had plenty of pity parties lately. I’m used to having a cold or flu where you feel better quickly, not this frustrating pain and discomfort for weeks on end.

    Anyway, I thought of another bright side - at social gatherings you can get your friends/family to wait on you!

  6. There is an even brighter side to ATR!

    I almost completely snapped my achilles tendon about 3 years ago now. I was 22 years old at the time. Prior to that I was a state level sprinter and hurdler and was heavily into touch football here in Australia. I injured my right achilles by falling into a small hole after jumping into the air to get a high football pass, causing my foot to basically bend up toward my shin.

    I recieved a “sheeth” surgery three days later and the surgeon used as he explained “a bio-cement” to bind the exterior of my achilles. After surgery and the first 9 weeks, I was bearing my full wieght, I noticed that my tendon would ‘catch’ on the internal surgical scar. I had phsiotherapy and that completely freed the scar tissue to give me full movement. Three years on I am back to completing full explosive sprints, including block starts and single leg cycle jumps (I jump from one leg, cycle that leg in the air and land back on that leg - I do this on both legs!).
    When I last saw my surgeon, about 2.5 years ago to get an report to join the Police Force, he indicated to me that the surgery has probably left my surgically repaired leg with 90% mobility compared to my other leg (remembering I was already very flexible due to the sprinting back ground) and up to 130% strength compared to the un-repaired achilles.
    His exact words were “With your recovery, you are more likely to snap the ‘other’ achilles before you re-injure the repaired achilles again”.

    In practice, I have some tightness after training, but I am getting back into full sprints training and I am able to compensate this by concentrating on calf/achilles stretches to give me 100% normal ROM.
    I am now 25, successfully completed police training, was an on road officer until recently (in foot chases etc) and I am looking at attempting to get my fitness to the same level as previously with my sport and there is no reason why this can not be achieved. My achilles is very strong now and I can do anything I have previously done with my achilles, I just have to maintain the flexibility. The only other sign of my ATR is a 10cm raised scar (due to the artificial ’sheeth’ created).

    ATR is by no means an end to anything, it is only a hurdle to pass over, treat your body right and you will be amazed at the outcome.

  7. Hey, I needed to read some of this good news stuff to get my head back in the right space after reading some of the blogs of despair and pain on this site. I am 60, feel 30 inside and live life to the max, work full time and live rurally (30 mins from city). My biggest hassle is the loss of independance and having to ask for help all the time. Husband hates being told what to do so I have to bite my tongue and look at the flowers dying as the water level drops in the vases. Etc.

    I am now less than 2 weeks post injury and I elected not to have surgery. I can’t see many (any) blogs from others who chose no surgery. Anyone out there the same as me??

    Christmas is coming and parties are lined up to go to but…. I don’t think I can handle a party at this stage. I am fed up already with not being at work and am so sleepy with pain meds. The added pain (hands, pecs, shoulders) from using crutches is not something I bargained on!

    I get the equinas cast off next Wed (2 wks post injury) and will be NWB in a moon boot for four weeks. The talk then is heel raisers in my shoes (plural) so I figured I would be good to go in 2009. The blogs tell me otherwise, please tell me my optimism isn’t misplaced!!!!!!

    Cheers Tui (I am in New Zealand on a 28 degree day with a sparkling outdoor swimming pool beckoning to me ($%@#!) and deck chairs I could get into but not out of I suspect! :-(

  8. I’m now 5 weeks post surgery on my right achilles, and so far it hasn’t been as bad as I expected overall.

    My girlfriend and my friends have been really great, driving me everywhere (I did my right foot) and keeping me frequently entertained and invited to gatherings and parties - I definitely have a much more active social life than pre-rupture!

    I’m not a muscular person, but my arm and shoulder muscles have really bulked up and my girlfriend keep wooing over them. (Maybe I should keep using the crutches after I’m healed!)

    Plus I’ve read some good books, and I would have considered reading or watching DVD’s a waste of time pre rupture when I could be out there doing something active.

    Sure, I am sick of being crippled and want to be able to drive to work or down to the beach for a fish or swim, but in many ways I’ve found this experience has forced me to reclaim some sorely needed balance in my life and appreciate the important people in my life.

    PLUS…Things can only get better!

  9. Surgery to repair a completely ruptured tendon took place on 12/23/08. I am a 58 year old female who has never had an injury in her life. This journey is and has been an eye opening experience. Never again will I underestimate those whose mobility is impaired in any way.

    I live in a home whose bedrooms are UPSTAIRS. The demands placed on my family to assist me in dressing (couldn’t get the pants over my toes while wearing the fiberglass cast which went to my upper thigh); to provide me with enough food for the day (it seems my appetite worked only too well- I will have to remedy that as well as my tendon) and bathing (from a sink) required ready supplies and towels. They have been selfless in their care. I have trouble adapting to the lack of mobility.

    I am now in a cam boot, 6 weeks post surgery, still no weight bearing with inflammation each evening. Anyone else inflammed at night?

    Also, the early exercise everyone refers to- what form of exercise do you refer to?

  10. Getting the temporary handicap placard and being able to get the best parking spots was a plus. I especially enjoyed the ability to work from home. I got so much more done at home than I would’ve ever gotten done with all of the districtions at work.

  11. I agree, although I get the odd ‘why me?’ day, I have pretty much filled my time. Luckily we are having a not bad summer so far in the UK so I’ve got quite a nice colour from just sitting out there, because I can and because I’ve been advised to take it easy :-)
    Other than that I’ve tidied cupboards and sorted out my childrens clothing - stuff that I wouldn’t otherwise have the time to do as I work full time and have two children and a hubby to look after. They have been brilliant in looking after me at the moment. I’ve also managed a few lunches with friends who either don’t work or are off for various medical reasons so my social life is quite full too.
    I would say to anyone unlucky enough to be in the same predicament - enjoy it while you can.

  12. I think a huge bright side of ATR is the fact that if you do well listening to your Dr and going through physical therapy that this injury can be healed almost 100%. This alone, even with the long recovery period has kept my hopes up about returning to my active lifestyle I loved and miss.
    Mike (24 yrs, Grade III tear)

  13. Hypnosis can help you to lose Weight - Find out how its going on

  14. I have a new found appreciation for my computer!, xbox, tv, ps3, microwave etc…..

  15. update. Haven’t been on here for a while but started looking back at the beginning and it seemed so long ago. Everything going great at 7.5 months and back to normal. I don’t think about the achilles unless I see the scar or someone mentions it. Playing softball and basketball starts again soon. It really feels good and one of the guys asked if achilles surgery was like Tommy John surgery and said I looked faster. that felt good. It also was great to really open up on a sprint around the bases. Had a checkup for a study I am in this week and got another ultrasound. They said tendon looks great and “looks perfectly healed ” and compared the two tendons from both leg. Only difference is right tendon is about twice the size of the other but she said it looked perfectly aligned and tissue was fully healed and it would always be that size now. Did a lot of strength testing and it showed my endurance was a little down on my atr side. Tendon length was equal on both which was good and a big part of the study. I could only do 21 full heal lifts with my atr leg and that was way less than the other so I need to strengthen it some more before I start more endurance sports. Hang in there everyone. I know its hard. You will get out of this with such an appreciation for what you had before the injury. I really feel full early weightbearing helps with quick recovery. I was FWB ten days after surgery in boot( My non med opinion is get up and moving in a some type of boot as early as possible ) I walking out of boot at 7 wks. take care

  16. Another great benifit is the money you save from not being able to shop, drive, run into the store for just one thing.
    I have fully torn my right AT and then just recently partially tore my left AT. The first time, I was able to save close to a grand, well see how much I will save this time.

  17. one thing. Mine has been a hell of an ice breaker.

    I’ve had more conversations start over my injury than I ever did, met some really interesting people.


  18. Being treated like a princess at both Bangkok and Singapore airports…first to board, wheeled everywhere, first in the taxi queue, special treatment at immigration (major queue jumping). I’m SO tempted to keep the cast and my wheelchair.

    Also, best ice breaker ever!… My usual conversation is:
    Stranger - oh, what happened to you?
    Me - I was in a fight, the other girl is in hospital.
    Me - (big grin to let them know I’m joking)

    P.s. Get a wheelchair, it makes life a dream…if you live in a single floor home.

  19. I’ve quit smoking for 4 days since op. I’m using “fast healing” as a reason everytime I think about a cigarette. It’s working so far. :)

  20. i needed to hear these, thanks all!

  21. Great stories, so far I’ve stopped smoking since before the surgery, eating better, and hoping I can use this experience to improve myself physically, mentally, and emotionally. :)

  22. Love these stories. I am in my 4th week of casts and am in a wheelchair. I ruptured both achilles on xmas eve, had surgery on xmas day and cant believe the support myself and family have received. My husband has only had to cook twice in 4 weeks as people keep dropping food off. A constant flow of visitors and no time to get lonely. I live in split level house so am limited living in the lounge and cant access the bathroom. A plumber friend came and installed an outside shower for me- so as much as I was told I’d have to bed bath for 6 weeks (urg!) I can now alfresco shower- what a treat!

  23. Reading all these stories make me feel a whole lot better. I have only just damaged my Achilles still waiting for the specialist to see me. Will start my Blog when I know the damage. but one thing for sure , it definitely makes you respect those closest to you. You also see the caring side come out in everyone around you be it your family, close friends, and total strangers. Pretty girls even hold doors open for you!!!! , it makes you see your daily life from a whole different perspective.

  24. All those single socks come in handy now! Plus it’s great to know a full recovery is possible, eventhough its a long way off and after much hard work. I’m sure gonna appreciate going for a run in the forest or a walk with family(…and no crutches!)

  25. [...] I think I’ll have to add that one to: Bright Side of ATR [...]

  26. I am new to the forum as I just had an ATR in my left leg playing BB on Wednesday night. I am pushing on 40 and my othro doctor advised the non surgical route. Seems like a lot of you guys have gone the surgical route and wonder why and if you had the option. Any other advice would ben much appreciate too on how to maintain my sanity thru this. Thanks

  27. Bc1007, it seems many or most US ATR patients are still told that surgery produces better and/or faster and/or safer recovery. In UK and NZ, most patients are guided away from surgery. Elsewhere (and increasingly even in the US), it varies from region to region, hospital to hospital, and even OS to OS. The evidence before 2007 supported surgery for more active and athletic patients, but the more recent studies and metastudies have used better - FASTER! - non-op protocols, and have produced results as good (as fast, strong, and safe) as surgery, without all the pain, the downtime, the scar, the surgical adhesions, and most of the risks of complications like infections, non closing wounds, suture rejection, DVT (though DVT does occasionally hit non-op patients too).
    Some professionals haven’t kept up with the changing evidence, some don’t believe it or won’t believe it, and some have changed their practice.
    I’ve summarized a lot of the evidence in my page “The Case for skipping ATR Surgery.” Surgery still works for most surgical patients, of course, and to get excellent non-op results, it’s very important to follow a modern, aggressive, fast protocol - like Going slow and “conservative” non-op, with multiple casts and longer than about 2 weeks non-weight-bearing (NWB) still produces inferior results (including a much higher risk of rerupture), just as it did pre-2007. Some Docs and PTs also find that impossible to believe, despite the overwhelming evidence.
    The mental game is a challenge for sure. In some ways easier non-op (e.g. less pain, less or even no time off work, depending on the work), but in some ways harder, because it kind of feels like “doing nothing”. The key is focusing on the positive parts - like so many things!
    Make sure your OS follows one of the modern fast protocols (like UWO, above), and will put you in a boot promptly (vs. a series of casts). Most OSs who recommend non-op these days “get it”, but old myths die hard, like “Better take another week or two to be safe” or “… to let it heal” or “Let’s go slower - after all, you don’t want to do this again now, do you?” They all SOUND like good sense, until you look at the evidence!

  28. I found this particular link to be very helpful during my recovery as I believe the mental side of this recovery was the most grueling but controllable. I’m a 37 YOA M. I tore my R Achilles playing basketball on 02-03-2019 and had surgery 4 days later. I was in a cast for 2 weeks and a cam walking boot for 4 weeks following removal of cast. There’s no way around it, it sucks. However being the eternal optimist I found a lot of things I could do to keep myself productive. I basically made a list of everything that I had put off (that I could physically handle) like books to read, investments to research, even organizing digital pictures of my family. Each day I got up and “went to work”. It really helped with the mental fatigue of the injury. By the time I was mobile I still had things I wanted to get done.
    As far as the physical recovery goes you can push yourself to early recovery per your doctors guidelines. I am a career firefighter. My goal from the day of surgery was to be back on the job in 3 months and I accomplished it. Take the 1st few weeks after surgery and RELAX. I personally struggled with this. Following that Stick to your PT and stretching. Personally I feel the sooner you are back on your feet the better. Eat healthy and get plenty of rest. Its not easy but you will reach it. I am now 4 months post op. Calf is still weak but most of the tightness is gone. I can run buts its ugly. Just know that you will ultimately determine your recovery. Find the good in the situation. Best of luck to everyone!

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