Snakes and Ladders

I’m sure I’m not the first to use the comparison, but ATR recovery is like a game of snakes and ladders.

Unfortunately I’ve landed on the big snake that takes you back to the start, after suffering a full re-rupture last week.

It was 14 weeks after my ATR playing football.  I went the conservative way and things had been progressing well, apparently.  I’d gone in to the boot before Christmas and then in to two shoes mid Jan.  Indoors I was walking confidently, if with a big limp.

I won’t focus on the gory details but I got up from the sofa last Tuesday in the wrong way, on my toes, and that was that.

It took me a day or two to accept something serious was wrong as I still had good strength in my foot.  The pain hadn’t been severe, there was no ‘pop’, but clearly something had happened.

I went to A&E where an orthopedic chap said he thought I’d redone it so he admitted me.  The next day I saw two consultants.  Both were hopeful I hadn’t done severe damage but wanted an ultrasound to check.  That took a day to arrange with the right person.  It took one second for her to see the full rupture.

So I was in to surgery first thing the next morning - conservative treatment is not the same kind of option second time round.  The Surgery itself was fine (great painkillers!) and once again I’ve been lucky not to suffer too much pain.  My surgeon says it all went to plan and I now need to do what I can to help heal the wound and avoid infection, i.e. don’t move much, no football or pub crawls, and keep my leg up.

I’m staying with my parents for a week while I keep my leg up.  My Mum’s just retired so needs to keep busy to help herself manage the transition to life without work!  I’ll make sure I keep her working with requests for tea and cakes.

The whole event has been odd, to say the least.  It’s been emotionally draining - the thought of going back to square 1.  But I’m working out ways to keep positive.

For starters, it’s a different square 1 and I’m on a different board with new ladders to look for and new snakes to avoid.  Having tried conservative, and now having undergone surgery the injury feels like a different one.

On the note of conservative vs surgery, I wouldn’t urge anyone to use my experience to sway them either way if considering their own treatment.

I don’t regret going conservatively.  I really felt my progress was going well, but I fall in to the 8%/10%/15%/20% (depending on which study you favour) who have been unlucky.  That’s what my surgeon said: “You’re just one of the unlucky ones”.  That was strangely reassuring for some reason.

That said, I now have to put my full confidence in the surgical approach.

I won’t go on now.  There’s plenty of time for that in the next week or two once I’ve got my thoughts together.  As ever, it’s a great help to have somewhere to share this experience.

14 Responses to “Snakes and Ladders”

  1. Oh, Alex, I am truly sorry to hear about your re-rupture. Your analogy of snakes and ladders (which BTW is called Chutes and Ladders in the states) is so apt. True, you landed on a big snake- BUT you are still in the game, and though some of us finish the game faster, and some of us take a bit longer, we all do get to the end! Take care, and let your mom take good care of you. Sending you healing thoughts and prayers!

  2. OMG I am so sorry to hear about your re-rupture. i am at 11 weeks and I also went the non-surgical way and I am pretty sure my doctor is going to tell me next week that I can take off the boot next week, and I am scared to death of rerupturing without the boot and hearing your story scares me even more. Any tips you can give on what you should or should not do.

  3. Hi Diane, don’t be scared. Look forward to wearing two shoes - it feels great!

    All things considered I’m probably not the one to be dishing out tips. However, it strikes me you will be very careful and not rush anything when you come out of the boot. They’re two good tips I’m sure.

    I’m not searching too hard for reasons for my re-rupture but it’s likely a combination of too much too soon, bad luck, and a lapse in concentration.

    It doesn’t matter which study you look at, by far the majority go on to make smooth recoveries and I’m sure you’ll be one of these. If you get really freaked out at any point you can always put the boot back on to recharge your courage. As you know, you can’t hurry it.

  4. Hi Alex, I am really sorry to hear that you joined the club of those “lucky” ones who get to compare the two methods of healing, conservative v. surgery…
    Re-rupturing felt different for me, too, and it was just a wrong step. I do not blame myself: if it needed so little to fall apart, it was probably not strong enough, and would have happened sooner or later. No, there was no pop the 2nd time around, just a sharp pain.
    I felt much more confident after surgery, I had no more swelling, no more pain in the tendon, and it felt strong. And when I started doing heel lifts, it was easier. Wish you all the best.

  5. What rotten luck. Sorry to hear about your rerupture. Reading your post, you seem to be dealing with this setback far better than I imagine that many of us would - you must be still under the effects of your anesthetic (says the anesthesiologist) :)

  6. Alex,

    I’m really sorry, mate. Bad news. I haven’t posted on here for a couple of weeks because I’ve had nothing significant to report and I haven’t visited the site for several days, either. Got a spare few minutes to check everyone is okay… and I find this. I feel for you.

    Have to say, you sound remarkably positive, given what’s happened. I’d be on the floor (probably watching my wife leave through the front door with suitcases packed) if I re-ruptured. Stay strong - you’ll get there.

  7. Hi Alex,
    So sorry to hear of your re-rupture, you are a remarkably positive person, I would have thrown myself under a bus by now!
    Here’s wishing you a fast recovery with no more drama.
    All the best.

  8. Good luck, man — time for you to become one of the LUCKY ones!

    I was pretty lucky with my first (surgical) ATR cure, and my second one (non-surgical, the other leg) has felt lucky, too, so far. I’m not at the end of the trip yet, but so far, I like the non-surgical cure better — touch wood, of course!!

  9. Hang in there!! Keep your head up and know that things will get better.
    Slow and steady wins the race.

    We all will be sending you good vibes so you’ll recover quickly.

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