Jul 17 2010


Achilles made himself known in a volleyball game!

Posted at 7:01 pm under Uncategorized

I played high school volleyball and had no problems in the past playing in a pick up game. My company just started a healthy living focus and I had just played soccer and done aerobics last month. I do a lot of walking at work but have not had consistent exercise for a looong time.

June 18 An opportunity came up to play some volleyball came up, I said sure! Of course my husband says, “You’re not as young as you used to be-DONT GET HURT!” Yeah I’ll take it easy and I’m only 45 years old right?!!!

We signed up paid and the game started quickly- I just started warming up- Stretched the quads and a just little bit of the calf and started working on the shoulders. They were short 1 person they called me in right away. I got a few digs in- I was feeling good and was finally getting to the front of the net (on only the 3rd rotation!) My cousin is in the setters position & receiving the ball-I’m getting ready cuz she’s rusty and who knows where this ball’s goin! THEN IT HAPPENED!

What the…Who just whacked me my behind my leg-PAAAAAIN! I fell and everyone thought i rolled my ankle- no this felt different-they told me to breathe and i was done. I didn’t jump, I didn’t roll my ankle- it felt like the worst pulled muscle ever. I iced my ankle and hopped ever so slowly and quietly to bed…ahhh honey “I got hurt : (”

I went to see the FAMILY doctor the following week– i told him i went on the internet and found the Thompson test and that my foot was not responsive-he dismissed it & gave me anti inflamatory/painkiller pills.

I was using a cane and limping around at work for 2 weeks. when my back, knees started hurting and i just couldn’t walk normal-my doctor finally sent me to a specialist.

July 7 my doctor performed the thompson test and felt the gap in my tendon and confirmed i had ruptured my ac. an mri was scheduled and you can definitely see the the empty white space on the tendon.

July 15- the pain after surgery was minimal. the doc also used a graft. my livingroom has gotten smaller due to a wheel chair, crutches and walker- i like the walker- i feel more stable but it’s slower(i wish i had a knee walker!). my doctor says i would be non weight bearing for 10-12 weeks! i’m going to watch a’s vs red sox next tuesday- you think it’s too soon- of course i’ll be using their golfcart & wheelchair service.

July 21st Is my next visit and I will do alot of reading on when I can do some exercising and put weight on the foot. Definitely will check out normofthenorth early weight bearing PT protocol- thanks GerryR (I’m still learning how to navigate through the ATIR site)

You know I thought i would have to be on the down low after recovery and take up yoga- or some low impact sport, but after reading GerryR’s blog I got inspired and want to get back to volleyball and more.

Greatest Fears: Rushing this whole process, not getting full strength back, gaining weight & WORK. My commute is about an hour each way and right foot. When did you guys start driving again especially if you injured your right foot?

Do you really need to elevate above the heart?

Do you really need to elevate above the heart?

4 responses so far

4 Responses to “Achilles made himself known in a volleyball game!”

  1. normofthenorthon 18 Jul 2010 at 1:28 am 1

    The shortcut to the U.W.Ontario study protocol is bit.ly/UWOProtocol . The study that used it is reference #7 in the Wikipedia article on ATR (spelled out, of course).

    It worked fine for post-op patients like you, and worked just as well for people who skipped the surgery. I personally don’t think there are good arguments for a post-op patient to go any slower. (This from a non-MD double-ATR survivor who likes to read studies and blog about them!)

    TWO weeks of total NWB seems to be enough for anybody, followed by 2+ weeks of transition to FWB. Gentle Physio and gentle home mobility exercises can also start after only 2 weeks, though you obviously have to be in a boot, not a cast. Going too fast and going too slow are both bad, with hazards on both sides of the “tightrope”. Just surviving on crutches (etc.) for 12 weeks without falling and hurting yourself is a good trick, and that hazard should not be discounted.

    I may have asked this elsewhere, but can’t you use your wheelchair backwards, as a kneeling scooter-walker?

    I’m a real fan of high-impact sports (especially volleyball, both court and beach), even at almost exactly GerryR’s age. Eventually, 8 yrs after I tore my first AT playing 6-on-6 volleyball, I did tear the other one playing 4-on-4. But the recovery’s been way easier, and it was totally worth it for me, in return for the 7 years of great activity (mostly the volleyball). I wouldn’t have skipped it for a million dollars.

    Who knows, if I hadn’t torn the second one playing 4-on-4 court volleyball at 64, it might have hung on much longer, ’til it tore while I was shuffling my feet behind a walker at 90. Is that really better?!?

    As jla2010 wrote recently, “Unless I grow another foot I think I am done with having my wheels fixed for a while.”

    BTW, I +/- never elevated my ankle above my heart. Just sticking it up way above my other leg gave me great relief, and I kept doing that a LOT and for a LONG time. (And even now, after 7 months, I still do it sometimes, though it’s really out of force of habit now.)

    Also, after you educate your surgeon about modern protocols and the studies that have validated them, in the nicest way possible, it might be time for a new family doctor!

  2. scotton 19 Jul 2010 at 4:24 pm 2

    Sorry to here of another VB player getting injured. I too got hit by the mystery calf crusher, out of nowhere. Looked for the person or thing that whacked me. I too took about 3 weeks to get surgery do to doctors schedules etc. Luckily I didn’t need a graph, but was out of the cast wi 2 weeks and did pt quickly. I was walking FWB in 6 wks and cleared by doc at 12 wks. I had a lot of swelling all along but no one seemed to think much about it. So I didn’t either, lesson, if it doesn’t feel right ask questions get answers.

    I did really well but at 13 weeks after I was told I could do most anything and not hurt it. I retore my AT, right thru the old scar. MRI like you 2 cm gap. My doc felt his stitches were still there so I’m on non-surgery trial for now. I just passed the 6 wk time frame. My gap is down to .5 cm now. Walking in PWB phase in hinged boot. But post surgery I really needed to elevate my leg, non surgery not as much. You had a major surgery with graph etc, I’d keep it up as much as you can. You probablly notice how tight the cast feels around the ankle when your leg is down, that is the swelling. Ice packs around the cast work great too.

    So, bottom line, keep it elevated please, swelling affects healing. I learned the hard way. I want to prevent anyone I can from a retear if possible..

  3. normofthenorthon 19 Jul 2010 at 5:18 pm 3

    Scott, you’re the second person posting here now who re-ruptured after surgery then got treated NON-surgically. The recent UWO study and (I think) all the other 3 that found no benefit from the surgery, too, treated all their (rare) re-rupture cases with surgery. There’s no good evidence either way on the two basic treatments for re-rupture patients, AFAICS, and the relative rarity of re-ruptures (Thank God!) makes it hard to put together a statistically-significant sample.

    I wouldn’t necessarily equate swelling with bad outcomes and no swelling with good. Swelling itself can damage soft tissue, and it’s very uncomfortable, so it’s good to control it. It can also be a sign of overdoing it, which is a useful signal to pay attention to. On the other hand, the whole inflammatory response, of which swelling is the most obvious symptom, is basically what accomplishes the re-building of the torn AT, with or without stitches! That’s why the non-surgical “cure” doesn’t seem to work well after weeks of walking around on the ATR foot. (The inflammatory high-platelet repair response doesn’t last forever.) It’s possible that your 3-week wait for surgery was a bigger factor in your re-rupture than your swelling, though I think we’re all just speculating.

    What were you doing when you re-tore your AT? 13 weeks is usually late enough for lots of NORMAL activities (”ADL”), but NOT usually late enough to “do most anything and not hurt it”, if that includes any of the kinds of activities that can cause initial ATRs. Also, do you have a copy of the non-surgical protocol you’re following this time? How does it compare to (say) bit.ly/UWOProtocol ? How does it compare to the protocol you followed post-op, the first time?

    Finally, I don’t understand “I retore my AT, right thru the old scar. MRI like you 2 cm gap. My doc felt his stitches were still there so I’m on non-surgery trial for now”. If you re-tore your AT in the same place as before, right where your OS re-connected it with sutures, and there’s now a 2cm gap there, how could the sutures still all be “there”? If I splice a rope and it tears or separates at the splice, is the splice “still there”?

    I’m NOT saying that your second “cure” isn’t right, or isn’t going to work well, but I don’t follow your Doc’s logic. And the evidence is scanty in all directions. Start a blog if you can, and dish out all the details!

  4. athleticsfanon 21 Jul 2010 at 3:26 pm 4

    hi scott, i definitely have been elevating my bum leg since the surgery on July 15. I’ve felt minimal pain and have not noticed any swelling. My husband always checks on my toes. This new experience as caretaker has exhausted him! Good luck to you on your recovery- Isn’t this blog a great support!

    So you went FWB after 6 weeks? My doctor said we’d discuss anything about weight bearing at 6 weeks. My husband and I will have more of a discussion with the doctor on this as Norm would say “in the nicest way possible!”

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