Six-week anniversary.

June 15th, 2011

What a dubious distinction that is. Hard to believe it has been that long since that morning I decided on a dance class for my day off, instead of my usual kick-ass hot yoga. I took the dance class using a Groupon; it was a good deal for something I only did a few times a year anyway (it’s been two decades since I did ballet professionally). I’m still kicking myself. I know my tendon could have, perhaps WOULD have, ruptured at any time, but it still bugs me that it happened doing something I am so ambivalent about now. It wasn’t even a good class.

I saw my surgeon on Monday, 5 weeks and 3 days after surgery. They don’t spend much time, do they? Next time I will write questions down, because for some reason I can never remember what I want to ask. He looked at the incision, said it looked good, felt my tendon, said I can start PT and to see him again in 4 weeks. On the referral form he said I can only bear weight while wearing the boot, and I can do gentle ROM exercises with a theraband, He also told me that I’m fine to ditch the crutches. The truth is, I dumped the crutches three weeks ago and I have been doing ROM exercises myself at home for almost as long. (I haven’t been sleeping in the boot for two weeks now, either. Lack of sleep was doing me in.) I want to move faster, I want shoes, I want to walk and drive again. Summer is so short here in Vancouver, and it’s killing me to leave my mountain bike and paddleboard in the garage, and to be stuck sitting on my butt. But I know I have to be patient — I am far more terrified of re-rupture than of missing out on some fun, so I’ll wait. I promise.

I walked (limped) the two blocks back to my office from the hospital and stopped in at a physiotherapy clinic on the way and made an appt. for tomorrow. Would have done it today, but it’s my day off and I can’t get a ride there. I will post again after my first session.

Thanks for letting me kill some time. I’m trying not to think too much about Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final tonight. The entire city is excited and about ready to come unglued I think. We love our hockey and a Cup, after 40 years, would be epic. But the news coverage and commentary on the series has been getting toxic. We’re so unused to being near the top that getting hammered by the media feels lousy. (And I say that as a journalist myself. The media sucks!) It is spoiling the fun, to be honest. So I promised myself yesterday that I wasn’t going to read/watch any more stories about hockey. It’s my day off, so I’m doing some easy chores around the house and reading until face-off at 5 p.m. PST.


PS. I bookmarked Doug53’s blog (Walking in my shoes within four weeks) and I’ve been following some of his suggestions for rehab, with the huge and obvious difference being that I am in my air cast and he was walking in shoes early. But he did suggest a vibrating massager, he pointed to one study that shows the application of vibration while stretching the tendon might lesson atrophy of the calf. So I’m doing it, it feels great, and it makes sense to me that the increase in circulation would also be beneficial for healing. Just thought I would pass that on.

13 Responses to “Six-week anniversary.”

  1. normofthenorth on June 15, 2011 6:06 pm

    Deana, you say a few little things like “I want to walk. . .” that puzzle me. In my AirCast (and ESPECIALLY in my hinged boot), I was walking faster than almost all my friends. Is your walking slow or impaired in the AirCast? Most of us actually slow down at a few of these key transitions, and the move from a boot to 2-shoes is one where just about everybody slows way down.

    Doug53’s blog is one of the highlights here, and it has inspired many patients. Unfortunately, it’s never been tested in a large group, so we don’t know how lucky he was to do so well — whether 97% of all (post-op) ATR patients could follow that path without further injury, or more like 9.7%!

  2. deana on June 15, 2011 6:39 pm

    Good point, Norm. No, I’m walking pretty fast, but I haven’t figured out the right shoe to wear on my good leg. It’s really start to cause problems with my back. I’m used to walking lengthy distances, on my lunch, on the trails with my dog etc. I can’t go far without needing a break. I feel pretty limited.

    And yes, I’m being cautious about following Doug53’s plan. Not willing to risk anything by going into shoes just yet. But I think he has some valid points and good suggestions.

  3. normofthenorth on June 16, 2011 1:37 am

    I think I built up my other foot the cheapest way, by scrounging a “cast shoe” and sticking it on/around a simple piece of footgear. In my case, that was a cheap Chinese flip-flop-type “massage sandal”, and that was for indoor wear. For outdoor wear, I used a short boot (like the kind that Merrill makes) with 1 or 2 footbeds added inside. They both matched the boot’s sole-thickness (and foot height) pretty closely.

    Others have taken an old running shoe to a shoemaker for modification, or tried other tricks. The key is to do SOMETHING that gets you walking straight in the boot.

  4. chuckp17 on June 16, 2011 10:49 am

    Deana: Your doctor visit sounds very similar to mine. About 30 minutes of waiting, for a 3 minute visit (for me). Have you tried driving yet?
    The doctor also told me I could walk in the boot, but with all the extra wedges, it felt really uncomfortable. He took one wedge out when I was there, but after one day, I took another one out. That helped a lot. I have two wedges left, and I intend to take another one out next week.
    (sorry about the Canucks, by the way)

  5. polly on June 16, 2011 5:53 pm

    Deana, really sorry about the Canucks, there were my team for this series. Sounds like your progress is going well, kudos. Quick question: in an earlier post, you meantion that “Janet” gave you information on wearing heels again. Can you share that info? What is the prognosis on wearing heels? thanks!

  6. deana on June 16, 2011 11:43 pm

    Thanks Polly. I’m less bummed by the Canucks’ loss than I am by the 19-year-old thugs who burned cars and looted after the game. Not a proud day for our city, and really takes away from all the hard work and effort of our team.

    The very first comment I made on this blog was on a post by Janet on “Janet’s Achilles Blog” ( and I asked if she was wearing heels again. She was at 12 weeks post-op at the time, and she said yes, she had worn heels a couple of times. She also said swelling was still making it hard to wear some of her shoes, but she seemed confident my designer heels would be worn by me again in the future. Here’s hoping!

    I had my own first PT appointment today, and the therapist told me my tendon will always be thicker than in the other leg. I did ask if she thought that would pose a problem for fitting into my current stable of shoes and she said it shouldn’t, since the repair (and hence the thickness) is higher than shoe level.

    So I think the prognosis for wearing heels is good. In the meantime I just have to figure out how to lift my good foot to the same height as the bad one in my air cast. It’s killing my lower back to limp, but it will kill my pride to wear A snowboot/cast shoe/platform running shoe (?) on my good leg. Sigh.

  7. deana on June 16, 2011 11:48 pm


    Still haven’t tried driving. My friends and family are having anxiety attacks over the mere suggestion. Four weeks now until my next surgeon appt. and I guess that’s when I find out about two-shoes and driving, so I may try it yet.

  8. normofthenorth on June 16, 2011 11:50 pm

    I haven’t kept track of your ankle angle (=~ heel lifts), but as the ankle moves toward “neutral” (90 degrees), the “elevator shoe effect” fades significantly. The boots are still thicker-soled than normal shoes, but when you’re neutral it’s at least within range of footbeds and such.

    Walking off-balance is bad in so many ways. . .

  9. deana on June 16, 2011 11:59 pm

    I hear you Norm, and I am working on your suggestions. I am down to one heel lift in the cast and will take it out early next week. Today I tried an old running shoe with the last heel lift I removed from the air cast. It was closer in height, but not comfortable. Tomorrow I will see if I can find a footbed that works. What a pain! (Literally.)

  10. normofthenorth on June 17, 2011 12:19 am

    In addition to the discomfort, there’s a risk to many body parts from walking crooked — back, neck, knees, hips, etc.. There’s even a chance that you’ll learn some compensating bad habit that you’ll have trouble shaking later. That can happen after a trauma like an ATR, even WITHOUT getting used to walking off-balance. GerryR comes to mind as one who had a PT spot a subtle “hitch” in his step after he’d mostly healed and re-strengthened, and thought he was back to a normal gait.

    But it’s such a joy to be able to walk without crutches — and faster and faster, too! — that you don’t want to hold yourself back, either. The solution is mechanical, just get yourself straightened out somehow.

  11. chuckp17 on June 17, 2011 11:10 am

    Ha. Deana, my friends and family told me I was crazy to try and drive left-footed. But, being stubborn like I am, and not wanting to give up control in that part of my life, I practiced a few times in the neighborhood and then went out on the road. I have put a lot of miles on my car in the last four weeks. My wife and I took a short trip to the mountains a week ago, and halfway into the trip she said “Hey, you drive really well with your left foot”. I think that is the first time she has ever complemented me on my driving. Good luck, if you decide to try.

  12. polly on June 17, 2011 12:59 pm

    Deana, yes, of course, everyone read about the post-game rioting but as I think you already know– considering your line of work– in the past 20 years or so, Vancouver has done a tremendous job of positioning itself as a world-class cosmopolitan city with amzaing people and ammenities and every great city has its share of overly zealous 19-yr-old thugs, that’s just the way it is.

    On the tendon and the fact that it will remain wider than the non-injured tendon, yes. I was also dissappointed to learn that. Happy that it probably, in the long-run will not affect wearing shoes, but it did make me a bit blue. The way I am trying to look at it?… how many women in heels can sport a mysterious sports injury scar above her classy pumps? A scar can be sexy and intriguing too! (at least that is what I am telling myself)

    Good luck to you- looking forward to your next post :-)

  13. mtbrider on June 18, 2011 3:43 am


    Cheers for your reply to my blog. I am trying to remain pretty positive about things.After a life of self-inflicted injuries and hospital visits it is kinda a novelty having one that i did not directly cause myself.

    I read you are a mountain biker too eh. There is a positive for you- cycling is pretty much one of the first recommended rehab activities. Maybe not mountain biking but once you get back on the bike on even the road and to feel that wind in your face…

    I too am hoping to contemplate driving in a while, make sure you check to see if your insurance will still cover you just in case something happens eh.

    All the best


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