I would like to chronicle my ATR and my experiences over the last three weeks. On Monday, May 26, 2008, my wife and I decided to play a little tennis in our subdivision’s amenities area. Because I thought we were just going to “hit a few” I wore some older tennis shoes. Moreover, I did not stretch before we began to hit. We began just by volleying and my game seemed to be “ON.” Mind you, my wife plays USTA and ALTA (Atlanta Lawn Tennis Association) year ‘round and talks about how good she is. She asked if I wanted to play a set; of course I said OK.
To make a long story short, I moved ahead 4 games to 0. At that point, I let up a little as I took a brief rest and she brought the game count to 4 – 2. I can remember as clear as day saying to myself “let me pick it up now and bring home the trophy.” As soon as I said that, my wife tried a drop shot. I pushed off to retrieve the shot and heard to pop and felt that infamous kick in the back of my RIGHT foot. It also felt somewhat like an electrical shock. Has anyone else felt that sensation?
I made an immediate diagnosis – ATR. My wife took me to the emergency room at Piedmont Hospital (in the ATL) where they examined me. I went to Piedmont because both my primary care doc and the ortho that had recently treated me for Achilles tendonitis had offices in the hospital complex and worked out of the hospital. Could the Achilles tendonitis have contributed to the ATR? Although the emergency room doc did not make an exact diagnosis, she suggested a possible ATR. They gave me a boot, a prescription for vicoden, and a suggestion that I visit an ortho ASAP.
The next morning, I called my ortho, who is involved in sports medicine for several sports teams (Hawks [formerly] , pro soccer, women’s basketball, high school sports) and he squeezed me in that day. It was odd that although I had the boot and crutches, I did not use them because there was so little pain and I was able to walk. I began to question the diagnosis, thinking that I may be “good as new” in a couple of weeks. However, when doc gave me the Thompson Test, it was clear to him that there was an ATR. Of course he gave me the option of surgery or allowing it to heal itself. Of course I chose the surgery because of the shorter recovery time and less propensity to re – rup. He asked if I wanted the surgery on Thursday, May 29, 2008 or the following Thursday, June 5, 2008. I told him, “Let’s get it done.”
I will not bore you folks on the surgery. However, I will say that make sure the person that is with during surgery ask the right question as you will not be able to talk to the doctor after surgery to find out how bad was the rupture. My wife did not asks the questions I would have asked (bless her heart). As such, there were so many things I would have liked to have known from the time of the surgery to the first post op appointment. Up until the time they wheeled me out of the pre op, I still questioned the diagnosis because I still had little pain and could almost walk without a limp. I guess I just wasn’t ready for the surgery.
I must say that the first two weeks after surgery, I was not the model patient. I went to work the following Monday after surgery (June 2, 2008), despite the doctor requesting I take a week off. My wife called the doctor’s office (to tell on me) and they immediately faxed over a note to me and said I must rest (Rest and Elevate) at least until June 9, 2008. I showed the request to my boss and he said no, I need you here. Needless to say, I went to his boss who immediately sent me home. Given that I can access some servers from home, I was able to work from home that week. I work for a major bank in commercial real estate risk management and you know how the market is right now. Given as much, I can somewhat understand my boss’ thoughts – not really. That day at work, my foot was sooo swollen and blue. I propped my foot up on a trash can so that I could alleviate the pain, discoloration, and swelling.
I also did not stay in the bed. I loved the way the crutches made my triceps feels and wanted to get the exercise. We live in a two level home with a basement and I was up and down the steps all day. I began to lift weights – upper body – after the first week. I recently bought a new multi station leverage workout system (Powertec Workbench Multi Station) which is sweeeet and I am now awaiting its delivery. I said that once I am fully recovered from the ATR, my upper body will be in stellar shape. The system also has a squat section with toes raises which should help in the rehab process. My doc stated that I could begin squatting and using my elliptical trainer at the three month post op mark. Is there anything I can do now to get my heart rate up?
Fast forward to the first post op. Because I had read some folks’ painful experience regarding the removal of stitches and staples, I was a little anxious. There was no pain in the stitch removal. Maybe taking one of my 800 mg Ibuprofen before the appointment helped. The incision was healing nicely. The doctor had told my wife to make sure we brought the boot with us just in case. The doc examined my foot, ROM, and resistance/strength while pushing down against his hands. He seemed quite pleased with all three tests. On goes the boot – YEAH! He stated that we will try the shoe at the next post op and that I may begin swimming and begin PT.
Also, my doc stated that the rupture was close to the where the Achilles attaches to the bone. He stated that it was difficult for him to stitch the tendon on the side that was closest to the bone as he had little room to work. He also stated that the rupture was complete.
Thanks to everyone for the comments relative to my last post. I wanted to return the comments, but I have not figured out how to do that yet. Any help in doing so would be very much appreciated. Start…Focus…Finish.