8 weeks…2 shoes!

I’ve had some pretty good news with my recovery over this past week or so. 10 days ago I had my first physical therapy session and he was very happy with my range of motion and overall appearance of my ankle area.

Yesterday was with my ortho for the 8 week appt and she was VERY excited by what she saw. She was actually surprised it has come so far in such a relatively short time given my initial conditions (3 weeks between rupture and start of non-op rehab protocol).

So I’m now in two shoes for the first time in a long and rode a stationary bike today. Felt good to break a sweat and start chipping away at the 10 lbs I’ve put on in these past 3 months. It’s funny seeing my right shoe and how much whiter it is than my left.

Still no idea how much longer it’ll be until I can jog but suspect it’ll still be a few months. But for now it feels great to be able to walk, wear shoes, and do exercises that I can tell are strenghtening my Achilles with each passing day.

Good luck and happy healing to all.

Durwood

7 Responses to “8 weeks…2 shoes!”

  1. That is great news. I’m looking forward to seeing my leg again. I think new shoes will the first thing I will buy.

  2. Sounds great, Durwood! Keep progressing, and keep Watching Your Step, too!

    It’s funny, the things that are obviously true yet surprising — like how different our two shoes are after ATR rehab!!

  3. Congrats, Durwood, it is encouraging to see yet another very successful case of someone who went the non-op route. I assume you followed the UWO protocol very closely? In hindsight, I wonder how I would be doing now if I had gone the non-op route. In my case, the MRI showed that I only had a 0.5cm gap between the two ends of the tendon, so it’s definitely easy to imagine that the non-op route/UWO protocol might’ve also worked for me. I need to go print out the UWO manuscript and read all the details, but I do wonder if folks with higher ruptures (mine was 7.5 cm up from the heal bone) were part of this UWO study….maybe normofthenorth knows?

  4. Brian, the study’s here on this site, if you like. They took all comers as long as the tears were total, and within 14 days, AFAIK. All locations, all gap sizes.

    They published a small “pre-sub-study” in 2008 or 2009 (not here, but Google and I can find it), analyzing those of the ~75 non-op patients (~25) who had pre-treatment Ultrasound exams. They wondered if gap size or gap location predicted clinical success, non-op. Both apparently did NOT, probably to the researchers’ surprise. Small sample, it’s true.

    While the UWO non-op cure doesn’t seem to care where the gap is (or how large), many surgeons do, and most refuse to repair high ATRs, near the calf muscle. Apparently sutures don’t hold well on (calf) muscle tissue. So outside of randomized trials, the population of non-op patients has a surplus of high ruptures. Probably a surplus of small ones, too, based on logic that the data don’t seem to support.

  5. Thanks, norm, I will read this paper in detail when I have time (maybe this weekend) but it definitely sounds like one of the best studies ever regarding ATR treatments. Although I went the Operative route, I incorporated a lot of the UWO protocol (summarized at your website) into my recovery process. Recall that I actually re-ruptured 6 days after my 1st surgery and therefore had a “revision” surgery. The combination of this revision, a higher ATR, and significant degeneration (observed only via surgery), was supposed to slow down my recovery. Nonetheless, my recovery seems to be faster than average and attribute a lot of that to following a rehab protocol similar to the UWO study.

    The non-op/UWO route is something I will seriously consider if this ever happens again to me. However, there could still be a couple advantages for “serious athletes” to go the surgical route: 1) the surgeon can supposedly clean out some pre-existing tendonitis? For example, http://rupturedachillestendon.blogspot.com/
    2) The surgeon can wrap a GraftJacket around the Achilles that might augment the Achilles in cases where significant degeneration is present:
    http://choosestrong-graftjacket.com/
    Admittedly, data on the benefits of using a GraftJacket for ATRs is still pretty scanty, but does look promising…

    Even considering these two *possible* benefits of surgery, the UWO study seems to be a powerful argument to try the non-op route in many cases….

  6. Thanks, norm, I will read this paper in detail when I have time (maybe this weekend) but it definitely sounds like one of the best studies ever regarding ATR treatments. Although I went the Operative route, I incorporated a lot of the UWO protocol (summarized at your website) into my recovery process. Recall that I actually re-ruptured 6 days after my 1st surgery and therefore had a “revision” surgery. The combination of this revision, a higher ATR, and significant degeneration (observed only via surgery), was supposed to slow down my recovery. Nonetheless, my recovery seems to be faster than average and attribute a lot of that to following a rehab protocol similar to the UWO study.

    The non-op/UWO route is something I will seriously consider if this ever happens again to me. However, there could still be a couple advantages for “serious athletes” to go the surgical route: 1) the surgeon can supposedly clean out some pre-existing tendonitis?
    2) The surgeon can wrap a GraftJacket around the Achilles that might augment the Achilles in cases where significant degeneration is present. Admittedly, data on the benefits of using a GraftJacket for ATRs is still pretty scanty, but does look promising…

    Even considering these two *possible* benefits of surgery, the UWO study seems to be a powerful argument to try the non-op route in many cases….

  7. Missed your post(s) ’til now, Brian, sorry. Your 2 arguments may have merit, but I think I’ve seen some evidence going against both.
    (1) Re prior tendonitis/tendinosis being fixed surgically: It’s been oft-repeated here by reliable posters (doug53 pops to mind), and I ASSUME it comes from real evidence, that ATR recovery, with or withOUT surgery, very often clears up prior tendonitis/tendinosis.
    That said, of course there are conditions and situations that indicate surgery, so don’t imagine that I’d ever deny that simple truth. There also some conditions and situations that will only be detected during surgery! That makes some people fear non-op treatment for apparently routine ATRs — me, not so much.
    (2) I think I HAVE actually seen some studies comparing grafted ATR repairs to simple open surgery, and found no benefit. Of course, the surgeries do change, and the current fave seems to use the patient’s own big-toe tendon, which wasn’t the surgery in the study I saw. So maybe that one has provable benefits, for a future randomized trial…
    (3) On my own “studies” page, I referenced an early report from a new kind of ATR surgery by two Japanese surgeons who reported amazing results
    In their first 30-odd patients. If I were shopping for ATR surgeons or techniques, I’d go there — yet I’ve heard no news of follow-ups or
    bandwagons/copycats from that experience.
    (4) One of the big problems retarding improvements in ATR treatment is the apparent urgency of treatment, including surgery. People who need a replacement heart valve (been there!!) often have years to shop around and become experts before they need the operation. ATR patients are often still told that surgery — and the specific surgery THAT surgeon does! — is really the only excellent option “for you” and your surgery’s tomorrow morning!

Leave a Reply

*
To prove you're a person (not a spam script), type the security word shown in the picture.
Anti-Spam Image

Powered by WP Hashcash