Protection? Who needs protection with a dog?!

Zeus & Jason, our club's helper in Schutzhund

Zeus & Jason, our club's helper in Schutzhund

Zeus, my 18 month old Rottie after being sent out in protection.  I need two good ankles to keep up with this puppy!


Zeus, my Schutzhund dog

Zeus coming in full bore on a recall

Zeus coming in full bore on a recall

My Schutzhund dog, Zeus that I hope to take to the clinic & trial in May.

Imagine 110 pounds of Rottie coming into you at full bore!  That’s ONE good reason to have two healthy ankles!

I’m back - next ankle…

I broke down and had the surgery on my right ankle…  I couldn’t walk, wasn’t able to raise up on that toe, constant pain.

March 24, Dr. C detached my AT, removed the excess bone & spurs that were shredding the tendon, used PRP and several bone anchors to put it all back together.  He debrided so much calcified,

My dog Zeus, sent out for a bite in Schutzhund.

damaged tendon that he did a Strayers tendon release so I’d have enough there to work with.

Two weeks in a splint and I moved to a boot on April 6th!  I’m completely non-weight bearing for 6 weeks so the bone anchors have time to really “take”.  No driving until June 16th.

The left ankle has turned out pretty well.  Occassional twinges at the bone anchors, but I have probably 80% strength back and MUCH more range of motion than I’ve had in years.  Here’s hoping the right ankle turns out as well.


  • Walk by May 4th
  • Be able to work my Rottweiler (carefully) in a Schutzhund Protection Clinic by May 15 & 16
  • Be able to go out for my Birthday on May 18th!  (Relying on hubby to drive for a WHILE!)
  • Show my dog for a beginning title in Schutzhund on May 23
  • Go to Yellowstone National Park on May 24th through mid June (when I can go back to work).

I expect I will do fairly limited walking in my ortho boot at Yellowstone.  I’m hoping to get the surgeon to allow walking in a supportive leather hiking boot - if I can get my fat puffy foot in one by then!


My dog Zeus, sent out for a bite in Schutzhund.

She Waaaaaaalks…

I just got home from my second post op visit with Dr. C. 

He looked at my scar and pronounced it “good” - except for the pressure sore on my heel from when I was in the splint.  “I can turn your stomach and “clean it up”, or we can let it heal on it’s own.”  It looks like a dark, mushy scab the size of a quarter.  Very tender!  “Please leave it for now”, I begged.

Then he told me to ditch the knee walker and get back on my feet unless I plan to be out shopping all day.  I must wear the boot for 4 more weeks when I am up since he wants to be sure the bone anchor has a good, solid, healed attachment in my heel.  No crutches or cane, unless I want one.  PT starts in 2 weeks.  See me in a month.

Well…  After being completely non weight bearing for 6 weeks, I was hardly ready to walk out of the office.  Hubbie & I decided to hit a good little Italian restaurant on the way home that is NOT handicapped accessible on wheels.  Let’s just say that 25% weight bearing with crutches was pretty shaky.  The bottom & back of my heel hurt where all the bone was removed.  Weird - the bottom of my foot is swollen & felt “squishy” as I walked on it.  Yuck!

When I got home and sat on the couch, hubbie snuck the crutches away & gave me my old stand-by, my trusty cane from my old ACL reconstruction.  Huh?  I barely walked with the crutches!  Somehow, I managed to sorta gimp to our office.  Hubbie said to think of it as a step towards independence - ditch the sticks!

I now have 5 days to practice walking before I go back to work.  Hmmm…  Wonder how long I can keep Hubbie grocery shopping?


PT or dedicated work at home?

I live and work in pretty rural areas.  I love living in the mountains with peace & quiet & elbow room.  But…

I started looking for a Physical Therapist covered by my insurance yesterday, thinking I would need someone soon after my follow up appt with Dr. C in 12 days.  My first thought was someplace near where I work so I could bop over during lunch and work out.  Imagin my surprise to learn that there is ONE PT in that area.  She is booked and not accepting anyone new until December.

The next choice is a great PT practice that has practitioners who work with the WVU football team.  Great facilities, full gym, pool - but nearly 90 minutes away from where I work.  I could go there after work if they hold any evening hours.  But 90 minute drive one way?  Ouch!

When I rehabbed after my ACL reconstruction 7 years ago, I went once a week for a check in, to get new exercises, then worked on them faithfully at home.  I did pretty well and recovered as well as the folks in PT 3 times a week.  I just had to be extremely self-motivated.

Is it reasonable to rehab at home, or with some periodic check ups with the PT folks 90 minutes away?  Even though I am NWB in a boot right now, I have more than 90* flexion already and I’ve been doing all the ROM exercises at home.

Has anyone else gone that route & been successful?

Returning to riding horses?

Just wondering if anyone else rides horses and has or is anticipating returning to riding?   How much flexion did you need when you started back?  I’m thinking that pedaling a bike would have some similar motions at the bottom of the stroke as the heel comes down as it would in a saddle’s stirrup.  Is that true?

I have an Arabian, a Swiss Warmblood & a Standardbred.  I ride English/hunt, Western and side saddle.  My ortho doc does not ride, but feels that going back to riding will be “intensive” exercise with the “heels down” shock absorbing for riding in stirrups astride.  He mentioned 9 months or longer before he was confortable with me returning to “my” sport.  Surely not!

I also ride side saddle and will probably start out that way as there is no stress on the AT - in fact the leg over the pommel has the toe pointed down in the equinuus position!  All three horses are trained for side saddle.

None of our guys are laid back, easy going sorts.  The Arabian is the closest, as long as he isn’t spooked into a duck & 180* spin - that’s hard for me to stick with.


First Total Reconstruction - new here

I am a 47 yo nurse and, until the last couple of years, an endurance rider.  My husband and I rode our horses in 25-50 mile marathon races.  Over the last 15 years, I have had progressively more pain in my heels and AT after I rode that I ignored - I put it down as part of playing in distance events.  But, I noticed that my hubbie didn’t have this problem…

As I rode, my heels acted as “shock absorbers” for the horse’s bounce.  We would ride for 6-10 hours on a 50 mile race in the mountains, so there was a LOT of wear & tear on my AT’s.  I developed micro tears in both AT’s, developed bursitis and excess bone formation on my heels.  I ended up going up 2 shoe sizes - the bumps looked like golf balls on the back of my heels.  Over time, I lost all flexibility in my AT’s and had constant pain.  PT, anti-inflammatories and braces didn’t help the areas “calm down” anymore.  I decided it was time for surgery.

On Sept 24, 2008, I had the tendon detached from the left heel, damaged portions debrided, a tendon lengthening in the mid calf area, then the whole thing re-anchored to the bone in my heel.  I thought that I would bounce back after a few weeks - NOT!  I am not a patient and inactive type of person.

My doc put me in a splint for 2 weeks until he removed the stitches & staples, then gave me “The Boot”, but NWB for a total of 6 weeks. 

Crutches were a real treat coming home.  I spent the night at the hospital and was over-medicated.  My blood pressure was in the 60/40 range when I left.  When I got home & tried to make the big step up from the garage to the house, I lost my balance and fell face first!  As I sat on the ground, I tried to figure out just HOW I was to get up with just one good foot!  After my hubbie hauled me up to a chair, I decided to tackle the stairs up to my own bed.  One look & I decided to go up the stairs sitting down.  At the top, the PT had suggested standing up near the top, sitting onto a chair, then getting on the crutches.  Hubbie chose a chair with a vinyl seat - part way onto it, I had visions of sliding off feet first to the bottom of the stairs!  I was never so glad to get to my own bed.  Looking back, it is humorous, but not at the time.

Hubbie has set me up in “the dorm room” upstairs - our home office with an added frig & microwave.  I look out onto the pasture to see the horses - hope they still remember me!  I bought a knee scooter and ditched the crutches.  It has been a wonderful way to get around, except when our Rotts lay in the hall like speed bumps & refuse to move.

I’m slowly removing heel wedges in the boot to get to a true 90* angle for my foot.  As much as I want to start weight bearing, I worry that I might pull out the bone anchor if I start too soon.

So here I am, waiting impatiently to get outside & start walking again.  I’m just not looking forward to doing the OTHER foot next year.


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