8 weeks visit

Written on August 18, 2010 – 3:33 pm | by firstdayofsummer

So I went to see my OS for my 8 week check-up this morning and again was quite surprised by him!

If you recall, according to him I should still be in a cast at this time, yet at my last visit 3 weeks ago he told me to go FWB. Today he examined my tendon and told me to wean myself off the boot. I have been following the non-surgical protocol as provided by Norm, see details here:


That is, I have been following the protocol except for the early PT with a therapist since my OS would not give me a go ahead for it yet. He also pretended not to be aware of me following the protocol for the first 5-6 weeks (meaning he  did not want to hear about it).

So today I am telling him that I’m not sure I’m ready for 2 shoes yet and his response was (Norm, you gonna love this one) ‘just continue following your protocol! You are doing great and are 4 weeks ahead of schedule so continue following it, that is wean yourself off the boot now’  Once again I was speachless!

Also, he told me to start driving again, ‘as soon as you want to’. Well thank you Sir but no thank you! My tendon is still very, very stiff and it’s the right tendon, so unless I’ve had a few sessions of PT I don’t think that’s in the interest of the public for me to drive around.

I am very excited to start my PT this week (both hydrotherapy and PT)….any tips as to which exercises to approach with caution at the beginning?

Oh and for anybody who ruptured around the same time….do not listen to the ‘4 weeks ahead of schedule’ stuff! Honestly I don’t even know what doctors base their timeline on, other then in my case the fact that he originally wanted to keep me in a cast for ‘at least 8 weeks’. According to Norm’s protocol on the other hand I am 6 weeks behind on my professional PT so I think we should just all listen to our tendons and do what feels right for us…..if it takes a couple of weeks longer so be it, rather safe then sorry is my mantra right now ;)

Happy healing everybody.

Help, my Vacocast is squeaking

Written on July 31, 2010 – 5:15 pm | by firstdayofsummer

I have been walking without the crutches for 3 days now and am LOVING the new found independence, I can’t sit still anymore!  At first I just carefully walked around the house, then on an even walkway around the block, then in the garden, and all just works and feels great, mainly thanks to the Vacocast I think.

There is however one problem…..my vacocast pro is squeaking more and more. People around here usually politely pretend to ignore the fact that you are on crutches or wearing a boot but now they all just stare when I come because they hear me before they see me. Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem, that is I even get a kick out of telling people what happened and all but they squeaking is getting louder and louder and I am sure it’s not supposed to be like this.

Did anybody have the same problem and what did you do about it?

Thanks and happy healing,

ATR squeaky

UPDATE: After speaking to Matthew from Vacocast, I applied WD-40 to the boot and it completely stopped squeaking within 3-4 hours! I can not say enough about the customer service as he offered to mail me a replacement boot when the noise did not stop immediately.

Any of you out there still looking for a boot do yourself a favor and get the vacocast pro! (yes, I swear I don’t work for the company ;)

5 1/2 week check-up

Written on July 28, 2010 – 12:23 pm | by firstdayofsummer

This post will make Norm very happy :)

I went back for my 5 1/2 week check-up today to my doctor who does support my choice of non-surgical treatment but has not been thrilled about it. When I saw him last 2 weeks ago, he fitted the Vacocast Pro for me (I found and ordered it myself). I did leave some printed information for him to give to the guy in charge of braces.

So when I walked in today 3 doctors came all excited to inspect the boot and to ask me tons of questions. The doctor in charge of braces told me smiling ‘well you got me into a lot of trouble with this boot’ and that he called Vaoped yesterday to ask for a sample. They spent about 20 minutes with me once I told them that I have not had surgery….it was clear that they were very impressed with the boot and the protocol I am following (thanks Norm!).

My doctor then did another Thompson test and with a big smile on his face told me he is very happy with my progress and that he can feel a nice consistency in the tendon (yeah). This doctor did not want me to put any weight on my injured foot for at least 8 weeks or do anything according to the Ontario protocol. Well today it was suddenly clear that he had taken the time to look at the protocol as he advised me to do everything according to the protocol.

I am a very happy ATR person today , things are finally moving :)

Week 2-5

Written on July 27, 2010 – 10:27 am | by firstdayofsummer

The week before the 4th of July weekend was spent seeing more doctors in the hope of finding somebody who was willing to work with me on the non-surgical, early weight bearing treatment. My last appointment on that friday was in an orthopedic center which came highly recommended by my yoga instructor. The surgeon I had an appointment with graduated from medical school in 1953 according to their website which made me rather nervoeus but I thought he might be willing to try something new at the end of his career :)

He was very nice yet also recommended surgery or 8 weeks in cast. When he saw how disappointed I was he called in another surgeon for a second opinion. As it turned out, this surgeon is the head of orthopedics at the local hospital and would be the surgeon operating on me, should I decide to do so (pfff, I was glad to hear that the lovely elderly doctor is not performing surgery anymore). So the second doctor performs another Thompson test, tells me suddenly it’s only a partial rupture (all the other doctors before told me it was a full rupture) and laughs when I beg him to take me on as his guinea pig for the non-surgical treatment. Yet, he then tells me what everybody else before did: “Immobilization in a cast, non weight-bearing, for at least 8 weeks”

They tell me to thing about it and I made another appointment with the head of orthopedics for the wednesday following (16 days past ATR). Though I still did not find a doctor to support the treatment of my choice I now at least had found a surgeon I would trust in doing the surgery.

On my way home I decided to try and contact some of the people that wrote articles about ‘my treatment’. It being the friday afternoon before the 4th of July weekend I did not have much hope but was willing to try anything at this point. First I contacted Dr. Jolie Bookspan (’surgery for achilles tendon may not improve recovery’) and to my delightful surprise she responded within 15 minutes and gave me the name of 2 doctors in Virginia. I contacted one of them and received the nicest email back the next morning (SATURDAY !) with the name of 2 doctors in Connecticut (my home state).

These two doctors as well could not have been nicer and went out of their way to respond to my various questions (remember it was the 4th of July weekend and they both were away for the weekend, yet took their time). After the experiences with some of the doctors last week these 4 people more then made up for it! The only hurdle now was that this orthopedic center was 3 hours away from me (one way, remember I can’t drive because I injured my right AT) and they were only performing the PRP Therapy and I couldn’t find many satisfying reports for it.

After two more days of elevating and icing my ankle I decided to go back to the head of orthopedics and to schedule surgery afterall. I told him my decision and he said okay, let’s do another Thompson test to check it out again. Suddenly  he just smiled and shook his head and  said: “I don’t know what you did and I have never seen anything like this before but your tendon has grown back remarkably and surgery is not necessary any more”.

I think I laughed and cried at the same time and must have been quite the sight. Now I am expecting him to put me in a cast (as I still have the splint cast from 2 weeks ago) but instead he says “let’s fit you into a boot”. I was speechless! Well, actually not for long because I had done my research and wanted the Vacoped Pro and asked him if that would be the boot I get. He never heard of it before but was totally open to it and told me to get it and to come back a week later to have it fitted.

Vacoped fitted on July 15. I love it and it has helped me to quickly go from PWB to FWB (only when I am standing though, I am not walking without crutches yet).

And this my fellow ATR friends was my long, long story :) I promise to update on a regular basis now and to keep the entries shorter.

My next appointment is the day after tomorrow and I hope to get the okay for PT from the orthopedic at that point.

Happy healing everybody!

1 week post ATR (Jun28)

Written on July 27, 2010 – 8:00 am | by firstdayofsummer

As advised by the ER I phoned the orthopedic surgeon in the morning. He was out operating today, and so were all other 5 doctors in their office. Earliest appointment available with anybody – 2 weeks from today.

That’s not doing it for me so I started calling around – after calling about 10 doctors I finally get an appointment for later in the afternoon (the fact that this doctor had a last minute appointment should have been a warning sign).

I should add that while I was immobilized over the weekend I did a lot of research and had by then decided to go the non-surgical way (with early weight bearing). So I get to my appointment in high spirits and explain to the orthopedic surgeon that I do not want to have surgery. Well he stopped me right there in the middle of my sentence and told me I can have surgery or 8 weeks of cast (up to your groin). Lovely man, indeed! I then tell him about the newest studies and results but he again just cuts me off and hands me some papers. “Just fill out these papers for the surgery and schedule a surgery date with my assistant. You are not committing yourself to anything but with 4th of July weekend coming you better get going. Oh, and you only have a couple of days left to have surgery.”  Again, a very lovely and caring doctor.

So this little visit has me close to tears as I am starting to think I might not have a choice but surgery. If that is the case then I will at least not be operated by doctor rude and heartless.

First day of summer

Written on July 27, 2010 – 7:58 am | by firstdayofsummer

First a bit about myself; I am female, 40, fit and active (daily yoga, running 3 times a week). My job has me on my feet most of the time (I am a letterpress printer). Until now I never had any injuries.

I ruptured my AT playing badminton on the first day of summer  (should have rather gone to a solstice yoga class). Even though I heard the pop and felt as if somebody hit me with the racket, I convinced myself that it was just a twisted ankle and hopped around on it for 5 days. I did elevate and ice the foot whenever possible but of course it was bruised and swollen.

So 5 days later I finally went to the ER to have it looked at. After 2 nurses, one x-ray technician, and one doctor looked at it and advised me it was not a broken ankle I had to mention achilles tendon. In came another doctor who performed the Thompson test and confirmed that it was a ruptured AT (he could not say whether it was fully or partially torn however). He also made sure to tell me that the recovery for such an injury is VERY long.

I was put in a splint cast, given the name of an orthopedic surgeon and asked to call him first thing on monday morning.

That night was the first time I had to take aspirin since the ATR as I woke up with what felt like a foot on fire. I figured this must be a good sign as the AT is healing but loosened the splint cast a bit.

Hello world!

Written on July 26, 2010 – 8:03 pm | by firstdayofsummer

Welcome to AchillesBlog.com.

Welcome to my journey of a non-surgical, early weight-bearing achilles tendon treatment.