12 days after the event I am scheduled to see the trauma clinic doctor to have the cast removed and get a boot put on. My lifelong friend drove me, hooked me up with coffee and a bite to eat while we waited 3 hours to see someone. I was having boot envy as people were coming out with cool looking casts and funky boots. Doctor took a look assigned me with a boot with the most incompetent dude in the joint. He struggled with the mechanics of the boot and was rough as guts.

The freedom of being able to scratch is something we take for granted, as soon as the cast was off I went to town. damn it was good, my swollen ugly as looking leg was looking pretty scary though. I could have braided that shit! Once Mr Incompetent got the boot on he said ” now try it out” What the hell buddy I’m not able to walk on it. Pleased to get out of there and organise my ultrasound and specialist appointment with someone who knew what was going on with my recovery.

So managed to get ultrasound done and appointment booked for the morning. I was feeling unsure about the chances of my tendon having a good shot at healing while in the cast as it wasn’t positioned properly. My new Doctor advised that my gap was 2cm long and thought the process had been compromised. He explained the gap I currently had would make it difficult to be able to take off, run, jump and my re-rupture rate was 20% compared to 2-4%. However the complications of surgery were also a big consideration.

While I’m not going to play for the country I’m still active and love my sport with my children. Hemi is also a runner so not being able to chase him wasn’t an option. Therefore surgery was booked two days later.

I relished in the fact that I couldn’t do too much more damage and had a little boot off time at night and loved the showering without the cast. I wasn’t worried about going under, just wanted to give myself the best chance at having a normal operating leg again. Bring on Friday …


31 Comments so far

  1. vegasjoey on June 11, 2014 7:29 pm

    I was there a month and a half ago. I don’t have kids but I live alone and like you, it was the right foot. Kept me homebound unless one of my friends or damily come by and gets me out of the house. Even after surgery, I have had thoughts of whether I should have gone without surgery. In the long term, I th8nk sirgery was the better idea. Good luck!!

  2. Stuart on June 11, 2014 10:03 pm

    Kylie - it is a real shame you were not managed well first time around as you would have been 2 weeks into the first and seemingly longest phase of this recovery. Hopefully you will be comfortable with the decision you have made in the days and months following surgery and be back to normal soon. I also hope your doc is progressive as it sounds like you need to be mobile quickly. Driving may not be on the cards for a couple of months but you could be walking free withing a few weeks if treated with a more modern and agressive protocol. The boot will be your friend for a while. You should explain to the doc your need to be walking (in the boot) so you can assist with Hemi ASAP. If all goes well you should be playing again next season. Trying to work out if you are southern or northern Hemishere. Rugby/Netball at this time of year lends me to southern but some language and spelling says US (unless it is the spell check). You should add some details such as location, how it happened and the time line/tracker. It helps us keep know where you are up to and sometimes locals can help you navigate the medical system or suggest a good therapist.

  3. normofthenorth on June 12, 2014 2:57 am

    Most OSs who still quote 20$ rerupture rates and lower strength from non-op are also out of date on modern rehabs, so pay attention! Check out AchillesBlog.com/Cecilia/protocols for the three most successful modern non-op protocols. No post-op patient should go slower, or where’s the benefit of the op? The studies linked from this sites Studies and Protocols page also show no clinical benefit from going slower, so try not to. Many patients here have educated their surgeons with the information linked from this site.

  4. rogernichols52 on June 12, 2014 3:03 am

    I was told at A&E that the modern protocol was no surgery within the UK national health service due mainly to the risk of infection. However, my simple brain deduced that stitching something together had to be better than hoping it would re attach itself in a perfect way. I am a great believer in the miracle of the body healing itself but thought it might need a little help and would do a more perfect job with that accurate realignment and support. Once that decision was made I researched the top surgeon I could find with great references and to hell with the cost. I am insured but I am having to pay over the insurance rate. I work for myself and necessity to get back to work ASAP, made the decision on cost easy when looking at the overall cost. I think my man is OK difficult to tell, not very chatty but seems dynamic to the point and knows what he is doing. I have taken the same approach to the PT , asked to be referred to the best. I hope this strategy works. 2 weeks and 1 day post op today put in a vaco cast yesterday and off to see the PT today, a bit scared at what they will ask me to do. When the plaster was removed I t felt very vulnerable and was happy to be strapped tightly into the boot. Come on Roger man up!!!!

  5. kylie on June 12, 2014 4:05 am

    To be honest Normofthenorth I was feeling like my non op choice was the way to go and given my busy family life that it would benefit everyone. Had the surgeon I dealt with that night been available to continue my rehab with, I would have felt confident in my choice. However after he slipped me some paperwork on the Willits Protocol and buggered off. Left the nurse to put me in a cast with a flat foot despite me saying what i thought the dr had said earlier. No one checked it and we were told ( hubby was with me) that we could go. After finding this site the days after i decided to see my GP 5 days later. Explained what I thought my leg should look like and she put another cast on. It was better and restricted the movement I had previously. By the time I had meet with the specialist he said if he had handled my case from the beginning non surgical would have done a fine job. That wasn’t the case and time is of the essence as we all know, so I choose the surgery in hope that physically I would be giving myself a higher chance of recovering with good mobility in my leg. And it is a bloody difficult decision to make I read, I cried, I shared and took advice. Two of my friends have done this injury, one surgery(hers was severed with glass) and one non surgical at netball. Both didn’t complete their PT requirements and both are no longer playing sport, both are still limping. So I guess the proof will be in the pudding. Which I am currently eating to much off :) I will post my drs protocol, see what you think.

  6. kylie on June 12, 2014 4:18 am

    Vegasjoey, how is your recovery going? Are you in cast or boot? I am now rolling around on my knee scooter which I love. The crutches and I have a hate-hate relationship.

    Stuart- So I’m a kiwi living in Perth, Western Austrlia and the American in the house is Hemi who has adapted his accent to copy his favourite shows, ipad apps and basketball heroes (yep only 4 but has trick shots down packed despite looking like the next Jonah Lomu- that might test your’e rugby knowledge and will affirm what hemisphere I’m from. I feel like I can be straight forward and he knows my situation requires more mobility than usual. Here’s hoping the ol body plays the part and comes to the party too

    Roger - Much like you I felt incredibly vulnerable without the cast, I am 6 days post op with a camboot and heel raises , off to the docs in 4 days to check out the wound and get my next lot of instructions. This boot is more like robocop than the last and I feel like i need high heels on the other to match my height. How did PT go?

  7. Roark on June 12, 2014 12:42 pm

    That sucks that they didn’t have you in total plantar flexion from the beginning, my ER doctor couldn’t stress enough how important it was to keep my toes pointed down as far as possible in the splint the first night. And that doctor is just plain wrong about the re-rupture rates and strength. But you probably made the right choice for your situation because of the initial cast.

    By the way, I had to re-fit myself in my boot after I got home because the nurse who put mine on initially didn’t know what she was doing either. So don’t feel too bad about that, it will work out ok. Everyone who puts in the work here, both surgical and non-surgical, seems to be able to get back to their sports the way they want to. Just have to stay disciplined and keep with it. There’s a lot who are back by about 6 months to a year depending on the situation.

  8. normofthenorth on June 12, 2014 1:23 pm

    Sad story, Kylie, for you and your two limping friends, too. The latest great non-op study - from Wallace in Belfast - gives great hope for ATRs that have gone stale or been mistreated like yours, and reruptures too. He just checked - with hands and eyes - whether, and how, he could get the torn ends to approximate. In some stale cases he couldn’t, so those ATRs got the op. The rest got immobilized at that best angle, and the results are great, including 100% return to sport. To use one of my large Dad’s fave expressions, “for the same price” we should probably assume that your ankle fell into the minority that needed surgery. :-)

  9. normofthenorth on June 12, 2014 1:27 pm

    And my Android keyboard turned my late Dad into my LARGE Dad?!? BAD keyboard!
    Kylie, there’s a setting to turn on AJAX Editing that lets us fix our own typos for a little while - a Good Thing!

  10. Stuart on June 12, 2014 4:30 pm

    Kylie - I picked a Kiwi or east Oz but not a Kiwi in Perth. My rugby knowledge is not too bad but since moving to a remote area of the Vic high country I find it hard to keep up to date. We don’t have TV to watch the games but my father and I will chat about it on the phone. It’s 4.30am where you are as I write and you should be preparing for surgery soon. Hope it goes well. I went for surgery because of what I was told in the hospital but would prefer to go non op now if the other AT fails. I had a great outcome and so should you. I believe the trick to not limping is try not to do it in the first place. Of course it is not realistic to say you won’t but as you return to 2 shoes then you can adjust your stride length and pace to minimise it.

  11. Roger Nichols on June 13, 2014 3:08 am

    First PT session yesterday! not muc to report. Massaged my wound and leg to stimulate bold flow, said it felt too hot and therefore still some inflammation 2 weeks post op. Suggested no alcohol as studies shows it rots the tendon. Next visit in a few days. Feeling impatient, feel i could flex a little and PWB but guess I have to wait and follow his advice.

  12. jeffk58 on June 13, 2014 1:01 pm

    Alchohol rots the tendons? Dang……here I thoght beer was “superfood” for my AT. This is indeed bad news. I hope Norm can cite to a study that points to a different conclusion!

  13. kylie on June 13, 2014 7:30 pm

    Where is AJAX editing I can’t seem to find it Cheers

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

  14. Roark on June 16, 2014 12:40 pm

    yeah, I’d love to read that study too. Alcohol stops the body from repairing itself, but never heard of it rotting muscle and tendon.

  15. vegasjoey on June 16, 2014 5:19 pm

    Kylie - I’m a week and a half since getting the boot. I’ll be going to 1 riser sunday and then none in 2 more weeks. I find the scooter too limiting. My house has stairs. I read some where on here that it’s actually might be better to use crutches and put some weight on the leg so I’ll keep using it. Gotten pretty good at it. Good luck with your healing

  16. kylie on June 16, 2014 7:58 pm

    Thanks everyone, it’s great to be able to talk ATRs on this site. It’s interesting to see other recovery stories. I have had 6 surgeries in my 37 years mainly baby related and have always worn the fancy socks. Sometimes for a week after surgery, today I have to have an ultrasound to make sure there’s no clotting. No family history of it just careful I guess after leg surgery. I stayed the night as my blood pressure was low and had numbness in my toes, although it’s more common to go home the same day.
    My big boot has 3 heel raises - 6 cms until week 4 then I drop off one a week.
    Good advise about the scooter, I use the crutches as well but still need to cook dinner for the family and do the washing etc so the scooter is really helpful. I had to take my eldest to Physio and an X-ray as she’s torn the ligaments in her thumb( thankfully not broken) yesterday when I got home I slept for 2 hours from using the crutches, they were exhausting lol.

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

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