• ATR Timeline

    • Name: mandy000
      Location: Sydney
      Injured during: The Amazing Race
      Which Leg: L
      Status: PWB

      554 wks Post-ATR
      552 wks  5 days
         Since start of treatment
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    June 2023
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    • mandy000 has completed the grueling 26.2 ATR miles to full recovery!
      Goal: 365 days from the surgery date.
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First PT visit »

I packed my back with my spare trainer, a pair of other trainers and a pair of sandals plus a nice bottle of red.  Made it down the stairs, I’m getting quite adept at stairs crutches bag combo.  :).

The wine is for Dave (the best PT in the world) it is Christmas eve here and he was amazing when I first I jured myself, sorting out the MRI Ankle surgeon referral and making me feel ok in a crap situation.

So today is all good, starts out asking me questions about the past 8 weeks, then why I haven’t tried walking despite being told I could a couple of days ago, understood that I felt vulnerable and wanted to wait until he was there as I didn’t get much from the doc - shoes no shoes, warm it up stretch it, nothing.

He starts by working on my other ankle which is getting tender basically dug is bony fingers in and pressed and stretched….did explain that heat is better for this ankle than ice, after I told him I tried icing it but it didn’t help but that the bath did.  Then he moved to the other one, gentle light massages of the calf, all while ankle was supported, seemed like alot of squeezing of the tendon quite hard but didn’t really hurt, some me not very nice rubbing of the scar and sent in his massage man to get into my calf some more attention. Who worked my calf for about 15 mins, which hurt but ok all the same.

Now it’s time for a walk….I look at Dave like he is crazy and who asks what I’m worried about is it that it might snap, yep pretty much I said nodding.   Remember I know Dave and have worked with him on a torn meniscus (right knee) prior, so absolutely trust him. So I grab the crutches, he walked about 10 feet ahead of me holding a long mirror and tells me to look at the mirror and walk towards him.  I take a couple of steps (bare feet) with the crutches taking a lot of the weight. The goal here was for me to get used to walking and to feel the motion and to be aware of my step that I was straight and not hunched to one side or doing a strange hip manouver to take the step.  I did a couple (strange ones) his impersonation of me made me laugh, and then I did about 10 good steps and turned around all smiles went back to the chair and put my boot and shoe back on.   It’s at this point we have a conversation about swapping out the sole of the boot to the flat one - which we did it seems tight,  restricted like, but not painful. Not as easy to walk, just different.

Instructions leave boot on while out or having a vino over Christmas, try walking in pool preferably a kids one that gradually slopes into an adults one don’t kick just walk, and come back on Friday.

Today was all about making me feel comfortable (he did warn me to be careful, and to use crutches on stairs) - the fun begins next week!

Happy holidays everyone xx

7 weeks post surgery - 2nd post op »

For Christmas I got FREEDOM…..from sleeping with my boot on. Yay!  And I start Physio on the 24th.    The doc said today to start walking, without the boot, for a little bit each day. A bit chicken about that bit will start with placing foot on the ground with gradual weight on it.  It seems a bit extreme one day never take the boot off to take it off and go for walk for 30mins.  Maybe I’m being a bit over cautious but I am going to take it slow and see how it feels.   Looking forward to seeing the Physio on Monday and to sleeping tonight without the boot, must remember in the morning to not just stand up!

Excited but kinda weird too!  Anyone have any tips for the first step - I’m thinking trainers not bare feet and slow and not by myself.  It really is a bit scary maybe I should wait until I have the Physio (who I know really well and trust) by my side…..am I being silly?

4 weeks post surgery »

This past week has been like a miracle in comparison to the previous four weeks.

When the surgeon initially fitted me he did try the medium vaoped but I couldn’t stand the pain of it around my heel, if felt too narrow, which is why he put the vacocast one…now I’m thinking it was cast-to-boot shock combined with mini-freak out.  After putting up with it for a week and rubbing a blister on the underside of my foot I started to complaint. Forget the grin and bear it!

emailed vaco people at head office, they explained the vaocast was not designed to put wedges inside that I really should be in the vacoped boot.  They put me in touch with their Australian rep who offered to swap the boot (shell) over for me with just paying the price difference of the two boots, the inners are the same.

On Tuesday I swapped out my vaocast boot for a vacoped boot, a size smaller. Not only is it smaller, lighter, less hot and without the painful hard wedges inside, I slept! The vacoped small now feels like a comfy ug boot in comparison.  And I’m starting to feel like a normal person…..ok one that still has to relie a lot on others, but not sleep deprived.

On Wednesday I went from NWB to PWB to taking four steps without crutches. Ok they weren’t graceful but the sense of progress was amazing. This morning Saturday aussie time, I’ve roamed around doing things in my apartment, unaided.  I’m not suggesting I’m now FWB but am for periods of time.  Might even take myself off outside and enjoy summer that has finally hit.

Anyway just wanted to share a happy update, and if you’re struggling with your boot, if it feels too big and cumbersome, maybe it is the wrong boot or incorrectly sized boot, it doesn’t hurt to fire off an email and ask the experts.

Happy healing!

Boot problems »

very thankful for everyone’s thoughts/well wishes/advice…we’re in this together!

I’ve had a vacocast fit (the pro killed when it was fitted) for 1x week which I think is too big.  It’s very wide and heaps of space in the length.  It’s a medium and I wear an asics US 8 trainer, if that helps.  When the lining is wrapped around securely it’s fine when I’m upright. It’s when laying that I have problems.  It’s like the lining forces the bottom wedge, of which there’s 4, to slightly curve in, and the pointy bit digs in to the soft part of my foot, about wear the arch is.   But it’s the same even when the straps are released/loosened.  In the night i have to sit up and hang my feet off the side of the bed to relieve it.  Does anyone else find this?

My ball if my foot kinda burns a lot when laying elevated, like the boot places extra pressure from the weight of it….not pleasant.

Maybe it’s just the wedges and not the boot size.  I think going to order one of the even ups for my right foot has anyone used these, good / bad idea?

I start work again on Monday so trying to prepare myself a bit.  Fortunately I’m 4-6 hours a day (work cover) so can elevate or snooze in the day if needed…not really ready for a commute and full days work yet!

Safe healing! xx

The day the Achilles went snap! Weeks 1-3 »

October 24: Team bonding “Amazing race” amazing exit after a 2km run and dash up the stairs to the train. Jumping onto the train from the platform, I heard a snap and immediately felt my calf go. Wasn’t sure whether I’d torn my calf of done something to my Achilles. So much pain, can’t stand, just knew I had to make it off the train to the road where I could get picked up. Lots of hopping and leaning on workmates. Phoned Physio to find out what to do, hospital or go to him. Pays having a friend who is a sports Physio went straight to see him who confirmed that he thought an Achilles rupture and referred me for an MRI the next morning.
October 25: MRI appears that my Achilles may be partially in tact
October 26: see surgeon - Achilles completely ruptured
October 27: can’t stand hopping, crutches dig in to bra wire….google search. The heavenly people at knee walker deliver a knee scooter making life soo much easier to get around my apartment. Even venture out but the 3 flights of stairs are almost impossible
October 29-Nov 1st: don’t really think much about what I’ve done just go into organizing mode to get everything covered-off with work so I don’t have to worry too much after the surgery. Lots of lain meds and laying down trying to keep off it. Remarkable what can be done on an iPad laptop iPhone combo.
Nov 2nd: due at hospital mid arvo, so go via the hairdresser and have hair washed so at least I can cope for a few days. Surgery doesn’t actually happen until after 8pm and I’m back in my room by 10:15pm. To say it hurt is a massive under statement. I called for medication 3x in the night as nothin was working. Finally feel asleep around 4am. Hiring the knee walker was the smartest thing I’ve done so far (will come back to this next week) I was able to get up and go to the bathroom and manage myself.
Nov 3rd-6th: shocking pain but getting used to it. Don’t like the daily injections but if they stop me getting a blood clot, they’re worth it.
Nov 7: worse night pain, the meds didn’t agree with me up half the night in the bathroom and have a really itchy rash
Nov 8-10: nothing major just laying around elevating pretty much 100% of the time. Even managed to kneel over the bath and wash my hair…the joy of having very long thick hair - knots!
Nov 11: feeling confident today, too confident. Did a wobble on the scooter and instinctively put injured foot down. Feel sharp release painful, freak out. Spoke to Doc who isn’t concerned, everyone does it and he hasn’t had a rerupture…..I’m still feeling sick and worried. Friend Claire visits and I forget about it. This is the first time I have not been laying with foot elevated - not so bad, lots of giggling…..good for my head!
Nov 13: Karyn and the kids visited, lovely visit had lots of helpers. :). Must remember I’m not meant to be upright sitting makes the throbbing come back. Elevate on three pillows helps. Gets dull laying all the time.
Nov 14: friends come over for dinner. Lovely night I can get used to wearing trackies and sitting planning holidays. Yes nice night thanks Michelle & David for my chocolate - I think some has disappeared already.
Nov 15: 13 days post surgery - 1st post op visit with doc. To say this day was hell is an understatement. I don’t think I had at this point thought through what had happened or how bad this injury was. I was deluded in fact before going into see him I thought I’d go for coffee after and perhaps a wander around the shops given I’d made it out of my apartment. The cast came off and the throbbing began. The stitches were snipped and them the first attempt to put my foot into the vacocast, the initial hinged one was too narrow at the heal and dug in. He swapped it over for a similar one that in stead of having locking hinge system has wedges inside. Instructions take 1 wedge out every 2 weeks and see me in 5 weeks time. Start to weight bear as tolerated. That’s it piece of cake. Worse move ever hiring the knee walker cause kneeling on it with a 4 kg boot feels like hell and the wound starts stinging and is really painful. I think I might die. Cue many tears and I can’t do this. I did and I made it home. Les is the most patient and kind man I know!  I made it up the 3 flights of stairs by crawling. Sleeping with the boot on it awful. I have no good news for you to read. Other than to know I did live through the night, did take lots of panadeine which didn’t help but got through it.
Nov 16: feeling less sorry for myself. It hurts, it’s heavy and I can’t put much weight on it at all. Crutches are stupid but they help. Tonight if I game I’m going to have a bath….report back later