6 months

It’s been a while since I’ve posted but Misty May made me think about letting everyone know that full recovery happens. My ATR was on the Ides of March while downhill skiing, surgery 9 days later. I have been back on the tennis court since August (doubles) and resumed competitive singles in mid-September. My repaired leg is at about 95-97% pre-injury strength. The best news is that I have none of the pre-injury tendinitis that I had had for almost two years; I am totally pain free. Since most ATRs occur in individuals younger than me, virtually everyone should be able to look forward to full recovery and resumption of all pre-injury activities.

Post-op, 12 weeks, 5 days

Started jogging on treadmill this Monday in PT. Felt good to be able to propel myself at a pace faster than a brisk walk. The right (repaired) leg is still appreciably weaker than the left, especially when doing toe raises. I can only lift my heel an inch or two using just my right leg. On the leg press machine, doing toe presses, I can press about 50 pounds with my repaired foot compared with 150+ using my other foot. How are others in my time frame doing in terms of regaining strength in the affected leg? I’m still shooting for August to be back on the tennis court and am planning a full winter of skiing starting at the end of December. Am I being too ambitious?

11 weeks post-op

Leg getting stronger every day. Still at PT 3x/week; doing two feet toe raise, blue Theraband, 120 lb. calf lifts, and can balance on the repaired foot for 3 minutes in the green balance pad. I still can’t lift myself on my toes using just the right foot and still can’t walk down stairs normaly with that foot. Outside of PT, I’m able to bike, row, elliptical and swim to my hearts content. I find that in the pool, kicking using small training fins is excellent for both ankle flexibility and building calf strength. I’ve also ventured back ontot he tennis court with my son to put him through drills; I jsut stand on the court feeding him balls. If he happens to hit one back to me I can volley it. I’m not yey ready to start running after balls; that will probably be in another month to 6 weeks. I still have swelling at the end of the day. It usually subsides overnight. All and all, I’m pleased with my progress, as are the PTs and the doc.

May 22, Post-op 7 wweks, 3 days

Sorry about the radio silence. Have been very busy. Recovery going very well. Been FWB for 3 weeks now, in 2 shoes since last Friday. PT 3X/wk since May 1. No limp early in day, more limp at end of day when fatigued. Swimming a lot, including kicking with training fins, stationary biking and elliptical trainer. Quite a bit of swelling, especially as the day goes on. Have others encountered the same? Any tips for reducing it. My PT gave me an elastic stocking the helped except my big toe blew up like a balloon - all the fluid got pushed there. Quite painful. Dr. said to forget the stocking. Michael

Post-op, day 35, back from vacation

On 4/18 I went from the cast into a Velcro cam boot. I thought I would just walk out of the doctor’s office with a slight limp. I guess I must have been smoking something. Sure, I got to walk out with the crutches and instructions to not put more than 25% weight on the foot. Had to quickly re-adjust my thinking for the Florida trip scheduled for the next day. Well, we got to be the first ones on the plane, I became quite proficient driving the ECVs at Disney and Universal. Got to jump a few lines. Learned that there’s not much to do at a water park when your in a boot, etc., etc. However, since it’s my right foot, the boot enables me to drive a car, something I couldn’t do in the cast. Progress. Also, I discovered that when you’re on crutches your departure and arrival gates will always be at the end of the terminal no matter what. Had a good 8 days in Florida; they would have been even better had I not been recovering from ATR surgery. Was able to swim quite a bit - in the pool; couldn’t figure a way to get into the ocean.

Started PT today. First a cold compression boot to reduce some of the leg swelling. Then some gentle movement exercises. Then some standing and transferring some additional weight onto the repaired foot. Then some additional compression. Do others have lower leg swelling? When I wake in the morning the leg is quite normal. But as the day goes on the swelling increases. The therapist gave me a compression stocking this morning that I wearing now. Maybe it will help. Scheduled for PT 3x/week for the next six weeks. See the doc again on Friday. I’m hoping for FWB and ditching the crutches. Time will tell.

Post-op, Day 15

I finally made it into the pool this evening, cast and all. It turned out to be remarkably easy with my wife’s help and the wonderfully stable Strutter crutches. At my Y you have to go through the shower room to enter the pool. Needless to say, the tile floor was totally wet, as was the pool deck. But the rubber feet of the Strutters (that must have a surface area of nearly a square foot) handled it well. At no time did the crutches feel like they might slip. I probably wouldn’t want to try it with conventional crutches Once into the pool my wife took the crutches and put them in a corner. With a pull buoy I was able to do a moderately paced 40 laps, easily pushing off with only the good leg. I got out of the pool by hoisting myself onto the edge between two handrails above some recessed steps. I was able to use the handrails to pull myself to my good foot and my wife handed me the crutches.
As I type this, about an hour after getting out of the pool, the cast is just about dry. Being able to swim will make the days until “cast off” on the 18th go a lot quicker. The cast was actually quite protective of my right foot. Now I can start worrying about swimming when the cast comes off and my foot is unprotected. As Roseanne Roseannadanna used to say, “It’s always something!”

Post-op, Day 13

Worked out at my YMCA today for the first time since surgery. Didn’t make it to the pool though because my wife, whose assistance I’ll need, still thinks it’s too soon and has safety concerns about moving around on the wet surfaces with the crutches. Maybe tomorrow. The workout in the fitness center was good. Was able to do all upper body machines including the gravitron that I had questions about. Also did left legged leg presses and was able to do leg lifts and hamstring curls with both legs. The cast was very protective of the leg and neither exercise puts any pressure on the Achilles or involves weight bearing. I have noticed some soreness in my left (good) hip which I attribute to overuse of the left leg. Those long crutch walks are probably putting unusual strain on my left hip. I may have to scale back a little. Has anyone else noticed soreness in their good hip while on crutches? If I make it into the pool tomorrow I will report back.

Post-op, Day 11

Showered without assistance for the first time this morning. No problem. Still used the plastic bag (and Velcro straps to seal it) because I didn’t have time for the cast to dry before work. The doc said that the fiberglass/Goretex cast will dry in about 1/2 to 3/4 hour. He also said that I could use a hair dryer if i was in a rush. Didn’t feel like making my leg hot with the hair dryer. The single plastic bag leaked a little and the wet part of the cast dried quickly. This weekend at the pool I’ll give it the full test and report back. I’m just happy to know that I’m getting out of the cast and into a boot in 2 weeks from tomorrow. It will enable me to go th Florida on the 19th with my family. For those farther along than me, how difficult is the transition from cast to boot? Is there a period of unsteadiness? How long? In other words, how hard is it to start walking on two feet again? Any feedback will be appreciated.

4/1 Doctor Visit

So far it’s been a good April Fools Day, all things considered. Things finally seem to be moving again, slowly but surely, in the bowel department. Ah, life’s often little noticed and overlooked ordinary activities.

Saw the doc. He removed the bandages and splints, looked at the incision and said of his handiwork, “It looks beautiful”. He felt the AT and commented that it was right where it was supposed to be. Then he removed the staples; felt like a pin prick as he removed each one. There must have been about a dozen.

We then negotiated a little. He wanted to put me into a regular fiberglass cast. I asked, “What about the Goretex and fiberglass?” He asked why I wanted that (although he really knew) and I told him so that I could swim. He said that he didn’t want me swimming yet. I said, “O.K., I won’t swim for at least another week”. He agreed. So I now have this pretty blue (he also offerd white and pink) fiberglass cast with an underlayer of Goretex instead of the usual felt-like material. I may shower with it and it is supposed to dry in a half to three-quarters of an hour. I’ll let you know if that’s real. But the best news of all is that it comes off on 4/18 and I go into a walking boot. And that means that my family and I will be able to make our 4/19 trip to Florida for my son’s school break. I’m happy, my wife is happy, but most of all, my son will be happy (he’s at school now, so he doesn’t know yet.)

Now, if the Yankee’s actually get to play, and win, their home opener, it will have been a fairly excellent day.

Post-op, Day 7

Well, it’s a week since surgery. It mostly seems like a month. This is not easy, especially with the cracked rib from Friday and the way the Percocet has completely stopped my digestive system. No more Percocet, plenty more Colace and MiraLax. My first post-op doctor visit is tomorrow morning. I’m hoping for good incisional healing and to be able to convince the doc to put me in a fiberglass/Goretex cast next week.

Spent a long day in the office and that made the day go faster but now I’m beat. I’ll report back with any news after to doctor tomorrow.