December 17th, 2012 by michelle153
I suffered a ruptured ATR on the 28th of June while playing netball on the hard courts. I didn’t stretch or warm up prior to my game, unaware of what the consequences were. Unfortunately, the facilities on a remote island (though very beautiful) are insufficient so the Doctor and physio as well as myself just had to make do with what we have. I did not have moon boots or any other kind of boot for that matter. We don’t have massage therapy (equipment or personnel), or any mobility aids other than crutches. No fancy stuff. After my surgery on the 3rd of July i was put in a back-slab which is plaster that is only applied from the bottom of my foot near the toes and just over my ATR; and no plaster over the top of my foot or leg. That caused a lot of issues for me - the plaster would move around a lot and it didn’t hold my foot in a downward position like it’s supposed to. But the Dr. recommended we do this rather than a full cast (me being naive, i listened). My appointment was postponed from the 6th to the 11th of July. When i finally went up for the checkup we found that the skin around the wound was decaying, the flesh was white and didn’t hold very well. Therefore, almost all the stitches came out due to an infection and the wound was opened due to the unstable cast moving around on the stitches. That was the last time we were consulting that Dr. my mum would say so we visited another and made an appointment. He gave me the option of stitching it again or just using steristrips to hold the two ends of skin together. He highly recommended the steristrips because he didn’t want me to go through the pain again, and neither did I. the wound itself healed a couple of months later. In the meantime we had to drain the fluids in my leg manually (OUCH!) whilst applying antibiotics to help and mum would squeeze the 2 pieces of skin together while my partner quickly put the strips on. I used the sea a couple of times to practice walking when I was around 16 weeks post-op (roughly). Other than that i learned to walk on my own, i started off standing on it with minimal weight and slippers with heels (as i said - no fancy stuff). It took me about another month to walk with confidence without the crutches and another month after that to walk without a limp. My key method was to listen to my body; if it got sore or swollen i would sit for a few minutes and try again. If it got too sore i would call it a day and put my leg up to reduce the swelling.
Nowadays, there’s no swelling at all and i walk with no limp and tippee toe on my ATR just a week ago. Though that does NOT go to say that I don’t need more work on it. My muscles are still weak. I visited a physio on a work trip in Fiji where she told me my ATR Achilles was slightly lengthened because i didn’t have the full cast for 6 weeks immediately after surgery. The wound is still vulnerable to tearing even now (6 months later). I haven’t started running yet because running shoes could re-open the wound (and the physio specifically told me not wear running shoes yet). At the moment my family and I are grateful that i can walk, in time for Christmas.
Tips: it is a very long hard road to recovery, my family and partner were the best support anyone could ever have asked for. They helped me get through. Keep yourself motivated however possible and listen to your body. I kept telling myself: "One day, you’ll look back at this day and say - you made it". And that’s exactly what i tell myself now.
I wish you all a safe recovery.
December 4th, 2012 by michelle153
I know i haven’t updated my blog in a long time now, so here i am.
I have been walking since Mid September 2012; but it was very challenging to get to where I am now. It took me at least a month and a half to walk with confidence for a number of reasons - weak Achilles, lack of confidence and trust in myself, weak/underdeveloped muscles. The swelling in my ankle was crazy, after standing only a few minutes my leg would swell like a balloon. So i stood up in 5 minute intervals and sitting in between with my leg raised so help the swelling.
I have been to see a physio in Fiji and she was fantastic! My ATR tendon is slightly more stretched than the other. She says i will get back into sport eventually but it just won’t be 100% but that is fine by me. My scar is still very tender and isn’t completely healed - the scar could easily open again and i don’t want that. I’m so glad i can walk again! Now i am waiting and slowly training to get back into sport again in another 6 months or so. That is my goal.
Words of advice: keep your loved ones close because they pull you through when times get rough. Keep reminding yourself that you will eventually reach the end of the tunnel.
The achilles blog is amazing! It definitely helped me get through such a rough time both emotionally and physically.
September 17th, 2012 by michelle153
We visited a group of specialists last Thursday just to check my progress so far. He said the tendon is in tact (obvious) and it was relatively strong. The specialist actually encouraged me to start walking so the tendon can strengthen itself. He said i should be walking with one crutch on the opposite side of ATR foot in 2 weeks, and FWB in about 4 weeks time. That’s fantastic news! Now i feel confident in putting pressure on my ATR. I place more weight on it each day to slowly get used to the weight. At the moment i put about 60% of my weight on it :).
Yesterday i walked about 2 metres with only two sandals that had a slight heel on the bottom. The shoe was comfortable so my heel felt fantastic as opposed to walking bare feet. But it felt great! My brother and sister stood by in case i needed them but there was no need. I held on to one of my crutches just in case, and again there was no need. And get this…. I was playing ping pong! with minimal movement. I took a few steps around the table to get the ball and I was very careful. It seems i may have underestimated the strength of my tendon after nearly 11 weeks.!
At this stage i want to start driving. Our van is a manual with the clutch at the left foot. The clutch can require a fair bit of force to push it all the way down and my ATR is on my left so I’m a bit nervous; not only for my own safety but others on the road. I’m planning on taking it for a test drive on a field or around the house before hitting the road. But firstly any advice? When did you all start driving? My next appointment is not for another few weeks.
September 10th, 2012 by michelle153
I had the most awesome Sunday yesterday. After a great lunch and relaxing under shades of coconut trees on our trampoline on a hot summers day in the South Pacific, we decided to go for a swim in the ocean. So we did, my partner carried me to a deep sandy area where i could stand on my left (ATR) foot! The water level was just above my bellybutton and my partner stood by for support should i need it. At first i was so hesitant, as would be expected for first steps. It felt like a baby taking her first clumsy steps toward someone awaiting a big hug 2 metres away, only i was in water. IT WAS EXHILARATING! To be able to stand on that foot was amazing and just made my year After a few worrisome steps, i felt confident in myself and trusted my foot to hold. The soft sand cushioned my heel as i walked by, i stood on a few stones which shocked me but i suppose I’d need to get used to that. The current made it a little challenging but i found that it made my entire leg work to balance my body since there was only a small patch of sand in a sea full of huge coral.
A couple of days ago my ATR foot felt so tight and sore at times. After my triumphant day my ATR feels fantastic, more flexible, no pain at all when stretching, and a lot stronger. However, i would not recommend this to anyone that isn’t familiar with the waters and tides and no-one around to support if need be. The most challenging part was getting out of the water, my partner had to help as the sand on the shore is very soft, crutches would sink half way through. although crawling was easy and fun; i wouldn’t dare hop around on the sand.
Best of luck to us all in future endeavors.
September 7th, 2012 by michelle153
Last week i was hopping around on my Right (good) leg to clean the house a little bit. After 10 minutes, My right tendon felt awfully tight, like it was just on the brink of rupturing. Luckily there was a bed nearby that i quickly jumped on, relieved the tightness in my right foot immediately. TO THINK WHAT I’D DO WITHOUT BOTH FEET.! Are there any stretches/massages etc to reduce my chances of rupturing my right leg? I will stop the hopping on one leg too much.
Also, can my Left (ATR) leg re-rupture from stretches? When putting weight on it, should i only put weight on the heel or the whole foot? I don’t have a boot yet, so I’m walking around the house barefoot at this stage.
My leg turns a red/purple colour and swells after 15mins average of placing it on the floor. I do have a stool at my desk that helps, but is this normal? and when does it stop swelling?
September 3rd, 2012 by michelle153
I have finally been given the ok from my doctor for PWB. They don’t have the boots with the wedges at our hospital so i’ve been walking around the house bare-feet using both crutches for support at all times. I only put as much weight on my ATR as I feel comfortable with. I have been doing this for about one week, and im happy to say my foot feels stronger each day. The tendon still feels quite tight at times so i do a few stretches to overcome that and start walking again, it seems to do the trick. I found that walking outside on the thick grass really helps cushion my heel while i practice. It’s really quite pleasant.
My right (good) knee is starting to feel the pressure of carrying my full weight when balancing without the crutches for over 10 minutes :/. .
My foot (L) still gets swollen pretty badly and really quickly so i have a rest and massage it a bit. When does the swelling stop?
At this stage i am happy that i can bathe properly (no longer need to keep that wound dry with plastic bags).
We just recently found out that i’m pregnant; I now have many many worries such as the added weight gain as i slowly move to FWB in the future; the added stress it places on my body; increased fatigue when trying to walk etc etc etc. Any suggestions as to how i can improve fatigue (vitamins) or any way to hasten the healing process so i can get to the bathroom on time?
Will my body provide blood etc to the fetus instead of the ATR injury? I have an appointment with my doctor this coming friday so will definitely ask him.
August 27th, 2012 by michelle153
This week is my 8th week post-op.
I paid a visit to my surgeon/doctor at the hospital last friday whom i have not seen in a 6 weeks. My mother was so mad at him for doing a crappy job that she referred me to a private doctor who was a tremendous help, unfortunately we aren’t seeing him anymore as he referred me to a physio. Anyway, the doctor at the hospital said that the healing process was going relatively well. The wound has FINALLY closed ! It has been two months and the wound has only just closed.
The ultrasound showed that the tendon itself is healing well; he was afraid the tendon wouldn’t heal properly due to the infection i had. :/ . He said that i don’t need the moon boot anymore as i’ve skipped that stage (2 months healing), i was supposed to wear the moon boot after the 2nd week but because the wound wasn’t healed yet we couldn’t. (I would love feedback on this decision.) Instead he told me to get a shoe with a heel in it to wear while i start walking. He said i can start slowly and gradually putting more and more weight on my foot over the next couple of weeks. He didn’t provide me with anything (don’t think they have it) so please could anyone advise what is the best thing to buy with a heel in it ? I have to admit I feel much safer not putting any weight on it for fear of re-rupture. I have landed on it a couple of times accidentally after slipping on moist tiles at home. It was a very sharp pain - eek! That’s my excuse
We have made an appointment with a specialist visiting next month just to have a look at it and hopefully he can give more details on the injury. We don’t currently have the best doctors on our small island but i am grateful nevertheless. I am SO excited to see him, hoping for good news.
Mentally, i feel a whole lot happier after accepting my injury as opposed to the first month after ATR where i would lay in bed all day in a state of depression. Now that i’ve accepted it I feel this injury has benefited me and my family. Firstly, it keeps me out of mischief (me being a teenager); and secondly, i appreciate the smallest things in life such as having a bath without taping numerous plastic bags to my foot or having crutches or having a great loving family without which i would drown in misery. We drive motorcycles here and winter has just hit us, not being able to drive at this time is great ! Having my brother and sister attend to my every need is fantastic ! Although they do ask for something in return Believe or not, this injury does have benefits ?! Who knew.
I wish you all a great recovery
August 10th, 2012 by michelle153
My wound is healing well and just about fully closed. Unfortunately, i still have to work and my foot still gets swollen every day and shrinks when i go to bed and put my leg up. I keep it on a stool at my work desk to help a little bit.Just recently the wound on my foot would feel uncomfortable even while sleeping. It felt like it was stretching - could that be the pulling of the skin back together(a bit of the wound is still open)?
I visited a local Physio on Tuesday, I am just so relieved that i saw her. She is truly amazing. I am going to the hospital today for an ultrasound, seeing the Physio and my surgeon/doctor (who i am seeing for the first time in 4 weeks). This was actually my Physio’s idea which is something my mother disagreed with at first. I am excited that my recovery is well under way now.
An orthopedic surgeon will be visiting the Cook Islands (home country) next month - who happens to be my Physio’s former work colleague. She says he is a very good doctor and made an appointment for me :). I have been excercising my foot trying to move my ankle back and forth but it still feels very tight and fragile but that could just be me exagerating. There is no pain though.
I wish you all the best
August 2nd, 2012 by michelle153
Today is the 31st day post-surgery. I suffered a set-back due to an infection and the cut is still healing right now. I would love to start working with the boot now but would love your advice on this matter first. I haven’t gone to see the physio just yet - hopefully this afternoon. It’s difficult to get to where i want because i’m so dependent on my mum to take me around :(my doctor says i no longer need to see him, i guess you could say i’ve been ‘transferred’ to the physio. but of course, he’s there if i need him. at the moment we are just seeing how and when the wound heals before making any decisions.
how long (approximately) before i can start walking on my own?? i know, i am so impatient. I’m just so eager to get out of the house on my own terms.
July 31st, 2012 by michelle153
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- Name: michelle153
Location: Cook Islands
Injured during: Netball
Which Leg: L
247 wks 5 days Post-ATR
Since start of treatment
- michelle153 has completed the grueling 26.2 ATR miles to full recovery!
Goal: 160 days from the surgery date.
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