Jul 28 2011


10 Months and Second Thoughts…

Filed under Uncategorized

Hi! Thought I’d check in with my progress. I’m not surprised to see mostly new members of the ATR Club here and some familiar faces, too–Norm, Gerry (my "coaches"). You guys are the best:) Hope you are doing well, as well as Bronny, Liverpoollass, parisski and Theresa.

I’ve mostly recovered and can do everything except play tennis (not yet!), but my PT experience was hit and miss with what I would call "benign neglect." I think my PT thought my choice of non-surgical repair was risky (he called me a guinea pig at one point) and therefore seemed not very invested in my rehab outcome despite my providing him with background info, the UWO protocol, etc.  In spite of that, I’ve done pretty well, and my PT thought I did better than some of his surgical ATR patients. But, I’m finding even 10 months later that I’m still not where I thought I would be at this stage in the journey. When I do too much, the back of my ankle still feels stiff, lumpy and sore. I can hike, bike, walk, run, ski, but I have soreness and need to apply ice afterwards. I’m still fearful of getting on the tennis court (a sport I love and miss). I have other concerns as well and I know, for sure, that a friend of mine (same age) who ruptured her ATR at about the same time & had the surgical repair is back on the tennis court without any pain, stiffness, etc. Maybe my PT made all the difference. Maybe I didn’t do the exercises correctly, or ice enough. I’ll never know. Will I make it back to a totally normal functioning leg which allows me to play a game of tennis without the threat of re-rupture, or even to wear a ballet flat without soreness? Time will tell.

For newbies considering which route to take, please take your time in weighing the two options. My experience with the non-surgical route (in the US anyway) is that the surgical solution (right now) is considered the "gold standard" by the medical community and you will spend considerable time explaining, educating, advocating for your non-surgical decision. I was considered a "trail blazer" and called a "guinea pig" and when I needed medical support, the only place I could turn was this blog. And, the people here are truly amazing with their knowledge, patience and support. I don’t know what I would have done without them. But, in my experience, once you chose the non-surgical route, you are largely on your own.

I wish all of you the very best in making the right decision for you to have a surgical repair or not. Think it over carefully. Good luck and good healing to all.

6 responses so far

Mar 05 2011


5 Months…But, Who’s Counting?

Filed under Uncategorized

Hi everyone! Thought I’d give a progress report now that I’m almost halfway along the recovery path and mostly back to normal. I’m still in PT–just once a week–and I still have to build calf strength, but I’m getting there! My physical therapist seems to be going along with the non-surgical route and has followed the UWO protocol I gave him (thanks to Norm) and is pleased with how I’m progressing. He can’t tell which leg had the injury by the way I walk and thinks my ATR leg feels exactly like a surgical repair, except that he cannot feel the spot where I had the tear.  Most days I forget about my leg and the only lingering issue is that when I do calf raises–I do just 3 sets of 10 each–my heel hurts and I’m limping for a day…I wonder if this is breaking down the scar tissue? A good thing? During the holidays (when the site was down) I wound up back in the boot for a week because of walking backwards on a treadmill and calf raises the same day. So, maybe that was the same thing…

I am itching to ski and I have to thank Gerry for posting his ski video–I thoroughly enjoyed it and it motivated me to think about Spring skiing. Tennis is not something I’m ready for and it was hard telling my team that (who called to ask if they should put me on the roster). My PT thinks I can get back on the court in June just serving/returning serves–no moving sideways, running, etc. Getting closer, tho.

I checked a few blogs  and it looks like everyone is doing great and back to their busy lives. Norm, happy to see you still "on call" doing what you do so well & with such heart. Glad that you are feeling good and back to your active life post-surgery.

For the newly injured, please know that it does get better sooner than you think and the support you’ll find here doesn’t get any better. It will make your recovery smoother and calm your worries (I had many…still do) Happy Healing!

10 responses so far

Dec 09 2010


Two Shoes…and Heel Liftoff

Filed under Uncategorized

Amid all the angst over my PT experience, I do have some good news to share. I was able to walk today, first barefoot and then in two shoes, with my heel lifting off the floor and no limp!!! I was so excited and shocked that I asked my husband to watch me walk, just to be sure I wasn’t imagining things! I walked around the house, even going up and down stairs, for a couple of hours and stopped when my heel felt a little sore. I rested it and had no discomfort afterward, which I’m taking as a good sign.  I will ice my ankle tonight after doing the physio exercises. But, I now feel that I will walk again. Gerry, I’ll be back in those ski boots sooner than I thought!!

14 responses so far

Dec 08 2010


PT Expectations

Filed under Uncategorized

This is my first experience with physical therapy and I don’t know what’s "normal" in terms of support. At my last appointment, my PT had three patients at the same time and I found myself waiting a long time (10-15 minutes) between exercises for him to return and tell me what to do next. Then, he’s gone without even watching to see if I’m doing the exercises correctly.  I think he’s competent and I am progressing, but I’m feeling lost in the shuffle. Is this standard care?

12 responses so far

Dec 02 2010


8 Weeks, 3 Days: OS Appointment & PT

Filed under Uncategorized

I had my doc’s appointment yesterday and he cleared me for PT.  My Thompson Test showed much more movement than the last time and he said everything was coming along really well. He wants me to wean off the boot over the next 4 weeks.

Luckily, I got a PT appointment this morning and was happy with the session. I gave the PT a copy of the UWO protocol and he was supportive. After massaging my leg, he couldn’t feel where my tear was, so that seems to be a good sign.  My ROM was pitiful, however, and the measurements he took made me realize I have some work to do. But, I "walked" for the first time and it felt great! Parisski, I’m happily joining you in the "no boot in the shower club".

My PT also recommended that I takeoff the boot at home and walk around. He suggested I get fitted for athletic shoes with arch support, so I went to a specialty store and got a new pair of New Balance shoes to transition to. Just trying on the shoes in the store (both feet)– something I didn’t think I’d be able to do– felt good. I treated myself to a pedicure, which was a good thing for the body and psyche.

5 responses so far

Nov 21 2010


Seven Weeks

Filed under Uncategorized

I am FWB until my leg tells me "no more" which happened last week. I’ve been shopping, driving, etc. and when I do too much, the back of my leg hurts. I can’t tell if it’s because the boot is the problem, or my level of activity. I still have the wedge in and I wonder if that should now come out even before my next doctor’s appointment on 11/30. I’ve been sleeping without the boot for 2 weeks now and the leg feels better out of the boot, but it’s still tender at times along the back of my lower calf area–the heel feels just fine. I’ve also noticed an indentation on the back of my leg which I think is caused by the boot pressing against it–it only is apparent when my leg is down and not elevated. I haven’t started PT yet, which is making me anxious and I think my OS will clear me for it at my next appt (which is what he told me…) so I will start interviewing PTs this week. I’m realizing how long this journey is and some days I feel like my leg hasn’t come that far in feeling closer to normal…But, I know it must have. Does the soreness last on and off for months?

16 responses so far

Nov 09 2010


Five Weeks, 3 Days…

Filed under Uncategorized

I had another doctor’s appointment today–they did a Thompson test and found some movement, which is good. The doctor said there is scar tissue forming within the sac and then adjusted my boot from 20 degrees downward to a neutral position with one wedge. I asked him about the tendon healing "long" because Ive heard so much conversation about that here and his answered worried me a bit. He said in non-surgical patients, the tendon tends to heal long which could result in my having a limp. When I asked him how long that would last, he said it could be for the rest of my life ! OMG.  I was so stunned when he said it and heard little of what he said after that except that had they surgically reconnected the tendon, the tendon would have been stronger & I wouldn’t have a limp.

So, for the non-surgery healers here…could you PLEASE weigh in on this "healing long" possibility and whether or not you have a limp. I know everyone is different, but I’m just trying to determine how common this really is and how long it lasts. I’m also wondering if PT makes a difference.

I was so happy to be at FWB…but the caveat of limping for the rest of my life is so depressing to me right now.

Thank you in advance for your help.

9 responses so far

Oct 20 2010


OS Appointment: Two Weeks, 4 Days

Filed under Uncategorized

Well, I got GREAT news at my doctor’s appointment today!! After examining my leg, the OS said everything felt really good and he "couldn’t feel a tear anymore." I had no pain during the examination. I think he was really surprised…He told me before that he’d never had a patient chose the non-surgical option, and I think he may have expected me to come in today and see little healing progress. Both he and his PA seemed really happy for me.  I asked him about the plan going forward (thank you, Norm, for all the coaching) and showed him the UWO protocol. He said the protocol looked about right to him and  PT would start in about 2-3 weeks.  He said doing an exercise regimen at home now makes sense. I’m ok to takeoff the boot to sleep & use an ace bandage; and remove the boot for showering (scary thought…) They readjusted my boot to 20 degrees from 30.  My next appointment is in 2 weeks.

20 responses so far

Oct 15 2010


Pains, Aches, Twinges: What’s Normal?

Filed under Uncategorized

I’m having increasing pain at night only–my foot feels like it’s on fire at times and I have calf and instep pain. The boot is so very uncomfortable to sleep in. I’m now taking Tylenol.

I’m curious about what pains are typical in the early weeks for non-surgical recovery. I just want to get some idea from those of you who have gone through it. Thanks:)

ETA: Loosening the velcro on the boot at night made all the difference. (simple & logical…but it took me awhile). Instep and heel pains are gone & the calf pain is lessened.

24 responses so far

Oct 12 2010


OS Appointment & Decisions

Filed under Uncategorized

At my OS appointment four days post-injury, a Thompson test was performed confirming I had a complete AT rupture.  The OS said it could be treated surgically or non-surgically and it seemed that the choice depended on what level of activity I expected in the future. That if I wanted to resume sports at the pre-injury level (which is recreational tennis and skiing, and occasional hiking), and not a sedentary lifestyle (sitting on the couch) surgery was the better option. So, I said "fine" and surgery was scheduled for Wednesday, October 13.

When I returned home, I started to read Norm’s blog, then a few others (Gerry, Gunnar, Johanna) who elected (or were recommending) the non-surgery route & read the recent studies and protocols. I asked my husband to take a look, too, to have an extra set of eyes on what I was seeing, and we both agreed that this solution made sense. The studies were compelling and I trusted Norm’s considerable first hand knowledge and experience, backed by others who were also "trailblazers" to a new and improved recovery protocol.

I went to my doctor’s office on Monday morning 10/11  & saw his PA & nurse (the OS was in surgery) and they were both very supportive of this non-surgical decision.  The PA–who originally did my Thompson test–said my tear was further up the leg and not at the ankle and was an ideal candidate for non-surgical repair, although he expected it would take longer. My boot was adjusted downward at 30 degrees (maybe 30 instead of 20, because of the location of the tear I suspect) and I will be NWB until my appointment in two weeks. At that time, they’ll check to see how I’m doing.

I asked about PT, and was told the leg needs a couple more weeks of healing in this new position first, which sounded reasonable. I did mention the studies & VacoCast and they weren’t aware, but said they will pass it on to the OS. I really felt supported, even though the PA said he has never had a patient opt for non-surgery!

Next appointment: October 20th

2 responses so far

Older Posts »