cast to boot, just…

i arrive for my appointment with the orthopaedic surgeon. the last cast is sawn off in the plaster room, and then i’m told that my surgeon is not actually in (hmm? not in? i think i know where he’s in… in the south of france!)

the hospital manage to lever me in to the head-honcho’s timetable. eventually i go in, she take’s a cursory glance at my withered dangly appendage and says i’m good to go. by ‘good to go’ she actually means get out of the office and get on with it. a photocopied exercise sheet is handed to me and that’s it.

if i hadn’t spent so much time on reading about all of your experiences and protocols, that really would have been it. i would have hobbled out of there having spent seven weeks non-weight bearing, with a tendon hardly tested, a bare foot that’s barely at 90°, and a leg as weak as an asthmatic ant. the phrase ‘clucking bell’ comes to mind.

i explain that i would feel safer if they would just pop me in a boot. she replies that ‘it’s fine, don’t worry, you don’t need a boot now, just take it slow’. I stress that i haven’t put any weight on my foot for 7 weeks, and there’s no way i’m leaving the hospital without the protection of a boot. she looks perplexed, stating that the usual protocol at her hospital is weight-bearing from week 4 in a ‘walking’ plaster. I look even more perplexed than her, and ask why on earth am i not following that protocol then. She shakes her head and mutters something about her consultants being a law unto themselves. ahh that’s reassuring.

if the surgeons within one institution cannot decide on a preferred protocol that they all agree on using, then i guess it would explain the huge variations that we all seem to be experiencing during our recoveries & treatments in our various locations.

i leave the hospital snug in a boot, but shudder at what might have been, had i not acquired a little knowledge about ATRs from this valuable site, and been able to question ‘protocol’.

dennis, i salute you.


3 Comments so far

  1. hoss on July 24th, 2008

    I agree that the docs in the same hospital should at least agree to the same kind of protocol.

    I am now going straight from a cast to no boot and FWB. But someone I know ruptured their achilles close to a month before me and she is in a boot right now. We went to the same hospital but had a different surgeon. I am interested to see how we end up doing.

    I have a boot (from my days waiting for the surgery) and I may still make use of it in the next week or so. I’ll keep it handy if I am going places that I am unsure about.

    I second your salute to Dennis. The info from everyone here is better than you can find in any book or anywhere for that matter.

  2. Accompong on July 25th, 2008

    I’ll give my account in my blog but it mirrors yours. After reading and learning about the ATR experience, I was stunned when I was told “That’s it, see you in four weeks.” The cast dust was still settling.

    Thank goodness for this site!!!

  3. ATRsd on October 13th, 2008

    Doctors in the same hospital will have different protocols based on the individual (how active or ‘healthy’ they are) and their philosophy (aggressive vs conservative).

    My doctor moved me to a boot after 8 days. Friend of mine saw a doctor in the same office and was in a cast for 6 weeks before being moved to a boot.

    Some offices will enforce the same protocol, but I think that’s the exception not the rule.

    What I find to be boggling is that the ‘head-honcho’ was sending you out without a boot. Glad you questioned her.

    Reminds me of a ruptured tendon I had in my finger (from a bad jam - ball that was thrown at me and jammed my finger). Doctors couldn’t find a splint that fit and my finger kept moving around in the splint. It would have never healed properly and I would have had a deformed finger. I looked on the web and folks said that a simple splint could be formed with a paper clip. That did the trick and my finger is fine now (slightly less range of motion).

    Take care all.

    20 days post-op

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