ATR in the UK - Week 6, day 5:Swelling, Even-up, and 1st physio next week.

Well my good intentions about exercise were immediately torpedoed by a nasty chest cold which my daughters brought home from school, which meant that anything which made me breathe more heavily than normal resulted in a spell of jackhammer coughing leaving me with streaming eyes and in need of a sit-down - thanks girls.  Feeling a bit better now, but it’s taking its time.

As a result, my mind has turned to the swelling which after a couple of weeks in the boot was still present around my lower calf and foot and has persisted since.  This seems to be oedema rather than bruising; on the outside and top of my foot it’s quite soft and can be pressed or massaged away to a large extent, but above my ankle it’s a lot more firm and doesn’t easily disperse when pressed.  I’m pretty sure it occurs in these areas because the boot doesn’t apply any pressure here: the side/ top of my foot is where the gap is in the foam liner, and either side of my lower calf the boot is too wide to apply pressure even with the airbags pumped up quite hard.  From what others have written here I don’t think the physio will be too impressed that I haven’t tried to tackle this, so I’m going to try adding some extra pads inside the liner to apply pressure to my calf & see what effect that has.

On the bright side Morcs’ Evenup arrived last week, and it’s definitely proving helpful around the house and out & about.  Wearing it on a running shoe makes that leg only about half an inch shorter than the booted leg, which makes it a lot easier to bear weight on the injured leg in a controlled way, and seems to be easing the pressure on my left hip as well.  I crutched to the doctors earlier today about an unrelated issue, about 900m almost non-stop, and it was a lot easier than long distances had been before, which bodes well for getting back to doing the school run.  My wife has been picking up a lot of slack since the injury, including 4 school runs a week which has meant that she’s been unable to take up an offer of more hours at work.  Her employer is now saying that she has to start the longer hours from the end of this month when her current contract expires, and the only way she can do this at present is spreading them over 4 days instead of 3, which we really don’t want because of the pressure it puts on other aspects of domestic life.  Another parent’s husband suffered ATR and said that it had put a real strain on home life especially as he was self-employed like me, and I’d be interested to hear what other people’s experience has been of this aspect.

My referral to the local physiotherapy unit was rejected because apparently my post-op care was "purchased" as part of a surgical care package.  As I haven’t had surgery I can only take this to mean that once I’d seen the consultant at the hospital there was no other option due to the local NHS Trust structure and charging systems - so much for patient choice!  By coincidence the doctor I saw earlier ruptured her AT a couple of years ago, and she suggested that this might mean that the local unit don’t see many ATR patients so I’d be better off at the hospital where this is more common, and in this case I’ll take experience over convenience every time.

Luckily I’d booked a session with the hospital physio anyway which is next Tuesday, and I’m really looking forward to getting some feedback on how I’m healing and some exercises etc.  I’m also hoping they’ll remove the first wedge given that I’ll have been in the boot for 5 weeks by then, though still slightly nervous about what that will mean in terms of pain for the first few days afterwards, so any advice on that or anything else to expect would be greatly appreciated - I’ll let you know how it goes!

2 Responses to “ATR in the UK - Week 6, day 5:Swelling, Even-up, and 1st physio next week.”

  1. Sorry replying a bit late. My first physio appointment was more of an introduction, not that much they can do whilst in the boot. I’ve been very happy with my hospital-based physio - I think ATR is fairly specialist and hospital physios are more likely to have someone with experience of them :)

  2. Hi. Yes, the GP suggested that they would be likely to see more ATR cases, and the physio I saw at the hospital this morning said she saw about 1 a week which I find reassuring, even if a student was leading the work this morning. I’ll try to do a proper blog tomorrow, but basically I’m doing well: range of movement can already reach plantigrade (with a little help); 2 out of 4 wedges removed and I’ve got the all-clear to remove another at the weekend if I don’t suffer any sort of reaction. I’ve been told to ditch the crutches and go FWB indoors and given a basic stretching exercise to do 6 x /day. Overall she seemed pleased not to say pleasantly surprised at my progress, and next appointment to hopefully remove last wedge in 2 weeks to get me back on track to be plantigrade in the boot by 7 weeks.

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