Hello From Nova Scotia

I found this site after my injury and have enjoyed reading everyone’s progress and comments.


I’m a 44yr old male, work as a biochemist for a marine plant company, moderately active and go the gym regularly.  On July 5th my company was having a friendly game of softball after work.  Sounded like fun, not too strenuous, what could happen? :-) We had been playing about 45 min, I went up to bat, got a hit and jogged to first base.  Next player hit the ball and I started running to second, all of a sudden POP! Thought the ball hit me in the right leg, then saw it in front of me…oh no!  Realize I can’t push off my ankle, OK must be calf or (gasp) Achilles :-(

Hobble back to bench, thinking about the calf tear I had four years earlier and how they tested my leg and said you are lucky, not an Achilles rupture.  Now I touch the back of the leg above my heel and there is no tension there at all…oh crap!  Tell my friend I think I ruptured my Achilles, lets go to emergency.

Arrive at the hospital 7PM Friday evening, tell the triage nurse what I think I have done.  She sends me to waiting area.  Takes about 45 min to see Dr, she does Thompson test and confirms my fears, Achilles rupture.  Sends me for an x-ray to ensure part of the heel has not torn off.  After another 45 min she returns to tell me no sign of bone fragment separation, and that she has scheduled an ultrasound for 1st thing the next morning and since Othro was in doing surgery a member would come down, review the imaging, and talk to me about course of treatment.  The put me in a split at full plantar flexion and send me on my way, not bad only 2hrs from arrival.  No pain or discomfort, just depressed.

Exactly 12hrs later I am back at the hospital getting an ultrasound, the imaging Dr advises me she cannot see ‘ends’ but can see tearing and striation.  Sent to off to emergency to wait to see an ortho consult, where I am used as the teaching display to show all the staff-in-training what an ATR looks like and how to diagnose.  After a four hour wait the Ortho Dr arrives, looks at the leg and explains that surgery is mostly done on high profile athletes and in the US, whereas most other countries have gone to non-surgical repair based on recent studies.  Explains that he will plaster cast the foot for two weeks, then into a walking boot with physio for the next 8-12 weeks.  Has me flex to full plantar flexion and applies a cast, tells me not to weight bear, and sends me on my way.

Stop and pick up some crutches (oh lord) go home, a friend who was a semi-pro baseball player calls me and I explain what happened.  He is shocked they did not do surgery and tells me it will never heal this way…yikes.  So unable to move about, I start reading on the internet and find this wonderful site! Thanks to Norm for all of the info he has posted on non-surgical vs surgical ATR treatments, downloaded and read a bunch of the Journal studies, made me feel much better and more confident in the route I have taken.

Hobbled around on crutches for two weeks putting no weight on the leg (not that I could anyway with the angle of the cast) continued to read this site and learned of the Vacocast and benefits of it vs the Airboot that seems to be the common walking boot in this area.  Ordered one from the Canadian distributor with an extra liner, with rush shipping it arrived 30hrs after I ordered it, very impressive.  Set it at 30 degrees PF and took it and the rehab protocol sudsy posted with me to my two week follow up with Ortho.  The Dr had never seen one but was very interested in it.  Gave me their protocol, and it is almost identical to the Vaco and other aggressive protocols posted here (whew!). 

Removed the plaster cast, put the boot on, and sent me straight to physio dept.  They had an opening so went right in, talked to physiotherapist and he reviewed the protocol, gave me some tips to walk with crutches (why did I not have this two weeks earlier, grr!) used scales to show what 25% weight bearing felt like, explained ROM and stretching I needed to do three times a day, and sent me on my way.  I have been seeing him twice a week and will for the foreseeable future.

So for the first week in the Vacocast I was 25% WB, made it much easier to get around.  This week I progressed to 50% WB and we started doing seated heel raises, no pain but certainly can feel it tight…being very careful around the house, do not move without the boot on…having the 2nd liner is awesome, shower every 2nd day with the boot on and the wet liner goes into the wash with a new dry one on after I have washed the leg.

So I’m now at week four…long slow process, depressing at times, hoping for full recovery!  Four week anniversary of injury is tomorrow, yay :-(

5 Comments so far

  1. loumar747 on August 1st, 2013

    Hello from British Columbia! Sorry to hear that you’re now a member of our elite group. However, as you said, this site is a wonderful support group and Norm has a lot of great knowledge and advice as do other members. It does get better - albeit slowly - FWB seems particularly liberating. Anyway, good luck and happy healing. Looking forward to more posts from you. Luckily you are in a lovely part of the world to sit back and ’smell the roses’.

  2. kellygirl on August 1st, 2013

    Welcome, Seaweed! Sorry for your injury but glad to hear that you stuck with non-op :) The evidence is indisputable and you are on the aggressive protocol which means you are likely to do extremely well! It is a long slog but there are lots of people around here to give you a boost (and advice) when needed.

    Best of luck!

  3. suddsy on August 1st, 2013

    Hey seaweed, welcome. Sounds like you’ve got a pretty good handle on things, and you’re also part of the elite within the elite…right legged ATRs who can’t drive for a while!

  4. normofthenorth on August 1st, 2013

    Glad you’re following a protocol that’s a lot faster than you indicated in your original post. (”… walking boot… for the next 8-12 weeks” after 2 weeks in a cast is WAY too slow for good results.) Glad my blogs helped, too! :-)
    Good luck and good healing!

  5. seaweed on August 2nd, 2013

    Thanks for the welcome and well wishes, folks. I dragged my hobbling arse to a KISS concert last night, def the furthest I have gone on crutches since this ordeal began. Felt liberating to get out, but not easy going through crowds on crutches. Injury was four weeks today, I will sent the boot to 15-30 ROM this weekend and see how that feels.

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