Tennis junkie

So my story starts in Oct. 1999. In the middle of a tennis match against an undefeated team, a set and a break under our belt on a way to a win with my partner Lori when POW POP, I went down and said I did something Bad….. People cam running from 2 courts down, everyone heard it. I LOVE tennis and am very competitive so I was so determined to get back on the court, so I had surgery, didn’t know I had an option norm :), then at that time it was 8 weeks non weight bearing then rehab rehab and was back on the courts playing competitive A 1 tennis in 4 1/2 months. I was so happy and proud of myself. I wore a lace up brace/support for a year or more. My left achilles was really thick and I was told it was a lot of scar tissue built up on my achilles but didn’t think much about it. I continued to run and play league tennis for years, giving up the finning due to back issues but continued my tennis for the next 13 years…. Now we are up to a beautiful Monday Morning Jan 20, 2014. My partner and I have just finished winning our first set and I hit a forehand and push off with left foot And again, POW POP….. This time I knew what had happened. I went down, pounded the clay and yelled NOT AGAIN!!! You ALL know what I mean…. Having done this before I knew what had happened…..

Fast forward an hour and I am sitting in the OS office. A PA came in and and took one look at my foot and said, I’m getting the dr….. He cut off my bloody sock to find a 1″ gap to the bone as my heel split wide open from heel bone ┬áto heel bone. The OS said he’d never seen a rupture like that and sent me to the hospital across the street and said he would be over to do surgery after he finished his work day. I can say now having read all of these posts that I wish that I had taken some time to educate myself, but having the open wound I felt like I had to get it taken care of right away…. I guess hindsight is 20/20.

So after surgery he told my husband that I had pulled the Achilles off the bone and he had reattached it with 2 screws.

He said I would spend the night in the hospital and leave in the morning. I ended up getting so sick from the meds they gave me I was in the hospital 2 more days…. AWFUL experience….. Sure wish I had asked why I couldn’t day surgery as I did the first time…. Again, hindsight 20/20…

Well, I have never done this before and I am writing my blog to hopefully help someone else from making some mistakes I have made and to continue to get some support and help from this unique community :) I have already learned so much and it really does help to talk to those who understand what we are going through!! I wish I had this the first time around!!

BTW my OS has told this Tennis Junkie of the last 20 years, that “I would be crazy to ever play again” …… Any thoughts or input on that from my new friends??

6 Responses to “Tennis junkie”

  1. So many remarkable and unusual parts of that short story!! Doing full-bord comp tennis at 4.5 months is amazing, and rupturing the same AT (though in a different spot) is pretty unusual too.

    BTW, I don’t think you had a choice about surgery EITHER time! First time because it was 1999 — I was pushed under the knife in late 2001 myself, nobody knew any better — and second time because you had a big open wound that needed to be fixed.

    I don’t think anyone can tell you your odds if you return to tennis again the evidence is minuscule. But one Q to ponder for a few months: would you have been better off without returning to tennis the last time? I only got 7 years of volleyball played in the 8 years between my two ATRs (opposite legs), but I wouldn’t have missed it for the world, personally. Of course “personally” is the key word here…

  2. Norm, thanks for your note! I agree that I am glad I kept playing before and did enjoy it all! I will try to take it a day at a time and know that decission does not need to be made today or by my Dr….
    I also appreciate your thoughts on the comment that I didn’t have a choice because, I felt like maybe I was unwise about that especially since reading everything in these blogs and seeing how many different procedures and protocols for rehab their are.
    Now, with all of your experience, poor guy 3 ruptures…. And knowledge you have now gathered…. What are your thoughts on this…. My OS told me that he feels that my scar tissue from other surgery was a contributing factor of this second rupture and wanted me flexing my foot at 2 weeks. So he took off my cast and gave me a aircast boot. I did it constantly while I was sitting and the would was oozing so I wnt back and told me to stop, and wait another week. I go into today and the PA told me to wait another 2 weeks, now I will be at 5 weeks NWB and no movement and I am afraid of the scar tissue issue angin… Any thoughts?? I also now have sural nerve pain in my leg and foot, know anything about that? Dr. Says it might be from pressure and may go away. I have had it since surgery, but didn’t know what it was until I researched it on here and I thought it was just part of this surgery and healing :( THANKS!!

  3. Sorry one more question norm, did you give up volleyball after your your second rupture??

  4. I’ve “only” had two ruptures, Lissa — one on each side — and I returned to competitive volleyball with a bunch of young jocks (both genders) after each. My second return was delayed a year by open-heart surgery to replace a heart valve that was congenitally “funny” (like 1-2% of the population) but never slowed me down until my 60s. More details on my blog pages.

    About your leg:
    1) I don’t know much about sural nerve problems, but several people here have been convinced that they’ve got ‘em, and I think many or most have gradually overcome them.
    2) Your other experiences sound somewhere between “You do what you’re told even if the person who told you wishes you’d stop!” and “A little knowledge [or instruction] is a dangerous thing!”

    Obviously, any post-op ATR patient has to navigate through a mine-field of obstacles: If you abuse your wound and it doesn’t close up properly, that’s Very Bad. If you are so immobile that scar tissue forms where it shouldn’t — especially “adhesions” that glue together adjacent layers of tissue that should be able to slide over each other — that’s also a problem. AND if you are so mobile and “loaded” (WB) that you injure or rerupture your healing AT, that’s obviously a problem, too.

    In order to make it through that obstacle course, it helps to follow a proven blueprint — like — AND to make every change INCREMENTAL AND to “listen to your body”. But if you obsess about one of your goals or principles at the expense of the others, you’ll hit one of the obstacles that you’re NOT trying to avoid!

    About your OS’s theory: Of course everybody’s different and “generalizations are always false” ;-) but: If scar tissue from an ATR or from AT surgery increased the risk of a subsequent ATR, then reality (and this website) would look very different than actual reality looks! In fact, people who’ve survived one ATR until it’s healed HARDLY EVER re-rupture the same AT (as you have), but are RELATIVELY likely to rupture the OTHER AT (as I have). If the scar tissue were a major risk, it’d obviously be the other way around, right? Instead, the ATR-healing process GENERALLY makes for an AT that’s more resistant to rupturing than before, not less. I know that’s hard to believe when you’re the exception to the rule, but that’s still the rule. . .

    So as beneficial as early WB and early mobility are within reason, that’s another reason not to obsess in that direction at the expense of everything else (especially getting your wound to heal properly).

    BTW, I find that this injury gives us all way too much time to look for “Why me?” reasons, and I think it may have given your OS too much time for that, too. If there really is something peculiar about your body — or that specific leg — that makes it crazy prone to ATRs, I suspect we’ll never figure out what it is regardless (unless you’ve been popping Cipro). The scar-tissue theory doesn’t have the Ring of Truth for me.

    Interestingly, this particular form of “lightning” has just “struck” 2 or 3 times right on this website — people re-rupturing healed ATRs years afterwards — and I think two of you had “open” ruptures, which are also very rare. So if anybody ever does figure out a cause, it may be you folks comparing notes here!

    (It’s possible that I’m double-counting you, once as Lissa33 and once as “secondtimearound”. Same person, right?)

  5. Hey norm , yes same person. I am very IT illiterate and don’t know how that happened, when I went to comment the first time I found the site it asked for info so I thought I had signed up, but couldn’t log in and then when I emailed Dennis, for the blog, it was something different and I don’t know how to correct it. Plus I also cannot figure out blog updates, timeline, etc lol, I thought I had put in my info, date local, etc and I can’t find it anywhere… Oh well. I think I’m gonna give up :)

    I thank you for all of your input. And I hear you about the wound issue. I’m just gonna chill I guess for now and follow dr’s orders. I spoke with another guy that had the avulsion and he didn’t start any weight bearing for a couple months.

  6. Lissa, just keep doing your best with both, the leg and the website!

    Re the leg, don’t get obsessive about chilling either! All things in moderation (maybe including moderation!).

    Re the web, you’re doing OK, cause we’re communicating! Are you filling in your name and answering the keyword question when you post, or are you staying signed in on your browser? I tell the site to keep me signed in (on 2 laptops and 2 mobiles!) and I’ve always got the same ID. Others use 2 on purpose, so you’re not unique in that.

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