ATR Close to the Heel

I was elated to discover this blog and have found it extremely useful in discovering different options, recovery approaches, etc.  I certainly feel compelled to share the journey in the event that it may possibly help someone else.  I am in Perth, Western Australia although I am from the US (yes…I wish I was Canadian!).

On February 28 2017 I ruptured my achilles tendon playing tennis.  I am 44 years old (female).  I had just pushed off my back foot to get to a short shot that came over the net and heard a horrendous noise…I had no idea at the time that sound had come from me!  I did fall to the ground, but still didn’t cotton on to what had happened.  I tried to stand up, and discovered my right foot wouldn’t work.  It felt like it was a club foot.  It felt like it was about 100 times it’s normal size, although there was no swelling, and it wouldn’t work properly.  I hobbled off to the side of the court and eventually to the car.  On the ride home we had to go over several speed bumps, and that was the first time I had felt any real pain.

When I got home I made a few phone calls and was advised that getting to the ER was probably a good idea in order to get the ball rolling for diagnosis and treatment.  The only good thing that came out of the ER visit was that they gave me crutches and a referral to get an ultrasound the next day.  They did an xray in the ER (useless) and the doctor really didn’t comment whether he thought it was ruptured or not.  The “mush” where my achilles used to be was very painful to the touch by then (about 3 hours after the injury occured).  The next day, the ultrasound tech did the Thompson Test before she did the ultrasound and sure enough there was no movement when she squeezed my calf.  The ultrasound was somewhat painful as she was putting a lot of pressure on the area.  At that point I had to take my results and head back to the ER to have them read (another two hour wait).  When they finally called me back the nurse casually said “so, she told you that you have a full tendon tear?” and that was the first I had heard of the official diagnosis.  At that point the ER nurse phoned the orthopedic doc who was on at the time, and he didn’t even bother to come down to chat to me. (Joondalup Hospital, Perth)  He told the nurse to put me in a dorsi flexion plaster (on the front of my leg) and then sent me on my way saying the trauma clinic would phone me to schedule an appointment in a day or two.  So, at this point I haven’t even seen a doctor regarding the diagnosis.

I decided to take the initiative to phone the clinic myself the next day, only to discover their office was closed until the following Wednesday…that was 7 days away.  I certainly wasn’t going to sit around and wait for them to call me for an appointment that probably would have been for the following week anyway.  So, I did some googling and found a recommended orthopedic clinic that accepted emergency appointments.  I was able to get in that day, so I put myself in an uber and met with the surgeon that morning.  He did say the ER nurse had done the right thing, and was impressed with the plaster that she had put on.  We went through both options, surgical and non-surgical repair, and decided that because I am a healthy and active person, surgery would be the best route.  (I knew that the re-rupture rate was high in the non-surgical approach.)

The injury happened on Tuesday Feb 28 2017, I met with the surgeon on Friday March 3 2017, and my surgery was scheduled for Thursday March 9 2017.  At this stage, I still had no idea of the enormity of the recovery from this injury and hadn’t fully digested what lay ahead in the coming months.

Next post will be the days leading up to the surgery, and the surgery itself.

2 Responses to “ATR Close to the Heel”

  1. Our injuries and timeline sound so similar - look forward to your updates, and good luck on the recovery journey!

  2. Would love to know how you are going with your recovery. I had my best day yet yesterday, even though it was a “crank” day in the boot. I had the most stamina, and am finally to keep my leg down for longer. Thanks for the well wishes, and the same to you. I still can’t believe this is my life at the moment!! :)
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