December 25, 2008 · 1 Comment
After being in plaster for three weeks I’ve now been in a boot for two. The boot is miles better, the plaster was bloody painful at times, not at the injury itself, but where my foot and ankle bones pressed on the plaster. Also, sometimes my leg would swell up a bit and that was a bit painful. No problem with the boot as it is softer and you can adjust it, take it off, play with the widgets etc. Also I can walk - sort of. Big advantage. I asked the consultant if I could damage anything by putting my full weight on the boot. He said do anything that feels comfortable but don’t try walking without the boot yet.
Good luck to everyone with an ATR, especially those in the early stages, I found the first week to be the most difficult by far. I think this is due to a forced lifestyle change with no warning whatsoever. A lot of my plans had to change. At firstt was really difficult to get around and the crutches were really hard work. However I got used to things pretty quickly and it wasn’t so bad. My advice to anyone using crutches is to make an effort at first even if it seems really hard. You do get used to them and although it is never easy you can at least get around and go out. I carried on working; I’m fortunate to work from home so it was fine.
Best Wishes at Christmas to everyone.
December 14, 2008 · 1 Comment
After being in plaster for three weeks, I went to see a foot and ankle specialist. The result was I’m now on a completely different treatment protocol. The orthopaedic surgeon I saw three weeks ago decided I should be in plaster cast for two months!
The chap I saw most recently said this was not the optimum treatment and I would be better off in a big black boot. Said early mobilisation was likely to give better results, and less likely to give deep vein thrombosis. So I’ve now got a big black boot with a mechanical dial on the ankle. You set the limit of ankle mobility on the dial. It is currently set at a small range of motion that can be increased each week.
I can put weight on my leg as the boot takes the strain. This is much much better than the plaster cast. Best thing is, I can take the boot off to have a bath etc, although I must be careful not to put any weight on the unsupported foot.
There seem to be several way of treating an ATR and I suspect that the treatment we receive is partly down to cost and the availability of resources. My appointment with the orthopaedic consultant was for well over one hour. My original appointment three weeks ago was for a total of five minutes. What is the difference? Well the five minute appointment was with the NHS and the one hour plus was a private appointment. I’m not in any way being critical of the NHS as it can only make best use of the resources it has. The treatment I was given by the NHS at the time of the rupture was excellent, no waiting and very efficient.
Now two weeks for me, I feel very frustrated at my immobility. I can’t do a lot of the things I did on a daily basis. Going to the gym, walking, sailing, driving, and standing on both feet. Wearing a pair of shoes. Carrying things around the house like a book or a laptop is difficult on crutches. Am I paranoid or do people look at you in a different way when you are hobbling round on crutches? I’m sure I’ve detected a different attitude towards me when I’m out and about.
However, on a much more positive note. I haven’t taken any time off work. (I work as a project manager) My other leg has got noticeably stronger. So have my arms. This is just through going out each day on the crutches, either to the shops or visiting friends. Climbing the stairs becomes a workout. I’m still working on the best and quickest techniques of getting up and down stairs. Going to the bathroom is difficult, but you get used to having a shower standing on one leg. Each time you use the crutches you get a bit stronger. I am amazed at how much longer I can stand on one leg. Partly because my balance seems to have improved and partly because my leg has got stronger. This is not a bad thing for the over fifties like me. I’ve fallen over a couple of time but not hurt myself, so far. When I get to the recovery phase I want to build up my injured leg without loosing the new strength of the good leg. That way I’ll be stronger than before. Well that’s the theory, may not work but worth a try.
Thanks for the replies to my previous posts, Pompey very unlucky against ACM. I’ve spoke to my insurers again regarding moving to private healthcare. No problem, I can change from NHS to private provided my GP refers me. So I’ve made a GP appointment for next week. I’ll post the result. The consultant at the hospital could also refer me but going to my GP seems the quicker route.
It’s now eight days since the rupture and I’m getting around on the crutches, but it does give the remaining fully functioning limbs some work to do. Just been to Tesco, well anything to get out for bit. This could be a new sport, hobbling round Tesco on crutches avoiding shopping trolleys. Much harder than playing squash. I parked in the disabled bay, was this acceptable? I wanted as short a hobble as possible in the rain.
Hi Again, has any-one in the UK got experience of changing from the NHS to private health care for their ATR I’m asking as I was originally treated by the NHS, 7 and 5 days ago and have a follow up appointment with the NHS on Dec 23rd, just over four weeks from the cast being put on. I do have private health care and could transfer my ongoing treatment to a private hospital. Anyone done that in the UK? So far the NHS has been very good but I’m a little concerned about the time before a follow up appointment, at four weeks. Any thoughts on this greatly appreciated.
This is my first ever blog or internet posting about anything; I’m male, 52 yeas old, average size, weight etc, so here goes
Thursday 20th November ’08. went to the local club to play squash, spent five minutes warming up on a cross trainer, plenty of stretches and then five minutes warm up on court. Played for 30 – 35 minutes, (losing). Thought some-one had opened door to squash court and banged it into the back of my left calf. Looked round, no-one there, fell over. I knew something was wrong, thought it may be Achilles but wasn’t sure. Unable to put any weight on left foot and my foot/ankle felt very strange but without a lot of pain.
For some reason I just knew this was a bad thing to happen. Decided to go straight to A&E at the local hospital Five minutes away. My friend and squash partner dropped by off at A&E, helped me to reception and went to tell Julie (wife) what had happened. I normally take my mobile phone everywhere I go. But not this time. Who needs a mobile on a squash court.
Booked in at A&E, after a couple of minutes a nurse came to talk to me, asked what happened etc. Five minutes later I was wheeled into a small room and examined by a nurse who decided I had a ruptured Achilles. A&E consultant also examined me as did a junior A&E doctor. All agreed with diagnosis. All told me it was a bad injury and I would be unable to walk for at least six weeks. My leg was then put into plaster. I was given a pair of crutches and told to see orthopaedic specialist ASAP.
Made appointment for two days later. Orthopaedic surgeon said Achilles was ruptured but a little higher up than she normally sees, said it was a partial rupture that did not need surgery. I was a bit concerned by this as I thought surgery was best option, ‘not in your case’ I was told. Leg plastered with a strange kind of plastic plaster. Told plaster needs to stay put for four weeks. Appointment made for 23rd December. Will then have new plaster for two weeks with foot at different angle, then another two weeks with foot at different angle. At least that’s the plan.
Went home. Practiced using crutches. Stairs a bit tricky. Having a shower not easy. Went to pub. Quite tiring using crutches when not used to them. Doc’ had advised drinking plenty of fluids. No problem had a few beers, felt much better.
Now three days later. Have made an effort to out every day for some exercise and crutches practice. Getting better with crutches, can go a bit further each day without arms getting tired. Get round the house by hopping (do we all do that) I’m told it’s not a good idea as you can break toes if you hit the ground with leg in plaster.