Posted by: tatyana | October 22, 2014

There is life after ATR

I haven’t written here for a few months. It was actually a doctor’s order! He felt that reading the blog every day, comparing my progress to the ones of others, etc.. made me too anxious about the recovery. I think it is probably only natural to worry about the outcome of the AT repair (especially considering that it was my first ever surgery!)

But I always meant to come back to the blog and share my development for the benefit of others who may be just starting the recovery process. Right now, I am approaching my 7 month mark and doing great. For me, the things have changed significantly at 5 month (20-21 weeks.) It was the point when swelling, pain, and limping just went away and never came back. The fear of other people accidentally stepping/bumping on the back of my leg went away as well. Currently, I do feel just like my normal healthy self, just like before the injury. Yes, I do have a scar/bump on my ankle, but the back of my leg looks and feels like a tendon, not like some post op mess it was. When I go about my everyday business, I am not continuously aware of it as I used to be.

I still do wear pants, not only to protect the scar from the sun, but also to hide my asymmetrical calves. My injured gastroc is about half way back and I wonder whether it will ever come back completely. No, I cannot do a full unaided heel raise on an injured leg — only about half way – but I am not worried about it. I have half a muscle, I raise half way. Once I get the whole muscle back, I am sure I will be able to raise my heel all the way and higher.

In terms of physical activity in general, I do not feel any restrictions at all – I walk any distance, run, jump, squat, lunge, use all possible machines, and can perform all sorts of exercises – I can do everything I was doing before the injury (except a single heel raise.) At the moment, my favorite exercise for getting back my calf is stepping on the Stair Master. I feel it just does what I need — works my gastroc and AT to the point of exhaustion, plus offers some serious cardio as a bonus. But on the other hand, it exercises the other leg to the same degree and the danger is that with this workout my calves will never catch up! :-) But this is a different story… I wish everyone smooth and speedy recovery!


It sounds like I am in an identical place of recovery as you, just those heel raises to conquer, but like you I am not worry about them in the least, they will happen when they happen - happy days

Sorry meant not ‘worried’ !

Congratulations, Tatyana, on your recovery. I’m just a little bit ahead of you, timewise, but I agree that the 5-month mark was a big step forward. That’s when I first stepped back onto the tennis court. I continue to work on my single-leg heel raises and am making slow progress on the last 25% of height, but like both you and Pegleg I’m not concerned with this.

Congratulations, Tatyana, on your recovery. I’m just a little bit ahead of you, timewise, but I agree that the 5-month mark was a big step forward. That’s when I first stepped back onto the tennis court. I continue to work on my single-leg heel raises and am making slow progress on the last 25% of full height, but like both you and Pegleg this doesn’t concern me.

1) 1-leg heel raise are overrated! :-)
2) I think I’ve ALWAYS been paranoid about getting nailed in the back of my foot - especially by a shopping cart! Must have happened to my Mom while she was pregnant with me!
3) It is a challenge for most people to survive the “frustrating plateau” - but sad if this forum makes it harder. Many people experience that “erratic” (or “punctuated”) progress - nothing is changing, then you notice that everything’s changed. Very frustrating ’til it’s past…

T, if you can turn on AJAX Editing, we’ll be able to fix our typos.

Thanks everyone for your kind posts!
@Norm — no, this forum doesn’t make the recovery harder, I probably just didn’t express myself clearly enough. This blog actually helps a great deal to navigate through the process and question our OSs in an educated way. My problem was that during that “frustration plateau” when nothing was really happening, I was very focused on all the info in this blog, followed everyone’s progress, compared protocols, and set deadlines for my own recovery stages (by that date I should be able to remove the boot, by this date I must be able to walk w/o limping, etc.. ) I was really upset if the next step got delayed (obviously thought there was something wrong with me.) But my doc somehow convinced me that I would be fine no matter what I do and once again, he was right. Still, this website is a guiding light for all of us and I am very grateful for the advice and support I got from it. It means a lot to know that somewhere out there someone else is fighting exactly the same thing I am fighting, so now we can fight it together. It is encouraging to hear from so many people who already went through this fight and fully recovered, and returned to the same active life as before. I am sure, you all will agree with me.

I didn’t mean that defensively or critically, T. It makes perfect sense that somebody who’s frustrated by their slow progress would feel worse reading reports from those who are doing especially well. And the best rehabs are so precise in their timing - a “perfect” exercise, stretch, or activity in week 12 could be disastrous 3 or 4 weeks earlier! - that everybody has got to watch the calendar like a hawk, so you know immediately if you’re falling behind another poster.
Many of us throw in the odd “everybody’s different” and “don’t compare your progress with anybody else’s”, but the comparisons are pretty unavoidable, I think.

You are doing well and I can agree in some way with your doctor but it does depend on the individual and their makeup. I left this site in the early days as it too was only making me anxious but once I got my head around where I was going and knew I was on the right track it didn’t matter anymore. I feel sometimes we can push newer protocols a bit hard which can make people on slower protocols feel inadequate if they cannot or do not wish to change. Sorry to anyone I have offended.

No offense here, Stuart. I think the faster protocols are worth pushing hard to non-op patients, because slower protocols hugely increase their rerupture risk, like from ~3% to ~20%!

Of course, they’re always a PITA, an expense (more time off work), and a source of frustration, but nobody needs to be lectured about THAT! :-)

No offense taken Norm. We know each other well enough to be able to speak our mind and even disagree every now and then. I know how you especially only want to see the best results for people. I am just mindful that the words we write sometimes can cause more frustration and anguish for some particularly if they cannot change things. Tatyana reminded me of that and it is a good thing to be reminded of every now and then. I also know it is a hard thing to judge without knowing the individual but that is another reason why we should write with care. I will still tell people how great the more aggressive protocols are and agree they are more important for non-op but I will endeavour to do that with more empathy which is something lacking in many ortho surgeons.

Sounds like you are doing really well indeed, feeling back to your normal healthy self is a fantastic thing. Keep working on that skinny calf, it is sure to catch up (or get close to) your strong side soon!

Hi Tatyana - great to stop back on the site and read your update - keep it up!


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