Winnipeg ATR

Quick update - 10 weeks doctor visit

May 27, 2016 · 3 Comments

I met with my doc yesterday to take a look at my recovery having had all wedges removed for about 1.5 weeks. He said it was going real well and because my rupture occurred higher up, closer to my calf, my range of motion in my ankle is surprisingly good.

Given the progress, he OK’d me to start athletic therapy and to ditch the boot gradually at home, and then in a few weeks and in consultation with my athletic therapist, move to 2-shoes for good.

I’ve contacted my athletic therapist and am looking at starting next week so that I can hopefully be out of the boot within a few weeks. Hallelujah.

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8-week appointment and ditching the “high heel”

May 16, 2016 · 1 Comment

I’m a little behind when I intended to post again. I had my 8-week ortho appointment on Monday, May 9. It was a good appointment because it was first thing in the morning so I was able to walk right in without having to wait too long for the doctor. It was also a good appointment because my doc liked the progress in my healing.

To refresh, I’ve been in an aircast with three wedges in to keep my foot at plantar flexion. I’ve been on three wedges since getting my aircast 8 weeks ago. The doc inspected my rupture, which as you may recall was up higher near my calf muscle. He said the healing was coming along nicely. He used his hands to move my foot to dorsiflexion to a point where it was pretty much neutral. I had no pain, just a little stiffness. Given the progress, he took out 1 of my wedges and then said in 2 days (Wednesday), if there was no discomfort, I could take out another. He said lastly, if all was going well, on Sunday I could take out the last wedge. Keep it like that for the remaining week and book an appointment with him the week following for follow-up.

Upon taking out that first wedge and as I left the hospital, my foot, leg and ankle felt relief. Perhaps having my wedges in was more uncomfortable than I realized. As I had no pain, on Wednesday I took out the second wedge. While it wasn’t painful, it did feel strange to have my heel lowered that much further. For the remainder of the week my tendon felt great, however my ankle itself would get sore by the end of the day. I made sure to ice and elevate in the evenings. I have been bearing weight fully on my injured leg for the past two and a half weeks or so. I hardly use my scooter any longer and got rid of the wheelchair at my house. I’ve walked a ton since having the two wedges out, especially on Saturday and Sunday. Sunday was a kid’s birthday party that I attended with my family. I was up and down stairs a half-dozen times so I think I pushed it a bit hard, as Sunday afternoon and evening my ankle and achilles were sore. I made sure to take it easy all night.

I woke up this morning with my leg feeling good so I took out the last wedge. I’m neutral! Hooray. I’ve walked on it a bit to get to the office and so far, it fees fine. A bit uncomfortable and I think I’m more anxious about the idea of re-injuring it rather than actually feeling any pain in my leg.

Here’s to hoping the week goes by without incident and I can have another positive follow-up appointment with my doc next week.

I hope everyone else’s recovery is moving a long as well!

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Extremely sore tendon on non-ATR leg?

April 29, 2016 · 3 Comments

Hi all;

For the past while my achilles tendon on my non-ruptured leg has been inflamed and painful to touch. I mentioned this to my ortho back in week 1 but he thought nothing of it. I am concerned that this tendon could end up like my ATR on my left leg - it was inflamed and sore leading up to my rupture while playing volleyball.

Does anyone have any experience with this? I am thinking about booking an appointment with an athletic therapist to take a look at my “good” tendon, even though I’m still a few weeks out from therapy on my ATR leg.

PS. Was full weight bearing on my ATR whilst in my walking boot (3 wedges in) today around the office several times. No soreness, mild swelling. I am hoping things are progressing well down there.

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6 week visit with ortho

April 25, 2016 · 5 Comments

Today was my 6-week appointment with the orthopaedic surgeon to discuss my progress thus far. As a reminder, we opted for the conservative, non-surgical treatment for my ATR. As the doctor confirmed, he thinks the non-surgical treatment was the best for my situation because my ATR was higher up, closer to my calf muscle. According to him, attempting to surgically repair the rupture when it is higher up like that is much more difficult.

That said, he was happy with my progress thus far. Scar tissue has developed around the rupture and it appears to be healing nicely. While I was disappointed to hear that he didn’t want me to start any rehabbing with an athletic therapist yet, he did say that I could start partial weight bearing on my leg while it remains in the boot with my wedges in. I have tried it since coming home, and am able to walk around with the boot on while supporting myself with only one crutch. While it may not seem like much, it seems like significant freedom.

I just have to remind myself not to push it too much as it appears healing is going well. While I have been able to walk around with the one crutch, I don’t want to set myself back by pushing myself too hard right now. I will continue to use my knee scooter and crutches around the office, and then walk around only at my house.

He asked me to come back in two weeks time to evaluate where I’m at and, if things continue as they have thus far, he said we’d take out one of the wedges from my air cast. Here’s to hoping!

Talk to you all soon.

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Figuring things out. Mental and physical recovery tips.

April 17, 2016 · 9 Comments

It has been exactly 5 weeks since I suffered my ATR, and about 4 weeks since my last post. You might be surprised to read this, but the time has actually gone by rather quickly. I know what you may be thinking - “Has this guy lost it? Isn’t the time supposed to be dragging with him hating every minute of it?!” I can answer that yes, I do hate it, but I tend to be a “glass-half-full” kind of guy, and have figured a few things out to help me cope, both physically and mentally.

First, the mental. For me, it was important to get back into my normal routine as soon as possible. What that meant was that I needed to start wearing regular clothes again. I needed to start going back into the office. I needed to drive again. I needed to help with my kids’ bedtime routine (as much as I could). It was important for me to start doing things around the house and to go back to work so that I didn’t feel so useless. So that I could feel like I was contributing again.

After about two weeks of missing work, I decided to start going back to the office. The first time I planned on going was a Thursday. My wife called her sister to come over and watch the kids once they went to bed so that the two of us could drive to my office and figure out how I was going to park, to get up to my floor and how I would sit at my desk. That was a great help. Then, on the day I first returned, I only went for about three hours. The next day I bumped it up to five hours. Then, the following Monday, I was (almost) back to normal. I think I went from 8:30 until about 5, which is shorter than I am used to be was probably the most I could push it at the time. I managed to figure out how to wear my suit pants underneath my air cast, as well as jeans (FYI, suit pants are easy because they are thin - jeans I did a lengthy roll so that the hem was brought up to my knee and then flipped back down so you can’t see that it’s rolled).

At home, I started helping the kids get their PJs on after the tub, helping with the teeth brushing routine and reading my daughter a story before bed. This helped a lot, actually, in that it made me feel like things were somewhat back to normal with my kids, even if they weren’t. I also made efforts to go outside for fresh air and, recently, to run errands with my wife and kids. Again, getting back to some normalcy is helping me cope with things being not so normal around the house.

Now, for the physical. Here are the things I have learned with how to cope with not bearing weight on this leg for six weeks, in no particular order:

  1. Get a knee scooter. You may feel ridiculous using one, I know I did. And you most certainly look ridiculous while using one, but who the hell cares. It is your freedom from those awful crutches! I use it to get up to my office from my parkade, around my office, and while out for lunch and running errands. It is my saviour. Click here to see what they look like.
  2. This may not be recommended by your physician, but I have taken my leg out of my air cast in the evenings, once the kids are gone to bed and let it air out while propped up on pillows. This has helped me assess my leg, let it feel some air and eased the pressure sore I was getting on my heel. Do this one at your own risk!
  3. Sleeping on my side with a pillow between my knees has been the most comfortable way to sleep with this boot on. Having the pillow between my knees relieves some of the pressure of having the boot rest on the other ankle (I like to sleep in my right side).
  4. A generous friend had an old wheelchair used by a family member. He dropped it off for me to use. This is most certainly something unique and something I wouldn’t expect everyone to have access to, however it has made huge difference around the house. I’m actually sitting in it right now as I type this. It’s very narrow and I barely fit in it, however its small size allows it to fit through all my doorways and to navigate the tight corners in our bungalow
  5. I bathe as opposed to shower. I keep my boot on, wrap it in a bag and get in the tub. I wash my body and get out, then dry off my body. After that, I take my leg out of the air cast and put it back in the tub water and scrub it down with soap and water. I think this has helped my skin beneath the cast. I towel dry my leg and then lotion it, letting it air dry a bit after that and then put it back into the boot. Hopefully this one wasn’t TMI for everyone!
  6. Lastly, and I am very fortunate for this - I have a loving, supportive family! In particular, my wife has helped me immensely through this, both physically and mentally. She has to do all the mundane things you tend to take for granted, like picking out clothes (all my suits are in the basement closet), getting food, grabbing things you leave in one room or another. She has to help me, a third child, in addition to picking up all the work to care for our two kids. I couldn’t be in as good a headspace as I am without her attentive care and support. Though I try not to complain too much, she listens to me when I do and reminds me that things will get better in time (and for her sake too - she’s exhausted). My daughter also enjoys being my little helper, grabbing me things when she can and taking my pillows from one room to the next as needed. She also has this tendency to always, and I mean always, ask “Are you okay?” with all the empathy that a 4 year old can muster.

Well, I think I am tapping out for this post. I hope it is informative for those who are just beginning to go through this injury. I found the lack of information on the day-to-day basics of living with ATR to be frustrating, so hope that this helps fill that void if just a little bit or for just a few people.

Take care, and I’ll update soon after my next ortho visit on April 25.

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My ATR story. I am no longer young.

March 22, 2016 · 16 Comments

It happened. The point in my life where I have realized that I am no longer a “young person”.

My ATR experience sounds a lot like others who have experienced this injury. I was playing volleyball on a Sunday evening. The game started at 5:15PM, a time I can’t stand because it interrupts dinner and the bedtime routine of my two kids (daughter, age 4 and son, age 18 months). On this night, I was running late to volleyball because I had tried cramming as much time in with my kids as possible before heading out. As luck would have it, a train was crossing right before the school where my game was scheduled to be held. “It will just be a few minutes..” I said to myself, it being 5:01PM already. The few minutes turned into 8 and I barely got to the gym for a few warm up hits before the game started. The game itself was uneventful, we were in the lead in a close game.. we were 1 point away from winning the set when I dove for a tipped ball. “POP” - the familiar sound a lot of ATR sufferers will describe. I looked behind me, thinking a teammate stepped on my foot/leg. No one was there. Having had a couple friends suffer this injury, I knew then and there what had happened.

That said, I still drove myself to the ER and waited about an hour to see a doctor before being diagnosed and put in a half-cast. This was March 13, 2016.

Yesterday, at 8 days post ATR, I met with Ortho and he recommended non-surgical recovery. He cited the “usual” talking points on surgical vs. non-surgical, however also added that with where my tear was (up higher, toward the calf muscle) the ability to surgically repair it would be more difficult as suturing the tendon to muscle is like trying to suture to a wet paper bag. It just doesn’t hold that well. To be honest, over the 8 days of waiting for my Ortho appointment I had resolved that non-surgical is the route I would take - it was reassuring to have the Ortho confirm that at our meeting.

I will admit I was somewhat disappointed once I had my half cast removed and the air walker cast put on. The air walker cast is bulky and heavy. It’s actually more difficult to get around in than the half cast was. It also is hot - much hotter than the air cast and I find the sensation to need to itch under the cast to be much more prominent in this one than in the half cast.

The plan at this point is to continue with NWB on my injured leg for another 5 weeks, at which time I will return for assessment and direction as to the protocol for recovery. I have ready some protocol that recommends physio within 4 weeks of injury, but the doctor didn’t seem too inclined when I brought that up. We will see.

At this point it is getting use to NWB and trying to figure out a system with my wife that works for us and my two kids. Also, I will have to go back to work a bit this week and then back to normal starting on Monday, so I need to figure out how best to get around, what to wear and all that other fun stuff.

Thanks for reading. I will be keeping this updated as my injury progresses as a way to document it for reflection down the road.

Oh, almost forgot - here’s a pic of my boot:


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