Winnipeg ATR

My ATR story. I am no longer young.

March 22, 2016 · 15 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:


Categories: atr
Tagged: , , ,

15 responses so far ↓

  • s40love // Mar 22nd 2016 at 3:29 pm

    Welcome to the blog, Winnipeg! I had surgery, but you will find a lot of people here who have decided to go the non-surgery route. It’s just different paths, but they all converge into the same path in the end. It’s a great community, and you will find lots of inspiration and support in here!

  • winnipegatr // Mar 22nd 2016 at 3:31 pm

    Thanks s40love. It has been tough coming to grips that the coming summer won’t be the “usual” summer I’m used to, but I’ll get through it. Thanks again for commenting.

  • summer // Mar 22nd 2016 at 8:53 pm

    Hi Winnipeg ,
    Welcome to the blog :)
    Wishing you a safe recovery .
    Happy healing …

  • couchy007 // Mar 23rd 2016 at 2:50 am

    Hi Winnipeg
    I haven’t posted on here before, I’m just finding my way around. ATR on 29th Feb playing netball, bit of a weekend warrior as was trying to get a bit fitter! So much for that. Had a half cast for first 3 days, non-surgical route advised, full cast for 2 weeks and on Monday of this week they put me in a vacoped boot.
    So I’m currently 3 weeks 2 days into this event.

    Apart from when my tendon snapped (full rupture) which was excruciating, I have had no pain really, just a bit of aching and discomfort. However since the boot 2 days ago I have been in pain, sharp hot stabs to my heel, and pain on top of my foot. Turns out when I got home on Monday and read the vacoped booklet that the hospital had fitted it wrongly with the straps all in the wrong place; it felt better once I adjusted them, but took it off last night as still hurting and OMG my foot and leg was very swollen and bruised almost. Bit worried! will call hospital today. I want to persevere with boot so I can get some movement going early, but am a bit concerned. So much harder to get about! I had a good little system going with the cast and now feel like I have lost all that progress.

    Sorry to hijack your post! Was interested in your experience of the boot too? Best of luck!

  • winnipegatr // Mar 23rd 2016 at 7:17 am

    Thanks summer!

  • winnipegatr // Mar 23rd 2016 at 7:20 am

    Hi Couchy,

    It’s funny you raised the heel pain. It is my second day in the boot and my heel has some sharp pain as well. I think it is discomfort and the change from having a hard cast protecting it to this boot.

    I also agree with your comment that the air boot almost feels like a step backwards! I had it all figured out while wearing the hard cast and this is something entirely different to get used to.

    Bottom line though is that it’s for the best and we will figure out these boots too.

    Best of luck in the coming days!

  • pozaicer // Mar 23rd 2016 at 7:57 am

    hi Winnipeg,

    many of us have suffered such discomforts in the boot, but it shouldn’t be a worrying matter. whilst in the boot you are safe (and sweaty). if you search for my name you will find some posts that deal with your issues. the ‘heat’ will be a thing to keep under control with talcum powder, or you’ll develop rather unpleasant odours.

    i’m on my 8th week since ATR, 7 in the boot, and i have a daily routine of washing the lining of the boot (same boot, same leg) with sanitising wipes and putting it to dry at the end of the day over a radiator (i also put some tea tree oil drops to it to keep it fresh and germ resistant).

    keep the reading up as you may find that you can do PWB from week two and moving onto FWB by week four. this will be a blessing for your upper body as the crutches are a rather vicious device indeed.

    listen to your body and if it hurts then don’t do it or do it for shorter periods, whether it is PWB or FWB whilst in the boot.

    during the next few weeks as you move from several wedges to no wedges it is crucial you do not attempt silly things without the boot on. the sensations you get in the foot are due to the muscle and sensory atrophy, once you come out and start walking this will be an entirely different sensation again! (i have done my first PWB without the boot in the last few days).

    just because Couchy mentioned it, the boot has to be properly fitted everytime, pump in sufficient air, make sure the straps are tight and that there is no movement of your bottom leg whilst in the boot, it is crucial that it doesn’t give any room for activating the muscles/joints/etc at this stage.


  • metonia // Mar 23rd 2016 at 7:24 pm

    Hi Winnipegatr, I’m a haglunds spur person but I’ve been reading everyone’s posts for the last 7 weeks. From what I’ve read, the biggest thing ATR’s do is not enough elevating, rest and ice in the beginning for many reasons. Work being a big problem to find that comfortable elevated position or ice time.

    It’s very hard to be less active but that is what you need to try to find your balance with. Work, family, shopping, yard work, housework, cooking, all things that need done but to much to soon may be why the boot seems so much worse. We think of it as “more freedom” when it actually is just a better way to get from point A to point B a little more often in the beginning.

    BE PATIENT. My one question/concern would be that you stated your ATR was higher up the calf. Is your boot high enough to support your injured area well?

    Best wishes on your recovery.

  • metonia // Mar 23rd 2016 at 7:32 pm

    Couchy007: we all hijack a post or two in the beginning before we figure out how the main blog works or set up our own blog.

    I offer the same advise I gave Winnipeg, elevate, rest and ice often. The dangling of the leg all day long is where much of the severe swelling comes from. Swelling can cut off the circulation and cause bruising like your are describing.

    Let us know how you make out with your call and best wishes on your recovery.

  • couchy007 // Mar 24th 2016 at 11:47 am

    Thanks everyone, advice much appreciated. Consultant says the hot stabs in the heel are a good sign of healing in the area, and not to worry unless they travel up the calf and get very hot (DVT risk). It’s a bit better with the boot and as Winnipeg says, bottom line is it just has to be done as it is the way forward. Am learning to listen to my body and rest more. And elevation has indeed helped with the swelling. Best of luck with your healing too!

  • Sam // Mar 31st 2016 at 5:20 am


    I’m also a Winnipegger :)
    I ruptured my achilles Jan 31 2016 and had the surgery at Pan Am clinic, Feb 5 2016. I’m 8 weeks post operation and 2 sessions of physio in.

    I spent most of my recovery time reading EVERYONES blog and it really helped. I still can’t walk and have lost probably 2 inches of muscle in my calf.

    The positive thing I would say is that I have slowed down and learned to be thankful for a lot of the things I do have, plus a reason to really let loose and eat what ever I please (I was going really hars at the gym and subjected myself to a restrictive diet prior to ATR)

    Best of luck to you. Take care.

  • winnipegatr // Apr 1st 2016 at 1:21 pm

    Hi Sam. Thanks for the comment. Congrats on your recovery thus far. Who have you been using for physio? How has your range of movement been? Do you still wear the boot on a day to day basis? When do you think you’ll move to shoes?

    I agree, reading other people’s blogs about their experience has helped a lot. While there’s a lot of information out on the web, there is also a lot of conflicting information. I find it helpful when people post the experiences.

    Again, good luck on the recovery!

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

  • Sam // Apr 6th 2016 at 6:00 pm

    Who have you been using for physio? - A lady named Kim at Pan Am physio therapy.

    How has your range of movement been? - Almost non-existent range of movement at first, but slowly with exercises I found on YouTube and read on-line, coupled with new exercises from physio, it has loosened up a bit. I still can’t walk, even in the boot without my crutch. It is a mind over matter thing I believe.

    Do you still wear the boot on a day to day basis? - It is my third week with the boot. I never slept in it and only wore it to drive or go out BUT since I was cleared last Friday to fully weight bear, I use it a lot more to learn how to walk again. My surgeon said it is time to put some weight on it and ditch the crutches and the boot in the next 2 to 3 weeks. I’m going to go at my own pace though, I’m in no rush at all.

    When do you think you’ll move to shoes? - Last Friday, my surgeon said I should get ready to drop the crutches and the boot in 2 or 3 weeks. I already padded my left shoes with some heel lifts. Two to three weeks from Friday would be close to my 12 week post op mark. I’ll try to be strong and wear shoes but only if I’m 100% comfortable. I am not going to rush anything.

  • brenna // Apr 14th 2016 at 10:28 pm

    Hi Winnipeg, guess who is also from the Peg. I ruptured my Achilles while I was playing tennis in Arizona on March 19th. Had to fly home and had surgery at Seven Oaks on March 27th. I have a splint on and is manageable. I have an appointment on April 19th to see the surgeon and not sure of the next steps.
    I find it tiring and tough on the body on crutches.
    One of the best things I could have done was get a knee scooter. It has given me a lot of freedom in my apartment. I have also used it to go out and has helped tremendously.
    I wish you luck and will follow your recovery.

  • best in india // Jul 1st 2022 at 2:28 pm

    keep sharing your thoughts and inforamtion here, I will be there to read all.

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