Peter Savic

Healing Hospitality

Peter Savic has worked in the hospitality industry for the better part of a decade.

“I have a passion for hospitality, and for a long time I’ve had a dream of opening a restaurant with my wife, Megan, who is a chef,” he says.

Last July, just when Mr. Savic decided to move forward with his restaurant dreams, an injury abruptly interfered.

He was with his family in Colorado, loading their cars for the move back to Georgia, his home state, when an Achilles tendon injury forced him to the sidelines.

“While packing up our belongings for the move, we briefly left some items outside unattended,” Mr. Savic recalls. “When we realized a passerby had taken some of the belongings, I started running toward the apartment leasing office to see if they could help me track the thief down. But I didn’t get far. I heard a snap, felt a pop and fell to the ground.”

When he arrived at his new home on St. Simons Island, the pain still hadn’t abated, So Mr. Savic met with Denny A. Carter, M.D., a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon with Summit Sports Medicine & Orthopaedic Surgery. An MRI scan of his foot revealed that Mr. Savic had a severe tear in his Achilles tendon — a thick, fibrous cord that connects the calf muscles to the heel bone.

While discussing treatment options, Dr. Carter explained that surgery could offer a small advantage over more conservative measures, like physical therapy, in terms of reducing the likelihood of reinjuring the tendon.

“Historically, we’ve treated a lot of Achilles ruptures with surgery,” Dr. Carter says. “However, more recent studies show that if you do the rehabilitation appropriately, you can often obtain equivalent results with nonsurgical treatment. Surgery is sometimes still the best option, which is why I always discuss the options with every individual patient.”

Mr. Savic was hesitant to have surgery, and after weighing the pros and cons of his treatment options, he ultimately decided to move forward with physical therapy.“

Dr. Carter was very supportive of my decision when we met,” Mr. Savic says. “He reassured me that no matter what route I chose, I would be well taken care of. If I trusted the process, he said we’d get through it together.”

Grateful to be back on his feet

Mr. Savic began several weeks of physical therapy at the Health System’s Outpatient Rehabilitation Care Center on St. Simons Island. He also wore a special boot designed to help heal his tendon. Mr. Savic enjoys spending time outdoors with his family, and in addition to putting his restaurant dreams on hold, his injury also limited his mobility. With help from physical therapist Lisa St. Pierre, Mr. Savic began to recover his ability to resume daily living activities.

Ms. St. Pierre taught him special exercises to help rehabilitate his injury, including low-intensity, repetitive motions, as well as resistance training. Gradually, they worked on more intense activities, such as using a treadmill.

“Lisa was super knowledgeable about my injury and what type of therapy was needed to help me recover,” Mr. Savic says.

By winter, Mr. Savic was fully mobile, walking without crutches and continuing physical therapy exercises at home.

What’s more, he was easing back into family activities, like kicking a soccer ball with his son, and resuming plans for the restaurant. He credits his physician and physical therapist for helping him to understand his injury and treatment options and guiding him to heal safely.

“I felt in control of my recovery and empowered,” he says. “That was important to me.

”Mr. Savic adds, “I’ve got my life back on track, and we’re scheduled to open our restaurant, the Canopy Restaurant, this spring in Darien.”