Trail Running With the Dog

October 29th, 2018

So to begin with, my achilles tendon has been giving me grief for about three years. I’ve had achilles tendonitis for that whole time and eventually a Haglund’s deformity appeared on the back of my heel. It was huge, like golfball size huge. Maybe not quite that big but it seemed like it. Anyway, I did all the usual treatments you do for tendonitis: ice, rest, anti-inflammatory medication, exercises, physical therapy, needling, cupping. Anything and everything in multiple combinations. Even some crackpot home treatments. For the most part, I just did my usual workouts (running, hiking, yoga, gym) and muscled through the pain, ignoring it the best I could. Until the past 6 months.

For the past six months it started to become unbearable, to the point where I was limping everywhere. I became a chore just to walk through the grocery store or across a parking lot. I knew eventually I would have to have the dreaded surgery but I kept putting it off. I was trying to find a convenient time of the year where it would have the least impact on everyone.

I made an appointment with the orthopedist on October 3rd to discuss the options. We met and chatted and he said yes, based on the xray you have a Haglund’s deformity that needs to be shaved down. It will eventually need to be done. He said we can try and postpone it a little longer by doing some more physical therapy and wearing a boot for a couple of weeks, but he didn’t have high hopes. So I left, knowing I’d have to schedule the surgery sooner rather than latter.

Friday, October 5th was still kind of hot here in the South, but it was starting to get that edge of fall feeling to it. Perfect day to take the dog Penny for a trail run. And that was it. Halfway through the run I came down wrong on a rock or a tree root and SNAP! The most excruciating pain ever. I knew immediately what had happened. I writhed in pain on the trail for a good 15 minutes before I even began to figure out how the hell I was going to get back to my car. I was in the middle of nowhere. So I fashioned a makeshift crutch from a big tree branch and slowly, with the dog, limped to the nearest trailhead. From there, I called my husband.

We went to the ER. Doctor examined me and deduced what I already kind of knew…ruptured achilles. So he gave me a set of crutches, a boot and set me up for an MRI on Sunday. Results of the MRI were that my achilles was hanging on by the thinest of threads. Let’s schedule surgery for Wednsday the 10th! And so we did.

7 Responses to “Trail Running With the Dog”

  1. cserpent on October 29, 2018 5:29 pm

    I’ve had the Haglunds deformity surgery on both feet now. It was totally worth it! I dealt with it (golf ball sized) on my right foot for over 10 years before it got so bad that it was worth the time it would take for the healing process. Fortunately my achilles never ruptured in that time frame. Let me tell you it was totally worth it! 1.5 years after the right foot I did the left foot - LOL! That foot wasn’t in as bad a shape but it got progressively worse a lot faster after I got my right foot fixed. I’m now at almost 11 weeks postop on my left foot. Feel free to read through my blog from the beginning (2017) to get a blow by blow of what all happened. Not all doctors follow the same protocol but one key thing in the first 3 weeks after surgery - minimize swelling!! Kaiser (at least mine) requires 3 weeks of elevating 90% of the time. So basically you’re in bed or in a recliner with some time for showering and bathroom breaks. :) I don’t know if all places recommend that but I do know that by following my docs order my right foot is better after the surgery than it was before. My left foot is almost to that point as well and I’ve only just started doing PT.

    Good luck and I hope the surgery goes well!

    And I just reread what you said and what my doc told me when I asked when I should do it was “when it becomes unbearable”. He said that there are no guarantees with surgery so there is always the chance I might not be able to play soccer, … afterwards so wait until it gets bad enough. For me it was bad enough that I couldn’t play soccer well without a lot of pain and by 2nd half I was limping. My left foot wasn’t quite that bad but it was getting there quickly so I did it a bit earlier than I planned in order to be able to traipse around in France next June to watch the women’s world cup.

  2. Bruiser on October 30, 2018 1:51 am

    So sorry to hear this. One of my bigger “future” concerns is getting back to hiking and trail running. Used to do a lot of solo hikes. Not sure what I would do if I reruptured out there.

    Best of luck. Long road ahead but it gets better weekly.

  3. junebug on October 30, 2018 10:50 am

    Cserpent, I’ve already read through all of your blog! I was following your progress closely. Based on what I’ve read on this site, there really is a huge difference in treatment protocols. Some people are back driving at 3 weeks post op! I’m so jealous…here I am at three weeks still in a cast. I just look forward to walking normally without the constant pain from the Hadlunds…I don’t even remember what that would be like it’s been so long. Seems like your on the mend now and I look forward to more of your posts. Gives me hope.

    Bruiser, this is my concern too. Hiking with my dog was a daily activity for me. If I can’t ever do that again I’ll be crushed. I’ll be so nervous of rerupture just by stepping on something wrong.

  4. cserpent on October 30, 2018 3:33 pm

    For my right foot I couldn’t drive for 6 weeks (no driving until the foot has the strength to hit the brake pedal without messing up what the surgery did), for my left it was 3 weeks and only because I was supposed to be elevating it 90% of the time in that 3 weeks so they didn’t want me driving anywhere - LOL! My guess is you’ll be in a cast for 2-3 weeks after surgery and you may be NWB (non weight bearing) for 6 weeks. You should definitely ask your surgeon to give you a timeline when things will happen. Kaiser gives one that spells out what you can/can’t do in weeks 1-3, 6-8, 9-10 and then months 3, 4,5, 6 and 1 year. Next week is the 12 week mark for me - whoopie! No night boot anymore!! Still can’t go barefoot until the 4 month mark though which is a bummer. Fortunately I have a pair of clogs that has just the right elevation to match the heel lifts so I can wear those in the house instead of tennis shoes.

    And I know it’s hard not to worry about rerupture but don’t. :) Once your surgeon grinds off the bone and reattaches everything you’ll be better than before surgery. Since mine never did rupture I don’t even think about it anymore. I hike, play soccer, … well I did until I had my left foot fixed - LOL!

    And unless you really like crutches I would get an iwalk or a knee scooter. Either one will give you a lot more mobility during your NWB stage. Hopefully you’ll have someone to help out after surgery so you can focus on icing and elevating the first several weeks to keep swelling down. I know that if you can avoid swelling you’ll reduce the pain a lot. In fact I had essentially no pain 3 days after surgery for the left foot. I may have had no pain immediately after surgery but I took pain pills just in case. Even now when I start to get swelling I start to get some pain so I just elevate and all is happy again. Before surgery I cooked up quite a bit of food to freeze so my omni hubby didn’t freak out so much about making me vegan meals for the 3 weeks when I couldn’t be in the kitchen - LOL!

  5. cserpent on October 30, 2018 3:37 pm

    And start looking through youtube for 1 foot (or hurt foot) exercises. That’s what I did starting about 2 weeks after surgery and until I felt good enough to get back to the gym. In the first couple of weeks I just didn’t have the energy to exercise since I have trouble sleeping with the cast on. A lot of the exercises end up keeping your foot somewhat elevated so you don’t really get much swelling doing them.

  6. junebug on October 30, 2018 6:28 pm

    Yes, I’ve been doing a lot of “chair” workouts off of YouTube especially Caroline Jordan. She has a bunch of hurt foot workouts. They don’t really make me sweat but it’s better than nothing. If nothing else, my cast probably weighs 5 pounds so I’m working out my thigh muscles pretty good. I’m curious, when you started back to the gym were you just doing weight training? I’ve been doing weights but I’m a cardio junkie at heart.

  7. cserpent on October 30, 2018 8:23 pm

    Actually the only reason I went to the gym was for cardio - LOL! I have weights at home. Once I was in the boot I did rowing - boot on the ground or slightly in the air, the good foot strapped in. I did the recumbent bike. Initially I kept the booted foot of the bike but pedaling with just one foot is HARD! So I checked with my doc and he said I could rest the booted foot on the pedal as long as I didn’t push with it (during my NWB stage). That made it so much easier. Just the weight of the booted foot on the pedal helped from wearing out my good foot/leg too soon. And I did weights while sitting or laying on the ground. I never got a single comment as I went around the gym on my knee scooter - LOL!

    Next week I finally get to use the elliptical! Woohoo. I can’t put any elevation on it but I can get a good cardio on flat by bumping up the resistance. I can walk on the treadmill too but I prefer walking outside. My doc won’t let me do any hills until the 6 month mark.

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    I’m a 48 year old gal that loves to run, hike with my dog and do yoga. I am constantly on the go and have a hard time sitting still. This injury is slowly killing me.
    • junebug has completed the grueling 26.2 ATR miles to full recovery!
      Goal: 365 days from the surgery date.
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