P.T. and so on…

Ok, this post should (perhaps) catch me up to date…

On December 4th, one day after cast removal, I had my first P.T. appointment. This was mostly the eval so they know what I can currently do. They took range of motion measurements, as well as some strength tests. I got to play with Bob and BAPS… We should all know what BAPS is, not sure if Bob is they proper term though, or if it’s just something they called it there. Bob was a simple wedge shaped piece on the floor that you put your toes on and leaned forward to stretch… They called it Bob, so I’m calling it Bob… :)

My range of motion was more than they expected being only one day out of the cast, but since I was not a full Achilles detachment, I guess this is why I was already ahead… As for strength, HA… Don’t make me laugh! I’ve apparently been compensating with my walk for so long (living with this for 4 years), and being in the cast for 5 weeks, that I didn’t even HAVE a Calf! My leg was the same shape from the knee to the ankle!!!

So I went home from that session with a giant rubber-band (Green) and I get to use my dogs leash for stretching… Had a few simple exercises to do at home. I set my P.T. sessions for twice a week, on Tuesdays and Fridays. I had 3 weeks before my next Doc visit (Dec 26th), so I ended up with 5 sessions total with them.

So here I am today, Saturday December 25th, after all my P.T. Sessions before the Doc visit next week… Missed yesterdays session due to an Ice Storm, but I did what I could at home. Range of Motion is a lot better, although my strength is still weak. I “CAN” push off on my left, but only a little. I have to consciously remember to walk properly, and not compensate like I used to… And I can lift up on my toes with BOTH feet, but not with the left alone yet. I do still have slight pinching of a nerve on the top of my foot at the crease (don’t know technical terms), but this is probably due to the swelling I still have… On last Tuesdays appointment, I was still showing a lot of swelling on my ankle, so I went home with some very pretty tape on it…

Pink Tape

I was told that the pink tape is the strongest hold they have… I don’t mind the color… This was done not just for the swelling, but some of the pain I was describing as well… As I go through my day walking here and there (not a lot), my sole begins to hurt… First the heel as I mentioned before, as well as the arch… This tape was to help the arch. I guess it did, as the 2 days I had it on, my arch didn’t bother me nearly as much as before… But the swelling is still an issue. I have to look into possibly getting an ankle wrap or something to help with that…

My other “Pains”… One is on the back of the foot (Don’t know the terms here, so help me out…)… The achilles attaches to a bone on the bottom-back of the foot… My pain is coming from the BOTTOM of that bone, above the heel. The other is the bottom and back of the outer ankle. This one is more piercing at times, and really only when I’m on my feet for a few hours…

These are the main things I need to work out, in order for me to get back to work… My job requires me to be on my feet all day (8 hours) and so far, I can make it about 3-4 before I start to really hurt!… :(

So… This catches me up to current… From here on, It’s a day by day recovery with all of you here.

Cast off!

Ok, missed a few days here, so I’m still playing catch-up. And the blog site was down for a day or 2… :(

Anyways, On with my story…

On December 3rd, I was scheduled to have the cast removed. YEAH!!! I couldn’t wait! After 5 weeks of being immobile, I needed to bend my foot.

So, the nurse removed the cast, did some minor cleaning, and left. A few minutes later, the doc comes in and gives my foot a look over and says I’m good to go… WHAT! Really??? Wasn’t expecting that. I asked it he was going to do a boot, and he said no. I could walk on this… Full weight bearing. I was still on the table, afraid to try to stand… So cautiously I got off the table. First reaction was how GOOD the floor felt on my foot, which had no REAL stimulus for 5 weeks now. Walking was VERY SLOW. I really couldn’t bend my foot more than a few degrees, and had NO strength to lift off on that foot whatsoever! Of course the doctor told me this was normal, and some Therapy and Exercises would get all that back.

The Doctor asked if I would like to do my own Exercise routine, or if I would like a P.T. Prescription. My thoughts on this was that if I was doing it, I wouldn’t push myself… At least at P.T., they would know how much I could get away with, and push me to progress more than I would at home…

The Doc wrote up the P.T. Orders for me… While I was there, I got a copy of the O.R. Report, as I would NEVER remember all the stuff he told me he did… :)

I got lucky, as the P.T. location was right across the hall from the Docs office. I dropped off the script, and set my schedule for the next day!

Here’s a pic of when I got home.

Out of cast!

Pay attention to how the heel is jotting off to the right. This is currently what bothers me the most… It “Feels like” my skin on the heel is sliding to the right as I walk, causing my foot to flex to the side as I step… After only a few hours of “On and Off” walking, my heel and Arch hurt like all hell, as well as some stabbing pain on my outer ankle. Not sure what to think about this, but almost 3 weeks out of the cast, and some of this still hurts… Hopefully this will subside, as it’s this pain that is keeping me from pushing harder with my exercises… As for the odd flexing I do when I step, I have to consciously think about this as I walk to NOT do it. Hope this stops as well…

13 Days in a Splint… 3 More Weeks in a Cast!

So, for the next 13 days, I was sitting around in the living room catching up on a lot of T.V… Throughout this time I was trying to get up and about as much as I could. Of course the first 4 or so days were spent on my rear, but by day 6 I was wanting to get about as much as possible… I spent a few trips to the store with my wife, although I stayed in the car for the first few. It was great just getting out of the house! By the second week, I did manage to go into the stores with her, and used those electric carts some stores provide. A new freedom!

13 days of that, and I was ready to get the splint off! YEAH!!!

Nurse took off the splint and I was finally able to bend my ankle! Although it was very slowly, and with very limited range, it still felt great after 13 days of not being able to much more than wiggle…

13 Staples

She then took out the 13 staples. Slight pinching sensation, but another relief, as they were itching as well…

Removed Staples

Looking good. The AF is actually the Doc’s initials he put there before the surgery so he knew what leg to operate on. :)

Doc checked the wound, and says it was all doing great. Bad news was that he wanted to put me in a cast now. He wanted my ankle IMMOBILE for a full 30 days. Bad thing for me was his schedule availability meant that I would be in the cast for 3 weeks rather than 2 (Thanksgiving holiday pushed me back the extra week)…

I was told however that as long as I could tolerate it, The cast was full weight bearing if I wanted to go out with it. Just don’t get it wet.

So here I am with the cast, now getting used to walking all over again, as the angle was VERY odd to me. Any step I took seemed to force my knee back. But since I’ve never experienced this before, it was only a matter of learning HOW to walk with it…


Within 2 days, I was doing very well, and even worked myself down to only a single crutch for getting about the house.

By the second week, I was going out with my wife to the stores with only 1 crutch, still riding those carts, but doing better!

By that last week, I was hobbling along in the house without the crutch at all. I still took it (1) along when we went out, but didn’t need it at all in the house.

I was SOOOOOO looking forward to my next visit with the Doc so I could get this cast off!!!

Surgery… A first for me.

Well, the Surgery day came. I was actually a little excited, as it was my FIRST every surgery (Not counting Tonsils when I was a child).

Prior to this day, my wife and I found a pair of crutches for $5.00 at a local thrift store, so I was prepared with that, as well as rough learning to use them.

All prepped and ready to go… I remember being wheeled into the Op-Room, seeing a nurse surfing on her IPhone, then waking up in Post-Op with a nurse wrapping my splint.. A blink later and I was in recovery with my wife walking in. Talk about a very STRANGE feeling missing about 2 hours of your day in an instant, or rather “A blink of an eye”! :)

By afternoon, I was sitting pretty at home, feeling great, due to the Post op meds they pumped in me… The next day I needed to take the prescription pain meds they gave me.. Only needed them for the first 3 days, with less and less taken each day.

Anyways, here I sit, as I put it, “My own little world” for the next 2 weeks…

My World...

I soon discovered that something as simple as a trip to the bathroom would become a VERY EXHAUSTING TRIP.

A very special THANK YOU goes out to my wonderful wife. She took care of me during these first 2 weeks.

I was getting about a little during this time, as I was getting stir-crazy, so I managed to get to the car and my wife did some needed shopping while I waited in the car for her. Just a blessing to get out of the house really.

Continuing my story…

Ok,  I think I got the image uploading understood,  so here I go.

Below is an X-Ray of my left foot.  This was taken back when my doctor thought it was only a sprain.  Apparently,  it shows a “Spur”, and he thought this was causing some of what I was describing.

Left foot X-Ray

Of course, this was NOT the problem, but I had yet to know that. It would be almost another year before I took the next step and had an MRI.

These are frame grabs from the digital films of the MRI. For those who don’t know what you’re looking at, the Achilles tendon is visible on the right of this image. And if you didn’t already know, that tendon SHOULD be all “BLACK”. What I have is a BUNCH of white throughout the film (These frames only show the worst parts). As stated in my last post, it’s about 20-30% torn/disconnected.

Achilles MRI 1

Achilles MRI 2

After the MRI, and a brief consult with my Ortho Doctor, I was told that it would only get worse over time, and surgery was really my only option if I wanted to stop the progression… Surgery was set for Oct 30th, 2013.

First Post… A little about me…

Hello Everyone!

First let me thank Dennis for letting me into this community to share my story as well as find help from those experienced in this.

My “Injury” was not a sudden accident or tear like most others.  My left Achilles had MANY small tears (Individual strands) that occurred over time. My job at the time when I can almost say this started was working overnight stock in a grocery store. Being of a stocky build,  I was regularly working the heavy freight, like pulling around full pallets of water that weigh slightly over 2100 pounds.

I believe my issues started during this time, as our store had poor quality pallet jacks, and sometimes you get a real BAD one. When pulling or pushing a 1 ton pallet with a bad jack,  you tend to push or pull even harder, pushing off with your toes.

On occasion,  I would go home “Sore”, which I just put off as being normal with the work I did. In the beginning, the soreness would go away in a short time of rest…  but over time,  the soreness became more painful with my steps,  and took longer to “Stretch out”.  Eventually, it got to the point where the pain was all day long,  just more tolerable at times.  My limp was so bad at times,  it actually forced me to change how I walked, with a funny “Twist” of my foot rather than pushing off the toes.  This went on for about 3 years.

When I finally spoke to my doctor about it,  he sent me to physical therapy thinking it was more of a “Strain”.  They gave me stretching as well as strengthening exercises to help relive the pain.  The stretches seemed to help a little as far as pre-stretching my ankle so I can walk,  but the strengthening exercises made things worse.  Kind-of a Catch-22…

Almost a year later I finally got fed up enough that I asked my doctor to refer me to someone to look at my Achilles…  One MRI later and the results were obvious. I had MANY small tears, all of which added up to about 20-30% of my Achilles. My surgury was set for Oct. 30, 2013…

More posts to come,  after I find out how to upload pics and possible videos with my progression through now…