FHL Tendon Transfer - Status 28 Weeks Post-op

Quick summary. I’m 63 years old. I had an FHL tendon transfer to replace my left Achilles Tendon, which I shredded beyond repair. I continued to exercise and climb for the seven months prior to having my surgery on November 20, 2015.  My recovery was extremely fast, which I attribute to my great surgeon and the fact that I had already learned to stabilize my foot with the very tendon which was used as my replacement AT.  I got instructions from the PT’s and did the rehab on my own, twice a day, seven days a week. Basically I trained the shit out of it. I was walking in 7 weeks and out of the boot in 8.

I used the IWalk, instead of the stupid scooter. The IWalk  is advertised on the front page of this blog.  The IWALKFREE Rocks! Other than the inconvenience of having to put the thing on, it was like walking. I could pretty much do anything. And, an added bonus, it was the ultimate attention getting device. 

And here I am, 7 months post-op. The war is over. Now it’s time to win the peace.

I’m back to training full time (hiking with weight, weight lifting) and climbing without restrictions. I am continuing to wear a lace up brace when I climb to avoid any kind of impact injury due to a fall. After climbing for seven months without an AT it is a real pleasure to have one again. I am much faster.

I can handle full body weight while on the ball of my left foot. And … I can run again. Whee!

The residual pain I was getting in my heel from the screw (used to anchor my FHL tendon) is gone. I have a little remaining swelling, which I treat with ice when it gets obvious. My replacement Achilles gets quite sore following calf specific strength exercises. My calf strength measured by doing calf raises seems equal with my right foot.

Perfection?  Not exactly. The diameter of my left calf has continued to shrink and now it’s down to about 1 full inch less than the right. Meaning it’s ugly and I’m losing style points. This gradual reduction in size is probably the result of muscle atrophy that occurred during the seven months the Achilles was ruptured combined with the muscle contracting. The degree of calf muscle shrinkage didn’t become obvious until it began to stretch out after it was reconnected. As my strength seems good, I’m equating the smaller size with probably less muscle endurance and a reduced margin for error.

I’ll give the training 5 months reacquire my original calf size and then declare victory.

I nailed the route. If you are thinking of doing an AT repair and have any questions or problems, email me.  amountainclimber@hotmail.com

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