Not much to report on since my last post. I have been full weight bearing for about 2 weeks now and things seem to be going alright. I worked full time up until Christmas, which made my ankle a bit sore, but I think it likely did more good than bad because it was forcing me to walk and stretch out my tendon. I was even a bridesmaid in my best friend’s wedding that weekend too! All went well except for the tremendous amounts of snow that kept getting into boot, which then forced me to think about ordering a walker boot cover. It is currently being shipped to my apartment
Before I left for the holidays, I met with my physiotherapist because it was “Wedge Removal Day”! I had 2 heel lifts in my walker boot and took one out. My physiotherapist did a good job of stretching out the area and giving me a nice scar massage to help make the transition easier. Now I have been sitting for about a week and keeping up with the scar massage and physio exercises. The incision looks pretty good and even the swelling has come down significantly. It’s like I have TWO normal sized ankles again!
And today is wedge removal day again! So later today, I will be flat to the boot! How exciting! (You have to celebrate the small achievements!)
So I think this recovery has been going quite well and I am very excited about this. But it has been difficult since I haven’t been active in any way for the last month. How has everyone else got around this? I think I might try to do some upper body stuff with my boot on and hopefully that will make me feel better! I meet with the surgeon again in 2 weeks and I think that means I no longer have to sleep with the boot on. HOORAY!
Until next time!
December 30, 2015
A lot has happened since my last post!
Potentially failed a final exam on Friday. You’d think after being 2 weeks of NWB and constant leg elevation I would have studied enough in my boredom to at least be prepared for the exam. Apparently not!
Had to go back to work on Saturday. That wasn’t so bad. I had lots of fun rolling around in computer chairs and using my crutches here and there. But it’s really scary to use crutches on snow and ice! My colleagues have been really great and supportive - bringing me coffees, driving me to work, picking my papers off the printer, etc. I am definitely a lot more tired though since I have to be be “brain active” all day. I managed to wean myself off coffee during my 2 weeks post-op at home but think I might have to start again.
I met with my physiotherapist for the first time since the surgery the day after I had my cast removed. My ankle was still pretty swollen so she just tried to massage the area and move the fluid around. It felt wonderful! I was a little hesitant at first but the incision site held up and all was good. She gave me “ankle pulses” to do at home three times a day just to get the blood flowing. We also discussed the recovery plan and I feel a lot more optimistic about this recovery now that a concrete plan is in place.
And then to the big achilles related news - I can walk again! I slowly started trying to stretch out my achilles just by transferring my weight to my boot foot while still using my crutches. I would hold the stretch for about 30 seconds and repeat 2-3 times. I took deep breaths because it hurt! But then last night I just decided that I was going to try walking and it worked! It’s not the prettiest walk, but it feels okay. I certainly get tired and my tendon feels worked, but I think this might be a good thing. My surgeon said I should try to weight bear as soon as I could to help the recovery, so I am glad that this worked out. Now let’s just hope I don’t overdo it and injure myself or fall/trip at home or outside in the snow.
Until next time!
December 13, 2015
It is now exactly 15 days since my achilles surgery. Things were going smoothly in the last few days with my cast, but wow, I was sure ready to get that thing off my leg! It seemed like the hours were crawling by as I waited for my appointment, and then when the time came to go to the Cast Clinic, I still had to wait 2 more hours in the waiting room. I didn’t mind though; my surgeon is extremely busy and it was nice to be surrounded by people who all looked like me (feet in walker boots or casts).
So like I said, not having the cast on is fantastic! But now comes the real work. My surgeon said “You need to start physiotherapy NOW”. He flexed my foot to activate the tendon and WOW - excruciating pain. I don’t think I have ever felt something like that before. The tendon is so tight with all the inflammation from the surgery and immobility that this is going to really take some work and perseverance. However, it is good to know that the pain is normal and hopefully with activity and such it will gain its flexibility over time. I am going to see my physiotherapist later today, so hopefully she can whip this ankle back into shape.
I have titled this post the Next Step(s) because I am working on the next step of my recovery, but am also literally learning to walk and weight bear again so I can take steps normally. I am a little disappointed that I still have to walk with crutches, especially since there is so much snow and ice outside. I can weight bear a little, but like I said, the pain is just too intense right now. My surgeon has high hopes for me though, and that in 4 weeks I should be walking flat in my boot without any heel lifts (I currently have two in right now). I hope he is right!
Has anyone else experienced this severe tightness in the back of your ankle after surgery? Will the physiotherapist have some tips/exercises on how to improve my walking in the next few weeks? I just don’t see how I can work up to it alone when I was completely immobile for two weeks and now I have to get walking again.
Hopefully, the next time I post I will have some drastic changes to report
December 10, 2015
So post-op day 10 finally! Things are about the same. Definitely have been more positive and the days seem to be going by quite quickly! Have even motivated myself to study for final exams but it is still very uncomfortable to be sitting that long.
My cast comes off on Wednesday! I cannot wait. I am excited to just have the freedom to scratch my leg and not have to bear the weight of it anymore. I am okay with using crutches, but the cast is just so heavy and uncomfortable! Also sick of sleeping on my back - prior to this I was solely a side sleeper. Really looking forward to be able to do that again too. I’m kind of nervous to see what the back of my ankle looks like when they remove the cast.
Does anyone have any suggestions on how to help with the itchiness of the cast? I tried blowing cool air into it to no avail. The cast is just too tight to my leg. Also tried an ice pack on the outside of the cast, which may have had a cooling effect, but still not the best.
Hope everyone else is recovering well!
December 5, 2015
It’s amazing how therapeutic this blog has been. I really enjoy reading all the comments and they really make me feel better. I guess misery really does love company.
Since post-op day 3, nothing has really changed. I was extremely frustrated yesterday, even bringing myself to tears in the morning because I just felt bleh from all the inactivity. My body was sore from sleeping on my back all night and I just overslept since I am really not doing anything during the day. I felt so bad because really, why was I crying? I am pretty lucky that a) I had a good surgeon who more than likely fixed my ankle that has been bothering me for 6 months; and b) I have had great support from my boyfriend and family who stayed with me all weekend to make sure that I was comfortable and not alone. I felt so foolish for letting the tears spill but couldn’t help it.
After this display of emotion, I decided to move on. Had a good talk with my mom about how this is just the beginning and there is so much to look forward to during this recovery. Most importantly, I will be able to walk again! If I continue to focus on my inability to do things, the boredom, and the stiffness/pains, it will only bring me down. So now I have really tried to keep busy with schoolwork (currently working on a clinical pharmacy doctorate, but strangely, am avoiding homework at all costs despite having tons of time), knitting a sock for my foot after it comes out of this cast, playing games on my iPad and the adult colouring book. Even took advantage of some Black Friday weekend and Cyber Monday sales.
I think things are looking up! Will see what the rest of the week has in store for me, and hopefully it goes by quick!
November 30, 2015
I am very new to this blogging adventure, but was having a difficult time coping with my sudden inability to do anything for myself after my surgery. My goal is to see how others are doing who are in the same situation as me, laugh, learn and find tips on how I can stay motivated and positive throughout this experience. I am very thankful that “how to cope with achilles’ injury” in a google search turned up this result!
Anyhow, a little about my injury. I am NOT an athlete. I am NOT a runner. I am merely an average 25 year old who likes to try new things and stay somewhat active in life. And this is what ultimately took down my achilles’ tendon.
Since graduating university, I have loved having the extra time to try new things. Last winter, I took up cross country skiing and it was great! In the Spring, I decided that it was time to play some slo-pitch. It is a normal past time here on the prairies, so why not give it a go? Things were going okay - I was somewhat improving and getting the hang of it. But then came the day of the double-header. In the first game, the first baseman accidentally threw a ball at my head. Should have stopped there. Then in the second game as I was running from second to third base - my left leg gave out. It wasn’t painful at the time, but I really couldn’t walk anywhere!
I thought it was a sprain. Went to a walk-in doctor who diagnosed it as the same. Went to physiotherapy for 2 months with no improvements. At this point, we decided to get an ultrasound and my achilles’ tendon was 75% ruptured. 75%! My family doctor referred me to a surgeon. The tendon eventually healed, but in a lengthened position, so I had an achilles’ repair and my surgeon removed about 1.5 cm of tendon so that I could walk properly again.
That was 3 days ago. Now I have been sitting at home, non-weight bearing and my leg must be elevated 22 out of 24 hours of the day for 2 weeks! I am not coping well. It bothers me that I cannot do anything for myself, but the worst part is THE BOREDOM. It’s funny, before when I was really busy I would have done anything to have some time off, and now that I have tons of it, I can’t seem to fill it!
To everyone out there who has been in my situation: what did you do to help with the boredom? And how do you make it so your butt hurts less from sitting all day? These are my two challenges right now.
Thanks for reading!
November 28, 2015