My second post-op visit to see the doctor was at about 4 weeks. The nurse took my cast off, and it felt great to let my leg breathe.
I knew that my calf muscle had been atrophying, but I was still surprised to see it so puny. The skin was loose around the muscle! So it looks like I have a lot of rehab ahead of me.
I saw the surgeon this time, and he cleared me to ditch the crutches and start walking in the CAM boot. When not walking, I can take the boot off and move the foot as much as I want. I can shower and finally wash the foot that hasn’t been washed in over a month.
I’ll be doing physical therapy at around 5 to 6 week mark. The scrip says:
“PT 2-3x week / 8 weeks,
ROM, Strengthening, modalities, evaluate & treat”
He said that I should do some exercises while I am home as well. Here is a good literature (pdf document) with illustrations for home exercises: Home Program For Ankle Exercises
He also mentioned that from what he recalls, my surgery was fairly routine and there wasn’t any other damage. He trimmed off the damaged ends, put sutures on both ends and tied them together. In addition, he wraps more absorbing sutures around the reattached tendon for added support.
He does 3 to 4 achilles tendon surgeries a month, and that’s the bulk of the ATR surgeries at that particular hospital.
So the follow-up was fairly brief, with minimal examination as I didn’t complain of any pain or other complications. In fact, I don’t even think he laid eyes on my heel, which I think is bizarre come to think of it.
But who knows, maybe it’s all like that.
After the surgeon left, an orthodist (sp?) came in and fitted me with a boot. She showed me how to put on and take off the boot, along with some helpful tips like: When indoors, wear an indoor shoe on the other foot so that it feels more level.
Here is what the boot looks like:
I don’t see any model number on the boot, but looking at their website, I think it’s MaxTrax Air Walker made by DJ Ortho. It looks like they also make the Aircasts. Not sure why they brand them under two different names though. It has a single air pump in the front that inflates the air bladder in the padding for more support.
Some others on this site were fitted with half-length boots that come up to middle of your calf, not all the way up to just-below your knee. I’ve heard that it is better for lessening calf atrophy, but it doesn’t provide as much protection. Dave (http://achillesblog.com/daveleft) re-ruptured his achilles while wearing this type of boot. He was fitted with a full length (up to his knees) boot the second time around.
I don’t feel comfortable walking in the boot yet, but it’s better than fumbling with crutches. I limp around, but it should get better as I get more and more comfortable with bearing weight on my left foot.
So I drove home, parked the car in the garage, took my crutches out and put them in a dark corner. Hopefully I’ll never need them ever.