4 months down, how many to go?

September 3rd, 2013

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted. Lets see… I made it through physical therapy and going back to work…well kind of.

I’ve been back to work for about 6 weeks now and completely off crutches for about 8 weeks. Going back to work has been really hard. I manage a store that is in a warehouse, so it involved a TON of walking, 8-12 hours a day. I did two weeks where I only did 6 hour shifts, but after being gone for 3 months, my store needed me. Recovery, I feel, has slowed since being back at work. It hurts. Bad. By the end of the day I can barely walk. I ice my ankle every night to help with the massive amounts of swelling I still have. I call myself a “speed limper” haha.

I was told that a lot of my pain was coming from where they drilled holes in my bone to reattach the tendon after shaving the bone spur (gross!) however, lately, my foot has been really bugging me. Like I notice that more than the tendon pain. I’m calling the doctor tomorrow to make another appointment. I have a feeling its plantar fasciitis again. But I refuse to get another cortisone shot, as it didn’t work the last time. I fear he will put me back in the boot to be followed by more PT. I’m know I’m pushing myself too hard at work, but with only one employee, and being open 65 hours a week, I don’t have much of a choice.

As for shoes, I’m still in my Birkenstocks. I have tried to wear shoes with a back, but there are two problems with that. 1. The swelling overtakes the shoe within about 2 hours of being on my feet. 2. It rubs and hurts the incision still.

Overall I feel I’m on track with healing. It’s frustrating at times, I miss running still also. It’s definitely put my weight loss at a stand still, but if I’m healing I’m ok with that.

Until next time all!!


7 weeks- down to one crutch!!

June 12th, 2013

So I am just over 7 weeks post op. When I went in for my 6 week appointment I was told I could start weight bearing as tolerable- which for me meant with crutches. My doctor also told me not to wear the boot anymore because it was rubbing my incision and to wear sturdy sandals with no back on them.

So there I was with my Birkenstocks, two crutches and not quite sure how to put one foot in front of the other. Since I wasn’t going to start physical therapy for a few days, I watched some YouTube videos on how to partial weight bear. The first thing I noticed was the pins and needles feeling in the bottom of my foot (this feeling went away after about 1 day) and then the extreme tightness of my Achilles. Ouch.

First day of physical therapy was a week ago. It wasn’t too bad at all, just a little light pain with the tendon. I have had two more sessions this week and I have definitely improved! I am only walking with ONE CRUTCH, wahoo!!! And I can even move around the bathroom and such without the crutches. One exercise my physical therapist has me do is my right foot is on a phone book, and my left foot (injured) is on a scale and slowly bear weight. The first session I could only do 60 pounds, today 120! More than half my body weight- needless to say I was super excited.

After each physical therapy session I am a bit sore but the next day is good. I’m very excited with my progress and I know I have a long road to recovery ahead of me, but I’m doing well so far. My incision is looking really good, too! Almost all of the strips and scabs have come off. Now if the extreme tightness in my foot and ankle would go away, I would be one happy chick!

May 28th, 2013

So it’s 5 weeks post op for me. Pain pretty much is gone. The only thing that ever bugs me is the incision. It doesn’t hurt but it’s so dry that when I move at all it feels really right. But the tendon feels good.

I’m so ready to walk again. I really hate that I’m here alone all the time! It makes time for me to worry about things like, how the hell can I get back into 2 shoes in 3 weeks like the doctor wants. My incision goes from where my heel meets the floor and then up the back of my ankle about 6 inches. The dried blood from surgery is all still under the steri strips. So it’s like hard. So question:

Has anyone ever been allowed to go into orthaheel clogs instead of tennis shoes?

The tennis shoes will rub and that makes me really nervous. I’m going to ask the doctor next week when I go for my 6 week check up.

What do I have to expect from physical therapy and walking for the first time in 6 weeks?

Thanks :)

4 weeks..still NWB..yuck

May 24th, 2013

Hey all. It’s been a few weeks so I guess it’s time for an update. Had my 4 week post op appointment a few days ago and finally I’m out of the fiberglass cast (wahoo!!). So I’m in the boot. I begged my doctor to let me go partial weight bearing and he said no. I will be NWB until June 4th and I’m pretty much going crazy. I have had some good days and lots of depressed days. I’m sick of not being able to help much around the house and not doing anything.

I won’t be doing PWB we are skipping straight to FWB at the 6 week mark. Which I’m fine with. That is also when I start physical therapy.

My biggest issue now is freaking out that I will get an infection. The incision site bugs me often now that I’m in the boot because of where one of the straps is. It looks funny to me too, but I’ve never had stitches before so I’m not sure what I’m looking at. I do know that it’s gross.

I am anxious to be back to a semi normal life. Things like standing to shower and working. Although I did get to take my first shower with both legs in the tub this week and it felt strange getting my leg wet for the first time in 4 weeks. I’m actually looking for a new job. I manage a store in a warehouse and I don’t think I will be able to do 8 hours of constant walking 5 days a week and still come home to cook and clean and shop. It’s just not possible i don’t think.

This journey is leaving me exhausted and depressed and I need to find a way to cheer up because I’m driving myself crazy being like this! My poor husband!

Question: what do I need to look for to be sure there is no infection?


May 6th, 2013

So I am having serious anxiety about going to the doctor tomorrow. Last week having my foot shoved to 90 degrees was so painful and a set back in how I was feeling. I plan on eating and taking a pain pill before I go just in case, even though I havent taken one since last week.
So I have a few questions for all:

If you had casts following surgery, did they push you any farther than 90 degrees?

If I am already at 90 degrees, shouldn’t I start ROM exercises not in a cast, or even partial weight bearing?

How long does it take for the dissolving stitches on my incision to be gone/heal?

Thanks in advance :)

Too much, too soon

May 5th, 2013

14 days post op. I went out to dinner last night to get out of the house. Sitting at home day in and day out is so boring! Today I went to my sisters house for dinner with the family, and I am hurting pretty bad tonight. Foot up on 4 pillows and ice under my ankle. I just took some advil about 30 minutes ago. Starting to feel better now. I can’t remember who’s blog I read, but they said you can feel ice through the cast, and guess what?! YOU CAN! Ahhh.

I learned how to go up a few steps with my crutches today. Scary! Although I did need my husband to push me a bit! I can go down a few steps on them now too :) I still prefer the knee scooter when possible; it is so much easier! I feel like every time I need to get up to do anything it is such a workout!

It has also become easier to ask for help. It was so hard at first. I’m so used to cooking and cleaning and working. Now I just sit around. I started drawing and doing crafts to pass the long days by.

2 more weeks until I can put my foot down and put partial weight on it. I CANNOT WAIT!

Week 2: another roller coaster

May 2nd, 2013

I am in the middle of week 2. Monday and the beginning of Tuesday were great. I had stopped taking the pain pills because the pain wasn’t bad at all and advil was doing the trick. Luckily my husband can work from home so I haven’t been alone much. My mom brought us dinner on monday and helped clean the house; she is a lifesaver!

Tuesday a good friend came over to hang out, it was nice seeing a friend. I miss being social. Like I said in an earlier post, I manage a beauty supply wholesaler and I’m really starting to miss all the interaction with my customers. But I am very happy to be receiving short term disability so I can take the time to recover and not worry about hurrying back to work.

Tuesday afternoon I had my doctors appointment to have my cast changed. I have never had a cast before so having it sawed off was scary! And boy was I amazed to see the amount of bruising on my ankle! No wonder it hurt so bad. The incision site to me looked disgusting but they said I was healing really well so far. Great news. The doctor told me he used the stitches that dissolve and that made me feel better because I was scared about how painful it would be to have them taken out.

However little did I know that the pain I was about to endure to have my new foot position changed was going to be so excruciating!!! He grabbed on to the front of my ankle and put his palm on the bottom of my foot and pushed. Holy hell did that hurt! I yelled some cuss words, oops. But then he let go and said the nurse would be in to put on a new cast with hopes of my foot being At a 90 degree angle. The previous cast my foot was pointed down so you can imagine that pain. She kept telling me to relax my leg while she pushed and then finally when I was able to, she told me to pull my toes back and I had to hold that position while she applied the cast. Ouch!!!

I did ask about a timeline for my recovery, he said 3 more hard casts, once a week. And 6 weeks post op I will be walking. I can do this! Right?

So I’m back on the pain pills. Today I might go back to alternating Advil and Tylenol. I hate the dizzy spaced out feeling that comes along with narcotics. But today (Thursday) I am feeling pretty good. I am going to attempt to start logging what I eat again, I can tell I have gained some weight in the last week and a half and I don’t want to have to go back to the beginning of my weight loss journey again. In about 10 months I had lost about 45-50 pounds and I am so scared to gain. I am starting to wonder if anyone loses after this surgery. I am going to try, that’s for sure!

Week 2- you are a roller coaster but I’m going to fight my way back to feeling great!

Week 1: ouch!!!

May 1st, 2013

Ok, so week one was very up and down. The first day after surgery I was having a really bad pain on the inside of my leg (not by the incision.) I called the nurse and they told me to come right in. I was so dizzy from all the pain meds that it made using crutches almost impossible. But I made it. They cut off the plaster splint contraption and there wasn’t anything wrong, it was just rubbing. So the doctor said let’s just put the fiberglass cast on. So the cast was tye dye, fun. This first cast had my toes pointing down.

I was going to get a new cast once a week with a total of 4 casts, each time changing the position of my foot. He said 6 weeks after surgery he would have me walking…yay!!

However, later that day, the nerve block wore off. The pain was indescribable. On a scale of 1-10 it was a 10+. I of course called the doctor and they told me to add Advil and Tylenol into the regimen and take a higher dose of the narcotic. I can’t stress enough the importance of staying ahead of the pain! I did get lucky though, typically the block only lasts 12 hours, mine lasted around 30 hours.

That was the worst day. I progressively felt better everyday. The biggest problems I had were asking for help, and being bored. My family has been great helping me out. Overall, I am glad week one is over!

Day 1: surgery day

May 1st, 2013

The day of surgery I was very scared. I was finishing up getting the house cleaned and making sure my spot in the living room was all ready to go. When I got to the surgical center, I saw on the paperwork what exactly was going to be done. Tendon debridement, shaving down a bone spur on the heel, reattaching the tendon with anchors and a tendon graft from my big toe. Ahh! Sounded even scarier than I expected.

They brought me back to change into a gown and start prepping me for surgery. This included a nerve block. Seriously one of the most painful things I have EVER gone through. (later I was very grateful for it!) I said bye to my mother and husband and was wheeled into the OR, and the next thing I knew I was awake in recovery. My mom and husband told me that my tendon was 30-40% smaller than it should have been! What?! No wonder I was in so much pain!!

My husband drove me home, got me into my recliner with my foot on top of 4 pillows. Well, after I asked him to stop at white castle for cheese fries and a chocolate milkshake because I was starving from not eating for about 18 hours! Did I mention the plaster splint that they put on my leg was HUGE. The rest of the first day I just watched tv and napped.

New Achilles blog- Dana O’s Story

April 30th, 2013

Hello All!
This will be my first blog post ever, so bear with me!

A little background about my journey:
At the beginning of December 2012, I decided I was sick of being obese and was going to change my lifestyle. I started eating healthy, cutting out fast food, fried foods, and pizza. I also started walking with every intention of working myself up to being a runner. Everything was going great I was losing weight and exercising- it was awesome. In January I started running and was LOVING IT!!

Then, in the middle of January, I woke up and my ankle felt really tight. I decided I was just sore from my run the day before. So this Friday I happened to be off of work and I was going to do 2 workouts that day. I started with a walk around the neighborhood, about 3 miles. My ankle still felt really tight but I muscled through. Later that Friday, I did my Jillian Michaels “Ripped in 30″ DVD. Great idea! Not.

By that night I could barely walk; I hurt so bad! It was just a crazy tight feeling, as if my tendon could pop at any moment. By Monday, I called an orthopedic surgeon that specialized in foot and ankle issues. The next day I was diagnosed with non insertional Achilles tendinitis. The doctor put me in a walking boot for one month.

I went back to the doctor and I had gotten worse. Not only did I have the non insertional Achilles tendinosis, but I also had plantar fasciitis. I was ordered to do 6 weeks if physical therapy. At first it worked great, but the last two weeks of it, I could barely do the exercises.
*side note: I manage a beauty supply that is in a warehouse, so my job involves a TON of walking.
Anyway, the doctor put me in 2 more weeks of PT and ordered an MRI. The first MRI they found a “mass” in my foot, I was so worried that is was something extremely serious. After a second MRI (contrast MRI where they inject dye into your veins through an IV) which showed there was actually no mass, just tortuous veins.

When I went back to have that MRI read by my doctor, he told me that usually they wait 6 months before discussing surgery, but we had exhausted our options. Surgery was last Monday on April 22, 2013.

    I am a 25 year old woman, recovering from Achilles tendon surgery.