debuff

normalcy after FHL transfer?

Can anyone who has had a FHL transfer to replace my shredded Achilles tell me how long it takes for the bottom of my foot not to feel so stiff? I’m at 5 months and finally was able to get my pre surgery shoes on today. Yipee! But while my ROM and strength are coming back, I still can’t do a single foot heel lift or push up on a ladder to get out of the pool. Is there anyone who has had a FHL back to normal? Will it ever happen or is the stiffness something I will just have to accept?

109 Responses to “normalcy after FHL transfer?”

  1. hashishon 25 Sep 2013 at 11:58 am

    Hey there, I’m 2 months out from my FHL transfer and its slow going for me too. My therapists did warn me not to stretch that tendon too much too early. She’d had a few patients that have problems now since they stretch too early.

    I have absolutely no heel lift strength and I am still working on my gait right now. I am actually going to start using my TENS unit to trying to warm up that calf and hopefully build strenghth. It is finally easier to go down stairs and walking is getting better, but I have none of that lower calf ankle strength any more.

    How is your swelling doing? My foot is still larger than the other.

  2. upstate2519on 25 Sep 2013 at 7:06 pm

    I’m also two months post FHL transfer. I wore two shoes at therapy for the first time on Monday and did some very mild stretching then, too. I do find that if Im on my feet for a long time, even in the boot, I often develop pain on the inside of the ankle about where the FHL tendon is anchored (I think). It’s too soon for me to know how much push-off power i’ll regain, but was told that it would take a long time to return, even if other aspects of rehab may go more quickly than for someone with a sutured AT. Did you do toe curls as part of your rehab? Tat should help over time.

  3. debuffon 26 Sep 2013 at 8:32 am

    I am currently at 5 months from surgery. During PT I was asked to do toe curls- scrunch the towel. Could not do it then, barely now. I finally got my foot in some presurgery shoes yesterday. I was afraid I was going to have to wear socks with my Teva sandals all winter. Calf strength is pretty good, but can barely do a heel lift with my repaired foot. So I have great difficulty going up the ladder to exit the pool. Guess I need to stay with the steps. I was told that the anchor is up as high as my ankle bone, So the pain on the inside ankle and heel is plantar fasciata, so I’m sleeping in a brace that keeps my foot flexed. Seems to have helped. I am still icing for several hours every night. As the swelling is decreasing the skin on the bottom of my foot is becoming loose and wrinkly.

  4. steveon 26 Sep 2013 at 12:57 pm

    Hi All,

    I am only 6 weeks post surgery to reattach my Achilles and FHL transfer. I am on my 5th physical therapy session today. The therapists do a lot of massaging followed by stretching of the ankle/ Achilles. Cold laser and stim machine after exercises. It seems everyone’s surgeon and recovery are so different in the rehab protocol! So far, I’m still on crutches (damn it!) and in my boot. I do get some swelling in the afternoon and also have sharp pains that feel like jolts of electricity. Anyone else experience this?

    Happy healing!
    Steve

  5. debuffon 26 Sep 2013 at 9:09 pm

    Hey Steve, Electric jolts are nerves growing back together. I still get them at 5 months. I also have little burning ant bite sensations around my ankle. Guess that’s why recovery takes a whole year.

  6. Jillon 05 May 2015 at 2:43 pm

    I am 10 years out from achillies reconstruction with FHL TRANSFER -and experiencing toe pain …like can’t put pressure when walking toes pain.the numbness really never goes away as well as the ability to bend your toe never comes back I’m sorry to say.

  7. debbiereruptureon 22 Aug 2015 at 4:55 pm

    Hi , I am looking for anyone FHL transfer updates. I haven’t seen any recently. I will be having this surgurery on 8/24/2015. Looking for success stories! I am not feeling to good about this 2nd surgery. I know its going to take motivation, strength and alot of encoragement.

  8. beachy12on 22 Aug 2015 at 11:42 pm

    I didn’t have FHL transfer, but I did have a donor tendon graft put in. Burrito wrapped it around my Achilles. Had this second surgery last Friday, 8 days post op. First op was back in December, you can read my blog. I’m doing pretty well. FWB in boot. Hope everything goes well for you!

  9. mrsnoochon 24 Aug 2015 at 9:32 am

    @debbiererupture I had an FHL transfer on 6/17/15. My surgeon only made one cut which was along the heel to harvest the big toe tendon. He cut a hole in the calcaneus and weaved the tendon in. Secured it with an anchor, secured it to the bottom of the heel where the achilles attaches, and then up to the two broken ends of the achilles tendon. The first 6 weeks I was in a cast/splint NWB. Then, could add 25 lbs of weight each week. I am currently at 100 lbs. I started PT 3 weeks ago for ROM. No serious exercises yet. Surgeon’s protocol is to wait to the 12 week mark. Foot needs retraining to be a foot again. PT assures me this will happen.

    I wish you the best with your surgery.

  10. Melon 25 Aug 2015 at 9:04 pm

    I had a fhl transfer 3/2015. I can just now stand on my toe for about 1 or 2 seconds. Swelling..yes…use a med support toeless stocking.
    Numbness. Yes..pain…yes. I hope I feel better post op one year. My tendon is still weak. Pt didn’t help very much. You need a long time to recover. I am going back to work afyer 6 months off and I still do not know if I can do my job. Of someone or something hits near my ankle…I’m going down!
    I would love to hear a success story.

  11. Melon 25 Aug 2015 at 9:07 pm

    I can walk in my regular sneakers for 4 hours before I have alot of pain. That is just a slow walk.

  12. JillPon 15 Oct 2015 at 3:19 am

    Hello all. I am 19 months post surgery with FHL transfer. I first ruptured my right achilles in Sep 13…the medical team chose not to perform surgery and allow it to heal on its own. I was doing physical therapy and improving, but in Jan 14 I re-ruptured it. I got an MRI in Feb and had surgery in Mar 14. I did about 5 months of physical therapy supplemented with pool therapy once a week. Despite all of that, I still cannot do a single leg calf raise/heel lift. I get excruciating cramps in my right big toe (the one that was used to repair the tendon). My gait is not normal either and unfortunately, when I run I start to experience lower back pain after a few weeks of regular short distance (1-3 mi) running coupled with pain in my left knee. I do use an achilles sleeve to aid in pain management and it doesn’t swell nearly as much as it did the first year post surgery. My doctor says this is probably as good as it will get and to continue to try to build strength in my right ankle to “make up for” the lack of strength in my achilles. I stopped running for about 45 days and I will try again in a few weeks. Running on the treadmill is far less painful than outdoors on pavement or a track. The elliptical is even better as it causes little to no pain.

  13. Mark Ellioton 02 Dec 2015 at 8:07 pm

    I ruptured my Achilles in March 2015 and didn’t have my surgery until November. I had an FHL transfer because my Achilles was beyond repair. I am currently in a cast and looking forward to next week when I get my boot. NO CRUTCHES for me. I purchased an iWalk (not a scooter, think a pirates peg leg) and it’s fantastic! I am a mountain climber and from the time of the injury until my surgery I continued climbing. During that time I learned to use my FHL (in its original position) to stabilize and move my foot. I’m hoping this will work to my advantage. For those of you who are looking for the best way to rehab post surgery I’d suggest hiking with a weighted backpack. Walking on trails means walking on uneven ground, and the backpack shifts your center of gravity up, just the things you need to improve your foot stabilization. Hiking with weight on trails is as hard as running but without subjecting your new tendon to the pounding you get from running. It worked for me WITHOUT an Achilles. Prior to my surgery, when the doctors were testing my ROM, the comments I got were “How are you doing that?” Trust me. HIKE. With weight. You’ll see.

  14. Stuarton 03 Dec 2015 at 3:51 pm

    What Mark is saying has some merit but walking on uneven ground should only be attempted once you have stability and you need to build up to this incrementally as with carrying weight on your back. Personally I would not recommend it before 12 weeks if you are on an early weight bearing protocol and back in shoes around 7 weeks give or take. If on a slower program then I would wait a bit longer. It is a shame now Mark that you have lost the tendon in your big toe to augment your Achilles. Earlier treatment may have avoided this but not always. There is a process called LARS which uses an artificial tendon but I have not heard of anyone here having it done. It is more common for ACL’s and the recovery time is much quicker. Hope things go well for you Mark.

  15. Peteon 05 Dec 2015 at 11:52 am

    Were any of you considered a “negelcted” achilles case, or just a case or reruptures? I had my rupture July 26, and chose to keep walking on it, and at this point it has recovered better than had I had surgery or taken the conventional non-surgery route involving 6 week immobilization. My theory is that keeping it mobile has accelerated the recovery by facilitating the remodelling process. You will wind up with a little extra tendon length at first but pretty much protects against re I should also say, I am in great shape at 54 years old. You can google “61 Custom Rebuild” for my recovery story.

  16. alfie wrighton 28 Dec 2015 at 9:45 am

    I had an achillies debridement and an fhl tendon transfer on 14/12/15.
    I did not anticipate it would be such hard going, my heel is so painful it’s unreal, my toes won’t move and the boot is very heavy. Does anyone know roughly how long it takes for my heel to stop hurting.

  17. amag3232on 28 Dec 2015 at 6:49 pm

    I didn’t have fhl transfer done but mine has taken about 2 weeks for pain to go away when I placed foot below heart level. I just started partial weight bearing 4 days ago and its going well so far. Are you icing and elevating leg still?

  18. MrsNoochon 29 Dec 2015 at 10:03 am

    @Alfie

    I had debridement and fhl xfer on right ATR on 7/14/2015. The hurt for me in the beginning was the entire foot. No movement of toes and barely any ROM for months. My foot just “flopped”–like it was on a hinge. I recall the first month with a lot of burning, stinging, and stabbing pain. Ache is the best way to describe it now. The heal hurts more now because the Ortho Surgeon says that is where my “stump” is. I asked what the “stump” was and he said the old Achilles attached to the heal.

    I still walk with a limp which has caused collateral damage to my back, hips, knees. And now, a pinched nerve somewhere either in the neck, thoractic cavity, or back. Trying to work that out.

    My ankle is very tight. I still cannot walk down stairs in a normal flow. I have to do 1 foot at a time going down. Going up, I am ok. Tight through my knee as well so I cannot get good bend in ankle and knee to give me that motion.

    Very little toe push. Swelling is still in ankle.

  19. Mrssmithon 14 Jan 2016 at 5:41 pm

    First surgery for bone spur that shredded my Achilles at the insertion all site was 09/11/14. That’s after a solid year of dealing with gradually increasing pain. 6 months into therapy the pain continued to get worse after surgery. Saw another orthopedic for second opinion since first dr said it was fine. Had second surgery 12/08/15 for debridement and fhl transfer. Also found I was allergic to the stitches that were left in from the first surgery. Was in a cast for one month, now in boot NWB. Started pt and Achilles is much tighter that the first go around. I can barely move my foot without excruciating pain and toe curls are out of the question. I still can’t get into a 90. I hope pushing through the pain is the right decision.

  20. Mannyon 14 Jan 2016 at 7:29 pm

    MrsStuart, my heart goes out to you since you are starting over again. I was curious about your getting Physical Therapy even though you are NWB, in a boot.
    Good luck, and keep us posted on your progress!

  21. Mannyon 14 Jan 2016 at 7:31 pm

    My apologies, MrsSmith, for changing your name! Must be the meds (that’s always a better excuse than blaming the beer, right?). good luck!

  22. Mikeon 14 Feb 2016 at 1:53 pm

    Hello,
    I was hoping someone could help me out. I am approximately 12 weeks post op from the fhl achilles surgery with debridgement. My achilles now feels really great except for tightness in the AM. I do have a concern I was hoping someone can help me out with. The out side of my ankle towards the bottom almost at the insertional site there is a tremendous amount of pain to the touch at the end of each day. The pain is so bad I cannot walk. I have spoke to the doctor along with the physical therapist and they both are saying that the anchor is rubbing again either a nerve or the skin, and I should not worry about this. This pain is keeping me from taking normal strides. I am still in a walker cam boot. Has anyone else experienced this pain and if so what is it and what can be done? The doctor also said the anchor is self absorbing and should go away on its own. Please get back to me. Thank you so much

    Mike

  23. metoniaon 14 Feb 2016 at 2:37 pm

    Mike- It sounds like something is definitely irritating your tendon. I’m not as far along in my recovery to answer you if this is normal or not. If both your PT and DR feel this is the cause ask them what you should be doing then to not have the pain.

    I would think you may be doing to much at this point in your recovery and not resting enough. If the longer strides irritate it then keep to shorter strides for now. RICE as much as your time allows.

    If these things don’t help I would definitely ask your doctor to do a follow up on it to be sure you are not injuring the lower part of your tendon at the insertion site.

    Sometimes a few steps backwards (not literally) in our recovery can prevent a re-rupture or tear of a new site in the future.

    Good luck

  24. Mannyon 14 Feb 2016 at 3:22 pm

    Hi, Mike. I’m sorry you are in pain… sadly, most of us do go through a bit of pain with our procedures and protocols. I noticed you said that the pain was “at the end of the day”… does icing help? does elevating help?
    If the foot feels OK in the morning, then the pains you get later in the day are probably related to the use you are giving your foot. As my orthopedist put it, you can’t and don’t want to avoid the pains of rehab, since a full recovery means all the muscles and tendons need to get back in shape. :-)

    Good luck! And I do hope that icing that area (no more than 10 min) helps!
    Manny

  25. Mikeon 15 Feb 2016 at 10:19 am

    Hey and thank you both for your response. I am still in a boot almost full weight bearing. Rest and Ice does help but its only temporary, so yes maybe I am over doing it. Its very frustrating because this has been going on for over two years, and many procedures by several doctors. My latest doctor is amazing and I wish I had gone to them from the beginning.
    Metonia how for along are you?> And what exact surgery did you have? When you two get a chance write back.

  26. metoniaon 15 Feb 2016 at 2:47 pm

    Mike I’m only coming up on week 2. I had a large spur rubbing my tendon so I had the Hauglund (sp?) procedure done where the tendon was removed the spur shaved and the tendon reattached with anchors on February 3rd, 2016.

    I can understand your frustration. I pulled myself out of the work field 3 years ago due to health problems and have been fighting with doctors ever since trying to find out what is all wrong with me.

    It doesn’t help when critical test results are ignored or never read and your health doesn’t improve. Among my multiple problems I developed auto immune issues where my body began producing confused antibodies that were attacking my healthy cells through out my body especially my joints. A test confirming this was missed by ALL my doctors for over a year as I continued to decline.

    A rhuematologist confirmed if I had continued to be wrongfully diagnoses and my condition not recognized I may not have lived more that 5-7 more years.

    It’s so frustrating when you are use to being healthy to accept and deal with a chronic problem that interferes with how you use to be for such an extended period of time.

  27. Mikeon 16 Feb 2016 at 9:59 am

    @metonia
    Hello again. I had a smiliar to you back in November. I am doing ok, besides the pain I mentioned. It def is a long recovery and alot of extra work needs to be done besides the regular PT sessions. I was in a cast/splint for 6 weeks, then into a boot. My goal is to be out of the boot in about 2-3 more months. Don’t rush it. Talk to you soon

  28. Mark Ellioton 22 Feb 2016 at 3:42 pm

    I’m back. I was out of the cast at three weeks and into a boot, but with no weight bearing, just gradual strengthening. I did my own rehab, twice a day, massage, elastic bands and icing. I was swam 5 days per week. Kicking with a board was great help in maintaining circulation in my surgically repaired foot. Long story short, I was (with the doctors approval) walking after 7 weeks with no boot. I am at 12 weeks now, still on twice a day rehab and I am starting to do hiking (no additional weight yet). I am now doing full weight bearing exercises to strengthen my calf muscle.

  29. Mark Ellioton 22 Feb 2016 at 3:46 pm

    was SWIMMING … not was swam … jeeze

  30. Phoenixon 06 Apr 2016 at 3:26 pm

    Hi there, I am 20. I am 1 year out after Fhl transfer to my achilles. I cannot walk down the stairs with a full extension of my leg, I am concerned whether I am disabled for life. I ruptured my achilles while playing football in 01/12/14, decided not to have surgery and when I was walking again 10 weeks after the rupture, It re-ruptured during PHYSIOTHERAPY. I was told to do heel lifts by the physio and it re-ruptured, there was a 2 inch gap in my achilles with a majority of tissue being wasted when undergoing surgery, as I was still on a recovery stage of my first rupture. I had the FHL transfer surgery on March 2015. I had complete bed rest for 2 weeks and from then on I had been careless with my physio and recovery, I didn’t stretch and massage my leg religiously. I even had months that I went without any stretches or massages. Now I cannot fully extend my knee and my range has severley decreased. I am majorly depressed and have even contemplated suicide. I have no motivation to get better as I think I am still depressed of my situation to an extent. I am not sure If i can get my range back. I cant have the freedom pf movement and physically enjoy life as I used to be able to, devasting at such a young age. Now 1 year out after surgery I am trying to get the range back and trying to find normalcy.

  31. Mannyon 06 Apr 2016 at 4:34 pm

    Phoenix, welcome to our blog group, since you became a member of the Achilles tribe far before I was. I am very sorry you had so much trouble, and that you re-ruptured the tendon doing physical therapy. One of the things we all share here is the knowledge that without physical therapy the tendon(s) cannot heal, and that the muscles from the foot to your back are severely weakened in the weeks you are non-weight bearing. Somehow, you will need to get the orthopedist AND the physical therapist on board to finish your rehab. Being 20 it should be quicker than for someone like me since people 3X your age heal slower, but then again we are all unique and have different challenges and advantages.
    Depression… it happens, and even when we decide to be happy, it is tough to break out of the dumps. But you will just have to do it. Read the blogs, since some of us have recovered wonderfully and others haven’t. One of the bloggers has a long term open wound! Others have re-ruptured in different ways. We each have our own paths, and I’m one of those who celebrates every little improvement just to be able to get the energy to continue doing my therapy - which I find very dull. And the athletes among the group, well they have to do “eccentric” exercises which Beanie and Bobbie have described as really, really boring - but very effective at repairing and strengthening the achilles tendon.
    Posting your concern was a great decision: we all do it when we don’t know what to do! And our fellow Achilles tribe members help us out.
    Since I’m not a doctor nor an expert in rehab, I’m suggesting you go back to the orthopedist and commit to a real rehab program: you need it. :-) And yes, it will be slow going, but hopefully you will have good news for us in a few weeks or months.
    Good luck and happy healing!
    Manny

  32. Phoenixon 06 Apr 2016 at 7:33 pm

    Hi Manny,

    Thanks for your words of encouragement, really needed it.

    As far as physiotherapy goes, I’m in the UK and our hospital care is governed by the NHS (National Health Service). In my experience the NHS takes an abundant amount of patients, with a long waiting list. There is simply not enough time being put in to individual patients by the physiotherapists. In my experience, what usually happens is you go to the physiotherapists once every few weeks, they give you a pointless tissue massage and check your progress, tell you to do a range of different exercises in your own time and with your own facilities. The lack of care really shows and I just grew tired of it. I was doing physiotheraphy sessions until I stopped going 2
    months ago. One of the reasons I re-ruptured my achilles is because my physiotherapist was too busy standing at the back and teaching his student about my recovery instead of providing me full support and showing care. I was just a kid, He didn’t ask me whether I felt comfortable doing the excercise and pushed me too hard. I am not sure if I can find any private re-hab sessions here in the UK. But I will surely seek help and book an appointment with the local GP.

    Thanks a lot,

    Phoenix

  33. Pozaiceron 07 Apr 2016 at 2:31 am

    Phoenix

    I’m fucking raging at reading your experience. I had a similar one with NHS Scotland

    Hang in there though. You must not loose hope and keep at it. If you keep an eye out at universities and colleges you may find more accessible prices for physio. Also check different gyms. Both private and council run, as these may have the staff that has the expertise for your rehab

    Personally I’ve had one private physio session and done the rest myself

    Keep fighting and geese an update later on

    Suerte

  34. PAon 24 Apr 2016 at 11:45 am

    I had chronic tendonosis of my left Achilles. I fell at work on7/31/14, which injured it. I went to 3 different doctors, trying everything to get better & avoid surgery. I did PT, walking boot for almost 8 months, a cast for 4 weeks, cortisone injection, Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) injection (which was really painful). Unfortunately, none of these things helped me & I continued to have pain. So, on 6/12/15, I had Achilles Debridement surgery. I was casted for 2 weeks NWB & then in a walking boot for 5 weeks. Once I was in the walking boot, I was full weight bearing at home within 3 days. I started PT within a week of getting into the walking boot & did PT 3 times a week until November 1, 2015, when my Dr pulled me from it. I was off work for a total of 3 months & when I returned I started at 4 hours a day, then increased to 6 hours. Unfortunately, the pain never went away & I experienced all kinds of other issues when I returned to work. This included numbness & painful tingling. I ended up getting am EMG done, thankfully no nerve damage. It eventually went away but took 2 months. I just had the Achilles tendon reconstruction with FHL tendon transfer surgery on 2/12/16, to remove the 4cm of injured tenfon. I was splinted/casted for 8 weeks NWB the entire time. I finally got into a walking boot on 4/7/16 & started to weight bear & do just motion exercises at home. I started PT a week after getting into the walking boot. I still am not full weight bearing & using a knee walker at home & crutches when out for appointments. At PT right now, we are doing heat with stim, stretches, cross friction massage & ice. We are trying, right now, to focus on mobility & strength. They tell me I will get there, to be patient. That my foot has been through a lot of trauma & 2 surgeries in 8 months time, it’s going to take awhile. It’s just frustrating, as you all know. I’ll be glad when I call full weight bear, get out of this walking boot & get into sneakers to get around better. I’m planning on doing water therapy, but they said not until I can walk on my own. Any suggestions on things to heal would be greatly appreciated. I’ve been through a lot in the last almost 2 years & I don’t want to overdue it & have it nor heal properly.

  35. pozaiceron 24 Apr 2016 at 1:52 pm

    hi PA

    thank you for sharing your story, it is a lot to go through and now you are seeing the end of the tunnel. keep the spirits up, the grass is greener soon.

    i don’t think there is much out there that you aren’t doing already so keep the positive attitude and keep updating us! (the water therapy is dangerous due to potential hazards when moving in and out of the pool (i was told the same))

    suerte

  36. Mikeon 12 May 2016 at 1:14 pm

    Hello,
    It does get better. I am 6 months post op from achilles fhl ganglunds surgery. I couldn’t be more happier with the results. Everyone do realize that this take a very very long time to heal. My only complaint is with the hardware implants, which are giving me a little trouble. I was told this is normal and they will go away. Just be patient. This is surgery number 3 in less then 18 months. It has gotten so much better but it takes a very long time. Just be patient. Has anyone else had trouble with implants? thanks

  37. Mikeon 18 May 2016 at 3:15 pm

    @Metonia ,
    Just wondering how you are doing on your recovery? Does anyone have bio absorb able anchors and sutures? They are pretty much implants to hold things together until the body heals? Wanted to hear experiences with this so I can compare. Thanks

  38. Stephanieon 25 May 2016 at 4:07 pm

    Hey all,

    Just looking for some input. I had Achilles tendonitis and had surgical repair last December. I was in a cast for about 6 weeks and then put into a boot with partial weight bearing. A few weeks later, I decided it’d be a good idea to walk without the boot and stepped on a rock and had a full rupture.

    I had FHL transfer and Achilles rupture repair on April 11 and today, my dr took the cast off and put me in a boot so I could start physical therapy. I have extreme stiffness in my ankle and am unable to flex my foot to a 90 degree angle. He told me to continue to be NWB and am just wondering at what point all of your docs started allowing you to bear some weight and how your recovery looked after that.

    Any stories you guys could share would be much appreciated!

    Thanks!!

    Stephanie

  39. Mikeon 26 May 2016 at 2:56 pm

    Stephanie,
    Everyone is different from what I have been told and have read. I was about 3 months from surgery before I was able to put any significant weight on my foot. I also had a lot of work that was done to my achilles. Not sure how severe yours was. All I can say it does take a very long time, don’t rush it, baby it. I am approx 7 months post op. I am very happy with where I am. I have an amazing doctor. It is normal not being able to flex your foot. It’s a very long and frustrating injury to recover from. Write back when you can. Do you have absorbable anchors?

  40. Stephanieon 27 May 2016 at 8:18 pm

    Mike,

    What are absorbable anchors?

    I had a tendon transfer from my big toe to my Achilles to lengthen and strengthen it. It ruptured and retracted up in my calf, so my incision is from the top of my heel almost to my knee.

    Currently in a boot but still mom but I feel that my doctor is being extra conservative so I was looking for some feedback from others who’ve been in my boat or a similar one.

    Steph

  41. Mikeon 28 May 2016 at 9:10 am

    Hello Steph,
    I was in a boot for 4 months. I am familiar with them. I am not sure if your doctor is being extra conservative. This is a devastating injury that if not properly treated it could haunt you for years. I have screws and anchors that were used to hold tendons in place until the body was able to heal itself. they are implants which is very common for this type of surgery. the boot is great and it is a way to put very little weight on the injured area until it has had proper time to heal. Don’t rush it take your time and listen to the doctor. I hope this helps. Just remember it takes a very long time for recovery. Ice, elevation, and rest.

    Mike

  42. Stephanieon 28 May 2016 at 8:26 pm

    Mike,

    Do you remember how long after your surgery your doctor allowed you to start weight-bearing? Even light weight bearing ..

  43. Mikeon 29 May 2016 at 7:28 am

    Hello Stephanie,
    Do you mean weight bearing without the boot?

  44. Stephanieon 29 May 2016 at 9:55 am

    No, weight bearing in the boot.

  45. Mikeon 31 May 2016 at 8:12 am

    I was able to start partial weight bearing with crutches approx 25 percent weight 6 weeks after surgery.

  46. Danon 18 Jun 2016 at 2:16 am

    Hello everyone, I am a 28 year old male who lived a pretty active lifestlye up until I ruptured my achilles. I had some, self diagnosed, tendinitis which led to my rupture on my left achilles back in March of this year. I was playing basketball that night, happened to be on my birthday, and came down from a routine rebound and heard a pop. As others say, I thought someone had kicked me. I expected something was really wrong as I couldn’t dorsiflex my foot and couldn’t see the tendon like i could for my other foot. I felt the tendon and and just felt like blah, like nothing was there. Had surgery 2 days later where they just reattached the two ends and were only able to get one stitch to keep it together.

    Initially, I was going to be in a cast for 2 weeks, but my doctor wanted to be careful with my so i was in a cast for 6 weeks and then transitioned into an achilles boot. I was in a boot for 4 weeks and doing well with PT for those 4 weeks, starting to feel more confident in myself and that’s where it all went downhill. Me being careless while on vacation led me to re-rupturing my achilles. I was so upset with myself and hated the fact that I had to start from scratch again. The re-rupture took place on 5/28/16 and surgery was set for 6/8/16. MRI revealed the rupture and my doctor consulted with a specialist and felt the best course of action would be an FHL Transfer. The doctor told me the time table for recovery and it depressed me. 2 weeks in a surgical splint (I am at this stage right now as I wait until 6/22 to get fitted for a cast), cast NWB 6 weeks, walking cast PWB for 6 weeks, and then I can transition back into the achilles boot that I once wore. That puts me at 9/8/16 where I can transition into the boot.

    I go onto the blogs to find success stories just to cheer me up, but a lot of times it just makes me feel worse as the recovery takes some people much longer than expected and others will never fully recover. Having gone through 10 weeks recovery and then starting over makes me realize how careful you have to be because one minor mistake could cost you. I need to find something constructive to do with my time so I don’t feel so bad, there is only so much tv that I can watch. Netflix and chill is becoming old haha.

  47. Skylaron 10 Jul 2016 at 3:01 pm

    Hi everyone,

    I had an FHL transfer to my Achilles 13 weeks ago. I was non weight bearing in a cast then a boot till last week when my doc said I could go to full weight bearing in boot with a cane as needed for support and balance.

    I’ve been in physical therapy for 6 weeks and have regained a little bit of flexibility in my foot is finally able to go into a neutral position. My question is, has anyone dealt with severe stiffness in their ankle post surgery? I can get my foot into a neutral position but that’s it… Any further flexing up doesn’t happen as it’s too stiff. anyone have experience with extreme tightness in the ankle this far post op?

    Thanks!

  48. debuffon 16 Jul 2016 at 4:28 pm

    You asked about soreness. I wrote a reply on Gmail and have the draft but can’t get it to send. Anyway, I was told not to run or jump for at least a year ,so be gentle. I can now hike up and down mountains wearing good ankle support boots and using a walking stick just for security going over rocks. I’m guessing there will be tenderness any time you challenge the tendon and it will probably never feel normal again, but is very functional and let’s me do mostly whatever I want to do since I didn’t play much sports anyway. It’s hard to be patient but it will gradually improve slowly over time. Take care and go slowly.

  49. Randyon 27 Jul 2016 at 1:43 pm

    Hi everyone,
    For a couple of years I was having pain in the insertional area of my left Achilles tendon as well sensitivity when wearing shoes. After about year of cortisone shots and on and off physical therapy failed, my Dr suggested I have Achilles debrigement surgery due to tendonosis and small tears. In November 2015 I had the surgery, six weeks NWB then boot and PT. Unfortunately surgery did not go that well for me, When mowing the yard or walking for a bit my Achilles aches for hours afterwards. To make a long story short I got a second opinion recently, the surgeon I am seeing now said that considering my age 52 he suggest I have another debrigement with FHL transfer to strengthen that area. I wanted to see what you all thought. live with it, or lose the functionality of my big toe and go through the whole procedure again. For now I am scheduled for surgery the first week in September. I wish you all the best.

  50. Randyon 27 Jul 2016 at 1:55 pm

    Hi everyone,

    Just wanted to correct the surgery date above to November 2014.

  51. Skylaron 29 Jul 2016 at 3:59 pm

    Hi again,

    Had FHL to Achilles transfer 4/12 and was NWB for 13 weeks at which point my doctor put me directly to full weight bearing. Been walking in my boot for about 2 weeks and I’ve recently started walking more and now have swelling and some tenderness around my Achilles on the back of my ankle. Makes me paranoid. Anyone else experience this?

    Thanks

  52. Stuarton 31 Jul 2016 at 3:21 pm

    Skylar - what you have described is pretty common and nothing to be concerned about but if you are then you should have it examined. It seems your protocol is very slow but you will catch up in the long run. Best thing for now is to walk as much as you are able. That does not mean you walk through pain and swelling. Rest, Elevate, Ice and incrementally increase your walking. Things have not been moving for quite a while so you may get other pains as well. Muscles need activation again so bring them up slowly. I do not know how you have managed 13 weeks without bearing weight. That is a huge effort. I am sure it is exciting to be walking again.

  53. Lauraleeon 16 Sep 2016 at 12:48 am

    Had FHL on left Achilles in 2006. Walked around with a partial tear for 18 months prior to seeing anyone. Ended up with multiple surgeries starting with debriding, decoring, transfer, removal of scar tissue. Four years later, right knee needed partial replacement from all the NWB on the other leg. Ended up with same symptoms now on right Achilles. Thank you cipro…..15 months later after trying everything ( physio, orthotics, shockwave, chiro, anti inflammatories,…) told today that will need a tendon transfer in right Achilles. In shock….it is such a brutal recovery. I am 10 yrs old, heavier, and restrictive in movement from both knee and previous Tendon transfer. Trying to wrap my head around it. What are the friggin odds? Not sure if up to it again.

  54. Celisaon 21 Oct 2016 at 2:13 pm

    HELP!!!! I am three weeks out from FHL tendon surgery with plantar fascia release. I was supposed to stay in cast for 2 full weeks; however, thanks to my drs office staff (although I argued with them & lost) had me RTC after 1 week & 3 days! The dr. was furious to say the least. I live over 2 hours away from my dr. so he went ahead and removed the cast and stitches and told me to stay NWB for “a coupe more weeks”! WELL, I have not idea what that even means (& of course can’t talk to him on the phone)
    This is my second surgery on my Achilles in 2 years. The first surgery he did the “Shequille O’Neal” repair surgery and it was amazing for about a year & 1/2 so he decided I needed to FHL transfer this time!
    He still has not suggested any kind of therapy (said with the way it is anchored that I don’t need therapy - didn’t have it before either) Keep in mind this MD came highly recommended.
    I still have ALOT ALOT of swelling & new bruising everyday!!!! I can’t use crutches “bc I am too much of a fall risk” (fell twice after the first surgery and once after this surgery) - not very good without my own two feet!!!! I’m using a kneeling scooter instead!
    I just need suggestions on how long everyone stayed NWB after surgery! I am so scared to even attempt to put any weight at all, I can not am not going through another surgery & I feel like I have been just left out in the cold to figure it out myself. If he had ordered therapy, I could at least get advice from a therapist but he didn’t and I do not see him again until 11/11/2016.
    I am still have pain on the heel of my foot and at my big ugly incision! My incision is very strange looking & feeling - almost like that is a piece of board or something around it.
    Anyway, any advice would be greatly appreciated!

  55. Chrison 27 Oct 2016 at 6:10 pm

    I’ve had 2 AT surgeries on my right AT in the last 18 months, mainly due to not using crutches enough after first surgery! First surgery was for Haglunds Deformity on 4th Feb 2015, & having gotten out of the cast after 4 weeks I was then given a surgical boot to wear for another 4 weeks, however on 10th March, having had it for less than a week & before I had the chance to put it on I fell in my stocking feet, with the right leg instinctively coming out to stop me falling but in the process my knee went over my toes & stretched the calf/AT area & detached AT partially where it was reattached following Haglunds surgery. Never felt pain like it & never want to again! After months of physio, MRIs etc.. trying to assess exactly how much damage I did after my fall my surgeon decided in Nov. 2015 to recommend an FHL procedure, mainly because I had no power in my AT & despite all the physio I found it impossible to carry out a toe raise on my right foot, so on 3rd August 2016 he carried out the surgery, he removed the scar tissue build up from my AT & used a tendon from my big toe to reinforce/repair my AT. I was in cast for 4 weeks, & boot for another 4, but this time I used my crutches everywhere I went. I’m now 12 weeks post FHL, & I’ve been doing strengthening some exercises at home the last 4 weeks, & also started working with my physio couple of days ago, so still a long way to go! Today was my first day in 3 months out & about without crutches or boot, still a bit of a limp & little stiff & sore at times, but been definite improvement last few weeks flexibility-wise.

    P.S. Was blessed in a way to have needed surgery in the first place, as when they brought in originally in Oct. 2014 to do Haglunds surgery they discovered after an ECG that I have asymptomatic Afib, a condition I knew nothing about as there were no symptoms, & could’ve lead to a stroke had they carried out surgery! I’m on meds for Afib & have had 2 cardioversions in the last year too!

  56. kevin Youngon 27 Oct 2016 at 8:39 pm

    Hi Chris,

    Sorry to hear about having your second round of surgery. It sounds like you are on your way to full recovery though. I had to get shortening surgery completed because I healed long in my first round.

    My foot and ankle ortho did a z procedure to shorten it…I am at 8 weeks and just started doing therabands for resistance.

    I am curious, what the logic is for doing an FHL transfer? Curious why I didn’t get one…I had no power in my leg either.

    Kevin

  57. Chrison 28 Oct 2016 at 10:09 am

    Hi Kevin, the reason behind my FHL was to give my AT more stability & mechanical power, & also because of my inability to do a toe raise on my right foot despite months of physio after my fall following first surgery. I’m back with surgeon for a review Nov. 9th & seeing physio same day. Getting there slowly, still a long road ahead!

  58. Kevin Youngon 28 Oct 2016 at 1:03 pm

    Hi Chris,

    I had the same issue ….could not a toe raise at all after 7 months. I was just wondering what the criteria is for deciding a FHL or just an achilles shortening surgery (Z shape incision) for this.

    My surgeon told me I had healed long…..is this what happened to you?

  59. Chrison 28 Oct 2016 at 8:38 pm

    Hi Kevin, my surgeon decided FHL was needed as I had pulled my AT away from anchor after my fall. He felt carrying out procedure would give my AT back the strength/power missing. I’m still a long way from attempting a right toe raise & my calf also needs rebuilding! The ankle area is still swollen & little sore at times, but there’s definite improvement since last seeing surgeon in September, when I couldn’t put foot flat on the floor & AT was really tight.

  60. kevin Youngon 29 Oct 2016 at 4:53 pm

    Ok - thanks for the clarification. Good luck with your recovery…sounds like you are on the right path.

    Kevin

  61. Marieon 20 Dec 2016 at 11:53 pm

    Hi all - I’m scheduled for Achilles “secondary reconstruction with possible FHL transfer” on January 10. I’m debating whether to go through with it.

    I’ll try to be brief. I had pain in my Achilles about 15 years ago as a very low mileage runner. P/T seemed to resolve it. Fast forward 10 years - I’d gained 40 pounds, and through lots of work, lost it all. Spent many hours on the elliptical w/ no problem; decided to try running again, began on the treadmill and w/i two weeks the pain was back. That was 5 years ago. An MRI showed partial small tear in my left Achilles. Wore a walking boot for six weeks, then P/T. It seemed better, but even with no impact exercise, the pain came back. I also started having pain in the right Achilles, which I swear was aggravated by walking in the darn boot on my left.

    So over 5 years I’ve done multiple rounds of p/t, acupuncture, sports massage, even PRP injections. Nothing makes a difference. I finally consulted two surgeons; one said “You can do surgery or you can live with it either until the pain outweighs the hassle, or for the rest of your life.” The other, who came highly recommended by several friends, said it was “routine surgery but a crappy recovery” and that I’d be able to run again. I’m 53 years old, average weight, decent health. I do have a blood clotting disorder and will need to carefully monitor that if I have surgery, including self-injecting Lovenox. I’m seriously wondering if this surgery is a good idea. My concerns: the blood clotting risk, beating up my right Achilles while recovering from surgery on the left, infection. The idea of having to do the surgery and recovery all over again, and with my driving foot, is daunting, especially as I live alone.

    Sorry this is so long but I’d really appreciate hearing from those who’ve gone through it. Do you regret it? Was it worth it? Anyone have problems with both Achilles, and if so, did it make the non-surgical foot worse? Thanks so much.

  62. Amanda Jenkinson 16 Jan 2017 at 8:00 pm

    Had a fhl two yrs ago..still walk with a limp.running out of question.constant numbness and craps in my feet and legs.pressure from leg left as had a impact on right leg.still biking and going gym.can do hardly any exercise compared to before.the cramp and not curling toes is so depressing..work full time.always having comments about my limp..scared of what future holds.iv just turned 48 last november..was diagnoised to late.tried to take it futher..but being told it wouldnt a made any difference cos it would a rutured anyway..running os sooo bad for uou..its what as ruined my life..and i only ran few times a week 20min on treadmill..so gutted depressed everything..awaiting seeing a surgeon to see if i need my right leg operating on too..affects ur knees orher leg..etc etc..repeatative strain..amanda..cramp pain dilebarating

  63. Stephanieon 07 Feb 2017 at 11:47 am

    Hi all,

    I’m 10 months out from my fhl Achilles surgery and while I have been in physical therapy since June, my foot is still only 0 degrees. I have trouble walking because of my ankle being so stiff and not stretching no matter how much my physical therapist pushes me. He’s able to stretch it a bit during therapy, but it always tightens back up within an hour after I’m home. I also have still quite a bit of swelling on the back of my ankle and some tenderness. I’m able to stand on my toes but I’m just still so stiff. Anyone else have trouble this long after surgery with getting your tendon to stretch and stay flexed? I’m worried

  64. Stuarton 08 Feb 2017 at 2:39 pm

    Stephanie - Yes you probably should be a little further than neutral at 10 months but I would not be too concerned. Possible causes could be a build up of scar tissue so some deep massage would help. It is normal to lose the gains of the previous day, or at least some of them, but this should improve in time as well. I do think it is something you should discuss with the surgeon now just to make him/her aware. It is less likely the surgeon has cut you too short but that is a possibility and something for the docs to consider now. Perhaps talk to your physio about other methods to remove scar tissue.

  65. Samon 23 Feb 2017 at 8:15 am

    I have had FHL transfer’s now done on both legs and would be keen to hear from anyone that has had both done or anyone that is a couple of years post Op to better understand what standard of recovery I can expect.

    I am in the military and beasted my body for years before pushing it too far. This had led to my two op’s left Aug 16 and right exactly 1 year earlier. My right seems to have recover well however due to going through rehab at the minute on my left I am unable to really rest it until that one is ready. I hope to resume physical activity, weighted runs, running and football however I have been advised to rethink my goals as all of the above are unacceptable, therefore I wold be keen to here from anyone that has done or not been able to do this.

    Thanks

    Sam

  66. Stuarton 23 Feb 2017 at 2:51 pm

    Sam - may not be too many still hanging around here who have had both done with FHL but hopefully Deb will see your post and get back to you. What I can say is very few people rupture the AT once is has been healed and those who do usually rupture in another spot on the tendon. If your surgeon was good and your rehab goes well then there is really nothing stopping you from going back to the things you did before. Most people worry about doing the other tendon but that problem is not something you have to be concerned about now. Another year should see you back to it. Rethinking what you do is really a matter of how much punishment you want to inflict on the rest of your body but your AT’s should hold up.

  67. Samon 24 Feb 2017 at 12:56 pm

    Stuart,

    I have seen numerous physio’s and to be honest they have fried my head as they all say something different. I believe my surgeon to be good and I am confident he has done a great job, however even he has advised me to calm down regarding my expectations. I was told this week that I should think twice about running again and that was really hard to swallow, especially bearing in mind my right achilles is now 18months post op and feel’s really strong.

    Hopefully more success stories will follow as to be honest this week has knocked me for six.

    Thanks for getting in touch, much appreciated.

  68. Stuarton 24 Feb 2017 at 3:40 pm

    Sam - An FHL repair in the end is not a great deal different to any other surgical repair. All they do is use another piece of tendon to join the ends and the body does the rest. What I am not hearing is the state of the rest of the Achilles tendon and why you had the surgery in the first place. This is something your surgeon would know after looking at it. I have no doubt the repair site will be as strong as before but if there is a weakness elsewhere then you could be at risk. What I am guessing is you suffered from extreme tendonitis and nothing would fix it so surgery was suggested. If they removed all the degenerative material in the tendon then you should be fine but I would suggest you maintain an eccentric loading program. I doubt you will ever rupture the repaired area as that seems, in every case, to be stronger than before which means you can go back to the things you were doing including runnng. It would be an important question to your doc as to why you should tone things down and what is the state of the rest of the tendon.

  69. Samon 28 Feb 2017 at 1:07 pm

    Spot on with the Tendonitis, I just wish I had identified it earlier and managed it better. That said my right Achilles does feel really strong so that’s a positive. I Suppose only time will tell if I am able to resume normal activity. Have you had yours done Stuart or do you work in this field?

  70. Stuarton 01 Mar 2017 at 3:59 pm

    Sam - I ruptured my AT many years ago and make an occassional comment here when appropriate. I also had some anatomy and physiology training many years ago but pursued another career. I think a discussion with your doctor about why he/she feels there is a risk would be a good thing. Once you have healed then maybe an MRI or ultrasound to assess the quality of the repair and if there is further degenerated material. I can only recall one person on this site who ruptured again in a different spot. You only have 2 big toes so FHL is not an option again. There are artficial tendon and ligaments used now. The procedure is called LARS but I have not heard of any AT being done. Mostly used for ACL’s but my doc spoke to me about it (afterward) and said I would have been a good candidate. I think he was looking for a guinea pig. If the rest of your tendon material is good then I would say you are like most here and should easily return to a normal program but what you are doing is punishing your body and my doctor (who was also a retired marathon runner) told me to think of what you want to do when you get old and consider keeping your body in good shape for that.

  71. Deborah Buffingtonon 07 Mar 2017 at 6:55 pm

    It has been almost four years since my original post. While I can do heel lifts, can pick up a marble with my toes and have full range of motion, I still have swelling above my ankle and puffy pads under my toes that stay seminumb. The tendon running down the arch still feels stiff. I don’t have to restrict any activities, though I don’t run or jump, but do hike on steep mountain trails in high top boots. So I ‘m not sure my right foot will ever feel normal, but I am fully functional and not in pain so I have lowered my expectations.

  72. Lauralee Comeauon 07 Mar 2017 at 11:56 pm

    Right Achilles tendon transfer tomorrow( left Achilles’ tendon transfer 12 years ago) as well as debriding and taking out longitudinal split tear of peroneal brevis tendon. Getting IV prophylactic antibiotics prior to surgery due to 2/3 knee replacement 10 yrs ago. Butterflies in stomach. All equipment set up……

  73. Samon 16 Mar 2017 at 11:47 pm

    After many consultations with numerous physiotherapists all telling me something slightly different regarding what I should expect in the long term, I had a positive meeting with my surgeon yesterday. Surgery and rehabilitation has, and continues to go well and therefore within limitations (no iron man, marathon training) I should be able to resume normal physical activity. This for me is military based training, running, carrying kit etc etc. Although still somewhat confused after being told two weeks ago from a physio that I should not expect even to run again as the risk is to high, which left me at an all time low, it has now given me the confidence again to push on to the next level with my rehab, roll on the next six months!!

    Lauralee good luck!

  74. Lauraleeon 17 Mar 2017 at 2:06 am

    Thanks Sam. Into day 9 of post op second Achilles’ tendon transfer using FHL . Also debrided, removed tear of peroneus brevis tendon and sewed it to tendon beside it. The horrors of recovery from 12 years ago with other Achilles’ tendon coming back to me again. I remember surgeon telling me that a total knee replacement that I needed 2 years after multiple surgeries on other Achilles was a walk in the park compared to this. Exhausted from lugging myself around. Knee scooters are nice this time around and I have an iwalk crutch to get upstairs but I am also 12 years older and heavier then initial surgery. See the doctor next week for suture removal and cast change. Hoping only 6 weeks nwb but with my luck and him having to replace 2 tendons…not so sure

  75. Stuarton 17 Mar 2017 at 2:19 pm

    Sam - good news and am pleased for you.

  76. MrsSmithon 19 Mar 2017 at 1:45 am

    I’ve been reading the posts since my last one and I see some asking about what to expect long term. I’m not sure I’m a “normal” case, but I’m 15 months out from my second AT surgery and FHL transfer. I can’t walk down stairs normally, I have to put both feet on one step to go down and not be in extreme pain. I can’t run and jumping…well I made the mistake of testing that out and it led me to tears. Walking on a slanted surface is extremely painful. My dorsiflextion is non existent as my foot can’t go past 0. Before my first surgery, anything that touched the back of my heel was excruciating…..that’s happening again. I’m also getting these sharp stabbing pains that come out of nowhere, it’s almost feels like the screws used to anchor my tendon are twisting. I’m only 33 and get depressed when thinking about how much pain I’m in some days. I wouldn’t change having had both surgeries because that pain was just as bad. I hope this isn’t the normal and if anyone has advice please share it. Good luck to those beginning this journey.

  77. cserpenton 19 Mar 2017 at 5:38 pm

    I suggest you go back to see your doctor MrsSmith. Your pain is not normal and I would want someone to figure out why if that was me. Some people (and dogs) have reactions to the screws long term. For me they used some type of anchor - not a true screw. We had a dog that had his muscle around his hip tightened and after about a year had to have surgery to remove the screws since he was having bad reactions to them. I’ve heard of people having the same issue. Not sure that is your problem - but something is sure bugging your foot/heel.

  78. Lauraleeon 22 Mar 2017 at 11:40 pm

    I agree with cserpent, you need to see your doctor. I didn’t have screws in my original left Achilles’ tendon transfer 12 years ago as they drilled a hole through my ankle and looped it through. I did however react to internal sutures and they went in about 6 months in to take them out.
    I am now at the 2 week post op for my right Achilles’ tendon transfer and repair of longitudinal split tear of peroneus brevis tendon. Love the knee scooter and use the iwalk crutchless crutch to get upstairs. See ortho tomorrow for stitches out and new cast. Will be happy with a lighter fibreglass cast as this plaster one weighs a ton. Have had good days and bad days but getting through it. Not had a lot of energy this round as takes so much energy to do anything and 12 years older then last one makes a huge difference. Pretty exhausted come evening. Pain not bad but will definitely take a pain pill prior to appt as they have to put my foot into a more neutral position and I still remember the pain from all those years ago.

  79. Michaelon 17 May 2017 at 10:07 pm

    I had FHL transfer 5 years ago. I had a second rupture on my left foot and they said it looked like Medusa’s hair and FHL transfer was the only way to repair it. My roommate was a student at the time studying to be a Chiropractor. After my cast was removed he brought me in daily for cold laser treatments and graston treatments. I was in a wheel chair for 3 months and then started walking to school with a cane (3 blocks). Within 5 months post surgery I didn’t have a limp and could do heel lifts. I can only jog and my sprint speed has diminished. I have not tried testing it too much because I know if it ruptures again I run the risk of not walking again. Anyone reading this please try cold laser treatments. Graston broke down the scar tissue and reduce the fluid that built up in my lymph nodes. I still have no feeling on the side of my foot where they drilled and I get the pins and needles feeling all down the left side of my calf. Things aren’t the same but I am grateful of my recovery up to this point. Good luck to everyone else going through this.

  80. Barbaraon 21 May 2017 at 8:38 am

    I had fhl surgery in January. I am making good progress but I still have pain and stiffness in ankle. I am having trouble finding comfortable sneakers. I have previously worn asics kayano but now find toe box too narrow. I tried hoka Cliftons which are very cushiony but I am not sure if such a cushiony shoe is good for the Achilles. Also many shoes hurt in the back where they hit the achilles. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

  81. Lauraleeon 24 May 2017 at 12:17 am

    Barbara: go online and order an Achilles bandage. It looks like a nylon stocking but has gel over the scar area so it doesn’t rub. I had my first Achilles’ tendon transfer in 2005 and my second tendon in other foot March 8th. Used the bandage for the first surgery and reordered and using it now. Not huge compression but offers some but will make a huge difference being able to wear a back of a shoe. I just bought a pair of saucony shoes and they fit my orthotics.
    Am now at 10 weeks post op. Mornings getter better but sore and swollen by evening. Still can’t believe the scar. Size as he had to replace Achilles and also fix tear in peroneal brevis tendon. Scar starts 1/4 way up my calf muscle , down to heel and swings around to side of foot for another 5 inches. That part really hurts. Also the usual 3 inch incision where the harvested my big tie tendon.

  82. Jim Pon 06 Jun 2017 at 10:50 pm

    This is a great site. I’ve read everyone’s comments. I had my first Achilles surgery on Oct 6, 2016. This was to remove a bone spur and to clean up my Achilles’ tendon. It was reattached to my heal bone with 2 anchors. Splint, boot, PT etc but the swelling did not go away after several months of recovery. After 8 months my Dr. requested an MRI which showed my Achilles torn near the upper anchor (rerupture). Due to the defect at the heal bone my Dr. recommended to use my toe tendon along with my Achilles to reattach to my ackle. I am having trouble walking so I have no other option.
    I would love to hear from those who have had a similar procedure as I am very concerned about the 2nd surgery. When they use the toe tendon do you lose movement for the entire toe or just the upper joint of the toe? Is recovery time the same? Any other option out there? Would love to hear your feedback.
    Thanks!
    Jim

  83. Lauraleeon 12 Jun 2017 at 12:58 am

    Jim P
    Had my first FHL Achilles’ tendon transfer in 2005 for the left ankle and recently had my right FHL Achilles’ tendon transfer with 70% of Achilles garbage as well as a tear in my peroneal tendon. You can still move your big toe up and down but cannot bend it. I only notice it during swimming otherwise no difference. Like you, I needed multiple surgeries on my left Achilles leading up to the tendon transfer.

    For my recent surgery on March 8th, I was non weight bearing for 2 weeks, partial weight bearing in a boot with wedges for another 4 weeks. Two more weeks full weight bearing in a boot as I go down 2 wedges a week till foot flat. I am at the 13 weeks post op for second transfer. Pain free in morning, achy in afternoon and still sore come evening. Have another few more weeks of formal physio but doing my exercises and stretching everyday.

    Using your FHL is the best option and have not had any issues with the left tendon transfer 12 years ago. Best to get it done and be on the road to recovery. It’s quite to journey but it does get better. Good luck!

  84. Randyon 30 Jun 2017 at 10:45 am

    In December 2017 Had my second Achilles tendon in two years, this time with an FHL transfer. I was in a soft cast for about a week then went to a hard cast for a month of coarse no weight bearing , then to a boot for about 4 weeks. did the therapy as the doctor required. I am six months post op now and am able to do single heel lifts and walk with a slight limp, no problem with shoes. I still have aching and swelling in my ankle especially in the evening, some days are better than others. My biggest concern is I an still not able to bend any of my toes on my surgical foot, I expected the big toe but not all the toes. My doctor said that that will come back in time, honestly I am not to sure. For everyone out there going through this I know that its not easy, but know that after a year or so you should be feeling much better. Wish everyone the best.

  85. Cindyon 06 Jul 2017 at 1:10 pm

    I am 11 months out of FHL transfer to repair badly shredded tendon. I can do single heel lifts on that leg, but not nearly as well as on the other. Scar is also fine. Previously I had an injection that left me with sural nerve pain, but doc cleaned that up during repair surgery. My only complaint is that my 2nd, 3rd, and 4th toes remain larger than they were, making it difficult to wear shoes.

  86. Jim Pon 16 Jul 2017 at 3:02 pm

    Hey guys. Jim P here again and I just had my FHL transfer last week Thr. I’m in a splint and my next doc appoint is Wed where they will put me in a cast. So far so good. Pain mgt is going ok. There was a lot of hardened diseased scar tissue that was removed. I’m taking it easy this time. On my road to recovery.

  87. Jordanon 26 Jul 2017 at 8:36 am

    Hi guys,

    I’m a 33 year old male who ruptured his achilles playing soccer about 6 weeks ago now. I had an operation to rebind the tendon about 3 days after the rupture occurred, and started my recovery as normal. After a couple of weeks I noticed blood in my bandage and went back to the specialist where I was told there was a hematoma. It was removed with a bit of initial pain, but no signs of infection and I carried on. After 4 weeks the tendon felt like it was healing great, but the wound was not healing properly. There was a bubble in the wound that went away after a few days then came back further up the wound with a bit of redness around it. Still the doctor thought as long as it was monitored and didn’t worsen it might go away, although he said if it stayed he would need to open it up again and clean it out. As I had no pain, we decided to delay another surgery and hoped the wound would close up with regular cleaning and bandage changing. Unfortunately it opened up last weekend, leaking pus, and the doctor said he would need to operate straight away when I saw him on the Tuesday. It turns out a very nasty bacteria had gotten in somehow and infected the wound, and as a result had completely eaten away my recently repaired achilles. I was then kept in hospital for 5 days on antibiotics and released yesterday once I was told the infection had subsided. Now we must regularly monitor the wound to see whether the infection stays away and when the wound heals properly I will need a 3rd operation to transplant another tendon to the achilles area. So my questions are is the FHL transplant the best option for this? Are there other tendons to consider for the transplant? I have read these stories and they don’t fill me with great confidence of being able to make a full recovery. The thought of not having feeling in my big toe worries me as well, and I would really like to know if anyone has had this reconstruction with other tendons, and if so what sort of recovery they have had. Thanks in advance for any replies!

  88. Russelleon 19 Sep 2017 at 5:10 pm

    I started having issues with my left achilles 7+ years ago. PT failed and 6 1/2 years ago I had debridement surgery and my heel bone shaved. A year after that I had a procedure to break up the scar tissue. 4 years ago it finally started to feel better which lasted for about 3ish years. Now I am back to swelling, pain if overused, pain in morning, problems with shoes. Do tor (new one) says my tendon is calcifying. Recommends FHL tendon transfer surgery. For those a year+ out from surgery, would you do it again? Thanks in advance.

  89. Vickyon 29 Sep 2017 at 2:47 pm

    Hi guys
    I first ruptured my Achilles exactly 4 years ago during an epileptic seizure. In June this year I then had a grade 1 tear after running to answering the phone to my mum - I won’t be doing that again anytime soon!! I was put in a walker boot to allow the tear to heal. Unfortunately I then completely ruptured the tendon a couple of weeks later however this was missed by my local NHS hospital who insisted I had only twisted my tendon dispite there being a massive step in the back of my leg! I was finally referred to a specialist 10 days later only to find out the foot and ankle surgeon was on holiday for 2 weeks. By the time I got to see him I was told it was too late to operate and my foot would never be the same again. 9 weeks later I slipped slightly in the shower and rupture it for the 3rd time and now have a 4.1cm gap and finally have surgery booked for next week oct 5th. They are planning debridement and fhl transfer. I love going to the gym and love running. Can anyone tell me what my chances of getting back to these are??? I have already lost so much due to developing epilepsy late in life. I will be devastated if I can’t get back to doing this as the gym is my life!

  90. Susanon 29 Sep 2017 at 9:52 pm

    Wow Vicky! I’m so sorry to hear you have been going through this…and still have more recovery in your future.

    I honestly have no experience in multiple injuries (knock on wood) or advice but just wanted to say…keep going on.

    It’s sad when I read such grim circumstance yet, we deal with what we are handed…and it makes me realize my situation is pretty darn good.

    I will be thinking about you in your continued recovery! I hope you get back to running and other activities once you are fully recovered post-op!

    Regards,

    Susan

  91. Marionon 17 Oct 2017 at 7:53 pm

    Hi,
    I am having debridement and repair surgery on my left achilles tendon in two weeks. I’ve been reading the blogs, and i must say i am concerned about the recovery process. It seems to be long and difficult. What should i know ahead if the surgery? I am trying to be prepared, getting a knee scooter and a walker. I would love some advice on what else i can do now to prepare for my recovery

  92. wsfost02on 19 Oct 2017 at 12:17 am

    Knee Scooter for sure. It has been a God Send for me.

    Get a plastic chair for the shower and a little step stool to put ur toes or foot up on during the shower.

    get some comfy pillows, dvd player, and ur favorite show to watch.

    Have some people set up to bring u meals if possible or have freezer meals ready.

  93. Hollyon 21 Oct 2017 at 8:02 pm

    To Russelle: it will be two years for me in March, Achilles’ tendon repair with a Flexor tendon transfer. I hate the fact that I can’t bend my big toe, (no one informed me of this side effect, I thought there was more than one tendon that did the bending….how was I suppose to know?!)my foot cramps a lot, very painful. I still wear a night splint on occasion. But, I have no pain in my Achilles, before it hurt every single day, increasing year to year, and I had to walk on my toes to alleviate it. I couldn’t do much in regard to exercise unless it was without shoes. (The calcification rubbed so bad) would I do it again? I’m on the fence. I think so, because I was in pain every day and now it’s occasional. There’s no push off from my big toe, which I miss a lot. Before having it done, I would expend every option to make it better. Don’t make a quick decision.

  94. Irishfanon 22 Oct 2017 at 10:51 pm

    Holly, I had Achilles rupture repair surgery in Dec 15. Experienced lots of strong foot cramps until earlier this year when I started Graston technique. The person performing Graston was able to break-up some tissue, clean-up some tension spots and relax the muscles quite a bit. This made all the difference and probably only get a cramp every couple of weeks, and they are no where near what they used to be.

  95. Lisaon 23 Oct 2017 at 10:38 am

    I had FHL tendon transfer w/”aggressive debriedment”Achilles’ tendon (Left) on 8/1/17. I had a small tear many years ago hoping I could rehab it myself. Had a TENEX scope procedure 10/2016 which did not help. I’ve been dealing with this for 8-9 years! Going to PT 2x/wk since week 6 post op,when cast removed, was casted & NWB x 6wks.
    Walking with cane in sturdy shoe (limping), feels better when in the air-cast boot. Ankle still very swollen, I think because at 8 weeks I slipped down my stairs & inverted ankle-was very painful & swollen since). Going to ask my dr if I should bet an MRI for this new issue of the left lateral ankle which is hindering my recovery. This has been much more awful than I imagined. Now my Left knee is very painful & swollen from not being able to have normal bending/gait with walking. My estimated return to work date is 11/13/17, but I don’t see that happening, as it is very difficult to get around/walking is very painful. Just walking to/from & getting in/out of my car across our very long parking lot is awful & dangerous right now, as I don’t have very good balance/stability! I’m NOT the kind of person who can just sit around & take sooo much time off work! I NEVER call in sick! Very frustrating and feeling depressed over the excruciatingly LONG recovery process! It feels like this NIGHTMARE will NEVER END!
    What can I do for the knee pain??? Every day I wake up hoping the knee is better & it isn’t AT ALL. :-(

  96. Lauraleeon 12 Dec 2017 at 12:47 am

    I had left Achilles’ tendon transfer for a unhealed partial tear x3 yrs in 2005. Unfortunately from the 5 surgeries I needed for the Achilles, my right knee flared up really bad and ended up with a partial rt knee replacement. Fast forward to 2015 and rt Achilles started thanks to the antibiotic Cipro. Ended up with a rt Achilles’ tendon transfer in March 2017 with repair of longitudinal split tear of peroneal tendon. While recovering from this, rt hip now acting up thanks to gait/arthritis. All I want to do is what painfree but seems impossible. Both Achilles not bad. Still getting some tingling around ankle area of latest transfer but can do 15 single heel raises with almost full weight bearing.

  97. Hagenon 20 Mar 2018 at 2:32 pm

    I’m only one month out of my second achilles repair with FHL transfer. Most of these comments are so depressing! I was told by two specialists that I’d be back to MMA, Snowboarding, and my other favorite activities within a year. Looking at these comments feel like this will never happen. Yes, I’m 40, but I was in the best shape of my life and really looking forward setting more physical goals. I’m not ready to give up, limiting myself to walking the block with the seniors.

    I tore my Achilles the first time by merely throwing a punch. It tore in two places at the same time, which is very rare. I followed post surgery protocol. I was four months out, full weight bearing and walking without the boot. I was told by my PT to return back to most of my activities barring any sudden ballistic movements. I didn’t follow his advice because my leg felt horrible and and extremely tight. Sure enough all it took was walking and it ruptured again.

    It’d be nice to hear a success story of people returning back to sports, if that exists?

  98. wsfost02on 20 Mar 2018 at 6:18 pm

    Hagen,

    Don’t take the comments on here as depressing. Just take them as people being open and honest in public. I am so glad people didnt sugarcoat this for me.

    I am a big time runner and very active and this has been the HARDEST thing for me to handle. You just have to take it ONE day at a time. Every day gets better. Then every week. Then every month. Just getting to walk on a treadmill for me for 12 minutes is a relief and another check on the box!

    The doctor told me I would be able to return to running 6-9 months.

    Just look at it as a minor setback for a big comeback.

  99. cserpenton 20 Mar 2018 at 9:05 pm

    I do have to quality my response though - I didn’t have an FHL transfer - so my road to healing is not quite the same road as yours.

  100. Peggyon 30 May 2018 at 7:22 pm

    I’m 7 month’s post op and I can’t deny I’m feeling very frustrated and wondering if I will ever walk normally again. My muscle atrophy is still significant as well as my limp. I have no pain, only swelling ang tightness in the outside ankle area. In reading other posts, I guess this in normal, but wow, how depressing!

  101. Deanom112on 02 Jul 2018 at 5:30 am

    It’s nice to read everyone else’s experiences though it is clear they all vary quite considerably. I am now only 43 years old.
    I began to suffer Achilles pain in 2010 pre Dublin marathon, by the following year post London Marathon, my Achilles were so sore I could sleep due to anything touching my Achilles. Even socks became extremely unbearable. I did attend a private physio who wrote me off as having a strange gait and not Achilles problems. During rugby training one evening I began suffering huge pain and ended with my leg in plaster. They confirmed both Achilles were shredded and need replacing. Sadly I had to inform work of the inevitable surgery and the works surgeon informed me that I would have to be pensioned off if I had the surgery or if the pain increased. With 4 children I could not afford to lose my job so I did not have the surgery. In my line of
    Work I have to pass the bleep test on regular intervals to level 10.5 and undertake running in heavy kit. I carry heavy kit all day every day.
    There was no let up or allowance for injuries such as mine.
    I lasted until last Christmas, 2017 where I could no longer carry on as I was. The fhl transfer took place on the 29th Jan 2018. I am now nearly 6 months off work and looking to be cut to half pay. The works surgeon has changed and he wishes to wait until 8 months post surgery to see what position I am in before he makes a decision on pension.
    I am still in huge amounts of pain and having to take strong medication. I can only walk a short distance in crocs, shoes really hurt. The foot is still massively swollen and there appears to be no end to the repair. Movement is very limited and I have lost balance and strength. The operating surgeon wants to asses me for my other (left) leg for FHL transfer but I could not cope with this yet.
    Surgeon states it is the end of playing rugby and certainly ever taking a bleep test again.
    Has anyone else been in this position? It feels like limbo

  102. Gregon 03 Jul 2018 at 10:49 am

    well.. it was one year ago 1 July 2017 that i shredded my tendon.. had the full surgical repair inclduing using the big toe tendon.. the mother of all achilles surgeries.. on Saturday 30 june 2018.. i finally went for my first mountain bike ride.. i’ll likely have numbness from nerve damage the rest of my life but over the past 4 weeks its gotten quite a bit better..from the knee down its a weird sensation but will not limit me much… including the strength everything gets better after each couple weeks.. everythign i read said it takes a full year to recover.. everyone i spoke with said the same thing.. guess what.. seems pretty accurate.. if you are active which everyone that ruptures it likely is.. you have to look at the reovery in stages.. first 4 weeks.. is the sucky stage..deep breaths.. read books and play guitar or whatever.. next 4 weeks.. start strectching/wriggling toes.. after 8-12 weeks on crtuches and iwalk. 2.0 it’ll be mostly uphill…but man is it is slow with a lot of setbacks…be prepared for that.. but it WILL get better

  103. Deanom112on 05 Jul 2018 at 11:42 am

    Greg,
    It’s nice to hear you are back up and cycling. 11 months is a long time and something I didn’t expect.
    You mentioned numbness but is it causing any pain?

  104. George Jereidinion 01 Aug 2018 at 8:55 am

    Hi Everyone,
    I have an Achilles avulsion 7-8 years ago and it was attached by surgery.
    Now I have severe deformity in my calcaneus and my doctor wants to detach the tendon, debride the calcaneus , reattach it and also connect the HFL in parallel.

    I’m a bit concerned about both tendons being attached at the same time and have never heard of its being done before.

    I’m concerned how they will both be connected with the same initial tension and how the brain will work out the coordination.
    Does anyone have any thoughts about this as I will probably do it this month (August)?
    Tkx a million
    George

  105. Deanom112on 28 Aug 2018 at 6:18 pm

    I am just really updating my position. Simply because as I have gone through this process of Achilles reconstruction with fhl, I read through the internet and there’s really is not a lot of information from those that have received treatment but also expected outcomes.
    I am now 8 months post op. I remain active and have done throughout recovery. Despite physio instruction on slow movements I have really moved / walked and continues to not allow the recovery to stop me.
    Of course the pain has been unbearable at times and I have really needed strong painkillers, I have worked the ankle as much as anyone could possibly expect.
    The truth is I cannot walk without pain. I cannot stand still without severe pain in the heel where the new Achilles was pinned. Standing is more severe in pain than walking. Though towards the end of the day walking is just too much to bear.
    Sitting down at a desk and keeping the leg immobile is extremely painful after about 5-10mins and any longer being seated leaves me so stiff in the ankle that I cannot walk without extreme pain for the rest of the day.
    Night time and lying in bed. This can be painful as the leg is hurting from the days activities. Raise the leg in bed on cushions and this will ease the pain however be prepared for some sleepless nights.
    I would like to add that mobility within the ankle is still very restricted and my surgeon has advised that I will not gain any further movement. It will always have pain but this will subside to a more comfortable level over time. My surgeon says running and contact sports are off line forever as the Achilles will never have the strength for explosive power. I was advised that expect 18 months for significant improvements in pain but not to expect anything greater in mobility.
    Long term the pain should be less that the pain I was encountering pre op so this is the long term aim I wished for.

  106. Deanom112on 06 Jan 2019 at 7:18 pm

    I just wanted to update for those that are in the position of enquiry prior to receiving a fhl transfer. I know I searched on here as the unexpected outcomes worried me and there really is not a lot of information out there.
    I am shortly 12 months short of the operation for a full fhl Achilles transfer on the right leg.
    I will have to retire from the services due to this operation and injury in the next few weeks.
    I am still in pain. I cannot run and standing for any period becomes very uncomfortable and balance is not good.
    Sitting for 10 mins or more puts the foot into lock and makes the rest of the day particularly painful.
    I wish I had not had this operation but it was necessary.
    If you don’t need it and are relatively young like me, try everything possible to repair rather than have the op. I tried but had no choice. Do not take it lightly as I am living off painkillers and your every task becomes horribly awkward in pain and inability to stand still on the leg.

  107. Colinon 05 May 2019 at 5:06 am

    I am 5 weeks post FHL Tendon transfer and Gastrocus. Recovery has been slow. I had a bleed, the suture line would not join and the incredible nerve pain - intense, debilitating and overlooked as, normal post op path. The scar is quite keloid in the middle. Its funny, my big toe feels like a “ phantom toe” and does not bend, quite trivial that one.
    I have only now progressed into built up shoes, and 1 crutch, physio has not started yet but hydrotherapy is on the cards.
    This surgery was needed, I know the path is long but, I never thought it could be so invasive on my life.
    I know now that this was classed as “ big” surgery, and keeping positive is talked about but, be prepared folks, this is a massive thing to undertake.

  108. Loco Raindropson 28 Jul 2019 at 2:57 pm

    So just to give some of you some hope here.

    I ruptured my right achilles on Jan 2 2016. Despite all of pt which I was very strict with it developed a bunch of scar tissue. When they did a scan on it my achilles was close to as large as my shin bone.

    My surgeon said that my body just liked scar tissue.

    I was sceduled for full transfer, had the surgery blah blah blah.

    Well, 2yrs post and after a lot of training I am backpacking with 50-70lbs on my back for triple digit mileage. I snowshoe, and have no noticeable limp. When I wake up its tight but loosens up after a few minutes.

    Sometimes I get a twinge of pain. Par for the course I suppose.

    I am now getting back into mountaineering and will be getting my feet back under me on Rainier in 2020 then off to Denali.

    …then if all goes well after the rest of the 7 summits I have yet to complete.

    My advice is be patient.

    Its a bad injury but a lot of the end result is on you. Listen to your docs and your physical therapists. Also, check out the iWalk 2.0.

    Crutches suck.

    It makes life a lot easier while not weight bearing which is huge for the mental aspect of recovery.

    It gets better if you put the work in and while it gets hard its really only an end game if you let it be that.

    Keep on keepin on folks and wish all of you nothing nothing but the best with your recoveries.

  109. Loco Raindropson 28 Jul 2019 at 7:21 pm

    Oh, and the fhl surgery was surgery #2. 1st being an attempt at repair.

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