duke’s AchillesBlog

Just another AchillesBlog.com weblog

    • duke has completed the grueling 26.2 ATR miles to full recovery!
      Goal: 365 days from the surgery date.
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    November 2011
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  • ATR Timeline

    • Name: duke
      Location: Pennsylvania
      Injured during: basketball
      Which Leg: R
      Status: 2-Shoes

      556 wks  6 days Post-ATR
      556 wks  2 days
         Since start of treatment

Archive for November, 2011

‘hot spot’ advice?

Posted by duke on 24th November 2011

I haven’t updated for a bit, have been busy at work and at home.

I lowered my heel wedges down to one (from two in my boot) but was on my feet a lot last week at work.  With lowering the wedges I started to get significantly more heel pain (pressure point).  I had been given permission to transition to a shoe with a lift when I felt ready.  Over the weekend, I wasn’t sure I was ready but I couldn’t take the boot any more (this really had more to do with all the walking I had to do last week rather than anything else).

Regardless, last Saturday afternoon I ditched the boot.  I am not having any tendon pain (and my heel feels better).  I have to walk very s-l-o-w-l-y to not limp right now.  This is counter to my usual way of getting from point A to point B, but not having the boot has made it worthwhile.  I also am loving not having to unstrap my boot to drive, and strap it on if I need to stop somewhere.  Getting into 2 shoes has been nice, but man there is a lot of work still to do.  That being said, it has been wonderful for my mental health.

I have been progresssing with walking, balance, etc in therapy.  I have found, however, that swelling is still a big problem.  I elevate and massage around the tendon area at the end of the day, but the whole ankle looks ugly by evening.  Where I am having pain is above my incision on the inside edge of the tendon (if that makes sense), I have some soreness in the tendon/rupture site but this has been fairly manageable.  At the end of a day it is the burning hot spot that bothers me.

I have been elevating my leg, massaging out the swelling, and then applying a little heat before massaging the hot spot directly.  This is an exercise in self torture but seems to help.  This is the same spot my therapist has been working after ultrasound at the last several sessions.  Does anyone have any tips or tricks?

Happy Thanksgiving…

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7 weeks - progress(?)

Posted by duke on 14th November 2011

7 weeks since my surgery.  I am in a phase where my progress continues but the pace has slowed.  I have been a bit frustrated but know that this is par for the course.

After my 6 week post-op visit I was down to two wedges with permission to drop to one when I felt ready.  I tried it and felt like I was doing okay until last Wednesday.  After being on my feet for most of the day, I had my first day of wondering whether working was the right thing for me to be doing.  I started getting more soreness in my achilles, a little too reminiscent of my achilles tendonosis pain and had a lot more swelling.  I elevated and massaged my ankle that night and then started alternating between one and two wedges through the rest of the week.

Went on a trip out of town (to Pittsburgh) and decided to relax, put two wedges in my boot for the weekend, and use one crutch.  I was on my feet for most of the day Saturday and really did okay.  Just didn’t feel like pushing it while going places/doing kids with my kids was going to further my cause.  Back to work today with one wedge all day and did all right–maybe slow and steady really will win the race.

Massaging my tendon has seemed to be helping me, less tightness, more relaxed ROM and helps get the swelling out at the end of a long day.  I have been obsessing a bit about ‘healing long’ (even though there aren’t clear answers to why it happens for some) because my ROM has been improving.  At the end of the day though, I am trying to follow my doc’s protocol, g-e-n-t-l-y stretch as symptoms allow, and follow my PT’s strengthening plan.

Until next time…

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6 weeks–post-op check and FWB

Posted by duke on 4th November 2011

I had my 2nd post-op visit this week.  I saw my surgeon and had a chance to get some of my questions answered.

-details of the surgery– sounds like it was straightforward, he opened up, stitched the tendon together.  I had several years of tendonosis but he said thee tendon itself had some thickening but was surprisingly healthy looking at the time of the operation.

-numbness of my heel– not in the distribution of my sural nerve.  He is optimistic it will get better over time (and it is definitely better over the past few weeks)

-a big question was about stretching.  I have done no ‘active’ stretching outside of PT (even though it is on my rehab protocol) but my ROM is almost to neutral.  He reassured me that I can stretch ‘as tolerated’ with pain as my guide at this point.  Having read so much here about healing long, I remain nervous and quite honestly will like continue only with using my anterior tibialis to improve my ROM.

-the biggest question –> driving.  He gave me the okay as soon as I could tolerate FWB

He was satisfied with my progress, healing of my incision, the feel of the tendon, swelling (which is minimal)) etc.  He gave me permission to work on getting the wedges out of my boot and gave me a heel lift to put in my shoe for when the time comes.  He was optimistic that I would be into a shoe within 2 weeks.

I saw my therapist the next day, rode the stationary bike without a boot for the first time (official FWB), walked without crutches and had a wedge taken out of my boot (bledsoe achilles boot–had 3 to start so I still have 2 wedges in).  My plan is to take the 2nd wedge out over the weekend (as per my PT’s plans) when I don’t have to deal with being at work and on my feet.

In retrospect, I was starting to get depressed about this whole process earlier this week.  While driving home I had seen some people out jogging and I wondered when that would be me.  Sick and tired of crutches, boots, trying to figure out who was driving me back and forth each day, etc.  Getting the okay to put my crutches aside (I can use two hands again!), the okay to take my boot off to drive my car, encouragement from my surgeon makes me feel like I am on the right track.  I feel like I need to continue to take a ’slow and steady’ approach.

Reading posts on this blog makes me feel like I am too far ahead of other folks.  I have had no sharp pains and am getting good reports.  This is the rehab protocol my surgeon follows and the data shows it is no worse than slower approaches.  The reality is, I would be chafing at the slow pace if I was still in a cast (and complaining about that too) so I just need to roll with it.

One brief side note in this lengthy post.  While picking up at the pet store the clerk shared that she had torn both of her tendons while running track.  She also told me she has ‘never been the same’ (which  I am going to put out of my mind and continue to keep my head down).

Best of luck to everyone reading.  I can’t believe it is 6 weeks from my injury and hope to keep reading about progress from the folks on this site.

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