Did someone just shoot me in the foot?!

September 27th, 2008

Well this is going to be fun……I’m a little freaked now that I have a better appreciation of what to expect on this long journey of “Happy Heelin” to getting back to full functionality, but I’m so grateful to have this site with such a wonderful wealth of information and support.  It really helps going into surgery and knowing what I can do to help to make recovery a little easier on me and my family…..

I ruptured the achilles tendon in my right foot last Saturday.  I was an hour into my first session with a personal trainer at LA Fitness - I’d warmed up for 15 minutes on an elliptical machine, did some free weight upper body work, and then started step-ups on the work out bench.  I was on my 15th rep when I heard the pop and felt like someone shot me in the back of the leg.  Both of the trainers stopped and looked behind me when it happened - they both heard the pop and thought that something in the floor snapped.  I felt all of the blood drain from my face and felt really lightheaded when I realized that it was my heel.  I tried to stand on it and fell over - when I put my hand on my heel it was already burning hot and the burning radiated all the way up my calf.  I just sat there, dumbfounded.  I told the trainer that I thought that I just ruptured my achilles, and he said that it shouldn’t happen doing step-ups, especially since I do yoga…but he took one look at the back of my heel and proceeded to pick me up and carry me to the front of the gym (not too mortifying on a crowded Saturday morning - and I’m 5′9 and he was a lot shorter than I am…) The ambulance and police showed up shortly thereafter (kill me now) and my husband showed up just as they were loading me into the ambulance.  It was an uneventful ride to the hospital (except for me feeling like an idiot) and being a little freaked out that I couldn’t move my foot or my toes at all.  When we got to the ER, both of the nurses that I saw were pretty well convinced that I’d completely torn my AT and then the ER physician confirmed it by having me lie on my stomach and he squeezed my calf and nothing happened (otherwise known as a positive Thompson test.)  He also brought my husband over and showed him the difference between my two heels - on my right heel you could clearly see the deficit where the tendon was no longer attached (looked like a valley.)  I was really surprised at how my my calf burned and how much it hurt every time he grasped my calf to demonstrate the lack of response (to show all of the residents) It throbbed all the way up to just below my knee.  He said that it wasn’t worth doing an X-ray at this point since it was completely shot, and they couldn’t do surgery since I’d already eaten that morning so they put on a big plaster splint with ace-bandages, gave me a prescription for Percocet and referred me to the orthopedist for Monday morning.  One thing that was interesting though was something that the ER doc told me about the antibiotic that I had been on.  I was diagnosed with Lyme disease 2 years ago and wound up on IV antibiotics (including Levaquin) for several months.  The ER doc told me that Levaquin (and that class of antibiotics) recently got a black box warning for contributing to tendon weakness.  Which made a lot more sense because I could not figure out how I could have completely ruptured my AT doing step-ups….and I have been having heel pain (which I thought was from the fabulous new pair of 4″ heels that I’d gotten) So we went home and I spent the next two days in bed with my leg elevated on three pillows (it is so important to get it above your heart - it makes such a difference) and my husband kept me with fresh ice.  The ice and elevation definitely helped (the percocet did it’s job too, but I didn’t take it that often because I hate how it makes me loopy.)  

Now we had to wait to see the orthopedist…aaagghh  - I suck at waiting

9 Responses to “Did someone just shoot me in the foot?!”

  1. kkdub on September 27, 2008 9:34 am

    I’m more impressed with your 4 inch heels. I’m 5;10 and don’t go higher than 2 inches! Welcome - sorry you had to find us here…..great site though. Read up here. I got some good tips about pain blockers before surgery.


  2. heather on September 28, 2008 12:08 pm

    Thanks kkdub! Yeah, this site has been an amazing source of info - I’ll definitely look for the info on pain blockers.

    As to the 4″ heels, I already tower over most of my clients and once most people look at you as being kind of an Amazon, you just kind of figure “what’s a couple more inches?” I was sooo excited when I bought the shoes and I only got to wear them once!! Sad thing is that once I can wear them again they won’t be in style anymore…serves me right for being a slave to fashion at my age….
    Thanks for the welcome!

  3. marianne on September 28, 2008 2:07 pm

    I would ask for anti-nausea medication that they can put into your IV before surgery…I did, and had no problem with nausea afterwards. Got that advice from this site and always recommend it when I see someone going in for surgery. Well, good luck tomorrow and keep posting….we are one big family here for you!!

  4. heather on September 28, 2008 8:38 pm

    Marianne, Thanks so much for the words of wisdom and the support! It’s so helpful to know that there are so many people out there who have boldly gone where I’m about to go (even though I’ll most likely trip on my way there…I’m such a spaz) Hope all is going well with your recovery and PT - I’m definitely interested in what to expect from PT, even though that’s probably a couple weeks off….

    Do you work? I’m trying to get a more realistic expectation of when I should expect to be up to going back…I’m guessing after I get the stitches out and go from post-op splint to hard cast?

    Thanks so much!!

  5. marianne on September 28, 2008 10:07 pm

    Heather, I am fortunate to have a flexible job– I substitute teach elementary school. Haven’t gone back yet, but am looking forward to getting back to it….Working with young kids requires a lot of walking around and standing up and I’m not quite ready for it yet. If I could sit at a desk and not have to do P.E., yard duty, as well as all the moving around in the classroom I’d be back. Hopefully, your job will allow lots of time for elevating and icing. Just don’t rush it. You’ll read other ATR’s time-frames as you read through the posts. Some have returned to normal activity a week after surgery…..everyone’s healing rate is different.

    Good luck to you. Keep posting :)

  6. Jonathan on October 3, 2008 11:23 pm

    Hi Heather,

    Really interesting to hear that you were on levaquin. I ruptured my right achilles 2 weeks ago, and I am now 1 week post surgery. I too was given a fluoroquinolone antibiotic 2 years ago - ciprofloxacin. Whilst I was taking it I developed pain in my achilles, but my doctor was not interested. 2 years on…..and the rest is history.

    Good luck with your recovery. You should ask for the surgery report, maybe you can find out why you got bruised eyes?

  7. heather on October 4, 2008 12:12 pm

    Hi Jonathan - I’m surprised that your doc wasn’t interested in the cipro that you were on. EVERY doc that I saw (ER doc, ortho fellow, ortho doc, anesthesiologist, CRNA, etc) were all extremely interested in the fact that I was on an extended dose of levaquin and that I had achilles pain prior to rupture - the ortho fellow even asked if I minded if they brought me up as a case study at their next clinical congress (maybe it’s just a hot topic in the Philly area?)

    Yeah, about the black eyes and fat lip….I asked about that and apparently the fat lip is common from being intubated and in the prone position for 1+hours during surgery. The black eyes are apparently from “phase 2- the excitatory phase” of sedation. Some patients get agitated (thrash around, vomit, etc) once sedation has been induced - I was apparently one of those cheeky little patients, and the transition of getting me from being on my back and into the prone position did not go overly smoothly….so they brought the smack-down ….if you asked my husband he’d probably say it was deserved :)

    Sounds like you and I are on the same recovery schedule - hope yours goes well! Be careful with your left achilles…..bilateral tears would suck

    Happy Heelin’!

  8. Mary on November 13, 2008 7:08 pm

    beloved if oft injured daughter, did I read correctly that your cast is off? Oh joy and chorus of “Alleluia”. tell me it is so. how are you knees, etc? Is there any relief for pain? stay amazing and beautiful, you baby adores you as do I, your mom in law.
    Angels always GUIDE and keep you safe.

  9. Smish on November 14, 2008 9:22 am

    Heather: Wow! What a nice post from a mother-in-law. You must have a great one but you must be a treasure as well.
    An Ear, Nose, and Throat specialist friend of mine told me she is convinced that, that particular line of anti-biotics causes a lot of ATR’s. She ALWAYS warns her patients before they start taking them and she only uses them as a last resort.
    Reading one of your earlier posts about thrashing around on the operating table, I actually had one of my front teeth chipped from one of the tubes. I was warned it could happen in the papers I signed before surgery and I specifically remember laughing about that. Then when I got home and saw my tooth I laughed again. It’s not too bad. Happy recovery!

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