Well gang it’s been a very, very long haul the past 4 months, but with every one’s support I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. I have been walking for the most part normal since about Halloween. I still have some swelling from time to time. As I said before, it looks like I will have some nerve damage from now on. The right side of my foot is still numb and I also get these shooting pains through my heel several times a day. Another huge pain in my behind is I have this constant “itch” feeling in my arch, talk about driving oneself insane, that will do it!
One can only hope that with Misty Mae joining our club that more people will understand what we have gone through. Misty if you read this, please be vocal!! I’m sure I speak for many of us when I say that people that have never gone through this have no idea how crippling it really is. My employer could not understand why I needed just 6 weeks of short term disability, they thought I only needed 2. I’ve been shot and stabbed and the pain of recovery from those wounds were pale in comparison to the pain I’ve experienced post-op with my achilles.
For those of you that have just recently joined our club, keep the faith. Use this site to learn, to vent and to help others through this difficult time. Just reading other people stories helped me a great deal, and for that I want to say a big “THANK YOU” for helping me through those VERY tough first few weeks. I actually smile now when I actually walk up the stairs :0)
Well folks I survived my first week in shoes. I must say it was an interesting experience to say the least, but with each passing day I do since a bit more mobility. What is really interesting to point out is that I have yet to exercise my leg! My doctor actually instructed me NOT too. I digressed, back to walking. I really experience no pain in the tendon itself, but the soft tissue behind my ankle gets REALLY sore. Additionally, after a day on my feet, and I am on my feet all day, my heel feels like someone has tried to drive a metal rod up from the bottom. So in some ways I have taken a huge leap forward, yet in other ways I have taken a small step back. I’m spending more time at the end of the day on my back with my foot up. I would say like week 4 or 5. But in the grand scheme of things I guess it’s worth it. I did play several games of horse with my son this past weekend, and for those who don’t know what that is, it is a game of basketball. No running or jumping, just shooting the ball. But I must point out that it was a game of regular basketball that got me into this fix! I can also now take my horses for walks, that really has been good for my mental health as well as my horses!! I try to wear dress shoes with a slight heel to work, but the best thing I have found is a pair of Harley boots that tie up and stop about 4 inches above my ankle. They provide great support for my foot, ankle and tendon. Now I hear most try tennis shoes, for they are light. Well my experience with them have been painful!! I wear them, but I will admit I’m in the most pain at the end of the day with them! Just food for thought, you need to figure out what works for you.
So to all of the newest members of our not so lucky club, I say to you, hang in there. The first two to three weeks post surgery are pure hell, however, spend the time reading a good book or watching a ton of movies and before you know it you will be back on your feet in shoes!!
I know I’ve been very remiss on updating of late. I’ve returned back to work, so needless to say I don’t have as much “time to myself” as I did those first few weeks! So here’s my update. At 8 weeks I had the last wedge taken out of my boot and a flat insert was put in to fill the hole on the bottom of my boot. So far I’m OK with this, but then my Doc threw me for a loop. I’m to ease out of the boot as soon as possible, however, here’s the kicker, I’m not to do any foot extensions with a band or toe raises. So riddle me this Batman, how do I “walk” without going up on the ball of my foot?? I am sometimes not the sharpest knife in the drawer and this was a time I was more like a spoon for I did not catch this until I actually tried to walk! Now, I have been in two shoes a couple of times, in fact, I wore shoes to an entire workday. The feeling of being in shoes was great, but I think I could crawl faster than I’m limping now. I have no pain in the tendon when I try to walk, just after a few hours the soft tissue behind the ankle starts to give me a little discomfort. I still have the numbness in the right side of my foot and it looks like I’m going to have to live with. I tell you what, I can fly with the boot on now! I was finally able to get in my pasture and work my horses some this week. I know it will be a long time before I’m back in the saddle, just doing ground work with them was uplifting. Since summer is coming to an end, I went ahead and turned my tags in for my Harley since I know I’m a long way from riding that too! BUMMER!!! For my dear friends that are just starting this journey, keep the faith! The progress may be slow, but it does happen!!!!
I’m coming up on my 5 week milestone and I’m happy to announce that I am really doing great. I am down to my last wedge in my boot and this Friday I will be wedge free and starting my last week in the boot full time. I am able to stand pain free with my full weight on my injured leg. In fact, this morning was the first shower I was able to take standing since July 6th! I still have not tried to walk, and though I really want too, I am taking everyone’s advice on here not to push myself to hard. I’m sure a lot of you feel I already am :0) My doctor feels I’m about 3 weeks ahead of his schedule and is very happy with my progress. Don’t get me wrong, I simply want to get back to wearing shoes. I don’t expect to start running again for many months. I am however, still experiencing numbness from my heel to my two little toes. My doctor thinks that go away with time, but he’s not sure. I am able to move all my toes, so he is not too concerned with this.
I know I have been pushing the boot, however, I have found one huge downfall, the PRICE my doctor charged me and my insurance company for it. You can buy it on-line for $350.00 from the link I posted before. My doctor charged me and my insurance company $700.00 for mine! I just about fell out of my chair when I read my bill!! So if you have not had your surgery, and you are considering the boot as a possible treatment path, discuss with your doctor the costs before hand and tell him to order it online!! Talk about a mark up!!!! OUCH!!! But I will say again, even with this new development I still am happy that I went with the boot over a cast!!
I went to my 2 week post op appointment to have my staples removed and boy did I get a surprise! Not only did I get my staples out, but I also had 1 wedge removed from my boot. That in itself was a major milestone, feeling my tendon stretch that extra inch as my heel worked it way down to it’s new perch inside my boot was pure bliss. Just when I thought my day could not get any better, the nurse instructed me to lose my crutches all together!! YES!! I am now walking around in my boot, though the boot does not allow me to “walk” normal, I am able to get around and actually carry something in my hands. The boot is VERY heavy so it does take its toll on me to move around, but remembering that just a few short days ago I was laid up in my bed and not being able to move period is a huge boost to my mental state!!! The only downfall to my recovery so far is that I still suffer from numbness in half of my foot and the possibility of permenant nerve damage is real. I’ll keep you posted on that issue.
My treatment going forward is simple; I exercise to stretch my tendon to regain movement. Currently I have about 2 inches of movement up and down with my foot. Each week I return to my doctor to have 1 wedge removed, meaning if everything goes well I should be in regular shoes in about 3 weeks! So in a nut shell that would be back to normal activities 5 weeks after my repair!!!
If you have not had your surgery yet, I would discuss with your doctor the option of the Beldsoe boot over a cast! It’s not pretty and it’s very heavy but it does allow you to get back on 2 feet much faster than the traditional cast treatment. Additional benefits include being able to take it off to sleep, shower and rest. I was able to shower 2 days after my surgery and I could clean and dress my incision site daily and most importantly I am able to apply ice often. Here is a link to the boot http://www.bledsoebrace.com/products/achilles.asp and just to clear any doubts, I am an IT Consultant and not a sales person for the boot!
My doctor tells me that his treatment path is somewhat new and not all doctors have joined this new thought process. One other advantage I see to this treatment process is costs. The cost of casts (approx. $300.00 USD each), therapy (since I am able to remove my boot and exercise my foot I will have less muscle mass loss over a cast treatment and do not need therapy) and less doctor visits. This may not be for everyone, but it is an option to discuss with your doctor.
Today marks 2 weeks since my surgery, or as I like to refer to it as the day I went into a comma. What I have not told everyone is that I spent 16 years in the Marine Corps, which the Corps changes the way you look at injury and also how you handle it. To have an injury like ours is a considered a sign of weakness, and you learn to push through pain. We all now know that this simply will not work with an achilles injury, yet I still find myself trying. I actually have “pushed” myself to walk with the use of just one crutch already.
Tomorrow I go to have my staples removed, which I am excited about since they seem to be the source of a great deal of my pain now. I am surprised that I still seem to have a great deal of numbness in my foot. It feels like over half of my foot is asleep, even with those painful twitches that I seem to have at least one every night still. That is a topic that we do have some posts on. I do want to point out to the new members of our club that almost everyone experiences these reflex foot jerks, and yes they hurt really bad, however, I have never heard of anyone re-tearing their achilles with them. I know the first one I had I was worried that I tore it again.
I want to Thank everyone on here for being a great source of support!! This site has been a God send to me! Keep the faith and one day we all do awake from this comma and go on to lead normal lives again!!!
The one thing that I feel we need more info on is what to really expect during those painful first days. I was able to walk, albeit painfully, between the time I injured myself and the surgery. So I had fooled myself into thinking I might have some mobility afterwards…..NOT! Even with crutches, just the weight of my boot and my foot being down was an intense pain! So for the first 5 days I really never left my bed. My loving wife waited on me like I was on my death bed. Maybe the fact I did not have a cast made this period harder on me, but having to keep my leg up and iced all the time was hell.
So for all the poor souls that have joined our club, my advice is simple…. be ready to do NOTHING! I’m the type of person that has to be moving if I’m awake, so learning to deal with the fact that the only pain free movement I truly had was the radius of my arms reach was very hard for me. So sit back, relax, grab the remote or a good book and take pride in the fact that we all will be stronger people having endured this experience!!!!
Today marks my 1 week anniversary. After reading some of the blogs the past week I have to admit I am really surprised on how many different treatment paths that are being used for the same injury! I am throwing out another one for you, I never had a CAST! I left the hospital in Beldose boot with about 4 inches of wedges in the heel. I was instructed I can WB as much as I could take pain wise. Day 6 I actually was able to walk with crutches.
I take the boot off to rest and ice and I still am dealing with pain and swelling, but my doctor told me with this method I can be golfing within 7 to 10 weeks of my surgery! Now I can see some downfalls to this process. I have to be very careful about my leg when I have the boot off. Even things like my dog jumping on the bed can turn into a nightmare for me, but I do feel in the long run I will be very happy.