ibjc’s Achilles Recovery

         My return to 2 feet!!!

December 13, 2012

Not healing well…..

Filed under: Dr Visit — Jenifer @ 4:13 pm

I’m have been released from therapy and I’m in 2 shoes but NOTHING and I mean NOTHING can touch my achilles. I’m extremely tender and sometimes swollen and the Dr. is concerned that it is taking so long and wants me to sleep in a boot or strassburg sock. Has anyone else had this problem???? I don’t have nodules on the achilles but it’s thick, tender and stiff. Once I sit or stop for any more than 10 minutes the achilles has to be stretched to work again without being stiff…..I’m 6 months past surgery and I’m worried and even more so after seeing the look on his face and telling me he was concerned that it’s not healing like it should be.  HELP…..any words of encouragement in y’all healing process.


  1. Sorry to hear about your healing concern an wish I could be more help. I’m only 9 weeks from my surgery and still in my boot. I do hope that the problem(s) are resolved and you can continue your path to recovery. I also see your from Knoxville (Tn I assume, although I could be wrong) the city I move from 9 years ago. Anyway, I hope you get good news at your next appointment and continue your recovery.

    Comment by kkirk — December 13, 2012 @ 6:22 pm

  2. Sounds aweful Jenifer - I hope they are able to get you past this and I wish you a speedy diagnosis and recovery to whatever it is causing this tenderness.

    Comment by andrew1971 — December 13, 2012 @ 7:57 pm

  3. I wonder if your operation took an unusual amount of tendon length out of the AT, making it unusually short. Or if not, what else is making it stiff and apparently short. You don’t have calf-muscle spasms or anything else that tightens your calf muscle(s), do you?

    Up to a point, the muscle(s) can stretch to accommodate a short ATR. Night-time often causes a stretched-out muscle to contract and stiffen some, so using “the sock” or a boot overnight may well help. Have you tried it yet? Have you been seeing a physiotherapist? Sometimes they can do wonders, either with massage and manipulation to combat post-op adhesions (which can greatly limit ROM), or with specific stretches and exercises, or with various high-tech gizmos that might help. If you’re getting most of your direction from a surgeon now and not a PT, you should consider trying to find a good PT to help, because what your surgeon is doing NOW is more like PT than like surgery.

    It sounds like you already work on stretching during the day. I recently saw a podiatrist who told me that I’m still compensating for a too-short surgical repair of my first ATR from 11 years ago, and I should work at stretching more. Sometimes while I’m brushing my teeth, I’m planting that foot way behind me. . .

    In extreme cases — whether an AT is too short from surgery or just since birth — people do get relief from AT-lengthening surgery. Basically, the surgeon causes an ATR and leaves a gap, then the foot is immobilized and left to heal non-op, usually withOUT being plantar-flexed the way normal non-op ATR treatment is done. My father-in-law had that surgery on both his legs when he was a kid (before that, he’d often walked around on tiptoes!), and his legs are still fine now at 89! It sounds like it’d be worthwhile to seek out a second opinion.

    Comment by normofthenorth — December 14, 2012 @ 1:09 am

  4. I posted this comment earlier, but it’s not showing up, so I’m reposting it (having taken out a hyperlink to an achillesblog post of my own – perhaps that caused the earlier comment to get stuck in a spam filter).

    It took me a long time to fully heal (i.e. for all the pain and stiffness to be gone), but eventually I got there and I think you will too.

    Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) appears to have helped me – see my post from 12/11/12 in my own blog on achillesblog (my username is “copepod” and the post header is “Achilles post” ).

    A few other quick thoughts. N-acetylcysteine is a safe, pretty inexpensive antioxidant that can sometimes help with inflammatory pain conditions (though I haven’t used it myself).

    Also - this is probably irrelevant in your case, but a lot of people are on ACE inhibitors (for hypertension or other conditions) and ACE inhibitor use appears to be a risk factor for development of CRPS (likely by inhibiting breakdown of neuroinflammatory peptides). I’m hesitant to mention that, since ACE inhibitors are beneficial and often essential drugs for many medical conditions, and it would be a grave mistake for anyone to stop taking prescribed ACE inhibitors because of fear of CRPS (though in some cases a physician might be able to substitute an ARB for an ACE inhibitor, at least temporarily).

    Also, given the extreme sensitivity to touch that you seem to be describing (at six months out) – at some point, if that persists, it might be worth seeing a neurologist/pain specialist just to make sure that it isn’t incipient CRPS. CRPS is relatively uncommon, so it’s statistically unlikely – but it’s underdiagnosed, and if CRPS is diagnosed and treated early, outcomes are much better. Also, CRPS can be tricky to diagnose (e.g. inter-physician concordance on CRPS diagnoses can be low, and symptoms of CRPS can occur transiently in a limb recovering normally from surgery and immobilization); female gender, any history of migraines, osteoporosis, and use of ACE inhibitors are known to increase risk of CRPS.

    Comment by copepod — December 15, 2012 @ 10:07 pm

  5. Really sorry to hear you struggle. It is rough for sure. I am currently at ~16 weeks, in two shoes but get constant pain in my heal bone. Isn’t this just a fun injury to have. Best of luck.

    Comment by wacaine — December 19, 2012 @ 10:38 am

  6. Thank Y’all so much for your words of encouragement and helpful info. I have another therapy appt next week so I will see what that means for healing. Now since I have really stretched this week I am a tiny better in terms of tenderness. I still walk like Festus from the Munsters in the morning of I sit too long and my leg gets tight or swollen and I’m hope that time will take care of that. It’s still very thick but no nodules so the Dr. said that was good news. More to post after next Friday…..I’m continuing to work and stretch it out but WOW….this just seem like I should be so much better and shoes other than my danskos or open back shoes seems like a pipe dream…..

    Comment by Jenifer — December 22, 2012 @ 1:09 am

  7. Hi ibjc
    How’s your recovery

    Comment by ripraproar — July 2, 2013 @ 6:20 pm

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