Post-Op Recovery

Hello everyone! I ruptured my achilles (complete tear) this past Thanksgiving morning. I hoped an early AM workout would lessen the guilt of an extra plate and drinks at dinner. I was exhausted after playing 3 half-court games for an hour. I should have listened to my body, but told myself "1 more". Halfway through the game, on a simple side step, I heard the gunshot pop in my left leg. In the blink of an eye I was on the floor. I asked my brother if anyone threw the ball at my leg haha. He said nobody touched you.

I live in the Bay Area and am a die-hard Warriors fan. I have listened to everything around Kevin Durant’s achilles injury (as well as Kobe Bryant’s among others). I knew worst case I tore my achilles, but didn’t believe it until the ER doctor confirmed it about an hour later. The leg was wrapped in a splint. I could not see an ortho because of the holiday weekend and had to wait the following week for an appointment. When I finally met with an ortho, he unwrapped the leg and told me the splint was complete crap. The ER wrapped it so that there was a lump at the heel that pushed up into where the tear was. This left my leg with an indentation and the skin didn’t look good. He said the splint should have been straight as possible at the calf to heel. Foot was angled down which was good. He put me in a boot with 1 wedge, and surgery was scheduled for 1 week after.

I have since had surgery on Dec. 6th and am beginning week 3 of recovery. I just have the following questions from the injury up until now. I have read other people’s story on the site, but thought this was best to get direct answers related to my injury. I would really appreciate feedback, your personal experience, advice, etc. I’ll list questions and feel free to answer as many as your would like.

1. Post surgery I was put back in a better splint for two weeks. The second week, towards the end of day, my toes would get thus pressure and feel numb. I could not find a comfortable position and trying to sleep sucked. Did anyone have a similar feeling in their toes?

2. I had my two week follow up appointment where I was put in a boot. The doctor still kept it with only 1 wedge. I have read multiple accounts of people starting with 3 wedges and tapering down each week to 1 wedge. Are there any benefits or disadvantages to starting with 1 wedge (~15 degrees) from the get go?

3. I have numbness in my big toe, only on the right side of it. It is tingly with sharp needles feeling. I have only been wiggling my toes so far, no foot movement. Is this usual? just the nerves waking up? any concerns?

4. There is also some discoloration in the foot. It looks like bruising, but doesnt hurt at all. just dark spotting. Any idea what this could be?

5. I have heard many accounts of people (even in non surgical route) who have started to put weight on thier foot two weeks after surgery. I was told no weight until week 6, but could begin PT at week 4. Is this just all specific to each person? the doctor’s methods? I will follow doc’s orders but man is it annoying

6. I dont get why they say no weight but this boot weighs like 10lbs! When they do say no weight, I’m assuming no body weight walking. Is it safe to just rest the leg (in boot) on the floor on its own self weight?

23 Responses to “Post-Op Recovery”

  1. Hey JBD9 - I’m about a week ahead of you as I had surgery on 11/26. Here are my responses based on my experience so far:

    1 - Sleeping still isn’t great for me since I’m still elevating my leg on a couple pillows at night. During week 3 I got some needle sensations in my big toe, it even woke me up a few times at night. I’m on week 5 now and that has faded away. I still don’t have much feeling in the top of my foot still.

    2 - My doc started me at 1 wedge as well at my 10 day check-in to get the staples out.

    5 - My doc’s approach was start weight bearing after I could sit in a chair with my knee at 90 degrees and my foot flat on the floor. I got there right at 4 weeks from my surgery date and started PWB. I will start PT during week 6, but have ROM exercises to do in the mean time.

    Hope that helps

  2. I injured mine about 11 months ago, they do usually heal! I did not have numbness, tingling. That sounds like its too tight, I would definitely call in a doctor and ask about it. I had my splint rewrapped in two weeks and that helped. Definitely try to elevate it ALL THE TIME, OVER THE HEART! I did it for a month and the doctor was pleased by how much swelling had gone down. And ice it a few times a day, with ice behind your knee, just above your cast.

    I had no weight bearing until 6 weeks, my doc was a little more conservative, but it went well, at age 57 I was back to playing pickleball at 4 months, and competitively at 7 months.

    Good luck!

  3. Looks like I’m on par with bdill18! I just had surgery 11/27. I’ve been keeping a journal which I plan to post but in the meantime here’s my thoughts to your comments.

    1. I’ve had the feeling of numb toes a few times. Its gotten better now that I sleep with the boot halfway open with the top plate removed

    2. My doc also started me on 3 wedges. At week 3 I went down to 2 wedges and I just went down to 1 wedge yesterday with no problem.The ROM exercises I’ve been doing have helped me get there. I think if your foot is naturally at 1 wedge there’s no harm at all. But to force it could cause a tendon stretch that will make you “heal long” and that weakens your calf muscles long term (so I’ve read)

    3. I’ve had some numbness and was attributing it to lack of blood flow. If you’re at week 3 you could probably be doing some ankle movements too. Lay down with your leg elevated and flex it up/down. It will be shockingly stiff but a few wiggle sessions a day will help.

    4. Yes I have the same. I went to 1 physical therapy apt to show me proper ROM exercises and she told me it was normal. Its gravity pulling the bruising from your injury site down your foot

    5. This annoyed the hell out of me too! My doc also said NWB for 6 weeks… I asked the PT about it she said it depends on the doctor, person, surgery, etc. 6 weeks is standard and she said thats why its impt to get your ROM in a good spot so that when you get to the 6 week mark you’re ready to GO.

    6. Ha I asked the same question to PT since its so helpful for balancing to have that boot touch the ground! She said its fine. Thats maybe 5% body weight so as long as youre being conscious of not too much its fine

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  10. I just completely ruptured mine 1 week ago and surgery the next day.

    I’m interested to see if the pressure in your leg started to fade. I’m assuming a lot of the tingling and numbness is from the swelling underneath the cast. But recently, my toes will go from freezing to warm and my leg feels as though there is so much pressure that it is going to burst.

    I’ve tried keeping it elevated above my heart, but not sure that is helping much.

    Any help would be appreciated.

  11. @kc251, I am roughly 5 weeks out of surgery. The first 2 weeks I did a great job of keeping my ankle above my heart 24/7, but also most every time I brought my ankle below my heart I started to feel the numbness / tingling sensation of what felt like blood rushing down my leg. My feet have always gone from hot to cold frequently so I didn’t notice any changes there. This slowly started to subside in week 3 and I hardly feel the tingling anymore, even when I am on my knee scooter for an extended amount of time.

  12. a412 - my doc had me elevate my foot 24/7 for the first 3 weeks and ice as often as possible (behind the knee). You want to minimize swelling as much as possible since that impedes healing.

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