Post Holiday Update

December 30th, 2018

It’s been a couple of weeks so I thought I’d file in an update. Lots of traveling the last couple of weeks. First a flight out to California to see the folks then a flight back to Tennessee and then a long 6 hour drive home. I knew I was going to have trouble at the airports given my foot. I had connecting flights that I would have to hustle to make, so I opted to wear the boot on the airport travel days even though I’m technically in two shoes now. I can move pretty quickly in the boot but I have to move a lot slower and think about my steps when I’m just in shoes. And boy, I’m glad I did. I ended up doing a ton of walking at the airport. So much so, that I spent the next 4 days at my parents letting my achilles recover. It was so stiff and angry! It took me about a week to get back to where I was in my recovery before the trip. But now I have a better grasp of what it can endure.

Overall though, I think things are progressing nicely. I’ve been walking around the house in clogs, which help a ton! With the clogs on, I almost don’t have a limp. But forget about barefooted. I’m just not there yet. Outside, I’ve been wearing my super awesome new running shoes (Hoka’s, in case you want some). They’ve got lots of padding and are made for stability, which I really need. I still have a pretty severe limp in the running shoes but I know that will improve with time. I think I’m closing in on week 12, so I still have quite a ways to go.

I’ve been going to physical therapy twice a week (except for the two weeks I was traveling) which is going well, and doing my exercises at home. I’m doing assisted heels raises, a lot of balancing drills, some squats and modified lunges. Most of those I can do fairly well except the lunges. Got a problem with those for some reason. I’ve also been going to the gym and have been doing the stationary bike, a little bit of elliptical and lots of weights. It’s nice to actually get my heart rate up with some cardio where I actually sweat!

I still can’t walk very far before my achilles starts complaining, which I find the most annoying. Over Christmas, I tried a short walk outside thought the woods with my husband. I think I only did maybe 1/2 a mile and that was all I could do. Frustrating. But I’m trying not to push it. It is what it is. I also still have a bit of numbness around the edge of my heel, but I’m hoping, as with everything else, that will improve with time.

What I try to remember, during this time of year where we count our blessings, is that at least I’m not in a cast and on crutches anymore. I don’t think there’s been a day yet where I haven’t been doing something around the house, in the yard or out in the real world where I haven’t said, “At least I’m not on crutches. At least I’m not in a cast.” I am SO GRATEFUL for that!

Happy New Year everyone! And here’s to a very speedy recovery for everyone!!

2nd Post Op

December 13th, 2018

9 weeks and 1 day today! I had my second post op with the PA and I got a good report card! She was pleased with the incision site which has very little scar tissue build up. Some that needs to be massaged out but not horrible. She was really pleased with my range of motion and my dorsiflexion. She said to ditch the boot and join the 2 shoes club! And I get to drive! And I can go to the gym! She said most of the stuff at the gym was okay at this point, but to be smart about it. Build up slowly and take it easy on the resistance when doing things like the elliptical and the bike. The only thing she definitely wants to hold off on is jogging/running. Not for another 3 months at least. I can walk on the treadmill but that’s it. I’m okay with that. She said to tell my PT guy that he’s doing a great job and to keep hitting the PT hard. Yes Ma’am!

So I immediately Ubered back home and jumped in the car. I did a quick trip to the sporting goods store to buy a new pair of sweatpants. The ones I have are ripped and I was feeling a little white trashy at physical therapy. All done in two running shoes. I’m still walking incredibly slow and with a limp, but I don’t care. I know that will get better slowly with time. And the limp is from tightness not pain! Can I tell you how wonderful that is? First time in at least 3 years I’m walking without pain in my right heel. Well, we’ll see how sore my achilles is tomorrow since this is the most non-boot walking I’ve done up to this point.

Next appointment 3 months from now (around the 6 month mark) with the actual doctor this time. Now if I can just avoid doing anything stupid in the next couple months I can see a light at the end of the tunnel. I know…a very long 12 month tunnel, but a light nonetheless.

3rd and 4th PT

December 10th, 2018

Well, I switched back to my old physical therapist, the one I was seeing before the injury, and things are going so much better! I’m much more at ease and comfortable with him and able to talk more freely and I think that helps. He also knows how prone I am to go overboard on things so he’s helping me to reign in that side of things, which I fully appreciate now. I like how he actually feels and works the ankle, foot and calf with his hands…how tense/loose it is in certain areas. Physical therapy should be a hands on practice, and the first PT I had would hardly touch my foot….made me feel a little leper like. I mean I have some serious calluses on my feet but not that bad! Speaking of calluses, the ones on my injured foot are so much worse than the other one and since the injury I’ve been spending serious time trying to get rid of them and I’m almost there.

So anyway, my PT has me doing more theraband exercises in addition to what I’ve been doing. They have lots of cool machines too so we’ve been some calf raise exercises on a machine where you lay on your back so that the strain on the achilles is really minimized. It’s done with very little weight so it’s like a baby step into real calf raises. He’s also helping me practice walking around in two shoes, no boot, which I love but is super awkward. There’s no pain, but it’s so stiff! I really have to concentrate to walk with a normal gait where you roll through from heel to toe. And then I realized, I have spent the past three years avoiding that very action. My achilles has bothered me so long that I don’t think I’ve walked with a normal heel toe motion on my right foot for ages. I really am having to learn to walk correctly all over again.

I’ve come to really look forward to PT day. I can see progress being made now and I’m excited to learn new exercises to add to my foot repertoire. I’m still in the boot (technically) but my PT is really encouraging me to be out of the boot a little bit each day in two shoes with lifts. He’s really pleased as to where I’m at recovery wise and feels that it’s strong enough to slowly start the process. I’ve been following his advice and just starting out with an hour here and there in the house, in my husbands crocs with one lift. I’ve ordered my own crocs and clogs for when I get the official okay to move to two shoes. By the way, I have to agree with kamueller that crocs are awesome. I always poo-pooed them because they are ugly as sin…but super comfortable! I also wonder if I’ll ever by able to wear cute shoes again. You know the ones…the ones with no support but very pretty. Typical women’s shoes. I can only hope that I am not destined for an entire life of running shoes, clogs and support shoes. It’s hard to go to dress up occasions in those.

I think a lot of this process is also psychological. I’m having a hard time committing to actually trusting in my foot. I know I’m still healing, but I do think my foot is stronger than I’m giving it credit for. I am just so extremely terrified of doing anymore damage or worse, re-rupturing it.

I have another follow up visit with my doctor this Thursday and I am so excited. I know he is going to okay me to drive, which is like Christmas day for me, and I hope he’s going to say I can start moving into two shoes, although I’m a little bit scared of that. I’m also hoping he gives me the okay to start some more cardio friendly exercises like the bike! or maybe the elliptical. Might be a little early for that.

2nd PT appointment

November 27th, 2018

Had my second physical therapy appointment today. Nothing much new to report. I’m FWB now and often forget where I’ve left my crutches which I find amusing. But for the PT appointment I brought them and pretended like I was using them more than I am. She said if was fine if I wanted to just use one crutch so I asked when could I go full weight bearing. She said not until you transition to two shoes. What? That doesn’t sound right, so I’m going to ask my doc.

Anyway, she said my range of motion looks good. She gave me some more exercise to do like seated heel raises, theraband exercises and some leg raises. I’ve already been doing a ton of leg raises and thigh strengthening, so I feel I’m ahead of the game there. I wouldn’t mind some more challenging exercises, but I’m not going to push it. I tend to go full bore on stuff like this and end up overdoing it, and I really don’t want to do that this time.

I’m also not super thrilled with my PT person. She’s nice enough and qualified but I’m thinking about going back to my PT guy that I was seeing before the injury. I saw him for about 2 months in a last ditch effort to address the achilles problem. Oddly enough, he did help a little bit…I guess just not enough. Anyway, I feel like he knows where I was at physically and what I’m capable of achieving. Also, he’s young and cute (just kidding).

I have a appointment on December 13th with the doctor and I’m really hoping that he’s going to give me the okay to drive. The no driving thing is absolutely killing me. I always have to leave like an hour ahead of schedule to get anywhere. Since we live outside city limits in the country, it takes an Uber/Lyft for-ever to get out to us. Then another eternity to get where I’m going. Half the time I end up getting to my destination super early, the other half late. Very unpredictable. I’m even okay staying in the boot a little longer, if I could just DRIVE! And if I can drive, I can go to the gym! Yes, I could take uber to the gym, but each way is like $12 and my gym membership is only $45 a month. $24 a day to go the gym seems a little ridiculous. So home workouts for now.

Overall, the foot is feeling pretty good. I still have a bit of a cankle going on, but I’m icing every night and doing my exercises at least twice a day. I imagine cankle will be with me for a good long time. I get to take another wedge out tomorrow, which is exciting. And sad. Sad that this is exciting to me. Ahhhh, what a small little life I lead right now.

Travel Question

November 17th, 2018

Hey all! Since we’re coming up on the travel season and plans need to be made and tickets bought, I have a question for anyone that cares to chime in. After reading ZRobs post about traveling/flying at 5 weeks I was feeling pretty confident that I’d be able to fly cross country in week 10, but now I’m not so sure. I have no idea if I’ll be out of the boot or not and I most definitely will have to catch a connecting flight so I’ll be hustling between gates. So. Anyone out there travelled during this time frame and if so, how was it? Or if you’re coming up on week 10 or already passed that milestone, what do you think? Thanks in advance.

First PT Appointment

November 15th, 2018

Had my first PT appointment today. Well, it was more of an evaluation. She took some measurements and tested my foot strength in different directions, which she said was good. I’m about where she thought I should be at the 6 week mark. She also showed me a few ROM exercises to do at home….you all are familiar with them. Heel pumps, alphabet, circles, towel scrunches. Just a few reps, three times a day. She said lower reps but more often are preferable at this point. She also said I should still be icing for the swelling, which I have not been doing. The swelling hasn’t been horrible, but yes I have a significant cankle going on, so I will add icing into my routine now. She said to expect some swelling in that ankle well into the 6 to 10 month range. Ugh.

I also got to take a wedge out of the boot so now I’m down to two wedges and PWB with the crutches. Boy I definitely notice a difference in that one wedge! My little achilles is not super happy with the added stretch. But I suppose that’s the purpose of this and will get better with time. I find using one crutch on the opposite side a little easier than the two crutches. I have set aside my iWalk for now in the hopes that I will never have to use it again (at least with this foot). It was invaluable for getting around those first 5 weeks, but I hate it. I might consider strapping it on in the morning just because I am so tight in the morning before the tendon warms up a bit.

I searched through the blogs for people who have had the Haglund’s procedure done with the detachment and reattachment of the tendon and shaving the heel bone down. It did not set my mind at ease! A lot of those people seemed to have a much harder time recovering from this then the standard ATR. A large number of the posts I read seemed to say that even a year later they were not at a 80-90% or so recovery level. My only consolation is that I know cserpent has had it done twice! and she seems to be cruising along in her recovery. My inspiration!

I am grateful that at least I am at PWB status now (so much easier to get around the kitchen). I try to remember that everything is in baby steps and already I have come so far. Those first 5 weeks were some of the most difficult of my life.

Question for all the gimpers out there…when did you transition from PWB to FWB? I forgot to ask my PT and the doc didn’t really give me a timeline for that. I’m not trying to push my limits, just curious. Was it after all the wedges were out or before?

Happy healing everyone and don’t overdo it on the Thanksgiving festivities!

1st Post Op

November 2nd, 2018

Today I had my first post op appointment at 3 weeks and 1 day. I was so excited, like Christmas Day excited, to go to this appointment. Since my husband is out of town, I had to Uber it there and I didn’t want to miss it. So I ended up getting there like an hour early. That’s okay. I had my ipad and coffee.

They took me in and cut of the cast and cleaned me up. My doctor’s PA came in and went over the protocol for the next couple months. I got a boot today (yay!) with heel lifts. 2 weeks and 3 wedges NWB. Take a wedge out. 2 more weeks and slowly start putting a little weight on it. Take a wedge out. 2 more weeks increasing the weight. She wanted me to start physical therapy next week but explained it will really only be toe exercises and light flexing. Second week of December I got back to see the doc.

I got the sutures out and after 3 days I can shower without the plastic cover and let the water run over the incision. She said I don’t need to wear the boot to sleep but if I get up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night (which I always do) I must put the boot on and use the crutches. Fine by me.

Even if I wanted to put weight on it now, I couldn’t. That achilles is so darn tight…it feels like a steel cable in there. I can’t even flex it to neutral position at this point. I know I’m over reacting but I have my serious doubts that I’ll ever walk normal again. But I know all of you have been through the same thing so it must be doable. I keep telling myself I just have to be patient. It’s going to take a long time.

I asked about exercise and they said anything upper body is fine but nothing else. No recumbent bike or rowing machine, which I was kind of hoping for. *sigh*. Well more chair aerobics it is.

I must say, ignoring the scar, I love my new smooth heel…no golf ball size deformity there anymore!

Incision
Incision2

Quick Rant

October 30th, 2018

Okay. I ordered the iWalk and a knee scooter the day before I had surgery because I knew I would need it. I had to be able to do stuff around the house or I would lose my frickin’ mind.

Now, let me start by saying I could NOT get along without that iWalk. I use it a lot. More than the knee scooter. Actually, that knee scooter was probably a waste of money, I think I’ve used it once and it was outside (tried to take the dog around the neighborhood). I find the knee scooter to be kind of tipsy and unstable. If you hit even the tiniest pebble or twig it threatens to dump you on your ass. And it has a large turning radius, which is not great in my house. The iWalk let’s you use your hands! Yay! I can cook dinner, I can do some cleaning, I can feed the animals. Awesome.

But. The iWalk, while great!, is not the most comfortable. I’ve tried foam cushioning, extra padding…tons of stuff. But it just hits me above my cast in a weird way (right where the cast ends and my leg begins) and it’s a little painfully and annoying. And if worn for long periods of time, sweaty. But I’m going to call utter bullshit on some of those testimonials on their website. HIKING? Hiking. Some guy went hiking. And some girl climbed up a mountain of rocky terrain to get to the summit. Some guy said he walked around some european town for like 8 hours. Oh hell no. Granted, these were younger folk, maybe 20ish. But COME ON. I spend an hour in that thing trying to throw the ball for my poor neglected dog and I have to come in and rip it off.

Maybe it’s just me. It must be, because they are really popular with gimpers like us. Also, I think there is a lot of user error involved on my part. I keep tripping on my pirate leg a bit…hmmm….perhaps I need to lower it.

End Rant

(If the iWalk company is a sponsor of this site in any way, I apologize, and will remove this post)

Cast change to wicked black.

Got cast changed out to black

Day 1: A World of Hurt

October 30th, 2018

I was great in the morning. No pain, had slept through the night with my foot elevated. So I got up. I was use to the crutches by now as I had had 4 days prior to the surgery to adjust to the god awful misery of them.

I felt a little like a had been run over with, not a truck, but maybe a scooter? Not too bad and the nerve block was still in effect. They sent me home with hydrocodone, two different laxatives (because, you know that condone really stops you up) and a blood thinner for blood clots. I didn’t actually end up picking up the thinner from the pharmacist since it was way too expensive (like $450.00 after insurance!) but used aspirin on a daily basis instead, which my doctor said was fine.

Husband said he needs to run to the office, just for an hour and then he’d be back home. Sure, hon…go, go. I’m aces! The nerve block starts to wear off around 11:00. Not too bad yet. Maybe I can get by on just Tylenol. Ooooo…okay, now it’s a little worse. Oh boy. I better pop a hydrocodone. Why is it not working? Oh god. My pain is at a 9 out of 10. Can I take two? I better not.

For the better part of the first day I was at a pain level of either 8 or 9 until the evening hours. Every 4 hours I popped another hydrocodone to no avail. It didn’t really touch the pain. Occasionally I would be at a level 6 or 7 but then it would ramp back up. It seems like I didn’t really get a constant level of pain management until it built up in my system.

I took the pain meds the rest of that evening and maybe one or two in the morning of the second day, but from then on I was okay on just Tylenol.

Other people have said it on here, so I will just reiterate. Do not wait until the nerve block wears off to start taking the pain medication. Just don’t. Don’t do it, You’ll regret it.

Also, elevate. Toes above nose people.

Surgery Day

October 30th, 2018

I’m doing some of these posts more for me to remember than for anything else. I want to be able to look back at these a year from now, fully healed (hopefully) and remember how far I’ve come.

Surgery day was Wednesday October 10th. It was scheduled for 2:00 but I don’t think I actually got into the OR until 4:00pm or so.

I’ve never had surgery (except for wisdom teeth out) of any kind or have even been in a hospital for anything, so it was a new experience for me. I was really scared, like stupid scared, and I was lucky to have my husband there with me talking me down the whole time. Someone else’s blog (I think Dennis) mentioned that he went through surgery day alone and if he had to do it again, would have someone with him. Totally agree. I can’t imagine managing this day alone.

There were lots of questions and going over medical history. They started an IV line. I met with the anesthesiaologist and he covered what he was going to do. I would be given a nerve block which would wear off in the vicinity of 12 hours. They would also put me under general anesthesia so I would be unconscious for the procedure. This is the part I was most nervous about. I don’t know why, but it freaked me out.

They gave me some kind of drug in my IV line to help me relax…which it really did. Then they wheeled me over to the nerve block room, did an ultrasound to find the right nerves and administered the block. Yep. That worked. Can’t feel my lower leg, but that’s okay because I was on sleepy/mellow IV drug. My doctor stopped by for a chat to go over the procedure.

Doctor: “I didn’t think I’d see you so soon. I thought you were going to think some more about having the procedure done”.

*chuckle*

Me: “I was. I literally just saw you two days ago”

Doctor: “Well I meant to tell you that there is a small chance of rupturing your Achilles with the haglund’s deformity. Guess you were one of the lucky ones.”

Me: “I’m honored”

After a bit, they wheeled me into the OR where I saw the anesthesiologist and my doctor…..and that is the last I remember.

I woke up about 2 hours later in the recovery area. My leg was in a cast and I was a little groggy, but I didn’t have any pain. That comes later. I waited about an hour and they released me to go home. I got to sleep in my own bed and sleep soundly through the night without pain.

Overall, except the nerve wracking-ness of the whole day everything went smoothly and it was an easier ordeal than I though it would be.

But the next day….

    About
    I’m a 48 year old gal that loves to run, hike with my dog and do yoga. I am constantly on the go and have a hard time sitting still. This injury is slowly killing me.
    • junebug has completed
      11.63 out of 26.2 miles to full recovery.
      Goal: 365 days from the surgery date.
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