One Year - short update

Hi everyone! I’m a little late for my one year - I’m actually about 54 weeks post op now. I just wanted to give a quick update to where I am now.

I did a total of 14 weeks of PT before I was released to do whatever I wanted. That was also the point where I was able to do 10 single leg calf raises off a step. Honestly, I’ve been lazy with PT since them, and I’m starting to regret that. I have been working more on general fitness, but I try to at least throw some stretches and calf raises in there.

I started rock climbing about 3 months ago, and haven’t had any issues with it. I’m only doing top rope though, I’m still afraid to take any big falls from bouldering or lead climbing. The only problem I had was on one route, I got stuck and stood up on my toes of my surgery foot for a couple minutes, and my calf/achilles cramped up and I had to come down and massage/stretch it out. I also get random cramps in my arch, but I think that’s just from not stretching enough. I still get a little swelling from a long shift on my feet or a really active day, but it’s nothing a little ice won’t fix.

Incision is fine. Still a little numb, I don’t think that’s going to go away. I find a lot of the stiffness is gone if I massage it with scar gel every night.

I had some pretty bad back/hip pain from all the time on crutches and in the boot. I was stubborn about it and didn’t go see someone until it was at the point where I was in pain from sneezing. I found a great chiropractor who fixed me up in all of three visits though. If I could have done it differently, I would have just gone to see him from the start and prevented the pain in the first place.

Overall, I’d say I’m at about 80%. My achilles is still stiff but I don’t have any pain anymore. It’s weaker than I’d like, but that’s my own fault for not keeping up with PT. I’m hoping to be back to 100% by summer, if I step it up and do better with PT.

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PT 5.5 months in (24 weeks)

I’ve been doing “phase 2″ of PT for a good 2 or 3 weeks now, and I started jogging on the treadmill today! 30sec on, 30 off for 4 minutes, but I’m jogging! I’m also starting to do some very small hops as well as single-leg calf raises, as well as leg press and some kind of challenging balance exercises. My PT says we can work on more intense jumping once I can bust out calf raises equally on both sides, and once I can run a mile with no pain. Hopefully that won’t take more than a few more weeks.

As far as pain, I still have soreness pretty consistently. I’m pushing more and more each week, but I’m getting tired of the constant soreness. I’m ready to be done and I’m only halfway there. Why did I do this surgery again?

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21 weeks - PT phase 2

Sorry for the lack of updates. Life got crazy in the past several weeks between work, school, new psych meds, etc.

Anyway, I had what I thought was my last PT appointment today and was really nervous to be done. I am getting quite a bit of strength and ROM back, but I’d say I’m maybe 50% back to normal, and I feel like my theraband exercises and calf stretches are not really doing anything anymore. I’m back to 30 hours a week of work but that is pretty damn painful - I even broke out the boot for the first time in a month a couple days ago.

Anyway, my PT did a re-eval today and said that he’s happy with how far I’ve come (oh yeah - I had to switch therapists about two weeks in), and would like to transition from basic functionality to getting me back into my regular martial arts/yoga/dance/whatever I want to do routine. So he dropped the theraband exercises and basic ROM exercises I was doing and added some new calf raises and stretches to my routine. The best part is most of what I’m doing is just once a day now, so I think I’m more likely to actually get everything in, rather than doing half of what I need to do when it was 2x/day.

And now I’m off to shower and go to bed because I have a 5:30am shift tomorrow. I’ll try and update with how this new stuff is going, but I’m still celebrating the fact that I don’t have a limp anymore. Yay!!

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14 Weeks - Starting PT

I started PT a couple days ago. My therapist, Judy, was really really fun and upbeat, and said she loves treating ankle injuries because they’re “the fun ones”.

She asked the usual questions, seeing what hurt and how much I could do. Then she measured my range of motion, had me balance on each leg, then do ten calf raises on my good leg, and attempt the same on my bad. I couldn’t even get my heel off the ground and it hurt quite a bit. I’m also very wobbly on my op leg.

She gave me exercises to do twice daily:

  • Three sets of ten reps with the green theraband in each direction: up, down, and to each side.
  • Calf stretch in a lunge position, both with the knee straight and bent - three sets of 20 seconds each.
  • Towel slides: Keeping my heel in the same place, slide a towel back and forth across a hard floor using my toes. This is supposed to strengthen the stabilizing muscles in my leg. Two minutes twice a day.
  • Toe scrunches: Scrunch up the towel with my toes like I’m picking it up to strengthen my arch. Two minutes twice a day.

So far I’ve been pretty good about doing them. It’s a little painful, especially some parts of my ankle and foot during the calf stretch, but I know that in the long term this is what will get me back to normal. Next appointment is in a week.

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13 weeks

I had my third and final post-op appointment today. I get to remove the heel lifts from my shoes and I’m starting PT in just over a week.

I went for a 3.5 mile bike ride without the boot the other day with no negative effects. It’s really nice to be able to sort of work out again.

Working on my feet is still painful. I can do 2-3 hours okay but any more than that is still a struggle. Honestly, I’m not 100% sure if that’s my heel or my depression, which is still bad.

I asked about my chances of developing that same issue on the other side and my OS said it was 50/50.

Limp is getting steadily better. If I wear the lifts and walk slowly I can fool most people.

Apologies for the kind of strange tone of this post. I wanted to update but my depression has my brain in a total fog and it’s hard to really focus on anything.

Out of curiosity, for people who are at or past 13 weeks out, what sort of activity level were you at? I feel like I’m moving really slowly but maybe that’s normal.

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2-shoes and holy swelling, batman! (10 weeks)

I started 2-shoes yesterday! I was expecting it to be this big huge deal but it was actually significantly easier than starting FWB in the boot. Tendon is extremely stiff and weak so I’m limping quite a bit today, but it actually feels slightly less painful than being in the boot.

The limp is obviously caused by the stiffness and weakness - I can step forward with my left (op) foot easily, but I can’t push off with my left toes or bend my ankle more than 90°. That makes me take a very short step and  just lift my foot up off the ground. I’m sure it will get better with time and practice though. It already feels a little better. The only real pain I’m having is this weird clicking in the front of my ankle. I’ve had the sound there for my whole life, though it got better as I got older, and it’s never been painful before. I’m hoping that as I gain strength in my ankle it will get better again. I didn’t get a lot of direction from my OS so I’m doing some basic ROM and theraband exercises that already feel like they’re getting better. I see him again in 3 weeks and find out if I’m doing PT at that point.

I noticed in the shower this morning (a real shower without a chair!) that my foot is getting really, really swollen when I stand. I know it’s normal but with my history of DVT, it still freaks me out. Compression socks, here we come!

Incision is about 95% healed, looks great.

As far as activity goes, according to my activity tracker, I’m up to ~3500 steps per day. I’ve worked shifts up to 2.5 hours without much issue, and last night I made it through an entire Kung Fu class in the boot. I’m also biking with no issue.

Unfortunately depression is kicking my butt right now. Hoping that gets better soon because I’m having a really hard time with it.

Edit to add photos: incision and calf size.

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FWB - Ouch!

I’ve been getting around the house and work FWB now for a couple days, and using one crutch outside for the most part. Every day gets easier and less painful, but I have to say, this is the most pain I’ve had since before the surgery. It’s not on my incision or where it was before (the back outside of my heel), it’s mostly the bottom of my heel, and a little bit of tightness in my achilles. It seems to get better the more I walk around, and the first couple steps of the day are pain-free. Anyone have suggestions for how to help this, or how long this is going to last?

Background for those who haven’t been following me:

1/16/15: Haglund’s excision surgery, splint at 30° plantar flexion.

2/4/15 (2w 5d post op): PWB with two crutches, aircast at 15° PF, can shower and sleep without the boot.

2/6/15 (3w post op): Vacocast arrived, switched to that at 15° PF.

3/4/15 (6w 5d post op): FWB as tolerated, 10° PF, can swim and bike with the boot.

And in the future; decrease PF by 5° every week until neutral, switch to 2-shoes on 3/25.

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Second post-op appointment, 6 weeks 5 days

I had my second post-op today! It was super quick and easy - OS said my incision looked great, and asked if I’d like to start walking! Woo!

I’m slowly transitioning to FWB - currently walking around with one crutch. Heel is sore but nothing unbearable. I moved from 15 to 10 degrees plantar flexion, and have instructions to move 5 degrees per week until I’m at neutral. After three weeks I can transition to 2-shoes.

Something I didn’t think about before now was shoes - I have backless shoes and heel lifts, but I didn’t think about walking around the house. How did other people do that? Dedicated shoes for in the house with heel lifts? I can’t imagine just walking around barefoot.

Last kind of fun thing - my OS liked the Vacocast and asked me to show it to the clinical director so they could look into carrying it. I felt like a salesperson because I love this boot so much :).

Also got the official okay to do no and low impact workouts - swimming or biking. Yay!

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Steri strips are off!

I sent an email to the OS’s office and got the reply that three weeks later (5.5 weeks post op), it’s fine to take the steri strips off. I pulled them off and a huge chunk of dead skin, dry blood and drainage came off with one of them…ewww. Underneath, though, the incision looks great. I’m still struggling with images on here (I get them in the post but they’re huge), so here is a pic through imgur. Now to cover it with a waterproof bandage and go swimming!

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Steri-strips and socks

Just looking for other people’s experiences on a couple incision related things:

I’m at 5 weeks post op, and had stitches removed and replaced with steri strips three weeks ago. The nurse said the strips would fall off in about a week but they’re still on - did anyone else have this happen? When will they fall off? A couple edges are peeling but overall they’re still pretty stuck on there.

Another thing I’m curious about is that I was also given the okay to sleep without the boot, and have been for three weeks. I still cover the incision with a sock because I’m afraid of it rubbing on the sheets and/or pulling on the steri strips, but it’s uncomfortable and hot to have it covered 24/7. Am I being over-cautious or is this a good thing to keep doing?

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