The Obligatory Fall and Fear for my FHL Tendon

Well, I’ve had the obligatory fall that so many write about. Actually, the fall to the floor was pre-empted by my casted foot, which has me worried. I’m almost 3 weeks post-op and in a hard cast with my foot positioned at 30 degrees equinus. My toes are sticking out.

As I crutched into the bathroom, I lost my balance and broke my fall by putting down my left foot, which is casted. As far as I can tell, all of my toes bent over (down and under), as my casted foot hit the ground. The pain was excruciating, and my big toe is clearly bruised. At this point, I cannot voluntarily point my toe down, although I’m not sure that I ever could or should be able to since the surgery.

Because my big toe is bruised, and I can’t move it, I’m extremely worried about the status of what remains of my FHL tendon, which controls the big toes (with another tendon) and part of which was removed and grafted onto my shredded Achilles. which, in connection with another tendon, controls the big toe.

I do plan to call the doctor’s office in the morning to report on this, but, in the meantime, does anyone on this site have any insight on what I have, or may have, done to myself and my recovery? I appreciate all of you and the contributions you make to this site.

First Shower

Today, I took my first shower since the February 11, 2016 surgery! No more sponge baths for me!!  The tools that helped with this great milestone are a wonderful plastic cast cover that I picked up at a medical supply store and which works like a charm, in addition to a shower chair. I feel nearly human again.

Two Week Follow Up

I had my post-surgical two-week follow up visit yesterday. The first thing I had done was the removal of the half cast and dressing. I was horrified to see two large incisions — one for the Achilles reconstruction and the other for the peroneal repair. Between the two, there were 35 staples, and I’m not sure how many stitches. I was afraid to try to move my foot and ankle, but something tells me that I couldn’t have done it if I had tried.

Next, I went to the exam room, where the surgeon’s nurse removed the staples and the stitches. Ouch! It was much more than the “pinch” she said I’d feel. After everything was out, she applied steri-strips to the incisions. Interestingly enough, she told me that the leg doesn’t lie when it comes to a patient’s compliance with the elevation requirement. I kept my foot and ankle elevated above my heart for most of the two-week period, and I was amazed at how little swelling I had despite the gruesome appearance of my Franken Foot.

After the nurse was finished, the surgeon came in to see me. I have two screws in my heel, which attached the FHL tendon that was transferred and grafted onto the Achilles tendon, which he first debrided. He shaved down the Haglund’s Deformity and repaired the peroneal. Everything was as expected, and there were no surprises, he reported.

The surgeon then told me that I’ll spend 4 more weeks in a cast. For the next 2-week period, I’m casted at 30 degrees equinus. At that point, this cast will be removed, I’ll be positioned at 15 degrees equinus, and re-casted. When I see the surgeon in 4 weeks (6 weeks post surgery), the cast will be removed, and he’ll manipulate my foot and ankle and then assess my situation and “consider” transitioning me to PWB and physical therapy. He emphasized that my situation is a bit different since I had 2 tendons repaired and reconstructed, which makes things a bit more complicated. He told me to expect a long recovery.

I no longer have to elevate my foot and ankle above my heart, but I do need to keep it  the leg elevated straight out while I sit upright. As for the purple toes when I’m on my feet, the surgeon said that I will experience this for the next several months.

Now that I have a streamlined fiberglass cast, instead of the bulky half-cast wrapped in dressing, I’m looking forward to taking a shower with the plastic cast cover that I couldn’t get over the previous contraption.

That’s about it for now.

Finally Taking Control — Surgically

Hello, Everyone!

What a great website! What a great service to those of us struggling with Achilles tendon issues!

My diagnosis is chronic insertional Achilles tendonosis, Haglund’s Deformity, and split peroneal brevis tendon — all on the left foot and ankle. I injured myself nearly five years ago (June 2011) when I began to train for a sprint triathlon. My goal was to compete in that event in celebration of the one-year anniversary of successful cancer surgery, which I had had in 2010.

I spent 2011 and much of 2012 trying to address my issues with PT. In the fall of 2012, I saw a surgeon who suggested debridement and a FHL tendon transfer. I decided to pursue alternative treatments, including PRP injections, a FAST procedure, and HAF injections. Finally, after years of pain and infirmity, I broke down and had surgery, on February 11, 2016. The surgeon repaired the split peroneal brevis tendon, did a calcaneal osteotomy, and reconstructed the Achilles by debridement and transfer of the FHL tendon.

I’m in a splint, on crutches, and elevating above the heart and will follow up with the surgeon on Wednesday of this week — February 24th. I have a severe case of cabin fever right now!

It’s great to be here!

Kat