School’s out for Summer-Time to get better !!

I finally finished the school year yesterday, May 17th.  I had my AT repair surgery on March 6th, 2013.  I had crippled along for a couple of years before finally changing doctors and having surgery.  As I mentioned, my achilles was ruptured due to the Hagland’s deformity that had been rubbing on it.  My recovery time seems so slow compared to some on this board.

I asked my surgeon and PA about the slow recovery and they told me basically I had 3 surgeries combined into one.  I knew I was going to have to have the bone spur shaved down, and that they were going to make an up and down cut through my achilles to get to the bone spur, but I never imagined that my achilles would actually rupture.  After shaving off the bone spur, they had to debride my achilles, which they explained is basically getting rid of the mushy part, then they anchored my achilles to my heel bone.

I spent almost 9 weeks on sick leave from my teaching job.  During this 9 weeks, my mom had to have a very serious aortic aneurism surgery and she’s in a hospital 4 hours away.  Thank goodness my sister, who teaches on an Air Force base in Germany was able to come home for four weeks to be with my parents when my mom had surgery, because there was no way I could make the trip when she had surgery.  I eventually made the 4 hour trip and couple of times, and my mom is doing much better now.  I’m planning on going to see her next week.  I feel bad for not being there more, but I don’t think I could physically make the trip more than I already have, especially with starting back to school.  And, as if life wasn’t already complicated enough with my recovery, starting back to school, my mom’s surgery, traveling to see her, trying to go to PT, I’ve also started a transition class for my EMT-I certificate that I now have to fit in class 2 nights a week for the next several months!!!  I don’t know why I don’t have a few more things to add to my calendar !!  NOT

At nearly 9 weeks post-op, I am STILL in the stupid walking boot.  I also still have to occassionally use one crutch if I’m walking a long ways at school.  The PT was working with me on getting back into the shoe, but when I started back to school on May 6th, it was just too much walking, and on my feet and my leg and foot swelled and I had quite a bit of pain, so he just held off until school was out.  I know it’s because I haven’t used the muscles in my foot, but when I try to take tiny steps with my shoe on my surgery foot, my heel touches down, and the rest of my foot just kind of flips down.  It is hard to explain, and strange to feel.  Hopefully I will get the hang of the 2 shoes soon.

So, now that school is out for the summer, it is down to business and hopefully my recovery will pick up the pace.   Although, my PT explains that this was a major injury and it just takes time to recover.  When I have to use that stupid BAPS board and do the back and forth movement, it seems so easy, but I still cannot always do it.  And, it also makes me crazy that I can’t pull much harder on those resistance bands.  I can do the toe/towel scrunches, and I also can easily do the “pick up the marbles, small blocks” from the floor.  If I don’t get rid of this stupid boot SOON, I feel like I’m going to need a hip replacement on my good leg.  That hip hurts really bad, and it seems to be radiating over and up into my back.  I’m sure that it is just that I compensate when I walk, but I sure don’t need any more problems !!

I’m still having a lot of pain along the back of my heel and a little ways up my achilles.  I hope this pain will go away now that I won’t be on my feet so much.  The PT has tried calf massages, ultrasound, and the TENS therapy.  None of the three really gives me much pain relief.  The pain isn’t nearly as bad as before surgery, but it is still annoying, and I don’t think at this point I should be having any pain !!!!

I have an appointment with the surgeon on Tuesday, so we’ll see what he says.  I’m pretty sure he’s going to be pissed that I’m still in the boot and occassionally having to use the crutches.  But, when he told me I could go back to school, he said  that I could only be on my feet for 5-10 minutes at a time, followed by a period of 30 minutes for elevation and icing.  When recess duty is 20 minutes, that is hard to do.  My co-workers have been so good about helping me, but I just feel if I’m at school, I’ve got to buck it up and get on with it.  As good and kind as my little fourth graders are, a period of 30 minutes of ice and elevation just isn’t going to happen much.  Although there were a couple of days in there that I turned the lights out and read outloud to them and propped my foot up.  They loved it and so did I !!  HA

So, at nearly 10 weeks, I am still in the recovery phase.  I feel like it’s going so slow, but I’m this far in and I don’t really want to start over now.  For those of you just starting this journey, hang in there.  I have admitted in earlier posts that I’ve had a few major mental meltdowns, but I’ve had to suck it up and get on with it !!!    Hopefully now that it is summer, I can focus more on recovery and PT and not worry about my kids at school and how much time I had missed.

Good Luck to everyone on their achilles tendon recovery.  Remember to ask for help when you need it, and try to enjoy the quiet time because soon enough your life will be back to the crazy, rushed life we all live.  Until next time -

4 Responses to “School’s out for Summer-Time to get better !!”

  1. This is a tough story. If its any help, I wore the boot on and off for months - it is frustrating but it will take time after the deconditioning pre op. Sounds like you have lost the push off phase in your gait, it will return. I went through the same. Hope everything goes well for you at work x

  2. Wearing a boot 9 weeks post-op in tiring or scary places is not unusual, even for people on a fast protocol after a simple ATR, op or non-op.

    If your “good” hip is bothering you from walking in the boot, it’s probably because you’ve got your two feet at different heights off the floor. That’s hard on your knees, hips, spines, etc., etc., and it also makes it tricky to walk properly — it might even be part of the reason you’re still using 1 crutch instead of just walking in the boot. If you haven’t built up your shoe to match the height of your boot, I’d do it FAST.It doesn’t matter HOW, or whether you build it up inside or outside the shoe, or both. As long as your feet are at the same height, so your hips are straight when you stand and walk.

  3. My good hip is bothering me also, even though I am 9 weeks and in 2 shoes, i think its because my bad leg is effectively longer than my good leg because I can’t flex my knee enough yet when walking. this week feels so much better than last week though. Keep at it, it can only get better.

  4. Micah1, if you’re walking in 2 shoes with limited ROM and strength, MOST of the ways you can creatively accommodate your limitations are BAD for you! The ONLY TWO I can think of that aren’t putting your hips and spine and knees at risk are the two that really shorten your stride when you’re “putting your best foot forward”, i.e., striding past your injured foot. ONE of those ways is to walk asymmetrically, with “that” stride short and your other stride full-length. The OTHER way is to shorten both strides and walk much slower.

    Using your healing leg like a stiff peg-leg, splaying your toes out to the side, etc., etc., are all more-or-less toxic and hazardous. Even if you don’t do lasting damage to your body parts, you’ll probably create a kind of “addiction” to creative gimp-walking that will be hard to break later. (Lots of blogs here talk about PTs correcting people’s messed-up walking pattern, long after their ATR is pretty close to 100% healed.)

    Be creative with SOME parts of this recovery, but not THIS one!!

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