Seven Months post-op and Still climbing the Mountain

On October 6th, 2013, I will be seven months post-op.  I had surgery on March 6, 2013, after battling a bone spur/Haglund’s deformity for nearly 2 years.  My surgery had to be post-poned for two months because I came down with two raging cases of the shingles.  After surgery I felt really good and was ready to go back to work.  Ha- then about 4 weeks, the pain returned.  The surgeon had to remind me several times at the beginning of this recovery process that I had basically three operations at once.  I had the bone spur shaved down, I had my achilles pulled down and trimmed up, then it was hammered down to my heel with two anchors/screws.  A surgery that was supposed to last 30-45 minutes took nearly 2 hours.  The achilles had ruptured in the time that my surgery was post-poned because of the shingles.  Things were much worse than what the surgeon expected.  I probably should have had another MRI in March before surgery, but I didn’t.    I did finally go back to work as an elementary teacher on May 6, 2013, for the last couple of weeks of school.

I started physical therapy in April, and still continue to go to PT three times a week even yet.  I have really battled the recovery stage of this surgery.  I was in that stupid moon boot for 6 months.  I tried several times to make the break and wear two shoes, but the pain always returned with a vengeance.   One of the bone spurs is slowly growing back, but the surgeon assures me that is not the problem with the pain.  He said the bone spurs that were removed were probably growing there for several years before I had surgery.

In July, the surgeon prescribed a steroid pack that helped quite a bit.  I was able to wear two shoes for about 2 weeks, but then I had to put the boot back on because the pain was so severe.  Several weeks later, the surgeon tried another steroid pack, followed by a shot three weeks later.  I was hesitant to get the shot because I had read/been told that a shot in the achilles might lead to a rupture, and I’d already been there and done that.  My shot was NOT in the achilles, but rather it was given up further in the ankle.  The medicine, a steroid shot, and changing physical therapists seems to be doing the job for now.

My new physical therapist is concerned that my SI joint in my hip is pushing on my L5 vertabrae; therefore the sciatic nerve is involved and that is what is causing the pulling pain. I am still going to my first physical therapist for a shoulder condition that has been tentatively diagnosed as a torn rotator cuff, but the new physical therapist seems to be helping bunches on the achilles problem.  I really hated to change physical therapists for my foot/achilles, but I just wasn’t getting any better, and they admitted that they were flat out of ideas.

The new PT has given me a lot of the same exercises as the first PT, but she also does a LOT of manual massage.  I can’t say that I enjoy the massage, because I DO NOT.  It hurts (and it’s embarrassing for her to have to touch my back, butt and leg!!!).  But, it seems to help.  I had gimped along with the bone spurs/Haglund’s deformity for so long, that the muscles all the way up my leg were affected.  I have a hard time straightening my knee, and sometimes the muscles all the way up and down my leg cramp up and pull.  It seems like I am finally headed in the right direction.

It’s been quite the long journey, but I hope I am nearing the end.  For those of you just starting down the achilles recovery road, hang in there.  You will have your low days, and they suck; but you must push on, and hope the next day will be better.  Finding the right PT has made all the difference to me.   Good Luck to everyone.  Don’t give up, ask for help when you need it, and keep your chin up.  Things will get better.  :  )

2 Responses to “Seven Months post-op and Still climbing the Mountain”

  1. Thanks for the post. Sounds like you have been through quite an ordeal! Glad to hear things are turning a corner for you!

  2. Hi Kelli,

    Happy to hear the new PT and all that great massage is helping! Your “seven months” post was nearly two months ago and I am hoping you are feeling much better now.

    Like you, I limped around for 2 years with Haglund’s and tendinosis, trying everything but surgery to fix the problem. My surgery was October 24th, so I’m just at 5 weeks post-op, ready to begin the move into shoes next week. It’s helpful to read about the ups and downs of moving from one stage into another. It keeps my expectations in check and lets me know there is a range of normal.

    Let us know how it’s going, ok?

    Kim

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