LoneAchillesofTexas’s AchillesBlog

         my Achilles’ story

November 21, 2012

Week 7: Nov. 19- (Two Shoes!)

Filed under: Uncategorized — loneachillesoftexas @ 8:59 pm

I started wearing two-shoes on Tuesday the 20th (got “cold feet” this weekend so put it off a few days).  Being very cautious and using a hiking staff (looks like a hi-tech cane) in public as a defensive method to protect my AT foot (not using it except to steady myself as I go up steps).

I’m moving even slower now - trying to use my foot as normal but my limited ROM results in a kind of half-step and quick transition to my other foot.  Picture Frankenstein.

Can’t wait until PT next week (they couldn’t fit me into this holiday week).

i still put on the boot to go up the stairs in the morning because my foot is stiff and I’m scared of re-injury.  But once up (my office) I’m in running shoes and in the afternoon I descend one stair at a time in shoes.

After two days in shoes the swelling is the worst it has been since the week or two after surgery.  I assume this is because I’m fully using a foot that has not been used for 7 weeks (and a new AT)?

Week 6: Nov. 12-18 (FWB)

Filed under: Uncategorized — loneachillesoftexas @ 8:38 pm

Another good week as I progressed from PWB to FWB finally on Nov.16th!  (I FWB like I’m 95yrs. old.).  I got to be faster on my crutches than I could normally walk and now I’m slower than my first day of crutches.

I enabled the hinged feature on my VacoCast the last few days of PWB and the first few days of FWB.  During that period I slowly increased the hinged ROM from -10 (planter) and -5 (dorsi) to the full range of the boot.

I’ve continued spinning on the stationary bike, now 30 mins once or twice a day.  Also spent a lot of time without anything on my foot just rolling it around.  It is not a problem to keep my foot down most of the day and I just ice once a day as I’m going to bed (swelling minimal).

Saw the Dr. on Friday the 16th and he told me to start wearing two shoes right away and to begin PT next week (2 or 3 days a week).  Scar looks great and is fully healed.

I’m glad my Dr. is using an aggressive schedule, but a little nervous that he instructed me to go to two-shoes just days after reaching FWB.

November 15, 2012

Week 5: Nov. 5 - 11 (PWB)

Filed under: Uncategorized — loneachillesoftexas @ 12:04 pm

Big progress this week.  Saw the Dr. on Monday the 5th and he gave me the “ok” for PWB!  Said I should continue stretching the ankle up and down and in circles and can swim and stationary bike if I want.

PWB should start with applying 25lbs. on my ATR foot and then progressing over two weeks to FWB.  Weight bearing, stretching, and exercise should be slowly scaled up and there should not be sharp pain (though he warned I would get sore).

I started with spinning twice a day on a recumbent stationary bike for just a few minutes and have been working my way up each day until I hit 30 minutes each time.  First few days was very sore and took Tylenol as needed, but not much else.  Slightly more movement (maybe an inch dorsiflexion and a couple inches planterflexion) - but not anywhere near my other foot.  I still wear my boot (90 degrees since surgery) while moving and sleeping, but take it off to stretch and “air out” while sitting.

Everything seems to be progressing well.   I’m very cautious with my foot, but happy with the ability to rest it on the ground, elevate and ice only once a day or so, and PWB.

November 6, 2012

Week 4: Oct. 29 - Nov. 4 (NWB)

Filed under: Uncategorized — loneachillesoftexas @ 10:43 pm

Good week in boot (at 90 degrees since surgery, both in cast and now in boot).

Leg is feeling the best since the injury.  I can move my toes and am moving my foot slightly.

By the end of the week I can finally keep my foot down for extended periods of time (hours at a time).  I still elevate regularly because it is reduces the feeling of pressure in the foot.  I also keep my leg on a pillow while sleeping still and ice a few times a day.

It bugs me that I can’t curl my big toe, and this appears to be a result of the FHL transfer.  It would have been nice to have been given a head’s up from the Dr. that losing the ability to curl your big toe is a consequence of cutting the FHL.   I’m sure the value of the FHL transfer (greater blood flow and strength of repaired AT) outweighs the lack of ability to curl my big toe - but I would have liked to know that in advanced as the decision was made.  My ATR was “normal” and operated a week after rupture so I’m not totally convinced the FHL transfer was necessary.

The Dr. says that the lack of curling of my big toe (I can move it up and down, just can’t curl it down and inward) will not affect my walking, running, etc.  Can anyone here confirm this?

October 27, 2012

Week 3: October 22-28 (das boot)

Filed under: Uncategorized — loneachillesoftexas @ 11:39 am

Finally got in the Boot!

Waited all week for my appt. on Oct. 26th and was glad to get in a boot - I like what I’ve read about EWB.  However, the Dr. still said NWB and will reassess in 10 days.  For now I can “exercise” by moving my ankle up and down a few times a day.  Right now I am only able to move it a hair, maybe an inch planterfexion and less than that dorsiflexion.

I had asked the Dr. about the VacoCast Pro / VacoPed on the day of surgery but he had said “I don’t know it, let’s stick with what I know”.  Since my incident with ankle sore I decided that what he didn’t know wouldn’t hurt him (and they charge the same amount for the crappy black fixed boot as the high-tech VacoPed anyway).

I found that having two actually helps - as others have said no boot is perfect and being able to move the pressure to different spots by changing boots helps.  There is no doubt that the VacoPed keeps my ankle less mobile and more protected, but I don’t find either truly comfortable.  Brooke at VacoCast was very helpful and good to work with.

Based on last night it will take me a few days to get used to sleeping with boot, but it will come like it did with the splint and cast.

Cast off at almost 3wks

Week 2: October 15-21 (struggling)

Filed under: Uncategorized — loneachillesoftexas @ 11:29 am

The lesson I learned this week is that you must listen to you body over that of your Dr./Nurse.

Because of the increasing pain in my ankle I went to the Ortho’s office first thing Monday morning. When they removed the splint it had clearly been digging into my ankle causing a bruise and pressure sore.

Good part was I got to see that the incision was healing well and they replaced the splint with a fiberglass cast. Said to come back in two weeks.

Since I had read the early weight bearing procedure I cheated and set the appt. for 11 days.

Felt more confident using crutches with the cast, and as the days went by the ankle sore hurt less and felt the surgery site talking to me more (but still mild). Only took meds at night to help me sleep (and that was a crapshoot).

Back to work, mainly from bed and couch with leg raised (above heart was key) using my phone and computer.

Had one scare with the scooter at the beginning of the week - a quick trip down the sidewalk to the mailbox ended when my wheels stopped in a sidewalk crack and I went — over teakettle!  During the fall I briefly put my cast on the ground and felt pins and needles.  Afterwards my incision area  was sore for an hour, but no lasting effects after that and no real pain.  This event is what prompted me to return the scooter - the temptation to go fast on that thing was too strong.

Putting the cast on

Wound at one week

Getting the cast on


Week 1 (post-op): October 8-14

Filed under: Uncategorized — loneachillesoftexas @ 10:46 am

I came home in a splint - basically three hard “sticks” (one behind my heel and one over each ankle) with tons of cotton batting under and around them, held together with tight ace bandages.

Summary of first week: spent almost all time in bed with foot raised and iced regularly.

Day 1 - 2: worst pain, similar at times to injury pain.  Increased my meds with Dr.’s permission.

Day 3-4: pain lessened quite a bit.  I had some negative side effects to the codine so stopped taking it completely these days.  Just took Tylenol and ibuprofen and slept better.  In case it helps, the issue I had involved never fully appreciating the ability to take a leak.  Fortunately I have a Urologist in the family who told me to get to a local Urologist ASAP for a bladderscan and some medicine.  Scan was clean and taking the pills that many men a little older than me end up talking did the trick.  (Stopped taking the pills after 4 days).  Note that before I stopped taking the Norco I also broke my 18-year record of not throwing up…

The Otho had arranged for a medical supply company to deliver a knee scooter (more on this later) and an automatic icing machine to my home.  The medical company was a bit of scam.  I had clearly told them I only wanted to rent but when they dropped them off  they tried to charge me $400 for the scooter and $500 for the icing machine (on Amazon new they are $250 and $200 respectively).  After I week I returned them both (I’m on a high HSA plan) and bough a Breg Kodiak machine on eBay for $75 shipped.  Highly recommend this device.

Day 5-7: pain began increasing as pressure in leg began ballooning.  Dr. said this was normal, but the pain was localized at my left ankle and ramped up every day until it was as bad as the injury/first post-surgery day.  Getting up caused bad swelling - by the end of the week more than 30 seconds vertical caused extreme pain.

Surgery Day - Day 8 post ATR

Filed under: Uncategorized — loneachillesoftexas @ 10:35 am

On the day of surgery I had the standard orders not to eat or drink after midnight so by the time we arrived at 11am I was ready to get it over with.
The staff were the best, answered my questions and concerns (I had read a lot on AchillesBlog so I knew what to expect, but still like asking questions to understand further and confirm expectations).

Last thing I remember was being rolled into the operating room and being asked to scoot over from the mobile bed to the operating table… Next thing I know I’m in post-op with my wife.

They only used general anesthesia because this location (surgery-in-a-box) did not have the tools for a direct nerve block. Gave me a Percocet poll with instructions to start taking my Norco every 4 hrs.
At home I layer in bed sleeping on and off between my alarms (to eat crackers and take medicine). As the 4-hour chunks of time went by I slept less and less as the pain set in and my pills became less effective.

Offending member

Offending member

October 26, 2012

Week 0 (pre-op): October 1-7, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — loneachillesoftexas @ 11:12 pm

After the first night I spend the next morning calling Orthopedists to see who could see me.  Got some recommendations from Facebook friends but I couldn’t find one in my town who could see me that morning.  Finally found someone who had some goof reviews on the usual medical  review sites (and is an ankle and foot specialist) about 40 minutes away so I headed out.

Immediately failed the Thompson test and he gave me a standard black foam boot (90 degrees fixed), crutches, and an appointment for surgery the following Monday (10/8).

The rest of the week I spent googling for info. and I quickly found AchillesBlog and spent time (lots if it!) reading comments.  Extremely helpful - not sure how you can successfully navigate healthcare without sites like this.  The few sentences of real conversation most Dr.’s have time to give is not sufficient to learn all the minutia.  Without this site it seems like each patient has to reinvent the wheel.

Went ahead and got a second opinion from a nice and helpful local doctor who suggested the conservative treatment (immobilization 8-12 wks.) because he thought it was a high tear near the calf muscle (even got an MRI that he used to confirm his assumption).

After further reading and talking to friends who had the surgery I decided to opt for the surgery in order to get back to life and work more quickly.  (Spoiler alert  - after the surgery the doctor said it was a plain-Jane clean break a couple inches above my heel).

October 13, 2012

“Pop” - Day 0: October 1, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — loneachillesoftexas @ 10:49 pm

I am the poster boy for Achilles’ ruptures.

Turned 40 this year and decided I needed to get in shape.

Ran track in high school and volleyball and ultimate Frisbee was how I kept in shape in college.  Since then  my formal exercise had been slim to none, though I was in decent physical shape because I was generally active with three young children.  Decided I needed to get serious about keeping in shape so I started taking tennis at the local city-run tennis complex.

After a month of lessons I went to my first day of “cardio” tennis.  Thirty minutes into the class we ran drills running up to the net, hitting a lob, and then running back to the baseline for another shot.  Second time back I planted my left foot back to take a shot and “BAM” - felt like someone had encroached and accidentally slammed the edge of their racket into my heel.  I looked back to tell them to give me some room and of course no one was there.  Ten feet away someone said “was that pop your leg?”

The coaches shook their heads - they clearly had heard it before.  A friend drove me home where I put my leg on ice and elevated.  For the next 8 hours (all night) I had a series of the most painful muscle spasms / charlie horses I’ve ever had.  Wife she saw the tendon moving around during the  spasms.