Week 5 post op

The scabs are all off at the incision points. The hard knot is still there and not as painful. Hoping the knot will just absorb. For an entire week the knot changed constantly. Swelling is down. A nurse friend of mine says it’s probably the surgical knot and will absorb.
I feel like I need to move on to the next step which is bearing weight. When flexing and extending toes I can feel my achilles move. It’s a little tight.

This weekend I went on a girls trip and decided to get actual crutches because I knew I’d be on a floating dock. The dock was a long ways and I knew I needed something that was really stable. Let me just say my shoulders ache and there is no place to carry things when using crutches. I am so glad to be back with my knee scooter and knee crutch and will use the crutches at minimum. Hands free means you can do more for yourself and bother people less. I had no shame at taking stairs on my bottom. So grateful for patient friends.

I am so tired of not being able to drive and lugging around my leg like its a useless appendage. Getting rides is ridiculously annoying.
Hoping the October 28 follow up visit will be huge! Physical Therapy and Partial Weight Bearing here I come! Not letting this situation bring me down.
woundhealing1

Week 4 post op hard knot above incision

This hard knot developed just above one of the healing incisions over the last couple of days and is now painful when it touches anything to include the boot. I have a call into the doctor along with pictures to see what can be done about it. The knot is about the size of a dime. Ice doesn’t help and neither does Advil. The only relief is to keep the boot off and have nothing touch it. At this point I welcome aspiration just to get rid of it so healing can continue. I have no idea what the suggestion will be.

UPDATE: The doctor said don’t worry about it. Pain comes and goes sometimes it’s bad. Sometimes no pain. Who knows. The hard bump is still there. I did take out a wedge insert out of the boot because I was told to take out one every two weeks. I’m back in the boot and it seems to be ok.

knot

Middle of the night sharp pain week 3-4 post op

I’ve been sleeping without the boot and I think in the middle of the night I stretched it without realizing. Woke to sharp pain. Of course I’m worried about re-rupture. I called the doctor and spoke to the person fielding the calls and explained the situation and she didn’t seem to be concerned. I’m having discomfort on and off during the day. Icing the ankle especially on the one side seems to help a lot. It’s somewhat comforting to know as the incision wounds heal during the repair process you can have shooting pain at the wound site. This has definitely intensified and I can’t wait to be done with it!

I have noticed a hard bump under the incision site on the inside of the ankle. Anything other than an ice pack touching it irritates it. The boot irritates it so it’s off. Called the doctor.

I found this site which puts recovery into phases and details goals and what kind of mobility goes with the phases. I really think it’s useful: http://tcomn.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/PBE_Achilles_Tendon_Repair_Post.pdf

For now gentle massaging of the toes up towards the top seems to really help with swelling. Also gentle movement of flexion extension of the toes is great too. That with a little toe movement alone is really good. I am going to incorporate more of the suggested exercises in the document referenced above for phase 2 into my routine.

Week 3 post op

Swelling is still there. Icing more and trying to elevate a little more. At the post op a compression wrap was placed around the ankle which has kept the swelling down. However top of my foot and toes look like a balloon. I’m now wrapping to cover up to the toes and I think it is helping. I’ve gotten comfortable taking the boot off to sleep (bandage still on). So far even waking up I’m aware that I can’t go anywhere without the boot.

For exercise I’m lifting weights at the gym and doing some floor abdominal work. Working with smaller weights. Lifting is one of those activities that you can do incorrectly and hurt yourself. Especially if you haven’t done it. So I’m relying on fitness videos for correct movement.
Still not driving! It’s such a pain to ask family to take me places. Someone needs to invent an achilles driving boot. At least the incision site is not going to rub at the top of the back of a tennis shoe whenever I can put one on! Yippee

2 week post op

Whoo hoo making progress! Got the soft cast removed, stiches out. I was fitted into a taller boot than what I received before the surgery. I have all of the inserts in the boot at this time to keep the foot pointed down and the doctor advised I could remove one block every two weeks. The foot is really swollen most likely because I don’t elevate it. The next visit will be in 4 weeks. So 6 weeks no weight bearing in total. The doctor did say I could take off the boot and be careful in the shower also while sleeping. No driving still although he did say see how it goes. The incision spots are on both sides of my ankle and up the back. The back one is still sore.
Mobility has been the challenge. The knee scooter is great, however you can’t pivot with it and I can’t get to things like the hose bib on the side of the house or up and down stairs. So I got the iwalk 2.0 knee crutch. Needless to say I will not be doing standard crutches. EVER! There are some requirements to being able to use the knee crutch, you really have to have balance. I’m still not super good at it, but will keep working on it. The nice thing is there is no lugging the scooter around and having people take it in and out of the car. I call the iwalk 2.0 my peg leg because that is what it looks like. A prosthetic.
I am looking forward to the challenge of the next 4 weeks. I most certainly will be looking at what I can do for strengthening my body. I like the peg leg because I can feel my body using core strength when getting around. I asked the doctor about floor work, abs, things like that and he gave it the ok. He is trying to balance healing with activating the muscles.
pegleg3

The injury and the surgery

September 9th marks the beginning of a new journey for me. I really didn’t ask for life to throw anything else at me yet here we are. As you age you risk injury. Strenuous repetition will increase that risk. It finally happened, a tennis game resulting in an achilles rupture that will require surgery and put me out for 6-12 months. No cardio or impact exercise. Even cycling will be limited.

There is nothing I could have done to prevent it other than not play. What’s the point of living life without doing what you love? I went for a volley and my foot didn’t come with me resulting in a loud popping noise. I turned around looking for the ball that hit me because it felt just like someone smashed a ball at my ankle. There was nothing there and then I went to the ground in pain and thought oh no! Next was a very uncomfortable amount of pain, the realization of what just happened and then the mind racing with thoughts. How will I get up, get to the car, drive? Ice please!!! My friends helped and asked a neighbor for ice. They had very concerned faces. They know what an injury like this means for a tennis lover and it’s not good.

I contacted a friend who had achilles surgery and asked questions. She gave me her doctor’s contact information and I made an appointment. The evaluation was pretty quick. While laying on my stomach the doctor squeezed the calf of the good leg and my ankle raised with it. When squeezing my other leg the ankle didn’t move an indication that the connection isn’t there. I can actually see that through the skin as well. There is an indention (something missing) on one ankle and not on the other.

I got an appointment for an MRI to confirm the degree of damage. And the surgeon appointment the following day.

The MRI is loud! Staying still for 45 minutes on your back is not comfortable. The pictures are still put on a disc and luckily we have an old disc reader to look at the images. The pictures take forever to load. And I can’t tell what I’m looking at.

I met with the surgeon Dr. Bloome he wouldn’t know how to fix it until he goes into see. He said he would leave minimial incisions. My response was more dismisive about the look. I actually asked for a bionic leg. Surgery was scheduled for September 14. I have to take a rapid covid test in the parking lot before surgery is cleared.

I was so nervous. We got there at 7am by 11AM I was on my way for surgery. I ticked off all of the unpleasant parts of the process, the added anxiety of getting on the schedule, the covid test, the EKG (I need to address my high blood pressure), the IV start and finally the knock out medicine (it usually burns so bad, but this time it did not).

I woke up in recovery and noticed instantly my ankle was in pain. The nurse worked with me with a series of medicines to make the pain managable. I’ve told the doctor that its ok to have pain, just so long as it is manageable. The hospital gave me a walker and we were released.

Now recovery can begin. My friend loaned me a knee scooter and its the only way I can get around the house. I use the walker for bathroom transfers and to get in and out of the shower. (I installed a removable shower head and tried out taking a sitting shower before the surgery) She warned me that the first 48 hours I would most likely experience the most intense pain that even pain medicine won’t resolve. I’ve had two solid days of being uncomfortable, but never in pain that couldn’t be managed by pain medicine which is a muscle relaxant and hydrocodone which is an opiod. Opiods are constipating so stopped them on day 3 and took a stool softner (TMI) for relief.

It’s now 1 week post op. The hardest part is going from being so active to very little activity and missing out on all of the fun active things with friends. I haven’t stayed in bed from day one. I work at home. I don’t like TV so I’ve downloaded some books. I plan to work on my spirituality through the healing process. I want to get back to running and tennis. #goals

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