nutkin’s AchillesBlog

Just another weblog

Ice buckets and ice packs

So it seems as though my right leg woes are not quite behind me as I had hoped. On top of some other issues that the surgeon is investigating, I managed to put a small partial tear into the Achilles a few weeks ago and it has flared it all back up again. Anyway, this all brings me to my tip, for those of us who live in the Southern Hemisphere and are enjoying the warmth of the on-coming summer, you may also be like me and experience a bit more swelling. I have found that filling up a large bucket of water and dumping ice in is a great way of cooling the leg down. My physio recommends no longer than 10 minutes of this at any one time, but I would check with your PT on the tinmeframes suitable for you. The other tip I have is that I pack a small chilly bag in the car along with ice packs to take with me whenever we go out for any period of time.

Just a little bit of silliness

A friend of mine was complaining about the lack of conversation at a dinner part she went to the other night, and I told her about a little game I used to use when I was in training, just to bring a smile to peoples’ faces and I thought I would share it with you guys to help bring a smile to your faces. I will just point out that this is just a bit of fun and there is no evidence what so ever that this reflects who you are, but I promise it will bring a smile. Each person will need a piece of paper and something to write with. If you want to do this yourself stop reading at the end of the questions, as the following is what the questions mean. The following questions need to be asked and people need to write down their answers:
1)Think of your favourite animal - write down three words that describe it
2) Think of your second favourite animal - write down three words that describe it
3) Think of your third favourite animal - write down three words that describe it
4) Close your eyes - imagine a body of water - lake, stream, river etc and write down three words that describe it
5) Close your eyes again - imagine a glade of trees and write down three words that describe it
6)Lastly, think of your favourite drink - now write down three words that describe it

What the questions mean
1) This is how you see yourself
2) This is how others see you
3) This is what you look for in a partner
4) This is how you view death
5) This is how you view life
6)This is how you would describe you sex life

When I first had this done to me, the participants I was taking an induction course with got me to write my answers up on the board at the front of the room, who can imagine how red my face went when they told me the meanings behind each of the questions.

I need some advice please.

In Sept 2011 I had my right Achilles lengthened,a fasciotomy on one of the muscle compartments on the right leg, plus scar tissue removed from a previous operation. Since then I have had problems with sitting for any period of time (sitting in an upright position, like you would at a table), what I find happens is that the ankle swells and I get a build up of pins and needles within the leg, plus the leg gets tighter. I am aware that swelling will be causing this, what I was wanting to know is how others are doing further down the track. Is swelling still an issue? What have actions have you taken to reduce the swelling? My PT is not surprised that I still have this going on, but he surprised at to the extent it is happening. We have changed what I am doing for PT to see if that helps it, but I would be really keen to receive info on how others have done 1yr down and what people have done to help reduce the swelling.

Calf lengthening all done - and a tip on swelling

Had my op yesterday to lengthen my left calf, so that it won’t do what my right calf did to my Achilles. The pain compared to the last op is no where no as bad. I forgot how slow it is to be in a moonboot and crutches, but the up-side is that it is only for 6 weeks this time. The surgeon said everything went really well, and said given the size of my calf muscle I should feel relief quite soon. However, I picked up a tip on swelling which I notice many of you are suffering from. One of the nurses said to eat pineapple, there are herbal supplements with it in (she didn’t give me names), but she said chop up some pineapple, put it in the freezer and then suck on it like an ice cube. Apparently, it is quite effective. Also she clarified what is meant by elevate, she said that this normally means that your leg needs to above your heart level, so I have found several pillows are needed, but I would strongly suggest that you double check this with your GP, surgeon etc so that it doesn’t put extra strain on your Achilles tendon. So from the land of the couch, I wish you all a good recovery.

This time it is a Gastroc Release, advice please?

So it turns out that I am not quite finished with operations. Last year I had a gastroc slide in my Achilles tendon (right leg) to provide it with additional length so I could walk normally on that leg again. The surgeon pointed out at the time that my left leg was showing signs of the same problem, although not as advanced. She felt that it would be a good idea to not do the two legs together as she was unsure as to how long I would take to recover from the Gastroc slide. Anyway, the tightness in my left leg has increased to the extent it it causing micro tears in the calf muscle and before it starts to effect the Achilles the surgeon has proposed I have the Gastroc release done. Has anyone had this done and if so what has been their recovery like?



It has been a long road


I only found out about this Achilles blog last month and I am so grateful that I have.

My Achilles story is a abit of a long one, so here are the highlights.

Back in 2008, I started to experience quite painful pins and needles in my right leg whenever I exercised. This gradually progressed to experiencing them all the time. I finally got myself organised to see my doctor who immediately referred me to a sports specialist. After a lot of testing (and I mean a lot), I was finally told in Aug 2009 that I had compartment syndrome and because it had been going on for so long this had caused planta fascitis and a bursitis in my right foot as well.

I was referred to a surgeon ASAP, and in Nov 2009 I had a fascia release in 3 the 4 lower leg compartments. It felt so good afterwards, I spoke with the surgeon about what physio rehab I had to do, and he was quite clear that no physio was needed. My right foot still hurt from the planta fascitis and the bursitis, but the surgeon felt this would go as the leg returned to normal.

Well, things didn’t exactly improve. In April 2010, I was squatting down and I noticed a large bump in the front of my leg which just kept growing, after a quick trip to the A & E I found out that one of the compartments had split open and I now had a hernia on the front of my leg.

My right leg got worse and by December 2010 I was limited in how far I could walk. My husband and I decided to seek a second opinion and this surgeon made it very clear that the problem now was that my Achilles had tightened, and I needed to GO AWAY and stretch for 3 months and then come back. Needless to say we never entered this guy’s door again, he was so rude and I have never felt so belittled in all my life.

I did decide to work with a physio at this stage to see if I could get some length back into my Achilles but after 4 months the physio recommended a surgical opinion. I was referred to a lovely female surgeon, who ordered a bunch of tests (I now hate needles and MRI machines). We finally found out that because no phsyio was ordered for me after the first surgery my Achilles had tightened to the extent where they were concerned it would snap.

On the 16th Sept, I had my right Achilles lengthened, the hernia repaired and scar tissue which had formed from the first op removed. I wasn’t allowed a nerve blocker as the scar tissue was on a major nerve and the surgeon needed to make sure I had feeling there.Like so many of you my first post op experience was the heel pain (which does go away), get massaging your heel as soon as you are out of the casts. from what I understnad the heel pain is due to the nerves being, for want of a better word, re-started.

Because I had quite a bit done on my leg the surgeon and the physio kept me in my moonboot for a lot longer than normal (yey), but come the end of January 2012 I was clear of it.

Rehab has been slow but the leg has been getting there. Unfortunately, a few weeks ago I was helping a friend in the garden and that night I knew something was wrong. A quick trip to the physio confirmed that I had strained the Achilles, and he has asked me to take things a little quieter for a bit. I can still swim, but with a floaty device to ensure I don’t kick my legs, but walking around the local park is out.

In addition, when we first visited the physio she tested both my legs, and noted that due to the size of my calf muscles I did not have full movement in my left foot either. My left calf muscle has been getting really tight over the last few years, as it has had to take most of th load. Unfortunately, stretching hasn’t resolved the tightness and the gardening I did a few weeks ago has caused some micro tears in the calf muscle.

I am booked in on the 14th Sept, to have a gastroc slide and I am really hoping that this is it.

In addition to what has been going on with my legs, I managed to slip over (due to lack of balance on my legs) and get a hariline fracture up my spine. The doctors picked up that I have too many white blood cells, so I had to see a specialist for that, and I am doing my thesis for my Masters.It is fair to say that up until all this had started my most serious aliment has been the flu, so all of this has been a bit of a shock on the system.

When I found this blog site I just sat and felt such relief, in that there are so many others out there who get the frustration, who understand the pain, and  who have successfully recovered from this op.

I have been finding that dealing with the mental aspects of all of this is a bit hard, and I would love to hear from people who have had their Achilles operated on, especially those of you who have had their Achilles lengthened to see how they are getting on.