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.