12 weeks

Today marks the 12 week post surgery.  I am walking around in shoes pretty decently but I have a significant limp because i can’t quick roll my foot on my toes.  I started PT about a week ago, and I’ll be going to that once per week.  So far, they are massaging my tendon, stretching my foot, making me do some weighted squats and some other basic things.

I am worried that I still have such a limp when I walk.  I figured that around the 3 month point I would be walking normally.  Does anyone else still hobble around at week 12?

As far as progress goes, I have made some significant improvements since week 9 when I was cleared to walk in shoes again. I am getting around much faster.  Each day gets a little better, but too much walking makes it sore for the entire next day so I have to take it easy for a while.

9 Weeks, shoe time

I went to the doc today at 9 weeks post surgery and got cleared to start walking without the boot.  I’m not gna lie, I have been walking around the house without the boot slowly for a few days already.  Things are feeling pretty decent.  My flexibility is still pretty limited but it gets better slowly every day.  I am going to try to make tomorrow with only shoes and see how it goes.  The doc also said I could officially start PT, so next week I’ll probably have an appt.

I am never touching those crutches or boot again.   I tried to fly the simulator (Im a pilot) yesterday but it was pretty awkward to use the rudder pedals with the boot, and the brakes are difficult to push with my week leg.  Im hoping to fly again by the end of June.

6 Weeks post op

I saw the doc this week for my 6 week post op appt and I got cleared to put weight on my foot and start walking in the boot.  The doc said to begin relying less and less on the crutches as pain allows.   So the past few days have really gotten my spirit up because i can finally stand on two feet!

It was pretty scary at first to put my foot down and put any weight on it, but eventually I was able to stand up without crutches.  I started walking around today with 1 crutch and putting more and more weight on it.  My goal is to walk without crutches by mid week 7.  My ankle is getting really swollen by the end of a long day, so I typically keep it elevated and put some ice on it when I get home.  Here is a link to my ankle at week 6.   http://AchillesBlog.com/popouch/files/2018/04/img_1469.jpg

Will probably celebrate this weekend by using a crutch in my right arm  and a beer in my left hand on Saturday.

5 weeks post op

Today marks my 5th week post op. I have another appointment next week to transition to PWB, probably. Right now i am still pretty numb on the outside of my foot. I can move my ankle around slightly, but the ROM hasn’t really improved much in the past week…but I’m not really pushing it too hard.

I take off the boot while I am at home just sitting on the couch/bed. Does anyone else do this around week 4-5? I sleep in the boot because i’m nervous about twitching.

I am thinking about getting an MRI to make sure the surgery worked and everything is in tact how it should be after the surgery. Has anyone else done this? I don’t know if it just an irrational fear…but I always feel like it didn’t work and my achilles isn’t put back together.

Below is the link to a picture of what my achilles looks like right now. You can see the huge blister on my heel…which is wonderful looking.

http://AchillesBlog.com/popouch/2018/04/17/5-weeks-post-op/img_1454/

Cast off, into the boot, 2 complications

I am at 4 weeks post op and I just got my cast off today.  I was supposed to be in the cast until 6 weeks but I asked the surgeon if it was ok to get the boot early because the cast was loose.  I also stepped on my bad foot on friday so I wanted to get it checked out…I was feeling a little bit of pain and throbbing right on the bad achilles which I hadn’t felt before.  Turns out everything is OK and I now have a boot.  I took the day off work and I showered, cleaned my leg, and have been letting my foot breathe today.  It is nice to move my ankle around slowly.

The atrophy in my calf is pretty substantial.  It is going to be a long road to recovery.  One complication that I have is a large blister underneath my heel bone.  When I was in the splint for 2 weeks, I had a painful burning sensation in my heel and I called the nurse, who told me not to worry, “It is just the nerves coming back to life”.  It turns out that the splint was irritating my heel and now I have a huge blood blister.  I don’t think it will delay the timeline to get back into shoes, but will take about 6 weeks to go away.

Overall, the wound is healing well and i can move my foot up and point my toes slightly.  The other complication is nerve damage on the outside of my foot.  It is fairly common to have slight nerve damage after this surgery, but unfortunately mine is the entire outside of my foot from heel to toe.  The doctor says this should come back in time, but to avoid areas with people who smoke (and not to smoke either).

NWB for another 2 weeks.  Then PWB. Then hopefully some PT.

Hope everyone is “heeling” well.  Cheers

Eager

I am 3 weeks post op and I’m in a cast. I was pretty thin before this surgery, but now my quad is very skinny compared to my other leg and the cast is appearing loose. I am very eager to get out of this thing and start rehab.

I have heard some different timelines from multiple people, but I was curious if it is possible to be starting PT at about the 7-8 week mark? I will be PWB at 6 weeks post op in a boot and I plan on getting an aggressive PT plan because I need to get back to normal.

When does the swelling stop?

When will I be able to start PT?

When does the appearance of muscular atrophy go away?

Question

I am 17 days post op and I have been going to work all week.  Things have been feeling better and I can move my toes and foot around a bit more in the cast.  However, I’m worried about re-rupturing my achilles just from flexing my foot and twitching at night while sleeping.  Has anyone re-ruptured their achilles at this stage post op?

Bye Achilles!

On Saturday March 10th, 2018 I was playing soccer with my weekend warrior team and I completely ruptured my left achilles tendon in the last 5 minutes of the game.  For a bit of background, I am 29 years old and in good physical shape.  I’ve been playing soccer my entire life, including at the collegiate level, but in the last 3-4 years I have really slowed down and focused on work.  Unfortunately, I think I jumped back into a competitive league too quickly and my body said, “Nope!”

As I started a sprint in the final minutes of the game, I heard a loud POP and it felt like someone kicked my ankle from behind.  I tumbled to the ground, noticed no one was directly behind me, and I immediately realized what had happened.  The pain was minimal at first.   I was just very shocked and I kept saying, “well that’s it” and “that just happened,” and “there goes my achilles.” I was able to limp off the field without much help but noticed that I could not step forward on the ball of my foot.  When I sat down and felt the back of my leg, my tendon was not ropelike and stiff like my right leg.  Additionally, I felt like I had no control over the flexion of my foot.  I could even see a slight gap in the tendon and a lump in my lower calf.

After the game, I drove myself to the Emergency Room near my house.  As I drove for 45 minutes I eventually started to feel discomfort and slight pain (about a 5 out of 10), which was probably from sitting in the car.  At the ER, it took about 3 hours before I was finally seen by a nurse who took my insurance information and I told her exactly what the problem was. “I felt my achilles tendon snap.”   It’s pretty amusing saying this to people because their face usually cringes, and they become very sympathetic as though this is the worst injury in the world…which it very well may (I haven’t had many serious injuries, but this one sucks.)   Finally, an actual doctor strolled in and had a look.  After looking at it and I wiggled my toes, she doubted that it was a ruptured achilles.  However, she did the Thompson test by squeezing the calf and immediately changed her mind saying, “Well, nevermind, its completely ruptured!” We talked about it for a few minutes and then she paged the Orthopaedic surgeon on call to set up an appointment as soon as possible.

I spent the rest of the weekend in a splint and told my boss the situation.   My appointment on Monday morning was pretty straight forward and the Orthopaedic could feel the obvious gap in my tendon.  After giving an X-ray and explaining my options, I decided on surgery in order to expedite the healing process and limit the risk of a re-rupture.  Luckily, they were able to schedule me for surgery the next morning.  My wife flew home from her parent’s house to help me, thankfully.

The surgery was pretty uneventful, from my perspective.  The stuck me with a needle, cleaned my foot, put a few sticky things on my sides and back, talked about my medical history for a bit, and before I knew it I was being put to sleep in the operating room.  The next thing I remember is waking up in the recovery room. No issues with the general anesthesia.

For the first 2-3 days post surgery, I slept a lot and took the pain medication even though I didn’t feel much pain.  I was prescribed Naproxin and Hydrocodone from the ER, so the surgeon just recommend I keep taking those.  After a while though, the hydrocodone was making me constipated so I discontinued that after about 4-5 days.  Literally, the only post op instructions I was given was NWB and elevate your leg with ice.  I’m like, “OK, well I guess I’ll figure everything out on my own.”  Do I ice it through my splint?  Do I elevate my foot laying on my back with all of the pressure directly on the achilles tendon?   How do I know if something is wrong?  How much pain should I expect?  Can I wiggle my toes?  I think you get the point…I was just very concerned with everything, and it didn’t help that I never spoke with the surgeon after the surgery.

After about 5 days, I started getting a severe burning sensation on the bottom of my heel. It was very painful, and sometimes I would wake up suddenly during the night and the pain would be unbearable for about 5 minutes, then disappear.  After getting up and moving around on crutches it usually went away as well.    The pain was not where I expected, since the achilles attaches to the heel bone at the back, not the bottom.  I figured it was the splint, but after a couple days I called the orthopaedic office and the nurse said it is just my nerves coming back to life.  Well, I really hope this doesn’t last long…

On day 9 after the surgery and I am feeling very tired of sitting around with my leg up.  I can’t seem to find a position where my leg feels comfortable when resting on a pillow.  After a couple minutes, the side of my leg gets tingly and there is a numbing sensation around the outside of my ankle.  I have a feeling it might be the splint pinching a nerve or just putting too much pressure on the incision.  Either way, I am very restless.  I went for a drive to get lunch today, but that isn’t the easiest thing especially with crutches.  I have a knee scooter to get around the house and the kitchen, so that definitely helps me move around more.

I am worried that the surgery didn’t work.    I’ve been trying to be careful.  I haven’t had too many slip ups, but I do find myself twitching frequently and sometimes flexing my foot as I move around in the bed, use the bathroom, or shower.  I wonder if I should ask for an MRI or at least have the doc take a look to tell me everything is good to go.

TODAY was my first follow up appointment at 2 weeks post op, I finally talked to the surgeon and he put my mind at ease.  He told me my achilles was looking good and the surgery went well.  They put me in a hard cast for 4 weeks, NWB still.  After that, I will be in a boot and begin putting a little weight on it progressively.  I wasn’t expecting 4 more weeks of NWB, but oh well.  I would rather be safe than sorry.  My scar looks pretty awesome though…and my leg already looks a lot skinnier than usual.

Good luck to everyone.  I’ll keep this blog updated as I go through the next few weeks.