I’ve been reading others’ ATR experiences on the internet and this is a compilation of “worth reading” postings that I’ve found. The following are some possible complications to keep in mind and hazards to avoid. Please also keep in mind that these complications are usually rare, not limited to just Achilles surgery.
As my anesthesiologist told me, The chances of complications is lower than the chances of getting into a car accident on the way to the hospital. But, as I’ve always been told, hope for the best, be prepared for the worst.. within reason. (Disclaimer: These are other’s ATR experiences, nothing more. It’s just something for you to keep in mind. Ask your doctor for qualified medical advice.)
General running theme of all these experiences is: Become Your Own Advocate for Health Care Services
Adhesions: Comments regarding Adhesions
Bri’s post regarding blood clot: Thrombus in the anterior tibial vein
Vance’s comments on AchillesBlog. Vance highlights the importance of 2nd opinion on his blog: Importance of 2nd opinion. It really riles me up when I read about careless/incompetent doctors and physician’s assistants!
I thank you for the info. I am 24 hours post op and I am in quite a lot of pain. The pain is a burning sensation and my upper calf is sore. I have only got up a few times today. I am trying to keep up with the ice and elevation and the pain meds. When I first posted on this site I was 2nd guessing my doctors diagnosis and treatment. She was a physicians assistant and said no to surgery and heal with immobilization. I emailed doctor and they rushed me in for a 2nd opinion. The Orthopedic surgeon looked at my injury and said it most definately could and should be treated with surgery. The physicians assistant originally diagnosed it as an upper rupture saying surgery was not an option. She did no tests and did not even feel for rupture. The Orthopedic Surgeon could feel where the rupture was and it was lower not upper. He then called in 1 of his colleagues who confirmed his diagnosis. Had I not have had sites like this ro research my condition I would not have known any better.
Kelly’s comments on Simon Barrett’s ATR:
Kelly had some major complications. I’d like to think that it’s rare for these things to happen, but it’s good to keep this in the back of your mind of what can happen. Being too aggressive in your recovery protocol and being too passive with your doctors is not good. Luckily, Kelly did good in the end.
I ruptured my achilles tendon on April 15th in a karate tournament. Just like the rest of you, I thought someone hit me with something. I looked around to what it was, didn’t see anything, took a step and fell flat on my face! I had surgery two days later to repair it, was walking in a regular shoe nine weeks after the surgery. My second day in the shoe I was walking down the hall at work and it completely re-ruptured! I had to have surgery again on June 15th - different Doctor. This one told me that walking at nine weeks was absurd after a total rupture. This time around I was in a hard cast for eight weeks, a boot for another seven weeks. I didn’t start walking in the boot until twelve weeks. Today (15 weeks) is my first day walking in a regular shoe and it feels fantastic. The first time around when I walked in a shoe it made me sick to my stomach,it didn’t feel right, this time, it feels good and strong and I can almost walk normal. Be careful those of you who are on a fast track. It’s been brutal having to go through it twice. Crutches on wet spanish tile?? I did the same exact thing,,OUCH! OH, beware those of you who said you have calf pain. Two weeks out from my first surgery my calf started hurting and they found a blod clot in my leg, been on blood thinners for five months - one more to go. This whole ordeal has been extremely difficult I hope all of you not a speedy recovery but a HEALED recovery. I’m used to working out 1-3 hours a day, so six months doing nothing has been awful. Going from the best shape of your life to the worst doesn’t do much for the mental health.
Some additional info - When I called my first Dr. and told him that I had a re-rupture, he felt awful, the only reason that I switched Dr’s. is because I was driving 4.5 hrs one way every two weeks to see him. (Known him forever, didn’t trust anyone else to fix me) He told me that the healing of the Achilles tendon is anything but text book. Some have healed in as little as 6-8 weeks and others have taken as long as four months (that’s me!). He figured since I was in good shape and fairly young - 35 that I would heal quick. So basically it’s a crap shoot, but here’s the differences that I noticed so you all can take notes as it sounds like you’re all on a bit of a different schedule. The first time I started walking in the boot (7 weeks) I noticed alot of swelling in my foot and calf - so much so, it didn’t look like I had any atrophy….not good. The second time around I started walking in the boot at twelve weeks - NO swelling ever occurred, no matter how long I was on it and my calf stayed nice and shrunk. The first time I took a step on my foot without the boot, I literally almost woofed my cookies, it felt so wrong - nine weeks. The second time I took that step - 15 weeks, the foot was tender on the sole and heel but the tendon felt stiff and rigid. Two days walking now and it is getting better. Last night it was not swollen, but tired and I still had stuff to do so I just put the boot back on to ease the fatigue. I’m sorry I’m so long winded, I just wanted to share these acute differences with you all in hopes that it may save you further injury. I knew something wasn’t right but I wanted to be on the path to recovery so bad that I ignored that little voice that kept saying…..”you’re screwed!”
Simon - I’m sorry to hear of your Dr. troubles. It seems that you’re totally at their mercy and sometimes it’s hard to speak up…but you’ve got to. When I had the terrible pain in my calf two weeks after my first surgery my Dr. thought it was a blood clot and sent me to radiology for an ultra-sound. The tech that conducted the ultra sound. Finished it up and said “nothing is there, no blod clot” I started to leave it at that because that’s what I wanted to hear then better sense got ahold of me. I asked why my calf would hurt so bad when I hadn’t used it in two weeks? It made me jump every time she touched it even lightly. She said she didn’t know. I told her I wasn’t leaving until an actual Radiologist read the ultra sound. She was a little put off but called him. I waited a half hour and he showed up, ultra sounded it again and found a HUGE bloodclot that had all but cut off my vein. Thank God -
Please speakup and make them help you, Oct. 11th??? I’d make myself a real pain in their back sides if I were you to get in earlier. Do they at least have you on some caustic antibiotics?
Philip’s comments on http://achillesblog.com/dennis
So here is where it gets a little screwy, but it is worth mentioning for others when they have the choice of general anesthesia or blocking the pain only in the lower portion of your body and taking mild sedatives. I chose General as I have never had problems in the past. The surgery went very well and my Doc was pleased with his ability to fully pull all the pieces together; however, post op I became hypoxic (meaning I was not getting enough oxygen into my body). They tried for many hours to just let it correct itself while I was in recovery but to no avail. At this point they brought in the EKG and a Cardiac Surgeon as they believed I was having a heart attack. After a while it was determined that that was not the case. So, still hypoxic they tried to check me out of the hospital. My wife asked, “so what happens if his breathing continues to deteriorate.” Their response, “call 911″. That did not go over to well with her. She insisted that they get an answer prior to my leaving. They checked me in and now decided that I had had a pulmonary embolism from a blood clot. Many hours later, 3 chest x-rays, one CT scan, one Pulmonologist, two Cardiologists, a very scared patient and family, no embolism was found and someone in the recovery room finally commented that I had thrown up while coming out of the General anesthesia. Pneumonia caused by asphyxiation. Ahh..haa. I went home the next day with a lot of antibiotics. Two week out, I have no lingering symptoms of the pneumonia. A big scare but a big lesson in always being your own doctor and that General Anesthesia can have its real complications.
To sign up for your own AchillesBlog, go to: Sign up
For more information on Achilles Tendon Rupture, go to: http://achillesblog.com
My Achillesblog is: http://achillesblog.com/dennis