2 Weeks and Counting for Achilles Tendon Repair and Haglund’s Deformity, Pre-Op Appt tomorrow - any advice?

August 15 is my surgery date for repair of achilles tendon tears and haglund’s deformity. Seems like I’ve been waiting all summer. It’s actually been 3.5 years since injury that just has gotten worse. My pre-op with the surgeon is tomorrow! He’s on vacation next week so that’s why so soon. Any advice for what to ask? This will be the last time I see him before surgery date!

49 Responses to “2 Weeks and Counting for Achilles Tendon Repair and Haglund’s Deformity, Pre-Op Appt tomorrow - any advice?”

  1. My ATR was unplanned so I didn’t have time to get set up. If I did, I would have made sure my recovery area was well stocked and everything I needed was easily accessible. Pillows, ace bandages, ice packs, Netflix, reading material, snacks, etc. I know some people with your surgery have kodiak machines for pain relief–sounds like a pretty cool contraption for ice around the clock. Other things like a knee scooter, shower chair, cast cover/garbage bag–I would have had those ready to go. I also wouldn’t have let the laundry and house cleaning pile up ;) I’m sure others with chime in with great advice. These are just the things I could think of. Good luck at your pre-op!

  2. I had Achilles’ tendon repair and 40 percent replacement of injured tendon with bone spur removal on July 11, I am now in my second cast, use a knee scooter, will go into a boot, use a walker, and I think, begin PT on Aug 12. I have followed doctor’s orders explicitly, and am doing very well, with no swelling of toes, only occasional “pinching” of the incision,but basically, pain free.

    Had a cleaning service the other day, which improved my doldrums Immensely Am able to do laundry, go out to dinner and play Mah Jongg,but do only one of these activities daily.

    I will gladly answer questions.

  3. Thanks Ann and Kellygirl. I’m looking forward to this appt today. I really appreciate the advice. My husband keeps saying he doesn’t think I should get the knee scooter but Everyone on this site seems to recommend it, so I plan on asking about renting one when I see the doc. Crutches seem even more dangerous than scooter. I have stairs everywhere in the house. Even downstairs there are stairs to go to sunken living room and to garage. Stairs to my bedroom are tough. The railing is loose. I probably will have to get a bed downstairs somehow. Seems like the couch isn’t long enough and what if I fell off. Also not sure about how I would prop pillows. I’ve heard that is good. Ann, why are you in second cast? So you might be able to drive after your aug. 12 appt? Good point about not doing too much. One activity per day. I’m the type that would overdo it. Kelly, I’ve got Netflix all set. Looking forward to that part of it.

  4. I went to a medical supply after getting my cast on. They only had one scooter left for rent and it was a beast–it looked like a kid sized four wheel ATV. There was no way that was going to maneuver around our house and on the carpets. Since then, I have seen many people on much smaller and streamlined knee rollers. I would definitely have tried one of those. Unless you have practiced on crutches and have a fairly strong upper body, I disagree with your husband. It is hard to get around on crutches and manage to do anything. You can’t get your own glass of water unless you are going to stand there and drink it at the sink (I think Loumar and I were joking how it got to the point, that we would drink out of whatever we could find–vases, random water glasses left half full because it was easier than getting a glass, etc.) . I got pretty good on crutches but it’s only because I’m all shoulders. I was also non-op and wasn’t in any pain–except for the mental pain my family was causing me–lol! By all means, get your self set up downstairs. I can give you Netflix recs if you want them too :)

  5. I had my at surgery 7/24. Knee scooter a must. crutches would add more discomfort for unused arm and had muscles. I spent 1 full day in bed on percoset. Ibuprofen has been enough for my discomfort since. Plan for a variety of activities while you are in your first 2 weeks post-op. Let anyone whoasks, “what can I do for you?” Tell them they can bring you and your family dinner. It will be a big help and it will get you some people to talk to.
    You will need a shower seat and a shower condom for your leg to keep your cast dry. I was lucky. The cast cover was in my gooing home stuff from the hospital. Easy-peasy. Good luck.

  6. First cast was such that it allowed for post-op swelling,…..wore that for the first ten days….this cast is a full hard cast with my foot flexed 90 degrees., I chose bright pink to feel like a girly-girl!!!!I will not b e driving till at least four weeks after aug 12, after I stop using the walker…. Have to be weight-bearing, since it is my right foot. I was deathly afraid of crutches….scooter is the answer.
    Be sure to get a streamlined knee scooter with a basket, I carry everything I. It, even laundry!!! Also, get everything set up before surgery, most definitely a bed on the first floor. We live in a one-story home, and I had to learn to use the scooter to get up and down the one step to the garage. To use the bathroom, I back the scooter close to the commode, and essentially fall in.

  7. Be sure to find out how the doctor is getting access to the bone spur. If the doctor says “bifurcate your Achilles” go somewhere else. I had that surgery in 2001! It didn’t heal well and my Achilles shredded so on April 23 I had a FHL(big toe tendon) transfer to replace my Achilles.
    A knee caddy is necessary. When going down the step to the sunken living room, have a chair by the step so you sit then swivel to go from one level to the next. The first 4 weeks in a cast are the hardest and most painful. But the pain of recovery is very different than the pain from a deteriorating Achilles. Good luck!!!!!!!!

  8. Debuff, just had my appt so saw this after. But I don’t remember him saying bifurcate! But now u got me worried. He said open a window (tendon) to get to bone spur and then repair tears in tendon. Probably wont have to cut tendon and may not even need the anchors. Depends on how it looks when he opens up the foot area. Does that sound like bifurcate?

  9. He said I will be in cast for 2 weeks. Boot 4 weeks. But he told me to tell my work 3 months!! 3 months is worse case. 6 weeks sounds like cast and boot. Not sure what happens from 6 weeks to 3 months?! He likes the knee scooter so I’m going to get going on that. Thanks everyone for your advice. It means the world! I can’t believe less than 2 weeks left.

  10. My husband said he didn’t think I would need a knee scooter either and now if you ask him now he will say it was the best thing I ever did. Much easier to at least take care of yourself with that. The sunken living room might pose a challenge, but I bet within a week you will have it figured out. It will all seem overwhelming the first few days but you will quickly adapt. I went upstairs backwards on my butt after a day because I just really wanted to be in my bed.
    Elevate elevate elevate for that first week. I would ask about how long your doc thinks you won’t be driving just so you know. Ask for a general rundown of what your recovery will be, casting, boot, schedule for weight bearing, PT etc. I think I didn’t ask enough questions and sometimes felt in the dark about what was going to happen next. Probably most importantly, relax, know that while this will be a long process, hopefully the end result will be good.

  11. Why did he say cast for 2 weeks and boot for 4 weeks yet can’t work for 3 months? Makes no sense. I only work part-time. I had so many questions I didn’t realize the descrepancy til now and he’s gone all next week. He said tell your work 3 months cause that’s the maximum time. But seems like 6 weeks is possible, right? If they take the boot off at 6 weeks aren’t I free to walk normally? I mean I’m not going to sign up for a marathon or anything.

  12. I hate to scare you but I think you are doing what I did pre surgery and thinking well, once I get into FWB and two shoes everything will be back to normal. I thought SO much about that month of NWB and when that was over, I wanted everything to be “all better”. I am at about 11 weeks post surgery now and I still have pain, tightness, swelling and a limp. My doc thinks I’m doing fine so I still think with time and continued PT practice at home these things will slowly go away, but I have to admit, life is still not easy. I think you said you are a kdg aide and work about 4 hours a day. I would think it would depend on if you can sit at least some at work. If not, 6 weeks will be pretty hard. I’m sure it varies for everyone on what you are able to handle at 6, 8, 10 weeks out. Now if I am on my feet a lot it swells a bit and sort of just feels really tired, not terrible pain but just like I HAVE to get off this now! I’m just trying to remember that even if it does take 6 months to get back to “normal” I’m 3 months closer to that and if I get there it will all be worth it. Hope for the best, but be prepared that it may take longer than you think to be able to keep up with a room full of kindergarteners!

  13. You should purchase a Kodiak cold therapy machine. It’s expensive $250, but the first two weeks when I was in a soft splint I had it on 24/7. (Unfortunately not covered by insurance, but so worth it). I still use it every night for a couple of hours. It is my best friend and really helps reduce the swelling. I got mine from my doctor’s office, but you can find them on Amazon. I thought I would be able to fly to a national conference in the boot at 5 weeks, but it was too painful to put any weight down on my foot at all. By 6 weeks I could walk in the boot, but still used a cane . Use the chair by the step to your sunken living room. I slept on the couch for two weeks before I could go upstairs to my bed. My prayers are with you because I have been there

  14. Elevation with continuous ice is definitely a must the first ten days….my doc told me to elevate 23 out of 24 hours a day….I did that, incision was completely healed when they removed the staples.. Following docs orders and timeline will definitely pay off. Good luck pugnut68..

  15. Scootertooter, what’s the best way to keep foot elevated? All the beds are upstairs. I assume I will just hang out downstairs the first 2 weeks. I have several reclining couches and chairs but I’m 5′10″ and my foot hangs over foot rest! The doctor orders says foot above heart. Not sure how to accomplish that. I was hoping to veg out watching tv but then my foot would be below my heart. I don’t even know where I will sleep.

  16. Pignut, you only need two pillows for proper elevation, told to me by the nurse, I kept two in my bed and two on the couch for daytime, . Not necessary to have foot above heart, but double check if you wish. I sleep on my side, put pillows between legs to keep right one elevated, put ice bag on top and slept well.

  17. Sorry, missed that your bed is upstairs. Make yourself comfortable on a couch downstairs and just hang out there for now, as you suggested. I do not like sleeping on a lounge chair, cause I can’t roll over.

  18. I used a rolled up sleeping bag as a pillow. Our pillows were too squishy and this was handy and worked great.

  19. Limpingmama, thanks for the comments. Yep, I am really clueless about how this all going to work out. But my job is only 2.5 hours a day and its at least half sitting teaching the 5 year olds math. I really enjoy it and feel the housework I do at home is more strenuous but I also don’t want to jeopardize my healing. But I worry if I tell HR that I could be out 3 months, I could lose a really great job that fits perfectly around my kids school schedule. Oh how I wish I had gotten this done in June! Limpingmama are you able to drive now at 11 weeks? I forget if you said before. I haven’t even talked to my work since its summer break. Maybe I will tell them I need to wait 8 weeks after surgery. It’s not a rupture so seems like it shouldn’t take as long as Kobe! He’s traveling France. But they will probably require a doctors note. I’m so dumb I got a doctors note to freeze gym but not for my work!

  20. Debuff thanks for ice idea. Sounds like I need to make a giant list to get all this stuff ahead of time. I need that knee scooter too. I like the chair idea near living room step since I probably will be there most of the time watching tv. You mentioned about bifurcating tendon. He said open tendon like a window. Is that bifurcate? You got me worried.

  21. Ask your doctor if it’s possible to use a laser to eliminate the bone spur rather than cutting the Achilles. Mine made an egg size ball of scar tissue that shredded so I had to get it removed and a graft using my big toe tendon was inserted to replace my Achilles. Call ASAP

  22. I wish I had paid more attention. I know he didn’t mention laser. He said shave off extra bone and repair tendon. He is gone on vacation all this coming week. He did say I have a very good chance of full recovery and actually to play sports again with my kids.

  23. My doc said I could take off the boot to drive at about 6 weeks, but that seems earlier than most. I think given your work schedule and half of it being seated you should be good to go by 8 weeks, maybe 6 if it all goes really well. I pictured you chasing the kids on the playground so as long as you’re not doing that you’ll be ok! I still say go upstairs on your butt. There’s nothing like being in your own bed! Even if once you get up there you stay for 5 days! Have those boys waiting on you! Payback! By day 4 or 5 you will start wanting to venture back into the world of the living.

  24. Pignut, another very important item to add to your list is prune juice or prunes, since you will be inactive, you will need help staying regular. Nurse told me post op constipation will be the worst ever and friend ended up in ER with that problem!!!! I have had no problem, still drink PJ daily!!!!

  25. After reading of these side effects I sincerely hope that I don’t need to go the surgical route next time!

  26. Did I say that I was a coward too? The blood, pain, doubts (will the stitches hold?). So long as I don’t need any bits shaving off, I’ll go the conservative route and be back in shoes in 2 months.

  27. ATRs generally respond beautifully to non-op treatment with a good protocol — NOT a conservative one! — but Haglund’s Not So Much, AFAIK.

  28. Bifurcate means split tin two. Hopefully a small”window ” won’t form so much scar tissue The doctor didn’t give me physical therapy so that may have had a factor as well. It’s been a very long difficult journey that I pray you won’t have to go through. My FHL is healing very well, though I still have a long way to go to regain flexibility on the bottom of my foot.

  29. Yep, I definitely plan on doing PT Debuff. Doc said to start at 6 weeks. I did PT for 6 weeks, 3 times the past 3 years. Didn’t really help except for learning some good stretches that might of prevented this tendon problem in the first place if I had been stretching. But I’ve heard so much about the importance of PT after given I get someone experienced that wont make it worse. I also got to remember to keep my foot elevated I think the first 2 weeks to avoid lifelong swelling problem. So much to remember. Scootertooter, pj sounds like a good idea. I’ll add to my growing pre surgery grocery list. Got to get my knee scooter and crutches this week. Shower seat and cast cover ( I’m so worried about the bathing part - not sure how that will work without getting cast wet and cause bath is upstairs!!) Limpingmama, that sounds very reasonable to me. 6 weeks driving, 8 weeks back to work. Still unbearably long time but I’ve been dealing with this pain for so much longer. But how do you get DOWN the stairs? I don’t trust our loose railings. But I agree I will miss my tempurpedic bed. And I still not sure if couches or recliners will elevate my feet. I might need to add a dining room chair at end of recliner with pillows on it so my feet don’t dangle.

  30. Pugnut. Not to worry. The cast cover works wonderfully. I bought mine on Amazon, as well as the shower bench.. I borrowed crutches, but am afraid to use them..find I can get everywhere on my scooter, but we live in a one-story home. To get up and down one step, I put the front wheels down, hold onto the door frame, then put the back wheels down. This morning, I went on the lanai and even watered my plants. Small steps, but headed in the right direction. Next Monday the cast comes off, will wear the boot with walker and begin PT. I have done PT since February, hoping to avoid surgery. Two rounds of conservative therapy and two surgeons later, surgery the only option left. Good luck.

  31. Scootertooter, is your story posted on here.
    Couldn’t find when I did a search. I am very interested in cast cover. I assume surgical center does not provide. I checked on amazon jjust now. I better order now. I need to find out how long to rent knee scooter for. When I called for rental they asked me how long I’m NWB and I don’t know. doctor is out all week.

  32. My surgeon’s protocol says no work the first two weeks, and then limited seated work the next 4-6 or so. I’m a college professor, so I expect I’ll be spending the first part of the semester teaching while seated, and using my knee scooter to prop up my foot. As others have said, the Curad cast covers work well. My doctor said to use two at a time; even then, I got a little water under the cast when I showered the first time. I have a hand-held shower head, and with the shower chair am able to manage on my own. Good luck!

  33. I was NWB for 4 weeks, so I rented my scooter for a mon
    th. Look for one that has a hand brake

  34. When I was downstairs the first two weeks, I had daily sponge baths in the entry powder room. Do you have a bathtub? I was able to put my knee with the cast on the side do the tub, then step into the tub the kept the leg with the cast
    on the edge of the tub while bathing. So I avoided the whole shower issue and water never touched my cast.

  35. Pugnut. I rented my scooter for one month, will need it for additiomal week, cast protector is Carex lower leg. PVC body is very strong, plastic ring forms a tight seal. No problem g ettimg on.and off after a little practice. Price is $13 and well worth it. Shower bench was $28, and we will use it later. Both make showering a breeze. Both came from Amazon. I did sponge bath the first ten days when I was in the soft cast. Maybe your doctors staff or PA can answer your questions.

  36. Pignut. My original story is under Ann Louise dated Aug 2.

  37. Thanks everyone for the comments. Extremely helpful! Don’t know what I would have done if I hadn’t discovered this site. I expect I’ll be on a lot after surgery too! Sounds like one month is good for scooter rental. Debuff, no we have a powder room downstairs but no bathtub or shower. I had planned on staying downstairs too the first 2 weeks. Guess I could at least wash my hair in kitchen sink? Hose off in the backyard?! Maybe I will just not leave the house the first 2 weeks and I’ll look/smell like a homeless person. I bought 2 pillows to elevate my foot on recliner and I guess I’ll sleep on the recliner too.

  38. Pignut. Kitchen sink or laundry tub with shower attachment worked great while I could not shower!

  39. Pignut, I meant laundry tub for hair washing…..do not think I would fit in a laundry tub to bathe….YIKES,,,

  40. Most of you Achilles folks are young, healthy, athletic people who had a rupture of your Achilles. I am in very good health, age 70, and my surgery is the result of a large bone spur destroying 40% of my Achilles’ tendon. Would like to hear from somewhere with similar condition, in terms of time of recovery, when to expect to walk normally , pain management, etc. I. am getting my cast off tomorrow, surgery was July 11, will go into the boot, use a walker and hopefully begin PT. thanks.

  41. Scootertooter, my doctor said I will be in the cast for 2 weeks, boot for 4 weeks. I bet you can’t wait to get that cast off!

  42. Pignut…..NTW surgery staff will handle you with care. In surgery I asked if they wanted me to roll on my stomach, they said they would do it….thought I would wake up,with a stiff neck, sore arms, etc. but everything was fine. Your family will do well with housework, cooking. My husband who never does housework, has been great. They seem to rise to the occasion!!!! Got,my cast off yesterday,happily. It is great just being able to,put my foot on the cool tile, and slept wonderfully. Will start PT next Monday. For now, I can begin putting 25% of my weight (i keep a scale nearby so I get used to how much weight is actually 25%)…….I posted a picture of my healed incision to all my friends, figure if I went through this ordeal, I should get a little sympathy from my friends!!!!!, you will do fine, and I am here to answer questions. I can tell you, I had absolutely NO PAIN from the surgery….took Percocet around the clock for the first ten days…..as my surgeon advised…..even now, I have no pain, just a little stiffness in my toes due to the tendon transfer…. And at the incision site when I lift my foot. Best of,luck!!!!!

  43. Pignut. PS. I am back in the boot and doc suggested I keep the scooter another month, to use on outings, so I am not always in slow motion. Greatest idea, especially since I do not start PT till next week, begin w eight-bearing Friday.

  44. Pug nut….sending good thoughts your way for tomorrow…..everything will go well….your scooter and pain meds will be your two new best friends….my main worry facing my surgery was pain, but thanks to the nerve block and later pain meds, I did not have one moment of pain. I slept very well every night as well. Good luck!!!!! Will prayto the “Achilles gods” for you!!!!

  45. Pug nut. I would definitely ask your doctor or anesthesiologist why you are not having a general……..and ask if they plan to give you a “nerve block” . This lasts about 48 hours so that in the meantime you can begin pain medication that will be in your system when the nerve block is wears off.

  46. I was so surprised when they said it was not a general, scootertooter. Actually they never even told me, the preop nurse said you will leave about 30 minutes after surgery! And then I asked how the general could be worn off that fast! That’s when the nurse said, oh you are scheduled for MAC. So I wish I had known sooner to process this. Ok, I will ask for nerve block. I thought it was knee block. Mixed up. I will write it down cause I will be a nervous wreck tomorrow morning. They never mentioned the nerve block, so I probably need to ask for it.

  47. Ping nut. Am using my original boot wirg the. walker instead of crutches to begin walking…..I, too, almost broke my neck with the crutches, even with practicing beforehand….walker was ordered by my doc, and a neighbor loaned me hers. Will still use the scooter for going out, as walker at this point is slow.

  48. Hi guys,
    I am 23 years old male from New Zealand and it is currently 7weeks and 2days post op. I was diagnosed with Haglunds deformity a year ago but first recognized the pain when I was 16/17 years old (when it was minor). Op wasn’t as bad as I expected it to be, pain for me was rated 3-4/10. Last week (week 6) i took both my casts off and my chicken atrophy legs go into moonboots, once I got home I tried standing up and my balance was no good. Later on that week I eventually started to walk but still feel pain on both feet but it’s not the AT & heel bump pain its more of the surgery still healing pain. Really excited to see my next appt in 6 weeks time. I hope this helped anyone. Cheers

  49. HI BenS I am also from NZ, south island. Could you recommend me your doctor or surgeon? I understand this is a bit limited in NZ for this kind of injury.

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