Results of my 2 week post-op appt.

Finally met with my actual surgeon today for first time since surgery. His partner changed my splint dressings last week while he was on vacation. The removal of the 15 or so metal staples was pure torture! But it has been healing well. I had large bone spur and tendon damage so he fixed that and attached heel bone to tendon with titanium anchor. He took that horrible hot and extremely tight splint off. For good! And did not put me in a boot! Isn’t that unusual? He said I should wear boot for protection if out but in house, not necessary! Just have foot in a sock with ace bandage around it. And I can start PWB just walking on outside of foot. I tried it today and it felt like I had a million needles in bottom of my foot! Why is that? Will it slow my progress if I don’t start PWB right away? I’m still using knee scooter all the time. He also said I can still keep it elevated when I feel it hurting. Well, my foot appears double the size of my uninjured foot! I even tried slipping both feet into an open back Merrell clog before I was going to try the PWB and my swollen foot would not fit at all! Doc said to come back in 2 weeks and he can give me a better idea of when I can drive and go back to work. Oh yeh, and I can shower! Just as soon as I can get the nerve to go upstairs! But not sure how will I shower on one foot or even get into the shower since it’s a bath/shower with a huge stepover! Any ideas?

16 Responses to “Results of my 2 week post-op appt.”

  1. It’s interesting how much variation there is in surgical technique, post-op care, etc. My OS used plastic suture anchors which apparently will dissolve or be absorbed into the bone, and only one incision for the tendon transfer and debridement, bone spur excision, etc.; I know others use a second incision.
    Like yours, my OS has me wearing the boot only when I’m trying to walk, which is a little more restrictive than yours, but sounds like both of us are being given more “freedom” than most on this site.

    As far as showering is concerned, I bought a shower chair off amazon. It wasn’t expensive ($20-$25, I think). I stand just outside the shower stall with one hand on the window sill and the other on the grab bar in the shower (but anything stable and strong would work), and ease myself into a sitting position, then swing my bad leg into the shower. It helps to have a hand-held shower head, but is doable without it. When I’m finished, I basically reverse the process: grab the window sill and the scooter handle and hand brake, then hop over the shower sill as if I were on crutches. You could also try positioning a second chair outside the shower so that you could scoot your butt from one to the other; that would probably be safer, in fact, especially if you can use the edge of the tub as an intermediate seat. Good luck and enjoy having the splint off!

  2. PWB is probably important to get over the sensitivity of the bottom of the foot. Crutches are a nuisance, but they’re the best way to do PWB. Use it or lose it… Pad the handles and uprights, make sure the fit and technique are right.
    Be inventive with showers and such too. I had a small $5 2-step plastic stepstool that made a fine shower stool after I put a sheet of foam plastic (camping pad) on top. (Do watch out for crutches on wet floors!)

  3. Thanks for the advice. It really helped me. Was able to get up the stairs by crawling and butt scoot. My husband carried the knee scooter up to top of stairs then back down when I done. So that part of it might be a challenge when he’s back at work. Maybe next time I will try carrying the crutches up while I crawl. And at last, my first shower! The simple things in life. No longer look like a homeless person! Then when my foot was dry, I put on a simple ankle sock and wrapped it with an Ace bandage. And back on my scooter. I know I keep saying this, but so wonderful to be out of that splint and not need to have a boot on. Especially in this hot summer.

    It really is fascinating how every surgeon is so different on post surgery care. You would think there would be a set protocol to follow that they all agree on. And who knows which method is best. I wish my doc had used plastic anchors. I hate having metal in my body for life. Oh well.

  4. Thanks norm. I think you advised me early on not to get too dependent on the scooter. I will try PWB again today. This is probably a dumb question, but why is the bottom of my foot so sensitive? Just using the outside edge like he said to. But just felt like needles. Maybe from not using it for so long. My foot is still really swollen.

  5. I had pins and needles in the bottom of my foot too when I went PWB. Give it time it will go away. I used the crutches during PWB and even for a little bit after he said I could go FWB. Now I am crutch free scooter free and boot free! Yippeeeee! Walking is still difficult. Every week that passes things get easier though. You’ll get there!

  6. Jen, how long has it been since your surgery? Part of me is so skeptical about putting weight on my foot. Even thought he said just try using the outside edge of foot, it just seems so soon! Guess I should put my trust in my doctor but how can the tendon possibly heal in only 2 weeks? That’s mind boggling. My tendon was split down the middle to remove scar tissue and bone spur. That’s a lot of work done. But then I’m worried if I don’t follow doctors orders and start PWB, it could mess up my recovery.

  7. My surgery was the 23rd of July. Had the same thing done as you. Achilles was split, unattached at bottom of heel, bone spur and haglunds removed, then reattached. At 3 weeks he told me to do PWB and I thought there was no way I could put weight on my foot because of the pins and needles feeling. It took me awhile to trust that the thing wasn’t going to just rip open the minute I put weight on it! I have pictures on my blog. They are kind of gross but may help you see if you are progressing the same. :) yesterday was the first day I actually looked at my incision and thought it looked like it was going to heal completely. So each day things seem to get better!

  8. Can’t find your blog. What id is it under? Can you walk now and drive?

  9. Never mind. I just found it, Jen. I’ll check it out now. Thanks.

  10. Confuses me, I was non weight bearing for almost 6 weeks and even with the boot now the advise is only to remove it when absolutely necessary. even when sleeping..
    The PT is still not allowed to work the tendon as it is still healing.
    I guess we are all different and there is more than one way to solve the problem. As long as you have confidence in the advice you are given.

  11. Spacemonkey

    Was yours a complicated repair too, causing you to be on this cautious rehab schedule?

  12. It is worrisome that everyone has such different recovery timelines. Before the surgery, doc said I would be going in boot at 2 weeks. Yet when I came in for 2 week he said not necessary. Just start PWB and walk on outside edge of foot. And he didn’t do a MRI after surgery so not sure how he knows the actual condition of tendon. Jen, did you ever start PT? I worry about doing it too early. But seems like eventually I will need to do. Maybe at 6 weeks?

  13. I have simple ATR only so can only imagine your concern.

    Re variations in timelines is probably related to how much is still being discovered about these types of injury. On the bright side we have more info than a single surgeon in many ways with this blog. I don’t mind slightly different approaches, I just wish there was some consistency with my care, or even “care” with my care. The variations of protocol are probably still within a range of plans which work relatively well. This blog is a great place to double check that.

    Re PT…

    Regardless of procedure, remember there are great variations in PT at early stages and later on. PT early on may feel like you are in an exercise class for those in late 90s. It is the PTs job to assess where you are at and work on appropriate PT. A good PT may even say wait a little bit or go extremely slow to the point of hardly moving ahead with PT. PTs will likely stop short of overtly overriding medical advise ‘to get PT’. An ortho may not communicate but should communicate that PT ‘as directed by PT’ including slowing it right down.

    I had concern about getting into PT as my ortho dept was initially suggesting no PT till at about 3 months. I pushed for it and got into PT. Then I was worried pre PT about PT going too fast. However, that was not the case. The exercises should be ‘beginner’ and the extent of performing each exercise should depend on your progress.

    Your PT should engage your feedback (that’s from my 0 years of PT school). If the PT does not and in the extremely unlikely event something does not feel right, make sure you say so.

  14. had insertional surgery - calcaneus excision and secondary tendon repair - Aug 28th, 2013 after about 3 years of pain. I am 53 and was a marathoner. Where I am now: Started walking first of year but only short distances, and have had set backs - sitting pain returns during these periods. I am told that inflammation flares up in the tendon during these periods. At my best I can do anything I want - however I dare not because that will result in chronic pain - sometime more than two days after. My PT is twice a week. I do heel raises, squats on incline only my weight, stand on bad leg balance on floor, and a little stationary bike riding. If I go beyond this - pain returns. I don’t see any swelling anymore but incision and insertion site are purple which my doc has pointed out is not what we want. I don’t do stairs but a few and walk short distances. Ican’t wear a normal shoe on the right foot so I wear and sandal or tennis shoe with back cut out. I sometimes wear heel lift but sometime heel feels better without it. I tried swimming Sunday but had lots of pain during and next day. THe doc says he will try a cortizone shot in the incision site next Tuesday, hoping that will help speed healing in the incision tissue. Lately I have been having lots of pain on the inside of heel at insertion site. I am so depressed and frustrated. I am having trouble concentrating at work and having fun elsewhere. I am so tired of either laying around or when I do something having pain. Doctor told me to try and concentrate on the good periods and mark progress by them appearing closure together. I have read on American Ortho. site that pain can continue after surgery for a full year. I get discouraged when I read on other sites that I will be able to return to normal in six months. I don’t think that is going to happen. How are you doing now?

  15. Tom, it doesn’t usually help to put the same post or comment in multiple places here, AFAIK. Those of us who visit will check the Recent Posts list and the New Pages list (names from memory, sorry!). What will probably help is setting up your own blog page, starting with the email, see the Main Page.

    It sounds like you may have an infection or an incompatibility between your sutures and your body. Maybe. For sure something isn’t going according to the plan. Several people here had one of those problems or the other. An extreme case of the latter was GerryR, who finally got to 100% after his FOURTH op removed the last of his original sutures. You can read his blog if you want — this website’s address plus /gerryr . A few of the folks with infections and/or non-closing wounds needed skin grafts or other repairs. Or it may just resolve itself by itself with some “tincture of time”.
    Hang in, don’t cause pain, and good luck!

  16. Hi tjw1, I’m sorry you are still having pain. I wish I could offer hope since you and I had very similar surgeries. Unfortunately, i can not. I am in extreme pain and its been 5 months now. I never thought it would take so long to heal! I was told I would be a hundred percent after 3 months. I can’t walk around the block without pain. You mentioned you don’t have swelling? That’s amazing. Both sides of my ankle are very swollen. My incision is reddish purple and never healed up. My body rejected the sutures and I “spit a stich”. I have a “knot” at the top of the incision line. I can do the stationary bike without too much pain and I do stretches that I learned when I did PT. I only went for a few weeks cause they basically just had me do the exercises and stretches that I was taught whle I was there. They would also push back on my foot. I am still in more pain than I was before the surgery, which I didn’t think was possible. I do not take any pain medicine because I would be taking it all the time which would not be good. I try to remember to ice the foot. I do get that stiffness too when not doing anything. So pain and swelling when moving and stiffness when i don’t do anything. Needless to say, I’ve gained ten pounds just since surgery. I don’t even see the surgeon anymore. He said it wasn’t needed after 3 months and just keep stretching. But I’m thinking I need to go back since I’m not improving.

    As far as shoes, the Asics GT-2000 tennis shoes are pretty good. The doctor recommended them. I had to get them in wide and a size larger than normal since my right foot is still so swollen. I wear the Merrell open back Encore Breeze clogs at home.

    Do you find the PT sessions helpful? Maybe I should go back or try another PT location. I did go back in November for several weeks but, like I said, they basically just had me do the exercises and stretches that I can also do at home. And it was thirty bucks per session with insurance.

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