Anyone use tendon from Big Toe to repair ruptured or re-ruptured achilles?

I go in for my third surgery at the end of the month. Doc will use Big Toe tendon to connect the ends between my re-ruptured tendon. ALL comments on this process are appreciated!

61 Responses to “Anyone use tendon from Big Toe to repair ruptured or re-ruptured achilles?”

  1. So sorry that you re-ruptured your achilles. This is my biggest fear.

    I had surgery on November 21, 2012 for my ATR and the surgeon used my toe tendon. I ruptured the tendon on November 5, 2012 but did not go to the doctor until November 19, 2012 as I thought it was just a continuation of tendonitis in my achilles. I have been running for 50 years and I have had problems with this achilles off and on for many years.

    The two week delay was the reason the surgeon gave me to use the toe tendon. You have two toe tendons, one controls the up and down motion of the toe and the other one allows the toe to flex at the joint. They take the one that flexes at the joint and I do not miss it at all.

    The surgery (I think) went quite well. Cast for two weeks, boot for four weeks and NWB for six weeks. Went from NWB to FWB in boot in two days, protocol called for two weeks but I accelerated and it has gone well. I went to two shoes at six weeks and four days and everything is going fine. I am on my third day in two shoes, slight swelling at night after being on foot. I have a desk job so my walking is limited. I did walk 1/4 mile today on my treadmill with no problems. I am also riding stationary bike for 30 minutes increasing the resistance every day.

    At this point I would say everything is fine.

  2. Hello, I had my toe tendon used for my rupture. I have been doing great. Slow, but great. I am 6weeks post op from suffering 2 ruptures at same time, same leg. I don’t even notice my toe tendon missing (lol). Recovery is slow and my incision where they took the toe tendon took longer to close up than the one on back of ankle. I think it was the pressure of walking in a boot kept popping it open. Steri strips was the answer and wish I had purchased some the day I got my boot! I am one week into my Vaco boot which I love. Take care and good luck with the next surgery! Kim

  3. This is very helpful! I must admit that I’m sad to lose my toe tendon… I hate the idea of “permanently” damaging a part of my body to fix another part… It makes me sad. Oh, I said that… Anyway… I am curious… WHERE do they make the incision for the toe tendon removal? Now that I’ve had two achilles rupture surgery, I’m very clear on where they “cut” for that. But what about the toe tendon retrieval? Where is the cut? Where is the scar? And HOW do they attach everything back there? My doc said something about drilling into the bone to attach it. Ug. That scares me in terms of the pain of healing. Would love to hear ! I have my surgery next Wednesday, January 30th, 2013. Jennifer

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  4. Hi this is probably too late but my FHL tendon and repair was all done from one incision. I’m very happy with mine which was done for a re rupture.

  5. Oh wow! So they go down the back of the calf and then under the heel? One incision? And then do they drill a hole into a bone to attach something? I could have sworn the doctor said that? And you are feeling good? My surgery is next Wednesday…

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  6. Hi Sheena!
    I had my surgery on Wednesday. No real pain yet, but I don’t think the block has completely worn off. Did you get the block shot to nunb your leg below the knee?
    I’d love to know how you are faring. I’m a huge yoga person, and I’m really hoping the change in my toe won’t affect that. Mine is also a re-rupture and I had infection etc. so right now my leg has quite a bit of atrophy. Did you have any experience with that? Would love to here how you are doing and please let me know if there were any surprises in your recovery that you didn’t expect? Incidentally, I’m in L.A.. where are you ?
    Jennifer :)
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  7. Hi Rich,
    Are you doing PT? Also - I was surprised re: how fast the doc put you in the boot. I think I also get the boot after a couple weeks… check up on Valentines and my surgery was this past Wednesday - but are you saying you were in the boot, but non weight bearing? I have a scooter… did you get one of those? Also, what kind of pain were you in , post surgery?
    Jennifer :)
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  8. I am two weeks out after having the big toe tendon used to reconstruct the achilles. Tomorrow I get stitches removed and a cast put on for another 4 to 6 weeks. I haven’t had much pain….so far so good. The main problem is trying to get anything done…the scooter is handy but gets in the way. Patience is a virtue…unfortunately not one of mine! Best wishes to all for a complete recovery.

  9. how’s the recovery going? i’m three weeks post-surgery - in my second cast — and next Friday (4 weeks) I’m guessing my doc will put on another cast? i’m having some mild pain - more like an “ache” at times. are you? i am hoping that it’s just the tendon growing and the bone etc. growing “around” the pin the doc put in there…? i’m trying to avoid pain meds - like norco - and just using Tylenol at times. i can wiggle all my toes - so i’m glad about that. i was a little nervous that my big toe wouldn’t move… but it’s working - i guess.

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  10. I’m 5 weeks out from my FHL. Tendon replacement for my ruptured Achilles. I was in a splint for two weeks, a hard plaster cast for two weeks and have had a walking boot for four days. I can feel three very sharp points on the bottom of my foot- two on my heel, one on each side of my heel and one in the center of my foot. I . assuming these are where the tendons are tied together. I am having difficulty putting any weight because these 3areas feel like nails. I’m doing the physical therapy and icing twice a day. I need to be able to put weight on my foot by the next weekend as I am due to go to a conference in a week. I have put some foam rubber in the bottom my boot to provide some cushioning. Did anyone else have this problem? Any suggestions?

  11. I’ve got no experience with your surgery or “nails” sticking out, but many of us had super-tender foot-soles (esp. under the heel, but really everywhere), and a lot of us alleviated it with squishy footbeds and squishy shoes like Crocs. Me, I preferred gel-type squishy to foam rubber, though I used some of each.

  12. Thanks. I have put a silicon heel cup and foot insert on top of the foam which has helped. I was pleased to be able to navigation some steps on crutches. My physical therapist said not to be so aggressive on my stretches so I won’t tear loose where the toe tendon is attached to my calf muscle. I have a deep burning pain down the side of my leg, which the PT therapist said was due to excessive stretching. So I need to accept that I need to take my crutches on my trip to the convention

  13. had my surgery Sept 2012, had five different infections with open wound till May 2013. TAKE antibiotics before surgery. The end result, I have done waterskiing all summer, golf, tennis and just started back at racquetball. One of the best treatments I can recommend for a quick heal is nightly massage over the area. Blood flow is the cure. If it wasn’t for my wife doing this I would still be hobbling around. Get back to the gym and do squats also a good source for healing

  14. Sad story JF — except for the so-far ending! :-)

    All infections are spread from somewhere, and an ever-increasing % are antibiotic-resistant (REALLY dangerous!), from the overuse of antibiotics. Most of us escape wound infections (from all surgeries) without, just with good hygiene by patient, surgeon, and the rest of the hospital staff. Germs that get rinsed down the drain or get incinerated on gloves and wipes don’t cause wound infections.

    Mistakes and stupidity happen, and some hospitals still drop their stupid infection rates by ~95+% just by smartening up their staff. Nobody’s born knowing what to do, and many med schools still reach for antibiotics.

    Malpractice lawsuits or embarrassing hospital epidemics often start the process, alas, though some are ahead of the curve.

  15. MikeP.
    hi all I have been reading your correspondence and trying to weigh if I should have this tendon operation .I have a ruptured achilles and the surgeon recommended I heal it conservatively without surgery but does the big toe tendon operation. Ive been healing now for 11 weeks and not too much stronger then when 60% rupture happened and my calf muscle is atrophied because Ive worn a boot this long . I feel the tendon operation will give me the strength back in my lower leg that I feel will always be insufficient healing this way.
    If anyone out there has some practical advice I would appreciate it.

  16. Mike - 11 weeks is still very early and too early to expect full strength back with or without surgery. By all accounts you should be out of the boot but it sounds like your doc is following an old practise. At least you are in a boot and hopefully walking around. The operation is not necessary unless your tendon has not joined well. If there is a gap or dip in the tendon then an ultrasound or MRI would most ikely be ordered followed by surgery. Your tendon should be thick (they are usually much thicker than the non injured side) and there may even be a little bump at the injury site. This would mean all is well and you will return to full strength in time. It could be another 9 months but if you have surgery now then you will back to the start needlessly and in the same position 11 weeks later.

  17. Ok, thanks for this Stuart , yes Im in a boot and crutches for support and balance as well and to ensure I dont trip due to my leg weakened state when I go to work ., at home I put regular shoes on and get around with a cane but use crutches also……I did not have a complete tear but 60% was torn the Surgeons that Im going to all thought an operation would not be suitable, there is scare tissue forming after 11 weeks but my concern is how strong it will be
    I just felt that a new tendon of sorts would be stronger. I think they feel my age 60 would be difficult for healing .
    One surgeon though felt I should have the tendon operation in the beginning. .What does FHL stand for??

  18. Michael - Firstly FHL is the flexor hallucis longus tendon which is responsible for flexing your big toe. If they use it then you will not be able to do that anymore. Your age doesn’t really have much to do with how well you are going to heal from this injury. My father was in his mid 80 when he did his and was walking in shoes without crutches after 8 weeks and no surgery. Scar tissue is made up of collagen and intially that collagen is of a type that is weak and disorganised. As you rehab you remodel the collagen and the good, strong aligned collagen takes over. The only problem I see is that sometimes partial tendon ruptures sometimes become full tendon ruptures later as the part of the tendon that did not rupture may have some degeneration. I would ask your docs more about that in relation to your particular circumstance. If that happens then surgery may be considered. FHL tendon transfers are commonly used to replace degenerated parts of tendons but there are also artificial tendons using a process called LARS (google that). Also immobilization for 12 weeks used to be the normal practise but many of us here are walking in the boot without crutches at 4 weeks and into shoes at 8. There is a great deal of information on this site regarding modern rehab protocols with and without surgery. If you have trouble finding them then just ask but sometimes the searching turns up interesting things.

  19. Thanks for this useful info folks.
    I had the procedure with FHL done on 14th April 2015, opted for the spinal block as pain relief and home the next day.
    Mine was a large gap in the tendon and I am currently in a cast for 2 weeks, taking Paracetamol and codein based tablets and noy getting any pain. Hard doing nothing after 35 years of running, cycling etc but going to be patient and get back to walking properly first after hobbling for 16 weeks.
    Will keep you all posted
    Steve UK

  20. Hey Steve…consider starting your own blog, directions are on the main page.

  21. How fellow Achilles Ruptured people.Ive had problems with my Achilles for 9yrs now and after Physio injected Cortisone into the point where it attaches to the bone,it Ruptured while playing Basketball.. Has anyone here had this happen,as I now require op with the FHL ligament…Did everything go fine & sorry to say but has the Physio been Negligent?? Thanks Karl

  22. Karl if the PT told you of the chance of rupture and you were aware of the risks of the procedure he used, he is not liable in my opinion. If however, he was not aware that:

    “Cortisone injections. Cortisone, a type of steroid, is a powerful anti-inflammatory medication. Cortisone injections into the Achilles tendon are rarely recommended because they can cause the tendon to rupture (tear).” From the AAOS website.

    and he treated you with an outdated or risky procedure then in my opinion he is negligent as he should be up to date on the latest treatments for anything he is treating. In other words ignorance of proper treatment wouldn’t apply. Best of luck in your upcoming operation. This is only my opinion, perhaps someone with more knowledge will respond.

    Also, I suggest following the directions on the main page to start your own blog for continued support.

  23. Hi, I am a physio and have recently done an injection course. The physio should have discussed any risks. However, there is very little evidence to suggest one cortisone injection would cause significant weakness in your tendon. You are normally advised to do 2 weeks of ‘relative rest’ as this is the period thought where the steroid could cause short term weakness to the tendon. Multiple injections over a prolonged period would be much
    More likely to cause weakness. The 9 year history of Achilles problems and the underlying physiological changes are likely the reason you ruptured your Achilles tendon and not a 1 off injection.

  24. Hi again,thank you for your replies,much appreciated. My physio didn’t put the injection in the Achilles only where it attached to the bone..There’s where the inflammation was that was causing the pain,hopefully the operation will go well & I will do sports again.I’ve been told that a lot of determination & effort will enable me to do so..let’s hope as I do love excursion sports

  25. Good look with the surgery and rehab. I’m sure with hard work and positive thinking we will get back to sports. I’m 12 days post rupture now and cancelled this summer ‘tough mudder’. Don’t think 12 weeks is long enough rehab for this. Looking forward to next years one though :)

  26. Hi. In need of advice. I was in pain a yr and barely able to walk before I had my first surgery on my Achilles’ tendon. Dr went in and removed a large bone spur from the back of my heel and fluid from bursitis. Tendon was torn and not attached at the insertional site. Anchors were used to secure the tendon and reattach it to the heel bone. Surgery was Sept 2014. Fast forward and I’ve been in and out of therapy and in and out of the boot til now. Therapy over 2-3 months makes pain worse. Seeing another dr now that said surgery with FHL is next. MRI shows Achilles tendonosis, but no tear and healing is good. Atrophy is my hold up. One calf is over 2 inches smaller and I’m working to build that up. Anyone have experience and is surgery a good idea. Pain is like before surgery unless I’m in a boot. Even then I can’t stand long. Any advice is appreciated.

  27. Heather G,

    What did the new dr say? I’m having your same issues. I found this thread by searching on here for people that had grafts.

    I had spur removal and Achilles repair in December 2014, complete with 4 bone anchors. No actual tendon tearing either, but I do have spur regrowth and bursitis. Been in more pain than before surgery. I have a second surgery scheduled in 2 week to remove more bone spurs, and apply a graftjacket to Achilles. I hope this helps.

    I totally understand what you’re going through!

  28. Hi All, I am very happy to have found this site. I had my achilles surgury on 07/24/2015. Reputured after cast removal after a fall in boot. I am now debating the FHl surgury vs casting for 6 weeks. I have movement currently in my toes but I am swollen at the anfle on one side. I don’t believe it has completly torn . It appears people seem satisfied with the FHL results. However, its scarying me . Any advice ? i am turning 50 and very active. I want to believe that I can do it with out this additional surgury. The thought of going six weeks casted and it not reapiring it and then to reconstructive surgury is wearing me down. Need more insight? My surgury FHL surgury is scheuled for 08/24/2015.

  29. I had FHL surgery on June 17, 2015. There were no other options for me as my Achilles was severely degenerated and calcification had built up. I have to say that the first 4 weeks were the worst. My swelling was the biggest issue. I had to stop the docs from putting fiberglass casts on and switch to splints so that my swelling had somewhere to go. Once they did that, the healing began. Because they rerouted the big toe tendon and weaved it into the two broken ends of the Achilles, my foot feels floppy. But PT says this will change once the muscles begin to build back up again. I believe him because the foot is less floppy since I have begun to bear weight and PT sessions. My surgeon only cut me once and that was down the back of the leg. I have seen other You Tube videos were the surgeons also cut down the side of the foot. I was thankful that I only have one scar to deal with. In looking back, I would rather go through the pain now to know that my chances of walking halfway decent and minimizing rerupture at a later date and doing this all over again.

    I wish you the best in your decision.

    Take care.

  30. Hi ,
    Thank you for your reply. Were you swollan before the surgery? The swelling is what I was afraid of since I have been swollen for two weeks. I have some degenration on my new report. I am contimplating seeing a 3rd surgeon before i go throiugh with the reconstruction. I feel the surgeon couldnt give me definative answer as to which way go to go. Casting vs this FHL surgery. I wish you well on your recovery.

  31. Also, they will make another incison at the heal. Its terrifying me! Ugh.

  32. Hi Everyone, I went with my 2ND Surgury FHL on 08/24/2015 ,I had my first post op yesturday. Doc, says all looks good and will remove my cast on 09/22/2015. Yahoo! I will then begin PT one week after. I must say the pain has been tolarable. I have it daily . Pulling sensation like a rubber band stretching , tingling and pulsating. I guess thats the healing going on. It amazing how much pain we are able to endur on a daily basis. This injury has taught me much more patience and life will balance itself . I can’t wait to start PT! I wish you all happy healing time !

  33. Glad to hear I’m not alone. 2surgeries in 8mnths. First was a removal of heel spur,& slight debris all of Achilles’ tendon. 2nd surgery was shaving heel bone down& more debridal of tendon, & replacing with big toe tendon. It is a long recovery time, still in a lot of pain, trying to explain to family members what exactly what is going on is impossible. They don’t understand why u can’t get up & walk. I am very frustrated, but happy I googled, & would like to know if any one else has had this same surgery….

  34. I wish I had found this site when I tore and retore my right achilles. I was a NCAA tennis player so naturally I over compensate when it comes to age appropriate activities. I was out of commission and in bed for almost 8 months due to infection and the skin having a hard time healing back together from swelling. My surgeon had me qualified for the hyperbaric chambers for 3 months, 3 times a week and that was the BEST thing I could have done. Pure oxygen pumped into the hardest part of the body for blood to reach. Fast forward 2 years- the MD told me to be active as long as I don’t have pain, so I am running/biking/weight lifting. I have a lot of weight to loose but I am excited about breaking a sweat on a regular basis. Also, I consider my shoes very carefully now and bought a pair of HOKAs for the cushioning. Thank God for cute flats! And my scar draws quite the attention. I just tell people that I was either bitten by a great white or struck by lightning.

  35. Just thought i would say that I have recently had a achilles recovery (3 months on now walking quite well ) from a freak accident with a hedge trimmer! It wasn’t on but i managed to lift and drop it down as i tripped over it and sent i crashing, square, with the blades open, onto the achilles. An initial 33% tear caused me to jump, where upon it went with a snap, axially causing 100% tear. The tendon somehow stayed together enough for the doctors to think it wasn’t 100%. BUT we I didn’t know this at the time as nobody was available to scan it.
    I really didn’t want surgery and convinced them to let me go with a CAM boot. I didn’t wear it unless moving on for first week to let the cut heal. 2 weeks NWB. Sat still this time (not like with the other achilles!*) and it healed rapidly. They really did want to take the knife to me.. it was hard to stand my ground but I feel given the rapid healing and very small - exact - scar that I made the right choice.
    Walks slowly tomorrow..

    * I did the right one and went back to karate after two weeks being told it was a calf strain - never went to A&E - just shows the power of the mind - felt sick when i knew it was actually achilles

  36. I’m a college gymnast and tore mine last year at a practice doing everyday skills. Initially wasn’t in too much pain so the athletic trainers had a hard time diagnosing the injury because I wasn’t complain much and tried to keep going. Eventually had surgery 2 weeks later. My biggest fears were that I wouldn’t regain the strength I previously had and would constantly be in pain. After 7 long months of therapy i’m finally fully back to gymnastics and my skills are better than they were before the injury, which surprised me. I typically only feel soreness at the end of a workout of after a bad landing but overall I’m extremely happy. If anyone else is worried that they can’t get back to 100%, just keep working hard!

  37. I love this post. I come back here sometimes to check-in on some friends going thru the journey together and am always amazed and proud to see them progressing. I am often conflicted by trying to help people be positive and feel that whatever stage as I call them, that people are at…that it really does get better. I caution because obviously there are some types of tears that are little more severe than others and sometimes setbacks do happen. But as for me, I am still fascinated how many nerves and fears and worries you end up going thru…and this is my second year on other leg. So I been thru it all before, but this journey despite knowing it all, was still different and tougher actually…mentally. You always worry will you recover like everyone else on here…when will you finally get back to normal and it becomes a thought in the back of your mind when you step outside. I must admit…I keep on forgetting…its only been 4 months! It’s hard to believe that when you stop worrying and fearing the worst and begin knowing you are gonna be OK soon, just with time. Think that’s my maturity with this tear. I just knew deep down in my heart, that no matter how it felt day 2, that I would be better weeks months later. Of course I am a non surgical partial tear so its definitely much much easier than my complete rupture 6 years ago. But same drama..same wait..same doubt, same worries, same pains and aches and same patience needed. But for vast majority of really does get better with time. I really used to get sooo irritated how slow progress was happening. Used to fear so much I wouldn’t heal correctly or what if I rerupture…just looking at So crazy what the mind and stress does to you. I just wanted to let some of you know who go thru usual up and down in thoughts that it’s absolutely normal and part of the process. One difference I learned is you can have all the advice and tips and tricks and protocols you want…but only you can feel your own progress and threshold and sometimes least for me…I actually was more in the way of my progress than my injury So this time took a very different approach and when I knew I could, I would try to live my life as I used to. I can only speak for myself that I have “PTed and Therapied and Protocols” my own way and some of it was financial and some just probably overly confident in myself that I’ve done it already on my own before and I believe I can do it again! So I’m no expert of..anything at all..except of myself and I just try to inspire people who maybe feel in week 4 or 8 or 12 that maybe doubt enters and you wonder how on earth will you get to be yourself again. I just like to remind my friends and newbies with similar injuries to my own, that really is amazing what you can do when you are determined and put your mind to it. It is amazing to see that week 1 and week 10 can really be a difference of two legs. Life of a boot and life of shoes, life of worrying when u step out of bed, and life taking those steps on stairs. You must keep believing in yourself at all times and understand patience but practice I think in my own small opinion is truly one of secrets to a positive, slow, annoying but progressive recovery. I’ve had this one block on even attempting a heel raise at all. I can walk extremely well but of course, I still can limp if I’m trying to walk up a darn 75 degree hill. Sure after walking about 20 minutes, sharp pain just pops up reminding me that darn Achilles ain’t fully awake yet. And of course after a night of dancing and standing for hours, or an hr or so of driving or going up flight of stairs, aches, pains, some swelling still happens. But I know…for myself, its a necessary pain, necessary ache but I’m still am happy to live life almost as normal as I can but of course being careful and knowing the next day will be a rest day with ice and TV lol. I’ve climbed hills, driven for hours, walked for miles, climbed probably hundreds of stairs and most time complained every minute of it this summer. But if I never ever tried to live some sort of life with this injury, friends who dragged me out when i was still limping away, or when I knew I couldnt just miss an event or function because I couldn’t walk fast enough myself i would never have recovered! So patience is extremely important…but there are little points in each stage where it can depend on understanding yourself along the takes a little ache and little pains and getting past some very normal anxiety and doubt…to be at a place where you look back and, I can’t believe I used to be stuck in my bed or used to dread taking a step or kept replaying that injury moment over and over. It really is wonderful to see yourself progress each month…like I tell my friends, the pains aches struggles hard days now, really don’t show up as progress til days sometimes weeks later. I finally gave myself a shot at a tiny heel raise the other day..and finally…saw I have a .0001 mm lift. Lol. .0001 is progress I’m really happy about. Maybe next week…I will aim for .0002. I’m still scared to run or jump…but yesterday I needed to cross the street quickly or I was roadkill…and trust me…aches and all…I was forced to jog for a whole 2 seconds…uggh and ached for good 5 minutes after..but now maybe next time, I aim for 2.5..? My message is generally, appreciate the little things..little steps you make on this journey. They all matter. I am truly happy to hear and read stories on here each month…fears and worries and uncertainties and setbacks and each time, being inspired by the progress they make months later. Please know I can only speak for myself as a self recovery person, but maybe something I have shared or said helps in their your journey too. I’m looking forward to month 5. That mentally is progress for me too. Stay strong everyone, mentally, physically of course with time and believe in yourself as you work your way through it all. Always look back and appreciate where you started. Good luck to us all..

  38. So thankful to find this blog! I am having FHL tendon transfer on Wednesday. It has been freaking me out, as I am one of those people with an ‘evenness’ issue - everything needs to be even on both sides of my body. I was also concerned about not being able to rock climb, do yoga, do pilates or wear heels again. The ortho’s assistant told me that none of those should be an issue. I’m still freaked out, but it sounds like most people have had a decent experience with this. I hope my recovery is speedy, as I am going crazy not being able to drive or do other basic functions. One life saver for me - I found a hands free crutch system (iwalk) that definitely gives back some independence. I’m not a seller or promotor, but wanted to share in case it can help someone else. I sure hope I have a good experience after the surgery as many others have had. Good luck to everyone!

  39. Hello,
    This message is for Marie Cooper. I am curious as to how you are doing with your recovery. Please email me direct and let me know how you are doing. I had a surgery performed last week. My third one in 15 months. Please get back to me when you can. thank you

  40. Hi All. Just stumbled onto this site. Had an FHL over 7 yrs ago. Wish there was a blog back then. My experience has not been good and I would never do it again. Thanks to my inept medical service provider I went with a shredded Achilles for over a year. Saw 6 different Drs under this particular HMO. They kept telling me ‘it must just be a sprain’. Finally insisted on an MRI which showed the torn/shredded Achilles. Tough to repair at that point. Dr recommended FHL. I felt desperate to stop the pain plus my job required a lot of travel. Had surgery Nov 26, cast off around Jan 15 2008. Physical therapy lasted about 3 weeks going 3X a wk. I needed it a lot longer! I don’t have much calf muscle to begin with and there was major atrophy. Given I already had a bad knee on the other leg my balance was way off. Also ended up with half of my foot being numb. I’m the last year I’ve gotten some tingling sensation in the foot along with knife like stabbing. I had a lot of heel bone shaved off which was another screw-up and makes it almost impossible to balance on just that one foot now. The ball of my foot is extremely painful as the big toe no longer carries the weight…it’s all put upon the ball of the foot under the functioning toes. Will be happy to answer any questions you might have. Good luck with whatever you decide!

  41. Glo, I am very sorry you had such a bad experience. I have to admit I forced myself on the orthopedist a friend recommended, and I’m glad I did. He actually had an Achilles Tendon Rupture a couple of years ago, and speaks/acts from experience.
    Thanks for posting!

  42. Glo - is the stabbing pain in the foot there all the time or is it first thing in the morning and then eases? I ask this as you could be suffering from plantar fasciitis. This tendon runs from your heel to toe under your arch. Fixing it could be as easy as correcting the posture of your foot and providing support for the arch with orthotics but you will need to see a good physio or podiatrist and have the orthotics made properly. Not the off the shelf kind. Where are you from? My guess is not USA for start. Someone here may have some recommendations for a person to see near you.

  43. Hi..i had my fhl transfer 2yr ago in august..i can tell my big toe ligament missing..i get alot of cramp too..i still walk with a limp after all this time..i fall if i try to wear heels..i carnt run at all anymore which i miss..i feel so down after being positive for years..i get numb feet too..cos i carnt walk still properly im getting pain in my knee to compensate the 47 now..i had the rupture for months before the doctors found it..they just said it was very inflammed..had fluid fill sac around it too.its been along journey but im getting frustated now..been back to see my surgeon and hes basically saying it still needs strengthing time..i walk terrible never mind try to !!!

  44. Just found out that due to my previous Achilles’ tendon repair thirty years ago and the resulting scar tissue and calcification that my new rupture will have to be repaired using a tendon from my toe. I’m reallllllllly nervous now! Any words of wisdom would be appreciated.

  45. Erin - this is quite common but you will have trouble bending your big toe and there will be 2 wounds. So your new rupture is on the same leg? I would take it to be in a different positon. You could infact research a modern non-surgical approach. There is a great deal of information here. No need to be nervous though if you have this procedure.

  46. I had my 2nd Achilles’ tendon surgery on 11/28/16. The first surgery was last April and a bone spur located where the tendon was attached to the bone was removed. I had anchors placed and my tendon was stretched. I seemed okay, but once I started back to school and had to do a lot of walking,(I’m a teacher), it started hurting again. I went back into a boot and then had another MRI which resulted in my second surgery. I had tendenosis again and the doctor decided the tendon wasn’t getting a good enough blood supply. It is weird not being able to bend your toe. When I bend my big toe, I can feel the pull, like a rubber band up to where the tendon attaches to my heel. I had a splint for two weeks and a cast for 4. I’ve had my first physical therapy session. Does this pulling sensation lesson with PT? I didn’t have this pulling sensation with my first surgery.

  47. This is a great site. I’ve read everyone’s comments. I had my first Achilles surgery on Oct 6, 2016. This was to remove a bone spur and to clean up my Achilles’ tendon. It was reattached to my heal bone with 2 anchors. Splint, boot, PT etc but the swelling did not go away after several months of recovery. After 8 months my Dr. requested an MRI which showed my Achilles torn near the upper anchor (rerupture). Due to the defect at the heal bone my Dr. recommended to use my toe tendon along with my Achilles to reattach to my ackle. I am having trouble walking so I have no other option.

    I would love to hear from those who have had a similar procedure as I am very concerned about the 2nd surgery. When they use the toe tendon do you lose movement for the entire toe or just the upper joint of the toe? Is recovery time the same? Any other option out there? Would love to hear your feedback.


  48. Hi
    My husband is having FHL on both legs at the same time on Wednesday. I am really worried about how we will cope. How can you be non weight bearing on both legs? Has anyone else had both legs done at the same time?

  49. Great site…I ruptured my achilles tendon 1 July was 3 August..have been in 3 casts..scheduled to go to boot 23 oct..I too had to repair with big toe tendon..the mental part of this is the worst since even at 55 I’m ridiculously active…I’ve Had literally no pain except the initial 15 seconds of rupture

  50. I had an Achilles debridement (80% bad tissue) and FHL transfer the end of June. Initially things were going great, until I had the cast removed and transferred into a boot. Once I started putting weight on my foot, I started having some strange stabbing pains on the sides of my heel and the skin turns bright, bright pink. I have been out of the boot for almost 4 weeks and still having excruciating pain and excessive swelling on the outside & inside of my heel. The Ortho & PT are stumped - just had another MRI (#3) to see if there is a stress fracture or ?????. Has anyone experienced this? What worked to make it go away? The tendon is doing great, ROM is improving weekly, but this pain is doing me in!!

  51. Hi there,

    I am currently waiting on surgery to repair my ruptured achillies. They will be using the tendon from my big toe. I am 30years old and very active. I am also a plumbing and heating engineer so my job is physically demanding. Can anyone give me a rough guide to how long I can expect to be off manual labour work for. I was hopeful of helping out with the office/paperwork side of things to help pay the bills.

    Many thanks

  52. Barry - sorry this was picked up earlier. FHL transfers are pretty common but it does not speed up the process. Depending on the way your rehab is handled you can expect to be out of the physical side for at least 3 months but more likely to be 5 months. Best to talk to your doc about this as you can relate the sort of things you need to do for work. Stairs and ladders will be a problem at 3 months. Standing all day will cause increased swelling and pain. If the plan is to keep you locked in a cast for 12 weeks then find another doctor. You should be walking in a boot within 4 weeks and out of the boot within 8 weeks. That will set you up for the time frame I have indicated. Read more about early weight bearing protocols on this site.

  53. I feel the pain and stabbing & tingling everyday since my fhl surguery 9/23/2015. It was my second surgery . The first 2 months prior with my initial Achilles rupture .
    I have quite a bit of scar tissue that does not go away . I have tried apt numourous times . I have had Myyofascial massages . my doctor tells me everything looks good . How can this be when my pain is daily and debilitating on a daily basics . I am looking for answers . I feel my balance is off . I have pulling and throbbing daily in my foot . I have resulted to seeing another surgeon . I almost feel I want a reverse surgery ? My doctor tells me my original Achilles rupture is strong . Has anyone had a reverse Fhl surgery ? I am going to another surgeon to get another opinion . My current doctor just wants to send me to a pain management physician . I feel like I am on a merry go round of pain management .

  54. Hi Everybody,
    As many of you, I am so happy to see that I am not the only one with my 3-time-re-ruptured achilles, with 3times4 months bootie time, with medical and PT mistakes that I realized later that was all for making money as I am a private patient in Germany…and my loss of trust in any doctors or surgeries.
    Now, as my operated achiles is re-ruptured but not treated for 6 months (as my last surgeon did not want to accept or tell me the truth after 2 obvious MRI reports, saying I must keep doing Reha) I am facing FHL surgery on the 23 of January 2018.
    As I lost trust in doctors, I started to investigate myself on Internet and found out about articial tendon-substitutes like Neoligaments’ Achillotape.
    Unfortunatelly it is not popular at all among German surgeons because of the eisk of being rejected.
    First I really wanted to have this technic done to me instead of FHL, as recovery is fast, no booties are necesary and you regain 100% strenght!
    But nobody writes about disadvantages: rejection, wound healing problems, cortisone for whole life…
    So I decided finally:FHL…
    But still have doubts….:
    From triathlon I only ha e swimming left to feel añive.
    If they cut FHL, will I be able to do turns or starts?
    Will I be able to maintain balance? Wouldnt it be better to use another tendon from somewhere else?
    The knee roller will be this time my salvation.
    One of the motivation factors I have now to be able to roll on it instead of suffering on crutches.
    The other positive point that I will be receiving psycological support from a marathon-runner sport psycologist this time!!!
    And to the founder of this forum: you are right!!!
    We must appreciate the tiny achievements on that looong way of recovery:
    When you first can wee without needi g a bed tool, or when your stiches are taken out, even that you are able to have a bath alone!
    Thanks for listening& helping!
    Patience, Mental Strenght and Stamina to all of You

  55. The knee scooter is definitely a life saver - at least it was for me! I was a disaster on crutches, hubby took them out to the garage so I wouldn’t use them anymore after a couple of falls. I got very good at pulling the scooter up the stairs as I went up on my butt and taking it back down the stairs with me :)

    Good luck with your recovery and hopefully this one is more long term!

  56. Retore my Achilles for the second time since August. Second surgery was November 21st this time with an FHL tendon transfer. Doing ok with the surgery but cannot flex my big toe downward. Dr told me I should be able to move it downward at the first joint but not the second joint. I’m able to flex it straight back just not able to go down with it. Dr seems concerned but has not given me any indication why I can’t flex it downward. I know I’m only 4 weeks post opt but is there anyone else out there experiencing this problem. Any comments would be appreciated.

  57. Hi Everyone,

    I am just coming up for 3 weeks post op for FHL transfer. Getting on really well. Was so apprehensive before getting the op as it’s so hard to find a lot of info over the net about the final outcome.

    I was in hospital for 2 days after the op. Off painkillers after 6 days. I now just have a single injection each day. I am in plastercast up to my knee. Getting on really well with the crutches and even been in doing some office work. I am a plumber to trade so I won’t be back on the tools for a while but it’s great to get out the house. (Thank god I bought an automatic car)

    I have my first follow up appointment on Thursday to change my cast etc. I have full movement in my big toe so that’s very encouraging. Hopefully everything under the plaster cast is good and the graft is healing well. Certainly feels good.

    Just want to try and put some positive thoughts on the chat. The mental challenge of not running etc is really hard but you just have to stay positive!! I already had ACL reconstruction on my opposite leg 5 years ago and made it through that to get back to running and football. Although I don’t expect to ever play football again my aim is to run many 10k races in the future.

  58. Freddy,

    I am post 4 weeks now after fhl transfer. Just had my cast changed and stitches out. Really sorry but I have really good flex in all directions with my big toe!! Up & down. Hopefully your range of movement comes in time.

  59. Hey folks. I am a few days out from surgery with FHL transfer. So far, so good. Hopeful to get back to active lifestyle later in the year. That includes back to footie/soccer. Barry Stables, why don’t you think you will not play football again? Wishing all a successful recovery!!

  60. Blaine,

    My surgeon advised that will age, job and previous injury to my opposite leg (ruptured acl) it would be best to stop. I am hoping that in time I will get back to 10k running and distance cycling.

    I am now post 16 weeks and I am walking a lot better. Very stiff in the mornings and then swollen by the end of the working day. I have full range of movement and the graft feels strong. I am in pain everyday but it is manageable. This has to be expected now that I am on my feet all day. Hopefully in time it becomes easier. I am working hard at my physio as well and I am setting realistic goals.

  61. Hi everyone…what a great forum chat.

    Ruptured my Achillies 9 weeks ago, been on the non-surgical recovery route all that time, however last (and first) Ultrasound last week found Achilles isn’t repairing so FHL surgery coming up. Achilles apparently shot from the off, just not spotted.

    Feel positive about FHL already having read all your great posts