PT duration?

January 27, 2014 | | 10 Comments

Hi All,

Been awhile since I posted. I’m at nearly five months post-op for partial ATR and I’m wondering how long I should expect to continue physical therapy. I’ve been going to PT since October and, heading into February, I’m starting to tire of the twice weekly sessions. I also wonder if my AT might do better with a different approach: maybe some gym work and swimming.

Mr. Two Shoes

November 20, 2013 | | 5 Comments

Nine weeks post-op and I just got permission to wear two shoes full time but to keep the walking boot handy in case I get tired or sore.

This has been a helluva journey and I know it’s not over but I sure am glad to be making tangible progress.

My right foot (partially ruptured AT on 7/25, surgery 9/16) feels weird in the shoe and is a little numb but the physician’s assistant checked it and apparently I have good sensation and no nerve damage. I’ve been told by my physical therapist that numbness can last up to a year and that i shouldn’t sweat it. So i won’t.

Walking in two shoes is great, but a little odd. I have a slight limp that I’m trying to lose and some tightness coming down stairs, which I’ll bring up at PT tonight, but otherwise it feels ok. I don’t have the pre-surgical tenderness in the AT or the painful bulge and I am certain if I didn’t have the surgery that would never have gone away. I’ve spoken to people who have dealt with that misery for years and that is just too long.

My one thought, maybe a word of warning, for anyone who may have tendonitis/tendonosis (which is what i had prior to my rupture) is to treat it early and to consider options other than what my first physician prescribed for me: rest, elevation, therapy, a walking boot, more therapy, and four more weeks in a boot (eight weeks total, no improvement, and a jerky comment from the doctor that “sometimes these things just don’t heal.”)

A buddy of mine, a podiatrist, suggested a year ago, about five months into my tendonosis and about eight months before the rupture/surgery, that I consider Topaz, a radio frequency treatment. The idea behind it is that when there is a chronic injury like tendonosis the body sometimes just moves past it and it never heals. Plus, with the AT, there is little blood flow already so opportunities for healing are never great.

My friend explained that with this treatment he could have simulated a new injury and that might have jump started the healing process. I have no idea if it would have worked for me but, if it did, and there is plenty of evidence that shows it sometimes does, it could have saved me from going to through a full, open surgery and months of recovery. (My original doctor said he does not believe in the treatment and that it can sometimes actually lead to rupture.)

Anyhow, now that I’m here, nine weeks past surgery, in two shoes and praying/working for full recovery, I am glad I did it. I’ve spoken with many people who are years past the surgery and they say the AT is so strong they really never even think of it any more. That is what I wish for me and for everyone else going through this.

Hi All,

It was eight weeks yesterday since my surgery to repair a partially ruptured right Achilles tendon and I’m making progress but it’s measured, to say the least.

Which isn’t to say I’m not grateful. To have gotten through the surgery, the first few difficult weeks being non-weight bearing, on drugs and crutches, and fearing a re-rupture every moment, is great. I had a slow closing incision and now it is finally fully closed (though sensitive in spots).

I’ve begun physical therapy and am going three times per week. In therapy I am out of boot and doing toe/heel raises, various stretching, etc. to strengthen my tendon and foot.

But I still am not driving and not walking in two shoes. There is considerable tightness through the repaired tendon but PT seems to be loosening it up. I know this is a long recovery but I sure wish it was over.

wound healing — mostly

October 24, 2013 | | 1 Comment

I’m almost six weeks post-op for my partial rupture and by and large I think I’m healing fine — except for one spot on the wound. The spot, about one centimeter round, is at the bottom end of my incision, just above the heel. I suspect the movement of my heel at that point, limited though it may be because of the boot, may be hampering healing and the formation of a nice, dry scab. It isn’t oozing much but the spot is softish and kind of white/yellow. I’ve been on antibiotics for ten days as a precaution but I’m concerned that that one spot still hasn’t scabbed over.

I left a message today for my doc and am waiting to hear what he thinks.

4 weeks out, FWB, Yikes!

October 15, 2013 | | 3 Comments

Hey all,

I saw my doc this morning and he said everything looks good. I’m exactly four weeks post op for a partial rupture and he wants me to start physical therapy and begin putting full weight on operative leg.

I tried putting full weight on after i got home (boot still on, of course, and fairly tight) but there was some pain and I was nervous about straining/re-rupturing.

Any advice?

Steve

Hi all,

I feel like I’m walking on air, though really it’s 50 percent of  my body weight. Thirteen days post-op for a partially torn right achilles, today I had my staples out and the OS said I can put half my weight on my bad (soon to be good) foot.

I am not sure what exactly 50 percent feels like but am sure I’ll figure it out. I tried navigating the stairs on crutches coming into the house and almost fell so I know stair climbing is still out. I kneed my way up the stairs and that’s how I’ll have to do it.

My doc has instructed me to start doing basic movement exercises, up and down, 3X a day for 10 minutes, and I’m about to do my first set. I am psyched.

Surgery and first two weeks

September 30, 2013 | | 6 Comments

Today I am two weeks post-op and have some things to share that may be of use to others just getting started with recovery.

Prior to my surgery I got two things that have been of great help (please excuse if you’re squeamish). The first a rented knee wheeler/scooter. I have found that the $75 I spent to be invaluable. I get around the first floor of our house very easily on this machine (dubbed the “Red Rider”) and it has a convenient basket for carrying a towel, personal supplies, food, etc.

The second thing I got prior to surgery was a hospital-style male urinal. If I have to go at night it alleviates the need to get up on the crutches and go into the bathroom. My experience has been to use the crutches as little as I can in these first two weeks and avoiding a trip to the bathroom – and a possible fall – has made sense for me.

The surgery: my surgery for a torn right Achilles stitched together a partially ruptured tendon. My surgeon implanted a pain pump that delivered a local anesthetic to a nerve behind my knee. He also injected a copious amount of anesthetic prior to closing my wound.

The pain pump was a blessing. It got me past the most painful days immediately after surgery and enabled me to avoid taking much of the prescribed oral pain meds. After 3-4 days there was some pain but Tylenol and Advil were by then sufficient. I found that avoiding the narcotic paid meds was wise because of their side effects. They are constipating (and that can cause a post-op complication), they are numbing, and they are addicting.

Stairs: I live in a two-storey home and the stairs between floors are carpeted. I go up and down them just once per day and find that climbing on my knees and coming down on my butt are the easiest, safest ways to use the stairs. Coming down each morning I have my wife put a plastic step stool about two feet in front of the first stair and a comforter on top of it. I ease myself onto the two step of the step stool, slide to the second step, and slide to the floor so I can then slide down the rest of the steps. Coming up I knee my way to each higher step and onto the floor upstairs. I stand using my non-operative leg and by grabbing onto the door frame near the stairs.

Bathing: For two weeks now I have bathed at the downstairs sink while kneeling on the knee walker. Doing so has been effective. Since I could place no weight on my operative foot for the first two weeks, I have found bathing at the sink to be my only option but it hasn’t been that bad. Gotta keep up the hygiene!

Going to see doc tomorrow for staples/suture removal and hoping for the best.

A drumming injury?

September 29, 2013 | | 1 Comment

<strong>A drumming injury?</strong>

Hello. My name is Steve and I live in southern New Jersey, U.S.A. I am 49 years old and am a writer for a university. I had surgery for a torn achilles two weeks ago.

I am not absolutely sure how I injured my right Achilles tendon initially but believe it was from learning to play the drums, a constant boom, boom, boom on the bass pedal that caused some pain (which I played through, dumb!) and led to tendonosis. I was diagnosed in June 2012 and, under the direction of a podiatrist, attempted to treat it conservatively — non-surgically.

Though my drum teacher a the time and one or two podiatrists scoffed at how I thought I injured my tendon, I was using an old, flimsy bass pedal and believe I over-muscled the action. Considering the nature of the action, which ranges from relatively soft bass notes to high energy power beats, one could understand the stress placed on the Achilles if improper technique, poor equipment, or a combination of both, were at play.

For treatment I eventually went to three podiatrists. The first said to do nothing– stretch if I wanted or leave it alone. He was a guitarist and couldn’t believe I might have injured myself playing drums. I considered him a schmuck and didn’t go back. The second podiatrist sent me to physical therapy, then put me in a boot for eight weeks, then sent me back to PT. The muscles around my right Achilles did strengthen but I was still sore. I went to this doc from 9/12 to 9/13 and, even after I saw him this summer in serious pain, he did nothing but tell me his goal was to keep me out of surgery.

I read a lot online about how a regimen of eccentric calf exercises can “cure” Achilles tendonosis and went at these vigorously but they really hurt while doing them and they may have led to the tear I sustained about 16 months after the initial diagnosis.

In July of this year I spent an afternoon in New York City when, after walking around about two hours, I could not take another step. I’d been stretching my calf muscles all day, they were sore, but the pain progressed. It is also possible i tore my achilles then.

At this point I went to the third podiatrist. He ordered an MRI and discussed options: open surgery, a Topaz procedure (in which he would use radio frequencies to try and spur healing of the tendonois) or an injection into the tendon of my own platelets. It was my understanding that both of the latter were best for tendonosis and would not address a tear, which I didn’t yet know I had.

I went for the MRI and took it to a board certified orthopedic surgeon who I’d already scheduled an appointment with. This surgeon, Dr. Rick Raimondo in southern New Jersey, specializes in foot and ankle issues. He operated on my wife’s colleague last December and he’d made a complete recovery. He showed me that I did in fact have a tear in tendon of about a centimeter in length. I was impressed with Dr. Raimondo and scheduled the surgery.

I had the surgery 9/16/13 — exactly two weeks ago today — and am scheduled to have the staples/sutures out tomorrow.