2 months, 28 days post op:
Well it’s been some time since my last post and things are almost back to 100%. I have completed physical therapy and started slowly running shortly after the 2 month mark. I am told the heel will continue to get better as I utilize the new tissue during activities. I am up to running about 15 miles per week, working on getting the new tissue in the heel and the muscles acclimated while keeping the cardiovascular in check with the cycling (100-120 miles per week). I just did an 8 mile run today at a mediocre pace. Didn’t feel even a pinch of pain at the heel during the run. Afterwards however, the heel is a little bit sore and stiff but with barely any “real” pain to speak of. Also, my muscles that were atrophied since my time off running will need to be reconditioned to cope with the increasing mileage, so there is some discomfort there as well. The heel discomfort is worlds different than before the surgery however, and has greatly improved. I’ve also noticed that my left calf and soleus feel much looser and easier to stress during running than the right. I am confident that at about the 3 month mark, I should be able to start piling on the running mileage and backing off the cycling. All in all, everything is feeling better than expected at this point, however my doctor noted that it could take a full year to feel “normal”. In my opinion, I think my problems are officially over with my left heel and I hope to sign up for a 1/2 marathon soon. If you have any questions, I will be happy to answer, but I do not expect to post another entry on my surgical progress. Good luck to everyone else recovering and I’ll see you all on the other side.
5 Weeks + 6 Days Post-Op:
P.S. - If you can’t see the pic above, try copying the image URL and pasting into your browser window. I know some of you Apple users have problems.
Sorry for the lack of updates. I’ve been doing great so far. I should be starting physical therapy next week sometime, and it should be a quick recovery from there on. The scar is healing nicely, but the area still looks and feels a bit thick. I am currently at the gym 5 times a week now doing various exercises. I can bike at low resistance levels. I swim almost every day for 30-45 minutes (no rest). My range of motion has improved greatly since my last post. I still walk with a limp (only because I’m still afraid to put any forefoot pressure). I want to wait for the doctor’s go-ahead to start walking normally. It’s nice that things are starting to return to a state of normality. I’d also like to note that I never used the walking boot 1 time during my recovery (waste of money). I’ve been essentially barefoot since my cast came off.
So currently, the game plan once physical therapy starts is to get the left leg back into running condition. I will also be doing my own exercises, as tolerated, at the gym when I’m given to go-ahead. After which, hopefully there will be some sweet running bliss. Good luck to all of you. My next update will be sometime during physical therapy to update you on the progress.
3 Weeks, 2 Days Post-Op:
It’s been a while since I’ve posted due to me being busy. A few days after getting my cast off (last update) I started hobbling around barefoot without crutches. As of today, I can walk barefoot with a limp and no pain. I’ve done some shopping with little discomfort at the grocery store and Home Depot in Vibram FiveFingers with some cushioning stuffed over the surgical scar. The surgical area still looks gruesome and thick, but I assume that will take some time to look normal. I wonder if it will ever look normal, as it looks vastly thicker than my right heel. The fact that I have no pain and making great improvements so early is keeping my spirits up. I started driving this week (manual transmission) with no discomfort. When I had my cast removed (last update) they gave me a walking boot that I am to use when I start physical therapy next week. I’m almost positive that I will bypass the walking boot completely, since it’s unnecessary at this point. I’m still exercising 5 times a week (upper body), and I will attempt to start back up at the gym next week, hopefully on the stationary bicycle. I will await my doctors approval however. Until then, same routine and trying to be as active as possible.
Surgical Scar (dark black is the surgical marker line):
2 Weeks Post-Op:
I just got my cast off today and my stitches removed. It’s good to know that that leg coffin and the itching that goes with it is gone for good. On the downside, I was quite shocked at how much my calf has atrophied in just two weeks. There is almost no muscle tone at all. My forearm is actually larger than my calf muscle. It’s quite depressing. I’ve also noticed my foot is less defined and a bit smaller than my right counterpart. All in all, my doctor assures me I am on track. I will still be on crutches for at least another two weeks, after which I will start physical therapy. In the meantime, my surgeon has given me to go-ahead to start some range of motion exercises as tolerated. I forgot to snap a picture of the incision site (I’ll do this later). I well tell you that it does not look pretty. It’s still a bit red, swollen, and tender. Thankfully, I have no pain though. I assume everything will come together over time. I was told that I should quickly bounce back from the atrophy once I start using the leg again. Only time will tell. I will assure all of you looking at these pictures below, this leg will get some serious training, once I can tolerate weight bearing exercises, to get back to pre-surgery status and beyond. Good luck to all of you and try to keep your spirits up. I know I’m having a difficult time at the moment accepting the reality of the situation, but I’ll get through it. It’s just another hurdle in life.
Calf vs. Forearm Comparison:
Any sort of surgery that is going to have a lot of downtime can be quite frustrating and even depressing. I sucks to think that there are people who have open heart surgery, that recover faster than we do. Although I have made good progress so far, being mobile on crutches, I’m still stuck in the house. Reason being? Well both my vehicles have a manual transmission and my surgery was on the left heel. So no clutch foot. This means I’m at the mercy of my benefactors to run errands, shop for food, and take care of the little things around the house. This is incredibly distressful at times because I feel useless, and I’ve always been a ” do it yourself” person. So the idea of having someone catering to me is not appealing in the least bit.
So what have I been doing with my downtime since I can’t leave the house? Well, mostly, I’ve been entertaining my hobbies. I enjoy aquascaping (planted aquariums), but due to work and other obligations, I never really get the chance to spend the time trimming and doing the maintenance it needs to flourish. Yesterday, I spent 2 hours doing just that. The tank looks a lot better because of it. I forgot to take a picture of course, but I have a stock photo in one of my previous blogs that shows the diminishing state of the aquarium. I’ll take some pictures for you guys tomorrow, since the lighting is cycled off at the moment.
I’ve also had time to catch up on some reading, being a big science fiction fan. I’ve currently completed Neal Asher’s Gridlinked series, and I’m working my way through the Wool series by Hugh Howey, which I should complete tomorrow. I’ve already queried a number of books that I hope to make my way through during my recovery. If you guys have any suggestions, I’d be glad to hear.
… and for all you gamers out there Diablo 3 releases next week!
All in all, I hope everyone’s recovery is going as planned. Cheers!
As planned, I hit the upper body today.
I was unable to hit the full count without stopping on the 2nd and 3rd session due to muscle fatigue. This was rather difficult in the Florida heat as my heart hate got pretty high. It it did feel good to get the upper body working again, especially the back, which has been aching due to laying in bed.
My cast is getting looser by the day from my calf succumbing to atrophy. Only another week until I get this thing off and I can start working some range of motion exercises. It can’t come sooner. I think once I finally get the cast off, I’ll start hitting the weights at the gym again. For now, I’ll use this as my routine.
Decided that almost a week of no exercise stimulation was enough. I started my recovery routine today. The target was the abdominals.
First post-op workout routine (x3):
100 leg raises
50 oblique leg raises
50 knee crunches
I did 3 sessions of that routine with no break between exercises and a few minutes break between each session. I did them outside of course, so I garnered a pretty good sweat in the Florida 90° F heat. Many of the exercises were a bit tricky with the useless leg, but it definitely felt good to get the heart pumping again.
Tomorrow, I’m going to work on arms, chest, and back with my fitness tower.
On the recover end, everything seems to be doing quite well. I have a little discomfort at night and when my leg is below the waistline for periods of time, but other than that I’m pretty much pain free. The cast is definitely becoming a nuisance and I can’t wait to get this coffin cut off my leg in about a week.
Best of luck to all of us.
I am officially off pain medications as of yesterday. I saw my surgeon for the first time since the operation on May 1. We took some x-rays and I was quite surprised as to how much bone he was able to remove. To my dismay, I have to retain the hard cast for another week, just as a precaution, and because the cast internals are completely sterile. This will allow the surgical incision and the bone to heal uneventfully.
On the up side, I am no longer bed ridden. I am up and about on crutches, doing chores and errands around the house, albeit taking quite a bit more time to do them then with two functioning legs. The only pain I feel is the surgical incision itself which is still very tender, and the occasion phantom twinge. I am eager to start exercising on my fitness tower soon. I’ll probably attempt a routine tomorrow.
I hope everyone else is healing well. The best to all of you.
I am officially off hydrocodon since it was manifesting a plethora of unpleasant symptoms from nausea to drowsiness. Overall, I just didn’t feel right on the hydrocodon. I have switched over to good old ibuprofen and am currently down to 400mg every 4 hours. Most of the pain has subsided, but the surgical area is extremely tender. Even placing it the wrong way on a pillow causes some troublesome discomfort. All in all, I’m in much better shape than yesterday. I went to the washroom for the first time today, and the swelling wasn’t bad at all from having my leg down.
Being stuck in bed just sucks!
At least I have a good view:
The surgery took approximately 45 minutes from the time they put me under. The doctor said everything went as planned and expects a speedy recovery. My Achilles tendon was not detached and the Haglund’s deformity and as much bursitis as he cold get to was removed. They were already installing the cast when I came to, so I did not get a chance to see the damage. I did however get to see he bony enlargement that was removed.
Now comes the most difficult part… the recovery. I have an appointment on May 4 to see my doctor. I’ll keep updates going periodically. Now, it’s time for some pain medication and rest.