Week 11… and an MRI this week… Quick question for the group!

Hey team! I’m now down to one crutch most of the time, and working towards my first unassisted steps.

Last week I went into see my surgeon, and he is a bit concerned about the small gap in the back of my tendon. The gap really only is apparent when my foot is plantar-flexed (toes pointing downwards) With pressure against my toes, that gap is less detectable. When my foot is neutral (again with pressure against my toes) the tendon feels strong and the gap is almost un-detectable.

When I lay down or sit with the back of my leg up (if that makes sense) the tendon feels strong and the gap (again) is barely detectable. It’s really only when I flex my toes down.

If you can recall, about 1 1/2 weeks post-operation I lost my balance getting up from my chair, and I placed my then casted foot on the ground (weight through my heel for a second before I braced myself). I didn’t fall, but I did put weight on that foot. The doctor is concerned that I may have done some damage to the repair as the result.

I’m going in for my first Physical Therapy appointment tomorrow. My leg is very atrophied and small. I’m thinking part of this has to do with the fact that I’ve only been weight bearing for two and 1/2 weeks and haven’t done one PT session.

I’m also going in for an MRI tomorrow to determine what’s going on with the gap we’re feeling… I’m incredibly nervous that this means I’ll need another operation. But I’m also feeling as if there’s no rupture or tear, and what we’re dealing with is the result of other factors.

Has anyone else ever dealt with this?

Week 9 - Still Partial Weight Bearing

HELLO WORLD!!

I am happy to report that we are now about 1.5 weeks into partial weight bearing. My surgeon has been very cautious and conservative, despite the fact that we did surgery and he even augmented the repair with a xenograft (Stryker).

I am walking around with crutches, and have been slowly increasing the amount of weight that I bear, and can now bear about 50-60 lbs before my heel feels uncomfortable while standing. I’m 6′3″ and 180lbs, so that’s about 1/3rd my body weight. It’s not so much pain in the tendon or leg, but really just an uncomfortable feeling on the bottom of my heel. My guess is that this is related to the fact that I had gone 8 weeks+ without any weight on that foot.

Some days, my leg (including the tendon) feels sore. I’m assuming this is normal.

My biggest concern now is the progress towards full weight bearing… I’m approaching 10 weeks, and I know that many people are in shoes by this time. I am still wearing my boot all day, and even at night when I sleep (my choice). I have not yet started PT, and am hoping to do so next week.

So, here’s a general question… is two-three weeks of partial weight bearing normal?

We are walking!! (with crutches)

Hey team! Good news today… got the go ahead to start walking with crutches. Up until this point, I have been on the knee scooter and basically NWB for 8 weeks. Needless to say, I was excited!

I am taking it slow the first week and do not plan on trying Full Weight until week 2 of crutch walking. We’ll see how it goes - but thus far I’ve been taking it slow and easy here.

A question: did you find that your strength in your calf began coming back as you started walking with the boot/crutches?

Quick question - help calm the nerves here!!

Hey ATR team…

I am almost 7 weeks post op, nonweight bearing still. I have had what feels like a small gap in my repair for as long as I can remember. By gap, I mean when I run my finger along the repair from top-to-bottom, I can feel an indent. I believe this is where the rupture occurred, based on the pictures I’ve seen (!) of the surgery.

Is this normal? I’ve seen my doc probably 8 times since we first went into the boot and I felt this. Each time, he’s inspected my tendon and said all was good. When out of the boot, I can still point my toes downwards (getting stronger!) and it feels like there’s still a small dent there when I’m pointing toes down.

Week 6 Update - still non-Weight Bearing and losing (a bit) of faith

Hello everyone!

Went in and saw my PDM yesterday. It’s been 6 weeks and 2 days since surgery. I was able to push off of his hands and point my toes with more strength than ever before, which is great!! However, I am still non-weight bearing, and the doctor seems to be using 8 weeks as a marker for beginning weight bearing. I have read so much material about even CONSERVATIVE approaches starting weight bearing around 4-6 weeks, and I am starting to lose faith.

If you recall, I planted my foot when I lost my balance about a week and a half after surgery. The doctor checked it out after the misstep, and said it looked fine. I think the doctor is still tied up in the risk of me falling/re-rupturing.

Every hour/day/week that I sit around is getting more and more frustrating… I was ok with waiting to week 5 to be safe… but still being at week 6 and looking at week 7 or 8 before starting weight bearing seems outrageous.

Is this a stage where I should seek a second opinion?!

Frustrating delay to PWB

My doctor (board-certified guy, smart dude) has been in Podiatric surgery for 15+ years and done a lot of these surgeries. As I’ve mentioned in my previous posts, he augmented my surgery (complete rupture) with a Stryker TissueMend graft. The research I’ve read from various studies shows that augmented repairs (those reinforced with grafts such as the one I have) help to promote an earlier return to movement and weight bearing, and create a more sturdy repair. Check this out:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21372317 and http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.3113/FAI.2008.0329. My doctor also mentioned that he was quite surprised by the fact that he was able to also repair the sheath around my AT, which he said is quite rare to be intact enough to repair. That should help with the guidance of the repairing tendon tissue.

Again, I am on the younger side of this repair (29 y/o male, healthy and active)

So, imagine my frustration this week (week 5) when I was told my doc wants to wait another two weeks (!) to start PARTIAL weight bearing. Right now, I’ve gone 5.5 weeks without any weight on that foot. I did have one scare early on (1.5 weeks in) where I accidentally planted the bad foot briefly when I lost my balance on the scooter.

My doc says he is anxious that I will fall, wants to wait until week 7 to start PWB. He said that if I feel comfortable, I can try setting the foot down (with crutches of course) and putting some weight through it when standing in line or at the cashier, etc.

Man, I am ready to get moving and back to walking!! As you guys know, a two week wait feels like a LONG time.

Has anyone else ever dealt with THIS long of a wait for PWB?

4 Weeks post-op… and definitely counting. PWB this coming week??

It’s been a tough week here. Lots of frustration! I’ve been told that my doctor (who is more on the conservative side) would like to wait until Week 5 to start PWB. I was ready to go Week 4… oh well. Honestly, I’d rather be safe than sorry with this thing.

Also, I always seem to have “scares” on Fridays. Last night, I was going down a set of stairs (on crutches, so crutches under my arm on by bad side, leading with the bad side). Since I’m NWB, I need to put distribute a lot of weight on the handrail whenever going downstairs. Imagine my surprise when the handrail gave out from under me!! Luckily, the guy I was talking to behind me grabbed me and helped me down the remaining stairs. My bad foot never touched the ground.

And again that night, when I was getting into the passenger side of the car, my crutch slipped from the curb and I nearly planted my bad foot right on the pavement… luckily, I grabbed the car in time, the bad foot never touched the ground, and I just dealt with some uncomfortable feeling in that leg since it tensed up. I wish I could bring the knee scooter everywhere, as crutches are just a nightmare.

Again, the hope for this week is to be cleared for Partial weight Bearing. So, for those who transitioned into PWB…. what should I expect? Does anything change? More pain? I’m anxious about it but also want to get going.

Pain and uncomfortable!!

Hello ATR recoverees!

We’re almost 3.5 weeks post-op. Things have been cruising along fairly well - very little pain over the last couple of weeks. Doctor has suggested I start wearing a compression sock vs wrapping my bad ankle with an Ace bandage. Seems like it’s going to be tough to get this compression sock on my weak ankle/foot!! During this visit I also got to see the pictures from surgery, which was fascinating. I had a total clean tear… two separated pieces of tendon.

Also, on Friday I was removing my jeans (which always requires me to take the big boot off). As I was putting my boot back on, the bottom of the boot kind of “tapped” or bumped the bottom of my foot. Not hard, but enough to make it tingly.

Since then, I’ve had bouts of uncomfortable feelings/swelling/occasional pain. Loosening up the Ace bandage seemed to help. I also noticed there were small amounts of blood from my incision (stitches came out 1.5 weeks ago).

Texted the Doc (my surgeon) and he said the blood was normal, it could ooze for a bit after stitches came out. He also said that he thinks I’m ok, since I have a lot of sutures in there to hold things together. Remember, I also had an augmented repair (with a Stryker TissueMend graft)

I am the type of person who panics easily, and I deal with a lot of anxiety. I’m wondering if anyone else has experienced this at week 4 (I would’ve thought these pains/swelling/uncomfortable feelings would be gone). I’m just hoping the repair is ok and  I didn’t do any damage!!!

First post!! Week 3 (Post Op)

Hello fellow ATR recoverees!

Quick background: I am a married 29 y/o male, living in beautiful Southern California. Active guy: love to surf, play basketball, ski, and just be outside.

Tore my left Achilles February 24th while playing basketball. Surgery on March 7th. My doctor is a Podiatrist and Board-certified Foot and Ankle surgeon with 15 years of experience. He said the rupture was complete, and he applied a dermal graft (Stryker) to reinforce the repair. Does everyone get these Stryker grafts? Check out the research: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21372317

I spent the first week post-op in a splint, with my foot pointed downwards. After the first week, my foot was naturally returning to neutral. My doc put me in a second splint, and last week I had my stitches taken out (2 weeks post-op) and was placed in the walking boot! I go back to see the doc once a week, and my week 3 check up will be on Thursday. Since I am NWB for the foreseeable future, I also got myself the sweet knee scooter, and crutches are only for tight areas or times when the scooter can’t be used.

Man… what a journey. I find myself in between gratitude for all that I have and will recover to have again and pure frustration… all I want to do is walk and go back to normal life.

I also have SO MANY QUESTIONS:

  1. I’m having these occasional “tense” or twitching feelings in my repaired achilles… anyone else encountered that? Feels like a quick cramp and disappears after 1 second. Is this normal/ok?
  2. Who else had these Stryker/any brand graft as part of their repair? The “augmented repair”
  3. Anyone else freaked out that their other Achilles is going to rupture? I think it’s just from the strain of pushing/walking/depending solely on that leg… i get occasional pinpricks of pain in that heel/area of my healthy leg before they go away. Doc said it was OK.
  4. When does PT start? When did you guys start walking? Give me some hope!

What a great resource to have here, and I so appreciate everyone being here!!

-Taylor