A 6-year post-surgery update

I have to apologize for not updating my progress over the years, but for those of you who may be interested in a glimpse of what the future may hold following similar Achilles reconstruction, I will summarize how my recovery has gone for me.  I had my surgery in 2008 in hopes of salvaging my running career, which had been such an important part of my life for over 40 years.   I was able to resume running within 3 months of the surgery, it was 12 months before I could full-weight one foot and raise up on my toes.  It was 18 months before I was running near pain-free.  In 2012 I was finally able to complete my first 100 mile run in over 8 years.  This past summer I was able to complete five 100 mile runs, including a life-goal 10th Western States 100 mile finish (at age 63).  Today, I only rarely have slight Achilles pain, nothing like I used to experience before my surgery.  Although it was a long road to recovery for me, surgery was definitely the best decision in my situation.  I hope that my story helps in keeping faith that your own recoveries will be a success.

Road to recovery

Prior to my achilles reconstruction surgery, I had been an avid runner for most of my 58 years.  For most of the last 5 years, increasing pain in the back of my right heel had begun to steadily reduce the amount of running that I was able to tolerate.  Achilles tendonitis caused by heel spur/calcification behind the tendon near it’s attachment to the calcanius (heel bone) had made running unbearably painful.  After exhausting all conservative treatment options, I was left with the option of either giving up the sport I love or opt for surgery.

My only personal experience with this surgical repair is a running friend who, having had this same conditon, had both heels surgically “repaired”.  His results were successful in that he was able to resume running pain-free within 6-8 months.  His only regrets are waiting so long to have the surgery.  After consulting with his surgeon, I scheduled my surgery for November 6th.

The surgery took place at Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore.  I was in surgery for 1 and 1/2 hours under general anesthesia and was home by noon.  The surgeon was able to remove enough of the heel bone/spurs/calcified matter with only partial detatchment of the achilles tendon, roughly the middle 50%, and leaving the sides of the tendon attached, this to help reduce re-attachment complications and hopefully shorten recovery time.

Although day2 was the worst day pain-wise, occasionally spiking to a 4 on my 1-10 pain scale (10 being the worst pain I’ve ever experienced), the overall recovery process has been quite bearable.  By day 5, I was off all pain meds and by day 10 virtually pain-free.

My first post-op visit was day 11 when I had stitches removed and got my first view of the surgical work.  The first thing that I noticed was the total disappearance of the half-walnut-sized lump that I was accustomed to seeing at the back of my heel. The removal of matter removed was rather substantial.

I was sent home with my new $450 Bledsoe walking boot and told to come back in 4 weeks.  Till then, limited, but increasing WB to 40% or 50%.  It was about this time that I discovered this wonderful website for recovering ATR patients.  Thank you all so much for sharing your stories of survival and recovery , and allowing me to share mine. Although I did not suffer such a tramatic injury as most of the bloggers here, I still welcome any and all comments and words of encouragement during my road to recovery.

This is my first blogging attempt and will try and update my progress, including pics, as I figure out how to do it.  Best wishes to all.

Tom

 

 

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