Day 4 - Third doctor, third diagnosis

Wednesday was my appointment with the doctor I originally wanted to see - a foot and ankle specialist in the Orthopedics department of a local university hospital.

I visited her in their outpatient center, a beautiful building that was once the headquarters of a high-flying dot com company.

This time the diagnosis was quick and definitive. A definite 100% tear of the Achilles.

I asked her if she was sure - and she said she had absolutely no doubt: She said she could feel the end of the tendon.

Since they had already reserved a spot for me the following morning, the rest of the appointment was getting the pre-op prep talks from her surgical assistant and getting fitted for the boot that I’d be transferred to two weeks after the appointment.

For those who care about the technical details, the boot is a Bledsoe Achilles boot.

Since this was pre-surgery, I had 4 heel wedges in the boot, for a total of 40 degrees of plantarflexion.

One thing I’ll say about this injury - it wasn’t bad at all from a pain perspective: The boot was nice in terms of protecting the tendon, but I was feeling so little discomfort at this point, that it almost seemed like overkill - In any case, the main point was to have it for the recovery, in any case.

Surgery prep was mainly telling me what to expect, and where to show up for my surgery.

One interesting detail was that they gave me two special disinfectant-soaked sponges to wash off with pre-surgery. From the labeling they appear to be normally used by surgeons to scrub their hands/arms prior to surgery. I had instructions to shower once in the evening and once the morning of the surgery and wipe my body from the neck down (minus private parts) thoroughly with one of the disinfectant sponges each time.

Other instructions were standard for surgeries with general anesthesia: No food after midnight the night before, and only clear liquids prior to the surgery.

The diagnosis phase of this injury was certainly interesting: From the Primary Care Physician who thought there was no tear, to the podiatrist who wanted an MRI to be sure, to the orthopedist who instantly diagnosed the rupture - it seems like I received the full spectrum. It just goes to show you that it pays to be an informed patient, and to question the doctor if something doesn’t seem right.

3 Responses to “Day 4 - Third doctor, third diagnosis”

  1. I glad you took the inititive with your injury and doctors. I didn’t and ended up in a brace on vacation and fighting the insurance for treatment for almost 2 months. The original ortho said my AT rupture was too stale nd he wanted to send me to a foot ankle guy which the insurance finally paid for. Every other aspect you mention is almost identical to my experience, minus what I mentioned. Good luck

  2. Yeah - people keep saying it, but I don’t think you can say it too much: Take charge of your treatment. Be educated, ask questions, and don’t just go along with everything the doctors recommend.

    I’ll try to get caught up with my blog this weekend - there have been some interesting developments…

  3. You are exactly right. I would of skipped the 4.5 months between injury and treatment, which obviously affected my recovery negatively. Had I heeded “that” advice and found out about Achillesblog (That happened about 2-3 weeks before my surgery)! Keep us posted.

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