Last “official” Dr appt

I say “official” because my orthopedic surgeon (Dr. Ted Parks, Denver, CO) said he still wants to check up on me towards the end of January - but it only has to be an informal check whenever we see each other around the OR.  Here’s what we discussed:

1. I’ve noticed more swelling these past few days, but he was unconcerned.  He said that things looked and felt great.  He did a little explaining about how there would always be more “fullness” at the point of the repair.

2. My PT progress - that I’d started on the elliptical and started doing heel raises

3. He told me that the 3-month mark was significant in that at that point, the repair was “bulletproof”.  He went on to say that “you couldn’t hurt the repair if you tried”.  All sorts of things flashed through my mind, none of which I am eager to put into action.  He also said that at that point, I could do whatever exercise I wanted: “You could try sprinting - you wouldn’t be very good at it, and you’d feel stiff, but you could try, if you wanted to”.

4. I asked him if he had any wisdom/advice re: rupturing the other one.  He said that there is some research to suggest that flexibility training can help, but that there is nothing concrete.  He said that the PT that I’d be doing currently could guide me as far as prevention for the other side.  I told him that if I ever developed pain in the other side, I’d listen to it this time rather than just playing through the pain.  I left wondering whether I should look into what it took to get a car with hand controls, just in case I did whack the right side.

I wonder what my PT’ll have to say about the “bulletproof” thing during my session tomorrow…

Here, finally, is a photo:

11 weeks

Sorry for the sideways look - I can’t seem to figure out how to get it to show right-side up.

13 Responses to “Last “official” Dr appt”

  1. Well, I just showed my wife the picture of your legs and she commented that they looked the same as last time (she thought it was a picture of my legs!). So next time you need a body double, you know where to come to!

  2. Congratulations Ultidad!! Now that its bulletproof you can really rip up the slopes!!. Must be nice to hear the word “bulletproof” associated with the tendon now.

  3. Good to hear you got the green light for exercise!
    My surgeon also said I have better chances to rupture the other tendon than this one - however he does not want me to sprint until the 6 months mark. Go figure. (not that I want to)

    How do you like the elliptical trainer?

  4. Good news, Ron. “Bulletproof” after three months sounds good to me. I’m at about 3-1/2 months after the surgery to repair the tendon so I guess mine must be bulletproof too. Cool. Have you tried to get into your ski boots yet? I think I could probably get my left foot in, as long as I didn’t have on a sock.
    Your photo editing software should have a “Rotate” command that does just that. Try searching the Help section for “rotate” or send me an email offline about what software you use and I can probably figure it out.

  5. HF- my daughter’s got an elementary orchestra concert coming up. Can I spare my ears and send you?

    PVMM- bulletproof or not, I’m prolly gonna wait until Feb to go on the search for powder

    2T- yeah, sprinting doesn’t really strike me as a good time just yet. Right now, I’d take walking around the block w/o a limp. I do like the elliptical - in part because I’ve never been too keen on treadmills or stairmasters. Plus, at least at my rec center, they tend not to be favored by others. I’ve always seemed to gravitate towards the machine that’s not being used. Years ago, I loved going to the gym, seeing people waiting in line for machines, and hopping right on a nordictrack - nobody liked them

    Gerry- haven’t gone near my boots yet, and since I plan to get new ones in Jan, I may never. It was such a struggle to get in them before ATR, I think that I’ll just let them go peacefully to a museum or something. Re: the photo, it is saved on my computer in the correct orientation, but it uploads to the blog on its side. I even tried saving it rotated wrong on my computer, but it still uploaded the same way. Oh, well.

  6. So much for getting my PT’s take on the “bulletproof” theory. I had to skip PT to do an add-on case. HIPPA rules prevent me from offering details, but due to the patient’s disease process, there was nothing that could be done to reverse it and the patient was expected to die before this morning. Really puts things in perspective…

  7. Hey disc-dad:

    This is not a recent post for you, and I don’t have a blog (just comment now and then, but read EVERYTHING on the site) so I hope you get this… Anyway, I am 8 weeks post-op, I am trying to walk with one crutch and the boot. I had a lot of swelling, legs felt uneven to achieve normal gait (i’m 5′4″ and boot made one leg more appropriate for a 5′7″ girl) wanted to try shoes, doc’s office wouldn’t call me back, I just took it easy until my appt. today. Doc looked at my foot out of the boot and told me the splotchy look of the skin and location of swelling pointed to nerve damage. He said it should be resolved in 3 months (!!!) and while uncomfortable, shouldn’t impede recovery. Diagnosis makes sense- pins & needles waking me at night, trouble feeling outer edge of foot, swelling not near tendon- but it just made me really sad. I was thinking party shoes by xmas, now I’m thinking shrek foot ’til the day I die. So, anything I can do to combat this?

  8. Hey Kath- first, as far as the leg-length discrepancy that the boot causes: I put a heel insert into the shoe of my non-injured leg. It didn’t make me completely level, but I found that it helped a lot (plus, there’s nothing wrong w/a little “gellin”). Now, your other issue: I think that we all know that small nerves in the skin get cut when our surgeon makes an incision. They do grow back and usually reconnect, but it is a slow process and I’ve never heard of a way to speed up this process (not that there may be something out there, but, here’s a news flash, we docs are not omniscient). There is one thing that concerns me as an anesthesiologist, tho: the splotchy look and swelling that you speak of. What I want you to do is lightly run your fingernail over the area that has the pins and needles sensation, as well as the outer edge - if these aren’t the same spots. Then I want you to write back and tell me what kind of sensation that causes, OK? Well, that’s all for now - if you are in the States, Happy Thanksgiving. Cheers, Ron

  9. Thanks for the quick reply. The pins and needles occur on the left outer side of my left foot. It’s all the same side as the scar. If I run my fingernail over it, it feels like it awakens the pins and needles, but nothing really notable. The swelling occurs when I’ve had my foot down for long time. If I ice and elevate, swelling subsides and in the morning it looks nearly normal. FYI: I did have a nerve block if that enters into the equation somewhere. Does it?
    And yes, I’m in the U.S. and baking pumpkin pie as I type. Happy T’Giving to you, too!

  10. Kath63 - From your description it sounds possible that the sural nerve may have been damaged during surgery. Unfortunately this is one of the complications with surgery. Some surgeons elect to place the incision on the medial side of the ankle to decrease the likelihood of damaging the sural nerve. The good news is that everything I’ve read indicates the nerve damage is temporary. Your doctor’s timeline of 3 months sounds similar to what I’ve heard and read in the past. As ultidad said, the nerve does heel itself, but it is a slow process. Hopefully the pins and needles sensation will diminish quickly and not significantly impede upon your recovery and you’ll be back in your party shoes by xmas. Also, I would continue to ice and elevate your foot to manage the swelling, if you aren’t already doing so.

  11. Thanks to you both for the responses. I will see what the next days bring regarding nerves and monitor closely w/o freaking out. I went with the boot and one crutch/no crutch all day. And I compromised… one sort of patent leather party shoe on the other foot while I cooked and served a mighty fine holiday dinner. Actually, it’s perfect with a square sturdy heel, just enough to boost the other leg and I”M GELLIN”! Huge help. You all are life savers :)


  12. Kath- if you reported that when you lightly touched your foot it felt painful, then I would’ve been worried about a condition called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. I asked in the way that I did so as not to influence your response. Your response makes me agree w/tomtom - time is the only thing that matters. As far as the block goes, I won’t say that anything is 100% (professional hazard - drives my wife crazy), but it is highly unlikely that the block had anything to do with your current condition. If it did, you would likely have symptoms over a much greater area. Ron

  13. I could tell you were also asking in a way to not freak me out, which I appreciate! As I’ve gotten the ankle looser, it seems to be getting better. Thanks for the input even if you refuse to give it the 100% certainty rating!

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