Day 45 post-op: started physical therapy

Had my first physical therapy session today.  The doctor’s prescription said nothing past 0 degrees planar flexion so there wasn’t a lot they could do, but they did a pretty good massage on the calf and worked the scar tissue a bit, and gave me some basic stretching and exercises to do.  Rocking the foot front to back, side to side, and around in an orbital motion, as well as scrunching up the toes.  Nothing really special, but I guess it’s progress.

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Day 38 post-op: no more wedges

Had my “6 week” followup with the surgeon today.  38 days isn’t really 6 weeks, but due to some scheduling issues this is as close as I can get. He took off the last strip of tape on the incision and declared that healed.  Most of the scabbing has fallen off and it there’s just a scar there right now.

He had me remove the last wedge from the boot, and also had me stand on the floor without the boot on for the first time.  It felt a little weird, but no pain.  It definitely felt tight if I bent my knee a bit, and he said it looked like there was noticeable loss of muscle mass in the left leg as well.

He said I can stand in the shower now, which is a relief, but I can’t move the ankle past 90 degrees.  He wrote me a prescription for physical therapy and said to follow up with him in 6 weeks, so I won’t see him again until October.

Pic from this morning (pre-doctor) below.

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Day 25 post-op: walking again (sort of)

Had my second post-op followup today (August 10th, 2018), 25 days after having Achilles’ tendon rupture repair surgery. The doctor took the tape off the incision, said it was all closed up but there was still a part that was “soft” so he put a strip of tape back on.

He told me I could now get the area wet, as in “run water over it,” but not rub or scrub it. So showering is slightly less of an ordeal now, since I don’t need the cast protector.

The big news though is that he had me remove one of the pieces of the wedge in the boot, so it’s only about 1.75″ tall now, and said I should start walking on it. Obviously with a big wedge in there, I can’t walk normally, but it’s a huge improvement in quality of life to be able to walk up the stairs versus going up butt-first or on crutches.

He also said I should take the ace bandage off when sleeping. I told him I had found another boot on Amazon that’s much lighter – it’s for plantar fasciitis – and I’ve been using that to sleep. He said that puts the foot in the wrong position, and I told him I rigged it up so the wedges were by the heel rather than the toe and he seemed slightly impressed. He said, “you’re an engineer, aren’t you?” I laughed and said yes, and he said “I love it when my patients solve their own problems.”  This boot weighs maybe 1/10th what the heavy duty boot weighs, but can’t be used for walking at all. I use it only for sleeping – it’s way more comfortable than the big boot. My sleeping boot is the “Plantar Fasciitis Night Splint by Vive” and comes with two wedges.  I’ll add a couple pictures below showing the Vive boot vs the heavy boot (the heavy boot was provided by the doctor, and appears to be this one: Procare MaxTrax Air Walker).

I have some more pics below of the incision with the tape off. Apologies again if it’s gross (it is).

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Day 10 post-op: got the stitches out

Today was my first followup visit with the surgeon after the surgery.  Apparently everything is going well.  He took the stitches out, but said the wound isn’t completely closed at the very bottom, so no getting it wet for a while. He gave me the Thompson test again and a couple other evals and said the tension was back in the tendon. Still can’t put any weight on it for another couple weeks.  He took the dressing and cast off and wrapped it in an ace bandage and then had me put the boot back on.  Not much to report, but I guess it’s good news, all things considered.

Some pics below, sorry if they’re gross.

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Day 5 post-op: taking a shower

I’ve always been a big fan of hot showers. I used to use up all the hot water every day when I was a kid. Not being able to take a shower post-op has been one of the more harrowing aspects of this ordeal.  Fortunately, there’s the Curad cast protector. Basically, it’s a plastic bag you slide over your leg and cast, enabling you to take a shower without getting the thing wet. It’s not easy, but at least it’s possible. Also, highly recommend a shower stool or something similar. I don’t know how else you can possibly shower with only one leg.  It’s enough of an ordeal that I don’t know if I’ll be able to do every day anytime soon, but at least it lets me feel like a normal human being.

One thing I don’t (yet) have in my shower, but wish I did, is one of those safety bars. Once you find yourself needing one of these, it’s hard to understand why all showers don’t have one.  I find myself doing a lot of unsafe balancing on one leg or holding on to the shower fixture or other less-than-stable things. I can balance on one leg, but balancing on one leg in a soapy shower is a different story.

Day 4 post-op for Achilles’ tendon repair surgery

Today’s Friday, 7/20/2018; I had the operation on Monday. I made a couple Youtube videos before and after the operation describing it.  According to the surgeon, it went well. My leg is in a dressing from just below the knee to the tips of my toes, which it will be in until my followup visit on July 26th. At that point I expect to get another full-calf dressing/cast. I can’t put any weight on the left leg at all, which has been fairly annoying so far. After ~3 weeks I should get transitioned to the boot for another 9 weeks.

Here’s the videos I have so far:

Monday is the day

Today is a beautiful Saturday. My stupid injury happened a week ago today. I spent this past week visiting doctors and getting ready for the repair surgery. I worked from home as much as I could, but it was hard. I’m not really in any pain but lack of mobility has already taken a toll emotionally. I hate commuting but I like being at work.

I’m supposed to be at the hospital at 12:30 pm. The surgery will begun around 2:00 pm. It takes an hour and then there’s the recovery time, so I should be able to get home around 7 or 8 pm. I’m not too worried about the surgery itself, more the long recovery. I’ve never had a cast on my leg, and even this past week with the boot I’ve been able to hobble around and put weight on it. Post-op I’ll have a cast on for about 3 weeks where I can’t put any weight on it at all. That’s kind of terrifying at this point.

I took a shower this morning, tried to bask in every minute of it, as once I have the cast on it will be difficult or impossible to do. I bought some waterproof cast protectors but just entering and exiting the shower seem daunting one-legged.

Before I got in the shower I took some pics of my foot, to remember what it looked like before it was cut up. A big bruise has developed on the inside of my heel, which seems to be common for Achilles’ tendon ruptures.

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