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Journey on returning from Achilles surgery to my right foot....gnarly post op pics....looook

justasgoodjustasgood Without Tempo, you are just a hacker.Members Posts: 2,786 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭
edited Aug 29, 2019 1:52am in Instruction & Academy #1

Happy Friday fellow Wrx's. I come to you today looking for some feedback and stories of similar so I can gauge how despondent I may become. So a little background: I am 56yrs old and play golf pretty much everyday. It's all I have left activity wise after tearing myself up in my youth. Multiple knee surgeries(staph infection thrown in for good measure), numerous ankle injuries from years of Basketball. Fast forward to almost 3 years ago. While playing basketball, I injured my right ankle/heel. At the time, I immediately thought I had bone spurs. I was incapacitated for a few months due to the inflammation. X-rays showed no spurs, rather an Achilles tendon that was so inflamed and enlarged, it was in a constant state of irritation.

I opted for non-surgery techniques: Dry needling, Physical therapy, eating anti-inflammatory pills like M&Ms, Ice, stretching, massage and rest. All of these brought varying levels of relief but always the pain and inability to walk normally would return.

2nd orthopedist suggested surgery but thought Steroids/therapy and stretching would help

Finally 3 weeks ago, a third Orthopedist basically said the only option is surgery...which brings me to today. After an MRI, we are now looking at the calendar to schedule surgery. Basically, my achilles is so scarred and damaged that he will detach from the heel, Scrape and cut then re-attach. His outline of recovery is 5 weeks in a boot, then up to 10 months of physical therapy with a 95% full recovery expected.

So my question to the group is: For those that have had a ruptured/torn Achilles versus this type of elective surgery, how realistic is that I will be able to return to a high level of golf again? Is the timeline accurate? And more importantly, is a pain free right heel truly possible?

Thank you all for any insight you can give. I have a very high threshold to pain, but my quality of life has really suffered and now I have no option but surgery.

Regards,

Kurt

Post edited by justasgood on

Comments

  • djallendjallen Members Posts: 1

    I ruptured my Achilles playing tennis 12 years ago. Complete tear. Exploded like a rope under tension (which is kinda what it is). The surgeon cut off the frayed ends and stitched it back together. Took all of 45 minutes in the OR. I was in a boot for about 4-5 weeks then crutches for a few more weeks. Only pain was from the incision. Took about 3 months before I could get back on the tennis court. Footwork wasn't great but I could at least hit. Golf wasn't any trouble after 3 months. Muscle atrophy from the boot was the biggest issue. It took about 8 - 10 months before I was back to 100%. By 100% I mean no tightness and both legs back the same muscularity and strength. Frankly the repaired tendon is better than original equipment: it's still more flexible than the other ankle and never any pain. I can't say that about the other ankle. I attribute that to the physical therapy and work I put in to get back to 100%. 12 years later and the repaired tendon is still fantastic. No problems with golf, tennis, skiing, powerlifting, hiking, etc. The only evidence is the scar.

    Do not skimp on the physical therapy. Your surgeon will probably give you a good protocol. Get massages to break up the scar tissue. Start stretching the tendon out immediately. You'll probably start with a belt or rope to pull the foot back towards your shin to stretch the tendon. Start working out the legs as soon as possible after surgery (squats, lunges, jump rope, bike riding, etc.) to reverse the muscle atrophy and rebuild strength. Get off the crutches and walking ASAP. Really the success depends on you and how hard you're willing to work. Put in the effort and you'll be back to 100% or even better within a year, easy.

    Good luck!

  • justasgoodjustasgood Without Tempo, you are just a hacker. Members Posts: 2,786 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭

    @djallen said:
    I ruptured my Achilles playing tennis 12 years ago. Complete tear. Exploded like a rope under tension (which is kinda what it is). The surgeon cut off the frayed ends and stitched it back together. Took all of 45 minutes in the OR. I was in a boot for about 4-5 weeks then crutches for a few more weeks. Only pain was from the incision. Took about 3 months before I could get back on the tennis court. Footwork wasn't great but I could at least hit. Golf wasn't any trouble after 3 months. Muscle atrophy from the boot was the biggest issue. It took about 8 - 10 months before I was back to 100%. By 100% I mean no tightness and both legs back the same muscularity and strength. Frankly the repaired tendon is better than original equipment: it's still more flexible than the other ankle and never any pain. I can't say that about the other ankle. I attribute that to the physical therapy and work I put in to get back to 100%. 12 years later and the repaired tendon is still fantastic. No problems with golf, tennis, skiing, powerlifting, hiking, etc. The only evidence is the scar.

    Do not skimp on the physical therapy. Your surgeon will probably give you a good protocol. Get massages to break up the scar tissue. Start stretching the tendon out immediately. You'll probably start with a belt or rope to pull the foot back towards your shin to stretch the tendon. Start working out the legs as soon as possible after surgery (squats, lunges, jump rope, bike riding, etc.) to reverse the muscle atrophy and rebuild strength. Get off the crutches and walking ASAP. Really the success depends on you and how hard you're willing to work. Put in the effort and you'll be back to 100% or even better within a year, easy.

    Good luck!

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience. I understand about the atrophy. After my staph infection in my right knee, I lost all my strength and never really regained it. I fully intend to get into PT as soon as I can. I was always off crutches with ankle sprains asap to maintain flexibility and strength. Your post is very encouraging. It's easy to recover when young, being older concerns me more than anything.

    Do you think your full rupture vs this surgery differs any in recovery or longevity?

  • MychMych Members Posts: 1,999 ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    A few years ago I had a full rupture (left leg, front leg for right handed golfer). I was chipping/putting in about 2 months, then playing with a cart a month after that with heel lifts in my shoes. At about 4 months I was able to walk 9 (with soreness), which I did as often as I could to regain the flexibility and strength. Fast forward to about 8 months and the soreness was gone. The only residual issue I've had is that the surgery scar has a "bump" that causes some shoes to rub too much.

    I still wear heel lifts in my golf shoes, but I haven't had any issues with feeling limited or sore after the recovery period.

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  • justasgoodjustasgood Without Tempo, you are just a hacker. Members Posts: 2,786 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭

    @Mych said:
    A few years ago I had a full rupture (left leg, front leg for right handed golfer). I was chipping/putting in about 2 months, then playing with a cart a month after that with heel lifts in my shoes. At about 4 months I was able to walk 9 (with soreness), which I did as often as I could to regain the flexibility and strength. Fast forward to about 8 months and the soreness was gone. The only residual issue I've had is that the surgery scar has a "bump" that causes some shoes to rub too much.

    I still wear heel lifts in my golf shoes, but I haven't had any issues with feeling limited or sore after the recovery period.

    Thank you. I guess my biggest concern is that instead of a rupture(along the length of the tendon) repaired, my Achilles will be cut away from the heel attachment and the reattached. I am concerned about the “reattaching”.

  • RainShadowRainShadow Tucson AZ (for now)Members Posts: 3,922 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭
    edited Jul 19, 2019 10:45pm #6

    @justasgood said:
    Happy Friday fellow Wrx's. I come to you today looking for some feedback and stories of similar so I can gauge how despondent I may become. So a little background: I am 56yrs old and play golf pretty much everyday. It's all I have left activity wise after tearing myself up in my youth. Multiple knee surgeries(staph infection thrown in for good measure), numerous ankle injuries from years of Basketball. Fast forward to almost 3 years ago. While playing basketball, I injured my right ankle/heel. At the time, I immediately thought I had bone spurs. I was incapacitated for a few months due to the inflammation. X-rays showed no spurs, rather an Achilles tendon that was so inflamed and enlarged, it was in a constant state of irritation.

    I opted for non-surgery techniques: Dry needling, Physical therapy, eating anti-inflammatory pills like M&Ms, Ice, stretching, massage and rest. All of these brought varying levels of relief but always the pain and inability to walk normally would return.

    2nd orthopedist suggested surgery but thought Steroids/therapy and stretching would help

    Finally 3 weeks ago, a third Orthopedist basically said the only option is surgery...which brings me to today. After an MRI, we are now looking at the calendar to schedule surgery. Basically, my achilles is so scarred and damaged that he will detach from the heel, Scrape and cut then re-attach. His outline of recovery is 5 weeks in a boot, then up to 10 months of physical therapy with a 95% full recovery expected.

    So my question to the group is: For those that have had a ruptured/torn Achilles versus this type of elective surgery, how realistic is that I will be able to return to a high level of golf again? Is the timeline accurate? And more importantly, is a pain free right heel truly possible?

    Thank you all for any insight you can give. I have a very high threshold to pain, but my quality of life has really suffered and now I have no option but surgery.

    Regards,

    Kurt

    I'm 58 and had similar surgery 3.5 years ago for a Haglund's deformity on my left heel. (I'm a right handed golfer)
    The achilles had lots of scar tissue from years of tendonosis/tendonitis.
    Not to discourage you, but the recovery is a long haul. I'd say 95% is optimistic.
    It took me 6 months before I could actually hit a ball without pain on the follow through. It honestly too me about 2 years before I was able to fully able to let my weight shift over to my left side and allow the foot to roll a bit. The last six month of that were caused by the subconcious or lack of preprioceptive recovery.
    The issue is, although my achilles is bomber ( proven by MRI), the calcaneous, or heel bone, is a dense, blood filled sucka, and takes a long time to heal. I still am not able to run very far on it with out some serious discomfort at the site where the bone was shaved and the tendon re-anchored.

    I played one day about a year after my surgery with a guy who's best bud had both heels done ( distance runner). His buddy was 3 years post op and he had ask him when he thought he'd be 100%----- his buddy shook his head and said he'd let him know......
    There's a blog called "Red Leg Runners" where the author chronicles his recovery from the surgery I had.
    While I still have some discomfort, I feel i'm better off not having ruptured my achilles, which is where I was headed after years of wear and tear.
    Good luck with your procedure and recovery.

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  • justasgoodjustasgood Without Tempo, you are just a hacker. Members Posts: 2,786 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭

    That’s exactly my fear. I just hope I can be pain free within a reasonable time. My golf swing is ugly now so maybe it will be prettier after the procedure 🤪

  • PowderedToastManPowderedToastMan Members Posts: 4,046 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭

    I hate hospitals and surgery, but if my heel was like yours, I’d have had surgery years ago.

    I feel like this will be one of those surgeries, though the recovery will be long, you’ll be wishing you did it a long time ago. Honestly, I don’t even know how you walk with that right foot just looking at the pictures.

    Former professional golfer. Current amateur human being. Reformed club ho.

    In the bag:

    PING. Lots of PING.
  • justasgoodjustasgood Without Tempo, you are just a hacker. Members Posts: 2,786 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭
  • justasgoodjustasgood Without Tempo, you are just a hacker. Members Posts: 2,786 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭

    Well,
    Surgery is set for Aug. 22nd. 10 days in a cast, 4-8 weeks in a boot(conservative) and then another 6-8 months of rehab. Doctor says I will hate him for a year..... :-(

    Hope I remember how to play this game on the back side......

  • farmerfarmer Members Posts: 8,127 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭

    If I'm not mistaken, Haglund's deformity is what has put all-pro safety Eric Berry on the shelf, so this is a serious issue. Hope the surgery goes well, and you come stronger than ever. I believe your quality of life will improve without the constant aggravating pain.

  • farmerfarmer Members Posts: 8,127 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭

    Come BACK stronger than ever.

  • justasgoodjustasgood Without Tempo, you are just a hacker. Members Posts: 2,786 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭

    I plan on following the prescribed rehab and I am hoping I still have some strong recovery juju.

    Just anxious to be done with it.

    Thanks for the well wishes.

  • justasgoodjustasgood Without Tempo, you are just a hacker. Members Posts: 2,786 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭

    So surgery occurred last Thursday the 22nd. Today is day 2 off the pain meds. Doctor appointment tomorrow to hopefully cut off the current cast and get my walking boot.
    Rehab to follow.
    a

  • HonestPlayerHonestPlayer Members Posts: 264 ✭✭✭✭

    Good luck.

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  • justasgoodjustasgood Without Tempo, you are just a hacker. Members Posts: 2,786 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭

    Doc says everything looks perfect!😳

    And a new boot.....

    Staples out next Friday then the real work begins.....

  • Asics10Asics10 Members Posts: 791 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Ugh...this is in my future.

  • justasgoodjustasgood Without Tempo, you are just a hacker. Members Posts: 2,786 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭

    @Asics10 said:
    Ugh...this is in my future.

    I tried to avoid it for the last 3 years and wish I would have had it done from the get go.

  • b.heltsb.helts Members Posts: 2,928 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭

    Dude!! That’s gnarly.

    I have no experience with this but just wanted to say I’m pulling for you and look forward to that post that says you hit a few balls or played 9!

    Hang in there!

  • LambLamb LondonMembers Posts: 342 ✭✭✭✭
    edited Sep 2, 2019 6:21am #20

    Hi Kurt just seen this thread I have too have Haglunds deformity and going for surgery however after reading numerous reviews of the type of surgery you had, opted out because recovery is a real nightmare and many patients have said they never got full recovery. So now the real work is recovering.

    Further research led me to a more preffered method which is non invasive. I am not sure if you had seen this?
    Surgeon I spoke to said I will be back on my feet in 3 weeks.

    his channel

  • justasgoodjustasgood Without Tempo, you are just a hacker. Members Posts: 2,786 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭

    @Lamb said:
    Hi Kurt just seen this thread I have too have Haglunds deformity and going for surgery however after reading numerous reviews of the type of surgery you had, opted out because recovery is a real nightmare and many patients have said they never got full recovery. So now the real work is recovering.

    Further research led me to a more preffered method which is non invasive. I am not sure if you had seen this?
    Surgeon I spoke to said I will be back on my feet in 3 weeks.

    his channel

    Well, a little too late to go that route.🤪

    Actually we discussed that and due to the severity of damage to the tendon and the size of the heel deformity, this was really my only option.

    We shall see about the recovery.

  • justasgoodjustasgood Without Tempo, you are just a hacker. Members Posts: 2,786 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭

    Had the staples removed

    Then had a setback when my dog knocked my crutch out and I put my surgically repaired foot down out of instinct.


    Doc says all is good and don’t do that again. Rest ice elevation for the next few days.

  • justasgoodjustasgood Without Tempo, you are just a hacker. Members Posts: 2,786 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭
    edited Sep 14, 2019 4:51pm #23

    Getting better.

    3 weeks post surgery. Working on doing circles with my foot. Flexing the foot upward and downward. It’s tight but making progress.

    My left quad is now bionic with all the work it is doing as I am not one to just lay on my ****.

    Actually hit some golf balls( irons from 170 and in) and hit em well. Preloaded on left side like the stork drill.




  • nealkbnealkb Members Posts: 386 ✭✭✭✭

    Lol the swelling finally went down!

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  • justasgoodjustasgood Without Tempo, you are just a hacker. Members Posts: 2,786 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭

    @nealkb said:
    Lol the swelling finally went down!

    Getting there. Still getting feeling back. Massaging helps.

  • justasgoodjustasgood Without Tempo, you are just a hacker. Members Posts: 2,786 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭

    Alright,

    4 weeks post op and things are getting better. Had a little infection scare but a quick treatment of antibiotics got that under control. Heel skin/callous is thick so it will be awhile for the area to toughen back up. Follow up appointment on Monday 23rd and hopefully I will be given a walking boot so I can get rid of these **** crutches.



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