Monday, June 29, 2015

They're going to do what?

The surgery has been described to me as "detach the tendon, shave everything down, and bolt it back on".  Sounds fun, eh? Since orthopedic surgery can entail power tools and hammers, I'm a bit anxious.

I've got a good-sized bone spur and excess bone growth on the top of my heel, to go along with the calcification/damage to the tendon itself. So - shave all of that off (or chisel it, who knows what they do) and reattach everything.

While my surgeon isn't going to use this product, here is a rough idea of what they are going to do (don't worry, nothing really squeamish in the video, it's all animated).  A lot depends on how much of the tendon is damaged, so they may have to de-attach more or less of it).

Achilles Speedbridge Animation

When I went looking on line for information about the surgery --and here's a note: don't. Dr Google can scare you to death -- I found a bunch about surgery for a ruptured tendon and a bunch relating to removing a Haglund's deformity. I have microtears in the tendon, but nothing ever really ruptured, so it's hard to figure out just what applies.  BTW, a Haglund's deformity is also called a "pump bump", because it's very often caused by high-heeled shoes with stiff backs. In those cases, it's usually off to one side and rubs the tendon. Mine seems to be across the whole heel, but that might just be because of the long time I spent aggravating it. I don't wear high heels, nor do I wear shoes with hard, rubbing backs, so this is all because of internal stress, he told me.

Anyway, the big deal really is the recovery period, and I've seen estimates of anywhere from 6 months to "walking normally" to 12 months to "back to full activity". Some people report much shorter times, others are still struggling after a year. Basically, the general idea seems to be no weight bearing for 4-6 weeks -- none at all, not even toe touches, while you're in either a splint or cast/boot that keeps your toe pointed downward while the tendon re-attaches. Then partial weight bearing as they slowly stretch the achilles back to normal (for another 4-6 weeks) and then PT and walking in the boot to get back to a normal gait.

My surgeon says I may be PWB earlier, depending on how things go, or it may take the full 6 weeks. The risk is that the tendon doesn't reattach well, or gets pulled on while it's trying to grow back into the bone. Tendons don't have much of a blood supply, and neither does the heel, so it's a long time to get things solid again. I've been reading blogs (such as Haglund's Recovery, and a variety of sites devoted to achilles repair surgery and most of the info is pointing to a month being ever-so-careful to not even toe-touch with the foot, then in the boot and gradually working towards more weight-bearing. Sounds like about 3 months + before the boot comes off. There are some people who say they are up and walking in two or three weeks and back to teaching Pilates or Zumba class in two months. I think those people are crazy.
Ok. Enough dwelling. I still have to move my computer out into the Amazing Programming Throne that the Adorable Husband has built for me, mount the monitor and make sure I have everything else within easy reach. I've got a big shelf, a cantilevered bit for the monitor arm, and the whole thing is anchored to a base that goes under the chair so nothing will tip over.

There is approximately half a bottle of wood glue there, and at least ten huge carriage bolts. This thing could go into space and survive re-entry.

1 comment:

MIL said...

Interesting! Thanks, Robin. I couldn't get the link to work, so I used . Is that right?