Complete tear of right achilles tendon and reattachment surgery

by Robert Peacock
(Santa Rosa, California)

I had problems with the heel being inflammed for a year and a half. I finally resorted to the risky cortizone injection and a cast for 4 weeks to try to get it to heal. I was told there was an 80% success rate.

Initially there was some improvement.

I was walking on the beach this last Mothers day and stepped backward suddenly to avoid the water. I am sure that I partially tore the tendon then.

A week later I kicked an immovable object (accidently) full stride in my garage and the tendon ripped away completely. I had reattachement surgery a week later. Two weeks out of surgery, my doctors are not sure that they like what they are feeling in my heel.

My foot was put in a cast with the toe pointed (a pain in the butt and uncomfortable)I have 3 weeks to go in it, then maybe a walking cast to start bearing weight again.

Surgery was smooth, relatively pain free. They did an epidural which temporarily deadened everything, and I mean everything from the waist down.

It really stinking hurt later the night of surgery (out patient)and the next day.

Tip: Ask for Percocet and take them before the pain really kicks in.

Not in so much pain now. The new cast is waterproof so I can get in a pool now that it is summer. That is a nice break from the monotony of this injury.

I highly suggest renting a knee walker while recovering from this injury. It is a four wheeled manual scooter that you can glide around with. It is highly preferrable to crutches and it frees up a hand so you can carry something around.

It is also great for ensuring that you DO NOT place weight on the foot. It's too easy to screw up with crutches. Scars down the back of heal and in the right calf area.


Joshua Answers:

Hi Robert. Thanks for sharing that Achilles Tendon reattachment surgery experience.

The knee walker tip is a great idea.

And yeah, as pain returns to the surgery site after the painkillers wear off....that's a doozy!

Regardless of whether you had Tendonitis or Tendonosis that set the Achilles Tendon up for a tear, once the tear happens it's a totally different ballgame.

See: What Is Tendonitis?

Come on back when the cast comes off and we'll see what we can do for you self-care-wise to make sure you stay out of pain, speed your healing, etc.

Please reply using the comment link below. Do not submit a new submission to answer/reply, it's too hard for me to find where it's supposed to go.

And, comments have a 3,000 character limit so you may have to comment twice.

Joshua Tucker, B.A., C.M.T.
The Tendonitis Expert

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Sep 11, 2016
Recovering from Achillies Tendonits Surgery Knee Walker Saved Me
by: Veronica

I have had Achilles tendinitis in both ankles for the last five years. I have always been very active and keen on walking. In the beginning I did all the stretches and exercises going but nothing really helped in fact I'm sure some of them made things much worse. I have high arches in my feet which doesn't help much.

I tried going to a podiatrist who insisted on doing deep tissue massage on my calcified tendons, it was a disaster! Eventually my ankles got worse until I found a new podiatrist who suggested I see an orthopaedic surgeon specialising in feet.

The surgeon took one look at my x-Ray's and pointed out that I have Haglund's Deformity. I had surgery two weeks ago. The bone on my heel was shaved down, my tendon was detached and the diseased bursa removed. I went home from the hospital after one day, in a cast. I have been non weight bearing for two weeks. I have experienced very little pain since the operation just a little discomfort. I have been keeping my foot elevated as much as possible.

At the hospital I was given crutches, for me they were a disaster as I felt very uneasy on them and I don't have much upper body strength. I felt as if I would probably break my good leg and both arms.!

Salvation came in the form of a KNEE WALKER which I was able to hire. If you are battling with crutches I suggest you look into getting one. I also have a zimmer type frame for going short distances.

I still have two weeks to go in my cast and then I get a removable moon boot cast for at least a month.

I am wondering what my first steps in this will be like and whether I will be able to do a reasonable amount of walking or will need to take this stage of the recovery very slowly too.


Joshua Comments:

Hi Veronica.

Thanks for the details!

And yes, knee walkers are far superior to crutches, in my opinion.

It's such a horror story to hear from people who stumbled on their crutches, stepped on their freshly sugeried foot, and cause rip and tearing.

You will need to take things as slowly as is appropriate.

1. Right now, keep your toes and foot/ankle moving within the cast. Keep neurons firing, so the brain doesn't 'forget' about the muscles etc there.

Also good for circulation etc.

2. They'll move you into a boot. Try it out, see how it goes. Go VERY GENTLY. It's better to go slowly into recovery than go to fast (because you feel good in one moment) only to do too much (and then suddenly feel very not good the next moment).

3. Once out of a cast, get to ice dipping A LOT as described on the How To Reduce Inflammation Page.

That will decrease pain levels and decrease inflamation levels and increase circulation.

How much walking you'll be able to do depends on where you're at. And there's no real way to tell until you're out of the cast and CAREFULLY start testing the waters.

But in the cast, lots of movement of toes and ankle/foot to keep things moving and alive (the body does not like immobilization).

Out of the cast, do lots of toe and ankle/foot movement with NO weight bearing.

Then later, CAREFULLY, gently, tenderly, put your foot on the ground (NO WEIGHT BEARING) and see how things feel.

Then put push your toes/foot into the ground, and see how that feels.

If it feels fine, do 1 set of 10 reps of that. If that's fine, do it again.

Then see how it feels later that day/the next day.

Increase the sets.

If you're a fine a few days later, then start putting a LITTLE weight on it, like a pound or two.

If that's fine, build up from there.

You'll have to pay attention and assess and reassess as you go.

Better safe than sorry.

Some people just start walking/limping around right away. That -might- be fine, depending on what happened with the surgery, how much damage was done in there.

Be smart about it, and assess your scenario for yourself.

Jul 01, 2011
Achilles repair Progress report
by: Robert

Okay, so six weeks after corrective surgery I am in a walking boot for a month. Just got the boot yesterday and I am elated about no more crutches or knee walkers. I was expecting to experience a certain amount of soreness during this stage but surprisingly there is little.

An unexpected casualty of this whole thing was that I now have plantar fascitis under my heal bone and it really hurts. For the life of me I cannot see how I developed that after being "non weight bearing" for the last 6 weeks. I have had PF before in both feet and it was chronic. It took two cortizone injections over time to make it finally go away. I am hoping with an arch support I can get it to heal. Have you heard of this happening to anyone else?


Joshua Comments:

Hi Bob.

That's great you're doing so well. That's a good sign you're not sore in the boot, especially if they changed/increased the angle of your ankle (lengthening the back of the lower leg).

1. Unfortunately, those corticosteroid shots never your Plantar Fasciitis go away.

You still have a Plantar Fasciitis dynamic...which is likely responsible for the Achilles tear.

Having said that, you might not have Plantar Fasciitis. See #2.

2. 'Non weight-bearing' and immobilization totally lead to (and indirectly cause) Tendonitis related issues, certainly causes tightness.

Immobilization causes connective tissue to shrink wrap.

You already had TOO TIGHT muscles and connective tissue. And the Achilles tendon attaches at and under the heel. So it makes sense that post-surgery achilles tendon is just a little shorter, and the body's defensive mechanism is making things even tighter, and that's resulting in heel pain.

3. Will an insert fix the problem? No. Will it allow you to walk pain free etc? Maybe? I have no way of predicting. The proof is in the pudding....gotta try it out and see. Which, in reality, is just the way things work. Experiment until you find what works.

Keep updating, and ask questions along the way. I'm curious to see how things progress.

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