Haglunds operation and everything...

by Rob Lyon
(Northants, UK)

I remember having problems with my right heel for some years, which calmed down after a while each time but for the last year it had been particularly debillitating.

So I haven't run for the past year since the beginning of 2012 because it's been so bad. As a health psychologist I had determined myself that I had achilles tendinopathy and the location seemed to suggest it was insertional.

It took ages for the 'experts' to confirm this though and initial xray investigation even suggested it was nothing at all. This was only mildly as bad as the first gp I saw telling me I would have to live with it!

The next gp, who knew what he was talking about, sent me for an mri that got changed to an ultrasound by another 'expert' at the hospital. This confirmed my ideas of what I had and a course of physio was referred. I had already been doing the heeldrops from my own knowlege and experience of this.

Current guidelines suggest heeldrops should only be done to the floor for insertional tendinopathy but the physio progressed me onto drops off an edge. I carried on with these but eventually she backed me off this when the pain got worse.

After about 8 months I insisted I have an operation and my gp referred me. When I eventually saw the consultants registrar he referred me for an mri. This took more time but eventually confirmed the diagnosis as being quite severe. The op was on!

More time passed and the op was planned for some time in Dec. However, luckily a cancellation occurred and I had the op at the end of Oct. All I had read about the op involved accounts of pain and misery, so I was concerned about the outcome. Happily, from the time I woke up I've had no pain and all seems to be going well.

The consultant agreed the op needed to be done and I had achilles detachment, debridement and removal of haglunds growths before reattachment. They emphasised the op was for pain relief and that I should give up any idea of my former activity levels - no more Ironman triathlons! I couldn't carry on with the pain as it was so pain relief was good for me as a first.

The op went smoothly, the initial recovery was good, although boring and I'm now 4 weeks into getting better. The stitches were removed after 12 days and the second cast removed after 3.5 weeks.

The airboot feels good and partial weightbearing is not painful. In fact, it feels as if full weightbearing will be fine too. However, they said this period is one of the most risky and that any 'pushing off' movement or activity should be avoided. I need to wear the boot for 4 weeks and can't drive in this time.

I'm hoping this will continue to go well and would recommend anyone to have this done if mine's anything to go by. We'll see what activity I can do in the future but chances are my future events will only involve cycling or swimming. Good luck to anyone in a similar position. Getting through and over haglunds is a long drawnout condition but don't lose heart; it can be done without too much pain.


Joshua Answers:

Hi Rob.

I'm glad to hear than things went well. Give us an update on how things are now. How was coming out of the boot?

1. What exactly was shown on the MRI that had it be 'severe'?

2. Why did the surgeons say you'd never be able to do a triathlon again? Or, why did they think that the surgery would work for pain relief but not for a return to former activity levels?

3. Technically the docs didn't say that you had Achilles Tendonitis?

4. What have you been doing for post-surgery self care/rehab?

Relevant: 43 Year Old Runner Achilles Debridement And Hadlunds Excision Getting There

Relevant: Achilles Tendonosis Surgery And None Spur Debridement Happy And Ready To Do It Again

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

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Dec 11, 2016
Haglunds and Achiless debridement - NEVER AGAIN
by: Stacie

Started a new exercise regime where I was running/walking every day - having previously not done much at all.

Within 3 months, I started getting stiffness and pain in both achilles, mostly first thing in the morning.

Had physio for three months to no avail. Left leg was worse than right and eventually saw a sports Dr who recommended a cortisone injection in the heel. I had the injection (pain like I've never felt before!) and expensive! and it gave me relief for 3 days only.

I was then recommended to have surgery on the left leg to repair mild haglunds deformity and achilles tendon. I had the surgery in July 2015. I was non-weight bearing for 6 weeks (I have a child so this was a nightmare!) and then in a camwalker for a further 6 weeks. I ended up with DVT in that leg which limited the hands on physio I was able to have.

By week 14 post op I was able to walk unaided, but still with pain.

It's now been 18 months since the surgery. Not a day goes by where I am not limping or in pain. I get on with it but it's limiting. I'm unable to run or walk long distances/hours and some days still get a little swelling. I've put on weight due to limited exercise and my daily quality of life has been impacted severely.

I was having physio regularly up until 6 weeks ago, but gave it up as it was getting expensive (health insurance limits were reached) and it wasn't doing any good.

No way would I ever go through this again - I have the same problem, but milder, in my right leg. I'm just living with it!


Joshua Comments:

Hi Stacie.

So they carved off the extra bone from the Haglunds....what exactly did they do to the achilles tendon?

What have you been doing for self care/rehab other than some physio?

See Related: Achilles Tendonosis Surgery And Bone Spur Debridement Happy And Ready To Do It Again

Oct 11, 2015
Preparing for haglunds surgery
by: Mary

ugh, scared, surgery scheduled in two days for large bone spur removal and detach/reattachment of Achilles with debridement.

Listen, I've read here that "the bone spur" may not be causing the pain. Maybe not in some cases, but I have a golf ball sized bone sticking out of my heel, it has progressed for many years and now has shredded my Achilles (tendonosis) as showed my MRI. It is TO causing a big problem.

You say, "bone doesn't like to be cut", are you kidding me? It might not , but my Achilles doesn't like being shredded down by it either!!!

I can only limp, feels as if someone has poured cement into my heel, it is very limiting.

it's easy to scold people for trying surgery, I wonder if you have ever had a golf ball sized spur coming out of your heel!!

Yes, there are risks, but healing is one to TWO years long, you have to be patient. Of course there are no guarantees, I am a nurse, I should know.

What is your opinion of TKR or hip replacements? do you think the people should just "eat right" and try some other costly "treatments" that will not do anything. Ridiculous. They are VERY effective.

Even if I don't have a "success" story, I am glad I have doctors who have the skill to give me a chance.

I wouldn't be so judgemental of people who have surgery, maybe sometime "eating right' won't work so well for you with some ailment and you will be right there with pain and unsuccessful procedures too!!!!!!


Joshua Comments:

Hi Mary.

You didn't leave your email or check the notifications box unfortunately. I hope you find this.

How'd the surgery go?

1. "Listen, I've read here that "the bone spur" may not be causing the pain. Maybe not in some cases, but I have a golf ball sized bone sticking out of my heel,"

Yes, in some cases the bone spur is obviously a problem. That sounds like the case with you at the point of you writing this.

Of course a golf ball sized bone growth would cause problems.

2. "it has progressed for many years and now has shredded my Achilles (tendonosis) as showed my MRI."

I'm sorry if you read what I say as judgemental, but all I'm really saying is that A. don't let things progress and B. in most cases surgery isn't an answer and C. even when surgery is 'successful' it doesn't address the factors that got you to where you're at in the first place.

Sometimes surgery is necessary. Often it is not.

I advise that people address the causes of the problem before it's as advanced as your case.

But people don't always get the best answers in time, and we do the best with what we have.

3. Nutrition is only a fix for what it is a fix for. Having said that, lack of nutrition is part of the cause of the need for knee and hip replacements.

4. What do I think of total knee and hip replacements? I think they're surprisingly effective. The body is pretty amazing, able to recover from the blunt force bone splitting trauma that is a replacement.

But sort of like people are up and walking around the same day they get their rib cage cracked open for open heart surgery (beating heart surgery is a WAY better option), the body does surprisingly well dealing with replacement surgery.

5. "I wouldn't be so judgmental of people who have surgery, maybe sometime "eating right' won't work so well for you with some ailment and you will be right there with pain and unsuccessful procedures too!!!!!!"

Again, stating that people can avoid most surgeries with the right methods is not being judgmental, it's stating facts.

I have a lot of compassion for humanity and our struggles (that are primarily foisted upon us through lack of knowledge and wisdom).

That you are in a situation where bone growth etc has progressed to where it has is unfortunate.

I was a day away from emergency disc surgery after being on the floor in agony for two months. A friend giving me two books that saved me from that surgery, from the risk of spinal cord damage. Those books got me from only being able to be on my feet for ten minutes to being able to be on my feet all day, in two days.

If I hadn't gotten those two books, I would have had the surgery etc.

If I had known the info in those books 2 months earlier, I could have avoided the two months of agony on the floor.

So yes, I've been right there where you're wishing me to be. Been there, done that.

And somebody that knew more than me made that info available. If they'd shown up two days later, I'd have been out of luck and had the surgery (though the books definitely would have helped the recovery etc).

(And the prospect of, and going into surgery, is frightening, all my best thoughts are with you.)

See: Achilles Tendonosis Surgery And Bone Spur Debridement Happy And Ready To Do It Again

See: Achilles Tendinitis A Continuing Nightmare

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