Achilles Tendonitis Surgery a decade after painful Achilles tear

by Dawson McNew
(West Haven, CT)

In early 2000 I was running but there was a growing pain on the backs of both heels. Eventually, during a basketball game I suffered a partial tear to the right Achilles. An impressive pain.

I convalesced on my own for about three months before seeing the doctor. He showed me an x-ray of the right Achilles and a calcification appeared about one to two inches above where the tendon attaches to the heel and put me in a walking boot. Surgery was not recommended. I was told my running days were over. The right Achilles has remained twice the size of the left ever since.

Now, a decade later of residual pain that comes and goes but can be elevated by the slightest strain to the tendon I opted for surgery on 12/02/2010.

I was told; two weeks no weight bearing, two more weeks and some weight, two weeks removable boot and walking.

During post -op recovery the doctor reported to my girlfriend the surgery was more extensive than expected. The tendon was more frayed and they had to cut more than anticipated. Now it's five weeks no weight bearing.

I interpret this to mean they shortened the Achilles more than they would have liked and I am to expect a long recovery.

I had a lot of pain associated with my Achilles before the surgery. Not sure yet if the surgery is going to be worth it. Have my first post-op meeting with surgeon next Tuesday 12/14/2001.

Hoping to have a list of good questions to ask --so bring it.


Joshua Answers:

Hello Dawson.

I highly suggest you get a copy of my Reversing Achilles Tendonitis ebook.

It's self care you do to help yourself recover, rehab, and give your surgery a better chance of working out.

You've had Tendonitis for a LONG time, and there's a lot going on in there, nutritionally, structurally, etc.

Surgery will help some things and irritate other things, and much of the structural changes that have been taking place for a decade
won't have changed at all. Meaning, you'll still want to change them for the better.

Your surgeon focuses only on the tendon itself, as cause -and- effect.

Here's questions for your Doctor:

1. What -exactly- was done during surgery? Tissue removed, shaved down etc?

2. What did the tendon look like when you opened me up?

3. What did the tendon look like when you were done?

4. Was the surgery successful?

5. What are my chances of a full recovery?

6. What can I do to help ensure a full recovery?

7. Was the tendon itself the ONLY factor? You cut bad tissue away, so is the problem gone once the tendon heals?

8. Did you actually shorten the Achilles tendon, or just shave bad parts off? (really part of an earlier question, but I just thought of it)

9. Will I be able to run again?

10. Once this heals, will it be strong and healthy? Good as new?

I could probably come up with more questions, but those are likely the best. And I'm limiting it to post-surgery questions, as the others are relevant, but moot at this point.

Did you have surgery on one or both Achilles? Sounds like both.

More questions, more answers.

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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Comments for Achilles Tendonitis Surgery a decade after painful Achilles tear

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Jan 18, 2012
sick of this ****
by: stevo

I have now had achilles tendonitis for 16 months and i have been doing everything i can to fix it for the last year i don't even have a job because all i can do is physical work because i have no qulifications and left school at an early age.

I'm begining to wonder if i should just have my feet removed from the lower shin down??? then i could just get some fake feet have no pain at all and get on with mastering how to walk properly with fake feet. can't be much harder then walking with tendonitis can it? then i could get back to work so my girlfriend don't have to support me any more!!

I'm not joking when i tell you guys this so plez tell me your thoughts on the foot removal part?


Joshua Comments:

Hi Stevo.

It's a fallacy that, if one had real feet removed and fake feet installed, that it would become a pain free experience. Your body would NOT be happy, what with the stumps compressing into the fake foot structure, and all the severed structures left to do their own thing, effect on circulation, constant inflammation, etc.

I really don't recommend removing the feet.

I do recommend many other things. Make sure to read through the website, starting with this page: Plantar Fasciitis

And don't miss: What Is Tendonitis

Jan 10, 2011
Achilles Tendonitis and facing surgery
by: Anonymous

I too suffer from tendonitis in my achilles. For the last 18 months I have seen a foot doctor as well as a chiropractor. I have had the cold laser therapy, high frequency treatments, cortizone shots and have had multiple inserts made and unfortunately, I have had absolutely no improvement.

I am now considering surgery.

I am wondering what kind of prognosis your doctor has given you?? Will you be able to run again?

How long until you can resume an exercise regimen? My doctor has instructed me not to run or engage in pretty much any lower body cardio.

This is a very frustrating injury and any advice would be greatly appreciated.



Joshua Comments:

Hi Anonymous.

I don't think you were directing those questions at me, but I have a question for you.

If the doctor suggested all those treatments, and they haven't helped at all, what has you expect that their next suggestion, Achilles Tendonitis surgery (which is highly invasive), would be any more effective than the others?

Jan 04, 2011
Surgery follow-up - Achilles Tendonitis Surgery a decade after painful Achilles tear
by: Dawson McNew

First, let me say the recovery is going well. I am five weeks out from the surgery (12/02/2010) and am in a walking boot and allowed partial weight bearing.

I experienced little severe pain and was able to bring the use of the oxycodone down to a tablet at night by the end of five days. I have not used any pain meds in the last week.

Immediately following the surgery I was informed more cutting was required than expected. Part of the Achilles had started to calcify. On the X-ray it looked like a wisp of smoke curling up through the tendon. As a result the surgeon had to repack some kind of cellular tissue to fill in the missing area and I was placed on 5 weeks non-weight bearing (crutches) instead of the hoped for two.

I appear to be on my way to a full recovery but what does that mean. My impression is i will be dealing with after effects like tenderness, loss of strength and flexibility for 6 to 8 months. Will my end result be that I am good as new? Probably not, once you tinker with the original design you are looking at a diminished capacity. However, I have high hopes to spend the rest of my life without the pain and tenderness I had for ten years


Joshua Comments:

Hi Dawson.

What does it all mean? How will it turn out?

I wish I knew.

My question to you is, what are you doing to make sure you heal as optimally as possible?

Are you supplementing with Magnesium? (lack of which may have accounted for the calcification of the tendon)

Icing? Massaging? Protein? Etc?

Dec 10, 2010
Question for Doctor at post-op meeting
by: Dawson McNew

I have copied your questions and will take them to my post-op meeting. Also, I will take a camera with me and get shots of heel.

During the original time of tendinitis and prior to the tear in the right Achilles both heels hurt but the right was definitely worse than the left. I do have tendinitis on the left heel but it does not bother me since I have cut back on exercise that would cause an issue.

The cause of my original tendinitis was poor stretching prior to exercise and tight shoes. Oh if only I had known, I'd rather lose the use of a hand than a foot.

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