Boxer finally had my Achilles Debridement surgery

by Mia
(Ohio )

Gnarly incision from achilles debridement surgery

Gnarly incision from achilles debridement surgery

In August of 2017, I managed to hurt my ankle during a boxing session. The pain was so awful that I went to the prompt care the next day and had them x Ray the area as I could not walk.

Imagine my shock when I heard that I had a shelf size bone spur on my heal — which was fanged — and it was digging into my Achilles . Ouch.

In the months that followed I tried everything . Rest, ice , PT, dry needling , and even a Tenex procedure. Nothing helped and as time went on, I grew more frustrated as every step hurt me.

My incredible chiropractor provided me with a referral to an orthopedic who was an expert in the area of Achilles Tendonosis and I decided to meet with him. At this point , we are in June of 2018. We decided to take a vacation and upon arrival home , I was going to get my surgery.

Before surgery, I had an MRI to see what the damage looked like.

My MD told me my Achilles was trashed and looked like mush. And he said my spur was essentially a spiked mountain peak digging in the Achilles. He was very clear that the procedure would be easy for him - an hour or so, but far worse for me as recovery goes.

4 weeks NWB in a cast and another 4 weeks in a boot . Then, PT and full recovery within a year - the best outcome.

The surgery itself was easy. In fact , my block was so good that it lasted 30 hours. I was sent home as soon as I woke up and spent the evening in bed and felt pretty good, actually. I was in a splint and would get my cast 4 days later.

Pain kicked in the second night and I ended up taking pain meds for two full days. Not bad at all. I had a scooter, used my crutches, elevated, and took my ibuprofen as directed. Also had antibiotics and baby aspirin. Finally got my cast on and was doing great all week until I started to feel like my cast was unraveling inside and my incision ( which was 8 inches long and coiled like a snake) felt like it was rubbing against sandpaper.

It was awful and I was in agony. I actually had to start taking my pain meds as I could not get comfortable. Called my MD and he told me to come in so they can remove the cast and re cast my leg. It was a two day window between the call and the actual appointment and I was beyond miserable.

I finally went in today and they took off my cast and lo and behold, it was perfect and the cut was healing well. I was so overwhelmed and emotional that I started crying — sure they thought I was a whacko.

However , the pain was real and it felt terrible.

I was told it was the healing process and the nerves and such. My MD had me push on his hand and tested my pain. There was none and I pushed all the way down. He was so pleased with this and as a result , decided to place me in a walking boot - but no walking , of course . I was thrilled !

The cast was horrible and while I was ready for the second one, the boot is way better.

So, moving forward, I am in the boot for two weeks NWB and then will go back to get stitches out and then we will see what is next . He said I will slowly start WB and then PT. As I sit here , still have shooting pains and am actually able to take
the boot off and move my ankle around - feels both great and ouchy at the same time.

Is it normal to feel so much pain ? Really hurts and just shooting all over . Also, while doing ROM exercises, seems sort of scary in light of how bad my Achilles was. Looking at a long recovery and regardless, happy I did this. Could not bear the idea of pain for the rest of my life and being inactive was the worst.

Finally , this blog was super helpful for me when I was in need of answers , so hoping I can also help someone as well .


Joshua Answers:

Hi Mia.

Dang, that is a gnarly looking incision! LOL I love the dude's face in there too. :)

"Is it normal to feel so much pain ?"

For the love of god, yes! You just had MAJOR traumatic surgery.

An 8 inch incision! Not a minor flesh wound.

Removal of a big chunk of bone! Ouch...that's going to hurt a while. See: Bone Spur

See: Bone Bruise (which you are essentially left with post bone grinding/cutting.

Presumably they removed an inch or so of achilles tendon and reattached it to the bone? That's going to result in the muscle structure being A. overstretched and B. cause a contract/pull back response (almost certainly, so if that's how it happened you'll want to keep an eye out for that.

Achilles Tendonitis (which is the dynamic you had, which is essentially what caused the bone spur to develop) is one thing (and the dynamic is still in place, fyi).

8 inch long wound, and a piece of bone hacked off....that's going to hurt, and for a while (depending on how fast you heal, your self care, etc), and in a variety of ways.

Notice how you had excruciating sensations but were still healing up well. That's just kind of how it goes. Of course, it can go the other way as well (excruciating sensations and not healing at all...wound not closing, etc). Your way, while uncomfortable, is obviously the better way.

And, the reality is, your body got hacked into....pain and a lot of it is to be expected. (I have a very low pain tolerance....I would not enjoy recovering from a surgery AT ALL.) But you gotta do what you gotta do, right? So keep at it.

"In the months that followed I tried everything "

In the spirit of tried what you tried. I'm obviously a fan of people doing what I think they should do...but even then in your scenario with a bone spur that is your only real immediate option (so it's a bummer they wasted your time/money/effort with all those other treatment options) and then focus on a full/optimal recovery.

See the Reversing Achilles Tendonitis> program. It's great before surgery, it's great after surgery because all the causative factors are still in play and removing them will result in a better/faster recovery.

Post-xray showing the big fanged bone spur...there's nothign that's going to get you pain free (long term) or 'fixed' at that point...and while I'm not a big fan of surgery...sometimes it's a necessity (like in your case).

"Finally , this blog was super helpful for me when I was in need of answers "

Great! Glad I could help. Keep at it, ask any questions here, and keep us updated.

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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