Achilles No More

Recently experienced Achilles repair surgery.It’s amazing to hear how many friends and colleagues have suffered this or know someone who suffered the same.
Love to hear your Achilles stories or, suggestions towards recovery in active indoor-outdoor sport

I’ve only ever had some tendonitis in both of mine. Fortunately not at the same time. Hurt like hell to walk, or ride a bike. Hope you heal quickly.

Mine was ruptured. No prior symptoms or problems prior.
Hope you are better. Tendonitis can be quite annoying witch challenging resolution.

I know what to do to mitigate the pain. Fortunately it isn’t constant, let alone regular. Shows up, strangely enough, in the cold. So I just have to keep my feet warm. If it does act up, an ice massage helps, and a few days off the bike. Pretty simple for me.

I’ve only ever heard that ruptured Achilles take awhile to recover from. I hope you are an exception.

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I don’t expect to be and that’s all right.
Gives me time to exercise in new ways and provides introspection and insight.
But it’s a long recovery for pretty much anyone

I tore mine playing basketball a year ago. Surgery was less painful than my ACL surgery. Recovery was easier too, but I haven’t sprinted on it or played any sports since the surgery. Plenty of hiking, though.

It’s still sore for a minute every time I walk on it after sitting for 30+ minutes.

Good luck with your recovery!

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Glad you’re feeling better.
Did you elect for surgical repair or non-surgical?

I had surgery.

I’m going in for foot surgery in December (After the PAC 12 Championship Game), of which one issue is the repair of Achilles insertional calicific tendonosis (ossification at the point of tendon attachment). The other is a tarsal tunnel release and clean up of nerve entrapment from last years lateral sliding calcaneal osteotomy (heel was cut off and slid to the outside to achieve better foot alignment). It’s long story but after 18 years walking around on a completely torn peroneas brevis tendon (the result of several bad ankle sprains incurred while playing tennis) my ankle/foot had become misaligned (cavo varus) and was headed towards a complete loss off the joint. Surgeon basically did a rebuild with my own parts. Included an osteotomy of the 1st metatarsal as well as arthroscopy and debridement of a lesion in the cartilage of the joint.

I face 4 weeks non-weight bearing in a boot, followed by PT. I’ve read that it could take up to 2 years to fully heal. Sports? I just want to be able to walk normally without pain and keep up with my wife.

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Have plantar fasciitis in both of mine. It sucks.

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Thanks so much
That is a devastating development.
Foot and ankle specialist are amazing though. Sounds like you have researched it well yourself/second opinions.
I wish you the very best. Please keep us updated.

PS. It’s a curious thing that athletic activity is do beneficial and yet, we seem to have exceeded design parameters for our species in some activity. People in the 1920’s played an entirely different style of tennis. I hope you will enjoy walking without pain soon

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First surgeon repaired the tendon, but once that was healed I began feeling pain below the repair site. I had to dial back PT because it was aggravating it. I never saw that surgeon post op, only his NP. She was somewhat dismissive and said I needed to give it a year and the pain would go away. Well I did give it nearly a year and it never got better. So I sought a second opinion.

I was actually referred by an othopedic surgeon who had a Saturday AM radio show called Weekend Warrior on ESPN 710 Los Angeles. I described the above and he gave me the referral off the air. My surgeon teaches at USC Keck School of medicine. My cousin is an orthopedic surgeon and he did his fellowship under this guy.

First visit he said the tendon repair took, but the first surgeon (sports orthopedic, but not a foot and ankle specialist) did not address everything. My foot was rolled over to the outside (cavo varus ankle) and if not addressed the added stress would cause the repaired tendon to fail. Inside the joint, the misalgnment was causing rubbing, though it had not worn through the cartilage, just a lesion.

My case was complex, thus this second round of surgeries to address what I would describe as residual soft tissue issues. One thing I will note is that every single post op appointment is with the surgeon. I drive 40 miles into Beverly Hills (Cedars Sinai) for the appointments. This guy is gold. When I looked up Achilles Insertional Calific Tendonosis, he’s in the references to the first article that comes up (David B Thordarson). I also have his teaching text book on Foot & Ankle surgery. He did work on Luke Walton and Julius Randle when they were on the Lakers.

L to R: Before, After alignment and side view of hardware installation. You can see in the before how it was constantly swollen and rubbing on the right side of the joint. After shows more uniform spacing in the joint. Final is a screen capture of a CT scran showing bone healing (white material at the osteotomy site), plus a little of the ossification (calcium mound) at the point of the achilles insertion. I need to ask him about what looks like a little spur develop under the heel at the point of attachment of the plantar fascia. Nevertheless, we’re making Progress!

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Thank you so much for sharing.
Mine sounds so much more straight forward. I am with a dedicated F&A specialist at the U.
I hope you are well on the way to full and complete recovery. Thank you for your advocacy

I have a bit of Plantar Fascitis amongst my other issues and indeed it sucks. “Itis” is typically used to describe any inflammation. If you look up the most current research on plantar fascitis, it will tell you that fasciitis does not accurately capture what’s going on. Rather it’s a necrosis, or tissue death, which sounds wonderful. Regardless, like other pathologies in the foot, it is painful.

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I had the insertional tendinosis (basically a bone spur growing into the achilles, right?) done a year ago on both feet two months apart. Let me know if you have any questions on recovery. I’m back to playing basketball a couple times a week, but it took about a year to feel relatively normal and I think it still will get better than it is now.

It’s the same surgery that John Wall of the Washington Wizards is out for right now. Mike Conley also had the surgery in the past. If you have any questions on the recovery for that part, let me know! It’s a long haul, but it was worth it to the end for me.

Hope you have seen a dedicated Orthopedic F&A specialist or Sports Medicine provider at a level 1 center for additional deliberation.
I wish you the best

Yes, insertional tendinosis is basically a bone spur, or in this case a mound of calcification, growing into the achilles. Mine is not so bad, but is aggravated by the new alignment of the foot and the ongoing numbness of the heel pad caused by entrapment of the calcaneal branch nerve in scar tissue. Official plan says: tarsal tunnel release, neurolysis versus nerve repair of the calcaneal branch with a limited calcaneal Achilles insertion calcific debridement. Translation for the Achilles portion: split the Achilles longitudinally to facilitate removal of calcification deposits. May involve partial to total lifting of the Achilles from the calcaneous (hee) and reattachment.

Just read the chapter in his book and 4 weeks non-weight bearing followed by 4 to 6 weeks partial weight bearing and PT. Takes up to a full year to heal. Yeah, undoubtedly will have questions about the recovery. That said, this is the third round of surgery in the past three years, so I’ve been in continuous recovery. Then there was the 18 years prior of constantly puffy, swolen and unstable ankle. At least I can say that I can now see features around my ankle that I haven’t seen in years. I tolerate pain well, which was contributory to getting to this point. I’m still walking 3 miles a day with stairs on my commute by train and light rail to downtown LA. I did as much as 2.5 miles while wade fishing rivers in my beloved Montana this past August/September. When I’m focused in on fishing, I ignore pain, then ice up afterwards. Surgeon said I was good, as I would not screw it anything any further.

I cringe when I read about an athlete getting surgical repair done in the ankle. Then again, they’re getting it addressed. When my original injuries happened, MRIs were just coming out and very expensive. So they just x-rayed, said nothing was broken, here’s a bag of ice and sent me on my way.

Thank you for your testimony.
My wife and I love to skate ski which is all about plantar flexion and balance on skinny slippery things. There is a non operative approach to healing but I feel a lot better knowing those ripped up, juicy tendons are

now nestled together under appropriate tension.

How do you insert images into posts? I tried to upload image and I get a message saying I can’t upload images, though the image appears off to the right before saving the post. After reading, I think it’s due to my new presence here as I joined to comment on this thread.

Wow, yeah, I thought I’d been through a lot getting both achilles repaired after removing the spur.
You’ve been through a lot more than me. Best of luck.

Sounds like you’ve already done your research, but in case you’re interested this animation shows the surgery I had and what I assume will be a part of your surgery to remove the calcification. It’s pretty intense surgery to basically just remove what amounts to a bone spur/bump.

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