Surgery for Achilles Tendinitis

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4.3out of 5
Worsened(1)
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  • 17
    Apr2016
    • Injury Status Recovering
    • Physical activity per week 0-4 hours
    • Chronicity 18+ Months
    • Runner No

    Treatment Ratings

      Almost Cured
      Surgery
      Improved
      Boot, Supportive Shoes, Strengthening Exercises, Physical Therapy
      Not Improved
      Rest, Stretching, NSAIDs - Anti Inflammatory drugs, Brace, Ice
      Worsened
      Night splint, Heel Lifts, Platelet Rich Plasma Injection, Orthotics

    Tendon deteriorated with no specific injury to start the process. 2 years of pain and lots of PT and one PRP injection (was pure hell) that didn't help and made it more sore. 2nd opinion finally and the surgeon recommended a 'strayer' procedure on my calf to lengthen the muscle and take the pressure off my tendon. That worked about 80%. I can walk now and if I over do it - it gets sore. But way better than before the surgery. My tendon has scar tissue on it but is working and I can function again.


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  • 10
    Feb2016
    • Chronicity 18+ Months

    Treatment Ratings

      Cured
      Surgery
      Almost Cured
      Boot
      Improved
      Eccentric Protocol, Rest, Massage, Physical Therapy, Other
      Not Improved
      Platelet Rich Plasma Injection, Acupuncture, Orthotics

    I could write volumes about achilles tendinosis. I've had it off and on (bilaterally) for the better part of 18 years. It has been a significant limiter to my training and race participation over the years. I've spent $1,000's in wasted entry fees and canceled travel plans. Looking on the bright side, I've learned to think positively, to persevere, and most importantly not to take this sport too seriously. Anyhow, here's a summary of my experience:

    July 4, 1997: pain started in left AT. After 4 months of physical therapy including all the standard stuff: rest, ultrasound, cross friction massage, iontophoresis I could run again at an acceptable level of pain.

    1997-2006: fluctuating pain levels in both ATs. These nine years of running/cycling frequency dictated by pain levels. Saved hard/long runs mostly for race day. Tried just about every non-surgical remedy under the sun, multiple times. gazillion doctor visits, more physical therapy, MRI's, eccentric calf raises, pissed a lot of money on useless orthotics. I spent a significant amount of time researching tendinosis and discovered that most orthopedics and podiatrists really don't know what to do. I saw a dozen different doctors over this time period confirming this at least for me. You can confirm this as well: arm yourself with list of questions requiring concrete, detailed responses prior to visiting your doctor and watch them squirm for answers. (One supposedly world-renowned ankle reconstruction orthopedic didn't even attempt to find a solution, looking me straight in the eye instead and said nothing could be done; I should stop running and play golf)

    July 2006: By this time, I couldn't run more than 10 feet. Left AT was a mess. After more research, I concluded that topaz microdebridement surgery might work for me. I flew from Fla where I was living at the time to Santa Monica, CA to have the procedure done by a podiatrist who appeared to have some success with procedure. Surgery required general anesthesia. Post surgery, non-weight bearing boot for 2 weeks, followed by weight bearing boot for another 4 weeks. I wasn't able to run for 7 months - long rehab period. However, after 7 months I was cured. No more pain. Unfortunately, soon afterward, my right AT became more of a limiter.

    Nov 2009: Went back to Santa Monica for my right AT (now living in CA). Tried PRP. Fail.

    Dec 2009: Topaz microdebridement on my right AT. I was a better patient this time so rehab was more like 5 months. However, this time I'd say the success was about 80%. A portion of the painful tendon didn't fully heal but was good enough to run somewhat unimpeded.

    ~2012: right AT getting more bothersome and hampered running.

    ~2013: MRI on right AT. Tendinosis confirmed. tried acupuncture, more PT, loads of eccentrics to no avail.

    August 2014: pain in right AT (which had been pain free for 8 years) came on strong day after race. Now I have it in both legs again.

    October 2014: went back to Santa Monica. Tried PRP twice in both legs over 8 week period. FAIL. In my view, PRP sucks and is a waste of time and $. I knew that before but, against my better judgement, allowed the doc to talk me into it. $1,500 down the tubes.

    March 2015: Here's where it gets interesting, at least to me. After more research and internal reflection, I decided to go to the king of achilles tendons. So, I contacted Hakan Alfredson in Sweden (of the Alfredson eccentric protocol fame) and booked an appointment to see him.

    March 28, 2015: Flew from CA to Umea, Sweden. Three days later, I was on the table and Prof. Alfredson was performing bilateral AT surgery (ultrasound+Doppler-guided mini-surgical scraping). It was under local anesthesia. I felt no pain. The surgery took about 1 hour and I got up from the table and walked back to my hotel room which was about 200 yrs from his office. By the way, nobody in the U.S. is doing this yet. And, it's been a successful procedures to the many professional athletes that travel from all over the world to see him. I flew home on 4/2.

    April 4, 2015: Here it is less than a week after bilateral surgery and I am walking almost normally and with no pain. I can't believe it. The rehab procedure calls for me to begin light running in 5 to 7 weeks, and I am very hopeful that this works. Here's some info on his procedure:

    http://omicsgroup.org/...ts-2165-7025-213.pdf


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  • Donna Achilles Tendinitis

    • Age 55+
    • Female
    10
    Feb2016
    • Injury Status Cured
    • Chronicity 6-18 Months

    Treatment Ratings

      Cured
      Cast, Boot, Physical Therapy, Surgery, Strengthening Exercises

    My Achilles tendon tore while playing volleyball. I thought someone had stepped on the back of my shoe, everyone heard a pop and I was suddenly on the floor for seemingly no reason. When I tried to get up I knew something was wrong, it felt like I had nothing to hold my left foot up. Injury happened on March 16th and I had surgery on March 20th to repair it. I had a very large splint for the first two weeks, then a cast for another week, so was on crutches till April 9th and then finally a walking boot with several wedges. I weaned out of the wedges gradually and finally wore the boot for the last time on July 2nd. I did physical therapy for a while then used the therapy pool, which seemed to help a great deal. It is now September and I am back to walking on the treadmill and have been doing yard work, push mowing the lawn even while in my boot. Don't think you can't go on with normal activities, exercise will only help the strengthening process. I had my last checkup on August 12th and my doctor is very pleased with my progress, although he said no more volleyball; I guess 59 maybe pushing it. I don't wish this on anyone, but you can regain normal activity with proper care.


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  • 10
    Feb2016
    • Injury Status Cured

    Treatment Ratings

      Cured
      Surgery, Massage, Stretching, Strengthening Exercises

    Fellow achilles rupture patient here: that tightness is pretty life long. you lose a portion of tendon in the re-attachment procedure. Continue stretching as normal and make sure you are working to have parity in strength in both legs. i really had to increase the amount of time I spent on warm up, massage, and stretching to deal with the same issues. FYI: my surgery was 2 years ago next week.


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  • Anonymous Achilles Tendinitis

    • Age 35-54
    • Female
    • 179 lbs
    • Indianapolis
    26
    Jan2016
    • Injury Status Recovering
    • Physical activity per week 8+ hours
    • Chronicity 18+ Months
    • Repeat injury? Yes
    • Runner No
    • Doctor/Care Giver John Smerek

    Treatment Ratings

      Cured
      Surgery
      Almost Cured
      Boot
      Improved
      Acupuncture, Heel Lifts, Supportive Shoes, Ice, Brace, Orthotics, Stretching, Strengthening Exercises
      Not Improved
      Cast, Night splint, Massage, Cortisone Injection, Physical Therapy, NSAIDs - Anti Inflammatory drugs, Compression Socks
      Worsened
      Taping, Compression, Strassburg Sock

    Tried ALL therapy, recovering now from surgery.


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  • 25
    May2014
    • Injury Status In Pain
    • Chronicity 18+ Months
    • Runner Yes

    Treatment Ratings

      Improved
      Ice, Strassburg Sock
      Not Improved
      Boot, Surgery, Acupuncture, Soft tissue therapy

    July 2014 will be 2 yrs with achilles tendonitis. I sustained the injury not from running but from being too aggressive on the treadmill. I have been to 3 doctors, physical therapy-ESTIM, ASTYM, a walking boot, sleeping boot, acupuncture then finally surgery consisting of shaving down a thickening of the inner heel bone from achilles bursitis and repairing an achilles tendon and then there was the Brisment procedure where by 50 pinholes are made in the achilles to stimulate healing and still no relief. I just purchased the Strassburg stocking and have started wearing it. It does help with the morning stiffness. Most of my pain is walking after a rest period. It can take almost 24 hrs to ease up but then it starts up again. Ice is my best friend. My freezer is full of ice packs but of course it is only temporary relief. The only shoes I can wear are athletic shoes with an orthotic and now was recommended a heel lift (i already had several of them) I am starting eccentric exercises (for insertional tendonitis) now to see if they help and am going to purchase a foam roller to use. If any of the reader have any other suggestions I am open to them.


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  • Terence Achilles Tendinitis

    • Age 35-54
    • Male
    • 230 lbs
    • 5' 11"
    • Charlotte,NC
    17
    Apr2016
    • Injury Status In Pain
    • Physical activity per week 0-4 hours
    • Repeat injury? No
    • Runner Yes
    • If Runner? change in mileage or terrain Yes

    Treatment Ratings

      Almost Cured
      Surgery
      Improved
      Rest, Stretching, Compression Socks, Soft tissue therapy
      Not Improved
      Boot, Ice, Supportive Shoes, Strengthening Exercises

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  • 10
    Feb2016
    • Injury Status In Pain
    • Chronicity 6-18 Months

    Treatment Ratings

      Worsened
      Cast, Boot, Surgery

    My surgery was March 12, 2015. It was also my right foot. I was in 3 casts and a boot and was not able to drive until June 19, 2015. My recovery never seemed right, although I did everything I was told to do by my podiatrist (who did the surgery and treatment). I was an excellent patient. I finally went to an orthopedic surgeon, however, because my previous doc never addressed my limping and charlie horses or lack of ability to build my calf muscle. Apparently my tendon was either not repaired correctly or reruptured, because I was just diagnosed with a complete rupture again. It is unclear if the podiatrist ever even had it repaired, as he never did a post surgery MRI. I am looking at another surgery, but potentially with a graft tendon. Getting help from others was the hardest part. Getting around town for groceries, doctor appointments, etc. was difficult. For getting around the house, I recommend a knee scooter (with a basket). The knee scooter saved me from a lot of discouragement and gave me a lot of independance in my home. I wish you well, and my advise is: be sure you have the right doctor, follow their orders (don't rush it) and use a knee scooter. Good luck!


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  • 10
    Feb2016
    • Injury Status Recovering
    • Chronicity 18+ Months

    Treatment Ratings

      Almost Cured
      Massage
      Not Improved
      Surgery

    I tore my Achilles in May 2009 playing soccer, and had it surgically repaired. Those were some dark days for me. I was in a cast for six weeks, walking boot with a wedge for 8 weeks, then a brace as needed after that. My advice is to do your research when choosing a surgeon and physical therapist. My therapist was all about regaining range of motion and massage to minimize scar tissue. Five years later, I cannot even stand up on my "tippy toes" bc I have no strength at all in that calf. The asymmetry in my two calves is very noticeable. The repair is also just a huge knot of scar tissue at this point, so never stop massaging it or rolling it out with a tennis ball.


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  • 10
    Feb2016
    • Injury Status Cured
    • Chronicity 18+ Months

    Treatment Ratings

      Cured
      Physical Therapy, Surgery, Ice

    Ruptured my achillies playing backyard football, not even close to saying it wasnt worth it.

    Anyways, tore it thought it was a badly rolled ankle drove to my gfs house after showering (I was able to limp on it). Shes a pharmacist, showed her the foot and ankle she took me to the ER.

    The er doctor confirmed it was ruptured, next couple days got x rays it was a complete rupture. Fuck my life.

    About 2 weeks of walking on crutches I had surgery to fix it, the pain after surgery is 100x worse than the initial tearing.

    After surgery I was in a cast for 2 + 1/2 months, then a walkable boot for 1 month. Started PT while I was in the boot, I love the ICE machine and the muscle stimulator.

    After a whopping 4 months after the surgery I was walking normally without a boot.

    Its been ~ 1 year and 8 months since surgery and I'm back to doing all the things i ever did. Right leg is still weak though, and the calf muscle is still atrophied to where anyone can tell the difference.


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  • 10
    Feb2016
    • Injury Status Cured

    Treatment Ratings

      Cured
      Boot, Physical Therapy, Surgery

    I had a full rupture while I was having a skipping contest with my girlfriend. Surgery then boot. Been about 2 years and my only issue is flexibility. If you're able to get PT, go for it. Super super helpful. I was hiking in Yosemite about 9 months after I ruptured.


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