Fast forward to 2007. The pain was severe enough that I finally caved and went to my family physician. I had self-diagnosed myself with Plantars Fasciitis, which my husband had suffered with ten years earlier. My physician sent me to an Orthopedic Surgeon. He took x-rays and found posterior heel spurs with insertional achilles tendonitis, meaning the spur was growing in to the tendon. This had caused bursitis, which also contributed to the pain. Well so much for self-diagnosis: Plantars Fasciitis was one thing I didn't have! Here is one of my actual x-rays, taken in the spring of 2007. I believe this photo is of my right foot, but both of them looked identical. I've drawn an arrow to show the bone growth on the back of the heel. The bone was growing directly into my achilles tendon. No wonder it hurt!
My left foot took a turn for the worse in the summer of 2007. I began to have pain in this tendon all the time, and limped when I walked. This was due to multiple micro-tears that had occured in my Achilles tendon. I had been told that I was at risk of rupturing the tendon. I sought a second opinion, which confirmed the original diagnosis. At this point I was growing more desperate for relief, and afraid of having a real rupture. I opted to schedule surgery. I was told I was a excellent candidate, although this meant I would have 2+ weeks on crutches, being fully non-weight bearing, 6 weeks in a cast and more physical therapy (oh joy!).
November 2, 2007 Surgery Day -- I had outpatient surgery to remove the spur from my left heel that had grown into the tendon. To do this, the Achilles tendon was unattached so that the excess bone could be removed. The tendon was then reattached. In addition to this, the Achilles tendon was lengthened 1 1/4" in a procedure called gastroc recession. The surgery took about a hour and a half. My surgery was at noon and I left the hospital four and half hours later. In the recovery room I noticed some pain in the back of my calf, where my tendon had been lengthened, but had no other pain. I came home with two medications -- prescription strength Naproxen for inflammation, and Lorcet Plus for pain. I took both medications faithfully and never experienced pain. For the first 48 hours my only complaint was nausea, most likely from the anesthesia. Here is a photo of "the casting" of my leg:
November 5, Follow-Up #1 -- This was my initial follow-up appointment with the surgeon. He changed the bandages and re-wrapped my leg. I took my camera to the appointment and my first look at the incisions (future scars) was when I got home and downloaded the photos (since the incisions are on the back of my leg and heel I couldn't see them). Must say the incisions were much longer than I had anticipated. And the heel, well, it looked pretty yucky. Here was my first look at the surgery site, 3 days post-op. Definitely not one of my finer photos:
I was again cautioned not to put any weight on the foot, and not to take a shower for five very l-o-n-g days.
November 9 -- It's seven days after surgery. After a shower I re-wrapped my leg for the first time. I still haven't experienced any real pain (maybe a twinge once or twice, but nothing more). I stopped pain medication 4 days after surgery, so I know it isn't simply being masked. I'm guessing that real pain will come when I finally put weight on it. This photo shows my foot 7 days post-op. It's still swollen and the skin around the heel incision feels strange, rather like it's water-logged. I hope someday the iodine and permanent ink (proclaiming "this leg!") will eventually come off.
November 17 -- Photos from 15 days post-op.