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My foot surgery of 7/21 - retrocalcaneal spur and achilles repair

Posted by Alexandra H. on 9/15/04 at 11:49 (159946)

Let me say, before I start, that in college (in the early 90's) I was an avid exerciser (some would say that I was compulsive). I ran, weightlifted, swam and played volleyball and basketball. During my last years as a student, I would feel some pain in the foot. It started gradually, and eventually led me to cut down on a lot of my exercising.

Fast forward to years later. The pain worsened. I had been to countless podiatrists. I had countless orthotics ($$$$), cortisone injections, physical therapy sessions, RICE marathons, massages galore, but to no avail. Some doctors would say it was PF... some would say it was the biomechanics of my foot.

Then, in 2002 I moved to New York City, where you walk everywhere, where there are plenty of stairs to go to/fro the subway stations. And the pain worsened. So, I went to a podiatrist who took a look at the x-ray and simply identified a tooth-like spur growing at the back of my heel where the Achilles tendon attaches. He also noticed calcification around the tendon.

I was told that the achilles tendon would have to be removed from the heel bone. The spur was chiseled out. The heel bone was reshaped. The tendon was repaired and reattached using a screw. I was put in a splint for the first week. Then in a solid non-weightbearing cast for the next 7 weeks.

I was given crutches (that's the extent of what my insurance paid for), but I rented a wheelchair. I must say that I don't know what I would have done without the wheelchair.

Once the cast was finally taken off, my foot immediately began to swell. The swelling, strangely enough, is concentrated on the top of the foot (minus the toes) and the ankles. The surgery site is in perfect shape. The tendon does not hurt. The swelling was supposed to lessen, but it continues to this day, almost 3 weeks after the cast has been off. I have had a vascular ultrasound (doppler) to check for DVT (deep vein thrombosis) and x-rays to check for stress fractures, but nothing has been found.

I have been going to physical therapy twice a week, since the cast has been off. So far, massage is the only thing that lessens the swelling (but only for a short time). I am able to walk and go up/down the stairs using the crutches, but I tire easily.

There is no doubt in my mind that I would do this surgery all over again if I had to.

Re: My foot surgery of 7/21 - retrocalcaneal spur and achilles repair

Mark Evans on 9/15/04 at 15:57 (159950)

Alexandra - after reading your posting I am not sure what you are concerned about. If you are worried about the swelling, I would suggest this is normal following foot surgery. In my pre-op talks I will usually warn patients that it can take up to 12-months to get back to normal. Try a compression bandage, rest and elevate the foot as much as possible. Hope this helps.

Re: My foot surgery of 7/21 - retrocalcaneal spur and achilles repair

LilCricket on 10/11/04 at 20:24 (161309)

I for one would not do this surgery again unless I absolutely had no other choice. I had my right foot done in Feb., and I have never experienced anything more painful. Here it is 8 months later and I still have pain on a daily basis. I have gone through physical therapy twice already, and do stretching exercises everyday. I swear I can feel right where the anchors are at, especially when my foot gets cold. I have mentioned this to the doctor, and he just tells me to continue working on my stretching. I'm sick of dealing with it all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Re: My foot surgery of 7/21 - retrocalcaneal spur and achilles repair

Tycen J on 9/22/05 at 00:30 (183314)

I just got out of my cast that I had on for 6 weeks. I ruptured my achilles tendon on a very simple tumbing pass, round off flip flop double back. When I went in the air for the double pike I felt a pop and next thing I know I cant walk. It was not painful at all. I go to physical therapy twice a week and I didnt know I was gonna be down for 4 months Wow

Re: My foot surgery of 7/21 - retrocalcaneal spur and achilles repair

Mark Bradley DC on 10/10/05 at 14:57 (184447)

Your history sounds like mine. I'm 46 and the past 6 months have been the worst. I've done all the treatments. I start tomorrow with ESWT. I hope it works. Reading about your surgery scares me to death. Which is the next Tx if the ESWT doesn't work. How are you making out now that it is Oct? How did you find a qualified surgeon?

Regards M

Re: My foot surgery of 7/21 - retrocalcaneal spur and achilles repair

tracey on 5/27/06 at 13:17 (199926)

A shared history! I am considering ESWT for retro-calcaneal spurs, bilaterally. Just wondering if you completed the treatment, if it was successful and what, if any, side effects you suffered?

Re: My foot surgery of 7/21 - retrocalcaneal spur and achilles repair

SD on 7/01/07 at 02:14 (232320)

Hi Alekxandra,

I was an footballer and swimmer upto my school days. I too had to undergo the surgery at both my legs in december 2006 after suffering from pain since last two years. My right heel is corrected and feel no pain at all while walking, but in the left heel there is still swelling and it pains too. I am also confused what to do next as massage and exercise have little effect on the paining left heel. I am also bit confused to think if I reqiure another surgery to get back to normal life.