My tendon repair surgery
In January 2003 while letting a couple
of the dogs out at night, I stepped on a pebble on the floor.
No I wasn't barefoot. I was actually wearing house slippers.
The pain in my foot was so intense, it literally knocked me to my
knees. Pains shot up my leg as I lay there.
For a few months afterwards I continued
to have pain in the bottom of my foot and sometimes in the side
of my foot near the ankle bone. I had abdominal surgery coming
up so I figured I'd get through that and the foot would heal while
I was laid up. Wrong.
I was released from the abdominal surgery I went back to my primary
physician and told him about the foot. He took x-rays and
noticed that there were some changes on the calcaneus bone.(picture
He thought I had probably
cracked it and it healed on its own. Since it was still hurting
he sent me to physical therapy for a month.
After dealing with the pain of physical
therapy I went back to him and asked if it was time for an MRI.
The foot was not better. During this time I was continuing
to show my dogs and by the end of the weekend I could barely walk.
The pain in the bottom of my foot and the side of my foot was unbearable
at times. I have a high threshold of pain, but it was getting
to the point where it was getting out of hand.
I had an MRI
on June 5 and it was revealed that I had a torn/ruptured peroneus
brevis tendon in the foot. No wonder I was hurting.
Though it was a partial tear I was told it more than likely wasn't
going to heal on its own. That meant surgery. (picture
courtesy of this
I can't say I was too happy with this
idea. It meant three months in a cast and four to six weeks
on crutches. I hate crutches. It's not fun trying to dodge
seven Labrador Retrievers when you are on crutches. However,
I had no choice.
On July 1 I went in for repair to the
peroneus brevis tendon.
(photo courtesy of thefoot.org)
(WARNING: before you click on that previous link,
know that it is an actual picture of the type of surgery and it
is graphic. Trust me, you might not want to eat linguine for
awhile after viewing it. No that's not really a lobster fork.)
I came home in a leg
cast almost to my knee and was informed I had to take it easy until
my orthopedic doctor, Dr. Sandrock, saw me in two weeks. He
would cut off my cast and take out the sutures at that time.
I couldn't wait. I hated that cast. It was bulky and in order
to sleep I had to prop my foot up on a pillow. I like to sleep
on my side so every time I turned over I had to wake up and rearrange
Finally on July 14 I had the cast removed. After
Dr. Sandrock removed the sutures he butterfly taped the incision since
I have a history of incisions breaking open after the sutures are
removed. The foot was very swollen and once the support of the
cast was removed, it really started to hurt.
I asked Dr. Sandrock if this
surgery generally was a success. Dr. Sandrock said yes that
75-80% of people recovered. I wish the odds were more like 90-95%
but I'm determined to be one of the 75-80%!
Thankfully, I was able to get an air
cast which allows me to take it off to shower and eventually to
The first night I kept the air cast
on for support. The foot was too tender to sleep without it.
My range of motion was just about nil but I was to start physical
therapy the next day.
July 15, 2003
At therapy they took measurements of
the foot and the swelling. This will help them record any
progress I make.
You can see the swelling in the right
foot. (the scars on to of the foot are due to the dogs, not
the surgery) Yeah I know I have ugly feet. *laughs*
The PT also assigned me exercises
to do 4 times a day to help work the stiffness out of my foot. This
is in addition to going to PT 3 times a week. I go back to
Dr. Sandrock at the end of the month so he can re-evaluate my progress.
July 16, 2003
Here I was minding my own business doing toe
scrunches to strengthen my toes when Shanny decided to come
over and help by sitting on the towel.
I could barely move the towel before she sat on
it, I sure as heck can't budge it with her butt on it!
seems very pleased with herself doesn't she? Now you know
one of the reasons why I call her The Shanny Monster.
July 17, 2003
Labs crack me up! They are so darned curious
about everything. This
is Murphy who came over to check out what on earth her wacky owner
was doing with her feet. I was in the process of picking up
the marbles with my toes and putting them in the container.
One of my therapy exercises.
Usually Murphy, who is eleven, doesn't give a rip
as long as she's fed, watered and put out a few times a day.
Most days she spends her time asleep on the ortho-bed.
July 19, 2003
I heard that Ken Griffey Jr., the baseball
player just had the same surgery done that I did. I wish him
luck. I'll be anxious to see if he can continue his baseball
career after this surgery.
July 22, 2003
IT MOVED!!! The towel actually
moved! It didn't move far and you would have missed it if
you blinked, but it did move!
I also got to start barely putting
weight on the foot. Its very sore, but I was walking with
the crutches taking most of my weight.
July 26, 2003
the butterfly tape finally fell off. Nasty looking scar isn't
What's so weird about the incision is that if you
touch the spot near the x,
I feel like an electrical shock in my foot. I'm guessing its
the nerves that were damaged during the surgery but something I
will definitely ask about the next time I see Dr. Sandrock.
July 28, 2003
Today at PT was the first time I put my weight on
my foot. I used one crutch to walk around the room.
I was told I could start putting weight on the foot for short periods
Once I got home I noticed something that I hadn't
noticed since July 1. The pain is back in the bottom of my
foot in my heel. The same exact area I was experiencing pain
before the surgery. I am not having pain where the actual
surgery area was, but the bottom where the calcaneus bone is.
The surgery might have repaired the tendon, but I don't think it
worked for the bottom of the foot. I am devastated.
I have an appointment with Dr. Sandrock on August 11 which is after
all my PT will be done. I hope between now and then it will
go away, but my gut is telling me that the surgery didn't work.
August 1, 2003
As you can see in the previous picture my foot is
scaling like a snake skin about to be shed. Looks pretty gross.
Someone told me about Cetaphil Moisturizing Creme and I must say
it is working great. The scales are gone and the foot is looking
more normal now. I just have to remember to rub it in twice
a day. Not that my feet and the scar are any less ugly, but at least
they don't remind me of snake skin shedding anymore.
Yesterday at PT they wet the towel for the toe scrunches.
I was delighted to find out I was still able to move the towel.
I am gaining strength in the foot again. I'm able to do just
about everything they ask me to do. I'm still having some
pain in the bottom of my foot and once in awhile in the area that
August 4, 2003
I was given the ok today to walk without crutches
if I can. WOOOHOOO!! I can use a cane if needed for
you can see, the swelling is just about all gone. I still
have ugly feet though. *laughs* I still have pain on
the bottom of my foot, but none in the area of the tendon repair.
Something weird happened last night. I kept
getting those electrical shocks down my foot. Most of the
night it felt like my last two toes on my right foot were swelling,
but I kept checking it and they weren't. The shocks kept up
most of the night and if the sheet happened to touch the one area
on my foot, my foot right above the red x, the whole foot would
tingle and twitch. Very weird.
This morning its fine, unless you touch the red
x area. Then it just "shocks" that one area.
Definitely going to be something I mention when I go to Dr. Sandrock
August 7, 2003
Today was my last scheduled day of therapy.
My range of motion is about 70% which they say is livable. I'm not
sure 70% is livable to me though.
I started having a bit of pain where the tendon
is the other day. The foot is swollen across the top of the
foot where the scars from the dogs' nails is. The pain remains
on the bottom of my foot where it was before the surgery.
All of the discomfort comes and goes. I'm anxious to see what Dr.
Sandrock says about my progress when I see him on Monday.
August 11, 2003
Well it seems I'm progressing on schedule or ahead
of schedule. They felt I was doing very well and could start
going without the boot, starting first at home. I told them
I was a bit nervous since I didn't want to do this again.
I was told that the actual surgery site is healed by now.
If I do any injuries it will be something new, not that tendon.
The electrical tinkling is the nerve trying to overcome
any swelling or damage that was done during the surgery. He
recommended that I massage the incision area so any scar tissue
will break up, relieving any pressure on the nerves.
I mentioned the pain on the bottom of my foot and
I was told I probably injured the Plantar
Fascia when I stepped on the pebble back in January. (photo
courtesy of ourfootdoctor)
I have Plantar
Fasciitis or inflammation of this band of tissue.
Seems like the only treatment available to me is
stretching it out and wearing a shoe implant. Cortisone injections
is something that was mentioned, but I cannot do cortisone.
Once I had it injected into my knee and the inflammation from a
reaction was so bad they had to tranquilize me. It itched
so badly inside the knee I thought I would go crazy.
So no more cortisone.
One link says it can take up to two years to heal.
Lovely. This explains why nothing showed up on the MRI and
why the pain continues off and on. According to the links
above its worse after rest, which is exactly what I am feeling.
I swear I will never be done with this stinkin' foot problem.
So while I'm happy that the tendon problem is starting
to be over, I still have to deal with the heel pain for a bit longer.
While I don't have to go back to scheduled therapy, I am to continue
to do it on my own and make sure I take fifteen to twenty each morning
to stretch out the plantar fascia. I am to return in five
weeks (September 15) for a recheck. In the meantime I will wean
myself from the velcro boot.
Its very strange to have the foot in a shoe.
I find myself taking baby steps. I'll have to learn to take
normal strides again. Funny how your body adapts after only
six weeks. Onward and upward!
September 5, 2003
Ok slap me and call me dumb@ss! I put up two
jumps for Darby to practice agility with last weekend. I honestly
did not run. I just barely broke out of a walk. I guess
the noodle (slang for the tendon based on this GRAPHIC! picture
which makes the tendon look like linguine in tomato sauce.) wasn't
quite ready for it yet. I felt some pain right in the area
where the tendon was repaired. I stopped immediately, but
it has been bothering me ever since. The pain seems worse
at night and I usually end up having to take some pain meds to sleep.
Gosh I hope I didn't do any damage to it. I guess
I'll find out in ten days when I return to Dr. Sandrock.
September 13, 2003
Today was the first time I showed a dog since my
surgery. I started out in a pair of dress shoes, but stepped
on a small stone (naturally, eh?) in the parking lot and quickly
decided that I needed my athletic shoes. They are the ones
that have the inserts especially made to support the Plantar Fascia.
I'm so happy I did switch shoes. I can't imagine how bad my
foot would feel if I had stayed in those other shoes.
Though I did have to take some pain meds, the foot
isn't that bad. Not as bad anyway as I expected. By
the end of the day it was getting sore, but absolutely no pain in
the tendon repair area. I did also wear an ankle brace so
I wonder if that helped.
The second day is usually the worst, so I'll see
how I feel after the show tomorrow. Maybe I'll have some decent
news when I go back to Dr. Sandrock on Monday.
September 17, 2003
The noodle is healing. On Monday we talked
about the possibility of my "trying" it out and he agreed,
just warning me to use it to tolerance. Any pain and I must
back off. I can start working out again with agility.
I'm not sure they realize what all I must do in agility, but I'm
going to give it a try. Very slowly, I promise.
I told him about the pain from the plantar fascia
and we decided to go with the splint at night.
bulky and I have to learn how to sleep with it. After two
nights with it I found I can't sleep on my stomach like I normally
do with my foot flexed.
I also have to take it off if I get up in the middle
of the night. The bottom is flat and it slips on the wood
I have to wear this until I go back to see him
again on the 20th of October. By then if we don't see any
improvement we may have to switch course and try some type of therapy
or just realize its not going to get better anytime soon.
If that's the case I'll just have to live with the
pain and try to deaden it with pain meds. Since I'm so sensitive
to most pain meds it will have to be controlled with Advil.
Last night I had spasms in the area where the tendon
was repaired. It wasn't the normal electrical feeling I get
when the area is touched. It was definitely spasm like.
Discomfort spasmed through the area. It was pain, but not
really bad pain. Just enough to remind me it was there.
Like I could forget!
Today I put the agility jumps up and ran Darby through
them about five different times. I'm feeling a bit uncomfortable
with the pain from the plantar fascia, but the noodle is ok.
I have a new ankle brace that I bought last week and it really holds
my ankle in place. I wore that over the weekend when I was
showing Libby and while the tendon ached, it wasn't bad.
Between my knee braces and the ankle I'm going to
look like the walking wounded. I guess that's exactly what
I am. I keep taking a licking, but keep on ticking.
Either I have a high tolerance for pain or I'm nuts. I haven't
decided on that yet. I just know I enjoy doing things with
my dogs and I'm not ready to give that up yet without a fight.
It might come that I can't do agility anymore, but I want to at
least try again. I know this is suppose to be a "career
ending injury", but I'm stubborn and need to decide that for
October 20, 2003
Today was back to Dr. Sandrock day for an evaluation.
In the meantime I had gone to the Lab National show in St. Louis
and ran four dogs in the various events. I ran Darby in agility
since she wouldn't go off with anyone else and by far, that was
the event that put the most strain on the tendon. I probably
would have been fine if it hadn't been raining and the agility ring
one big mud hole. I ended up slipping a bit and hurting the
noodle. Not a lot, but it was hurting pretty bad after the
run until I took my handy-dandy pain killers. The next day
it was sore, but not painful. It was the plantar fascia that
really took a beating!
So back at Dr. Sandrock's and I told them that while
it was doing better, it still hurt pretty badly. I had pain
spasms in the noodle site the other night. Just wave after
wave of sharp pains right in the surgery spot. Then I had
tendon pain on top of the foot the next day. The plantar fascia
is not healing like they want it to, so..............
in the cast we go! They want the entire foot and tendon system
to rest in the proper position for four weeks.
Almost immediately upon putting the cast on, the
plantar fascia started protesting, so this tells me we're doing
the right thing.
So I go back on November 17 to have it off.
I'm prolly going to need some therapy again to get the foot moving
again. I feel like I'm caught in a bad nightmare sometimes.
October 30, 2003
The first day back in the cast was pretty painful.
The tendons protested and I ached most of the day. I had to
take a pain pill before bed so I could sleep. It throbbed
most of the night.
Some days aren't bad. Some days hurt more
than others. I find if I don't stop and put my foot up during
the day, by evening my foot is pretty swollen in the cast.
My toes press up against the cast and end up getting pinched.
I'm driving around town, but not if I have to go somewhere by freeway.
I work the pedals with my left foot. While it takes some getting
used to, its pretty easy to do.
November 12, 2003
Uh oh! The bottom of my foot starting hurting
a few days ago. Just like it did before I had the cast on.
I pray its just a phase. I will scream if I have to deal with
this much longer. I go back to Dr. Sandrock on Monday.
I'm very anxious to hear from him what is going on. I wouldn't
be a bit surprised if once I get this cast off, I'll have to have
I'm very bummed right now, to say the least.
November 18, 2003
Well I got the cast off. It felt weird not
to be lugging that sucker around. I had to be really careful
walking about since the ankle felt so weird.
Dr. Sandrock has done just about everything they
can do for the plantar fascia. Now its up to my body to do
the rest. So far, the PF hasn't hurt. My ankle ached
most of the day, but in the tendon area and ankle bone. I
was able to ignore it for the most part.
I had to laugh. When I got into the van, I
automatically started to drive left footed out of habit. I
found myself doing it later in the day too. Driving normally
is something I have to get used to again.
Dr. Sandrock still wants me to do my exercises to
stretch out the tendon and I slept in my night brace. I hope
that this is the end of the saga and I can get my life back to normal.
Whatever that is!
November 24, 2003
It doesn't look like this story will have a happy
ending. It's been a week since the cast has been off and the
pain has not changed since I stepped on the pebble back in January.
Yes there are times when its less noticeable, but its still there.
I had obedience trials for the past two days.
I could barely make it through the exercises. By the end of
the day I was limping pretty badly. I realized there is no
way I could run agility. I can barely do obedience and that
only has two small portions where I have to increase my speed.
I'm sad as I realize this. I guess I like to decide my own
fate, not have an injury decide it for me. Hard to believe
that a small pebble has this much power over someone.
I need to resign my self to this fate. That
I will probably never be "normal" again. Oh the
tendon repair worked for the most part, but it wasn't my only problem.
That much is obvious now. Could it have been better if everyone
involved had figured out it was a tendon tear and the plantar fascia
and not just tendonitis? Probably, but who knows.
May 20, 2004
Well it's been ten months since the surgery and
time for an update. For the most part the pain and discomfort
is "livable". If I do a lot of walking or moving
around on my foot, the Plantar Fasciitis flairs up. When that
happens I usually will wear the night brace though sometimes that
seems to hurt the tendon that was repaired in my foot. Sometimes
you just can't win. *sigh*
I do take a lot of Advil for pain. Sometimes
its the only thing that allows me to sleep at night. I get
a lot of sharp pain in the peroneus brevis tendon, especially if
I have done a lot that day. The scar is still electrified
and gives off those weird shock like tingles if its touched.
Mostly though, its the Plantar Fasciitis that gives me trouble.
Imagine my surprise when I opened the Detroit Free
Press this morning and saw an article on Plantar Fasciitis.
One of the Detroit Pistons is suffering (and I mean suffering) from
it now. Welcome to my world Rasheed.
I will survive though I do wonder how I will be
when I get to be in my 50's or 60's.
July 1, 2004
One year ago today I had my tendon repair surgery.
The scar doesn't look too bad, in my opinion. Of course, scars
don't bother me anymore. Not since I received a twelve inch
zipper on my knee when I was fourteen. Anything else is nothing
compared to that one.
The tendon twinges sometimes. I think to myself,
"oh no! I tore that sucker again" but then the pain
will go away and the ankle feels okay.
I still have those electrical charges whenever the
foot gets touched in a certain spot. If I wear sandals and
the strap hits that spot, I get a jolt. That's the hardest
thing to get used to I think.
If I tore a tendon again, I'd have the surgery to
repair it. I think I came back from the tendon repair surgery
pretty well. It was the plantar fasciitis that I had the hardest
That has good days and bad days. I still take
a lot of Advil for it, but it has been manageable. Lately anyway.
All in all the main purpose of the surgery a year
ago was to repair the torn tendon and that has been done.
Hopefully, I won't have to do another one any time soon.
I've been hearing from a lot of people who have
had surgery to repair the peroneus brevis tendon. Most have
had successes too. Ken Griffey Jr. is sure back from
his surgery. He hit his 500th home run year after having this
surgery. Not bad.
I'm also hearing from people who are facing this
surgery. They ask me how I am now and that's one of the reasons
I wanted to make sure I updated this page.
One thing I notice since the tendon surgery, my
foot clicks as I walk. It's the tendon moving over the bone.
Nothing serious, but a definitely clicking. I hear it late
at night sometimes if I'm walking in the house when everything is
This will be my last entry, unless something should
happen to the ankle again.
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