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.

After 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 courtesy of footmaxx) 

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 site)

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 the pillow.

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 sleep.

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!

 

 

She 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

All the butterfly tape finally fell off.  Nasty looking scar isn't it?

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 of time.

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 was repaired.

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 balance.  As 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 on Monday.

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.  How comforting. 

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.  Lovely.

plantar_fasciitis.htm

cond_plantar_fasciitis.jsp

thebig5/plantar.htm

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.

Its 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 floors.

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 myself.

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..............

back 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 another.

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 time with.

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 quiet.

This will be my last entry, unless something should happen to the ankle again. 

 


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