5 Months Post Op Achilles Surgery

Since I am now almost 6 months out from my achilles surgery I figured it was time to do an update here. My surgery went well, it was on August 12th 2016. I went into this whole thing knowing that I was taking a chance that running might never be in my future again. It was scary.  I was really scared to death but my pain was increasing and I knew it was time to get the issue taken care of. I was very fortunate to have a friend who was a fantastic podiatrist (Dr Dennis Claire DPM) and he found me a great podiatric surgeon in this area, and he was in system too, as far as my insurance goes. I was nervous at first, but doing some research I felt comfortable in having my surgery done by him. If you are in need of help for any lower leg issue, Dr. James Fullwood Jr. DPM is your guy. He works out of Sebasticook Valley Hospital here in Maine. I highly recommend him as he is a fantastic surgeon and great to talk to from a patient’s perspective.

Dr F kept stressing to me that there are two parts to getting better after surgery. The healing, and the recovery. It took me a while to grasp this idea, but eventually it made sense. I spent 6 weeks in a cast, healing. This was to let the Achilles and the bone anchors reattach themselves to the bone. Once I was ambulatory and getting around, I was in a boot and getting used to walking again. Recovery had started! However, the boot was just too uncomfortable on my heel, so I got back into my running shoes, instead. The Saucony Triumph ISO line has a plush heel counter. This allowed me to wear a shoe and not have as much rubbing on the scar.

I started Physical Therapy and began the strengthening process. I still have some good days, and others not so great, but all part of the recovery process. My therapists are very skilled and they definitely keep me challenged, which is what I need. My ankle is still wobbly somewhat, but it is getting better all the time and my pain level is beginning to decrease. Being in the medical field, I am curious about anything related to bones, muscles, joints etc. It was helpful to research and read of other people, especially   runners, who have gone through this type of surgery. Eventually I saw that it was normal to take a step forward and a couple backward every now and then as part of the process. I have worked hard at PT to regain my strength. I am starting to really feel like I have made some real progress in that aspect.

Two days ago, I ran 3 miles, which was the longest distance I have done since surgery. I did a fair amount of walking too, whenever I felt that there might be ice underfoot, or I had a twinge or two of pain. After the first mile I got into a groove and it felt amazing. I had longed for feeling of air outside on a crisp winter day. Hearing the salt from the roads crunching under my feet was wonderful. I really need to run. It allows me to put all the stress of life behind me and just “be”. I listen to music and talk to my parents whom I am sure am looking down at me from heaven, admiring how I am happily trotting along the Maine roads.

What are my plans for the summer? To gradually increase my mileage with hopes of running Beach to Beacon in August, as it is my all-time favorite race. I dont want to miss it! I will do some other races also, just to keep in the loop with my running peeps around the state. I will throw in some cycling also, and maybe, just maybe I might do another half marathon in a year or two depending on how things go.

There is another part to this story. I may need another surgery as I have chronic tightness in my calf muscles. Dr F feels it would be beneficial for me to have what is called a Gastrocnemius Recession done. Google it and you will see what it is all about. I will save the details for my next post.

When you see me running the roads in Bangor, VZ, and Orono beep and wave! I need the encouragement!


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