Answers for your Ankle

Posted by on January 18, 2009 at 1:43 pm :: 117 Comments

During the many doctor’s appointments I had before and after my peroneal tendon repair surgery I asked my doctor countless questions. I am a very inquisitive person, but even with my never ending inquiries there were plenty of questions I forgot, or didn’t think, to ask.

Since I am sure that many patients forget to remember what to ask, here are some questions you may have about your peroneal tendon surgery, or the recovery process, and the answers my doctor gave to me.

Me after a much needed workout-notice my legs practically look the same now. Yeah!

Me after a much needed workout-notice my legs practically look the same now. Yeah!

1. How accurate is an MRI? Will it show with certainty if I need to have surgery or not?

Unfortunately, the answer to this question is no. Apparently, although an MRI will give a doctor a good idea of what is going on, it won’t necessarily accurately illustrate the extent of the damage to your tendon. According to my doctor, sometimes an MRI will indicate that surgery is the best option for a patient, so the patient will go ahead with surgery, only to discover, after the fact, that the damage wasn’t extensive enough to justify the procedure after all. The reverse was true in my case; my tendon was much more injured than the MRI suggested.

So it seems that while an MRI is a good diagnostic tool, it’s not error proof. That’s why my doctor recommended I try physical therapy and orthotics before resorting to surgery, just in case a less invasive option would take care of the problem. But in the end, if nothing else helps, the only way to know exactly what is going on with your tendon is to cut you open and take a look at it.

2. What risk factors contribute to peroneal tendon injuries?

Evidently, if your feet have high arches you have a much higher risk of injuring your peroneal tendons. Also, your probability of tendon tears rises if you walk abnormally. You put a lot more strain on your tendons if you maintain your weight on the outside of your feet as you’re walking. You should instead push from your heels, through the balls of your feet, to your big toes-that’s a normal step. I have high arches and an irregular gait. So basically, I was a tendon injury waiting to happen.

3. How long will peroneal tendon repair surgery take?

This surgery takes about an hour.

4. How successful is peroneal tendon repair surgery?

I’m sure there is some variation depending on how skilled your orthopedic surgeon is, but according to my doctor the success rate is about 90%. That means 90% of patient’s tendons show marked improvement, or are completely normal, following surgery. This surgery is considered “unsuccessful” if there is no significant improvement after the procedure. My doctor has never seen a case where the condition of the tendon worsened after surgery.

5. Do I have to be put completely out for this surgery?

Other doctors may do things differently, but mine put me completely out. In addition to general anesthesia, I was offered a nerve blocker for my leg. A nerve blocker completely blocks nerve sensations for hours. People that have a low pain tolerance tend to be big fans of the blocker. However, getting a blocker does slightly increase your risk of permanent nerve damage. In the end, I decided that it wasn’t worth it for me. I can handle quite a bit of pain and I did just fine without the blocker.

6. How long will I have to stay in total at the hospital/surgical center?

I’m sure this depends on the facility, but I was at the surgical center for about 6 or 7 hours in total. Preparations for the surgery took me about an hour and after surgery, regaining consciousness took a bit as well. You shouldn’t have to stay overnight.

7. Will I have to take antibiotics after surgery?

This is obviously up to your doctor’s discretion, but I didn’t have to. I was given antibiotics intravenously during the procedure so I wasn’t prescribed any antibiotic medications afterwards.

8. What medications will I have to take after my surgery?

I was only prescribed Percocet and Phenergan after my surgery. The Percocet was prescribed for the pain, obviously, and the Phenergan was prescribed in case the Percocet made my stomach hurt-which it did.

9. How long after surgery is there an increased risk of re-injuring your tendon?

According to my doctor, your body does the majority of its healing in the first three months after surgery. After you hit the three-month mark the risk of re-injury goes down significantly. However, apparently for a full year after surgery the risk is still greater than normal because I have been instructed to wear my ankle brace while doing any type of physical activity for a year.

10. I have been experiencing shooting nerve pains up the side of my leg. Is that normal after peroneal tendon surgery?

Yes, that is normal. Because you have a lot of nerves in your feet it is evidently impossible for the doctor to gain access to your tendons without damaging some of these nerves temporarily. Also, because the tissues in the surgical area are so inflamed after the procedure, the nerves get all bunched up in the swollen mass. This causes them to behave abnormally. The good new is that this effect should only be temporary. As you become more mobile again and the tissues start moving around in your foot, your nerves should slowly untangle themselves and you should no longer experience these pains. I had some issues with severe shooting pains about 3 or 4 weeks after my surgery. I haven’t had any problems with them for months now.

11. I’ve noticed that my skin feels strange around my incision, a little numb. Is this normal?

Yes, once again, it’s because your nerves were damaged during your surgery. Apparently this is common and the numbness should improve with time. Though, my doctor said for some people it never completely goes away. My numbness issues have definitely gotten better over the last few months but there is still an area about an inch or two wide above my incision that feels like it just got a shot of Novocain. I guess only time will tell if that spot will remain permanently numb.

12. How long should I expect my ankle to stay swollen after surgery?

Your feet have a tougher go of it after surgery than most of your other parts. Since they have to carry your weight constantly, they really don’t get a chance to heal the way everything else does. Due to that fact, the doctor said to expect some swelling in the incision area for 1 to 2 years.

13. When can I expect the muscle mass in my leg to return to normal?

I know the muscle loss in your affected leg is extremely depressing. Seeing my warped shapeless leg jiggle like there was no tomorrow was sad indeed. But there is good news. As soon as you start bearing weight on your foot again your muscle mass comes back pretty fast. It has been four and a half months since my surgery and my legs are almost identical again. Yeah!

On a side note, just so you are aware, if the tear in your tendon is large enough apparently the doctor has to sever the ligaments that criss-cross the tendons in order to perform the surgery. This was the case with my surgery. So all that pain you are feeling might be more justified than you realize.

I hope this helps all of you with your question about what to anticipate with peroneal tendon surgery. It’s definitely not an enjoyable experience but knowing what to expect can make things a little more bearable. Having just gone through it all, I feel your pain-literally-and wish you a speedy recovery!

117 Comments

  • Ed N says:

    are you concerned about your other foot???

    I had the surgery eight weeks ago and hope to get rid of this walking boot in another day or two.

  • Rachel says:

    Hi Ed,
    Yes, the doctor told me my other foot was at risk for the same type of injury. So he had custom orthotics made for me. I will have to wear them on both my feet whenever I exercise for pretty much the rest of my life. They take the pressure off my peroneal tendons by angling my feet inward. They took some getting used to, but now I don’t really mind them.
    I’m glad you’ll be able to get rid of your walking boot soon. Once you are free of that, you are over the worse and life slowly gets back to normal. Good luck with your recovery!

  • Ed N says:

    Thank you. I had planned to ask about orthotics and also an ankle brace. I have been swimming quite a bit and also lifting weights over the last 5-6 weeks

  • Rachel says:

    I’m glad you have been able to stay reasonably active. It was definitely very tough for me not being able to do much exercise those first few months.

  • I am headed to surgery next month. I’m really nervous.. any more insight would be helpful! I posted my MRI results and scan images on my blog, in case youre interested. 🙂

    Louise C

  • sue says:

    Thanks for your blog. I have ruptured a peroneal tendon 4 months ago after chronic spraining and after some non invasive therapies now looking at surgery. Really appreciate your insights and positive energy and know that after a period of rehab, all will be well.

  • bob says:

    Hello, I will have to have this surgery as well. I am a competitive beach volleyball player and I was worried about making a full recovery. It seems as it has been some time since your surgery and I was wondering if you feel 100%. Have you had any problems resuming athletics? I appreciate your previous posts and will be grateful for any additional information. Thank you.

  • Rachel says:

    Hi Bob,
    Sorry to hear that you are having problems with your ankle. Here’s the good news and the bad news:
    Unfortunately my ankle has never recovered in that it’s not like it was before I injured it. It still swells up a bit and gives me grief from time to time. But, surgery definitely improved its status. I can run long distances now, whereas I could only run for about 25 minutes before without being in extreme pain.
    As for the athletic activity, I definitely do it all but I am a pretty stubborn person so I practically did it all even when my tendon was still injured. My guess is that you would be able to go back to volleyball just fine after you’ve recovered.
    I am glad I got the surgery; it did help but it didn’t completely fix the problem. Sounds like you are very active so I imagine the recovery process would be as brutal for you as it was for me. I couldn’t stand being stuck in bed or on crutches. But, like I said, I think it was worth it.
    Good luck with whatever you decide.

  • bob says:

    Thanks I enjoyed reading all your post and am happy to hear you are doing well. I am determined to beat this and be back playing volleyball again as quickly as possible. I am dreading the stuck in bed part as I am active from the time I wake till sleep. I hear you on the suborn part as well. I fully tore my distal bicep tendon and was still playing through the pain even when it was partially torn for a good year I still managed to play and workout. Well I hope to heal as well as you did and will use you story as motivation while I am laying in my bed with an elevated foot and looking like a fool trying to stand on 1 leg during therapy. On a good note I only ever had minimal pain in my ankle and still have full function and strength so I am hoping that my surgery wont be very involved. Thanks again for your help.

  • Kimberley says:

    I am having this surgery tomorrow. I sprained my ankle in November and it’s just not gotten better. I’ve been wearing a walking boot since January. One doctor told me I’d be in a hard cast for six weeks with no weight on it, but another said I’d go right into a walking boot. I’m going with doctor number two because he’s local. I just hope this takes care of the problem, because I’m tired of gimping around in a boot all the time. I am not an athlete by any stretch of the imagination, so I’m pretty sedentary! I love reading, scrapbooking and spending time online, so I’m fortunate in that I won’t be going too stir crazy. 🙂

  • Kimberley says:

    Do you normally have to be in bed with your foot above your heart? Will a recliner not be enough elevation?

  • Rachel says:

    Hi Kimberley,
    I hope your surgery went well and that you are on the road to recovery now. Your spraining experience sounds similar to mine. I thought it was just a little sprain but it never healed and it turned out to be a torn tendon. Hopefully, they found the source of your problems and you can now look forward to having a spectacularly normal ankle again.

    As to your question, from what I recall you only have to have your ankle above your heart for the first few days after surgery to decrease the risk of blood clots. After that I think you just want to keep it elevated as much as possible to reduce swelling. So sitting in a recliner would probably be fine at that point.
    I’m glad you have some hobbies to keep you occupied while you are recovering. Good luck!

  • Sophie Burton says:

    Thanks for the info! I had repair surgery for the same tendon on April 18, 2011 and am still in the black boot on crutches as of today, May 13. I am feeling much better every day about the mobility of the ankle. My next appt. with the surgeon is May 25. I am thinking of putting weight on it beforehand but am scared. I have not seen a physical therapist, and I was wondering if you know how can I test this without putting the newly sewn tendon at risk?

  • Rachel says:

    Hi Sophie,
    I’m sure you are eager to get moving again-being on crutches is the pits. But I would actually suggest you wait for your Dr’s approval before starting to bear weight on your foot again. I know it’s awfully tempting to try before your appointmet but you wouldn’t want to damage anything. And honestly, it hurts a lot when you start putting weight on that foot so I don’t know how you would tell if your pain was normal or because you messed up something. Bottom line, I waited until the Dr gave the okay and I would recommend that you do the same even if it is annoying to deal with crutches.
    Good luck!

  • Jeanie says:

    I just had surgery May 4th, 2011. I am still in so much pain it hurts to breath. Everyone keeps telling me I can get hooked on Oxycodine in just a couple of days. How much longer am I going to be in the terrible pain. My peroneal tendon was ruptured

  • Rachel says:

    Hi Jeanie,
    Sorry to hear that you are in so much pain still. You can definitely become addicted to opiate based drugs surprisingly quickly. I took them after my surgery for about a month and, although I continuously decreased my dosage as time went on, when I stopped taking them altogether I definitely had some withdrawal symptoms.
    Here’s what I would recommend if you are concerned about becoming dependent on you pain meds. First, talk to your doctor about the level of pain you are experiencing; there may be some unexpected complication or problem at the heart of the pain. Second, start decreasing your dosage of pain pills as quickly as possible or consider switching over to ibuprofen. Ibuprofen works pretty well and I slept a lot better once I switched over to using it.
    Hang in there! I’m sure you will be feeling better soon.

  • mindy chapman says:

    hi..my surgery was may 16th 2011..all went well…now i have twitching..my whole leg from the knee down..nothing is helping it..the surgeon says she hasnt heard of it..when it does calm..it then swells to the point of major pain..im stopping in to the docs in the am…but if you know anything of this or what i can do..please get back to me….thank you…

  • Rachel says:

    Hi Mindy,
    That is a strange problem. Unfortunately, I haven’t ever heard of tendon surgery causing twitching. I would assume that it has something to do with your nerves being smashed and jumbled during surgery but I’m not certain.
    I’m sorry that you are having to deal with that on top of all the usual recovery mayhem. Good luck! I hope the doctors can get it all sorted out.

  • Marsha says:

    Hello, I had a tendon repair on my right ankle Febuary 11th due to PTTD. As of last week I am in more pain then before the surgery. The inside of my ankle is really swollen and my arch seems to be dropping. I am going to call my orthopedic doc. tomorrow and try to be seen this week.
    Have you ever heard of anything like this happening four months after surgery? I have more symptoms of PTTD then before the surgery. I wonder if the tendon could have snapped.

  • Rachel says:

    Hi Marsha,
    So sorry you are having that problem so long after your surgery. Since my surgery was on the tendons on the outside of the ankle, rather than the inside, I’m not as familiar with your situation. However, it does sound to me like you have re-injured your tendon somehow. I hope your doctor is able to give you some answers. I’d love an update when you find out.

  • Michellr says:

    Hi,
    I had surgery for peroneal tendon repair on June 24th. I fell on my crutches on the 26th and seen the ortho doc who put me in a hard cast and told me to walk on it when he initially said no weight for 2 weeks! I tried to put weigjt on it but couldnt because of the pain. Just wondering how long you were instructed not to bear weight?

  • Rachel says:

    Hi Michelle,
    Ouch! I fell down the stairs once while I was in my cast and it really hurt. Sorry you had to suffer that as well.
    From what I recall I couldn’t put any weight on my foot for about a month after my surgery. Even then it hurt quite a bit to start putting weight back on it.
    Good luck. I hope you have a speedy recovery!

  • Michelle says:

    I have 2 toddlers and being immobile has been horrible! I didnt expect it to be this difficult. Depending on other people to assist me and to fill in the gap when my husband is at work has been a jugglin act. One week down ….five to go!

  • Rachel says:

    That’s rough! I really struggled going to work but I’m sure taking care of two little kids when you are immobile is even more difficult. It will pass sooner than you think though.

  • Marianne says:

    Hi, I had surgery May 16th and am glad i have reached the recovery mode of all this. My injury was due to a bad sprain several years ago that never fully healed and I complicated the tendon tear by a long daily commute to work. This surgery was tougher than i expected but I am a survior! July was a big month for me, as soon as my cast was removed I got married 🙂 I am in my 3rd week of physical therapy and am doing better each week. My only complaints are – 1) i have numbness on the top of my foot 2) i have swelling but it is managed by ice and compression bandages. I am hoping the nerves in my foot bounce back soon! I take ibuprofen daily to help with inflamation and swelling…otherwise I am glad to be back on my own 2 feet!

    One thing i highly recommend to anyone having this surgery is invest in a Knee Walker. I had never seen a knee walker until my neighbor showed up with one for me to use. It gave me freedom while in a cast that I never could have had with just crutches.

    Thanks for your webpage it has been helpful to me.

    Take care,
    Marianne

  • Rachel says:

    Congrats Marianne! I don’t know how you did the whole wedding thing so soon after surgery but good for you.
    I’ve heard the knee walker is pretty nice but I never tried one myself.
    I hope your foot heals quickly!

  • Bonnie says:

    Hi Rachel,
    Thanks for your posts. I had surgery to repair torn peroneal tendon and cyst removal on my left ankle April 18, 2011. I am still in PT. I was making good progress until a approximately 2 weeks ago. I got up off the couch to walk and a very loud pop went off in my ankle. Later I was in pain and had swelling. I went back to my doc/surgeon for a recheck. He did not think I re-injured the tendon repair. He said it was probably scar tissue and something like a sprain. He said to continue with physical therapy. This has set me back some, but I am determined to keep moving forward. I have not been wearing the aso ankle brace because it really irritates the scar/incision. I think I have some stitches that have not dissolved all the way and it causes irritation. My physical therapist told me to wrap my ankle in an ace bandage to protect it if I could not handle the brace. Finding a pair of shoes that I can handle without causing more pain and irritation has been a challenge! I am in my 4th month post surgery.

    Thanks again for your blog. It has been helpful.

    Bonnie

  • Bonnie says:

    One more thing… I did rent a knee walker for the 1 month non weight bearing period. It was easier than trying to use crutches.

  • Rachel says:

    Hi Bonnie,
    I’m sorry to hear you’ve had so many hurdles to your recovery. Ankle surgery is really tough! Keep on hanging on! Good luck to you and I hope you find some cute comfortable shoes. 🙂

  • Bonnie says:

    I am going to be 60 years old this November. Not sure if my age has made it a little harder on the recovery? I have read other people’s experiences and they all sound frustrated with the slow process of healing and getting back to full mobility. I appreciate your kind response to my post.

    I hope all is going well with you.
    Bless you, Rachel.

  • Parul says:

    Hi Rachel, your posts have been very informative and helpful. Thank you! I had Peroneal tendon surgery on September 8th. I’m in my 4th week post-op. My cast came off after 3 weeks and now I am in the boot. I have been experiencing pain in and around the areas where the peroneal tendons lie and a tendon/muscle up my leg has also been hurting. There’s redness in the areas where it hurts. The pain around the peroneus longus tendon is almost exactly like it was before the surgery which scares me into thinking that may be the surgery didn’t work. Did you also experience similar pain after your cast came off? Looking forward to hearing from you. Thanks
    Parul

  • Rachel says:

    Hi Parul,

    Foot surgery is a miserable experience. That fact makes it difficult to decide if what you are experiencing is just normal suffering or out of the ordinary pain.

    Are you weight bearing or still using crutches?
    If you are weight bearing I’d guess that what you’re feeling is pretty standard. Putting pressure on your foot again hurts like crazy!

    If you aren’t weight bearing yet then it’s harder to say.

    What you are describing sounds pretty normal but the redness is a little disconcerting since that could be a sign of an infection.

    It might not be a bad idea to discuss this with your doctor. Sorry I couldn’t give you a definitive answer. I hope you get feeling better soon though and your ankle heals quickly.

  • Belle says:

    Reading everyones comments here on the forums has been super helpful pre and post-op.

    A few questions now that I’m six weeks post-op (yay!). I was in a splint for two weeks after surgery, followed by a week in a boot, then hard casted for three weeks (I had ALIF surgery and ortho decided hard cast was best). I had horrible calf pain the entire time in the hard cast. I was hoping the pain was going to vanish when the cast came off—–I was totally wrong. The pain got 100x worse. 🙁 Pain was so awful I was actually given an emergency leg ultrasound to rule out a blood clot.

    ****has anyone else experienced this? Pain has lessenedd a bit now that the cast has been off two days and I’m in a cam-walker.

    ****heel pain. Talk to me about this. I had none of this pre-op. The pain is making it difficult for full weight bearing.

    Remind me that I’m in the home stretch? I go back to work on Monday and I’m terrified (I’ve been on medical leave for six weeks).

  • Rachel says:

    Hi Belle,

    So sorry you have been experiencing so much pain.

    I did have problems with nerve pains shortly after my surgery. That was miserable! This might be what you are experiencing. If so, the pain should start lessening when you begin putting weight on your foot again.

    Good luck and I hope you get feeling better soon!

  • Pat Sharp says:

    Just had surgery yesterday. Turned out I had two tears in perineal breviary and some muscle involvement. Bless my Dr for a nerve block, it has been 21 hours and no pain. The minute I begin to feel it I will down two percoset and take every four hours for twenty four hours straight. Knee walker is a blessing. I am 73 and surgery was a result of many, many left ankle sprains and three years of conservative treatment. I am already tired of being a couch potato!

  • Rachel says:

    Hi Pat,
    I hope you are feeling better. The pain is pretty overwhelming in the beginning. I’ve heard that knee walkers are very helpful; I’m glad yours is working out for you. Hopefully you aren’t REALLY tired of being a couch potato at this point. 🙂
    May your recovery be speedy!

  • Deena says:

    I had my PB and PL in my right ankle repaired at the end of January. I also had an achilles repair and a gastrocnemius recession at the same time. I am a mess! my PB and PL were split and entwined. The Doc repaired them and then put them in an absorbable sheath. Now, after 3 1/2 months I can hardly walk. The pain is terrible, like my ankle is in a bear trap all the time. I was non-weight bearing for 9 weeks then into a walking boot. I just started PT after 3 months. Have only had my first session so we’ll see how this goes. When I move my foot in a certain direction it feels like my tendons rip over my ankle bone and it sends an amazingly painful shot through my leg and there is a very sore place all the time right at the bone. I am thinking there is subluxation of my tendons now but the Doc says no. I am now going to see another Doc for a second opinion. This has been my 3rd achilles tendon surgery to date and the thought of another surgery to fix the PL and PB and being immoble and non-weight bearing again is almost too much to bear. Anyone else have multiple surgeries to get this right?

  • Rachel says:

    Hi Deena,
    I don’t have any experience with getting multiple surgeries to fix my ankle problem; one surgery was bad enough. I’m very sorry. What you are going through sounds awful. Best of luck.

  • Lizzie says:

    Hi this website has been very helpful>> I am 21 and had pereneal tendon surgury nearly 3 weeks ago. The surgeon didnt put a cast on at all just a bandage and said no weight bearing for four weeks> Anyone else had the same i thought it seemed everyone had a cast after?? pain isnt so bad now hardly taking any pain killers.

  • Dawn says:

    Hello Rachel, I am two weeks post op from PL and PB tendon repair. A fragmented os, as well as scar tissue, tenosynivitis and a cyst were also removed during this surgery. My tendons were not completely torn so she only had to suture them back together. i have been in the walking boot since Tuesday and have been informed that next week, approaching 3rd week post-op, I will be able to begin walking. Is that without the crutches? I am getting very inpatient when it comes to not being able to walk and function properly. How long was it after your surgery that you were walking without crutches?

  • Lori says:

    I am 2+ weeks post op from surgery of my pereoneal tendon on my left ankle. I injured it on Jan. 18 running but honestly thought it was plantar fasciitis so I just iced it and kept moving. By the end of the 2nd week I told my husband it was more than just that and I needed to be seen. The x-ray lead to an MRI which lead to the surgery. I had PRP (Plasma Rich Platlets) injected during the surgery at the site which i think has helped in many ways. I was in a soft cast for 1 week and am now in a hard cast for 4 weeks then will be in a boot, I am also using a knee scooter. I will say I am fortunate because my only issue at all is the tingling sensation from the nerves and the tendons but they are minimal. I took pain pills for 4 days and have been working full time as a speech therapist in a school system with only 1 day missed to get the cast on. I am really looking forward to being weight bearing again however after reading about the pain some of you have been in makes me a little concerned.
    Thanks for the thread and follow up comments. This is a great read for many to learn what to expect (which varies) from this type of surgery.

  • Rachel says:

    Lori,
    I’m impressed. Only 4 days on pain pills and right back to work? Yeah. I hope your recovery continues to go well.

  • Crissy says:

    I hope my recovery is like Lori’s! In my case, I don’t have a recollection of injuring my right ankle which also has a P. brevis tear, but is virtually painless albeit swollen. I’m having my surgery on April 15, and from what I am reading, it looks like I am signing up for a terrible summer. My doctor has assured me I will be in PT 3 weeks post-op, but with NWB on a knee scooter until then, so I plan on going back to work as soon as possible. The more I read, the more I’m afraid of this as I am a fairly active 40-year old! However, I did a lot of reading prior to my neck surgery and that was a breeze, so perhaps my pain tolerance for this will be similar. Thanks Rachel for a great blog, and good luck to everyone else!

  • Danette says:

    I had surgery 12 weeks ago to repair tears in my peroneal longus and brevis tendons and to repair the sheath they both pass through around the ankle. I’m online looking at blogs because I’m still in a lot of pain when I walk. I had the cast, the boot, and now I’m in the brace shown in your photo above. It hurts underneath my foot, under the repair site on the outside, and radiates to the middle in that same spot. I called my doc’s office and he said to “let the pain guide me” as to how much activity I can do. SO frustrating. It’s taking such a long time! I’m slated to return to work in 2 weeks and I’m nervous. I was off longer because I’m a nurse and walk a lot for my job. Thank you for sharing your experience!

  • Rachel says:

    Crissy,
    I hope your surgery goes well. To be honest, doctors do seem way too optimistic about recovery time for this type of thing. However, in the end you’ll probably be very glad you did it. My surgery definitely was a good move in the long run. Good luck!

  • Rachel says:

    Danette,

    I’m so sorry you are suffering significantly still when it’s been three months since your surgery. How frustrating! I would be going nuts.

    As for your points of pain, those tendons do attach to the bottom of the foot. I had some problems with pain in that area after my surgery but it wasn’t my main region of complaint.

    I hope your ankle starts feeling better soon. Best of luck to you in your recovery.

  • mary says:

    I just had the surgery yesterday, IM in a lot of pain tonight the pain killers are not really having any effect on the pain just making me sleepy, did you have a burning feeling after you surgery IM having that tonight as well as pain. Thanks for any insight to this!

  • Kim says:

    surgery was April 24th…3 days ago. Not much pain at all, however my family has seen to it that I take the pain medication as directed. Two Percocet every 4 hours. Today I refused every 4 hours anymore, and am still quite comfortable waiting 6 to 8 hours. Happy though, that I have them. Not ready to give them up just yet.
    My concern is returning to work. I am on my feet NON-STOP for 9 hours. I told them I would be back to work 3 weeks after surgery. I am beginning to realize my surgeon wasn’t really very clear about the condition I would be in once I did go back to my job. So just wondering…what (approx.) is a realistic time expectation to fully return to my fast paced job “fully”?

    It’s been nice reading about others experiences. I admit that I didn’t know that much about what I was getting in to.

  • Rachel says:

    Mary,
    I hope you are starting to feel better. I didn’t have any problems with a burning sensation so I’m not sure if that is very common or not. It could have to do with damage to the nerves or with inflammation but it’s definitely something you’ll want to talk to your doctor about.
    Sorry the pain pills aren’t working. Mine actually made me not sleep well at all. I slept horribly until I switched over to Advil. It’s funny how everyone reacts so differently to them.
    I hope that you are improving and that the pain is more manageable now.
    Good luck!

  • Rachel says:

    Hi Kim,

    I returned to work a little over a week after I had surgery. Fortunately, most of the work I do is at a desk so I did not have to be on my feet too much. However, even sitting at a desk was painful. My leg would be absolutely throbbing by the end of the day. I was back to work for at least a month before I didn’t come home aching and needing to put my foot up for the rest of the night.

    I would guess that you’ll want to wait at least a month to go back to work if you’re on your feet constantly or you will be hurting. Doctors seem to underestimate recovery time quite a bit.

    I hope you recovery speedily!

  • Kim says:

    Thanks for answering back Rachel. I mostly love the internet! Right side is done…Left side still to go. So far (although its only day 5) the worst part has been laying low. Much better experience than I had anticipated.

    : ) Kim

  • Linda says:

    I had surgery three years ago on my peroneal brevis. I was doing okay, not back 100% until December 2012 after walking down a flight a stairs, my foot/ankle was hurting and swollen.

    Went to Dr. did the ice and PT it helped until April 2013 – then started with that old familiar pain, burning and stabbing sensation, swollen foot and ankle. Dr. send me for an MRI .. Now my peroneal Longus is torn.

    I am having surgery Wednesday.

    Can you tell me what ankle brace you are wearing, that fits in your shoe, I have not had any luck finding one.

    I have had a lot of trouble find shoes that are comfortable. Can not wear flat shoes at all, anyone find a brand that works well for them?

  • Jace says:

    Thank you all for all the informative comments. This has probably been the most helpful blog i’ve found on the web. I had surgery 12 days ago for a 1.75inch tear in my Peroneus Brevis and have been seeking more detailed and personal accounts on the recovery. I guess my question is this, how difficult is it to reinjure the tendon immediately after surgery. Two days ago i was hopping one legged into my bathroom and dropped something. I reflexively crouched to catch said item and slammed my boot into the tiled floor rather hard. I was lucky enough to have an appointment with my surgeon the next day and he said that it is highly unlikely that I did any damage. However I am a worry-wart and it has been extremely painful since the incident in comparison to prior to. Should I be worried. I read above that you fell down some stairs post op, what was the severity of the impact on the casted ankle? Just looking for some comparative information. Thanks!

  • Rachel says:

    Hi Linda,

    Back in for a second surgery? I am so sorry. One ankle surgery was bad enough; I never want to do that again.

    As for braces, the brand I use that works well and fits inside shoes is Aso. http://www.asoankle.com/
    They are high quality. The one I got right after my surgery is still in great shapes even though I’ve worn it on countless occasions.

    As for shoes, I made a detailed post on this website called Shoes and Surgery: the Great Quandary; it’s all about shoes after surgery. It may help a little. I had the most luck with Sketchers but some Rocket Dogs and Steve Madden wedges also worked for me.

    I hope you recovery quickly and find some shoes that work.

  • Rachel says:

    Hi Jace,

    Man does it hurt when you land on that bad foot unexpectedly and it is definitely disconcerting.

    Yes, I did fall down the stairs after I had surgery. It happened a little over a week after I had had my operation, so a similar time frame to when you stepped on yours unintentionally. My fall was due to some poor crutch control. I fell about 4 stairs onto a concrete pad. (This was outside.) Out of habit, I put all my weight on my bad foot when I landed to try to catch myself. It hurt something fierce. I definitely felt the after effects for days.

    I was still in my hard cast at the time, not a removable cast. Luckily, whether it had to do with that stiff cast or not, I didn’t damage my tendon any further with this fall. Although I paid for my klutziness with some extra discomfort for a few days, it all ended okay.

    My guess is that your foot was not re-injured from your misstep. However, if you’re still experiencing heightened pain from the experience after a few more days or so its definitely something you’ll want to bring up with your doctor again.

    Good luck and I hope your foot feels better soon!

  • Jace says:

    Hi Rachel,
    Thanks again for being so informative and reassuring. I had one other question for you. I just started weight bearing again two days ago via doctors orders and am having pain, throbbing all along the path of the peroneals from the point of connection on the bottom of my foot all the way up to the peroneus muscles running up the leg. I know you touched upon this above but how severe was your pain once you started weight bearing again. Should I be concerned that it is concentrating along the path of peroneal. I am an avid rock climber and surfer and am just dying to get back on my game. Hope all is well.

  • Linda says:

    Hi Rachel,

    I had the surgery, doing pretty well.
    I had a lot of scar tissue that needed to be removed along with the tear in my peroneus longus.
    Thank you for the information on the brace, I have ordered one for later on in my recovery.

    I will check out the shoes too!!!

    Thank you for your help!!

    Linda

  • Rachel says:

    Hi Jace,

    I feel your pain. Not being able to do all the things you love is really rough.

    Sounds like your doctor had you start bearing weight a couple weeks after your surgery? (Unless I am misunderstanding your timeline somehow.) Per my doctor’s orders, I didn’t put any weight on my ankle for a full month or so after surgery. Even with a month, when I started putting weight on my foot it went ballistic. I think what you’re going through, with pain right along the tendon, is probably pretty normal albeit annoying and frustrating. I do remember the whole length of my tendon hurting.

    May you be back in the sea and mountains soon!

  • Jace says:

    Thanks again for the best wishes. Yeah, he was adamant at having me begin weight bearing at the 2 week mark, and of course gradually going from partial to full. It sounds a little premature in comparison to everyone else’s experiences but he also never put me in a cast, straight into the boot. My uncle is a PT and he says my doc does great work sooooo I am trustful. Take care and thanks again!

    Jace

  • Jace says:

    Hi Rachel,
    Sorry to be so annoying. I have yet another question. I am 4 weeks post op and, as previously explained, have been weight bearing for two weeks. Most of the aforementioned pain from walking has subsided with the exception of one symptom. Before my surgery i was having severe stabbing pains in my peroneus brevis upon certain types of weight bearing. Unfortunately, 4 weeks post op and 2weeks weight bearing, I am still having these exact same stabbing pains in my tendon. They are SEVERE and instantaneous and only a mild burning persists afterward. I have called the doctor twice and each time spoken to a different assistant who has assured me it is normal. I am doubtful. Has anyone else experienced this? Is this part of the healing process? It sure doesn’t feel like nerves, it is exactly the same pain as before. I am considerably disconcerted by this and am just looking for another’s experience. Thanks again. This really is the most informative blog I’ve found.
    Jace

  • Linda says:

    Hi Jace,

    I don’t think the burning sensation is a good sign. The only time I had a burning sensation and stabbing pains has been Before I had surgery.

    I had surgery in 2010 on my peroneus brevis.
    I had very little pain post op.

    My foot started to bother me again, late in 2012. did what Dr. suggested. In April 2013 – I had that burning sensation, had an MRI. now I have a tear in my peroneus longus.

    I had surgery in May 2013 –
    Soft Cast for 2 weeks
    stitches removed
    walking boot – non weigh bearing 4 weeks
    start of 5th week he wants me to slowly start being weight.

  • Rachel says:

    Thanks for sharing your experience Linda.

    Jace, I can’t tell you if what you are going through is normal or not for sure but I can tell you this: the nerve pains I experienced as my foot was healing after surgery were much worse than any discomfort I ever experienced from my tendon tear before surgery. They made for some of the most awful pain I’ve ever been in in my life. From what I recall, the pain was a mix of burning, throbbing, and shooting. Putting my foot up and resting didn’t make it feel any better either.

    I hope between my feedback and Linda’s input you can better gauge how concerned you should be about what’s going on with your foot.

    And you aren’t annoying. I am happy to answer any questions you might have. I wish I had had someone to consult with when I was going through my recovery.

  • Catherine says:

    I had surgery to repair a ruptured peroneal tendon six weeks ago. All seems to be going well except that my calf is still somewhat swollen. My husband is concerned that I might have a blood clot but I don’t think so since the problem has been consistent since the surgery. The skin gets mottled when I have the foot down for too long. I don’t feel feverish or hot. Is a swollen calf normal? My ankle is also a bit swollen but that is to be expected.

  • Rachel says:

    Hi Catherine,

    A swollen calf can be a symptom of a blood clot. However, swelling in the ankle and calf is normal after ankle surgery. (I know I had my share of swelling.) So, it’s hard to say what is most likely going on with your leg.

    It would probably be best to talk to your doctor if you think there’s a possibility that you have a blood clot since they can be fatal. Better safe than sorry. On the positive side, I believe diagnosing a blood clot is fairly simple with either an ultrasound, MRI or special type of X-ray.

    Good luck with your recovery!

  • Alison says:

    This is by far the best website I have found for information re lating to peroneal surgery. I had a bad sprain in November of 2013. I did a boot with crutches for several weeks, had negative x-rays and even did PT for a few months. Nothing helped so my foot surgeon sent me for an MRI. The MRI was confusing to me and said I had complete ruptures of both the longus and brevis. My surgeon disagreed but wanted to do surgery anyway. He said I had a longitudinal tear if the brevis and a severe bone contusion on my talus bone and quite a bit of swelling and scar tissue. I had the surgery April 1, 2014, a week ago yesterday. I was placed right into a boot after surgery and am currently non weight bearing. I didn’t get to speak directly with the dr after surgery because he spoke with my family while I was still out and had another surgery after mine. I see him tomorrow to get stitches out and will find out then exactly what he did. But the nurse said from his notes he did repair the tendon, debrided, and cleaned out scar tissue and had to fracture my talus using microfracture. I have a 3-4″ incision on the side of my ankle and 2 puncture type hole incisions where the scope and tools were used for the microfracture. I experienced severe burning pain for a few days after my surgery as well. It was by far the worst pain I have ever felt. I also accidentally landed on my surgery foot when I had a fall from my terrible mean crutches. I hate those things lol. I am not in a lot of pain as of today but mornings are always worse. Afrer taking a pain pill in the morning I am usually good for the rest of the day, so thats a huge improvement over needi g two every 4 hrs like I did for the first several days.
    I have no idea how long I am to be nwb. I will find out tomorrow, but my dr is an aggressive one in terms 8f recovery. I am not l8oking forward to the pain I am sure will come when I start to bear weight. I was just wondering if you or anyone else on here also had microfracture with your repair and what that means in terms of my expected recovery time frame and overall healing process. I am so frustrated that this happened in fall and it was April before I had my surgery. I would have much preferred being on crutches and home bound in the winter opposed to now when it is so beautiful out…finally and me not being able to do much or really enjoy being outdoors with my children. I will look at your list of braces and shoes, that will come in handy I am sure. Thanks for your information, and everyone else who left comments and information. It really was helpful.

  • Rachel says:

    Hi Alison,
    I’m so glad the information on my blog has been helpful.
    I did not have a microfracture with my repair so I’m not sure how that affects recovery. Perhaps someone else can chime in on that?
    Crutches are an awful nuisance. I hope yours don’t give you any more grief.
    Good luck with your recuperation. I know how awful it is to be stuck immobile when the outdoors are pleasant and inviting. I wish you the best!

  • Teralyn says:

    Hi Rachel,
    I’m having surgery on my ankle to repair my peroneal tendon on April 30th and just wanted to thank you for sharing your experience. It has been so helpful to know what to expect and to know that there is hope after I’ve had the surgery and recover. I’ve been dealing with ankle pain for 6 years and had started to lose hope even with the prospect of surgery. Reading your post about running a marathon two years after having this surgery has given me a lot of hope.
    Again thank you.

  • Rachel says:

    Hi Teralyn,
    You are very welcome. It was such a difficult experience for me that I wanted to share it in order to help others who found themselves in similar circumstances. I’m glad to hear that my ramblings have made your situation easier.
    Six years is a long time. I’m sure you, like me, will be very glad that you had the surgery once you are healed.
    I hope your recovery goes smoothly.

  • Kimberley says:

    I have peroneal tendon repair and ankle ligament repair (Brostrom-Gould procedure) scheduled for May 2. My goal is to recover function well enough to hike the Grand Canyon rim to rim next year. Worried about post-op pain, mobility, and recovery, which your blog addresses very thoroughly. Of note, the only time I remember having a bad ankle sprain was in ballet class 35 years ago. Two months ago, my ankle just started to “catch” while walking, and would then hurt for a little while. MRI showed the torn peroneus brevis and two torn ligaments. Worried about the surgery, which explains why I am still awake a four am.

  • tony says:

    Great insight.
    I’m getting mine done July 8.
    I’m hoping to be back on my bicycle before summer ends.

  • Rachel says:

    Good luck Tony! I hope all goes well.

  • Carlos says:

    Hi Rachel and everyone,

    Thank you so much for sharing the Q & A and information. Much appreciates.

    I had an ankle Sprain about 1.5 year ago. A doctor checked w ultrasound and think that I have peroneal tendon subluxation. And I was told that the only way to fix this is to do surgery. And I think my tendons probably got damaged and may be more parts damaged as well.

    I am extremely worried about the cost, pain, immobility and the recovery. I hope you all can share more about the details like:

    1) how much it cost for the surgery? Would that be 10k? 50k or even more? What about PT? I understand this question is quite sensitive but I m not sure if I can afford the surgery and PT after post op. Hope you all can help out

    2) how long does it take for you not taking the pain relief after surgery? Or after how many weeks you will b pain free?!

    3) how long does it take for you to walk normally after surgery? 3 months? 6 months?

    4) it will be great if you can share anything I should prepare before and after the surgery? Simply things like when and how to take a bath after surgery etc.

    Sorry for he long post. And get well soon for everyone.

    Thanks in advance.

  • Katie says:

    This is the most detailed post I’ve found and thank goodness because there is so little info on this anywhere on the internet!! I had the surgery 10 days ago, peroneal tendon reconstruction, bone groove deepening and retinaculum repair.
    Only other question I have, currently, is that I am experiencing those GOD AWFUL nerve pains in my foot, heel, and up my leg. I guess these are normal, but ridiculously painful, but they are also leading to severe muscle spasms that hurt worse than the nerve pains since they make my ankle spas out and move. I am in a boot and will be non weight bearing for another 3 weeks before working my way back. Did anyone else deal with the muscle spasms?

  • Rachel says:

    Hi Katie,

    I’m so sorry that you are having to deal with nerve pains. They are a beast! I’ve heard that muscle spasms can be caused by nerve damage but I did not experience twitching myself. Perhaps someone else reading this blog can comment?

    I hope you have a speedy recovery.

  • Dennis B says:

    Peroneal surgery 7/7/14, left ankle. Right ankle needs the same. How soon will the second surgery take place ? First ankle on schedule for recovery. Thank you !

  • Rachel says:

    Hi Dennis,
    Both ankles? Drat! That stinks. Fortunately, I only have one with issues so I’m not too familiar with the recommended spacing between surgeries for both feet. However, I’d guess that your doctor would want to wait at least a few months to a year before operating again. Of course, that’s just a guess. And, obviously, it depends on your personal preference as well.
    One of my friends had to have surgery on both of his ankles and he spaced the surgeries a couple of years apart. That seemed to work well for him.
    Good luck on your double-surgery whammy. I hope it all goes well.

  • Darlene says:

    My MRI didn’t show that I had a big, hard cyst on my pb tendon, so my Dr/surgeon was astonished when ge opened me up (and he is Chair of Surgery for a podiatry college). He offered me options in lieu of the cast a few days post-surgery but I had to opt for the fiberglass cast because I’m not so coordinated! Good decision. I bought some items from the Goodbye Crutches website. They were super helpful. Having ordered a crutch with a knee rest and handle was a lifesaver! Especially since I had just been recovering from injuries (stress fracture) to both palms from a run-in with the sidewalk at the end of a leash (squirrel-instigated)! That crutch was easy and very quick to get used to and, as a failsafe, I still used the primeval crutch for the good side. I used manuka honey for the incision, covering with a soft gauze roll. Later added a PEMF “pet Patch” to wear during the day over the ankle in the CAM walker boot. All of these have helped noticeably. Been using Young Living brand Tangerine oil for swelling. Still have partial numbness in toes and some swelling. Now I’m going to take Herb
    Pharm brand St. John’s Wort for the nerve issue because a Dr. told me about it for a previous squirrel-dog-leash-sidewalk encounter which was even worse and left me with a nerve problem in my face for three years with no improvement. After only one tiny bottle (taking a tsp, I think) twice a day and it was already 95% normal; 100% while in second bottle.

    Thanks for your most helpful writing!

  • Darlene says:

    PS– I had a longitudinal tear (apparently the cyst forced the pb tendon out of place from its groove, which had set me up for the inevitable tear), fraying, maybe some lesser tearing, too. Tear happened in January 2014. Was scheduled for surgery in April but flunked pre-admission. Just had surgery August 1, 2014. Percocet didn’t have any affect on my pain. Went back to work for reduced hours less than a week after surgery; full-time after a couple weeks. Used a nice gel “pad” at home. Was in cast for 2 weeks, then these past 3 weeks I was to use one crutch and do partial weight bearing. Felt I could do away with the crutch halfway through and have been walking bootless/crutchless at home. Calf muscle starting to come back. Oh, also been taking Vitamin C (whole food form) and StemEnhance (cured me of a previous debilitating knee pain Dr.s had no cure for). My healing is ahead of schedule. Everything is looking good, too.

  • Rachel says:

    Hi Darlene,
    Thanks for all of the recommendations. I hope your recovery continues to go well.

  • Darlene says:

    Thanks. Visit the Dr. tomorrow.

    Oh, I also used a low frequency tuning fork on my leg while in cast.

    Now working on restoring normal feeling and flexion in my toes (side effect of surgery).

  • Darlene says:

    Had an unexpected hard growth removed during surgery to repair peroneal tendon tear and went back to work less than a week later. Had fiberglass cast for 2 weeks, then back in medical walking boot again but was supposed to only put partial weight on and use a crutch for 3 weeks. Well, I didn’t need 3 weeks. I was going up steps and putting full weight on and no crutches after a week. But I did a lot to help myself, including wearing a PEMF over my ankle all day (not at night). PEMF=Pulsed electro magnetic field. You can find an affordable disposable one that can serve for this period of time.

  • Donnasu says:

    I had peroneal tendon repair Dec.26th.The insisson part has a little pain still but Im having alot of pain and swelling in the back of my leg.I have been checked for a blood clot which was negative.The back of my leg is swelled still .Is this normal ?How long will this swelling last if this is normal?Its so swollen I cant wear my boot.Most of the pain in the back of my leg is at night.It wakes me throbbing.What could be causing this ?Is this just part of this type surgery?If so how long will this go on?Good luck to anybody going through this surgery!I was born with the tendon problem .My dr had to take out some muscle ,bone and repair the peroneal tendon.Anybody had this problem?Anybody had the swelling in the back of their leg?How long does this last and what helps it?

  • Rachel says:

    Hi Donnasu,
    I’m sorry you’ve been having issues with the back of your leg. That stinks. While I didn’t have swelling just in the back of my leg, my calf and foot were enlarged considerably everywhere.
    I wish I could give you a simple answer and solution but I can only suggest that you make sure you spend a lot of time laying flat in bed with your foot elevated. That should help reduce the swelling.
    I would guess that your swelling will decrease considerably in the next couple weeks as your foot heals. It definitely takes a while to get back to feeling decent after peroneal surgery and it feels like a long while. Good luck with your recovery.

  • stan says:

    I was wondering if you still have any aching type pains running on the outside of the lower leg? i had this dealt with along with a brostrum, my peroneal was also sublexing. i am 9 months post op and its hard not to be happy with the structure of repairs. i started jogging months ago and lately i have been doing hard hikes for 10 miles at a time most days of the week. all i can complain about is the incision is touchy and that area falls asleep like something rubs inside once in a while. and what i assume is the peroneal getting agitated, maybe feeling a little wierd towards the incision and the aches shooting up the leg. its minor but annoying. and for example it doesn’t stop my range of motion or feel like an injury. my foot hasn’t loosened or rolled and again i’m very active. maybe it will never be “normal”?

  • Rachel says:

    Hi Stan,

    I apologize for my slow response. Somehow your comment got lost in my inbox.

    My tendon problems weren’t causing subluxation so my surgery was a little different than yours, but it sounds like your outcome has been similar.

    I had my surgery more than a few years ago and I still wouldn’t say that my ankle is “normal.” It’s much better than it was before the surgery and has continued to improved over time but it gets a little achy and temperamental now and then. I doubt it will ever be on par with my other ankle.

    I rarely get pains down the outside of my leg anymore, although sometimes snowboarding will cause that still. It rarely happens though so I can live with it.

    Since you are only 9 months out, I would guess that your foot should keep improving over the next couple years. I noticed progression for that long.

    I’m glad you are able to be active again and I hope your ankle just keeps getting better.

  • Catherine says:

    I had surgery in November 2013 and expected to be “fully recovered” within twelve months. Well, I am still improving. The biggest issues I have are continued soreness (and numbness along the incision) that increases with use and swelling after excessive use and also after travelling by air or by car. I am pleased that I feel better now than I did in November 2014 but still do feel some frustration regarding long-term full recovery.

  • Kimberly Schmidt says:

    If my symptoms persist or worsen, I am facing surgical exploration and debridement with possible peroneal tendon repair.

    Question to those who have had this surgery, would you do it again?

    In my profession, there are times I am standing for twelve plus hours.

  • Paige says:

    I had surgery on Febuary 9, 2015 on my brevis tendon and it seems like it’s not doing so well 🙁
    Having a MRI this coming Saturday to see what is going on, dread to have this surgery again.
    I have a gimpy walk and when I touch my ankle bone it’s serve pain! I’m not sure if anyone had them same go on or not.

  • Dennis B says:

    Ive had both ankles done. My left, 100% after 5 months. My right continues to be a bake after 5 months, feels like I just got it done. PT is a challenge as well as the desire to take narcotics for the pain. Seeing the surgeon in December. Remember these repairs are never guaranteed but then again they will not repair themselves either. It’s a catch 22. I will continue to fight.

  • Catherine says:

    I replied last March, and now it is two years after surgery. My ankle is definitely more stable than it was before the surgery, and I don’t have the knee or hip pain that I was having before. However, I have come to the conclusion that my ankle will never be right–it hurts every day, is stiff, and gets swollen after moderately high activity. I continue to do stretching and strengthening exercises regularly, but I believe that the level of recovery I have achieved is as far as I will get. It was probably still worth it, but I would have gotten at least one additional opinion to see whether there was another solution after the original injury.

  • Rachel says:

    Dennis and Paige,
    Both your situations stink. I am sorry. I re-injured my ankle once and the prospect of possibly having to do the surgery again was utterly depressing. I wish you both the best in your recoveries.

  • Rachel says:

    Kimberly,
    The recovery on the surgery is not fun at all. It was very trying for me to be so immobilized. However, with that said, I am glad I had it done. The condition of my ankle is not perfect now but it is much better than it was before surgery.
    Good luck in whatever you decide.

  • Chuck says:

    MRI showed a 2 inch longitudinal tear in my right PBT. I’m not thrilled about surgery since I’ve never had any aside from my wisdom teeth, but I know this is not going to heal on its own. I’m calling today to schedule – trying for 2/16.

    It’s very informative to read other people’s experiences here. Did anybody get a second opinion? I’m sure the diagnosis won’t change but I’m wondering about different docs using different protocols for casting, PT, etc.

  • Rachel says:

    Hi Chuck,
    Surgery is intimidating. My ankle surgery was my first surgery besides wisdom teeth as well. Honestly, the surgery itself went a lot smoother than I anticipated but the long recovery without mobility was worse than expected.
    I didn’t get a second opinion. Frankly, getting into one orthopedic surgeon was hard enough. 🙂 But I know there is quite a bit of difference between doctors on methods.
    I hope your surgery goes well! It’s all worth it in the end.

  • Chuck says:

    Follow-up. Went to hospital at 8 AM and was home by 11 AM today. No pain (yet). Whole thing was less painful than dental work.

    I admit I was worried about general anesthesia but it was a piece of cake. No nausea and I only felt doped up for an hour or so. No need to fear this surgery from my perspective.

  • Frederick says:

    Hi Rachel, About how long would you say it took for you to get back to where you could run again without pain? I’m going to have to have surgery and am a long-distance runner (who is scared!). Thank you.

  • Rachel says:

    Hi Frederick,
    I won’t lie, it was a slow process. Four months after my surgery I got the okay from the doc to start running again but I found I couldn’t run on consecutive days without experiencing a lot of pain.
    Ten months after surgery, I ran my first post-surgery 5K race and at 1 year I was doing 10Ks. Another year later, I was running half marathons. I had to wear a brace for the first year anytime I ran and my ankle was pretty finicky but by two years that half marathon didn’t really bother my ankle at all, besides a little swelling.
    With all that said, I’m so glad I had the surgery. Even just six months after it, the amount of pain I felt running was significantly less than before surgery.
    I chronicled all of this on my blog under The Trouble with Tendons category if you want to read more of the details. http://thesabins.com/category/the-trouble-with-tendons/
    Good luck! It’s an awful experience but it’s worth it.

  • stan says:

    i forgot i posted here but just got an update. looks like im closing in on 2 years post op for mine. for me i had to get surgery because of all the damage and i simply couldn’t take a step normally whether i braced or not.

    so looking back there is no regret i had my work done by a sports ortho that works with pro teams all over the world.

    besides all the little aches and pains i would say im still not attached to my foot/ankle like it was my other side. i have adapted and returned to all pre surgery activities but i find myself with a different kind of range of motion side to side and i think the hardware used reminds me when i stretch to far and hit that wall where it hurts a little. back off and it goes away.

    i saw improvements after the first year for sure, i think i started walking around barefoot around then and stopped worrying about lots of little things. i don’t even brace anymore but take it with me in case i do something risky. i find myself doing activities without staring at the ground allot but i attack everything i do now head on so i don’t take for granted a nice planted step. this proprioception has been the hardest part and its still not perfect.

    for some reason for me through all the pt and exercising once i got back into my shoe i have never swelled enough to stop me from putting my shoe on. i had one incident a few months ago where i think i kicked something in the middle of the night. i woke up the next day with pain and went about my day and when i took my shoe off it hurt and i couldn’t walk the next day. riced for 4 days and took advil and moved on like nothing happened. i was scared i broke everything but i think i just hit the outside of ankle bone.

    i have done lots of exercise and a physical job and haven’t really had a hiccup yet which is amazing considering all my stuff was so loose the peroneal and ankle joint would pop out and dislocate.

    i have stood on my feet for long days at physical job. i have done very nasty hikes with a pack all day long at 17+ miles so i am pretty darn lucky i would say.

    i may have been lucky i had structured pt starting weeks after surgery and was putting weight on it in boot around the house then as well. had pt for months and never really let up.

  • stan says:

    i forgot to say that since i was injured with everything loose i would get those stinging nerve zaps all of a sudden up my calf after the initial injury and hobbling around or moving around with my leg raised the time before surgery. i also felt these zaps first after the nerve block wore off, pills never helped with those. they were intense but sudden during the first couple weeks. got allot better once i got to pt and they started moving me around. but to this day i will get pulsating pains along that same path up my calf. i assume its along same nerve path. i don’t get the intense zaps and haven’t had it happen during activity to stop what i was doing for a long time. i tend to get the aches and pains when at rest and laying around the house. just a small reminder that doesn’t get in the way of things and i wouldn’t really register on a pain scale, i guess im used to it. im guessing since i injured my peroneal and had surgery it may be inflamation. maybe those that just have ligament reconstruction aren’t dealing with the peroneal and won’t have to deal with that part.

  • Frederick says:

    Thank you very much for your reply, Rachel.

  • Chuck says:

    Update – 4 weeks post-op. Stitches came out last week. When he sewed me up, the doc left a “sausage” of skin along the incision and I was thinking it was going to be months before that went away, if ever. As soon as the sutures were out, the sausage disappeared. I was given a CAM boot and told I could get the incision wet. No real pain but the ball of my foot is numb and I have swelling of the foot and calf. Nurse said “Toes above nose” but that’s tough since I went back to work (desk job) two weeks ago. They don’t seem worried about a clot, so I guess I’ll trust them. I was told I could start gradual weight-bearing, but I’m really skittish about that. Weirdest thing is my foot jumps around by itself – like restless leg syndrome. I’m guessing that’s the nerves recovering. Physical therapy starts next week.

  • Paige says:

    I haven’t replied since Nov.
    Went back to the doctor for my MRI results and he said my tendons looked fine, everything was healed nicely but I was still in pain. He gave me a small cortisone shot and that lasted 3 days!! I just carried on for 3 1/2 months. Well I finally got frustrated and made another appointment to see him, well we did a stress X-ray and found out my ankle has inability!!! So I’ll be having surgery again on April 1st.
    Has anyone else had this happen?

  • Chuck says:

    Forgot to ask: if anybody had their right ankle done, how long did it take you to start driving again? I gave it a try tonight with a slipper on and was a no-go. That’s rather depressing.

  • stan says:

    although my experience like i posted seemed faster than some i have no idea if it was because of the damage and being able to use my own tissue and/or the ortho that did mine that works with pro sports teams in the bay area and has been on the news before. i feel kind of lucky based on others i talked with in physical therapy.

    i got into my shoe with a brace at just under 2 months post op. i was surprised that i hobbled around without the pain i assumed would come with that first step. i could hobble in a straight line. my first shopping trip lasted minutes before soreness set in. i think i dramatically improved the first month back on my feet.

    so at that point even though i was walking around i didn’t try and drive. i have an older car that requires a bit more push on the pedal so that was part of it. but i was also told not to mess around in a car unless i could control it. so my pt told me don’t just jump back on the road regardless, go to a parking lot to practice.

    also not sure what legal ramifications would be. you need to be able to control your car on the road.

    hard to explain but even though i felt i made good progress i didn’t have the strength or proprioception to just stomp on the pedal and follow through if i had to make a sudden stop?

    so i backed off on driving myself around because of that and the motion with pressure hurt and pinched me?

    the proprioception was hard for me to get back and still isn’t perfect but i have been driving since probably month 4 post op.

    i remember having numbness and it was very goofy when i started to practice. like keeping my eye on the road and stomping on both pedals.

    everybody is probably different, get advice from your doctor and practice first. again i was very surprised i couldn’t just get in and drive. had i done that early on i would have hit somebody for sure.

  • Rachel says:

    Another surgery? Yuck. I’m sorry Paige. I did not have that happen, thankfully. Sorry you have to do it all again.

  • Rachel says:

    And mine was my left foot, thank goodness. I’m sure issues with driving make the situation a lot worse. Good luck Chuck!

  • Chuck says:

    Two sessions of PT have dramatically reduced the swelling in my calf and to a smaller extent in my foot. So much so that I started driving this Sunday (5 weeks post-op). It’s not easy and I’m limiting the amount I drive though.

  • Chuck says:

    6 weeks post-op and das boot ist kaput – in a brace and okayed to start full weight bearing. I can drive pretty much normally but am still using my walker. PT continues. Steristrips on incision finally starting to fall off. Foot still swollen and using a compression sock.

  • Marianne says:

    Hi
    Can I ask what you mean when you say it hurt to put weight on your foot? I am almost 9 weeks post op for bro strum Gould and peroneal repair. I was doing well a week ago on one crutch… No pain at at all on the repair side of my foot. One day in PT they got me in a race and I walked a bit crutch free. Told me to go home and alternate between one crutch and some crutch free waking I the house. Well five hours later and it was a mess. Heel pain and pain slong the peroneal tendon. It’s give days later and I am back on two crutches. The pulling pain from the bottom of my foot along the pereoneal tendon up around the back of my foot hurts. Off to PT soon but freaking out! Did the repair not work??? Did I tear something walking on it in PT? Or is this normal to have a step back from no pain to pain after weight bearing? I am suppose to go on a trip to Ireland on four weeks and I am terrified I will not be walking by then! So scared! The other issue is that I don’t want to trust my surgeon. Last week.. The day of the waking he gave me a cortisone shot in my foot… On the opposite side of the surgery and my PT us mad… Said it slows healing.

  • Rachel says:

    Hi Marianne,

    Starting to bear weight on my foot after surgery definitely was an unpleasant experience. It did feel like I was taking a step back, as far as pain levels go. So that could definitely be what’s going on with you. I hope that’s all it is. 🙂

    And I hope you are feeling much better by the time you go to Ireland. (FYI, expect the plane ride to be a little rough. The pressure change will most likely make your foot very uncomfortable. At least, that’s what I experienced after my surgery.)

    Your doctor sounds less than exceptional. 🙁

  • Julie says:

    Hi, I had this done in Dec 2016 everything seemed to go ok. Pretty much what was to be expected. Until now, just starting today I am getting little stabbing pains just behind my left ankle. It is always stiff in the mornings and does still hurt sometimes. I have been wearing flipflops now and then ( with the surgeons approval) Have I reinjured it again or are the pains normal after all these months.

  • Rachel says:

    Hi Julie.

    I only got stabbing pains about a month after I had surgery. It seems strange that you should be having them six months later. But, since I’m not a doctor, I’m not sure how likely it is you reinjured your foot. I hope you didn’t. 🙂

  • Julie says:

    I thank you for your response Rachel, the pains only lasted one day so I guess it was just a freak thing but still scary. Just the thought of maybe having to go through the 6 weeks in a hard cast then 6 weeks in a boot then 24 PT sessions again just terrifies me. Thanks again 🙂

  • Rachel says:

    Julie, I am so glad to hear it!

  • Lamar M says:

    Hi. I am 8 months post surgery. My ankle is still swollen. My first 3 toes are still numb. But the biggest thing is that I still have pain when I walk, sometimes severe. Is this normal?

  • Rachel says:

    Hi Lamar,
    I’m sorry you are still experiencing all these issues. Based off my experience, I would say the swelling, unless it is extreme, is pretty normal. Now, years after my surgery, my ankle still swells up fairly frequently.
    I would also guess that the numbness isn’t anything to be too concerned about. It took a long time for the numbness on the side of my foot to decrease and it still doesn’t feel completely normal.
    However, if you are experiencing severe pain when walking, that doesn’t seem normal to me. While my ankle was sensitive still 8 months after surgery, I definitely wasn’t experiencing severe pain as I moved around. It’s probably an issue you should speak with your doctor about. Good luck with your recovery!

  • Cliff W says:

    Rachel, nIce post and very informative.

    Lamar, hang in there. Yes this is normal. It will get better. (At least I am hopeful) If the pain is totally preventing you from putting weight on your foot then you should speak with your surgion. Mine hurts some days especially if I have used it too much but it is barable.

    I am 60 so us old farts heal slower than you young ones!

    My experience. Peroneal dislocation from a fall off a ladder, tore the retinaculum ligament. Tendon had to be put back in the groove and the retinaculum “stapled” back in place. Lots of swelling around the ankle and I also sprained the metatarsals in the foot and compressed the inside fo the ankle. I landed on my little toe and turned the ankle/foot inwards

    The surgury was performed on July 7th 2017. The pain from the surgery was not that bad, had the block but honestly wish I had not. Recovery is very slow. I was 9 weeks pre and post operation with no weight baring. Then out of the boot and into PT. I still have pain in the ankle and as Rachel has said nerve pain! It is on both sides of the foot. My big toe is slightly numb on the bottom but it is getting better. Also have heel pain mostly from being off the foot for so long. Initialy my skin was on fire and my facia (under arch of foot) hurt like H*ll! I can say that it is getting better. The nerve pain is slowly diminising but the ankle strength and stability is still far from good. Doc says it could be a year before that is 100%. I am using a lace up brace now especially if I am on uneven surfaces like the lawn. Still in PT.

    If your experiencing nerve pain and it is more than you can take or it is just bugging you ask you Doc for Gabapentin, it does really help. Especially helps you sleep if you have the sensative skin like I had.

    This is a long term recovery. Seems much longer than the severe broken forarm I had when I was younger, but then, you don’t have to walk on your arms. My hope is that it fully recovers as the forarm never really recovered 100% as the damage was to much.

    I hope you start feeling better soon Lamar!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



Up, up and away!
i