I had my first post-op appointment with the hospital yesterday, to have the wounds checked and my cast removed. It took a while at the hospital as they were running around an hour late. It was a relief to get the heavy plaster cast taken off that’s for sure!
The nurse checked the wounds and said she’d never seen a scar like mine before (which at first is a bit of a worry when you hear!). My operation was done using percutaneous surgery, where several small incisions (in my case three) are made horizontally, as opposed to one long cut vertically down the length of the Achilles. Having read up a bit on this before the op, I believe that the smaller incisions mean that the wounds will heal better and are less likely to get infected, but there is more chance of nerve damage doing this type of surgery than if it was done using open surgery. Some scientists believe that re-rupture rates are higher in those who have percutaneous operations, but newer studies tend to suggest it’s similar whichever operation you have.
It turned out that the surgeon has been doing it that way for 2 years but the nurse had never noticed – hmmm.
I thought that a semi-equinus cast would mean a shorter one than the current full-length cast (up to my knee), but it actually means that my foot should be pointed halfway between pointing at the floor (as it was after surgery) and at 90 degrees to my shin. You probably already knew that, but I didn’t! So it’s still a cast up to the knee.
The nurse pushed my foot up to between 75° and 80° to put a new lighter cast on, and that hurt as the Achilles was being stretched for the first time since surgery. I went a bit pale apparently! I’d suggest taking some painkillers before you go to the hospital if you can – I haven’t taken any for over a week. I have to go back again in another 2 weeks when it will be moved to 90°, and then 2 weeks after that it will be swapped for a plastic boot which I will have for 6 weeks.
It’s been a long 3 weeks so far I have to say, and the hard work will really start when I have to start physio in 4 weeks time.