Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome and Gastrocnemius Lengthening Surgery – 15 Month Follow-up

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Hello ladies and gentlemen, I know it has been quite a long time so I am back with another blog post about my tarsal tunnel surgery update.

Let’s go back to the last update in October/November 2021. I know I left off saying around day 8/9 that I was feeling pretty good. Unfortunately, some things have happened to me since that last update. Shortly after, I went back to the surgeon’s office for another post-op appointment since I was starting to the see that the incision was not healing right. I started developing what seemed like a white substance around the scar which I thought was normal but then it started to have an odor, which I knew was not. I went back in to the doctors and this time I did not see my doctor but one of his associates. He looked at my leg and said he thought it was fine and he sent me home with antibiotic and called it a day. I started the antibiotic right away and a few days go by and there was no improvement. In my opinion, I felt the infection was getting worse. I went into the office again about 3 days later but this time I saw Doctor Miller and he took a biopsy of the fluid or whatever was around the incision and sent it to a lab. It came back as Acinetobacter baumannii which is a form of bacterial infection that can be tricky/resistant to medicine. Great I told myself – once I looked that up on Google I was like holy shit how in the world did I get this. By the way, don’t Google anything! Worst thing ever.

The Doctor provided me with a strong antibiotic. That was not really helping me either. On top of dealing with this, something happened to me which was a double whammy. My wife and I had ordered crab cakes that Thursday night but at the time I was still on the antibiotic like 2- or 3-days in. About 3 hours later I was in the hospital, with shortness of breath, vomiting and violently ill. I initially thought I was allergic to the antibiotic. It felt like I was having a heart attack, panic attack, whatever it was I felt like I was going to die. I got admitted to the hospital and was quickly sent to the cardiac unit because the EKG was showing my T waves were off indicating that something was abnormal. Looking back at everything, I probably had food poisoning from the crab cakes and not related to the antibiotic that the doctor prescribed me – who knows. It ended up being a good thing that I went in no matter what because none of the antibiotics were working (or they needed longer) and they did an IV of antibiotics and I was able to be seen by some of the doctor’s residents in the hospital. The scary thing was that I was getting treated as a as a heart patient which wasn’t pleasant at all. They wake you up every 1-2 hours to take vitals which drove me up the wall and a lady across the hall from me was screaming and talking throughout the whole night but that’s what you deal with when you’re staying in the hospital. Thankfully, I’m OK and now I know that my heart is in really good condition because I had a lot of tests. You name it, I had every test done to me MRI, X-ray, EKG, heart catheterization through wrist etc. I was pleased that while all of this was going on that podiatry was able to help my infection and hook me up with the IV of antibiotics and proper wrapping and provide a walking shoe. It was probably one of the best things to be honest because it felt like nothing else was working. The next day I woke up and since I knew nothing was wrong with me, I just want to get the hell out of the hospital and go home and relax but the process of getting discharged from a hospital can be lengthy. Staff is busy and doctors need to sign off. At one point I wanted to just sign myself out but my wife told me not to haha. Somehow a brutal bout of possible food poisoning seemed to help my foot. Go figure!

Once I healed up, it was a great year. I went with my family on a trip to Disney world and while it was tough, we got through the days with about 15,000 – 20,000 steps/day which wasn’t the best for my feet but listen you just have push through it and get your mindset right. Remember you’re there for your kids and you know just want them to have the best experience and a magical trip. I saddled up, got my mind set together and I just pushed through it, it was worth every step and pain in my feet to see my girls and my wife light up. I wouldn’t do anything different. By the way, Disney is one magical place!

Fast forward to now – January 2023 – 15 months post 2nd tarsal tunnel surgery, a few things have been going on since then that I would like to share. Like I said in my previous blog posts, the 2nd tarsal tunnel surgery, which included the gastric lengthening, was one of the toughest surgeries that I have ever been through. Since I had the surgery, the pain, my nerves, they all calmed down but as of today, sad to say but I’m experiencing some pain again such as tingling and a lot of heel pain deep inside. Thankfully, the soleal sling surgery part was a very successful surgery I think. It doesn’t feel like my Achilles tendon is going to tear anymore so that actually was a very helpful surgery. Go down a bit further by the ankle, I’m starting to experience pain and twitches that stem from my ankle, to my calf, to my thigh. A lot of the twitching that I have at nighttime causes my legs to lock up which is a painful experience. One particular night I was lying in bed when my ankles, my calf, and my thigh they weren’t feeling right. It felt like everything was locking up and that my legs were hit with a baseball bat. It was a bit worrisome to me because you as you felt the nerves locking up in the muscles you just knew something was coming. Finally, when it did calm down and I fell asleep my wife looked over at me as I was sleeping and she saw the pain in my face and that my legs were locking up/twitching. I knew something was wrong and that I needed to try to get in to see the Doctor. I will be going in this week to see if he can let me know what is going on and to talk about non-surgical methods that may help. There is a lot of technology out there that hopefully can help people like me and help all of us people living with a chronic pain condition like tarsal tunnel syndrome and not have to go under the knife because I told myself that I would never do this surgery again. I had 2 big surgeries and I don’t think my body or me could handle another.

So, I’m going to end this blog here but just remember people there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Just keep pushing along and if you have to take a seat here and there, take a seat and relax.

Until next time, Dan Bowen

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