Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome and Gastrocnemius Lengthening Surgery
Guys! I’m back with an update regarding my Tarsal Tunnel journey. On Friday, October 15th, I went in for a full release and gastrocnemius lengthening. I don’t think I mentioned in my previous posts, but the doctor that I chose this round is Dr. Michael Miller. He is an AENS doctor that practices out of Philadelphia and South Jersey. I’m happy that I went with this guy. He was very detailed on getting everything necessary done in my leg.
Let me tell you – it was painful but it was such a relief when the doctor said that there was a lot of scar tissue trapped in the nerves. Additionally, the heel cord was very tight It was a long surgery that lasted 3.5 hours. Initially when I woke up, I was in a lot of pain. They had to keep giving me pain medication as I wasn’t getting any relief. After the 3rd round of pain meds, the pain started to calm down. Shortly after, they put me in a wheel chair when it was time to go home. This threw me for a bit of a surprise. I’m a pretty strong guy, but I could not get out of the chair to get in the car. That’s how weak I was afterwards. I had no strength at all! It was a really weird situation. Thankfully, my wife and the nurse helped me get in and all was good.
When I got home I got settled on the couch. I was finally able to eat some food. Bed time was a treat. I kept having a lot of spasms. The doctor mentioned this would happen from the gastroc lengthening. It feels like tightness and pain up and down the leg. I had to take some medication for that. Other than that, day 1 wasn’t too bad. Sleeping was not good at all as I was waking up every 2 to 3 hours with pain.
Day 2: Good morning! Woke up pretty okay today. Some pain meds were needed. Made myself some eggs and coffee. Pretty good, right? Right now I have the boot off with some ice on the leg. The Doctor recommended that I take the boot off for 15-20 minutes 2x a day to move my foot a little bit. I will just be hanging out with my feet up for the day. Also – it was really fun taking a bath. What a scene that was. I pulled it off with one leg out the tub. Wife took a pic but I won’t share that one.
Day 3: All I have to say is ouch! Holy pain. This was the worst day. I believe the pain meds and whatever they gave me at the hospital wore off. I was up all night with pain. Even with pain killers. I’m trying to ride it out. No, I’m not trying to be a hero, the meds make me very nauseas. I have been in bed most of the day. I go and see the Doctor tomorrow for a post-op appointment. I will find out exactly what he had done to my leg and also change the bandages. Let’s hope for a better day tomorrow!
Day 4: Started the day with more pain. I did get out to see the doctor and he changed my bandages and dressings. He said everything looks great. I have to wear the boot for another 4 to 6 weeks. The stitches will come out in 2 weeks from today. I have 3 incisions where they went in. I will attach some pictures. The good thing is that I did get some sleep. I haven’t been sleeping much as I was getting up often with pain. So every day I see a little improvement. They always say day by day.
Day 5: Guess what – I slept through the whole night. Maybe one wake up, but that’s normal for me. I’ll take it! I still have pain, but nowhere near what I had. I haven’t needed any medicine, which is a nice feeling. I may take some before bed, but that’s it. I think that helps with less wake ups. For today’s adventure, I managed to get to the grocery store. I told my wife I need to do something! That’s how I know I’m getting back to myself again. Don’t worry I’m still taking it real easy and relaxing, foot up. I do take my boot off more often now so it can give my leg a rest. I do my exercises when it’s off. So I went from doing 2x a day to almost 4x a day and a lot longer off. The Doctor did tell me that I can keep it off as long as I sleep with it on.
Day 6: The holy grail. I took a shower. It was a process, but I did it. I do recommend getting a cast/bandage waterproof covering. I put that puppy on and boom shower time. It’s the little things in life we appreciate. Still no pain meds. Here and there maybe 1x or 2x a day I take the ibuprofen 800mg to help with inflammation. Currently, I’m sitting on the porch drinking a cup a coffee and writing this blog. This is the best day I have felt so far.
Day 7: Making a lot of progress. Walking is still very tough. I do try to walk without crutches and it’s hard to do, but I can. I can’t do it long but it’s a step. No pain meds anymore. Nothing. I may take the muscle relaxer due to the muscle spasms I get in my calf. I still feel a lot of tightness in my leg. I’m sure it will go away very soon. Living in this boot is killing me but I know I have to. I have about 4 or 5 weeks left. Like I said before, I do take it off when I’m home more often, but the doctor said it was very important to keep it on especially when I sleep. The Doctor was very adamant about this.
Day 8: This is the turning point for me. I feel more confident about walking around. I’m still very, very, slow but I feel fantastic. I can actually feel the bottom of my feet. I feel no nerve pain. I know it’s early to tell, but I feel pretty good. Also as many of you know, my biggest thing was getting a really small workout in. I know you guys are like you’re crazy. But for me, I need it. I modified everything I did in a very safe way. If you are interested in learning what I did, please reach out and I will share with you. Trust me I rarely put any extra weight on that leg. I did a lot of the exercises either sitting down or on my other leg. It’s very possible guys. So this is where I’m going to end this part of the blog. I will do another check in very soon. I’m very grateful for this surgeon what he did for me. I believe it will be life changing for me. It’s definitely is a game changer – I’m ready!
Thank you so much for sharing your story, Dan! So glad to hear that your recovery is going well.
Thanks for sharing Dan! Glad you are getting back on your feet. Take it slow!!!
Great of you to share your story. I hope you are feeling great now. Can’t wait for the update 🙂
Thank you for sharing your experience. I happened to have an AENS MD in my town who I am going to let perform the tarsal tunnel surgery on me in a couple weeks. It’s been a while since your last update on recovery so I am curious if you’re still feeling relief? I’ve broken my foot twice (started with softball), and had surgery once (a long time ago) remove a cyst after the initial break, and I’ve consistently rolled it where now my foot is half numb, where I no longer feel pain when I roll it. SO WEIRD because it is not bone or tendon/ligament pain, it’d nerve pain that travels up to my hip and into my back from my foot.
I met another woman the very next day after my appointment that actually had the surgery done and by the same AENS surgeon, she said it changed her life! (We see the same chiropractor) and she had 3 surgeries BEFORE the nerve decompression surgery.
So, I am just looking for an update in hopes that it has helped you long term! I am 37 and love to hike so I am worried about the future
So sorry for the delay, Lyndsay. How did you make out with surgery? I am 1-year post-op (2nd surgery) and while it is certainly better than before (especially the gastroc lengthening), I am still experiencing pain. I was able to go to Disney with my family in November and kept up with all of the necessary walking. Not so sure if I could have done that prior to the 2nd surgery. I need to go back and see what my irritation is stemming from. Being a trainer, I am on my feet all day so that may be a factor. I wish you well.
Hey, how’s it going for you now adays?? Hope all worked out! I coincidentally have the the same doctor for the same diagnosis as you and I’m curious how things have turned out.
Hi Mel, thanks for checking in. I am one year post-op and I am experiencing some issues again. As a personal trainer, I am on my feet a ton so it’s hard to know if the inflammation is stemming from that or something else. I need to get myself back for a follow up to check but I have to admit I have been putting it off. How are you making out?