Surviving Peroneal Tendon Surgery: Hopalong’s Tips


May 16, 2013 by crazymadliving

People have taken to calling me Hopalong.  Friends, colleagues, family – I should have seen it coming…

Anyhoo, after a quick visit to Dr Narramore’s office yesterday, the good news is that my foot is healing well.

It all started with two concerned emails to him.  I’m a bit of a surgery rookie and get performance anxiety pretty easily.  And not knowing what would be classified as normal, I was getting a little worried.

Concerned mail nr 1.  You know... nothing serious but just checking...

Concerned mail nr 1. You know… nothing serious but just checking…

Feeling slightly panicked... because the scar just wouldn't stop burning...

Feeling slightly panicked because the scar just wouldn’t stop burning…  Oh, and I was already merrily walking and moving furniture around by the time I sent this mail <blush>

I think by that point they were more worried about me becoming high-maintenance, so they told me to come in for a cast change and for the doc to have a quick peek at the scar.

So after I made myself comfortable on the bed and he sawed off my cast (!!!!!)…

Had to lift this pic off the internet.  Da Husband was too busy laughing at me to take a picture.

Had to lift this pic off the internet. Da Husband was too busy laughing at me to take a picture.

… our conversation went a little like this:

Doc:  So, I see that you have some concerns and that you have trouble sleeping?

Me:  Well, the sleeping’s not the issue.  But the scar burns, like, permanently, and there’s hectic pain overall.

Doc: Well… you had surgery two weeks ago…

Me: Yeah, but the pain went away and I waited until the point when you said I could put weight on my foot. <mumbling> and then I spring-cleaned the kitchen and rearranged my study.

Doc:  Say that again?!?!?!

Me <mumbling>: er… I spring-cleaned the kitchen and rearranged my study…. ?

Doc: I didn’t mean you could WALK! I meant you could start balancing LIGHTLY on your foot when you brush your teeth!

Da Husband:  HA! That’s what I said!

Me:  OK fine, I won’t do it again.  Anyway… GAARRGGGHHHHHH – what’s wrong with my FOOT?

Doc: There’s nothing wrong.  This is a fine-looking scar.  See? It’s healthy and you have remarkably little swelling.

Me:  BUT…  it looks… GROSS!

Doc: I promise you, I look at scars like these every day.  You are healing well.

<He may have actually said something about him being a doctor and me being, well, not.>

Anyway, he wrapped my foot in cotton wool again, put on a fresh cast and made me promise that I will keep my foot elevated and not put any weight on it until 7 June.

Jeezlike… I just wanted to be a little more mobile!

Looking good.  Apparently.

Looking good. Apparently.

So, now that I’m in my third week post-surgery, I thought I’d share some more top tips to future Hopalongs.  Don’t make the same mistakes I have until now…

  1. When the doc says “elevated and no weight put on it”, he means exactly that.  Preferably on the bed but the couch is good too.  Sitting at a desk, like I am now, is NOT good.  I’ll move along the couch just now… promise.
  2. Foot down = swelling.  Foot movement = pain.  Walking on foot = swelling and pain.  It’s normal.  If it happens, you probably asked for it. Just don’t do it.
  3. You are going to get bored.  And lonely.  And get cabin fever.  Take a chill pill.  The universe is trying to teach you to slow the hell down and stop being such a control freak. (Yes, even me.)
  4. If you have the opportunity to work from home, like me, find a place that’s comfortable and where you can flop over for a power nap when needed.  I find I’m more productive at my desk (foot elevated on another chair) and will hobble to the couch for a quick nap when the pain killers kick in.
  5. Keep Skype on so that you can chat to colleagues.
  6. Make a to-do list, like you would at the office, and work through it.
  7. Keep a little backpack with you to cart things around.  I carry everything from my multi-vitamins to pens to laptop cables and flash sticks – and my knitting needles and wool – in my backpack.
  8. Take your multi-vitamins and try to maintain a healthy diet.  You’ll be sitting on your butt all day.  Try your best to not become a fat slob (I’m learning the hard way).
  9. Good idea:  giving your housekeeper a shopping list and cash to keep the pantry stocked up.
  10. Bad idea: Sneaking in a slab of chocolate, every time you make the above list.
  11. If you have a bath, use it.  It’s the pits, I know (I’m a shower gal myself).  But make sure that you put everything you will need – shampoo, face wash, body wash, razor for single leg maintenance, etc – right next to you and within easy reach.
  12. Learn how to get into the bath with one leg out BEFORE you need to do it the first time.
  13. Include enough fibre in your diet and try to do some leg-raises and crunches while you’re still in bed in the morning. Anti-inflammatories and long-term inactivity aren’t a good combination.  #justsaying
  14. If you have help, get her/him/them to sort out the cooking.  If you don’t, stock up on meals beforehand.
  15. If you have kids, try to get back to some kind of routine.  I can’t do much for them at the moment, so my new routine is that they do their reading and homework revision on the couch with me when they get home.
  16. And FINALLY, when you’re in the bath, try to focus on the job at hand.  Yesterday I had an unfortunate brainfart and I had to spend the next 30 minutes blow-drying the inside of my cast!

    no words

    no words


2 thoughts on “Surviving Peroneal Tendon Surgery: Hopalong’s Tips

  1. Erin Howard says:

    Hi Leonie – thanks for posting about this. I’m considering having this surgery so I’m curious how you’re doing with it at this point. I’m also a mom and a self-employed work-at-home marketing consultant so we have some things in common. I haven’t done anything involving running or jumping since I injured the ankle 6 months ago (which is driving me crazy), I tried swimming but the kicking made the ankle worse. So all I can do now is walk, lift weights, and yoga and some biking if I’m careful. I tried physical therapy, wearing an ankle brace (helps a little), a cortisone injection in the tendon sheath (helped somewhat but I think effects are wearing off 4 months later). I’m basically fine if I do nothing more difficult than walking on a flat surface, but I want to get back to running, swimming, kickboxing, etc. and every time I step it up the ankle starts to get worse again.

    But I’m worried about the surgery because I’m afraid it will somehow permanently make my ankle worse than before, not to mention 6 weeks unable to drive with 2 young kids who constantly need to be driven places.

    What would you say almost a year later to someone who is considering this? Would you say it was worth it? Or would you say “don’t do it unless you’re in really agonizing pain”?


  2. Beth says:

    I’m looking at having this same surgery soon. Glad I found your blog I found it VERY helpful as to what I can expect. Thank you for your blunt and direct honesty!! The hopalong tips are of great value as well. when I read the conversation about weight bearing and spring cleaning I laughed so hard I was crying LOL


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