For 14 months, Michael Graziano lived with severe pain in his right foot. “I could barely walk sometimes on my foot, and sometimes it would be good.”
Dr. Jeremey Schwartz, an orthopedic surgeon on the medical staff of Lee Health, says the pain was caused by the Achilles tendon. “Achilles tendon is down in your heel and it attaches the muscle of your calf to your heel bone.”
There are two types of Achilles tendon injuries: a rupture, which can be caused by a misstep and is common in athletes, and a chronic Achilles tendon injury, which is what Michael had.
“That’s where you get micro tears more like fraying in the tendon. Your tendon is more like a rope than a fishing line. They’re made of thousands of fibers and what happens is some of them tear,” said Dr. Schwartz.
This can cause pain, swelling, and bumps on the back of the heel. “I’ve seen people who have this problem for ten years before they have it fixed,” said Dr. Schwartz.
He says that’s because the pain can come and go, which was exactly the case for Michael. But after trying different treatments, Michael decided to have surgery to ease the pain.
“We actually take the tendon off the heel bone to get all the bone and extra bone off the heel, smooth the bone down, so all the bones spurs are gone, and then we actually pin the tendon down,” said Dr. Schwartz.
Just a few weeks after surgery, Michael was pain free and able to return to his normal activities. “I was very glad to have it. I can climb up a ladder, ride my bicycle again, and it’s wonderful.”
With an Achilles reconstructive surgery, patients are able to return to their normal lives with no limitations. Which is why doctors say don’t wait if you have pain to make an appointment. The injury will only get worse over time.
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Lee Health in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of health care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For more than 100 years, we’ve been providing our community with personalized preventative health services and primary care to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries. Lee Health - Caring People. Inspiring Care.