PTTD AFO…

I hate it when people use acronyms when talking. And here I am doing the same.

PTTD stands for Posterior Tibialis Tendon Disfunction. Apparently when you have been flat footed all your life, like I have been, you might develop this. It basically is when the tendon that runs along the inside of your ankle and holds up your arch becomes overly stretched and damaged. Most of my pain was in the morning, after the tendon had time to contract during sleep. My first dozen steps were excruciating as the tendon was stretched out again. At first there wasn’t much pain other than that. Then the pain after a few hours on my feet began. I started limping and limiting my walking.

After seeing my father’s limp (bad knee) improve dramatically with some physical therapy, I decided to go that route also. My therapist was amazingly patient with me, encouraging and gentle. After several weeks of treatment and faithfully doing the exercises, I was feeling much better. Until…

Five hours on my feet, in a small kitchen, bailing out the mother of a bride who got married in our barn. The ankle swelled, pain increased tremendously all day, and the exercises hurt. My physical therapist recommended I see a doctor for the injury. I had never seen an MD for the issue. A podiatrist recently told me I needed new orthotics, which only he knew how to make properly. An orthopedic guy told me to get different orthotics and stretch my calf muscles. Another guy said it was just a matter of time before I would need surgery. I made an appointment to see the doctor she recommended.

Two days later, I had the most thorough exam of my foot in my lifetime. My condition was explained to me in terms I could easily understand, I was shown my X-rays and they were compared to my healthy ankle. Wow. I so appreciated that doctor. He recommended I get and AFO, or Ankle Foot Orthosis. It’s basically a plastic, removable cast that immobilizes the ankle in hopes that the tendon can heal. Thankfully, he recommended I see the same person who worked on the current orthotics I was wearing. A compassionate, encouraging person. I already had an appointment that same day for an orthotic adjustment. Half hour later, I was casted for fit, and the process began. They even asked me if I wanted a pattern or flowers or something. I sent a picture I liked and told them anything in those colored or style would make wearing it a happy experience.

The AFO turned out adorable! His co-worker told him it was the cutest one he’d made in 20 years! It was the exact picture I sent him!! I have worn it for 12 days now, and I can tell it is helping. Along with some home heat/cold therapy I started doing daily. Which I currently doing, thus the time to blog. I still have to be careful not to overdo it on my feet. I am learning to say “No, I can’t help.” That’s hard for someone who’s love language is acts of service. But, if I want to heal, I need to learn.

I am praying that it heals well, and that using it for heavy “on my feet days” will keep me from re-injuring it. I have hope again. I hope that you have hope in your heart for tomorrow.

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