Anna Petroni, 
Published online June 3, 2013

I was diagnosed as having progressive multiple sclerosis more than 30 years ago, and now I am almost 77 years old. My legs have been affected, and I lose my balance occasionally. I use a walker to get around but not for long distances. When I go to the grocery store, I use one of the electric carts.

I’ve been prescribed braces and physical therapy. The braces have caused calluses to form on the balls of my feet. Last year, I had an abscess on my foot. I get them from time to time. The pain can usually be relieved by having the callus on my foot shaved, but this one would not heal. A friend recommended I go to a new podiatrist. During the visit, he told me that I should consider having my Achilles tendons operated on to stretch them, which would slow callous formation. He said that the surgery would involve just a couple of small cuts and afterward I would wear a special shoe for several weeks. He referred me to an orthopedic surgeon.

I avoid any type of surgery, if possible, because I know that any length of inactivity would be very bad for me. If I’m immobilized, my legs get stiff. I could lose the ability to walk, or I might suffer from a surgical error or one of the infections that many people seem to get when hospitalized lately. Since my circulation is slow in my legs, I know I am at high risk for complications.

I decided to investigate the surgery and made an appointment with the orthopedic surgeon. Before I saw him, his staff performed numerous x-rays of my legs. When I saw the doctor, he told me that I needed to have surgery on one ankle and then the other to resolve the tendon problems. Each surgery would require a 3-day hospital stay and 2 weeks in rehabilitation. After rehabilitation, I would wear a special shoe for 6 weeks.
Author: Liana Hain, 2 Cove Ct, Stafford, VA 22554 (