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Sighting in the Anschutz 1712 Silhouette Rifle

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This is the first of several articles on a rifle I have purchased and my attempts to sight it in. I believe my efforts may help some other shooters produce better groups from their own rifle if they follow my methods of sighting in a target rifle to get the best groups possible.

I purchased an Anschutz 1712 Silhouette Rifle recently. Its the most expensive rifle I’ve ever bought.
Anschutz rifles are expensive because in the world of target rifles, and target rifle shooting, Anschutz has long been known as the best of the best.

I purchased this rifle from the new Anschutz company housed in The new company is located in Trussville, Alabama. I received this information from Creedmore Sports. Their website is Creedmore has mostly target related shooting equipment.

While I was browsing the Creedmore catalog I happened to notice the Anschutz Model 1712 Silhouette Rifle. It was a good looking rifle, made from the Anschutz Model 54 action and trigger. I clicked on the rifle to take a closer look and the Anschutz North America website popped up. So I emailed them about prices and availability. Bad move. I like good shooting rifles too much to ignore one.

Trent Yates, Vice President of Sales emailed me back and within two emails I had decided to buy a new silhouette rifle. Trent sold me one which had beautiful wood on it. He threw in pillar bedding and allen screws holding the barreled action to the stock. Trent also included a brick of 500 rounds of RWS rifle match, and another brick of 500 rounds of RWS R-50 Jubilee commemorative ammunition in honor of RWS 75th anniversary. I was able to get all of this for a mere LOT OF MONEY!

The ammo was included because the Anshutz business is also now a direct sales location for RWS ammunition. Included here is a relative term. It was included for an extra $200. However, on searching other sites, I determined the rifle match sold for over $100 for a brick, and the Jubilee was selling for nearly $200! So I felt I could get a return on my money if I wanted.

Trent told me if I wanted to pay with a credit card that I could get the rifle in a few days, but if I paid by check he would have to hold the gun till the check cleared. Naturally I went for the credit card. I told Trent my firearms dealer’s name and sent Trent the dealer’s FFL and shortly my new baby was on its way.

My dealer called me to say the baby was in. I went an picked it up. It was beautiful. Not many gunstocks have such figured wood in them without paying exorbitant prices. The action was smooth, though not quite as smooth as my other Anschutz’ that I own. I suspect it will grow slicker with time. If not, well that’s what valve grinder is useful for. The action on a target rimfire rifle should open easily with a flip of the shooting hand. The trigger was exactly what I’d hoped. A two-stage trigger, most of the weight was in the take up to the stop and only a little pull needed to get past the second stage before the gun fired. Perfect.

Here is a photo I took of the rifle. I’ll explain the optic mounted on it next:


I took the new baby home.

I wasn’t immediately sure of a scope to mount on the new rifle. I was currently shooting with a CZ452 with a Barska Benchmark 8-26×50 with 1st plane mil dot reticle. This is the CZ website, but the 452 has essentially been replaced with the CZ455. This next site displays the Barska Benchmark scope that is on my CZ. This combination with Wolf match rimfire ammunition gives me about a 1/4″ group at 50 yards from the bench.

By the time I arrived back home I had decided to remove a Leupold scope from another Anschutz silhouette rifle that I had recently retired and put it on this new 1712. The retirement was due to the weight of the other Anschutz which, with the Leupold scope was right on weight for standard rifle which is 10lbs 2 oz.

This particular scope has been with me since it was first introduced. It is a Leupold Vari-X III 8.5-25X-50mm, Long Range., still in the website renamed the VXIII. See the website for the full description. On purchasing this scope, I immediately took it to Premier Optics located in Kernsville, Virginia. Premier was a warranty repair shop for Leupold at the time. Premier had a line of scope reticles they would install and Leupold would continue to warranty the scope.

The reticle I wanted was a GenII reticle variant of the original mil-dot reticle. The reticle was placed in the first focal plane so that when the user increased the scope power, the dots would appear to get larger as well. The difference in this reticle, however, was in between the dots were hash marks. For a target shooter like myself, this was perfect as the hash marks appeared about 1 1/2″ apart at 100 yards.

I’m not sure if Premier reticles are still in business. I researched them and found some websites that sell Premier Reticle Scopes, and Premier Reticle Heritage Scopes, but so far I have not located a website for Premier Reticles. They lost their contract to Leupold about five years ago. Then they began manufacturing high end tactical scopes, but now I can’t locate a website. The website I’m including here is a location that sells Premier Reticle scopes. I the reader is interested, maybe begin from here.

Here is a photograph of my Leupold scope on the new baby:

So I took the baby to the range. I belong to the Fairfax Rod & Gun Club in Manassas, Virginia, web site of

I like to set my zero at 60 yards for silhouette. This distance is the pig targets. Pigs are the largest targets in a smallbore match, in relation to the distance shot. If I started at 40 yards, setting my zero there, there are too many clicks in the scope to do without an error in counting.

In zeroing a rifle, it is best to shoot off of a hard level surface but have the rifle lying on something soft. I shoot off of a concrete bench at the shooting range with a concrete top. The rest for the rifle on this day were 3 shotbags filled with soft sand in the front, and a leather rifle bag filled with birdseed in the rear. Birdseed is light and can be easily moved around some. Soft sand can be shifted and will remain in place once the rifle is on them.

I set up two targets that are bullseye, smallbore 50 yard prone paper targets. The reason for these instead of shooting at the pig targets is the prone targets give me a small circular aiming point for my scope crosshairs, a perfect target. Plus, I know from experience exactly how many clicks are needed to move the scope the certain distances of the scoring rings. The pig targets, on the other hand, have no definite aiming point inside the target so the 50 yard target is best.

After setting up the targets, I shot 5 rounds of Remington Eley ammo thru the rifle . This was just to warm the rifle. I then shot 5 more at a sighting bull. The shots were in a 4 shot tight cluster of about 1/2 inch and the 5th one was out about an inch from the rest of the group.

I cleaned the rifle thoroughly, but with no bristle brush, then fired 5 more rounds. Same thing….4 shots in a tight little cluster, and one outside the group. Not good, and not good for an Anschutz.
I continued through the rest of the target, 5 shots on each of the 5 bulls, then clean the rifle with swab only.

After the 5th bull of this, I changed ammo to Wolf Target ammo. I did the same arrangement on the second target after firing 5 unaimed shots with the Wolf ammo. Again cleaning the rifle after every 5 shots. Essentially I got the same problem, except that the 4 shots were in a tighter group than the Remington.

I cleaned the rifle one final time and returned home with it. This was not good shooting, and certainly not good enough for silhouette match shooting. Something was going to have to be done. I will write about what was done in the next article.

May 22 – A Fine Day for Foot/Ankle Recovery!

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This is a documentation of a recovery from Post Tibia Tendon (PTT) surgery to a left foot & ankle on January 14, this year.  Until this past Friday, May 9, this recovery was only about strengthening the ankle.   The surgery, subsequent therapy and ultimately purchase of orthotics were all done by The Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Center, see the link: foot & ankle They are located at   2922 Telestar Court, Falls Church, VA 22042, phone – 703.584.2040.  My surgeon was Dr. Daniel Cuttica.

Today, I had an appointment to see Dr. Cuttica my surgeon for this surgery.  I also saw the Orthotics person, Marsha, in the same office.  Last, I went to the blood clot doctor to see if anything further had developed there.  Overall, the day began and ended well as far as these three activities went.

First I was measured for orthotics.  Orthotics are shoe inserts for those who have foot problems, or pain.  These orthotics fit between the sole of the shoe and the foot and are made to exactly match the locations on the foot that do not contact the shoe sole on normal standing and walking.  The orthotics can be soft or harder and they give somewhat when walking, or doing other exercises.

Marsha is the orthotics fitter.  She has worked in this doctor’s office for 10 years.  For the 20 years before that she was into sports medicine and was a sports trainer for professional athletes.  Marsha and I discussed the orthotics.  She advised that the new set would have a top layer of thin foam which was not slick like my current vinyl orthotics.  She advised that I would walk back and forth a few times and dependent on how I did she would either use step-in foam or a computer mapping system to determine the contour of the orthotics.

We went outside the office and I walked back and forth several times.  Following that Marsha brought out a gray flat panel with a circle on it about 14 inches in diameter.  This device was plugged into a laptop computer inside Marsha’s office.  The device is made by Foot Maxx and is called a ‘metascan’.  I’ve included a link to Foot Maxx’s website: foot scanner.  Marsha laid the device on the floor and advised me to walk onto it three times with the left foot and three times with the right foot.  More specifically, I was to land my right foot before the device, then walk onto it with my left foot.  On turning around after this, I was instructed to land my left foot before the device and then walk onto it with my right foot.  I did this three times with both feet.  Following this, Marsha met back in the office with me and showed me both my feet on her computer screen.  The scanned photo below as well as the attached information is what the Foot Maxx device scanned from my walking over the mat:


feet scanned

The other information is the percentage of correct gait for both feet.  If you look close, on the right heel in the center is a small green dot.  Marsha said in a 3 dimensional walk the green ball flows up the foot from bottom to top and shows if the gait is exactly correct or off somewhat and what needs to be done.  Marsha said my right foot green dot indicates that I need a bit of lift of the heel as it has too much pressure there.  Well, Marsha was exactly right!  Currently, I wear my shoes down on the right rear heel.  So much so in fact, that with some shoes I have to replace them every 6 months!  To get back to my left foot, Marsha commented that the dot in essentially the center of the photo indicated the left foot was correct in walking.  Marsha printed the above photo out.  She advised I would be able to get my orthotics in about 10 days.  We discussed shoes a bit, but not enough to write about here.

Next, I went to see Dr. Cuttica.  He is happy with the progress.  He showed me that the inserted wedges on my foot had healed and the bone had accepted them and grown around the wedges which incorporated them into the foot.  I advised Dr. Cuttica the problem was not with my foot, but now with my knee.  Dr. Cuttica advised I could have knee replacement surgery in October.  Actually he commented that I could have the surgery six months after the surgery!! So if I wanted to I could get my knee done in June.  I think that’s a bit soon personally, so October it is.  I left Dr. Cuttica then and onward to the clot doctor.

At the clot doctor, I received another ultrasound which takes about 20-25 minutes to do.  Probably more if there is more area to look at.  After that I discussed what was found on the ultrasound.  What was found was the same tiny clot but Dr. Arryland was not worried about this.  He advised me not to worry about it that it was just a tiny residual.  He also advised that in the legs, each vein had a twin that came right beside the other one.  So, if there was a problem with one vein the other would take over the work.  In this case then, the second vein gets the blood and life continues on inside my leg.  So Dr. Arryland gave me a clean bill of health.  I’m not to see him again unless I have cramps again in my leg and something swells up.

Indeed, this has been a wonderful day for having good things done, and finding out everything is healing correctly!  Dr. Cuttica advised me to continue with my exercises even after the therapy was over.


Foot/Ankle Surgery/Recovery – Doing What Your Therapist Says

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This is a documentation of a recovery from Post Tibia Tendon (PTT) surgery to a left foot & ankle on January 14, this year.  Until this past Friday, May 9, this recovery was only about strengthening the ankle.   The surgery, subsequent therapy and ultimately purchase of orthotics were all done by The Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Center.  They are located at   2922 Telestar Court, Falls Church, VA 22042, phone – 703.584.2040.  My surgeon was Dr. Daniel Cuttica.

This is a few comments on obeying the therapist.  About May 15, at one of my physical therapy sessions, I asked my therapist, Matt, about the possibility of returning to competitive rifle shooting.  I described the activity.  Now, Matt knew I also shoot shotgun in a trap league on Wednesday evenings.  I’ve been doing this from April after this surgery and there has been no issue from Matt.  I, had a couple problems with balance, but Matt had no issues with me shooting a shotgun after this surgery.  So I figured there would be no problems shooting rifles either.  WRONG!!!  After hearing the description of the activity Matt canceled me from rifle shooting until I received my new orthotics.  In fact, Matt commented that when I was at the rifle range for any reason I should wear my ankle brace!  The reason for this is that I’ve been running rifle matches since my surgery even though I’m not competing.  Matt advised that meant I’m standing a good bit as well as working my ankle at odd movements including side to side and the brace will assist me in that endeavor.

Matt also scared the hell out of me saying that though unlikely, long standing coupled with unusual movements could possibly cause the ankle to collapse.  Just what someone who suffered through surgery and subsequent pain following surgery wants to hear!  I agreed to use the brace.  Now, move forward to May 18.  I ran a rifle match.  I figured since I was running the match, I could sit more than stand so I didn’t wear my brace….yes, folks sometimes Roger is dumb.   I forgot that included with the actual shooting there is the morning set up.  This includes target set ups which are heavy.  After the set-ups, I stood a great deal of the time……Until just before the match was over.  Suddenly I was hit was an awful sharp pain in my foot, right underneath as well as the top right.  I had this awful sinking feeling that my ankle had collapsed.  (Thinking back on it now, I think it would have been excruciating pain if that had happened but this was still very painful).  Later, after the match was over, I sat down with another shooter and had some coffee.  Within 10 minutes my foot had no pain, and no further pain came on.  So I became unworried.

Fast forward to May 19th.  I had physical therapy.  Following that extreme exercise on my ankle, I then mowed the yard.  Again, did not wear the brace.  About 3/4 way through the mowing, I removed the grass bag off the mower to take it to the trash.  Suddenly I was hit with such a sharp pain in my entire left foot that I looked to see if I had ran a nail through it!  Not only was the pain intense, but my entire leg muscle weakened so that I had to stand on my right foot to stay upright!  Fortunately some stairs were right there.  I hobbled on over and sat down to wait for my foot to get better with the pain.  It never did get completely pain free.  I figured it was time to stop playing around with this brace stuff and put it on when I was doing strenuous activity on the foot.  Duh!! I believe that’s what Matt said.

I told Matt about these incidents of pain and he said back to me one of my own fav sayings: “I’d say that was a self-curing problem Roger”.  And indeed it was.  I have now learned – Never, Ever, ignore my therapist!



Foot/Ankle Surgery&Recovery: Re-learning Walking

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I’ll bet most people never think about walking.  Other than when they stub their toe, or trip over something.  But actually considering walking?  Why bother? Isn’t it automatic?  We all know how to walk…..don’t we?  Well, all except for a few of us that had surgery on our feet, or ankles, or knees.  Or those of us who are completely without those limbs.

If you have been following this blog then you know this is a documentation of a recovery from Post Tibia Tendon (PTT) surgery to a left foot & ankle on January 14, this year.  Until this past Friday, May 9, this recovery was only about strengthening the ankle.  As of that day, practice began on learning how to walk again, as well as the continuing strength training.  The surgery, subsequent therapy and ultimately purchase of orthotics were all done by The Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Center.  They are located at   2922 Telestar Court, Falls Church, VA 22042, phone – 703.584.2040.  My surgeon was Dr. Daniel Cuttica.

A number of years ago I knew a prosecutor.  We got to be good friends and still talk by email sometimes even though he has long moved out of the area.  I had known him probably 7 years before someone told me had both legs amputated from being wounded so badly in the Vietnam War.  He walked absolutely perfectly!!  Since then, I’ve known or seen many more recent war veterans with severe leg injuries, or amputations.  Nearly all of them walk as though their legs were the ones they were born with.  I KNOW that must take long time therapy.  The knowledge of acquaintances with all these successful walkers is what encourages me to drive forward every day, every hour.  I KNOW I can walk normally!  Because I have all of these living examples of near impossible odds to begin with that all walk exactly right!

First was the standard stretching the skin and joints of the surgered ankle.  This happens at every therapy session.  I can’t honestly say I’ll miss it when therapy is over.  It hurts!  The good part of it is that it loosens the skin and joints before the exercise begins.  Next were the treadmill and the lesson on walking.  Matt set the speed at 1.1mph.  Not much for sure..  5 minutes he told me.  Off I went.

The problem with relearning to walk is that, for yourself, you only have your other foot to model your walking from.  It’s quite difficult to study your other foot while you’re attempting to walk on a treadmill and there is no stopping to analyze things.  I’m sure I looked funny to the therapists trying to twist around to see the other side of me walking.  It’s even funny for me to think about!  Finally, I realized I obviously know how to walk since I’ve been doing it so long.  I relaxed and began walking normally with my right foot, and the left simply copied the movements of the right foot at this slow speed.  As the days went by, I got more and more adept at walking with the left copying the right foot’s motions.  I surely know that cannot be how to teach a double leg amputee how to walk, but these are my methods.

As of my last therapy I was up to 2.0mph.  In therapy I’m still at 5 minutes.

The other aspect of walking has to be discussed as well.  That is of balance while walking.  When a person walks there is a second or more where one foot is completely off the ground.  If the other foot isn’t developed enough in the ankle area and calf muscle, when that foot comes off the ground, balance is lost and the walker begins to lose balance.  Depending on how much the foot/ankle has developed will depend on whether the person falls or not.

The exercises for balance are standing in one place and balancing on one foot for a time period.  In all of my therapy, that has been 10 repetitions at `10 seconds for each repetition.  In my last surgery of my right foot, that balance was 3 repetitions at 30 seconds each. Thank Goodness it’s down at 10 seconds now!  Another exercise for balance is a foam balance beam about 4 inches wide by about 6 feet long.  The patient’s therapy is to heel-to-toe walk forward, then backward 5 times.  Since the foam is constantly giving, this takes time and side strength to complete.  After the therapist believes the patient is doing well, then it’s time to play ball.  The therapist stands about 10 feet away.  Patient stands on the balance beam one foot in front of the other, heel to toe.  The therapist throws the patient the ball to catch.  Patient catches the ball and throws it back.  After a few times, the therapist begins throwing the ball on one side of the other of the patient so the patient has to lean to one side or the other and catch the ball.  This is more difficult to continue that balance.  After a few minutes of that, then the patient has to switch feet, putting the one behind in the front.  The patient quickly finds that the back foot is the one that has the weight on it and when the injured is behind, the balance is very difficult.  Following this exercise a ball is placed in a square on one of the gurneys in the room.  The patient stands back about 1 1/2 steps.  The patient steps forward with the new foot and removes the ball from the square then pushes off and stands up.  The ball is returned to the square in the same manner except by stepping forward.  These exercises build balance when walking.

Next will be a short lesson for me in doing what my therapist says do, or be in lots of pain.

Foot & Ankle Surgery Recovery Day 123

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This is the ongoing documentation of recovery from Post Tibia Tendon (PTT) surgery.  Day 118 was a glorious day in the recovery.  Upon arrival my therapist, Matt, discussed the pain level with me and issues I am having.  I advised Matt that I was shooting shotgun a few nights previous and found I could not seem to hold my balance enough to stand still.  This made me nervous that I would be unable to hit much.  I was also worried about having another incident of my knee seeming to give out as I stepped forward to step up my shooting position.  I also advised Matt I was worried about shooting rifle in competition because one has to stand balanced for a longer period of time.  In rifle shooting, rather than the same problem in shotgun, I was worried that the pain would be too great to shoot in competition as many shots in long periods are required in the competition I participate in.  Matt considered this and advised that from this day forward until he said different, I was to have my brace on while on any shooting range, but any other time I was to only have my old orthotic (pre-surgery orthotic) in the shoe, and no brace.

Woooo-hooo!!!  I had looked forward to this decision for a while!!  The brace is certainly good for holding me in place, but it seems to encourage my ankle to swell when I’m doing any exercises or simply moving around.  Naturally, the brace has to be tight around my ankle to do its job.  The job is just done too well sometimes and after strenuous exercise the foot swells larger than the brace and pushes against the brace.  This causes more pain.

I ran a rifle match, today, that I wanted to shoot in.  I quickly found out why I still cannot shoot in these matches.  I use boots on my feet to assist me in standing still for a steadier position.  Well, I can’t get my surgered foot into my shooting boot.  It’s too fat even with no duress on it prior to putting the boot on.  I was sorely disappointed.  Perhaps the next match I can shoot in it.  I have to wait till my foot loses its all-the-time swelling.

However, I did get another bit of wonderful news from Matt the same day as the orthotic news:  I can shower barefoot now! YAY!!  Matt looked my foot over carefully and determined I have no exposed scars.  Everything is closed up.  This means water can cover my foot, so there is no danger of infection.  Yippee!!

I thought readers want to take a look at the scars on my foot now, as well as the surgered foot in comparison to the right foot.  I agree, the left foot looks like it was in a battle – and lost.  I’ll describe the photos as to what they show.

foot comparison

foot comparison

The above photo is a comparison of the left foot with the surgery to the right foot.  The left foot is clearly larger than the right one.  Notice how the scar on the top of the foot has healed to that of a bruise.

outside left ankle

outside left ankle

swollen left foot

inside left ankle




In the above line of photos top to bottom. 1 – 4.  #1 shows the left (outside) of the left ankle.  Notice the swelling.  #2 shows the same ankle except a downward looking photo to better view the swelling of the ankle.  #3 photo is of the inside (right side) of the ankle.  #4 & #5 are photos of the heel showing the location of the spike, which has now been completely covered but with a little dot of white showing the spike’s location.

I have an appointment toward the end of May with both the blood clot doctor as well as Dr. Cuttica to look at the surgery results.  I’ll post the results of both appointments.  Stay tuned.



Foot/Ankle Surgery Recovery – Day 107 & on

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This is the continuing saga of recovery from foot/ankle surgery for PTT(Post Tibia Tendon).    This is day 107.  Things are progressing well according to the surgeon and my therapist, Matt.  I’m not so positive but am in hopes that he is correct.  Last week a substitute therapist, Mark, assisted with my therapy.  Mark had me remain in my brace, and put the boot on if my foot was sore.  Over the weekend I went to a friend’s property and walked around the property.  Evidently this overdid my foot and ankle immensely.  On Monday I could hardly walk.  My foot was extremely pained across the left side and top of the surgered foot.  It was so very painful that I could not do any home exercises I was given.

Tuesday was another therapy day.  On explaining this to Matt he advised that I had simply done too much on Sunday and not to do that again.  After foot bending, stretching the skin and the scars, Matt next advised that he wanted me to not have the brace on when doing home exercises but have it on any other day.  I told Matt that the hardest part of this exercises business was putting the danged brace on, and doing it into a high top shoe.  I asked Matt when I’d be able to go into lo-quarter shoes.  Matt stated I could buy a pair anytime.  Matt advised that the height of the shoe makes no difference in the healing of the foot and that when I believed my right foot was strong enough to deal with a lo-shoe to go ahead and get them

The reason this is so important about the high top shoe is because my last therapist following the first foot & ankle surgery, had stated for me to never wear lo-quarter shoes again, and only buy shoes with a least a mid-height side.  Over the years, that has morphed into high tops as the mid-height shoes are increasingly more difficult to find.  It hasn’t been any issue till this surgery where a brace is to be worn inside the shoe.  The brace is simply difficult to get on when using a high top shoe.  So I’m looking forward to a low-top shoe.

Today, Thursday April 24th, I had physical therapy.  I learned today that I should Definitely do what the therapist tells me to do!  Last therapy Matt advised me that beginning today, all therapy would be done with my shoe on, without the brace on, and with the orthotic in the shoe for my surgered foot.  Today, I forgot my orthotic.  I told Matt that and asked to do the therapy with my brace on.  Not to be.

I already had my shoe off for Matt to stretch it prior to the workout therapy.  Matt had me walk barefoot up the floor and back to him again.  He advised me to put my sock on and I would be doing all but one exercise with NO shoes on!  Uh-oh.  I think, if I had known how much pain I was going to be in, I may have just left and returned for my next bout with the therapy.  Whew!

We did all the exercises I did in my last therapy… which I had shoes on.   To be fair, the usual heel-to-toe walking on bare floor was removed as were two exercises on the Wii Fit Plus balance board.  That may have been because I probably looked like I was going to fall down soon though!

So, the moral of today’s therapy is – Don’t anger your therapist.  Follow instructions.  Things will be a LOT less painful.  Oh, and just to throw this in….I’m not the slightest bit angry with Matt.  I did All the therapy because my ankle was strong enough and I’m absolutely positive if I had a pain doing it Matt would have discontinued the exercise.  I’m just whining here.

Till next time.

Foot/Ankle Surgery Recovery @ Day 101

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If you haven’t read this blog yet, it is the continuing saga of recovery from Post Tibial Tendon surgery which occurred on January 14, 2014. I began the blog a few days following surgery. My last post had me itching all over from a blood thinner medication I was taking for a small blood clot found in my left calf following some cramping in the same location. I also reported that I was up and walking with my boot and was placing 90 pounds on my foot with each step. This meant that I was using one crutch, but walking with weight on one foot. That’s a long ways from walking with two crutches. A great deal has taken place since the last post.

Today. 4/10/14, I went to the surgeon, and after xrays he removed the walking boot and gave me a tall and stiff brace to fit inside my athletic shoe. Following this, I went to physical therapy and received a whole new set of exercises that I have to do at home, along with some new exercises I will do at the therapy location. Matt, my therapist advised that I could have free rein to interchange the new with the brace on and the boot as I wanted. Yay! The following photos are were taken of my foot directly after the visit to the surgeon today:

left compared to right

left compacurrent right side red to right

current right side
left side of foot

left side of foot



If you have kept up with this blog then you can see the improvement from the first blog to this one. My exercises were different now, at therapy, than before. Except for one, the exercises are all about developing the calf muscle of both legs, not just the affected one. Matt had told me he planned to do this. I had informed him that in the first surgery not much had been done to redevelop my calf muscle, even with the physical therapy. Matt said that was because the emphasis was on developing the person into walking, and balance. This was exactly what was done in the physical therapy following the surgery on my right foot. Consequently, following the surgery of my right foot, my right calf atrophied from lack of exercise and the physical therapy never rebuilt it. So Matt decided to rebuild both calf muscles at the same time. I’m happy to say the least.  Following my therapy, I left with my new brace having done exercises with my new brace as well as doing the exercises that Matt gave me to do at home.  Here are my new home exercises:

footercises 041514

footercises 041514

After my physical therapy I took my new brace home.  Later, I did the exercises with my brace on my foot.  Saturday morning, I did my new exercises with my brace on.  I wore the brace most of the day.  Late in the evening I removed the shoe with the brace in it.  Something inside was loose.  It was the heel, which is removable as there are interchangeable heights as well as interchangeable insteps.  I checked the brace and attempted to replace the heel.  This was not to be.  The heel had tips on the bottom which corresponded to holes in the brace.  The tips on the heel were peened over and wouldn’t fit back into the brace.  The end result was that I couldn’t use the brace any more of the weekend.  Consequently I had to return to the boot.

Today, 4/15, I had another physical therapy appointment.  Upon arrival the therapist examined my brace and went immediately and got another one for me.  Now it was time for new exercises with the brace.  Oh yay… First exercise was the horizontal leg press except instead of the entire legs pressing, the press was only the toes.  So I would place my feet at the bottom, hanging the heels off the lower edge.  Push off with both feet, stretching the calf muscles in both legs, then remove the right foot and allow the left foot to move back so the heels were below the edge of the floor of the machine.  Do this 45 times.  Actually Julie, my therapist made it sound much easier.  “Just do 3 sets of 15.  It’ll go much easier.”  Beats me who told her that.  There was Nothing easy about that exercise!!  Next was the step over.  That’s done by stepping up to a 4″ step with my surgered foor and step over to the floor on the other side of the step with my right foot.  Do this 20 times.  This isn’t really hard.   Following this was marching:  This involves lifting the legs high so the thigh is more than parallel to the floor, step out holding up the leg at least two second.  Do this twice down & back in a straight line about 12 feet long.  Next exercise is one of the most difficult of the day.  Julie placed on the floor, a length of foam, about 3 inches high x about 8 inches wide by about 8 feet long.  My exercise for this was heel to toe walking forward to the end, then heel to toe backwards to the end.  Did this 5 times forward, 5 times backward.  The foam made the walk wobbly and if the ankle is weak, like as not the walker would have to step off.  I only made one forward walk without stepping off.  The rest of the time was step on, step forward, step off or nearly fall off.  It was concentrated fun though.  Next exercise seemed easy.  It was standing on the surgered foot for 10 seconds – 10 times.  I quickly found that nothing is easy here….let alone standing in one place!  I only made one complete 10 second time period.  The rest of the standing I was lucky if I could get through 3 seconds without dropping my ok foot down, or nearly falling.  After this was the standard leg press – except it was done only using my surgered foot.  This had a 100 pound lift with this one foot.

The therapist uses the Wii system and the Wii Fit Plus video with the Balance Board.  They use several games as well as posture and yoga to exercise with.  Today I did a certain movement where the arms are raised and the heels are raised.  All I could do with stand with my weight on the balls of my feet.  I can’t raise my heels off the floor yet.  Later in this same exercise the arms are lowered then both placed back and keeping the back straight while keeping the heels up as far as possible.  Did this three times.  A hard exercise.

This was the end of the exercises.  Now for ice.  Ahhhhh…..The therapist placed my poor foot in a cordura boot which she closed with velco.  Then a water hose is connected at the top of the boot and cold water is run through small hoses that go in and around the boot.  What a wonderful feeling after maximum exercise.  By the time this is done I feel like a L O N G  nap is in order.

The therapists told me to use my new brace inside my house and the boot on the outside still.  I had hoped to graduate from the boot this week.  That was disappointing.  However, the therapist did give me permission to use the stationary bicycle for cardio exercise.  But he also advised me to not set the bike to high number for pedaling, but low, so I can spin it up to get my heart beating faster.  But at least I can begin doing cardio exercising again.  After all, I’ve not done any since just before November, 2013 since my foot began to hurt awfully.  But, the good thing is now I no longer have pain, and I can exercise.  YAY!!








Foot/Ankle Surgery – Recovery, The 47th Day after

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I’m going to begin this post with this: On the 47th Day after this surgery I have two things to report: First, I am itching all over. I’ve been taking allergy meds and have stopped my blood thinner a couple days ago. This was the medication for my blood clot. I was supposed to take this till it was gone. I had another ultrasound last week and no clot was found. So the Doctor advised me to just stop taking that med when it ran out. Except, day before yesterday, in the evening, I noticed that I was itching and there seemed to be no noticeable rash. So I would scratch, and nothing would appear even while scratching. Now, Dr. Sproules prescribed the meds and advised me that if I had an itching reaction to just stop taking it. So the itching took two weeks of taking the meds. As advised, I stopped taking the medication the morning after the night of intense itching all night. I’ve been taking the allergy medication about every 6 hours or so. When the allergy med wears off, I start to itch. Hopefully this aggravation will be gone soon!

The next thing to report is I am up to 90 pounds!! That is I am placing approximately 90 pounds of weight on my left foot while walking. Still using crutches, but more and more weight is being placed on my foot as I walk. This morning was a great first as well. I went into our kitchen, got a cup of coffee and, holding the coffee in my right hand, I used the crutches on my left side and walked back with the coffee and sat down in another room. Before this, I had to have my wife bring me the coffee. I AM healing up every day!

February 27 I had another appointment with Doctor Cuttica to look at my surgery recovery and also made appointments for physical therapy. Doctor Cuttica thought my foot was healing nicely. As a layman, I thought it looked pretty bad. Had scabs over most of the foot, and the dead skin all over, still with some bandages on parts of the foot. The doctor was quite happy, however. From the doctor, I went for a physical therapy appointment. My first appointment was March 4th

Now, March 4th, was my first physical therapy, beginning with an evaluation. My therapist is Matt, head of the therapy department. Matt had me walk with one crutch, not two and pronounced that I was to go that way from that day. He then had me walk with no crutch and pronounced that an essential failure, which was evident to me! Matt assigned another therapist to me, Julie and we did some exercises. Following that, Julie printed out some exercises and that was my first therapy. These are the exercises:IMG_1812

Next, on March 6, I had my second therapy. Unlike the first session, which was pretty lightweight, this one was 1 1/2 hours long! Felt like I was run over by a truck when I was done! First Matt stretched my ankle back and forth, then side to side for about 15 minutes. At first, the extreme movement hurt like crazy, but after about 5 minutes or so, the ankle was a bit looser and turned and stretched easier with no pain. Following the stretching, Julie came to me with a stretchy band and placed a 3 pound wrap around weight on my ankle. My exercises were to do the same thing as Matt had just done manually. Front to back, then up and down sideways with me lying on both my right side, then my left side. Following that, Julie put the stretch band around the ball of my foot. First I pulled the foot back to me, then pushed away while holding the band reasonable tight so I had to stretch the band to do this exercise. Following this, Julie pulled the foot down while I pulled back against the stretch band. Following this, Julie taught me how to turn on one side, and place my right foot in such a way as to stretch the band while moving the foot to one side, then the other. After this, Julie had me on a stationary bicycle for 5 minutes. Next, I was placed on a leg press which was one which the weight was the weight of the exercises along with extra weight. Julie laid on 20 pounds and I did 35 reps. Next, I was placed in an open space on the floor, and walked heel to toe for about 15 feet, turned, 15 feet back, and repeat. Following that, was on the same floor space, I had to do a slow high step for the same length of floor and do that four times as well. Last exercise was a step up. The step was only about 4 inches high. The exercise was to step up, then step back with the off foot. Repeat 20 reps. The point of all of this was not just to move the ankle, and strengthen it, but also to stretch it so the movement would be easier. After the exercises the ankle was placed in a localized soft cast device and cold water ran around my ankle. Most readers would believe the ankle would be crying in pain. But there was no pain by the time I was done. Overall a good full length therapy.

I am still occasionally itching from the reaction to the medication. Today, I was doing my home surgery exercises. All of a sudden, I had this god-awful itch right on the bottom of my surgered foot!! Had to be scratched or I was going to screech! So I scratched. As soon as that itch was scratched, danged if it didn’t transfer itself to the bottom of my right foot!! I told my wife it reminded me of the Wizard’s Duel in the movie, “The Sword in the Stone”. Don’t know if you remember, Merlin and Madame Mim had a wizard’s duel. Merlin won because he caused a germ to enter Madam Mim and she would have had to destroy herself to destroy the germ. Anyway, the germ went from one part of Madame Mim to another and she couldn’t control that germ! That’s me!! With the itching. Danged itch goes from one part of me to another! Time to take another allergy pill.

Stay tuned, see you next time.

Foot/Ankle Surgery Recovery – One Fine Day!

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Today, February 27 is one fine day! Today I am out of a cast, and into a walking boot! Today I have no blood clot, am continuing blood thinner for a couple more weeks then done with that!! WOOOHOOOO!!!

I had an ultrasound on February 26 at CVCA. The ultrasound tech, Oleg, advised me afterward that a piece was missing from the clot and things were looking up.

I had an appointment with Dr. Ayaaland at CVCA to discuss the clot this morning. He saw me immediately and advised that the clot was gone. Not there anymore. He advised me to continue with my current blood thinner medication until it was gone then just stop. I’m to return in about 3 weeks for a last ultrasound, probably to confirm it didn’t return.

From there I went to see my surgeon, Dr. Daniel Cuttica. First the obligatory x-rays. After x-rays Dr. Cuttica examinined my foot, in which the doctor pushed the foot around a bit, stretching movement up & down and right and left, he pronounced that I would not have another cast on, and I could remain in the walking boot that he put me in when I was there last and a blood clot was found. This photo is the x-ray taken February 27th. It shows my foot and the hardware inside the foot as well as the growth of my foot around the hardware: IMG_1802. Yes, you are correct, that is a V E R Y L O N G screw in my heel. The hardware which can be seen on the side and top of my foot were called ‘wedges’ by Dr. Cuttica to my wife & daughter following the surgery. It had something to do with reattachment to the tendons which were torn. The screw is in the heel to assist with the arch of the foot, which, pre-surgery, was not there. The foot was flat prior to the surgery. During the surgery, the Achilles tendon was unattached, pulled down, creating the arch, and reattached using that long screw in the heel. The rest of the tendon was cut off, I think.

When I first wrote about the surgery in January, I believed that the screw was integrated with the other visible hardware as a triangle on the side of the foot. On reviewing the surgery, as well as today’s x-ray, I realized that there is no triangular hardware; the wedges are separate from the screw and the screw is what I described. The screw & wedges do not touch in the foot. I know this is pretty amazing, but there is no pain now, nor has there been any. As in the last surgery, I follow the doctor’s orders and healing simply happens, without pain, and without much aching as well.

Dr. Cuttica advised me to begin putting 25 pounds of weight on my foot today. Then, every other day to put 25 more pounds. So, day of tomorrow, I put 50 pounds of weight on my foot, and etc., etc. until in about a week or so, I’ll have all my weight on the foot while in the walking boot. Here is a picture of my walking boot, so you know what I’m in. The boot is tall, and it extends side to side as well to protect the foot. At the bend of the foot, and on the right front is a little air valve. The boot can have air inserted. Air bladders inside the boot, when pumped up, hold the foot in place. This air usually has to be replaced a few times a day. Here’s the boot: IMG_1775. A viewer can’t see, but the boot is firmly on the foot & leg without being tight. When the boot is first placed on the foot, it is completely opened. The foot is set inside the boot. Then the top, over the foot has a foam piece on the right side of the boot that lays on top of the foot. A second piece on the left side folds over top the first piece and a 1″ wide slice of Velcro hooks onto the bottom piece from the top piece holding the foot in. Further fastening is from the two 1 1/2″ wide straps you can see over the top of the foot which fasten over top right to left, then thru a couple of plastic slots on the left side of the boot and the strap is returned back over to fasten on Velcro on the right side of the boot. After covering the foot, the same closure system with the fold over is done to the leg. A long Velcro piece runs the length of the leg foam and the two foam pieces of the leg come together. Last are the three straps which can be seen which fasten over the leg, and back by Velcro. Last, the pump is inserted and air is inserted till the boot is comfortable. Done.

Upon my return to home, I got my home scale out and attempted to put 25 pounds of weight on my booted foot. Not to be. 40 was the minimum. This was because of the weight of the boot pushing down on the scale. So I weighed the boot. It’s about 5 pounds. I tried again and finally figured out how to get the weigh in down to about 35 pounds. Actually, that’s the same weight I used in the last week since, with the walking boot, a person on crutches really can’t have zero weight on the boot. The boot is much longer on the bottom than a cast so unless the boot is swung up off the floor and forward of the rest of the body, there is going to be at least some weight on the foot. Swinging the boot forward, with the weight of the foot in it, makes one feel very, unbalanced.

The following photos are of my foot as of February 27th. Looks pretty bad to the layman: that’s me. But the surgeon thought it looked great! I thought readers would like a look at the foot after 6 weeks. The first one is of the top & right side of the left foot:IMG_1788. Next photo is the left side and back: IMG_1797. The last photo is of the back of my leg. Notice all the dead skin on the leg. That happened in the cast. I was going to remove it, but the foot and leg were too painful to attend to that.IMG_1796 .

Overall, it was a fine day!

Foot/Ankle Surgery Recovery from Feb 20st

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This is a blog documenting recovery from Post Tibia Tendon surgery in my left foot. The surgery was in mid-January, 2014. Following the surgery, a splint was placed on my left leg from knee to the ball of the foot. After about 1 1/2 weeks, I received a cast in the same location. The cast was heavy, and stiff. I was scheduled to have the cast removed on February 20th. The foot was to be checked, and x-rayed and another cast placed on me for a few more weeks. Prior to the appointment I had some leg cramps which were minor and seemed to go away by simply placing the cast on the floor and staying calm.

On the day of the appointment, the cast cast was removed, and xrays were taken and I saw the doctor, Dr. Hyams. Upon questions, I informed her of the leg cramps, and she massaged my calf which hurt. She informed me she was sending me to have an ultrasound for blood clot as the cramps and hurt from massage sometimes indicated that. A walking boot was placed on my foot and I went to a location directly across from the doctor’s office named CVCA.

The ultrasound technician determined I did have a small blood-clot in my calf so I had to see the doctor. I was sent to an office to wait. Soon, Dr. Sproulings came in and advised me about the blood clot, saying blood-thinner would be administered for the next couple months. Dr. Sproulings was comforting saying that they didn’t worry about blots below the knee as they hardly ever go anywhere. She said the clot I had was tiny. She advised the blood thinner medication was taken for the purpose of allowing the blood to pass the clot and not hang on to it which would make it larger. The thinner was also to prevent other clots from forming. Dr. Sproulings also said that my own body would get rid of the clot as soon as I got some exercise in that area. She said she didn’t think the leg lifts I was doing would help much in that regard as they didn’t actually exercise the calf, but instead the quads around the knee and the thigh. So I guess I’m stuck with this thing till I get out of a cast entirely, when I get started with therapy which actually will, exercise my calf.

When I was done with the ultrasound, I returned home with my new walking boot, which was confusing to me. I received another appointment to CVCA the following Wednesday for them to check and see if the clot grew smaller in the last week. The day after that, I received an appointment to see my surgeon. But that left me with some questions – that is, what am I supposed to be doing with a walking boot? It is confusing because the cast immobilized my foot and the instructions were that the cast is non weight bearing, don’t put weight on it. But now, just prior to getting another cast, I am placed in a walking boot, except with no instructions. Walking boots, other than the bottom, are flexible on the top and sides. My foot could swell more than in a cast. So what to do about walking?

The following day, I contacted Dr. Hyams about the boot. I was advised the boot is to be treated like a cast, non-weight bearing. The only problem with this instruction is that the boot is so much larger than the cast, the non-weight bearing is near impossible. Even just getting out of a chair, the boot is much larger than the cast and one just has to have the foot flat on the floor. Plus the boot is far heavier than the cast, which helps place it on the floor whether the wearer wants it there or not. When crutching, the boot is so long and heavy that it hangs down further and scrapes if the wearer attempts to keep the boot off the ground. Suffice to say, non-weight bearing if far more difficult with the boot than the cast!

So right now, I have another appointment for another ultrasound on Wednesday Feb 26 and another appointment with my surgeon to discuss the cast. The ultrasound is to determine if the clot is the same size or smaller, and not larger. I am hoping that may mean I can get out of this walking boot and back into a cast so my foot can continue to heal properly.

So how did all this come about? Why would I get a blood-clot, when only 1% of surgeries get one? Perhaps the answer is simple. I was to take aspirin for 10 days following the surgery. I did. The someone at the doctor’s office said I could stop, and I did. Bad move. I suppose there is no definite was to say that lack of aspirin was the reason for my clot, but, the reason for taking the aspirin a day was to keep the blood clots away. I stopped taking it and next thing, I had a clot.

This was just a short post acknowledging a small setback in recovery. I look forward to the next installment.

About Detective Estes

Detective EstesMr. Estes has lived in the DC Metropolitan area for most of his life. His father’s influence and expertise in firearms resulted in Mr. Estes beginning to rifle shoot at a young age and eventually shooting on the Washington-Lee High School rifle team in Arlington, VA.

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