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Old 12-09-2004, 11:47 AM   #1
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Question Ankle Ligament Surgery Question

I had a modified Brostrom procedure 15 days ago (along with some bone removal and peroneal tendon repair). I am non-weightbearing in a cast. In 5 days (the 3 week mark) I can start weight bearing "as tolerated". What is everybody's experience with starting weightbearing? Can you walk on it a lot right away, or does it take days or weeks to work up to walking on it?

Thanks in advance.

 
Old 12-09-2004, 01:08 PM   #2
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Re: Ankle Ligament Surgery Question

After having that procedure plus augmentation with a tendon graft, I was NWB for 6 weeks. I think sometime around the 3 or 4 week mark I started (very slowly) putting very small amounts of weight on it while standing still. So by the time I got to 6 weeks and the walking cast and permission to lose the crutches, I was able to put some weight on it, but not my full body weight (I didn't want to put that much on it, seeing as I didn't really have permission to be putting any weight on it, so I was very gentle). Once I got the walking cast, I tried putting my full weight on it and it hurt a lot. So I used both crutches that day, trying to walk on it with some weight but taking the extra weight through the crutches. By the end of the day I was able to put my full weight on it. The next day I was using either one or two crutches, I don't remember. The third day I was definitely down to one crutch (when you use one crutch, you use it on the side opposite your injured foot), and the fourth day I was walking with no crutches (but carefully, and definitely using the railing on the stairs!).

So take it slowly at first. Start with both crutches and just put some of your weight on it while you are walking (this will slow you down a lot, so be patient). Slowly increase the amount of weight you put on your foot as you can (let pain be your guide). When you feel like you are putting most of your weight on the foot and not really on the crutches, go down to just one crutch for extra support. Then when you aren't really putting much weight on that, you're walking!

It took me three days. I've read other people who said that it took them a week or two or even more. Just take it slowly, go at your own pace, and let pain be your guide.

Glad to hear that your surgery went well. Good luck with the rest of your recovery.

 
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Old 12-09-2004, 01:20 PM   #3
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Re: Ankle Ligament Surgery Question

I had a modified bronston and repair of osteochondral lesion. I was NWB for five weeks. It took me two weeks to go from 2 crutches to none. I think that was because of the repair on my cartilege. What are you going to be in.. a walking cast, boot, aircast? I think that makes a different... the more protected you feel, the faster you can go. I was between a boot and aircast, mostly boot. Let us know how things work. Good luck!!!

 
Old 12-09-2004, 01:31 PM   #4
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Re: Ankle Ligament Surgery Question

I am in a fiberglass cast (blue) that I will begin weightbearing. At six weeks I get an aircast.

Over the last day or two I have put some weight on it (not full) and it feels ok at the time, but starts hurting a few minutes after I put weight on it. Based on that I am thinking that it may take a while to work up to walking.

 
Old 12-13-2004, 07:29 AM   #5
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Re: Ankle Ligament Surgery Question

I had that procedure done back in February, I was NWB for 6 weeks, (in a cast) and PWB to FWB in a boot for 4 weeks. It took me a long time to get rid of the crutches completly. Good luck, take your time if you need it.

 
Old 12-13-2004, 08:24 AM   #6
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Re: Ankle Ligament Surgery Question

I had a peroneal tendon repair and was in a splint and crutches for 10 days non weight bearing and have been in a boot for the last four weeks - weight baring as able - used the crutches for a few days - similar to others first two then one - then none - but have still used the crutches for distance walking. Take your time - it will slow you down - but it is worth it not to be in pain. I go to the doctor tomorrow - get out of the boot and into a lace up brace and I think get set for physical therapy. Good Luck.

 
Old 12-14-2004, 07:35 AM   #7
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Re: Ankle Ligament Surgery Question

I began weightbearing in a walking cast this morning. It is so great to walk! Even if its only a few steps here and there without crutches.

It is interesting, putting weight on it or walking a bit is not all that painful at the time but it gets painful five or 10 minutes later. I am sure it will be pretty sore tonight.

 
Old 12-14-2004, 11:17 AM   #8
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Wink Re: Ankle Ligament Surgery Question

Congrats on your walking Big Dog! I went to the doctor this morning - I got the lace up brace and will transition from the boot to the brace - a few hours at a time to start. I have been walking with it ,in the house and it definitely feels different. I go back to work part time the end of the week and start physical therapy on the 28th. Doctor says walking around at work will be like physical therapy!

 
Old 01-04-2005, 07:32 AM   #9
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Re: Ankle Ligament Surgery Question

I had the Modified Brostrom procedure 6 weeks ago. I got my cast off yesterday. Yeah. I was weightbearing in the cast for the past three weeks. I am in an aircast brace for 4 more weeks. During the six weeks time seemed to pass really slowly. Now, looking back it didn't seem to be that long.

I went straight from getting the cast off to the pool and swam laps. Did some light yoga this morning. It is so great to be getting back to normal life.

I am shocked at how good it feels. The repaired ligaments are pretty tight as is my achilles from being immobilized for six weeks. But, walking isn't that painful on the repaired ligaments. I am totally pleased and amazed.

PT starts tomorrow. We'll see how that goes.

Here's an interesting tidbit: I asked my Dr. how he knew how tight to make the ligaments. He said he cuts the ligaments and then puts the ankle mortise into position that he thinks is anatomically correct and then reattaches the ligaments. I thought that was interesting.

 
Old 01-04-2005, 05:16 PM   #10
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Re: Ankle Ligament Surgery Question

Big Dog sounds like you are making good progress. I started PT last week, had surgery on my tendon 1st week of Nov. Slow at first, but feels good to at least be able to move the ankle some - only up and down and out to the side, doc. does want it moved inward past 10 degrees till I see him again. Feels o.k. but gets tired easily. Please post how your PT goes.

 
Old 01-07-2005, 09:34 PM   #11
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Re: Ankle Ligament Surgery Question

I had it done in March. I was pretty sore for about two weeks. It slowly got better but I still sat in all my classes with my leg up on the table for maybe 4-6 weeks after the surgery. It wasn't as much of a pain issue toward the end of that time, but my toes turned the most amazing shades of purple when I let my foot hang down, so I kept it elevated pretty much all the time that I wasn't walking for the first 4-6 weeks. At 6 weeks I got the cast off and was in a boot. I was able to lose the crutches in 2-3 days. Pretty soon after that I was walking around my house without the boot and just wearing it to go out (I started that because I was having some issues getting part of my incision to completely heal over). I started PT as soon as I got into the boot. I think I was in the boot for 4 weeks or so, then into regular shoes with a brace to wear during risky activity. I continued PT for maybe 8-10 weeks total. By the end of June I was able to help people move (packing and carrying boxes). In August I was hiking on rocky trails.

The recovery seems long and hopeless at the point you are at right now, but hang in there. There were some nights where I was in pain and sick of the cast and I would cry and wonder why on earth I subjected myself to such torture. And it's a long time in a cast and on crutches, wondering if your leg is actually still in there. Once you get past that, PT is kind of slow, but I felt like I made pretty good progress from week to week. Once you get off the crutches, things speed up a lot; it's just waiting for the ligaments and tendons to heal that takes a long time and is frustrating. But I don't regret having the surgery at all and if I had it to do over again, I would. So try to focus on the end result and take advantage of the ability to send people to run your errands while you can. :-)

 
Old 01-08-2005, 05:59 AM   #12
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Re: Ankle Ligament Surgery Question

Lauren:

Welcome. Fun stuff, isn't it?

Do you live in St. Louis? So do I.

If they used a tendon to reconstruct the ligaments, then you probably had a Christman - Snook procedure, instead of what I had, which was a Modified Brostrom. What you had is more major and will take a bit longer to heal and you will have less range of motion in you ankle afterwards.

Yes, the crutches are a pain. With my procedure I found that I could go off the vicodin at about the 10 day point. I then took ibuprofin every four hours for about the next 10 days and then was able to get by without pain meds at all.

Just take it easy and be very patient. This is going to be a relatively long process. It may sound crazy, but try to enjoy and fully experience what you are going thru. Here are a few things I found were positive about the whole cast/crutches experience: (1) I got to relax more and read books, (2) I didn't drive (right ankle), so I had to be driven places - I found that my life slowed down and was a lot less hectic when I wasn't jumping in my car all the time and driving off, (3) as much as I missed working out (I mainly swim and do yoga), it was nice to take a break, (4) I appreciated the support I got from family, friends and co-workers - it really reminds you who your friends are and made me feel really good that so many people care about me.

I found that during the six weeks in the cast (and especially the three weeks on crutches) time seemed to move very slow (which isn't all bad). Looking back on it, it doesn't seem like much time at all.

I am in an aircast and doing PT now. Once again, things move slowly. There is improvement, but very slowly. I am encourgaged though. I had seen my PT a number of times before the surgery - so she was familiar with me. She said that I have gone from the loosest ankle that she has seen to having the best ankle reconstruction she has seen. That being said, I still cannot walk without a big limp and have pretty limited range of motion.

Anywho, good luck and keep us informed.

 
Old 01-08-2005, 08:43 AM   #13
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Re: Ankle Ligament Surgery Question

KEHORNER:

Most of my pain at this point is across the front of my ankle and top of foot (even more so than where the ligaments were repaired). DId you experience this? I am guessing its because that's where the extensor recalcanium (sp?) was moved and attached to the fibula?

 
Old 01-08-2005, 04:30 PM   #14
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Re: Ankle Ligament Surgery Question

Hi all. I had reconstructive surgery on my ankle on July 6th. I believe it was a modified Evans procedure, but they were reconstructing all three of the outside ligaments after multiple grade 3 sprains, so I am not positive.

Bigdog, I have been having pain in the same areas you are describing; across the top of my foot and at the base of my shin, where it meets the ankle. They are currently trying to address this pain with soft tissue work, electro stimulation, "shock baths" (soaking my foot in really hot water, then really cold, then really hot... etc. etc. etc.) They have also given me orthotics, but they are stil adjusting them to fit right.

It is nice to hear of someone else having pain in this same area, because I was starting to think I was going a little insane since no one can really tell me what is causing this pain.

Last edited by Mpls21; 01-08-2005 at 05:21 PM.

 
Old 01-09-2005, 05:47 AM   #15
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Re: Ankle Ligament Surgery Question

Lauren:

I did experience more pain when blood would rush to my foot. That gets a lot better.

While the recovery does take awhile - you will improve. At each point its hard to tell what you will be able to do in the future. For example, a week after surgery I could not imagine being off vicodin, but a few days later I was able to move to ibuprofin. A week before I was supposed to go weight-bearing in the cast I tried putting weight on it and given the pain I thought there was no way I would be able to be weight bearing in seven days - but when the time came it was much better and I was able to move from being on crutches to full weight bearing over four days. I got my cast off six days ago. For the first two days I could barely walk. I thought, wow, this is going to suck! Yesterday I flew to Miami on business and was able to walk all through the airport without totally killing myself (yes, I am in Miami Beach right now preparing to go lay out at the pool). So, just because you are in a lot of pain and things are tough now, remember that they do get better.

Regarding going to class and pain meds - I went to work six days after my surgery. I thought I wouldn't be able to stay awake because I had been falling asleep a lot. But when I was at work I was ok. I wasn't real productive for the first few days (I spent a lot of time looking at www.explodingdog.com on the net and making inappropriate comments) due to being loopy on the meds, but I was surprised that I didn't fall asleep. So, it may turn out better than you think. Another thing you may try is skipping some class. You can get notes from friends. I have always thought that attending class is overrated - I skipped a lot and did really well - I bet you can miss some class and not have your grades affected too much.

Try not let this upset you too much. Try to look at this experience as being mildly entertainng and a great learning experience. I truely believe that we are here on Earth to learn and that everything we experience is a chance to learn. This injury will pass and it would be ashame not to have learned all you can from it and to have benefitted from it somehow. I had previously posted about 10 things I had learned from this experience, maybe I'll post a revised list.

How long are you in a cast? When do you start weight bearing? Where do you go to school?

 
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