I had a subtalar fusion 12/1/08. I have 2 screws inserted through the bottom of my heel that go through the subtalar joint to the front of my ankle. I have been full weightbearing for about 6 weeks and weaning into a shoe for the past 2-3 weeks. Since last Friday I have had a growing pain - well 2 pains actually - one on the bottom of my heel that at times is excruciating and makes it impossible to walk after about 15 minutes (and it starts immediately when I put my foot on the ground). The other pain is in the front of my ankle where the screws come out - it is especially tender to the touch.
Therefore, when I walk in a shoe or barefoot - my heel kills me. When I wear the boot, the front of my ankle is so tender I can't hardly stand it.
I don't really know what could be causing this pain this late in the game. I mean, if it was closer to surgery, I may think it was infected or something.
Is it possible that the screws are working their way out?
I would love to hear from anyone who hasd experience with how that feels and what was done to correct the problem or anyone else who has thoughts to share.
I know someone on another board who had a similar problem. They went in and re-screwed them. I would definitely call your doctor as you want to be sure. I would think with a fusion those screws need to be just right!
Thanks Emmie! The strangest thing is this morning things feel pretty good. I'm able to walk anyway! I called the dr's office Friday afternoon and left a message, so I suppose I will hear from them Monday. I'll keep you posted.
I haven't heard back from my surgeon yet, and honestly I am getting very frustrated. I am now 14 weeks out from my fusion, and I still cannot really enjoy any amount of activity. I just want to be better! I want to be able to walk or to stand for more than 10 minutes without all of the pain. I can't believe how much it still hurts AND I am still on pain meds!
step, you are so early in your recovery i wouldn't freak out yet. if you just had it in december....you are only 4 months. i wasn't even out of boot yet! i didn't feel amazing until month 9 and am doing pretty well now. my surgery was last may. (triple arthrodesis, fusion)
the screws can irritate things, my 2 in my navicular bone are irritating the tissue and may need to be taken out...but not til a year.
i remember going thru lots of new pains in those early months. they will come and go and eventually will be gone. hang in there. it's probably just normal pains.
I heard from my os today. He is going to have me fitted for an orthotic (donut) to put in my shoe for cushion. We'll see how this works. I am making the appointment as soon as possible, so I can get active. I am just disappointed with the limited activity I am able to do. I am currently unemployed and would love to do some spring cleaning!
Yes, I understand 1 year to be 100%. My concern is that after standing on my foot for only 15 minutes my pain escalates to an 8 or a 9 with every step and that is WITH pain meds. That seems a little extreme to me.
Can a person get a stress fracture in their heel? I have always heard about them in the smaller bones in the foot. I'm not sure they could happen on such a large bone....
step, I would definitely see your doctor about that. No, you shouldn't have that level of pain. You need to know if there is a problem with the screws. but to answer your question, yes, you can have a calcaneal stress fracture. They are not very common and given the fact that you have screws I would lean more toward that being the problem but I'm just guessing. I would get this checked out soon, though. Sounds like you're in a great deal of pain with this. Let us know what happens.
step, I'm not Shelley (:=) ) but I did have 2 stress fractures (not in my heel) one in the second metatarsal and one in the fourth - not at the same time thank goodness! How both of mine started was a weird tingly feeling in a specific spot. It progressed to slight pain when weight bearing to pretty intense pain when weight bearing to even throbbing at rest. The area of pain felt about the size of a half dollar. Calcaneal stress fractures may present in a different manner but that's how mine were both times. Also, the area of pain was very tender to the touch.
deep achy pain, even while resting it will still ache. and usually tender to touch, if you poke around the area. heel ones are a bit deeper, but usually it's the achey all the time part that red flags us.
shelley, just fyi, my PT is the one who diagnosed my stress fractures both times before I went to the doctor. Both times I was rehabbing from surgery when they occurred. I thought it was just my usual aches and pains. The ultrasound sending me through the roof was a big clue, too!
Well, I have good news, then. I tried swithing my shoes to backless tennis shoes and it seems to have done the trick. Although my heel still gets sore and tender after being on it a while, it is not as bad and no longer hurts when I am resting.
Thank you for listening to me and for helping. I have recovered from 9 surgeries and am very familiar with the normal (and abnormal) aches and pains. I don't mean to sound like a know-it-all, but I just mean that I am pretty in tune with what is just the expected recovery challenges and when something is actually wrong. This time, I was really concerned something was going on around the entry site, but it looks like my intuition was mistaken.
I am so grateful to have this board to come to when I am unsure. It sure helps for peace of mind and for encouragement when things get rough.