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Old 06-29-2009, 11:47 AM   #1
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Cool possible to 'feel' the screws in your leg after exercise

Hey! I thought I'd just start a thread for those of us who have had OATS ankle surgery to see how life goes on. Hope everyone is progressing very well!

So I'm doing really well a year and a half after OATS. My foot feels great and I am doing a lot of activites I can enjoy. June 13th I did a fun run and very slowly jogged 2 miles on the dirt portion of the race. That felt really good! I happened to run into my local Ortho Dr. and she thought 'fun runs' were a bad idea and I should be happy to be walking. Which I am! I decided the next week to take her advice and go biking instead. Now my foot is really sore from that!! But not in the OATS area but shin splint / top of foot area. My surgery has left me with less ROM than I realize. I only notice it when I go downhill, I can't point my foot down as much as I could before. so I think the pedaling irritated my leg a bit. Go figure - biking hurts but jogging is fine! Other than that, a little numbness is that only thing I'm left with 18 months after surgery. The other activity I really enjoy is hiking fairly flat trails along the creeks. Not too steep and I can go a long distance - cool! Here's a question: Do you think my shin achiness is pure muscle/ soft tissue or do you think it's possible to 'feel' the screws in your leg after exercise? Do you think the osteotomy area can be irritated after it's healed?

Well back to work - hope everyone is enjoying summer!

Abby

 
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Old 06-29-2009, 05:51 PM   #2
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Re: Life after OATS surgery!

Abby,
As always, you're an inspiration to many of us on here! It's great to see you doing so wonderful
Here's my theory on your aching shins: I think as you said, this could be from a lack of ROM, but probably not because of the osteotomy. I know the calf muscles help you point your toes down, while the muscle that attaches to your shin bone helps you point your toes up or flex the ankle. So it would make sense that your shins get sore along with the top of your foot, if you stretched them out while pedaling by continuously pointing your toes down.
I would think pain from the osteotomy would be more distinct. I can feel my screws sometimes when it rains as well as the osteotomy site and it doesn't feel like shin splints!

So here's an update on me everyone:
Overall I'm doing great 15 weeks post OATs. I never thought I would get here! The first two months of recovery were long and painful, probably more emotionally than physically, believe it or not! I've been walking without crutches for four weeks, and have been walking without a boot for three weeks. I'm in physical therapy twice a week, I walk in a pool for 20 minutes three times a week, and I do some light upper body and leg workouts at the gym also three times a week. It's mostly rehab exercises. My knee and ankle are both stiff. The ankle significantly more than the knee. The swelling is still there but improving by the day. I also have a slight loss of sensation on the top of my foot...not sure if it'll come back or not, but it's not a big deal. My walking is also improving. I no longer walk like frankenstein, but I still have a slight limp. I feel that my limping is from a lack of ROM in my ankle, but lately it's been popping and crackling from the backside, almost as if the ankle is becoming "unstuck." It feels kinda good
This has definitely been a life changing experience. There are so many things I took for granted before this ordeal, that I will never take for granted again. I probably won't run again (even though my doctor says he expects me too), but I do plan on going back to spinning class, yoga, bike riding, hiking, dancing, and weightlifting. Yeah, I'm setting the bar high... but staying positive and praying are what help me keep it up there

I hope everyone is doing well...I look forward to hearing your stories
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-Liz

Last edited by anklehelp; 06-29-2009 at 05:51 PM.

 
Old 07-01-2009, 10:08 PM   #3
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Re: Life after OATS surgery!

Hey guys!

Well, I have a huge update- WHere to start....

Last week I had my 9 mos post op appt.

Here's how it went down.

He asked how I'm doing and I told him. I reminded him I hadn't run for 8 weeks and was in the boot for about 5. I've been walking for a week and it is worse than before the boot. (Can't remember if I mentioned 6 weeks ago he freaked out on me and told me to be in a boot with no exercise and no PT, so I did.)

He asks me how the OATS spot was and I told him that again, that part was actually good, it was the peroneals, PTT, and scar tissue in front that was causing all my pain. I said the OATS was good though. And, like any surgeon, I guess, he claimed the surgery was a success! Well, I told him that although the procedure was a success, I didn't consider it a success if now I have new issues that weren't there before because of the surgery. But, I agreed with him, the OATS was successful even if my ankle as a whole is not.

So then we went into details. A short version is this:

Doesn't want to touch my peroneals no matter what the issue. He said he doesn't want to get near them. Afraid of too much scar tissue and doesn't care, if they are torn. Well, I do care because they hurt worse than ever. I will bring this up again next visit because they are incredibly painful, more than the last 2 times I tore them.

PTT(tendon on inside of ankle)he could clean out BUT that I had to try crutches for awhile first. That the boot was fine, but since it didn't work I have to be NWB until I see him next. I won't even go into my reaction with that one. I"m still not convinced this is all of the pain. The osteotomy site hurts the most, more than the actual tendon I think. I'm hoping when he fixes the tendon he'll look at the osteotomy site.

He will remove the plate and screws because they are causing pain which could contribute to the osteotomy site pain issue.

As for anterior impingement from scar tissue. He kinda blew off the amount of it and said we should try cortisone shot first. If it feels better then he said he knows scoping it will work. If it does't then I have to learn to live with it. So he did the shot and had a hard time getting needle in because of all the scar tissue. Even mentioned he didn't know how he was going to get a scope in there I was so filled with scar tissure. I reminded him that I already knew there was a ton there and the reason for my pain! (I dont' care if he didn't appreciate it, but I've told him of the scar tissue for 6 mos now and he just blew it off until today).

And big news!!!! My husband got a job! Yey! But, the bad news is that we have to move to Wisconsin probably in December.

So, as for the insurance changng and the move, etc. I go see him on the 15th of July. On crutches until then, NWB, and then in July we will reevaluate for surgery which is scheduled July 28th.

I'm frustrated though. One, it's taken this long for him to finally realize what I've said for months now. The scar tissue isn't going to go poof. I wonder how much of the PTT is from the scar tissue affecting my gait. Also, I REALLY don't get this one. If he's going to do the surgery in July anyway, WHY THE CRUTCHES?????????????? and why not even bother with the peroneals at this point?

I'm not sure I want to have surgery if only part of the issues will be fixed. I don't understand how my ankle can "scare" him. I'm not ready to give up on it yet. The cortisone shot has helped the pain in front so that is a good sign. I have to say that the NWB is not reducing my pain in my ankle a whole bunch in the tendon areas.

But, the good news is that the actual OATS site is much better. I just wish that fixing that didn't give me all this new pain. I never had PTT pain before. My dr. thinks it is from gait change after the surgery, possibly from my frozen ankle from the scar tissue.

Oh, and Abby, I did try the stationary bike for awhile and I have to say that running still hurts less that biking or walking. I don't know why, but my ankle feels the best when I run. I'm not making that up, seriously!
__________________
Brostrom x2, peroneal tendon repair x2, Peroneal subluxation, PTT tendon repair, microfracture x5, OATS, Distraction arthroplasty, ORIF talus & fibula, subtalar fusion, ankle replacement (failed)
RSD

 
Old 09-22-2009, 08:44 PM   #4
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Re: Life after OATS surgery!

Hello everyone!

Just writing to let you all know, I had my 6 month post OATS appointment! I can't believe it's been 6 months. The first few months after surgery felt like they would never end!!! The MRI looks good, my doctor says the graft is well incorporated and thriving!!!!
I wouldn't say I'm 100%. I mean, obviously, the OATS worked, but as they say, you're never quite the same after a big surgery like this. What my ankle went through was pretty traumatic! I still have difficulty going down stairs, squatting all the way down to the ground is uncomfortable, and I don't have full ROM in my right ankle. But I am happy. I would say I'm at 90% and working on reaching my full potential. I'm officially done with physical therapy, but I continue to work on my strength, ROM, and balance. I go to the gym 5-6 times a week. I break a sweat on the elliptical, or in spinning class, I lift weights, do calf raises, squats...all pain free. Oh, and just two weeks ago, I was in NYC and walked and walked and walked and my ankle did great.
I wish everyone smooth and happy healing in whatever stage of recovery you might be in...God bless
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Old 09-23-2009, 05:31 AM   #5
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Re: Life after OATS surgery!

Today is my one year anniversary of OATs. It is also my 8 week anniversary of my 3rd surgery. I have an appt. this morning.

Out of all the things I had done a year ago, including 1 microfracture and 1 OATs procedure, the OATS worked. I have no pain in that area, no more shooting pains there. I wish the insurance company that denied my OATS procedure would see that my 3rd microfracture still is causing me pain and my 1 OATS procedure is good. I wish they would realize that the cost of OATS was nothing compared to 3 surgeries and 3 post-op periods and 3 years of PT.

As for the rest of my ankle, well, this 3rd surgery is more painful in the walking period than the OATS was. It's too early to say it didn't work, but I'm not holding my breath either.
__________________
Brostrom x2, peroneal tendon repair x2, Peroneal subluxation, PTT tendon repair, microfracture x5, OATS, Distraction arthroplasty, ORIF talus & fibula, subtalar fusion, ankle replacement (failed)
RSD

 
Old 09-23-2009, 12:31 PM   #6
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Re: Life after OATS surgery!

Liz - can you do a single calf raise on your oats ankle!? im almost there...my left calf is still pretty weak but ive been working on it. I consider a single calf raise to be a HUGE HUGE step in my recovery. I was never able to do that after the microfracture surgery..for a year and a half..not one little raise on my left ankle. In a few weeks i have my 6 month post op follow up with my doc...

 
Old 09-23-2009, 01:46 PM   #7
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Re: Life after OATS surgery!

Liz! I'm so happy for you! We have had similar recoveries and I know exactly how awesome it feels to walk on hard concrete for hours and not be in pain! My ankle is not 100% and never will be but 95% or better. I just have weird nerve sensations and a small lack of ROM but other than that, it feels completely normal. In the last week I have done a 30 mile bike ride, and another 20 mile bike ride. I still get shin splint pain if I'm not careful but I've learned not to pedal beyond my ROM. So my only real pain is my rear-end from sitting on the seat!

You'll be amazed how great it feels in another 3 months or so. That's when I really felt like I was returning to normal. I think it took a full year before my calf return to the same size as the other one..

Kris - I hope this 3rd surgery heals well and gets you back to a pain-free state. I can't imagine having more than one OCD - Keep us informed on how you're doing!

Bumankle - sound like you're doing well too! Patience grasshopper!

Abby

 
Old 09-23-2009, 02:09 PM   #8
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Re: Life after OATS surgery!

I just feel like shouting from the top of a mountain. "I'm boot free!!!!! 2 weeks earlier than expected!!!"
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Brostrom x2, peroneal tendon repair x2, Peroneal subluxation, PTT tendon repair, microfracture x5, OATS, Distraction arthroplasty, ORIF talus & fibula, subtalar fusion, ankle replacement (failed)
RSD

 
Old 09-24-2009, 03:10 PM   #9
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Re: Life after OATS surgery!

Kris, that's great news! What a load off...literally Will you be doing more PT?

Abby, thanks for the yet even more encouragement. I'm so grateful to be doing great...and I will be thrilled to feel "normal"!!! Wow, you're biking a lot. I've been planning on buying myself a bike. Are you still playing volleyball? And of course hiking in beautiful Montana?

Bumankle, Yes! I can do a single legged calf raise, and squat although the squat is NOT pretty. I didn't have problems doing calf raises before surgery though. I did however have problems going up stairs with my foot flat, and I can do that now, so that has been a huge sign of recovery for me Let me know how your healing progresses...can't wait to hear about your one legged calf raise
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Old 09-28-2009, 08:34 AM   #10
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Re: Life after OATS surgery!

Hello Kris,
did you feel that the micro fractures worked? I am currently deciding between my 3rd micro fracture or to move ahead with the OATS procedure that was recommended to me. My last micro fracture 8/08 only healed half way and the OCD is still there. I am a candidate for osteoporosis in the joint and only 30 yrs old. I have to make a decision and any advice can help. thanks! hope you feel better

 
Old 09-28-2009, 08:52 AM   #11
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Re: Life after OATS surgery!

OATS was WAY better, hands down, than the microfracture. The recovery was way more, and the pain way more, but it worked. I had microfracture the first time on both OCD's. Neither took. So the next surgery I had OATs on the biggest one and microfracture on the smaller one. OATs worked, microfracture didn't. So third surgery he went in to do other stuff and did the microfracture again on the smaller one. The OATs site he looked at and it was pretty good. It needed a little shaving, but was pretty good. Microfracture site had gotten bigger from surgery #2 to surgery #3 and they were only 10 mos apart.
So am I holding my breath it will work this time? It won't. I won't qualify for OATS though because it is a "kissing lesion" which means I have the same size deal g oing on my fibula right across the joint. OATS are excluded from that because I guess I'd have bone rubbing on a new placed plug in the OATs site.

If your lesion is say, over 8mm in size then OATs will be your best option.
__________________
Brostrom x2, peroneal tendon repair x2, Peroneal subluxation, PTT tendon repair, microfracture x5, OATS, Distraction arthroplasty, ORIF talus & fibula, subtalar fusion, ankle replacement (failed)
RSD

 
Old 09-28-2009, 10:07 AM   #12
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Re: Life after OATS surgery!

I'm going to add something to the recovery thread here. I am now 1 year 9 months out from OATS and I have tried several times in the last year to do the elliptical machine at the gym. It would always irritate my ankle so I just wrote it off. Well I tried again last week and voila! - no pain! I used it 3 times last week and had no pain. Then I was going through some papers this weekend and I found an article about articular cartilage repair. It was discussing that they found improvement increasing 2 years from surgical repair. I can vouch for that because I still am finding improvement. Now I look back and I think trying the elliptical at 6 months was too soon. I would say 1 year is a better time frame to start really testing the ankle. It seems like a long time but looking back now it really isn't that long. So that's my 2 cents.

Liz - my volleyball class was only 2 months long so I haven't been doing that. I have been doing a lot of biking though. There are really cool trails around here. You should look up the Hiawatha trail in MT. I've also done tons of hikes and such and it feels awesome. This whole foot recovery thing doesn't help too much with the housework end of things .... After being stuck not doing much for 3 years I've got to make up for lost time!

Abby

 
Old 09-28-2009, 11:34 AM   #13
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Re: Life after OATS surgery!

Abby - thats awesome!! i was just going to add that i could do the eliptical..pain free!! well ok i just did it for 10 min but it was a big step for me! i even did it backwards! I havent been able to do it in 2 years..w/out limping off of it and then being in pain for days/weeks. Also- a couple weeks ago i danced at my friends wedding!!! it was so much fun! i was so afraid that id wake up the next day and not be able to walk...i was fine though..no limp, no pain! woo-hoo!

Kris- congrats on being boot free! what a relief!

Liz- good to hear you are progressing well..w the stairs, squats...my squats arent pretty either...my left leg is so shakey! im working on it...

lss979 - my advice is OATS! i had the choice to do microfracture or oats and i chose microfracture...it failed! i ended up having to have oats a year and half later. wish i would have chosen oats in the first place....

 
Old 09-28-2009, 11:58 AM   #14
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Re: Life after OATS surgery!

I'm only a week out from my OATS procedure, so naturally I have NOTHING positive to add to this thread, lol. However, I enjoy reading this and all the old OATS threads, especially now, since I have the time.

 
Old 09-28-2009, 12:52 PM   #15
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Re: Life after OATS surgery!

Bum Ankle,

That's awesome! When I would try the elliptical it would be fine but the next day I would feel it. Now I can go backwards too! I've finally started to expect no pain with things. After so many years of having pain I would expect to pay for some of my activites but alas, OATS has corrected the problem! I've never had drilling, but if it failed 2 times, yeah, I think I would be ready for OATS.

Jenn - it's ok not to be positive now, but that first time you step down and realize the stabbing pain is gone is a wonderful moment!

Abby

 
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