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Old 10-01-2009, 01:06 AM   #1
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pinachui HB User
Calcaneous surgery - Recovery and what to expect?

Hi heelies!

I'm a 26 year old female that recently had calcaneous surgery. Here are the facts:
- Injury 7/30/09 - Fractured calcaneous heel in 6-7 places,
bruised tail bone, and compressed fracture
on my L1 vertabrae
- Calcaneous surgery 8/28/09 on my right heel
- Installed 1 plate and 7 screws

Basically, the short version of my injury was that I was drugged at a bar with a date-rape drug called GHB, and while under the influence of the drug the next morning I fell out of a 3rd story window. I may have been sleepwalking, but there were no witnesses and I don't remember a thing - even the fall itself.

There was a 4 week wait between the injury and the surgery because I got wrong information from the ER and had to wait to get an appointment with a specialist and surgery date.

Right now, I am nearing 5 weeks post-op. After surgery, I was in the hospital for three days with a drain that helped with the swelling of my foot. When I was discharged, I was fitted with a fiberglass cast and crutches. Three and a half weeks after surgery, my stitches were removed.

I am taking vitamin pills every day, and am using an Exogen bone stimulator for 20 minutes every morning and night. I also stretch my whole body every morning, and do some leg exercises as well, to keep the blood flowing. I also try my best to move my toes any way I can.

Did I mention I started going to work two weeks after the surgery? I have a desk job and so don't have to move a lot so I figured I am okay.

I guess besides needing support (before delving headlong into more depression), is there anything I can do that would help? I know patience is a virtue, and I am a very patient person, I just wanted to make sure I was doing everything I can to help with the healing process.

I have a loving family and great friends, but finding this thread has helped me realize what this injury truly means. No one knows how this feels except for us, and I am truly happy to have read past posts that exude such positivity! I hope to be WBing in 8 weeks, but won't be sure until my next appointment in 2 weeks. I don't feel that much pain, except shooting stars from time to time, and I feel like my leg and foot have shrunk a lot since the surgery.

Thanks everyone for reading! Here's to our success!

 
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Old 10-04-2009, 11:50 AM   #2
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desross4 HB User
Re: Calcaneous surgery - Recovery and what to expect?

pinachui:

You sound very positive to have undergone such a trauma! I fractured my calcaneus in a car accident in February. It was an open fracture so I was nonWBing for 2 mos before have a primary fusion (calcaneus & subtalar joint). My hardware was removed a month ago. I was nonWBing for a total of 7 weeks, but the average seems to be 8 to 12 weeks depending on healing.

I've been doing PT for a couple of months which has really helped with confidence and range of motion. Keep up the exercises you are doing while nonWBing. It will really help you once you get to the PT stage. It'll take you a few weeks to a month to be completely WBing.

I, too, didn't have much pain until I started WBing. Tylenol or Advil helps with the pain. You'll need to be able to elevate it and ice it once you start walking. A compression sock or sleeve really helps with my swelling and pain. Your gait will be off due to a long time in a cast, too. My leg and foot both shrank, too. The muscle tone comes back slowly once you can start doing total leg exercises.

It really helps to find others in the same boot. I've been corresponding with several "heelies" I found on this website. It's reassuring to find out there is still progress a year or more after the injury.

desross4

 
Old 10-07-2009, 02:16 PM   #3
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grete97 HB User
Re: Calcaneous surgery - Recovery and what to expect?

Hello,
I broke my calcaneus 03.aug this year and had surgery 3 days later. 5 external pins were placed to my heel and i wore hard cast for two months. Just got out of it few days ago and pins were removed too. It is unbeliveable how weak my leg is as i have not been able to move it for so long. I try to walk with elbow crutches and put some pressure on my foot. It seems to be really hard for me to walk as you put down heel first and then finish the step with toes but mine are stiff and weak and i just donīt seem to push leg off the grownd. Going to PT tomorrow for the first time. My leg is also quite swollen. How long can it be like this?
Just hope it gets better as i have three kids and looking at my high heel shoes just makes me cry (looking for any shoes at this place as i canīt get my foot into them and it will be winter soon).
I know it takes time and patients (this is not the strongest side of me unfortunately).
Keep heeling, You are not alone here.

 
Old 10-12-2009, 08:51 PM   #4
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jceprichard HB User
Re: Calcaneous surgery - Recovery and what to expect?

Grete97,

Finally a blog were I can relate to people with calc fx's.
My surgery was 1 day after yours( 8/07/2009)11 days after my Fx, and it sounds like you are ahead of me in your recovery. I don't expect to have some weight bearing and going to PT for 4 more weeks. My swelling has gone down and I am still wearing the boot everyday. I do toe and ankle excercises as much as I can hoping it is enough. My first physician told me I would never return to work as a firefighter which was devastating. I imediately got a second opinion with another surgeon and he is much more optimistic about my recover. I am on light duty at work and glad to still have a job. Hopefully I can recover from this and get back to work soon and back to doing normal activities.

It helps to have this blog site to answer some questions. Thanks for the posts!!!!

 
Old 10-13-2009, 09:25 AM   #5
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okie girl HB User
Re: Calcaneous surgery - Recovery and what to expect?

Grete, jcepichard, & pinachu,i

Sorry to hear that you are new members of the "heelie" club! Yes, this is a difficult and frustrating injury but there are good outcomes.

I fractured my heel on 1/20 of this year and 2/3 had ORIF surgery with plate and 9 screws. Now 9 months later I am getting around very well. I was 12 weeks non weight bearing and used a knee scooter to get around. Right heel injury so did not drive for those 12 weeks. Went back to work at 6 weeks. Bone heals in 8 weeks but, my os was very cautious. Some ''heelies'' are walking at 8 weeks+ but, remember that everyone's injury is different and we all have different time lines to heal.

Ah the Boot! Had to wear it night and day as I had a tibia and fibula fracture also, but went straight from the boot to walking.

PT is very helpful and your therapist should give you exercises to do at home to help loosen your muscles and tendons. I still do them to keep the foot loose and break down the scar tissue.

Shoes are an issue for everyone! I am not wearing heels or boots as I still have swelling but have found several pair of flats that look nice for work and are comfortable. Still wearing a 1/2 size larger. Several ''heelies'' bought larger tennis shoes for when they started walking and going to PT. At first don't spend a lot of money on shoes as your needs and pain will vary. You can tie up a lot of money in shoes that don't feel right as your foot changes during the healing process.

Most days I get around very well.... if I overdo it, I pay for it, but ibuprofen will take care of the pain. I still ice when needed and wear a compression sock every day as I am on my foot a lot. Try and measure your progress in weeks instead of days and keep a positive attitude.

Most of us did not get a good prognosis from our os. I think they try and prepare us for the worst possible outcome, yes it is difficult but, you can and will get your life back. Maybe not exactly as before, but some kind of normal.

Okie girl

 
Old 10-15-2009, 04:30 PM   #6
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jceprichard HB User
Re: Calcaneous surgery - Recovery and what to expect?

Okie girl,

Thanks for the reply, you had alot of good information and stuff you just can not find on the internet. I was wondering what was the time period between starting to walk and being able to be full weight bearing. I will be 12 weeks on the 30th of October and would like to get back to my regular job. Your injury was more severe than mine and I applaud you on your recovery.

Thanks for the info
Jeff

 
Old 10-15-2009, 05:37 PM   #7
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Alto2 HB User
Re: Calcaneous surgery - Recovery and what to expect?

Wow, I'm praying for you to have a good and quick recovery. From what I've heard about foot surgery is that it takes longer to heal than almost any other part of the body since we put our whole weight on our feet. I'm headed for surgery Next Friday so I'm hoping for relief too. You are in my thoughts. I'm proud of how you are doing. Keep your chin up. Things WILL get better.
Hugs, A.

 
Old 10-16-2009, 06:41 AM   #8
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grete97 HB User
Re: Calcaneous surgery - Recovery and what to expect?

I have been out of cast for almoust two weeks now and can walk with one elbow crutch with limp. Of course swelling has gone worse and i wake up about 5 times during night as my leg feels stiff but still. I have no porblem walking up the stairs but down... Oh boy it is difficult for me. My toes are still stiff and dont have enough strenght to push the heel off the grownd. I can move my leg upwards quite ok, down about 50% but sides are problem. Inside a little but outside almoust zero. Just hope it will get better.
Right now takeing sun baths in Cyprus with my family. Hot climate makes my keg swell even more but i dont care as it is warm here. I had to buy crocs as any other shoes just wont fit.
Wish you all quick recovery!

 
Old 10-16-2009, 08:40 AM   #9
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okie girl HB User
Re: Calcaneous surgery - Recovery and what to expect?

Jeff,
A couple of questions. Was your injury on the job? Are you using crutches now or a knee scooter? Did you have the ORIF surgery? Have you started PT?

At about 9 weeks I knew the bone was heeled and began using my foot in the boot for balance getting in and out of the car etc. Taking baby steps I began seeing how much my foot could tolerate. I was in the boot all the time per my os but because of reading posts here, I started taking it off more so I could flex my foot and try and move my ankle some. Most 'heelies' have less trouble with the heel and more pain etc with the ankle.

Without my os approval, I started using the exercise bike with no tension and it didn't hurt my foot. I tried putting it down flat on the floor with no weight. Just trying to get used to going without the boot more and more. I still wore it to work every day and felt somewhat vulnerable without it. By the time I went back for my 12 week check up I was really ready to ditch the darn thing. The os told me to gently ease back to walking a little at a time but, I had no trouble at that point walking without it. I was hopeless with crutches, so it sort of forced me to use my foot some and I realized it didn't hurt when I did.

I was so glad to stand in the shower, stand on one foot to put on pants and the small things gave me such confidence to begin doing more. I had to balance still by hanging on to the wall etc. but what a great feeling to get back to some of the basics.

I can now ride my bike about 15-20 miles, walk 2 miles, use an elliptical, Not all at the same time LOL. A big part of recovery is determination and a positive attitude. I think it does take a year or more to fully recover but once you start walking again life begins to feel more normal.

Jeff activate your private setting and I'll send you some additional info.

Okie Girl
Joanne

 
Old 10-16-2009, 08:42 AM   #10
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okie girl HB User
Re: Calcaneous surgery - Recovery and what to expect?

One more thing for the newbies,
Read the old posts on Calcaneous fracture 9, 10, 11. You will gather a great deal of info from people who have been thru this injury.

Okie girl
Joanne

 
Old 10-16-2009, 01:51 PM   #11
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jceprichard HB User
Re: Calcaneous surgery - Recovery and what to expect?

Okie Girl,

It was about a 12 foot fall that caused my calcaneous FX.The Os said I had too many fractures to count and 3 surgeons spent 3 hours just removing fragments and cleaning things up. 11 days after the fall I had ORIF with one plate and too many screws to count from the CT pictures. The OS stated that he used cadaver bone also to help rebuild my foot. I am in the boot all day and I do take it off for sleeping. My foot stiffens up over night which I can take care of with some of the exercises in the morning. I have the knee scooter which is how I mostly get around but still use the crutches for stairs and outside in the yard ect...

Lately I have been touching my toes to the ground to try and get them used to walking which I hope will start happening in two weeks. range of motion is getting better, I do alot of toe and ankle excersises but my ankle seems to still be locked at about 90 degrees. I also balance a bit on the boot when getting dressed and that does not bother me at all.

Glad to hear you are able to bike. that is one thing that I really wanted to get out and do this summer, all I could do is look at my bike hanging from the rafters. Ski season is almost here and I plan on being at the mountains, skiing(hopefully by the end of January) or not.

I will try to figure out how to activate the privacy settings.

Thanks
Jeff

 
Old 10-16-2009, 03:41 PM   #12
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okie girl HB User
Re: Calcaneous surgery - Recovery and what to expect?

Jeff,
Yikes!! You did have a serious fall. It sounds like you have recovered well. Skiing in 5 months may be a little optomistic but, then again you may be able to do it. Keep a Positive sttitude.

As you read the back posts don't get discouraged if your time line is not as fast as others. Lots of 'heelies' use crutches and begin weight bearing 25% then 50% etc. It does take some time to get the strength back in your foot and calf. My calf shrunk to about half the size of my good leg and it's still not equal to the other leg. I still have trouble raising up on my toes with the broken foot. When you start walking your foot will bark at you if you do to much. It is very important to walk heel to toe when you walk or you can end up with knee and hip or back problems.

As a fireman you are probably in great shape which will help your recovery tremendously. Age, being a non-smoker,health issues all make a great difference in how you bounce back.

I broke my heel in Costa Rica on a zip line...hit a tree. Not the recommended way to have fun. Seems like lots of guys with this injury fall off ladders etc.

keep heelin'
Joanne

 
Old 10-16-2009, 03:48 PM   #13
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okie girl HB User
Re: Calcaneous surgery - Recovery and what to expect?

Hey Ya'll,
You can activate you privacy setting to receive e-mail by going to
my settings at the top of the page.

Joanne

 
Old 10-29-2009, 01:27 PM   #14
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jceprichard HB User
Re: Calcaneous surgery - Recovery and what to expect?

Started walking yesterday with about 10-20% of my weight. Very nice to be able to put my foot on the ground again. Foot is sore today and I think that this is going to be the case for a while. P.T starts tomorrow. The O.S. say that the fracture lines are visible but it is ok to start WB with an increase every 3-4 days in weight. Getting around with the crutches and trying to walk heel toe.

 
Old 10-30-2009, 02:05 AM   #15
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grete97 HB User
Talking Re: Calcaneous surgery - Recovery and what to expect?

Jceprichard,
It is good to hear that you can WB. It will take time but slowly you can put more and more pressure on broken foot and soon you will be walking without cruches. I throw my cruches awas 2,5 weeks after my cast was removed (but i quess my injury was not as bad as yours). I never had walking boot. I guess we donīt use it here in Estonia. Now it is almoust a month WB for me and i walk with a limp. Someday limp is very slight but someday my ankle feels very stiff and i limp a lot more. I go to PT once a week and have tape on my foot what is used by sportsman to ease the blood flow in tissues. Seems that it helps as my swelling has gone better. I can put on my training shoes but not my flat boots as they hurt from heel (my heel is still a little swollen).
Take care and keep posting.
Grete97

 
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