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Foot & Ankle Problems Message Board
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Old 01-03-2010, 08:07 AM   #1
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PTTD One Year Later

12/23 marked one year with for my PTTD surgery with navicular bone removal and calcaneal osteotomy. I am 51 and the wear and tear of 30+ years of running and long-distance hiking took its toll. I waited a year after tendon injury before undergoing the surgery, tried all the non-invasive remedies to no avail.
This surgery, the recovery, is a BIG deal. Make no mistake about it. It has been a life-changing event for me. For the first 3-4 months my recovery went great guns. I was back on the stationary bike 2 days post-op with my surgery leg propped up on a trash can, riding one-legged. By about 5 weeks I was riding with both legs. My recovery seemed to be about one month ahead of what the doctor predicted for each phase. But about 6 months post op, I hit a plateau which I am still on. There has been nearly no discernable improvement since then.
I still have swelling on the bottom of my foot, feels like I am walking on rolled-up socks. The bottom of my foot is hypersensitive. I have to wear slippers around the house because Lord help me if I step on anything like an extension cord. I still get a cacaphony of sensations from my foot, some days are better than others. Going through my first winter I can add skiing to running as sports I can no longer do. My foot gets so cold so quickly I can barely get my driveway shoveled.
On the positive side, if I'm willing to accept that walking is no longer as enjoyable as it used to be, and tolerate some discomfort, I can walk long distances. In general the foot doesn't limit me in its functionality, more in the discomfort. I just have to accept a new reality of always being aware its there. On a 1-10 pain meter I give my foot a constant 1-3. I rate it as better then before surgery, but definitely NOT better than before injury.
For exercise I bought a nice elliptical and alternate between that and the stationary bike. The foot tolerates the elliptical just fine. Miss running but I can live with that. I took up sea kayaking as a partial substitute. (Hence the handle Paddlejunky) I have an appointment scheduled in a couple of weeks. I'll see if this is it for life, or is there still hope for improvement.
My operation was very complicated and I believe the surgeon did a great job. This is simply a problem you don't want to have, and if you have it, be prepared for a long road back.

 
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Old 01-03-2010, 10:04 AM   #2
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Re: PTTD One Year Later

I wish you continued healing. I have been told it may take up to two years for complicated cases. You sound overall healthy and fit, and that should really help you. I am currently weighing all my options. I have put off surgery for several years now. Can you please tell me what your symptoms were prior to choosing surgery?

Again, I wish you well and continued healing and strengthening.

 
Old 01-03-2010, 02:15 PM   #3
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Re: PTTD One Year Later

It started after a normal run, my ankle hurt. I didn't remember stepping in a pothole or anything unusual so I was perplexed. After several weeks of not running and riding the stationary bike it felt a little better. One beautiful evening I just had to get out on the road. Big mistake. Only made about a mile and had to walk, limping home. For the next 9 or 10 months every time I would sit for more than a few minutes it would stiffen and the first few steps would be painful. But then the ankle would loosen and I was pain-free, though running was out of the question. A few steps told me that. Finally one morning I just got fed up and made an appointment with a podiatrist. He made me expensive orthotics, which proved ineffective. In fact they so changed my stride that I couldn't walk more than a couple of hundred yards before experiencing lower back pain. I felt he didn't diagnose this properly; this felt more than orthotics would cure. I went to a second podiatrist and he put me in an ankle brace. I wore this religously for nine weeks with no improvement. Finally I went to my family doctor who ordered an MRI. (Which is what at least one of the podiatrists should have done. I don't think they listened to me. They didn't understand that after 30+ years of working out regularly I knew my own body. They had a cookie cutter approach to treatment.)The family doctor sent me to a highly recommended orthopedic surgeon about 75 miles away with the test results. The surgeon showed me my torn tendon, examined my foot and stride, and described his plan. He said my condition would not improve on its own. Not taking action would eventually lead to a rupture and his options would be more limited. I gave the ok, but I'll admit I did not understand the extent of the procedure and definitely not the long recovery. In the recovery room he told me that he does about 50 of these a year, but only 1 a year as complicated as mine. My last instructions to him before being put under was to do what he felt needed to be done. So he did. I was told that in 6 months you would be 90 percent recovered and complete recovery in one year. I put myself at about 75 percent recovered after just over a year. Would I do it again? Yes. I don't think I had any choice. I can live with this condition, and perhaps there is still room for improvement. I think what is left is nerve damage which is very slow to heal, and some residual swelling. All but one doctor or therapist said don't run again. Repeat damage would mean ankle fusion. I just adjusted my lifestyle and moved on. To me being able to hike long distances over uneven terrain is the more important activity. One more thing...I've noticed a big loss in lateral strength despite a year's worth of exercises to remedy that. I have to wear high-top, sturdy leather boots when hiking on uneven surfaces, my ankle will roll over in a heartbeat if I don't. Good luck, this is a tough hand to be dealt, but there are people a lot worse off with other problems.

 
Old 01-03-2010, 03:43 PM   #4
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Re: PTTD One Year Later

Thank you for your informative response. You clearly took care of yourself and did what you needed. I long to hike again. It has been several years since the tear, and now it just worse. Were you still able to do heel raises? I'm sorry to keep asking questions. I'm trying to decide on which doctor to do what. The DPM (podiatrist surgeon) I'm seeing is very experienced and very thorough in his exam. Unlike your experience, the OS/foot and ankle specialist is more mechanical and barely exams me. The DPM ordered the MRI

 
Old 01-03-2010, 04:51 PM   #5
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Re: PTTD One Year Later

My surgeon also is brusque on follow up visits. I drive all the way over there and his hand barely leaves the door knob after he enters the exam room.
Heel raises were impossible pre-surgery, just barely possible now. Ballet days over too I guess.
If you go forward, be sure to have a good support system set up for months.
Knowing what I know now, I probably would have waffled longer, ignorance worked in my favor in making the decision.

 
Old 01-03-2010, 05:34 PM   #6
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Re: PTTD One Year Later

Thank you so much for answering my questions and for your advice. I truly wish you all the best, a more thorough and complete recovery!

 
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