I am going to be having an ankle arthroscopy done in about 3 1/2 weeks. I have had chronic ankle sprains and pains for about two years. I decided to go to my podiatrist in November and see if they could do anything. They gave me an ankle brace to wear everyday and sent me for an MRI. They thought I had a torn ATFL. I thought that this diagnosis was possible considering the way my ankle turns out when I walk. I had my MRI done in early December and they said it came out clean and I had no tears. But they did diagnose me with a fluid build-up and put me on a cautionary steriod with 8 weeks of physical therapy. Physical therapy was to strengthen my ankle joint and stretch my achilles tendons because they are both too tight. The steroids were for a week and didn't have any effect on me. I continued the physical therapy until I saw my podiatrist again two days ago. I told him that I didn't have any relief so he told me that he recommended that I have an ankle arthroscopy. He then introduced me to my surgeon to discuss a few details about the surgery itself, but I still have a few questions about having the surgery.
1) How long will I be unable to walk?
2) What is like to be knocked out? (I have never had surgery before)
3) How soon will I start physical therapy?
4) How long will I have to be in physical therapy? (how many weeks?)
5) How bad is the pain after surgery?
6) Is there a possibilty I will need pain killers?
7) What kind of cast/splint will I be in?
8) I might be taking an out-of-state trip in the spring. Will I be able to walk around a major theme park for long periods of time? Will I be able to ride thrill rides?
9) How long will I have the stitches in?
10) I will be participating in sports/activitites this summer. Will I be recovered enough to do these?
11) Will I be "out of it" for a few hours after waking up? (in other words, will I be speaking jibbirish, not remember anything, etc.)
12) Is there a possibility of having to use crutches after surgery?
THANKS FOR READING! ALL ANSWERS WILL BE APPRECIATED!
I had ankle arthroscopies to both ankles in 2009.
My right ankle - THOUGH MY RECOVERY TIME INCLUDES THE TIME IT TOOK ME TO GET OVER THE SURGERY I HAD TO MY ANKLES AS WELL - took around 10 months and my left ankle was only done in November so I'm still on crutches.
Don't worry about being knocked out. One minute everything is normal and then it all goes lovely and dark and when you wake up it's all over. Fabulous!
I started physiotherapy around 4 weeks after surgery - that's witha physiotherapist. You'll probably be given a sheet in the hospital with some basis exercises for you to do within a few days of your proceedure. The more you can move it, the faster you'll recover and the less stiff your ankles will be.
I had physio for my right ankle for over 6 months - but as I said, this wasn't just a result of the Arthroscopy, I had work done on my nasty tendons too! I'm still in physio for my left ankle.
The pain isn't so bad whne you wake up. You may be given a local jab before they bring you round to help you get home (if you're a day case as I was) but once that wears off it does hurt a fair bit. Hot, stinging pain and moving the joint can be sore. It almost certainly won't be as bad as you expect though so don't worry.
If you're offered painkillers - TAKE THEM! I have Co-Codamol and they're a big help. I find my ankles swell during the day and especially in cold weather they ache alot so keep your feet elevated whenever you can (though obviously you'll need to exercise them gently too). I also find a warm hot-water bottle really helps me. Very soothing!
Based on my own experience, avoid having a cast at all costs. I had one for my right foot and it was on for 6 weeks. By the time it came off my wound was really tight and my ankle so stiff it was agony. The more you can move the joint in the early stages of recovery, the less painful it'll be for you. I just had a thick bandage for my left foot which came off after 72 hours, leaving just waterproof dressings. Yes, you ahve to take care not to over-stress the wound but compared to the cast - it was B.L.I.S.S.
Again, I had complex surgery on the peroneal tendons in both my ankles when I had my Arthroscopies so I can only tell you of my recovery experiences. Walking long distances or for any length of time is out of the question for at least 3 months. I still have trouble standing (rather than walking) for longer than 10 minutes at a time without resting. It's hard work so don't push yourself. An ankle arthroscopy is a serious business. it aggravates lots of soft tissues in the ankles and can take a while to settle. My advice would be not to push your luck.
Stitches are tricky. I had stitches in my right foot for 14 days and they came out very easily. I had them in my left foot for 10 days and had to go to hospital to have them out under a local jab as the skin had grown over them. If your skin heals quickly I'd go for 7 - 10 days. tell your surgeon on the day of your op if you're concerned.
Sports are also tricky. I'd say this depends on what sort of person you are and what sports you're talking about. I was swimming again in less than 4 weeks but anything which involved running or standing is still not an option for me. I'm not terribly sporty though so the question doesn't really apply to me. Ask your physiotherapist about what they think. They know their business and although sometimes it's frustrating to hear that you might not be ready for things - listen to them. Irritatingly, a physio is ususally right.
General knock-out is a wonderful thing and don't let anyone tell you any different!
I react by sounding a bit drunk when I first wake up but by the time I'm wheeled back to recovery I'm fine again. For my last surgery I went doen to theatre at 11.30am, was under around 90mins (I had surgery aside from Arthroscopy though) and was discharged with my painkillers and physio notes at 3.30pm. Not bad. Just bear in mind that people react and recover differently. The best way to tell is to ask immediate relatives how they react to general knock-out. If they cope well, ususally you will too.
Crutches? See how far you get without them! Don't worry though, once you get the hang of it, it's a doddle!
Hope this helps a bit.
Good luck - you'll be fine.
Thanks so much for the help! The advice is more than I can even ask for! My family keeps telling me that I will be fine in surgery, but I had to hear it from somebody else who had the same procedure. I researched (I research everything just to let you know :P) the procedure and the pain doesnt sound too bad coming from these online doctors, but the way you put it, it sounds like a doosy. Yet again, your procedure went a little farther than mine is supposed to go so maybe there is a pain difference. Walking around a theme park is a little overboard but...I am going to try to get a wheel chair for the parks, if I can, and then I can get in the front of every line!!! :P As for the sports, it sounds difficult because of the pain, and the big thing is my sport is basically walking and standing--marching band. (YES IT IS A SPORT O_O) Ow...this will be painful. The crutches situation will be OK though because I have been on them three times. One thing is that my surgeon said I will basically be able to walk on it right away...is this true??? Or did they just Punk me??? (where's Ashton?!?!?! lol) Physical therapy sounds somewhat bearable.
Again thanks for the advice!!! It really,really helped me!!! =]
You're welcome and I'm really pleased I could help. The info is soooooo limited on my kind of procedure and I wish someone could have offered me some advice and reassurance before I had both my ops. I know I'd have felt a little bit easier about it all.
I wish I could say walking and standing will be easy and pain free but it won't be - certainly not at first but you'll heal quicker if you're a fit and active person, which it sounds like you are.
At least you'll have fabulous little scars! I have two cross-shaped ones on the top of both my feet (those are from the arthroscopy) and two 7" long smile-shaped ones across my ankle bones form my peroneal tendon repairs. People often ask why they're there. Sometimes I'm honest and sometimes I make up a ridculously-over-the-top story like a shark attack. It's so obviously a lie but you'd be amazed how convinced some people look before they catch on. Soooooooo childish but it's fun sometimes!
Also, on the note of scars, if you don't like the idea of them then buy a good quality, perfume and colour-free moisturiser and massage your scars two or three times a day once the wounds are closed and stitches are out. The scars will fade much faster and the stimulation will flatten them out better too so within 6 months you'll hardly know they're there.
As for your surgeon saying you'll be able to walk on it straight away - that's pretty much true. I was weight-bearing (with crutches) immediately after I came round from the op and I had considerable tendon repair as well as the arthroscopy so I think you'll do fine. The more weight you can put through your feet the better - just don't push it. Your surgeon and physiotherapist will give you more advice and remember - don't forget to ask your surgeon questions on the day of your op. They usually show their face prior to knocking you out but for some reason if you don't ask them anything (certainly here in the UK anyway) you want to know, they won't volunteer any information. If you do ask questions, they'll be happy to answer things for you.
The only other thing I can say is to make sure you take care of yourself. Like I said before, it may a relatively minor thing in the grand scheme of things but an ankle arthroscopy can upset the soft tissue terribly and that can take some time to settle. The bruising can look really scary at first but it looks worse than it actually is. Don't do too much too soon. Listen to your body. It'll let you know when it's had enough and please please pay attention to that or you'll just slow your recovery.
I wish you well with your op and I'd love to know how it goes so please do keep me posted here on the forum. You'll be absolutely fine.
Much love and good wishes.
Thefrosh3..I had a ankle arthroscopy/OCD repair in mid December. I like you am headed to a theme park in 1 week..and there is NO way I could walk around the parks! I would HIGHLY recommend renting an ECV..Those electric scooters. I've rented one for my upcoming trip from an outside company cuz the ones at the theme parks are so much more expensive.
I don't know what theme park you are headed to but I'm headed to Orlando to a Major Theme park there (don't know if I can name it)..There is another board out there where there is a section called disAbilities (don't know if I can name the board cuz that would be sending you to another website). There is tons of info there to help you decide whether a wheelchair is/isn't a good idea. I would recommend you check it out even if you are headed to another park, they have great tips about using ECV's and traveling with a disability.
Good luck with your surgery! The best thing that happened to me during surgery was I was very concerned about managing the pain after. I don't do well with narcotics. I get nauseated and subsequently vomit after taking them. I had a long conversation with the anesthesiologist and he inserted a "throw away" pain pump at my knee that numbed everything below it for almost 3 days. I was able to go without pain meds for the worst part of the pain and that was great. After the pain pump was done it is super easy to remove the catheter, it does not hurt, just feels weird. And I was able to take an pain pill, not around the clock like I would have needed.
Thanks for the advice! My surgeon said that i would be able to walk on it as soon as i was fully awake and out of the grogginess stage after surgery. I think this will be good cuz i want as much freedom that I can get for this trip I am going on. Though I was considering getting a wheelchair for my friends to push me around in!!! That way I could get to the front of all the lines for the rides!!! lol I dont want to over-do it when I go. I don't expect the pain to be too bad because my surgeon is prescribing me to Perkeset (errr....is that how u spell it??? oh well =]) so I think I will be covered xD. I have been on some form of narcotic before (codine) and didn't have a bad reaction to it so I hope the same goes for this.
Anyway, thanks for the advice, it helped.
No I haven't talked to my instructors yet, but I plan to. Its either earlier or later, unless I change my operation date, but I don't really want to do that.
Thanks for your reply and I will keep you along with everyone else updated!
Just an update! Yesterday was the two week mark til surgery! Everything is straightened out and next week is going to be a busy week for me! My surgeon is ordering bloodwork and a physical for clearance to the surgery. I will keep you all updated with everything.
P.S. Just in case one of you guys were wondering, the mid-term ordeal is taken care of! Thank God! They are letting me take the missimg exams when I come back after having a few days off.
Quick Question!!! Okay, so I am up in the mountains and I want to go snowboarding. My family is saying I shouldn't because of my ankle. But one of them I am agreeing with because he is saying that I can because they are going to fix it anyway, first of all, and second of all, the boot you wear to snowboard is almost like a cast so it is almost impossible to hurt it snowboarding. What do you guys think? Do you think it would be okay if I went snowboarding? All opinions will be accepted!!!
Today's one week til operation day!!! Ahhhh! Where does the time go?!?!?! I got bloodwork done on Monday, I have a dentist appointment tomorrow, and then a physical Friday for clearance for the surgery. Busy, busy, busy! Busy like a bee!
P.S.: I have been sick all week with a cold!!! Bleh! :P
Hi there The Frosh3,
I too had an Ankle Arthroscopy done last April, everyone can tell you what to expect based on their experiences, but basically what an Ankle Arthroscopy is is an inside exam of your ankle, there is usually 2 small holes made called portal holes, one is used to insert an arthroscope to see inside your foot, and the other is used for the canula to either scrape some stuff out and assist in removing excess fluid that you have built up. If they find no severe problems inside your foot, they may just end up doing a debridement of your ankle/foot, which means a very thorough cleaning. This is what I had done in April, and sadly for me that wasn't enough as my surgeon new when he was in there that I actually really needed a sub talar fusion, meaning my sub talar joint needed to be fused to my heel bone, but he didn't do it. So this past September I had gone to another surgeon and he ordered another MRI which showed that a fusion was very necessary as well as an extra bone I was born that was close the sub talar joint that was causing alot of my problems too. So as for advice on what to expect, it is hard to tell until they actually get inside of your ankle and see what your actual problem may be. If all they need to do is a debridement (good cleaning out), you will be very lucky because you will be on crutches for about week with just a little weight bearing on it. And the stitches will come out about 10 days post op. The portals (holes) will be sensitive for awhile, so try avoiding wearing tightly tied shoes on that foot. You will have plenty of time to "loosen" up your foot before your trip this spring and resume walking normally. Again, this is only if they find nothing seriously wrong. So I really wish you good luck and hope you have the easy route. Oh and as for getting ready for the surgery, when they give you the IV, be prepared for a nice calm enjoyable ride. That's actually the best part. They will give you a "calming drug" through your IV and it works so fast, you will be smiling as they take you into the OR. Again, I do wish all the best.