Hi everyone, I'm new to the health boards, hoping that I can get some good feedback from those of you going through similar situations.
I was diagnosed with stage 4 ocd in my right ankle a little more than two years ago when I was 15. I had no previous injuries what so ever, but I am a dancer and dance 5 days a week. I had a drilling soon after I found out, hoping to fix the problem right away. Post-op, my results were good on paper, but I only felt so-so. Also, my ankle started to crunch, crack, and lock up.
I've simply dealt with the limitation that I've had in my right ankle, up until this year. My ankle went from an okay state to a pretty bad state, and it continues to get worse. It locks up all the time and I have pretty bad joint pain even after a short amount of walking. In addition, I've had back pain that started about 5 months post-op and continues today. I've been in p.t. for almost a year now off and on, for my back. We've somewhat concluded that much of my back pain is due to a compensation for my ankles. Back to the ankles though, as I said, I'm a dancer and next year I had planned on pursuing it as a career, but my prospects do not look good. I went back to me o.s., got another MRI and he said that I'm back at square one again. My only smart alternative is the oats, which will end my dance career.
At this point, I'm lost beyond all compare. At age 18, my body is already ruined. Dance is my entire life and now I don't even know if I'll be able to do what I hoped and dreamed to do. My question to anyone who has gone through this, or anyone who has waited to get the oats, how long did you last before the pain was too unbearable? Was there anything besides anti-inflammatory pain medication (which I'm on) that helped reduced pain? Also, has anyone else had back problems due to ocd?
Fellow OCD'er here, also had drilling and OATS within the last 3 years.
I wouldn't write off your dancing career just yet ... there are many of us, who are quite a bit older (not ancient, but in our early 40s that have had successful OATS procedures on our OCDs. Given your age, you probably could continue dancing after your OATS procedure .. so don't give up hope!
There is someone on here, and she'll respond if she still checks in, that is running and hopping through streams in Montana and is doing just fine. There are others that are running, so life as you know it won't end ...
And in answer to your question yes, my lower back hurt due to my walk being so off and did for awhile .. actually, still does a bit now.
Please don't give up hope on dancing .. hopefully others will hop on here to tell their stories to show you that there is still active life after OATS.
I am one of the 'older' folks who had OATS almost 2 years ago. I had to have follow-up surgery to remove bothersome hardware, clean the joint, and deal with a torn peroneal tendon (that was just a year ago). I went skiing over the weekend! If you asked me in the fall, I would have said I won't ever be able to ski again.
My back bothered me from walking funny and I found Naproxen worked better for me than ibuprofen.
Thank you for the feedback! My physical therapist had also been saying that I shouldn't completely rule out dance after surgery, but I guess this is how I see it: After I graduate this year, if I go into dancing as a career, then I will only be insured under my parents health care until the end of the year when I'm nineteen. I can get back on their insurance if and only if I go to school, which I cannot be a full time student and have a full time dance career. If I have the surgery right after this year and it doesn't go well, as there are no guarantees, then I can pretty much rule out dance, because that would be a long time not dancing. Regardless if I have the surgery now or later and hope to dance afterward, I won't have the money to find sufficient training to get back to where I was technique-wise. Plus, if I want to dance now and have the surgery later and then go back to dancing (speaking hypothetically of course,) the only way I could have the surgery is if I am enrolled in school. Ahhhh! It's such a complicated issue and unfortunately it's mostly based on money, insurance, and risk. Ultimately though, I do have to make a decision and I don't know how to....
I too had lower back pain, but over the past year therapy has really helped with that. Has anyone had a sharp stabbing pain with breathing? I have this pain below my shoulder that came on the same time as my other back pain and absolutely everything we've tried has done absolutely nothing.
I really appreciate your replies; it's great to hear from those of you who have been through this whole ordeal, so thank you!
Hi Brit! I wouldn't rule out dancing. I do believe though - that oats is your solution to the problem. I'm almost 9 months post oats and its unbelievable how much better i feel than before the surgery. I too, had the drilling before and it failed. Before my oats surgery the pain was unbearable and I was walking with a cane and taking anti-inflammatory meds all the time. In my experience the oats will get worse over time...if you would continue to dance now and put off the surgery...you risk the ocd getting worse. You're young and you will bounce back quicker and you could have an easier recovery from this. I agree - don't give up! Take the time to research this and surgeons who specialize in this...it is tough to go through - but all worth it after you recover and you're able to dance again! (im no dancer..but i love to dance..and I danced at my friends wedding 5 months after my surgery!)
I'm also post OATS (1.5 yrs ago give or take) and I am a karate instructor and in my 40's. I did run post OATs and did karate post-OATs. My ankle still has many issues, but my OCD lesions were only a part of the overall picture of my ankle. Was the OATs worth it? Yes.
I understand, to a bit about the timing of your surgery situation. I'd get it done and enroll in school. My surgery was very expensive and would have been impossible for me to pay without insurance. I did test for my 2nd degree black belt 14 mos after the surgery and 4 mos after a 3rd ankle surgery on other unhappy parts of my ankle. Don't give up hope on dancing yet.
Hey Brit. I too am a fellow OCDer. I am now 5 months post oats. I am not walking as well as we hoped I would by this time, BUT my Doc thinks this is due to my OCD being so large. At my drilling, the lesion was 9mm. By the time I had oats, my lesion was 20mm. So, Yes, the lesions do get bigger with time. There was almost five years between my drilling and my oats. My advise is to get this done sooner rather than later if your Doc advises the surgery. The larger the lesion, the harder the recovery. It will help drastically if you have access to a pool. I didn't think it would be that big of a difference, but I have been in a pool quite a bit over the last week and a half, and I can really tell a difference. It really helps with the swelling. This is a big procedure, but there is an outstanding support group on here with an absurd amount of knowledge! Don't count out dancing yet, I think you will feel better about your future after oats if our little ray of sunshine from Montana pops in and writes to ya. Hang in there. We're here for ya!
I'm so happy to hear that so many of you have had such good results! A part of me wants to get the surgery right away and get it over with and progress forward, yet the dancer part of me is very unsure. I have ok days and bad days with my ankle, and at this point I can still dance on it, so I think, if all goes well with my auditions, I'm going to try to dance next year. If the pain starts to get worse, I know I'll have to stop and get the surgery and hope that I can come back to dancing. Then, if for whatever reason I am unable to return to dancing, at least I will have had some experience to hold on to. Just out of curiosity, since it's in my (probably near) future, how intense was the pain post-op?
It's so awesome to hear all the good OATS reports (even though Kim I know you are still struggling ).
OATS really can be amazing after one is in daily pain just standing and walking for years. Saying that, I can do most things, even go for jogs but my foot is never going to be 100%. Really hard core high impact is gone for good so if you're a ballet dancer or one that is putting a lot of stress on your ankle, it may not be in the cards. But youth is definitley on your side. There was a young guy here - 14 years old - who had OATS and is an elite level competitive ice dancer. It took a good year to two years to fully recover but he went back to that level of activity. There will probably be some pain for the rest of your life (or until they perfect a 'fix') but it's way less than what we go through before OATS. When I was trying to decide on surgery my Dr. was like, "You can't live with a big hole in your foot!" And I realize with time that I really need to be content with pain-free every day activity. I could still be suffering just walking and standing. That's easier to say at 40 years old instead of 18! So my 5 mile runs are no longer an activity for me but skiing like Margaret (yeah!!), and many other things are enjoyable. If you decide to have OATS to try and continue dancing, the recovery time is about a year so regardless of the success, you will have to take some significant time off from dancing while you heal. -
So as of Jan 27th I will be 2 years out from OATS. Believe it or not, just 2 weeks ago my foot nerves were zapping me and my previously numb 4th toe just decided to come back to life. In matter of days it has come back 50%. Too weird! I just read that my OS at Coughlin Clinic with Dr. Mann and a few others helped pass the STAR ankle replacement through FDA approval last May. Very cool! I'm so blessed to have such a great OS so close to Montana. I haven't been doing much skiing this year because we are having such a warm, dry winter. We have no snow and it's been in the 40's and 50's. We've been warmer than Florida. I actually almost went for a jog last weekend which is usually unheard of in Jan. You guys all have fun skiing and dancing and enjoying the winter!
The pain post op depends on each individual, I think we've all had different experiences. Everyone's body is different and reacts to pain differently. I was lucky to have well controlled pain. I was on heavy pain meds like hydromorphone in the hospital, and percocet and vicodin at home up until day 9 post op. I never felt excruciating pain, but I also took my meds by the book.
What kind of dancing do you do? My doctor has written articles and performed OATs on ballet dancers. Apparently this seems to be a common injury amongst basket ball players and ballet dancers.
I used to dance in high school and a little bit in college, mostly contemporary type dancing, some jazz & ballet. I'm still pretty active even post surgery! I go to the gym 5x a week and do cardio workouts on the elliptical, go to spinning classes, lift weights. I wasn't a runner before surgery, so I'm not going to try that; however, I did run after my puppy the other day and totally forgot about my ankle! It felt amazing...at least I know I can chase the crazy guy around if I have too!
Luckily I have a high pain tolerance...kind of have to after all my injuries, but it's good to hear that not everyone goes through an insane amount of pain. How long were you in the hospital after surgery?
I'm not strictly a ballet dancer, but I do a lot of ballet/pointe, in coordination with jazz, modern, and hip hop as well. If I end up getting a dancing job next year though, it will not be ballet, which would be for the better. This will be my last year dancing on pointe, and I'm sure my ankle will thank me for that. Although, while pointe is stenuous on my joints, I have to admit, walking and running hurt way more than dancing. I guessing it's because they are very repetitive motions, plus when I'm dancing I'm thinking about my ankle unless it's really bad, while with walking, I think about my ankle constantly. Some people don't believe me when I tell them I have a hard time walking for more than 20 minutes, and then I tell them I dance 5-6 days a week.
I am the exact same way with the pain more during walking. I would do karate and yeah, it would hurt, but I was focused on that and didn't notice it. Then I'd stop and try and walk and all of a sudden the pain set in. To this day I still say that walking hurts more than running. I don't know why, but it does.
I was in the hospital for 3 nights with my surgery. My dr. said he usually sends people home the same day, but I had a bunch of other repairs other than OATs done at the time and have a history of complications so he agreed to let me stay 3 days. My insurance was fine with paying for 3 days.
I just joined Message board today after spending a week catching up and reading years of discussions and threads on this website about OCD and OATS. I joined this thread because i have similiar feelings as i was just told i need to have an OATS procedure on my left ankle. I am 39 and have been dealing with this since i was 17 when i had my first arthroscopic microdrilling and debridement procedure. But meanwhile i have lead a pretty active and healthy lifestyle so i was shocked when found out how large my leision was and that this was the only option outside of waiting and getting a fusion.
I was getting frustrated as i read your older threads and reading how much pain so many of you were in post op but i am so excited to hear so many of you are now seeing that light at the end of the incredibaly long tunnel and healing nicely and returing to function.
My questions for you ol' pros is how much pain were you in prior to your surgery? I am not in significant amount of pain. (dont get me wrong, there is definitely limitations in my daily activities but not debilitating at this point). Yet my leision is 13mm x 13 mm (which i am told is fairly large). So my options are to just operate with OATS or wait till the pain gets bad but it was said if i wait i may not be a candidate for the oats and may have to bypass to fusion...not an option. I am trying to look at risk vs benefits. I was just going to go for it until i read all of your threads-yikes you all have been troopers. So now i am having trouble justifying this massive procedure when i am not in debilitating pain. Help, what made you choose to go through with it. And that being said, if the situation were to happen in your other ankle, would you go through with it again?
My pain level varied each day. I was active and was in the process of training for my 2nd degree black belt. I could still do many parts of karate ,(although I gave up the sparring before because I also have tendon/ligament issues) and yet other days I couldn't walk across the karate floor without a major limp and shooting/stabbing pains. Then, another day it would be sore, but I could muster through a class. The days of getting through a class were became less and less and the days of limping were more and more. Eventually, I knew that if I was going to get my 2nd degree something had to be done. The pain was bad, but if I wasn't trying to run or do karate then I might have waited a bit longer.
The lesion will get bigger so I'd not wait much longer. I think most people here have had great success with their OATS and those of us who haven't have other issues besides the OCD that is keeping us from a full recovery.
Not to scare you, but I just found out my OATs didn't take. It looked like it had and it looked okay in my last surgery 6 mos ago, but recent MRI shows otherwise. I did get a good year post-op without shooting pains. I did consider it a success for quite a while. I'd still do it again as painful as the surgery was. I don't want fusion and it was worth the try for sure.