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Old 04-18-2010, 07:04 PM   #1
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Smile Newbie facing PTTD surgery-please advise

Hello, everybody. Iím new here. Iíve been searching for a week for a current and up to date message board so I can talk to people who have gone through what Iím about to do. This is my story. About 2 years ago, I started having pain on the inside of my left ankle. It came and went, and I thought it was odd. No injury that I could recall. After I went to my PCP, she sent me to a podiatrist, who did cortisone injections. It improved for a while with a mix of over the counter orthotics (I wear Walkfit, and my right foot actually looks straighter, but didnít do much for my left foot). Eventually my PCP left both the practice and my health plan, so I was seen in the same office by this Dr who I later find out was not an MD but a doctor of homeopathy or something similar. Anyway, he basically told me I would have to wear orthotic shoes forever and flatly refused to refer me to an orthopedist. So I ditched him in a hurry. Long story short, I have found another PCP and have seen 3 orthopedists. The first one described to me a tendon repair, basically cut out the stretched part of the tendon and rejoin it. It seems to me from my research that he was either being condescending or thought I wouldnít understand, even after I told him Iím a medical technologist and know a little more about medicine than the average layperson. No mention of the long and painful recovery I have since learned about. I got my MRI on a CD from him and got a 2nd and 3rd opinions; the last 2 doctors agree about the tendon transplant, calcaneal osteotomy, lateral column lengthening and achilles tendon lengthening. The last doctor gave me a brace that is working very well so far.

To the outside world, Iím taking this in stride; privately, Iím agonizing over this decision. Iím 47 years old, not that active, but at a healthy weight and in good health. I was diagnosed with Hodgkins lymphoma in 2004 and have been in remission for almost 5 years. So this is not the worst health news Iíve gotten. And still, with cancer you have no choice. With my foot I have to decide. While the pain is tolerable, and I can walk in sneakers, itís definitely beginning to affect my life. I have to think of where and how far I walk, the shoes I wear, also the drop of the arch has suddenly become more dramatic. The difference between the left and right feet is quite noticeable now. I donít have arthritis yet, but Iím told thatís what will happen next if left untreated. I live alone, in a 2 story house with 2 cats, which complicates matters. While I can count on a few friends to help me and possibly my elderly mom (who would be doing the cooking mostly, she canít drive), it seems itís going to be rough.

I would appreciate any advice on how to prepare for whatís ahead in terms of everyday things like taking a bath, etc. I have a 2 story house with only a Ĺ bath downstairs. Also if any of you have pets and live alone what would you suggest, I really donít want to board them but I realize they might be a problem. The surgery might be at the end of June if I go through with it. Also, those of you who had the surgery some time back, I would like to know if the surgery helped you, if it was worth it, what you would have done differently. Specifically, the procedures recommended are FDL tendon transfer, medial displacement calcaneal osteotomy, lateral column lengthening and percutaneous Achilles heel cord lengthening.

I appreciate your time. I donít turn on my computer every day, but Iíll be checking back in a few days. Again, thanks for your time.

I'm new, so I apologize if I'm posting this twice, I'm trying to add some details I hope only 1 version appears.

 
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Old 05-10-2010, 05:30 PM   #2
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Re: Newbie facing PTTD surgery-please advise

I don't know if you got any advice on preparing yourself for your surgery, but here's my 2 cents. Get some comfortable elastic waist pants or shorts. Since you're having this in the summer and may mainly wear shorts, I guess you don't have to worry about the size of the hem of pants. If you wear pants, remember that they have to fit over your cast or whatever. And the elastic waist is easier for when you need to go to the bathroom. For the first week, it will feel like being able to get to the bathroom is such a luxury!

If you can get a leg caddy or knee walker, do so. They're so great. Not only to they allow you to get around a little more quickly, but also not having your leg all the way down seems to help a little with the pain. Rent or look on craigslist. I also found a walker useful. What I do is use the caddy downstairs and crawl up the stairs and use a walker upstairs. Another thing about the walker is that it can be used over the toilet for support getting down and back up (using it "backwards".) Crutches are always good to have around, too. Since it's warmer weather, you can look for crutches and walkers at garage sales - they're not too hard to find. Another thing I bought on a whim was knee pads - they're great. Sometimes it's just easier to crawl around!

I also had a toilet seat with handles that my husband attached. His mom had had hip surgery a year ago and lent me one - I'd hesitate to get one used other than this!

Make sure you have some easy healthy meals in your freezer. And make sure you keep your fluid intake up.

Have some books, magazines, movies, whatever, to keep yourself occupied. It can be easy to be tempted to do more than you should. You need distractions! Now is a good time to read books or whatever that you haven't gotten around to.

Talk to friends just ahead of your surgery and see if you can't plan an outing with a helpful compassionate friend maybe a week after your surgery. I really didn't feel like going out before that, but by then I had developed cabin fever.

Hope this helps. If I think of more ideas, I will let you know.

 
Old 05-14-2010, 07:45 PM   #3
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Re: Newbie facing PTTD surgery-please advise

Thanks for taking the time to write! Great advice. Would you believe that I had not even thought about pants or shorts. And while I had read about the knee walker, I also had not thought about using a regular walker also. I guess you rest your leg on the seat?
Again thanks for your help

 
Old 05-17-2010, 08:32 AM   #4
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Re: Newbie facing PTTD surgery-please advise

Hi Koolestkat,
There is a thread on here called "Tactics for Being Non-weight Bearing after Surgery" or something close to that from Feb 2010. It is an AWESOME AWESOME list that tells you everything you need to prepare for the surgery. There are so many things that you'd never think of until you need it and you are stuck.
I have 4 cats and I think you are really going to want them around after the surgery. Don't board them. They gave me a lot of pleasure during my recovery. They took turns sleeping with me and hanging out. I needed them with me. Have someone, maybe a neighborhood kid or something, come over daily and clean out the little box and give them fresh water and food. I bought a large self watering bowl for them for downstairs and a pet water fountain that filters for upstairs. They REALLY love the water fountain. I also have a self feeder thing that allows me to pour in a huge bag of food and they eat when they want.
As for you, since you'll be alone alot, make a "nest" where you'll have most everything you need right around you. My husband offered to get a dorm fridge with freezer and put a microwave on top and put it next to my recliner so I would always have food. We didn't end up doing it but there were days when it sounded like a great idea. I lost 10 pounds because I went hungry often. My husband left for work at 6am and came home about 5pm. He usually put out lots of healthy snacks and a brita water pitcher on my side table. ALWAYS have a cell phone on you so that if you need help you can call someone.
I had a knee scooter (a must) for downstairs and a walker and crutches for upstairs. A shower chair is an absolute must as well if you normally take a standing shower. I always wore a cross-body bag/purse too (still do) to carry around the little things and the ice pack from the freezer to the recliner.
Good luck. I just had to reply about your cats. They will bring you comfort when you are housebound.
Oh, I almost forgot... I had the lateral column lengthening (calcaneal osteotomy), gastroc lengthening, and acc. navicular removal on my left foot 15 weeks ago.

Last edited by sarahluke; 05-17-2010 at 08:35 AM.

 
Old 05-20-2010, 05:04 PM   #5
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Re: Newbie facing PTTD surgery-please advise

Thanks for your advice, I'll search for that thread you mentioned. I'm glad to hear from a fellow cat lover. I thought of boarding them for a grand total of 5 seconds, it's simply too long to have them away from me, all of us would suffer. One of them in particular is very attached to me, he spends half his life on my lap, or if my laptop is on my lap like right now, he sleeps on the recliner arm rest. As long as he's in the same room with me, he's happy. My female kitty is more aloof, but is very attached to her brother, so she's always nearby also. I do worry about them getting in my way and making me fall, but I guess I just have to be careful.
I have set my date for July 12. I'm seeing my ortho next week because I'm worried about my other foot. I hope it's just sore from me favoring the injured foot. Both my feet have always pronated, so I'm worried I'm developing the same problem in my good foot. If I am, I may be able to prevent further damage if I'm careful. Surgery on one foot is enough to worry about.
How are you doing with your recovery?
Many thanks for taking the time to answer. Best healing wishes.

 
Old 05-21-2010, 05:54 AM   #6
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Re: Newbie facing PTTD surgery-please advise

Hi Kool,
I'm 16 weeks post op now and I am glad that I had the surgery. I feel that I really didn't have a choice because I am 43 and I was wearing hard plastic AFOs full time just to get through the day. Being in constant discomfort is no way to live when there is a way to fix it with a high percent chance of success. I am walking around the house (albeit like Frankenstein) without my crutches. It is really nice to be able to carry things again. I started a little recumbant stair climber at PT last time and it felt good. My ankle is stiff still so the movement is awkward. I want to be able to bike slowly on my street with my little dog. I miss walking him and he misses it too.
About your cats -- I have 3 females and a male. I've always had males all my life and they are so different! I'll never get another female. They are as catty and moody as human females can be! LOL. I got one female kitten from a breeder and they were going to destroy her mother because she was "bred-out" (there's much more to that story) so I had to save her. They are beautiful snow bengals. And my son really wanted to get a calico for his birthday so that is the 3rd female. They don't get along with each other at all. I have one on my lap most times but they fight over me.
I hope that fixing your one foot helps correct the other. It sounds like your problem is "new" so hopefully the new gait will relieve your other foot. My nonsurgery foot has had a lot of relief just from walking different. My big struggle now is my surgery side knee. I get sharp pains with every step. My PT says it is from my calf insertion and the fact that my knee has been over a pronated foot for 30 years and my knee has a lot of adjusting to do. My last PT session was focused on my knee and honestly it hurt a lot more than my foot!! Please keep posting. I'm going through a "woe is me" phase.

 
Old 05-24-2010, 07:09 PM   #7
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Re: Newbie facing PTTD surgery-please advise

So at 16 weeks I take it you're out of the cast? That must feel good. It's beginning to dawn on me that I'm about a month and a half away, and I need to get stuff ready but I'm such a procrastinator. I really need to get a move on don't I?
I know what you mean about female cats, mine gives new meaning to the term scaredy cat. She even runs away from me. My male cat is the polar opposite, not scared of people at all, the only thing that freaks him out is riding on the car on the way to the vet. Once he's there, however, he wins everyone over with his sweet personality. They're both Ragdolls, I don't know if you've heard of them, they're big fluffy balls of fur, the kind of fur that gets everywhere, LOL. I'm fortunate in that they get along great, really love each other.
Now that you're in PT you must be feeling you're moving forward I hope. I wish I could skip the surgery and go straight to that. Can you tell I'm freaking out. This is a long wait.
My best wishes to you in this phase of your recovery. I hope your joints and muscles adapt quickly and PT becomes less painful. Be well.

 
Old 05-25-2010, 05:58 AM   #8
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Re: Newbie facing PTTD surgery-please advise

Thanks Koolestkat,
PT is going well. It feels good to be "doing something" instead of sitting home watching the calendar if you know what I mean. You've got 6 more weeks? PLENTY of time. I got my stuff together 3 days before. If you can, during the last week, make a lot of freezable dinners and freeze them in serving sizes. That will help. The better quality food you eat afterward the easier your guts with handle all the pain meds. Constipation is pretty common so eat your fresh fruits!
Ragdolls? They are, I think, the most beautiful cats next to the Mainecoons. I dreamt about getting a Ragdoll for a while but my cats are free to go in and outdoors and I thought that was too risky for a Ragdoll. My neighbor has a 12 month old GORGEOUS Ragdoll male. As I'm writing this my calico is all over the keyboard and in my way pacing. She can be very demanding...

In PT yesterday she put me on the treadmill! I was pysched. Mainly she was checking my gait but still. My calf is the difficult part right now. It is very tight and limiting my ankle motion. The atrophy went away pretty quickly once I got out of the boot. That was nice.
Take care and relax! haha (I can say that now that I'm out the other end...)

 
Old 05-29-2010, 04:56 PM   #9
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Re: Newbie facing PTTD surgery-please advise

Hi, Sarah
Hope you're well and improving. I went to see my ortho yesterday, because I was worried about my good foot. It's sore on the inside of the ankle, and I first dismissed it as stress from favoring my injured foot, but then I remembered that's how the whole thing started 2 years ago, with just soreness. My doctor said since both my feet pronate, the right one is also at risk for developing PTTD. She gave me an Aircast brace for it. So now I have matching braces and I look like I'm wearing combat boots, LOL. But by catching it early, hopefully it will never need surgery. And that foot needs to be strong to hold me up while the other one heals.
It's amazing how much function I have lost in my injured foot and I hadn't even noticed. I can stand on tiptoes using both feet. The doc made me stand on tiptoe on my right foot only, no problem. When I tried my left, I could barely lift my heel off the ground. I had not noticed until then. I have no problem pushing against the doc's hand with my right foot, with the left, not so much. The body adapts so well that you don't even notice sometimes. And here I am, a cancer survivor, thinking that I pay so much attention to what my body tells me. If I wasn't convinced before about the surgery, now I am. I cannot allow this to continue. So bring it on.
As I'm typing this, my boy kitty is lying on my arm and making it numb. He weighs 12 pounds, so he's actually considered small for a Ragdoll (thank God).
And how are you doing? Are you seeing the light at the end of the tunnel? I hope so.
Be well.

 
Old 05-30-2010, 11:14 AM   #10
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Re: Newbie facing PTTD surgery-please advise

Hi Kool,
I have two aircast boots, I mean braces too. Black. You think they'd make them flesh tone or something. I graduated to custom AFOs when the aircasts stopped aleviating the pain. Those are even bigger and more obnoxious looking than the aircasts. I had no problem wearing them in the winter when long pants covered them but I knew that summer would be a major problem. That's why I opted to get the surgery done in Feb. Actually I was hoping for Nov. but the doctor's first available was Feb. because he is an "in demand" surgeon.
I know that once a ligament is over stretched it will never regain its proper shortened length. I did a lot of PT and foot strengthening through the years so that the intrinsic muscles could hold the foot up but it never worked. The foot hold up way to much weight and force so you need good and tight ligaments.
I hope that you can catch the progression in your good foot before it is too late.
I have been walking around mostly without crutches now. Its nice, really nice. I have to be very conscious of my gait and not to get lazy. It hurts to walk normal - heel strike, roll, push off toes... so I don't... but I really need to force myself to get the foot moving right. My toes don't want to bend so I kind of lift off with my whole foot half way through the step. The PT said everyone does that after wearing the boot a long time. It helps me to stretch those toes back as much as I can. My walking improves when I do.
I'm still on a daily 50 mg of tramadol. I though I could do without it but I can't. My knees ache and burn when I try to go without it. I could easily tolerate the foot pain because it's not so bad but the knees - ouch. I'm actually dealing with a lot of endometriosis crap lately and we are trying out hormone therapies. The side effects have been terrible and I think that my body is just really sensitive to pain right now. The last half of every month is much more painful for me across the board. I think that if I wasn't dealing with that stuff then my foot healing would be much farther along. Like today I am limping along because everything hurts and it's not foot related. Bummer.
I got my long haired black male cat shaved this week. He looks like a lion. He's so happy after he's shaved. He turns into an even more lovable lap sitter afterwards.
Have a good memorial day weekend!

 
Old 06-03-2010, 05:53 PM   #11
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Re: Newbie facing PTTD surgery-please advise

Hi, how are you doing? I've been busy with work, (I had to work last weekend including the holiday) but thankfully I'm off this weekend and looking forward to getting some sleep. My injured foot has been hurting some lately. Sometimes I don't feel as if the brace is holding up the arch and I wonder if the air bubble is leaking. I just got a message from my ortho's office letting me know that she had prescribed some anti-inflammatory for me and called it to my pharmacy. I know we talked about it but I didn't ask for it. I just wonder if it's worth taking them. I've tried Voltaren gel which didn't do anything.
Oh, what are AFOs? Orthotics? I've seen the term throughout these boards but I'm unsure as to what it means.
It must be strange to walk and have your foot not behave like it should. But I guess it's relearning and it's on its way back to normal.
Keep positive (I'm trying to bring myself up too, bad day at work) and keep healthy. Post back soon

 
Old 06-11-2010, 01:30 PM   #12
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Re: Newbie facing PTTD surgery-please advise

I wish you the best on what seems to be your upcoming surgery.
As you go around your home, try to put everything you'll be wanting to get your hands on within easy reach. Think of everywhere you'll be laying or sitting and set them up as small command centers with everything you need or want.
Definitly keep your cell phone handy, I have mine on a neck leash so when I move about I don't worry about dropping it or sending it for a swim.
Depending on how tall you are you might want to consider getting a new toilet with a higher seat height. That way you can just slide forward and more easily up onto your supporting leg rather than forward from a lower position where it will be harder to raise up.
Good luck and do let us all know how things progress. I'm still quite anxious over my future physical therapy and recovery and all but not nearly would up as I was prior to the surgery.

Best wishes.

 
Old 06-11-2010, 02:06 PM   #13
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Re: Newbie facing PTTD surgery-please advise

Hi Koolestkat,
AFOs are "Ankle Foot Orthoses" and they stabilize the foot and ankle together. Orthotics are insoles custom made to correct a problem rather than just support the foot. For example, I have orthotics that have a 3 degree post meaning that the insole is built up 3 degrees higher on the medial side of my foot to counteract the pronation. Just arch supports don't work for me. I graduated into an AFO when my ankle started to pronate with my foot. The AFO is hard plastic and it is like a orthotic that runs all the way up my calf with a hinge at the ankle so I could walk but no side to side movement. They aren't usually very comfortable and you have to wear very big shoes but when you need them you need them . Being full time in the AFOs finally prompted me to go the next step and do the flat foot surgery.

 
Old 06-13-2010, 07:31 PM   #14
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Koolestkat HB User
Re: Newbie facing PTTD surgery-please advise

Purrrfect, Iíll have to consider about replacing the toilet. I already have a plan for having my ďcommand centerĒ as you call it; itís amazing how many things one uses, or might think one needs during the day. And me being a pack rat, even worse. My surgery is July 12, so I still have time.

On another subject, your name suggests cat lover? I have two.

Sarahluke, thanks for clarifying what AFOs are. That sounds uncomfortable. Iíve only been dealing with my ankle issues for 2 years. How long did you have your foot issues before you decided on surgery?

Best healing wishes

 
Old 06-13-2010, 07:53 PM   #15
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Re: Newbie facing PTTD surgery-please advise

You do not need to replace the toliet. They have these toliet extensions that fit on top of the bowl. They sell for about $40. You can find them at any home medical supply. Just ask them for a toliet seat extension.
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