I am about one month post op from a modified brostrom surgery/bone chip removal/ligament repair. I am in a hard cast, NWB, and for the most part doing well. I am dealing with two main issues:
1) Constant exhaustion - If I am up and "active" (i.e. working at my computer, walking, talking to people etc) for more than 2-3hrs, I am exhausted. My doctor said this was part from the anesthetic, but i feel like after a month it should have worn off by now. The exhaustion is amplified if i take any sort of pain killer, even tylonal.
2)The pain - I feel no pain if i'm just laying in bed with my foot elevated, but if my foot comes down for any period of time, it starts to really hurt. This is the case even if i'm sleeping and my foot rolls off the pillows. I returned to work full time this week and by the end of the day my leg is so swollen in the cast that i cant even stick my finger down it. If I elevate my foot when i get home the swelling goes away fairly quickly, but the pain is persistent through the night.
Is this normal? At what point do I worry? How soon did you return to work after your surgery? How long before the pain, swelling and exhaustion were gone?
Thanks for your help!
At one month post-op I was in a hard cast too, but I was allowed to weight bear as tolerated in it. I was back at work (teacher) full-time by 3.5 weeks and sort of walking without crutches within the classroom and PWB on longer treks (recess, around the building, shopping, and other outings). Sure, I was sore and swollen at the end of the day, and exhausted, but I was making it through on only Advil.
Being NWB, the blood will pool in your foot faster making it uncomfortable. Putting even some weight on it will help the blood keep moving. Almost 6 months out and I still sleep with my foot on a pillow simply because when I lay certain ways it pulls on the repair and I wake up. Try lining up a few pillows so that even when you roll around, your foot stays on it. Hang in there. You'll make it through.
Thanks for your reply. I spoke with my Dr. today because I was a bit concerned after hearing how quickly you were able to be back with your kids. (I too am a teacher). My Dr. said for the amount of repair that i had done - 2 shredded ligaments, a scope, bone chip removal and a modified brostrom- I'm pretty much where i should be. Heres some more information for others out there browsing:
For my surgery here is the typical time line
*1 night in the hospital post op (It can be an out-patient surgery)
*10 - 14 days bed rest on heavy pain killers. The first 1-4 days you will be completely exhausted from the anesthetics still in your system. For my surgery they put in a nerve block behind my knee, this was supposed to wear off after 48 hrs, but took close to a week. As it wore off, i experienced bouts of a burning sensation (like my foot was on fire), electrical currents running down my leg and more pain. This is not common, but does happen and is a sign that the nerves are not damaged and coming back on line.
*Day 14ish - Get stitches removed and put into a hard cast. (I recommend taking pain killers prior to getting the stitches out because this was very unpleasant)
*4 weeks in a hard cast NWB (some dr.s dont require this, but my Dr. at Johns Hopkins said that this is best because it allows for less strain to be put on the ankle during the healing process and yields the best long term results)
I have not gotten to this part yet, but this is what i have been told:
*(You are now at week 6) 4 more weeks in a walking boot/hard cast and weight bearing. At this time it is possible to begin physical therapy.
*Somewhere between 4-12 weeks of physical therapy
*A total of 6 months before returning to intense physical exercise (I am a martial artist and was told that I should wait 6 months before kicking targets, running/agility training or doing anything that would torque the ankle suddenly, but that i could go back to mild practice (practicing forms, using a bicycle or elliptical etc) after the boot comes off.
I have seen 3 dr.s at 3 different hospitals throughout this whole thing and the one thing they all said is: DONT PUSH IT! give yourself time to heal so you dont mess it up and need to go through this again!
I've been through the Brostrom deal with tendons etc, a few times now.
The pain with the foot down is totally normal. Until you start walking on it it will hurt when down. Even after cast is removed, it will turn purple in the shower or when down awhile. All normal.
3 mos post op, when I started to walk was the most painful. By 5 mos you will feel pretty good. It will take up to a year to feel normal though.
I too am in martial arts (TKD) and I wasn't allowed to run or do any pivoting until 6 mos post-op. And, I ended up having to have a second Brostrom and second peroneal tendon repair. DON'T push it! Kicking a pad or wave bag is not a good idea. My first dr. told me healing can take up to 18 mos. I now no longer kick a bag, pad or anything other than air with that foot. Pivoting is still painful.
Good luck with your recoveries. If you have any questions let me know. I'm a good example of what not to do.
Three days ago I had a procedure similar to yours: Brostrom, ligament repair, bone chip removal, and 2 screws to reattach ligament. After reading your treatment plan it seems weird that my doc put me in a boot only and said to bear weight as pain dictates.
How long should I lay in bed and elevate my ankle? 2 weeks until the stitches get removed? Thanks.
I was in bed elevated until my stitches came out. I was also too tired and out of it to do otherwise though. I'm due to get my cast off in 2 days, and it really has only been this week that my energy has returned, the swelling has gone away and the pain subsided almost completely. Generally, what my doctor said was that different doctors will do things differently, he is of the belief that the more rest and healing time you give your ankle, the less chance of damage there will be.
I am having brostrom and arthroscopy done and I am not going to be in a cast either but weight bearing seems not good for the healing process. I am going to be in the boot with crutcehs for 6-8 weeks and then get eased of the crutches which takes about 3 weeks and then PWB in the boot for three weeks and the FWB for the last two weeks in the boot and then will be eased off of the boot starting with 30 mins. a day without it the 1 hr and so on good luck with your recovery!