Hoping to find a match and hope of full recovery.
Age 42, Male, Not overweight, non-smoker
Calcaneus fracture from ladder fall
on June 21st, 2010 (now 9 weeks post-op)
Open reduction, internal fixation, titanium plate and internal pins. Fractures barely reached sub-talar joint, but there were plenty of them, spiral and others.
Here is my week by week rundown for those of you just starting, followed by my questions for those of you who are farther along than I am.
Week 1- Waited for surgery, huge white circle on back of heel, looked like it was going to explode through the skin, major swelling. They put a splint on it. No critical pain after first 48 hours.
Week 2- Surgery- they put a split on it, wrapped in tons of gauze and ace bandages and told me not to remove it for any reason for 2 weeks. Took all the stuff off the next day because split was digging into stitches. Found stitches in major need of cleaning. I never got an infection, and I believe it was from cleaning the stitches and recovering them with sterile pads and antibac cream. Major swelling still, ice very helpful... so was wheel chair. Amazed that the pain was bearable. Not bad at all.
Week 3- Began sleeping without splint and doing range of motion exercises. Could not move foot up well at all, seemed to "stick", like i needed to crack the joint. Seemed that skipping range of motion exercises combined with not wearing the splint was a very bad idea so I made sure and did it. Put the splint on during the day because the muscles seemed to contract during the night without the splint...
Week 4- Stitches out- Doc put me in a hard cast for 2 weeks. Drove me up a freeking wall. Cut vent holes all over cast with dremel tool. Took cast off after one week. Couldn't stand the "tickling" sensation behind my knee and down my foot that came from no being able to rotate or move my foot (seemed to happen at night and would keep me awake. Figured out it was the scar tissue area that was rubbing and causing the sensation.
Week 5. Put myself in a pair of cam walkers fixed at 90 degrees. Began trying to walk on my heel. Swelling was down, bearing any weight was painful. Jumped off 40 foot cliff into a lake after crawling up the cliff on my leather covered knees. Was sure I rebroke it, as I landed feet first. Thought the cam walkers would pad the blow.... not really... but really stupid.
Week 6- Saw the Doc, he said I was 85% healed. Said I should start with cam walkers and crutches for two weeks then walk with crutches for the two weeks after that. When home and started walking without crutches in cam walkers the next day.
Week 7- Walking without cams or crutches. Very painful after just being on my feet for a total of one or two hours a day. Mostly in the pad of the heel.
Week 8- No major progress on the pain front, heel gets very sore, so does an area on the outside of my ankle, as well as the outside of my foot. Thinking it is just from not using them for so long?
Today, Week 9- Any amount of walking at all angers my heel. Feels like a toothache. Trying to take stairs without bringing my feet together on every step, but the foot doesn't want to come up enough to do it without thinking I am going to tear something. Can't raise my body up on the balls of my feet... feels too weak in the ball of my foot to do that as well as with ankle stability. Worried I am going to rip the Ach tendon out of my heel.
Ok, so for those of you with a similar injury, there is my history. I obviously have not listened to my doctor worth a darn. However, I am walking, albiet painfully.
1. Does the feeling that you need to have a gel pad inserted into your heel to ever be able to walk without pain ever go away? Just laying in bed with my laptop resting on my drawn up knee puts enough of an angled force on my heel that it begins to throb.
2. When I stretch in the morning or at night, I get a terrible pain in the outside of my calf and extends down the outside of my foot. Is that the nerve bundles rubbing against the plate or what?
3. At this stage, is it safe to begin pushing the envelope and forcing the additional range of motion?
4. I fear the plate may have to come out as ever since the swelling went down "stuff" seems to rubbing the plate/pin area and causing pain. Is there anyone out there that is pain free and living with the plate / pins still in their ankle?
Thanks in advance of your reply. It sure would be great to know what others have gone through.