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Old 11-16-2010, 01:42 PM   #1
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Brostrom Procedure (first ankle surgery) pain, rehab, recovery

Hello,

I am scheduled to have a Brostrom Procedure on January 19th on my right ankle. I have never had ankle surgery before and because I am a college student, I am looking for tips, explanations, and any other helpful information any one can offer. I was told it will not be done arthroscopic, therefore it will just be an incision made on my ankle. He said research has shown this gives better results. He then told me I would be NWB and on crutches for 6 weeks. I am wondering about pain after surgery,how mobile people were ( I have about a week off school and that's it) type of cast people were in (showering tips) and any other useful information. I also wanted to know when people usually begin rehab and how this process has worked out for people. Thanks in advance for any help you can offer!

 
Old 11-17-2010, 07:46 PM   #2
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Re: Brostrom Procedure (first ankle surgery) pain, rehab, recovery

hi Sportzgirl,
i am a physiotherapist, and i underwent a Brostrom procedure just over 2 weeks ago. i did a lot of research prior to deciding to have the surgery, including my choice of surgeon.
my history was a series of ankle sprains, and ongoing pain and instability.
during the surgery my surgeon did two procedures - a modified Brostrom's repair of my anterior talofibular ligament using an anchor, and a straightforward repair of my calcaneofibular ligament. he also cleared out some scar tissue and decompressed one of my tendons running through the back of the ankle joint. he then placed me in a backslab - like a cast but with a gap allowing for swelling.
on the day i was under general anesthetic for about 2 hours, stayed in recovery for another couple of hours feeling a bit groggy, and then went home.
the really key thing for the first week is to elevate and not get too swollen. i was non-weight bearing with crutches for 8 days, and then placed in a moonboot for 5 wks and allowed to progressively increase my weightbearing. the best thing about being in a moonboot is you are able to take it off and get your ankle joint moving.
regarding your questions, pain-wise i have had minimal pain, but some numbness and hypersensitivity from nerves being stretched during the surgery.
i think a week off school is cutting it pretty fine - in those first few weeks decreased time on your feet has been proven to have the best outcomes.
for showering, when i had the plaster on, a rubbish bag with a flannel under where you tape it works well to stop trickles down through the tape. once in a moonboot i take it off and shower as normal. make sure you get a stool or chair you can sit down in!
for me, i am now walking around in my moonboot with one crutch. i am ensuring i spent large parts of the day with my foot elevated, and am working on improving my ankle range of motion within the limits my surgeon gave me.
please note that my recovery timeframes are on the aggressive side of things - many surgeons will ask you to be non weight bearing for much longer than 8 days.
because of the active nature of my work, i am off full duties for 6 weeks from my surgery date.
i hope that gives you some useful information!

 
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Old 12-26-2010, 01:03 PM   #3
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Re: Brostrom Procedure (first ankle surgery) pain, rehab, recovery

Sportzgirl,
Greetings! I had the Brostrom procedure on November 23. I also had an additional procedure done to lengthen my calf muscle to relieve pressure and tearing of my Achilles tendon. I am runner (slow runner). I had my surgery on a Tuesday and returned to work (I am a school social worker and work in 5 schools) the following Monday. If I had the sick time I would have taken additional time off. I had both general and local (nerve blocker) anesthesia. The never blocker was awesome and kept my pain down for the first 36 hours. However, I did not do as the doctor said and failed to start my oral medications BEFORE the local wore off...ouch. Days two and three were pretty painful. However, I gather by your post that you are much younger I am NWB for eight weeks and then will be sent to PT for rehab. I started with a temp splint and was put in a hard cast at two weeks. I was not prepared for the mental effects of having a cast...after ten days I had the cast cut off and I was put in a boot. I am 100% NWB and my doctor lectured me on staying that way if I wanted to return to distance running and ice hockey. I use a cast cover that was purchased at a medical supply store for $28. It is awesome and never leaks. Here is what I feel that you should know. The physical pain is tolerable. The mental and emotional pain has been horrible for me. I have two small kids and am a single mom. Not being able to carry a landry basket up the stairs, not being able to shovel the huge amounts of snow we have and most importantly, not being able to run has been harder than I thought. I am not meaning to scare you: but rather prepare you. I was NOT prepared enough. Running is my therapy. I have made it 5 weeks and now can't wait for the last three to pass so I can get my running shoes back on my feet where they belong! I do believe the procedure will be worth it as I was barely able to run 7-8 miles (each mile into my run got increasingly painful - some days I could not run at all). My goal is to run a half marathon before I turn 40. This would not be possible without the surgery. I think you could return to school as you plan. I would suggest that you limit all other activity other than classes. I also have to tell you the knee walker is a true blessing. It has saved me from throwing the crutches in the snow bank several times! I wish you the best of luck and hope that you have friends and family to help you with daily activities that we often take forgranted...I can truly say that the mental part of the process has been very very difficult. However, I have a greater empathy for those with a physical disability. I have promised myself to reach out to others that I see that might need a helping hand... please feel free to ask any other questions - I wish I had asked more!!!

 
Old 12-26-2010, 09:06 PM   #4
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Re: Brostrom Procedure (first ankle surgery) pain, rehab, recovery

its good you are preparing See a thread on these posts: "Tactics for coping with Nonweight bearing after foot surgery." You'll need a knee walker, commode, a shower chair and some one to help you for about the first week or so. Also when taking pain meds, stay ahead of the pain for the first few days. After that you may not need anything. May be you could work from home for a few weeks? Have someone tape lecutres? You will need to keep the foot elevated above your heart when possible For more tips look at the other thread. And browse the other posts that mention your procedure. Good luck.

 
Old 12-30-2010, 06:26 PM   #5
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Re: Brostrom Procedure (first ankle surgery) pain, rehab, recovery

I will be a few days in front of you my surgery is set for Jan 17th. One thing I will tell you is get a knee walker as it will help you stay off your foot as much as posible I know you will be NWB for 6 weeks that is what i was told also and it will really help so much better then crutches. (my mom had one when she need surgery a few years ago) you can rent them at a med suply store my doc did a precripton for one so it can go though insurance.

This is what I was told
first week 1/2 cast then staples come out NWB
6 weeks in a fiberglass Cast NWB
6-8 more weeks in walking boot with PT

what did your doc tell you?

Last edited by Specialkt007; 12-30-2010 at 06:33 PM.

 
Old 12-30-2010, 06:52 PM   #6
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Re: Brostrom Procedure (first ankle surgery) pain, rehab, recovery

Hi Sportzgirl-

I just hit the 6 week post-op brostrom/scope point yesterday. I began therapy at the 4 week mark. I didn't do too much the first couple of sessions, but have started to do more the last couple of times. I have been off work since surgery, but only because I am on my feet all day. I'll can tell you about my therapy experience so-far. It looks like you have already been given some good suggestions regarding your other questions.

I stayed NWB for about 3 weeks and then ditched the crutches. My surgeon has been on the aggressive side of things. He told my therapist "no restrictions" when I started therapy, and she said that she felt uncomfortable doing some things for a couple of weeks. So we have been taking it 1 session at a time. My range of motion is pretty horrible right now. It has become pretty frustrating but I just keep telling myself it is still early. Yesterday it was a degree or 2 worse than it was the time before. I have been going 3-4 times a week (I met my out of pocket, so I have been taking advantage until the end of the year). My balance has improved as has my strength. I am able to walk or be on my feet for about an hour and a half or 2 hours before the pain starts setting in. Ice has really been my best friend recently. After my surgery, I was hooked up to one of those ice machines, and I am still using it almost everyday. Sometimes I put it on at night when I am going to sleep and put the timer on for a couple of hours. It really helps it feel better by the morning.

Good Luck- I am sure you will be just fine! You'll be happy when it is over. In a way, I feel like my ankle is already better than before. It just feels like it fits together like it should. It just felt disconnected before the surgery. Be sure to let us know how it goes for you!

 
Old 01-13-2011, 06:11 PM   #7
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Re: Brostrom Procedure (first ankle surgery) pain, rehab, recovery

Hi Sportzgirl,

I just had my Brostrom procedure done on December 14. I've been NWB in a cast for five weeks. I still have 11 days in my cast and then I'll go into a boot. I've been pretty active while in the cast and on crutches. Probably more than I should. I still have swelling but it's manageable. I've been going to class as well. Its not easy on crutches but fortunately my nursing school classmates and faculty are very accomodating and helpful. I was also fortunate enough to have my surgery over the Christmas break so the worst part I was able to lay on my bum and prop my foot up with a pillow. Four days post op I went to a wedding, so don't think you have to stay at home all the time. Elevating your foot is a must though. Even now mine will swell and start to hurt if it's down too long. As far as emotion wise I did well. I didd get frustrated the first week on crutches. (Especially when I biffed it trying to go out my apartment door...ouch). I embraced it though. I decorated my crutches and looked at crutching as good exercise. I have lost weight by crutching so much!! . I'm estimating my full recovery to be around 3-5 months with therapy. Keeping on top of the pain is a must. This was my very first surgery and I was scared to death but it went very smooth and very well. I hope your surgery goes well and that your recovery is speedy. Hopefully some of my insight helped calm nerves and answer some questions!! Godspeed!!

 
Old 01-13-2012, 06:27 PM   #8
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Re: Brostrom Procedure (first ankle surgery) pain, rehab, recovery

i had this done on dec 21,2011,i also had the gastrocnemius with it, my atfligament was 85% torn(i asked how bad was it),,,,,,was in a splint cast for two weeks stitches taken out 2 weeks now in a airboot, i start therapy on jan 23. maybe people heal differently i dont know but the proceedure isnt bad at all. ohya, they sent me home with a front wheel walker and a wheelchair for nwb. good luck

 
Old 01-13-2012, 08:28 PM   #9
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Re: Brostrom Procedure (first ankle surgery) pain, rehab, recovery

hi trishab65,

this post was from last year, funny thing is that I am now almost 8 week into my second brostrom this year. Jan 17 on left and Nov 21 on right was in a cast for 6 weeks with both and will be in boot for 6 weeks this time for every step. I will find out Feb 9th when I can start walking around the house without the boot. Last time that was week 3 of being in the boot. It is not really painful until you start pt/ walking without the boot. But even at that point is is not to bad.

 
Old 01-13-2012, 08:54 PM   #10
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Re: Brostrom Procedure (first ankle surgery) pain, rehab, recovery

hi special,,,,, oh darn i did it again lol they told me not to respond to post over 6 months and i didnt realize this one was...i guess its my old (46) forgetful age,sorry, but i wish u the best on your op.
this board is new and exciting to me since ive been having ankle problems ang going threw procuders like others here.
what king of pt besides walking did you do?
when i fractured it 9 weeks later they sent me to therapy but i cried everyday, and almost passed out on the bike the first time they put me on it, hmm i knew why now my ligament was torn 85%,,,,i see my dr on this coming thursday, and he sorta scared me saying its gonna be hardcore therapy, i just hope and pray i dont blow or break my ankle again, iam so sick of pain and not being able to live a pain free life.
thank you special

 
Old 01-14-2012, 09:00 AM   #11
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Re: Brostrom Procedure (first ankle surgery) pain, rehab, recovery

I am working on Rom right now. I had a more aggressive surgery on my right ankle and had a cadaver ligament added this time. I have a ligament problem where my own tissue is the problem I have already torn about 50% of the repair in my left. That being said I have no pain and my left ankle is stable. I have a lot of swelling right now so range of motion is what I am working on and biking with the boot on that hurts a little. Last time I started biking with out the boot you will do a lot of balance and some strength ex. I will say it takes about 6 weeks when you are walking with out the boot to fell normal. And by the 6 months I did not gave any problems with my ankle.

 
Old 01-14-2012, 09:08 AM   #12
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Re: Brostrom Procedure (first ankle surgery) pain, rehab, recovery

sounds encouraging thanks. he/dr didnt tell me how long in the boot,and or driving? i see him thursday though i will ask for sure. so are you goin to have surgery again on your ankles then? what does the pt say about it? do they evaluate you every 30 days? do you drive?

 
Old 01-14-2012, 04:45 PM   #13
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Re: Brostrom Procedure (first ankle surgery) pain, rehab, recovery

I may need surgery again but as of now it is stable and pain free. So we are at the wait and see step in the process.I have been driving with my left foot just to work and pt I don't live far away and take back roads

 
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