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Old 04-02-2011, 05:52 PM   #1
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Crash Course In Being a Heelie Revised-Calcaneous

Here is the crash course in being a Heelie, long version. This is just my own random thoughts. Not the same for everyone. But for me I had to learn alot of stuff on my own. Seems most people leave here a few weeks after they are walking. So put some of ramblings together.



Lots of stuff to read about here.

Most people are non weight bearing 12 weeks, some get partial before that. Some wear the boot and walk, I was told not to, cause it would make me uneven.

Keep your foot elevated, I mean elevated. I slept with it on 2 pillows, and two on recliner with all the way back.

Circulation will get better when you start walking. Yes, you may have a purplish look to your foot when its down. Yes, you will get weird shooting pains and sensations from time. Yes, most of the feeling will hopefully come back.

The severity and recovery time really varies. But a year is ball park, with gains until 18 months, with people saying it still gets better for a few years.

You may want to wear a compression sock when you start to walk. Sorta knee high stocking, that is very tight and helps with swelling. I wore one until about 10 months, and was told some do forever. I still get a bit of swelling around 2 years. Wear a sock over the compression sock, for comfort.

I wear light wool hiking socks year round. Get good cushiony socks.

Physical therapy is very important, be strict and do it. I started with range of motion about 6 weeks.

Your calf is going to shrink a lot, and your thigh. You can help your thigh a little by doing leg exercises, with out weight.

Calve raises will help the calf, when the time comes. You will have to do them with both feet. As time goes on put more weight on the bad foot. I still can’t do a one footed, and probably never will, but many can.


This is a life changing event, that’s just the way it is. IMO you got to be tough and push, you will no when it really hurts and time to stop.

Many people get custom made orthotics a few months after then start walking. Wear them for short periods at first, increasing time. You will need a deeper shoe to fit it. New Balance plus others make them. You will probably never wear cheap foot wear again.

Some people say don’t spend much on shoes the first year, but I say you got to wear something. You will probably need a wide shoe. Some wear two sizes, some just tighten the other, which is what I do.

When I went back to work I started with 6” lace up boots, cause my ankle was weak, I eventually moved up to 8” and find 8 a lot better. I wears 8” lace up boots for pretty much everything. I had to switch to tennis shoes to drive. Eventually I figured out to untie the boot for driving. This seemed to work. Now I can drive hundreds of miles with my work boot on.
I think it was good for two reasons to wear the tennis for most of the first year. My foot was weak, and it hurt more with boots. Plus I think the shoe allowed greater range of motion.

Fusing is a common treatment for this, they screw your foot together. Which limits movement, but you may have lost it anyways. I didn’t have surgery, cause I was in to bad of shape. I may someday, if the arthritis gets to bad.
Yes, you will most likely get arthritis.

I wonder if they operate to much, or if I would be better off. If I was going to have it, I think I would have preferred to do it right away, and only recover once. But if I have it now, I can pick when to do it, and get things in order.

As for pain, for me its not so much the heel but the outside ankle, because I also shattered my subtalar joint, which is not uncommon. I also have problems with my Achilles. Not a lot of pain until I started walking. But it gets better, every week and month. Things were decent by month 11.

I started walking at 12 weeks, still used wheel chair a bit for couple weeks. Wheel chairs do help. Some people get knee walkers or scooters. Then I moved to walker some of the day, then walker and cane, and then just cane. I was to cane in 3-4 weeks, but still using waked when I went places for awhile.

By 5-6 months the walker was gone. In the beginning you will notice improvement almost weekly, if you try. Then it slows up a bit. After year it got slow for me.

It is illegal in many states to drive with just your left foot, so keep that in mind. Many people start driving with 3-4 months.

Many heelies have problem on uneven surfaces, due to less range of motion. This may be worse when it fused.

As for pain, I don’t have a lot on normal days around the house. But if I do a lot I feel it. Everything has a price.

I gave in around month 18 and started taking tramadol/ultrum few times a week. Again this really depends on use. I think it gave my life back. Not sure if I would do it to soon in the recovery, you need the feedback from your foot, and you need to know what you are capable of.

As I said, normally walking around, doesn’t bother it much. Long days on concrete, gravel, and ladders do. I resisted the pain meds, until a heelie told me you put glasses on to read, so why not take meds when it hurts. I take them more for work then anything.

I believe in rationing the pain. Just because you can do it, doesn’t mean you have to. I sit down whenever I can. Conserve your pain currency. Find mechanical ways to do things, lifts and hoists. I carry a folding chair in my truck.

Use rubber mats in the garage for standing on. I have a rubber mat at the kitchen sink and one in the shower. For the kitchen I took a foam mat and put a rug over it.

I put rugs in my bedroom, to make a path to the bathroom. This was more an issue in the beginning. But is still nice.

Your probably going to go through a lot of footwear finding the right pair, and probably different footwear for different functions. I am constantly on the quest for the ultimate boot.

I walk barefoot around the house, but it needs to be limited. I think it will aggravate plantar fasciitis. I roll my foot on a golf ball or a frozen water bottle when it bothers me.

Around the house I wear walking sandals with lots of cushion, but recently moved to a pair of slips on that have a lot of arch support, that I really like. I have also wore old tennis shoes, that I leave loose enough to slip on and off.

Your joints are full of fluid, so when the barometric pressure changes, you may feel it. More so, when the pressure drops before a storm. Usually feels better when the storm comes through.
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Old 04-02-2011, 05:54 PM   #2
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Re: Crash Course In Being a Heelie Revised-Calcaneous

Another thing, my foot likes to have a drink once in awhile, listen to your foot. Though once in awhile you have to show it who is the boss.
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Old 04-03-2011, 10:44 AM   #3
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Re: Crash Course In Being a Heelie Revised-Calcaneous

The slip ons I got are Merrills Olmec? JP3067. Description says ortho footbeds. I'd like to find more models like this. Maybe something more open for summer.

They don't come in widths, but stretch. But they might be to tight for you at this stage. A loosened up tennis shoe around the house, you can just slip on might be best for now.
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Old 04-03-2011, 11:04 AM   #4
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Re: Crash Course In Being a Heelie Revised-Calcaneous

Another thing I have been doing is tearing off the label on the box for boots and shoes, so I know what size and model I bought. Eventually will put them in a spreadsheet.

This way I know what works, and can just order them off the internet.
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Old 04-03-2011, 11:11 AM   #5
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Re: Crash Course In Being a Heelie Revised-Calcaneous

thanks so much. I just tried on my hiking boots and can wear them. Have to say my feet and ankles are happier in them than in the walking casts.Something to look forward too!

 
Old 07-06-2011, 12:42 PM   #6
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Re: Crash Course In Being a Heelie Revised-Calcaneous

Thank you both for all of this valuable info! I shatter my heel in 22 pieces and received a plate and 9 screws in my right heel in July of 2009.

I too have trouble walking barefoot (unless it's to the bathroom at night). Two pairs of footwear I cannot live without: My "Terrasoles" flip-flops...these are the most comfortable pair I have found after multiple tests. The other: My Sanuks. These have a very similar footbed to the sandals and keep my foot happy during the day at work. Please share any additional footwear suggestions you all may have.

I have done a good amount of hiking, walking and backpacking since my operation. However, I believe I am getting what is called hammer toe on my 2nd biggest toe. This occurs after walking long distances (1 mile or more..) This causes my toe nail to fall off on a regular basis, swelling and pain. Sound familiar at all? It could certainly just be a something that was relevant to my injury.

Nevertheless, it is nice to hear others stories about this.

I feel that because I'm not visibly in pain or on crutches etc., that many people may think I am using the injury as a "crutch" in life. This is not the case. Now that I've found this, I can show them that just because it doesn't appear that anything is wrong, doesn't mean I can just go out and run a 5k.

All the best...

--Zach

 
Old 07-06-2011, 04:08 PM   #7
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Re: Crash Course In Being a Heelie Revised-Calcaneous

I like lace up boots. At home I have a pair Merrill Olmec slip ons, I like. I have a pair of Propet walking sandals, which are ok, but if I put something better on if I do much.
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The good thing is, no one asks me to help them move anymore.

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Old 07-07-2011, 07:33 AM   #8
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Re: Crash Course In Being a Heelie Revised-Calcaneous

oddly enough I have found "Skechers work shape up" with a rocker sole and a lot of cushion in the heel to be the best non-hiking boot for me to do a lot of walking in. I use Merrill slip-ons for around the house and errands. The Skechers aggravated my achilles tendon some at first,but now,3 months out of my casts and being weightbearing,they are good.
I have found working out in the pool 1 to 2 hours a day a great way to improve flexibility and strength. I am now able to carry 40# short distances and walk up and down hills and on uneven ground. Steep hills are harder going up as my ankles don't bend enough in that direction. Nice to be able to do some barn chores again.Still don't run,but am walking more normally and less like a toddler Still can't stand still for very long. For pain I find ibuprohan better that aleve.

 
Old 07-07-2011, 07:49 AM   #9
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Re: Crash Course In Being a Heelie Revised-Calcaneous

I bought a pair of Sketchers with the rocker bottom - so that when I wear my walking boot I am even. Otherwise I'm lopsided and it's not comfortable to try walking like that.

 
Old 07-11-2011, 12:21 PM   #10
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Re: Crash Course In Being a Heelie Revised-Calcaneous

So I've tried a few different things which maybe could be helpful. I'm four months and one week out from surgery.

I can walk without crutches, but it hurts quite a bit. I almost always walk with my crutches, putting as much pressure on the foot as I can without stupid pain. I also judiciously use Vicodin to allow me to put more pressure on the foot and kick start the rebuilding process for muscle, tendon and bone. My doc said to do that.

At times, I walk comfortably for 10-15 steps carrying one crutch but not using it, or use one crutch as a cane. I can often put a lot of pressure on it that way. Maybe not surprisingly, when I'm doing something I really like, during which I HAVE to put pressure on it, it seems easier. For me that's been working around my horse and doing some riding. I find myself walking unassisted more doing that than anything else. I also do some regimented walking, but it kind of sucks and is an adventure in pain control.

When not on it, I try to keep it raised, which I can do at work (I sit at a desk which is easier than working construction with this injury for sure).

I started riding a stationary bike and putting the tension up. It makes sense to me that getting all that movement and blood can only help in the long run. It hurts the next day a lot more, but I'm getting stronger doing it.

I also do leg weight lifting, extensions and hamstring curls, as these put no pressure on the foot. I have started trying heel raises and isometric squats also which seems to add some forced flexibility to the regime.

Last edited by chrrock; 07-11-2011 at 12:22 PM.

 
Old 07-11-2011, 12:59 PM   #11
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Re: Crash Course In Being a Heelie Revised-Calcaneous

A couple of other things I did which aren't really written up.

When my doc said the fracture was healed, at 3 mos one week, i took off the boot and have been in sneakers since. The boot has a height thing which made it difficult to walk normally and would press the side of my ankle. Some nice running sneakers were actually easier to walk in.

I try to move around the house with no shoes on to stretch out the ligaments etc .... that got all tight during my three month progression from "nothing to not a lot". At first the newly stretched stuff hurt quite a bit, but now I have much better stability and the foot isn't all curled up and is regaining normal shape, albeit swollen.

Another reason I use the crutches is to make sure that I'm not limping too much and to start straightening out the gait. That seems to be working also, as the limp is already far less when I go without the crutches now. But I have to really concentrate, when without the crutches, on mirroring my good leg with my bad one and copy the correct movement.

 
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Old 10-27-2011, 12:21 PM   #12
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Re: Crash Course In Being a Heelie Revised-Calcaneous

18 months after surgery I found a chiropractor that uses Active Release Therapy and it has made an amazing difference in my range of motion. I am now able to check to see if I stepped in dog poop after I mow my lawn!

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