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Old 05-19-2011, 01:43 PM   #1
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Calcaneus fracture - no operation story

Hi all,

A month ago, I fell backward on a ladder at about 6 feet and fractured my right heel. I went to the emergency room within an hour and they took x rays there. When I asked the doctor how long it would take to heal, she said 4-6 weeks, which is definitely much lower than the real time. They put me in a boot and asked to call a DSP or Orthopedist, with no recommendations.

The next day, I randomly called doctors and went to the first one to take me. The doctor said I was 50/50 on surgery based on the x-rays. He then sent me to have a CT Scan and when I came back with the results, said I definitely needed surgery or I'd only be walking as far as the mailbox.

I went to an Orthopedic surgeon for a second opinion and he said they have a saying in med school, 'thou shalt not fracture your calcaneus bone'. He said based on the CT Scan, even with the minimal displacement, he didn't think surgery would help me much and asked that I get a third opinion.

At that point, I was pretty tired of doctors, so decided to go with the 2nd opinion. Two weeks later, I went to another DPM and he said he sort of agreed with the 2nd doctor, but might have put a pin if I came to him on the first week to adjust by 2mm.

Now, I'm basically recovering with no op and waiting for the best. I still have 3-4 weeks of NWB.

It looks like Arthritis is in the future, but can anything be done to delay it? Maybe low impact exercise like swimming, hot yoga, pilates, etc.?

Thanks everyone

 
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Old 05-19-2011, 05:30 PM   #2
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Re: Calcaneus fracture - no operation story

I was to swollen and blistered for surgery, they wanted to. At 12 weeks when I put weight on it, he said we'll wait 6 months, that was 2 years ago. But I don't rule out surgery some day.

Stay off it until you get the clear, and keep it elevated.
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Old 05-19-2011, 05:31 PM   #3
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Re: Calcaneus fracture - no operation story

Here is the crash course in being a Heelie.

Lots of stuff to read about here.

But most people are non weight bearing 12 weeks, some get partial before that. Some where 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 it all the way back.

Circulation will get better when you start walking. Yes, you may have a purplish look to your foot when it is 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 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 24+ months. Wear a sock over it.

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 at 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 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 now when it really hurts and time to stop.

Many people get custom made orthotics a few months after they 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 footwear 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.

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.

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 waker when I went places for awhile.

By 5-6 months I think 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 3-5 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, with increased activity. Everything has a price. You have to spend some pain currency.
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Old 05-19-2011, 07:40 PM   #4
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Re: Calcaneus fracture - no operation story

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zerk View Post
I was to swollen and blistered for surgery, they wanted to. At 12 weeks when I put weight on it, he said we'll wait 6 months, that was 2 years ago. But I don't rule out surgery some day.

Stay off it until you get the clear, and keep it elevated.
Thanks Zerk. How are you feeling now? Is the pain stable or is it still getting better? Was there a point when all limping stopped?

 
Old 05-20-2011, 02:47 PM   #5
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Re: Calcaneus fracture - no operation story

I won't lie to you, there is pain. Also depends on what you do. I have been sick this week, so haven't been doing alot. So no pain meds. But when doing work around the house, long days at work, ect, there is pain. Not awful, but its there.

About 18 months in I started taking pain meds, by then you know the score. They allowed me to get back to an active lifestyle. I take 1 tramadol, which really isn't much. I also take anti inflamatories.

Limp goes away after a few months. I still limp if I am not thinking about it, when tired.
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Old 05-21-2011, 07:42 PM   #6
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Re: Calcaneus fracture - no operation story

I'm doing as much research as I can. In the last couple of days, the swelling is coming down a little and I'm getting less stiffness. I'm taking as many supplements as I read could possibly help; Glucosamine Sulfate, Tumeric, Vitamin D.

Since I didn't get an operation, it is healing in the slightly displaced fashion. I asked the doctor if there is any sign of arthritis and he said it won't appear for months or years. Well that's precise medicine. Not sure where the research is on all this, it seems that this type of fracture hasn't gotten much headway in 100 years.

 
Old 05-22-2011, 11:36 AM   #7
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Re: Calcaneus fracture - no operation story

[QUOTE=nestled;4760027
Since I didn't get an operation, it is healing in the slightly displaced fashion. I asked the doctor if there is any sign of arthritis and he said it won't appear for months or years. Well that's precise medicine. Not sure where the research is on all this, it seems that this type of fracture hasn't gotten much headway in 100 years.[/QUOTE]

Try not to get negative. He is telling you the truth. Just like they can't predict when the world will end, they don't know when your arthitis will start. But ya, it will.

Life sucks, not much you can do about it. You have no choice in the matter.
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Old 05-23-2011, 10:30 AM   #8
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Re: Calcaneus fracture - no operation story

I read something positive today since all I do is try to learn as much on this as possible.

For the arthritis, instead of fusion, a doctor is using this method:

"Implant a fixator for three months that pulls apart the joint. Then, inject stem cells in the new four-millimeter space where cartilage will regenerate. Dr. Rozbruch said, "We used stem cells derived from his pelvis. Dr. Rozbruch has done 100 of these procedures on ankle joints. So far, 90 percent of patients are relieved of pain and do not need fusions."

Not sure if it's all true, but seems like a good start and was used successfully for a mountain climber. Also, it says 'relieved of pain' not 'relieved of all pain'.

 
Old 05-23-2011, 12:26 PM   #9
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Re: Calcaneus fracture - no operation story

I have hope that they will come up with something. Maybe artificial bone.

Though while most surgeries go well, I have read of enough on here, that I am in no rush for surgey.
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Old 07-11-2011, 08:57 PM   #10
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Re: Calcaneus fracture - no operation story

Quick update on my 4/17 injury (no surgery):

Two weeks ago the DPM said I could lose the crutches anytime I felt comfortable, so I've been walking with a cane for about a week now. I still feel pain on the side of the heels, and have swelling around the ankles. I hear the no surgery group tends to swell longer (I hope not forever).

I've been doing some stationary bike for 10 minutes per day and some swimming at the local gym.

I received a jury duty summons 2 weeks ago, and thought I'd be set with the injury, but the doctor wrote that in 3 months I would be able to attend. So I guess that's good news in that he thinks at 6 months out from injury, I could actually be healthy enough for jury duty.

I'm trying to see if prolotherapy might apply to our case, some athletes use it to speed up their healing.

That's pretty much it.

 
Old 07-12-2011, 09:40 AM   #11
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Re: Calcaneus fracture - no operation story

Your doing fine. Your going to have some odd pains for the first year, especially with use. Somedays better then others, for no apparent reason.

I wore a compression sock until month 10-11. I still get a tight boot once and awhile.

Stay positive, that you are probably at the worst point, and its going to get alot better.
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Old 07-15-2011, 08:46 PM   #12
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Re: Calcaneus fracture - no operation story

Thanks Zerk. I read your theory about the foot needing a drinking, and remembered an old remedy my grandmother used. Basically, I soaked a towel in Ouzo and put it around my foot for 30 minutes 2 days ago and the next day, it felt looser and I had less pain. Not sure if it was part of the healing process, but it seems to have helped and lessened the swelling as well.

 
Old 07-15-2011, 09:38 PM   #13
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Re: Calcaneus fracture - no operation story

Nestled, I have a different issue but I'd like to try that with my ankle! Maybe I could drink 5% of the Ouzo and use the other 95% to soak my ankle... give it a drink inside and out. First have to wait until the sticthes come out.

 
Old 07-16-2011, 10:17 AM   #14
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Re: Calcaneus fracture - no operation story

Quote:
Originally Posted by nestled View Post
Thanks Zerk. I read your theory about the foot needing a drinking, and remembered an old remedy my grandmother used. Basically, I soaked a towel in Ouzo and put it around my foot for 30 minutes 2 days ago and the next day, it felt looser and I had less pain. Not sure if it was part of the healing process, but it seems to have helped and lessened the swelling as well.
I meant at the end of bad day, the best thing is to put my foot up and have a drink. For me it was summer, and I was drinking gin and tonics.


One thing that was weird, the first few months, was I could not get comfortable on a bar stool. I just could not hang my foot off in a comfortable way. Now I can sit just fine in a chair. But I still prefer my recliner.
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Old 11-18-2011, 08:36 PM   #15
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Re: Calcaneus fracture - no operation story

new heelie here. since october 2 2011. been horizontal since. The ortho doc said I absolutely needed surgery. I had just started a job and did not get past the waiting time to get insurance=so the clinic i am atsaid they don't have acssess to Ct- so no surgery. I fear I am screwed!

 
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arthritis, calcaneus fracture, heel bone fracture, non operative



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