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Old 07-26-2011, 10:35 AM   #1
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Broken Heel - will it ever end!

Fell off a ladder 3-1/2 months ago and shattered my heel. Frankly I did not even know you could break your heel. Doctor told me "good news - no surgery, bad news - 3 months to heel". Well I knew 3 months was too short. In a cast for 6 weeks and been in a walking boot ever since. Still hurts all the time. No pain meds - told to take Tylenol, which is a laugh. this is a life changing accident. wonder if I will ever walk again, and if I do, will it be without pain? Anyone else dealing with this type of break? I know no 2 accidents are alike so everyone will have a different experience but maybe we all know the pain!!

 
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Old 07-26-2011, 05:35 PM   #2
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Re: Broken Heel - will it ever end!

Hi Wendy52,
I'm sorry you are in so much pain. I had a calcaneal osteotomy, debridement posterior tibialis tendon, transfer flexor digitorum longus tendon to navicular, and gastrocmenius. So, they broke my heel - I had had a torn tendon. I'm surprised they had you bearing weight at 6 weeks...but then these are all different. I wasn't allowed any weight until 8 weeks. I'm just past 12 weeks right now. I'm still in my walker boot...I can kind of walk without crutches...not gracefully though. And yes, my foot still hurts. I take Advil...and Norco when it gets bad or Tramadol.
Are you keeping your foot up as much as possible? the "toes above the nose" type up...seems to help me alot. And ice...

Take care and I hope your foot gets better.

 
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Old 07-28-2011, 09:01 PM   #3
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Re: Broken Heel - will it ever end!

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 05-05-2012, 09:19 AM   #4
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Re: Broken Heel - will it ever end!

Hi everyone, I'm really hoping to be able to resume my life as it was after I've heeled my Calcanius after surgery (29th March) I was fortunate enough to have had my accident snowboarding in Switzerland, the surgeon had so much experience that I chose to stay there instead of returning home to the UK where the injury is quite rare.
Strangely enough you might think, I never had a cast and only had 3 days off the foot when I had the wound drain in. After that the hospital physio started with ROM exercises and partial weight bearing up to 10kg's on the injured foot.
I'm desperate to get this week over with so I can put more weight on (week 6-12 I am told to add 10 more kgs to the weight) and work towards full weight bearing on the 12th week.
I'm sure I have been positive in my vision of how things will go, but I think the difference between countries techniques and healing times is very interesting. If you don't mind me asking, what is the average age of you guys on here?
I really hope it won't take me too long to get back to normal and that my plate doesn't rub so I won't need surgery to remove it in a year, I'm a professional snowboarder but am trying not to think to much about whether or not that will be possible, general snowboarding and skateboarding had better be though otherwise I truly have ballsed up my life....

Is my positivity a little bit unrealistic do you think? it sounds like you all have been living with this injury a bit longer than I have..

 
Old 05-05-2012, 09:31 AM   #5
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Smile Re: Broken Heel - will it ever end!

I was 52 years old when I broke my heel. I was also a smoker and had low Vitamin D which all hindered my heeling. Since I had no medical insurance I did not have surgery but did have a cast for 6 weeks and then a Boot for 3 more months. It took 2 months of Physical Therapy till I was able to walk. All in total it took me 7 months of the most excruitating pain and fear that I would never be normal again. I am glad to say that it has been a year now and I am mostly back to normal with an occasional twinge in my foot and can't wear high heels yet. Comfortable shoes are now my life. I am very impressed and envious on your career and really hope that you can still do what you love. Hopefully your athletic ability will help in your healing process and just keep pushing your limits. Good luck to you

 
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Old 05-05-2012, 09:49 AM   #6
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Re: Broken Heel - will it ever end!

goodness, I had no idea that you could have surgery refused if you didn't have insurance, it seems such a serious thing to try to mend without it, I'm happy for you that it seems to have gone well for you despite your situation. I thank goodness for the UK National Health System, we really are lucky to have it even though we complain about it's shortfalls all the time, it makes me so cross to think the future of your foot was put in danger just because you didn't have insurance you poor thing.

 
Old 05-05-2012, 12:05 PM   #7
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Re: Broken Heel - will it ever end!

A number of people here have complained about lack of physical therapy in the UK. I don't know if this is a result of your country not paying for it,or just not enough physical therapist, which if so could be a result of the first item.

I was 34. I had a number of other problems, my foot was an after thought in my care. Also the femur on the other side was broke in 4 places, so I could not do partial weight bearing.

Started ROM around 6 weeks, with full weight bearing at 12.

As for snowboard proffesionally or at all, is hard to say. You will have to adapt to less ROM with that foot, I am not sure if that is an issue. I have heard it is with skiers.

Bracing the ankle helps. I wear 8" lace up boots almost all the time, when out of the house. If you can do what you do with a brace, you will most likely have a better chance.

Also this injury varies alot with respect to how bad it is. If you wreck the subtalar joinnt also, it is worse. Which myself and many do.


With respect to frequency and countries, the common ways in the US, are car accidents and falling off your roof. Switzerland probably sees it do to the mountains, and climbing and such.

In the UK I sorta doubt you drive as much as us, bigger country. Not sure how the house vs apartment ratio compares. People in apartments don't go up and clean there rain gutters, the owner does that.
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Old 11-04-2012, 07:46 AM   #8
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Re: Broken Heel - will it ever end!

Quote:
Originally Posted by wendy52 View Post
I was 52 years old when I broke my heel. I was also a smoker and had low Vitamin D which all hindered my heeling. Since I had no medical insurance I did not have surgery but did have a cast for 6 weeks and then a Boot for 3 more months. It took 2 months of Physical Therapy till I was able to walk. All in total it took me 7 months of the most excruitating pain and fear that I would never be normal again. I am glad to say that it has been a year now and I am mostly back to normal with an occasional twinge in my foot and can't wear high heels yet. Comfortable shoes are now my life. I am very impressed and envious on your career and really hope that you can still do what you love. Hopefully your athletic ability will help in your healing process and just keep pushing your limits. Good luck to you

Hi Wendy,
I have been a "Heelie" since 1984. I went through a long recovery, 2 months in a non weight bearing cast followed by at least 3 months walking with crutches. I was 22 years old at the time. Surgery was not preformed as I was told there were too many pieces. I was never even prescribed physical therapy. Since then, I have been able to live pretty normally. I run, workout at a high level aerobic boot camp, ski, wakeboard, and yes, wear high heels, as I find them more comfortable than flats. When I hike on uneven terrain, I have stiffness in the joint for a day or too. Most recently, while painting the exterior of my house, I have been in quite a lot of pain. I believe it is a result of climbing up and down the ladder, stretching the Achilles.
I was I told back in 1984 that I was lucky to not have a limp. I was also warned that i may have severe arthritus when i am older. Well, 28 years later, i do not believe I have arthritus, but I am wondering if it is too late for physical therapy.

As for heels, don't give up the dream. It was maybe 6 months in the "comfortable" shoe, but working in advertising in NYC back then, I needed and wanted my heels, and I have been wearing them ever since!!

 
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