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Old 08-30-2011, 11:15 AM   #1
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Bilateral Calcaneal Fractures

Hi all,
Just found this post, and wish I had looked sooner.
Last November I fell 25' from a roof I was working on, severely fracturing both heels and my right tibia. I consider myself very lucky in not injuring my back, knees, ankles, etc., but the damage done was rather extreme.
The surgeon who reviewed the imaging compared them to putting an apple in a sock, and stepping on it.
Surgery was not an option initially, as they were not displaced in a form that prevented movement, so I was simply restricted to 12 weeks of zero weight bearing and sent home in a wheelchair.
Since this accident, I have regained practically full range of motion in both ankles up and down, but have lost practically all inversion/eversion range of motion.
I have been walking for several months now, but still have days where the pain becomes intolerable, and I am forced to use prescription pain killers(which I despise) and am limited to minimal weight bearing.
The right foot seems to have stabilized and is only causing discomfort while walking, and after extended weight bearing(more than 30 min).
However the left seems to be more of an issue and I have really been restricted in all activity due to this.
The surgeon I was initially reviewed by is now in the process of sending me to a specialist, so hopefully there will be some sort of fix to this.
My main question is this;
What is a reasonable recovery timeline for this form of injury? I haven't talked to anyone that has had this type of injury, and even my therapists and doctors haven't seen an injury as severe as mine, so I have no reference point to go with.
I have been in construction all my life, and they tell me now that it is no longer a reasonable career option and that retraining will be required, but I have no idea how long I will be incapacitated nor do I know what career path would be a trainable option at this stage of my life.
Any help or advice will be greatly appreciated.

 
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Old 08-30-2011, 05:07 PM   #2
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Re: Bilateral Calcaneal Fractures

You are only midway in the recovery. Pain got better for me around 10 months, but still got better for a few more. ROM was it is, by 6-8 months. It just got easier to do things.

I held off on pain bills, except once in awhile until 18 months. Then I started taking tramadol, just one pill, usually only once a day. The script was for a lot more. It really helped me get alot more active.

I don't think you should take alot of pain pills, especaially early on. By 18 months, I knew my fate though. I don't take them every day, its depends how active I am. Just around the house or office, don't need them. But working in the field on gravel and concrete sometimes I do, or working on stuff around the house. I did alot of ladder work last year.

I have found 8" boots help alot, all I wear, other then around the house. But I had to be strong enough to wear them. I used to have to take them off to drive. Know I drive hundreds of miles with them on.

Also I only wear wool hiking socks. Light in the summer, heavy in the winter. No they are not hot or itchy.

Also I got orthotic inserts. I used to fight them, cause I didn't want to be different, or have to wear these the rest of my life. You can get them adjsuted, ground, from the initial casting.

There is a fine line, between hope and facing facts.
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The good thing is, no one asks me, to help them move anymore.

 
Old 08-30-2011, 05:30 PM   #3
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Re: Bilateral Calcaneal Fractures

Thanks,
I try to avoid the painkillers as much as possible, only falling back on them in times of absolute extremes.
I do have orthotics, and I agree with the sentiment of resistance, but I can also undestand the job they are meant to do, so am working with them as much as is comfortably possible.
I also got a pair of stable rocker shoes, which have helped with my stride dramatically. They help with the roll of the foot throughout a full step.
One other thing I have been relying on, but have been trying to wheen myself off of are ankle braces. They are just extra support, and I do feel the need for them when walking on uneven ground, but I try to restrict my reliance on them.
I am approaching the 10 month period, and I hope to be finding a reasonable break from the pain.
All things considered, I keep falling back on the same old statement, things could have been far worse.

 
Old 08-31-2011, 10:45 AM   #4
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Re: Bilateral Calcaneal Fractures

Its good to try and ween yourself off things, to see what you are capable of. But at some point, you will have to evaluate what things are. This is a life changing event.

I wear 8" boots for most things, I have less pain. I wore boots for my job before so its not much of a change. You can think of them as ankle or brace, or you can think of them a tool to allow you to complete your life.

I work long days, over time, on concrete and gravel. I have to eat. So I take pain meds. After awhile I discovered its nice not to be in pain too, so I take meds.

I sit when I can, wether I am in pain or not. I conserve my pain currency for what I want to spend it on.
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Heelie since 09
The good thing is, no one asks me, to help them move anymore.

 
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