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Old 10-09-2011, 08:44 PM   #1
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Calcaneous Fracture - I'm a new 'Heelie'

I shattered my heel in over 20 pieces on 9/2/11, and had ORIF surgery on 9/12. I'm attaching a photo of my x-rays. I have quite a bit of hardware now. My friends say I'm the 'Bionic Woman'. This has been the most challenging thing I have experienced in my entire life. I'm glad the pain has mostly subsided at this point. The electricution style zapping nerve pain was excruciating, to say the least. I was in the hospital for 3 days and 2 nights for the surgery. I had a nerve block, but when it ended they could not get the pain under control. I was so doped up, but was still screaming and crying in pain. I was in a temporary splint for two weeks after that, and now have been placed in an air boot. I went to get my stitches out, and it hadn't healed as much as expected. I had to change the dressing twice a day and apply some type of iodine solution. I went back the following week for removal of the stitches. Unfortunately, I'm still experiencing some drainage. I wish they had left the stitches in for a bit longer. I'm not sure how to care for the wound at this point, and it is causing moisture on my skin around the already unpleasant wound. Because of the moisture, I hate to keep it in my boot. So, I try to take my foot out when I'm sitting on the couch. I think I'll call the doctor again tomorrow. Has anyone else had drainage issues after removal of stitches? I'm rather concerned about it. I don't see any evidence of infection, though.

I've been reading here, and like many of you, I'm a very active person. Prior to this injury, I hiked, ran, mountain biked, snowboard, surfed - you name it. I was also very active at the gym. I love spin class! I also just completed my first half marathon in Alaska in June (in memory of my dad). These were my hobbies, and I've had some significant depression as a result of this injury. I have come to terms with the fact that I may never run again. As soon as I'm able, I plan to purchase a road bike. I know the recovery time is long, but I keep focusing on Spring - hoping I can ride a bike by then. I try to stay positive, but it is SOOOO hard. I can't physically do anything. Little things like getting something to eat from the refrigerator and taking a bath are significant challenges.

My foot is still very swollen. I can't stand looking at it. I was told I may not wear an actual shoe until January. I wonder if there's special shoes that I will need to wear.

I've tried to start the range of motion exercises when I have the boot off. So far so good. I was wondering if anyone has any comments about the extent of physical therapy required.

Luckily, it's my left foot so I am able to drive. I am going back to work tomorrow for the first time since surgery (4 weeks later). We'll see how this goes....

I am a bridesmaid in my friend's wedding in a few weeks. I guess I'll just have to rock the air boot in style.

 
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Old 10-10-2011, 04:17 AM   #2
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Re: Calcaneous Fracture - I'm a new 'Heelie'

Hi jenay78,

I don't think your x-rays came through. I didn't see them anywhere. I'd love to view them. I started a thread where folks have posted some x-rays and it is so interesting.

So sorry about your injury! Wow. I had my heel cut off as part of flat foot reconstruction surgery, but it was controlled. I can't imagine shattering it in 20 pieces! That's a lot of force. A lot of pain. And I had time to plan for my "down time." You didn't. How different your life must be in an instant.

Hang in there and give yourself time to heal. One day at a time...
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Old 10-10-2011, 02:27 PM   #3
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Re: Calcaneous Fracture - I'm a new 'Heelie'

I shattered my heel bone in Dec 09. Non displaced so no surgery. Life gets better . We all heal at a different rate, I was in aqua therapy at 7 weeks or so while PWB then land therapy as soon as I went FWB around 11-12 weeks. I can run if needed but jogging seems to be ok as long as I dont over do it. I flattened my STJ also and thats what is causing me some pain right now. I also had Plantar Facaitis (sp) and it lasted for 45 days or so. I am doing everything that I want to do but at a slower pace than before the injury. Zerk is pretty knowledgable on the subject of being a Heelie. Ask the Doc to explain anything that does not seem right to you and press on. Good Luck

Last edited by Toyman57; 10-10-2011 at 04:52 PM.

 
Old 10-10-2011, 04:13 PM   #4
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Re: Calcaneous Fracture - I'm a new 'Heelie'

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Old 10-10-2011, 08:50 PM   #5
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Re: Calcaneous Fracture - I'm a new 'Heelie'

There was some here that got back into running and someone that did mountain climbing. The injury varies alot. The key is to balance between striving for all you can get, and being realistic. After 8-12 months you will have a rough idea.

But yes, this is a life changing event.

This weekend, I spent some time in the woods, going up and down ridges, stepping over logs, ect. I did more then I have since my accident over two years ago, and was really happy.

I took pain pills, low grade stuff, tramadol, before, and after. I though today would be crippling, but it wasn't and did it again. I am feeling it a little, and its going to catch up with me.

My pain has been based on use. Its probably a good idea, to do over do it one day, then take a couple off.

The more you use it, you could make damage worse, especially with jogging. You got to decide what you really want. You may have to spend some pain currency for what you want.
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Old 10-10-2011, 08:52 PM   #6
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Re: Calcaneous Fracture - I'm a new 'Heelie'

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 10-10-2011, 08:58 PM   #7
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Re: Calcaneous Fracture - I'm a new 'Heelie'

[QUOTE=jenay78;4858466]ble, I plan to purchase a road bike. .[/QUOTE]

I been thinking about a bike too. Lots of people ride a stationary bike for physical therapy. You might not have to rule out mountain bikes, just see how extreme you can get.

Swimming seems to be one of the best exercises. But I have never been good at it.
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Old 10-25-2011, 03:22 PM   #8
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Re: Calcaneous Fracture - I'm a new 'Heelie'

I powdered (doctors' words) both heels last thanksgiving. Had surgery on both after swelling went down. right foot got a plate and 10 screws. left foot had tissue damage at the incision site so they did the best they could from the other side and said "wait and see how it goes". I worked from wheel chair ,to walker to cane and pt and was doing great for about two weeks when it became obvious that the left calc. needed more work. had it fixed in august and should be w.b. next week.

I had drainage from incision sites on both feet, as long as there is no sign of infection there is nothing to worry about,it'll stop when it's ready. it looks ugly for quite a while but it just takes time.
don't get too discouraged, the small amount of time i spent on both feet this summer hobbling around made me realize that this isn't really gonna slow me down that much. the only thing i'm not sure about is running, but i think that's just a matter of time also if you stay fit. I think that hot/ cold pack therapy would be a good idea to promote healing as it forces circulation to the area. vitamins C and D are important for bone healing.

 
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Old 10-25-2011, 03:39 PM   #9
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Re: Calcaneous Fracture - I'm a new 'Heelie'

I've been back to work for a few weeks now. It has helped me a bit mentally, though it takes twice as long to do anything like making your lunch and getting a bath. I look forward to the day when I can shower again.

My incision is still draining a bit at 5 1/2 weeks post surgery. Can't wait for that to stop too. It's improving.

I am emotionally exhausted and can't shake the severe depression. I love this time of year, and all I want to do is hike in the woods under the colored leaves, or mountain bike on the trail. All of my hobbies are my activities. I honestly don't know what to do. This has been so challenging for me.

Two more weeks until my next doctor appointment. Then, I expect to start PT. I know how important it is, and from my prior experience, I'm not looking forward to the time commitment. However, I know it's necessary.

Even with good insurance, the bills are coming in and it's overwhelming.

I just want my life back.

 
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Old 10-25-2011, 04:34 PM   #10
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Re: Calcaneous Fracture - I'm a new 'Heelie'

I was never really depressed. My thoughts on this, is you got no choice.

Time passes.
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Old 10-25-2011, 05:35 PM   #11
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Re: Calcaneous Fracture - I'm a new 'Heelie'

I don't get depressed, if i start to, i just remind my self how lucky i am that it wasn't much worse. A week after i fell, i heard about a guy who fell the same distance doing the same thing i did, he broke a leg and some ribs and some other injuries and should have been just fine, but he went into shock and died on the way to the hospital.

The time i spent in the wheel chair, i counted myself lucky that i wasn't paralized and won't be in that chair the rest of my life. I took inspiration from my grandmother who was widowed at 82 last sept. , she said " that's just the way my cookie crumbled, there will be no pity party here."

 
Old 10-25-2011, 07:05 PM   #12
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Re: Calcaneous Fracture - I'm a new 'Heelie'

[QUOTE=schlage;4867847]I don't get depressed, if i start to, i just remind my self how lucky i am that it wasn't much worse."[/QUOTE]

Thats how I felt when I woke.
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Old 11-08-2011, 03:24 PM   #13
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Re: Calcaneous Fracture - I'm a new 'Heelie'

I had my 8 week post op appointment today. My wound still has not yet healed. The doctor wants to get me in the surgery room Friday or Monday to get the 'bad tissue' out that is causing the wound problems. He scraped around at it today, but said that the surgery is needed. I never imagined so much trouble. I'm sure he'll have to stitch me back up, and then I'll return in two weeks.

I've been caring for it just like the doctor described all this time, applying Povidone-Iodine solution and bandages twice a day. I have not submerged it in water or got it wet. So frustrating.

My PT consultation has been postponed, though I am doing my alphabet foot movments still at home and trying to wiggle my toes as much as possible. I was told I can start to bear partial weight on my foot, but I'm a little reluctant to do that with the pending surgery.

Most frustrating thing.... ever!

 
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Old 11-08-2011, 06:49 PM   #14
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Re: Calcaneous Fracture - I'm a new 'Heelie'

My blisters took about 11 weeks to heal, maybe little longer. Early on the talked about debrie, going in and cutting on some of it, but then didn't


Most people are not weight bearing until 12 weeks, with some partial around 9. Some later then 12.

The good and bad, is your probably are not off schedule, the bad is it just takes a long time to recover.
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Old 11-14-2011, 01:10 PM   #15
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Re: Calcaneous Fracture - I'm a new 'Heelie'

I hope I can offer a semi-inspiring account of my situation. I broke my heel into 5 pieces a week before my wedding at the end of May (yes, she was ******). I received a plate and five screws after the swelling went down about twenty days later. I was starting law school at the end of August and my goal was to try and walk at that point, nine weeks after surgery. That was really aggressive considering those who have surgery are almost always prohibited from partial weight bearing until week 10 and then full weight bearing around week twelve.

I achieved my goal but it wasn't easy. I could only walk for about 20 mins at a time, but it was the happiest I had been in a long time. The thing that really helped was doing my stretches starting two weeks after surgery. Slowly, and I mean SLOWLY, I started sitting upright and putting my foot (both in and out of the boot) on the ground and applying slight pressure. The reason I think this provided so much benefit is that once you are cleared to bear weight, and all is well regarding the bone healing, you'll find that the greatest source of pain will be the lack of muscle in your foot. When you start to walk you stump around as if you had a peg leg, and putting weight on the ball of your foot will seem impossible, overtime this gets better but it takes a lot of really small gains. My motion is still pretty restricted from side to side but forward and backward is almost 100%. The trick to getting back to normal when you start walking is transferring your weight from your heel to your toe. About two weeks ago, for fall break, we went to Chicago and I walked everywhere without a problem. About five and a half months in and I'm walking just fine. Recently, I've gotten adventurous moving kegs (I tend bar part time) and moving furniture up flights of stairs, it hurts the next day or two but that's the muscle ripping and rebuilding.

The depression is the worst part. I had a lot of plans for the summer that just had to wait. I had to simply focus on distracting myself. Find entertainment, I turned towards movies, t.v. series, and entrenching nerdy RPG video games (what else was I to do, right?). So just find something that can just get you mentally involved so you don't dwell on your situation.

I was told to avoid high impact activities(running) until January, however, I've already started to light jog at the gym (I look funny though because I don't have the muscle to propel forward as necessary with running). I hit the treadmill daily and my current settings are full incline adjusting between walking on tip-toes and walking normally. I gotta go but I hope everything works out!

 
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