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Old 01-17-2012, 12:45 AM   #1
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So I had an ankle replacement

I'm a 32 yr old male who had a huge motorcycle wreck a year and a half ago, Jun 2010. I destroyed my ankle. I had an external fixator on it for a few weeks because there was too much swelling to do anything at the time. Then I had internal fixation, Jul 2010, three plates, 12 screws. Then in Aug 2011 I had the external fixation removed and then a few days ago, Jan 2012 I had my ankle replaced.

The surgeon who did my initial surgeries suggested fusion, I didn't not want to do that unless I absolutely had to. I saw Dr. Myerson at Mercy, who also suggested fusion. Then I saw Dr. Nunley at Duke, who was also suggesting fusion. He removed the hardware from my ankle and briefly mentioned replacement while I was in recovery from that procedure. I kept pushing for a replacement and after I got approved from my insurance, he agreed to do the replacement.

Most of you who have considered replacement especially if you're on the east coast might have heard of him. He's a really great Doctor with a lot of replacement experience.

So I'm four days post op now and just want to heal so that I can start weight bearing and try my new ankle out. I've decided to start this thread so that I can share my experiences and answer any questions that I might be able to.

The ankle that I received is a Salto Talaris. Post op pain has been minimal, most of my pain has been from my back since I've had to be in bed with my ankle elevated. I was sent home with a nerve block catheter which lasted for about 40 hrs. My pain levels have been the same since I removed it. I thank God and Dr. Nunley that everything has been going well so far.

I'll try to keep this thread current with my progress.

 
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Old 01-17-2012, 05:59 AM   #2
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Re: So I had an ankle replacement

Wow! I am glad you got the option to try the replacement. I hope all goes well. Keep us posted,

 
Old 01-26-2012, 05:58 AM   #3
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Re: So I had an ankle replacement

Today is Jan 26, I had the replacement Jan 13, just short of two weeks since sugery. So far so good. I haven't been experiencing much pain at all. I may take a couple oxycodene sometimes, but I've been going days without any pain meds. I do get periodic bursts of sharp pain from the ankle, but it isn't regular or prolonged. I'm trying to be patient, but I'm going crazy just sitting around. That's it for now.

 
Old 01-26-2012, 08:40 AM   #4
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Re: So I had an ankle replacement

Hey there!

I just had a STAR ankle replacement on Dec. 6th. of last year, so I'm 7 weeks out. I also had a subtalar fusion and internal fixation of a fibular fracture and talus fracture (very minor cracks) at the same time. Because of the subtalar fusion, I'm still non-weight bearing until 10 weeks out. To complicate matters, I suffer from RSD/CRPS which is wreaking havoc right now. I spent a lovely 9 or 10 days in the hospital thanks to the RSD and a spinal fluid leak that could not be easily fixed thanks to some other medical history of mine.

I hurt my ankle sparring in karate and have had multiple ankle surgeries including Brostrom repairs (plural), peroneal tendon repairs, OATS, posterial tibial tendon repair, microfracture x 4 different surgeries on more than one site, distraction arthroplasty (so did the external fixator too), peroneal subluxation repair... I think that covers it... oh yeah, thanks to the external fixator, I got osteomeyelitis of my tibia and so I had to have surgery to clean that out.. All this started in 2006.

I did find physicians locally that treated my serious issues with urgency and took my complains of pain seriously. I have a wonderful orthopedic surgeon here who agreed to do an ankle replacement on me at 43 yrs of age. He agreed that it made sense to be able to be more active now and fuse later down the road.

I know that replacement surgery with RSD was a HUGE risk, and I still don't know what the final outcome will be, but the RSD I can't change, the crappy ankle I could. So I figured that I would take the risk and try and change what I could to at least improve that part of my life. My leg will probably always kill and be in pain, but if it can at least function correctly, I will at least be that much ahead of where I was.

So that's my story. I look forward to sharing our rehab journey.

I get to start putting weight on it Feb. 15th if my xrays look good. How about you?

Last edited by Administrator; 04-30-2012 at 11:41 AM.

 
Old 01-26-2012, 05:58 PM   #5
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Re: So I had an ankle replacement

Wow, you've been through a lot.

I'm glad that you're outside the normal TAR age range and active. I know that high impact activity isn't recommend and I really don't plan to engage in any, but it'd be great if I could be a part of a study where I'd get to beat on the ankle, run and do all the stuff that I used to, to see how long it'd last and then get a free replacement.

I know feeling about salvaging what you can when you're younger and then doing a fusion later. That is what my thoughts were exactly. You never know, maybe in the next 10 or so years, a better and much longer lasting replacement will be developed. You do have a lot more going on than I do and might experience more pain, but you'll be mobile!

How do you deal with not being able to walk and get around as you used to? The time since the accident has been without a doubt the worst time in my life. I went from being agile, athletic, and being able to do quite a bit physically to not being able to walk, then when I was able to, older people were walking faster than I was. So many plans have been disrupted and permanently side lined... It has been sooooooo difficult!

I'm supposed to have a follow up visit three weeks out, I think the cast will come off then and then in another three, i should be able to start weight bearing, if all is well. Have you had much pain after your last surgery?

I too look forward to sharing our experiences!

Last edited by Administrator; 04-30-2012 at 11:41 AM.

 
Old 01-26-2012, 07:03 PM   #6
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Re: So I had an ankle replacement

I was thinking I remembered you! <The doctors not taking the pain and RSD> seriously has really messed things up.

Anyway, I was told the inbone is a good revision replacement and then of course after that a fusion. My doc said how long until revision is all about how much I baby this. Like you, I was very active before this. I was competitive in karate and an instructor. It has been very difficult to not be mobile. I had 4 surgeries last year alone- the one on my tibia, I had a spinal cord stimulator put in, then taken out because of a MRSA infection in my spine from it, then the replacement/ fusion surgery. The SCS is thanks to the rsd/crps thanks to the ankle and distraction arthroplasty so it's all related. I really walk very little. I see a pain management dr on a regular basis. I sleep few hours of sleep a night. I am on many meds. I will most likely be getting anothervscs this year. So this ankle saga isn't over and the coping has been rough. The best thing I have found this year? Online grocery shopping and drive through pickup where they put the groceries in my car. No delivery yet, but it is easier that crunching through a store.

I got my cast off last week. That felt wonderful. I am in a boot now. I take it off at night and when I am just sitting. Ankle feels pretty good moving up and down. A few clicks and it is sore, but not so bad for this early.

Oh, you asked about the pain after the surgery... That's a long story and we won't even go there, but let's just say that nothing right now the ankle is going well, it's the dang rsd I'm fighting.

Last edited by Administrator; 04-30-2012 at 11:45 AM.

 
Old 01-29-2012, 01:39 PM   #7
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Re: So I had an ankle replacement

Your experience has been A LOT rougher than mine has been for sure. Doctors that don't take their patients seriously are shameful, especially when they're treating patients with problems like ours. I was seeing a pain management Dr. once a month, but never had problems sleeping. I haven't left the house much since this last surgery, but I plan to get outside, since it's supposed to be 68 degrees two days this week.

RSD makes the ankle pain seem mild. I really hope that you'll be able to effectively manage it.

I'll be happy when my cast comes off also, that'll mean that the next step is weight bearing. My follwing up is Feb.3, we'll see how that goes.

 
Old 01-29-2012, 02:26 PM   #8
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Re: So I had an ankle replacement

Good luck on Tuesday! I bet you can't wait to get the cast off and actually see your ankle. I was a bit freaked out about it. I'm used to all the scars, and I have tons of them, huge ones everywhere, but I think its the one right up the middle that just is more bothersome. And the skin around there doens't heal as well. Mine did heal okay, but there are some weird spots where it didn't heal at first and then it did. THen of course, it is swollen.

But, it is really nice to get the cast off. I can't wait to hear how your appt. goes.

 
Old 02-01-2012, 01:15 PM   #9
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Re: So I had an ankle replacement

I wish it was Tuesday, but I'll have to wait until Friday. I am going to bve glad to get the cast off. I was wondering about the size of the scar up the middle. The other scars that I've got are on the side and they seem to take a long time to fully heal. After the last op in Aug. and up to Jan. the incision was still a little tender if I pushed on it or bumped it. Dr. Nunley cut on the scar that I had before when he removed the hardware.

I'll be sure to make a post after my visit.

 
Old 02-02-2012, 08:49 AM   #10
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Re: So I had an ankle replacement

I don't know what I was thinking when I said Tuesday. I guess I'm wishing Feb. goes by faster too.

My dr. told me the scar up the middle is the hardest to heal because there is less blood flow there, in the crease of the ankle, for lack of better term, than say, on the outside where all our other scars are. I have them on both sides as well. My dr. was very concerned given my history of infection that my incision might not heal well. I had the cast on for 6 weeks and when it was taken off, the scar was healed nicely. The only bleeding was from the stitches on the side of the incision, not the incision itself. I also had them do the subtalar fusion as well as an ORIF (plate on my fibula fracture) and the incision on that..same incision, is way more sore and tender than the one up the middle from the replacement. The replacement one doesn't bother me at all, but I can literally feel the screws poking at the skin on the outside incision and it hurts like crazy when anything hits it.

I have a question for you. How are your toes? Do they feel numb at all or weird? I feel like mine have been nailed down to a board and when I try and move them it feels like I"m moving them and ripping nails out from a board with it, like there is pressure between my toes not to pull them toward me. I have a ton of nerve pain in my forefoot and I"m curious how much is from moving the nerves around during surgery and how much I should just chalk up to the rsd. THe PA told me that she had to hold the nerves out of the way for a long time during the surgery and so they were really disturbed and that is why I have all the werird feelings, but the top half of my foot feels very different than it ever has after any of my other ankle surgeries, so I'm not so sure, but then again, this is the first one I have had post rsd too.

Just was wondering if your foot felt normal nerve wise, I guess.

 
Old 02-02-2012, 02:15 PM   #11
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Re: So I had an ankle replacement

I had a bad accident, not on my bike. Not sure if you are riding or not, or want to. I wear 8" lace up boots for most things now.

I have looked at some of the riding boots with guards, such as Aerostich Combat boots. I shattered my heal, so I have trouble with some shoes, and I get sore walking. So I have been nervous to try anythign to new with boots. Because I have heard some people say they are not as comfortable. Some say they are.

Also during my recovery, I researched side cars and trikes. Also looked at smaller bikes.

Lots of options out there if you want to ride.

Rode to Alaska and the Arctic Circle after the accident, on my old bike. But I would have bought somethign else if I had too.

If I can help it all on bike stuff, let me know.
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The good thing is, no one asks me to help them move anymore.

Last edited by Zerk; 02-02-2012 at 02:16 PM.

 
Old 02-02-2012, 09:47 PM   #12
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Re: So I had an ankle replacement

February flying by would be great for me too. By the end of it I should be starting weight bearing if all goes well.

I can feel the middle scar healing up nicely, it used to bother me a lot and be kinda painful when I moved my ankle, but it is a lot better now. When I had the hardware in, when the swelling was down totally, I could see the outline of some of the screws at times and if I run my finger over I could feel them, it was weird.

My toes feel funny at times, especially my big toe. It tingles and feels numb sometimes. I too was wondering about nerve damage. Sometimes I have random bursts of pain in my foot in various places.

Last edited by dsr30; 02-02-2012 at 09:48 PM.

 
Old 02-02-2012, 10:03 PM   #13
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Re: So I had an ankle replacement

I wish I was still riding, but I'm not allowed to anymore. I was wearing some short Alpinestars boots when I had my accident, I had just gone to get my hair cut because I had to drill that weekend. I often wondered how things would've been if I was wearing my much better armored race boots that I wore with my leathers.

That type of boot isn't uncomfortable at all and it offers much better protection than any other boot. I had a pair of Teknic Violators and a pair of Sidi's. I assume you're a cruiser? Sidi and Alpinestars and other manufacturers make some plain all black boots. If you can try them on you'd be able to get a feel for them, they're different.

I was the crotch rocket rider, not the street racing type, I was the knee dragging, riding the wheels off in the mountains guy who had a huge wreck on a practically straight road. I loved every second I was riding, but it wasn't worth the position that I'm in now. What kind of bike do you ride? I had a GSXr 1000.

Last edited by Administrator; 04-30-2012 at 11:48 AM.

 
Old 02-03-2012, 04:32 AM   #14
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Re: So I had an ankle replacement

Quote:
Originally Posted by dsr30 View Post
February flying by would be great for me too. By the end of it I should be starting weight bearing if all goes well.

I can feel the middle scar healing up nicely, it used to bother me a lot and be kinda painful when I moved my ankle, but it is a lot better now. When I had the hardware in, when the swelling was down totally, I could see the outline of some of the screws at times and if I run my finger over I could feel them, it was weird.

My toes feel funny at times, especially my big toe. It tingles and feels numb sometimes. I too was wondering about nerve damage. Sometimes I have random bursts of pain in my foot in various places.
Ask your dr. what he has to think about the toe and the random bursts of pain.I'll be curious to know what he says and I'll ask my dr. on the 15th. I get that a lot too. And good luck at your appt. today!

 
Old 02-03-2012, 09:18 AM   #15
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Re: So I had an ankle replacement

I'll make a note to now.

 
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