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Old 08-05-2012, 01:18 PM   #1
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ankle surgery rehab questions & advice?

Hi all. I recently had pretty major ankle surgery and am wondering if there is anyone out there that has had similar surgery that may have some insight on the rehab process, timelines, hints, etc.

In last July 2012 I had surgery to repair complete tears of both the peroneal longus and peroneal brevis tendons. At the same time I also had calcaneal osteotomy and 1st metatarsal osteotomy. I have been told I will be in a cast with crutches for about 4+ weeks, followed by a boot with crutches for an undetermined time, followed by just the boot, and then back to regular shoes.

I am wondering if anyone else has had similar surgery and if they could give me and insight on timeframes, rehab, etc.

I am 49 and in good shape. Prior to the surgery I was very active in multiple adult baseball leagues, basketball, and had been doing Kosama (similar to Insanity or PX90) workout for a year.

I am hoping to be back to my regular routine by around the first of the year, but would love to hear from anyone else that has had similar surgery. I will be fully dedicated to my rehab as I want to resume sports and workouts as soon as realistic.

I am resigned to the fact it will take awhile. The worst part now is being completly non-weight-bearing and fully dependant on crutches. My mobility is about zero.

Any thoughts will be much appreciated. Thanks.

 
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Old 08-06-2012, 06:07 PM   #2
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Re: ankle surgery rehab questions & advice?

I'm having problems too. My surgery was July 5. I had peroneal/peroneus brevis repair (with graft from longus) and calcaneal osteotomy. I'm using a wheelchair and my recovery has been complicated by the fact that the surgeon ALSO did a partial syndactylization of my 4th & 5th toes on BOTH feet.

I sure wish he'd warned me that the recovery would be greatly hampered by doing the toe surgeries at the same time. I'm sure once it's all over, I'll be glad that I got it all over with at once.

Brian, I'm looking forward to others' reply to your post. God bless!

 
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Old 08-06-2012, 09:57 PM   #3
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Re: ankle surgery rehab questions & advice?

I Had surgury June 14 and today was the first day of physical therapy. It was mostly measuring How far I could flex my foot and stretch it without pain. I got the hard cast off a week ago today and im in a boot. My doctor said put a little more pressure on everyday. I use a walker which is my choice because im to much of a klutz to use crutches and feel safer with a walker. lol Im also 48 comming up on 49 in september. Im suppose to be out of the boot in 6 weeks. I had a tendon transfer, ligament repair,calcaneal osteotomy and a couple other things that I would have to get all the paperwork out to tell u lol. oh 2 screws in the heel. I felt no pain today, my foot is just so stiff from non weight bearing and all the new equipment in there, but over all it went well. Hopefully by the 6th week I can walk on my own again. I do know they told me the total recovery would be a year. But right now im going one day at a time. Main goal being walking before running. lol Good Luck to you on your recovery!

 
Old 08-06-2012, 11:24 PM   #4
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Re: ankle surgery rehab questions & advice?

Lisa, will the screws have to be taken out of your foot? I read somewhere that they're temporary, but my doc didn't mention it to me, so I don't know whether mine will stay in there or not. Just curious.

Brian?

 
Old 08-07-2012, 07:51 PM   #5
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Re: ankle surgery rehab questions & advice?

Thanks to everyone for their comments. I have a quick update for everyone.

I had my temporary post-surgery cast removed today. They put the new regular cast on, but jeez did it feel good to have the cast off even for just 20 minutes. They also removed the staples and stitches - there were about 70 in total. The long fish hook scar around the ankle for the tendon repair was the biggest, but there were also big incisions where both osteotomy's were done, and of course smaller one's on the heel where screws were put in.

The DR said I would be in the cast and completely NWB with crutches for about 3 weeks. Then I will move to a walking boot, cut still be NWB with crutches for at least another week or two. From then I will be able to gradually start putting weight on it until I can shed to boot.

I'll keep everyone posted. Thanks again for everyone's comments.

 
Old 08-07-2012, 08:42 PM   #6
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Re: ankle surgery rehab questions & advice?

I'm a baby. I cried when they removed my stitches. It seemed to take forever, and the fellow removing them was so sloooooooooooooowwww.

Congrats on getting through it!

 
Old 08-22-2012, 02:08 PM   #7
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Re: ankle surgery rehab questions & advice?

Hi Brian
Just a recommendation...Instead of crutches, you may consider getting a knee walker. You will be much more mobile.. I'm in my 7th week of NWB post ankle replacement & it's SOOOO much easier to get around on than the crutches!
Wishing you a full recovery

 
Old 08-22-2012, 02:16 PM   #8
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Re: ankle surgery rehab questions & advice?

I think they stay in. I'd flip if they wanted to remove anything at this point lol

 
Old 08-22-2012, 07:03 PM   #9
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Re: ankle surgery rehab questions & advice?

hi my surgery was totally different, achilles tendon reconstruction and was NWB for 6 weeks and I had a hard time w/ pain ended up in PT 3 different times 3rd time I had water therapy was the best thing I could have ever done. However, I do have fibromyalgia and it does take longer to heal. But I wanted to let you know about the water therapy idea. Helps when you're trying to go to weight bearing and stuff. CJ

 
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Old 08-23-2012, 06:27 PM   #10
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Re: ankle surgery rehab questions & advice?

Hi Brian,
I am 49 also and had the exact same surgery as you 25th July 2012, in New Zealand

I had the front open plaster cast on for 2 weeks, then went into a fiberglass cast. My stitches were dissolving, so by the time the first cast was removed, 90% of the stitches had dissolved.
The wounds on the heel were pretty horrific looking as they had not closed over properly, but the doctor said they were fine.
The 4" long incision on the top of my foot was amazing. You almost could not see it.

I go back to outpatients 6th September to get the cast off, and hopefully get into a walking boot.

Have had virtually no pain, but do get a slight bit of swelling in the evenings.

My orthopedic surgeon said all going well, 6 weeks total NWB, then 4 weeks PWB.
He reckons in 6 months I should be walking fairly normally in my own. I so hope so as I was fairly active with bush walking the dog every day.

I can't use crutches as have no upper body strength, but use the wheeled walker. It is great, I can put my knee on it and scoot around the house. Also its great for sitting on when I get tired.
Managed to do 2 loads of washing on my own today.

I have heard that going from the cast into a boot can start a whole series of new aches and pains, but I keep positive, and know that it will all be worth it.

All the best.

Last edited by nakigirl; 08-25-2012 at 05:30 PM.

 
Old 08-26-2012, 02:19 PM   #11
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Re: ankle surgery rehab questions & advice?

Thanks to everyone that has replied to the post - good info and much appreciated.

I had my cast removed on Friday - 4 weeks and 1 day post surgery. It felt great to get the cast off and soak my foot in the tub for awhile. I don't have a lot of pain, but still have a lot of swelling in the foot. I have good movement of both the toes and ankle, although the ankle movement still seems limited and I am nervous to really push it. I lost a huge amount of muscle in my calf - I need to actually measure it but it is very noticeable - lots of work ahead.

I am still in a boot and 100% NWB for at least 2 weeks and then can greadually start putting some weight on it. I go back in a couple weeks and hope to find out more about PT and rehab. All things considered I guess it is going well. Having the cast off is great - now I am just really looking forward to not having to rely no the crutches all the time.

Thanks again for everyone's repiles, and good luck to each of you.

 
Old 08-26-2012, 02:27 PM   #12
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Re: ankle surgery rehab questions & advice?

hi if you find when you start PWB that your heel hurts really bad try putting in one of those gel heel cups you see at the drug stores. It really helped me. I saw where you said you had 2 screws in your heel thought it may help. Good luck, cj

 
Old 08-26-2012, 02:28 PM   #13
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Re: ankle surgery rehab questions & advice?

One more key fact I forgot to previously mention. The surgeon said mine was the worst he had ever seen. One of the two tendons had been torn for some time (easily more than a year) and it had actually started to re-attach to surrounding tissue including nerves. The two halfs of this tendon could not be reconnected. He actually connected the top half of one tendon to the bottom half of the other, essentially jury-rigging 1 new tendon. He said after I have fully recovered I should be at 70%, but he thought given the previous damage I must have been less than that to begin with. He also did a lot of touch testing on my foot to check for nerve damage, but everything seems fine thankfully.

Since I will only have essentially 1 tendon he strongly recommended I curtail my high-impact activities. I immediately retired my basketball shoes, but hope to continue playing baseball. We will have to see how it goes because I definitely don't want to EVER go through this again.

I have a total of 6 screws in my foot and he said they will be left in place. The x rays were amazing - hard to believe how far they actually move the back half of the heal for the calcaneal osteotomy.

Keeping my fingers crossed...

 
Old 08-27-2012, 01:13 AM   #14
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Re: ankle surgery rehab questions & advice?

Hi! I don't think my surgery was as serious as yours, but I will throw in my 2 cents anyway! In Feb, I had 2 ligament repairs, repair of torn retinaculum, repair of peroneal longus tendon tear and fibular osteotomy for groove deepening for peroneal tendon subluxation. This was my 2nd ankle reconstruction. I was in the huge post-op splint for a week, a fiberglass cast for 6 wks (could've gone into thr boot at 3 wks post-op but chose another cast for several reasons), then a boot for 4 wks after that. I was on crutches NWB for 6 wks, but it took me 2 weeks to wean off so crutches essentially for 8 wks. I also recommend getting a knee walker so you aren't totally dependent on just crutches alone. My PT started at 6 wks when I got my cast off and went for roughly 3 months. I'm supposed to be doing thr maintenance plan now, but haven't been able to due to being gone a lot. I'm currently 6 months out and I still have swelling just about every day, but my doc says I will experience swelling and some pain until around 9 months out. I can tell its getting better though. Even so, the week after I finished PT, I went overseas for 10 days. It was hard, but the best thing I could've done for me. Made me use it and quit babying it and got the ball rolling on getting back to normal. A month after I got home from Spain, I went on a nearly 3 wk trip to Alaska where I hiked, walked, dog sled, and ziplined. The unexpected thing was the zipline had a ropes course and one of them had a 3 inch wide beam for us to cross. I was terrified my ankle wouldn't balance on that. Let's just say I found out my surgery was successful that day because I would put down the bad foot and it wouldn't shake at all! Putting down my good foot was the problem! It wouldn't balance! So hopefully that is encouraging for you! Again, I know our surgeries are different, but hope it helps. 2 days ago, I went on a 3 mile walk that included hills and went at a 3.5 mph brisk pace. I will do my 2nd half marathon in Dec (walk/run) and yes, I got my doctor's permission!
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Brostrom-Gould, repair retinaculum, peroneus longus tendon repair, fibular groove deepening for peroneal tendon subluxation- 2/22/12
-Modified Brostrom (failed)- 8/15/01"]

 
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Old 09-03-2012, 01:39 PM   #15
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Re: ankle surgery rehab questions & advice?

I got my cast off yesterday. 6 weeks post op. What a lovely feeling. The first thing I did when i got home was have a soak in the bath.
My wounds are all but totally healed over. They look really good.
There is not a lot of swelling in the foot, but just a wee bit of discoloration which I know will go with activity.
I got to look at the x-rays and see for the first time what hardware i now carry around. 2 screws and a plate in the big toe, and 4 screws in the heel.
I am now in a boot and PWB.
Surprisingly, there is absolutely NO pain at all. I am putting maybe 25% weight on it.
My ankle is a little stiff when i flex it back and forwards, but is better even this morning after one nights sleep without the boot.
I was aware of protecting my foot a bit, so just wore the padded inner to bed last night. Had a fantastic sleep.
I start PT in a few weeks. Looking forward to it and getting back to some normality in life.
My next appointment with my ortho is in 4 weeks, so I guess I should be FWB by then.
He is happy for me to put as much weight on it as I am comfortable with.
Hope everyone else is still doing great.

 
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ankle injury, calcaneal osteotomy, peroneal tendon



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