Senior Veteran (male)
Join Date: May 2009
Re: Fractured calcaneous
This is something I wrote awhile back.
Here is the crash course in being a Heelie.
Lots of stuff to read about here.
Most people are non weight bearing 12 weeks, some get partial before that. Some wear 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 all the way back.
Circulation will get better when you start walking. Yes, you may have a purplish look to your foot when its 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 high 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 2 years. Wear a sock over the compression sock, for comfort.
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 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 a 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 no when it really hurts and time to stop.
Many people get custom made orthotics a few months after then 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 foot wear 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. I had to switch to tennis shoes to drive. Eventually I figured out to untie the boot for driving. This seemed to work. Now I can drive hundreds of miles with my work boot on.
I think it was good for two reasons to wear the tennis for most of the first year. My foot was weak, and it hurt more with boots. Plus I think the shoe allowed greater range of motion.
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.
I wonder if they operate to much, or if I would be better off. If I was going to have it, I think I would have preferred to do it right away, and only recover once. But if I have it now, I can pick when to do it, and get things in order.
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 waked when I went places for awhile.
By 5-6 months 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 3-4 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. Everything has a price.
I gave in around month 18 and started taking tramadol/ultrum few times a week. Again this really depends on use. I think it gave my life back. Not sure if I would do it to soon in the recovery, you need the feedback from your foot, and you need to know what you are capable of.
As I said, normally walking around, doesn’t bother it much. Long days on concrete, gravel, and ladders do. I resisted the pain meds, until a heelie told me you put glasses on to read, so why not take meds when it hurts. I take them more for work then anything.
I believe in rationing the pain. Just because you can do it, doesn’t mean you have to. I sit down whenever I can. Conserve your pain currency. Find mechanical ways to do things, lifts and hoists. I carry a folding chair in my truck.
Use rubber mats in the garage for standing on. I have a rubber mat at the kitchen sink and one in the shower. For the kitchen I took a foam mat and put a rug over it.
I put rugs in my bedroom, to make a path to the bathroom. This was more an issue in the beginning. But is still nice.
Your probably going to go through a lot of footwear finding the right pair, and probably different footwear for different functions. I am constantly on the quest for the ultimate boot.
I walk barefoot around the house, but it needs to be limited. I think it will aggravate plantar fasciitis. I roll my foot on a golf ball or a frozen water bottle when it bothers me.
Around the house I wear walking sandals with lots of cushion, but recently moved to a pair of slips on that have a lot of arch support, that I really like. I have also wore old tennis shoes, that I leave loose enough to slip on and off.
Your joints are full of fluid, so when the barometric pressure changes, you may feel it. More so, when the pressure drops before a storm. Usually feels better when the storm comes through.
Heelie since 09
The good thing is, no one asks me to help them move anymore.