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Old 02-06-2013, 05:54 AM   #1
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broken heel help

Hi All,

having been reading this board for a while regarding broken heels,
I am 4 and a half months in from my fall, usual story operation with 10 screws and a plate, heel was in 4 pieces.

I am now nearly 5 weeks weight bearing and walking with crutches, trying to go down to one and then a cane.

I can walk but the pain in my ankle and tendons and joints is quite bad, but not the heal.

Is this normal as I feel i should be walking okay by now, am going to PT and swimming every day, PT say manage the pain and go back to 2 crutches, however I feel this is a step backwards, am I rushing? or should I push though this ? should I have less pain by now,

there is a lot of info on these threads but not to much on learning to walk again

thanks for any help or comments

 
Old 02-06-2013, 06:12 AM   #2
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Re: broken heel help

Hey there,
We are right about at the same time in recovery, I think I might be a month a head of you (My surgery was 23 August).

Are you in a boot? Or shoes? It took me about 5 or 6 weeks to be full weight bearing in my boot. Once I was given the clearence to start into shoes, I waited until I had my first PT. There, they were surprised I wasn't walking yet, and basically pushed me out of the nest. Told me I wasn't going to get better if I kept nursing it (I was on a knee scooter). They told me the sooner I could start walking in shoes, the better. So I went home that day and got a cane. I never went to crutches (for a lot of reasons, some having to do with my injured back).

I have next to no pain in my heel. All of my pain is in my achilles tendon. It's normal. The bones have set, and are fine, but the tendons from being in a cast/boot/NWB aren't used to it.

I've been walking NWB for 10 weeks. I still have a ton of pain in my ankle. I still have a limp. I ditched my cane full time last week, no now it's just me. But even with PT 2x a week, I still limp and still have a long ways to go.

Your PT is right in saying manage the pain, but I found that the pain is most intense at first and that is what typically scares you away. If you can breakthrough that initial step, the steps come easier. Don't disregard what your PT says, but my (personal, non MD, not a therapist) opinion would be to try and jump to the cane and take the pain at the end of the day. If its so unbearable it makes you feel like you are about to vomit or cry, then back off. But soreness is a different story.

You are also only at 5 weeks. That is still super early in the recovery. Keep at it! Good luck!

Liz

 
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Old 02-06-2013, 07:37 AM   #3
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Re: broken heel help

Hi liz,

Thanks for the reply,

my surgery was 8th Oct 2012 NWB till 04th Jan 2013

I went straight to shoes no boot, I use tennis shoes and find them good the pain is a stiffness and soreness and my tendons are very tight, the pain is ok to bear, i have limited movement inwards and outwards around my ankle movement of the foot backwards is good forwards not so good, I still have no ankle that can be seen on the outside of the foot but inside is good, (left foot)

if I walk with 2 crutches no pain, if i walk with one crutch or cane or nothing pain is all the same.

also even after swimming for a hour a day 60 laps my leg muscle hasn't returned from where it wasted away I live in the UK and need to travel to the USA on the 23rd Feb and am trying to be without aids in walking by then

Dave

 
Old 02-06-2013, 07:40 AM   #4
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Re: broken heel help

Hi liz,

Thanks for the reply,

my surgery was 8th Oct 2012 NWB till 04th Jan 2013

I went straight to shoes no boot, I use tennis shoes and find them good the pain is a stiffness and soreness and my tendons are very tight, the pain is ok to bear, i have limited movement inwards and outwards around my ankle movement of the foot backwards is good forwards not so good, I still have no ankle that can be seen on the outside of the foot but inside is good, (left foot)

if I walk with 2 crutches no pain, if i walk with one crutch or cane or nothing pain is all the same.

also even after swimming for a hour a day 60 laps my leg muscle hasn't returned from where it wasted away I live in the UK and need to travel to the USA on the 23rd Feb and am trying to be without aids in walking by then

Dave

 
Old 02-06-2013, 05:22 PM   #5
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Re: broken heel help

I was told that the muscle you lose in 4 weeks takes 4 months to bring back. Which isn't an encouraging stat. I can still see a marked difference between my good leg and bad leg, muscle wise.

I have no noticeable inward/outward motion in my ankle, but that was because they fused it due to the severity of my break. I can point my toes close to normal, but pulling them up is still extremely limited which is a major cause for my limp. The work they did has little to no bearing on the pointing flex, so that is just working out the tendons and building back the ROM.

I would really try and go a few hours with one crutch/cane. Just to see how it feels. I understand it will hurt, but it can't get better if you don't push it. Again, if the pain is sharp/stabbing/makes you want to scream profanities/vomit/cry it's too much. But soreness is to be expected, especially after such a short time. You'll be surprised how quickly the soreness goes down once you start, and how quickly you can adjust.

I would still probably think about bringing a crutch or a cane with you when you travel (or purchasing a cheap one over here), just as a back up. I keep my cane in the car now if I need it as a contingency plan if my leg gets tired. Even if you need to bring walking aids, it shouldn't ruin your trip. I spent a week at a conference with my knee scooter, because I didn't want to give up the trip.

Good luck with it all. It's an unfortunate life changing injury, with a hell of a long recovery. Keep pushing through it!

 
Old 02-06-2013, 07:44 PM   #6
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Re: broken heel help

Quote:
Originally Posted by dal1234 View Post

I can walk but the pain in my ankle and tendons and joints is quite bad, but not the heal.

Is this normal as I feel i should be walking okay by nows
It is a long recovery. My pain started to get better about the 10th month, and probably about as good as it gets around 18 months. Though I think I made some small gains after that, as I got stronger.


. I am doing everything I want, but in moderation, and there is pain with use. This injury varies between people, so hope for the best, but just realize this is a life changing event
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Old 02-07-2013, 04:51 AM   #7
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Re: broken heel help

Thanks to both of you,

I went to PT this morning, and after talking to them am going solo today without cane or crutch, but as you said Liz carry one as back up.

having read a lot of people on here i think i am doing well, as i have had no reel complications i think i just thought that after all the NWB time and sitting with the foot elevated as much as possible i thought it would be easier when it came to walking. the PT thinkds most of my pain is caused by peroneus muscle (think that is what she said)

long term i hope to get back to playing Golf and competitive badminton, but that might be a pipe dream

 
Old 02-07-2013, 06:47 AM   #8
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Re: broken heel help

[QUOTE=dal1234;5129413
long term i hope to get back to playing Golf and competitive badminton, but that might be a pipe dream[/QUOTE]

I think you will be playing golf. You may have to change your stance. so there may be a learning curve, and an excuse.

As bad mitton, I think you may play it, but for me quick actions seem to bother it more.

I think you will do both, but yoy may limit the length and how often.

I waited about 18 months before talking strong pain meds, which for me is tramadol, which really isn;t that strong. I wanted to know what I was capabale of. Though I think I waited to long. But now before I do some thing that is going to do certain activities I take one. Some times I wait for the pain, but some times I say screw it, I want to enjoy today.

In my opinion you shouldn't take to many pain meds at first, or atleast you shouldn't use them to push to much. I was taking antiflamatories though. But there is no point being in pain either. I wanted to know what I was capable of, with relying on the meds. Now I just want to live my life.
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Old 02-07-2013, 06:49 AM   #9
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Re: broken heel help

at 5 weeks I was probably using the walker for big walks and a cane for shorter stuff.

As for rebuilding muscle, I don't think it takes 4 months. Maybe to build it all back, but I think you will have lots back sooner.
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Old 02-07-2013, 04:34 PM   #10
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Re: broken heel help

I only say 4 months because that is what I was told. I've been in therapy for about 2 months and have about half my muscles back. I was very in shape before the injury.

I don't take any strong pain meds anymore, and haven't felt the need to. I was very dependent on meds in the beginning, and for about 3 months. I don't even really take tylenol. I haven't felt the pain be bad enough for it to be. And I've spent a lot of time on it as of late. Just depends on your own tolerance I suppose.

I might end up taking more when I start hiking again, but we'll see.

 
Old 02-08-2013, 09:35 AM   #11
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Re: broken heel help

I don't take meds when I am just around the house or office. The pain goes along with activity.
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Old 02-08-2013, 08:18 PM   #12
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Re: broken heel help

Hi,

Don't know if this will help or not, but I think we are at the same point in our recovery. I had surgery on Nov. 7th. My heel was in many more pieces and they also had to do a fusion, so the injury is a little different. I have been in a boot for 5 weeks. I walk with one crutch and am working down to none. I think the pain in normal. I have a lot of pain in my ankle and even some in the knee. Be patient, this is life changing. Keep in touch with your progress and Good Luck!
Sue

Last edited by suziequz; 02-08-2013 at 08:19 PM.

 
Old 02-11-2013, 06:10 AM   #13
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Re: broken heel help

I didn't have to have a fusion so think I am a bit better off,
I think reading everything on this site that I am not doing to bad just a slow frustrating process

 
Old 02-11-2013, 11:27 AM   #14
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Re: broken heel help

I'm around 3 1/2 months post op and the plate and screws were removed due to an infection at 9 weeks.

I've been weight bearing for approx 4 weeks, starting with crutches, and now able to walk with a cane with not too much pain. Numbness makes it difficult to walk properly.

I too had very bad pain throughout the foot but not too much in the heel. I found that 'loading' the forefoot by repeatedly pressing down on the pad, as often as was bearable, eventually addressed the pain. However, it was very painfull process and I was often disheartened. Most of the pain seemed to be coming from the forefoot and front of the ankle.

My doc explained that when the foot is rested, all of the bones in the foot 'soften' (his word) causing pain and need worked to regain their strength again. This is what I was attempting to do by pressing down on the foot. He compared an x-ray from the time of the accident with one from when I was about to start weight bearing. This showed that the bones had lost calcium, the doc said they had demineralised due to the lack of use during NWB.

Is it possible that the swimming and PT is not 'loading' your foot enough?

Just my thought in case it helps.

Hope you feel much better soon.

Graeme

 
Old 02-13-2013, 01:01 PM   #15
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Re: broken heel help

I am doing lots of different things to try and get this thing going,think I am just expecting to much, I am working out the foot a lot

 
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