My surgery is coming up July 7, 2008 and I'm getting a little nervous. I have read some of the posts here concerning foot problems and this seems to be a great message board for my situation. I'm 49 years young, I have had flat feet since as long as I can remember. The pain started a few years back, especially at night when I would try to relax and sleep. I at the present time have no side to side movement and very little up and down movement. Doctors started me out in supports to help the arch. Tried a brace because my foot started turning out. The brace was useless. Well the pain got worse, and to make a long story short, I'm tired of pain medications and motrin. I went to a Doctor here in my town with all the x-rays and exams, said I need a Triple Arthrodesis and he performed one of these a couple weeks ago.
At that point, made a decision to go to the Cleveland Clinic where the Doctors perform these type surgeries on a daily basis. I'm very comfortable with the Doctor I choose. He also stated I need a Triple Arthrodesis because the bones have collapsed, and with a midfoot fusion. I also have a loss of felling in the same foot. I know this is going to be a long haul, but how long, and can anyone tell me exactly what to expect. He has explained, anywhere between 6 weeks to 8 weeks no weight bearing, and I will have my own pain pump inserted into a vein in my leg to relieve the pain when I am released from the hospital. Any info would be appreciated. Thanks Alex
Okay, I haven't had this surgery, but at one point my doctor thought I might.
The surgery will close up the joints that move your foot side to side, so they shouldn't hurt any more. That's the good news. The bad news is, it'll be about a year before you fully recover from the surgery, stop having swelling, etc. You'll spend at least a month with your foot up above your head most of the time, waking or sleeping. For the first few days, taking your foot down long enough to crutch to the toilet will be unpleasant.
What kind of work do you do, and when are you expecting to get back to it? Will there be people around to take care of you afterward? Do you have shower chair, waterproof cast cover, lots of ice, prescription pain medicine, comfortable place to rest, DVD's to watch, food, and a wheelchair or knee scooter? Is your home accessible? Might want to rearrange some furniture and pick up throw rugs to accommodate crutches.
Take your pain medicine. Don't wait until you need it, take it as often as allowed until you don't need it any longer.
You won't be climbing mountains or playing basketball on your rebuilt foot, but being able to walk down the street normally and comfortably is a reasonable expectation.
They might need a bone graft to accomplish the fusion, and might have to take it from your hip. Ask the surgeon about this.
Stop taking the motrin before surgery, and don't take it afterward, it can hamper bone healing. You'll probably also get an antibiotic soap to wash with before the surgery. Anything you can do to lower the risk of infection is a good thing. Eat healthy, too, both before and after, even though you might not have much appetite at first.
Little up and down movement--that could be a problem with the true ankle joint, not the midfoot. I would ask the surgeon what's happening between your talus, tibia and fibula.
Anything I haven't thought of? July 7th? I'll pray for you.
Thank you, you gave me some good ideas. I never thought of the shower chair, and getting plenty of ice. The throw rugs are also going to go. I'm not to graceful anyway, been waiting for a reason. I work for a company who will work with me, with time off, and office setting till healed. This take home pain pump, is still a mystery though. I did tell him, Give me whatever so the pain is minimal.
I too have bad feet and have a quadruple arthrodesis scheduled for August 4th, I have had pain in both feet for over 12 years now and finally was correctly diagnosed last month. I will have the right one done first and then the left probably next year if I'm able. The pain is so bad that I have trouble walking. I am a young 63 and in my younger years was a dancer, runner and everything else but now I do good to go outside to pick up the paper. I am ready for some relief in the pain dept. I don't take anything for it except Aleve but after a while it will tear up you stomach.
I will be most anxious to hear how your surgery goes so please keep us informed.
Good luck and God Bless...you're in my prayers.
Thanks for the kind words mimi. It's getting close, and the closer the surgery gets the more I know I'm ready for this relief. Scary yes, but much needed.. I will keep you informed of the outcome. I wish you well on your surgery also, August 4th. I guess I'm sort of lucky, at the present time it's only one foot giving me trouble. I imagine since both feet are totally flat, the other will go sooner or later???
Sorry it's taken so long to get back to you but we had unexpected guests arrive and thank goodness they just left.
As to opinions, I had three before agreeing to go through with the surgery. I will have a quadruple arthrodesis on August 4 and am looking forward to it. The surgeon said I would be at least 90% pain free afterwards. I will have to have the left one done later. The pain I now have gets worse everyday..I can hardly walk it hurts so bad and there's really nothing you can take that makes it feel any better.
I'm trying to get everything ready..the crutches,the shower chair and the knee scooter. I've already cooked casseroles for my husband to nuke so I know we will have something to eat. My husband is not much of a cook...he can burn water!!
I'm looking forward to hearing from alexfromsalem to see how his surgery went.
Keep me posted if you decide to have it done.
Sorry it's taken so long to get back with you. Iím finding it hard to work at the computer with my foot in the air, Ha... Well I'm three weeks post surgery and very glad this is over with...The surgery went well, was a success, 4 Ĺ hrs instead of 3 as the Doctor stated in the beginning. He said there was more work to be done once he was inside. Iím now the proud owner of four sutures, about 4 inches long on each side of my left foot. I was given, morphine and percocet immediately after the surgery and the night following. When I was released, they inserted a catheter behind the knee which allowed me to administer a numbing agent to the nerves in my foot. Along with this was two additional bags to replace the empty. Each bag lasted approximately 1 Ĺ days. When that was finished my wife was allowed to take the catheter out. That was really a great thing for the pain!!! If you have the option for this, it is well worth it.
Iím on my second plaster cast, and I have an appointment on Tuesday. Hopefully the swelling is down so they can put a fiberglass cast on. Right now to be honest, although Iím still taking the percocet in the evening for the pain, the pain from the surgery is really minimal during the day. My only problem is at night when I try to lay down to sleep. The pain meds are not really helping. I guess thatís why Iím on the computer at 2:45am. Iím also finding the walker is much easier to maneuver than the crutches. I never imagined the need for both hands even going from room to room carrying a glass of water. Makes ya appreciate the small things. He said two months no weight bearing, and then will go from there??? Good luck on your surgery, and please keep in touch.
Hi, I'm so glad that everything went well. I had no idea that the surgery was that long! Did you stay in the hospital or was it outpatient? It seems some people are hospitalized and others are not...as far as I know for me, they will do it and when I'm ready to be released the same day, I'll come home. I'll know for sure tomorrow.
I have an incredible pain tolerance but I have no aversion to taking a little something to help ease it. I will ask about the pain pump to bring home. This doctor is a foot/ankle specialist and is supposed to be one of the best in Austin so I'm sure he knows about it. I'll sure ask him.
I am so glad that yours went well..just do everything they tell you and don't put any weight on it...all of the posts I read say that is the most important thing.
I write tomorrow and let you know what I find out.
Hang in there...
I have to have this done, looking at October. How bad was the pain the second day? How about when you lowered your foot for the 1st time? When did PT come in and make you move? I am not looking forward to this.
Well, the second day was not terrible. Although, I was taking percocet, had a nerve block pump attached by a catheter inserted midway down my leg to numb the foot. This was really a treat, because the first five days, my foot was numb. Really well worth the procedure of inserting the catheter behind the knee. The pump which I operated, hung around my neck. Once that medication was completed about four days, we were allowed to pull the catheter out at the house.
Actually, for the first four days the pain was really minimal. I couldnít feel a thing. The pain started coming when the numbing agent wore off. And to be honest not that bad during the day time for me. My pain seems to start the moment I lay down in the evening. The percocet takes the edge off, just enough to get a little sleep.
I seen the Doctor yesterday for my third post appointment. The sutures were taken out and Iím know in a fiberglass cast, (Bright Orange) a lot lighter than the plaster. I inquired about the pain in the evening, he stated to just keep the foot elevated, thatís the key. I donít see how I can elevate any more than what Iím currently doing.
As far as lowering my foot for the first time, like I mentioned the numbing agent for the nerves of the foot was a great help. I would recommend it. Itís a new procedure the Cleveland Clinic is performing with excellent results. With this, I would not fear the pain.
We really have not mentioned the PT yet. This is the third cast since the surgery three weeks ago. He said I will probable go thru 7 or 8 cast by the time were ready to talk PT.
hi.. it sounds like we had similar surgeries.. I'm on my 3rd cast, still on the percocets, I'm not giving them up for awhile. lol. I wasn't even offered a nerve block pump, that would have been awesome for the first few days, but its just as well, cause I'm un-coordinated and probably would have found a way to trip over it. lol. I found the walker to be easier too. I did try crutches after the third week and now I alternate between the two. I like the crutches better, the walker feels like this huge piece of furniture that I'm maneuvering around. lol. I really wish I'd found this board before my surgery, but then probably would have come up with a reason to put it off for another year (I put it off for 2.5 years and caused more damage as a result) I hadn't realized you got a different type of cast in the hospital. that explains why i was so uncomfortable and it felt so heavy.. i thought I'd just gotten used to it! the two I've gotten at my doctors office are so much lighter.
It does sound like a very simular surgeries.....
I have been dealing with this in excess of 8-10 years. There was a doctor years ago that said I would need something eventually, but I put it off. By putting it off, created a bunch of havoc in my ankle which made matters worse than getting it done to begin with. I'm at a point (Post Surgery) now where I'm three weeks into it, getting real tired of manipulating the walker and cast and wondering if it was all worth it. I know it will be down the road worth it, just tired of being somewhat confined to the house. I've watched enoungh TV to last a lifetime. Played enough video games for awhile also, I'm missing work, yes, actually missing work.
I'm also in no big hurry of giving up the percocet either..ha ... I'm keeping it to just the evenings though. I'm having a heck of a time, trying to go to sleep.
hi again.. i ended up with ankle damage as well from putting it off. and it was around the 3rd or 4th week when I started to get really aggravated with the whole thing and wished I hadn't had it done. I was sick of tv, sick of reading and was a miserable person to be around.. it was at that time that I had a dr. appt and he noticed and gave me xanax for my anxiety (I'm dealing with some personal issues as well) and that made a huge difference. I'm 7 weeks post op tomorrow. and believe it or not the times gone by kind of fast. I'm hooked on the games over at pogo and play there often and my neighbor gave me his gameboy with a bunch of games to play.. they frustrate me though. lol . I love my job and miss work too.. I'm a baker.. my doctors already told me that I'll probably need to find another career because I'm required to stand 100% of the time at my job. I'm thinking along the lines of something in the medical field.. but who knows.. my lifes up in the air right now.
I take benadryl to sleep, its probably not the best habit to get into, but I've been doing it for years and it makes me tired and I'm able to sleep for about 6-7 hours straight.. in the beginning I had a hard time sleeping and it really affected my moods.
check out the games on pogo if you get bored. (i have the same user name as here, with a 1 after it) they're addictive and pass the time!
So what is to be done about the pain at night. I just had a dr. appt yesterday, and I have been wearing a boot for the past 10 days - HATE the thing! Anyway, he said nerve block for two- three days, percocet for about 2 weeks. I am in that age group of druggies I guess. All I really want are the drugs! - yea right! BTW, I am convinced that whom ever designed that darn boot; never wore it a day in their life.
alex and cat lady, i am also from RI (by way of wisconsin). had a triple arthrodesis done may 9th. was in a cast non-weight bearing for 8 weeks then went into cam walker. i can put 25lbs a week of weight bearing on my foot. up to 150lbs now. few more weeks to go to ditch the crutches. then 2 more weeks in cam and then ween out of that.
this has been such a long process. i am only 31. but have had pain since i was about 4 years old! so i hope this is worth it.
alex, you will learn to be very inventive. if you don't have one, get a water bottle (like a nalgene or camelback one). they are easy to hook on your finger while you crutch. also, i have two i-pod like holders that have a velcro belt thing, that fits nicely on a crutch to hold phone, and in my case an air pump for my boot.
and i have my husband hang two bags in the fridge (so i can carry breakfast and lunch).
hang in there and it would be nice to chat with someone. i have been BORED! ask me any questions, i've been through it.
as for people asking about pain, i was in hosp overnight, then went home with percocet as needed and oxycontin twice a day. that was nice for the first 2 weeks. after that, just went to extra strength vicodin.
now just on normal tylenol. compared to before surgery, i feel AMAZING!
also, at night, definately elevate and i also had an ice machine that you plugged in and it pumped cold water through a pad all night. like a cryocuff with a pump. amazing. but my doc said the most important was the elevation. it will get better. i think at about 5 weeks or so it was great.
hey Shelley.. great to meet someone local thru here.. especially someone who had the same surgery.. and you're a month ahead of me.. so now I know what i have to look forward to. lol.. i still use the walker about half the time, but the crutches are a little easier. I haven't even attempted to go outside on my own, aside from my 2 doctors appointments.. Do you mind me asking who did your surgery? I had Dr. Rogers and hes awesome.
as for pain. I just switched from percocet to 7.5mg vicodin today. they can't call in percocet and I still had refills on my vicodin from before surgery, so I'll give them a try. I really don't have too much pain anymore, just some discomfort some of the time.
I use grocery bags to carry stuff too! I've been lucky in a small way.. my husband had minor surgery on July 1st and hes out til Sept. 1st so I've had his company and his help. and sometimes alot of aggravation, but that goes along with it. lol
I'm very bored, some days are longer than others. yesterday was 7 weeks post op, so I'm getting there.. tell me about it being a long process. thats why i put it off for so long!
btw.. that ice machine you were talking about sounds awesome.. I just kept an iced pack behind my knee and kept my foot elevated for those first few weeks.. and Alex, I know what you're going through because my first 3-4 weeks were the hardest. sooooo frustrating!
Last edited by catldyfromnpt; 08-01-2008 at 06:44 PM.