I hope you find your way over to the new thread so you can read my response to your last post.
I'm glad your incision isn't as big and ugly as mine. LOL Word of caution, keep it clean. Help the incision heal as quickly as it can so it does not get infected. Mine took5 weeks to fully close up...I helped it a little using neosporin after my bath every day. It helped speed things up.
I'm glad you are already doing ROM exercises. It will help a lot when it comes time to go to PT. You will be one step ahead.
I slept in my boot for 7 weeks only because my doc was on vacation for an extra week. I was in a Hard cast for 2 weeks prior to the boot. I would lie on my stomach with my foot propped up some pillows. I found that helped alleviate some of the pain.
When the doc told me I didn't have to wear the boot anymore, I was actually quite nervous about doing that but once i did, it was easy..
Most of mine pain was from the disturbance of the nerves during surgery and the incision. Once everything settled down and healed, there was very little discomfort.
I still have various pains depending on foot position, weight applies, how I put my boot on a particular day. So many variables. I am getting thru it by realizing there will be discomfort and I just have to grin and bare it. It's a slow, slow process....one we have to accept.
I take Ibuprofin as needed, but that is not often. Sometimes Tylenol instead.
I am needing it a little more often as the PT beats me up during my 2 hours sessions. I stopped taking vicoden 5 days post op and then went to tylenol.
7 weeks post op, my doc told me to get rid of the crutches in 5 days. It took me 2 weeks. It's still not comfortable, but again tolerable. I look at the pain as good pain. I don't know if I will need a cane when I get rid of the boot. I should know by the 20th when I see the doc again.
The swelling will last 12-14 months in various degrees. My ankle is still swollen as are my toes. The bottom of your foot is probably sore from being strapped down during surgery. I had a B& Blue mark up until 2 weeks ago from the strap. My PT told me that.
My skin is still sensitive to the touch. I have read that will last quite some time too. I hope you found your way to this new thread.
Thanks for the reply earlier in the week. I have gone back and read most of the 80 messages on the previous thread. I also had my surgery on 9/8 just like you Phil. I fell off a ladder on 8/31. I am the one with the external fixator...my doctor said this procedure was started in Europe. After he repaired the shattered calcaneous he used the fixator to separate the subtalar joint to help prevent arthritis and allow for movement although there will be restictions....at least that is what I think he said. I usually feel like I am an educated person until I visit my doctor. On October 17 I will have surgery to remove the external pins but not the internal screws and plate. The doctor will put an compression boot on me to get rid of the remaining swelling and then put me in a walking boot. Sometime after that I will start PT. When I read this thread I remain amazed at how different treatment is...how different doctors are...how different the timelines are...etc.
Phil, I have/had the nerve burning/tingling problem and my doctor gave me lyrica which is used to treat Fibromyalgia and other nerve pain. It helps. He also gave me ambien to help me sleep when I need it. I still have some oxycodone (5-325mg) from the surgery and when having a really bad day/night I try to take half and two hours later the other half instead of the prescribed dose right after surgery…none during the day. I supplement with advil so I don't need the other stuff. If you have nerve problems maybe you could talk to your doctor about Lyrica...if really seems to help with the stinging and burning.
The worst thing for me is the lack of mobility...I am amazed at the way you guys seem to handle this and take pleasure in each little achievement. I will get there. I am still in stage one and two….anger and denial This group of fellow heelies is already helping because unlike those around me, we share this experience. Most of my friends and family seem to think that as soon as this fixator is off my foot and I am in a walking boot that things will be back near normal. Did any of you face that? How did you let them know that this is only the beginning?
Congratulations on the progress and the PT. I just hope that when you are well you drop off this thread…
Jason and Carol, congrats! It sure feels good, doesn't it.
Yes, i took vicadin for a long time at night, weeks after i stopped taking it during the day. I am just starting to sleep well at night.(almost 4 months later) I have been weight bearing since Aug 15th and my ankle and achilles is still swollen. About the boot, i never had one until i started weight bearing and then only for about a week and a half. I had a half plaster cast until my stitches were out and then the doc gave me a very soft wrap just to wear when i was outside, etc. Every doc is different.
I know the lack of mobility makes you frustrated, but control what you can. Drink plenty of fuids, eat lots of fruit (both help with blood flow) Get 15-20 min of sun a day(vit. d makes bones strong) and try to get your heart rate up a little by lifting dumbells, situps, push ups etc. (the higher your heart rate, the more blood is going to the injury). The external fixator is interesting, since that calc./talus joint is the one thing that is still bothering me. I still have trouble going up hills and down steps because it doesn't want to bend. But, everyday, there is progress!
My thoughts are with you. I know this is probably the toughest time of this injury. You can only do so much and want to do more. I was able to teach myself patience and let my body, my foot and of course my doc tell me when I was ready to do more.
Anger and denial, yes, I do remember that stage, but I filled my days with computer work, reports etc on my laptop. Of course this board helped me alot and hope it helps you too.
I used Larazepam when it came time for bed. It's an anti axiety meds but also a muscle relaxant. The more I did physically the less I needed the meds. My doc would not give me ambien, he doesn't believe in using it for his patients. Once I started an upper body workout program, I was able to fall asleep more easily.
Interesting theory with the external fixator. I hope it works for you. Please keep us informed.
You hit the nail on the head. Others who have not gone thru this have no idea, nor can they understand our frustrations and limitations. When the Doc told me me I could WB 100% 7 weeks post op....my healthy wife said as we were walking out the door, well, are you going to leave the crutches here?
It took me another 2 weeks to walk w/out. They have no idea. I believe Carol made everyone look at the incision....I show them the post op xray. If they don't want to understand I move on to the next topic. I'm not going to dwell on their ignorance.
Stew gives a lot of good advice too. He's been a big help to me as well.
Good luck Sandra, We're here for you and we'll pick you up when you need it.
I had to use my crutches all day & put only 50% of my weight on foot because it hurt so much from yesterdays 100% weight bearing.
Walking did not hurt at first but as steps increased to did the pain.
I've been working on all my exercises today.
Ed: Many thanks for all your help!
Stew: Glad your able to finaly get some sleep.
You are welcome Carole, like I mentioned call me anytime you have questions.
Quick PT update, I did the same exercises as the past 2 sessions except I was on the treadmill for 6 minutes today. 3 minutes using my bad foot and 3 minutes using both. I again used the roller board side to side and front to back.
Some stretching and ice, but she used the TENS machine today on a very low setting. Barely perceptable.
My biggest achievement today was walking in sneakers from the bicycle to the treadmill under my own power and balance. Slowly, but steady. I am counting the days to Oct 20 when I hope the Doc tells me to get rid of the boot. Yeah.......
Sandra, yes, each little achievement means alot. More psychological than physical. It's that much closer to being "normal." Or as myy doc says, the lite at the end of the tunnel keeps getting brighter.
I hope everyone else had a great week andare making progress, even if it's small.
This morning my sisters cat lucky spayed on my walking boot so I had to use my ankle brace & wore both my tennis shoes for the first time since 6/11.
Still got shooting pains in my heel & ankle when I try to walk 100% weight bearing so had to use crutches again today doing 60% to 80% weight bearing.
I'm lucky swelling has not increased since I started weight bearing.
I found some gel heel pads at the drug store that help with pain level.
After reading some other posts I realize I'm not out of the woods as far as infection goes, uh oh guess I better be carefull.
Hope your all doing better!
Keep healing heelies!
I've been following your progress daily and from what I have seen over the years you are all doing the right things including a superb job of helping each other.
I also wanted to comment on an earlier question about infections. As Ed said serious infections are very rare and are associated mostly with compound injuries to the foot. The only 'stealth infection I've ever heard of was Jim's where there weren't overt signs of trouble from the start.
One of my hot buttons is the ignorance and cruelty that some of us have experienced. So I'm going to jump up on my soap box for a topic that Miles and Sandra brought up. A lot of us were told at the start that this was 'a long road' and 'a life changing experience'. This is reason number 8: dealing with people who don't understand - and worse.
If people are being ignorant you can try to educate them. If their comments are private try dealing with it in private.
If you are dealing with a whole group such as a family, go ahead and sit them all down. Ask "Who has a question or problem that we can answer so we can clear the air.
If people are being just plain rude (especially in public) you can try and publicly shut them up. You could calmly ask: "And when did you break your heel?" "How long have you been a doctor?" or "My doctor must be stupid. Let me give you his number so you can straighten him out!"
Some are doing it for the responses - the excitement of getting others upset. They expect (and need) you to fight back, complain or run away. My favorite reply is - "How many day's 'till Christmas?" When you respond to their nonsense with your own they just don't know what to do and often don't bother again.
You might encounter some who won't quit. They are just plain bullies. What is true for most bullies is that they have been mistreated themselves, live in constant fear and feel that their only defense is to be offensive. Having had to live this way their whole lives they are accustomed to deflecting responses. They must continually show their power but of course pick on those they feel are too weak or to nice to retaliate. Amazingly the ones they don't abuse are others who they feel can "also dish it out". If you were to say "I'll get better but you'll always be stupid." you just might gain their 'respect'.
Now you're going to say: "But I'm not going to be mean and won't be pushy." Good, because the best thing to do is also the right thing to do. Whether its family, acquaintances or strangers, make friends and get closer to these people. Regardless of if they're rotten or just plain dumb they will behave much better if they feel that you like them, have things in common and you take interest in them and their problems. This is not only the best way to behave and the best way to deal with the issue, you might even find that they help out when someone else comes along with their previous attitude.
Maintaining "healing in the neutral position" is important because the Achilles tendon likes to shrink if you leave your foot hanging down for weeks. It is so thick and strong that trying to stretch it again is no easy task plus you go right back into the boot! Nerve pain is common and usually temporary. There's a whole list of things that hurt in the first months and when you start walking that are routine and will go away. If it doesn't subside by your next appointment it is an important topic to discuss. If it gets worse I'd call earlier to be on the safe side. You should look up Hyperalgesia and Allodynia. Being familiar with the terms could help in discussions with your doc.
By the way: "That's a relief, I thought you were gonna tell me I broke my ankle!" I think that's the funniest line I've ever seen posted here.
TC. Kudos to you and your insight on how to handle folks who don't understand. It's funny that we all elp each other here on how to get thru surgery, the doc visits and PT etc....but to also have to work the psychological side of the equation too.
You are correct that it's an excuse for some who have deep seated personal issues to attack a possible target. If you dish it back, they usually go away.
Thank you for your post and your great ideas on how to deal with those who haven't.
I went to the bank this week after a 3 month hiatus. One teller and I are friendly, she asked me "the foot has a heel bone?" I felt bad for her, 3 customers and 2 tellers laughed at her. She turned 5 shades of red.
Just goes to show, how ignorant (not stupid) people really are.
Carole. I would recommend cleaning your boot as best you can and get back into it. I think you might be doing too much too soon. My PT told me several times that if you experience pain, back off. If the pain stops, you should be OK. If the pain is still there, back off and rest it.
Of course there is some pain that you can push thru, but please listen to what your ankle is telling you.
I considered the gel inserts too, but I think I am too close to getting rid of the boot. I have very little pain in my sneakers.
Been I while since I posted on here. Got pretty much caught up on all the posts since I've been here. Like someone said, it sure is strange how many different approaches the different doctors take with this injury. I've also dealt with the idiot comments on how long this takes to recover. Mine is even worse since I had the infection and 2nd surgery. It's been 21 weeks now, and I'm still on crutches. I've had all kind of remarks. The one that had me ready to use my crutch as a weapon is "how long you going to milk this"? Totally insensitive. I just try to grin and bear it. Anyway, I just finished my 3rd full week back at work. After being home-bound with the IV for 6 weeks, it took me a while to get my strength and stamina back. Getting better every day though. Last appt, my doc said I could put 30 to 40 pounds of pressure on the foot. The last few days, I've been exceeding that a little, but I'm doing very well with it. I even got a tennis shoe on last week. I don't tie it, but at least my shoes match now. My doc has never put me in a boot. I go back to the doctor on the 16th, and I'm hoping he'll let me try full weight bearing as tolerated. I can't wait to get rid of these walking sticks! He hasn't started me on any PT program, but I've been stretching and strengthening on my own and have great movement and the calf muscle is coming back nicely. Glad to see so many making such good progress. Hope everyone has a great weekend.
I'm going to put my boot in the washing machine with lots of soap, but the ankle brace & tennis shoe sure feel a lot better.
The boot seems to inhibit the natural movement of my leg & foot.
I walked around on the neighbors soft even grass with all my weight for a little while today, till it hurt to much.
I went shopping for clothes today, it was nice to stand on both feet while looking through the rack instead of having to balance on 1 foot.
This is not the best time for gaining weight but I seem to be doing it a lot anyway.
I was reading a post about a heelie who got an infection & had to have hardware removed about 2 weeks after getting the okay to walk, I wonder why that happened to him because I don't want it to happen to me.
Glad your all doing better!
Keep on Healing Heelies!
Jim, what great news. As you know from catching up you are much further along than most of us when we started PT or were allowed WB due to your own proactive progress. My hat is off to you for taking charge of your own recovery. You'll be in tennis shoes soon enough and 100% WB. I think your doc will allow you full WB in normal shoes on the 16th as I will be on the 20th.
I'm sorry to say, you were dealt a bad hand with the infection. I wish it didn't happen but there was nothing you could do to prevent it. But you are improving dailly and are on your way.
Sandra, ask anything anytime. You have no idea how much this sight and members has helped my recovery. It's my turn to give back to help you and who ever else needs help. I fell 7/19 and had surgery 7/31. 11 screws and a plate ORIF. The heel bone became 7 pieces. TENS is a an electrical treatment of very low voltage applied to various areas of the injury to promote blood flow and healing. This was the 1st time I had it at PT. Others on these boards have had it several times early in their treatments or they purchased the machine for home use.
The Roller board/ s are wood planks the size of dinner plates or bigger. The board sits on the floor, you place your foot on top of the board (while sitting)and rock your foot forward and backward slowly to help rebuild the muscles used for normal walking. This also helps stretch the tendons, ligaments and muscles.
The other board is round too but allows side to side movement as well as forward and backward movement. I would NOT recommend either of these until the doc clears you for PT and tells you your heel is healing well and the Xrays show the healing. Obviously if you do some of these things prematurely the bones won't seat themselves correctly and you will set yourself back again. Patience with this injury is very important.
Carole, I'm so glad you felt somewhat normal standing in a store with free hands. If you have not picked up an infection by now and your incision is closed up as you say, I don't think you need to worry about infection.
Jim had his around 7 weeks. I was checking my temperature daily up until last week. I think you are safe. If you are smart about how you handle the open wound and make sure it stays clean, you should be OK.
I took it easy today abd backed off a lot. I did exercises this morning and this evening bit wore my boot most of the day and sat instead of walking a lot. I will do the same tomorrow, then push again Monday.
Update on me. I walked around in the bathroom today, bare foot. It didn't feel too bad. I didn't walk around a lot but enough to get a feel for the discomfort and strength I have redeveloped. Assisted with my crutches I climbed the stairs today using as much of my right foot as possible. It was a slight struggle but doable. Again, time and patience.
good to hear from you again. I have a question for you, I have been over 7 months now since fracture and thought I was doing quite well.
I am back at work 3 days a week and still using 1 crutch.This week I stood up lecturing for over an hour or so and walked around while doing so without the crutch. I felt ok next day but since then I have been having pain in knee and ankle, do you think this is because I shouldn't have tried to walk too much as I am still limping?
I know you gave Carolyn some good advice a while ago but I can't find the post and she hasn't been on for a while.
Any advice would be appreciated as I am getting fed up again
I am glad you were able to shop. I can hardly wait to be able to go shopping or anywhere. I look forward to going to the doctor to get out of the house. I think one of the things I have been most worried about with this injury is gaining weight. I know that is silly but it is problably something many women share. I think most men have a better metabolism sitting than I have walking. I am trying to exercise with my one foot. I got some bands for stretching and I try to do flex exercises with my leg that has the bad foot. The thought of being down for months .....I can't even weigh. I thought if I could weigh and get a relative weight with this contraption on my foot I could monitor any gains. The problem is I can't even get on the scale and weigh. My doctor said to relax and let my foot heal but it is easier said than done. My husband says the same thing and I realize that this broken calcaneous didn't just happen to me but to both of us. Thanks for listening to me... It shows there is more to recovering from this awful foot injury than just physical recovery. I know that next Friday when I get the Halo removed from my foot it has to be better.
Yes I bet you can do a lot more when you get the halo removed.
3 days after my injury I jumped in my car & drove to the farmers market, one of the things I enjoy a lot.
4 days after my surgery I got home from the hospital & re-aranged the living room, a week later I was vacuming & cleaning house one of the things I don't enjoy a lot HA HA.
Glad your husband is helpfull to you, mine is a horses *** most of the time.
About the weight gain don't worry you can stop it by eating mostly lean meats & lots of fresh vegis, that will help with the heel healing as well.
Sorry your hurting more after being on your foot to much, I now what that feels like since my Dr. gave me the okay to start walking on 10/8.
I helped my sister at the antique market today & had to show all my friends that I can stand on 2 feet & walk, boy am I sore after showing off!
I have several theories for you. One is the old two steps forward one step back. When you put more demands on the foot it's going to hurt more, no way around it. If you get the tendons loose the muscles have to catch up. When you use muscles more the tendons have to get used to working harder. The joints that haven't moved so much will complain because they got too comfy being stationary. New pains are part of the progression.
Your ankle is the final connection between your body and your foot where all the lifting, landing, turning and balancing are going on. The ankle has to support all of those activities and transfer all the forces. I believe the ankle goes through successive recoveries, each one seeming like it's starting from scratch: range of motion, weight bearing, stepping motions and balancing. The catch is it needs to be put to work to get stronger, but hurts to much to do so. Many found that wearing an ankle brace allowed us to ease the transition.
Everyone with knee pain seems to be doing the same thing forcing their knee to do their foot's job. Most common is the limp from not pushing off with the foot, but it can include using the knee to ease the shock on the heel rather than having it straight when their foot lands. I recall cathing myself even trying to twist at the knee.
The two ways to avoid the problem are to ensure that your foot is doing the work even if it means watching every step and make sure the injured foot does exactly the same thing as the other. Get up and take one step. Watch what each leg is doing I think you will see that your 'good leg is straight with your knee locked when you step off and land but you keep the other bent to help out your foot. Do that a few times then do another step watching your foot. Are you going off of your forefoot and landing on your heel or lifting your foot up and putting it down flat? Watch one foot then the other. Anything your foot is not doing, your knee is - while it's not designed to do so.
I personally don't like the one crutch method. You can get away with not using the foot much at all, then when you try it is too big of a leap. I when from two to a cane. It was real slow going at first but it meant if I wanted to go far or fast the foot had to do it. And that's the name of the game making the foot do more until it's back in good working order.
The most important person involved in this (after yourself) is your doctor. Let them know of your progress plans and problems. They are the experts as to where you should be with your specific injury, what is safe to do at each stage of your recovery and if there are any complications causing pain or delay.