Hi. I was injured in a car accident on 8 June 08 during which my right hip was destroyed. I was operated on, on 18 June 08 in a private hospital after much toing and froing in state hospitals. From the start however I was told and indeed could see that I now had a drop foot. I was also told by the specialist that I had lost 70% of the nerve. The hip was reconstructed a mere 39 days ago - having read a lot of threads this is a fraction of the time some of you have lived with this condition.
From the outset I have had incredible pain in the drop foot which persists and only decreases to a liveable level for about 3-4 hours, despite serious pain medication; "Neurontin, Lyrica, Lentogesic". The pain consists of the whole foot cramping up: electric shocks, stabs of pain all over the foot, burning sensation all over and also a furious blunt pain inside the foot. This is really intense. Does this ever get better?
Can anybody help here please?
I've been living with dropped foot since November, 2007...the docs repaired a very badly broken femur bone, and I woke up with dropped foot...in the beginning, the pain was unbearable as you describe and I was given Lyrica, which I took for a couple of months. Really this med didn't help at all and I slowly weaned myself off of it. I read online that Vitamin B6 would help with the nerve discomfort, so I've been taking that ever since...I really feel that it helped and I still take it now. In my case the pain has gotten much better...I still have sensory weirdness and tingling and pulling at times and a little numbness, but it has sort of become background noise, and I've learned to ignore it...my foot is sensitive and rebels with certain kinds of braces and night splints, but if I just change shoes, etc, the pain fades into the background again... the pain was horrible in the beginning, but it did get better and I hope yours gets better too...please post again if you have any questions...
Dear Tanya - Just hearing another voice in this is really comforting. Thank you. I see that your position has improved. As I wrote it has only been a month and a half but I had to hear how others experienced this. The pain is almost gone in the mornings up until late afternoon when it really strangles me, and as I feel gets progressively worse into the evening. Also I have now started to sit up and work for certain stretches during the day and obviously the foot then rests on the ground. This hurts very much after a while. I simply cannot lie down anymore and must get moving albeit with crutches. I can obviously not drive, step on foot yet, walk for that matter and so on. If you have any shred of advice for me I would be very greatful. Keep well and get better. Elandre
You're right, my situation has improved greatly...Actually I really suffered terrible damage to my femur bone, and it sounds as if you are making wonderful progress so far as getting around and mobility are concerned...compared to how I was doing at a similar time frame. For me, the pain of dropped foot would be worst in the middle of the night interfering with sleep. It seems that when you have the least distraction, this pain manifests itself with a vengeance. I used to have to awaken family members in the middle of the night to massage my leg along the peronneal nerve in order to get some relief. And it's even difficult to describe this kind of pain to anyone, unless you experience it yourself.
As I mentioned before, I started taking Vitamin B6 and other B vitamins and this seemed to relieve the pain...Perhaps this was just my wishful thinking, and I can't site the science for this, but that is what helped. Also, I used to have something called a multi-podus boot that I wore at night, which immobilized the foot into a somewhat neutral position...this helped with the pain a great deal as well, and I figured that a device such as this was better than filling myself with narcotics and more pills. I also found that the brace I wore during the day had a great deal to do with the pain that I was feeling. For me, a custom made plastic brace was horrible and painful to wear, and when it was time for a new brace, I flat out refused to wear another plastic brace like this...mine enveloped the sides of the foot, and while it was OK in the morning, it would become very painful as my foot swelled throughout the day and the plastic would just stay the same dimension...you get the picture. Anyway, for all these reasons, I was fitted with the Otto Bock carbon brace called Walk On...and it has been great. You can find them on the Internet. Although it will probably fit in your normal shoe, I decided to fit it into an elastic shoe and that has worked the best for me. The brace is light and takes care of the foot drop, and the elastic shoe gives support, but not the painful pressure to the dropped foot... my orthopedist has remarked that I walk like nothing ever happed at all. While I wouldn't go this far, I will say that this combination has worked well for me...
The only other information I can give you is the patience of time and waiting...advice, which I find very difficult to take myself. Also, if you have not seen a neurosurgeon already, you should try to find one that specializes in the peripheral nerves in order to evaluate your particular situation. I needed nerve decompression surgery, and it has been helpful in my case...but every case is so different that only a neurosurgeon can give you the best advice for you... Please post again if you need anymore information, of if you just want to chat...feel better...
Last edited by Tanya8; 08-02-2008 at 09:21 AM.
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Thank you for your informative and very helpful previous mail. I am happy to hear that your pain became bearable after 3-4 months. Also gmac indicates that his situation only got better after 6 months. Bottom line is that it seems to get better one way or another, but that time is the ultimate answer. I am now on serious pain medication since I nearly lost my mind in a manner of speaking on Friday night. I am starting with physiotherapy on Friday - at last - and hope and pray that it will bear good results.
I really take note of what you guys say and will report back soon.
Get better all the time. E
You're very welcome Elandre...so sorry that you have to go through all this pain right now, but things will slowly get better...I find it difficult to believe that I've come this far since last November, and I was on some serious pain medication myself for quite a while after my initial surgery. The only pain meds I take now, however, are an occasional ibuprofen when I do physical therapy for the thigh muscles which were greatly weakened from the traumatic bone break and resultant surgery...fortunately, the nerve pain mostly stays in the background and is just there...but it doesn't interfere with sleep, and mostly I'm just able to ignore it...
Please take care and feel better and better every day...and if you have any questions at all, please don't hesitate to post...
Hi Graeme and Tanya. Well Graeme it really seems as if modern medicine has now had its way with you. Although I was extremely fortunate to end up with the Orthopaedic Surgeon I did and have changed to a better Fisiotherapist I also discovered through "spywork" that there should be some improvement after 3 months but that things on the whole depend on myself from here in the sense that I have to manage progress with the amount of pain I can stand. Excuse the pun. So I really feel for you. It seems that all communication with one's doctor/s ia always a bit tenuous. On the other hand if the doctor's expression correctly states your progress then Great for you. However please don't ever go off this site soon...your experience is invaluable. On a personal level I have a lot to report. I am now allowed to place some weight on the foot but the leg remains shaky - really - and the foot very very sore after 16:00 every day. I take hydrotherapy once a week. All in all I get the idea that the leg - of which the hip seems to have healed well - is just not up tp serious weight, although I place weight on it. My frustration is pretty high. Sunday past I just got into the car and drove around the block. This worked but I can definitely not get onto a higway here yet. Anyway the pain in the foot is still really bad and I have now lost 15 kilos after the operation. It is now 59 days after same. I have by now made peace with the fact that time will assist to heal my leg and foot but boy am I irritated by this fact. Oh well my son has some activities at school this morning - Saturday. And I'm off to watch him go-kart. Rather ironic isn't it? Well Graeme I wish you all the best for now and Tanya same to you. Please let me know how you are keeping. It is really good to hear from you guys. Stay well and get better and stronger. E
Elandre - Thank you for the nice message. I am relatively content with what I've achieved but am hoping it will improve further thru time. Best case scenario would have been to be able to run and play sport (soccer mainly) again and worst case would have been if the op had totally failed and I still had drop foot. So being somewhere in the middle I guess I'm quite happy. And not having the AFO after 14 years is a real boost.
I think you have a great chance of success for 3 reasons. 1. It seems the medical options available now are a lot greater than when I had my accident in 1994 2. You are determined to seek out extra knowledge from as many sources as possible, whether it's on here or thru other forums. 3. You seem to be making slow and steady progress and not getting too far ahead of yourself.
The only real advice I can give to you now, and sorry if this sounds patronising, is to tell yourself that things will eventually get better and try to be as tolerant and patient as possible. And also set small reachable targets in the short-term rather than looking too far ahead and wanting too much, too soon. After my op at the end of March it was driving me mad having to be in a plaster cast for 6 weeks, unable to walk without crutches. Then when the doctor told me to walk without crutches or my AFO splint I was limping very badly and I thought there was no way I could do it. And then when the physio said they would try to get more movement back in my ankle I thought it was impossible. But all three things happened with time and you have to believe it is the same for you.
Good luck and if there's anything else I can do or help with then please ask.
Hi Elandre...so glad to hear that you are coming along...and hooray to you for getting in the car so soon ... I was a real chicken and waited so many months...didn't want to know if I would be driving really badly...also, it seems as if therapy is already doing great things for you...as for the leg being shaky, even though the leg has healed, you'll still have to build up your muscles again and that takes some time... I can stay on my leg for mostly the entire day now, but by evening it still feels tired...I'm still improving and it's been 8 months since the initial fracture that started this mess...you've come a long way already, and it's really good news that your hip has healed...have patience and let me know how you are doing...