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  • Brostrom Ankle Reconstruction Surgery - 5 Months out and Swelling!

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    Old 03-10-2016, 08:04 AM   #1
    rayhan77's Avatar
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    Unhappy Brostrom Ankle Reconstruction Surgery - 5 Months out and Swelling!

    Hi all - I had ankle reconstruction surgery on 10/16/2015 and it has been about 5 months. I was NWB for 6 weeks(which actually was 7 or 8 weeks since I got a terrible rash) and then PWB for a few weeks after. I completed PT for a few weeks afterwards. The doctor cleared me of PT and said to stretch everyday. HOwever, it has now been 5 months and if I run or play basketball, my ankle is very swelled up and sore. Even just walking around on a regular day, my ankle swells up at night. I am 24 healthy and very active. I weight lift, bike, or swim atleast 3 times a week. I am really concerned because my ankle feels like the swelling will never go away. It has been like this for the last 2-3 months and I am trying to figure out if this is part of the healing process or something is wrong?

    I would love to hear back any feedback from people that have had a similiar procedure and your recovery timeline? Is the swelling/soreness something normal 5 months post op?

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    Old 03-10-2016, 11:05 PM   #2
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    What type of ankle reconstruction? Did they use screws, bone tunnels, and a cadaver tendon. Or shortening the ligament by cutting it and using stitches?

    When I was 15 I had an exploratory surgery on my ankle that had been hurting me for about 4 or 5 years. Lots of years of dance and gymnastics injuries. This surgery started out as a scope to simply clean out the joint and see what the problem was but then the surgeon realized I had severe instability and did a brostrom type repair and tightened my ligaments by shortening them. I was nwb for 4 weeks and was up to fwb by about 8 or 9 weeks post op. I only went to a few pt sessions because I was so strong prior to the surgery and was cleared for sports and gym class again at 9 weeks post op. I too had pain and swelling that just wouldn't seem to go away. The swelling went down a lot but was still always somewhat there. And my pain was okay for awhile but over time came back and worsened but I still kept dancing because we were mid season. I was told by many people that pain was normal at that time and that full recovery should not be expected until at least 1 yr post op. 1 year came around I was was in more pain than ever before and the instability was back. I ended up having to quit all sports and activities to see if that could help. But it didn't so I went back to my surgeon about 15 months post op. She told me my surgery had failed and I would need another surgery.

    I had my second surgery 1 month ago at age 17. This time it was much more invasive. I had complete lateral ligament reconstruction. The incision was extended by about 2 inches, I had holes drilled into my ankle where a cadaver tendon was weaved through and screwed into place. The surgeon also cleaned out the joint and repaired my peroneal tendons. I don't know much about the outcome of this surgery yet. But I was nwb for 2 weeks and will be fwb tomorrow at about 6 weeks post op. This recovery is going faster than the first which I don't understand but it is.

    So yes I am sure your pain 5 months post op is normal. Do not freak out that just because what happened to me it is going to happen to you. I'm sure everything will go smoothly. The only thin o would suggest is that if you are having pain that is your body telling you no. So do not push yourself too hard at only 5 months post op. I made that mistake and it landed me needing another surgery. Remember these surgeries can take up to a year to be complete healed. Just take your time in the healing process so it heals properly.

    Old 03-11-2016, 11:49 AM   #3
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    Re: Brostrom Ankle Reconstruction Surgery - 5 Months out and Swelling!

    Thanks for the response kecaa702! So sorry to hear you had to get another surgery, that must of been so frustrating . I did not have any screws, bone tunnels, or cadever tendons put in just ligament reconstruction by cutting it and using stitches. Thanks for the reassuring words, I am trying to stay on the PT and icing and staying active by doing non-ankle heavy excercises. I have a followup with my surgeon next week so hoping its no big deal. Can't wait to be able to run again!

    Old 03-11-2016, 03:34 PM   #4
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    Re: Brostrom Ankle Reconstruction Surgery - 5 Months out and Swelling!

    all i can share is what i went through. they used my own parts with some kind of mesh for anatomical reconstruction so i guess i was lucky. to this day my complaint is a bit less range of motion side to side and when i reach the limit of extension i can feel like my guts are being run over strings or something. i can poke near incision and feel lumps of hardware i assume.

    i landed on outside of my foot from a ladder with all my weight and fell onto my face. i ripped up all that stuff on lateral and my peroneal and its cover. my joint was so loose if i pushed off things would pop out and send shockwaves of nerve pain up my leg. the joint would flop over to the side out of track and lock out so i couldn't put my foot down without manipulating it. with a brace i still couldn't even walk normal and had to use leg as a stiff crutch so i had to get surgery. just a little pebble would cause me to fall over i didn't have the ability to stabalize.

    i don't know how much my physical therapy played a roll? for me i started within a few weeks with massage, manipulation, etc. i wore a boot then and was allowed to walk around the house and build up stamina! i handled it day 1 which surprised me. at just under 2 months post op they put me back in shoe with a brace and we continued pt for another 3 months, 3 days/week! they built a program with specific exercises i could do in addition to making the rest of my body stronger.

    they took me off pain pills after 2 weeks and i was amazed that since then i have probably taken advil less than a dozen times and sometimes just in case something happened on a long day. i still get aches and pains and the first 5 months for me got me into good enough shape to start hiking.

    once in a while i had some pains that limited range of motion so i took the day off, but i was active almost every day. did the rice thing allot no matter how i felt.

    what amazed me was i was able to fit into my shoe with a brace that first day! and i never had an issue with my foot swelling enough to stop me! my foot was puffy for sure the first year and i would find myself raising it off the ground or it would pulsate a bit. doesn't happen much these days.

    i had an incident a couple months ago where i think i kicked the side bone in the middle of the night and it knocked me down for 4 days. i riced and it freaked me out but there was no issues otherwise when i went to bed the night before. you need to take the advil and get the rice going on schedule to help it go down or it can easily swell enough to stop you from walking. after it went down for me i moved on like nothing happened.

    other than this though through all the pt i cannot say i had pain/swelling over the norm that stopped me from doing activities.

    so i started small and early and kept it up daily. i felt i needed all that pt rather than just being thrown into a shoe and saying adapt because i probably would have gone too far. i remember not even being able to walk correctly at first with limited range of motion and no stairs or running. it progressed fast after and i think i could jog with exercises at around month 4 post op.

    i still needed past month 5 to make improvements. proprioception was the biggest hurdle for me and still isn't perfect so im very carefull with how i attack activities and take a brace with me just in case.

    so im sad to say as a very active person before and after the injury and having a physical job that you are in way more pain than i was with swelling. i rarely thought about pain and swelling during those months of rehab. by then i was doing hours/day. by november 2014 i was doing 10+ mile hikes with a pack and elevation gains almost every day. if my foot was pounding on these kind of trips i wouldn't even have attempted. within a couple months of that i was on my feet all day at work again lifting heavy stuff, etc. at that point besides the proprioception my body was adapting and i wasn't dragging a bum leg or thinking about the pounding and pain that goes along with swelling

    i went from walking at 2 months post op in my shoe barely being able to finish a shopping trip to doing all my exercises and take hour+ long walks each day by month 3. i really didn't feel like i had a chance at full recovery until probably month 4 or 5 when i started jogging. just to see i could do basic stuff by then without all the pain and gained back allot of range of motion. thats when i started the hiking considering that advanced therapy

    i think you know your body best and should probably get this checked out. your post gives me nightmares of the time before i got surgery when i was basically disabled with the boot. the pain and swelling literally wouldn't let me walk let alone the instability. i thought i could be tough and walk things off but it just doesn't work.

    what you are describing isn't the normal aches and pains if its getting in the way of your range of motion and ability to train and get better by now.

    i wonder if my early movement pt, massage and machines and weight bearing in the boot might have limited scar tissue? i read allot around here about that and have seen how the healing process can encapsulate things and hurt when it comes to normal range of motion later.

    i think you should go the doctors now with somebody that knows what they are doing rather than live with it and possibly do more damage.
    april 2014-brostrum/peroneal/cover repair surgery-jones fracture

    Old 03-22-2016, 04:50 PM   #5
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    Re: Brostrom Ankle Reconstruction Surgery - 5 Months out and Swelling!

    Thanks for sharing! I just had my MRI and followup with my podiatrist and the ligaments were healed fine from the surgery. There is no swelling in the ligaments. However, their is swelling in a tendon towards the back of my ankle that is causing my entire ankle to swell. Doc said we can't be sure why the swelling is there, it might just be agitated because of the surgery. He gave me a Cortisone injection and said that will help the swelling go down and hopefully fix up my ankle. I have a followup in 2 weeks and really hoping that this gets me back to a healthy ankle!

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