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kyle13 07-24-2004 05:48 PM

calcaneal osteotomy - flat feet (your advice please!)
CJaffee- I'd love to hear from you and others who have had a calcaneal osteotomy.

I'm a 36, once a sport-active male, with flat feet. This condition has progressively gotten worse over the last few years that my arches, inside of my ankles and now my my lower back are experiencing pain- daily! I just want to stand and walk around without PAIN!!! -a jog around the track is a distant memory. A walk around the grocery store without pain would be nice too :-)

I'm on my way to having a CALCANEAL OSTEOTOMY for the worse of my feet, my left. My main questions are as follows...-BUT ANY ADVICE WOULD BE HELPFUL.
(1) 8 wks in a cast, followed by 6-8 wks of a walking boot?
-Can I limp around after this 4-5 month challenge without pain? I'm not into masking my pain with drugs. In other words, at what month could you get around/limp around without finding the nearest chair to put your foot up inthe air?
-I'm a teacher and need to move around after my active students.

(2) How long before you felt like you've "totally" healed from the surgery and you have been able to resume a somewhat active lifestyle w/out pain?
-10 months?!

(3) What residual pain from the surgery has caused you the most problems?

(4) Any advice to tell the doctor performing the surgery that you wished you could have changed/fixed/altered? (aligning the foot/ankle better?, higher arch created?, ???).

Thanks for the help guys!
I wish you all pain free and active living.

flintrock 07-24-2004 08:54 PM

Re: calcaneal osteotomy - flat feet (your advice please!)
My son had this surgery when he was in 8th grade. He had flat, flat feet. No arch at all. The put the screws in his feet, both of them done at the same time. Casts for 8 weeks up to his knees. He had to stay drugged for a couple days. Then to go to bathroom, which was across the hall from his room, he had to get on knees and crawl. his knees took a beating. He says it was the toughest thing he's every been through. After casts were off, his little legs were so skinny, took forever to get the muscle tone back. But it was worth it. His leffs don't hurt anymore, he can run....But every once in awhile he says he gets a pop in his feet that doesn't feel good. We've been back to make sure all is well, and it should always wear shoes. When you get up in the morning, immediately put your shoes barefoot......

Good was worth it.........

kyle13 07-25-2004 12:28 AM

Re: calcaneal osteotomy - flat feet (your advice please!)
thanks flintrock. i'm a middle school "P.E." teacher and i have a newfound compassion for those 6-8th graders with ailments beyond their control when participating in p.e.
good luck to your son.

StephanieVD 07-25-2004 10:10 PM

Re: calcaneal osteotomy - flat feet (your advice please!)
I just wanted to say good luck.. I had a calcaneal osteotomy for the opposite problem, my arches were very high and were making my ankle roll over along w/other problems with my arch hurting from the stress. Hope it goes well and the alignment is better. I had to have mine fixed because I am an athletic training major and needed to be on my feet obviously for long periods of time... Good luck. :)

kyle13 07-28-2004 07:48 AM

Re: calcaneal osteotomy - flat feet (your advice please!)
Stephanie and Flintrock...

With your calcaneal osteotomies, did they also do work on the POSTERIOR TIBIAL TENDON? Was their cramping in the calf prior to surgery as well?

Thanks! :)

tchair 07-29-2004 01:56 AM

Re: calcaneal osteotomy - flat feet (your advice please!)
Since I flattened my arch by breaking my foot and had it surgically repaired, I thought I'd throw in a few things. Muscle tone was a big problem. Since you're off of your whole leg for months it's amazing how lean and weak it can get because it's not doing the strenuous work of carrying your weight and balancing you all day. But even when you are not weight bearing you can do (a lot) of leg lifts, add weights and use rubber resistance straps designed for physical therapy. You could learn the routines in advance, although post-surgery you want to have a doctor's or physical therapists guidance as to what is allowable. That will help in two ways. You'll be in better shape to walk and the circulation will speed up healing.
Pain medication is a tool just as crutches are. They are not bad but a tool to recovery that you use when you need them. I had my own preconceptions, fears and a strong aversion. I then realized that it was smarter to take the medication prescribed rather than shortchange myself at PT, suffer sleep deprivation, and be physically and emotionally miserable for months. I'm glad now that common sense prevailed then.
When you're home and want to take a shower without getting the foot wet, get one of those seats - plastic with aluminum legs - so you can sit in the tub with your foot outside. A travel mug with a spill proof lid will also come in handy. My bedroom being upstairs, I had my wife pack me a lunch each morning while I was stuck in bed. Any books you've been meaning to read? My foot started off a lot worse, but if it helps, I had a setup over the bed made of PVC pipe for a leg sling. It was just like those hockey nets the kids make, just thicker pipe to be sturdier.
For me the right shoes have stiff sides but a flexible sole and as flintrock said are always on.

I get a 'pop' also. I think it is just like cracking your knuckles - over extending a joint. I think the pop happens when I bend it further than I have previously in the day. Anyway, it's been doing it for a few years, does hurt for a moment, but hasn't gotten any worse.

kyle13 07-29-2004 08:05 AM

Re: calcaneal osteotomy - flat feet (your advice please!)
Thanks TChair,

Your helpful advice is greatly appreciated.
How long did it take for you to start weight bearing and to feel like you were walking in your normal gait without pain?


tchair 07-30-2004 01:41 AM

Re: calcaneal osteotomy - flat feet (your advice please!)
I wrecked my foot pretty badly in an accident and the arch repair was the minor part. So my recovery time wouldn't be a good measure. But I will be happy to respond on things that would be more in common.

TPB 08-09-2004 07:53 PM

Re: calcaneal osteotomy - flat feet (your advice please!)
I had a calcaneal osteotomy with tendon transfer and achilles lengthening in April of 2003. The recovery time is very long. I was 37 when I had it done, so just slightly older than you are, which will make your recovery time long. I was in a cast for about 10 weeks and a walking boot for about 7 or so more. I believe that I was on crutches for a full 12 weeks. My foot is better, it didn't create much of an arch, in fact when I'm standing on it, it still looks pretty flat. The x-rays show that my arch is improved, but I still have some residual swelling that masks it somewhat. It still hurts to run or walk on really uneven surfaces. The bone graft takes a long time to completely incorporate. Like you, my left foot was worse than my right, so that is the foot I had operated on. For the time being, I do not plan to have the other side operated on. It was just too much on me and my family. I am happy to answer any other questions you may have.. I really don't mean to sound negative. It may very well be the best alternative for you.

cjaffee 08-10-2004 06:30 AM

Re: calcaneal osteotomy - flat feet (your advice please!)

Your history and questions sound exactly like mine one year ago. It's been almost one year since I had my left foot done (my worst) and in 2 months I'm having the right done. The reason I'm having the right done is that it worked on the left.

I was one of those that thought since I heard everyone say it's a year to fully heal that I'd be good in 6 months - well I was wrong. Yes after the 12 weeks on cruthes it got a lot simpler and there was never really much pain, just a lot of weakness and stiffness. One recommendation is to follow through on Physical Therapy as much as you can. Get your range of motion back and then it's a matter of building back the strength. It's been a year for me and I can walk without any problems (on my good foot) but haven't started running and jumping yet simply because my doctor recommends against it for a little while longer (the more time you give the bones to heal the better).

As far as some of your specific questions:

1. The pain really went away after the first 2-3 weeks (no more pain medication from there on). After I was out of the cast (10-12th week) I didn't even need to be putting my foot in the air.

2. I don't consider myself totally healed because I can't play ball yet - but I can walk around all day without any problems. It was about the 8th or 9th month before I was taking real long walks.

3. I wouldn't call it pain but the stiffness I still have is all in the achilles - stretch, stretch, stretch.

Let me know how it goes and if you have any more questions please don't hesitate to ask. For me it wasn't nearly as bad as I had heard it was for some.

kyle13 08-10-2004 10:49 AM

Re: calcaneal osteotomy - flat feet (your advice please!)

I really appreciate you getting back to me. I was certainly thinking the same thing in that I'd be crusin' by 6 months (1 year to fully heal - wow!).
I'm sure I'll have some more questions as my surgery gets closer. I'm trying to work it out with my teaching schedule where I can return after a 5 month lay off.

Good luck with your right foot, in 2 months.
You'll be playing ball before you know it :)


cjaffee 08-10-2004 12:58 PM

Re: calcaneal osteotomy - flat feet (your advice please!)

Good luck and just to be clear I was back to work in 1 week and travelling within 2. You just have to do it all on crutches which is a pain. So if you can teach on crutches you won't need to take off that much time (unless you just want to). Feel free to ask away if you have any questions.

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