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    Old 06-25-2006, 07:07 PM   #1
    Beekermlady
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    Ankle Surgery

    Hello Everyone, My name is Britt.

    I am a 20 yr. female from NJ. Between January '05 and March '06 I severly sprained my ankle three times. Each time I did sprain my ankle I was just walking (not doing anything strenuous), so after the third time I started to become concerned. I went to my family doctor and had him refer me to get a x-ray and a MRI. I knew it was not broken, because I have felt a sprain so I knew that it was that, and the MRI report was sent to my doc within a week of me just staying off of my feet and icing it. He looked at the MRI report and told me nothing was wrong, I knew there was something wrong so I got a copy of the MRI report and was shocked by what I saw. I took the report to the computer and started figuring out what it meant. It mentioned several torn ligaments, a few pulled ligaments and a torn tendon. I knew that what my doctor was saying was wrong.. so I called a specialist.

    I went to an orthopedic doctor who referred me to an ankle and foot doctor. I went to him and he reviewed the MRI report and told me he thought it was something very serious. He explained to me that ligaments have the potential to heal themselves but tendons seldomly do. He recommended conservative treatment, a cam-walker, for about six weeks and then we would see where we stood. I also got a second opinion from another doctor and he agreed, I would probably need surgery to fix the tendon as it was a split tear. After 6 weeks I had no improvement and was still in pain. I opted for the surgery.

    It has been two weeks (this past friday) since the surgery. I had a nerve block put in during the surgery so the first 24 hours afterward were basically pain free. Afterward I was on Vicodin..I got off of that quick being as I was scared of addiction and I didn't like the drowsiness that I had when on it. Two Advil worked the same for me. The first week of recovery was basically pain free for me. I am in a soft cast, until the stitches come out and strictly non-weight bearing. After I get the stiches out (this thurs.) I will be put in a hard cast for 8 to 12 weeks and then I will have to go through Physical Therapy.

    The incision from the surgery was looked at by my doctor this past tues, and he said everything is healing pretty well. He is very optomistic. Since opening up the intial coverage I have been uncomfortable, but he said that is normal. I was wondering what you all though about that? The pain I am feeling is on the opposite side of the incision, near my heal.

    Besides introducing myself I also wanted to ask about one more thing I am concerned about. Unfortunately, I have to be on crutches the entire time I am in a cast (or so this is what I am led to believe from my discussions with my doc) and it makes living a little harder. This coming Sat. I am going to a pro baseball game with a few relatives next sat. and I am concerned over whether or not I will be able to go through it on crutches. I have some difficulty on the crutches, mostly just getting out of breath and red-faced. I was wondering if anyone had any tips on how to get around?? Any suggestions?

    Anything would be appreciated.
    -Britt

     
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    Old 06-25-2006, 08:15 PM   #2
    MFord1206
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    Re: Ankle Surgery

    Hi Britt,

    My name is Megan, and I am 20 also. I had ankle surgery in March '05 due to torn ligaments which lead to repeated sprains and chronic instability. Before I had the surgery, my foot and ankle surgeon also tried to stay as conservative as possible by trying a month in a hard cast and two months in a cam walker to see if the ligaments would tighten up. They did tighten up a bit, but not enough. I sprained the ankle again, and what did tighten up, I tore again. Thats when he decided to operate. My surgery and recovery went really well, and by June, I was out of my boot, into a lace-up brace, and well into PT.

    Since the surgery, the ankle had been feeling great...very strong and stable. Then about two weeks ago, I wiped out on my mountain bike and re-injured the ankle...went to the OS and he declared I blew out the repair and everything he fixed. So now I am back in a hard cast for a month to see if anything will tighten back up. If not, I will have to have reconstruction surgery using a tendon graft.

    Anyways, enough about me. For me, using crutches was definitely the worst part of having the surgery; sounds like you aren't great on them either...lol. I tried to travel the shortest distance I could on them. In regards to going to the baseball game...I would definitely try to go. I would hope that the stadium would have elevators to use instead of stairs. Just make sure that you're able to keep your foot elevated while you're sitting. I found that for about 6 weeks after the surgery, whenever I let the foot hang down even for a short amount of time, I would swell and have alot more pain, and my toes would turn a lovely shade of purple..lol

    One thing that I definitely found helpful when on crutches was to get a temporary handicap parking tag for the car. It was great to have when you would normally have to walk (or crutch) a mile to get in somewhere. It was also great to have at school, because I usually had to park a mile away from my classes.

    Well, I wish you all the best in your recovery. If you have any more questions, feel free to ask!

    God Bless,
    Megan

     
    Old 06-25-2006, 10:57 PM   #3
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    Re: Ankle Surgery

    Definitely the handicap parking is a big help. When I got mine, I picked up the form at the DMV (or maybe printed it off from the internet), then had my doc sign it and took it back to the DMV. Just like that, I had six months of premium parking.

    As for the game, I would recommend calling the stadium. I planned on going to a hockey game the day after my ankle surgery (didn't happen- instead I watched half of the game from my hospital bed before drifting off into demerol fog!). But I had made the arrangements beforehand, and they have certain areas of seating with handicap access. Also, you would probably be able to get a wheelchair to use to get from the curb (where your family will be dropping you off so you don't have to walk across the parking lot, of course) to your seat and back. Just call the stadium and explain your needs to them, and ask how you go about getting accomodations. They are generally very good about that stuff. However, seating in the handicap areas is limited, so it's possible that your group would be split up.

     
    Old 06-25-2006, 11:26 PM   #4
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    Re: Ankle Surgery

    Hi, Britt~
    About the game~ if the stadium doesn't have handicap seats left, or would split up your group, ask about getting an aisle seat. I've gone to several shows here in town, and the wheelchair seats are in the worst locations, (behind pillars, etc.), so I've gotten aisle seats. I transfer, and someone with me folds the chair and puts it aside so it's not blocking the aisle, but close enough for us to get if I need to get up.
    I understand the exertion of using crutches is a drain. Will you be nwb the entire 8-12 weeks? If so, you might consider renting a chair. I still use my crutches, but the chair really takes some of the load off when I start to tire. I only have another week and some change before I'm pwb, so I'll turn it back in, but it has really enabled me to do a lot I wouldn't have been able to do on crutches alone.
    I'm sorry I can't offer any comments about your pain. I don't know anything about ligament or tendon surgery recoveries. (Mine's bone) Talk with your Doc, and see what he says. If it's not the operated site, it might be a compressed nerve.
    What procedure/s did you have? Did you have more than one thing addressed, or just the torn one for now, and see about the rest later? Take care, and let us know. Kim

     
    Old 06-28-2006, 01:08 PM   #5
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    Re: Ankle Surgery

    Hello, again and thanks for all of the advice! I go back to my doctor on Thursday to get the stitches out, I am pretty excited because this means that the hard cast will go on and the real healing will get underway. Right now I am in a soft cast (about an inch of hard foam) wrapped in a surgical stocking and an ACE Bandage, right now and you wouldn't believe the stares I get! lol It makes me angry, it's just a cast! When the hard cast goes on hopefully the stares will subside.
    Anyway, Meagan.. I am sorry to hear that you re-injured yourself. Our stories are pretty similar (besides the time frame.) My ankle has been weak for about two years now. I couldn't do the simplest things without re-injuring it. This last time I was walking my dog and it just gave out on me. I was so depressed because I thought it had finally healed. I had just started working-out at a Woman's Gym to try and get rid of some pounds I had put on. I figured the better it work-out I got, the stronger my ankle would be, and maybe it would prevent future injuries. Unfortunately, I was wrong, I wound up actually hurting it again at the gym. I contacted a local Orthopedic Doctor (after my family doc told me there was nothing wrong with the MRI he had done), because I had read that with PT there were excersises you could do that would help to re-strengthen your ankles and stop more injuries. I was very upset when he told me that after reading over the MRI report he thought Therapy was not the best option. I went to someone he referred me to and the rest is history.
    From all the time in the last 2 years that I have spent on crutches, you would think that I would be an expert on them. Unfortunately for me, I have very little upper body strength, which makes getting around that much harder! I have spent most of my time post-op in bed because most places are not as crutch accessible as they are wheelchair accessible, I find that most ramps are a killer going up and down! I really don't know much about wheelchair rental, and wondered if anyone could offer some advice on how much wheelchair's would cost to rent?
    I guess you truly don't know what you have until you've lost it, such as the ability to stand up out of bed in the morning, enjoy a shower, and brush your teeth without falling over. I am greatful for the surgery, as I can feel the healing already, but sometimes sitting around really gets to me!
    As for how long I will be NWB, as far as I know it will be the majority of the next 8-weeks that I will have the hard cast on. I will def. ask the doctor tomorrow, so that I can know for sure. And as far as the temp. handicap parking.. in NJ you have to get the form from the chief of police and have him/her fill-out one section, take it to your doctor and have them fill-out one section, and then return it to the chief of police and they will issue the pass. Thankfully, my uncle is the chief in our town. I will still have to go through the paper work, but getting the pass shouldn't take that long. I will try to get the form from him tonight, so I can take it to the doctor tomorrow and he can fill in what he needs to.

    Well, now that I have written a novel, I can go. Thanks again for all of your helpfulness, it really is appreciated. No, adults I know have ever gone through anything like this so I really have no where to turn. These boards are sooooo helpful at times like these!


    -Britt


    P.S. I just wanted to include that my surgeon was not sure what else (besides the tendon) was actually damaged before the surgery because my last MRI was three months prior and I had used different methods of treatment and he wasn't sure whether the ligaments that were damaged had corrected themselves. After making the cut he learned that they had not healed and that they too would have to be fixed. Being as the tendon has a split tear, he used the part that was 'hanging off' to repair the ligaments. So, as far as this is concerned, everything is fixed!

    Last edited by Beekermlady; 06-28-2006 at 01:15 PM.

     
    Old 06-29-2006, 08:07 AM   #6
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    Re: Ankle Surgery

    Britt~
    I'm not sure how different rates are in your area, but it shouldn't be too far off. Here in Branson, a lightweight, collapsing chair with the standard foot rests by the week is $30.00, and by the month is $60.00. I've seen similar used chairs advertised for private sale in the $150 - 200 range, and if I'd had the cash, probably would have bought one and resold it when I was done. As it is, this chair is in better condition now than when I rented it, as they don't bother to clean them up, and I've put some work into this, lol.
    When you get a chair, and you're out and about, don't let those ramps fool you!!! Any momentum going downhill can be hard to curb, so go slow! Getting back up them can be difficult, too, but sometimes with my good foot pushing, I can grab a railing and pull. Its infinitely better to have someone along who can help.
    Good luck to you! Keep in touch! Kim

     
    Old 06-29-2006, 05:37 PM   #7
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    Re: Ankle Surgery

    Britt,



    How did your appt. go today? What color cast did you get? Choosing the cast color was always fun for me...it doesn't take much to amuse me...lol I too, found it a big relief to get the big post-op splint off and the hard cast on. The splint weighed a ton and was very uncomfortable. Wow, 8 more weeks nwb...i think I spent a month on crutches. When I got the hard cast off at about 4 weeks post-op, I went into the air boot and ditched the crutches. I made the transition from nwb to fwb pretty easily.

    The last time I hurt my ankle before I had the surgery, I went to my OS (a foot and ankle specialist) and he determined that I had totally blown the ligaments again and the ankle was totally loose. He sent me back to PT to see if they could rehab it again. He told me if 6 weeks in PT didn't help, then it was off to surgery. My PT sent me straight back to him after he did his initial evaluation because he said my ankle was "too trashed" for PT to help. I had good strength in the ankle, but the ligaments were too far gone to be rehabbed.

    I know your "crutch frustration" all too well. I have in all spent many months on them as well, and I have come to find out that "once a crappy crutcher, always a crappy crutcher"...lol In fact, when I hurt this ankle the first time, it was because I fell down the stairs using crutches. I had broken my right ankle, and the day I had the cast put on it, I was going down the stairs at school and fell and fractured and tore the ligaments in the left one. So, I was then left with two broken ankles....yeah, I know...embarassing story.

    I just dealt with using the crutches and never rented a w/c. My OS wrote me a prescription to get one, but I never did. I really just stayed at home most of the time when I was on them. I did enjoy going to walmart and target and using the electric wheelchairs though...it was alot of fun. If you can get the handicap permit, you will really enjoy it. It is definitely worth the effort to get one. Mine was valid for 6 months after it was issued, so I was able to use it for quite a while.

    Thats very neat that your doc was able to use your torn tendon to do the ligament repair. The type of injury you had made his job in surgery just that much easier. So, it sounds like you had more extensive surgery that I did. I just had the repair where he cleaned up the edge of the ligaments and sutured them back together. I now wish he would have used the tendon, as it would have made for a stronger repair...maybe I wouldn't have blown this darn ankle out again. Oh well, I reckon I have yapped enough on here for now. I think I am going to write a memoir on all my ankle issues...lol. I am glad that you posted on here; it's cool to have someone my age to talk to about these frustrating ankle problems!

    Megan

     
    Old 07-03-2006, 10:09 PM   #8
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    Re: Ankle Surgery

    Hey All,

    I just wanted to update on my original post! I went to the baseball game over the weekend.. it was very exhausting but fun. Unfortunately, we had to park some ways away from the stadium. Getting to the stadium entailed crossing two streets, one parking lot, walking up 2 flights of stairs to a tunnel, through the tunnel, and then down two flights of stairs! Whew!! Luckily, we left arrived at the stadium about three hours before the game, so that we would be the crowd. I had to stop a few times before I got in, but they (my bf and some family) were all there with water for me, so it wasn't that bad. When we went through the turnstiles & security everyone was so nice. They didn't want to hassle me, so they didn't take long with my bag or anything. As soon as I got through the security there was a woman employee who approached me and asked if I would need a wheel chair. My boyfriend chimed in that he thought they would, but he would like her advice and showed her the tickets. She said it would be quite a walk, and then she called for a wheel chair. While I was waiting off to the side for the wheel chair, the female employee told my boyfriend that if he went around the corner to this one section they would be able to upgrade our tickets (we were in the upper tier.) The wheelchair came while he was trying to get the tickets upgraded, I had the man (who pushed me around in the chair) take me to the window. Unfortunately, the first employee was mistaken and there was no way to upgrade the tickets unless we payed 120 dollars more. We def. weren't going to do that!! We just decided we would stick with our seats. Being as I was in the wheelchair, I would be using the "employee elevators" and ramps so it wasn't a big deal. They wheeled me to the furthest point that they could, which was the entrance to the seating. I was very happy at that point...but then that all changed...we realized that our seats were in row "T"...5 rows from the top of the stadium. I would have to climb all of those stairs, at a very steep incline. There was barely anyone there at that time, but it was a whole lot of steps. By the second to last set of stairs I was nearly passing out. The banisters are only in sections so it was a grand feat to get up there. When we finally got to the top, I was cursing my boyfriend for this birthday present.. (couldn't he just get me an engagement ring?? ::hint to him:: ) LOL I was steaming, then my father calls me on my cell, from across the stadium.. to tell me how great (and low) his seats were and asked me if I wanted to switch. After going through all of that I told him hell know. At that point it would have taken a crowbar to get me out of that seat. I just decided to stay seated the entire game (my boyfriend did all the running around for food & drinks) until the 4th inning. The team I was rooting for was losing badly, so we decided to leave. My dad came to help me out (the game was sold out..so it was tight) we got down all of the stairs..with many well wishes from other fans and then security brought me down on an elevator to the first floor where we found another security person who got another chair for me and wheeled me all the way around (we were on the opposite side of the stadium from the gate we needed to exit through). I was very thankful for the help they provided. I was very very tired by the time we got home. I had to change and head outside to my 4th of July Block Party!!!!!!!!

    All in all Sat. was probably the most exhausting day I have had since the surgery! I slept til noon on Sunday! LOL Well I hope you guys all enjoy your holiday!

    -Britt

    PS In case you didn't see it, the update from the doctor is posted on here, in another post. Just search for my screen name.

     
    Old 07-04-2006, 07:16 AM   #9
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    Re: Ankle Surgery

    Glad you went and that you survived. Sounds like you just had one heck of a work out!!! Tell your b/f he to just get you some jewelry next time

    As for your tired arms; just think of how strong and good looking they will be! (the better to pop a smart-aleck boyfriend the next time he needs an attitude adjustment) Ha Ha
    j

     
    Old 07-04-2006, 07:33 AM   #10
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    Re: Ankle Surgery

    Geez... Watching your team win "might" have been worth all of that. Watching them lose? The kind, helpful park employees probably could have seated you with less difficulty!!! At least now you know what you're made of, and your BF does, too. I hope you're both proud! (I'm exhausted now...) Take care. Kim

     
    Old 07-04-2006, 11:28 AM   #11
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    Re: Ankle Surgery

    Britt,
    I looked for your post updating on your Doc visit, can't find it. The board search is disabled. What thread did you post in??? Kim

     
    Old 07-04-2006, 02:12 PM   #12
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    Re: Ankle Surgery

    Hey Britt,

    Happy 4th of July!!

    Glad that your trip to the game went well. Reading about your trip makes me want to go to a MLB game...I would love to go to see the Braves...haven't seen them in years, but they are awul this year, so maybe next year. lol It sounds like you definitely got a workout with all of those steps. I know how steep those steps can be, they are hard enough to walk up with two healthy ankles and no crutches, so I could just imagine going up and down them with crutches.

    Also, I am glad that your doc appointment went well last week. Sounds like you are on the road to recovery! It's awesome that you're so stoked about getting better! I wish I could say the same for myself. I'm just kinda down in the dumps after hurting the ankle again. This cast comes off in 9 days, and I can't wait to get it off and get into a boot, and be able to go back to work. I am just hoping and praying that it has tightened up enough to avoid having surgery again.

    Anyways, glad that you are doing so well. Hope to hear back from you soon.

    -Megan

     
    Old 07-04-2006, 02:52 PM   #13
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    Re: Ankle Surgery

    Hey All!!
    First for Kim:
    The thread is titled "Yesterday's Doctor Appt." it was posted on June 30th.

    & Meg: I am pretty excited about recovery and you should be too!! I know how hard it is to not be depressed, I just keep hoping and praying that this is the last time I will have any problems with this ankle. Cheer Up!! You have all of us going through similar things, so we all know where you are coming from. Good Luck with getting your cast off.. I know I am counting the days already (25)!!

    and for everyone else...

    The game was a true trial of my endurance. I never would have imagined that I could have done that. It's seriously amazing what your body can do when it is forced to work in a different way right?? After all the hurt went away from that day, the toning of my body that was achieved it admirable. I find myself looking in the mirror and actually smiling at how my body looks. My arms feel strong (not flabby) and I actually have an ankle.. not a cankle. Even my chest and my arms feel stronger and more toned! To bad they do nothing for my belly!
    The other day I put my bathing suit on for the first time in a month! It actually did not look that bad. I was pretty excited. I used the Xero-sox and went in the pool. I, of course, being paranoid would not submerge my leg, even though the sock thing is guarenteed! I sat in one of those blow-up boats and filled it with water while I floated around! It was very hot/humid in NJ so it was something I had to do. I also used the sock for the first time in the shower today...no leakage! LOL It was the first time I had showered standing up, normally I have two stools one in the shower that I sit on and the other outside that holds my leg up while it was wrapped in garbage bags and duct tape. It was quite a scene, me in a shower with both of my crutches, trying to balance myself on one foot with no crutches while I shampooed my hair!! It was pure craziness!


    Well I hope everyone is enjoying their holiday. Unfortunately, we are getting some rain so our fireworks were postponed until tomorrow


    Happy 4th of July!
    -Britt

     
    Old 07-10-2006, 09:12 PM   #14
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    Re: Ankle Surgery

    Hello, I just did a google search and I found this board. I am worried I am going to have to have ankle surgery. I sprained my ankle on June 5th, then again on the 22nd. When I did it on the 22nd I couldn't sleep at all that night and I could not move my toes. I went in to the podiatrist the next day.

    The podiatrist took an x ray, told me I had torn ligaments, and put me in a hard cast with crutches. He told me to come back in two weeks when he would do some sort of test then maybe do an MRI because he thought I might need surgery.

    I did not handle the hard cast well at all so I went back the following week and he took off the hard cast and put me in an aircast (walker boot). So it has been two weeks since then and I go in this Wednesday.

    I am pretty scared because you know how you can squeeze your toes together and point your toes? When I try to do that nothing moves. I mean no matter how hard I think about moving my toes, they just won't move.

    The other thing that scares me is that I am woken up several times a night by horrible cramps/spasms on the interior and front of my ankle that hurts so bad it feels like I am spraining it all over again just from the cramping inside my boot.

    I am supposed to start a new job (working in surgery, LOL) ASAP. I have told the hospital that I will call them after my appointment on Wednesday and let them know when I think I can start working.

    I am just really worried I am a large woman (325 lbs) and I hurt myself by just walking. In fact the second time I hurt myself I was trying so carefully to pay attention to how my foot landed....

    Sorry to write a ton, wondering if anyone has any words of encouragement...

    Thanks & God Bless

    Sarah in GA

     
    Old 07-10-2006, 11:15 PM   #15
    Beekermlady
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    Re: Ankle Surgery

    Sarah-

    If you are looking for encouragement, you came to the right place. I myself have not experienced being unable to move my toes, but that doesn't mean someone else here hasn't and I'm sure they will be helpful.

    Before my surgery I was in a CAM-Walker for six weeks as a conservative treatment. During the day I would wear the boot all the time, but when it came time at night to go to sleep I could not wear it anymore. My doctor gave me the option to not wear it to bed, but he specified that other then bed and the shower I was to keep it on all the time. The first night I had it I tried to sleep with it but everyway I turned it felt as if it were twisting my ankle all over again, just from the weight of it. I took it off but kept my foot elevated throughout the night, and before I would fall asleep I would ice it for about 15-20 minutes to prevent swelling. Don't follow my example without first checking with your doctor. Maybe if you discuss the pain he will just tell you that when you are going to sleep not to use it.

    It is also very ironic that your new job is in surgery! But if it comes down to getting the surgery or not, think about it before making any quick judgements, and always get a second opinion. I am 4 weeks 2 days post-op and just over a week ago I was put into a hard cast as the final phase before physical therapy. I know you mentioned that you had trouble with the hard cast, maybe there is another option I am not really sure as I am pretty new to this too, it's something you must discuss with your doctor.

    Well, in any case I hope you get the answers you are seeking and that your pain goes away quickly. Good luck with your upcoming doctor's appointment, and please keep us updated!


    Happy Healing..
    -Britt

     
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    Please help, I am new here & have a bunch of questions (impending ankle surgery) EEK! Mpls21 Foot & Ankle Problems 21 07-06-2004 08:39 PM
    ankle surgery--again! brittsmom8 Foot & Ankle Problems 8 04-24-2004 09:12 PM




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