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  • Persistent heel pain after ankle fusion.

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    Old 02-12-2008, 03:30 PM   #1
    cantwalk
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    Persistent heel pain after ankle fusion.

    Ok, it has now been 4.5 months after my ankle fusion surgery and heel osteotomy. I have been hobbling around only for about 3 weeks now- crutch free as the doc told me i need to get off the crutches.
    I am still having imense pain in my heel during weight bearing and even burns and hurts while i am resting.
    Ive tried anti-infalmmatory meds, iontophoresis, phonophoresis and nothing is working. initially it was sharp, then with the above methods, sharpness went away so i could put my foot down but now, it's feels like a persistent foreign object in my heel and causes me much pain and i cannot walk very well as a result. last night it appeared the pain was moving up around the back of my heel towars achilles tendon and some pain in the front of my calf.

    Also the skin on my heel is still numb and feels weird too.
    Anyone else experience this?

     
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    Old 02-13-2008, 03:45 AM   #2
    walkabout
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    Re: Persistent heel pain after ankle fusion.

    I know exactly how you are feeling! Have you had any physical therapy yet? If not, ask your Doc about that. You need to stretch things out. It takes a long time and it seems like you will never see the end, but it will get there. You have to work at it. It has been 10 months since I had my fusion. No, I don't walk the same and there is still tightness every day. In the mourning when I wake up, stretching the foot is the first thing I do. It makes a big difference. Here is a good excersise you can try! Take a towel and roll it up. Sit on a couch with your leg propped and put the towel around the bottom of foot. Grab both ends of the towel and pull towards you so that your toes are bending back. You should feel a good stretch. Don't be scared to pull hard, just go slow and easy. You will notice that you can get futher and furhter. Another thing you can do, is get a pop can or frozen juice can and set it on the floor. Put the arch of your foot on top of the can and roll back and fourth. The cold takes the swelling down and the roll stretches things out. Do these a couple times a day every day.

    Hope you can get some relief! My best to you!

     
    Old 02-13-2008, 10:43 AM   #3
    cantwalk
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    Re: Persistent heel pain after ankle fusion.

    yes i am in physical therapy and have been since November. they are doing unltrasound and intophoresis treatments. My range of motion is all back and have good strength in my foot muscles, i just can't bear much weight due to the pain underneath my heel.
    going to see the doc tomorrow about it.

     
    Old 02-13-2008, 01:09 PM   #4
    walkabout
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    Re: Persistent heel pain after ankle fusion.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by cantwalk View Post
    yes i am in physical therapy and have been since November. they are doing unltrasound and intophoresis treatments. My range of motion is all back and have good strength in my foot muscles, i just can't bear much weight due to the pain underneath my heel.
    going to see the doc tomorrow about it.

    Keep us posted!!!

     
    Old 02-14-2008, 01:35 PM   #5
    cantwalk
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    Re: Persistent heel pain after ankle fusion.

    Ok, had appt with the doc today. He said he thinks it's bursitis at the joint where I had the osteotomy. He gave me a shot of cortisone and said to see him in a month.
    It's been a couple hours since the shot and my heel is killing me! Does anyone know if cortisone initially make the foot hurt before doing any good. I'm bummed that no one seems to know what this pain is from.

     
    Old 02-15-2008, 03:42 AM   #6
    walkabout
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    Re: Persistent heel pain after ankle fusion.

    Cortisone should take effect almost immediately. I had to take them before my surgery to help with my arthritis. The pain was so bad, I got a shot every 3 months. I could not walk without them.
    I hope by now you have good news with your pain since the last time you posted!

     
    Old 02-15-2008, 04:38 PM   #7
    mazzie46
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    Re: Persistent heel pain after ankle fusion.

    Hiya Cantwalk

    Dunno if this will help, but i also had a heel osteotomy ( amongst other things) in June last year. My heel is still sore and painful, still tight round the achilles area, it kills some days! Its also still numb in areas, not sure that wll ever change now after 7 months. One thing that i found helpful is to massage it as much as poss. When i sit watching TV, i just rub some moisturising cream in it, and stretch and rub the achilles area...seems to help.

    Wish you the best of luck, and hope this might help.

    Mazzie

     
    Old 02-15-2008, 06:48 PM   #8
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    Re: Persistent heel pain after ankle fusion.

    Cantwalk:

    Yes, it is normal for cortisone to cause you to hurt worse for a day or two before making you better. It's called a steroid flare, and it happens to a "lucky" 2-5% of people who get cortisone shots. Best way to get rid of it faster is ice, ice and more ice.

     
    Old 02-15-2008, 07:46 PM   #9
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    Re: Persistent heel pain after ankle fusion.

    Thanks Mazzie, it does help to know that others are also having pain after a while. I think there were 2 others i read that were experiencing problems after surgery. It's just so frustrating that i went in for an akle fusion and came out with heel pain. I will just have to wait it out I guess. the doc hasn't told me that it will take a long time, just gives me this or that everytime i go to him as if this doesn't happen a lot.

    Janewhite, my heel is very sore! I will give it til Monday to see how I feel. Then another concern i had after reading others post on cortisone, is that I may have to go back for more after a month? This is a temporary fix?

     
    Old 02-15-2008, 08:11 PM   #10
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    Thumbs up Re: Persistent heel pain after ankle fusion.

    Can'twalk

    I had an ankle fusion in 2004 and I still have a lot of pain but not in my heel. My pain is in my ankle. I now have developed arthritis in my ankle and take Percocet for the pain. I hope you feel better quickly and feel free to ask questions. Take care.

    Nadine

     
    Old 02-16-2008, 06:28 AM   #11
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    Re: Persistent heel pain after ankle fusion.

    Yes, cortisone is a temporary fix, in that eventually the drug wears off. However, with certain problems, it may be a more permanent cure, because the problem heals itself while the cortisone is holding down the inflammation. Things like bursitis have been known to respond to one shot.

    If the steroid flare goes away soon, and then you have good relief, and then the pain comes back, you might want a second one, however, too many cortisone shots are bad for you. A responsible doctor generally will not do more than 3 in a year in one part of the body. And if you still have increased pain Monday, definitely call, as a steroid flare isn't supposed to last more than 72 hours at the most.

    Here's my experience with cortisone shots. After ankle pain lasting way too long, I saw 2 different surgeons, one right after New Year's, one in late January.

    First one says, "you have some scar tissue in here, but the ligaments are in good shape, and the joint is stable. Let me try cortisone, if that doesn't work, I'm wrong, if it works for a few weeks and then you get bad again, you need surgery." Does the injection. Horrible flare for 2 days, constant throbbing where I'd had only pain with activity before. Then it kinda got better, but not dramatically so.

    Second one agrees it's probably scar tissue, calls it "impingement of the anterolateral gutter." I like specific words I can repeat to my good friend who knows everything, the search engine. Also does a shot, in not quite the same place, telling me that proper needle placement is critical.

    Second one was beautiful. No flare, and for 10 glorious days I could walk half a mile at a time, and my cane was a fashion statement carried over my shoulder. In fact, I walked so much, I had little pains in my calf and other parts of my foot from being used normally again! After 10 days, it started to wear off again. However, I seem to have leveled off at less pain than I had before the shot, meaning it has produced some permanent improvement.

    Needless to say, the second guy is doing my surgery, in 32 days.

    Last edited by janewhite1; 02-16-2008 at 06:30 AM.

     
    Old 02-16-2008, 07:30 AM   #12
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    Re: Persistent heel pain after ankle fusion.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by music47 View Post
    Can'twalk

    I had an ankle fusion in 2004 and I still have a lot of pain but not in my heel. My pain is in my ankle. I now have developed arthritis in my ankle and take Percocet for the pain. I hope you feel better quickly and feel free to ask questions. Take care.

    Nadine
    I had my ankle fused in 2006, and I also still have pain. It isn't in my heel, but in the joints surrounding the ankle in my leg and foot. My dr doesn't have an answer. He says that is why they say "the art of medicine." I even went for a 2nd opinion to see what someone else would say. He just said that ankle fusions are usually successful at eliminating the pain. In order to fix the pain that appeared after the fusion, I would have to fuse more joints. It is very frustrating to say the least.

    I wish you the best of luck. Keep positing, so we know how you are doing.

    Step

     
    Old 02-16-2008, 07:36 PM   #13
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    Thumbs up Re: Persistent heel pain after ankle fusion.

    [QUOTE=stepbystep89;3444260]I had my ankle fused in 2006, and I also still have pain. It isn't in my heel, but in the joints surrounding the ankle in my leg and foot. My dr doesn't have an answer. He says that is why they say "the art of medicine." I even went for a 2nd opinion to see what someone else would say. He just said that ankle fusions are usually successful at eliminating the pain. In order to fix the pain that appeared after the fusion, I would have to fuse more joints. It is very frustrating to say the least.

    I wish you the best of luck. Keep positing, so we know how you are doing.

    Step
    Im sorry you are still having pain since your ankle fusion also. I've thought about seeing another doctor but haven't so far. I'll stay in touch.

    Sincerely Nadine

    Last edited by music47; 02-17-2008 at 08:15 PM.

     
    Old 02-17-2008, 04:41 PM   #14
    cantwalk
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    Re: Persistent heel pain after ankle fusion.

    ok, the initial pain from the shot seems to have worn off some but the original pain is still there. Sometimes I think it's getting better and then I do some activity and the pain becomes excruciating. I am not able to do normal activities like grocery shopping or shopping at any place for that matter because of the pain.
    Doc is not writing me off work anymore and he says I can do light duty. There is no light duty at my job so I think I am going to be quitting. Only problem is that now I will have to get private insurance and chances are, they won't cover this pre-existing condition. Seems like I am in between a rock and hard place. Hopefully after several months, it will get better...eventually.
    Thanks for all the info, tips and support. This forum has definitely helped me a lot.

     
    Old 02-17-2008, 08:12 PM   #15
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    Thumbs up Re: Persistent heel pain after ankle fusion.

    Cantwalk

    I'm glad the pain from the shot has worn off. I hope you can work something out about your insurance. Take care and keep us updated. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

    Hugs Nadine

    Last edited by music47; 02-17-2008 at 08:16 PM.

     
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