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  • Broken Calcaneous need advice for journey ahead.....

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    Old 03-28-2008, 01:39 PM   #1
    Caroline777
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    Exclamation Broken Calcaneous need advice for journey ahead.....

    Hi all,

    I broke my heel bone about 8 weeks ago. I have had no weight bearing on the foot since then, I have had two hard cast and I cam currently in an airboot. I broke my heel into 4 peieces, I did not need surgery since I had almost no displacement. I recently went for a nerve test and it was determined that I did not have any nerve damage or I should say the only nerve that has any damage to it is one that branches out to my little toe. The doctor is not sure whether the nerve will heal or not but since it is only a sensory nerve no one seems to be too concern about it. I still have some swelling but it's not that bad, I haven't experienced much pain either, just in the very beggining but now not at all. Just once in a great while my heel will feel "tired". I am not sure when I will start physical therapy, I'm guessing next time I see my orthopedic he will send me for physical therapy. Once I start physical therapy what should I expect? I'll have to admit that I am scared to death of putting any weight on my foot. Even though I've been lucky with the pain so far I have a feeling that is going to end once I start therapy. Can someone tell me what to expect, any advice for the journey ahead would be appreciated.

    Thanks

     
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    Old 03-28-2008, 02:38 PM   #2
    jk4507
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    Re: Broken Calcaneous need advice for journey ahead.....

    Caroline,
    I first suggest you search all the threads here for "shattered heel" or "calcaneous"; the past posts at HB were very valuable to me during my recovery; I'm fully recovered 2.5 yrs later and I enjoy helping the new heelers.

    You are very lucky you did not require surgery (no displacement); surgery add it's own issues (infection, nerve & blood vessel damage, scarring).

    I would be interested in hearing all the details about your injury.

    John

     
    Old 03-28-2008, 03:13 PM   #3
    Caroline777
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    Re: Broken Calcaneous need advice for journey ahead.....

    Hi John,

    Thanks for the response. I fell off of a ladder and I broke my heel into four pieces on Jan 28th, I did not have any displacement so as I mentioned before I did not need any surgery. All of my pain has been on my outer ankle (right leg), my foot still swells but it's not that bad. My outer ankle looks thick and swollen. Last time I saw the doctor he told me that the thickens may never go away entirely. The most frustrating thing about this injury is that no one wants to give you a definite answer. I guess my doctor doesn't want to scare me but the standard answer can't always be "eventually". I now know that there is no timetable for my healing. As I'm reading the threads I understand why my doctor is so vague. Everyone heals differently, your right I have been lucky that I did not need surgery and I have not experienced pain in the way that so many others have. From reading the threads this afternoon I'm starting to get scared about physical therapy. I have been eagerly waiting to start but now I'm finding myself getting scared. Looks like I'm going to be in some pain. Do you know what exactly happens to your muscles and tendons when you have suffered this type of injury? I am assuming that they all got traumatized. Since I haven't used them in so long do they just stiffen up and that's what makes physical therapy so hard? How long did it take before the swelling stopped for you? Also how long were you home from work? My job is performed oh I would say about 85%-90% sitting down. I know my foot is going to swell some especially when I first get back but I'm sure I will be able to elevate it at least waist high. I am worried about getting around with crutches at work, I hate using those things! Right now I'm looking at returning during the first week of May.
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    Old 03-28-2008, 03:50 PM   #4
    jk4507
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    Re: Broken Calcaneous need advice for journey ahead.....

    Caroline,
    Reading the posts is the best therapy; especially for you since you now know it could've been much worse.

    I'm going to answer some of your questions:
    - Swelling in the ankle area can take up to a year; from my experience, when it starts to diminish after in Month 10, it goes away quickly.
    - I loved doing PT; Because I could see my range of motion improvements when the PT guy gave me the results at the beginning and end of every session. The pain is nothing to worry about. There is some mild pain but it is very bearable. "No pain, no gain" applies here.

    I have more to add later...

    Please keep on asking more questions. I will answer them all.

     
    Old 03-29-2008, 11:31 AM   #5
    Caroline777
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    Re: Broken Calcaneous need advice for journey ahead.....

    Hi John,

    Your right I've been getting a lot of info from past post I did search for "shattered calcaneous" got a lot of good info. I'm gonna spend the rest of this afternoon researching somemore post.
    You mentioned "no pain no gain" I can understand really well, before the accident I was a jogger, I was jogging 3-4 miles daily so I do understand pushing yourself. I think I'll take up that mentality for my pt when it starts.

    Type to you later
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    Old 03-29-2008, 06:02 PM   #6
    jk4507
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    Re: Broken Calcaneous need advice for journey ahead.....

    I was looking back at my old posts and I'd like to repost one that I made in Feb 2006, five months after surgery.

    ************************************
    CMORE:

    From what I've read from your posts, you are scheduled for surgery today. Good luck. I wish I got to repond to you sooner to give some support since it looks like we are in the same boat - but 5 months apart.

    BRIEF SYNOPSIS: I shattered my right heel on 9/1/2005 (5 1/2 months ago); 8 foot fall; 2 weeks later (5 months ago), I have a plate and 6 screws after an ORIF; the reduction looked great from CAT SCAN; my ortho guy gave me a somber prognosis despite the successful surgery: "this is a life-changing injury; if you experience too much pain in 6 months, we'll fuse the ST joint"; I was crushed by this. Start healing and see what happens

    I started driving with my left foot a month after surgery; once the soft boot was off on 12/1/05 (2 1/2 months ago), it took a week to transition back to the healing right foot as my left foot really loved driving; I was surprised that I could adjust so well driving with my left foot on 10/1/05; surprised just the same I could quickly adjust to right one 2 months later.

    Here are some insights that I have 5 months after surgery:

    - very few people know of anyone that's had a shattered heel
    - every injury is unique; snowboarder Tanner Hall apparrently fractured both his heels 11 months ago and the won his X-games event last week (I researched the scope of his injuries and looks like it was only his ankle that was surgically treated); Olympic airealist Emily Cooke shattered both her heels 4 years ago - she's competing in the Winter Olympics this week after 4 years of training - very inspiring;
    - the muscle atrophy on right leg was incredible; after 4 weeks of non-weight bearing, calf muscle GONE! I estimate it will take at least 6 more months to get back. My unaffected calf, however, is huger than ever.
    - I started to walk without a limp on 2/1/05 (1/2 month ago); I have to do some PT exercises in the morning to rid of my initial stiffness
    - My shoe size went up a half size
    - I was not comfortable in any new running shoe until 2 weeks ago;
    - After much research, the thought of Hardware Removal seems to be out of the question
    - If I walk with bare feet and walk on a uneven surface (or object) with my right foot -> big problem
    - After 5 months, I don't think I will be ever to run again; Skiing should be no problem; I'm not a snow boarder.

    I can go on and on; hopefully, what I have already related is helpful.

    BTW: I have read virtually everyone's posts on this topic. I want to thank those posters that have hung on to convey their own unique thoughts and outcomes
    ************************************

    It's been 2 years after I posted this and I'm happy to relate my outcome:
    - My foot/ankle swelling came down to complete normal 12-14 months after surgery; I was able to fit into my old shoes once again.
    - I ran a 5K 21months after surgery on 7/4/2007; I plan to run a 10K next July 4th; I started playing tennis again 2 months ago and I have absolutely no problem moving laterally.
    - I never developed callouses on my feet but now I do on my right foot; I surmise that I plant my right foot differently now
    - I still have problems stepping on uneven surfaces with my bare right foot; no big deal

    Caroline, you can expect to start running again in the future. It may be 12 or 18 months from now - or sooner!. Those winter olympic athletes were a big inspiration for me - and I hope my experience will inspire you during your upcoming PT sessions.

    One more thing: You start doing PT 2/3 times a week, you should do those same exercises at home 6 times a day. It's all about unstiffening that heel all around its joint. Let me know how you progress.

    John

    Last edited by jk4507; 04-01-2008 at 05:55 PM. Reason: Spelling

     
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    Old 04-01-2008, 04:30 PM   #7
    Caroline777
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    Re: Broken Calcaneous need advice for journey ahead.....

    Thanks for all the info John; I started doing the stretching exercises my doctor gave me. I've been doing them once every 2 hours, the first couple of days it was fine and I could tell my foot would warm up and I could do the stretching pretty good. Today I experienced something I had not before, this morning when I woke up my foot was kind of red in color and my toes were blue. This has happened before (the red part) but my foot had gotten really swollen, this morning it was not swollen. Any way I took a warm bath and afterwards the colors went away, however, today as I did my stretching I could feel a stinging sensation on my heel. It wasn't bad but I had not felt it before. Is all this normal? I called and left a message for my doctor but no one has gotten back to me yet.
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    Last edited by Caroline777; 04-01-2008 at 04:32 PM.

     
    Old 04-01-2008, 05:54 PM   #8
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    Re: Broken Calcaneous need advice for journey ahead.....

    This Normal.

     
    Old 04-07-2008, 08:34 AM   #9
    Caroline777
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    Re: Broken Calcaneous need advice for journey ahead.....

    Just thought I'd give an update, not much to tell really I've been doing my stretching exercises and that is going really well. I'm a bit discouraged with the condition of my calf muscle but I'm trying not to dwell on it too much. I have an orthopedic appt this coming Friday and I hope at that time he starts me on Physical Therapy I am definitely going to ask about it. I do have a question, my elbows and wrist are beginning to really ach I'm not sure if I am doing something wrong when I'm using my crutches. I have them about an inch or two below my arm pit and the handle is putting my arm at about a 45 degree angle. Can someone let me know if this is right?
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    Old 04-07-2008, 01:08 PM   #10
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    Re: Broken Calcaneous need advice for journey ahead.....

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Caroline777 View Post
    I have them about an inch or two below my arm pit and the handle is putting my arm at about a 45 degree angle. Can someone let me know if this is right?
    Are you saying your elbows are bent? Because that's definitely wrong. Keep your elbows straight, and put your weight down on your palms. Don't grip tightly with the fingers as you bear down.

    Or is 45 degrees the angle of your shoulder, between your arm and body? That's a little much. I usually have about 3 feet (or .9 meters) between the little rubber feet of my crutches, and my hands are just a few inches out from my hips.

     
    Old 04-07-2008, 01:27 PM   #11
    Caroline777
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    Re: Broken Calcaneous need advice for journey ahead.....

    When I grib the handles my arm is bent at about 45 degree angle. So My arms are suppose to be straight no bending? I'll try it because the way I'm doing it my elbows are hurting at the end of the day.
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    Old 04-07-2008, 01:39 PM   #12
    jk4507
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    Re: Broken Calcaneous need advice for journey ahead.....

    Caroline,
    You brought up your issues with your calf.

    You will notice enormous atrophy of this muscle. This is expected when it doesn't experience any weight-bearing. In my case, I found that rebounding it back to it's original size/musculature has not happened. I know that I haven't done the best I can in my workouts to restore this muscle. There is also the issue of tendon connectivity that I feel has inhibited this.

    I will be my goal this year to fix this.

     
    Old 04-07-2008, 01:42 PM   #13
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    Re: Broken Calcaneous need advice for journey ahead.....

    You're telling me a hospital or doctor let you go without even adjusting your crutches correctly, much less making sure you could use them. Oh, the irresponsibility! If you develop an arm injury, God forbid, do sue them.

    Of course your elbows hurt, then! Adjust those crutches down so that your elbows are straight and the shoulder pads are a couple inches below your armpit.

    Your hands should be near your hips, the crutch feet 3 times your shoulder width apart (Roughly the width of a doorway, maybe a little more if you are a larger person.) Stand on your good leg, place the crutches a few inches in front of you, and swing through them. Open your fingers a bit as you put weight on the crutches, don't "white-knuckle" the handles.

     
    Old 04-07-2008, 02:56 PM   #14
    Caroline777
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    Re: Broken Calcaneous need advice for journey ahead.....

    I have been using them for almost three months now and I did not have them positioned right! I got the crutches at the MedClinic I went to the night of my accident. They did give a very very very quick and short instructions on how to use them, and mind you they charged me $30 for "crutch instructions"! I adjusted the handles so that my arms are now straight when grip them. I tried adjusting the length of the crutches to 5'3" but they felt to short, I currently have them at 5'4" I am 5'5". Should I adjust them to 5'3"? I'm gonna try using them at 5'4" witht the handles lowered and see how I feel tomorrow night. Maybe tonight it will be better, I have'nt been up and around much today so hopefully my arms will feel better tonight.
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    Old 04-07-2008, 03:05 PM   #15
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    Re: Broken Calcaneous need advice for journey ahead.....

    Hi John,

    I guess when the time comes and I am able to start working out my leg I'll need to include exercise for my calf. It's just that look at it and then comparing it to my other leg is just shocking at times. One thing that I am learning from this injury is that it is much more than just a physical injury. It is very hard mentally. For me, I have always been exteremly independent and I was the master of multi tasking, was always in fast foward. This injury did not slow me down it just stopped me. So it's been hard, I just keep telling myself it IS going to get better and things happen for a reason. One very good thing about being laid up and at home 24x7 is that it has given me a chance to reconnect with my 14 year old teenage daughter. I don't know if you have kids or not but these teen years are hard so being here with her these past 3 months has been great for us.
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