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    Old 06-13-2009, 04:24 PM   #1
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    Calcaneous fracture

    I am new here and will disclose my Calcaneous fracture and the post op and things I have encountered.

    I Work as a Project manager and work out regularly. I fractured or better said shattered my left heel bone while helping some co workers move some heavy furniture at the company warehouse. I had to make a jump that would have been trivial at best however my landing was best described as a reverse hammer slam of my left heel to the concrete floor. The rear side of my heel slammed so hard that I literally heard the bone crack - followed by extreme pain and swelling - I had very good Nike's on but to my surprise did nothing to soften the blow.

    Within 30 mins I was at the local hospital and soon after that Xrays revealed a pronounced fracture on the point of impact... Took 2.5 weeks to get my initial ortho specialist visit to take place... Typical of workers comp delays and due process... I was in a splint for that time and pain was present but not as bad a point of impact...

    Ortho appointment reveals that the Xrays were not as detailed as they should be in order to conclude the best process for my injury. Doc requests I do a CT scan of the left foot. another week later I have the Films and return to the Ortho. Doc reveals that the fracture brakes into various areas and one fracture line goes right through the heel joint... That was the one thing that had me a bit scared since I knew this will require special repair surgery... Lucky for me my Ortho specializes in lower foot surgery and bone repair.

    A week later I went in for surgery - My hardware setup is known as an External Fixation that consist of an external rig of metal PINs that are all anchored to various bones including the Tibia and one long crew rod that goes right through the heel bone allowing it to be properly placed for correct healing and bone grafting.

    I woke up in the recovery room yelling and unable to see clearly right after surgery. I was in so much pain that I am guessing as the meds wore off no one added additional meds to carry me through recovery and I have to admit I can take pain... Really I broke my heel bone and just cussed a few times - this pain was literally feeling all 6 Drill points fresh and in full effect. I must have felt this at full brunt for like 2 mins before the nurse ran up to me with two shots of something that put me right back to sleep.

    Ok forward to the next week - I was in full no weigth baring status and was in so much pain that I literally was on meds this whole week... I lost some weight about 10 lbs.

    Soon after the first week I decided to stop taking meds... My liver was telling me to just deal with it like a man and do be it. I did just that.

    1 Month after surgery - ortho is very happy with fracture lines healing as planned. I am still in some pain but getting better. No weight baring yet.

    2 Months after surgery - ortho says it is text book all looks good. I am weight baring 100% and waling with out crutches with my rig on and a black hard platform that looks like a sandal.

    2.5 Months after surgery - Ortho has scheduled me to undergo removal surgery of the rig - Fixator. I am scheduled to go in for this This coming Tuesday. I look forward to this as I am counting the days so I can walk normally and feel no pain again...

    In short I am still in pain upon weight baring - I feel pain and have the bottom of my left heel flap numb.

    I have complained about the numbness and discomfort and the Orto tells me that basically I had done so much damage on the landing that the soft tissue and nerves were badly damaged on impact as such the trauma has resulted in such numbing. he can not say how soon of it this will improve but I gotta say I know it will at some point...

    First thing for me is to remove this horrific rig and then recover from the Screw holes that will each take some time to heal.. The holes go all the way into and in some cases all the way through the different bones in the foot.

    I am wondering how much pain i will be in that week that follows removal of hardware but I am guessing it will be bad... Can anyone fill me in?

    My screws are as thick as a Bic Pen - i have seen thiner ones on other people for some reason my Ortho likes his own set of hardware and I understand not all have the same setup...

    My questions to those that have had this sort of procedure:

    Numbing of the heel flap after surgery - How long does this take to get the feeling back? Is this normal should I worry?

    Also Pain on full weight baring with fixator on... I have a lot of pain initially when standing on it but eases out as I walk more and more... Is this normal?

    Swelling - I was told by the Ortho swelling can continue for us to a whole year. With that being said I work and do activities daily even right after surgery - My swelling is horrible.. but as I elevate it at home it gets back to normal until I stand and walk around on it which causes it to swell back within hours... How long before the swelling is no more?

    Thanks for any feedback and thanks for reading.

    Last edited by Administrator; 06-15-2009 at 02:07 PM. Reason: read the rules: do not share personal information.

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    Old 06-13-2009, 06:34 PM   #2
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    Re: Fractured Calcaneous 11

    As we say Michael welcome to the group and we are sorry you are here. I had ORIF surgery so I can not answer your questions but you have found the right place and I am certain someone will be able to help you. You can look all over the net but this is the BEST place for you to be. We have a great group of people here and the info gathered here is fantastic.

    As for the numbness you feel it pretty much goes with the malady we all share. Different times bring many different feelings to your foot. We all tingle, hurt and swell with no rhyme or reason. I like to think each feeling means another part of foot is coming back alive. The best advice I received is to keep the foot elevated and iced.

    Again sorry you had the fall but we are glad you found us!


    Last edited by Administrator; 06-15-2009 at 02:27 PM.

    Old 06-13-2009, 06:44 PM   #3
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    Re: Fractured Calcaneous 11

    Sparta....I haven't checked in since March but wanted to see if I still knew anyone posting....yes...mydd is still here. Well, I had the fixator also but I was not allowed to put any weight on my foot as long as I had the fixator. Mine looked likd the halo that some wear around head when there is a neck injury. I have screws in my heel but no plates. I shattered my heel on Aug 30 of last year and had surgery on Sept 8 or 9...yes, you do forget. I remember the pain when I work up after surgery...OUCH!!!! I learned to like oxycodone for a couple of weeks. I called it my misery/pain meds....I took ambien to sleep. I have hardly ever taken meds so it was a new experience.
    In late October I had surgery to have my fixator removed. I have never been so glad to loose anything. After a two weeks, healing time, I was put in a boot. On Oct 31 I fell on my crutches at my office and broke my hip which post poned any weight bearing...Around Christmas I as cleared by both Orthos to weight bear. Now, that was a long story to tell you the following...

    I still have numbness on my scar and where the pins went through my foot in several places. The doctor said I might not be able to wear heels again but I wear them several times a week to work. It gets better every week. I still swell some and sometimes limp like an old person when I get out of the car after a long ride but I feel so blessed. My foot and leg gets tight but I still do my stretches in the morning and during the day if I am stiff. I do almost anything I want. The little pain and swelling are much less than I was told I would have. I was blessed to find the orth doc I found. So many with this injury have limited range of motion but the fixator keeps our bones from fusing together.
    Hang in is easy for me to say but I get better every week. Most people can't even tell I have had an injury ( unless they see my first 2 or 3 steps when I get up from my desk after sitting for a few hours.)
    I was told this sugery was developed in Russia.....I said it was developed for torture....but, maybe not. The pain will go and you will be able to walk if you do what your doc says and refuse to quit exercising even when it hurts.

    I hope this makes sense because I am not going to reread it. lol

    Old 06-13-2009, 08:38 PM   #4
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    Re: Fractured Calcaneous 11

    Sparta... Whew!
    I can visualize your contraption, but did not have that experience. I can tell you my heel was fractured in several pieces and did go entirely through the heel and along the joint. It's sounds as though your docs are very aggressive! That's Great. Good idea to minimize the meds, I think. Numbness and pain upon standing are all very typical of this injury. It is a slow process, but you'll most assuredly see progress. Absolutely, yes, on the swelling. It's very normal to have it especially if you are working the foot. Very typically beyond a year. Also, don't expect to take off running - reset your expectations and go slow and steady and baby your foot. I've yet to hear of the external fixation, but many here have had the internal. I, unfortunately, was misdiagnosed so I did not get any fixation. Fortunately, I had a comminuted (sp) fracture, but Non displaced. You seem to be making very good progress. I'm sure you'll be so happy to get the hardware removed. Pain upon WB at 2 or 3 months - very normal. I'm at 6 months - very much normal.

    Hope this helps a bit and I know others will chime in with more info for you. Welcome, although we all wish it were under different circumstances.

    Old 06-14-2009, 03:35 AM   #5
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    Re: Fractured Calcaneous 11

    Hi Ya'll
    Michael, welcome to the group. I have not had an external fixator, but am familiar with them regarding the Ilizarov (?sp) procedure where they use them to lengthen bone and have heard that that is excruciatingly painful so being off painmeds is amazing. My 2 cents is that the pain post removal should be less but you'll still have that initial incision pain, etc and will have to be watchful for infection until the pin sites have healed, likely nothing new to you. Tues's the big day, hey. You'll be in my prayers.


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    Old 06-14-2009, 06:10 AM   #6
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    Cool Re: Fractured Calcaneous 11

    Hi everyone,

    Michael - welcome

    Sbrew is the only person I have met here who's OS used the external fixation. The procedure makes a lot of sense in preventing the bones from fusing together AND it reduces arthritis later on as the talus and heel bone can heel separately (if the Talus was damaged).

    The pain you are feeling with wbing is normal. It will subside the more you use your foot and walk on it again. Of course once the fixation device is removed things will have to readjust again. Bone filler etc will be used to fill the holes.

    The numbness will be there for a period of time. This varies from person to person. I still experience tingling and numbness from time to time and it's been almost 11 months since surgery. I still have small issues with swelling, but not like it was the 1st 3-4 months. Swelling is not something to be concerned about at this point. It's all normal and good.

    Stay positive and focused

    Last edited by Administrator; 06-15-2009 at 02:26 PM.

    Old 06-15-2009, 11:34 AM   #7
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    Re: Fractured Calcaneous 11

    Hi everyone and thank you to all those that replied to my questions.

    sbrew7 - Thanks for your input and I hope you continue to improve even if at your point in time improvement can be nano milestones...

    I am a few hours away from my removal surgery and so I think from what I have read is that is is fair to say I am at the half way point now. Hopefully I can get back into the gym and weight training which is something I miss. I know running and other activities are way out of reach for at least the next 12 months or so but honestly I have high expectations considering I hate to think negative.

    I did not mention on my initial introduction - I too had a slip with my crutches while at home and had a horrible accident while on the fixation. I tripped and attempted to correct my fall by using my fixator foot as the flexor to hold me from falling and as such 2 of the screws tore my lateral tendon that goes over the toes upper portion of the toes area. I was in so much pain as I hit the floor that I thought I had pulled some of the screws out of place. The scary thing about this was the amount of blood that was coming out of the pin sites on the front of the foot which made crawling or trying to get back up a slippery mess. I had no cell, and just to deal with this incident as best as I could. Eventually I got back up 5 mins later and got back on the crutches - worked my way to the car and charged the cell which was dead - made it into the ortho later that day and xrays revealed that the pins were still ok but that due to the motion the fixator acted as a roll cage to my heel however the tissue and tendons got damaged pretty badly...

    Pain set in that day but I refused to let it pull me away from work and so everything continued as before the fall. Tendon seems to have healed as far as I can tell.

    One thing I can say is that the Fixation devise can be very dangerous when falling with it. Second observation: 6 deep drilled holes to help mend a few fractures - funny when you think about it.

    Thanks again and I am happy to be here...

    Last edited by Administrator; 06-15-2009 at 02:25 PM. Reason: picture links may not be posted

    Old 06-15-2009, 01:12 PM   #8
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    Re: Fractured Calcaneous 11

    [QUOTE=spartadatacom;4012901]Hi everyone and thank you to all those that replied to my questions.

    I cannot even imagine how much that hurt with the external hardware; 8 weeks out I slipped and put all my body weight on my bad foot and that hurt immensley.

    You also spoke about weight training; I too am a dedicated weightlifter and was pretty upset not being able to go to the gym. I also was thinking that it would affect the weight I could use. But I have tested my foot up to bearing 300 lbs plus my bodyweight and the foot has not complained even when I step forward and have all the weight on it to rack it back up.

    Also for a time frame I went back to the gym as soon as I could comfortably walk in just a shoe, which was about 12 weeks from surgery.

    Last edited by Administrator; 06-15-2009 at 02:23 PM.

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