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calcaneous fracture walking time after surgery


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Old 06-11-2011, 12:32 AM   #1
cribadib
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calcaneous fracture walking time after surgery

Im 30 and have a serious calcaneous fracture on my left foot. I did it on a rope swing and landed hard crushing the bone really bad to the point where they werent even sure if it was operable.. great news on a sunday arvo as im a contractor in the building trade which has had to come to an immediate hault..

this happened , then was told its really bad , i'll get arthritus by the time im 40 to 45, wont walk on un even ground very well and i'll probably have some degree of pain my whole life!! what a sunday...it was extremely painful and i was on some many pain killers it wasnt funny.. morph drip, ketamine drip,,, millions of tablets.. oxyconten, tyranadol, gabapentin, endones ...

so after 10 days in hospital the swelling goes down, the huge fracture blister had popped .. it went from tiny the first day to around 3 ish inches long and at least an inch out.. big blister!.. but they operated for more than 4 hours and the surgeon was happy with the outcome..a plate and so many screws later...

i spent another 5 days in hospital and went home with a cast.. was the most furstrating time of my life.. i had also broken my left arm so was finding it difficult to get around.. and i was on a 4 week course to weine me off all the drugs i was on had to get a skateboard and string to pull my coffees to the couch when my wife was at work!!

then after 3 weeks i got the cast off and they put a moon boot on ,but was told no weight at all and keep elevated as much as possible.. or the heel will just crumble again..great.. then after 8 weeks i got an xray and the surgeon said i can start putting weight on it gradually with the moon boot. on only. then i could start without it after 3 weeks..Its day 4 now and im starting to put weight on it.. after a hour or two walking on it round the apartment with crutches it really aches and is swollen a bit.. which i expected.. but after my mornings walking round and then sitting down for a couple of hours its unbearable to walk on almost.

but im afraid i might be pushing it as most posts on this site say they have been told no weight bearing for 12 plus weeks!! and this was a serious calcaneous fracture that was almost in-operable? just scared it may go CRACK then back to square one..

has anyone been told to bear weight so soon after such a bad calcaneous fracture.. be good to find out,,

 
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Old 06-11-2011, 10:38 AM   #2
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Re: calcaneous fracture walking time after surgery

You will most likely be non weight bearing for 12 weeks, some do partial before that. Just because you can bear weight does not mean you will be walking. I used a walker for a few weaks, then cane, with over lap.

You probably won't be waiting until you are 40 for arthitis either.

This is a life changing event. There is a guy here who went back to being an electrician. I work on job sites, but I can sit alot.

I started out with 6" work boots, cause my foot was to weak for taller. I took them off to drive. Once I got stronger I found 8" work boots provide better support on ladders and gravel.

You might go back to work, but you will probably go home feeling it. But you got to earn a living.

Also just because you feel good, don't spend your pain currency. Take the elevator, sit when ever you can. I took stairs during recovery, to build myself up though. But sit when ever you can. Standing on rubber mats helps.

Good thick socks helps alot. I wear light wool hiking socks in the summer, and heavy ones on the winter. Merino wool is very soft and does not itch. I also buy new ones every year, and wear the old ones after work.

Takes about 12-18 months to get as good as you will get. Pain started getting better around 10 months, but actually did improve until about 15-16 months.

For me my ROM was known with in a few months. What got better is less pain, and easier to do things.
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Old 06-11-2011, 10:39 AM   #3
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Re: calcaneous fracture walking time after surgery

Keep that foot elevated, really elevated. As close to toes above the nose as you can. I slept with it on two pillows, and sat with it on two pillows on my recliner tilted back.
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Old 06-14-2011, 08:14 PM   #4
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Re: calcaneous fracture walking time after surgery

im carpenter and back to work 12 hrs a day. i fell 13 ft onto concrete ended up with 16 screws and a plate at 33 years old deffinatly been a life changing ingury doing pretty much what i used to walking on stilts again uneven ground deffinatly a problem area highly reccomend powerstep pinnacle orthortics for your shoes.

 
Old 06-14-2011, 08:40 PM   #5
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Re: calcaneous fracture walking time after surgery

Carpenter I am impressed, good going.
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Old 06-15-2011, 11:17 AM   #6
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Re: calcaneous fracture walking time after surgery

what do you all mean by "walking"?

I saw a post where someone said should be walking 1-4 weeks after weight bearing (I'm at 14 weeks post surgery, 2 weeks post beginning weight bearing). I highly doubt I'll be "walking" (I would use the term to mean without too much assistance from crutches or walker or cane), as I'm at 2.5 weeks after WB started. Other posts suggest 8-12 months before any real walking without significant support to limit the weight on the foot.

I can put partial pressure in the walk mode, a bit more in the standing still mode (often nearly full half weight), but going beyond the half weight standing mode is very difficult and painful. If I take a vicodin, I can put more weight and fell less pain (duh), but if i do that too much, it seems to get very aggravated and makes me pay by sitting for a while with no weight.

I realize I'm still very early in the recovery process, but any insight would be helpful as to what others have experienced.

 
Old 06-15-2011, 03:40 PM   #7
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Re: calcaneous fracture walking time after surgery

Weight bearing isn't walking. You can limp, but you need to learn how to walk again and build up strength. The human body will adapt, and let you walk. Look at POWs or people dying.

For me I used the wheel chair a bit, even after starting bear weight. It was just easier, and sometimes you get wore out. Though I would make myself walk to build up strength. But I tended to use it morning and night.

I used a walker at first, more stable then crutches, plus it frees your hands up. Its nice when standing at the counter or such.

I then had a wheel chair free day, then eventually no wheel chair. Then used cane. There was overlap between them.

I could walk around a bit with in a month. But my gait was off, and I was better off for longer trips using the walker, same for the cane.

Its weight bearing as tolerated. Does as much as you can, but just realize it takes time. Within a few months I rarely used cane.
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Old 06-15-2011, 06:26 PM   #8
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Re: calcaneous fracture walking time after surgery

chrrock your defo right! im not far off your situation.. been 9 weeks since the op and ive been allowed to start weight bearing after the 8 week point.. and jesus its the most painful furstrating time of my life! my foots swelled a fair bit now since WB and i use crutches to get around ..
I just do laps of my apartment and after a week i can but a decent amount of weight on it but i pay big time for.. after and the next day its agony.. but in the morning after a few stretches and painkillers im back doing laps again and it feels stronger everyday, but the pain never goes away.. try cycling to.. i went for an hour ride yesterday for the first time (with my moon boot on )and used my bad foot to do most the work to try to build up the muscle up and my twig of a leg! and towards the end of the ride i was able to stand up on the pedals and bear weight.. probs more on the good leg but still it was a real boost in morale.. felt a bit more human again! but again i was paying for it this morning.. big time.. felt like my achillys tendon had been replaced with a iron rod, foot swelled, whole heel aching like crazy.. but after a few painkillers, a few stretches and a wet cold compression bandage on I'm ready for round 2.. and sat here typing this on my couch i have both feet on the floor and my heel is feeling pretty strong.. so even though some would say im pushing it a bit, i would recommend getting out there on a bike or even cycling machine at home and push it as far as your comfortable with. I was very very hesitant to put any weight on it 8 weeks after surgery, mainly from this site as so many people only WB after 12 weeks.. and the surgeon did say it was almost inoperable.. and if you dont start WB'ing the rest of the bones in the foot will start to waste away, a bit like how muscle does when its not used!

but simple things like standing up in the kitchen without crutches and getting up off the couch without using crutches etc is all good for morale.. i just can't wait for the day i can put a pair of pants on normally , balancing on one leg then the other ,instead of fumbling around on the bed every morning. simple things..just wish i had'nt smashed my good foots big toe last night after all those beers..makes things even more interesting for me today hehe..

 
Old 06-15-2011, 08:23 PM   #9
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Re: calcaneous fracture walking time after surgery

I did great for 10 days after starting WB, then it was too much to do anytging even with vicodin. Im pretty good with pain, but it was bad. A few days off it and it is ok, now im trying a different tack of pushing into some pain but not being a lunatic about it. Hopefully will start PT this week if xrays look good.

Im 46. I found a statistic that more calcaneous fractures happen at 46 than any other age. So im right on schedule.

I live in tahoe and missed the best winter snow in 28 years, now missing the summer mtn biking and climbing and my horse is getting fat, which all kind of sucks, but at least im not paralyzed (broke my back too).

 
Old 06-15-2011, 10:11 PM   #10
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Re: calcaneous fracture walking time after surgery

Once you start wb you might want to try a compression sock for swelling. I think it helped. Ice it a few times a day too. Keep it up when not doing stuff.
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Old 06-15-2011, 10:33 PM   #11
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Re: calcaneous fracture walking time after surgery

The first few months you just got to suck it up. Though the pain is offset by the excitement of being able to do new things, and seeing improvement. Though I am sure there is a limit to how far you push it. If you are rough shape next day or two, that may be to much.

For me, I was typically ok the next day.

The first couple months are kinda exciting, trying to do the stuff you used to do, or saying I haven't done this since before the accident.


What I find now, is I need to watch how many days in a row I push it. Unfortunately I don't always listen to my advice, and end up paying for it at the end of the day. Pain currency.
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Old 06-16-2011, 08:56 AM   #12
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Re: calcaneous fracture walking time after surgery

Wondering if it makes more sense to use painkillers to push movement and strength faster, or not and listen to the pain as to when to stop. One factor for me is that all the painkillers have tylenol and i would like to have some drinks once in a whole but would like to keep my liver.

Im hoping PT helps.

 
Old 06-16-2011, 09:35 AM   #13
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Re: calcaneous fracture walking time after surgery

I didn't do alot of pain pills during the early walking phase. I did have drinks at night and just put my foot up. I was taking a Celebrex in the morning, later moving on to Voltaren.

I wanted to see what I could do without pain meds. But when it got bad I took a tramadol. At abouot 18 months, I knew the score, and now take tramadol when I need it to do what I want to do. For me 1 pill, is enough, when I push it. I got a Vicodin script for when I push it really bad. But rarely use it.

IMO I would be nervous taking to many hard pain meds when starting out, because you don't want to push far. It should be weight bearing as tolerated. But also, no point being miserable. You need to find that balance.
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Old 06-16-2011, 05:11 PM   #14
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Re: calcaneous fracture walking time after surgery

yeah i defo over did it the other day with the long bike ride etc.. was pretty sore and swollen yesterday and had these kinda electric cramp pains every now and then to the point where i was pretty much screaming in pain.. still have them this morning to but not as bad.. ive probs over stretched the muscles or skin on my foot? who knows but i wont be doing that anytime soon..

I'm just taking 2 x 500 mg paracetamol usually 3 times a day or when needed.. i wish i could get some stronger stuff for the mornings but the doctors in australia are a bit tight with giving out meds..but probably a good thing as the 500mgs seem to take the edge off.

ah well i now know the boundries with my foot and know when to stop. think i was over exited about getting out on the bike the other day and actually leaving the couch. over did it big time.. i think mainly as my foot felt strong after the ride and i was putting more weight on than normal that day. probs the adrenline pumping after the ride.

need to get rid of the swelling as i have to endure a 28 hour flight to the uk in a week. that will be fun ! hopefully i can get a free upgrade to business class so i can keep my foot elevated! worth a try

 
Old 08-21-2011, 03:38 PM   #15
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Re: calcaneous fracture walking time after surgery

I am now 5.5 months out from ORIF surgery. A few thoughts:

The period from just less than 3 months to a little over 4 months was the highest threshold of pain of my life. I'm not bad with pain either. Not as agonizing as what i'd imagine would be a shark biting off my leg, but constant and significant, with lots of swelling, purple, dead carrion appearance in the foot. At 3 months, the doc said get on it, now. So I did, and just sucked it up. I used painkillers for a break from the constrancy, and also to push it harder than i could otherwise, but otherwise pretty clean. At a little over 4 months, doc said i needed more ROM, more strength, pronto, as i will be going back to have the pins removed in early september -- had a surgical site infection and only cure is pin/plate removal, and have been on antiobiotics for nearly 4 months now.

Anyway, at about 4.5 months had something of a breakthrough, almost overnight i could do a lot more: walking, stationary biking, actually got out on my mountain bike yesterday, riding my horse (fast, which requires some ankle strength) etc ... Can almost stand on my bad foot alone tip toes, balance on one foot for a couple minutes. with much less pain and no painkillers. right off the couch, it hurts, but i get going and can go for hours. Hurts a bit at night, but the worst of the pain is like the best i felt a month ago. i still carry the cane, but only use it to get going, then just carry it. I ice it at night and do PT three times a week, all of which really helps.

I will check back in after my hardware removal.

Last edited by chrrock; 08-21-2011 at 05:30 PM.

 
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