I am hoping someone can help me with a few questions. I shattered my ankle in Oct of last year. After having some of the hardware removed and on my 10th week of physical therapy, my Orthopedic has told me that my ankle will Never be better than it is now! My joint is shot, there is too much degeneration and arthrits that no amount of therapy will help. I have been on pain medication for over 8 monthes and without it I can hardly walk, I need to use a cane to walk now. My Dr told me the only option I have is to have an ankle fusion done. I have no cartilage left and he plans on taking the remaining hardware out, and literally screwing my foot to my leg. I have about 10 degrees up and down motion now, with a lot of pain and the fusion is supposed to eliminate the pain and allow for no up and down movement at all. I would like to know if anyone has had this done and how it turned out. I am concerned about the wear and tear on the other joints and in particular the fibula side. He removed the hardware on the fib, and I have constant pain there, will this go away with the fusion?? I have read that some people can have almost a noraml gait after a fusion, but I dont have very high hopes for this, if anyone can tell me their story or has any suggestions on how I can get the most movement with the least amount of pain I would be forever grateful!!
corrineg...i too had to get a fusion after a severe ankle fracture. I waited about 1 year after the original 5 pins gave me no relief to have the procedure done.
First off, get a Doctor that has performed no less than 25 of these procedures. A specialist in this surgery will do 10-15 per month. Don't settle for anything less experienced.
even with this professional, you will be off of your feet for 16 weeks minimum. This is ZERO weight bearing recuperation. You can wheel arounfd in a chair after 4 weeks, but, the critical part is to not move that ankle from the position it is placed by the Doctor. For that reason, they pretty much insist that you reduce the risk of a fall, movement, etc. I used a walker to get around.
For sanity...shower each day covering the leg and dressings. The military teaches that a shower is essential to maintaining optimum mental health during stressful times. If you stay clean, you will feel better. i am not in the military but took the advice and I definely felt great after each morning shave and shower.
With help of friends or family, you can also maintain a good diet, especially since you won't be raiding the refrigerator. Take advantage of it.
Now for your main answers. After 8 months, I have a near normal gait, but, do still have some pain. I take a very mild perscription pain releiver twice a day. It is equal to 3 extra strength tylonal. But, it replaces the 8-10 aspirin a day I was taking. The first 10 steps in the morning are the worst...with shoes, there is slight pain to somewhat chronic pain depending on my activity. However, I wear regular shoes and it depends on the sole of the shoe. My penny loafers lead to more pain. My Born and Ecco shoes make for a near painless day.
The pain can last a lifetime. Some people get lucky and have very little pain, others may be on comfort pills for a very long time. Because there is a true need for this medicine, the receptors make it unlikely to become dependent. Even so, the withdrawal is very short lived as the half life of Darvocet, for instance, is very short. I expect to take 1-2 darvocet or a similar drug for at least 6 more months.
Pain management is critical. Don't be afraid to use medical science. Living in pain will cause more detrimental issues such as irritability, social withdrwal, etc. If you need med's, take them as directed. Don't fight your needs to maintain civility.
I played golf for the first time since the original surgery. NO PAIN!!! I have some movement up and down on my ankle, so i was lucky compared to others that i have read about.
Infection in the bones is the biggest risk, which scared me the most. About 2% will get an infection, so i was told. You will be treated with antibiotics for at least 7 days, though, so don't let it scare you too much. Remind the night shift to give you the antibiotics even if you don't need the pain med's. The nurses missed one dose, which really pissed me off. You can get severe complications from infection...even amputation. They must disclose that fact, but, every precaustion is taken. Just make sure the nurses on the night shift don't forget. Mine were awful.
Am I glad I did it? ABSOLUTELY! It was inevitable and better to get it over with. If you have Aflac or other disability coverage it is even better for your mental health. They will treat it as total disability for 6-8 months...longer if needed.
So, if you get your ducks in a row...go for it. Get a GREAT doctor, take the anti-biotics and enjoy some r&r. Its not a cake walk, but, if properly done, your life will be changed for the better.
After 4 surgeries including 2 fusions the worst part is getting relief from pain! Most doctors are scared to prescibe opoids but will give me nsaids which make me horribly sick! My sleep is almost 2 hours a night due to the nail the inserted in my tibia bone.
Hi, my name is Paulette I had my ankle fusion done the end of Nov07. Long story made short I'd shattered my ankle 25 years ago and had problems every since. In the past 5 yrs I had three different surgeries done, the last one being the fusion. The one prior was a donor implant, needless to say not succesful, so after consulting with two different doctors I elected the fusion. The surgery and recovery so far has been remarkably better than the last two. I am not totally without pain and the ankle is very, did I say very SWOLLEN, the swelling goes half way up to my knee, but the doctor says that is common and will last 12 to 18 months.
I do fell as though the pain is easing up but not gone yet.
The doctor who did my surgery came very highly recommended, he is a tramutic orhto doctor here in Orlando, Fl. He did not perform the last two surgies....dont know if that was part of the problem.
I dont limp as bad as I thought I would and Im told I shouldnt limp when I walk however there will be a noticable limp if I run, not that I've been doing much of that lately.
I hoped this has helped you.
If anyone is 6 months post surgery, please share your story, I would love to hear from you.
Hi ppie! I just had my second ankle fusion on dec 4th! Horrible the worst pain ever! Like you i have had 4 surgeries in the past year and a half. If you would like to talk e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Hope you feel better!