2 months post ankle debridement/ cartilage damage

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I suffered a non displaced distal tibia fracture 3 years ago and pain did not subside. Two months ago i had an arthroscopy to remove heaps of synovitis but I am still in pain. My surgeon also said there were some cracks in my cartilage which concerned me about the future of the ankle, he also trimmed this. my ankle is fairly stable and from what my surgeon told me the defect didn't seem too major to warrant any treatment all though he trimmed it down. Am i likely to get arthritis in the ankle, i do not play high impact sports or run

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  • Posted

    Hi, have you had physiotherapy? I think it would be good to see a physiotherapist and get advice and exercises from them. It is good to do some simple exercises to keep your full ROM in the ankle. You can do the exercises at home daily and also massage. Also speak to your doctor and ask for advice on supplements you can take to help prevent arthritis. Tty get as much information from your doctor and physiotherapists and apply the advice they give you before you have problems. Good luck and please keep us posted on your recovery.
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    • Posted

      hi yes i am having physio therapy, my ankle has almost full rom, just slightly less dorsiflexion in comparison with the good ankle. i try to do daily massage, my ankle still feels sore and inflamed, im aware everyone heals at different rates but i thought i would have reached full recovery at this stage. i might look in to alternative therapies in a few more months if the pain does not improve for me. Hopefully there will be a cure for arthritis before it could become a problem for me. Thanks for the advice!
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  • Posted

    Hi, Wondering why so long to diagnose??  Three years dealing with undiagnosed pain after your injury had to be frustrating (if I'm interpreting your post correctly).  Were tests being done all this time? 

    DId you have surgery 3 years ago for the fracture??  And was the procedure 2 mo's ago possibly a diagnostic exploratory type of arthroscopy due to onging pain when he located the inflammed tissues/exces fluid buid up as well as the damaged cartilage?  I'm assuming your description of removing 'heaps of synovitis' means removing 'heaps of inflammed synovial tissue or fluid caused by Synovitis', which is a condition. Not trying to be over-technical, just trying to understand your concern. Synovitis can be caused by trama, so was it caused by your 3 year old injury??  Hard to tell w/o more info.    

    I did read that typically athroscopy does not create arthritis, but could worsen if it already existed.  Ironically, ankle arthroscopy is actually used to treat some artritic conditions and some arthritic conditions can be caused by Synovitis.  So it's difficult to answer your question except that in my opinion, any trama, surgery or conditions to bones or joints can ultimately cause arthritis ... so can age.  Sorry, I know that doesn't help much.  But I wouldn't stress over it, It's probably a wait and see kinda thing.

    I also read that recovery time for uncomplicated arthroscopy is normally one to two months, so your right on the cusp.  The majority have very successful outcomes. I know your still in pain, but if lessening, that's a good sign and I would think with a little more time you will see more improvement. If pain not less, only advice I can give is to keep pressing doctors for answers.  

    There are many sites if you search 'ankle arthroscopy for synovitis' or maybe you have a better term for your particular situation.

    My best to you!!   

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    • Posted

      Pain became worse over time. I was 6 weeks nwb for my fracture but the ligament damage was probably overlooked at the time as there was focus on the fracture, so ended up with lots of scar tissue in the ankle. I had two negative MRI's so eventually underwent the scope. My surgeon has told me to give it a year to judge the final result. If anything my pain is worse than it was just before my surgery so I feel worse off at the moment. Thanks for the advice smile
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    • Posted

      Good grief Charlie Brown, that's a nightmare and a half.  Give it a year to judge, seems almost absurd .. but when talking about ligaments and such, most likely posssible. 

      First thing that comes to mind that you've prob. already done is 2nd even 3rd opinions.

      Second is how are you dealing with the pain during this 'give it a year' period? Synovitis pain caused by inflammation.  I've heard others on here with that diagnosis get steriod type injections from pain mgmt doc (most are anesthesiologists) cause taking too many anti-inflam drugs can really damage stomach.  

      So sorry to hear what you are going through and that I can't help more.  But you will surely be in my prayers tonight.      

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    • Posted

      I didn't get a second opinion before my surgery as this was the only doctor that was willing to scope and didn't just tell me to do physio, and there was no clear diagnosis at that time. I have seen images from the scope which shows alot scar tissue on the lateral front and the small cartilage lession (which i dont think is causing my pain). My surgeon said he sent off a biopsy of the tissue to check for any underlying causes but it came back negative, so he attributes it to post traumatic cause. Yes a year to see the final result but it should improve along the way, but my scar tissue has a chance of growing back. As there was not necessarily much to correct besides removing the inflammation and scar tissue, not sure what other doctors would have to say about it.

      My GP advised that two months is still early on as we all heal at early rates. Currently I am just doing dailymassage and some exercises.

      A few months before my surgery i was abroad, and visited a chinese osteopath who did a deep friction massage over a course of a week. My symptoms did improve by about 60% and wasn't a daily burden, but i went ahead with the surgery as it was already agreed and i wanted to be completely pain free given the high success rates of arthroscopy. I avoid taking any pain pills, just use herbal oils and gels. This journey started when I was 20 years old I hope it get better as it impacting on my social and working life.

      Thank you for your kind words and support x

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