Ankle Surgery Post Op

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Hello

Thought I’d discuss my current situation. 46 yo male healthy and active broken medial/ lateral malleolus and displaced foot. Accident on Christmas morning walking home from work and fell on icy sidewalk. I’ve had other injuries in my life but this was by far the most painful experience in my life. Had surgery about 6 hours after entry to ER. 4.5 hour surgery with plates and pins, still not sure the numbers. Released from hospital same night. Once released was given, among other things, oxycodone for pain one every three hours. I do not like to take medication for anything and even less so pain medication. Well, I was taking the oxycodone once every three hours literally. I could only sleep about three or four hours at a time and I would wake because the pain was back so I’d take another and go back to sleep. I think I spent about three full days and nights like this. By day 4 post op I noticed the pain had diminished greatly and I stopped oxycodone and just used Tylenol as needed. Still, I was barely able to get out of bed even just to get to the bathroom. Post op Days 4-6 I felt less pain, but quite out of it and it seemed as if maybe the pain medication was still working it’s way out of my system. Day 7 much better and more active really felt like getting around more for the first time. Most of the pain I was having seemed to be from the cast itself and not the surgery or break. The cast was plaster on back with bandages to hold in place and it became extremely uncomfortable to the point where the only relief was taking it off and letting my leg lay on a pillow which was really kind of scary to me. Day 8 got a knee scooter and aircast on my own since the plaster cast was causing so much pain. Aircast is SO much better and knee scooter is great. Been doing as much exercise as possible, sit-ups leg lifts etc. and been doing since day 3. The biggest thing through all of this is the crushing depression that can creep up on you. Really bad. I feel horrible for being such a burden to my wife, not even being able to get my own food. Anyway, the depression is lifting the more I’m able to do on my own. Have first follow up in one week from today and expect to have stitches removed and not sure what else yet. 

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8 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Bill,

    I totally understand the feeling of being a burden on your loved one. My husband has been my rock through all of my ups and downs of my ankle fusion recovery. And the depression is very hard to cope with but I too have gotten better due to starting to go out more and being social. Sorry to hear about your Christmas mishap :-( I hope you have a speedy recovery and may 2018 be better for you.

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    • Posted

      Hi Tasha

      Yes, my wife has been my anchor. She's really come through for me and it's something I'll never forget. I'm determined to get back on my feet as soon as is humanly possible. Been eating extra protein and taking vitamin D supplements etc. just trying to be as healthy as possible and getting as much rest as possible. Good luck with your recovery it sounds like you are on your way!

      b

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  • Posted

    Hang in there Bill.  I agree with you that depression seems to frequently occur alongside this type of injury, and I have had some dreadful low points during which all I seemed to do was cry.   I am sure that your wife does not consider you a burden, and is happy to do these things for you, after all you would do the same for her.  

    I'm also in my forties, pregnant and my trimal fracture is a few months old now.  I was hospitalised after my accident for two weeks, and had ORIF surgery from which I am still recovering.  In the past few days I have moved from airboot and crutches to ordinary training shoe/trainer, but my foot/ankle have very little ROM and so I have regressed to needing to use a walker.

    I envy you your rapid operation (many folks myself included had to wait for swelling to reduce first) and ability to take whatever painkillers were required to numb the pain!   They are an absolute essential with ORIF surgery, and I know this due to having wakened from my anaesthetic in recovery ward with no nerve block, and no painkillers in my system.

    I don't know how you coped with being discharged from hospital so soon after your operation, it must have been incredibly difficult.  Well done on starting your exercises so early, and hopefully this will mean that you will not suffer the same degree of muscular atrophy that I have.

    Best of luck, hope you will keep us posted on your recovery.

     

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    • Posted

      Hi Jan

      Keep your head up. Reading so many different accounts I think I lucked out with being able to get my surgery so quickly, it seems like a lot of people have to wait. I can't believe you woke from the surgery with no pain killers or nerve block, that is nuts. I had both. From the time the nerve block wore off I was taking pain meds every three hours around the clock for about three days until I could stop. That's medieval if you had to go through that without that kind of help. Keep at it Jan, I'm sure you'll be back 100%.  

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    • Posted

      Thanks Bill, I will try to keep positive.  I honestly believe that you are going to be one of the folks who will bounce back from their ankle injury quicker than the norm - you certainly seem to have the mindset and determination required.  I have a couple of factors making recovery more difficult, including being overweight and pregnancy.  I did have an unusually bad time after surgery - they could not perform a nerve block as the nerve was too close to an artery, and being pregnant I was very limited in the painkillers I was allowed to take.  I awoke from surgery with none in my system and after half an hour of wailing and hyperventilating in pain, the recovery ward eventually obtained consent from an obstetrician to allow me some IV morphine -  10mg I think. It only took the worst edge off the pain, so that's why they normally try for the nerve block as well.  Back on ortho ward, I was allowed 2.5ml oramorph every 4 hours, which was inadequate but by the third day post-op, I was managing without it.  

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  • Posted

    Hello Bill, i am also 46 years old and I had my right ankle fracture last nov. 19, 2017. Surgery was done a week after the injury. I had a cast up until day 3 post surgery then i requested my surgeon to remove the cast so that i can wear aircast. I had the same experience as you. Pain, depression and all. I believe everything happens for a reason and this episode in my life made me appreciate life on a much slower perspective. I opted for instant weight bearing as tolerated and right now, i can walk without the aircast but with  just a little limp. I am doing range of motion exercises and also balance exercise for proprioception. I can drive the car,  do most activities at 5 weeks post surgery.  
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    • Posted

      Hi Dennis

      That's a really fast turnaround, 5 weeks. Congratulations. I'm doing everything I possibly can to be ready asap for walking. Today is two weeks exactly from break and surgery, have first follow up in four days to have stitches removed. For me it was a dramatic difference between the first 5 days or so and since. The pain and drugs for the first 3-4 days made it seem like I was never going to recover or it was so far off as to be almost non-existent. Since the pain subsided and I was able to stop all pain medication I'm feeling much stronger now to the point where I'm afraid I may accidentally try and walk on my leg getting up in the middle of the night. I switched to aircast about a week post op without contacting doc. The pain from the cast was killing me, while the pain from the break and surgery had just about completely subsided. I appreciate hearing your story as most of what I read are horror stories that I don't want to hear. I'm back to work this week with my knee scooter and really hope I can be on same path as you and possibly weighty bearing by end of the month. 

      I'm not sure that thins happen for a reason, but this was definitely a reality check of sorts for me. When you are strong and healthy most of your life, something like this is a shock. A big shock. I do see things through a little bit of a different lens now.   

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  • Posted

    Sorry to hear about your injury. I understand what you're talking about. I broke my ankle in several places and dislocated it before Christmas. Surgery was about a week after injury. One plate and a bunch of screws. I was in a soft cast/splint thing for 11 days. Then they removed the staples and stiches and put me in a hard cast. 3 more weeks of that and then I get a boot. The cast is annoying, but tolerable. I'm still taking Tylenol several times a day, but nothing stronger. Mostly it's my incisions that are irritating me and not the ankle itself.

    Initially I was pretty positive, as that's my normal attitude, but the longer I've been stuck at home the harder it's been to keep that up. My husband has been amazing. I'm finally able to move around the house on either the knee scooter or the borrowed wheelchair and do things for myself. Each little increase of independence causes my attitude to improve. Last week I was beginning to feel like I would never get better and was breaking down in tears at least once a day. Now I see the light. It's a LONG ways away, but at least it's there.

    I return to work on Tuesday. I'm looking forward to getting out of the house and the distraction of work to get me through each day. I'm a bit worried about increased pain. It's a desk job, but it'll still be more activity than I've been doing since the injury. I'm using this week to increase my activity at home in hopes that it'll make the transition back to work easier.

    Stay positive! We'll all get through this!

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