Finally back to work, 8mths post ankle fusion!

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Hi All. Hope you are doing ok and had a good Christmas/New Year. 

So I finally went back to work today 8mths post ankle fusion, I’m a ward sister/nurse and I work on a busy trauma unit.

I only worked on the ward helping out for 4hrs and then 2.5hrs in the office doing paper work and I’m completely shattered!   

I’ve had lots of ops on my ankle, with the ankle fusion it’s 7 so far. Now I’m waiting to have the metal work taken out because the screws are starting to poke through my skin.

After doing 7.5hrs at work I’m now in so much pain due to the screws and pain in my knees.

I just feeling very deflated...I’ve even had a little cry about the fact I’m still in lots of pain. I’m sick to death of orthopaedic surgery and bones, pain and pain meds! Even going to work I’m surrounded by it too 🙄. 

Sorry for moaning and the random post but I just needed to vent a little.

Because I do not look like I’m in pain people don’t even give it a second thought and I find it so frustrating!

Claire. Xx

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  • Posted

    When you do office work elevate it if possible and when you get home ice but not directly i

    on the skin and elevate.  I am 24 weeks post fusion have swelling but try to elevate as much as possible.  I have never hear of having the screws removed.  I even asked my dr and she said it is not usual.  I still have some pain swelling but it is better than the way it was before the operation.

    good luck keep smiling it does get better!

    paul

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    • Posted

      Hi Paul. Thanks for the advice.

      I have a little stool in the office to pop my foot onto but because of the nature of the ward I’m always up and down.

      Weirdly I don’t get much swelling which is good for me as cold/ice tends to cause me pain.

      Think I may have to look at my long term career as much as I love emergency trauma/surgery my ankle and it don’t got together! 

      Claire. 

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    • Posted

      Dear Claire

      I did inquire when you first posted why you opted for a fusion rather than a TAR.

      Hope you find a solution to your discomfort.

      Cheers, Richard

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    • Posted

      Hi Richard.

      The simple answer was x3 ortho surgeons wouldn’t do the operation. I asked our head surgeon at work what he would recommend.

      Ge said because of my age, 41 and the failure rate of the TAR he said he would never recommend it for a younger patient. Until the op has been well established like the hip and knee replacements, he said in his opinion he couldn’t ethically offer it to someone in my position ie. younger patient, needing to work, young family. 

      Also for me the thought of having more very invasive ortho surgery was to much. At least with the fusion hopefully the ops I have to have done now will be relatively minor in comparison. Plus I have a young family and I want to be able to join in the fun not sit on the side lines and watch!

      Hope all that makes some sense. 

      Claire. 

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    • Posted

      Dear Claire

      Thanks, I appreciate and understand the reasons for your choice. My TAR of five years ago seemed to have given me back my freedom to carry on my quite demanding life style if sheep farming, building etc but then at my four year check up osteolysis was found and now I'm waiting for a very difficult revision.

      The problem seems to be too many surgeons dabbling in it and only doing very few a year so they never build up sufficient experience or ability.

      As you will know it is a very technical surgery where precision of alignment is key to a good long term outcome.

      If anyone out there is interested in what my mobility was like at twenty weeks there is a short utube video showing me walking briskly and running up and down stairs. Google Yogesh total ankle replacement Kenward.

      If anyone wants to ask questions I'm more than happy to respond on or off list, phone or email!

      All the best Claire, Richard

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    • Posted

      Thank Richard, hopefully your revision isn’t too difficult. Can I ask, are you based in the uk? 

      My surgeon at Wrightington and a bone cell transplant I saw in Shropshire have done a fair few TAR. But as you said until it becomes more common place people will opt for the fusion. Hopefully it will become like the hip/knee replacements in the future!

      Best wishes. Claire. 

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    • Posted

      Dear Claire

      Yes I live in the UK. The revision surgery will be pretty difficult so I've tracked down a surgeon with a very good track record who spends quite a bit of his time re doing the surgeries other surgeons have messed up! It's just a shame that the hospital where he is based takes all day for each visit due to distance and the route!

      I was originally offered a fusion as an alternative to a TAR but decided against it because I wanted to retain the natural mobility and I was worried about the possibility of the other joints needing to be fused at some future date. I was told and have read that with the flexing that is normally provided by the ankle joint being pushed forward to these weaker joints that it was likely that these could fail.

      All the best, Richard

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  • Posted

    Hi Claire,

    I hear you I am almost at 12 months (18/1/17) post ankle fusion, I still find there are lots of things that I still can't do, or am limited with. I get so frustrated I am like you 6 operations on my ankle, the last one in April was to remove the screws. I can see that I have come a long way in 12 months however, I thought I would be up and about doing all the things I love to do. My ankle is still swollen and I can only wear my birkenstocks, no nice sandals for me ( its summer here). I still can't walk too far, not the ankle my back as being in a boot for so long I am now lopsided Physio is helping. It has been a long recovery Some days I cry because I become so frustrated with swelling, pain and the loss of being able to do whatever I wanted. I was a fit an active woman before all my ankle problems. Stay strong it does get better but very slowly.

    Cheers

    Marian

     

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    • Posted

      Marian, thank you so much!

      On a day where I have pain, I ache so much and its the usual Manchester (UK) wet, windy and rainy weather knowing that I’m not alone makes me feel better.

      You sound so similar to what I have been through, it’s been 20yrs for me now and I’m completely dreading op number 8 in May/June. 

      I guess we have to smile on the good days and have a good old cry and glass of wine on the bad! 

      You’ll be in my thoughts. Claire. Xx

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  • Posted

    Dear Morrismanc

    I'm sorry that your first day back at work was so tough. Golly seven surgeries is going some! I'm not surprised you are fed up with it all but at least you are back walking and now working.

    Just out of interest what made you go the fusion route rather than a TAR.

    Best wishes, Richard

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  • Posted

    Hi Claire

    Hope you have been able to relax a bit after the exertions of the day.  I was interested in your post because I have had my cast off today (just under 8 weeks since ankle fusion).  I have been told by the surgeon that I can be fully weight bearing whilst wearing a walking boot.  That is good news but I wasn't prepared for just how painful it would be when trying to walk.  I am also a nurse (community nurse) and thought I would probably get back to work after about 4 months.  Now I am not quite so sure about that.  It is of course, very early days for me yet and so I will just have to take it one step at a time.  Anyway, I hope you are soon on the road to recovery.  It sounds as if you have been through the mill.

    Pauline  

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    • Posted

      Hi Pauline. Sorry to hear you have had to have a fusion op too. It’s a pretty tough one to go through and I think as nurses sometimes we aren’t very good at looking after ourselves as we should! 

      In my head I was thinking about 6mths off but my ward is constantly on the go and I wasn’t realistic but that’s with hindsight.

      I used to do 14hr shifts which I have no chance of being able to do ever again. I’m lucky as my work have been brilliant and I’ve worked really closely with my gp. He has given me a 6mth fit note and I’m going to stick to it. 

      I would just take each day as it comes, don’t look to far ahead. 

      Let us know how you get on. Claire. Xx

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  • Posted

    Hi Claire, im sorry to hear you r still having problems.i have to admit it's no surprise to hear.It seems to me everyone who gets something fused in their foot has more problems afterwards. What kind of fusion did u have? I had a Open Anterior ankle joint fusion. 6 months ago Jan.6th wth make 7 months.im.nt even close to being released to go back to work yet.

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    • Posted

      I had an Open Anterior tib/talus/talonavicular fusion with an osteotomy of part of my talus. I had lots of weird bone growth where the joint had tried to repair itself.

      I have a ‘before and after’ picture of my ankle but I’m not sure how to upload pictures on here to show you! 

      I’m starting to wonder now if I should have taken a couple more months off! 

      Good luck with you healing Nicolette, wish you all the best. Claire. Xx

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    • Posted

      That's close to what I had done the fused my tib to my talus.im a 43 woman also. I wanted a tar but they said I was to young also..cause the hardware only lasts 10 to 13 years..i didn't care if went back n 10 to 13 to get it redone but no one would do it.Since I had it fused now there's a problem with my hinfoot its crooked and my subtalar joint is locked up very pain to walj. Now he wants to fuse my subtalar joint ..i refuse to get it fused, I asked him to figure something else out.. I go back in Feb, to discuss different options n go for a ct scan.

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    • Posted

      Dear Nicolette

      It sounds to me as if you need to do a hospital search for an ankle specialist who does a lot of successful ankle revision surgery.

      Good luck. Richard

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    • Posted

      Dear Nicolette

      Where do you live.....there is nothing in your profile.

      It is only worth considering a TAR if carried out by a surgeon REALLY experienced in this surgery. Life of a TAN be longer than 10…15 years and I read a research paper that said that someone who had a very early one I think 30 years ago was still fine. It was the exception but the surgery and prosthesis have greatly improved especially in the last six or so years.

      All the best

      Richard

      Ps did you see the video I mentioned to another poster?

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    • Posted

      Dear Nicolette

      When I had my TAR five years ago I could not find any videos that showed what to expect as regards to mobility in a real world situation. So at twenty weeks when I had made good progress I made a short video of me walking up a down a slope and across a gravel yard and running up and down a flight of stairs.

      I hope that it gives you and others courage to get through what can be a tough recovery. Google Yogesh total ankle replacement and the video should come up......I hope you enjoy two of my dogs that joined me!

      Cheers Richard

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    • Posted

      Wow I just watched your video you have so much mobility...i can't hardly even see a scar on the front of your ankle.

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    • Posted

      Dear Nicolette

      I'm glad you were able to find my video. What is so gutting is that the prosthesis was incorrectly positioned which would have caused an excess of wear debris it is thought which seems to be what causes osteolysis.

      I'm waiting for a very difficult revision under a different surgeon.

      All the best. Richard

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