How long will the pain after cast removal last?

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I'm a teen female, and I severely fractured my calcaneus (heel) in early March by jumping down 5-7 feet. The fracture went 80%-90% of the way through my heel, and some liquids from my bone marrow seeped into the fracture, so when I got an X-ray soon after the injury, it semed normal. Thinking it was fine, I ran on it. When the pain worsened, I got an MRI, and the doc put me in a cast on April 22. I got it off May 26.

I'm having immense pain, whether I'm walking, resting my foot on a footstool, or lying in bed. I'd almost rather be in the cast. It hurt less that way. When I wake up (if I've gotten any sleep) the pain is crippling, and I can hardly get upstairs to the bottle of Tylenol to take some.

Has anyone else had a similar injury to the heel? Does anyone who's been in a cast have an estimate on how long the pain will last? I'm always on Tylenol, but is there anything else I should try to relieve pain?

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  • Posted

    So sorry this happened to you.  It doesn't sound right that you should be in so much pain when not walking (or even when walking).  I fractured a bone in my foot, not my heel, and went from a NWB cast and scooter for a month into a big padded boot for another month.  Out of that now and seem to be doing fine except my foot still swells and turns red.  Any pain is minor and taken care of with Advil.  I would touch bases with your doctor ASAP and tell him/her what's up.  Not everyone heals the same way.  Best of luck!  Wish I was a teen again.
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  • Posted

    I might bring that up at my follow up since I already have both short and long walking boots from previous attempts at a cure before my MRI. I was only in a walking cast for four weeks, so maybe the treatment was incorrect, seeing as you didn't use your own foot for two months. Perhaps this has to do with my age and growth cycle? I've not started my menstrual cycle, so that is supposed to help the bone grow faster. Not like I want to be in a cast all summer (and miss all my swim meets!), but I don't want to mess up my foot permanently.

    I'm going to monitor my pain until Thursday (1 wk. post removal) and if the pain is still the same, I'll get an appointment in.

    Thanks for sharing! Just curious, at the site of the break, was there a round, white, raised bump over the injury? On the bottom of my heel, I have a bump about the size of a quarter and the height of 3-4 quarters. I asked around to people I knew that had broken a bone, but they didn't have a bump. All of them did break a bone in their arm, so maybe this is foot specific, or maybe even only under the foot? It doesn't hurt to the touch, though, so I don't think it's a stone bruise.

    Thank you!

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    • Posted

      You certainly do not want to do anything that would interfere with the healing process and you wouldn't want to be in a cast all summer.  When I went from the cast to the boot the first night I also couldn't sleep because of the pain and wanted my cast back.  The doc made me wear the boot  to bed so I wouldn't be tempted to get up in the middle of the night and walk on my foot.  I had to loosen the velcro strap going across my ankle and not use the hard plastic piece that went from the knee down my shin and made a right angle turn to continue forward all the way to my toes.  That hurt but without it I could sleep.  I never had a bump above the break but mine was not in my heel.  I had a Jones fracture 5th metatarsal near the ankle.  They are hard to heal because of a diminished blood supply to that area.  How is the blood supply to the heel?  I don't know if your youth would effect healing  or not.  My doc said mine would.  He said I'm not 20 any more (I'm 69). Grr.  I guess he thought he was being funny.  I think it would be good for you to swim.  Not in competition but just for the fun and exercise.  My doc said water aerobics is great because you have the resistance of the water and the boyancy to make everything earier.  I miss my 3 days of step aerobics.  Now I'm just doing 2 days of "senior" classes weights and flexibility.  You don't want to end up with plantar faciitis (sp??).  I had it and it really hurts the heel when you start to walk.  Exercise helps it.  My foot where it was broken did not give me much pain.  It was other areas like my big toe and ankle.  PT helped.  I don't know of any exercises for a heel.  Just be gentle and don't rush all the activity.  I'm still getting swelling and redness in my foot.  Good luck with your appointment.  Hope your pain lessens.
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    • Posted

      Thanks for the input! I never actually had any redness or swelling, so maybe I can skip out on those residual effects. smile

      I started swimming today, and my only additional issues were with pain while flexing and pointing my foot, but I suppose that's to be expected.

      ​I'm looking for a painkiller that I can take between doses of Tylenol since it definitely wears off a bit between doses. I can't take ibuprofen, since it stunts bone regrowth, and it needs to be somethng that doesn't contain acetominophen. If you have any ideas, that's be great!

      ​How long was it before you could walk around/sleep pretty painlessly? Everyone grows differently, but I'm trying to get an estimate for when I'll be able to run again. I'm allowed to run in about 9 days, but being allowed to do something and being able to do it are two very diffeent things.

       

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    • Posted

      I did not have the pain that you had except for the first few days after the fracture.  Without the cast or boot, 8 weeks, I took ibuprofen if I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn't get back to sleep with throbbing.  I had pain sleeping the first night or two with the cast and the same with the change to the boot.  I guess I would say that now I have discomfort and must be careful because this is not a "normal" feeling.  I did not hear that ibuprofen stunts bone regrowth  I don't think that it did that to me but I didn't take Advil regularly.  Have you tried naproxen sodium or plain aspirin?  I can see where flexing your foot would tighten the skin pull on your heal.  How painful is it?  I think everyone needs to do some form of stretching exercises and over time everything loosens up until you change up the exercise and then another area feels discomfort the next day.  When that happens to me I just think "good job" I've worked another area that needed it.  I think fairly normal walking, with no limp due to the ankle discomfort, took 12 or so weeks.  Are you going to go to physical therapy?  I did and went to PT with a foot specialist.  She worked with athletes and could tell exactly what was going on with my walk and just when I could return to exercise classes and was what difficulty.  She was more of a specialist that the doctor in this field and advised me so I would not reinjure my foot.  It's still a work in progress with the swelling/redness.  She says I am not ready yet for any full weigh jumping on my injured foot.  No jacks or running,  I can stand with my full weight on my one injured foot, especially working on balance.  Yesterday I had my first pedicure since February and today I stepped into my jeans standing up rather than sitting down.  exclaim  Good for you for starting swimming again.
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    • Posted

      I haven't tried those meds, so I might try those later. The pain when sitting/laying down is about 4/10, pain while walking is 6/10, pain while flexing and pointing is about a 7/10, and pain while lifting things or going on stairs is 9/10. (10 being excruciating pain.)

      I'm not doing any PT. In the States, my insurance doesn't cover it and it gets really expensive. If the pain doesn't get better, though, I'll ask about it.

      Good to hear that your recovery is progressing! Hopefully the swelling/redness stops soon for you.

      I've spoken with my parents, and they also agree that the pain shouldn't still be at the same level, so if there's no improvement tomorrow, we'll call my orthopedist.

      Once again, thank you for all of the information! It has been so helpful learning about another experience with a foot injury.

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