Left ankle fusion surgery post surgery

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Hello my name is Taisha and I am in post op care stage from an Ankle Fusion with bone graft on my tibia. Its been 2 weeks and i have to say is very painful. I develope arthritis from an old injury. I broke my left ankle in 4 places 12 years ago. of course I had surgery the same day of my accident i had 13 screws and 2 plates placed on my ankle and several years later had them removed. Its been 12 years since my accident I knew I had developed arthritis on my ankle which it was from the trauma. I did cortisone shots for 3 years which it helped very much. I went for a cortisone shot back in april 2016 when my Dr said it will be my last one my ankle has been getting worse and the shots wont work at that point we should consider other treatment (SURGERY). I knew it was going to get to this point but i was NOT ready for this procedure yet. I am 35 yrs old have 3 children to care for and my hobbie and pasion is dancing. So i decided to hold off on surgery because i refused to have it done in the summer and cancel all the plans ahead. The cortisone shot i had done in april 2016 actually made the pain worse. now i was wearing a brace a week after that shot the pain was very bad i saw my Dr. And he kept telling me the only option at this point was surgery. At that visit he placed me on a walking boot. So the days that i was in alot of pain i will wear the boot, every time i walked long distances i would wear the boot if it was a night that i was going dancing or to perform i would wear my boot. This helped me alot to get by the summer. I had my surgery done left ankle fusion with bone graft on my tibia. OMG this is very very painful i had a nerve block put in it helped with the pain in the ankle for a day but the pain from the bone graft it did not help at all. The graft was right below my left knee. The nerve block worked for a day after that its been nothing but extremely painful. I went for my 10 day post op visit Dr said everything looks great and is healing well. My ankle looks horrible!! I had a hard cast put on and I feel is to thight around my ankle. I now my foot is swollen and it will be for a while. But i feel that presure around my ankle from the cast. Is that a normal thing to feel? Its very uncomfotable feeling and that is whats cousing the pain. Anyone that is or has been through this procedure and recovery? Any thing i should do to help make my recovery easier? Plaese help

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  • Posted

    Dear Taisha,

    All I know is that the cast does hurt as it is pressure on the ankle bones.I am now in an air boot and my ankle still swells after a walk and physio exercises. However I think I can see light in the tunnel again as I have been negative as it has been so painful at times.I have a right trimalleolar fracture and have been warned I may suffer arthritis at a later date. 

    Just elevate your ankle when sitting and make sure it is quite high ,deep breathes and you will get threw it.

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  • Posted

    The ankle feels so tight in a cast when the ankle swells. It feels like there is a steel band in there tightening around the ankle. I used two stacked pillows under my leg and ankle to get the foot above the heart. Foot above heart and foot above nose is your phrase to liveat by. I am in week 12 and in a walking boot trying to switch over to a regular shoe. I was in your position and just keep telling yourself that time will pass and it will get better. I hope that you have some help with your children. Keep us posted on how you are doing.
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    • Posted

      I went into air boot on Monday 4 th September . Walking was tricky as I found balancing difficult as I hadn't been weight baring for six prior . I can walk with air boot and one crutch but again not too far as when I remove boot my ankle swells . Very frustrating ., I can walk upstairs slowly with boot on . As I am emailing air boot is off , ankle elevated with ice pack as well .

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    • Posted

      I got my boot 2 days ago.  Yesterday I definately overdid it.  I was told to do Range of Motion exercises 5 times / day.  But i decided I could walk a lot- my foot was so purple and swelled last night I did not know if it would ever look normal.  The hardest thing for me was getting x-ray right after the cast

      came off- I had to put my foot and heel al the way down and it was so painful I almost passed out (I caused quite a stir!).  But since then it has gotten much easier.  I will not start PT until after the boot (week 14) - I was surprised to not start sooner, but that is the protocol at Duke so I guess i need to trust them.  

      The boot is much easier than the cast so hang in there... walking was not hard for me- steps are easier, but still not great.  You will be happy with the boot- it is like a milestone :-)


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  • Posted

    Hi Taisha- I am so sorry to hear what you have been through and are going thru now. I had the same thing with my cast so I was told to come in and they put padding around my ankles to allow more room for swelling.  It helped some, but not as much as I had hoped.  I guess some of us are just "swellers".  I was unable to keep my foot down for when I had the cast for more than 20 min because it would swell and really caused a lot of discomfort- I had a bimalleolar break so have screws and a plate- I can't imagine having broken it in 4 places.  I was was also told that I will probably have arthritis in 10 years by the doc... not thinking about that.  I got the boot yesterday so things have gotten a tad easier- but will have it for 7 more weeks and then another x- ray.  At least I do not have to sleep with it!

    It is so normal how you are feeling.  I am embarrassed to say that that I have had a few days that have been so blue- I just went in the bedroom and laid there.  Please know there are better days ahead- just go one day at a time and i have found that a routine helps- I have even taken up knitting.  

    I agree with elevating your ankle- - and the deep breathes really will help calm you.

    I was looking so forward to icing the ankle - the first thing I did after coming home wiht the boot was to ice it down.  It felt heavenly.

    Keep your eye on the price- it will come and it will get easier. And you have every right to feel like you feel.  No one else has a clue how hard this is unless you have been there- 

    I hope and pray you  have a good support system.   We had friends bring meals for the first 3 weeks- my husband had to stay home with me (work at home)- so the meals were a huge help.  

    YOU WILL GET thRU thIS!!!

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