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I'm writing this out for anyone who might find themselves in my situation I the future.
So I am five and 1/2 months out from two surgeries for my trimalleolar fracture and dislocation. I had an external fixator for three days, and then that was removed and I had ORIF surgery.
At first everything seemed to be healing on schedule. We all know how painful and tedious the experience is, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. So I was thrilled when the surgeon said my bone was healed and I could fully weight bear. I did ask him why, after three months, my foot ruled a brilliant red/purple when I put it to the floor and was told it would get better when the muscle in my calf regained its strength and could pump the blood back up toward the heart.
Well, all of the excitement of the bone healing was lost because it was still so painful to walk. Because every time I put my foot down, it turned a brilliant red and started to swell a bit and throb. Soon, it was just the foot and ankle, but the whole calf that turned color. Ten minutes on my feet was all I could bear before I had to put my foot up to get relief. Within one minute of my foot being up the color goes back to normal, and the heavy, throbby feeling goes away.
I was very sure that I had venous reflux. It just made sense. When I put my foot down, it turned red because the blood pooled instead being pushed back up. So I made an appointment with a Vascular Specialist. Blood clots had already been ruled out by doplar scans, but usually it is minor arteries that cause the problem.
After extensive testing I recieved a really surprising diagnosis. My blood pumps perfectly fine, so it is not a vascular issue. It's a nerve issue. Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. What?! While I have pain from my injury, it is nothing like the pain usually described by sufferers. I can put a blanket on my foot etc. And the color gets better when I put it up!
CRPS is when an injury damages your Sympathetic nervous system. Crazily enough I had been having crazy symptoms that I was blaming on perimenopause and had no idea they were related. My hair, since the injury, turned brittle and just terrible. My blood pressure was fluctuating and at times higher than its ever been. Even a slight exertin had my face bright red and I was sweating like I never have in my life. Your Sympathetic nervous system runs your flight or flight response, so if it's hyper active, you will reach that state with much less stimuli than it normally would take.
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