Tomorrow, October 7th will be two years since I had my complete ankle replacement surgery. The recovery hasn’t been that easy but I was able to get through it. I still have some pain and I am always battling the inflammation. However it is bearable and a far better place than where I was.
I don’t have the chronic pain like I had, so my quality of life has improved. I have been doing some hiking trying to build back up to where I use to be. I can do a moderate trail with very little problems but tried one difficult trail and it didn’t go as well as I was hoping. Maybe next year. The healing process goes on.
Even with the swelling and some pain, I am much better off than I was before the surgery. I am at least hiking and I am fly fishing again. All in all the surgery was worth it and I would do it again. I am once again enjoying camping and some hiking.
I am not going to sugar coat it. The recovery is tough. Don’t ever think it is going to be a walk in the park. It feels good to be able to do things
I had a doctor’s appointment on November 20 and my doctor was sick and had to cancel. I made a new appointment for November 23.
I went in anticipating that I would lose the crutches. Wrong! I would have to suffer through another 2 weeks of crutches. I was so disappointed.
Had doctor’s appointment today. Had to get another x-ray. The doctor said he was very happy with my progress. I am at 8 weeks and ready to ditch the crutches. He finally told me I could get rid of the crutches but have to use the boot for 3 more weeks. I was ecstatic when he told me.
When he attached my new ankle to my medial malleolus, I think that’s what he said, splintered and he had to put another screw in and the x-ray showed it was healing really well. That was some really good news.
The first three days I had a lot of pain. Now that that is behind me I can honestly say I don’t have any more pain. I wake up in the mornings and my ankle isn’t hurting I lie there thinking am I awake or am I dreaming.
All things considered would I go through everything again? Yes I would. For the first time in 40 years I can take a step without pain.
Had my second post op doctor visit on 10/30. It was 23 days after the surgery. I was hoping to get the cast off and to be able to walk but it wasn’t going to happen this visit.
I got to the doctors office (4th floor) to only find out I was supposed to have the x-ray done first so it was off to the lobby again. Once the x-Rays were done it was back off to the fourth floor.
As far as my recovery there was very little pain in this two week cycle. What pain I had was bearable. The worse pain I experienced was definitely in the 3 days after surgery.
Once there they rolled me into the cast room and removed my cast. YES!!! Damn I needed that. Then the doctor removed the 25 stitches. The doctor had to place a screw horizontally to attach the replacement ankle to my leg and he doesn’t want me putting weight on it yet. However he did remove the cast and put me in a walking boot. I guess you can say I am half way where I wanted to be. So far the worse pain was the 3 days following surgery. The boredom really sucks but all in all the experience hasn’t been too bad but that is still dependent on how well the surgery worked to end my constant pain. Time will tell.
When I began my journey to full ankle replacement I had so many questions that I couldn’t get answers to. I talked to a couple people who had had it done but they really didn’t help much.
After some thought I decided to record my journey and do a series of blogs outlining my recovery. I figured those who were thinking about having the surgery could maybe get some of their questions answered to help them in the decision process.
First off a little history about myself. 66 years old, 6 feet tall, overweight (250 lbs) with high blood pressure. Retired farrier. Injury happened in 1980 crushed heel, broke ankle and broke instep. Never took a step without pain since it happened. Lived with chronic pain for 40 years. Warning: some of the photos are graphic
Surgery was 10/07 and I had my follow up doctor visit today 10/15. Cast was removed. The incision looked good and the doctor was pleased.
After a thorough examination Doctor Sloan informed me that I was to return in 2 weeks at which time he would remove new cast and I would begin physical therapy. He then applied the new cast.
My thoughts on the first week. I know everyone has a different pain threshold. Mine has always been relatively high. Ten years ago I was kicked by a horse and I incurred 2 broken ribs and a bruised spleen and was shoeing horses 3 days later. Pain chart I am using 1 is little pain, 10 horrible pain. They used a nerve block on me which lasted almost 14 hours so that helped. The first 3 days my pain grade bounced between a 4 and an 8. I am not going to kid you. It hurt like hell, but it was bearable. By day 4, 5, and 6 the pain began to ease considerably. I still had my moments but they were fewer and farther between. On days 6, 7 and 8 I only took 1 pain pill each day.
My biggest mistake was not losing weight and I had plenty of time to do that and didn’t do it. I couldn’t put any weight on my foot so my arms, shoulders, left leg and foot were taxed heavily when I needed to go mobile. Then figure in my age with this it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out if I would have dropped 40 pounds it would have helped my predicament a lot. I also should have done some upper body strength exercises. Even though I had plenty of time I didn’t do either. Two things that would have cost me nothing but would have benefited my endeavor immensely. Lesson learned!
That pretty much sums everything up. If you decide to get the surgery don’t be a Wayne, use your brain instead. I know, I wish I would have.
“The art of healing comes from naturenot from the physician. Therefore the physician must start from nature, with an open mind. “ – Paracelsus
One thing I didn’t give much consideration and I wish now I would have, is physical strength. Presently I can’t put any weight on my right foot. At 66 years old it has produced a little bit of a problem. I have to use my upper body strength to get up and down. I am managing but wear out quickly. I would recommend working on your upper body strength to make moving around and walking easier.
As far as pain I can report that it hasn’t been real bad. I talked to two people who had went through the surgery and had a battle with pain. They are healed up and life is good for them with their new ankles. My first couple days I ran around an 8 on the pain scale but stay around a 2 now. What I call the “healing itch” has started and I am treating it with Benadryl and it seems to be working fine.