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
A year ago today I was rolled into the operating room for a complete ankle replacement. It had been over 40 years since I had taken a step without pain. My doctor said this would take care of that but the healing process would take a year to a year and a half to be fully healed. So the journey began.
I have to admit the first three days I was in intense pain and the pain pills did very little to alleviate the pain. On the fourth day I got some relief but I was still in a lot of pain. I was beginning to wonder if I had made the right choice.
I was on crutches longer than was expected because when he went to secure my new ankle to the leg bone the bone splintered and an extra screw was needed and the bone had to mend before I could put weight on it.
I received a new cast and then eventually a walking boot. There was still quite a bit of pain and I was experiencing a lot of swelling but I was on the road to recovery.
Six months went by then eight and then ten. I was still experiencing pain but there had been some progress.
I finally got where I could walk fairly well on flat ground but an incline or uneven ground was a challenge. After 11 months I still had pain at times but it was much better. I was really beginning to wonder if I made the right decision.
I finally made a decision to try the Blue Emu Oil with hemp and see if it would help. To my surprise it was quite effective and the pain began to melt away. I could actually walk without pain.
After a year I went down memory lane revisiting the ups and downs. I will admit that just 3 weeks ago I was wondering if the surgery had been worth it. Yes it was. It’s great to be able to walk without pain. I still have pain at times but I am confident in saying I will be fully recovered in the next six months.
After all the ups and downs it has been worth the pain to get to where I am today. I have started fly fishing again and hope to take my first big hike this weekend. If I had it to do all over again I would make the same choice. I no longer suffer from chronic pain.
Today was my last visit to the doctor’s office. My surgery was on October 7. It seems to be a success. No pain except for the healing pains.
The purpose of this blog is to share my experience with my complete ankle replacement so those having the same surgery could know what to expect.
I have to admit the first 3 days after surgery was tough. I had never been in this much pain. What had I done? Am I crazy?
Finally the pain began to subside. It was at least bearable. The crutches were a nuisance. Everything I did was a chore. Nothing was easy.
When he moved me up to the walking boot life was grand. I could do a lot more. I was even graining the horses. I did some trout fishing. The day after Christmas I graduated to a regular shoe.
This presented some problems. I was having to deal with a lot of swelling. Now I had to figure out how to get my foot in the shoe. Another problem was I was unable to use those muscles for 12 weeks and they were very weak. That made it hard to walk.
I take it day by day. There is improvement every day. It could take 8 months to a year to completely heal.
Would I do it again knowing what I know now? Absolutely! The benefits outweigh the tough times after surgery.
I hope this helps those who are considering going through the surgery. it’s a tough decision. I am glad I chose surgery.
One bad habit we seem to have is taking life for granted. Take my mobility away from me and I become lost. I panicked and I didn’t function right. So you can only imagine how excited I was when the doctor told me I could mothball the crutches. Woohoo! Yes! I am close to recovering my full mobility! One step at a time.
I decided to celebrate by visiting Lakeview Lake located in the Bonne Terre City Park. I arrived at 8 am and I am here to tell you it was the beginning of a beautiful day. The temp had already climbed into the 40s. I had purchased a new Orvis Encounter fly fishing combo and I was itching to try it out.
As I was working the fly outfit I realized I was still pain free. Life is good unfortunately the fishing wasn’t. There are benches that were installed around the park so I decided to park my fat arse on one of the benches and become a nature watcher. I had some ducks and geese who were eager to entertain me. They put on a performance worthy of an Emmy. I watched them for a good 45 minutes until the geese decided to take flight and terminate the performance.
I grabbed the Orvis and began fishing again but to no avail. The fish obviously weren’t willing to cooperate.
One reason I chose Lakeview for my first outing was because there is a paved walking track around it. It provides easier walking than the perimeter of the lake and I didn’t know if I would still have a hitch in my git along or if it would be a good day.
After 40 years of chronic pain I wasn’t really sure what to expect on my first outing. In the back of my mind every time I took a step I was sure I was going to be overtaken by a painful step but it never happened. Not one bad step. A little faith goes a long way when you believe.
I didn’t catch any fish but it was a very enjoyable day. I know I have a long way to go before I am completely healed but I am off to a damn good start.
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.
Day three and no problems so far. One thing i have learned is how important it is to keep my foot elevated. It keeps the swelling down for sure.
My biggest cocern was getting around. I had access to a walker and my insurance would pay for crutches. The crutches make it easier to navigate steps.
The pain was an 8 the first 3 days and today it has subsided a lot to a 2. I must confess I was a little worried because I had heard from a couple they had a real tough time. I hope I’m not jinxing myself.
So if you are thinking about getting a full ankle replacement all I can say is it isn’t going to be a cake walk. It is going to be tough. I plan on keeping you posted on my progress.
The day finally arrived. I had mixed emotions. Nervous, skeptical and hope. My accident happened in 1980. I crushed my heel, broke my ankle and broke my instep. That is when the pain started.
Fast forward to 2019 when I changed primary physician. He referred me to an orthopedic surgeon. He informed me ankle replacements had been happening for 25 years. He said he could help me so here we are.
It started at 10 am. Not sure when the surgery was finished but I awoke around 5:15 pm. I thought they were going to keep me but they decided to send me home. I guess one can really say this is where my journey begins.
I havent taken a step without pain for 40 years. I have lived with chronic pain. It wasn’t as bad in the beginning but it has got worse over the years. The surgery is supposed to take care of the pain. Time will tell.
Note: I plan on recording my recovery through my blog.