5 weeks Post Op…..FWB, well almost!

So another week bites the dust!

The wound seems to have dried and healed pretty well for the most part, except for about 1/2" of area right around the heel which is still scabby. I’ve also just noticed, in that general area, a small black spot surrounded by a dark grey area that feels tender to touch.  Not sure what it means, but am going to observe it a couple of days and see if it goes away. Thoughts/Suggestions?

The transition from PWB with 2 crutches to FWB is almost complete and was amazing in terms of the speed at which it progresses (I know some didn’t even have a transition ;-) ). Within a couple of days of my last post, I was able to walk around with 1 crutch….the key learning for me in that transition(after some frustrating attempts) was that you don’t just start your attempts with one crutch (as I tried), but rather start with 2 crutches and then while carrying them both try to gradually DECREASE the use of the one on the INJURED side (USE the crutch on the NON-INJURED side). I felt that this helped me overcome some mental reservations and build confidence though physically I felt I was quite capable of it.

From there on, the transition to 1 crutch was almost immediate, used the same trick and took a few steps by just lifting that one crutch I had……..Oh! what a feeling!!

Having said that, A few observations :

1. Walking too much early on with 1 or no crutch did result in some heel pain (as well as some occasional pain on the shin) at which point I would back-off and rest or use 2 crutches for longer distances, climbing stairs, etc.

2. Walking around without crutches around tight spaces or while turning is still a little shaky (balance) and so I continue to carry 1 crutch and use it for longer distances, for climbing stairs, or when I am outside the house, etc

3. While standing with no support, I still feel I am using my uninjured foot to take on a larger share of the load and so am trying to make a conscious effort to address that as well as some back pain during extended periods.

I guess the goal over the next few weeks will be to increase the distance/time without crutches while minimizing the pain and improving the balance. Other than that, I am thinking of attempting stair climbing (lifting off on the injured leg) without crutches and may be even an attempt to balance (taking all precautions to arrest a fall) on just the injured leg. Wouldn’t that be total FWB?. Does that make sense? Thoughts? Suggestions? Concerns?

With work starting to take off and with after-school activities for kids ramping up, would be nice to know when I could start driving again. I still have 3 weeks before I see the OS and am not sure if I may be allowed to drive with my right leg at that point, given I have not been prescribed any PT yet. I am now starting to research options for driving including using a contraption that was mentioned by ctcbusted (see link http://www.plfa.org/). Anyone in Georgia use this? Is it legal? Safe? Thoughts? Concerns? Suggestions?

As I look forward to these and other challenges ahead on this long road, I am thankful for the progress to date (and getting my hands back) and to all on this blog a big THANK YOU for just being there as a sounding board, sharing your stories,  your accomplishments, your frustrations, your suggestions, your debates, your cautions and your encouragement. Appreciate it!

13 Responses to “5 weeks Post Op…..FWB, well almost!”

  1. Not too sure bout your protocol but by 8 weeks many of us have just gone into 2 shoes, and within a few days started to drive again. How long would you be using the fancy gadget for?

  2. Re. Black spot, could maybe be stitch coming through, normally harmless, sometimes not. Was just discussed a little In beachy12’s blog under “Stitch coming out”.

  3. As soon as you can get around crutch-less, you’re FWB.
    And what they said.
    Shin pain is normal and almost desirable - but you could add padding. Pain under the heel is normal and can be addressed with padding (gel footbed) and exercise (roll over a tennis ball or a frozen water bottle) and rest. Pain behind the heel is a sign to back off until it’s gone, IMO.
    Otherwise, if it feels OK it’s probably OK, but stay INCEMENTAL.

  4. Erm, INCREMENTAL!

  5. I’m smiling as I say this…It appears to me that you are at the stage so many of us go through…you are starting to get mobile…it’s exciting after so much sitting around, it’s so freeing, and you want it all back…NOW…ha ha…patients my friend. It will all come. You’ll see how much more you’ll progress just over the next few weeks…I promise you will climb stairs again, balance on that leg, and yes, you will drive…you’ll do it in your own time frame when your body is ready.

  6. All, thanks for the comments suggestions…..and yes slow is good…..

    Here’s some quick updates….the black spot with the grey area near the wound seemed to get worse and infected and was draining some puss, so spoke to the doctor’s office and was asked to clean it up and keep it clean and dry. Could be a rejected suture or an infected hair follicle, hmm? Does not seem to have affected the incision but something to keep an eye on.

    Also, over the last couple of days was walking around crutch-less (and may have done a bit too much or it may be completely unrelated) but since last night started experiencing some occasional pain/spasms that seem to start at the heel and travel up the side of the heel through the tendon up the leg. Seems random but more frequent when the injured leg is on the ground rather than elevated (though have experienced it then as well). It’s a short burst, comes and goes within seconds. Also feel that it’s preceded by an involuntary muscle action around the plantar facia…..any thoughts, suggestions?

    Norm the gel footbed you mention is it off-the shelf (Dr. Scholls?), wouldn’t it add thickness to the two heel wedges in my boot and change the angle? or does it go full length?

  7. Not sure about that suture issue but that pain seems to be of the “zings, zags” variety that just kind of happen once more consistent pressure is put on the foot. That was my deal when I was PWB, which I’ll be attempting again next week!

    Maybe dial it back and ice it a bit today/tonight and ease back into it tomorrow/weekend?

  8. On the suture issue, you should go in and get it looked at. I did the “keep an eye on it” routine for a month and it just would not get better. It was only once I went in and got the fiberwire cut back that it healed. The month of waiting delayed my abilty to really begin pushing myself, as the suture spot hurt and always seemed on the verge of getting infected. Once they cut it back, things improved aslmost immediatly!

  9. SquashedAT, drug stores sell small gel pads and full-length gel footbeds. The former change your ankle angle and the latter don’t. But they do raise your foot even higher off the floor, which could make your walking more lopsided, needing an EvenUp or similar. Fortunately the footbeds come in PAIRS, so if you’re even before the footbeds…

  10. SquashedAT

  11. SquashedAT - I’m just a couple of weeks behind you - 23 days after surgery and have started PWB to FWB over the next couple of weeks. My Dr. also prescribed early PT treatment this week which has helped quite a bit. I was a little skeptical at first but this first week, my ROM has increase 8 degrees in my ankle. I’m not allowed to go past 90 degrees but I can tell a big difference with the movement of my ankle and Achilles.

    As I am increasing weight on my hurt leg, I feel some of the same sensations that you talk about in your post. I’m also very eager to get back to driving since it would take a load off of others who are doing a great job in taking care of me and driving me to and from work. I appreciate your post - it helps me to know what to expect over the next couple of weeks. Good luck with your recovery!

  12. Squash, I’m 4 months post surgery. I, like you still have a thumb sized area towards the heel on the scar that has not healed properly. I have had no infections, just not closing all of the way. OS referred me to plastic surgeon who prescribed Silver Sulfedene (sic) which is a paste and this has helped somewhat but not a cure-all. I also had the nerve pain like you which was very intense at times. This was diagnosed as a symptom of my plantar facia I had some years ago. Guess when your foot is angled to such a downward degree for such a period of time post surgery (in cast and in boot), it impacts the plantar. I have been doing plantar exercises (rolling tennis ball and frozen coke bottle for example) and this has helped a lot. Good luck,,

  13. CJ81….thanks for the note, will try and provide an update this weekend…good luck to you as well.
    Rivaridge…..yes I too have a small 1 cm area that’s not closed yet, may need to talk to my OS next week and see what they suggest. And yes, I too had plantar fascitis and figured that that may be the cause….PF/DF 3x/day seemed to help with that….thanks for the note.

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