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Comments

Bonnie

Hi - it looks like comments on this blog have slowed way down, so I don't know if anyone is still out there - but this is Bonnie, and I'm writing with an update since I had surgery just about exactly a year ago. In short, I'm doing well, and I'm glad I did it. My ankle is strong and stable -- maybe a little weaker on the surgical side, but pretty good -- and I don't really have any pain. Occasionally I'll get a little achy if I have a very, very active day, and I do still wear an elastic brace because it will still swell a bit if I'm on my feet all day -- but those seem like small things relative to where I was a year ago. So: my advice is to ask lots of questions, find a surgeon you really trust, and then bite the bullet: the rehab is long and not all that fun, but you can go back to a life where you don't think about your ankle very much, and that's huge. Good luck to all!

Chris

I am interested if anyone recovered from their injury with conservative care. I injured my ankle on the ice in Dec. My ankle was not healing and I had an MRI. It showed that I had a 3.8 cm tear to the peroneal brevis tendon. I have seen 2 OS. The first surgeon referred me to an ankle/foot ortho specialist. I am shy of 3 months with this injury. He wants me to do at least 2 more months of conservative care before I decide to go with the surgery. He did administer a cortisone shot into peroneal area. At first I didn't notice anything change in the pain, then today I walked 2 miles and ran 1 and it I felt pretty good. My surgeon said the surgery is up to me. I have days with very little pain and then days when i am just walking with severe pain. Mostly the pain is when I step on my toes or put weight on the back of my foot. At times it is it achy and sometimes i get shots of pains shooting through it. It usually doesn't swell until the end of the day or after exercising. I can tolerate the pain but wonder if it will get worse over time?? My question is how do I make the decision to go through with the surgery?? The surgeon says I am a good candidate. He also said my ankle shows a little instabilty and if I do the surgery he would tighten up the ligaments. From what I am reading on this blog the recovery time is very long and intense. This is my right ankle and would not be able to drive. That alone really makes me not want to even consider the surgery. Do I live with the pain or go through with the surgery and hope for a full recovery?? Please any advice or past experiences. Thank you.

zena

Hi Chris, this is Zena, I had PBT repair in Feb. of 08. I thought I had sprained my ankle and nursed that and went to rehab which wasn't helping, then a MRI revealed the tear. My Dr. said if it was him or his mother, etc.... he would have it done. I continued to think about it and rehab, but nothing helped. It was very unstable. If I would step on a sidewalk crack it was quite painful. Also, it felt like a flipper, it didn't track right when I walked, it was too torn and loose. Mine was more unstable than painful. Although, it was always painful after over using it and maybe I just got used to the dull pain. I have to say I am glad that I had it done. It will never be back to 'normal' again, but is MUCH better than before surgery. It is a long haul, but figure that it is just one year out of many many more without always being worried about your ankle. I couldn't even walk on unstable ground, like hiking in the backwoods. Now, it's no problem. I am not limited at all. Mine was my right ankle, and I couldn't drive. Luckily a friend picked me up and drove me to work after I was able to return. I had a knee roller to get around and used that. You have to get one of those if you have surgery! It is too long to be on crutches. Plus, you are much more mobile and when u go someplace, you have the roller to prop you foot up on so it doesn't swell! It was really quite an ordeal, but was worth it in the end for me. Also, make sure to get a compression sock after you get out of the casts/walking boots, that will help keep the swelling down. If you want, I can give you more tips if you go thru with it. I had exercises that they taught me to do, so that I didn't go stir crazy. That is the worst, just laying around with your foot up. It couldn't be down for more than 10 mins or so, and it would pound and swell. I hope this helps. Good luck to you which ever way you choose.

Chris

Thanks Zena for sharing your experience with me. Your symtoms prior to your surgery sound very similar to mine. I also have difficulty walking on uneven ground and need to be very cautious while I am walking to make sure I don't step on any cracks or anything that lies in the road. My pain has become tolerable but I am always aware of it. I think I am just getting use to it. Most of my pain is behind my ankle and runs up the side of my calf.
I met with my surgeon a couple of weeks ago and he gave me all the details of the surgery. Basically, he told me, the decision is up to me to make. He would perform a Brostrom repair and a debridement with tubularization or a tendoesis of the tendon (depending on the size of the tear) and also perform an ankle arthoscopy. This seems like a lot to me. He also explain the recovery period which sounds very consistent with all the postings on this blog. This surgery weighs heavily on my mind everyday. I told him if i go through with it, I would do it either the end of May or middle of June. I am a teacher and have the summers off. In June I go on a time-share vacation every year. I'm thinking I will wait until I return from that. At least I could still enjoy part of the summer. I just want to make sure I would be well on my way to being recovered before I return back to school end of August. I am not giving up completely on conservative care yet. I have 2-3 months to see how it goes. From the odds of it healing, it does not sound good. Do you know anyone who has healed without the surgery?? Thanks for your imput. I really appreciate it.

zena

No, I don't know of anyone who recovered w/o surgery. I was told that if I would fall again, I could very well tear it completely thru, and then it would be much more difficult to repair. I could not step on cracks in the sidewalk either. And I was just thinking the other day that I can finally do that w/o any pain, becuz it is still a challenge for quite some time after surgery too. I was told I had 2 torn tendons and 3 torn ligaments, when he got in there, it was not that bad (luckily) and I had the debridement and tubularization. I had surgery Feb 08 and thinking back, I remember being on vaction in Sept at the beach and it was still a little difficult/painful walking in the sand at the beach. But after all that exercise walking in the sand, when I came home, it seemed to have progressed and wasn't as bad. I also was just putting up with it and adapting. I have to say that it took me awhile to get back to running, and the doc said I would only be able to go 1/2 as far as before, but I just ran 3 miles yesterday and it didn't bother me at all. I had some knee issues after being in the boot and walking funny (plus I had been in a car accident 5 yrs ago and took a direct hit on my kneecap) and that sometimes bothers me, but not my ankle! I know you are worried about the surgery, it is hard to deal with, the surgery and the recovery! My surgeon wanted to do it the following week, but I had to get my head together and ready for it. If I remember right, it was 8-10 weeks, something like that before I was walking well, and with a compression sock, I didn't have the swelling and pounding. It is quite an ordeal, but I am glad I did it and it's over. It's funny that they can't see exactly what is wrong in the MRI, they get in and find out exactly what needs to be done. With any luck, it won't be as bad as they think. I had alot of nerve issues after the surgery, possibly from the nerve block, but that has all gone away now. It took ahwile! Best of luck!

Chris

Thanks Zena. I have a couple month before I do the surgery if I go through with it. I now know what to expect and appreciate all you insight. I know the surgeon who will be doing it, is one of the best in the country. At least that is reassuring and gives me some comfort. I know it will be a tough summer but need to look down the road at the end result. Even today, as I was walking in the mall, every step caused me discomfort. More and more I am leaning towards the surgery. I will try to keep you posted. Thanks.

Bonnie

Dear Chris-
I feel your pain! I spent months doing conservative care and hoping I'd hear stories of people whose tendons healed themselves as a result -- but i never heard one story of a tendon healing itself. Once I realized that, then surgery didn't really seem like a choice -- I was modifying my activities and living very cautiously and basically becoming an old woman before my time! And was still worrying that i'd fall or twist my ankle or do something to rupture the tendon altogether (and that is a MUCH worse surgery). So: it stinks, no question about it -- it's just a real drag to be debilitated and dependent for, realistically, six weeks -- but when you compare six weeks of real inconvenience to the rest of your life being able to move and jump and run and do what you want without worrying, it's worth it. Good luck!

Chris

Zena,
One last thing, were you able to get back into high heels and flip flops after you were all recovered from surgery? I really enjoy wearing shoes/boots with heels, now I am very limited to what I can wear, especially when I am wearing the ankle brace. I miss not being able to wear cute shoes. I know I can live without but just hoping some day to get back into them.

zenabeans

Chris, I am smiling right now. It's the little things that count, isn't it??? (smile). I am 5'10 so I don't wear really high heels, but yes I am able to wear 1 or 2 inch heals without any trouble. 6 months ago, I would not have been able to. It really does take a year to recover completely! During my rehab, my physical therapist told me to go to a good shoe store in town here and have them do a foot analysis and get the most stable pair of sneakers they had! Which I did. And that helped lots. I also got foot orthotics thru my insurance company, they are quite expensive and my HMO paid all but $40 of the bill. But, if you have to pay for that yourself, I would say forget it. They were quite rigid and too bulkey to fit in 'cute' shoes anyways. I couldn't go barefoot for long right after I started walking on 2 feet again, but I just thought about it and I am barefoot around the house lots now. You will be fine......it's just gonna be awhile getting to that point again. I just passed my 1 year post surgery point in Feb! So keep those cute shoes!!

Chris

It sounds like you have recovered quite well. I understand it does take awhile.
That is the part I am trying to justify. I already have the orthodics, unfortunately, my insurance co. wouldn't pay for them. I did buy them anyway, because my good foot is starting to get very stressed from putting all the weight on it the last 4 months. They are fairly new and a bit uncomfortable, not sure if they will help heal my torn tendon but I was also told they would be beneficial after the ankle surgery. They were very expensive so I hope they were worth it. Thanks for all your support. It really helps sharing your thoughts with someone who's already been through the procedure.

zenabeans

Oh, for sure! I was so glad I found this site when I was searching the web for information! I was terrified about having that surgery and being laid up! It helps to hear from real people and not just stuff posted by Doctors and such. I still have days when my knee or my hip will hurt from not walking right. The orthotics take some getting used to. And I guess I never gave them the whole chance. I have high arches, which I am told most of us that have this surgery have. I never knew I did until this ordeal. The orthotics have such a high rise in the arch that it usually hurts my foot, cuz it is not used to having something pressing up there. But keep getting them adjusted till they feel right. You will know when the time is right to have surgery, and then afterwards, you will probably wish that you had done it sooner. I injured mine stepping in a hole in the yard and my ankle inverted, rolled to the outside, so that motion still bothered me till awhile ago. I was afraid that it was going to happen again before my ankle was strong enough. It is good that your surgeon is thinking of everything and planning on doing all that is needed. I was having some problems after surgery and my surgeon said he would/could go back in and groove it more for the tendon to lay better, that he wouldn't touch the tendon again, so it would not have the same recovery time. I remember I was sooooo mad at him!!!! Thinking he should have done this better the first time around. Well, as it worked out, it was just slow coming along and it wasn't an issue. Ligaments don't every heal, so they like to tighten those up too. Any more questions? Just ask!

richard

Alison,
Could you please aske your physician who in the Seattle and/or Tacoma WA region they recomend.
Are people returning to long distance running after this and running well?
Thanks for any feedback.

Chris

Zenna,
Don't know if you are still out there?? Just talked to my OS. We converse on the phone rather than me do an office visit, it is a 2 hour drive. I am going to try 4 weeks in a cam walker before I resort to the surgery. I want to do this last conservative treament before I commit to surgery. I am not sure if this is a waste of my time but he doesn't want me running or walking for 4 weeks. My ankle seems to feel alright (still not normal) when I do not do any form of exercise. I try to walk/run 3 1/2 miles 5 times a week. I do have surgery penciled in for July 8th. If I still have the achy pain I will go through with it. I know I am being very undecisive but this has been a very difficult decision to make. There are days my ankles feels pretty good then there are days I barely can walk. I just don't understand how that is. Thank you for hearing me outl. Have a great summer.

Chris

I am going in for ankle surgery in 2 weeks. I am having my ankle scoped, torn peroneal brevis tendon repair and possible brostrom ligament procedure. I am very nervous about it and hope I am making the right decision. I understand the healing process is slow. If anyone has any tips on making it a more comfortable and faster healing process, I would appreciate it.

zena beans

hi Chris, Zena here. I have to admit that there were days when my ankle didn't hurt as much as other days, but it was never 100 percent good. I wanted to believe that it was.....but it wasn't. I had to be so cautious on uneven terrain. My advice: make sure to keep that leg up, all the time! Have a cooler near you with snacks, lunches, liquids etc..... so you don't have to get up, except when necessary. Get a cryo cuff, it's a cooler thing with a cuff that fits around your ankle. Research it, it will help with the swelling! It's a little expensive. I had the cooler already from a prior surgery on my shoulder, so I just had to buy the ankle cuff. I prayed everyday for that UPS guy to show up at my door! (smile) I couldn't wait to get it and start icing it. Trying to hold an ice pack on an ankle is not easy. I did alot of floor exercises, like the bicyle, sit ups (with my feet up on the couch) and leg pumps. It helped with boredom to be doing something! Once I got the cast off and the stitches out, I started to massage the scar area, as it was quite raised, and under my PT's care, we worked on that alot, to keep the scar tissue down so it wouldn't bother me in a shoe. I also used a product called Tendon Rescue, which is an herbal formula from Peaceful Mountain and massaged that into my skin. My sister recommened Myo-tone from Enzamatic Therapy, as it had worked for her husband who had a torn ligament, and he did not have to have surgery...but, I took it regularly after surgery to help aid in the healing. WWW.enzy.com Check that out too. Most importantly, keep that leg up! Ice it! And do exactly what the Dr or PT says! Have lots and lots of pillows. I slept on my back with about 5 pillows or more so that my leg was supported all the way and way above my heart. The last pillow on top was a curved one that is an ergo pillow to support your neck, I turned it the long way and put my lower leg in the groove so it wouldn't roll off the pillows. (My husband said he didn't know how I could sleep like that!!) But, it was quite comfortable and secure. I can't think of anything else right now, but if I do, I will send it your way. Best of luck to you on the 8th!!!

Chris

Thank you so much Zenna for all the advice. I am gearing up for the surgery. Not nervous about the surgery itself more about the afterwards. I have 3 boys that are older and becoming more independent. I have told them over and over I will need their help. I think the biggest part is not being able to drive. How soon was it before you ventured out?? My son is playing in all-star tournament all week. If his team makes it to the finals, I was hoping to go. It is 6 days after the surgery. Is that too soon to go out? I plan on propping the leg up as much as possible. How long do you have to keep it propped up for?? I plan on asking my surgeon all these questions but always great to hear for a person who actually had the surgery. I will try to keep you posted on recovery. The good thing I have a wireless laptop.

zena beans

I ventured out the following week, I was being honored at a banquet for saving a life, so it was kind of important to me to go. My ankle throbbed. That is where I met a lady that had a 'knee roller', she let me use it to keep my leg up. It wasn't too bad being out that soon. Then I pretty much stayed in, except for Dr appts, it was winter here and snowing like crazy every day. It was too slippery and icey. I remember that my ankle swelled and pounded terribly for the first couple weeks or so. Remember, get a cryo cuff if you can. My surgery was in the beginning of Feb and I did not have my foot back in a shoe till probably April??? I can't remember for sure. I did not drive until May. I tried to use the laptop too, while laying down. (smile) After a bit, I would sit at the computer/desktop and I had a lumbar support that is inflated by blowing it up, and I put that on the floor and rested my foot on it, it actually felt good and I was getting a little pressure put back on it. I hope the best for you! Let me know how it goes! God Bless!

Chris

2nd day post op. The surgery went well. I had lots done. Surgeon scoped my ankle joint and scraped bone then he fixed my tendon. I had a tear in the brevis, which he fixed. He had to sew it and tie to the longus tendon. I am not sure the medical term for that procedure, then I also had a brostrom procedure done on my ligaments. I felt no pain until this morning. The nerve block wore off and I was in such intense pain I felt like I could throw up. It is feeling better this evening as I am trying to keep pain meds. up. How long does then very intense pain last for? Hoping no more than a few days. I see surgeon next week for follow up. Right now I have a big splint on.

zena

Hi Chris, I hope you are feeling better by now???? I know they told me to keep ahead of the pain, but I was too sick on pain meds so I remember just taking Tylenol OTC somewhere in the first week and I don't remember it being more than I could handle...just the first few days I think were bad. So hopefully you are passed that. How is it today? Did you get a cryocuff for icing? Icing is so important. Is it swelling up? I hope you are feeling much better! Did you see the doc already this week? Hang in there!

Chris

Chris here. It's been 11 days since my surgery. I am feeling much better now. The pain is now tolerable. I do get some intense shooting sharp pains off and on. I am sure that is to be expected. I did see the surgeon last week and he told me this was the worse tear he had ever seen. It was quite impressive he said. I am so glad I had the surgery. It was such a difficult decision to make but glad it's over with. I get the stitches out this Thur. I can't put any weight on it for 4 weeks. That is the most challenging part about this ordeal and, not being able to drive. I have mostly been crutching around the house. I try to go outside on my deck as much as possible. I live on a lake and it really helps to break up the day. I am keeping it iced as much as possible. A friend of mine loaned me her cryocuff. Although the last two days I have been slacking off. Overall, I would say it has not been as bad as I thought it would be but I have an amazing support system. Lots of friends and family making food and visiting me. On the other hand, I know this is just the beginning of my recovery and only can hope it continues to improve every day. I will let you know how I feel once I start putting weight on it. I am really nervous about how that will feel.

Zena

Chris, How are things going now? My computer has been done for about a month! You must almost be ready to put weight on your ankle now? I hope it's all going well!

Chris

I am happy to say I am doing much better. Zena, I have been in a boot for 2 weeks now and started putting weight on it after the first couple days. I ditched the cutches after about 4 days in the boot. Finally, I felt like I had some freedom. Started driving after that. It's really not that hard with the boot. I just break with my left foot. I also went back to work this week. Everything feels pretty good. Dr. said I need to stretch it 3-4 times a day. Only move it frontwards and back no side action. I will have to say it is very difficult to move without pain and very stiff. It is still pretty swollen but the incision is healing nicely. The plan is 2 get the boot off in 2 weeks. I hope to start therapy soon but dr. said 3 months out before therapy. I am going to ask to start at 2 months out. When did you start your therapy? Just wondering if it would be too soon to start but I feel like I need to start moving it more, it is so stiff. I will listen to dr. I will try to update you after next appt. in 2 weeks.

Zena

Good to hear things are going well! It was 8 weeks until I started therapy. I was anxious to get going also. Dr's know how to cut you open and fix things, but they know NOTHING about rehab. Once I got there, I progressed much faster. My incision/scar was very pronounced and raised. I asked the DR if I should massage it to break up the scar tissue, he said no. But in rehab they said YES and worked on it every day I came, massaging it with oil and getting the scar to break up (smile) There's the difference! And the scar is normal now. Otherwise, my shoe would rub on it now and that could be a problem. One of the best things that helped me was a wobble board. Rehab told me how to make one and my husband constructed one (it's so simple) a flat board with a dowell mounted in the middle. (like a see-saw) You can keep changing the dowell to a larger one making it harder. Then I went on EBAY and ordered one and I would use it while standing in the kitchen cooking, while I was watching TV, whenever I could sneak in some time doing something else. I rocked it back and forth and side to side, then the advanced step was to make the board do a complete circle. I remember the 1st time at rehab, it felt like I was trying to learn how to walk for the 1st time! :> I went right into the boot also, others have gone into a cast. I liked my option, as I didn't have to wear it when I was sleeping or sitting, just when up and about. You said you were a teacher, did school start yet? Keep in touch! Good Luck!

Rose

I am so glad that I found this blog! In January of 09 I fell and broke my foot. I have continued to have problems so I went to another Dr. and he did an MRI. Come to find out, I have a tear in Peroneous Brevis AND Peroneous Longus tendons. Fluid has accumulated in & around the sheaths of the tendons as well. I was so nervous and didn't know what to expect from the patients point of view. Thank you again for these postings. God Bless everyone and I hope that everyone heals well and with minimal pain.

Chris Wankum

I am now 6 months out and doing most everything. I still am doing physical therapy once a week doctor's order. I don't think my ankle will ever be the same. I still get pain if I step down too hard or bend it the wrong way. I need to be very cautious but overall it is stronger than what it was before surgery. Dr. keeps telling me full recovery can take 9 to 12 months. So I know I need to be patient. I did go skiing over Christmas and the ankle felt good in those tight boots. Only afterwards did the ankle swell and ache. The one piece of advice I give to anyone is to listen to your doctor. Do not try to over due it. If he tells you no weight on your ankle or no activity listen to him/her. I followed my dr. orders to a T and I progressed exactly as he said I would. Then at 4 months I started pushing it too much, excercising more than I should have been and I had a minor set back. Listen to your dr. and listen to your body. I kept thinking no pain, no gain. But that doesn't apply to the ankle. Make sure your are patient and let your body do the healing. Good luck to you Rose and my thoughts and prayers are with you. You will heal and as you look back it's not all that bad.

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