Saturday, June 7, 2014

Total Ankle Replacement 1 Year/6 Month Update – Good News And Bad News

Yesterday I made the trek into DC to see my surgeon for my 1 year (left ankle) and 6 month (right ankle) check up.  My original appointment wasn't for another month, but considering the pain I've been in, and the lack of progress, they wanted to see me earlier.

If you've been following along with my progress, then you know that I've plateaued in the past few months.  Since March, I haven't been able to do more than 10 minutes on the treadmill without being in a ton of pain.  Seems like 10-15 minutes on my feet is the absolute most I can do, and by then I'm hurting like a mofo.



The Good News

My ROM (range of motion) is great.  And looking at some newly taken x-rays, it seems like the implants are healing up nicely.  Everything concerning the ankle joint is perfect.  My surgeon was very happy with his work :)

I explained to my doc that I still can't be on my feet for more than 10 minutes without being in pain and asked why that would be.  And then came the bad news...

The Bad News (with a little Good News (sorta) sprinkled in)

The bones in my feet are shit!  Because of my condition (SED—aka: shitty bone disease) I have severe arthritis in my feet.  I'm looking at future surgery on fusing a few of these bones in order to help with the pain.  When I heard the word “fusion” I freaked out.  At first I thought he was talking about fusing my new cyborg ankles that I just busted my ass for a year to get to work right.  But he assured me that it's not my ankles he's talking about, but my feet.  Apparently ankles and feet are separate things...duh! :P  Doc says that fusing the bones in my feet won't affect my ROM because any ROM that I would have had in these bones is already gone.  I asked if my walking would be affected and he said that it would probably be better since I won't be in pain.

The circled pen marks are the spots where he'd do the fusions.
Now, he won't really get into the knitty gritty of the surgery just yet.  He wants to see me back in 6 months for my one year anniversary on ankle #2.  If I'm still having pain at time, then I'm thinking this foot-bone-fusing discussion will happen then.

So I'm looking at another surgery in the near future, but it should help with my pain...that's the sprinkle of good news just in case you missed it :)

What do I do now for my feet pain?

He's hoping that my new orthotics will help relieve some of my pain.  Since I've only had them a week, it's still too early to tell.  My husband asked how long it would take to see some improvement with the orthotics and Doc said for a “normal” person it usually takes about six weeks...but for me he thinks I'm looking at a couple of months.  Either way, this is a longer time frame than Ryan (the orthotics fitting dude) gave me.  Oh well.  Fingers crossed!  Anyone else have orthotics?  If they've helped, how long did it take for them to start helping?

Doc is also prescribing some compound pain cream to rub on my feet twice a day.  I have some pain cream that I use on my neck (to read about my neck problems click here) and this sounds like a similar cream.  The cream I have helps with my neck, so hopefully this new one will help with my feet.

I'm also supposed to start actually taking my Celebrex twice a day as it's prescribed.  On the bottle, it says to take one pill once in the morning and once at night.  Well, I try to take as little medicine as possible so I usually only take it at night.  I guess now I'll change it to twice a day and just suck it up!

Figuring it couldn't hurt to ask, I asked if cortisone injections would help at all with the foot pain.  Doc basically laughed out loud.  Apparently my bones are so shitty that they'd react to cortisone with a "bitch please!"  Oh joy!

At least I have some answers now as to why I haven't been getting any better.  It's always worse when you don't know what's wrong.  Don't you think?

To read about my full ankle replacement journey, please click on the Total Ankle Replacement tab.  

I'm happy to answer any questions that you may have.  Please comment below, or email me privately at:


  1. I'm so glad you got the answers you've been in search of--and now you can start taking measures to set you in the right direction. It might take time, but at least you're heading toward relief instead of stalling and wondering if you'd ever get better.

    1. I agree Stephanie...I definitely feel better knowing what's wrong and having some kind of plan of action. Now, let's hope the plan works!

  2. Knowing is better than not knowing, most of the time...
    You've got some time to decide, but it's my advice to be careful with fusion. I have a fused wrist and had horrid complications that only 8 years later are resolved, due to the Feldenkrais curing the CRPS. As always, will talk :-) Just my two cents. It did seem like you were asking...if not, just ignore me. I just can't help sharing what I've been through.
    Orthodics didn't work for me at all.
    Tina @ Life is Good
    On the Open Road! @ Join us for the 4th Annual Post-Challenge Road Trip!

    1. No way I'm ignoring you and your advice Tina! I appreciate people's opinions (even when I don't agree). I love that you feel comfortable enough to share your experiences...keep it coming lady!

  3. I wear orthotics also. I have had ankle pain on and off for a while. I don't have the cool ones you do (but my husband does) as my insurance won't pay for them unless I'm diabetic. And, well, I don't want to go on a sugar binge just to get that diagnosis. :P So, I went to the Good Feet store and got theres. It's helped. Though, when I tried to stand at the day job, I got plantar fasciitis and had to wear a heal cushion, and sit, until it went away. Now if only I could get a treadmill desk.....

    Anyway, it's so good to hear you're healing nicely. It's not so good to hear about your pain. But the positive is that there IS a fix! Hopefully you will be able to stand/walk more over the next few months. And hopefully, the next surgery will help give you some relief!

    Jamie Dement (LadyJai)
    Caring for My Veteran
    Be Positive in Life and Writing

    1. Thanks for all the kind words Jamie. The orthotics are helping a little bit...but I'll take it!

  4. I really feel for you. Just curious, have you tried acupuncture? I'm wondering if that would help.

    1. I go for acupuncture treatments every it!