Monday, November 2, 2015

More than 2 years after surgery

September 2015 marked the second anniversary of the surgery on my second foot. I could not be happier. Sure, I have a twinge now and then and sometimes my feet ache for a minute or two, but compared to what I used to have to endure, this is really nothing.

Before I had the surgery, I never knew when a piece of gravel would send me plummeting to the ground. The slightest irregularity would cause me to turn my ankle and fall, usually scraping my hands and knees, sometimes with bloody results.

Before I had the surgery, I had such crippling plantar fasciitis that I couldn't even walk from the car to my office - about 2 blocks - and had to take time off work. I slept with my foot in a splint every night, but it had no effect. Orthotics did nothing to relieve the agony and I mean *agony*. Painkillers did not even take the edge off. My quality of life seriously compromised.

When the surgeon implanted the stent, I had this sudden feeling of "rightness" - I do not know how else to explain it. My foot, my leg, my whole body, finally felt right - and I had not even taken a step.

Recovery was a breeze. The pain associated with the surgery and the recovery was nothing compared to what I had suffered before. I started walking with the boot immediately - I walked out of *surgery* completely unassisted. Throughout my recovery for both feet, I never had to use crutches. I was even able to do my groceries in the boot.

The plantar fasciitis went away almost immediately, never to return. My chronic hip and back pain was greatly lessened. Today, I can walk the dog for an hour, twice a day in addition to doing all my normal activities - in high heels - and I feel no pain at all.

I am so sorry to hear that many of you have not had the wonderful results that I have and I sincerely hope that you can find relief for your pain. For me, the Hyprocure stent, so far at least, has been nothing short of miraculous and I am so grateful to have my life back.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

8 months post surgery

There is still a bit of morning stiffness, but I find if I do 10 ankle circles in each direction before getting out of bed, the stiffness disappears. My right foot hurts a bit, especially after a long walk, but not with the blinding intensity it used to and not in the same place. It hurts more around the arch of my foot, which, come to think of it, makes sense, because those muscles are not used to being in that position.

My left side, the side I had done in September, aches at the ankle, knee and hip, most likely because of my new alignment. A couple of ibuprofen takes care of it. I figure once the muscles have adapted, the pain will eventually disappear.

If the shoes I wear are too tight, my feet hurt a bit more - and I get the numb feeling I used to get. But I think that this is a separate though related problem of nerve compression that developed over the many decades that I walked, ran (I used to be a regular jogger) and did high impact aerobics (I was an instructor) on talotarsal dislocated ankles. Ouch. The numbness is nothing like I had before, but if there was permanent damage, the stent is not going to fix that. In any case, it is very minor and not at all painful. Just strange to have your foot fall asleep while you are walking on it!

I was told that total healing takes one year so I am looking forward to the anniversary of both surgeries. But, to be honest, even if this is the best I ever get, it is so enormously better than it was at this time last year, when I had to take time off work because I could not face walking from my car to the office, that I will still be extremely grateful to have the stents implanted. The surgeries changed my life.

I encourage those of you who have a had this surgery to post here and those of you who are considering the procedure to post your questions. I have absolutely no affiliation with any doctors or with the Hyprocure people. My views are entirely my own.

I will try to check in more often and answer questions in a more timely manner.  Until then - keep well!

Monday, November 11, 2013

8 weeks post op on left ankle - 14 weeks post op on right ankle

I can walk the dog again! 30 minutes and no pain anywhere! If I go past 45 minutes, though, my left ankle really starts to hurt, so I have to be a bit more patient. My right ankle doesn't hurt at all anymore, so I figure in 6 more weeks, neither ankle will bother me at all. Wow!

One strange thing I have noticed is that the second toe on each foot is really sore. At first I thought it was in-grown toenails - there's a first time for everything, after all. But then I remembered back to my first visit to the podiatrist, where he showed me my x-rays and how my body was aligned, as opposed to how my body was *supposed* to be aligned. In properly aligned bodies, the weight is aligned over the second toe. Mine was doing weird stuff that was resulting in the bone of my big toe starting to get deformed into what would eventually have become a bunion. Is it a coincidence that proper alignment puts more stress on my second toes and the fact that my second toes have started to hurt? I think not. 

My second toes are actually the most painful part of this whole journey at this point. If they don't start feeling better within the next month or so, I'm going to see if my podiatrist can do something to help me. But I feel pretty confident that the toes will soon get used to their new role and the pain will recede.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

1 week post op left foot - 8 weeks post op right foot

I had my first post-op appointment  for my left ankle with the doctor yesterday and everything is going perfectly. He showed me Before and After x-rays and pointed out the corrected structure (Lazy S, he called it).There was a tiny trace of bruising and just a little swelling. Other than that, it's perfect.

It hardly hurts at all, but of course, I'm still in the big Velcro boot and don't walk very much at all. It will be more interesting after I get the stitches out next week and can walk without the boot.

To any of you thinking of having this surgery, the most important thing is the recovery. KEEP THE BOOT ON 24/7. STAY OFF YOUR FEET. ICE AS IF IT WERE A RELIGION. Yes, the boot is cumbersome and hard to sleep in. Wear it anyway - your ankle must not have any lateral motion for 2 weeks and when you're asleep, you can't control what position your foot is in. Yes, sitting (or better yet, lying) with your feet elevated for a week is boooooorrrrring - so stock up on DVDs, get a Netflix subscription, catch up on your reading. It's only for a week, you can do it. Yes, icing seems pointless, but it really isn't. Icing reduces inflammation which speeds healing. Do it 30 minutes out of every 60 for at least 3 days and then 3 times a day minimum for the next week. You'll be glad you did. And finally, once everything feels good, start walking again gradually. Halfway around the block is plenty, even if you feel you can walk 10 miles. Build up incrementally. Going too far too soon results in pain and inflammation and can put you back in bed with your feet up and ice wrapped around your ankle. Show some restraint - you've waited this long, just be patient as your body adapts to the new structure in your ankles. You'll be glad you did!

My right ankle is pain free and the plantar fasciitis is almost gone. Knee pains are a thing of the past. I have signed up for yoga and Pilates classes in the new year and can hardly wait to start walking the dog again. Once I can safely take the boot off, I am going start using the stationary bike in the basement so I don't feel that I have to get my exercise walking.

This surgery has given me my life back and I am so grateful.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Stitches out and boot off!

Yesterday, 15 days after the procedure, my stitches came out. It was the most painful part of the procedure! I acted as if I were 4 years old. What can I say, I hate pain!!

The only dressing is a large Band-Aid. I still can't shower - have to wait another 4 days until the holes the stitches were in heal. But then, finally, a nice hot shower.

I can walk without the boot in a regular running shoe. When it starts to hurt I should rest. That's it. Because my plantar fasciitis is so bad, I am wearing an AirCast AirHeel ankle brace to cushion my arch until it heals.

My ankle hurts a little, kind of like a mild sprain (with which I am extremely familiar).

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

11 days post-op

The Hyprocure stent was inserted almost 2 weeks ago. The procedure was done in my podiatrist's office  - my foot was frozen but I didn't receive any other medication. The whole thing took less than 90 minutes - and I walked out of the office with my foot in a rigid cloth boot with Velcro straps.

I was given an antibiotic and a combination pain killer/anti-inflammatory and told to ice 30 minutes out of 60 for the first 48 hours. Walking was restricted to bathroom breaks for the first 48 hours.

Not only have I felt no pain since the procedure, but during the procedure, when the stent was placed in its final position, my ankle felt better than it had ever felt in my life!

7 days after the procedure, I went for my first post-op appointment. The nurse removed the dressing and we saw that there was very little bruising or swelling - it is healing beautifully. I can now take the boot off to drive, to do range of motion exercises and to sleep. Yahoo!

My next appointment is this Friday when my stitches will be removed and I will be given an ankle brace that is to be used with regular shoes. 2 weeks after the procedure and I will be in regular shoes! Wow!

My plantar fasciitis is virtually gone and I can walk without the boot without any pain. I have reasonably good range of motion - it hurts a little bit when I rotate my foot towards center.

Overall, this has been a really positive experience and I am looking forward to having my left ankle done in September.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

2 weeks pre-op

I suffer from partial talotarsal dislocation in both ankles. I'm 54 years old and just found out about this a couple of months ago thanks to a very sweet Jack Russel terrier named Gracie who I was doggy sitting for my sister-in-law. In just two weeks I am going to have a Hyprocure stent inserted in my right ankle and if all goes well, about 6 weeks after that, I will have another one inserted in my left ankle.

Maybe you are considering having the same procedure  - this blog is for you. This is going to be an impartial blog that you can trust - I'm not being paid by Hyprocure or a podiatrist. If you're like me, you want to hear about first hand experiences, good and bad, and that is what I am going to write about in this blog.

I started spraining my ankles just about as soon as I could walk. I couldn't ice skate because if I tied the skates tight enough so that my ankles were stable, the circulation to my feet was cut off. I have lost count of the times that I have twisted my ankle on a stone no bigger than a piece of gravel and gone headlong into the pavement, ripping out the knees in my pants and scraping the palms of hands.

As I got older, I started having pain in my back, so I went to a chiropractor who advised me that my pelvis was tilted, my shoulders uneven and my spine twisted. I had multiple adjustments that did absolutely nothing to alleviate my pain.

Then I began to have pain in my hip joints - it felt like they were going to pop out of their sockets. And one of my hamstrings was so tight that I was sure I had pulled it. For my hip pain, I received Active Release Therapy, a type of very painful massage. It didn't resolve my hip pain, although it did give me a set of very attractive bruises.

Through all of this, I just gritted my teeth and kept teaching aerobics and jogging 3 miles a day, until one day, I just couldn't do it anymore, so I just stopped exercising for a while, figuring that a bit of rest would solve everything.

After a couple of years of rest, and a weight gain of about 50 lbs, I agreed to look after Gracie for 3 months when my sister-in-law was out of the country. Gracie needed to be walked and so did I - I decided that both of us were going to get back in shape. I quickly worked up to walking between 5 and 8 miles every day. I reasoned that my feet hurt so much because I was so heavy and so out of shape and that if I just kept at it, it would get easier.

After Gracie left, I kept up the regime. My Achilles tendons hurt so much I would be in tears half-way through my walk. My feet would fall asleep while I was walking. Finally, one morning when I got up I had a stabbing pain in my right heel. After I had been up for a while, it went away, but it would come back after I had been sitting for a while. Research on the Internet convinced me that it was plantar fasciitis and I started doing the recommended stretching and icing as well as always wearing shoes, both indoors and out.

The plantar fasciitis, despite all my stretching and icing, got so bad that I finally went to see a podiatrist. As I gave him my history, I could tell that he had heard it all before. He took some x-rays of my ankles and nodded - it was just as he had suspected -- I had partial talotarsal dislocation in both ankles. This was the source of all of my foot, leg, and back pain, as well as my twisted spine and uneven shoulders. He told me that orthotics might help, but he doubted it. But, he said, a little surgery could fix my problem permanently. I guess he saw my eyes widen at the word "surgery" - that word certainly startled me. He agreed to start with orthotics and if they did the trick, then I could skip the surgery.

I have had the orthotics for nearly 4 months now. They have been of little help. Although I was able to relieve the plantar fasciitis with a splint I wore every night, the soles of both feet now hurt so much that I can barely hobble from my car to my office. Walking my dog, even around the block, is out of the question. The ache in my ankles and feet doesn't go away completely, even when I'm sitting down, even when I take Tylenol or Aleve. Icing doesn't help. Massage doesn't work. The pain wakes me up and I can't get back to sleep. I'm so tired and sore that I feel like I'm a hundred years old.

So I am really looking forward to having the stent inserted. I'm a bit apprehensive about the post-op pain and immobility, but I can't imagine how it can be worse than what I'm feeling right now. And even if it is worse at first, as I recover, the pain should lessen.

The procedure costs $3500 per foot and is not covered by OHIP, which is the Ontario health insurance plan. It is not covered by my private insurance either, which has a limit of $300 per year for podiatry services. So it's coming out of my pocket. But it's a small price to pay if I will be able to walk normally again.