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Foot & Ankle Problems Message Board

Foot & Ankle Problems Board Index

Hi all,

Looking to see if anyone else has had this proceedure done and the recovery time. Some background: I shattered my navicular bone and dislocated it from the Talo-navicular and Navicular/cuneiform joints two and a half years ago. I underwent ORIF to have it placed, but a lil over a year later had it fused. The fusion didn't take leading to yet another fusion with bone graft 9 months later. Currently, I'm just coming off my weight restrictions, but am still unable to put more than 40lbs on it in a sitting position (currently 14 weeks post op). I've been experiencing severe pain in my medial ankle that feels like someone is taking a white hot branding iron and shoving it into my ankle. I should state that this was not something I felt until after the 2nd fusion. Also, I have a sharp stabbing pain in my mid-thigh area. All I'm getting from the doctor is that I should be progressing faster and since the fusion took (confirmed via CT) I shouldn't have anymore pain...

Anyone that's been through this have any ideas/suggests/advice?

I haven't been through your particular injury or fusion, but i have been dealing with foot/ankle trouble for about 10 years now.

After my first fusion (ankle) I continued to feel horrible pain. My dr kept saying - ankle's fused - it can't hurt anymore. I felt soooo frustrated! I sought a second opinion (brand new ortho doc with no experience while the dr treating me is a well known expert in the area) who just said "it takes a long time for a fusion to heal. It looks like you are on the right path." Finally, after two years of our normal back and forth about my pain I actually marked on my foot/ankle where it hurt. My dr just looked at me and said, "Well, that isn't your ankle - that's your subtalar joint." As though I should have known... ;)

That is not the only time I have felt your frustration. It seems orthopedic surgeons (at least most of them) judge success of the treatment simply by xray and they don't appear to include the clinical exam as well as the patient's complaints of pain. I believe this is because they wait until the known healing period before they start looking for other causes of pain.

It can be extremely frustrating, but continue to tell your dr about your pain. Try keeping a pain diary about what causes the pain and what makes it better. Share these details with him as they may help him see things through your eyes or at the very least to see a relationship that may help him identify the cause. If none of these things work (or if you are already past this point) find someone for a second opinion. Sometimes a fresh set of eyes is all you need. :)

Good luck! Keep posting!

Thanks for the tips and reply :)

I think it's most doctors anymore that just go by the diagnostic tools instead of treating the patient. The day of the inital break/shattering/dislocating, the hospital didn't even have a doctor look at me. They sent in a Nurse practioner. She simply stated that I had a minor break (mind you it took the xray tech 2 tries using darker films each time to show all of the breaks, and the Ct people had to force and then tape my foot down, talk about traumatic!). She called the on-call Ortho who told she told about my foot and told I have anxiety issues over it. He stated he could fix it at his office the next day, and for her to send me home. I got a halfcast with my foot completely out of the normal position of function as my bone was pressing out (yet no skin breakage). I ended up seeing one of his partners, who I've used before for knee surgery. He looked at it, refused to touch it and sent me out to a specialist. We ended up driving over an hour to get there the next day to that Ortho - only to have him say he didn't think he could even fix my foot and walk out of the room slamming the door. Talk about insta-tears. They then "tried" to reset my foot with no pain medication. They stated oh just take a pill when you get home. Fun times. Finally, almost 2 weeks later I was sent to a major trauma center and had the ORIF done by one of the top docs around. He was great even sent me for fusion referal before I needed it, just to make sure they could do it. The downfall there, he didn't treat my pain I was having. He sent me to a pain doctor and pain clinic. I finally requested a CT and they showed the ORIF had displaced the part he connected and I had a dead bone in there and it rebroke. Well, any amount of pain pill/topical lotion isn't going to take that pain away. Then I went to the doctor that's done both of my fusions. He's great for the most part. He's top ranked in the country so I know he does great work. He was concerned about my pain after the first surgery and therapy seemed to not work. He did all the Ct's etc; however, nothing showed. Instead of treating me like a moron like so many others have he told me a story about a case similiar to mine. A lady had a fusion, nothing showed on the CT that woud suggest pain, he went in and did exploratory surgery and what do you know- one of the smallest joints didn't fuse. He went in again on my last surgery, and the same thing. Lack of fusion that wasn't seen due to the hardware that was in place.

I actually just got through hounding them on the phone (Friday)to figure out this new pain that I haven't had before with the first 2 surgeries. They are leary to call it anything at the moment due to it being too soon into therapy aka too soon in the scheduled healing time to do anything about it. I did get some suggestions from his PA though. I told them of a "bump" of painful swelling I have that goes one fingertip from my ankle to my foot just above one of my incision lines. The top two theories at the moment are: 1. the hardware is rubbing/pinching a nerve and 2. the hardware is rubbing/pinching a tendon. I've also heard that the hardware could be rubbing on a good joint. The game plan at the moment is give it two more weeks, journal the pain, and see how that goes.

I hate to say it's nice to have someone who can empathize, because that means that you've suffered the pain. :( But thanks again. I've been going nuts the past 2 and a half years with this, it's nice to know someone out there can understand it.
Hiyas, just figured I'd update. I ended up going to my doctor last week and the action taken is back to nonweightbearing and waiting 6 weeks to see if the swelling goes away. They are assuming that the hardware is causing referred pain to my tendon with possible nerve involvement. Anyone out there have any experience?
I shattered my navicular about two weeks ago, and when I made an appointment with my ortho doctor who has done my ankle and my knee in the past he said, "us ortho guys stop at the ankle," and he referred me to a orthopedic podiatrist. Turns out the bone was broken into abou 5-6 pieces but was not displaced enough to to sugery. He said since im younger it is likely that it will heal in about 10-12 weeks with a cast, if not it will need to be fused. This bone is a pain in the ass whether in the foot or the wrist, and unfortunately it is a long road to recovery.

Im sorry to hear that after over 2 years it is still giving you trouble, and I hope im not going down the same road!
I did not have your particular procedures, but I do have some nerve issues. My surgeon prescribed Lyrica and it has really made a huge difference. Maybe you could ask your doctor about it.

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