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Foot & Ankle Problems Message Board

Foot & Ankle Problems Board Index


I just found this board which while it has been helpful, I am also sufficiently freaked out a bit about my upcoming surgery. I have had lifelong flat feet. I have been working with a podiatrist for a couple months and am still having pain. As conservative treatments haven't been working, I have been recommended for a Calcaneal Osteotomy and Gastrocnemious Recession which are scheduled for June 21st (about 3.5 weeks away) and is outpatient (I have some commitments until then that I need to be on my feet for).

When I was middle school I remember having some heel cup inserts in my shoes at one point, but that was the only time growing up my feet gave me any issues. Over the past couple years however I have had some increasing problems, especially in my left foot. In August of 2010 (age 23) I was diagnosed with a stress fracture of the 5th metatarsal and was in crutches and cast until that was resolved, or so I thought. Actually diagnosing it at the time was difficult as I had pretty crappy insurance through my grad school and insurance wouldn't cover foot problems unless there was an actual injury. In the winter of 2011 some of the pain came back in the area and I thought the stress fracture returned, but xrays and a bone scan (may have said there was an injury, even if there wasn't) were negative, though there was a stress fracture of the second metatarsal revealed on the right foot which wasn't treated as it didn't give me any pain. In early spring 2012 I began having pain in the area between the foot and ankle of the left foot, a different area than before. At that point I didn't have any insurance and so I voluntarily wore a CAM boot for a couple weeks from my old stress fracture and that seemed to help.

In August 2012 I began having bilateral pain in the base joints of my big toes when walking. Xrays at that point revealed nothing of concern to an Urgent Care doctor I saw. I wore good shoes for a few weeks and the pain for the most part went away. I had started a new job during this time where I thankfully have pretty good insurance. During this past winter I noticed the pain in the foot/ankle region and the toe joints gradually return. I finally decided to see a doctor in hopes of getting referred to a podiatrist, which I did. My podiatrist, Dr. James Nack here in Mankato, MN was great at our first meeting. He actually used the X-Rays from August (it was mid-march by this time) and could immediately tell that the flat feet was causing serious issues. His diagnosis was Peri-talor Sublaxation and said this was far advanced for my age (25), and that my feet should not be near as bad as they are. The left was much worse than the right. He immediately put me into some temporary orthotics and was told to never wear flip flops or any unsupported shoes ever again. I was to go back in a month and see how the progress was going. I was also given some various exercises which I had been doing.

A month later the pain in the toe joints was for the most part gone though the ankle joint was still giving me issues. It was decided at this point that I would have permanent custom orthotics made which we did, to continue exercises which I did (though admittedly not as often as I should have, but still a good amount), and to check back in a few months and see how I was doing. Dr. Nack began to discuss surgery as an eventuality but that he wanted to treat the issue conservatively since I was so young. I was content with that as surgery kind of terrifies me and I've never had it before for anything. Fast forward over a month later and I wasn't having any sort of relief in the ankle. Standing for long periods of time and walking long distances was getting more painful even with the orthotics. I began thinking about surgery and how that would affect my career.

I work as a Hall Director in Residence Halls (Dorms) at a college here in town. Basically I oversee the day to day operations of a couple buildings housing about 350 students. I'm one of 9 Hall Directors and we house about 2700 students total. During the academic year I spend most of my time in my office meeting with my staff and students, and a good amount of time around the building. I also serve in an emergency response rotation for all of the halls. Because of the nature of my job, I live in an apartment in my building (which is an actual apartment, nothing like dorm rooms) and go down the hall about 50 feet to my office. Summer is our downtime, but once mid-August comes we hit the ground running with training new staff and welcoming students back to campus. I am very busy during the school year, and usually work about 50 hours + a week either in day or night. I knew I was going to need to be NWB for at least 6 weeks which is very difficult to happen during the school year, and I began to realize summer was the time to make surgery happen if I wasn't getting better. Next summer I'm also planning to be moving to a new job, which again isn't conducive to recovering from surgery. I realized within the next few years, this summer is really the best time to make surgery happen.

So I went back into the doctor this past Thursday (May 23rd) and the doctor's recommendation at this point was to proceed with surgery. He went over the surgery and recovery timeline, which he made sound much easier than what I'm seeing from posts on this board. He was honest about behaving for 72 hours after surgery, 6-8 weeks NWB in a cast, with more time in a boot after that. What he wasn't so forthcoming by reading experiences on this board is the time needed off from work and pain afterwards. I have broken some bones in my life, but have never used prescription pain meds as they scare me a little bit. I'm now questioning whether or not to have the surgery because of the extensive recovery. I'm making a list of questions and think I'm going to go in and ask more questions which they said I am more than welcome to do. I trust the doctor and his experience, I just want to be more prepared. I know that I'll be able to work at least part time from my apartment, and my office is just down the hall which is helpful, and most of my work over the summer is on a computer. The surgery is a Friday and my mom is coming down at least for the weekend, while my brother might come for a few days more though I'll now ask him to stay for a week probably. I live by myself and while I know I have friends here, I have issues with being dependent on other people and hate asking for help. My apartment is a small one bedroom with no steps to get in or out which is also helpful.

I'm not even sure what my question is here, but I think I've freaked myself out after reading some horror stories here and on other sites about recovery, and am just looking for reassurance that the surgery is a good plan at this point in my life. I'm tired of dealing with pain, and I don't doubt that without surgery the issues in my left foot will only get worse until I have the surgery. At some point I'm sure I'll have to do my right foot, but I don't foresee that happening for probably a couple years. Has everyone here had a much harder recovery than expected, or am I just reading the worst cases? Any insight anyone can offer would be wonderful.

Thanks so much for reading this really long entry, I greatly appreciate it!

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