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Foot & Ankle Problems Message Board

Foot & Ankle Problems Board Index

Do you know the specific details of which procedures your surgeon is performing? Your recovery may depend, in part, on how many and what types of procedures you are having done. Some have tendons moved or have debridement, some have their ankle bone cut and moved, some have bones fused such as talonavicular fusion. Many also have either gastrocnemius recession or lengthening of the Achilles tendon with other procedures.

You will want to fully understand which procedures are being done, what medications your doctor is prescribing to manage the pain, and what he or she predicts for your recovery. You will want to carefully read the post at the top of the foot board that helps you prepare for being nonweightbearing. The more you know and the better you prepare yourself, the better you will do. Also, your level of physical activity, physical fitness, age, and other health factors will impact how long it may take to fully recover.

Having said all that, this is a long process. This is a difficult surgery with a long recovery. You may be nonweightbearing for 6-12 weeks where you cannot put any weight on your operated foot. The first few days and two weeks may be the most challenging, as you are recovering from having had anesthesia and having had a very invasive surgery. You will want someone to take care of you, cook, clean, and shop for you for a while, depending on your recovery. You may have physical therapy while you are still in a cast and definitely when you get out of a cast. You may transition to a CAM boot and start gradual partial weight bearing, starting with 10-25%. It may take you two weeks or two months or so to be able to be 100% weight bearing, but this is for short steps and walking. Many can walk very short distances at 4 weeks. The whole process to full recovery may take one year or more.

Each person progresses differently. Your current health, age, and level of activity will interplay with your recovery. I am just over six months out, after having had talonavicular fusion and Achilles lengthening surgery. Although I have an outstanding surgeon who did an amazing job, he did not well prepare me or inform me of what the recovery would be like. I was told I may be out from work for 2 weeks to 3 months, and that the full recovery would take a year. He said I would experience different types of pai along the way as I recovered. THat's just the tip of the iceberg. I was in bed with my foot elevated above my heart for six weeks straight, due to pain and swelling. I continued to be mostly in bed with my foot elevated for the next three weeks. I started working from home via computer at six weeks, but I was not physically able to return to work for over four months.

It is a long journey. I am doing so much better know. At five months I could finally walk short steps. At six months, I can walk over 100 steps. Ultimately, I definitely think it is worth it to go through this process to get better. I remember feeling as you do now, that you have to do it. And you do, to get better. I just want you to be prepared for this journey. There are many wonderful, supportive, informative people on this board. Please continue to post your questions and concerns along the way.

I wish you well in your preparation, surgery, and recovery.


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