2 weeks post op ankle surgery, could use advice, commiseration, anything.
I’m 32 year old female and crying as I type this. I fell down the stairs on Dec 23 and broke my ankle on both sides. The ER put it in a splint and referred me to a good orthopedic surgeon. Because of the holidays and my insurance denying and being stupid to where I ultimately had to pay cash after my first surgery was cancelled, I finally got surgery on Jan 8th.
I was pretty miserable those 17 days before surgery, but only my foot hurt and I stayed on my pain meds and laid on the recliner with my foot propped up all day long. I was able to put myself into a wheelchair and take myself to the bathroom, using a walker to pivot onto the toilet. Wasn’t fun, but It was doable.
2 days before surgery, I felt pretty good, could wheel myself around the house to get a snack or take a bath by sitting on a bathtub bench with my foot propped up and pouring water over myself.
Obviously surgery sucked and I was in extreme foot pain for a few days afterwards, but I still was able to sit in my wheelchair and go to the bathroom. My splint came off 4 days ago, and 2 days before that was probably my best day. I could go longer between the pain meds and I was feeling good, with only a little soreness under my calf where it met the end of the splint.
The day before getting my splint off, my leg started swelling and hurting. My calf, back of knee, thigh, and hip with especially pain in the inner hip joint area almost like a groin pain. I was in so much pain, it was horrible going to the bathroom. The next day, I got the splint off, got a nice comfortable boot, and I told my doctor about my concerns about the swelling and pain. He basically brushed it off, saying I’ll be having swelling all the time for months to come and I should just elevate it. He did order an ultrasound to check for blood clots but I don’t really have the symptoms of a red swollen painful area– it’s basically just extreme muscle type pain all down my leg, with most pain in my hip and behind my knee.
It’s Sunday now so I’m guessing they’ll call me to schedule the ultrasound tomorrow maybe but for now, it’s been 4 days since this mysterious swelling (I should add, I didn’t notice ANY swelling from the time i broke my leg until now, and I had NO leg pain at all). I keep my leg propped up all day and it doesn’t relieve the swelling. I have basically spent the last 4 days laying here crying all day and night. It hurts so bad. And the ironic thing is that my foot doesn’t really hurt at all. Sometimes I get firey nerve pain but that doesn’t last long. They said I could take off the boot and take a bath but I haven’t bathed yet out of pain from my leg and fear that I’m too weak and tired (from the pain) to take a bath, even though I want to.
I’m laying here now with the boot off and my leg resting on pillows. The worst pain is my hip. I try heating pads and a massager, which helps a little while I’m doing it, but it has no lasting affect. The only slight relief is laying back in the recliner and pulling my hurt leg up to my chest, holding onto my knee. It stretches my hip in a way that feels better but still hurts. I can try to straighten my knee and that’s not happening, the back of it hurts too bad.
I am in so much pain I had my husband buy me diapers because I literally can’t even stomach the idea of going to the bathroom again. The swelling on my thigh hurt insanely bad when I sat on the toilet seat. While my ankle is getting better, the rest of me is regressing.
the back of my knee is VERY sore, but if I keep it still it’s fine, but if I lift and move my leg it hurts really bad and I can’t straighten it at all. Are the muscles too weak now? Do I need strength exercises? Have I unintentionally messed up my leg by keeping it elevated all day long? Did I pull a muscle without realizing it?
I’ve spent these 4 days crying and googling trying to find someone with my problem and I haven’t so please if anyone went through the same thing, I’d love some insight. I’m losing all hope at ever feeling okay again, walking, sitting up, or even just being alive without being in pain. I am terrified of my ultirasound appointment because it means I have to get up and be put in the car and sitting in the wheelchair hurts like hell because of my thigh and knee. I am completely lost and miserable,
I am so sorry for your pain. Did you have hip and knee XRays as well as ankle ones ?, perhaps you have damaged your hip or knee as well.
An ankle injury takes a long long time to heal, I am still having pain and swelling and other problems 11 1/2 months later, and other joints ‘compensate’ for it, but I really think you should have more XRays, soon. Take care hun, and I hope you feel better soon.
I am so sorry you are having this horrid experience! I am no doctor, but if I were you I think I would go to urgent care and try and get some answers or at least relief now. I had lots of swelling in the ankle, but none anywhere else in the leg- perhaps a bit in the calf but not at all what you describe. The lying around elevating your leg definitely would not have caused it- that is to alleviate swelling and your muscles will atrophy a bit but I did not walk for 6 weeks and after 2 weeks of walking am almost back to normal. Maybe you will hear from others who did experience some of what you describe, but if I were you I would want to rule out clots or an infection right away. If they determine you are fine, then you need better meds to control swelling and pain because what you describe is too much.
Good luck and hang in there- each day should be better!!!!!
Is it possible to see another doctor for a second opinion?
When elevating your leg, make sure your knee is supported. I use several pillows. 2 for my leg and one that goes under my thigh and behind my knee. I also started using another pillow to prop my good leg up on so my hips on either side are a bit more even, minimizing any hip discomfort. Are you icing the areas that are swollen?
Swelling around the injury is normal. My foot and ankle are still swollen some, and I expect them to be for awhile. I wouldn’t expect my knee or thigh to be swollen from an ankle injury, unless I had injured then too in the process.
Just because he said the ibuprofen isn’t necessary for the swelling doesn’t mean he won’t help, especially for the additional pain. Call your pharmacist and ask if you can take an over the counter medicine with your prescription medicine in order to help you get control of and ahead of the pain.
I really feel for you, and I’m not a medical person my experience is a triple ankle fusion on October 4th. I’m still recovering there is a long way to go to recover from ankle surgery so I’m told. I had a lot of hip pain simply because I was using a frame which allowed me to move by hopping and the pressure was too much for all of the leg. It doesn’t sound like your pain though, especially as you are immobile. The best advice I can give is that whatever part of the world you are in, if you are constantly crying with pain you need some help. Even if it’s words of consolation, if they come from someone in the ER you will at least have that. I would ask your husband to speak out on your behalf as well, it must be distressing for him. The medication advice sounds good to me. It’s your pain and it shouldn’t be dismissed, if you can get a second opinion I would do that. Elevation with your feet above the heart was drilled into me and I often still do it as I get bad swelling if I overdo things. I’m rambling on and you are in pain I’m so sorry! Please take my good wishes and will you come back and let us know what’s happening with you as I’m sure a good few will be thinking of you. Be strong and assertive at the hospital.
Oh forest I feel for you, I really do. Deep breath and you are going to get some great advice from the lovely people on here.
Firstly does you foot feel warm? What colour is it? I ask this because if you have a dvt it could compromise the femoral and popliteal artery in your leg. If you foot is warm, pink and not too hot then that is good.