Sorry to hear of your frustrations, Maggie.
If you can flex your foot (point your toes then straighten) a few times every couple of minutes it will help pump and improve your circulation. Keep it elevated as much as you can, I found after a few weeks, just when I was wanting to get active my foot would swell up really badly if I stayed vertical for too long.
I slept mostly on my back for most of the time I had a brace (60deg the whole time) with hip flexed and my lower leg supported on a large pile of pillows/cushions, with another pile at the end of the bed so the sheets and blankets didn't drag on my foot, since it was in a kind of cave. My heel didn't rest on the bed, otherwise it would get numb and sore. One of those egg-carton patterrned anti-pressure overlays also helped immensely, and I still use it. Eventually I moved to lying on my good side with the right size of pillow between my knees and lower leg so the hip wasn't dragged down, but that was after the brace was off because it was too heavy to do so while it was on, it would drag and pull too much even with pillows. Instead I'd roll partly onto the bad side a little to give my bum a rest. I too worried about lying on it all the time, but it seems to have been no ill effects.
When you start getting around on crutches more, if you start getting numb or tingly fingers don't ignore it, stretch out your wrists and forearms and seriously back off the amount you crutch. If you don't you risk long-lasting trouble (I still have hand trouble, I was too ambitious). And don't grip your crutches too hard. Pad the grips if you can or need to.
Last edited by flerdle; 14-03-2012 at 09:17 PM.
I went to PT twice this week, and I learned some interesting things. My leg has been swelling now that I am up more. aThe PT showed me where my lyph nodes are that drain the leg and told me to gently massage those. Pumping the ankle also helps reduce swelling by helping circulation in the leg. The lymph node for leg drainage is where the leg meets the body, about an inch in from the mid point of leg width. The other lymph nodes she recommended massaging are just above the collar bone there is a dip above thw bone, and below the neck. The PT told me to always massage the leg going up towards the body. She massaged the leg, and then did ultrasound to help restructure and smooth out the scar tissue. Ultrasound always feels good. She gave me 3 small range of motion exercises. It will be 6 more week s until they allow me to strengthen. I was told I can walk a few steps without crutches, but to use them if waliking farther. I went and picked up a temporary handicapped sign, so I can finally park close to things. I am very slow at getting around on my crutches, now that I am supposed to put a tiny bit of weight on my leg. I went t trivia last night for the first time in 6 weekso
Maggie, I hear you about the brace. I hated mine. Hang in there! It feels fabulous when you finally get rid of it!
Tania, My knee is very stiff also. I have swelling in my whole leg including the knee. It is starting to loosen up.
I am finally able to sit on the piano bench and practice. This is huge for me, being a piano teacher. Playing the piano is how I release all of the excess emotions I carry, so not being able to sit and play was a double whammy for me.
I still get tired easy, and take frequent breaks throughout the day. I lie down and watch an old episodes of Grey's Anatomy on line. I had never watched this series before, but I love it! I've watched through season 3. The intensity reminds me of my family of origin. They are all medical people, and very intense. (Unlike me). I always felt like I was born into the wrong family, because I am so much different than the rest of them. I am the artist and musician of the family. ha ha.
The ultrasound has already started to flatten and smooth out my scar. I think it will help with the comfort of sitting. I am looking forward to the weekend, because I am going on a retreat with my group of women friends. We go every six to eight weeks. It is wonderful! We sing and drum and play music, meditate and laugh. Those deep belly laughs that make you feel so good. I missed the last 2 retreats, so I can't wait!
15 days post op...a few days ago my brace unlocked, flapping at the knee. Had to pay the Cast Tech a visit yesterday. Apparently they never put the lock pins in the brace to hold the lock. So he reset it, locked it and restrapped it. Well with tighter strapping, the lower part of my leg was swelling during the night. It really hurt! Could not sleep.
The tech asked me about how I cleaned the leg. I had asked the doc and he said to keep the brace on and gave me no answer when asked abut cleaning it. So the tech said he would call the doc to get approval and here is how he said to do it. First prop your leg and foot up on pillows so, it keeps your 90 degree angle. He said the brace could open all the way up. But when I explained to him that my husband's fix it skills were like Tim Allen of Tool Time, and he might never get it back together, we arrived at this solution. With the leg propped up, all straps on the beneath the knee are opened. My husband then cleans the lower leg with a kleenex wipe and we let it dry leaving it open. Then restrap the lower brace back. Then I open the brace and do the thigh portion, let it breathe awhile, then the strapping back. It feels so good to have it opened up, cleaned, and no pressure on it. The tech said to just be sure to leg stays propped up in that angle so you do not straighten your leg. Thought I would share that with you.
Thanks Carol for the info on the lymph node massage. I found video on youtube that shows how to massage the nodes on the groin and leg. I was surprised how gentle they do it. Watch a video before so as not to press too hard. Looks like something to do while the brace is opened up for cleaning to help swelling. Glad you are back to good times.
Maddog, you are a girl! Somehow I thought you were a guy. I can not believe you are back at work. Like you, I am fed up with the brace and swelling. Good luck with work. Tania, glad you have such a responsive doctor. I wish I could say the same. Am also glad you have lots of PT in your recovery. Got to get you back on the ski slopes next year! To answer your ques, I live in a suburb called Thousand Oaks, which is about 45 miles north of Los Angeles. It has beautiful rolling hills and thousands of oak trees...really nice. Thanks again Flerdle...you are a wealth of information!
Hi everyone. I've spent the last couple of days reading through this thread and I thought that I would post my story!
3 years ago, my freshman year of high school, I was at cheerleading practice. I was standing against a wall, and a girl was stretching me by pushing my leg up toward my face. Unfortunately, she pushed a little too hard and fast and I felt 3 pops and immediately collapsed in pain. I went to the hospital to get an X-ray, which didn't show very much. My doctor put me for about 3 weeks and physical therapy eight away. I continued with electric stimulation and PT for a few months and was out of cheerleading that entire time. Still in pain, I got an MRI. The MRI showed the avulsion of my hamstring. Since I was young and still in my early stages of puberty, my doctor thought it would be best to wait it out and let it self heal, that's what we did. I eventually was able to go back to my sport.
From then on, I kept experiencing pain and tingling down my leg whenever I stretched, ran, or sat. It was getting to the point where I would come home from practice in tears. Our doctor referred us to a doctor downtown who specialized in trauma and unusual injuries. At my appointment with him, i got a CT scan which showed what really happened. The CT scan showed that I had a hamstring avulsion fracture with three pieces of bone broken of my ischial tuberosity (bottom of pelvis). Now that I think about it, I really felt those pieces of bone when I sat on hard surfaces. Also, he thinks the reason for the tingling in my leg was because the bone was hitting a nerve in my leg when I stretched. The doctor told me about the operation, but I decided to wait it out until after my senior year cheer season, and I'm glad I did because we got second in the state!
Anyways, I waited it out and here I'm sitting, 4 weeks post op. what my surgeon did was he took out the floating pieces of bone and reattached my hamstring to my pelvis bone. I had a 2 week post op check up which went well, and in two weeks I'll have another one (6 week post op). Hopefully at this appointment my doctor will tell me to take my brace off and start bearing weight on my leg.
I have a couple of questions. How long did it take you guys to start walking after you start PT/bearing weight? I don't mean to sound like a chicken but I don't know how much longer I can take sitting here all day! All I want is to walk, is that too much for a girl to ask!
Another question I have, is there any numbness around your incision? I noticed that underneath my insicion there's a patch of numbness. It doesn't bother me too much and I can live with it, I was just wondering if it was normal.
Thanks for your guys help!
Each individual case is different. You have youth on your side, so your body will heal more quickly than an older person such as me. Even so, remember that this is a long recovery process. Tendons heal much slower than muscles, because they don't get the same blood supply. I think we all need to remember to be patient. I would rather go at a steady pace, than try to go faster and have a set back that could be weeks.
I am 6 weeks post op and I am starting to walk around the house without crutches, but if I am going somewhere, I still use the crutches with partial weight bearing. My Dr. thinks i will be completely off crutches in 2 more weeks. I am not supposed to start strengthening for five more weeks. I started PT this week. They are doing massage, ultrasound, and helping me regain some flexibility.
At 4 weeks post op, I was still having some numbness at the incision site. This will go away. My scar feels very different after PT ultrasound this week. Ultrasound actually changes the way the tissues lie in your body. It helps smooth out the scar tissue, and it makes it feel a lot better. This week is the first week that I have been able to sit comfortably for an hour or so. I think you will find that you improve dramatically in the next two weeks. Listen to your Dr. and follow what he says. Remember that even after you start walking, it will be awhile before you are supposed to strengthen. Good luck with your recovery. I hoped this helps answer some questions.
I also had issues with my brace when I was wearing it. They put it on wrong, so I had to go back the day after surgery. Then my husband noticed that they still hadnt locked one of the metal gears right. My leg swelled in the brace, and I asked the Dr. about it. He said that it is normal for the leg to swell in the brace. He sugested pumping my foot up and down to help with circulation. It was hard for me to sleep the first 2 weeks, and then I finally got used to it, or i was to exhausted to stay awake anymore.
Ii called the Dr. because it bothered me so much. He told me that I could take it off to shower, as long as I kept my leg bent. I would lean it on the side of the tub. He also told me that if I lay flat on my back, I could have someone take it off for an hour or so just to havw a break. My knee hurt from being immobolilized. My husband got good at taking it off and putting it on. We had to play around with it a little just to get my leg bent at the correct angle, though. It was a joyous day when that thing came off! I felt a huge sense of reluef, and hope, when that monstrosity was removed for good! Hang in there. I know how horrible it feels. You are getting there. I took advil all while the brace was on to help with the swelling and discomfort. Remember this is temporary. It will come to an end. Just not soon enough.
Sorry about your injury. It is tough having to deal with such a challenging injury at such a young age. Your age is the good thing! You will heal quicker being young, so be patient. Only your doctor can say when you can walk...so heed what he says and don't overdo it and risk a complete recovery. I can tell you that numbness at an incision site can last for months, so don't be alarmed. Hang in there!
Welcome Nicole. All the best for your recovery.
I'm almost 6 months out and most of the numbness is gone. The outer half of the scar area feels quite normal but there is still a bit of numbness/weirdness south of the inner half of it. Maybe an inch wide at the end and three inches long. To start with the numbness came perilously close to certain parts you really don't want to be numb, (tmi I know but it was a worry!) but that retreated.
I didn't wash my leg for about 3-4 weeks, just left the brace on. It's not as if i was getting sweaty, and it was so covered up it never got dirty! :-) Mind you the shedding skin from my leg and foot was pretty disgusting...
Walking had to wait until the brace is off, defintely. Two weeks after that i was occasionally walking short distances around the house ok without any help but very slowly. I still used two crutches sometimes in the house and always outside for another two weeks, then one crutch for another week, then only used them when tackling hills, uneven ground, large crowds etc for maybe another week or so (mainly for protection and to remind me to be careful).
The main thing that hampers walking is that the muscles controlling your knee will be very weak from inactivity and it will collapse if you try to step too far or too fast. Little, even steps.
When you do start to walk, the back of your leg will feel really tight, like it's pulling you up.. This will gradually pass. It took me several months, actually. You might tend to swing it around to the side, and/or raise the hip and/or pop up onto your good leg's toes. Try not to do this, they are bad habits and bad for your back and other leg. Concentrate on walking SLOWLY and EVENLY, gradually putting more weight on it while using two crutches rather than leavingit all until you are walking independently. A big hallway mirror might help.
It took me about four months (from the op) perhaps even 4.5 months to even think about stairs - mainly it was quad and knee weakness. My physio was concentrating on having everrything getting stronger at the same rate. ( edited to add: by stairs i mean stepping up with the bad leg or down with the good leg. you can always go up with the better leg for each step )
Hope this is useful. different people will go slower or faster, but this is just one experience.
Last edited by flerdle; 16-03-2012 at 06:13 PM.
Hi everyone, so happy to have found this website. Not much information available about this surgery elsewhere on the internet. I had surgery 9 days ago and it's good to read about some of the things I am going through since I was unsure if this was normal - numbness, swelling. Etc. I didn't get a brace and go back in a week to have staples removed. Still taking medication for pain every 4 hours but I am hoping this will be reduced very soon.
I am sending wishes to all for a speedy recovery!!
Last edited by christineb; 18-03-2012 at 02:45 PM.