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Calcaneus Surgery ORIF Success Stories?

Terry Mushat · · Brunswick, OH · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 5

Charlotte I had a plate and 10 screws also my injury was on July 20 2016 I had to wait 3 weeks for surgery I had compartment syndrome and almost lost my foot I'm 39 and am a construction worker I lift weights and do cardio I'm on my feet all day and I plan on continuing that I'm 9 weeks post op today my heel was described to me as an egg shell hit with a hammer a 9 out of 10 for severity it was some of the worst pain I've ever felt but slowly the pain starts to go away the numbness starts to lessen and toe movement increases my toes don't hurt anymore if I bump them my foot don't hurt anymore if I'm up, but toes still turn dark red or purple doc said that is normal and will do it for awhile this injury had me so depressed and down for a long time everything I read was bad then I stumbled on this site a read people climbing a year later and that's when everything changed for me this thing is not gunna break me or hold me back I'm going to be like I was and so will you just have to believe in one week is my 10 week follow up and I plan on walking out with my boot and getting back to the gym and kicking ASS! Let me know if I came be more help good luck and God bless brother/Terry

Charlotte abbott · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 0

Hey Terry
Thanks so much for your reply .. doesn't sound like you are
Far ahead of me , I am now 5 weeks post op with 3 to go for my boot , the pain I have to admit has lessened & my toes move more as you say , but still unable to bend them .
I had to return to my GP yesterday as after a bath a small scan lifted & it appeared I stil had one suture embedded .... that was an event to remove but it came in the end , which has resulted in me being unable to bathe for a few days again & back to a dressing over it .. little bit disappointed but I guess it's minor unless infects .. hopefully it doesn't .
Your treatments in U.S seem to differ slightly to here in the U.K.
I'm told I can partially weight bare with a boot from the 1/11/16 which I cannot wait for .
I'm hopeful & staying optimistic for the best future outcome regarding my activities , boxing & working once more hopefully before the end of the year is out.
Boxing maybe takes a little while longer
I really appreciate your respond it keeps that smile on my face as this is such a dark time & horrible injury to happen ...
Wishing you the best speedy recovery ..

Meghan Stearns · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 0

For anyone in the early stages- I shattered my right calcaneus in May 2015 and had an ORIF with 9 screws and a plate. I was non weight bearing for 8 weeks, partial for 8 weeks, and then was able to walk with the boot. I was told over and over 6 months to a year and it would be back to 'normal'. I opted to have the surgery to remove the hardware in dec 2015. This was the best decision I made- my range of motion improved TREMENDOUSLY and was weight bearing instantly after the surgery ( with a little limp). I was fully recovered and snowboarding by early Feb 2016. I still have achey pain day to day, biking and other low impact sports help a lot. I ran 2 miles today and it is tender, but if you ice after things like this it should be okay. I plan to ski/snowboard 40 days this year. My foot is finally to the point where I do forget about it. It took a solid year and a half for me, but it gets better every day.

My range of motion is not anywhere near my left foot - 70-80% if I'm lucky just judging by far how i can bend it. That said, I can run, bike, ski, snowboard, hike etc no issues.

Don't worry about your toes not moving as much in the beginning . These muscles and tendons haven't been used since you broke it, so its natural they are stiff and unable to bend. Physical therapy helps a lot- I don't think I was able to start PT until 10 weeks after surgery. Balancing and uneven surfaces are definitely the hardest. I am still able to do decently long and challenging hikes, but it definitely leaves me sore after.

Hope this helps! It really does get better1

Terry Mushat · · Brunswick, OH · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 5

Hey Charlotte I went and saw my doctor today for my 10 week check up they removed my third cast and gave me a boot I thought I would be able to walk out of there knowing that I consider myself somewhat of a tough guy and I was disappointed when I put pressure on my foot because of the pain I felt almost like standing on broken glass I found out that a regular shoe feels a lot Better to put partial weight bearing on because it gives you the ability to pivot your ankle I start therapy next week and doc said don't put full weight on it for at least two more weeks I'll keep you posted on my progress my foot is pretty swollen still but feel so much better not having a cast on unfortunately I think I agree with the doctors I will not be able to get back to work for a few more months unfortunately and hopefully there aren't any issues with my progress The doc said that I had to build up the pad under my heel again and get the bone density back in the heel and that's achieved by putting weight on it again so far the plate and screws don't seem to be a bother hopefully it stays that way although I was a little discouraged earlier today I found that I have to take a more positive outlook on it I thought I would have a miracle recovery but I was wrong and that's OK like Meghan said A little better each day

Charlotte abbott · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 0

Hey Terry !
Thanks for your update , so sorry it's not as you thought it was going to be.
You seem to have been treated real different in the fact you have had a cast,
I've not had anyting at all like that .. literally just crutches. I'm now 6 weeks today post op
And have 10 more days til I get my next appointment which will bring me to 7.5 weeks post op
I believe i am going to recievev a boot then with instructions on partial weight baring.
Each day I feel my foot getting stronger,toes are moving a lot more as I have started some home exercises .. but I have found my ankle for inversion & eversion quite stiff ROM is quite limited, but
I appreciate i am stil in the early days of this injury . At the same time I am only like 8 stone in weight (52kg) so I don't have a lot of weight to bare .. hopefully goes in my favour , I've been able t bare
Weight on my toes though , but have found my Achilles' tendon is very very tight , agsin I guess this is part of the process & comes with exercise & time , staying positive is the major key ! But I am
Struggling . You have good days & bad days ..
wishing you a speedy recovery. And thanks so much for your update .
I look forward to hearing from you again soon.
Also il update you on my progress

Terry Mushat · · Brunswick, OH · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 5

Hey Charlotte yes I had a few casts and a few splints wrapped up with Ace bandage also I ended up having to have surgery three times with a total of four incisions with the compartment syndrome so mine had to stay protected and couldn't have any movement because of the stitches needed to be in a fixed position so they would heal today is four days that I was out of the cast and in the walking boot the first day it Felt like walking on glass but today I'm able to walk with only one crutch I couldn't believe in four days the amount of improvement and I immediately thought of you and couldn't wait to share it with you! Also I weigh 190 pounds My foot is still extremely swollen but I'm sure it will be for a long time I start physical therapy on Wednesday and bye week 12 when I'm allowed to put full weight on my foot I believe I'm going to be able to ditch the other crutch and walk after 12 weeks my Achilles tendon and left side of my ankle hurts me more than my heel does and four days ago all I felt was the extreme pain from my heel you're almost there it's just a little bit more time so I hope you're getting sick of being depressed because before too long you won't have anything to Be depressed about anymore i'll check back in with you at the next hurdle keep me posted on your progress also

Charlotte abbott · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 0

Hey Terry , I'm so so pleased for you ! This is awsome news .. so just 4 days and your having so much progress .. brilliant ..
well so I had a physio assessment today as I was concerned about my stiffness ..the guy was pleased and said my foot was going well with the movement and ROM I have , which I thought was quite bad , but he deemed it pretty good for 6 weeks ..
I was disappointed to find out I had fractured of my toes & cuboid bone . This hadn't previously been explained ! But never the less, progress is progres.
So he sent me home with a list of exercises with a resistance band .. all good.

But then unfortunately I had a fall and kinda landed on my bad foot ..
So upsetting it hurt a bit . I don't no if I have unfone my progress now
It's a little painful around the left side of my foot now , so had to take pain relief & use an ice pack incase it swells ..
will have to wait til the morning , I don't think I've done anyting bad but if stil painful in next 24 hours I fear I May be visiting the A&E department to check it with X-ray !

Other then that I'm 5 days away from that boot , that's all I'm thinking about
The end is nearly upon me ..
really appreciate your updates as always , very uplifting to hear the good is getting better

Take care my friend

RespectGravity HJ · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2016 · Points: 0

A quick update from my perspective of the broken heal saga....

Currently 8 weeks out from my injury, bilateral calcaneus fractures, and six weeks out from ORIF 1P 8S left, 1P 10S right.

My progress seems to be going pretty well. Feet down for a good portion of the day, only wearing walking boots for protection.

Two days ago, I was able to go to a physical therapy pool after my first physical therapy assessment.

THIS IS THE BEST THING EVER! Not only is it good for your feet, but psychologically it has been amazing for me. It was the first time in 8 weeks where my body was completely vertical.
While i have 2 of these visits scheduled per week, the physical therapist said that I could be in the water twice daily, morning and evening. I am still waiting to hear back from my doctor about this frequency.

If you are interested in this, but it is not included in your physical therapy routine, I can provide details. I have found a couple of different pool locations with a lift and warm water that will facilitate functional exercises and help with circulation, nerve issues, ROM, etc. Retirement communities often times have pools with warm water. Definitely ask your physical therapist if they can recommend a self guided program.

The other thing that has been nice are Ice Breaker brand down hunting booties. They are like pillows that fit over shoes and boots. I wear them over my walkers when I go out, and on my feet when I am in bed. They provide good padding at night to rest my feet in without wearing the boot. I think that keeping the feet warm and circulation going is key to healing any foot injury.

I should be pretty close to partial weight bearing with the walkers. Really looking forward to getting vertical.

Don't give up the struggle, take all opportunities to be active, surround yourself by friends and visitors, eat a lot, don't get drunk, make sure you laugh, vitamin/mineral supplements cant hurt, and believe life will get better than it is right now. Think about walking normally and if you are lucky you will dream about it too!

I am glad to be apart of this club, regardless of circumstance. Most of ya'll are optimistic, good hearted people.



Terry Mushat · · Brunswick, OH · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 5

Respectgravity welcome to the group I started physical therapy last week at 11 weeks post surgery I asked about the pool also and I think next week I'm going to get involved in it it definitely sounds like it's a good idea. Charlotte sorry to hear about your toes are they going to require additional surgery or are they healing OK on their own? I hope your fall then it do any damage that's probably why they kept mine in a cast so it was protected. I do have some good news though yesterday 11 1/2 weeks after surgery I took my first steps holding my crutches in my hands I walked about 100 steps In a regular shoe without the walking boot without assistance. My physical therapist said that my foot looked good compared to other she has seen that made me feel good because I think it's still pretty mangled up. She sounded optimistic about me getting better but I do believe that's their job to also so we'll see how it goes. Hopefully within the next 1 to 2 weeks I can ditch the crutches all together. The foot does swell up quite a bit after exercises and trying to walk on it but I do believe that's normal and part of the healing process although it is very uncomfortable when the foot swells and you're trying to walk on it. Also I I have all hard wood floors in my home so I'm trying to walk without a shoe on the floor with the crutches to start strengthening up my foot pad. I do realize it will be a process and it will take some time to be walking as close to normal as possible but at least the process has started! It's so nice to have people supporting each other while going through the same type of things! Keep on heeling! Terry

Charlotte abbott · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 0

Hey guys , hey Terry !
So i had my 7.5 week check up with the consultant & all went very very well indeed.
I was totally surprised & equally relieved to be informed i could come out of the walking boot
And change for regular trainers ..
i was also given confirmation to drive again & i drive a manual car ,given it was my left foot
i damaged i was really surprised at this .. but i took the opportunity with ith hands (& feet)
And . Hey presto ! I drove my car ..this has done wonders for my mind .
I was surprised at how well i coped & at how easy it was to just get behind that wheel
And jump on that clutch pedal.
I came home & also started a little weight on it & again surprised myself at how easy &
Natural it came to me, i was petrified at the thought !
I didnt push it though just a few steps for now to see how it went.. it went well!!
I hope to progress sooner than expected,but dont want to run before i can walk .
So obviously my xrays were good bones are intact doing what they should ,no further damage
From the fall ..
Everything is on schedule & tickety boo .. i aim to be back to work by december , not sure
How il cope with full time hours right now & when il ditch the crutches , one step at a time
Literally .. but there is light at the end of this long dark tunnel ..
I have to thank this forum for the inspirational peolpe on the same journey,
Hope you all find the light .. be great to hear your next steps Terry

rdoyle · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2016 · Points: 0

Wanted to keep this going, so here is my story..............

9/15 I fell about 20' at work onto concrete and shattered both heels.
Doctor told me the left heel would not need surgery because the fragments are so close together they will fuse back on their own. Whats funny is that foot does not even hurt or is not even swollen. I had surgery on the right (plate and screws) 4 1/2 weeks post op now. Still alot of nerve pain, tingling etc...
doctor said in 2 more weeks we will do xrays and change me from splints to boots. 12 weeks non weight bearing total. everything I have read about this injury is so grimm but what I have seen people here posting about their recovery gives me hope and makes me feel alot better.

RespectGravity HJ · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2016 · Points: 0


I underwent a similar injury a couple of weeks before you, so I know what you are going through!

Yesterday I had my 7 week post op checkup with the green light to start partial weight bearing. I was up this morning, holding on to a railing and walking as much as I could tolerate. It felt so good to stand!

The nerve tingling and pain will get better with time. This will be the slowest portion (and sometimes most irritating portion) of the injury. My left foot seems to be mostly unaffected, but my right is still having numbness, tingling, and weird twinges. It is definitely better than it was a couple of months ago.

Keep telling yourself that you will get better. Remember "The uphill of the body is no comparison to the downhill of the mind." Keeping positive is going to be your hardest challenge, but it will make the experience so much better. Set milestones to look forward to and goals to reach.

Keep us posted about your successes and the frustrating minor setbacks.


Terry Mushat · · Brunswick, OH · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 5

So today I went and reread all the posts on here overtime I forgot what I read when I first found this helpful group. Respect gravity I did not remember that you joined before me sorry I forgot that. So today I am 12 weeks one-day postop plate 10 screws shattered heel compartment syndrome three surgeries came hours away from losing my foot. I also have numbness on the outer side of my left foot where the hardware was put in pretty much heal to toe is numb on the outside but it's not that big of a deal to me. But I do have the same issues you're having on the bottom of your foot in the arch in the ball and up just before the toes. I've had four rehab visits and they have been working on the foot arch and pad and it has felt better but still swells every time I use it and it gives me the sensation of blisters that's the best way I can explain it. Yesterday was the first time I left my house without my crutches I took a cane with me to rehab I am able to walk with a normal shoe on without the cane but it is painful on the outside of my foot just below my ankle and the back of my foot by my Achilles is still twice the size of my healthy foot which causes it to rub the back of my shoe and is irritating some. I'm still having a hard time walking barefoot but still I am trying to strengthen the bottom of my foot. Charlotte I'm glad you're able to drive I do know what you mean on how much it makes you feel better although I've been driving for several weeks I feel so much more free like I am normal again sometimes when I'm driving I don't even know I am injured anymore. So for me 10 weeks postop cast off 10 days later 100 steps five days later no crutches just a cane it still hurts a lot but it feels so much better to be able to move around again just 12 weeks after surgery! I would love it if some more people would check back into this group and let us know how you're doing after more times gone bye! Thx guys! Ter

rdoyle · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2016 · Points: 0

Thank you for the words of encouragement.
I can relate to the twinges, at random I get these sharp pains isolated to a small area that make my foot twitch lol. I hope my Doc lets me do partial WB like you or get started on physical therapy a little bit before the 12 weeks to be a little bit ahead of the game, pry good for the mind too. will keep you posted.

David Pneuman · · Western, CO · Joined Oct 2006 · Points: 0

I shattered my heel falling / getting tangled in a ladder July 23 and had ORIF surgery with a plate & 9 screws Aug 11. Sept. 19 DR. approved partial weight bearing where I would ' play ' walk with the crutches, then Oct. 17 to full weight bearing. I never wore the boot, but was really sedentary and just tried to keep off it. A knee scooter helped that a lot.
Started Physical Therapy with an exercise bike and an incline deep knee bend kind of a machine Oct 25. and walked the first time without assistance ( 30' ) at exactly 12 weeks from surgery ( 11/4/2016 ) to the day. I had quite a bit of pain doing it in the region of the front of the ankle and had a lot of swelling after doing it. Every night after that I put a heat pad on it and stretched / kneaded the area, but always the pain when I tried to full weight bear. Every morning I got out of bed, stretched a little bit, then tried to walk, but the pain persisted. It felt like things were going to collapse down there if I trusted it too much.
Then, on 11/8/2016 the pain got significantly worse due to the P.T. exercise and attempts at walking. The next morning, on 11/9/2016, the pain disappeared completely. I could suddenly walk with a cane outside over 100 yards until finally being limited by muscle tiring and could walk easily with no assistance around the house. It was like a switch had been flipped. Like night and day.
Now today ( 11/14/2016 ) I worked outdoors all day, lifting, carrying, etc, and am only a little muscle sore. The ankle pain never returned.
The crutches will now go into the garage and the knee scooter to the local Elks club. I'll be using the cane for help with stability on uneven ground and see how that goes.

rdoyle · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2016 · Points: 0

Wow David I hope I have as much success as you did!!! I went to the Doc yesterday, he said if i just broke one heel he would start me on PT at 10 weeks but because I broke both he wants me to wait the full 12 weeks before WB. I did get the boots which are great because I do not have to wear them when on the couch in the shower or in bed. It is great not being in splints anymore because the pain goes down about 90% and can actually sleep at night! He also gave me exercises and streatches, I guess the goal is to get the one I had surgery on flat and flexible again by working the muscles. I really hope I can be able to take some steps soon after starting PT like most people on here soon to do, and maybe be able drive as my work wants me back on light duty office work ASAP. Thanks for all the posts on here, they help me stay positive.

David Pneuman · · Western, CO · Joined Oct 2006 · Points: 0

I fell due to a ladder collapsing and my foot hit the concrete first, followed by the ladder, then the rest of my body pretty much smashed the ladder and my heel into the cement. It was sideways, though, so I didn't smash the heel up and into the ankle so I was pretty lucky. That was probably the biggest factor in getting weight bearing ( relatively ) quickly once approved by the DR.

I still can't just get up out of bed and walk with no aid, though. I have to start slow and stretch things out by walking very slowly using the cane first. Not because of ankle pain anymore, but more a sort of whole foot stiffness making me feel unstable and causing me to walk a weird way. After about 5 - 10 minutes of that I can begin walking slowly unaided, or near normal speed with the cane.

Terry Mushat · · Brunswick, OH · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 5

Hello I check my email every day and I get excited every time somebody posts something on this site. Charlotte haven't heard from you hope you're doing well would love to get an update. David I can't believe three days after I had my injury you had something very similar our timelines are only days apart and our rehab so far sounds almost identical with the progress we're making although I do have a little bit of ankle pain still and has gone down significantly. I worked outside yesterday trying to get ready for winter here just south of Cleveland I work for about 2 1/2 hours caring stuff moving stuff without the assistance of a cane but by the end of the night I was extremely sore and needed it for assistance also today I woke up very sore but I'm on the exercise bike right now pushing through the pain and given the rehab all I got. My advice for anybody reading this Who is in the beginning stages of this injury the first several months suck and very scary going through something like this you will go through depression regret and the fear of the uncertainty of what the future holds but you will get through the dark time because life doesn't stop it'll be an inconvenience for a little bit of time but eventually the time passes and you get into rehab and you start walking again and you're over the hurdle so don't give up keep positive because you will to get through it before you know it. And time will tell how much back to normal you will be nobody can tell that for you and nothing you read is going to be what your Outcome Will be you just have to wait be patient and work hard to get back to normal and hope that you had a good surgeon

rdoyle · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2016 · Points: 0

pry posting too much just great to get some insight. i now have the boots and only use them when going somewhere (in car with wife going to bathroom or bedroom, basically anytime i move from point a to b) the doc has me wrapping a towel around my feet and pulling and moving feet back and forth every hour. the foot i had surgery on wont bend flat and 1st day in boots i started with 2 heel pads end of day 1 i managed to get down to 1. day 3 i can get the foot flat with some groaning and moaning. if we go out for hours i work hard and crank it flat in boot and grin and bear the dis comfort. anyone have any insight or pointers on this. i am 6 weeks post op and 6 weeks until WB.

David Pneuman · · Western, CO · Joined Oct 2006 · Points: 0

I only started getting my heel all the way down when sitting at around 12 weeks. Before that, every morning sitting on the toilet I would relax as much as possible then very slowly and steadily and relaxing even more, pushed down with the heel. After some days of that it finally touched, then I started slowly moving it backwards towards the toilet while keeping it flat on the floor. Very relaxed and slowly. Take a little time to do it. Read a book or magazine.
I think the key was to only stretch things when as relaxed as possible. Stretching when tense or quickly or harshly only seemed to deal me setbacks of a day or more where it seemed to get worse and increased my frustration immensely.
Another thing I started around limited weight bearing time was taking a 12" x 14" plug in heating pad and wrapping it around my foot in the evening like a taco and secure with an Ace bandage. Then when the heat came up, wrapped the 6' long latex rubber strap thing you can get at Walmart ( 3 pk. Gold's Gym brand )and slowly used it to pull on the upper foot / toes straight back and also to the sides as far as I could reach. Also, when hot, kneading the area around the front of my ankle where the pain came from and anywhere else there was still that hard swelling stuff that seemed to refuse to go away. Mostly around the ankle ligaments, but also up towards the toes. Google ' foot anatomy ' and you'll get a lot of insight on where all the joints and associated ligaments are at.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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