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Posted By : Wondermum - 6/12/2017 10:01 AM
Hi I had ankle arthroscopy two and half weeks ago, debridement and some removal of synovitis and ligament work. I thought my recovery would be further along than this. Still masses of swelling and bruising (black and Blue) despite elevation and icing, ibruprofen etc. Is this normal?? I can barely put any weight on the ankle, crutches are my new besties! I am supposed to be back at work the end of next week but don't know how I am going to cope...ANy advice help, would be greatly appreciated....

Posted By : straydog - 6/12/2017 12:28 PM
Hi Wondermum & welcome to the forum. To be honest you are expecting too much too fast. Although your surgery was a scope it is still pretty big surgery. I know how drs go about explaining scopes as not a big deal, but it is. Keep doing the elevating & icing, but make sure the foot is higher than your heart. I do suggest that you contact the surgeon's & let her know what is going on & she can talk to the dr or have you come in. You also need to discuss the return to work issue with the nurse.

Let us know what you find out. Take care.
Moderator in Chronic Pain & Psoriasis Forums

Posted By : (Seashell) - 6/12/2017 3:51 PM
Hi Windermum:
I gather by your on-line name that you are a busy, multitasking mother with a full plate of family and work responsibilities. Being a mother is an all encompassing job.

Regarding your ankle and arthroscopic recovery, I agree with Susie that you will need to set your recovery expectations on a longer time horizon. 4-6 months for a partial recovery, allowing for weightbearing. 8 -10 months for more comprehensive healing. As a comparison, recovery for arthroscopic knee surgery for a meniscus tear is about 8 - 10 months and total knee replacement arthroplasty is a full year or more.

Swelling is normal and expected, even several months post arthroscopy. Swelling is not a harbinger of anything negative regarding your outcome. Swelling and inflammation are natural healing responses and can be expected to wax and wane for several months. Swelling is the body bring additional vascular and lymphatic flow to the recovering area of the body - transporting white blood cells, macrophages (immune system), T cells, fibrin, collagen, to the area and removing metabolites and cellular debris. Inflammation is the body's healing response on over drive.

A few ideas that may be helpful:
1. Wearing a compressive knee high or thigh high sock, low compression in the 10 - 15 mmhg range. These are also called anti-emboli socks. Compression garments help prevent excessive swelling (lymph fluid) from pooling in the lower ankle and foot. Be careful to have a knee high with a wide band at the cuff of the calf. You want to avoid a constricting effect at the top of the calf/knee, which is more apt to occur with a thinner calf band.

2. Ankle pumps, pointing the toes up and then pointing the toes downward. The muscles of the calf act as a muscular pump to return lymphatic fluid and infra-tissue fluids back into the circulation. Many people have residual ankle swelling simply due to inactivity. Using the muscles, contracting and relaxing in a slow and even rhythm, is key to gaining an upper hand on residual swelling. Do the motion slowly. Think of your calf muscles kneeling the excessive fluid back into the body's general circulation where it can then be excreted by action if the kidneys.

3. Alternating warm and cool water baths. The key of alternating placement of the foot and ankle in a tub of warm water and then a tub of cool water is to promote vasodilation and vasoconstriction. Vasodilation and vasoconstriction are key in recycling excessive infra-tissue fluids. To try: emerce the foot/ankle in a tub of warm water for 3 minutes followed by a tub of cool water for 3 minutes. Repeat 3-4 times.

4. Consult with a physical therapist. People frequently become frustrated by the length of time required to heal soft tissue injuries. There is no outward plaster cast as there would be with a fracture to remind people of the healing process in process. Physical therapy can work with you on a personalized range of motion program and provide modalities to ease the inflammation and swelling and evaluation your gait and step pattern to prevent a habitual limp or hesitancy to weight bear. A PT can help ensure that your recovery progresses on target with your expectations.

Best wishes,
- Karen -
Pituitary failure, wide-spread endocrine dysfunction
Addison's disease
Mixed connective tissue disorder
Extensive intestinal perforation with sepsis, permanent ileostomy
Avascular necrosis of both hips and jaw
Receiving Palliative Care (care and comfort)

Post Edited ((Seashell)) : 6/12/2017 3:55:09 PM (GMT-6)

Posted By : Wondermum - 6/13/2017 1:46 AM

Many thanks for your posts - I was beginning to despair, as the doctors make it all sound so trivial....I haven't been referred for physio yet, so might chase the doctor for that as it might improve my mind-set lol. Thanks for your advice Seashell - yes, single working mum, and college course on top of everything - not used to just "sitting around"...I've been doing the foot pumps as much as possible since the op - albeit a bit restricted due to swelling etc my point is a bit pathetic at the moment, so will continue with those, as I can see very tiny improvements in the range of movements, so a positive - and any positives at this stage I am going to celebrate! The hot and cold baths seem doable and definitely going to give those a try. I'm guessing my heels are going to stay in the wardrobe a lot longer than I thought. I have made an appointment to see the doctor next week regarding the work situation - thought that would give me another week to assess my capabilities.

Once again - thanks for your support - recovery can be very isolating as after the first few weeks everyone seems to expect that I'll be back to full speed.....

Posted By : pitmom - 6/13/2017 6:25 AM
Might want to see if you can get one of those 'knee scooters'. Easier on the body than crutches if you have any kind of distance to cover, like shopping of taking children to a park, etc.
multiple surgeries for rotator cuff both shoulders with residual chronic impingement syndrome, ulnar nerve transposition, carpal tunnel release, wrist ganglionectomies/denervectomies/tenolysis, multiple herniated discs, tarlov cyst, whiplash, bursitis of hips, tendonitis, torus, 3rd degree shoulder separation, torn labrum, ovarian cysts, fibroid tumors of the uterus

Posted By : straydog - 6/13/2017 7:36 AM
All I will say is listen to your body & allow yourself the proper time to heal so that you get the best result possible from this surgery. You don't want to have to repeat it. Don't worry about what others think or expect from you, they are not the one dealing with this.

Pitmom has an excellent idea about the scooter. I see lots of people using them these days, rarely see people on crutches anymore.

Take care.
Moderator in Chronic Pain & Psoriasis Forums

Posted By : Alcie - 6/13/2017 10:08 AM
With the tendon work, are you sure you're supposed to be weight bearing or exercising at all so soon? It takes a long time for tendons to re-attach. My tendons are still hurting after nearly 10 months.

I loved my knee scooter. Get a good one. Look for used, but make sure it's in good shape. You can also get a new one and sell it for a decent price when you are done with it.

Posted By : Sophie1150 - 7/23/2017 4:27 PM
Hi Wundermum. I had been suffering from ankle pain for 3 years (arthritis) and finally had debridement 6-12-17. I also expected a fast recovery but the ankle is very strong and also very delicate. The healing process takes time. Did you have a physical therapist? You didn't mention exercises. The daily exercises are VERY important as is the application of ice and heat. I am old and work as a crossing guard and have to be ready 8-10-17. Wishing us both a speedy recovery and please, do the exercises daily. There are some good ones on the net at medical sites. Keep posting.

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