Sorry for this long post, but maybe my specific description of my ankle pain story may be helpful in getting someone's advice or perspective!
Four and a half months ago, I had an ankle arthroscopy for chronic ankle pain lasting nine months after an ankle sprain, and the orthopedic surgeon found and debrided extensive scar tissue and synovitis tissue throughout the ankle joint, and debrided scar tissue on the ATF ligament and AITF ligament (syndesmosis ligament) which was causing a soft-tissue impingement in the ankle joint. Furthermore, the surgeon debrided extensive scar tissue throughout the subtalar joint.
After exiting the walker boot one month after surgery, I began physical therapy and gradually increased my walking endurance over a period of three months from 5 minutes to two 35 minute walks each day (separated by 12 hours for each walk). Throughout the increased physical therapy and walking, I had many occasions where I tried to progress a little too quickly (but never adding more than 1-3 minutes of walking in any week) and paid for it with a night of pain, but then it usually quieted down soon afterwards.
Four months out, I met my ankle surgeon to assess my progress, and he said that I was way too aggressive on how much walking I was doing, and to cut back to at most only 30 min every other day and to switch to bicycling more. Perhaps foolishly, the day before the appointment, I very slowly ascended and descended a trail to an 80' high ocean bluff (I hadn't tested much inclines before) to give the doctor feedback on how my ankle responded to inclines. Well, I was too embarrased to add the bluff climb to my list of activities he heard about. However, since that fateful bluff climb 17 days ago, I have had persistent, intense, pain in the ankle joint, even though I've taken the doc's advice and cut out almost any walking (not more than 5-8 minutes a day). Furthermore, even treading water or pool walking in a pool ramps up the pain even more, so forget bicycling as an alternative activity right now! I've only slept every other night due to the pain. As I write this late at night, Aleve didn't help enough to sleep and typical painkillers such as vicodin or ultracets have had limited effectiveness too. The pain feels like someone just rubbed a cheese grater over all the internal lining of my ankle joint!
Does anyone have any advice or perspective on this? Has anyone else had this type of surgery? What have been your experiences? I just saw the surgeon a few weeks ago, so I'm not going to contact him again so soon, and despite following his advice, I'm hurting much more now than before. Could a short trail ascent of just 80' cause this level of pain setback (even though my ankle is completely stable with stable ligaments, healthy cartilege and bones)? And now just trying to tread water hurts as much later as the pain after climbing the trail. Activities almost never hurt when I do them. It's a delayed reaction that starts extensive pain that night or even delayed until the next night!
And what can I do to endure the pain--it just goes on and on.