Six weeks later : a flashback to the ankle fusion

This post was written just over two years ago, on 12 February 2016, six weeks after my ankle fusion.

Today was my six week post-op meeting with my consultant. Although I was not expecting anything groundbreaking as six weeks is way too early to tell if a fusion has been successful, in fact it was an extremely positive appointment.

I have got used to bad news at fracture clinic and orthapaedic outpatients meetings over the last two years; I know that when I hear words like “unfortunately”, “bone graft” or when the consultant adopts a serious face and stresses to me the “seriousness of the injury”, I either get the urge to make a facetious comment about the ending of my prima ballerina career, or I burst into tears. To this end, I have found it advisable to take another functioning adult with me who can ask the right questions or proffer tissues whilst I dissolve in an undignified snotty mess.

So armed with my husband, I attended this meeting with no raised hopes to be dashed and a stern warning to myself not to make any inappropriate jokes.

Firstly, I had to be x-rayed. This was a daunting proposition, especially when shown the raised dais that I was expected to clamber onto without my aircast boot on. My poor little foot has not walked barefoot since the operation, and it looked extremely vulnerable when unwrapped and placed for the first time on the hospital linoleum.

The radiographers were lovely and patient as I swore and slippery palmed, grasped the handrail for dear life and climbed the two steps to the (to my eyes) remarkably small and unreassuringly wobbly x-ray platform. I had enough space to be manhandled into a position approximating fifth position in ballet and then holding on for dear life, I was left to fly solo.

Once the fear had subsided, I realised something. I was standing barefoot with my feet flat upon the floor with even weight distributed between both feet and there was no pain. No intense grinding white pain in my ankle joint. Believe me, this is nothing short of miraculous. For over two years now, I have not walked a single step without pain, sometimes lesser, as after my first steroid injection into the ankle joint last year, but mostly excruciating to the point that I cannot weight bear through the heel at all.

This revelation made me positively skip (as much as one can in an aircast boot on two crutches) to the consultants room. The news is that the x-ray looked good. Although it is pays to be circumspect in these situations, everything looks to be healing nicely. A mal-union is difficult to diagnose until around six months post-fusion, but my odds are around 1 in 30 of that occurring. So, until then, I am to slowly increase weight bearing through the ankle and by my next appointment in six weeks I should be out of the aircast boot and into regular shoes.

Next step is to draw up a rehabilitation programme.



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