Thursday, October 14, 2010

Week One

On the morning of the surgery I was still coming up with excuses not to go through with it, but of course I did. My husband accompanied me to the North Shore Glen Cove Hospital but he was not allowed into the holding room with me. Any time hospital staff approached the gurney I was sitting on, I would burst into tears. Dr Segal, my surgeon, came to see me and assured me everything would be fine. I asked him what kind of hardware he had decided on and he told me he would be using the Salto Talaris. The design is small and implanting it would require removal of less bone than other prosthetics out there, making it ideal for the future when revision surgery may be necessary.

The anesthesiologist came over and assured me I would not wake up during the surgery nor would I be able to fight the anesthesia and not fall asleep. Everyone told me I would be fine. A nerve block was injected into the back of my left knee. I was brought into the operating room and placed on the table. A mask was placed over my nose and mouth and off to sleep I went.

Approximately four hours later, I was in the recovery room with the hospital staff telling me I had made it and the surgery had gone well. I was very drowsy and feeling no pain and I was back! Things had gone well as everyone had promised me.

During the next few hours I did not experience any pain. The nerve block worked well until the next morning when the pain started to set in. Still, I did not think it was as bad as I had expected. I was feeling rather good and was already anxious to go home.

Thursday morning the physical therapist came in and had me get up out of bed and use a walker. The blood rushing down to my foot caused such a stinging, burning, tingling sensation that I was close to tears. It was almost impossibile for me to move around because of the pain. I got back into bed and was told we would try again the next day.

Over the next couple of days the painful bloodrush I felt when getting up to do my physical therapy became easier to tolerate. The therapist had me practice going up and down stairs on crutches and walking down the hallway with my walker. When I got back to my room I was pretty tired! Muscles were sore from not being used in that way before. Thinking back, it would have been good to do exercises at home before the surgery to strengthen my legs, arms and shoulders to prepare me for getting around on crutches and a walker. I was never much for lifting weights, I would much rather do aerobics or walk or ride my bike. But I would say now that lifting weights would have definitely benefited me.

By Saturday, October 9, I was more than ready to go home and got the doctor's clearance to be discharged. My first night home I slept like a rock! It was good to be back in my own bed. The next few days it was a little hard to get around, I would become easily tired. The pain was still under control with medication.

On Tuesday I was put into a hard cast and it would stay on for two weeks, after which my surgeon would remove it and the stitches and put my ankle into a walking boot. However, I was told I would still not be able to put full weight on my foot for another three weeks.

There had been tingling in my foot and the doctor told me it's because the nerves had been "asleep" during the surgery and while the block was in effect. Nothing to worry about, it was perfectly normal. I was also instructed to keep my foot elevated as much as possible to help the bruising subside.

My first week was over and I was feeling pretty good.


  1. Christine,
    Thank you for your honest account of recovery from ankle replacement surgery. I have post traumatic osteoarthritis in my right ankle and I don't want to have fusion. I have been investigating ankle replacement surgery but it is not offered by my health provider at this time. And, honestly I am anxious about the possible side effects. I am very interested in hearing more about your recovery. Good Luck!

  2. Hi Jackie, good luck with your research. Thank you for reading and commenting... hopefully I can be of some help to you. That's why I started this blog!

    Definitely keep up with your research... and, assuming you are covered by health insurance, don't give up on finding a healthcare provider who can accomodate you. :-)