Saturday, October 26, 2013

Three Years Later...

Every year I follow up with my surgeon to make sure everything is fine with my "new" ankle. On Tuesday, October 15th, I had my routine x-rays done and was told that it appears the plastic is beginning to wear and I have a bone spur. Looking at the x-rays myself I could see a difference in my ankle from last year's x-ray. The plastic part is lower and the bone spur is in the front of my ankle. That spot has been tender for a little while now but I thought that was just normal tenderness from standing or walking too long. Overall the bone spur hasn't seemed to affect me and I have been trying not to think about it. Of course after my visit that day my ankle felt sore for a few days but that was probably because I was thinking about what was going on.

My surgeon assured me the hardware itself is fine, and I could see it in the x-rays. It is simply the plastic that has shifted or worn down a little. He said the wear and tear seems to be happening sooner than he expected but he knows that I am an active person. I still enjoy hiking, walking in my neighborhood, using my elliptical, volunteering at the cat shelter, swimming, and cycling. I have a mini-trampoline that I had been using to "jog" in my den, but my surgeon suggested I stop using it because it may be putting too much stress on my ankle.

I have a follow-up appointment in six months so my surgeon can gauge what is happening with the plastic and then we will go from there. He said it is possible that we may have to change the plastic and the surgery and recovery are not as difficult as the initial surgery, but of course I will need physical therapy again. He advised me to go about my daily life as usual; not to treat my ankle any differently (except for keeping away from any kind of impact) and not to worry.

I asked my surgeon if I would eventually have to have the ankle fused. He considers that a last resort and said technology is changing all the time. New replacements are always coming out and we may find something better. He also said I may become tired of having surgeries to replace the plastic and don't want to "have a zipper" in my ankle and I may decide on the fusion. He advised me to wait it out another six months and make my decision then.

By nature I am a worrier but I am trying my best to stay positive and remember what it was like before my surgery. The pain and the difficulty in doing everyday things. I am still so much better off than I was over three years ago. Being an active person is who I am and I cannot sit still, although I will be careful not to do anything that will jeopardize my implant.

I will post updates over the next few months, if there are any changes, and will definitely post up on my progress at my six-month follow-up. Thanks for reading!


  1. Hi Christine! I'm almost 5 months post op from my STAR total ankle replacement and I'm gearing up for my other ankle to be replaced in just a few weeks. Reading your blog has been great...thanks for tracking it so well! I started a blog myself to do something similar. I hope your bone spur problems get worked out and your doc can find some kind of relief for you.

  2. Thanks CyborgMom! Good luck with your recovery and your upcoming surgery. I'm glad I could be of some help to you!

  3. Dear Christine

    Great to read your update and sorry to hear that you have had to slow down a wee bit I'm surprised that the plastic membrane has worn so quickly in three years. I'm sure you are well advised not to do anything that causes impact to your joint.

    Sixteen plus years ago I had a hip replaced and the one thing I was advised not to do was anything that caused an impact to the joint. Although I can run I only do so if there is a dire need like crossing a busy road and a car appearing fast! I've been very active in those years doing a lot of heavy work as in building and so far it has been brilliant. I had a Zenith TAR on the other side just over a year ago and generally that is going well too. Your blog was a great comfort to me before and after the surgery so many thanks. May I take this opportunity to commend the TAR group I'm a member of. Many very helpful people and lots of great information in the archives for anyone planning on having a TAR. BTW here is a short video of me walking at twenty weeks for anyone needing some additional encouragement.

  4. Thanks Richard, I'll definitely check out the TAR group you recommended. I was surprised also to hear the plastic has worn down but luckily it's just the plastic and not the implant itself. I am a very active person and always have been. There are a few small changes I will need to make but overall I don't see myself becoming a couch potato anytime soon!

  5. Dear Christine

    Thanks for your reply. I think it is so important that those facing a TAR or recovering from this surgery can read and discuss their problems with others who have been down that road. Your blog was an inspiration and great help to me. The Yahoo group I mentioned in my previous contribution here have been an additional and continuing support for me and many others.

    I'm quite certain that you will not become a couch potato and that your new ankle joint will give you a long and active life!

    Best wishes

    Richard Kenward

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  7. I am having a TAR in about six weeks. Would love to figure out how to have access to all these groups???

  8. I am getting surgery on my ankle here soon and I'll admit that I'm a little nervous. I have danced my whole life so I really value my ankles. I know because of this surgery I won't be able to dance for a long time but I hope to one day get to the point where it doesn't cause me any pain to dance.

  9. Hello Christine,
    IYour blog has been so helpful since I have very similar situations to you with my ankle. i notice you have stopped since your 3rd year, but I am wondering if you had revision surgery? I am trying to decide about a fusion or replacement, and it would be so helpful to learn how your replacement held up. If you could reach out, that would be fantastic.
    Hope you are still doing well with your ankle.

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  11. Hello, Christine. I have had a similar surgery with Wright In-Bone and was pleasantly surprised to see your blog on the same subject:

    Always nice to compare notes, especially on different manufacturers who use different installation methods.

    Nothing ever lasts forever though - next month I go back under the knife for a triple heel fusion and removal of a bone spur on my foot joint.