Tuesday, December 15, 2009

One Year Anniversary ORIF

It was one year ago, today, that I had my initial surgery for my ankle fracture. I remember the pain and because of that, I have learned a lot about pain. For instance, any pain that occurs prior to surgery (i.e., the type of pain that typically occurs after a fracture while one is waiting for surgery) will contribute to postop pain & increase the chances for chronic pain or at least the difficulty in controlling acute pain post repair. I have also learned that any patient that has acute pain postop that is not adequately controlled will have a greater than 50% chance of developing chronic pain afterwards. I would have to say that I was on track for that end - except for my knowledge of alternative ways of treating pain - such as acupuncture, laser biotherapy, topical herbs, importance of stretching, PT, etc. I am grateful for that knowledge & for the expert practitioners that treated me. The other thing that I have learned is that the ancient TCM statement of "where there is movement, there is no pain & where there is no movement, there is pain" is correct. Being stiff, resisting movement (PT, exercising, stretching even if it requires pain meds to allow for it) is bad & leads to more pain. Even now, one year later, I still do my exercise routine to reinforce/remind my muscles, ligaments, tendons that they have to be engaged in walking, moving - that there is no day off. THANK YOU to Dr. Mark Klion (my surgeon), Dr. Meg Rosenblatt (my anesthesiologist), Tammy Day (massage therapist & acupuncturist), Karen (PT) & all my friends & family (my husband - Michael - who continues to help me & my children, Sam & Mary Ann) for their support! I cannot imagine getting through this without all of them.


  1. Thanks Melinda for writing this blog. I found it during a google search. I am at 4 weeks today after ORIF surgery. I am so tired of not being able to move and cannot wait for this all to end. I am not expecting a quick return to anything like normal as I suffer from MS and it was infact because of it that I fell. I am in a boot cast right and go back to the Dr. on March 2nd. Due to MS I am unable to use crutches so I am in a wheelchair which is just so hard on me and I have only been out of the house about 3 or 4 times. I had a visit at home from a physio last week who showed me some exercises to try and help me keep some amount of strength. Thanks again for your posts. They are very helpful. Mandy in Vancouver, Canada

  2. I also found this almost exactly a month after ORIF ankle surgery. I am finding that everyday I discover a new pain or problem......I have made 3 trips to the chiropractor due to my hips hurting so bad. I feel like I should not be still taking pain medicine and have been trying to mostly maintain the pain with tylenol and then alternating advil. Today I am feeling a "pressure" just above where I believe the plate was installed and my other leg is feeling a little tingly at the toes but painful just below the knee and up my leg......I keep my legs elevated with "toes above my nose" most of the time. I just wish the surgeon would give me more of an idea of what to expect next.....I spent 2 weeks in a "floating" cast and the past 4 weeks (with 2 more to go). I go back on the 25th of February and have no idea what to expect next?????

  3. Janet in Louisiana -- I had ORIF ankle and leg surgery May of this year. Initially, my doctor's were great. I had right leg, outer bone shattered in over 30 pieces and the ankle coming out facing the other ankle on the left-hand side. It was emergency surgery after a car wreck. I was airlifted from the scene. I am going on 12 weeks after surgery. Walking with walking boot and crutches now. I am off pain meds now and having to deal with some bad pain. I also had a tailbone injury that continues to hurt. When I tell the Dr. I am still hurting, they tell me to take tylenol or ibuprofen. I tell them it doesn't help and they sort of shrug it off. I am starting to feel like they want to be done with me and I am alone in this. Trying to keep on a happy face but it is hard sometimes.

  4. I find your blog to be inspirational. I am 10 months post ORIF, and had 2 shattered open fracture ankles from a bad car accident (very lucky to be alive) I deal with pain every day, and sometimes I get so fed up. Thanks for taking the time to share your experiences and encouragement.

  5. Replies
    1. It's 2 years now I had broken my ankle I had ORIF surgery and 12 weeks later went to work ( on my feet all day ) it hurt but bearable . Now 2 years later less on my feet yet the pain IS UN BEEarable 24/7 .. My foot is on a cramp and numb most of the time I have tried Advil Tylenol etc and the cold hot therapy .. I'm on my feet less and it hurts WORSE .. Is there any surgery that can strengthen the sides of my ankle so I'm not beating all my weight on my foot ??? It's very depressing to be 55 and not be able t even walk a few feet with stoping to pain ;(((

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