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16 months post-injury - does it every truly heal?
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Kartessa


Jul 12, 2011, 9:06 PM
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16 months post-injury - does it every truly heal?
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Last march I fell bouldering, spraining my ankle and fracturing the calcaneus in my left foot.

Now, over a year later, I still have some significant weakness and occasional instability and pain. It's not like I've been sitting on my ass this whole time, for the last 12 months I've been hiking, biking and climbing almost daily, the muscles are getting plenty of use!

I have a feeling this is just going to be something I have to learn to live with, has anyone else been through a sprain/break like this? Is this going to become something chronic or do I just need to be more patient?


healyje


Jul 12, 2011, 9:15 PM
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Re: [Kartessa] 16 months post-injury - does it every truly heal? [In reply to]
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I believe these things are pretty specific to individuals and their history so hard to extrapolate valid generalities.

I was always prone to ankle rolling from early childhood and have sprained both ankles multiple times over decades of climbing and broken the right one once. I'm still climbing, but quite mindful of my movement at all times - particularly on trails.


JoeJoeTheMonkey


Jul 12, 2011, 9:52 PM
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Re: [Kartessa] 16 months post-injury - does it every truly heal? [In reply to]
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In reply to:
I shattered both my Calcs back in October 2009. I still see improvement every month but I am still no where near having the strength and ROM I had pre accident. Be patient and try every thing to see what works for you: PT, Yoga, orthotics, meds, acupunct, etc.


lena_chita
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Jul 13, 2011, 10:08 AM
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Re: [Kartessa] 16 months post-injury - does it every truly heal? [In reply to]
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Like others have said, it is likely to be person- and injury-specific, but 12 months is not unusual.

Two biggish injuries that I've experienced: One was a bad fall that damaged a disk and caused bad sciatica and numbness/weakness on one leg. The other was a bad ankle sprain.

The back injury was over 5 years ago by now. I was climbing within 6 weeks or so. The leg weakness lasted longer than than 12 months. I can't say exactly when is stopped. It just gradually was getting better to the point where I was not thinking about it anymore. But even now, 5+ years after the injury, there are occasional situations, in a very specific type of move (high step rock-over on a slab without good handholds) where I can feel the difference on "weak" leg vs. the uninjured leg.

The rolled sprained ankle was on top of multiple earlier cases of mild sprains, about 3 years ago. Again, I was climbing 6 weeks after the injury. The ankle felt worse when I was hiking on uneven ground than when I was climbing, and gradually and slowly continued to improve to the point where it doesn't affect me in everyday life at all. Still 3 years later the ankle is still slightly more prone to rolling on uneven ground, so I have to pay attention.

Depending on how you look to it, I could say that it sucks, or I could say that if I never experience a more significant injury, then I am extremely lucky and thankful. I take the second approach.


damienclimber


Jul 13, 2011, 2:35 PM
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Re: [JoeJoeTheMonkey] 16 months post-injury - does it every truly heal? [In reply to]
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JoeJoeTheMonkey wrote:
In reply to:
I shattered both my Calcs back in October 2009. I still see improvement every month but I am still no where near having the strength and ROM I had pre accident. Be patient and try every thing to see what works for you: PT, Yoga, orthotics, meds, acupunct, etc.

I've been bouldering for ten years, when I get injured its best to rest . Then I use a support bandage.


onceahardman


Jul 13, 2011, 3:28 PM
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Re: [Kartessa] 16 months post-injury - does it every truly heal? [In reply to]
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Lena's post was pretty good, not sure why she got 1 starred...probably someone with a personal axe to grind.

Anyway, there IS such a thing as a permanent injury. Some can be career-ending. We are not made of steel, with replaceable parts, one new part being identical to the old.

We are alive. We heal, to one extent or another. Sometimes the "healing" consists of building up big bone spurs around a joint, apparently the body's attempt at increasing surface area to decrease force per square inch.

A fractured calcaneus, as you can attest, is a very debilitating injury. Your post makes it sound as if you are depending upon a return to normal activity to be a satisfactory means of rehabilitation, rather than engaging in targeted, specific rehabilitation under the eyes of a skilled PT. This is exactly the type of injury that many PTs have very specific training in. I'm not sure how much PT you get, per injury, in the rationed Canadian system. I live in a border city (Buffalo, Niagara Falls, NY area), and I can tell you that Canadians frequently come over and pay privately, rather than wait 6-12 months for some procedures.

My advice is, get to a good PT soon. Best of luck, this can certainly be better than it is, but may never be as good as it was pre-injury. You won't know until you complete rehabbing it.


socalclimber


Jul 13, 2011, 4:26 PM
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Re: [Kartessa] 16 months post-injury - does it every truly heal? [In reply to]
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Kartessa wrote:
Last march I fell bouldering, spraining my ankle and fracturing the calcaneus in my left foot.

Now, over a year later, I still have some significant weakness and occasional instability and pain. It's not like I've been sitting on my ass this whole time, for the last 12 months I've been hiking, biking and climbing almost daily, the muscles are getting plenty of use!

I have a feeling this is just going to be something I have to learn to live with, has anyone else been through a sprain/break like this? Is this going to become something chronic or do I just need to be more patient?

I hate to say this, but the truth is you're better off with a break .vs. a sprain. Once you start pulling and trashing things like tendons and ligaments, they can really stick with you for the long run. Unfortunately when you break bone, sometimes the connective tissues is part of the injury.

Both of my ankles are pretty trashed, and these were early on in my climbing career. The older I get, the more I notice it.

If you have good insurance and can get a good sport physiologist to help you through the process the better.

Sorry about the injury, but you may just have to live with it.


nrcolby


Jul 31, 2011, 9:34 AM
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Re: [socalclimber] 16 months post-injury - does it every truly heal? [In reply to]
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Sorry to hear about your injuries. I can understand your concern regarding the permanence of the damage to your foot as I have broken both my left and right calcs. These fractures occurred about 15 years apart. One required surgery and one was allowed to heal on its own, just a mechanical boot. After the last fracture (right side) I did a lot of research and discovered about 90% of calcaneal fractures also have peronneal tendon involvement meaning that even if the bone heals there is lasting tendon issues that might involve surgical intervention to alleviate pain and help stabilize the ankle. In a few months I'll be having surgery for peronneal subluxation which was caused by the deformation of the calcaneous due to the fracture. Good luck with everything and don't skip on the supplements and do your PT exercises religiously. Slacking off on that now will only delay any chance of a recovery.


(This post was edited by nrcolby on Jul 31, 2011, 9:35 AM)


socalclimber


Jul 31, 2011, 1:46 PM
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Re: [nrcolby] 16 months post-injury - does it every truly heal? [In reply to]
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That's pretty sound advice. Wish I had health insurance...


roughster


Jul 31, 2011, 3:13 PM
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Re: [nrcolby] 16 months post-injury - does it every truly heal? [In reply to]
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nrcolby wrote:
Sorry to hear about your injuries. I did a lot of research and discovered about 90% of calcaneal fractures also have peronneal tendon involvement meaning that even if the bone heals there is lasting tendon issues that might involve surgical intervention to alleviate pain and help stabilize the ankle.

I am also trying to recover from this same injury...almost 2 years ago now!! Mad I can't even say it was something as glorious as a big bouldering splat, mine was injured unicycling of all things Crazy

Anyways, the quote above is almost verbatim what my Doctor also said. She said it is up to me if I want to go through with the surgery or just learn to deal with it and hope it eventually heals. The calc fractured is totally healed. My biggest issue is I have a very high tolerance for pain and can run 10+ miles on it, with pain, but the key is I can do it... Do I really want to take MORE time off to recover from the surgery and rebuild back to where I am now?

No easy answers mate, so you're going to have to do some soul searching. I am leaning towards dealing with the pain until I feel like I need a 1-2 year break.


(This post was edited by roughster on Jul 31, 2011, 3:15 PM)


osujeep


Jul 31, 2011, 9:27 PM
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Re: [Kartessa] 16 months post-injury - does it every truly heal? [In reply to]
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sorry to hear you got hurt.. that said you are doing pretty well over all for a calcaneus fracture. if the fracture is unstable dr.'s really like doing surgery. which is bad. infection rates are high on the foot and your body always eventually rejects any hardware. causing a need for more cutting, or at least heavy antibiotics.

i broke me calcaneus about 3 years ago... i did everything the dr. said not to do, but i am not very smart. i am lucky, though. i have no pain or strength loss. it did take about 2 years to have zero pain hiking on rough terrain. after i i got hurt i never stopped climbing even for a day.. i walked a little on the foot every day and 5 weeks out i stopped even wearing a walking boot. i started walking on a slack line at about 6 weeks to get the accessory muscles stronger and regain balance. the loss of range of motion is what i found to give me pain when hiking on rough terrain so until that is back where you need it to be you will still feel it from time to time..
so if you are out hiking and climbing and biking you are doing pretty well. with a bit more time you will hopefully not ever know u even got hurt.

p.s. i did not ever run before i got hurt, and i still dont now. so i have no idea how that will feel on it. but i do know that i can bike and hike for hours and climb for days up to .13 and boulder up to v9 with no pain.


Kartessa


Jul 31, 2011, 9:37 PM
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Re: [osujeep] 16 months post-injury - does it every truly heal? [In reply to]
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osujeep wrote:
sorry to hear you got hurt.. that said you are doing pretty well over all for a calcaneus fracture. if the fracture is unstable dr.'s really like doing surgery. which is bad. infection rates are high on the foot and your body always eventually rejects any hardware. causing a need for more cutting, or at least heavy antibiotics.

i broke me calcaneus about 3 years ago... i did everything the dr. said not to do, but i am not very smart. i am lucky, though. i have no pain or strength loss. it did take about 2 years to have zero pain hiking on rough terrain. after i i got hurt i never stopped climbing even for a day.. i walked a little on the foot every day and 5 weeks out i stopped even wearing a walking boot. i started walking on a slack line at about 6 weeks to get the accessory muscles stronger and regain balance. the loss of range of motion is what i found to give me pain when hiking on rough terrain so until that is back where you need it to be you will still feel it from time to time..
so if you are out hiking and climbing and biking you are doing pretty well. with a bit more time you will hopefully not ever know u even got hurt.

p.s. i did not ever run before i got hurt, and i still dont now. so i have no idea how that will feel on it. but i do know that i can bike and hike for hours and climb for days up to .13 and boulder up to v9 with no pain.

Thanks dude, that's like the light at the end of the tunnel.


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