Has anyone had ankle surgery?

I might have to have ankle surgery for peroneal tendon subluxation. My doctor thinks the retinaculum holding the tendons in place in loose. Has anyone had this surgery, or any ankle surgery? My doctor said he would inject a nerve block into my leg that would make me unable to feel or move my leg for 12-24 hours. How do you get into or out of a car or up the stairs like this? Can you bend at the knee to stop your foot from hitting the ground? I had a nerve block in my arm when I had wrist surgery and it left me with a completely dead arm up to the shoulder for at least 12 hours. How is the recovery from this surgery and how independent were you able to be (I live alone) and how painful is it? Also I would need to go up a flight of stairs to get to my apartment, how hard is this a couple hours after surgery?

I can’t answer all your questions…or even most of 'em…but both of my sisters have had ankle surgery, due to minor breaks. The kind of break where the condyle is cracked off, and has to be held in place with a screw. (My sisters are both screwy!)

One had to use a wheelchair for a few days – which meant being trapped in her house, as it is not accessible. The other went straight to crutches.

My opinion is that if you can’t move your knee at all for 12-24 hours, then just stay in bed. Don’t fight it. Once you’re able to control the knee, you can start bumping around on crutches.

Anyway…your doctor should have answered all these questions for you long ago! I’m astonished that you would have to ask total strangers on a general-interest debate board like this! Go back and demand they fill you in on all you need to know!

(The only time I ever had surgery, I had some questions…and the doctors simply refused to answer them. They just evaded those specific sensitive questions entirely. I thought that was a bit shabby!)

(Specifically…the anaesthesiologist warned that there is a non-zero chance of death arising from total anaesthesia. Okay: what are the odds? In surgery cases similar to mine, in the last two years, how many patients have actually died? You can’t just say, “There’s a chance.” Tell me the goddamn chance! But they never would.)

I haven’t had ankle surgery, but did have a broken foot a few years back. I was lucky in that I “just” had a boot (that could be removed for showering) vs. a cast.

No clue on whether you’d be able to bend at the knee - I’d have to assume so, but it’s definitely worth asking the doctor. Do you know if you’ll have crutches or “just” a cane? Will your ankle be in a cast or split or anything?

Stairs are not your friend. You’ll be able to go up and down them, carefully, using crutches, alternately you can use the “sit on the stairs, bump yourself up or down using hands and good foot” approach. Though the one time I tried that (indoors, carpeted stairs) I nearly tobogganed down the rest of the way on my backside :D.

Do you have someone who can pop in every day or two to bring groceries or whatever? You do NOT want to be attempting stairs + groceries - that’s a recipe for disaster. You can manage small things if you have a backpack or large purse that you wear cross-body, but beware of getting your center of gravity too far off balance.

Assuming your apartment is one level inside, you should manage well enough at home, though obviously it can be tricky to, say, carry your dinner from the stove to the table.

Depending on how long you’re supposed to keep off the foot, you may want to invest in a shower stool and/or temporary grab bars for the shower. Some examples:
Grab bar

I tried showering the day after I broke my foot, and it was HARD trying to stand on one foot long enough to shampoo etc. - went to Bed Bath and Beyond the next day to get a stool, and spotted the grab bar thingy while I was at it. They made life much easier.

I had the surgery on my left ankle in 2000.

I had general anaesthetic and there was no possibility of putting weight on the ankle, it was wrapped in an old-fashioned heavy white plaster cast and I was provided with crutches.

Some four-or-so weeks in, the plaster cast was replaced with a much lighter fiberglas cast and I was allowed to let the foot touch the floor but not to bear weight.

Eighteen days late that gave way to an air cast held around the ankle with velcro. Oh man, was it ever wonderful to get to that stage! By then I was using a cane and could bear weight. My thigh and calf muscles were all atrophied but they came back. Went to physical therapy for a couple weeks.

My surgery involved doubling the tendon back on itself and attaching it with an artificial piece (forget what they called it); he said my tendon was all stretched out like chewing gum and too thin and weak as well as too stretched, causing the bones in my foot to shift out of position, causing it to become a non-foot (would not tolerate any weight at all when it went out). Original damage was probably from a bad sprain back in the 1990s.

I mashed my right ankle to ratshit in a hard landing when skydiving and still have a screw in it. I went straight to crutches and couldn’t put any weight on it, so my leg may as well have been full of no-feel happy juice. That lasted a couple of months.

I sold my car because it was a stick and bought an old-beater automatic. I had to drive it with my left foot while keeping my right leg folded in front of the seat. I wrapped my leg in plastic garbage bags for showers and sat on a kitchen chair in the tub. Stairs weren’t too bad, but the apartment block I lived in has an elevator.

By the time the cast was removed, there had been snow and ice on the ground for a couple or three weeks. That was scary on crutches.