Post-Traumatic Arthritis

Jenniffer Member Posts: 4
edited 2. Mar 2014, 02:32 in Living with Arthritis archive
Hello! I'm new and have a question...

7 years ago I had a nasty fall from a loft down to the floor below and really smashed up my ankle/foot bones. All I can remember is that the specialist told me I had fractured the most important joint bones in my foot, by the heal. He wanted to operate, which he did, to place several bolts and metal bits in to try and correct it. The pain was excruciating, both pre and post op, and it took many months before I could properly put weight on it and walk normally again. I was in a cast for about a fortnight and on crutches for a few months.

Despite all the 'warnings' the specialist gave me at the time about what 'might' go wrong in the future, I was amazed at my recovery. There was occasionally a bit of aching there, especially following long walks and first thing in the AM. Always had difficulty walking on uneven surfaces, as this foot hated sloping to the left or right. Aside from that, I was very impressed with recovery!

Now, 7 years on, suddenly, I have quite a bit of pain and stiffness in that foot. When I get up from bed either in the middle of the night or first thing in the AM, it hurts BAD. I have to use some sort of walking support for the first 10 minutes or so, or crawl on all fours!

I will see my GP soon, but I'm reckoning it's probably post-traumatic arthritis. I'm 54 by the way. What do you think? Does it come on that suddenly??? And, I always thought this might happen but not til I was perhaps in my 70's... Am I too young or the right age for this to happen? And is there anything else it could be??? I wouldn't have thought so!

Thanks in advance for your help!


  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    This sounds to me as though it's osteo arthritis (OA) but I am not a doc. :wink: This can result after joint trauma, maybe not for years but it can arrive. I have OA in some very useful joints thanks to joint damage caused by my other arthritis and will eventually acquire it in my left shoulder after a recent bad fall. :)

    There are two major fallacies about arthritis: 1, only old people get it (not true) and 2, there are only two kinds, osteo and rheumatoid (wrong, there is osteo and around 200 variations of the auto-immune versions including rheumatoid). Children as young as 18 months old can suffer from an auto-immune type, it's truly a pig of a disease, I began mine aged 37, I am now nearly 55 and in some trouble. Hey-ho. :roll:

    It's good you will soon be seeing your GP as he is the one to deal with this, you will be offered pain relief and maybe an anti-inflammatory medication (this should be taken after a stomach protector drug which he should also prescribe). Exercise is beneficial but what kind is of the essence - you need to keep the surrounding muscles strong and flexible but without inflicting further stress or damage on the joint. I wish you well and please let us know how you get on. DD
  • Jenniffer
    Jenniffer Member Posts: 4
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thank you for your response DreamDaisy! You're the same age as me... 54. I'm sorry to hear that you're suffering so much with arthritis/osteoporosis. And since 37! Seems terribly unfair. I am just starting to find out that, as you say, it is not an affliction restricted to old age. I'm still kind of surprised that all this is happening right now - I felt as though I was still reasonably 'young' and fit in my head!

    When I had the op 8 years ago I had private medical insurance, so I was seen to straight away. But now I can't afford it anymore so I think seeing someone and getting physio will take much longer. I can't even see my GP until two weeks from now! Anyway we'll see what happens. I'm just particularly surprised at how quickly this seems to have all kicked off. I was fine for years, and then suddenly, in the space of about a week, I was struggling to walk!

    Anyway we'll see what happens and I shall be back no doubt once I have an actual diagnosis - but that could be a very long time!

    Thanks again and all the best to you,

  • Boomer13
    Boomer13 Member Posts: 1,931
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00

    Sorry to hear about your ankle. I hope your GP can provide you with some answers and help with the pain. Perhaps some physio could help you?

    Arthritis is a weird and unpredictable beast. I have an autoimmune type now at 48 which is doing a lot of damage, but when I was 27, I was in a bicycle- car crash and damaged both my knees very badly. I was told then that I would be needing knee replacements by my early to mid-forties. Even with my autoimmune arthritis affecting many joints, my knees remain in relatively good shape. I have damage there, but they aren't as consistently painful as other joints. The doctor's dire prediction didn't come true.

    On the other hand, when I was 39 in a relatively minor accident, I tore a ligament in my wrist which seemed to start my autoimmune arthritis problems. The injury at that age, coupled with my genetics, set the stage for systemic problems for me.

    Arthritis in it's various forms, does seem to be a complicated and individual thing. Don't condemn yourself by thinking the worst about your ankle, there may be something that can be done to maintain your function and keep pain minimal.

    Best wishes,
  • Jenniffer
    Jenniffer Member Posts: 4
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thanks so much for your reply Anna, and so sorry for the delay... I'm actually seeing my GP about it next week (had to wait soooo long to get in there!), so hopefully there will be some sort of diagnosis or referral. I have my good days and bad days, I just need to find out for sure what's going on, but it does feel as though it's post-tramatic osteoporosis or arthritis. Thanks again for your response, I really appreciate it! I will be back no doubt when I have a clear picture of what's going on...

  • Boomer13
    Boomer13 Member Posts: 1,931
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Good luck Jenniffer. Do let us how you make out.
  • hileena111
    hileena111 Member Posts: 7,099
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Jennifer
    Do let us know how you get on with the GP this week.

    I have OA in hips, lower back neck etc BUT
    like my ankle I have it as well due to trauma,

    I was walking behind 2 parked cars in a little village, suddenly one of them started, reversed, knocked me down and reversed over it and then drove over it {5 years ago} :shock:

    It really smashed my ankle, I've still got plates, pins and screws in it :o Simply because the operation was pretty awful and I didn't want to go through that again to get them taken out. The surgeon said if they weren't doing any harm I could just have them left. My attitude it
    "If its not bothering me I'll not bother it" :lol:

    He told me I would probably have arthritis in it.
    It was about 3 years later and it suddenly started to get sore {always was out of shape after the accident} :wink:
    I'm lucky....its not bad, swollen, and out of shape and sore but not really bad. Just gives me trouble now and then.

    Ask for a referral to the hospital to diagnosis it if its not suggested. :?
    It does sound like OA and if it is its only the GP that can deal with it.....with pain killers/dullers. :? At least if you know what it is then you can deal with it better.
    There are loads of different pain killers to help.......also a lot of self help things you can do.
    Lets see with the GP says first then you'll know.......give us a shout and we'll see what we can advise {we aren't docs but can tell you what helps us} :wink:


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