Post-traumatic ankle arthritis

Hello, I posted here 8 years ago, when my PT arthritis began. In fact I had forgotten I had even posted before I signed on again today! Just made me realise how long I've been suffering with this.

Basically, 16 years ago at 46 I fell out of a loft and broke many bones in heel and ankle. Had an operation to insert metal fixings, and then just got on with physio and walking again, etc. Long process which probably took about 5 months in all.

8 years ago the PT arthritis began. And what started as occasional flare-ups of intense pain when I would put weight on the joint and somewhat limited mobility, now has become completely debilitating. Every step I take hurts, I trundle around taking baby steps everywhere like I was about 99 years old, sometimes I need a crutch but I find that even more obstructive and so just end up limping everywhere, very slowly (which obviously is no good because that limping makes my hips hurt!). I live alone, I have two active dogs that are my main responsibility, and am very sad that I'm not giving them the exciting life I used to. Most of our walks are me sat on a bench throwing a ball for them, and once a week a friend takes them to the countryside thankfully.

I am slim and fit in every other way, but the strongest tower will fall if its base is weak! And the constant pain means I'm losing condition and strength in my legs, because I don't walk so much. A bit like how a limb becomes when it's been in cast for a few months - you take the cast off and you're left with a saggy disintegrated weak limb! Except trying to build that strength is quite challenging when your ankle is in agony with every step you take. You ARE going to become somewhat sedentary as a result.

I was on a waiting list for a year to see someone at the NHS musculoskeletal clinic, but at first they just give you some physio exercises to do. Then if those don't help (which they didn't one bit), they will refer you to a nurse practitioner who can discuss other options with you. I'm finally seeing that person end of this month, but I will then have to go on yet another waiting list for whatever treatment she decides I need. So the end is definitely not in sight.

Has anyone paid for cortisol injections privately? What did it cost? Where they effective? Do you get a regular schedule of them after the first one to top them up indefinitely if you do go through the NHS? Surely you just don't walk into a private practitioners office and he or she just gives you the injections? Will there first be x-rays and all sorts of diagnostic stuff you have to pay for first? Or maybe I need to talk about some of these corrective surgeries that I know some people have, which means waiting for the NHS appointment. I did read once about how some people have all the metal fixings removed and this can correct the problem, however this is a very tricky surgery with no guarantees, and sometimes not even possible if the bones are all melded with the metal.

Sorry this is so long, and sorry for all the questions. It's just that I am at my wit's end now, constantly being in pain (I take Naproxen and Codeine, which seems to help a bit, but then the Codeine turns me into a spaced out idiot). I sometimes drink alcohol with the codeine just to make it kick in better, but that's obviously not a good thing to do either. I'm gradually losing more and more independence and I'm just desperate to find a way forward. 😓 I'd be very grateful for any advice.



  • Baloo
    Baloo Member Posts: 389

    There are pro's and con's but I believe the rheumatologists think a bit more of exercise than painkillers. I kind of agree. I don't own a dog, but I own a bicycle. There is a difference of course, but the point is, after working from home for the pandemic, it saddened me to find I couldn't get my leg over the saddle to ride my bicycle, and my knees were too stiff and painful for a safe pedalling and my arms were too weak for steering my 28inch wobbly front wheel.

    Then something curious happened. We were recalled to work in the office and I was faced with commuting from one side of Manchester to the other, 5 days a week. I adjusted my route, took painkillers to make it easier, then found commuting to work on the bus and tram was something I could still do. Even with the shortest walking route I am doing 8,000 steps a day.

    So, I shuffled off to work for a month and then suddenly, with a bit of care, I was able to get back on my bicycle almost as if nothing was ever wrong. I was gobsmacked. One of my few pleasures in life was back. The risk is, I might overdo it fall off and then I will be sorry, so I don't ride out very often except to the corner shop or something and taking great care, but make sure I enjoy it.

    Thats the downside, having to treat the aches and pains gently in case some worse kind of trauma happens. I pumped my neighbours car tyres up so they can get out, so they promptly slid in the kitchen and broke a hip. Take care not to overdo things but maybe consider doing something easier, but not too easy, that will increase being active.

  • Jenniffer
    Jenniffer Member Posts: 5

    Thank you for your response! Would you mind telling me what painkillers you take and what works for you? Thanks.