Jump to content
Heather Mills - Amputee Forum
alfieatk

Stick with painful fused ankle or have amputation??

Recommended Posts

Dear All,

I am currently deciding if to go ahead with an amputation of my right leg below the knee as my current ankle fusion is giving me a constant pain.

I am really hoping to find someone to speak to who had a fusion first and then an amputation to see how it worked out for them.

To cut it short (if you pardon the pun) I was knocked off my motorcycle almost six years ago, shattering my right leg. Three years ago I had my ankle totally fused so it does not move at all and is left slightly pointing down. My leg is 3 inches shorter in my femur, that cant be fixed, and I also have to wear a raised shoe and walk with a slight limp.

But the main problem is I am in pain every day and I get very tired with the morphine I have to take every day. Some days the pain is really bad and cant get out of bed and other days it is not too bad. If it was really bad all the time it would make the amputation decision really easy but some days I live an almost 'normal' life. But I still spend several days a week sitting down resting or in bed.

There is also the risk that the older I get, I am 34 now, then there is a higher chance of me having an above knee amputation as there is not a great deal of undamaged skin below my knee. As I am young it should heal up well and form a solid stump but this will also change as I get older. On top of that my fused ankle could lead to premature arthritus in my knee and hip. And if I get an infection again and they have to do an emergency op then that could well be above the knee. So I feel like I have the Sword of Damaclese hanging over me. If it was a simple below knee amp then I would prob go for it but there is about a 15 per cent chance it would go above knee. I am would prob be better off with a bk than I am now but if it went above I am prob best staying as I am. But the longer I leave it the higher the chance of it going above kneee is. I would hate to be left having to use a wheel chair.

I wish I could just try out an amputation, but of course if I don't prefer it then I can't have it put back on. I suppose am just worried about the idea of being an amputee and having to put my leg on and off all the time. But saying that I cant walk at the moment without putting my adapted shoe on.

I have meet three guys that my hospital who have had successful amputations but I just wonder if they only put forward the ones who it works for. Is there a fair number of people who have had amputations and then regretted it out there? I am aiming to try and make a decision one way or another in six months time

I would apprecaite any help or advice anyone out there can offer.

Thanks for your help

Alfie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I did it. Similar situation as yourself, I had a painful club for an ankle/foot and went though with the RBK in 2008, BEST thing I could of done.

here's a link to my Intro on this forum, you can follow my progression though the process of deciding.

http://www.heathermills.eu/forum/index.php?showtopic=4292

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Alfie,

I can speak about having the ankle fused and then decideding to have the leg amputated. My left ankle was fused 13 yrs ago and just recently decided to cut my losses(pun intended). I much like you was in extreme pain all the time, it got so bad the last year before my amputation I used a wheelchair every day just to be able to go to work and do all the things i needed to. I have only been an amputee for about 10 weeks and can tell you without a doubt I have absolutly no pain anymore, however that might not be true for all new amps or you if you chose to go ahead with the amputation. For me it made the most since, as I had had 6 ankle surgeries since my first fusion. So I rolled the dice and so far it has worked out better than I ever thought. You are correct once you make that decision you can not go back, but from the sound of things you have already lost that foot. I would suggest talking with your family as they will be going through it with you and in some ways it will affect them worse than you. Go and visit a couple different prosthetist as they are not all the same. An amputation is not the end all be all answer you are looking for, you are just upgrading your current problems for new ones. For me I needed to get back to as normal activity as possible. So my kid didnt always think his daddy could not do anything with him. As far as only showing you amputees who are successful, it is a possibility. They most likely dont want a new or potentially new amputee to be visited by some one who is negative. Everyone is going to handle it differently and it may or may not take you a long time to accept. One thing is for sure there are a lot of helpful people on this site and in some of the older threads. One comes to mind that I read on hear search for this thread http://www.heathermills.eu/forum/index.php?showtopic=4248&hl=inmotion+article and read post number 14. It hits the nail right on the head for folks like us. I hope everything works out for you in the coming months and feel free to ask any questions that you may have. Good luck

Jason

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mine wasn't a fused ankle, it was a fused knee, much pain and a dropped foot... had an enormous built up shoe... having the amputation was the best thing that could have happened to me without a doubt. I'm much better off without the leg.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here is the link to Judy's blog spot, go check it out..

http://justonefoot.blogspot.com

You know, there isn't anyone that can tell you to "have" the amputation... the only thing we can do is tell you our quality of life afterward.. I'm a left bk due to an accident that I had, in which my foot was severed and then re-attached and that failed. I can tell you that any pain that I feel compared to then , is completely different, and very minor.. Saying that, I know that the failed re-attachment is the best thing that could of happened to me. I would of not had any quality of life because of surgeries, healing,( if it even healed at all) and more skin and bone grafts..most likely still ending up in amputation but at a higher level. For me, that wouldn't of been any kind of living what so ever..as it is, I am back to my fairly "normal" life and have been for seven years.The best that we can do, is be honest, and then give you a few tips to go into any decision better educated and more aware. Gather all of the information you need, or the best that you can, and then, make your decision.. You are already doing part of that now, by talking with us. As suggested in an earlier post, go talk with a prosthetists, they can educate you on some prosthetics and help you understand that world.. Not only that, but, you start building a rapport with one, or not.. having a good verbal relationship with the person building your leg is a must.. You need to be able to understand and respect each other. That relationship is more important, (in my opinion) that the one with your physician. After all, this person will be helping you walk again by putting a leg under you.. those relationships go on long after a doctor is out of the picture.

It sounds as if you have already considered many of your options, before and after and by waiting.. none of this is easy for you, I'm sure..

Ask any and all questions that you feel you need to ask.. on here, someone usually has some form of input for you..

Good luck with your decision....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Dear All,

I am currently deciding if to go ahead with an amputation of my right leg below the knee as my current ankle fusion is giving me a constant pain.

I am really hoping to find someone to speak to who had a fusion first and then an amputation to see how it worked out for them.

To cut it short (if you pardon the pun) I was knocked off my motorcycle almost six years ago, shattering my right leg. Three years ago I had my ankle totally fused so it does not move at all and is left slightly pointing down. My leg is 3 inches shorter in my femur, that cant be fixed, and I also have to wear a raised shoe and walk with a slight limp.

But the main problem is I am in pain every day and I get very tired with the morphine I have to take every day. Some days the pain is really bad and cant get out of bed and other days it is not too bad. If it was really bad all the time it would make the amputation decision really easy but some days I live an almost 'normal' life. But I still spend several days a week sitting down resting or in bed.

There is also the risk that the older I get, I am 34 now, then there is a higher chance of me having an above knee amputation as there is not a great deal of undamaged skin below my knee. As I am young it should heal up well and form a solid stump but this will also change as I get older. On top of that my fused ankle could lead to premature arthritus in my knee and hip. And if I get an infection again and they have to do an emergency op then that could well be above the knee. So I feel like I have the Sword of Damaclese hanging over me. If it was a simple below knee amp then I would prob go for it but there is about a 15 per cent chance it would go above knee. I am would prob be better off with a bk than I am now but if it went above I am prob best staying as I am. But the longer I leave it the higher the chance of it going above kneee is. I would hate to be left having to use a wheel chair.

I wish I could just try out an amputation, but of course if I don't prefer it then I can't have it put back on. I suppose am just worried about the idea of being an amputee and having to put my leg on and off all the time. But saying that I cant walk at the moment without putting my adapted shoe on.

I have meet three guys that my hospital who have had successful amputations but I just wonder if they only put forward the ones who it works for. Is there a fair number of people who have had amputations and then regretted it out there? I am aiming to try and make a decision one way or another in six months time

I would apprecaite any help or advice anyone out there can offer.

Thanks for your help

Alfie

Hi I had a crushing of the right ankle by 570 some pounds of 3/8 steel plate back in 07 and was put back together with metal plate and pins and screws and cadabber bones but then contacted staff and after that was dug out and cleared up i had a choice of the ankle being fused with proably pain along with it and not a whole lot of movement cause of limping or right below the knee amputation i chose to be a amputee i made the right choice i had it done march 10,2009 and as of this past week july 6th im back to work and going back with the fire dept . and if i wear pants and not shorts no one can tell i have a prosthetic leg i walk pretty good .

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks everyone for the help and advice I will look at the postings suggested above and come back with a fuller reply and probably more questions.

I am just investigating the idea at the moment as there does seem to be a lot of ticks adding up in the plus box for amputation, but everyone is different and reacts differently to operations so I am just trying to cast the net as wide as possible to I get a true picture of what could happen and how it is likely to be.

My big fear is that I had a lot of skin grafting from my ankle upwards towards my knee, I have seen a couple of surgeons and fitters and they say there is a 10 to 20 per cent chance (depending on which one you ask) that the skin won't be enough or strong enough to cover the stump. If that were to be the case then I would then have to have a thru-knee or above knee operation. If it was a certainty that it would be below knee I would almost definately have it and in reverse if it was a certainty that it would be above I would probably not. Am I right to be so worried about a thr and above knee.

I know that everyone always thinks that their surgeons and prosthetic fitters are brilliant and the best but can you guys recommend the ones you feel are the best to deal with. I live in north London but can travel anywhere to see experts, I have already been to Dorset Orthopedic a couple of times and a few dr's in Harley Street.

Thanks again for you help and support.

Nigel

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can't help you with who to see, if you've been to Dorset Ortho and Harley Street, you can probably tell me a thing or two!

As for BK or AK... you're right to see them very differently... BK is MUCH better than AK... the more joints you lose, the less mobile you'll be. Though AK isn't the end of the world, it's just much better to be BK.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I can't help you with who to see, if you've been to Dorset Ortho and Harley Street, you can probably tell me a thing or two!

As for BK or AK... you're right to see them very differently... BK is MUCH better than AK... the more joints you lose, the less mobile you'll be. Though AK isn't the end of the world, it's just much better to be BK.

Ok thanks, I should make it clear that I am talking about dr in the UK, I have just noticed how many Americans are on here and I dont want to travel that far.

They are talking about maybe a thru-knee which would I suppose give me mobility somewhere between an above knee and below knee amputation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I can't help you with who to see, if you've been to Dorset Ortho and Harley Street, you can probably tell me a thing or two!

As for BK or AK... you're right to see them very differently... BK is MUCH better than AK... the more joints you lose, the less mobile you'll be. Though AK isn't the end of the world, it's just much better to be BK.

Yah, but all you bk's have to deal with short residual limbs and having to don socks all the time. Us AK's enjoy the bennies of a longer limb to accomodate more socket options, plus how many bk's have a blue tooth enable leg like me. :biggrin:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
They are talking about maybe a thru-knee which would I suppose give me mobility somewhere between an above knee and below knee amputation.

Not really, you've still lost the knee joint. In fact a through knee gives fewer options of hardware, though the longer stump can give more control. I would say a through knee is a lot closer to an AK than it is a BK.

.. and Toby... :laugh:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×