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removing splint too soon after surgery

Posted by Tammie on 3/13/03 at 20:11 (112854)

I have been online searching for information regarding my mother's recent foot surgery which was one week ago today - Thursday, March 6. Her medical certification for work states 'Exostosis/Enthesopathy' as the primary diagnosis and 'Enthesis Repair' as the surgical procedure. She had a huge, painful lump on the back of her heel that she limped around with for a very long time before seeking medical help. I took her to her first post-op follow-up visit with her doctor two days ago. He pointed out that she had obviously been putting too much weight on her foot because the bottom of the splint was so dirty and had a worn place on the heel. As it turns out, she has only been using one crutch to get around instead of two -- using it mainly for support and balance, not to keep the weight off of her foot. Yesterday, six days post-op, she removed the splint altogether, stating that it was too uncomfortable and made it too difficult to get around. I'm very concerned about how this will affect the healing process. I've been searching online for information that I might be able to print and take to her that would explain why her foot is in the splint and what could happen if she refuses to take the doctor's post-op instructions seriously. I will be taking her for her next post-op visit on the 21st and plan to ask the doctor questions at that time, but that seems like a long time to be without the splint if she really needs it. Could she be causing herself permanent damage? Can someone please point me in the right direction? I'm very worried about my mother, but I don't want to overreact. Thank you. -- Tammie

Re: removing splint too soon after surgery

DRZ on 3/13/03 at 20:39 (112866)

Hi,

IF the tendon was removed and then placed back on the back of the heel with wire or metal suture then there is a risk of rupture of the entire tendon off the back of the heel bone with weight bearing. She may need to be place into a cast to prevent the walking on her hee/foot. Has the doctor talked about casting the foot?

Re: removing splint too soon after surgery

Tammie on 3/13/03 at 22:56 (112911)

Thank you for your reply. I wish I knew the exact details of the procedure, but I don't. I will ask the doctor to explain the surgery to me on the 21st. She came home from the surgery with her foot and leg (to just below the knee) completely bandaged and secured to an L-shaped splint. The doctor unwrapped it Tuesday to check her progress, said it was looking ok but that she had been on it way too much, then he wrapped it again, put the splint back on and told her that if all went well this week, he should be able to remove the stitches on the 21st. When I went to check on my mother yesterday, she had taken off the splint and bandages and just had on a sock. She said she was going to clean the incision site and keep clean socks on. I remember when the doctor rewrapped her foot and leg, he told her to keep it clean and dry, but I don't think he intended for her to unwrap it to clean it or to do anything on her own other than keep her foot elevated and stay off of it as much as possible. In fact, he told me that she would be much better off using a wheelchair than the crutches, so I know he means business about staying off of it. As I understand it, she's supposed to wear this splint for several weeks then be switched to a smaller one, but it looks like she has no intention of having ANY splint at all, which is really concerning me.