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1st time posting here, having surgery in 12 days

Posted by Elaine T on 2/24/04 at 13:00 (145188)

I've had tarsal tunnel syndrome for 4-1/2 years, and I'm ready to fix it. When I was first diagnosed, it had also caused RSD, and that's the reason I've been reluctant to have the surgery. I'm so relieved to have found you guys and gals, you make me feel much better about doing this; although I am dreading the recovery period.

Re: 1st time posting here, having surgery in 12 days

Dr. Z on 2/24/04 at 13:20 (145194)

Tell us more about your surgery. Feel free to ask any specific questions you may have

Re: 1st time posting here, having surgery in 12 days

chrisb on 2/24/04 at 13:26 (145196)

Good luck Elaine. I'm going myself in 3 weeks so I know how you feel.

Re: Thank you

Elaine T on 2/24/04 at 13:33 (145197)

When first diagnosed I had two shots of cortisone, a positive nerve conduction test, and suffered for months with RSD. Since then I have pins and needles, and numbness on the bottom of my foot.

I was recently referred to an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in ankles and feet. He wanted a repeat nerve conduction with comparison to the previous one, and there is no doubt that I have TTS. The M.D. who did the nerve conduction said this surgeon is the only here in Los Angeles who he would trust to do this surgery. That's very comforting.

There are three reasons I'm doing this now. First, I'm 55 years old, and don't want to get into a situation where I have to do this when I'm older. Second, in the past 15 months I've had several hand surgeries, ad found out that with Elavil I can have a tool to combat the RSD. Third, my knees are arthritic, and replacements are in my future. It just seems like this is the time to fix my TTS.

I'm just terrified of the recovery period. It sounds awful, and seems to go on for such a long time. I can't use crutches because of my hands, and I don't know how my right knee is going to be able support me after surgery on my left ankle. I'm just dreading it on every level, and already starting to not sleep much at night.

Re: 1st time posting here, having surgery in 12 days

Elaine T on 2/24/04 at 13:39 (145199)

Hi Chris. My husband and I are setting up a laptop with internet connection so I can communicat from the sofa while I'm recuperating. Looks like I'll be leading the way for you.

Are you in the same state of dread that I'm feeling?

Re: Thank you

Jen on 2/24/04 at 13:42 (145200)

Hi Elaine,
From previous posts it seems like everyone who has had the surgery used a wheelchair for the first few weeks i guess depending on your job if you work and how much space in your house. I'm havng the surgery end of June this year. I've had TTS for almost 6 years now. My doc's have been putting it on hold since I'm only 24. But I can't receive any more cortisone shots because it ate away the fat in my foot and now I'm left with a deep 'dent' and I only had 3 or 4 shots spread out over 4 years! Keep us posted on your recovery. Some good advice I've received already was to keep a journal. every weird sensation or pain you get, write it down and bring to doc's and PT. LET US KNOW!

Re: 1st time posting here, having surgery in 12 days

chrisb on 2/24/04 at 13:53 (145202)

Elaine last night was the first night I awoke at 4am, my mind ticking over my list of symptoms, options, 2nd guesses, etc etc, as if I could cure myself by personal logic. A silly way to waste sleep time. My advice (and I'm speaking to myself here) is that once you've decided on surgery and found a surgeon you trust, stop worrying. Your surgeon is the one who will do the job now, not your worries.
Maybe if you can find a set of Guatemalan worry dolls at your local craft import shop, put some under your pillow at night. They're supposed to soak up all the dread.
I'm planning the laptop and sofa regime too.

Re: 1st time posting here, having surgery in 12 days

Elaine T on 2/24/04 at 13:58 (145203)


Re: 1st time posting here, having surgery in 12 days

Jen on 2/24/04 at 14:00 (145205)

I'm calling my recovery time my 'vacation'. ill be a hermit in my bedroom! only 1 bathroom in my house on the 2nd floor! ill get a bell just in case i need anything!

Re: 1st time posting here, having surgery in 12 days

Elaine T on 2/24/04 at 14:06 (145206)

Hey everyone, keep the positive thoughts coming. I agree about the wheelchair. I'm in an apartment, but I'm sure we can work that out. I'm wondering if my insurance will cover both a wheelchair and a walker.

Re: TTS surgery & recovery

Sheila S on 2/25/04 at 05:10 (145278)

I just had TTS release, along with a couple other surgeries (see update on Ask Doc page), on Jan. 8th. The TTS surgery is not bad at all and neither is the recovery period. Dr. Dellon recommends using a walker, not crutches. I could walk on that foot from the moment I came out of surgery - the MOST important thing, and the only reason crutches/walker/wheelchair is needed, is to be sure you absolutely do NOT bend the ankle - it will pull the lower stitches and slow healing and possible create an infection site.

Dr. Dellon wraps the foot in a huge amount of cotton padding (looks like giant cast) and that makes walking very comfortable and limits ankle movement. I never had the first problem with pain in the ankle. I did stay on the Darvocet as prescribed every 4 to 6 hours for a full 4 days (do not wait until it hurts, take as prescribed, it works better). I did great.

The worst thing was having to lay around and keep my foot elevated - when I felt fine enough to DO something if only I didn't have to keep the foot up. =) I painted my living room at least 5 different colors in my mind while laying there.... The laying around caused for more back pain than anything else.

The huge bandage came off after one week, then a light dressing was applied (and that was only because I had bent my ankle a little too much and the lower part of the incision was not healing as well as the rest of it...), the stitches came out in 3 weeks and then I could begin bending my ankle again and take up normal walking. I began by keeping my foot elevated, and flexing it as I lay around.

Do not fear - the surgery and recovery is a breeze. You must only be sure to prevent any chance of infection and be sure to not bend the ankle.

You'll do fine!

Re: TTS surgery & recovery

Elaine T on 2/25/04 at 09:12 (145297)

Sheila, I can't thank you enough for your message, it's exactly what I needed to hear.

Re: Shiela, thanks to you I've had a good day

Elaine T on 2/25/04 at 21:27 (145367)

Thank you so much

Re: Shiela, thanks to you I've had a good day

Sheila S on 2/26/04 at 02:32 (145387)

=) you're very welcome.

Re: Shiela, thanks to you I've had a good day

chrisb on 2/26/04 at 11:23 (145421)

Sheila likewise thanks from me. I'm seeing Dr. Dellon in 3 weeks. I read your post and slept well last night.

Re: 1st time posting here, having surgery in 12 days

marie on 2/26/04 at 18:11 (145464)

I bought a wheelchair in the trader for 100.00. It gave me freedom when I was off my feet.

Re: 1st time posting here, having surgery in 12 days

jill s on 2/26/04 at 18:38 (145466)

good luck with your surgery. What are your symptoms? My symptoms - pain, burning, tingling on bottom of both feet has been diagnosed as plantar facitiis, peripheral neuropathy and TTS. I've had these symptoms for 5 years and an at my wits end.I've tried everything,(injections, many orthodics, anti-inflamatories etc) seen every doctor and had EMG, MRI (though neither have been all that conclusive in terms of diagnosis) I'm considering surgery. Any thoughts? I would love some feedback from fellow sufferers. Thanks, Jill

Re: Hi Jill, Welcome

Elaine T on 2/26/04 at 20:37 (145471)

I just joined here two days ago. Sounds like you've been suffering for five years; it's been 4-1/2 for me. Frankly, I'm tired of it, and ready to have it fixed. I can't feel one-half of the bottom of my foot, the tingling is driving me up a wall, etc. It's a very personal decision, I'm sure, for everyone.

Re: 1st time posting here, having surgery in 12 days

Dorothy on 2/26/04 at 21:42 (145482)

Suggestion: do a search on this website AND also on google under 'anodyne light therapy'. There are good, solid studies that show this to be effective with peripheral neuropathy; in fact, I remember reading that it was the only thing that doctors had found that actually was effective. I do not know if it is effective 100% of the time in 100% of cases; I think that there are some types of PN or diabetic neuropathy that it is not as effective for. I am not a fellow sufferer but I thought that this information, which made national news last year sometime, was good news. There is diabetes in my family and I am watchful for information about related treatments. I think more podiatrists are providing anodyne light therapy to PN patients. Anyway, if doing those searches interests you, I hope you find some useful information.

Re: Shiela, thanks to you I've had a good day

Sheila S on 2/27/04 at 05:31 (145494)

Chris, please tell Lisa, Rita and Dr. Dellon that Sheila in Virginia says Hello!! I believe you will feel very secure with Dr. Dellon. Lisa could see my worry, and told me 'don't worry, you're in very good hands'...that was most comforting to me at the time. She's a doll.

Re: TTS surgery & recovery

DonnaO on 3/02/04 at 21:41 (145864)

I am glad to be posting for the first time as this seems to be a very supportive site. Sheila, I am glad your recovery is going well. Keep hanging in there. I had TTS surgery myself on both feet on February 13, 2003 and have some questions. If I ask questions that have alsready been answered on this sight I apologize. I too was given boots immediately after surgery and encouraged to gradually begin putting more weight on them with use of a walker after a couple of days of just walking to use the bathroom. A week after surgery, I began taking short and slow trips around the house putting a little more weight on the feet rather than on the walker. My staples were removed two weeks after surgery and the doctor said things were progressing well and that I could shower/bathe carefully and return to work on March 1 while still limiting my activity and sitting as much as I can. Yesterday was my first day back at work and I am exhausted. I am a third grade teacher and the faculty has been extremely helpful in making it possible to sit most of the day.
My questions are:
1. How much numbness should I be experiencing at this point at 2 1/2 weeks post op? Most of the numbness is on top of the foot with the left foot feeling it a bit more.
2. Is ice helpful are harmful to use to reduce swelling and pain?
3. I have seen different methods of recovery suggested on this board (i.e. non-weight bearing for at least a month v's immediate wieght bearing after surgery and beyond). Has one proven to be more effective than the other? I have heard success stories on both.

THank you for reading my very long e-mail. I hope I provided enough background about my situation. I have complete faith in my doctor's opinion because of his reputation but just want to make sure I am not rushing the recovery period. I am still taking it very easy when I am not at work. It's nice to meet all of you.

Re: TTS surgery & recovery

Sheila S on 3/03/04 at 04:05 (145901)

Hi Donna, I'm not a doctor but I have a couple questions. How close is the incision to your ankle bone? (and did you really mean 'staples'?! ugh)

I never had any numbness, the surgery was to awaken the numb areas. I had so much feeling it took me awhile to get used to feeling again. Certainly none on the top of my foot.

I'm curious about the difference in methods between our surgeries because I could not possibly have been back to work earlier than 3 weeks. Dr. Dellon's strict instructions were to keep foot elevated to minimize swelling so there was no pulling on stitches; but I was to move the foot and ankle some to keep the nerves moving within the sheath; absolutely no bending the ankle (or it would pull the lower stitches - which it did because I ended up bending a little much with my walking). My stitches came out in 3 weeks. I was exhausted each day after I returned to work also, but I attributed that to having layed around doing nothing for 3 weeks.

(By the way, the ONLY reason I use a medical shoe is because of the incision in the sole of my foot, not the TTS incision. If I'd only had TTS surgery I'd have been back in shoes after 3 weeks.)

Do this, Dr. Dellon has posted information and his brochure on his website, check it out and check out the incision he makes and compare. I've use my email addy so you can email back or reply here. http://www.dellon.com

A last thought, let your foot tell you whether you have returned too soon - how much swelling is there at the end of the day? Exhaustion may be from time off doing nothing AND the mental struggle of being extra careful all day. The foot pain or swelling is what should tell you stay home or go to work. Again, that's my opinion, I'm not a doctor, just study alot. =)


Re: TTS surgery & recovery

James C on 3/03/04 at 13:40 (145927)

Hi Donna
I had partial pf and tts surgery on 02/06/04 and I still havn't gone back to work. However I am a mail carrier and I walk 10 miles a day. I don't know how you can stand on your feet very long, it is all I can do to take a shower. I have it in both feet so I am going to go through all of this again in about 8 weeks(if this surgery is successful).My pod said he normally keeps his patients off of work for about 6-10 weeks. I had my stitches removed after 3 weeks. Iam suppossed to use a walking boot for 4weeks and then try to work my way into a tennis shoe for a few hours a day.I wish you well and good luck.
James C

Re: james c

samuel c on 3/03/04 at 17:43 (145945)

hi james,

i was reading your post and came across that you are a letter carrier? i am too as i have been doing it for 9 years and have develpoed an inner ankle problem of my own. They say its tenosynovitis of the ankle,but i am scheduled to have an emg to check for nerve problem. I haver had this for 6 months and it is driving me nuts. I am a T6 carrier and miss carrying as i have been out of work for 3 months. Are u claiming workers comp with this or using your own sick leave? How long have u been carrying mail? I have quite a dilemma, as i never reported this to mgt as an injury , because it developed gradually and persidted as i continued to carry. Now i am using almost all my SL and cannot walk without pain. the podiatrist i went to does not want to get involved with even an occupational disease CA2 in which i belive the job caused. He treated me for 3 months and dropped me like a bomb when i mentioned the post office and workers comp. He stated its hard to prove if your job causd this. I mean come on i walk 7-8 miles a day and he thinks the job di not contibute to it. Its not like im running marathons after work. Iam really confused on what to do as i am going to see another doctor and see if he will take my case as an occupatoinal disease. I cannot carry mail, and wonder if i ever will again, even if hte dr does not want to help me. I have requested light duty from the postmaster and he rejected me based on no work within my restrictions. I would appreciate any advice you could give me since you also work for the USPS.

samuel c

Re: TTS surgery & recovery

Terri on 3/03/04 at 21:36 (145955)

Donna, I am surprised you're back on your feet so soon and to hear both feet were done at the same time. Wow, that seems to be taking on a lot at one time.

I had numbness on the top of my foot also, surgery on Jan. 2nd of this year. When I asked my dr about it, he said it was the bandaging. Once I stopped using the ace bandage it eventually returned to normal feeling.

Yes, use ice when you have swelling. The best thing is a bag of frozen peas or corn as it conforms to the area nicely. And elevate as much as possible, even at work. Prop your feet up on another chair while teaching if you can.

Hope this has helped you and glad you decided to join in.

Re: james c

DonnaO on 3/03/04 at 22:29 (145959)

Hi Samuel,
I am sorry you are being given such a hard time with this. I can imagine how frustrated you must be. I hope the doctor you are going to see turns out to have the answer. I will keep you in my prayers. Keep us posted on how you are doing.

Re: TTS surgery & recovery

DonnaO on 3/03/04 at 22:34 (145960)

Thank you for the helpful tips. I will try the frozen peas and corn for swelling and ask my doctor about the numbness. I do notice a little improvement in the numbness today. The left is more noticable than the right. I was able to sit most of the day at the overhead projector with my feet elevated and I did notice it made a huge difference. The faculty is helping me out when they can by taking my class to their activity periods (i.e. P.E., Art, etc.) so I am not on my feet more than I need to be. I am glad to hear things are looking up for you as well. Let us know how you are doing. Thanks again!

Re: james c

James C on 3/04/04 at 13:34 (146016)

Hi Samuel C
I have been a carrier for 15 years . I am currently on workmans comp for tarsal tunnel and plantar facitis.My pod. never questioned me when I told him I was a mail carrier that this could be work related. He filled out a ca-2 and sent it to shared services. I at first was using sick leave because he thought I would be better in a few weeks. this lead into 400 hours of sick leave before I turned it over to workers comp.Workers comp approved my claim no questions ask . As for your supervisor or post master mine has been very helpful because they see how much pain I am in.I have 204-b for 7 years as well and I know how it can be sometimes to get sympathy from upper management. My suggestion is to talk to another doctor and tell him to list your diagnosis under theseDX CODES-728.71 or 355.5 or 726.71 These are the ones my pod used for me I don't know if I am suppossed to give you those so ask your dr. first.I had have been on light duty since sometime in Aug. My postmaster didn't want me to be on light duty either because he said there was no work available but that don't matter if you get approved through workers comp they have to give you light duty work until you can go back or until you get disability.Try very hard to get this approved because I know how bad it is . I tried to go back to carrying my route several times during my light duty and I just could not do it. I wanted to so bad that sometimes I would work until I was almost crying on my route. My route consist of mostly walking and very little mounted delivery.I don't know who it is but someone else on this sight told me about another mail carrier about a year ago was on workers comp and never did get back to work. He is now on permanent disabilty. I don't know about you but I am only 41 and I am not ready for the rocking chair yet. So I just keep praying everyday that I will get better. SORRY SO LONG WINDED I'M BORED TO DEATH

Re: james c

samuel c on 3/04/04 at 17:37 (146041)


whrer do you carry mail? you think your young i have this annd im 33. What do you mean by shared services, as you submitted you claim on a CA2? Did your pod help you with a medical narraitve and HOW LONG did it take comp to approve your claim. Did you file a CA7 for wage losses? and is this filed after the claim is approved or along with the CA2 at time of filing? What type of limited duty work do thwey have you doing?? Did you ever apply for the ASP program as you stated you were a 204b? i tried it also and though it was a big headache.



Re: james c

James C on 3/05/04 at 17:44 (146135)

I am a carrier in central Ky.I have been doing some clerk work like disposing of ubbm. We are a small office so I can get away with this here. I also do some cfs I was casing my route everyday until I had my surgery.I havn't worked a day since 02/06/04.We have 5 city routes and 9 rural.I carry C001 which is mostly buisness an downtown apts. i have about 650 possibles on my route.this is about avg for our office.We have one route which is C004 that has 1055 possible deliveries and they say that all these routes are 8 hours.I had about 45 minutes added to my route last March and I finally broke down on 05/01/04 and went to the dr. because of my feet. This route also broke down our prior supervisor which was an excellant man as well as a carrier. He had to go into management bacause he broke all of the blood vessals in his leg. If that had not happened he would still be carring today.I don't know about you but I think they ask way to much of a city carrier these days.Shared services is who your manager will send the ca-2 to and they will be the ones that you send all of your ca-7 to if you get approved which you should.

Re: james c

James C on 3/15/04 at 11:58 (147048)

Samuel C
How are you doing? I havn't heard from you in awhile. I was curious if you went to a different dr. or if you talked him into trying to talk to worker comp for you . Where do you carry mail?
James C