May 6, 2007
Posted in: Injury Time
It's coming up to my two year anniversary of ending up with a bilateral calcaneal burst fracture, that is, shattering my heels falling off a house. Prompted by an email asking how I am now, I thought it was a good time to jot down some thoughts two years down the road.
The good news is that over the last year it's improved to the point where its effect on my day-to-day life is pretty minimal. There are only very subtle giveaways that I ever had the accident, like occasionally I stumble sideways (because my capacity to press on the insides & outsides of my foot are much less as my subtalar joint is much stiffer) but this is pretty rare. I try to avoid standing upright for long periods as this becomes uncomfortable as well. That said, I never liked standing--dread memories of working in a photography shop still haunt me decades later--so this isn't all the heels.
The bad news is that every morning and sometimes if I've been on my feet for hours, e.g. walking around the house cleaning, my feet ache. They overall feel weaker too. I am constantly reminded by the background pain of my mistake falling off that house. I imagine this will be with me to varying degrees the rest of my life. My main hope at this point is that it doesn't get worse; so far it's been getting better.
On a positive note, here's some examples of what I'm doing with my feet these days:
Walking. I can walk for hours now, especially with MBT shoes. Actually these shoes are a real boon for me and I'm ordering more so I'm not always wearing red... I am still limited by walking. Recently visiting Prague there were a couple of times where hours upon hours of sight-seeing took its toll and I was suffering. An excellent leg & foot massage helped dramatically though.
Hiking. Over the Easter weekend I volunteered to drive a bus around Ireland on a "4 peaks" type of challenge. The loons who were doing it cranked out four "mountains" in less than two-and-a-half days so were sleeping in the van. On the third one in Killarney I hiked with them for about three hours on the gentle early part of the slopes. That was enough although I wasn't hammered and my feet/joints didn't hurt too much later and the next day.
Running. I have had a recent pleasant surprise with running. Some background first: I never much liked running as a sport so not being able to really only impacted my being late for the occasional bus/plane/train. In the last two years I have literally run for a total of about two minutes, most of that one time in an airport. Just recently however, at work there's a timed "gym challenge" that involves a bunch of body-weight exercises (push-ups, sit-ups, etc) plus, for the Gold challenge, a 2km run. Being the competitive type this tipped me over the edge to try running again, and 2km isn't that far so I figured I'd see how it went. The first time I did it I was going at 12km/h for 10minutes. I've done it once more since at 14.2km/h (8:30). I have no intention of training any more than I have to to win this, but I know have to get at least 18km/h which is reasonably quick.
Each time I've run like this my feet ache somewhat the next day and I cannot walk around totally comfortably.
Overall if regular longer-than-sprint running is a necessary or desired (you freak! :-)) part of your life and you break your heels badly I'd say you're screwed. Find something else to do. On the other hand, it seems like despite a serious heel fracture I can run for short distances at a useful speed, and go about my life including some competitively athletic pursuits like rowing for the most part unaffected. So, considering I was so close to being paralyzed, not a bad result at all!
Posted by Paul Makepeace at May 6, 2007 12:12
Great update! Your recovery has surpassed my expectations; in those early months I imagined a frustrated, bleak, immobile future, but ever since you could get out of your wheelchair you've been pushing forward hard. It's a delight to see you so mobile - well done!
"walking around the house cleaning..."
Yeah, right. Sounds to me like you're looking for an excuse to hire a cleaner!
Hello, I'm quite sorry to hear about your foot... I stumbled along your page as I googled "closed reduction with pinning". I had that done today on my wrist, except 4 pins... I was actually wondering about your scars now, from the pins? Have they faded? I'm not able to see my pins because I have a cast.
huh. good deal! you've graduated to what sounds pretty much what most women go through wearing stilettos the whole day. what about those heelys do you still use them? heh
Found your blog on a search. Interesting blog. Wish you the best.
sleep with one eye open gripping your pillow tight
Glad you're up and you magic feet keep you moving which obviously you do.. at least more that the standard American. That by the way is a complement. :) Glad to hear all is well.
I was not to far away in Scotland late July. Quite fun. Keep in touch.
Found your blog when doing a search for 'makepeace'...
Just wanted to say, you have a pretty intresting blog, and do you know if you happen to share your second name with any authors? Because I'm sure I've heard the name makepeace before....
Also, I'm sorry to hear about your foot, but my nephew went through something similar 5 years ago, and his foot is now almost completely back to normal, he can run and walk long distances without any pain (or barely any) now, although this might be because he's still young and bouncy.
best of luck,
- The Anonymus Girraffe
My broken heels and ankle (OR)
Bilateral calcaneal reconstruction and sub-tailor effusion with iliac crest bone grafting.
It was the 13th of Feb the day before Valentines Day I was working in Bath no not in a Bath the place Bath well Midsummer Norton well.
I was up a ladder working,
When the ladder slipped about three inches!!!!Well my first thought was oh dear! The ladder has slipped (if you believe that I will eat hay with a donkey) yes it is true you do see your life pass more like flash before your eyes. I jumped of the ladder I have seen so many people slide between the runs and brake there legs in four places in one swoop so I jumped and landed on my heels.( Well after a bit of jumping up and down ha ha and a lot of swearing,) I was taken to Bath Royal Infirmary.
Well this was the start I had more than my share of x rays by this time my feet was as big as a footballs they said that I have shattered both heels not one but two and a ankle that’s just like me anything for nothing .
With my accent from Yorkshire they asked me where in Yorkshire I came from, (they all speak like the jethro who arr!) I said Bradford that is when they rang Bradford Royal Infirmary and then they told me they was sending me there but Before they would, make shore that the swelling was going down on my feet my toe nails have stopped growing and the hair on my feet has dropped out. They had a pair of flip flops with pumps under the bottom of them which pumped on the right foot then the left all the time all night and all day for a week and three days that was the time I was in bed. By the time they was ready to send me to Bradford, I was ready to top myself 230 miles away from home (yes I was depressed no visitors or mates every night I would see myself falling two or three times a night.)
Bradford Royal Infirmary
When I got to Bradford they put me in a bed which I was going to get very friendly with in the near coming weeks yes weeks.
This was the start of work well not by me by the staff of Bradford,
For the first two weeks at Bradford I had a pair of boots that was filled with ice cold water first thing in the morning and then at dinner time and again at tea time . This went on till all or most of the swelling had gone down my bed was elevated at the bottom to 30% so my feet was above my heart, The surgeon came and told me that I had shattered both my heels and that he was willing to operate and help me to walk again, I did not really understand the depth of it all until he had a private meeting with me! That one was like bake beans and breadcrumbs the other was like fruit salad. He then explained what he was going to do and how he was going to do it I will not go into details but it that is when I realised it was not just a pot on the legs and a pill or two. The whole time I was in hospital I had time to think of the dedication of the Dr and Surgeons and not forgetting all the nurses and staff that put me back together, A BIG THANK YOU TO THEM.
The re¬ construction
I went to the theatre 16 March 07 at 8. 49 am and came out at 6.30 pm yes a long time cannot remember a lot About that but it must have been a lot longer for the surgeons working without a brake. We as I said I don’t remember a lot about it but I had the biggest pots on my feet I have ever seen well you try to sleep with Wellingtons on! (The pane from my hips was the worst)
After three days they removed them and put some light ones on but they was bad but not as heavy after a weeks the surgeon said he would like to see them and if he was happy with them I would be able to go home that would be fun ha ha, I must say I was looking forward to going home home cooking and bed baths, ha ha some hope of them,
Well the surgeon was happy with my heels and let me go home on the 23 march 07
That’s the worse at night not every night but most nights I relive falling or I wake up thinking I am on a window sill just about to fall off doesn’t sound frightening but you think it is real, or just screaming ;I think that this will carry on for a bit yet,
All things go true your mined well some of it may be dugs they give you for the pain or you just have a lot of stress or trauma.
I would wake up saying silly things like (yes! no! silly stuff) for no reason or that I dreamt that someone had spoke to me or asked me a question.
The hard thing to get over is being depressed it comes over you all at once you just start to cry for nothing or I feel what I call weepy ,
I found that reading helped pass the time well in the day, but at night all the throats and other things came back emotions,
The book I read was Papillon good thick book he was a French criminal who broke both his heels (HA HA HA) well I will not spoil it just encase you wont to read it ,
I think it was the only thing that occupied my mined .and laughing at people on the ward well you all laugh at each other because I was stuck in bed they would say come and look at this quick! Not funny when you’re in two open pots on but, I would see the silly side of it,
Or the nurse would give some one something to make you go to the loo and you did not get to the loo in time ha ha ha !
I just want to scream some times with the Paine, 20th may its now four months after the accident and I am still having moods crying and wonting to harm myself! Loosing my temper with my loved ones, it’s that bad I have asked for the Dr and he said its post operation stress I thought I was going round the twist.
Wow is it really two years since you hurt your heels. It's been two years since we both fell asleep at either end of your sofa and I was late to meet my friend. How's google?
Thank you for your Blog!!!!
I am sitting here 7 weeks after surgery for a shattered calcaneous (heel) one not two, my right foot!!! I don't know how you got on with both!!! I am so grateful to my "Good" foot/leg!!! Mine was due to a car accident. I really related to the milestones, pain, pain meds, constipation, removing of stitches, physio and especially the frustration of this situation!!! I think I found the mental and emotional recovery harder than the physical pain!!
I was glad to read your progress as it gives me hope for my own recovery!!! I am also determined to walk and get back to life as quick as possible!!! Here's to Walking!!!!
Tracy in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
To Paul, Tracey & others with injuries,
I have found and proven repeatedly, that when specific vitamin supplements are taken the healing time can be halved or even less. 1) Vitamin E repairs all soft tissues i.e. muscles, ligaments, skin etc.
1,000 IU daily until recovered, of Vitamin E oil in capsule form. Then 500 IU as a maintenance dose - this neglected vitamin is no longer in our western diet. 2) Vitamins A & D in the form of Cod Liver Oil capsules, 2 daily. A assists the skin to heal among other things and D coupled with Calcium & Magnesium focuses on the healing & growth of bones. 3)For the stress/distress a high dosage of B complex plus 500 to 1000mg of Vitamin C. Vitamin C also assists the other vitamins to hasten healing. Addressing the stress is important, as the body uses up existing nutrients to combat this and leaves you vulnerable and with a longer recovery to endure without the extra nutrients to support it. 500mg of vitamin C taken with ANY medication will protect from any side effects & is used up totally on this function alone. This means that extra C will be needed for the healing and other functions. Also drink lots of water - not enough water in the body will undermine the healing process. According to statistics 90% of people are dehydrated without realizing it. I KNOW this will work for you. Sincerely, Cheryl Gi
P.S. I can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org
I stumbled upon your page while looking for information on shattered calcaneous. I shattered both of my heels on July 4th last year in a climbing accident. I wanted to comment because I was looking for information on the recovery and I have been frustrated with reading blogs about others who have had the injury. Right after my accident I was looking at blogs about others who have had the injury and I started to think I would never walk normal again except for one person's post who said they struggled through the recovery and have made serious progress. I started swimming as soon as I could (while I was still in the wheelchair), and I have done everything the physical therapist and doctor have told me would help me with the recovery. I also had to have a second surgery at the beginning of January to have the metal removed since one of the pins was too long. I wanted to post a comment on this blog to point out that a full recovery is possible. I have already started running again, and just finished a close to 3 mile run today. I still have pain first thing in the morning and after heavy physical activity, but stretching helps greatly and I do a yoga exercise 2-3 times a week to stretch my ankles back out. The pain is constantly improving. If you work towards it the pain does get better, and as far as I am concerned it will continue to improve. My main point is that you should never discourage someone in an unfortunate situation, because that will in no way help them. To anyone else who has suffered this injury, please take this example that if you try hard enough it does get better, and you can go back to a normal life. I am already almost there.
I googled your story because my husband jumped off a balcony and broke both his heels. He had to have screws and plates placed in them and is always in pain. If you wouldnt mind emailing me I have some questions for you and would love to hear more about your feet and how they treat you. Thanks
Hi Paul my husband name is Paul and he has the same injury as you 2year on April 1 almost so I no watyour be through