I went into the room that will be my office yesterday a number of times and did one small thing, then was so tired and stiff I had to go sit down.

My chiropractor tells me not to sit very long because of my back and right hip.

My right leg and foot tell me if I don’t get off my feet, I’m soon going to be on the floor. I’d like to listen to my chiropractor, but my body’s voice is louder than his.

To be clear, what I’m experiencing is not because any medical professional did anything wrong. It’s because of something my own body (the fusion) did that has now strained everything around the fused area.

Wadded Up Tissue Underneath My Skin:

At physical therapy yesterday Holly worked on the wadded-up tissue that forms up and down my leg up to my knee. She rubs it with cream and tools she uses to calm the tissue down so it flattens back out.

When I leave her office I feel pretty darned good. At least my ankle/leg is loosened up for an hour or so. But it doesn’t take long for the fusion that occurred during the healing process after the ankle surgery years ago to stiffen things back up again.

I asked her if anything could be done about that fusion that no one planned. And she said no. I guess it’s like having something welded together.

I’m explaining all this because of the questions I’m getting in the comments so you’ll understand what is going on.

The pain I’m experiencing really isn’t the result of the injured right ankle now. It’s from the fusion that happened on its own afterward as it was healing.

For years I could lower myself to my garden cart and sit on it to clean out the litter box and roll around my patio in order to garden.

But now it’s all I can do to get back up.

When I Couldn’t Get Out Of The Bathtub Last Week:

For instance last week I had a real problem getting out of the bathtub after taking a bath. Now I use the shower seat my nextdoor neighbor so kindly offered me.

The fusion itself I managed to deal with. I just had limited movement. But over time it has affected everything around it, and that’s where I am now.

Surgeons fuse parts of the body together all the time. Part of my neck is fused due to a car accident that happened many years ago. But surgeons use fusion in strategic areas.

Where my fusion happened there seemed to be no rhyme or reason for it. It’s just something that happened.

I was able to move around and live with it for about 8 years. But during those 8 years, it has caused damage elsewhere. And that’s where I am right now.

I ordered the shoe lift several of you mentioned and I wore it yesterday and am wearing it today. My chiropractor told me not to wear it at the highest level to start with.

So far it is not helping. Maybe my body will just take time to adjust to it. I’m hoping that is the case.

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37 Comments

  1. I’m so sorry you’re going through this. I don’t know if either of these suggestions will help you, but my husband had great relief from excruciating headaches due to stenosis in his neck when he went to a pain management doctor. He got some injections , which kept away the headaches for two years. When it came back, it was less intense than previously. He went back for more injections, and fingers crossed, it will keep those headaches away for another couple of years.
    Also, I’ve heard people say they’ve gotten relief from massaging CBD cream into the painful area. Just trying to think of anything that might help you!

  2. Brenda,
    As to cleaning cat boxes, I always hated trying to be low enough or bending over to do it.
    I am using an old desk to elevate the box (es) on , & it has made all difference! It is just the right height. If need be, in the future I can put something next to it to help my cat get up there as he ages. Wish I’d done this long ago

  3. Brenda, I’m so sorry for what you’re going through. I understand wanting to get to a place of being able to do the things you love without too much pain. I hate to mention one more thing for you to check out. There is something called an AFO, ankle foot orthotic. It’s a custom “brace” made usually made from a cast of your foot and lower leg (so its specific to YOU). Here is a link to give you and idea of what one looks like (the ones pictured are NOT custom). https://www.rcai.com/products-foot-and-ankle-orthoses-ankle-foot-orthosis.html You *can* get them over the counter but those aren’t as good. The intended reason for these is to minimize movement near the joint that’s fused where it shouldn’t have, therefore reducing pain. It’s not as bulky as the boot and more offers more support than the lace up brace and is easier to use. Just a thought and it might be worth looking into. I worked for a podiatrist for 15 years (RN) and those boots (IMO) are better used as a short term “fix”. Personally, I don’t feel a boot is sustainable long term. I know you’ve gotten a lot of advice and probably don’t need one more person suggesting a treatment but I figured the more info the better??? I hope this helps.

  4. I see someone already suggested finding a tool to help and massage. I have recently found Fascia Blasting. It is touted for cellulite but I think the tools they have could help with your fusion issues. You might research. There are different tools available it does not have to be the Fascia Blaster brand.

  5. Have you asked about a steroid shot in the affected area. My husband has problems with his feet and he get a shot once a year or so and it helps greatly.

  6. Brenda, I’m so sorry you’re in so much pain. I wish I had some good advice to offer you. I was going to suggest doing at home, what you are doing in PT, but then when you described that, it didn’t sound like something you could do at home. Does massage help? They make leg massagers. Or how about stretches? When you’re sitting in your chair, would it help to point and flex your feet?

  7. Still sending healing energy and prayers for fortitude. I’m so sorry you are dealing with this very difficult issue that causes so much pain. I think I would be flat on my back and in tears. My daughter has a drinking mug that has this quotation on it: “This is terrible. Keep going.” That about sums up a lot of things in life, especially as we get older. I hope that somehow you can “keep going” as much as is possible and adviseable. Thinking of you daily.

  8. Brenda I have a good friend (80 yrs young) who has been dealing with ankle issues similar to yours for 10+ years. It all started with an ankle injury that she Ignored for too long and has now had several surgeries . Unfortunately there were fusion issues and her most recent surgery required having to use a donated cadaver bone. Over time all of this caused changes in her “good” leg and ankle which led to a bad fall and a successful hip replacement. Always extremely active and stubborn/determined enough to, as she says , “put on my big girl panties and deal with it”. With help from a wheel chair, crutches, cane, boots, back brace, PT sessions, whatever it takes she does what she can and refuses to dwell on what she can’t. She is truly remarkable serves as an inspiration to all who know her.

    1. Yes, she sounds like a very strong and inspiring woman. I have bone in my right hand from an injury in 1982. They took some of my own hip bone and I think that was the most painful thing of all.

  9. I am so sorry to hear about the pain you are having. I am having s.I. Joint issues and I go weekly to a Real physical therapist and get “dry needled”. He finds the knots you are speaking of and it is helping, slowly, but surely. I either take the meloxicam or the cyclbenziprine, a muscle relaxer. I think these issues will be mine, but, could be worse. I pray you can get better soon. I don’t know how “golden” these years are going to be. (If you seek out a pt that does dry needling, make sure they are covered by Medicare. Blessings!

    1. I asked about dry needling and was told I wouldn’t be able to tolerate something like that. I believe Kendra had it done for her back and told me about it.

  10. Brenda, You might ask your therapist if a fascia blaster would help you. There are many on Amazon from inexpensive on up. You could use it with bio freeze or some other analgesic lotion perhaps. I hope you can find something to help release those tissues.

  11. I don’t know if this will help but I love to take baths for all my aches and pains and the way I get out of the bathtub is to roll over onto my hands and knees and then put my hands on the side of the tub and then stand up one leg at a time. I have found this works much better than trying to haul myself up using the bar.

  12. Every year I have more aches and pains and my body reminds me I’m not as young as I used to be. I can’t imagine trying to do normal every day things with pain every single day, that must be so frustrating for you, Brenda. I hope the shoe lift works, I’m sure your walking boot is throwing off your gait, thus causing the pain in your hip. As for your garden, you can do a lovely container garden so you don’t have to dig, and not so much bending either. Your container garden on your patio was beautiful…I’m sure your creative mind will come up with another beautiful plan for your new outdoor space.

  13. Brenda I understand your suffering. I have dealt with back pain all my life. Have done everything over the years. I don’t want to take pain meds and take very little. Mostly just suffer with it. I did have a spine stimulator put in August 2019. It is a hard surgery and takes a full year for the surgery to get better. The help is very minor–wish I hadn’t done it. I don’t have any words of wisdom except that I put heat on my back that sometimes helps.

    1. I’ve had back problems since my twenties. Had one surgery at age 30. Did no good. I won’t have surgery on my back again. I use ice and heat and go from one to the other most of the time I’m sitting down.

  14. Can you go back to an orthopedic surgeon and see if there is anything surgically to be done? Like and arthroscope or something? Sometimes there are new procedures that have come along since you had the original fusion. Hoping you find relief soon Brenda, hang in there. I love your apartment and looks cute as a bug already!

  15. Brenda, I sent you a couple of messages. Be on the lookout for
    them. I see the kitty loves quilts too.

  16. Some or most days life throws challenges our way that are unbearable! Do whatever you can do to get through the day. And, remember one day at a time!
    More gentle hugs!

  17. Brenda, I am sorry that you are in so much pain. May I ask, what do they use on you at therapy? Is is a baggage tool? Like a Thera Gun? Maybe there is something that you could use to give yourself a little relief at home. Just a thought because I am clearly not a doctor or a therapist.
    You are in my prayers my friend.

    1. She put some sort of cream on my lower leg. She then up and down where the knots have formed with a device made of (I think) stainless steel. Then she also uses ultrasound. The chiropractor does laser therapy as well.

  18. Brenda,my ankle fused itself so I have limited motion in moving my left foot. About 20 years ago,I went to an osteopathic doctor who worked miracles for me. Mine was never as bad as yours seems to be,but before the osteopathic work I was using 2-3 bottles of OTC pain meds($30. a month), and ever since then I only take a few pills a month,I only have problems now mostly when I change my shoe style,seasonally or type.I don’t have trouble driving because I use my whole foot on the brake pedal,I don’t try to bend it. I know I haven’t had the level of pain you suffer,but I am aware of how you feel. I hope they can somehow get you to less painful level.

    1. If it was my ankle that fused, that might be a different story. The bones that fused are where your leg ends and your foot begins. Right on top. If you flex your foot like you’re braking your car, that top motion that bends is where it fused. I don’t know the name of the bone, though they’ve probably told me.

    1. Yes, they had a custom brace fitted to my foot 8 years ago. But it was horrible and I wouldn’t use it. It was partly canvas and you had to lace up the front. Which made it almost impossible to wear a shoe over it.

  19. Have you tried using a foam roller or other massage tool to loosen the tissue in the lower leg on a daily basis at home, rather than just when you get to visit the physical therapist?

  20. So sorry to hear of your body’s way of healing. With the shoe lift I was told to ease into mine by wearing it a few times a day until my body adjusted. It has prevented surgery for ten years. That will be unnecessary.

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