Forum: Advice / Injuries

Injuries
Should I get surgery for a broken foot?
By SoloJazzDancer Comments: 21529, member since Wed Jun 30, 2004
On Wed Jul 27, 2016 08:33 PM

I broke the 5th metatarsal on my left foot on the left side. I'm short and I was on a stool trying to get something on a top shelf. In our house a lot of stuff is up high even on the lower shelves.My foot hit the side of the stool and then it hit my other leg and then the right foot hit my left leg. I grabbed onto the shelf so I didn't hit my head. It hurt but not as bad as I thought it would if I broke it and I have a zero pain tolerance. It swelled up some. In the 70's I tripped over the vacuum cleaner in our living room. My right ankle swelled up to 3 or 4 times its size, I got very cold and almost passed out. I couldn't walk on it. When I went to the emergency room they told me it was sprained as bad as it could be but it wasn't broken. My broken foot was nothing like this so I put an ace bandage on it, propped it up and iced it. I'm a caregiver to my parents so I was walking on it all week. I also didn't go see anybody for a week because I didn't think it was broken. I have a zero pain tolerance and I thought it would hurt way more then it did, like it did when I sprained it. When a VNA person who bathes my dad saw my ankle she told me to have it looked at, that it didn't look right. It was the weekend so I went to an after hours place. They told me what I broke and to see my regular doctor and a foot specialist. They gave me a disc with my x-rays on them.
Trying to get a doctor is another story. I can't afford ObamaCare so I have our state insurance (I'm from CT) and 99% of the doctors won't take it. The few that did couldn't see me until the end of Aug. beginning of Sept. and that was 2 weeks ago. My parents foot doctor who cuts their toenails but also treats this stuff or so we think, agreed to see me as soon as I could get there when they saw my x-rays. They took more x-rays, this time standing up. The others were laying down.He put some kind of cold, coated ace bandage on it, gauze that was like cotton balls and then a different kind of ace bandage. I got a boot that wasn't covered by insurance and I had to see him in a week I think. No mention of surgery or anything. When I went back, he took all that stuff off of my foot and told me to keep the boot on, wear the sock and come back in 3 weeks. He said it looked good.
In the meantime, my sister heard about another doctor that works for UConn and he could see me. She didn't think my parents foot doctor was good enough but he was the only one who would see me right away and at all, never mind have to wait moths to see them. I go to see this doctor and he wants to know why I waited so long to come to see him and I explained about what happened with my other foot and how I hurt this one. He shows me the x-rays and says we have 2 tendons in our foot and now I have one because the other one is torn. He might be able to attach it but he might not. If I wait to have it done he won't be able to attach it. He was going on vacation so he couldn't do it then anyway. If I have the surgery I will be off of my foot for 6 weeks and on crutches! If I don't have the surgery, I will be in pain for the rest of my life and it will never heal. He did a test to my foot. He put his hand out and had me push my foot against his hand to the right. He said he was surprised it was that strong because it really shouldn't be. When he did it to the left, it wasn't as strong and it hurt but it was stranger then he thought too. He says without the surgery I won't be able to move my foot to the left without some pain and not a lot of movement.
Why did no other person tell me I would have to have surgery? I am a Christian so I know that God can heal things. I really believe that.
Here's the thing. Because I have been trying to stay off of it as much as possible, icing it, and keeping it elevated, I can do things I couldn't do before. For instance, I can move my foot around in a circle. It hurts a little but on a scale of 1-10 it's probably a -1. It hardly hurts at all. This would be since last week sometimes. Up until 2 weeks ago I slept on my back. I am a side sleeper. At first I could sleep on my right side. 2 days later I could sleep on my left side! I hated sleeping on my back! I was so uncomfortable and not sleeping very well. My foot seemed to hurt late at night but not as much during the day. I don't have that problem anymore either.
Do you think I need surgery? I feel like it might be getting better because of what's going on. They took more x-rays with me standing up at UConn. I want to get a second opinion because it is surgery but I can't get anyone to see me for the second opinion. The only one who will see me can't see me until the end of Aug. beginning of Sept. even for a second opinion. With ObamaCare & the government butting into our medical care, I wonder if the state says that to get funding, and this place is state funded, they have to do x amount of surgeries and I wonder if I might be one of x amount they have to do but maybe I don't really need it, like he might be one surgery short or something? I'm not so trusting of doctor's since my doctor that I had since the 70's retired because he hated all the paper work which kept him from being a good doctor and for a year and a half I've had 5 different doctors. I haven't danced in a class for 2 years because of being a caregiver but I'd like to again. Does this mean I won't be able to dance ever again?
Sorry this is so long but I wanted to make sure you knew everything about me and my foot. I'm also 62 if that makes a difference. According to my dance teacher,you don't get more limber as you get older but there are things I can do now that I couldn't do in my teens, 20's or even 30's. I am this close to doing a split! My niece told me about someone in her Ballet class who landed on his foot wrong and did what I did. He took Glucosimin and Condrodin pills and his foot healed pretty fast. I'm thinking of getting some. He had surgery though.
Can anybody give me a second opinion as soon as possible?

10 Replies to Should I get surgery for a broken foot?

re: Should I get surgery for a broken foot?
By hummingbird Comments: 10413, member since Mon Apr 18, 2005
On Wed Jul 27, 2016 11:03 PM
You can get a second opinion if you like, but I'm going to guess that with the injury you have the second opinion is going to be fairly similar to your first opinion. If you have a doctor that is willing to give you the surgery and it's covered then do it!

At our sort of age we need to look after ourselves especially seeing as you are the primary carer to your parents, what would all of you do if you couldn't walk at all?
re: Should I get surgery for a broken foot?
By UnderwaterBubblemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 2378, member since Mon Jun 09, 2003
On Thu Jul 28, 2016 05:41 AM
Is it an avulsion fracture? Head of the 5th metacarpal? Peroneus longus tendon effected?

If it is, the majority that I have seen as a physiotherapist I have seen treated conservatively successfully (immobilised in a boot).

If it's not or if it is significantly displaced, then surgery is often warranted.

Obviously this is all me trying to guess what has happened based on your description, I can't say anything conclusively. I don't really understand the US health system or how difficult it is to get a second opinion but I probably would. But I also am very conservative - each to their own.
re: Should I get surgery for a broken foot?
By SoloJazzDancer Comments: 21529, member since Wed Jun 30, 2004
On Thu Jul 28, 2016 10:57 PM
Here is what I know from the x-rays this doctor let me see. I broke the 5th metatarsal in my foot. You can see the break. My sister asked if it would move around and maybe go up to my heart and cause a blood clot of something and he said no, it probably wouldn't go anywhere. The tendon is pulled away from where it's supposed to be but because we have 2 that should be okay he said.
What bothers me is no one mentioned surgery until this guy. I don't know if the doctor I was going to who saw me right away was just waiting for it to maybe heal on its own or what but there was never a mention of surgery. I can't believe he didn't see what I saw in the x-rays and I'm not a doctor.I know it could have been much worse and I could have hit my head and I am thankful that didn't happen. Right now I have a huge boot on, one that has a valve on it to offer more cushioning. The other boot I have is smaller then this one. Why would they put me in a boot if they were going to do surgery?
When my dad was in his late 80's, he fell in the driveway getting out of the car with a gallon of milk. The milk stayed intact but his knee didn't. He said at first that he was okay and he didn't want to go to the hospital but our neighbor who was a nurse convinced him to go. They put a boot on him and he didn't need surgery! Someone said he must have been stronger then you but that's impossible. When he was in his 70, his 60's or earlier I would have said okay but not then. I was the one taking dance classes, I was in recitals and competitions and I was then and I am now in better shape then him but I need surgery and he didn't! I'm going to also be taking some glocosumin & condrodin pills to help this heal more too.
As for a second opinion, I am on our state insurance because I can't afford ObamaCare and they won't let me pay with cash, a check or my credit card. It's the insurance for the homeless, drug addicts/alcoholics, illegals, and people like me who don't make enough money to be able to afford insurance or don't get it at work. They either take a very long time to pay the doctors and our state is in debt up to their eyeballs thanks to our wonderful governor or they don't pay at all. That's why a lot of doctors who used to take the state insurance, my old doctor before he retired included, don't take it anymore. The ones that did take it were so far away and probably in bad neighborhoods because of the part of the state they are in that I wouldn't go to them anyway because I would be afraid of getting mugged or my sisters car stolen or vandalized. What are you supposed to do when this happens? I can't help it I have to have this insurance. From 1980 to 1999 I had insurance but the deductible was so high that I was covered only once! I thought I would get insurance with my next job (my company went out of business) but I never got any so it stayed the same with my insurance and me being self pay until ObamaCare when I couldn't do that anymore.
Thanks for your help. I wish I could get you to come to the US to look at me. If you have anything else to tell me, I'd appreciate hearing from you. The tops of my toes just before the toes under the second, third and fourth toes is all purple and blue. That started 5 days after this started, which was the day or 2 before July 4th.
re: Should I get surgery for a broken foot?
By Theresamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 34891, member since Wed May 22, 2002
On Tue Aug 02, 2016 11:09 PM
Why would they put me in a boot if they were going to do surgery?


Stabilize the injury. I had knee surgery when I was 15, and spent a month in the run up to the surgery in a full leg immobilizer (which is like a cast, but you can take it off. Like a walking boot). It's stable, and they've stopped all use of the injured body part. Win.

I'm confused. He keeps telling you you've got to have surgery because you're in pain, and you keep saying you're not in pain. ??

Book the other doctor anyway. It's easier to have an appointment and not need one, then to need it and not have it.
re: Should I get surgery for a broken foot?
By UnderwaterBubblemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 2378, member since Mon Jun 09, 2003
On Wed Aug 03, 2016 07:30 AM
Sorry, a bit delayed on replying. I'm not sure on the scope of practice but in Aus podiatrists can advise in situations like this - maybe a cheaper and easier option for a second opinion? You can always call a practice and ask if they're happy to see you, with a brief description of what's going on.

I agree that the fact that you're not in much pain would indicate a more conservative approach for me.

Either way, let me know when you're starting the rehab process and I'll try to give you some suggestions for exercises (either post boot or post surgery).
re: Should I get surgery for a broken foot?
By SoloJazzDancer Comments: 21529, member since Wed Jun 30, 2004
On Wed Aug 03, 2016 07:52 AM
If I didn't have the insurance I have, it would have been no problem. Before our regular doctor retired because of ObamaCare, I had to leave him because I didn't have insurance and I couldn't be self pay anymore. When he finally retired, mom had to find a new doctor as we both had been seeing him since the 70's. I thought we would both go to the same doctor as it would make it easier when we both have to go for appointments. I go with both my parents to doctors appointments. Her new doctor doesn't take my insurance either. That's the whole problem is my insurance. If I could have self paid, and I would have, I could have gone to see any doctor about my foot. They don't allow that, which is stupid.
On Aug. 10 I am going back to that doctor again to have it x-rayed again and sign off on the surgery. I have hardly any pain anymore and can now sleep on that side and can move my foot around in a circle, things I couldn't do before. I am buying some Glocosim & Condroden pills to take. A ballet dancer my niece knows was in the air in a leap and landing on his foot wrong and broke it like I did. He had surgery and healed a lot faster with those pills. I don't know if I mentioned that before or not. Maybe they can do something for me before they book the surgery. I'll try anything at this point. I hope they come in todays mail so I can start taking them.
I was wondering about exercises to do if there were any. Thank you for offering to give me some that I can do. That is so nice of you.
I will let you know what happens. Payers would be appreciated and it's something I do every day and at night. All I want to do is be normal again. I know it could have been much worse. A friend of my sisters fell and put her hands out when she did and broke or sprained both of her wrists! That is much worse then what I did with my foot although I did break a heel on my shoe in the 80's when I was in England on holiday and fell. Because we learned how to fall in dance, I fell correctly and only bruised my wrist. I don't think I sprained it. It healed very nicely, it didn't bother me to much and I've never had any problems with it since. Why can't my foot be like that?
re: Should I get surgery for a broken foot?
By SoloJazzDancer Comments: 21529, member since Wed Jun 30, 2004
On Sat Aug 13, 2016 07:54 AM
I have copies of my original x-rays but I don't think I should send them in an e-mail. You never know what people can do with that information and I'm not sure my computer can read them. Here is the latest info which I know you will be pleased to hear. I know I am really pleased to hear this.

Assessment: Closed displaced fracture of fifth metatarsal bone of left foot, initial encounter (S92.352A).

Assessment: Closed displaced fracture of fifth metatarsal of left foot with routine healing, subsequent encounter (S92.352D).

Impression: Discussed with the clinical exam and x-ray findings. The fracture of the styloid process is consolidating a. Locally she has no pain, swelling and full function of the perineal tendons. We can treat this non operatively (yeah!) and continue to let it heal. Stingiley to protect the ankle and the foot in the cam boot especially outdoor activities. Indoor she may start wearing the Aircast brace for support.

Patient Plan: I recommend she should use an Aircast brace for indoor walking and continue to use cam boot for outdoor walking for the next 3 weeks. Once she feels secure in the Aircast brace then she can progress to using the brace even for outdoor walking in the next 3 weeks. Follow up in 6 weeks.

I am so excited! No surgery! All those years of dance even though it was only once a week (since 1974) but sometimes more and then dancing at home or at outdoor concerts and playing the Wii dance game paid off! He pushed up against my foot and couldn't believe how strong it was! Then he felt and pushed into the side of my left foot where it is broken in 3 spots and besides being the most ticklish person in the world (I can tickle myself which you aren't supposed to be able to do) on my feet, I felt a slight twinge, and I mean for someone with a 0 pain tolerance it was slight in one spot.
It doesn't say this here but I thought he said the aircast was supposed to be worn in my shoes. I thought he said it probably wouldn't fit in my shoes though. It doesn't. It fit into one pair of shoes & it felt uncomfortable and kind of hurt. My mom wants to take me down to get a bigger pair of shoes so I can wear that cast. Would that be a good idea? I only need this for 3 weeks. Do you know about those casts? I can scan it for you if it's called something different in Australia.
He didn't recommend any therapy or exercises for it but I am ready to do whatever exercises you tell me. Let me know when you think I can start doing any kind of exercises or anything else. I am now in your hands.
Thank you guys for helping me with this. If I had put my life in his hands as they used to say, I would have already had the surgery. I am glad I waited. He said it would never reattach and the bone was very jagged and now it's not and it's not moving. God has been so good to me and my family!
re: Should I get surgery for a broken foot?
By UnderwaterBubblemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 2378, member since Mon Jun 09, 2003
On Sun Aug 14, 2016 04:29 PM
Yay! Sounds like the right call to me :)

I probably would get new shoes that fit the cast - something relatively cheap but with decent support, like a basic runner(joggers? sandshoes? not sure what word you would use for sport shoes!)/lace up boot. You don't want too much bending through the foot or any strain on the ankle moving side to side (like when you roll an ankle).

I'll start working on an exercises post - but with fractures I do like to give them at least the 6 weeks (is there going to be any more follow up x-rays?) before doing too much so I imagine that's at least the next 3 weeks.

But good news all round, sounds like pain and strength shouldn't be too much of an issue and you'll bounce back relatively quickly :)
re: Should I get surgery for a broken foot?
By SoloJazzDancer Comments: 21529, member since Wed Jun 30, 2004
On Sun Aug 14, 2016 09:48 PM
Can you believe that at 62? I can't believe that and it's me that has this problem. I was going to get sneakers/joggers, lace up shoes. He told me specifically not to wear flip flops. I have another appointment in 6 more weeks. He told me to wear the big boot outside and the air cast in the house for 3 weeks. Then he said to wear the air cast all the time for another 3 weeks and then it's my appointment. I just knew how it felt and it didn't feel as bad as he said it was. I was so glad they did more x-rays and I'm just guessing but they will probably do one more. All I'm hoping is that in years to come that I don't develop arthritis in that foot and that it doesn't bother me in cold weather. That's all I ask. I will do whatever exercises you recommend. No one said anything about any kind of therapy except you. Thank you so much for your help!
re: Should I get surgery for a broken foot?
By SoloJazzDancer Comments: 21529, member since Wed Jun 30, 2004
On Sat Sep 10, 2016 09:34 PM
I'm now on my air cast. I had to go out and buy a new pair of shoes. You can't imagine how many pairs I had to try on. If these didn't have laces I wouldn't be able to wear them after this air cast comes off. There a little big but I will still be able to wear them.
I have another doctor appointment on the 21st of this month. They will take more x-rays then.
I went to see Toto in concert 2 weeks ago and got to go backstage. We saw them at a casino and to say they don't have anything for handicapped people like me is not an exaggeration. I must have walked 10 miles! Ever time we parked the car it was way far away from where we were staying, not to mention when we parked for the concert. I had my huge boot on. as you can probably already guess, I love to dance. I haven't danced since I hurt my foot July 4th weekend. I wasn't dancing dancing but I was dancing in my row standing up. Only for about 3 songs but still. With the dancing and all the walking my feet hurt for about 3 days after. Not bad but they hadn't bothered me like that for a few weeks or more. I'm still keeping my foot up when I sit down to watch TV at night and I also still ice it.
I would welcome any exercises you can give me. Next week and for the next 2 weekends after that I will be helping my sister on the weekends at The Big E which is the 5th largest fair in the US. It is a huge fair and I won't be sitting down a lot. In fact, I will be doing a lot of walking. I hope I don't do any damage to my foot being there. She needs the help and I love to go. We are there from 10 in the morning till 10 at night. Do you think I will do a lot of damage to my foot?
I also have a question for you. I'm 4'6" tall but since I broke my foot I feel a lot shorter. The Little People Society considers anyone under 4'10" one of them but I'm not. I'm short but my arms and legs are not disproportionate to the rest of my body like they are. Could my broken foot have made me shorter?
I can't wait to get the exercises from you. I want my foot to get better!

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