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Talus Fracture

19-May-2013 03:25 PM

tlbzland

tlbzland
Posts: 6

So after nearly three decades of ice climbing I finally got a little careless, screwed up and took a (relatively short) ground fall - catching one of my front points in the process and busting the talus bone in my right ankle. Everyone says it's hard to break your talus and such breaks are rare (mostly people falling off ladders and getting in car crashes with a foot crammed against the brake) - but I'm guessing it's not such a rarity in the climbing world, especially given the popularity of highball bouldering. So I suspect you know a fair bit about recovery from this type of injury. 

Details:  It was a "class 3" break - neck of talus broken and I think there were 3 pieces total - but my Dr. was psyched after the surgery because everything went back together surprisingly easily with a minimum of "dissection" required. There are two screws in there and no metal plate required. First round of photos at 4 or 5 weeks showed everything looking good. I've been following Dr & PT's directions - doing my exercises and not doing anything stupid. I start weight-bearing in about a week and Dr. says 4 weeks after that I should be cleared to do whatever I want to.

Fortunately bouldering isn't my main thing. What I really want to get back to is sport and trad climbing. So my questions are:

> What can I expect in my first couple months back on the rock?

> Do you have any recovery tips or cautions?

> In particular, any suggestions for minimizing risk of AVN? Though I don't expect you to have any... my Dr. and everything I've read says there's nothing you can do, just wait and see.

Thanks!

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30-Jul-2013 05:38 AM

Dr. J

Dr. J
Posts: 9

Hey, drop me an email when you get a chance.

julian @ drjuliansaunders.com


Dr. J
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20-Sep-2013 10:41 AM

tlbzland

tlbzland
Posts: 6


Thanks. Sent an email a few days ago.
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01-Oct-2013 01:44 PM

tlbzland

tlbzland
Posts: 6


Just had my 6-month checkup with surgeon. Six months is when verdict on AVN ("avascular necrosis" = dead bone = really bad news) is considered to be definitive. So I was really lucky and he said bone looks great with no sign of AVN. Did I do anything to help this outcome? I'll never know, but what I did was:

  • Spent $$ on quite a bit of acupuncture. Revascularization seemed like a good fit for acupuncture and I wouldn't be surprised if it made a difference. I figured I wanted to do everything I possibly could to avoid AVN and since it was already costing me several thousand $$, why not spend some more...
  • Took expensive "bone healing" supplements from the local coop. Probably less likely to have made a difference but "expensive" only meant maybe another hundred dollars.
  • Got some professional massage and did lots of self-massage.
  • Followed Dr.'s & PT's orders re: recovery - did what they told me to do and didn't do anything stupid. But also got as much cardiovascular exercise as I could - including lots of swimming when I was non-weight-bearing to try to get the blood flowing.
  Now my problem is I appear to have overdone the exercise - especially mountain biking which I thought would be low-impact but appears to have been the opposite. Longish climbing approaches with pack full of gear also probably were not ideal. Soft tissue is not happy and I think I've probably got Achilles tendonitis and other unhappy tendons all around my heel.
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01-Oct-2013 08:23 PM

tlbzland

tlbzland
Posts: 6


One more detail I should add - Dr J will like this one - my surgeon said to avoid Ibuprofen while the bone was healing because it could interfere with revascularization (I can't remember why that is). So I haven't taken any "vitamin I" for 6 months. But I think I'm going to take some now to try to knock down my soft tissue inflammation. High doses for short periods of time do seem effective sometimes for shifting stubborn tendon pain...
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