Cast Away

I believe it’s time to return my body for a refund. I got my cast off yesterday, and my ankle still hurts. In fact, I think it’s worse than before the cast. So, what exactly is going on? Well, the orthopedist hypothesizes that I have nerve involvement. This means either my nerve is caught in a pain feedback loop, or is entrapped, possibly by my continuing aggravated ankle sprain.

So, not only have I done something horrible to my ankle, but I’ve involved a nerve. What probably happened? I sprained my ankle, rupturing a tendon which remains ruptured. The tendon leaks fluid into my ankle, causing it to swell like a slavering leech, until the inside of my foot resembles a saturated sponge. This turgescence presses against one or more nerve bundles in my ankle until one starts firing pain signals. My exploded tendon requires a cast or some other immobilization to facilitating diagnosis, but suppose I have a trapped nerve?

A foot prone to swelling has now been placed in an enclosed space with a nerve that’s already under distress. Care to guess how this is a bad combination? Toward the end of my month in a cast, my ankle would occasionally present random bursts of pain, even when I was immobile. Occasionally, my lower leg would be wrought with ceaseless spasms. I started out skeptical about the pain diagnosis, but now it seems to make sense. The nerve was showing its displeasure, and really, still is. And now that it’s been two months with the same injury, there’s a slim possibility it’s confused and will continue to report phantom pain, perhaps indefinitely.

As such, my orthopedist is reluctant to operate to fix the tendon rupture, because that might further provoke the nerve. Then, while my ankle would be fixed, the pain would remain or possibly even worsen. I’ve been referred to a nerve specialist, and the idea is that he will be able to determine the extent–or lack thereof–of nerve involvement, and hopefully either fix the source of the pain or refer me back to the orthopedist so she can do whatever is necessary to fix the tendon.

All I know is that my ankle hurts, continuing to swell without regular application of ice and anti-inflammatory medication. Walking is an exercise in ignoring the grinding feeling, or crutches to keep weight off my foot. I can’t even bend my ankle without a jolt of pain. What on Earth did I do? No matter what it was, all I can do is wait and keep seeing doctors until one of them fixes it. Ah well.

Until Tomorrow