Sunday, 28 October 2012

Doh. Surgery on the cards

Well that was an up and down week. At the start of week 4 of since my accident I attempted some normal steps across a room. I yelped and fell over. My ankle joint, which had seemed relatively unaffected, was immediately extremely painful on the anterior aspect. Pretty much my worst fears then.

In the absence of much ligament damage in that area, pain inside my ankle joint looked likely to mean damage to the articular (cartilage) surface inside the joint. Since cartilage, strictly speaking, doesn’t heal, it wasn’t the best. I was straight back for another x-ray that afternoon, which as expected was inconclusive. At least there wasn’t obvious damage to my talus. There was the faint echo suggesting there might be a bone spur in there, but it was hard to tell, and my doctor felt it would be treated conservatively anyway. I talked to my doctor in detail about what to do next. An MRI scan was really in order, but this and a consultation with an expert ankle orthopedic surgeon would add up into months of wait. Without really knowing what was wrong in my ankle, walking around on potentially damaged cartilage wasn’t really an option given my occupation.

So I decided to find out how much it would be to see the consultant on private time. Even if I just paid for the diagnosis and scanning, I’d be able to jump a lot of the waiting without extreme cost. One week later I was in the MRI machine and the following morning on the consultant’s table. I’m glad I did. The scan showed bruising in my Talus and Tibia but no damage visible on the articular surface. However, I had a large bone spur on the front of my tibia which had broken off. Although I do have the option of leaving it there and seeing if it gives me problems down the line, removing it might be the safer option to protect myself against future problems. There is also the additional benefit of a close inspection of the joint cartilage and any defects can be treated at the same time.

I didn’t feel like I had much option but to get it done, and get it done quickly. Although it’s going to be seriously expensive, it protects my ability to work in the short and long term. So I’m booked for the surgeons table in two weeks time. Depending on exactly what the surgeon finds in there, I’ll either be back to climbing in a few short weeks, or a bit longer. The way it feels, I think it’ll be on the short side. But I’m not thinking about it. All I can do right now is keep training and count down the days until then.


  1. Wish you the best,Dave.
    If someone have the mind for overcoming,this are you.
    Looking for you to recover.

  2. Wish you all best Dave,but have a question ,did you ever go under knife?

  3. All the best, Dave. Use the downtime to focus on other weaknesses. I had surgery earlier this year, which stopped me pulling hard for around 8 months. I have used the time to work on my head-game, which has gone from being my weakest point to my strongest. Every cloud, and all that!

    Good luck,

  4. Good luck Dave, fingers crossed!

  5. September 2010 I started having issues with my right ankle, having trouble walking caused by intermittent pain on dorsiflexion which occasionally made me fall over. Over a month passed while my GP ordered xrays, ultrasounds and bone scans which led to no diagnosis while my symptoms worsened.

    Eventually (late November) he decided he didn't know what was wrong and sent me to a specialist who diagnosed in a few seconds based on the initial x-ray and my symptoms (and ignoring the radiographer's report that said the tibial osteophyte was small and joint clearance was fine).

    Next day I saw the surgeon and a week later (early December) I was in surgery. He chiselled off the osteophyte and found a fragment of the osteophyte about the size of a baby tooth already loose, floating in my ankle joint.

    Maybe a fortnight after that I was climbing one footed in the gym in a little boot and a month or so later I was outdoors on easy stuff. By the end of January 2011 I was back to hiking and climbing almost as usual. For the most part I didn't notice it but occasionally it'd tell me I'd done too much (still a vast improvement over October though).

    Hope it goes well!

  6. Best of luck Dave and here's to a full recovery!

  7. Thumbs up for fast and full recovery!

  8. Hey Dave,

    wish you all the best for the outcome!! I'm sure you stay positive and use this time off to come back even stronger!

  9. You are an inspiration Dave, keep it up mate. I send everyone I meet to your site and book, we are staying tuned to see how it goes.