Hello I live in N.Ga., 4 years ago I experienced a severe break of both lower leg bones resulting in spiral fractures, removal of many bone fragments where it meets the ankle and now have 2 metal plates and 18 screws. Over the past 4 years I have managed this with pretty high doses of ibprofen and goody powders. During the past 8 months I have experienced a lower back injury, my MRIs show bone spurs in upper and lower back, OA in lower back, multi-level degenerative disk, and bulging disk in lower back. My limp definitely contributes to the low back pain and the combo of the leg and back has brought my life to a standstill. Pain has suddenly become my life, I feel hopeless, helpless, frustrated with lack of response or compassion from Dr.s. Sorry I guess I just looking for some empathy. My PCP sent me to a pain and spine clinic where I have gotten shots and minimal meds, 7.5mg HC 2 times a day, the shots may be helping some, I'm not sure yet, but the hydrocodone doesn't help at all, and I have been through all the NSAIDs, steroids, muscle relaxers, many many hrs of PT, massage, and chiro. I think I'm out of options, the Dr. I'm with now flat said he would treat my back but not my leg, so he's half treating me lol. Not much helps the leg. Sorry so long no one to talk to.
As to the legs, you need to find out what exactly is causing the discomfort. There are things that can be done to help with that, other than just medicine. You should see a good orthopedic foot and ankle surgeon. And, since you have a complex problem, you may have to go to a teritary center, like at a large university, the Mayo clinic, the Cleveland Clinic, the Campbell Clinic, etc all which specialize in complex orthopedic cases.
To just say nothing can be done, is a cop out. Your regular orthopedic surgeon may not be able to do anything, but there are things that can be done. You may have trade offs, but in the end you should be better.
You really need to research your options. Remember, pain management physicians just mask the symptoms, they do not fix the underlying problem. In the spine, many times the fix may be worse than the problem, so you really have to weigh your options. Same can be said about the extremities. But, don't give up till you have looked at all of your options.
I'm sure you are really tired of surgery and dread the thought of having any more. But, in the future, you may decide that if a surgery can make it so that you are not in so much pain and can function better, it might be worth it.
From you initial description, it sounds like you had pilon fractures of the distal tibias. These, unfortunately, result in a high rate of traumatic arthritis in the ankle joint.
It used to be that about the only thing that could be done in young patients with significant ankle degenerative changes was an arthrodesis of the tibiotalar joint (ankle fusion). But, with the advancements in total ankle joints, you may, in the future, be a candidate for a total ankle.
And, again, I know you are tired of surgery, but there are also some smaller procedures that can be done, such as ankle arthroscopy to do some "house cleaning". Remove scar tissue, osteophytes, etc, making the ankle less painful.
Sure, there is nothing that is going to make your legs "normal", but it might be better. These are just some things to keep in the back of your mind, for later. They are just some options. You sounded like you were sort of at the end of your rope.
There are also some pain management techniques that could provide you with some pain control. A spinal stimulator may provide you with relief from the extremities.
It sounds like you know about most of the other methods and have tried them at one time or another. But, you do have to remember that no one is really pain free, it is just trying to get the pain to a level at which you can function.
I know it is hard to change physicians, but if you are not getting the results you desire from your current pain management clinic, you may have to change. And, you may have to travel a ways. Unfortunately, there are no real easy answers, but does not mean that you should just give up. There are options out there, but you do have to be proactive for yourself.
Good luck. Hope you find a pain management method(s) that work for you.
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