I recently went through a very extensive ankle surgery to take out some bone chips, grind down some bone spurs and fix some ligaments. After 11 years of using a progressively worsening foot I opted for the surgery and the 8 week recovery because without it I would be in constant pain and not able to function during my normal day. Through this process I realized that like me, many people may not recognize what a chronic injury is and are just living with it.
My injury occurred while playing college football; after my first ankle sprain came many, to the point where I had a permanent ½ golf ball sized swollen bump on my ankle. After college I was still active and worked out and that ankle progressively worsened until I was limping and couldn’t walk. So with the advice of my boss I went to an ankle specialist to see what was going on. After my doc assessed my ankle and looked at the x-rays, which showed a few bone spurs and bone chips, we decided to try a cortisone shot. Fast forward 3 years later, 2 cortisone shots later and I am still limping and in pain daily. I go into my ankle doctor to find that the bone spurs and chips in my ankle had doubled or tripled in size; leaving my ankle no room to function. So the next step was surgery to fix the ankle.
When I went in for surgery they gave me a pre-surgery Qualify of Life questionnaire and to my astonishment I failed it. Every single question they asked I marked to the far end of dissatisfaction and pain…yet even with all the doctor visits and cortisone shots, in my head my ankle wasn’t that bad. I made excuse after excuse to why it was ok to live with this chronic injury and not address it when in reality it was affecting every aspect of my life.