foot ulcers

I am new to this community. As a sufferer of AF and the recent recipient of a pacemaker, I found great wisdom and support in the AF community. I am hoping that I might now pick up some useful tips in this community of ulcer sufferers.

First and, maybe, foremost, I do NOT have diabetes. Secondly, I have had Doppler tests, ultrasounds and an angiogram, none of which indicates any link with two ulcers that are plaguing me. One, on tne right outside ankle, first appeared last August and was quickly accompanied by everworsening nerve pains. It appeared at the bottom of a scar left from an ankle fracture, the hardware from which I had removed 5 years ago and picked up a hospital infection so that healing took a long time. During that time I knocked my inside ankle, right on the scarring across that boney protrusion, which ulcerated and it was many months before that healed. I went down the manuka honey route but, although I believe it stops infections, it doesn't actually heal the ulcer. I spent a large part of that next summer in France, equippped with a carton full of surgical dressings, in the unpolluted air of the Auvergne, and I decided to dispense with all those messy dressings and expose the ulcer to the sunshine. I returned to the UK two months later with the ulcer completely healed and had no further problems until this last summer. The appearance of this new ulcer shook me, because there was no trauma, no discenable reason for it to happen. I thought, at first, as I was doing exercises to get more mobility in that ankle, that I might have overstretched the scar tissue. However, roughly two months later (October) the same thing happened on the scarring on my inside ankle. Again, no trauma, nothing. The ulcer grew and took over in size and pain intensity from the outside ankle. There were, and still are, many nights when I could not sleep. I was firstly referred to orthopaedics at my local hospital, to see the surgeon who had originally removed the hardware. He referred me on to the vascular unit, which took me to just before Christmas by which time, I was going mental with pain and loss of sleep so I saw the vascular surgeon privately for a consultation which save me about two more weeks of waiting time. He expedited all the necessary tests, within the NHS, which did not indicate any vascular or arterial cause, so I was referred back to another orthopaedic surgeon, whom I also consulted privately, just to get a move on. He all but laughed at my having been referred to him at all and said there was no indication of a bone link. So, I was referred BACK to the vascular unit. I saw the delightful vascular nursing team on Tuesday. They are referring me on (how LONG can this go on?) to rheumatology (autoimmune deficiency) and dermatology (skin malignancy). Assuming that both of these will bring back negative results, I will then be referred, ONCE AGAIN, to the same vascular surgeon I saw in December, the one who said there was not any connection between one diseased artery (on the outside of my lower leg) and either of these obstinate ulcers. I have also mentioned, on isitation, the fact that my leg swells, during the course of the day, into what they call the champagne bottle effect, and that, in itself, is painful and, I think, is getting in the way of any healing. Also, because my gait is bad, increasingly so, my foot will no longer fit into a shoe without huge discomfort because it has been twisted outward. My lower back catches, pain-fully, all the time. Apparently that is because of the awkward gait. And now the muscles in my left ribcage are also suffering, as is the back of my right knee. This can only get worse and I just don't know what path to follow now. I don't suppose anyone out there has the answer but at least it makes me feel a bit better being able to share this misery with someone else who knows what I am going through. Finally, I was offered a surgical boot on Tuesday, but my daughter is due to give birth NOW (her due date is Sunday, March 1st). I don't think her confidence in my ability to cope with her and her new first baby will be increased by seeing her mother hobbling about in a surgical boot. Help?!

2 Replies

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  • Hi

    Typical NHS. Everyone has their speciality. I'm afraid I don't have any great ideas either. What are they using to dress it? You say it swells. and you are right, this can hinder the healing process so have they suggested some light/ moderate compression. Was your Doppler ok as it sounds like a good start. I get swollen ankles and it is very uncomfortable.

    It's hard to give suggestions without seeing it. Manuka is brill stuff and keeps bacteria at bay. What did the vascular nurse put on?

    It must be so frustrating as these things can take ages and can be so painful.

    I wish I could help

  • Thanks for your reply. It is comforting just to be in touch with a fellow sufferer! I know about Manuka honey, but I am managing to keep the ulcers clean, it is the actual healing that is being so stubborn. I was told (after an angiogram) that, although I have one somewhat faulty artery in my lower leg it is not the one that feeds into the worse of the two ulcers - so, it has been discounted. The ultra sound was clear, so, no venous connection, either. The swelling occurs in the upper half of my leg below the knee but stops at roughly the halfway point so that I get what is known as the "champagne bottle" effect. That swelling, in itself, is as painful as the ulcers, just in a different way. It is, of course, worst of all in the evening, when it feels as though it is going to burst! I guess my biggest frustration is the slowness of every-thing medical! I understand that I have now been referred for rheumatology and for dermatology, but I also KNOW that I might have to wait weeks for either or both of those to be carried out and THEN (assuming the results are negative) I will be referred BACK to the vascular surgeon who closed the books on me in December when he referred me on to orthopaedics (zilch!) which will take more weeks. My hope that I might be able to able to wear some elegant footwear this summer, appropriate more to my personna than my disability, is fast fading.

    Anyway, today is Monday, yesterday was the most beautiful first day of spring one could imagine, and I have a grandchild due to be born tomorrow. So, I will jutt out my already formidable jaw and hobble determinedly through the days to come and continue to hope that somebody medical, somewhere, will suddenly have an epiphany and I will be on the way to wearing something more elegant than a surgical boot!

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