Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Disappointment of Uncertainty

My ankle hurts everyday.  My knees don't throb at the end of the day.  My shoulders don't ache.  My other ankle is not in constant discomfort.  It's just that one joint, my left ankle, the one I've broken at least once and sprained half a dozen times or more.

So I went to my doctor and had X-rays taken.  Then I went to a specialist.  Then I paid to have an expensive MRI done.  Up to this point, the expectation was that the MRI would show the broken bits of bone inside my ankle, in addition to the damaged ligaments, all of which would then be repaired surgically.

But this morning I went to get the results of the MRI and the doctor found it wasn't as bad as he expected: no loose bone fragments inside the joint, nothing requiring immediate surgery.  That's good news… sorta.

I don't want surgery; I'm not sure how I could afford surgery.  But the "good" news lay on me like a wet blanket.  What was causing the pain?  Generally speaking, a loose and damaged ankle.  An ankle damaged enough to warrant fixing?  No, just bad enough to hurt chronically.  Will physical therapy solve the problem?  Not likely but it could help a little.  Will shoe inserts fix it?  Not directly, but it could help a little.  Would surgically tightening the ligaments make the pain go away?  Perhaps but not definitively.  Is there any definitive solution to the aching joint, like what was originally suspected?  No.

I kept asking the doctor, why, if there's no significant damage, I keep having such prominent pain in that joint?  There's lots of scarring.  The ligaments are stretched out.  There's a bit of fluid in the joint.  There are tiny bits of loose bone around the ankle.  But beyond keeping it stable, supported, and attempting to strengthen it, there's not much else that can be done.


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