2 weeks out of ankle surgery, tips for efficient recovery?

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I broke my medial malleolus on my left tibia at the ankle joint almost two weeks ago and it's been tough both physically and emotionally. I'm a pretty independent person and I feel pretty down about having to ask others for help/feeling like I'm a burden. But I've been trying to keep myself busy with books, TV/movies and writing/blogging. I got surgery the same day I broke it and had to get two permanent screws in place. My doctors really told me all the basics to help recovery go smoothly, like keeping it elevated, drinking plenty of water, taking bone health promoting vitamins, not putting any weight on the injured ankle and all that, but I'm finding it difficult to eat very much, especially when I'm not nearly as active as I was pre-operation. Also, I've been wondering if there's anything extra I can do to help speed it up or at least make the most of this recovery time. I've looked into this arm cardio workout online to help get my blood moving and prevent clots and stay somewhat active, but I'm only doing every other day because I get pretty tired easily (lack of energy from lack of food) and I hate being stinky and showering takes a lot of effort and I don't care to do it every day. I'm also interested in hearing about everyone else's ankle injury and how your recovery process has gone so far/went, because I want to be able to compare and see if I'm on the right track. I am pretty young (23 years), and like I said, I am pretty active, so I'm hoping this injury won't put me out too long. Please leave any comments here either with advice, your own testimony or just positive vibes!

Thanks.

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  • Posted

    I have been thru broken ligaments in ankle. Takes longer than bone to heel. I was in a cast and continued to walk with crutches or stay active and rest when tired. Protein shakes helped with energy and eatin well at least 2200 calories a day are required for the body to have the energy to heal. So your doing well taking vitamins eats.

     

    Give it time . You be up and having more energy soon. It does come back.your bidy is busy healing and that takes a lot of energy. 

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  • Posted

    Hey I'm in a similar situation, I'm 22 and I broke my ankle 2 weeks ago (right tibia and fibia) and had surgery the following day and now have 2 screws and a metal plate.

    Do you have a cast? I was told I didn't need one due to the metal work and therefore I could start physio straight away which I do religiously for around 5 hours a day but am getting SO frustrated as I can barely see any improvement. Sometimes I feel like the emotional side of the recovery is even worse than the physical side of things as I'm constantly crying over not being able to live my normal life and be independent. I'm a gymnast and the thought of 8 months (apparently) out is killing me.

    I'm currently walking with crutches part weight baring but I'm scared to put too much weight onto my foot in case it damages the bones. My physiotherapist says he thinks I'll be able to walk unaided 4 weeks from now, but I've seen so many people talking about how it's taken them months so this has definitely dampened my spirits.

    As for keeping active I've also attempted some arm cardio and other activities that don't require both feet such as sit ups, knee based push ups and one leg squats.

    Anyway I hope you're feeling better soon!! I suppose it's just important for us to take things one step at a time (lol)

    xxx

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    • Posted

      I don't have a cast yet; my next appointment is on Monday though, so I'm sure that's when I'll find out if I need one (or not?). That is really weird that they say you don't need a cast two weeks following surgery, because everywhere I've looked online, that's been kind of the only constant commonality. But you are young (we both are) and maybe that's helping a bit. I'll keep my post updated with what happens on Monday!

      Ugh, and trust me, I am right there with you. I'm pretty sure I cried every day that first week; it's definitely such a hard injury for active/independent people. I will tell you though, I definitely find comfort in knowing I'm not the only one going through this.

      I hope you feel better soon! Just take each day as it comes; try to do your exercises consistently throughout the day. If your doctor says you don't need a cast, then that's probably a good sign (I'm not sure if I'll need one either; honestly, I feel like I could probably start putting partial weight on mine as well. But I might also just be eager to get this split off and have my foot back. 🙈

      Try not to get frustrated and if you ever need somebody to talk to, that kinda knows what you're going through, I'm here! 💕

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  • Posted

    I had Trimal ORIF on 8/25/16. I had protein shakes and bars delivered. Take Vitamin D supplements and rest as much as possible. For my injury, I did leg lifts while in the cast. Once I got in boot, then started ROM exercises. Later on I had small grocery deliveries. These are tough injuries both physically and mentally..
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    • Posted

      Good idea about the leg lifts while in the splint/cast - I want to make sure that my left leg is just as strong (or at least not as far off) as it used to be... How are you doing with your injury now?
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    • Posted

      I am six months out now. Your muscle is lost fast, but I got it back. Got released from PT in end of January. Riding stationary bike since 9 weeks after suirgery and ROM is good. Still trying to build up strength and stamina. Doing better than I thought since read so much negative stuff online. Also saw many people at OS office with more issues than me so feeling lucky. I also bought expensive foot massaging spa which feels great when you overdo it. You are young so hopefully everything will go well. I am much older than you, but very motivated and stubborn so I am working hard to recover. They let me drive at 10 weeks, but originally said 12. Trying to work on exercising on stairs now. Recovery takes at least a year.

      for ankle

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  • Posted

    Hi. This is  the worst injury I've ever had. Your lucky I had to wait 2 weeks to have my surgery and start over from day one. I moved around between 3 caregivers which helped with my feeling like a burden. That was for the first 4 weeks. Once I got my stitches out I came home for the next month. I live alone and only had help with dinners being brought in. I didn't eat a lot, which I think is good otherwise I'd of gained to much weight. I pretty much just laid around resting my body during the healing process. I have 11 screws and a plate in my ankle. (I never realized there was that much room in there)Lol. today I drove my car for the first time. It felt great.  Remember, each day that passes takes you closer to a complete recovery. Like dory says just keep swimming, keep swimming.

     

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    • Posted

      I definitely feel lucky! Especially only breaking my ankle in one place; I wasn't sure how it was going to go... And yeah, I was originally just laying on the couch/my bed at home for the first week, but I was getting so frustrated and my roommate and boyfriend had their own lives to deal with, so I flew up to my mom in another state to get taken care of. I leave tomorrow, a day before my second appointment. I'm worrying really about eating too little; I know that the body needs sufficient nutrients to help with the bone healing process. How long ago was your injury? And in which places did you break your ankle to need 11 screws and a plate?! That's intense! And thanks for the encouragement! 😊

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    • Posted

      I dislocated my ankle and broke the bone in 3 places. I'm also 63 years old and am sure that makes a difference. While I was laying around I did muscle building exercises. I take vitamin D, biotin, symphytum, drink milk, and eat Proteins to help with healing. I take my regular vitamins as I did before. My doctor also prescribed Gabapentin for nerve pain but it knocked me out. I'm lucky I don't have much pain at all. In about 10 months I will need to have another surgery to remove 1 or 2 of the screws. I can't remember exactly what the doctor said but they run sideways in my ankle. 

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    • Posted

      I’m in a similar position. 2  ankle breaks and have plate. screws and pin 

      Stitches out , and now in a moon boot. Everything healing really well , but I’m finding it incredibly painful around the ankle joint/pin location. I’ve tried padding, soft bandage etc. Did anyone else have this issue.?  Feel like I need a boot that leaves that one joint area           “ free”  but is strapped all around. Any ideas gratefully received. 

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  • Posted

    I'm almost 13 months out and feel great now. Ankles take their sweet time and I hate to give you the news, but it will probably be very slow going, depending especially on whether you had surgery or not- measure your progress week by week vs. day by day. I wish I understood this from the start- the doctors don't really tell you this. I kind of thought after my trimalleolar fracture, with a plate and 13 screws installed, that I would have the surgery, be on crutches for a week or two (maybe a month), and then be back as new within a month or so. I was 56, and super healthy, energetic, athletic and light weight and nothing ever has kept me down for long. No one wants to tell you that you the truth, that you will be laid up for at least 4 months, have to learn to sleep on your back for months with your legs in the air on pillows and ice bags everywhere, that you'll be pretty bored, feel like a burden to those around you, have so much trouble doing daily things like eating, bathing, going to the bathroom, the palm of your hands will hurt like crazy from the crutches before you get clever and buy or rent a scooter, etc. Somewhere I read, most likely I would be feeling alive again in 4 months, pretty good at 6 months, and really good in a year to 18 months (but a lot of people feel really good at 12 months). That was exactly what I experienced, and several of my friends on this site experienced, so I feel it must be the normal path for this injury.  It takes that long to get back to almost new again, but most likely you will be just fine, unless you smoke (healing takes longer) or are not in great health or have other complications- then things may take a bit longer. It was common for most of us to hit our lowest point the second week and to be very worried about ever walking again. I obsessed a bit about the hardware in my leg and when I could get it out (it's still there and I never notice it now). I have always been a super positive person, and to get myself out of a self-pity funk at week two, I looked up Wounded Warrior sites and stories of people who had permanently lost limbs, and then snapped myself out of that attitude quickly, realizing even if I could never walk again, there are people much worse off. Luckily, my fears were totally unfounded. I got a knee scooter and decided no one wants to be around someone who is feeling sorry for themselves and left my talking about my injury to the support group here, who really understand and are interested in the daily trials and tribulations. Join in on life, and smile when you feel a bit like crying, and you will find happiness again very quickly.  No one wants to hang with a bummed out person, right? I now can run, jump, ski, and do everything as before. Every once in a while I feel the ankle is a bit tight for a few steps, but often I seldom think about my ankle anymore or have any problems at all. I would say without a knee scooter I might have gone crazy and I was lucky it was my left leg, so I could drive everywhere still. I just threw my scooter in the back of my SUV and crutched to the driver's door with my backpack (that's important to have), and went out regularly to run errands (allow extra time for everything though). It all works and you can get out and live life. If it's your right foot- try to get someone to drive you places or get things you need and or food delivered or if you are near a store get a basket on your scooter and scooter over there. I know it seems impossible now, but it will be a distant memory in a year. 

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    • Posted

      Hi Patti,

      Thanks for providing this account of what to expect! How are you doing now? Trimal fracture for me on 12/30/2017, and just had surgery on 1/3/2018...my journey is just beginning. As you mentioned, the knee walkers are saving me. I tried crutches for the first 3 days, but felt very unsafe and unstable. I scooted around on a furniture dolly the first 3 days to get to the bathroom, let dogs out, etc. Found a place in Atlanta that delivered scooters same day, so had one 3 days after my accident. Liked it so much, had another one delivered for upstairs. I'm excited that I will be able to do laundry! Also ordered a shower chair, cast cover and grabber thingy.

      Good advice on the Wounded Warrior project...I have a whole new respect for anyone learning to adjust to life with less than what we were born with. I at least know I should have a working ankle again, I should consider myself fortunate.

      Curious - were you working at the time of your injury and if so, when did you return? I have a computer-based job, so once I have a sense of where I'm at pain-wise and ability-wise, hoping to work part-time remotely. I'm applying for short-term disability through work, so hoping the will off-set the hours I'm unable to work. Any advice appreciated!

      Thanks,

      Lyn

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  • Posted

    I just had my second check-up yesterday. They took off that God-awful, itchy splint that I had on for two weeks and did some X-rays. The bones look like it's healing nicely, but you can see on the X-ray that my cartilage at the joint has been damaged and I've even lost some, which is discouraging, because I know that cartilage takes longer to heal and could potentially lead to complications with arthritis and other when I'm older... They put me in a boot for me to wear for the next four weeks, but I'm still non-weightbearing. My doctor did tell me, though, that I can touch down to the ground while I'm standing up straight, but not to put excessive weight on the ankle. I can take the boot off when I'm just sitting doing nothing and my doctor told me to take it off 5-6 times per day any way to practice ankle motions for about five minutes. He also suggested I take Vitamin E to help with the healing process. 

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    • Posted

      I was so happy when they took my splint off. I would take the boot off and flex my ankle several times a day. I had a really hard time sleeping with my boot on, so would take it off at night. I am now weight barring and just starting to see a little flicker of light at the end of the tunnel. It's such a long road but it gets better. Good luck

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    • Posted

      Great news in getting the splint off! And also in it having a cast put on, hopefully the healing process will be a lot quicker with constant physio! I've had a similar problem with cartledge and it's caused my ankle to stay very swollen which is annoying.

      I had my second check up today and had the bandages from surgery taken off meaning that I can now go swimming (yay!!!) and the doctor told me I can now fully weight bare as much as I can, and to start trying to walk without crutches (argh!!) but as soon as I did I literally just fell over! I'm trying to switch to one crutch and gradually move to no crutches, if anyone has any advice on learning to walk again? I think I'm just scared to put weight on my foot as it hasn't even been 3 weeks, but the doctor says it's fine!

      Hope you are feeling better both physically and mentally!! 💖

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