3 weeks post ORIF ankle surgery/ 90 deg angle

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ok- so again, I know I am very early in the recovery process. Not only did I break my ankle in 3 different places, I had severe ligament and tendon damage. I'm not WB yet as the doc encourages resting and keeping my foot elevated to make sure everything heals properly. He has given me some ankle exercises to do in this period. I noticed that when i bring my ankle to a 90 deg angle it feels extremely tight! It's such a strange feeling. Is this something I'm gonna have to work through once I start my full on PT, or will it loosen up as my ankle heals?? ugh, it scares me to think that I'll have to walk on it with that feeling of it being so tight- it doesn't hurt at all. Just very uncomfortable and strange.

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  • Posted

    Sorry to hear what you are going through! To give you a little background: in January of 2018 I broke my ankle in 3 places, ruptured all the ligaments in my ankle, and broke my fibula just below my knee. I am not going to sugar coat anything, the recovery process is LONG! I had ORIF the night after I fell to pin and plate everything in my ankle back together. 8 months later I had to have surgery again to reconstruct my ankle because the ligaments didn't heal on their own. Between the 2 surgeries I have gone through approximately 5 months of physical therapy total. I do still have a lot of tightness on my ankle, especially in my Achilles. My second surgeon has told me that I won't know the full results of my second surgery until 6-9 months out from the date of surgery.

    The best advice I can give you is to find some patience! I know its hard to do, because I generally have no patience at all! What worked best for me was I went to every appointment expecting my doctor to give me the worst news possible, that way I was never disappointed in what he was telling me. Most appointments I was pleasantly surprised.

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  • Posted

    my 16 yo daughter is 13 months out from same injury it us long and a lit if wirj in physical therapy it still hurts to this day unfortunately but she is able to do everything she did before, just maybe not quite as quickly or comfortably

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  • Posted

    the tightness in your ankle is normal. the ankle excercises and physical therapy will help with the tightness. stay positive and keep doing the excercises . 49yrs old , broken ankle in 3 places, 7 screws, 2 plates july 21st 2017. running and doing everything i used to do. the healing and recovery is up to you. do the work and stay positive..

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  • Posted

    It will get better. The key right now is to follow what your doctor recommends, including if it's allowed to bring your ankle to a 90 degree angle. I was in a cast where my ankle was immobilized at less than a 90 degree ankle for 4-6 weeks and told not to flex my foot too much until the bone was healed enough. Once the cast was off, it took me 3-4 days to stretch out the ankle enough to get my heel to the floor enough to begin weight bearing normally. It will still be tight and stiff for quite a while. I am 4 months out from ORIF and it's much better than it was, but still stiff especially in the morning and when I've had it up for a while. They key is to do physical therapy exercises, including ones you can do in bed or when you have your foot up such as circles, writing the alphabet, and pressing up and down and left and right, once cleared by your doctor. In PT, they will measure your range of motion. At first, mine was fairly low, but by doing the exercises and massage, I was able to get full up and down again. I'm still working on lateral movements as that's where my ligament damage was but it's getting better all the time.

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