4 weeks since ankle op.

Posted , 11 users are following.

Fractured and dislocated my ankle after slipping on a muddy path 17th Dec 2015  After10 days bed rest and foot elevation in hospital to get the swelling down over Christmas I had 9 screws into fibula and a metal plate and screws into bone on other side of ankle. In a cast for 2 weeks then Xrayed and assessed and another cast put on for 4 weeks. Disolvable stitches and ankle alignment satisfactory.

2 more weeks until consultant visit to assess maybe given a boot.

Very painful for a week after 2nd cast put on but settling down now. Using a wheelchair to propel myself around the house.  Living downstairs but been upstairs 3 times backwards on my bottom pushing up with good leg wearing a trainer for grip. Good exercise!

Was initially given a zimmer by hospital but very unsteady and not confident on crutches. Will hopefully use them when allowed to put some pressure on injured ankle.

Some nights I have to take paracetamol particularly if the ankle has not been elevated enough during the day.  I sleep a lot more but presume it is to do with the healing process.  Drinking a lot of milk and a VitD pill once a day with plently of protein foods which I hope will encourage bone healing.

Was very active but not able to do much apart from knitting and sewing.  Try to do a bit of housework each morning but have temporarily employed a cleaner. Thankful it is winter and no gardening necessary yet.

Encourageing to see how other broken ankles progress.  No phsio for me yet but I do Pilates exercises each morning in bed before putting ankle down for another day.

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94 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Beryl

    I'm 48 and had a very similar injury to yourself crash landing after a charity parachute jump! Screws, plates and wire later I was 7 weeks non weight bearing in a cast and then 3 weeks in the boot .. it should have been 4 but I was being stubborn!  I was terrible on the crutches, I fell twice!  I then got into the habit of crawling everywhere (my knees are still recovering!).  Like you I ensured I ate well and I did make sure I sat out side or at least got some fresh (my sister was very good at hauling me outside and leaving me there, because I got a bee in my bonnet about vitamin D!)  I did wriggle my toes as much as I could once the my ankle got used to the cast and the swelling reduced, I didn't sleep very well with the cast but tried to cat nap when I could during the day.  I broke and dislocated my ankle on the 12th September, surgery on the 14th and then cast off on the 6th November, I am walking with hardly a limp, back at work full time and walking too and from the multi story carpark which is a good 10 minutes away from the office.  Going up and the stairs is a little more challenging but I have physio once a week and ensure I do all the exercises I am supoposed to. I also had to go back into hosptial for the wire removing as it was hooked over a tendon! The swelling on my ankle is getting much less, I have days where I more aware of it than others, but usually when I've over done it a little.  I do have nerve damage but am hoping that will get better over time. I was suffernig from "restless" leg at night which kept me awake but a friend recommended intensive Arnica gel which is really helping me and the scarring, it just seems to settle the "Zombie" leg down on a night!  I hope this helps gives you some encouragement and that you will be back in the garden before you know it.  I got so fed up in the beginning with all and the frustration and the pain but you do get through it.                

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    • Posted

      Thanks so much for your encouraging post.  I am over 20 years older than you so expect to take a little longer to heel but I am slim, and fit which should help.  Glad you're nearly back to normal.
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  • Posted

    Hi Beryl oh I absolutely feel for you! I did the same in December falling off a pair of very high heels though.... Stupid my vanity ! Anyway last Monday I had my cast off after one op one metal plates with 5 screws and two screw other side if ankle. I was in cast for six weeks. I've been given an airboot and crutches. I have stared physio which I initiated myself due to NHS waiting list for six weeks, way too long to wait! Anyway physio said boot outside and just crutches inside.  The exercises he gave me and quite tough but he said the ankle is week and needs strengthening. Eg: stand on bad foot keep good foot up and try to balance. I was thinking no way BUT I can do it and no my ankle didn't snap like I thought it would, he said its fixed, it's strong, you've got metal plate and screws it'll be fine , and it is. I can't walk very well and it swells up sooooo much, but I ice and elevate and have started  back in the pool - I'm a big swimmer anyway and I think this is helping my recovery. Don't get me wrong I have a long way to go like all if us, but I'll get there. Iam naturally an impatient person so this is a test for me, I've read and read lots of info about ankle breaks on the Internet and I am taking little bits of helpful info from different sources to give me a balanced opinion of the do's and dont's. I've found its best not to use other people's recovery as my own bench mark, as we all have different injuries, bodies, age and circumstances. But this website is great to share, moan and vent our frustration on. Everyone "gets it" on here they understand. Everyone has low days , I have had plenty, but no one tells you to "Buck up" 

    good luck, sounds like you are doing all the right things- food, vitamins and Pilates  that is great keep going! Sending you a hug keep strong 


    And to you Sally32635 this post is for you to can't believe you did the jump for charity and look how you've ended up? As I've said keep strong we will all get there in the end! 

    Happy days🌞

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  • Posted

    Good evening Beryl. I feel your pain as this is the second week back at work since my op on 29th Sept 2015 and remember the various emotions I felt, and still feel. I was given a Zimmer frame which I replaced with 2 crutches, as I was very self conscious & felt ancient using it. I was very lucky and didn't experience much discomfort, the main issue I had and still have is swelling and stiffness. I initially bought a wheel chair to help with mobility, then was on 2 crutches, then 1 & eventually weaned myself off altogether. I'm still having physio and doing my exercises at home, am hoping to start swimming this week. There is a gym not too far away that opened towards the end of last year and it focuses on catering for disabled & injured people, which is a great idea as everybody is in a similar situation.

    It is important that you try and keep yourself occupied as I almost gave up and was staying in bed till 3pm and then going back to bed after teatime.

    We only have an upstairs bathroom and I was shuffling upstairs on my bum and coming back down using 1 crutch, very frustrating and tiring!

    My physio is still ongoing, but they did warn me that it would be a long haul and total recovery up to 12 months.Do try and start physio asap though, as I was in a cast for almost 2 months which did me no favours!

    I wish you a speedy recovery, keep visiting this forum, as it will give you lots of encouragement , support and advise which you will not find elsewhere

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    • Posted

      I joined this forum today and what a lot of positive encouragement I have received. I am so pleased I have found you all who know what its like to be on one leg for 6 weeks or more!

       Another trick I have learnt recently when at the kitchen sink is to press the suspended leg knee and thigh against the kitchen cupboard to help with stability.  It works for a few minutes until the good leg gets tired.

      Sorry you were so down at the beginning but understand why.

       I am knitting another cosy toes sock to cover  toes sticking out of the cast. I was knitting socks in my hospital bed and a fellow patient who had completely smashed her ankle in a road accident suggested I knit the end section of a sock to cover toes. I sent her a couple and am now knitting more as it is quite adictive and will leave them at the hospital with the RVS to sell for funds.  Gives me an activity and prevents me going to sleep in the evening while watching TV.  I think it is important to have a goal each day and something to get up for in the morning.

      I expect this to be a long haul and living alone now makes life more difficult but am determined to get back in the garden by May to plant my sweetpeas.  Happy thought of sunny days and singing birds.

      Thanks for your reply.

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  • Posted

    Hi Beryl.  I'm a couple of weeks behind you.   Did mine on the 29th December.   Our stories are almost exactly the same so I will be following your progress.   I'm 63 and have a horse, so I'm reasonably fit.   The pain was very managable until the 2nd cast 9 days ago.   Since then I've had a lot of pain, especially at night.  I think it's getting better and I was relieved to hear you say your's improved.   I live by myself and have stairs - I've been using the stairs as exercise too lol.   Can't use my other leg TOO much as I have a total knee replacement on that one.   aaargh lol!  I've also been using resistance bands and doing arm exercises.  I can do knee push-ups too.   It's horrible that this has happened to you, but it's good to have your company on this incredibly frustrating journey.   lotslove xxx.
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    • Posted

      It's going to be interesting to compare our progress.

      It is difficult to get off to sleep some nights especially if the ankle has been down too much in the day.  Last week I made a batch of biscuits from my wheelchair but did suffer at night and had to take pain relief which I had weened myself off.  OK the next day but learnt my lesson.

      For the last 3 nights I have been able to sleep on my side with just one pillow for ankle elevation.  It is small things like this that are encouraging.  The pain does vary and this morning for the first time I had a pain up the back of the ankle which I suppose could be ligament repair. The type of pain does vary but is tolerable compared with what it was several weeks ago.

      Do you get about in a wheelchair.? I looked after my husband for a long time and kept the chair and a wheeled comode in a shed after he died in case I needed them.  They are such a help because hopping with a zimmer is so unstable and exhausting.

      Hope you continue to make good progress too. xx


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  • Posted

    Hi Beryl - sorry I missed your last post - my wee young 11 months old cat went missing 6 days ago and I'm devastated - he's basically a house-cat and never leaves my side for more than 5 minutes.  It's been another big blow and I'm very very down. 

     It's now 2 weeks since I had the 2nd cast put on.  The horrible pain seemed to suddenly diminish yesterday.  Today is good so far also.  Big relief. 

    I don't have a wheelchair - my wee house is probably too small for it to be much use.  I get around with a zimmer and a chair which I rest my knee on and lump around slowly.   I keep the ankle elevated most of the time - even in bed.  I am learning from your experiences here that if I do too much, I will be in pain afterwards, so I'm trying to be good.  

    I've lost 10kg since the accident - 4kg in the last week since my cat went missing.  I wasn't fat, but not thin either, so I suppose that's a good thing.  Not eating very much at the moment, but what I do eat is good - bone broth and green juices and fish. 

    You're right - it's the small things that are such a relief - I've been able to sleep more or less on my side for a few days now.  I have crutches but find them very scary.  I use the zimmer but that is, as you say, exhausting.   How are you doing now Beryl?

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    • Posted

      I am so sorry to hear your boy has gone missing, they are such a worry aren't they.  I have 4 cats and they were such a comfort to me when I was off work nursing my broken ankle, apart from the times Arthur (my big lad) tripped me up whilst on crutches, on the hunt for Dreamies.  Do you know anyone who could put the details of your cat on Facebook?  I am not on it myself but it does seem to work wonders for people like yourself whose pets are missing.  Please keep looking after yourself, you need to keep your strength up and heal those broken bones.  Hopefully you and your boy will be reunited soon.
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    • Posted

      Thankyou so much for your well wishes Sally.   Yes, he's on Facebook and two of my neighbours have been wonderful - they've knocked on doors and asked people to look in their garages and have distributed 100 Fliers.  Not much else can be done.  I hand reared him as he was only 2 weeks old when I found him and he was really ill for several months of his life, so he came with me in the car so I could medicate him etc.  For months.  So we were very close.   I live in a dead-end, very quiet street with great neighbours.  It's very hard to accept.   Gemma, I'm sorry to hijack your thread.  This site has been a blessing to many of us.
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  • Posted

    Join the club.  Broke mine on 19th December.  3 days in hospital, plate and screws. Plaster due off on Tues.  Can't wait. Only discomfort is when plaster rests on Op. tissue.  Found frames too tiring so hired wheel chair from British Red Cross.  They ask for donation of £1 a day.  worth every penny.  It has enabled me to whizz around the ground floor but bathroom door too narrow so have to hop around precariously, supported by fixtures.  It also enables me to get from the house to the road with help and transfer to a car (back seat with leg elevated)  Local supermarket also has wheel chairs, so can go shopping, with support.  Hospital also lent me a perching stool for washing in bathroom.  Very useful.

     Lots of things I can't do but lots I can, so concentrating on those.  Can: make cup of tea, toast, feed cat and dog and make a snack if items left handy, dust living room as can stand briefly on one leg. Have re-written address book, caught up on loads of word processing.  Even managed to dress and undress the Christmas tree. I have caught up on my reading, boooks and Kindle.

    Here's the good news.  about 15 years ago I had a similar accident (only fell down one step) and had similar treatment: plate and screws.  after the plaster came off I resumed walking and after a couple of weeks was back driving.  The only long term effects have been the side where the screws are has little flesh and is vulnerable when knocked and the ankle is less flexible.  This makes walking on uneven and rough ground and beaches,  uncomfortable.  I now have a matching pair of Meccano ankles. I fully Intend to go swimming ASAP.  Local pool has walk-in facility which is easier than ladder, especially for getting out.  Can't wait to get back to sleeping upstairs in a bed rather than on the couch.Would have been totally stymied without my adult son who has shopped, cooked, cleaned done laundry and chauffeured me around and friends who called in phoned and emailed.

    good luck with the recuperation

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    • Posted

      Hello iris

      You have written such a good report and given me encouragement for next Tuesday when I hope to have my pot off for good.  You are so fortunate to have someone in the house with you.  I am on my own but do all the things you mention plus sewing and knitting.  My little dog is good company and I apologise to him because he can't go on his usual afternoon walk. He has a large area which is secure outside to run in and I play with him a lot to compensate.  A friend does take him out occasionally. He has adapted to the sedentary life even though he is a high energy dog being a cross between a Border Terrier and a toy Poodle.  I won't use crutches because I can imagine he might knock me off them!

      Like you I can't wait to go back to my bed upstairs as it has a Temper matress which is so comfortable. I sleep downstairs in a king size bed with a soft matress which makes my back ache. Exercises before getting up sort that out.  Also the comode in the bedroom is a god send.

      Most of the doors are a good width for the wheelchair but even so there are scratch marks when my driving gets out of control.  A job to renovate the damage when on 2 legs in the future.

      My pain has gradually dimished and now I can feel the foot movingi in the cast which is an odd sensation but when I put the foot on its side in bed it is uncomfortable which is probably due to the metal bits.

      I have surcomed to online grocery shopping this week as my stores are a bit run down after 5 weeks not going out.  My daughter has been very good but to give her a break I have a big order coming from Sainsburys this week.  Good exercise putting everything in its place.

      Will let everyone know my experience after I visit the hospital next week. I'm going by patient ambulance so I can keep my leg elevated and it will be the first time out of the house for a month.  Friends have visited me though so not completely alone!

      Hope your progress continues well.

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    • Posted

      Evening Iris. I am reading with interest your post, it is not dissimilar to my injury last September, which I am still not recovered from and swelling being the main issue as its that bad my ankle has very restricted movement. I had a frame for a few days then resorted to crutches, the hospital loaned me a perching stool which was great for washing and sitting on whilst making or eating food. I bought a wheelchair off EBay for £20 which was also a god send allowing me some freedom at the weekend whilst my wife took me shopping, IKEA etc. It seems pathetic but I looked forward to going shopping at weekend and having lunch out, rather than watching tv all week whilst my wife was working. I had ,y foot broken 35 years ago and remember being back at work incl physio 6 weeks later, I assumed this would be a similar recovery period, how wrong I was! I feel some discomfort when my shoe rubs on the effected areas, and ramps make me feel uncomfortable, broken or loose flags have the same effect. I have looked at 6 different gyms, only 2 have pools and it is expensive to join, mostly being 12 monthly contracts, and having peak & off peak tariffs. I would like to go before work, say 6am. This is peak times! 9-4 is off peak! My bathroom/ toilet is upstairs,but went up on my bum, then down using 1 crutch, fortunately I'm now able to walk up and downstairs relatively easy.. It makes life easier if you have some assistance, I dread to think if I had lived alone or been alone when i had my accident as the ambulance staff said that my injury was not priority and would not send an ambulance.

      This is a great forum where we can all get advice and share our varying injuries and experiences, tips etc. Wishing you a speedy recovery

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    • Posted

      Celebrating today as I had my plaster off.  Disappointed to be put in air boot but it is more comfortable than the plaster. Walking in boot with frame a bit scarey at first but trying not to rush things.  Wheel chair going back tomorrow but it's harder to move things about using the frame instead. I use a carrier bag which swings about a bit.  It feels like one step forward and two back.  

      Talked with consultant today who says unlikely I will be driving before dispensing with boot,ie another 4 weeks.

      Why do we imagine that our injuries will heal as quickly as when we were 20 years younger?  I guess we just have to be patient and determied.  

      Best of luck with your recovery

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    • Posted

      That's really good news to have your plaster removed, it shows that you are making progress even though we may not always appreciate it. I am returning my perching chair and crutches this Thursday, wheelchair going back on EBay. My friend lent me a walker  which I didn't feel confident using, as I didn't when I had a frame initially, hence exchanging the frame for crutches. I used to get frustrated using crutches as I couldnt carry anything unless in a carry bag as you mention. I still have days where I feel ok one day and another where I feel that I am not making any progress. We are all making gradual progress on a daily basis but don't realise it as the progress is minor. I didn't drive for almost three months but am now driving at work most days, you will get there and four weeks will pass quickly, even though it may not seem that way now. I am  impatient  and pre injury really active, I suppose I thought that I would recover from this injury in the same timeframe.

      It has certainly been a long journey which I have still not yet completed and not for a few more months! It is a testing time but as you say it does test your patience and by staying positive and determined, we will all get through it. Thank you for your kind words.

      I wish you best of luck and a speedy recovery

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