6 months post ORIF

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I'm 6 months post ORIF after a trimalleolar fracture. 1 plate 9 screws! Recovery was and is great! Life is pretty much back to normal- I can do everything I was doing pre injury. The only thing is 1, my ankle is SUPER stiff when I first wake up in the morning. I cant just hop out of bed like I did before- it definitely takes a while to work my ankle out in the morning before I can walk "normal". Does that ever go away? Anyone have an experience with this well into recovery? and 2, lately I have been getting this random sharp pain in my ankle when I walk. Its not every day but it's been happening more and more. Like a crippling pain to where I cannot walk on it. I'll rest it and then in about 10 mins it's fine. It reminds me when I first started weight bearing again- those first couple of weeks walking in a shoe gave me the same pain. Anyone experience this as well? All advice is welcomed !!!

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  • Posted

    yes i have to admit i understand exactly what your going threw. i'm exactly 2 yrs broken ankle in 3 places with 2 plates, 7 screws and dislocation. to your question 1 with the warming of the ankle before you walk it took me about 3mths to get over that. every time i would sit for a moment and then get up and walk my ankle felt stiff and frozen and i had to pump blood to it before i could walk. the more you exercise and strenghthen the ankle it will go away. 2 the sharp pain is that your only six mths and the nerves and the hardware in the ankle is still adjusting. give it time and everything will be ok. keep doing your exercises

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  • Posted


    I am 2 years post ORIF and i had the same symptoms as you, stiffness in the morning or after sitting for a while. Random sharp pains when walking or even just lying in bed.

    I'm very active, i love walking and going to the gym but after activity id find that my ankle felt very hot and puffy. After some persistance i got an appointment for ultrasounds and x-rays and after speaking to the consultant we have decided to take the screws out as then are too long and irritating my tendons. Its worth speaking to your GP to find out if anything can be done to make it more comfortable.

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    • Posted

      have you gotten them taken out or are you planning for that? is it another major surgery? it's something that Ive thought about but its way too soon for me to really tell if it's anything more than just healing an adjusting. I dont really have much swelling anymore, some days it does swell but most it's fine. Ive noticed that my achilles heel area is very sore and thats new. It never used to be. I was thinking maybe I will need to take the hardware out at somepoint. I have to call my surgeon and get in with him- but again idk if it's too early to assume thats what may be causing the discomfort.

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  • Posted

    I am not sure if this would help you, but it seems to work for me. That said, I am experimenting with dangling my injured foot/ankle over the side of the bed each morning before my bathroom dash. It seems to help a bit. It's like the whole thing needs to "warm up" before I take off.

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  • Posted

    Thank you everyone! I guess it's still "too soon" after injury/surgery to really know if this is a true issue or not. I keep telling myself its all apart of the healing process and to give it some time. Even my surgeon told me it will take about 2 years until I feel like I never had this type of injury. Its just nice to talk to people who can relate and re assure you that things are as they should be! I would say the most annoying thing about this is the whole stiffness thing- waking up in the morning and then getting up after sitting for a while is rough. I work at a doctors office and I'm on my feet literally all day- and that has truly helped me bounce back quickly, as well as doing my ankle exercises! I guess time will tell! Thank you for the replies/suggestions- it helps ease the mind!

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  • Posted


    I know this thread is a little old but wanted to see how you are getting on now. Did you have your hardware taken out? If so, did that help?

    I am, 7 months post trimalleolar fracture with plates and screws. I am walking around relatively normally, no crutches and don't limp etc when walking most of the time. So on the whole am happy with recovery. Physio is happy with progress. I have walked up some pretty big hills relatively ok-ish. I walk the kids to school every day and am managing 10,000-13,000 steps on a good day when I am not working (I work from home so sat down more so this isn't possible every day).

    My issues are:

    1. Extreme stiffness in the morning and after sitting. After sitting or sleep I limp when I start then the limp goes away as the stiffness works out.
    2. My ankle gets very tired after long walks and is sometimes hot and a bit swollen.
    3. The main thing is I just can't run. Running seems like an impossibility at the moment. I also have to walk down the stairs bad foot first still. Going up stairs is easier and i do that normally. I really hope these resolve before the year mark- did they for you?
    4. My toe and bones/or tendons running to my big toe hurt. The physio thinks I either broke that and we didn't notice and the bones didn't set properly or it could surgical issue or damaged nerve.

    I wasn't ever going to be a triathlete so to some extent I am prepared to adjust my expectations but 38 feels a bit too young to be told I won't be skiiing or running. Particularly with a 3 and 5 year old who keep asking when I can run and play football again!

    Thanks so much, Maia

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    • Posted

      Hi Maia,

      I was just wondering how you are doing now? I'm 5 months post surgery. Fractured either side of my left ankle, needed two screws on inner side.

      At the moment I'm having the same issues as 1, 3 and 4 above. You are flying along with the walking. I'm managing to walk about 3km but every single step is still very uncomfortable and still walking at a slow enough pace.

      My dorsi flexion isn't great. I've had about 15 physio sessions and only making small progress. The surgeon discharged me 2 weeks ago and said my achilles is tight and causing all the pain, but I really think it's more. I'm getting knock on pain now in my knee and my back. I'm 39 and have never suffered back pain before in my life. It's just so frustrating.

      It would be great to hear have you had any improvements. I need to know that there's going to be an end to all of this!

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