6 weeks post ORIF. Starting to WB

Posted , 6 users are following.

FINALLY! I've made it past the longest 7 weeks of my life! Doctor has cleared me to start to WB while wearing my boot. He doesn't think I'll need PT, but the option is ultimately mine. Range of motion isn't 100% but is probably at 90+. Doc says that could get better with time/ as I continue to do my ankle excersises.

QUESTION!!!: how did you all start to WB? Because my mind will not let me walk on my foot. I have been trying to walk in my boot all afternoon, but whenever I try I start to panic!! Any suggestions how to ease into this?

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  • Posted

    Hi

    Dont try to put all your weight on straight away i did it slowly over a period of a couple of weeks i put more pressure on until i was fully weight bearing . im 4 months on and although i can fully weight bear things are still very challenging this can be a very long healing process im completely shocked how hard its been . Stay positive and be very patient with yourself . G ood Luck

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    • Posted

      It is such a very long and challenging journey. Its been a humbling experience to say the least. It's so crazy to think how a split second can alter your life SO much!

      Yes thats what my doctor said. A little bit of weight at a time! I have done so since writing this post- using my crutch. Mind over matter! Thank you for your advice. I know I still have my work cut out for me.

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  • Posted

    Hi,

    Its such a long time isn't it?!

    I continued to use crutches and just ease a little bit of pressure on at a time. Also I found doing the simple things that frustrated me before like getting to the bathroom or left my glasses on the side - I used those little opportunities and used the wall for balance.

    However, I did notice that I was compensating initially and my knee in my broken leg got very sore!

    I have good motion and was told I didnt need PT either and futher down the line I still agree with that.

    Today is the first day I have seen my ankle without ANY swelling!

    I found my biggest issue was just the nerves of WB like yourself and I think its taken a good 6 weeks to be confident to go out without crutches for any long periods of time.

    I am a nurse and back at work on 13 hours shifts, however for my hour journey to a from I still use my crutches as they help ease some of weight and fear of twisting my ankle on pavement ect lol

    let us know how you get on x

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    • Posted

      Congrats on the no swelling!!! Im still new to all of this, but i never had an issue with swelling. I mean I had it for the first couple of weeks after the surgery but it seems it has gone away as of lately. I remember how stiff and uncomfortable it felt so I am super happy for you!!! Thank you for your advice!! Since posting this I mustard up the courage and went for it(using my crutches) and you're right. The nerves were my biggest obstacle. I am so excited to get back to some type of normalcy. I guess PT is just an option for some? I know that this is going to take hard work and determination to transition back into walking but im up for the challenge!! I wish you the best in a complete healing!! This community of people has helped me through this entire process and im so grateful for all the advice from all of you! xoxoxo

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  • Posted

    I'm very happy for you!!!! I started weight bearing a little bit at a time. i used crutches at first and then a Walking stick.. i also used a pool to help strengthen my ankle.

    hang in there

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    • Posted

      were there any excersises you did for yoir actual leg? I lost so much muscle mass in my calf and I think if I practice WB a little at a time, and strengthen my leg muscle that might help?!!

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  • Posted

    i tired the pool and i just find the sensation so weird!

    does anyone else feel the metal joint when in higher temperature?

    i do and it makes me cringe inside. I tried swimming but it really wasn't for me lol

    i found just trying to walk properly and increasing time it helped build up ankle muscles again.

    i was over the moon when i hit 5k in steps and now again I average 12k when working with little pain, I expect the pain for about 12 months tho - its bone pain where it is healing rather than ligaments ect and my surgeon said that its pretty common with delayed union.

    I will say tho I went from excruciating pain and swelling in January to a complete turnaround in February, my body just needed a bit of extra time to heal and once it did the healing has been quite quick.

    physiology wise, the more weight bearing and exercise you do with leg will encourage blood flow and bone healing so it can turn around quite quickly xx

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  • Posted

    has anyone tried an ankle brace ?? I know for now Im in my boot, but my doctor told me to bring my sneakers to my next appointment. He also said when I am ready to transition into sneakers that I should try using workboots for a while just for that extra ankle support in the beginning. Have any of you tried using ankle brace? Did it help?

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    • Posted

      Hi cynnmarie

      i used an ankle support brace which i brought from Amazon i found it very helpful and good for confidence however my PT said not to overuse it because all the ankle ligaments need to stretch and the brace interferes with that . The bones have pretty much healed after 8/10 weeks and the next stage of the healing process is the soft tissue which can be very slow im still struggling with gaining speed and distance 4 months on and im having physio doing daily exercises walking my dog and swimming .

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    • Posted

      I've tried a number of braces and the one I've like the most is one from Walgreens called the Deluxe Ankle Stabilizer. It has the supports on the sides and easy velcro straps to put on and fits in a shoe without too much discomfort. It helped when I got out of the boot to give you extra support as you get used to walking again. I didn't wear it around the house but when I went outside and especially when it was raining or I would be walking on uneven surfaces where I could twist my ankle again.

      I probably used mine too long as I just got ordered to stop using it by my doctor and PT this week. I'm just paranoid about re-injury as I have balance issues and arthritis but when you use a brace, it keeps you from fully walking normally and allowing those muscles and tendons to get worked and heal. I'm feeling more soreness now that I am walking more without it but the ankle is feeling better slowly.

      I recommend you go and try them on before purchasing. The sizing on many of them seems off. I tried some on at Dick's Sporting Good and found a much different size than expected. It was also very difficult to put on. The one from Walgreens is one size fits all but I also tried it on at the store and is very easy to put on and adjust as needed.

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  • Posted

    Go slow for starters. It is very strange to start putting weight on the foot after being off it for so long. I freaked out at first but took it slow and gentle, starting with standing a little bit at a time until i realized my ankle could support me. My issue is my foot was not flat while in the cast and it took me a few days to get my heel back down to the floor in the boot. I did little life things like putting weight on the foot when getting in and out of a car, or standing on both feet to brush my teeth etc., things that are much easy with both feet to build confidence.

    I recommend find a short distance to practice walking with, like from the bed to the bathroom or a chair. And using whatever assistance device you had been using to help you walk at first. I tried using a cane but actually found a rollator/walker was better to begin weight bearing walking in the boot for I could have support with both hands/arms, I'm sure crutches would be similar.

    But trust the doctor that the bone is healed enough to put weight on it. He wouldn't have cleared you to begin weight bearing if not. Bones heal in about 6 weeks and if you have hardware, it will be even stronger. It's the ligaments and muscles that you damaged that will be more of the annoyance as you begin to walk again but will get better once you start using them again.

    Congrats!

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    • Posted

      Thank you so much for your feed back! I actually do have a walker and I feel it is much better practice walking with it then on my crutches. I feel more confident walking with the walker, and its easier to distribute my weight equally to each foot. I'm still terrified to walk on it. I've gotten better at it but I know its something thats going to take time. I've lost so much muscle mass in my calf. Do you know of any home exercises I could do to strengthen my leg as well?

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    • Posted

      I have also tried to stand on my two feet while brush my teeth and I put all the weight on my good ankle lol. I just can't seem to distribute the weight with my bare foot. I have no issue putting my foot flat on the ground. I was given a boot straight out of surgery and my doctor told me I only needed to wear it if I was up and about- other than that my foot has been free and out in the open the whole time. My doctor even told me to start ankle excersises as I was leaving the the hospital right after mu surgery. I was like are you sure?? He laughed and was like yeah just wrote the alphabet with your ankle, you dont have much else to do LOL.

      I have noticed though, when I first put my foot flat down I get a quick sensation of pins and needles. It goes away almost instantly. Is that normal? It makes me jump/flinch every time!

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    • Posted

      I think pins and needles is normal for not having used it much for a while. It was weird for me when I put my foot down in the beginning, in socks and even more weird bare foot when you feel everything again. It goes away the more you do it. Keep trying it and see if it gets better and if not, ask your doctor. My friend that had nerve damage with her ankle break said she had more pins and needles when she started weight bearing but it got better with movement.

      As for exercises, check youtube for ankle exercises. The ones using a band are good to stretch in all 4 directions, up and down for starters and left and right with resistance. Writing the alphabet and doing slow circles. I also liked to put something soft yet resistant to push my foot against while sitting in bed, like a heavy blanket. Sitting in a chair, put a small towel on the bare (not carpet) floor and try and scrunch it up to move it with your toes from one end to the other. Other good exercises you can do in bed are leg lifts on both your back and sides so you work the rest of your legs. Look up these for proper form as it makes a difference.

      When cleared to weight bear without the boot, work on calf raises both on the floor than on a step. This will work your calf and ankle. The other exercises they give me (weight bearing no boot) in PT are standing on the bad ankle on one foot as long as possible and on a soft pillow or (foam balance ) pad so you have to work on stability. I ordered one from Amazon along with a balance board that I work on range of motion back and forth, side to side and in circles. They also have me doing walking heal to toe like on a balance beam forward and back and "braiding" where you cross one leg over another back and forth.

      Most of the PT exercises for an ankle you can find online. Work on them then treat with ice afterward (and rest and elevation)

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