Ankle Fracture.... Is there ANY good news!?!? :(

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Hi... My name is Leah, 33 years old and from the US. It's now been 9 days since my accident (fractured fibula) and 7 days since I got a cast. Since day one of this ordeal, I've been reading and reading and reading and reading..... I can honestly say I haven't come across one single "good news" story. Every story I've come across ALL say how their ankles never returned to post injury state. How swelling and pain is now their new "normal". How it took them several months (years) to even feel comfortable to bare weight on their injured ankle. Etc..... I just want to know: Are they NO good news stories out there!?!? ☹

I become more and more "depressed" while I continue to read how my worst case fears are actually a more than likely possibility. I'd SOOO love it if anyone out there has any good news to share on the outcome of their fractured/broken ankles.

Thanks and peace and love.... xoxo

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  • Posted

    Good news my social life has increased. After every appointment I have lunch out afterwards with friends who have accompanied to these appointments. 🍷
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  • Posted

    I had  reconstrution on both sides of my ankle after dislocating and breaking my fibula before Christmas. After no weight bearing in a cast fro 6 weeks then 8 weeks physiotherapy once a week I am now walking up to speed and reasonably normally too. Yes the ankle tendons and soft tissue do hurt and the ankle swells a bit but I am gradually improving and I have been told it may take 12 months or so for the discomfort to get better. I am able to do eveything I want physically and I'm 71 years old.  You will heal quicker but just be patient and DO NOT PUT ANY WEIGHT ON YOUR ANKLE UNTIL THE PLASTER HAS BEEN REMOVED.  IF YOU DO THAT YOU WILL REAP THE REWARD AFTERWARDS.  Bone and ligament healing is a slow process but you will get back to normal in time and probably quicker than me so stay cheerful and positive - best wishes.
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  • Posted

    Yes, everything you've read is pretty correct depending on each individual's break/injury on how well they will heal. I have just started walking after 10.5 weeks after surgery almost 12 weeks post break (I was shocked when the doctor told me I could start walking in my boot!).

    It's been the most depressing time of my life!!! You really get to know who your friends and family are in this time of need. Not being able to walk and FULLY do everything like before takes a toll on you. I'm single, 44, no children... No one to help me... I was really lost. This forum helped and I just had to try and get through it on my own.

    To hear that there can be good news approximately 4-6 months down the road for some with this break was helpful. Keep in mind as others said... Follow doctors orders and NWB at all until they say!! Hopefully you have a knee scooter, they are life savers 🙌

    Good Luck and catch up on Television, movies, reading and with friends...

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    • Posted

      Was it a simple fibula break that didn't need surgery? If so, I did that on the left in November of2013, and it healed fine. Right now I'm recovering from tendon repair on the right and phalangeal head resection on left pinky toe, but the left ankle is fine. (i have RA which is what led to this current little episode, but the fibula break doesn't affect me in any way now.) Good luck!
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    • Posted

      No, I had a fibula break and ligament tear that both needed surgery. I have a plate with 6 screws (also 11 years ago I had tibialis posterior tendonitis dysfunction in that same left foot that required a tendon transfer and long screw in my heel- I did HAVE to have PT to get back to walking and it took many years to rely fully on that foot).
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  • Posted

    Hi Leah- Hang in there! I feel so much better week by week. I am now rounding my 10th week, feel very happy with my progress each week, and I have to say where you are, is the sadess, lowest point. I remember about the second and third weeks in, I felt like I would never walk again and life as I had known it before, was over. I spent one day feeling really sorry for myself, then I started thinking there were so many people so much worse off than I was...veterans who had lost eyesight, limbs etc., and it was time to get out of the funk, and negative energy, and get on to figuring out how best to spend my time in bed and help my body repair itself. I broke all 3 bones in my ankle (pretty major break with a plate and 13 screws installed), although there are people on this website who have gone through so much more than I, and I got my cast off at week 7 (3 weeks earlier than they told me originally) and am getting around pretty well now with a boot, crutches and occasionally a walker, to gain my walking strength, and just was allowed to start walking only 2-1/2 weeks ago. I can put 75%-85% weight on the injured leg now (it happened very fast once the bones set by week 7 and I was able to get up on it), but I have pushed the envelope at every opportunity, while still following doctor's orders completely.  My healed bones don't hurt at all, there is just swelling and some slight pain around the ankles and top of the foot, that is annoying, but I understand that does take a year to get over completely, but what I have read out there is by month four most people feel significantly better.  It may be damage to the tendons that cause all the swelling, I'm still not exactly sure, since I haven't started PT yet and gotten more info (but that should probably happen this week). Find a pool when you are at my point, if you can, even to swim for just one day and you will feel so happy and alive when you do. Get up, dressed and out the door as much as you can, once you feel a little better. Be around others as much as possible. Once you start PT, you will be on another chapter, and they will work on gettng your ROM back and getting the ankle working for you again. I now can walk with one crutch and assume I will be able to walk without any crutches sometime in the next month. If you are patient, eat well, get lots of sleep, don't smoke, try not to drink much, get off all meds as much as you can, massage your injury often once the cast is off, exercise your upper body now to get the blood pumping (to bring oxygen to your injured areas), and keep a positive outlook, I think you will increase your chances substantially re. how good you feel two months from the point where you are now. It does gets better every week. Your body has been through major trauma and you have to give it time to mend itself. Two months seem like forever, but they pass much faster once you get to the half way point. I, like you, read everything I could find out there (and am still doing it) to help my healing, and have learned a ton. You have to remember also, that those who get better are probably not on these websites after a year, and what you are reading may be slanted because of this. The next advice i will give you, is to be sure to get a knee scooter...it changed my outlook on life and I was whizzing through my house by week three, once I realized I could do so much on it. Btw, my pain has been minimal since week two. That gets better every week and then you have some new pain as you start walking and do PT, but it is all very managable from my perspective. Hang in there Leah! You are at a turning point. Find some great movies, books, a computer, and/or projects you always wished you had time for...utilize this time well, because this too will pass. Hang around positive people. Read online the article "How the Giants put Posey back together - CSN Bay Area ". Remember this is a TEMPORARY problem. 
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  • Posted

    Greetings Leah !!

    I won't depress you more by repeating my story. The stories are real by real people.

    The good news is you are young, 33, will have strong great quality bones, you broke only your fibula but you don't mention if it was displaced. All these things add up to the fact that you will probably be up and running much quicker than the older people on here with more severe injuries. My friend was telling me she was telling my story to someone at her work, he was early 20's and had broken only his fibula and he was on his feet and walking in a few weeks and couldn't understand my story as you call it. So it looks to me as if you have just had some good news ! 🙂

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  • Posted

    Hi Leah 

    you are  early days, you are young don't despair. You got to remember most on here did incur issues with complications.  Most people who heal quickly and completely aren't ON this forum. People here want good news too, but sometimes we need support when things don't seem right. They want therapies and opinions if what helps. I wish you speedy healing, focus on your return to a normal healthy life. You'll get there soon....

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  • Posted

    Hi Leah, 

    i am a fellow Dr Googler!  It's unfortunate that your reading reading reading led you to this forum so early in your recovery.  This forum has been a godsend for me after a very complicated fracture of 3 bones and dislocation of the ankle and the insertion of ample plates and screws.  The surgeon told me on the first day that it would take 14 months to come good because it was that type of injury. So for me to read others stories helps me along on my similar journey but I am sure they would have frightened me beyond belief if I had read them in your situation.  

    From what hat you describe you have a straight forward fracture to the fibular that didn't include any of the nasties many of us have suffered.

    I am sure you will breeze through your recovery and that if you do have any problems that you encounter you would be hard pressed to find a more supportive and positive group of people to chat with than this forum. I for one would love to hear how you get on and wish you all the very best for a speedy recovery xx

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  • Posted

    Hi again Leah.

    More good news !! Just think about the wealth of information and knowledge you have received about broken ankles by reading what's going off in this forum and maybe who knows,someone down the road may need this knowledge that you can pass on to comfort them. You are not here by accident. Please let us know when you are up and running because I don't think it will be THAT long. 👏🙂

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  • Posted

    Hi Leah

    i live in the uk and I fell badly walking my dog and fractured my left ankle in 2 places on 4th March 2016. I had to wait 1 week for the swelling to subside before they did my operation (orif) plate and screws etc. I was in a plaster cast for just over 6 weeks and had that removed last Tuesday 26th April. They've  given me a boot to use for 2 weeks and a brace to carry on with after for another 4 weeks. I luckily managed to get a physio appointment the day after my cast was removed and was given some gentle stretching exercises to do at home and I go back in 2 weeks. So here I am just over 7 weeks after my op I'm relatively pain free my foot flexibility is improving daily and today I managed to get on my sketchers go walk shoe on my damaged foot. Okay I'm still getting a little swelling by night time but I'm absolutely delighted with my recovery. I'm also driving again (luckily I have an automatic car) I'm going back to work on Wednesday on reduced hours. You must keep positive, do everything the medics tell you to do and as soon as you can start doing stretching exercises. I hope you get on as well as me. By the I'm 62. 

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  • Posted

    Hi Leah

    I had a posterior malleolar fracture of the ankle last year (tibia), Had 6 weeks in cast & 3 in boot. I am 100% recovered now & can walk for miles, run, & do all my sport again to the same level as before, with no pain or swelling - thanks to my physio & all the work I put in doing the strength & flexibility exercises. Not all stories are bad news!  I am 51. You are young & if you are otherwise healthy your bone should heal well. Lots of luck and every good wish for your recovery.

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  • Posted

    Notice that most people here are less than 12 months along....that must be good news for us smile
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    • Posted

      Hi Patti.

      I think what happens is people are only interested if people are longer in the tooth regarding broken ankles. I too am 9 months post surgery and I don't think it will be too much longer now until I disappear from this forum. I think at first we are are ends loose and turn to look for advise and comfort as its all very new to us and we don't know what to expect. As time goes on we become more knowledgable and we seem to grow and let go. I guess it's like a child growing up in the world. We will all disappear in time and there will be new ankle breakers coming forth. It's quite sad in a way but I think it's a fact. 🙂

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    • Posted

      HI Ms Camboot- I just sent you a private message. I have an idea of something that may be of help to you. Patti
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    • Posted

      Yes, I'm feeling better 12 weeks post op, finally wearing regular shoes - sneakers. My swelling and redness are still there as well as limping here and there. Pain depends on how much I've been walking, and I try not to do too much just 4 weeks weight bearing. I go for a follow up Ortho appointment today to see how my progress is going since I have been advised I didn't need a physical therapist previously.
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    • Posted

      Hi Ms Camboot,

      i think you under estimate the value of your posts and opinions on this forum.  I don't know how I would have survived without the posts of yourself and other regular contributors.  I am older (62), longer in the tooth but this was my first broken bones, Trimalleolar fracture, + dislocation and was warned by surgeon and GP that it was a very bad fracture that wouldn't fully be the best it could be for 14 months.  It was through reading your posts and others that were further down the track in recovery that I could slowly piece together where I was at.  At 15 weeks this week since ORIF I revisited my surgeon who congratulated me that I was ahead of his expectations with regard to swelling, mobility, range of movement but confirmed that I have major nerve damage related to one of my plates.  He is suspicious that the nerve may have been severed during surgery, if so he suggests that the nerve, the superficial peritoneal nerve was not in the usual position. ( trust me to be different my husband says lol). He was very sympathetic and confirmed that there is little I can do but take Lyrica and opioids for the pain until September when if there is no improvement he will remove the plate on that side and at the same time will look for the damaged nerve and if severed or has formed a neuroma will repair it microscopically.  I have come home feeling so much more positive about my recovery knowing exactly where I am at.  I told him about this forum and the incredible value it had been to me learning how different but how similar some of our stories are.  If the forum only consisted of new ankle breakers I would not have learned so much and been able to recognise where I was deviating from the norm.  Please do not disappear from the forum as you said yourself you have become more knowledgable and that knowledge is invaluable to others.  I think you are right when you say people disappear from the forum in time but I think those disappearing do so as they recover and get back to work or their normal life.  Those of us still in chronic pain or not mobilising or whatever their problem may be need this forum and contributors with experience.  Don't let go yet!!!!

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    • Posted

      Great news Pix!! Do you wear your normal size regular shoes or one half size up? Do you wear an ankle brace or tight sock? Can you walk barefooted yet? I find that hard to do very well still. I am trying to strengthen my foot and leg this week to be able to do that better. I can practically run/walk in the boot, but barefoot walking seems like a different skill smile
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    • Posted

      Yes, I'm wearing regular size sneakers, I loosened the shoelaces in the affected foot. Still a little tight but do able. I have been walking barefoot also, at first with aid of one crutch but no assistance needed now. I take it very slow and easy. I found after walking more with the boot I became weaker in my foot... Because it kept my foot in the 90 degree angle and didn't allow any other movement. I had more movement in my cast as the swelling went down! 😮 While I was in my cast I did start moving my toes a lot.

      I saw my Orthopedic surgeon yesterday & he said I'm doing great at 13 weeks post surgery and to take it really easy. My redness should go away in 8-12 months (which I've read on this page). I WILL be starting PT (as soon as one closer to my home, who takes my insurance can be located) 3x week for a month per his instructions. The only hurdle I've had at this point is the pain & numbness on the top of my foot- from the toes to the curve of my ankle... It caused severe pain after surgery and now is tingling some. My incision sites have actually never been a problem. My Dr did tell me to get compression stockings to help swelling etc... I had a sock lick one (open at the toes) from tendon surgery 11years ago but it's way too tight right now!! I have a brace from when I had that surgery, that you can wear in a shoe, but I haven't worn it like that yet... I have worn it at night though.. It helped me get up at night barefoot to let my dog out (she insists she needs to go out every 2 hours 🙄). Now that's why my parent's had her for almost 3 months during my recovery... 😫

      But I do believe everyone's recovery is based on their certain types of break, or if they had ligament or tendon injuries also... So good luck moving out of the boot and into regular shoes AND barefoot!!! It's a process everyday for all of us!!! 👍

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    • Posted

      Thanks Pix for all the great information! What you said about walking barefooted really makes sense to me. Now I understand why barefoot walking seems so difficult and I can cruise around in the boot no problem. Today was my third day of trying to walk on my barefoot, and it finally was a little easier. I only walk a little each day on it, without the boot, so relative to the time put in, it is getting stronger pretty fast I suppose. Now I know that is probably the normal progression, so thanks again for the info!

      Re. the pain on the top of your foot, which I had exactly as you described for 4 weeks after getting out of my cast- I'm now on week 5 out of the hard cast (after 7 weeks of casting), I massaged the heck out of the aching areas with creams (Christopher's Comfrey or Christopher's Complete Tissue and Bone cream, Naturelieve arnica cream, or any cream I could find) and I don't know if it was that or the warm baths, followed by icing, or all the PT exercises that did it, but it suddenly completely disappeared at week 5. All the sudden one day it was all gone...weird! In it's place I now have lesser pain, but in a different area of my foot (probably from all the walking I am doing in the boot or the PT exercises). Now I have a little pain on the outer side of the injured foot, a little above the side of the foot on the tendons there, and sometimes on the tendons underneath my foot. I rub those a lot with cream, ice them when they hurt, and do calf streches for the bottom of the foot pain, which really helps. Just wanted to let you know that pain on the top of the foot will probably go away pretty soon, but other pains may come, as you work different muscles in PT. All is working toward repair of the different tendons and muscles I think. If you need PT exercises. Look up on you tube using these words, for what I have found are the best exercises (the same but even more than the ones my PT has given me). Search: "you tube Best Ankle Rehabilitation Exercises For Those Recovering From Ankle Injury well ki mobility series". It's great! All my PT does is measure my mobility changes from week to week and gives me a few new exercises, that are all on this video anyway. Happy Healing and thanks again!

      PS- The reddness in my foot goes down every week, although my ankle still looks swollen, expecially in the area encircling the ankle itself. The foot is still slightly swollen too, but not as much as the ankle now. 

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    • Posted

      Btw, no wonder you have gotten good walking in your bare feet getting up to let your dog out in the middle of the night several times! Who can spend the time to put the boot on in the middle of the night, if you can manage to limp out the door without it...way too much work! Your sweet dog is helping to heal you. Yay! LIfe is still kind of tough...but isn't it getting better now? Remember when our injuries first happened and we were all wondering if we would ever be able to walk again? It takes time..lots of time...but it happens eventually for all of us. Our bodies are amazing and thank goodness for our good legs- we really need to thank them daily for hanging in there for us!
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    • Posted

      My ankle is getting much better, Thanks! And thanks for all the information (sorry writing back so late). I haven't massaged the top of my foot much because of yet ANOTHER problem... My hand's/thumbs- I had LRTI surgery on 12/01/15 on my right hand JUST before I broke my ankle on 02/07/16 😵🙄! I was healing so well (even quicker than my left hand) but took a few step back recently (Same surgery on my left 11/14 w/carpal tunnel release). SO to do massage is a pain for me.

      BUT I went to PT FINALLY yesterday and the therapist was very happy with my progress and range of motion. Said only thing I need more work on is the ligament area. He gave me some theraband exercises to work on for the next 2 weeks then we will work up to steps!!

      Good luck with everything!!!

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