Ankle Fracture post-surgery pain, etc

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HI all.  I am so happy to have located this forum.  I'm in pain, keep fighting off negative thoughts about how long until I can walk again and generally am bored out of my mind laying on a couch not moving.  I live by myself and while I have a bunch of friends and family that have been supportive and helpful, even taking shifts, it's still hard looking forward to how much more time I have to lay here alone.

I'm nearly 3 weeks post injury I fractured my fibia just above my ankle into 4 pieces.  A bit over 1 week post surgery.  I rolled my ankle and torqued the bone.  It wasn't a simple fix and required 9 screws and a plate.  

I had my post up check-up yesterday where they took the splint and bandages off.  Things looked pretty good.  Healing is starting.  Docs want me to keep up the elevation and not move.  Obviusly I'm still not weight bearing for a few more weeks.  While elevated I am just in a pair of ace bandages and ice packs.  They even want me to peel off everything two or three times a day to let the wound get air.  Meanwhile anytime I move I have to put on an aircast boot and I thankfully have a knee walker (best thing ever!) instead of crutches.  They also want me to start moving my foot upside down but not side to side and absolutely no rotation.

So, to get to my problems.... I am having an unbearable time sleeping.  After this check-up yedoc said I could sleep without the boot (but could use it if I wanted.)  I returned home and tried to take a nap.  As soon as I fell asleep my leg muscle spasmed and flexed my ankle sideways.  OMG.  Searing pain.  My foot was swollen again by evening, as well. (It was looking REALLY good at the doc appt.)  Fast forward to bed.  Put my foot in the boot, went to sleep.  Again my muslces spasmed as I fell asleep which woke me up, but at least my ankle didn't hurt - yay!  But at 3:30am my toes flinched and again searing jolt of pain went from my toe, down through my foot and up through my ankle.  It was awful, felt just like a muscle cramp for more than an hour.  Anything that you would normally do to relieve a muscle cramp is exactly the opposite of what I can do for the ankle injury.  I was in misery for over an hour and also at this point scared to go back to sleep.  

There hasn't been but one night since the injury that I've gotten a 6 hour sleep.  Generally it's more like 4.  It's really wearing on my boyfriend who's been trying to stay and help me at night.

What can you do for these muscle spasms/cramps?  Is it just part of the healing process?  How long do they last?  Would muscle relaxers work?

Thanks.

TLDR:  I can't sleep - I'm having a lot of searing pain due to muscle spasms and/or muscle cramps.  Help.

 

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    Hello Scarlett. Sounds like you are going through a rough time. I'm sorry. It does eventually get better though I know I had many negative and fearful thoughts when I was going through my tibia and Fibula break. I'm now 15 months post surgery and only just about getting back to walking.

    I wore the boot 24 hours a day for months. I also had a surgical bed that could be electronically elevated. Each night I slept in the boot, on my back with my leg elevated as high as possible with rolled up towels or blankets on either side of my leg to stop it moving. This meant lying on my back to sleep. I also used the wonderful post surgery relaxation tapes that you can get on YouTube.

    I know this reply isn't addressing your cramp issues but it sounds like you need to get into a place where you can sleep peacefully.

    Have you tried a couple of paracetamol before sleeping to settle you and pre-empt the pain.

    Wish you well

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    • Posted

      I definitely found that sleeping is the key.  Once I finally got a night where I rested without waking up in agnoy every hour I started felling *much, much* better.  I like the idea of the towels rolled up beside your foot.  I wish I would have thought of that!  One of the things I was really concerned about was if I fell asleep and then my foot moved... I was soo worried that I would injure myself all over again.

      I hope you are feeling great about walking again! smile

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  • Posted

    Thank you all for your suppor and messages.   The last 2 or 3 days I've really turned a corner in the pain / discomfort / secondary issues categories.  WHEW!  The muscle relaxers definitely helped me get some sleep.  And most of the muscle spasms have subsided.  

    I started making sure my diet contained more of the electrolyte minerals (magnesium, potassium, calcium), drank a bunch of pedialyte in case I was still dehydrated, and when I called my doc on Monday about all the issues he told me to put my ankle back into the boot fulltime (as opposed to at the checkup when they said to only put it on when I was off the couch.)  Lastly, my good friend across the street is a message therapist, so he's been giving me daily foot and leg rubs.  The swelling has gone down sonciderable wince I first wrote.

    I still have an issue nearly everynight about 2 or 3 hours after I lay down where I've lost circulation and my foot needs rewrapped with the ace bandages.  Once it's rewrapped I can go back to sleep and stay that way the rest of the night.  I'm not exactly sure what's causing that issue...  my foot isn't swollen when I go to bed, but is more when I wake up - even though I sleep with my leg on a bunch of pillows (IE higher than my heart.)  But if that's the only thing causing issues at this point I'm pretty happy.

    Next up for me is stitch removal.

    Thanks again!

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