Ankle Fracture Surgery Recovery

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Hi there,

Two weeks ago I rolled my ankle at home and went to the ER to discover that I have broken my ankle and will need a BIMALLEOLAR ANKLE FRACTURE surgery. I had to wait one and a half weeks before I was able to be operated on as the ankle was still so swollen. It's been a bit of an ordeal, and I am now 4 days post surgery. 

I was given Lovenox injections to do myself for the next two weeks to avoid any potential blood clots. However over the past 2 days I have felt a weird throbbing going up and down my leg that was operated on. 

Is this normal? I have also been on Oxy pain killers this week which hasn't been handled well in my body as i am always nauseous and feel super dizzy.

I have a follow up appointment in 2 weeks where I think I will be fitted my boot and the stitches to get taken out. However I feel this might be too soon?

Just wondering when I will be able to walk normal again on my own?

Also any advice on vitamins to take (obviously other than Calcium) that can help aid the recovery?

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  • Posted

    Hi there,

    I am now 5 weeks post operative following ankle surgery. Luckily mine was operated on the next day and I had a plate and 10 screws put in so am have been healing since day 1. I spent the first two weeks with my foot elevated 24/7 - are you doing the same? If not this could account for the throbbing you are feeling. I had the the cast and stitches removed 2 weeks after surgery and was fitted for a moon boot but I am still non weight bearing until my next appointment which will effectively be 7 weeks  post surgery. I will have a standing X-ray the day prior so the doctor can determine whether the bones have healed sufficiently for me to start partial weight bearing which is the next step in healing. Everyone's recovery is different though. Unfortunately we both have a way to go before we are walking unaided again. This time can be incredibly frustrating as you are quite reliant on others. I spent the first two weeks in my bedroom and ensuite as I live in a two storey townhouse which doesn't have a bathroom downstairs. I can only get up and down the stairs on my bottom at this stage. Luckily my sister came to stay for the first two weeks and I have friends living nearby who come and help with shopping, easing cot he's and other things I can't do myself yet. I hope you have support too!

    I found a walking frame easier than crutches and hop around quite easily at home but it takes it out of you if you are travelling any real distance. I was able to go back to work three weeks after my injury as I have a desk job and can sit most of the day. I hired a knee scooter to get me round in the office which I highly recommend if you are in a single story house as you can use it to balance your injured leg. I wish I could use one at home! I have a chair in the kitchen I can balance on to microwave meals or do things at the sink but a scooter would be less effort than moving the chair

    I am taking calcium with vitamin D added, bio curcumin which is an anti-inflammatory and magnesium which helps me sleep ( hard to do with a moon boot on!! ) The good news is you can remove the boot to ice your ankle and when resting. They are cumbersome things though.

    From all I have read, the path to walking again is a drawn out process - 6 weeks for bones to heal, then a month of partial to full weight bearing before you can ditch the boot,  then physio to get you back to full range of movement and walking without a limp which can take 6-12 months. As I said, everyone is different and if you are younger you will heal quicker. There are a lot of good forums you can google to find out how those going through the same thing but who are at different recovery levels have coped. Weight bearing speeds up recovery but you need to follow instructions based on your own recovery. You don't want setbacks!!  Good luck with your recovery and don't be too disheartened -  I'll all walk unaided again eventually! 

     

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    • Posted

      Thank you so much! I have been taking vitamin D, fish oil and also tumeric (in the form of curcumin too)

      So when I take out the stitches in two weeks and have the moon boot non weight bearing, is this something that you take off when you sleep and shower sitting down? or do you always have to have the boot on just like the cast? I just thought the moon boot would be a bit more user friendly for those things....

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    • Posted

      I have the same break as you, and I’m almost six weeks post op. I have to sleep with the boot on but I take it off four times a day to practice mobility. You shower with it off. 
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    • Posted

      You take  the moon boot off to shower but I was required to have mine on to sleep. The first night was the worst. I found it easier to lie on top of the covers with a throw over me. Best to ask your doctor as each injury and treatment is different. 

      I had my first physio appointment this morning after my seven week post op appointment yesterday and am now walking with the moon boot. Only partial weight bearing to start. The good thing is I know longer need to wear the moon boot at night or unless I am walking. My doctor is wanting me to walk unaided in normal shoes by my next appointment. A good goal to have ! 

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  • Posted

    Hi I would get checked out with regard to the pain in your leg. It is no use worrying like this. You MAY have an infection. I stress the word MAY. I am unsure what oxy painkillers are. If you are referring to lyrica or Neurontin then I am not surprised that you have a strange pain in your leg and feel the way you do. These drugs were never researched and they slow down the healing process . There is info about this I could PM you. You will be ok but just get checked for any possible infection. x
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  • Posted

    Hi again  Meant to say that Vitamin D3 , magnesium can aid the healing process. However you need to have the Vitamin D level done as a baseline . Then your calcium level should be checked for a few weeks as Vit D can increase it. So ...... in thre UK the minium optimal level is 100nngs/L .  If the oxy drugs are making you sick and dizzy then that is not good. You do not want to fall especially after surgery for a fracture!! So discuss this with your dr and seek an alternative. Is the pain very bad?Could you manage on paracetamol do you think pls icing etc.  Best xc it should
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  • Posted

    Hi there

    I had the exact same surgery as you 6 weeks and a half weeks ago.  All doctors have different protocols. I was in a plaster cast for 3 weeks and a fiberglass one for 2.  I went to the doctor early which was 5 weeks and 1 day after surgery for my x-ray. At that time I was told that the bone healed and I could go into an air boot and start weight bearing protocol.  I was also told that as I am healed I only have to wear the boot to move around. So I spend a lot of time in bed without it.  I am now walking 50% weight on ankle with crutches.  I go for physical therapy eval on Wednesday and I will be starting the process of walking 100% but using crutches for balance around that time.  My doctor thinks that I should be walking unaided between 9 weeks and 11 post op. He also told me that the type of surgery I had tends to heal faster. So, hopefully that will be the case for you

    The main problem I am having now is weakness in my calf.  So most of the pain that I feel is in that area.  I really need PT to tighten up the calf area.  

    Also, I was on morphine and oxycodone after surgery. I went off the morphine in 3 days and oxycodone in 5.   I was told not to take sleeve because it interiors the healing process. Tylenol does nothing so I also have been taking tumeric curcumin

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  • Posted

    I had the same surgery you had 9 weeks ago. I just got out of the boot 4 days ago and walking in shoes now. Your progress may not be the same as mine, because I was lucky enough to have the surgery the same day I broke it. I had the stitches out at 12 days and was then put in the boot. Non weight bearing for 6 weeks, then physical therapy with immediate partial weight bearing,still with crutches. A week later, one crutch, a week later, no crutches. I was lucky as none of the weight bearing stages was painful for me at all.

    ?Your dr will not take the stitches out if the wound doesn't look healed enough, But let me assure you that two weeks is plenty of time for this type of healing .

    ?Throbbing is normal. I have had DVTs in my leg (while pregnant)-it feels like a big cramp in your calf behind and right below your knee. When you pull your foot up (opposite of pointing your toes)  it will hurt a lot worse. If youre concerned,call your dr and they can rule it out with an ultrasound.

    I was nauseated for several weeks, it was surprising but anti nausea meds took care of that.

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  • Posted

    Sorry to tell you this but I’m going to be honest (I’m 2 years out of a trimalleolar fracture with a plate and -3 screws installed). Myself, and friends I met on this site that went through it with me, seemed to have an almost identical prognosis. We were the people without complications that never had many health problems in life until this mishap happened- people who take care of ourselves and see the sunny side in life and are fighters. Please note- most people don’t follow the site after they heal and I sometimes still read entries and make comments when I have time. The honest truth is it took 4 months for us to feel “somewhat normal” again and 18 months to feel 100%. We all still have our hardware in,  without any issues- we can’t feel it at all, and it seems like a bad dream we went through and a distant memory now.  We still occasionally stay in touch because we fought the fight together and will forever understand that this is a tough injury to make it through and love the support we got from one another on a daily basis. We talked  to each other vs burdening those around us who couldn’t really understand totally how we felt, because they had not walked a mile in our Go-walks with a crutch in one hand. For us though the best advice is don’t get down, stay happy,  make friends on this site, sit in the sunshine more than usual, read some good books, be positive and your family and friends will love to hang out with you, be tough and don’t complain to loved ones much - no one, however sweet they are, likes to hang out with someone who is down, get a knee scooter as soon as your stitches are out or a few weeks afterward (a wheelchair works best at first-rent or borrow it for the few weeks to a month you’ll need that one), a walker helps just during the weight bearing stage for a few weeks (so rent that one and buy a scooter- you’ll spend too much rd Fong a scooter because you need it for too long), don’t drink until the bones heal, eat plenty of  lean protein and lots of fruits and veggies, cut down the sugar, don’t smoke (smokers had a lot of healing problems). Massage your ankle after the bones heal. Know that the longest recuperation comes from re-firing all the anteophied muscles and tendons rather than healing the bones. You will begin feeling “normal” again at month 4 and it takes 18 months to feel 100% again, if you are in good health with no complications. Hope this helps. I would have loved to have been given it straight so I could prepare. 
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    • Posted

      I'm 6 and a half weeks post bimalleolar surgery. I was lucky that the bone healed in 5 weeks so I could start weight bearing process a week early. I am currently walking with 50% pressure.  I am finding my biggest issue is my calf muscles and the numbness in my toes and feet.  I go for physical therapy on Wednesday and should be walking without crutches soon. But I know I still have a long way to 100%.  How far along would you say you were at 4 months?  Is it too much to hope for 70 to 80%?

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    • Posted

      wow thats good that you are a week early! so are you using only one crutch at the moment to support the boot as you move 50% pressure? Or do you have to use two crutches still?

      I am hoping to soon also get to the one crutch only stage so atleast I can head back into work and not have to rely on both crutches to move me around!

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  • Posted

    *So it has been a week now post ORIF surgery, and my pain has gone down dramatically and I dont need oxycodene painkillers as much - however I have a weird feeling in my ankle today, it isn't pain like the past couple of days just after surgery, it is more like little pins and needles right where i think the stitches are....is this normal?

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