Broke my ankle 1.5 years ago, now feeling shooting pains. Should I be concerned?

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Hi guys, 

I broke my ankle in several places back in September of 2013...got emergency repair surgery, did my time on crutches/scooter, several months of physical therapy, etc. Been at about 95% for the past year and haven't had any real problems other than lack of flexibility and it being a little sore if I am on my feet a lot in the day. 

Last weekend, I went camping and ended up doing some unexpected short hikes on uneven ground in flip flops. Nothing drastic stood out to me at the time as "Ow, that hurt, I just injured myself", but all that night and the next morning it was in a lot of pain, and since then, if I step on it in a certain way or put my full weight on it, a sharp pain occurs and I have to immediately shift my weight. Today it has happened so many times that now the ankle aches even without weight on it. 

Do I need to go to the doctor to have this looked at or should I just keep an eye out for the next few days? Is it possible that it is just a general soreness? The sharp pains that force me to almost collapse if I don't catch myself on my good leg concern me. It is not with every step that I get these sharp pains, but like I said, if I step on it in a certain way or stand with my full weight on it. Any advice would be appreciated! This is the first time I've been concerned about any of the aches and pains I've felt on it since I've been healed. 

EDIT: I should also note that I stay fairly active on it, doing regular cardio and strength training, as well as hiking (on similar terrains to what I was on over the weekend) and some sports. I was not in proper shoes last weekend for the hike, but I wanted to help rule out options by letting you know that it wouldn't be anything like too much activity that my ankle wasn't ready for after the injury.

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  • Posted

    You need to rest it for a couple of weeks and the foot wear you use after have such an injury is very important. You could not have chosen a worst thin to do than to wear flip flops as the ankle has no support whatsoever. A decent pair of shoes with ankle support when walking on rough ground and the best trainers you can get for other exercise.  It take a good few years to get the ankle back to full strength.  You doctor will advise but in the mean time be easy on the ankle
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  • Posted

    I'm 4 months post fracture and still getting shooting pains, and still walking with a pronounced limp.  Not looking forward to having problems in another year or so.  What were you like 4 months post fracture?
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    • Posted

      Be prepared to have discomfort and pain for a long time. It all depends if the bone all knitted well together. Also remember your ankles work hard by carrying all the weight to the top. Wear good shoes, gel sole inserts help and rest the foot but keep doing the exercise the physio advised you to do. Swimming will do it good and the swelling comes down then too
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    • Posted

      Thanik you Olivia

      The physio told me I could also do stationary cycling so I've been doing some of that lately since I've put loads of weight.  I suppose I should do the swimming too, it just takes up so much time going to the baths.   

      I find sitting at a desk makes it swell quite a bit.  I've only been a week without any crutch at all.  

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  • Posted

    I guess yr not in the UK with our NHS.

    You should see a medical professional if it continues.

    Try strapping the ankle for a week or two while wearing footwear that will support.

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    • Posted

      Yeah, am in the UK, went back to see GP last week and he re-referred me to osteo, but my apt isn't until May 6th, so, I guess that's good, if it hasn't improved by then, I will be seeing the right people.

      So I'm guessing froim what you're saying that it shouldn't be like this 4 months post fracture?

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    • Posted

      If it's been ok and now it isn't, even after a week or two of resting it, then I would get it checked.

      Can't have a collapsing ankle.  That can be quite dangerous, depending on where and when it goes.

      I think that a trauma creates scar tissue which gets in amongst the tendons.  As this starts to clear (most does get cleared out) the tendons get released.  The same for nerve fibres, all gummed up with scar tissues.  Anything can happen in there as it slowly heals..

      Have you tried daily massage of the problem area?

      Which bits did you fracture?

      Good luck with that....

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    • Posted

      Hi Majikthyze

      No, I wouldn't say it's been ok yet, the swelling goes up and down from mild to moderate at the moment, and there are still inclings of bruising along the side of the foot and at the side of the ankle, dark patches.  I haven't been advised to rest it as yet, my physio is encouraging me to continue with my exercises, although I do cut back when it hurts too much.  

      I haven't been massaging no, maybe I should try, but due to arthritis and impingements in both hips, worse in the left, the same side as the ankle fracture, I find it difficult to reach my ankle.  I'll give it a try though.  

      I only fractured my tibia, it was a weber B fracture, by the joint, which is why I think it's been slow to heal.  

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  • Posted

    Hi,

    I can confirm some of the other responses as I went through all the same problems. An ankle is the most difficult joint in the body to treat, it takes a very long time to heel and if you lucky to be osteoarthritis free in years to come. Look after your ankle, always wear the best shoes and trainers you can get and a good gel insert for your heel and if you have a high instep one with good support as well. Flip flops are actually not a good idea, it offers no support. Your ankle gets used to the way you walk and shoes you wear, as soon as there is a difference and discomfort it will try to re adjust in order to protect itself against further injuries. It will become very stiff and tight, even swell up. My ankle swells up 34/35 years later even if I wear zipped up long boots in winter. I have even given up wearing that. Do regular exercise and always try and circle and stretch the foot where ever you sit or in bed in the car. If you don't do that for a week or so it becomes stiff again. Look after it well as long as you can and treat it nicely don't overuse it. While you have the pain rest it and keep it lifted and do slight movements. Anti inflamotories should also help. Good luck

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    • Posted

      Oh no Olivia, this doesn't sound good at all, especially since my hobby is hiking with my husband.  I have to say though, I've been having problems with this ankle for a few years now, I used to be a runner, and I think there is some longterm damageto the joint.  I have been doing those circle and stratch exercises for a while because it kept hurting.  My gp wasn't interested when I first contacted her about it, she just told me to put some ibuprofen gel on.
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    • Posted

      Denise, I don't think the GP's really have any idea how to treat a problem ankle especially when it was badly injured. Sitting at the desk especially during summertime causes bad swelling and discomfort. Always try and keep it lifted and do get up at least every hour and do some walking to get the blood circulated. I am also a very active and sporty person and it is difficult to say no to the things you loved to do. I do zumba twice a week and bodypump with quite heavy weights. I have been told by my surgeon to stop doing it but I live it so much it is difficult stop doing it. When I walk out the studio I am in severe pain and can hardly walk for at least two hours. I know I have come to the end after 35 years of struggling to make the decision, joint replacement or fusion. But you still sound young and have not had problems for so many years. Remember as you become older , the worse it will become, treat your ankle with great care and try not to be overweight. I know how difficult that was after my accident, I was in a cast for 9 months and crutches were part of my life, and a year later I picked up 24 kilograms about 2 stone. I was in agony on a daily basis, the surgeon I have seen in those days -1981 advised to fuse it and luckily my husband was transfered and I could not have the operation done. I decided to lose weight and lost 2 and a half stone and for many years after that I was walking much easier. I have pain ever now and then but not daily but swelling have always been a problem during summer times or when I walked a lot. I have always been told by many surgeons and GP'S to swim and cycle and keep the weight down. Also adjust the height of your shoes. High heels are beautiful and classy but very bad for you. My GP prescribed an anti inflammatory to take once a day Naproxen 500mg and Tramadol which I cannot take I think I am alethic to some ingredient and it causes itching all over my body and face. I have been taking the Naproxen for 3 days now and the pain is now bearable. Ibrubfen never did anything for me and when my GP suggested that I told her straight that it does not even help for a headache. I really do hope that your ankle gets better soon and insist from the GP to prescribe something better. All the best and take care
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    • Posted

      Thank you so much for sharing Olivia, it's tough when you're used to being active isn't it?  

      I'm annoyed at my gp because my ankle broke about a month after I went to see her about it, I wonder if it could have been avoided had she have sent to to see a physio.  I was going to go back and ask to see a physio, but you know how busy life gets?  Then we went on a walking holiday in La Palma and went over on it after a 13 mile hike in the hills, luckily we were on our way back to the hotel when it happened, just a couple of miles away.  One of the other guests kindly gave us a lift back.  

      Have you considered an ankle replacement now since it's becoming more difficult for you? 

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    • Posted

      Hiya, yes I considering TAR now as the pain has become unbearable. I have very bad osteoarthritis and it affects my right hip too as I am not aligned. I have a c ery slight limp and my right leg is about a half centimetre shorter. This all came with the age as I have been walking with this ankle for 35 years and tried to hang on and not have it fused. It seems as if time is now catching up and I have to do something to get rid of the pain and also walk more comfortable. I hope my message gave you some insight and also do not give in too soon if the surgeon suggest fusion. I am so glad I listened to my doctor back in South Africa many years ago.
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    • Posted

      So sorry that you're in so much pain, that's not good, I hope that your op goes well for you and you get some relief.  

      I am unsure as to whether my hip pain caused my foot pain or foot pain caused my hip pain, but I have femeroacetabular impingements on both hips, worse on the left side.  

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  • Posted

    Hi ya. Hate to be the bearer of bad news but I'm having exactly the same symptoms as you but 6 years after breaking my ankle! I too have a appointment to go back May. I broke my ankle in a car accident whilst 7 months pregnant with my little boy. As I was pregnant I couldn't have the operation I needed to fix my ankle. Then after a couple of years of the shooting pains it was my phsyio that suggested I could have bone fragments in my ankle joint. Following his referral back to the hospital I had a operation as he was right. I really did hope that this operation was the cure as it seems logical that these intermittent pains could be the fragments getting in the way. Unfortunately though even though they were all removed the pain remains unchanged. Nobody seems to be able to diagnose this pain for me hence my reason for searching for other sufferers online!! Please let us know if you get anywhere with this! Thanks xx
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    • Posted

      Hi there! I am new to this forum and was looking for help with this exact same issue. It's been 3 years for me since my original fracture , and I have had to other operations for that same sharp pain that the drs also said was from bone fragments . Did it get get better for you? I realize this post was from 3 years ago, but i am hoping for some advice. 

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    • Posted

      One thing that may have helped me this summer: I went to an acupuncturist for other reasons and mentioned my intermittent ankle pain. She mentioned that there may be some residual scar tissue and did some work to physically try to break that up.
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