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 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

    This is good to know that it's normal. I broke both my Left Tibia and Fibula 10 years ago in an Ice Skating accident (rotational tear). I was able to get away without Surgery or Physical Therapy after 8 weeks in casts, icing, elevating, and pain meds, then a Walking Boot, then just my ankle brace. I finally healed and the stiffness left. I would occasionally get pain, but okay for the most part to return to normal- walking, hiking, running, dancing, wearing heels, jazzercize when I felt like any of  it. Yesterday after no pain for a very long time, my old symptoms returned and my ankle felt like it gave out when I stepped on it, and I couldn't bear any weight without shooting pain on the Tibia side. I had to be a couch potato for almost 48 hours and now it seems to be better. Will make a decision in the morning whether or not to call my former Orthopedic group. My doctor retired, so it would be someone else. Can't think of anything different I've done in the last couple of days to aggravate it. Advil didn't help, and neither did my ankle brace.

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  • Posted

    All cells require constant nutritional support, and osteocytes are no exception. Increased physical activity increases the requirement for calcium because calcium is one of the 4 major electrolytes that can be deleted easily. More than that, when muscle cells contract they require calcium. The more intense the activity, the faster the calcium is depleted. As a powerlifter, I'm not suggesting that you minimize your activity. But I've learned to recognize over the last 30+ years in the gym (and a number of years as a triathlete) that the more you do (physically), the more supplemental support your body requires.

    Former fractures are a special case. 16 years ago I had a motorcycle accident that put me into a coma for about week. I ended up with a fractured clavicle that never healed and the fractured bits were eventually completely resorbed. The clavicle was repaired with an autograft from my right iliac crest. Both sides of my skull were opened after the accident and the brain was so inflamed that the left section of the skull over my temporal/parietal area had to be removed completely. The right side was never re-attached surgically, and because the the constant movement induced by changes in vascular pressure, it never reattached to the main cranium. The left craniectomy was replaced with a synthetic about twoyears after the accident. A couple of years later I was in a car accident and I suffered a fracture to my left zygomatic arch and a fractured left orbit. That was more surgery (through the mouth, actually) and more plates onto the skull. About three years later I fractured my left wrist (the ulnar) my left femur while working in a warehouse.

    The point is, I'm a busy and very active guy, and I have a first hand perspective what fractures feel like, and how to take care of them if I want to keep being a powerlifter.

    When you get that shooting pain, you'll need to amp up your calcium. Aside from increased physical activity, stimulants (like caffeine, i.e. coffee) also deplete calcium, among many other nutrients. But calcium absorption also depends on other nutrients as well - like vitamin D, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, magnesium, and boron . Aside from being able to metabolize vitamin D from being exposed to ultraviolet rays, all of the others come from food, or from supplements, or both. And if you're a vegetarian, or especially a vegan, your body will never heal properly because it would always be in a state of malnutrition. As an example, this is why grains are fortified - because they are void of nutrition, but abundant in carbohydrates (sugar).

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