Broken ankle recovery - reassurance please.

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I broke my right ankle 7 weeks ago just by falling down 2 stairs. It was broken in 3 places and i had ORIF - i have a plate and about 7 screws in total. I got an air cast boot last week after 6 weeks in plaster and I've been told to start gently weight bearing. I am shuffling around with a zimmer frame as I dont really feel safe with crutches. I am getting so frustrated at the impact the injury is having on my activities, the road to recovery seems so long and I honestly worry I will never walk properly again! Also driving is really important to me and I worry I won't be able to do that again either. I've just been referred for physio. My ankle is still swollen and although not particuarly painful is quite achy and the air boot does sometimes feel quite uncomfortable. I guess I'm just hoping someone who has been through this can offer me reassurance that things will get better? Thank you.

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  • Posted

    Oh I remember thinking the same all too well. I've had a plate and several pins on my fibular, also two large screws going through my ankle (which will snap at some point), so I thought I'd never get movement back let alone walk. However, the best advise I would give is, get back up and walking as much/as soon as you can. Walk.through the aches and pains. Your leg will tell you when it seriously needs rest. I skipped all my physio because walking get the blood flow going, so the swelling will get better and movement gets easier, but itll all soon be a distant memory. I really do sympathise with you... it's one of the hardest things I've faced in life. Hang on in there and you'll soon see the light. Xxx

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  • Posted

    hello and welcome to the club !

    I am interested in joining your post for the comments as i too fell off high step and needed an ORIF with a plate and 12 screws done abroad on a holiday to Thailand for a shattered right ankle, not so well done it has transpired so my recovery will also be a long slow process too, im 4 weeks into it still in cast and never felt so frustrated at the sheer inconvenience of being housebound and not even able to get upstairs and needing a wheelchair as i broke my wrist aswell. All my toes and half the top of my foot are still numb and tingling which and i get shooting pain in the big toe and is discoloured compared to the other foot.

    I too worry about the impact this injury will have on my life and whether i can ever return to my job, when can i drive, and what limitations it will cause to my previously very active life.

    Did you have bone density scan done as i did due to getting the 2 separate fractures which showed osteopenia to my wrists but the rest pelvis and spine was ok. I am post menapausal in my 50's. As a precaution im now taking calcium supplements with vitamin D for bone strength, my GP seemed to think there was no evidence for him to prescribe them but i could buy my own which was entirely up to me so I am doing so to try to protect myself from future breaks! I am certainly not taking my good health and mobility for granted ever again!

    Good luck with your recovery xxx

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    • Posted

      Hi, sorry to hear you are going through a hard time too and sustained breaks to your ankle and wrist. At least I can manage to shuffle up and down the stairs on my bum. I (unhelpfully) keep wishing I could turn back time - how your life can change in a split second. I asked my consultant about osteoporosis but he thought that the way I described my fall, the break was mechanical. I'm not yet menopausal although not far off at 47. I think I may start taking supplements. I had a really heavy back slab cast for the first 4 weeks (should have been 2 but I didn't get sent a fracture clinic appointment and had to chase it up), replaced by a lighter cast for 2 weeks before switching to the boot. Wishing you a straight forward recovery. x

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  • Posted

    Hi

    I can totally relate to all your going through

    had the same surgery and i am now nearly 5 months on . Once i came out of boot walking as much as possible things started to improve although even now i havent regained all my walking abilities and it seems to be stuck not really moving forward , im walking 2hrs swimming and driving daily and at the end of the day my ankle is very swollen and fairly painful . Before my accident i was a post lady and i am still off sick due to not being able to walk at any speed . It has been one of the most challenging things ive had to deal with and so much patience is needed as ive been told it can take 12 months . wishing you well

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    • Posted

      THANKS for sharing. I'm 4 months out and shuffle when I walk as I limp along on my cane Im 52 years old and have never experienced anything so life changing in my life.

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  • Posted

    hello! i had the same break! broke in 3 places and dislocated it, i have 1 plate, 11, screws, and 2 syndesmotic sutures. Next month will be 1 year since my surgery and im here to tell all of yall, i promise it does get better! honestly the first 6 -8 months were horrible, my ankle was swollen, i had no range of motion, it was ugly, i had a limp 95% of the time when i walked or even tried to run. i thought id never run again. fast foward to 11 months later, i can walk without a limp, run without a limp, its not swollen all the time anymore, my scars healed up very nicely, and im 95% normal. my ankle swells up sometimes when i do certain activities or stand on it too long and i cant point it towards my body(if that makes sense) as far as i use to could. but other than that, everything else is back to normal. i even ran a 5k last month. it gets better! just stay positive and dont be afraid to pull yourself !! GOOD LUCK TO EVERYONE

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    • Posted

      Hi Courtney. Thank you for your reply. It gives me hope that things will eventually improve - was feeling I'll be this restricted forever ( slightly catastrophising I think). I keep telling myself I'm only 7 weeks into my recovery and it's been a very long 7 weeks. I'm used to being really independent. I don't like looking at my foot - makes me feel slightly faint and I'm a nurse - it's swollen, still looks a bit bruised, skin is like a snakes all dry and shedding. Thanks again x

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  • Posted

    oh I sympathize with all of you, I’m 10 months after a bilateral ankle break with a closed reduction on one ankle and surgery on the other ankle with pins and plates. I couldn’t walk at all for about six weeks and then I had partial weight-bearing on one using a knee scooter. The knee scooter was a lifesaver it made me feel much more normal. I could use the restroom and get around the house a little bit better with it.

    After everything was healed and the doctor dismissed me I still had a lot of pain and swelling, this was about three months after the break. I found that wearing ankle braces that gave compression helped with the swelling that’s helping with the pain and recovery. I wish someone had told me about that sooner because I didn’t discover them until a few months ago. I also took supplements and drink lots of milk. Im about 80% recovered but then I am carrying extra weight so that does not help.

    Every now and again if my ankle is at a funny angle I will get a shooting pain, or if I pivot or move too fast. I still have to be careful with myself I’m not running but I am walking more normal than I used to. The end of the day is always worse than the beginning and sometimes I have to just let people walk past me in the hallway as I used to be one of those fast walkers myself. Just let it out and give yourself time to heal you may get back to where you were and you may not.

    I think a lot of us have a little bit of PTSD about our breaks. I had bad flashbacks for a few months following my break. That got better as well but it was difficult to relive it over and over again. Find someone to talk to or use this form because we all feel each other’s pain and we’ve all been there. It does get better.

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    • Posted

      Thank you for your reassurance. It's really helping to find out I'm not alone - none of my friends have been through this so until I posted on this forum I hadn't had anyone to talk about it with. I thought once I got the air boot I'd be at least able to mobilise without a frame or crutches so the realisation at the long recovery has really knocked me. Having one broken ankle is hard enough - can't imagine how difficult 2 was. Thanks again x

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    • Posted

      THANKS for sharing. I'm 4 months out and shuffle when I walk as I limp along on my cane Im 52 years old and have never experienced anything so life changing in my life. I had a bimallelar equiv fracture . Got plate with 4 screws and relocation of inside of ankle. I look at everything differently...where I step, height of curbs, how fast people are walking so I can get out of way. I keep telling myself its a process but its hard. THANKS for sharing.

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  • Posted

    Hi Katherine, my story goes like this:

    mid March 2018 broke my uncle

    end of March 2018 ORIF with plate and 7 screws.

    All March and April depression and despair and fear of never walking properly BUT at the same time I was doing knee exercises. Later when I was weight bearing I was stretching and wiggling my foot every time I was on the sofa watching TV. too, did not get on with crutches so used a zimmer frame and went down the stairs on my bottom. By mid April wound was fine, stitches were removed April and hurray, I had a bath. I did not have to wear the boot from early May. In May and 1st half of June I had several private physio sessions which helped with my ankle moving better. It was swollen most evenings which I had been told to expect. At the end of June I had an op to remove the two big screws. I could walk normally the same evening.

    In late July I returned to doing long walks and 7 miles was fine.

    Now I can walk lots, started jogging, ankle often is stiff and aching in the evenings.

    So, listen to your doctors, exercise and stretch your ankle and you will fully recover but do be patient. By the way, I was allowed to drive by mid June 2018 and fly by early August. Warm climate, walking on sand and warm sea did wonders for my ankle but damp and cold UK weather is not beneficial with its adverse effect!

    Wishing you all the best.

    Anna

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    • Posted

      Hi Anna. Thank you for your reply and sharing your experience. It gives me hope. Patience is not one of my strong points but I'm realizing that I need to try to be patient and not worry so much but it is really hard, particuarly as I have a history of depression and am trying not to relapse. If I could only turn back time and concentrate when I went down the stairs! Thanks again, Katherine x

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    • Posted

      Katherine, patience never has been my forté either. And people brake their ankles in freaky ways. I met a woman of 24 who broke her ankle badly slipping down two steps. Don't get down, th worst is behind you.

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    • Posted

      Bimalleolar ankle fracture with a displaced medial malleolus. Got a plate with 5 screws;. Surgery on 1/2/2019. boot 4 weeks later. 6 weeks later started PT visits. Today I feel that I hurt now more because I use my ankle. I limp terribly and am trying to be positice about normal again

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