Broken ankle.. what to expect?

Posted , 5 users are following.

I'm so depressed. I'm a 15 year old boy who fell from stairs 3 days ago and I just don't know what to do. I'm on a splint right now but I'm gonna be getting my cast tomorrow. Doc said I'm young enough that I won't be needing surgery. It's so hard to live with one functioning leg. If I even put a little weight on my broken ankle, I will cry like a newborn baby. Someone please help me as to what to expect with an injury like this

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11 Replies

  • Posted


    I would love to tell you exactly what you will expect but it is very different for everyone, but I do understand and it it can be very difficult and very depressing I really struggled with it and only recently felt any better now I am walking around in the air boot.

    In theory and this could be wrong but just from others I have heard from and spoken to when at hospital appointments. Assuming no surgery you should have the cast for approx 4 - 6 weeks which will be non-weight bearing then possible an air boot for a further 4 weeks obviously very approximate and not guaranteed by any means.

    When you get the air boot (assuming you do) you will probably be able to put some weight on it gradually or immediately but go careful.

    I am told it is a long road and I have found it is but I promise you, you will get there. I have found this forum very helpful and supportive as people are going through the same or worse and so they do understand.

    From what others have said I will say to you, follow what the doctors etc tell you to do....

    I have heard stores of people who haven't and the bad time they have had as a result so just be careful as the last thing you want to do is do something that makes it worse and you end up in more pain for longer.

    I am still recovering from mine. Although different to yours as I was dodging a tree I was cutting down and twisted my foot at the ankle breaking it and requiring surgery on my ankle to repair which was on 31 April but yesterday got told can walk round the house without the air boot but to go careful. I was in several different types of cast for 8 weeks and it was difficult.

    try and stay positive and find a comfortable position you can do something you enjoy to try and much as possible to take your mind off it.

    Hope you have a good week!!!

  • Posted

    Hi Qasim,

    Firstly don’t panic, you will be finerventually. I know it is a scary time for you at the moment but it will get easier and I’m sure once you’ve got your crutches and mastered them there will be no stopping you! 😃

    I have had an external fixator (poles on the outside of my leg with 4 pins going through the skin and into my bones to hold my breaks secure) fitted since 6th March from multiple breaks after slipping over on the ice and I still have no idea when it’s getting removed! I’m ancient compared to you so my healing is slower!!

    It is different for everyone but you are young and I’m sure you will mend relatively quickly. You will have good  and you may even have some bad ones where things get too much but that is all normal. You just have to keep remembering it’s not forever!

    My best advice to you is to do exactly what the doctors tell you, keep your leg elevated when you are sitting down and going to bed and take pain medication when you need it. I was advised by my orthopaedic surgeon that ibuprofen can hinder bone healing so take pain relief the hospital might give you or paracetamol. And only put weight on your foot when and if you are told you can.

    Good luck and you can always pop a message on here and I’ll try and reply as soon as I can.

    Take care, Sarah x

  • Posted

    Hi there,

    As others have said everyone and every break is different. I can't only tell you my experience so far.  I had a fall 3 and a half weeks ago and broke my right ankle AND my left foot. I was given an airboot for my foot so that I could weight bear on it straightaway - that in itself was scary as it was very painful and I just had crutches to get along on.  At first my ankle was in a temporary cast which was very heavy on my leg until I went to my first appointment at the fracture clinic.  At the clinic I was told I had a stable fracture and was given a weight bearing cast. I've been twice more for x-rays to check that it's remained that way. Today I was told it's healing and I don't need to go back for 3 weeks.

    In 3 weeks I'll have been in the cast and boot for a total of 6 weeks - and I will hopefully have the cast removed.

    I will be 40 next year, so much older than you and I'm healing fine.  You should heal much quicker. If your fracture is stable like mine, I imagine you will be able to bear weight too which makes things a bit easier.

    I completely understand how frustrating it is and how difficult you think things are going to be. Be patient and do what your consultant says. I hope everything goes well, and that the time flies for you.


    • Posted

      Wow I can't imagine your pain.. broken right ankle and broken left foot. That sounds terrible, I hope you aren't in too much pain and I want to tell you to keep going as well because I know I couldn't possibly deal with that. Thanks for the reply and I hope you get well soon.

  • Posted

    As everyone has said, each experience is a little different. I’ll share mine with you though for comparison. My doctor told me the total time would be 12 weeks. I about cried! I broke my fibula at the ankle but did not require surgery. They casted me immediately and I couldn’t put weight on it for 5 weeks. Follow your doctors instructions on this! If you put weight on it too soon you could seriously set back the healing process and it’ll take even longer. At 5 weeks I was switched to an air boot and allowed to start putting weight on it. I’m now at 6 weeks and feel I’m getting close to putting full weight on it but I’m not quite there yet. Still it is so much easier at this point to walk with the crutches. I am now allowed to take off my boot when I’m sitting and sleeping which is an amazing new freedom. I’m working on stretching my ankle back out since it was immobilized so long. Things I didn’t bad it would hurt the first couple weeks but I promise it does fade and go away. I knew I’d have to stretch my ankle back out but didn’t realize how much work that would be. I knew I’d lose muscle from not using that leg but didn’t realize what that would actually be like when I started using it again (sore muscles). I know I’m the beginning it feels like forever but it really does go by faster than expected. Make sure when you go get casted to ask your doctor what the plan is for progressing through your break. Keep in mind the original plan could break depending on how fast you’re healing. However, having an idea of what to expect really helped give me something to look forward to. I keep counting down to the next phase. You do heal faster when you’re young so you have that on your side! Best of luck to you.

    Freddie, if you see this congrats on getting to take some steps without the boot! I can’t wait to join you lol

    • Posted

      thanks Jennifer smile

      I have found it odd/difficult each time I have had a change e.g. back cast to full cast and full cast to boot so this is just another one that I need to get used to.

      Hope you are doing ok!?

  • Posted

    Hi guys! I don't know how to use this site properly so I'm just gonna reply to myself. So apparently, today I went to the orthopedic surgeon and he told me that my ankle wasn't broken as bad and he took off my splint and gave me a boot. I don't know how to feel about this. He told me that I should come back in 3 weeks and he already gave me clearance to do weight bearing when I feel it isn't as painful. But to be honest I'm questioning the doctors decision because the boot doesn't feel as good as the splint.

    • Posted

      Also, thanks for all the replies. I feel better knowing how other people recovered.
    • Posted

      I know what you mean about how to use the site. I have found myself replying to different people on different threads sometimes worried I get it wrong!

      It can be difficult to know how to feel about some of the advice. I had the same when the consultant gave me the air boot and said you can walk on it now. My brain said NO!! so I used the crutches for a few days till the physio took 1 crutch away and told me to try and it was difficult at first but after a few steps I was ok. It hurt at first but it went away the more I did, you will get there.

      I have suffered a lot lot of anxiety and depression through mine but have been told and said to myself that I need to trust someone and the doctors etc are there to help so they will have your best interests in mind with their advice.

      My thoughts would be to trust what the doctor says but take it careful.

      I was also told that when you start walking it helps the healing process as it increases the blood flow to and from and in and around the foot.

      It will go quicker than you think, I felt at the time I wouldn't recover after spending around 8 weeks in bed but now I can walk around and do some gardening with hedge trimmers etc so you will recover.

      As others have said you have age on your side for a speedy recovery!

      Good luck, keep us updated with progress!!

    • Posted

      I hope you are not having a hard time with your ankle. And I can relate so much to the part about the brain saying no. I honestly thought the doctor was a fool for not giving me a cast and just giving me a boot immediately but after seeing your view, I will definitely try to do some weight bearing when I think the time is right. No pain no gain right? Thanks for the replies.
    • Posted

      thank you my ankle is slowly on the mend, just wish it would speed up as it is frustrating not being able to do things as easily as I could, patience is the answer apparently! :-)

      the brain is a good thing but at the same time sometimes you need to push past but not too far!

      When my consultant said to walk I almost turned round and said to him what I was thinking but it was better I didn't but it was along the same lines of what you said but much worse smile

      I think "No pain no gain" should be what they paint onto the cast of everyone who breaks a bone certainly is what I have found... along with "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger"

      there are a lot of fantastic strong and supportive people I have found on this forum!!

      Perhaps a little and often with the weight bearing and it will get better each day... with the assistance of some pain medication!

      Hope you have a good day today!

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