Broken Fibula

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This past Friday I did the most ridiculous thing I have ever done in my 49 years.   My husband went to bed and I decided it was a perfect night to go out and capture a picture of the harvest moon.   Off I went and when I was coming back into the house, I completely missed my footing on the bottom step (of a 3-step entrance) and down I went.   I swear I heard the snap.   Crawled into the house where I managed to stand up in the doorway and call for my husband.  He finally heard me and came running.  After a couple minutes we determined we had to get to the hospital because my ankle and foot had swelled up and I was shaking so bad I had no clue what to do and couldn't even speak properly.  To shorten the rest of the story...x-rays the following day confirmed it is a complete fibula break however it is a 'clean' break.   This doctor mentioned I would more than likely need surgery.   I was referred to the ortho immediately through emergency and from their discussion it appears there is a possibility that although the break is complete.....I may be able to heal without surgery.   An appointment was made and I am meeting with the ortho on Thursday.    In the meantime I am on pain meds, on my couch, with my leg up and basically at the mercy of everyone because i can't seem to do anything.   My foot is secured in an air boot and that has helped with the pain a bit but not much.  I now have crutches because contrary to being told not to move around too much and keep my leg up......mother nature doesn't always cooperate.   My question is: is it normal to have to just stay home and wait so long before a treatment plan is decided?  Can a complete bone break regenerate (or whatever they are hoping it does)?    I was immediately put on a 4-6 week minimum leave.  Does it really take this long to heal?   I am having a hard time digesting needing to be off work this long.     As you can tell.....I have never gone through this.  Just wondering if anyone can provide some idea as to what to expect.   Being home and googling this type of break and reading up on it is not always a good thing.   Hearing about it from someone who has gone through it first hand may calm my fears and anxiety.   The one doctor told me to prepare for surgery and having a screw put in place.  Someone else said the ortho will manipulate my ankle first to see if he can line everything up perfectly and just put a cast on me.   Just the thought of him touching my ankle is giving me nightmares.      Thank you in advance for any words of advice or guidance you can provide.   Thursday seems far away due to pain but too close due to fear.    

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17 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi I am also 49 and on a day out 17/8/16 fell of a hay bail and heard a very loud crack also foot dislocated ( was pointing opposite ways to me) ambulance straight to hospital were I thought parch me up and send me on my way , but unfortunately ankle/ fib brakes take a long time to heal and you must  not weight bare on them , I'm self employed and stand/drive for my job so very eager to get back on my feet but will tell you my time scale from A&E to ward . Wait 3 days for swelling to go down . Week in hospital in total fortnight after fall pot on in orttho outpatients . Pot six weeks , hopefully X-ray pot off boot on anther six weeks , physio and back to normal , so a day out in August and will be al

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    • Posted

      Sorry pressed wrong button August-December out of action
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    • Posted

      Sorry forgot to say had op for pins and plate and large screw in ankle on day 3 in hospital
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  • Posted

    I am 48 and fell walking down some slippery stairs on August 10th. 2 attempts at a closed reduction and then surgery (pins and plates inserted) a week later. We had to wait a bit until the swelling went down (no doubt that some of that was due to trying to manipulate my bones back into place). I have been off work since then and am hoping to get clearance to go back Oct 3, but it could be mid October or even later. It's a tough recovery from this type of break and has impacted me both physically and emotionally. Good luck and prayers to you that the closed reduction does work for you, but be prepared for a significant recovery time. Better to fully recover than to risk further damage or arthritis pain later.

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  • Posted

    Sorry to hear what happen to you..i broke my fib and tib playin kickball im 26 yrs old i have i was in a boot for 5 weeks and yes you have to rest yo foot as much as possible.i havent been to work in 8 weeks i broke my ankle on 7/22 /16 and it has change my life completely it take time to heal.i just stop using my crutches last week and im learning to walk again i had surgery 6 screws and some plates.i hope u feel better soon
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  • Posted

    Thank you for the replies ladies.    I replied individually but don't see my replies.  I am new to this site and not sure if I did something incorrectly but I hit the reply button and it seems that's all there was to it.

    I have the CD now with the break and it looks like it's a lateral malleolus break.  It appears it's one of the most common ones but it also says if there is swelling on the inside ankle it may be a sign of something more?   I just took the boot off to allow my foot to breathe a bit and now the swelling has travelled all around.   I will be anxious to find out what they will do 

    I truly appreciate all the replies and now know it will probably be a slow recovery.  At the same time I am reading how your injuries seem much worse than mine.   

    Hope everyone continues to heal well and thank you again for the replies.  

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  • Posted

    Hi. Your situation is almost identical to my fibula break last December. I fell down two steps and heard the snap, started shaking and swelling and brusing of ankle and shin. I did not require surgery since it was a clean break and the fibula aligned correctly. I was six weeks NWB, three weeks in CAM boot, three weeks in ankle brace. I had p.t. for six weeks due to the soft tissue trama. To me that was the longest to get over and I still have problems now and then with it. Fibula healed fine. Six to eight week timeframe seems about right. I am 58.
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    • Posted

      Thank you!   That is good to know.  It does sound like we have a similar break for sure.     I am hoping I do not need surgery either.  So I am going to think worse case scenario......2 months approx. I was told by the emergency doctor to prepare myself for a permanent limp after this.  I'm thinking I may have to review my shoe closet and forget about ever wearing the nice heels.

      I still don't understand why they would leave me at home all this time not really knowing what they will be doing.  I was sent home and told to stay off my foot until my appointment.  It's been a long week of "what if's"    Happy it's almost over.   

      Thank you for your reply!  

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    • Posted

      There could be a lot of reasons for the waiting. Sometimes for swelling to go down before they cast it. I had to wait a couple of days myself for that. Or they take more complex breaks first. Just use RICE and be careful you don't do more damage. I recommend renting a knee scooter...much better than crutches which I almost killed myself with!

      Ahhh.....shoes! My passion! Don't throw anything out for a year. I am back to wearing my favs again and I didn't think I would! I did have to "invest" in four new pairs though on the recommendation of my p.t. I had soft tissue problems which still bother me now. I had to get good brand shoes for arch support for the Achilles damage. But they are CUTE! Wore them and still do for first six months or so and then able to wear my others too.

      Each break is different so I can only give you my experience. I never would have thought how much your life alters from an ankle break. You have to find a new normal for however long it takes.

      Also having a limp forever in my opinion, was not something a doctor should tell a patient before an ortho treats. I do not have a limp. When it's time, get orders for p t. My daughter is a p.t. and worked with me also. You have to relearn how to walk again. Your calf muscles will waste away from nonuse, BUT these are the areas p.t. help with. I had to relearn heel to toe walking. Slowed me down but took care of the limp. Work the program and tell your therapist everything.

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    • Posted

      You don't know how relieved I am to read that.   I have had so any mishaps with the crutches I've lost count.  I told my husband I must be bottom heavy.  I just can't keep my balance and 9 times out of 10 I almost fly backwards.   The boot is extremely heavy.   I am happy to read I am not alone.  Not happy to read you almost killed yourself though.  lol

      I am not sure why the ER doctor told me to expect a possible limp.  When he said I would need surgery I started crying.  I think I was just in so much pain that it threw me off.  Now it's not certain that will happen but still possible.   

      I will have to invest in a good pair of shoes for sure once i am back on my feet.   Not sure what yet but will find out.  

      I have seen the knee scooters and they are neat.    My mother in law dropped off her old walker and it works much better than the crutches.  I can at least get some food and put it on the seat and make my way to the couch.  

      So much to adapt to and so many plans changed because of one mishap.   In the blink of an eye my next 2-3 months have changed.

      I will definitely do any kind of treatment plan recommended.   It's going to be a long road to recovery I guess.

      Thanks again!

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    • Posted

      All in all about three months. I still will limp slightly now it I don't stretch my Achilles properly. Follow your p.t.'s program.

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    • Posted

      I have been following your discussion,although I have a different break a trimalleolar ,I have noticed my Achilles is very tight.I am hoping that when my air boot comes off I too won't limp. Please what exercises can you do to stretch your achillies ? My other Achilles left leg also sometimes feel tight.

      This forum is brilliant.

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    • Posted

      One of the stretches I did and still do: cross one leg over the other and hold your ankle. Grab the bottom of your foot (like your scooping something) so the tips of your fingers are by your heel. Then stretch the foot up and back. It will stretch the Achilles. Also freeze a water bottle and roll it with your foot. Please get yourself some good shoes with firm arch support or consider orthodics for your shoes. Hope this helps and you feel better soon!
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  • Posted

    Well.....I have good news.  smile   No cast and no surgery!   I was told that if I had to break my ankle....this was the way to do it.   It's a complete clean break.   I have to continue wearing the boot and can try to apply weight mid-week next week.    I tried today just to see and it's a no-go.  

    I am off work for 4 weeks for now as the healing period is long regardless because it is a break.   I go back on October 20th for x-rays to see how the healing is going.    Until then it's rest at home.  

    I am relieved that it's not worst than this and very thankful that there is such a thing called a perfect break.  smile  

     

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    • Posted

      So happy to hear that! Just make sure you listen to your body and not try to do too much at once. Patience is a virtue, especially while you're healing.

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    • Posted

      Thank you!  Right now it's just as painful and the swelling has spread all around and down to my toes.  It hasn't helped in that sense but it has calmed my mind.   I will definitely take it easy.  My friends and family have been so supportive and helpful.  I almost fear I might get used to this attention.  wink    It's going to be a very long 4 weeks but I will relax, read a few books, catch up on daytime TV shows.  All things I typically never have time for.  

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