cast off broken ankle and pain and stiffness

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After 6 weeks in cast for broken ankle ( I fractured it in 3 places, tibia, bottom of fibula and tibia and dislocated, falling down stairs but no surgery) had cast off Monday and given an air boot to wear outside. Dr said not to wear inside and to try and move my foot etc as much as possible, but it is really painful and really stiff so can only move it a little forwards and backwards , and getting really panicky that I won't be able to walk again! I've been partial weight bearing (very slightly!) with boot on and crutches , I'm waiting for my physio appointment now, but really worried it shouldn't be this painful, stiff and swollen after 5 days.

 

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  • Posted

    Hi julie44783

    I'm just over 8 weeks post op have 2 plates and 12 pins in right ankle. I was non weight bearing in cast for 3 weeks and 5 weeks in walking boot partial weight bearing. Have been out of the walking boot for 5 days now. When I got the cast off doc told me to try flexing ankle and rotating it every few hours to get range of movement back. My ankle was very stiff to begin with but I'm getting slightly more movement in it slowly. have just been referred for physio but told it will take 4 weeks and have been given exercises from physio thru my work in the meantime. I understand how u feel as my ankle has swollen a lot the more I walk but I'm just elevating it which is helping and taking painkillers. Its going to take longer than I thought to get range of movement back and to walk properly but just got to be patient (which doesn't come easy to me!) I'm sure once u start physio you'll see improvement. Good luck with ur recovery

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    • Posted

      Hi thanks,  so are you weight bearing or just partial without your boot, and on your crutches still?   I've tried resting my foot on floor but that's about it , it's so stiff and won't bend upward properly so it's like I'm standing on a slope!  It just feels way too painful to put anymore weight on it yet which is really frustrating!!,  so I'm just sticking to crutches and nwb indoors. Also were you toes really stiff and swollen , I can hardly bend mine.

      he

      he bath! - really fed up now of only having one good leg!)  also was your toes really stiff as well , I can hardly bend mine don't know if it's because of well the swelling as well

       

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    • Posted

      I'm almost full weight bearing with the crutches But can't walk without them. I was like u and put my foot on the ground at first. Can now go up and downstairs on crutches (was on my bum when wearing the boot!) I was terrified once the boot came off and I've had to buy a size bigger in trainer due to swelling. I had bit of discomfort at first but not pain. Nurse said if I tried to walk and it was too sore then to go back to wearing the boot and try again in a few days. Toes I can flex both ways now but that has happened over few weeks. When I first started to flex foot it hardly moved at all but there is definite improvement now. I thought once the bones has healed and the boot was off i'd be walking straightway but Ive checked online and seems to take about a month to get from FWB to one crutch then no crutches at all. The physio I spoke to thru my work also told me to alternate between bucket of ice water and warm water, put foot in for 2 mins each and whilst in the warm water to try to move ankle as the heat helps. Do this for 20 mins. And elevate leg above level of ur heart. And to massage ankle from the toes upwards and that will also help with the scar tissue. I'm not due back to the ortho clinic until January and I felt as if I'd been abandoned a bit but I've just got to keep doing my stretches and hopefully when u get physio on Nhs I'll have better range of movement.
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    • Posted

      Thanks,  I will try the ice water then warm water.  I know it's going to take time and I've got to be patient.  I think I'm just having an 'off day' today and feeling sorry for myself!!  Good luck with your recovery too.
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    • Posted

      My emotions are all over the place too. Was feeling good at start of the week after getting out of the boot but last 2 days feel as if I'm going backwards. So know how u feel. But know I'll get back to normal eventually. Take care and good luck 😀
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  • Posted

    Hi Julie

    You can expect pain for the next 6 months to a year.You will come right in the end.

    Massage and exercise is the way forward.Try getting on your bike as soon as possible .

    In 6 months time try the new electrical treatment.

    Mr Ankle

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    • Posted

      Hi thanks,  I know I've got to be patient and stop positive!  As you say It will come right in the end. The massage would be good , I know the more I move it the less stiff it will become, probably feel better when I've had my first physio so I know what exercises to do to get things moving. I've not heard of this new electrical treatment is it to promote healing quicker?
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  • Posted

    I found doing very small circular movements in a warm bath was the least painful. Within a week I was doing them out of the bath too. By the time I started physio I'd got almost full movement of the joint. It's now eight months since I broke both my ankle and 5th metatarsal, it's still a little painful to walk or stand on for long periods especially on uneven ground, but it's getting better ever day.

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    • Posted

      Hi thanks,  I'm still struggling to get in the bath! It's such a performance on one leg, with my hubby helping to manoeuvre me from a stool into the bath! But lovely once I'm in there!  Yes I will try doing more movements as it is less painful in a warm bath. Glad to hear from others that it does get better over time.
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    • Posted

      I f.found it easier to get in and out of the bath by myself, did help that my broken ankle/foot was on the outside of the bath, sat on the side of the bath, swung the good leg into the bath put hands on either side of the bath and lowered myself in. Did the opposite to get out, put bad leg out then pushed myself onto the side of the bath using arms and good leg/foot, it's a matter of getting your good leg under.
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  • Posted

    Hi Julie, I am also close to 6 weeks since I broke my ankle.  I did have surgery, however, and had my cast removed 12 days after surgery.  I was given a walking boot and told to still keep weight off until my 6-week appt, which is this Monday (pretty excited about it).  Anyway, when I had the cast removed, it was 20 days after I broke my ankle, and the doctor told me to start moving it (I also started physical therapy shortly thereafter).  I had similar concerns, but the pain is totally normal.  If your doctor said you're cleared to start moving your foot, that means he's confident your bones are healed.  You have to trust the healing.  You haven't used your foot/ankle in 6 weeks.  In my situation, I went 20 days without moving my ankle, and it was painful to get it started, so I imagine it's worse for you.  The pain will subside, but it's like starting a weight lifting program...your muscles and joints are going to be sore.  Last week was my 2nd physical therapy appt, and he gave me more exercises to do.  I started experiencing soreness again, and got worried again, but my ankle feels pretty good today, and has decent range of motion.  I'm excited about my appt this Monday where I can start weight bearing again.  I know it's going to be painful, but I'm confident it will get better as I exercise it.  

    Stay confident, work that ankle out, and listen to your physical therapist.  Good luck!

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    • Posted

      Hi, thanks for your words of encouragement,  that must have been painful for you to have to start moving it after only 20 days. Yes I suppose it is like starting weight training , my calf muscles ache as well! (just basically falling to bits all over, I'm 49! -can't help but think if I was younger it wouldn't take as long to recover!) Yes I've heard physio can be quite painful so I'll have paracetamol at the ready!!  Good luck to you on Monday,  hope everything ok for you and walking isn't too painful.
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  • Posted

    In regards to the bath, it's a matter of getting your balance right and you good leg underneath you, I practiced with hubby in the bathroom, got so I as confident on my own within a few days, though I did pull the plug just in case.

    I'm 55 so you're younger than me, age does matter as it takes longer to heal, I was told slow and easy, exercise as directed, don't try and do too much in one go, so little but often. You can't go wrong with just rotating the foot one way then the other, and pulling your toes up and pushing them down.

    I find myself doing the exercises all the time, eg. going from one foot to the other, whilst trying to get my seven month old granddaughter off to sleep.

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    • Posted

      Managed to get into bath for first time tonight on my own!  so quite pleased with myself. Did some exercises in the bath and the warm water does help. Thanks for your advice, a little and often.
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