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 I'm in the same boat freaking out my ankle is stiff very hard to move I stand on a slope also ... it's been six weeks for me too no surgery .. I'm ready to run but can't walk sad I guess we just have to take are time do therapy another 6 weeks and pray for the best .. this helped me so I'm not alone I keep thinking I healed wrong but sounds normal !?

    I hope I helped u alittle .. best of luck

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  • Posted

    Hello! I am 29 yrs old. I fell January 17th breaking my right distal fibula and medial mallaeous. Febuary 1st I had surgery to put a plate and 6 screws to repair my fibula due to a shift in my ankle structure. Febuary 14th I had ny hard cast removed and then put into an air cast until March 7th. Tuesday (March 7th) after being non weight bearing was told to full weight bear. I will not see a PT for another week and a half. When I try and walk with my crutches because lets face it I cannot walk let alone step onto that foot un-aided. It is so stiff it literally feels like a weight is sitting at my ankle unable to move it or shift it. It is almost like a shocking sensation that runs through my heel up my leg. I have no problems sitting down moving it or anything it literally feels like a normal foot. I am having some swelling but not enough to hurt or bother me. I have 3 kids and I also run an in home daycare so not being able to walk or even take a step no matter how hard I try is frustrating. Does anybody have any tips on how to loosen it up or some excerises to do on my own. My doctor told me to do the one leaning on a bed and then cross my good foot onto my bad one and stand on it. I do not feel comfortable with this, I think he is crazy. And then do lunges against a bed, I can do that one okay as I can stand on my toes but I cannot fully lunge the foot. I am getting frustrated, when you can walk all your life and a fall that took 30 seconds messes up the next year at least of your life.
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  • Posted

    Hi. I hope everyone is doing well. I fell down the stairs and broke/dislicated my ankle and on February 7th 2018. My ankle was so swollen that surgery can it be done until February 23rd. I had a plate and screws put in my ankle. I had my first doctor's appointment on March 8th. the doctor said that the Staples were not ready to come out yet but he took the splint off which was causing severe heel pain and bruising on my leg. It felt great to have the splint off but he just put a bandage around my ankle and foot. I asked him if that was enough support. He said yes just be careful. He said he wanted me to start doing some exercises with the ankle. He gave me a red stretchy exercise device. I started using it but there's pain with the Staples still being in the ankle. I will see the doctor tomorrow and we'll see if he'll take the Staples out and he'll do x-rays. My ankle is very stiff when I do the exercises. It's especially stiff when I try to pull the foot up. When does that start getting better? I know I'm pretty early to start exercising but the stiffness worries me . I hope it'll get better soon so I can at least put my foot flat on the floor again.

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    • Posted

      Hi Celeste

      I broke my ankle on Feb 2, 2018 and had surgery the next day where I had 10 screws and a plate inserted. I had my cast off and stitches out on Feb 20th and at this appointment was fitted with a moon boot. I have been non weightbearing for the full 6 weeks since my surgery and this week will have a standing XRay so the doctor can see how my bones are healing at 7 weeks post op.

      My ankle is still stiff  but I have been doing small circles rotating my foot, bending my foot forwards and curling the toes  bending the foot back towards me and then gently turning the foot from side two side. Gradually I am getting more movement. Two things I have found help. One is to do the same movements with your other foot at the same time as it seems to help you move your injured ankle more too.

      Once you have the staples out and the holes have healed and you are able to get your wounds wet, another good thing is to get a big plastic tub (a normal bucket is not big enough)  and fill it with warm soapy water and do your stretching exercises in there for 20 minutes. It feels lovely to have the warm water  helping you stretch it around more and you can try tapping the bottom of the bucket gently with your toes to increase forward stretch. After you have done the exercises,  gently wash your injured foot with a washer rubbing very gently and this will also get rid of any dead skin. I then dry it off and give my whole foot a gentle massage with Bio Oil or moisturiser.

      I know I have a long way to go to walk and get movement back but 

      I am hoping I can start weight bearing soon. I have started using a knee scooter downstairs at home after spending the first few weeks hopping on a walking frame which left me exhausted. The scooter makes it easy to stand at the sink or stove and to get around more easily, plus you can carry drinks and plates of food more easily. I also put a large cube like ottoman in front of my ironing board which helps me balance weight evenly while I stand and iron clothes to wear. 

      Anything to let me start being a bit more independent again! 

      Hope your recovery goes well. Please feel free to pass on any useful tips you find to me! I have found lots of good advice on these forums and it helps to chat to people who are going through a similar experience. 

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    • Posted

      Hi Helen. . I broke my ankle 15 days after you. Had surgery 3 days after once the swelling had gone down. Had a plate and 4 screws into my fibula and one long screw running horizontally into the same bone .. I had stitches out 2 weeks later and cast removed 3 weeks after that. I'm now one week cast free and no boot either although my x rays showed that I haven't healed 100%. I already have quite a bit of movement in my foot but plenty of pain to go with it. Haven't been to see the p/t yet but like you say if you scan through forums you can pick up some good tips , I've been doing the basic circles and pointing forward and pulling back with my foot and I also read about one and now do it regularly to write the letters of the alphabet with your big toe. It's surprising how many different ways you have to move your foot. I love having a nice long hot soak in the bath and practicing these exercises is much less painful in hot water. My biggest problem is that I feel lots of pain in my heel when I try to stand and also in the top of my foot just where it meets my leg. I know it's early days but I'm desperate to get back to work as I'm struggling on sick pay. I read that the tissue in your heel area needs to toughen up again and again way to start that is to sit with your foot flat on the floor as long as the swelling doesn't get too much , well luckily mine doesn't swell a lot so I've gone a step up and I rest my good leg on top (how guys sometimes sit anyway) hoping to get a bit more pressure on that heel area. Am doing a bit at a time so really that's all I have to write but I'll keep on this thread after I've been to physical therapy and write about any updates .. Thanks .. Heal well...

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    • Posted

      Wow Simon you are doing really well. I would highly recommend getting to physical therapy as soon as you can as you really start to improve under their guidance. They will need to take into account the fact your bones aren't 100% healed yet and will allocate you exercises accordingly. They will also advise on your ankle and heel pain. I have no pain on standing but the physio says others do and it is quite normal depending on your injury and where pins and screws are placed. Your muscles and ligaments get very tight when you are not weight bearing.

      I had my second physio session on the weekend and am moving ahead in leaps and bounds.

      The physio did a deep massage of my calf to get out some of the tightness in the muscles which really hurt at the time but felt amazing after. Alphabet writing with your toes is also great and really helps with range of movement. I also bought a mini cycle exerciser that I can pedal forward and backwards while watching TV. I do about 5 minutes at a time.

      This week I am out of the moon boot and walking in two running shoes! Such a step forward as it lets the ankle work better and you are putting more weight on it which helps with healing. Very important though that you move at a pace that suits your progress. The physical therapist has added rising up on my toes and bending into squats keeping my heels on the ground into my exercise mix this week. Other exercises include sitting to standing unaided, shifting weight gently from leg to leg while standing, and walking with the walking frame. I stood on both feet without pain for the first time last Friday - such a milestone. I am having a little bit of dull pain at the end of the day after working my ankle hard - the therapist said to cut back a little if that was the case. It is so pleasing though to be able to do a little more each day. I actually managed to stand and sweep the leaves from my doorstep yesterday which have been annoying me for weeks! Baby steps.

      To anyone else reading - hang in there. In the space of a few weeks I have gone from feeling quite despondent at being so dependent on others and wondering if I would ever have a normal life again, to seeing that my bones are healing and my mobility and independence is returning. I still need help with things like putting my bins out - but I am doing my own washing and cooking and I am able to drive to work and to visit my elderly mother and to scoot round the shopping centre on my knee scooter, rather than have a friend push me around in a wheelchair. Once you can put your foot on the floor and start doing physical therapy, you will start to see some light at the end of the tunnel.

      My doctor wants me walking into his office unaided in normal shoes at my next appointment on April 20, which will be 11 weeks since I had my trimalleolar fracture and surgery. I think I might just get there which would be completely awesome. I am not going to rush doing stairs until I am 100% ready.

       

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    • Posted

      Good to read you're doing well and that you feel happier in yourself by being more independent. I'm at the physio this coming Tuesday , kind of looking forward to it so I can get some professional advice. I can stand and do the dishes unaided and like you alternate the pressure from one side to the other. Reading your progress makes me feel much better about the day's and weeks to come. I really miss walking my dogs which most days was a good hour and on weekends lasted 2 to 3 hours. That's where I want to be come the end of the year. I too have a exercise bike with the hand pulleys which I use with my trainers on to ease the sensitive part of my foot but the other day I think I over did it leaving my leg pretty stiff the following day but after a long hot bath or two I'm back on track. . I'm going to ask the therapist about driving on Tuesday so at least I'll be able to get out the house feel like a prisoner in my own home. Best wishes and good vibes sent your way..?

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    • Posted

      Forever grateful if I had to go through this that I broke my left ankle not my right. Driving again gave me such a sense of freedom. I am pretty good at getting in and out and pulling my walking frame in behind me. At work I pull up and one of the girls “valet parks” it for me as there is a hill coming up from the car park. Another colleague brings it up to the front door in the afternoon.  I am off to Europe in a few months so my goals are being able to walk around all day in Amsterdam and Berlin, to walk the fortress walls in Dubrovnik and the boardwalks in the Plitvice Lakes, and climb the steps up to the little church on top of the island in the middle of the Lake in Bled. If I can do all that the bridges in Venice will be a breeze. 

      I think I am almost ready to go from my walking frame to a cane. (Couldn’t do crutches! Too uncoordinated!) doing the exercises each day makes all the difference. I look forward to hearing your progress! 

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    • Posted

      Hi Helen so sorry for the late reply. I have so many junk emails that I missed the one where you responded to me. I had my Staples out on March 15th and it took about a week or two before the one painful incision finally felt good. I had a doctor appt yesterday and x-rays were taken. I was so surprised by what the doctor said. He said that the ankle looked good & told me that he wanted me to get a boot and to start standing in it. Not walking but standing. I thought he was going to probably have me start physical therapy. I was so happy and excited when he told me that I forgot to even ask about doing physical therapy. I'll see him in 2 weeks. Before surgery, the doctor told me I couldn't weight bare for three months so I'm way ahead of schedule and I'm so happy for that. I got the boot but the only problem is that I don't have a shoe high enough for my other foot and I'm afraid to put too much weight on the broken ankle when I stand. I found a riser for my shoe on the Walmart website. The only problem is it won't be here till the end of April. I'll probably have to buy it at the place where I bought my boot. Since he told me I could start standing, I started doing more exercises & stretching while putting my ankle on the ground in a sitting position. My friends got me a scooter to use in the house but unfortunately it doesn't make sharp enough turns so I ended up using a lightweight passenger wheelchair like a scooter to get around the house. I'm able to carry quite a bit of stuff too. Thank you for all of your great advice! I still have a bad scab on the one incision so once that heals more I'd love to start soaking my ankle. Congratulations also on your good recovery and being able to walk & drive. I really wish I could drive. unfortunately, it was my right ankle that was broken. I'm sure looking forward to be able to walk & drive again and not have to rely on anyone.

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    • Posted

      Good to hear from you and glad you are doing well. I was fine with just a running shoe when I started walking in my boot, even though I had bought an “EvenUp” in advance so I was ready to go. 

      I had my third physio session today and walked in with my cane and in running shoes rather than in my moon boot. Not bad progress intwo weeks. He has given me more exercises to add to my list. Once you start you won’t know yourself! 

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    • Posted

      Thank you! Thats wonderful to hear that you're making such great progress! Did you have the problem of not being able to put your heel flat on the ground when you were first able to stand? Even when I sit on a chair I can't get it all the way to the floor because it's so stiff & won't move on the top where the ankle & foot bend. I'm scared to try to push it down. The guy who put the moon boot on me told me that my heel doesn't have to be flat in the boot when I stand.

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    • Posted

      No problems with my heel. When I had my cast off, stitches out and went into the moon boot two weeks post surgery, I was given exercises to do daily to move my foot to get a little movement going. These were rotating circles, stretching the foot from side to side and pointing it down and pulling it back up plus wiggling my toes a lot. I would do one set just with my injured foot then a second set using my good foot at the same time to mirror the movement which seemed to help me move the injured ankle more. The phsyio will help you get it moving. I have read of others who had trouble putting heal to floor to start but were able to get it down in time with so don't stress too much. The tendons, muscles and ligaments get very tight with non weight baring and we need quite a bit of work to free them up and get them moving again. I found doing the exercise movements in a bucket of hot soapy water helped so when your wounds are properly healed, that's a good one. 

       

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    • Posted

      Hello again. Went for my first physio yesterday 7 weeks to the day of my op had the cast off for 2 . The therapist is really pleased with the strength i already have in my foot which gave me a real boost . Spent half hour practicing a few excersizes and seeing just how far my foot can move. He was confident enough to take one of my crutches away so I don't use them both prolonging recovery. . I'm also able to drive which is a massive bonus for me... FREEDOM. ...! Problem is today I've been in agony, think I over did it all bit. So today I've just chilled out , leg up , cool pack on.. plan on starting my excersizes from tomorrow. My next appointment is in 3 weeks.. Happy days.... hope you're well . Best wishes , Simon. ..

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    • Posted

      Oh that is great news that you are able to drive again and you are doing so well with your recovery Simon.

       I have had similar discomfort of my ankle with each “progression” - from starting to walk without the moon boot then from moving from using the walking frame to just a cane. It settles down after a few days as your ankle gets used to bearing more weight. I seem to find its worse in the evening. In the morning when I do my first lot of exercises it’s okay but on days when I do a lot of walking at work it’s a bit uncomfortable. Eases with ice and elevation. Tackled some stairs just using the cane for support yesterday. Up and down - I get so excited with each little improvement in my mobility.  Am only 8 days away from my next appointment with the surgeon. I remember three weeks ago thinking there would be no way I could walk in to his office unaided in four weeks time. Can walk unaided around the house a bit but have a limp, so still work to be done. 

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