Dealing with major surgery to reconstruct fractured ankle

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On a nice Friday evening at 8:30 pm I took the dogs out and five seconds later I got pulled by the cocker spaniel and within a fraction of a second, my butt landed on my ankle against a solid patch of ice. A week later I had a 3-hour surgery to insert a 4 inch plate and ten screws with one going through two vertical bones. I had several fractures and badly damaged ligament. I am now wearing a boot after five weeks of having a cast. I went into bouts of anxiety and depression. I am taking anxiety, depression, and pain medication. No weight bearing for two more weeks, according to my surgeon. The pain is in the form of pins and measles and aching. I am wondering, will I ever get rid of the pain? Will I ever walk normal. What are the consequences of having a bunch of hardware inside my ankle? I was also told that one of the screws (the long one) has to be removed. What will that do to the level of aches and pain? What are the ramifications of taking norco long term? Any help will be appreciated. Nick

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  • Posted

    Nick, I am so sorry. You are asking a lot of questions that I have asked myself and I wish I had the answers. I am 8 weeks post break and am still in a cast and I wonder all the time if I will ever walk again. Norco is highly addictive and should not be taken long term. I have RSD and my doctor put me on amitriptyline to relax the nerves and it has helped some. I have a lot of hardware also and have wondered about long term effects, guess time will tell. Sorry I am not much help, just learning as I go.
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    • Posted

      Thanks leelee for quick reply. What is RSD? I am diabetic and my surgeon was very conservative treating me. He said no weight bearing for nine weeks. It sounds that you should be on the boot instead of cast by now. I found cast to be overbearing. I had significant relief when going from cast to boot. Only boot is no big improvement either. Good thing about boot is ability to remove it when laying down. See if you can go with the boot instead of cast because you can remove it when you are tired of it. I will check on amitriptyline. Thanks for the tip. Keep your good spirit. After all, that is what we have to rely on. I found my knee scooter to be a life saver. Much better than crutches. Today my hip gave out and I had to change tactics moving up and down the stairs. God bless! Nick
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    • Posted

      Thanks Nick. RSD is a disease that causes chronic pain that is brought on by an injury. It effects the nerves. He couldn't remove my cast yet because I hadn't healed enough, something about gaps. I had a lot of breaks, pretty much everything. I can't wait for a boot, this cast is driving me crazy.
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    • Posted

      Hello leelee : This sounds tough. Have you thought of consulting with a psychiatrist? I have always considered myself as a strong person but I broke down two weeks after surgery and visited a psychiatrist that prescribed depression and anxiety medication. You need to relieve or vent the agony of a cast and you need sleep. Think about psychiatric medication. That may help out. I send my best wishes to you. Nick
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    • Posted

      Thanks Nick, I will talk to my doctor. It is very difficult and I think we have all had our moments. I think the worst part is not having an end in sight. If there was a time table, it would be easier.
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    • Posted

      I have faith there will be an end to our agony, but we need sleep and peace of mind. Perhaps the doctor can refer you to a psychiatrist. My teenager goes to one for other issues so I talked to his psychiatrist who referred me to his partner that specializes in pain/injury related depression. That was a good move on my art. Keep up your spirit and keep the faith
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  • Posted

    I am only 2 1/2 weeks post surgery and 1month exactly since I broke my ankle....

    The depression is REAL 🙄😫 I take antidepressants but it's the cabin fever and knowing I can't just "pick up and go" feeling that really gets me down. Because I live alone and have no help during this, even getting to my Dr appointments are difficult. I can drive (since it's my left ankle I broke) but it's the getting TO the car that's the problem.

    The aching, pins and needles feeling (also stabbing pain for me) is like the feeling coming back to my foot after surgery. It's not even the incision site that's hurting! There have been times where the pain from that it feels unbearable but hopefully it will get better soon!! Just taking pain meds. I have had a few surgeries (no broken bones or anything prior to this at 44) and this is the most pain meds I've ever taken, but I'm not afraid of taking narco long term because I don't see this recovery process of 2-3 months taking as prescribed or less as long term.

    Take it easy and try to take in some TV and movies - that's my enjoyment LOL!! Don't worry about the meds unless you seem to be taking more than you need or prescribed. Any questions you should be able to ask your doctor and they should lessen your worries too!!!!

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    • Posted

      Cabin fever is so aweful. Please be very careful moving to the car. You definitely must be extremely cautious to avoid a second injury. I have been thankful that (knock on wood) I have avoided a second accident using crutches or moving around. Crutches can be unsafe unless you are 99.999% careful. In our case safety is above anything else. I wish you the best and eat well and keep your spirit up. Thank goodness my medications are now making me get some sleep at night. I hardly had any sleep for two and a half weeks after the ankle break. God bless!
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    • Posted

      Hi Pix.  I've had two bone grafts; the most recent of those also included a screw in my ankle.  In both cases, the pain I felt post op when I put my leg (or arm) down was unbearable.  Then at about 2 1/2 weeks after surgery, both incision sights improved noticeably on a day by day basis.  Hang in there, your intense pain is likely to subside soon.  Good luck.
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  • Posted

    Dear Nick

    I can't offer help only empathy .

    I am weeks behind you and can only say I feel reareassured by this group. Support from people who understand must surely make a difference?

    I was walking my dog last Monday tripped broke ankle in two places plus my leg surgery Tuesday home Saturday .

    I am anxious fearful and have lost my confidence in the space of a week .

    Is swelling and tightness normal so many questions

    So not much help sorry but I do now have some inkling of what you maybe are experiencing

    Take care

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    • Posted

      Dear Mary: Do not lose confidence; have faith you will eventually heal. I thank the lord for modern times with Internet info and support. Just be very careful moving around and about. Nick
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  • Posted

    Hi nick. I had my ORIF ankle surgery from last 6 months and i would like to tell you that the pain is real especially after surgery. I suffered the pain for 2 days that even painkillers does nothing to it and as for your concern about the consequences of having to metals on your bones, your only enemy is the cold cause it'll hurt like hell with so much cold and of course bumping it on a hard surface (been there, done that). As of your concern if you will ever walk again, my answer is yes. As of now, I'm free of walking aid. I transitioned from wheelchair, to crutches, to one crutch and to a cane. Just be religious to your physical therapy then you'll be walking again. As what my therapist told me, "Use it or lose it". So keep it moving and flexing when you get the go signal from your doctor. Keep the faith, it's gonna be a long battle. Remember that you need people too to help you. A soldier can't go into a battlefield alone. You'll be fine, just have patience. smile
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    • Posted

      Thans Beba for the valuable tips. I did not have one second of sleep the night after surgery, perhaps a few minutes intermittently of sleep a couple of weeks after surgery, and when I did sleep, I had nightmares of hopelessness. My injury has been humbling. It did bring me closer to my loved ones and it made me realize I am not the hero I always dreamt to be. Humility is a virtue and we don't always have to act like heroes. As bad as injuries are, the silver lining is that injuries make as stronger. God bless!
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    • Posted

      Indeed. That's the spirit! You're only comrade here is patience. You'll be where i am in time. biggrin
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  • Posted

    Hi Nick.

    I am post 6 MONTHS POST OP. I have a plate and screws up my fibula, plates and screw up my tibia and 2 long screws in my inner ankle bone. I shattered my ankle with a dislocation. Yes you will walk again. I started walking at 5 months without any aid and at times take a walking stick out just in case. I'm limited on how far and for how long I can walk. I'm slow and have a limp but I've come a long way. My emotions are up and down. I can feel the two screws digging in at times. I sometimes feel as if my tibia is being strangled where the plate is. Some days are better than others. I take panadeine forte pain relief. I live in Australia so haven't whitenessed the cold weather yet and the effect it will have on the plates and screws. I'm having physiotherapy and starting hydrotherapy on Monday. When I get out of bed in the morning it takes ages to get my ankle and foot moving and at times feel crippled. I am 60 years old in May. I've come a long way very slowly and have felt as if I've been living hell on earth. Keep up the good spirits as you will get there. I remember being frightened to walk and frightened to take my first steps without aid. We take so much for granted but I can walk now although I'm not there yet. You will get there. 🙂

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    • Posted

      Thank you my dear Australian friend! My psychiatrist told me I should keep taking the depression medication for at least six months. She told me it would be a long process and your experience has validated that.  I will expect some challenges going forward and we cannot take things for granted. It is so wonderful to share your experience. Be safe and I wish you the best in I warm and cold weather.
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