Extreme pain and swelling 3 monthes after ankle surgery

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My fiance broke his ankle 12.22.2018. He had surgery 12.31.18 he has 8 screws and one plate. March 3rd his dr said his bone wasn't healing as fast as it should. March 22nd dr said he could go back to work if he felt he could but he works 10-12 hour shifts in a factory on concrete floors with no option to sit down. Today is his 4th day back and he hasn't made it through a whole shift yet. He says the pain is unbearable and almost as bad as when he first had the surgery done. When he gets home his foot is extremely swollen around his scar and his foot looks bruised and purple. He says he feels a burning sensation in his bone and can almost feel like his bone is moving? Has anyone had anything similar? I'm just worried he's back at work too soon and might be doing more harm than good

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  • Posted

    Thats awful!! He needs to go for a second opinion asap. Try going to the best hospital emerg where you live and go from there. He def shouldn't be standing on it at work all day yet.

    Especially if the bones arent healing. SORRY you guys are going through this.

    I'm 4 1/2 Months post shattered ankle, My bones were healed after 7 1/2 weeks 2 plates no idea how many screws and im no where near going back to work.

    GOOD LUCK!

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    • Posted

      Thank you! Good luck to you as well. I knew things were going too fast as far as his timeline for work.. I dont know all the medical terms, but he basically shattered the smaller bone in his ankle. He was riding a dirt bike and the toe of his boot caught the ground and twisted his foot completely backwards

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  • Posted

    Not sure on the bone moving issues but it wouldn't hurt to check with the doctor. I haven't felt the bone moving except for when I broke it but I do feel the plate and screws moving slightly sometimes.

    That sounds rather soon to be back to work at a job that demanding especially if the bone wasn't healing fast. Even when the bone is "healed", the ligaments/muscles/tendons will take longer to heal after an ankle break, especially after surgery and immobilization.

    I'm not sure if you are in the U.S. or not but in the U.S. there are employment laws that you may want to look into (even if you're not in the U.S.). Most work places are required to accommodate a disability or injury, even if temporary. though it can be based on state etc. In the US, FMLA can be used for workplace accommodation or additional leave if needed beyond short term disability. Not sure if the doctor understood what kinda of job your husband had but I'd be surprised if he'd allow that much standing so soon.

    If he's having to work because you need the money, I'd definitely check for a short term accommodation or what other options there are with the employer and see if they have a HR person or Employee Assistance Program you can contact for advice. I know most of us want to tough it out and to go back to work, but a broken ankle is not something you can just get back to normal quickly with. It can take quite a few months or a year to recover, especially to get back to normal life functions such as running, standing, exercising, etc. I broke my left ankle 20 years ago and it took up to a year before I could walk and stand without a cane.

    I had right ankle (yes, I've broken both now) ORIF surgery 10/30/2018 and I'm working from home (computer work) and trying to get back to coming into the office 2 days a week and even that is a a struggle due to the amount of walking plus not having options to elevate my ankle and I have a desk job. I can't imagine trying to stand for more than 10 minutes on my ankle let alone 10 hours to work and I'm 2 months ahead of your husband in healing. I'd say he needs more time and/or accommodation. This is a huge injury to recover from.

    Has he had physical therapy? That will help as well.

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    • Posted

      I totally agree with ypu.

      May I ask what exercises helped you the most. I fractured my fibula in December 2018, it was a stable fracture so no surgery. I had an air boot horrendous experience. My ankle feels stiff and has some burning on the outer aspect.

      I am scared of walking on it now.

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    • Posted

      We live in NC and his job offers 6 weeks fmla leave and then it is up to the companies discretion, and had the same for short term disability but we were able to get it extended to the 1st of April, not much really.. but it came to the point where they really need him or need to hire a replacement and this is the best jobs he's ever had. Unfortunately they dont offer any light duty work that he could do. They build nuclear grade air filters. And perhaps it's not the bone he feels moving, but the hard ware. I feel so bad for him with this. His dr gave his a compression brace to wear but it doesn't fit with his steel toe boots. His dr also doesn't seem to care too much. It's always in and out in less than 20 mins. He has been doing physical therapy 3 times a week since March 8th and it doesn't seem to help a whole lot and they have told him to take advil and use ice for the pain and swelling but none of it seems to be helping. I would hate for him to lose his job but I would rather him not hurt himself even more.

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    • Posted

      Before I could do weight bearing, I did exercises in bed (though you could do the floor, I have other issues that made getting up from the floor difficult). I did upper body weights (3 or 5 lbs dumbbells), of shoulder presses, bicep curls, tricep curls, chest presses and lateral lifts etc. Then for the legs, my physical therapist (in home) had me do leg lifts with BOTH legs even when in the cast, from your back up and our each side, bottom leg bent, leaning forward and lifting up, then moving your leg touching forward and back. Yoga stretches in bed are good too even just reaching side to side, arm sweeps etc. Just cause your ankle is broken doesn't mean you can't work other things!

      Once the cast was off and I could begin weight bearing, we started with band stretches in all 4 directions, writing the alphabet and circles. In the boot, we also did steps up to a step (or half step) with both legs, forward and to the side, and standing kicks like we did in bed (with boot and later without when I no longer needed it).

      Without the boot once cleared, standing stretches with one leg in front and one back and stretch out the ankle, then switch legs. You can also try and touch your knee to the wall and keep moving your foot back the better flexiblity you get. I also did "tight rope" walking where I walked heel to toe forward and backward for as far as you want to go. The the hard one - calf raises both flat and then on a step letting your heel drop.

      In outpatient PT now, I am doing slanted board stretches, using the board where I have to move the foot back and forth, up and down, a circle board where I rotate my ankle around in both directions, calf raises on a step, standing on a balance pad for 15-30 second counts, then on the balance bad and stepping over and back of a small cone, then stepping over about 5 cones in a row a distance apart. I bought the circle board and balance pad from Amazon (about $25 each) so I can do these exercises at home as well as work my other ankle that I broke before and needs some love as well.

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    • Posted

      I've been doing PT all along too and it does help some but it's VERY SLOW. It's not a miracle quick path to recovery. I had in home PT for 3 months and have been in outpatient for 7 weeks now. It's about working the ankle to rebuild strength and flexibility and keep it improving as the ankle heals.

      As for the brace, check out Walgreens Deluxe Ankle Stabilzer. It's easy on with velcro, has support on the sides, plus it has fit in my tennis shoes pretty well. I wore that with light compression socks and wonder if that would work with the boots.

      That said, you don't want to risk him being fired either because he's not fully doing his job. I'd keep exploring options and reading up online for employment law, etc. My company has an Employee Assistance Program that I called and got help guiding me through disability etc. It also helped that I had a good manager willing to work with me. I know manufacturing isn't as easy (worked there for 5 years myself long ago) and is a very demanding job but I really hope you can find a good balance in letting the ankle heal and being able to financially support yourselves.

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    • Posted

      I'm going to have to look into that. his brace is pretty slim and it fits in his tennis shoes, but not his work boots. the last 2 days he worked he wore his tennis shoes, and it offered some relief but not much. his physical therapist said his dr was insane putting him back to work with no restrictions. they said the dr should have eased him into work. Monday he will be talking with his head of Jr to see what options are available for him. he has just started up a landscaping business as well, so we do have that to fall back on if need be and that work doesn't bother him nearly as much as his factory job does...

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    • Posted

      this was also supposed to be his last week of pt but they said hes not progressing as he should be so now he has at least 3 more weeks of it and they will reevaluate him again

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  • Posted

    Hi

    yes i would say hes gone back to soon. I broke my ankle and had surgery the same day the recovery has been very challenging and i am now 4.5 months on still get swelling and my walking is very restrictive . Im unable to go back to work and have been told this type of injury can take up to 12 months .

    All the discomfort is telling him he is over doing things .

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  • Posted

    ugh I can completely understand where he is coming from! I had ORIF sx 8 weeks ago. I broke my right ankle in three places and needed a plate and screws. 2 weeks ago I was cleared to WB and ive been back to work for one week. Fortunately for me I have opportunities to sit down and keep my foot up/ ice it several times a day. but even with that I come home and my ankle is literally ON fire! The first couple of days I experienced that sharp pain and could barely walk. I think my body was just not ready. My ankle was so weak and un worked for so long I was just putting so much strain on it. Even though the docs clear us, we have to remember that our ankle/foot has just been through so much trauma and change its almost impossible to jump right back into normal activity without feeling the aftermath! Towards the end of the week I can honestly say it got much better! Tell him to take it easyyyyyy! Ice and elevate as much as possible. It will get better with time! Hope he has a speedy recovery

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  • Posted

    Im now 12 weeks post ORIF and was 7 weeks in cast due to delayed healing of a complex trimalleolar displaced ankle fracture,needing a plate & 12 screws, 3 weeks in moonboot and then weaned out of boot after seeing a physiotherapist so now managing to walk with a shoe on and 1 crutch.

    My bad ankle is always swollen and the exercises ive been given to do are agony in my foot, i cant walk without a bad limp yet, the swelling is gross after a just 2 hours up on my feet. I cant imagine having to return to work with no kind of restrictions to make any allowances for the severity of injury, and so soon as well ! The employment laws mean my workplace would need to accommodate a phased return with adjustments to my role, i am a registered nurse in an acute setting so was fully ablebodied before my injury and on my feet for 12 hour plus shifts which im a long way off being able to get back to if ever, i worry i may have to be redeployed to a different role, time will tell, but im taking it literally a step at a time and still signed off as not fit to return for 2 more weeks by my surgeon and will get more xrays done then to check out the fracture again by him. He has warned my fracture was a nasty one that will affect me the rest of my life though. ☹

    Get more advise and good luck !

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