Flying 5 months post ankle ORIF advice please

Posted , 6 users are following.

This discussion has been locked due to a period of inactivity. Start a new discussion

Hi folks,

I fractured ankle 13 weeks or so ago, and as I lay in my hospital bed in agony waiting for the ORIF to repair my tib, fib and medial malleous I kept telling my husband I wanted to go for a 2 week break to lay in the sun by a pool and just chill out.  I asked my surgeon at the 7 week appointment how soon I could plan to go and would June be too soon.  He assured me I would be pain free and fine to travel by June so I went ahead and booked.  

Now or I am freaking out:-   

I am far from pain free, especially nerve pain for which I am taking medication. The numbness, hypersensitivity, pins and needles and burning sensation extends from top of toes up my foot to mid calf which is making it impossible to wear most shoes at present. 

I am making good progress with my mobility despite the pain walking unaided at home and with one crutch or two depending on distance of walk.

We live in Tasmania Australia and we are travelling to Phuket, Thailand therefore it will be 1 hour to Melbourne, 5 hour wait for the  8 hour flight to Phuket!  I can't cancel the trip as travel insurance doesn't cover pre existing conditions. I really don't want to cancel anyway because it has been the carrot dangling in front of me since the injury. We are booked in a pool access room so I can just step down shallow steps in to the pool.  I have no plans to sightsee at all as have been there before but just rest and rejuvenate. 

Can anyone give me advice on how to cope with the 15 hours of travel to get there please?  I don't want to arrive there so wrecked that it ruins the whole purpose of the holiday. Any other advice and tips would be greatly appreciated.  

0 likes, 17 replies

Report

17 Replies

Next
  • Posted

    Hi Cynthia 

    lim 5 mos and not walking yet, so your ahead of me. One thing I had was extreme nerve pain and all that you mention. My very progressive doctior gave me compounded cream with gabbapebtin and ketamine at 2.5 mos which has made me pain free. You rub on base of spine three times a day. Could you talk to your Dr about this treatment. I have RSD that is why they prescribed it. Pain out of sync to injury is one symptom of RSD or also known as CRPS after this type of surgery, although rare. I wish you well for your amazing trip.  👣

    Report
    • Posted

      Thank you for your swift reply and suggestion of the cream. I go back to my GP in two days time and will ask him if he knows of any such cream being available in Australia.  My physiotherapist assured me that I don't have RSD as he has other patients that do and I am progressing so well otherwise which was a great relief.  I wonder whether this cream would still work in my case. It would be so great to go away pain free!  I will let you know how I get on with my GP on Wednesday.

      Also how does it work with applying it to the spine when the pain is in the ankle?  That is fascinating but brilliant if it makes you pain free!

      Report
    • Posted

      I thought the same with cream but apparently at base of spine it delivers the meds thru your main spinal cord down to feet. It's been amazing and helps with my rehab to be pain  free. Also they told me with feet and new skin to keep tons of sun screen on them as if it gets burned it's very painful....your trip sounds wonderful......
      Report
  • Posted

    Try massaging it with comfry or some other cream, 3x a day for at least 20 mins each time, to get the blood flowing in there. It worked for me and the pins and needles, and numbness are almost all gone (after working it for the last 3-1/2 weeks). Pain and swelling may last for some time however with a broken ankle. Bring ice and try to put your leg up over a bag on one of your traveling partners to keep it up, if you can. 
    Report
    • Posted

      Thank you for your suggestions including the massage.  I started the massaging today and will keep it up everyday from now on as it just feels so solid and tight under the skin.  I will try to get a comfry cream tomorrow.  I am determined to be the best I can be in time to go.
      Report
  • Posted

    I'm also in Tassie, 11 weeks out of surgery. I use cane instead of crutches, much easier to manoeuvre for me. I have an ankle brace (like for sprains) and my ortho was impressed by that to help stability in my personal circumstances. Speak to airline staff to help with seating if you haven't, just for bit more leg room. Get some of those small reusable icepacks that flight staff can put in freezer for you. Plus whatever pain meds your gp would recommend for lengthy travel. Enjoy your cocktails!
    Report
    • Posted

      How amazing that on a world wide forum we should both be from Tassie!

      I have wondered about using a cane but don't feel quite confident just yet to go to that, walking through the crutches especially on uneven ground just seems safer to me just yet.  Do others have a constant fear of falling again or is it just me I wonder?  I like the idea of the ankle brace for stability but can't bear anything directly on the top of my foot because of the nerve pain, pins and needles etc it just increases the pain.  From the Smart traveler website they say it is illegal to take some strong painkillers in to Thailand even on Drs prescription so have to check that out as well. Do you mean the small gel ice packs?  At 62 I feel I am too old for all this.  I am located in Hobart by the way, are you from the south as well?

      Report
    • Posted

      I'm in glenorchy. Funny we both found this thread in the UK! Not much help here.

      I couldn't do anything on crutches - fear of falling, scared of stairs. But now I'm on cane stairs so easy, can get around without the fear. I still have pain from wire that needs removing but have freedom and can drive mum's auto but not my manual.

      Yep I get hot and cold oapl brand $6 from chemist warehouse.

      Most definitely contact Thai consulate then to find out what's acceptable.

      Report
    • Posted

      I live in Lindisfarne. Love to meet you for a coffee some time so we can compare ankles lol.  Driving again and having that freedom is a wonderful thing isn't it.  I was very scared to try at first as it is my right ankle but was determined to get that normally back in my life as soon as possible!  I don't envy you having to have wires removed, I hope that is only a minor procedure for you and doesn't set you back too much.  
      Report
  • Posted

    Dear Cynthia,

    ​I'm in Sydney. I understand where you are coming from. That sense of pushing towards a timetable.

    I broke my ankle in the first week of October and flew out to Europe for 4 weeks on Boxing Day! I am now the proud owner of 11 pins and a plate LOL.

    My physio got me up and walking unaided although I did take a cane and used it the first week...more a confidence thing.

    ​You'll do it smile

    ​My biggest challenge was the nerve pain which was worse because I although have Fibromyalgia, so it comes ready made with nerve pain in the legs.

    ​My doc had me on Gabapentin and I tried also Lyrica. While away though I ran out of pain meds and the Lyrica and I went nuts and couldn't sleep. I came across a magnesium spray which I rubbed over my legs which worked well enough.

    You will make it, just ensure you have more than enough meds to cover you.

    ​It sounds like you have a very do able holiday planned. I was limited to how much walking I could do in Europe and had to watch where I was going...again confidence and to avoid jarring the ankle with snow and ice.

    ​For what it's worth...you deserve the holiday and you WILL get there

    xxx

     

    Report
    • Posted

      Dear Oopsy day,

      thank you so much for all your suggestions. You have given me so much more confidence to believe I can do this trip well.  I can only imagine how difficult your trip must have been.  We were visiting Europe from late August to mid October last year when you did your fall. I just thank my lucky stars my fall didn't happen when we were away!  I take my hat off to you.

       I am fascinated at how effective you say the magnesium oil was in getting you by when you ran out of Lyrica. I tried Epson Salt baths  last weekend as suggested by others but it made my skin really burn. I now realise from reading up on topical magnesium can have that effect so I am going to also get some coconut oil to apply after the magnesium oil to relieve the skin if it is irritating me too much. How do you use the oil and how much and how often?  I wonder too if you have youth on your side

      Another question - does the implanted scaffolding set the metal detectors off at the airports and did you carry documentation about it?

      i will try to be just using a cane by the time I go but prior to this fall I had a very weak knee on the other leg that I had to take the weight on, so in effect I didn't have a good leg and now I have to try to get both of them up to speed, and get over the fear of losing my balance and falling again. 

      Having the deadline  does seem to be having a very positive effect on my recovery and inspiring me to be the best I can before I go.

      i was also wondering where you are at now with your recovery and if the nerve pain is still a problem for you.  It is just fantastic to know how others are progressing with their recovery?

      regards. Cynthia 

      Report
    • Posted

      I'm also interested and curious re. the  magnesium spray. Which type did you get and from where? I know you can't add a link, but maybe search words so we can find it. Thank  you!
      Report
    • Posted

      I haven't got it yet as only heard about it today from Oopsy Day but I have found that Chemist Wharehouse have it  in Australia their catalogue as Magnesium Oil Spray and also found listings on EBay for it.  Also googled Magnesium oil spray reviews and it seems to be very effective for a wide range of conditions.   eBay had listing for  Australia , UK and USA  as well so that is probably the easiest place to track it down for anyone on this forum. Also one website suggested that the magnesium oil can dry to a fine powdery white residue that can itch or irritate but to just wash this off or apply coconut oil.  
      Report
  • Posted

    Dear Cynthia,

    ​Thank you for your kind ...and exciting reply.

    ​It is common for the magnesium oil to tingle your skin for the first few applications at most. So please stick with it if you can. Compared to what you have already gone through it's nothing. There was some talk in my Fibro group that the tingling is dependent on how deficiant in magnesium you are.

    I broke it 21/2 years ago and I definitely don't have youth on my side as I was 54 at the time. smile I also had a really bad skin infection at the plate site...and had to change the dressing everyday. The community nurse at home finally admitted, when it was pretty much healed, how close I had come to a bone infection. Now THAT would have sucked frown

    ​Patti's suggestion of massage is brilliant, as it helps to break down the internal scar tissue. I didn't get enough and now I have limted movement.

    I just had a thought. Since your doc is progressive you may want to ask him about Low Dose Naltrexene. (LDN). My rheumy has prescribed me my Fibro nerve pain and although I found the Gabapentin etc okay whie I was on morphine tabs, the LDN works pretty well for me now. Just something to consider. Though the cream that Jannie suggested sounds great!

    ​There is a thing called Remembered Pain Syndrome which sounds like what Jannie has described as well. So although the injury has healed to a good extent, the nerves are still in so much shock and disrepair that they need quite a while to regroup.

    ​I still get pain with mine Cynthia, so please don;t set yourself for dissappointment by expecting this will be the case by the time you go away cool..the best you can do is ensure you have the meds and don't be all "I'll be brave about this". You want to reward yourself as much as possible.

    The best thing you can do physically and psychologically is start living again.

    ​Oh and try to look helpless at the airport with that cane. We got an upgrade to First Class! and someone met us at Heathrow with a wheel chair from the plane through to the fast lane for customs LOL. You never know

    ​xxx

     

    Report

Join this discussion or start a new one?

New discussion

Report as inappropriate

Thanks for your help!

We want the forums to be a useful resource for our users but it is important to remember that the forums are not moderated or reviewed by doctors and so you should not rely on opinions or advice given by other users in respect of any healthcare matters. Always speak to your doctor before acting and in cases of emergency seek appropriate medical assistance immediately. Use of the forums is subject to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy and steps will be taken to remove posts identified as being in breach of those terms.

newnav-down newnav-up