FWB after orif ankle surgery

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I dislocated my ankle, tore the ligament between my tibia and fibula, broke my medial malleolus and fibula, and chipped my posterior malleolus 8 weeks ago. I had orif surgery the day I fell, and i got a plate and 9 screws, including one that goes through both my tibia and fibula. After 8 weeks my doctor gave me the okay to start walking, and told me I could probably drop the crutches in a day or two. It’s been four days since then and it’s still extremely painful to try and use just one crutch, is this normal???

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16 Replies

  • Posted

    Ouch...I had a trimalleolar fracture on 12/30 and orif on 1/3, plate and 7 screws....nwb in a cast until last Thursday, now I'm in a walking boot. I can walk pretty good in the boot with two crutches, and have tried one, but I'm only partial weight bearing. I'm listening to my body, and it is telling me what my limits are, lol. I've tried walking without crutches, but it's more of a hobble/hop/limp. No way do I feel ready to walk normal without crutches. And after a full day in crutches, my foot needs a break. I'm getting bruising on the bottom of my foot, so yeah, it's painful. Hoping to start PT next week. 2-3 times per day I'm flexing and rotating without boot, and giving myself a foot massage. I still feel like there is a lot of healing ahead of me before I'm walking normal - especially without the boot.

    I say listen to your body. Everyone has their own unique healing story. Are you scheduled for PT?

    I'm in a Facebook group for ankle fractures, and it's amazing to hear all the different stories and timelines. There is another person with the same injury timeline as mine, and while at pt, she forgot about her foot and walked normally, without boot and without pain. I'm envious! Are you on Facebook? If so, check out the support groups, it helps to hear other's experiences. Good luck, and hang in there!

    • Posted

      Sometimes - on the Even Up. I've been wearing it with a tennis shoe if I know I'll be walking a lot. But I found that it's gotten snagged on rugs/carpet a few times, so I have to be careful to lift that foot high enough for clearance.

    • Posted

      Thank you so much for your reply! My doctor didn’t have me do PT because my range of motion was almost identical to that of my left foot, and because I’m so young (17). Even after the couple days that’ve passed since I first posted, my ankle is feeling better and I do pretty well on one crutch. I think I might’ve been over doing it those first couple days and that’s probably why it was so painful. I hope you’re up and walking soon, and goodluck!
    • Posted

      My doctor also did NOT recommend PT, but I asked for at least one session just to have my range of motion evaluated, check my gait, and get a good list of home exercises.  The PT session was VERY helpful and I highly recommend it.  The PT helped me understand why my foot wanted to point out and gave me some great new stretches to do get back to 100% faster!  I am walking 4 miles a day now plus doing the stretching / range of motion exercises.  Best of luck!
  • Posted

    Hi Breanna!

    I think the doctors today are unrealistic. 

    I had ankle replacement surgery a little over 3 months ago. I've been weight bearing in a boot for three weeks and now the doctor wants me to wear any shoe and start walking without crutches in a week. My foot doesn't fit in any of my shoes and the foot is shorter because I haven't walked on it in so long. The pain is unbelievable. I've practiced a lot today, but my foot got so swollen I had to stop. I will keep practicing but at my own pace. Just know there are many people who are experiencing exactly what you are experiencing. Good luck !!!

  • Posted

    You should probably be in a boot for 4 weeks and gradually start to weight bear. It takes time, your doctor seems to be pushing it. It took me about a month before I was fully weight bearing without the boot after 6 weeks in a cast. Listen to what your ankle is telling you, it shouldn't be that painful. I hope your in Physical Therapy because they really help you through this process.

    Good luck!

  • Posted

    Hi Brenna

    so sorry you are having pain.

    Yes that"s normal when testing the limits of

    your ankle after surgery.

    I was in a cast 6 weeks

    and boot 4 weeks

    and then after that

    still I wear a brace if Im going to walk 

    on uneven ground or be running

    and Im a year post op

    its a slow rocess but a succesful one

    if you allow yourslef to heal properly

    I went skiing yesterday 

    first time in 3 years before

    my ankle injuries!

    But dam it felt good! 

    Take time to rest and lots of

    green leafy vegs

    and berries to help heal

    follow me on face book

    if you want for good ideas

    on recovering and join more support groups.

    Best of luck smile

    Michelle Dominique Aris


  • Posted

    I'm no expert , I didn't need surgery on my fracture, also 8 weeks ago. I understand the modern idea is to be weight bearing and mobilised asap. Pain was considered a warning to the body, seems now they just say take pain killers and carry on. Personally, I find it very difficult to know how far to push things and am scared of doing myself long term damage (at an age where things heal slowly anyway). There is no-one to ask! Professionals seem wary of giving clear advice and consultant (earlier) and physio (last week) seemed to be saying basically to push as far as I could..so it was all up to me to decide when to remove the aircast, when to drop one or both cruthes and when go drive. One thing I have done is lower the crutches. The height set by the hospital was fine with a NWB cast but for walking support, I felt my shoulders were being strained so adjusted position and now find walking much more comfortable. Hope someone can give you a clearer answer.

  • Posted

    I had the exact same ankle dislocation and fracture and have the plate and 9 screws as well.  I am now at 10 weeks.  I was also non-weight bearing for 8 weeks, so I have been walking for 2 weeks.  It took me about 9 days before I was comfortable going down to 1 crutch.  After 14 days, I am walking without any crutches and am no longer using the boot as of this week.  I think you are on track.  It was still painful for me on day 4....still a lot of tingling and "pins/needles" pain in the bottom of the foot for several days.

    • Posted

      I’m so glad to hear you say that! I was kind of nervous that I had overdone it and maybe did something to my ankle, so I let it rest a bit more the next day. Now I’m down to one crutch, and I may walk like a cavewoman, but at least there’s some progress. Thank you, and with the rest of your recovery!!

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