I Have Forgotton How to Walk

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Dear All,

I joined the broken bone club in December 2017 following a fall at home and breaking my ankle in 3 places plus the back of my leg. Following 2 operations to install 2 metal plates and about a dozen screws I am now informed by my surgeon that I can FWB in my training shoes which is great however, I can stand, walk with crutches (not very confidently) but I cannot get my head around trying to walk without them it’s like I have completely forgotten. I have told my surgeon and she says this is quite common and we need to wake my brain up again to establish this function.

I have physio again today and I am hoping that we will spend some of the session on this but I would appreciate any tips or feedback on how others got through this.

I know others have mentioned but some of this battle to recovery is more mental than physical.

I am wishing to return to work after the Easter holiday if my surgeon gives me the okay on 5th April but of course I need to walk first.

I am based in the North West of England and thought I was on my own with this until I came across this forum which has been great and given me comfort and a desire to get through this.

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  • Posted

    Hi Kenny

    Me too in the North West, my accident was last Feb 17, my ankle still broken, it’s s non union.  

    Despite being broken I am able to hobble along with a stick. 

    I began to walk slowly by shuffling little by little increasing my shuffle until it became a step. 

     Physio is great for making you take that first step.

     I was first using a walking frame to shuffle with, then 2 crutches to make steps with and then one crutch as my  confidence grew. As for the pain and the swelling this will continue for probably years, elevate your leg as much as you can when you can. 

    You’ll probably end up doing ankle classes for a couple of months to get the movement back to how it was,  you will need to push through the pain because  physio therapists will want you to walk on unaided as soon as they see fit. Hang in there kid. 

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    • Posted

      Hi Darren,

      Sorry to hear your ankle is still broken after a year, is it still painful to walk on?

      Both my physio and surgeon have been good and are encouraging me to get my head around taking those first steps. I have been told I will be in physio for as long as it takes which is good, I have never seen such a busy hospital department as this!

      i am doing my home exercises in addition to physio and my ROM is improving but not sure if it will ever get to where it was pre accident.

      the swelling is there but not that bad as I can get into my training shores okay but it does sting a bit if it’s down too long and that awful redness appears.

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    • Posted

      Hi Kathy, you would think so wouldnt you? 

      From the outset once I began  physiotherapy my orthopaedic told me to push myself, I had 22 private sessions which has now stopped( the last was In Jan 18)subject to review, as for NHS I’m still going weekly as of from May 17 until now, I do a low level ankle class which always leaves me  incredibly sore for few days after.  Orthopaedics confirmed that it’s not the plates and screws retricting my movement but that it’s still broke( confirmed in Nov 17 CT scan) I was told to continue with physio and to begin daily 20mins  Exogen therapy( Jan 18) I’m on my 56th day, last weeks X-ray showed no signs of healing, as for my pain it averages around 4-5 when walking with the aid of a stick, yesterday for instance was off the scale, I couldn’t  weight beat at all,  I get relief when I elevate my ankle/Leg. To be honest every day is a struggle. 

      48yr never smoked and I don’t drink, I eat rather health too, they say if Exogen isn’t successful then I may need a bone graft. We shall see smile

      Thank you! 

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    • Posted

      darren that sounds horrendous. Do they have any idea why it is not healing? Hoping things soon start improving xoxo

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  • Posted

    I am in the north west also🤚😊I am 5 months post op and am just starting to feel confident.It definately is mentally hard,but I am beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel.Dont let physio sign you off to early,they did with me after two sessions and I had to refer myself back as I never had ROM.

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    • Posted

      Hi Sara, it must be a NW thing 😂

      Are you you now walking unaided without any crutches ‘etc’

      I will certainly be in physio for a while and I am there shortly too.

      I am also thankful that the ambulance service picks me up and drops me off as I cannot manage getting down my front steps on my own as yet.

      It certainly is a mental battle on a few fronts but it is important to keep focused and not to let anxiety or depression creep in.

      I will stick to my goal of returning to work so I have something to aim for

      Best of luck, Kenny

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    • Posted

      Hi could you help, did you have a cast then beckham boot, what foot wear did you use in the house, my doctor told me to get a walking boot with good ankle support but I can't get my foot in one to painful haven't started pt yet

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    • Posted

      I was out of cast 27th nov,walked on 2 crutches for 3 weeks then 1 crutch for 3 weeks then aid free😊some days I have more movement than others.Remember to take it easy and elevate when possible

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    • Posted

      I had a couple of casts post surgery before getting the boot at around 6 weeks, I was told I could FWB whilst wearing this and the hospital also gave me a lighter boot for bed (almost like a booted slipper with support). I wore the boot in the house and still do from time to time and then I was told 2 weeks ago that I could FWB in my own shoes.

      my ankle is not that swollen but I think I would struggle to get a walking boot on at this stage.

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    • Posted

      From cast to footwear.I find skechers are brill.and I bought skechers slippers as they have a slight wedge ratjer than being flat.There is good ankle supports on Amazon.
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  • Posted

    My goodness I think broken ankles are contagious in North West -- me too!  I broke my ankle hill walking in Cumbria in December.  As breaks go - I think relatively straightforward - ie I didn't need surgery. I do feel some  the problems we suffer are fear - all in the mind - when I get up in the morning I can't put my foot down -- why not?  I walk on it all day - I have to make a conscious effort to remind myself that the bone is healed - even if the ligaments etc are perhaps not healed.  I am lucky to be able to attend a special weekly exercise class for people with lower limb mobility problems.  At the local hospital and it is excellent and is helping a alot -- but progress is still too slow for me!  My particular problem (and I think the same for many people) is that I can't bend the ankle properly (I think they call it dorsiflexion) so I can't crouch, or come downstairs normally and am still walking with an uneven gait.

    Good luck - we'll get there in the end but we will have to work hard at it.

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    • Posted

      Yes, a NW thing for sure...

      The fear seems to be the biggest thing to overcome, I will also have to deal with the demon of going up and down my stairs as this is where my accident happene! At the moment I am going up and down on my backside as it feels safer.

      A lot of hard work and physio is required as well as breaking down those mental barriers 

      I will also update later once I am back from my physio session this afternoon, I hope to at least transition to one crutch

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    • Posted

      I have the same problems,I am 5 months post op and have noticed in the last couple of week I am getting alot better.Hang in there guys!😊

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