Is this the norm for an an ankle break?

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Hi there, 8 days ago I fell and broke my ankle. I couldn't get up or walk so I was carried out by EMT's. they put a temporary splint on at the hospital and told me to see an orthopedic surgeon. I saw her five days after the incident. She said it was a clean break, no surgery required. I assumed I would be getting a cast instead she just said to leave the splint on for another two and a half weeks and then I would be getting a cast to wear for approx four weeks and then a boot and then physical therapy. A few friends have expressed their surprise and said they don't understand why I'm not in the cast now?

I'm in terrible pain constantly because I feel

As though maybe it's not protected enough and I'm moving around in my sleep. Should I get a second opinion? is this the norm to leave a splint on for over three weeks?

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  • Posted

    Hi Amanda,  If I had questions about my treatment I would call the orthopedic office and ask them for an explanation.  I would also tell them about the pain and concern about the possible lack of protection for your ankle.  We can absorb only so much information when we are at a doctors office following a traumatic injury.  I'm sure they will understand your questions and concerns.  You can also check out medical sites on the internet.  Mayo Clinic and others have treatment info.  Perhaps your ankle is still  too swollen for a cast.  While waiting I would follow the RICE protocol......Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation or at least rest in a recliner with your leg/foot up on pillows.  Perhaps you are past the ice stage and the splint probably takes care of the compression.  My treatment was a week in a low boot until I was seen by the orthodedic, 4 weeks in a non weight bearing cast, 4 weeks in a high boot day and night, then 6 PT visits with daily exercise.  I had a badly sprained ankle and a Jones fracture, a clean break of the 5th metatarsal.  Never was in a splint nor used crutches.  I used a knee scooter when NWB and walker when I started WB.  Good luck with your recovery.  It takes work and more time than I thought.  Devs Mom

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  • Posted

    Hi Amanda, I broke my ankle three years ago and was put into a cast immediately, which I thought was normal proceedure but if I were you I would question it especially as you are in terrible pain !  A second opinion is a good idea in my opinion .  good luck 
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  • Posted

    Thank you for the feedback.. I called the doctor today and they told me that because it was so swollen they opted to wait on the cast. I told her my fears of hurting myself more because I find that I'm tossing and turning a lot when I sleep and I'm waking up in a lot of pain. She agreed to push my appointment up a week so next Tuesday I'll be seen and get another X-ray and hopefully get my cast on that day.

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    • Posted

      Good for you Amanda.  Why not try some Advil PM or some other OTC pain + sleep meds so that you can get some good rest.  To get that swelling down do a lot of nothing!  Rest with your foot up on a stack of pillows.  I would even sleep with my foot on pillows.  I was determined to heal as quickly as possible because I hated not driving and not being able to get out of the house.  I also would try to wiggle my toes as much as possible when I was in the NWB cast because they would freeze up and hurt if I didn't keep them flexible.  Do you see any brusing?  For the 1st week when I was in the boot I couldn't believe how black and blue my foot and ankle became and every day it seemed to spread more.  Kind of scary.  BTW I'm still trying to take off the 10 lbs I gained due to lack of activity and comfort food.  Hubby's cooking.  I'll think of you next Tuesday!  Devs Mom   

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    • Posted

      Yes well said Devsmom.....   anyway Amandamoon I am pleased you have been bumped up to next tuesday so all we can do is wait .....  but do heed Devsoms advice and I look forward to reading  what you are told on tuesday, fingers crossed !
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    • Posted

      Thank you devsmom! I got some Tylenol Pm and the first night I slept about 13 hours. Second night it didn't really work and I had a restless sleep again..I'm a big tosser and turner and I wake up all night long... I'm still getting spasms and throbbing pains all throughout my calf, ankles, foot and toes.. today is two weeks exactly since my fall, I guess I was a bit naive about the recovery process and thought I would be pain free much sooner than this. As for bruising i saw a lot of bruising and swelling when they took the first splint off to replace it. I haven't removed it in 9'days now but still see that my toes are swollen.

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    • Posted

      Thanks for the update.  I'm glad to hear that you finally got some good rest.  Too bad it didn't work well the next night.  Tylenol never worked for me that's why I go for Advil.  I think each person is different and needs to determine what works best for them.  Sometimes I also use Melatonin 5 mg fast dissolve.  It's kind of like a little strawberry treat a half hour before I turn off my bedside light.  I always give myself about an hour to unwind before lights out.  Unwind isn't exactly right because a lot of time is spend on nightly routine, you know, shower, dry hair, brush teeth, moisturise face,take pills, prepare morning clothes, etc then I get about 30 minutes quite relaxing reading.  Everything is ready for sleep except to turn off the last light.  Routine helps with sleeping.  Same time to bed and same time to get up and around 7-8 hours.  Are the spasms that you get in your calf like a charlie horse?  I would get those in my toes and calf and all you can do is stretch it out and massage it.  If it still happens when you are weight bearing I know some exercises to help.  About recovery time, unfortunately it does take longer than you think it should.  The bruising ends much sooner than the swelling.  I continued to have swelling long into recovery......so keep your foot elevated.  They say recovery is longer based on how old you are.  That may be true but I guess I recovered more quickly that other 69 year olds but I really concentrated on the PT and exercises.  I don't have the website any longer but there was one that showed non weight bearing exercises to be done on ones bed just to stay in shape since the gym is out.  I did aerobics 4 times weekly before my fracture 2/26/16 and am not fully back to that yet.  Good thought to you Tuesday.  

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  • Posted

    Hi Amanda,

    while you wait for that appointment try elevating your ankle to your shoulder height and pack in ice...spend an evening watching tv and you should notice a difference in both the swelling and pain level

    kind regards

    judith

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  • Posted

    It's now four weeks since I got the cast put on.. I go in later this morning to get it taken off and have a boot put on.. I'm so exited and praying that they say I can try walking on it.. the last four weeks have been a struggle for me.. I can't really work since I have to be on my feet and bending and kneeling a lot as I own a spray tanning business..I had four minor falls and find I'm very uncoordinated.. I've been home a lot and have not driven since this has happened.. I dealt with a lot of depression and finally stopped having a pity party and started to think more positively.. I'm not sure how realistic my goals of walking out of there later today with my boot on will be but hoping I'm allowed to at least try 😊

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    • Posted

      I hope all went well for you and you are now in a boot.  Based on the xrays some are able to go right into a knee high boot and others into a walking cast.  I went into a boot but I had to sleep in it.  Grrr  If you do too make sure it is not too tight because mine was and it hurt so much I cried and couldn't sleep and just wanted my cast back.  The next night I ended up sleeping in the boot but did not use the protective hard plastic L shaped shield that protects the front of your leg from the knee all the way down to your toes.  I also didn't pull the ankle strap tightly around my ankle.   The boot was very heavy but I was able to sleep in it.  It did make me walk with quite a limp because the sole of the boot is so much thicker than my left shoe I was lopsided. After I got used to the boot my depression lifted because I was making progress even though I still couldn't drive.  If only I had broken the other foot!  Good luck and remember we are with you.  

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    • Posted

      Hi Devsmom! Thank you so much! I did get my boot but I am still not supposed to walk on it till this Friday when I go to PT. I did however drive for the first time since this all began. I mainly use an iwalk and I found it was more difficult to do in the boot than the cast. The doctor said I'm healed but I still need to wear the boot all day long except when I bathe and do my PT exercises. I need to buy some long socks that go under the boot because the velcro is scratching up my leg and making it itchy. I did loosen up the top part of the boot when I went to bed and managed to sleep because I was exhausted. How long were you in the boot? I have a Business trip to Vegas in about 5/6 weeks and I'm really hoping it's off and I'm walking by then. I've never broken anything before and I guess I was a little naive at just how long the healing journey is going to take :-(

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    • Posted

      Greetings Amanda,  What good news!  I was in my "air" boot for 4 weeks. My boot must have been different than yours because there were 2 layers of "boot" covering my leg before the 3 or 4 (can't remember how many) velcro straps.  I am not familiar with an iwalk.  When I was in the NWB cast I used a knee scooter.  It sure got me around the house faster but it didn't do stairs.  I also had never broken anything before and it was quite a wake up call.  It was amazing when I was in my boot just how many other people were also in some type of a boot.  It made for many conversations.  I would think that in 5-6 weeks you would be able to make the trip to Vegas (where I was married 48 years ago).  I would be tempted, however, to still wear the boot.   I found that people are so very helpful in public when I was in my boot.  Doors were opened, better seating was available, better parking and there would also be much less of a possibility of another injury.  When I did not have to wear the boot I still had to learn to put weight on my foot gradually.  I used a walker for about 3 weeks gradually increasing the weight from my arms and walker to my foot until I was bearing all wieght on my foot and simply pushing the walker forward as I walked as if it was a shopping cart at the market.  PT is VERY important.  Do everything they suggest and rely on them to advise you about your trip.  I wanted to get back to exercise classes and they advised me to buy an ASO (ankle support orthotic) brace.  I don't think I wore it much because although it certainly did support my ankle it was weird to put on and too supportive for step aerobics.  I bet you are very pleased to drive again.  I sure was.  My husband took me to an empty school parking lot were I gave it a try, then just around the block, and then FREEDOM!  This healing does take longer than one would want but it's important not to rush it and to do all the PT.  Good luck with the boot and the trip.  Are you near Vegas?

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    • Posted

      Hi Devsmom!

      No I'm in NY, never been to Vegas. I wish I could post a pic of the boot, they call it a cam walker. It's very heavy and a little too big for me. I've tried to put some weight on the foot but it's far too painful. Everyone is telling me to prepare for a lot of pain that first PT session and the doctor said to call her if I need pain meds. I am so not good with pain. I'm dreading it but also want to get it over with and be able to walk again.

      Have a great night!

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