Lateral Malleolus Fracture

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G'day, I just need to vent. :o( I am a 60 year old female and live in a small country town in rural regional Australia. 4 weeks ago I suffered a Lateral Malleolus Fracture just walking out the front door! My dog was pulling me one way, the self closing screen door was pushing me the other way, and this caused me to step off the side of the front door stoop which is roughly 6 inches high badly twisting my ankle. It swelled up with an orange sized swelling on the outside of my ankle and I had a LOT of bruising. At first I thought it was only sprained. I was alone and called an ambulance but the operator would not send one "for a sprained ankle" so I sat there for a while extremely p*ssed off about that. Eventually my husband got home from the pub (where he goes almost daily) and took me to the local hospital. Nurses at the hospital told me that it "probably wasn't broken" and wrapped it for me. Flash forward several days and I finally got in to see a doctor. Doctor ordered ex rays and confirmed my ankle was broken a couple of days latter. It took that long to get another appointment and the results. I is a "Lateral Malleolus Fracture".  She ordered a cast put on so we had to drive to another country town nearly an hour away for that as we don't have the facilities for it here. Orders were STAY OFF OF IT FOR SIX WEEKS NO WEIGHT BEARING. Fat chance. Doctors seem to have this fantasy world of the IDEAL CONDITIONS that in their fantasy world exist for patents to recover. The reality of my life is that I am virtually alone here and have no close family to help me. To put it mildly my husband is not the the world's best carer, does not want to spend 24/7 fixing me meals, cleaning the house, taking care of all my animals, or helping me to the toilet. So I HAVE NO OTHER ALTERNATIVE THEN TO GET UP AND TAKE CARE OF MYSELF. I think he's prepared 3 or 4 meals for me within the last 4 weeks that I was supposed to stay down. Flash forward 4 weeks. I am worried because the cast feels like its rubbing against my ankle and is very painful. I am also still having a lot of swelling and what feels like nerve damage pain in my foot. When I get up my foot swells and my toes start to tingle and go numb. The colour of my skin is normal. No blue or black skin so I don't think my toes are going to drop off but it worries me that there is still so much swelling and nerve pain. As I mentioned earlier I don't have anyone else to help me aside from my husband who thinks he is doing enough and threatens to just walk out every time I complain so I just keep my mouth shut. It is nearly impossible to get any help from the government as it can take MONTHS for an application to be processed and even if you qualify you can only get a few hours of help per week which isn't much more help then my husband is willing to do. I have a dog that I love dearly (he gives me much more affection then my husband!). He is a 3 year old JRT x Mini foxy and is VERY HYPPER ACTIVE. Before the injury I used to walk him every day (which he NEEDS) and we would go for at least 5 miles around town. I am extremely worried that it will be a year until I can get back to that kind of walking again. My poor dog is going CRAZY. P.S. I don't let him out because it's now summer here with temps hovering between 30 - 40c and since we live in a rural farming area at the edge of town we get LOT OF BROWN SNAKES HERE. My dog being a terrier wouldn't last long if I just let him go free outdoors so I keep him in with me. He is my rock, my love and my most loyal friend. If anyone has read this far and has had a similar injury I would love to hear from you. I especially would like to know how long it might before I can take long walks again with my dog. Thanks for reading this if you've gotten this far.


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12 Replies

  • Posted

    In a way I know how you must be feeling , in June 2015 I had my ankle fused which meant 6weeks no weight bearing and then 6 weeks in an air boot I live alone  I bought myself a small mobility scooter second hand  and it's been a god send to me I live in a bungalow wheelchair friendly thank goodness and as I'm 72 I need to go to bathroom several times during the night ,I found that very very hard word so I bought myself a female  bottle for peeing in that to has been a god send ,I'm now able to walk around but not without problems my metatalsels have decided to play up

    im afraid until your 6weeks none weight bearing are up you will have to grin an bear it I'm sure it will be worth it in the end 

    all the very best good luck


  • Posted

    Hi. I really feel for you as I'm a 54 yr old male and was really active up to slipping from the shower and breaking my leg & ankle mid September!

    I live in Uk, and was working 50 plus hours per week then led an active social life. As you can imagine all that has been put on hold, but on a positive note I am in the latter weeks of physio but still on 1 crutch.

    I live with my wife who also works full time, fortunately we don't have any pets, although I love dogs, I'm probably selfish in the respect that we want holidays and not to be tied down or placing the animal in a kennel.

    It has been & still is very frustrating for me to be restricted from basic tasks that we all take for granted. I was advised to have an operation and 3 pins inserted, the surgeon did say there maybe bleeding, infection & swelling.

    i didn't expect to still have swelling over 3 months later and still unable to walk unaided. Unfortunately you will probably have similar symptoms and will feel various emotions but have your little dog for comfort.Im still not confident to have a normal bath so am still washing from a bowl. On a positive note, at least you have summer to recover, we are -1 in Uk some mornings. I want this chapter in my life to end soon and hopefully not look back. I'm determined to join a gym on full recovery so to get exercise & stay fit and healthy. I wish you a speedy recovery and a healthy New year.

    All the best for now

  • Posted

    Sorry to hear about ur situation. I know 18 wks pist op. I fractured my ankle and had 2 plates and 12 screws inserted. I'm still using 1 crutch, doing lots of physio and will be returning to work in a few weeks time. I stay 10 mins drive from Glasgow so can only imagine what it's like for u being in a remote area. I also have a little dog who I have only started to walk again for short distances. He has been going to doggy daycare whilst I have been recovering at the cost of £75 a week. My husband has been a good help which I'm extremely grateful for but its not been easy for him to try to do housework and look after me whilst also working full time. It has put a strain on our relationship as well but I couldn't have got thru it without him. I have friends and famy who helped with taking me to hospital appointments when he couldn't but they're busy with work and family and I hated having to ask for help. I wish there was something I could suggest to make ur situation easier. I had a problem with my cast and they took it off after a week and discovered the most awful blisters caused by the cast being too tight. It sounds similar to what u r describing. I had terrible mood swings one minute I was ok the next in floods of tears as I couldn't see me ever getting back to normal but it's such a slow recovery process. Is it possible that ur doctor could speed up the application for help or do u have a welfare department that would help as its urgent. If u didn't have ur husband wouldn't they need to help u in ur current situation. I wish u well in ur recovery and hope that things improve for u soon. Take care
  • Posted

    Hi there, I really feel for you!  I'm 17 weeks post fracture (Weber B) 6 weeks in a cast and 6 weeks in a boot.  Sometimes my cast felt like yours, like it was rubbing on my ankle too tight and really painful. My foot swelled within seconds of standing up and my toes turned purple and swelled too.  I know you can't do anything on crutches, I bought a cheap wheelchair online and it was a godsend allowing me to carry stuff. It's a pain hopping to the loo and also showering, wrapping cast in a bag, Sat on a stool, I really struggled and there was a lot of strong language!!  My hubby didn't cope well either. He didn't do much housework - house looked like a tip! Our relationship was tested to the limit as well. Being in a lot of pain, feeling helpless and frustrated at not being able to do anything, we constantly argued. My emotions were all over the place and I got very down. Some nights I would just cry myself to sleep feeling sorry for myself. I'd ask him to do the smallest thing and he said I'd be in a right pickle if it wasn't for him looking after me and I should be more grateful!! I just don't think that some men cope well in these circumstances. I'm now walking crutch free, with a limp but hopefully this will go soon. When I look back now it seems like a world away, I can't believe how far I've come and am improving each week. It was raining here today (UK) and I actually ran for first time in 17 weeks! I started driving again at 13 weeks so I now have some freedom back! It is slow, and it may be very hard for you now, but you will definitely get there. KEEP STRONG - you will be out walking your dog in no time, perhaps not 5 miles just yet, but you will get there! Sending Best wishes😊
  • Posted

    I'm so sad to hear of your plight. I can hear the pain in your post.  Have you told your doctor of the need for more help.  I think that these days they assume you're getting by if you don't tell them.  It does sound like you're close to weight bearing again. I would definitly  go back to the doctor to check under your cast to make sure there's no infection or open wounds.  I'm glad you have a nice little dog that loves you, but sorry he's not getting his exercise.  I have stairs and was having my dog run the stairs.  This process is up and down and I my husband has been here to help me, but it was trying and at times I thought he or I were going to lose it.  I have a fractured malleous as well, tripped in France in a castle on vacation.  I was casted, flew to LA, went to a doctor that took the cast off and said to walk on it in an airboot.   I did, for a week.  Flew home to Oregon, doctor said you shouldn't have walked on it, had surgery with plate and screws.  I'm 14 weeks post op.  I can walk/hobble without aid, but it hurts and is swelling and very stiff.  I'm feeling frustrated today with it.  But, I'm feeling sad for you and I would come help you if we were closer.  I'm thinking about offering aid to people that need it once I'm well.  I am a retired nurse.  Maybe, you should put it out there that you need help and you never know maybe someone would like to help you.  Even though I'm on the other side of the world I'm thinking of you and hoping some help comes to you soon.  
  • Posted


    Here in England we are having gales and rain for weeks with storm Henry lashing the country just now so to see a bit of sun must be lovely.  I too have a dog, a cross between a border terrier and a toy poodle and is high energy.  it was while on a walk on a very muddy path on 17th Dec that i slipped, fell and broke my fibula and a bone on the opposite side of the ankle.  I was in hospital 13 days because I had also dislocated the ankle and had to wait for the swelling to go down before having screws and plates fitted. My dog seems to have adapted to the sedentary life but I do play with him a lot and he fetches toys and runs free in an enclosed garden. It must be hard having to keep your dog inside. Perhaps after 6 weeks you will be able to venture out and put your dog on an extending lead.  I don't fancy the snakes!!!

    I live on my own but manage on one level of the house in a wheelchair. I find that if I keep the ankle elevated above hip level there is no swelling and that seems the only method of relieving the pain. My pot has been on 5 weeks so just another week to go.  I have thought how awful it would be to have a pot on in the summer so I can't imagine the discomfort for you living with such high temperatures.

    I see it is a month sice you posted so I hope by now you are near having your pot off and are feeling more positive. Hope your dog has settled and adapted to not going for walks. It is only temporary but seems so long to recovery.

    • Posted

      G'day Beryl,

      >Here in England we are having gales and rain for weeks with storm Henry lashing the country just now so to see a bit of sun must be lovely.

      Well, sometimes it's way too much sun. For much of the year the temps hover between 30 -40+ centigrade (that's between 90 - 100+ Fahrenheit!).Maybe it's my age but I can't tolerate extremely hot weather any longer so just stay indoors with the air con on. It literally feels like an oven when you step outside in summer. Not to mention the snakes and bush fires. For dog walking you need to either do it early in the morning (best time) or late in the evening. The heat frequently lingers in the evening so early mornings are really the best time.

      I met a young women from Ireland who worked at a local club. She was serving me on a very hot 40c day (indoors). I asked her how she liked the heat and she said that it made her feel sick! I then asked her if she was homesick and she stared to cry! So I honestly don't know why Brits are so keen to move to where it is so hot for at least half the year. :o( That's climate change for you I guess. BTW, I've read that Britain's weather has warmed up to the point where England is now starting to grow wine grapes and produce wine! Is that true?

       >I too have a dog, a cross between a border terrier and a toy poodle and is high energy.

      He sounds very cute! My dog is literally a "Rocket on 4 paws!" so I can relate to having to keep up with a speedy dog. I am very sorry to hear about your injury. It sounds a lot worse then mine was. :'o(

      BTW, what is a "Pot"? I have never heard that term before. My GP prescribed that I wear a cast for 6 weeks. I got that off a couple of weeks ago and am now walking. The ankle is still a bit sore and swollen but I am walking on it and starting to get back it's flexibility. Yesterday I was able to take my dogs (I actually have two, both Mini Foxy x JRT's) for a walk for the first time in 2 months. It felt great getting out again. We didn't go as far as we usually do and the pace was much slower but at least I'm back out there again! :o)

      I hope you get well soon.


    • Posted

      So glad to hear you are walking again. It has given me encouragement as I have my cast off next week if the healing is complete.

      I certainly don't envy you the heat because when on the odd occasion it gets to 25c hear I stay inside. It's 4c this morning.  

      This discussion group is so good because being cooped up in the house for 6 weeks is not to be recommended but a necessity for broken ankles to heal. The posts show that we are all enduring the same thing at different stages.

      So pleased you are out with your dogs again.  Like you mine is such a good friend.

      Best wishes to you x

  • Posted

    I sustained the very same fracture doing the very same thing getting out of my door around 10 days ago. I waited a day before going to accident and emergency dept at my local hospital (tried to convince myself it was 'just a bad sprain') they xrayed and said I had a fractured lateral malleolus. Now at my hospital they said they no longer cast this break and it just 'heals itself'... I was ordered 4 days of elevated foot and then I could start weight bearing which I did. The pain is ok in the morning now but the minute I weight bear it swells and it's agony. Not happy so planning on going back to the docs tomorrow. REALLY interesting to read such differing management of the same broken bone!!!
  • Posted

    Your story was heart wrenching and although it was posted over a year ago and it is now April 22, 2017, I hope you are feeling better and that your situation has improved.

    I too am 60 years old and live in a small Texas town called Dripping Springs (about 20 minutes from Austin, the capital city of Texas). Two days ago I fractured my lateral malleolus in much the same way as you described while walking outside with my dogs. Unfortunately my cat was sitting under the doorway and as it was at night, I didn't see him until it was too late. He jumped up and cried out, causing me in turn to lose my balance from whence I am now bedridden with "a nondisplaced fracture seen to the lateral malleolus."

    My husband is not indifferent but he does have MS and has much difficulty walking so I've been the "legs" in our family for nigh on ten years. It is a lonely life but I prefer it to the hustle and bustle of city life since finding refuge and unconditional love from my two rescue dogs. They are both hound dogs and not at all hyper. In fact, they will sleep 24/7 if you allow them. However, they desperately love their daily walks that I can no longer give them. It is heartbreaking to deny them this small pleasure as they ask me for nothing more. Since my accident, they refuse to leave my bedside and actually run away from whom ever tries to get them to go outside for a minute just to relieve themselves. I literally have to crawl downstairs and open the front door because they won't mind anyone but me.

    I don't know how things will turn out for me with regards to my foot but I hope with all my heat that you recovered and are doing well. And your sweet little dog that gives you the love one dreams of having, has gained patience and wisdom from your love that in turn gives you a break! Lols!

    ... As for your husband, forget about him; he's useless as so many men are these days. I have two sons (no daughters) in their 30's so I try hard not to let my feminist nature get the better of me now that they have grown into men. Indeed, I have been known to emasculate and shatter the masculinity of many men in my lifetime but would utterly hate myself if I did so to my sons --- unless of course they deserved it like your husband.

    I hope I haven't offended you (with regards to your husband) but I just wanted to touch base and let you know how much I thoroughly enjoyed your post and would be ever so grateful if you could give me an update on your well being. I may live in another country thousands of miles away but your story more than any others concerning nondisplaced fractures to the lateral malleolus was the most compelling and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing ---even with this American cousin (if you still consider us as such what with our crazy new president that is in desperate need of emasculation!) Lols!




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