Non-weight bearing to weight-bearing struggles

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A week ago I was given the okay to start bearing weight on my right foot as long as I was wearing the air boot.  (Trimalleor fracture, 3 months nwb). I was so excited and  everything was going well...for two days. Then on the third day it started getting hard to move. It wasn't my ankle but my shin, my hip, my groin, my quad all hurt so bad by day five I was back in the wheel chair.  The swelling in my ankle is twice as bad as it was. Anyone else have experience transitioning to weight-bearing?


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6 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Mary Sue,

    I also had trimalleolar fracture of the ankle plus additional fracture of fib (spiral) and broken heel. I was nwb for 4 months and partial weight bear for 2 following that.

    I had awful pain in my shin up to my knee and hip and lower back.

    Are you in physio?

    Your muscles have wasted and ligaments seize up and these may also have been damaged when you broke your ankle.

    Physio should be giving you exercises to manipulate and strengthen both legs. Swimming is good and less impact.

    Also bear in mind your other leg has been compensating, your weight distribution in to the legs is slightly off.

    I recommend slow transition and not to try and do too much straight away. A trek round the shops is not what your ankle needs at the moment!

    Buy a shoe one size larger than you'd normally wear to help manage the swelling. And you might find it more comfortable to be in a running shoe?

    Swelling will continue for quite a while although it won't be as severe as time goes on. The swelling will also cause pain and hinder flexibility.

    I find i can walk better bare foot and it caused less pain in the shin and leg. Maybe try that when you are at home.

    It will get easier! Don't give up but work within your limits. It may be an idea to speak to your physio or surgeon, especially if you are completely off your feet and back in a wheel chair?

    Crutches may help you support your weight while your ankle and soft tissue get used to being used again.

    I suffered major complications from the get go and am off for surgery again on Friday. Hopefully last one! So I'll be going through this process all over again more than 12 months after my accident - but it's light at the end of the tunnel.

    My case aside, a trimalleolar fracture can take upwards of 12months to fully heal anyway. You need to work on strengthening the muscles and ligaments to support your ankle.

    Good luck!! It does get better but changing your footwear to trainers and doing gentle exercises will definitely help in these early weeks!

  • Posted

    Oh yes!!! 3 mo NWB also. I had all kinds of pain everywhere BUT the surgery site. Your muscles, tendons and nerves have been asleep for 3 months. It's been over 5 months since my break & surgery and I'm

    just now able to get back to doing things I used to do. It's a slow process, but stay positive and make note of all of your progress how small it may be.

    Being on this forum has helped. Everyone is going through the same or similar.

    Remember all those new pains are scary but the stronger you get it'll get better. Are you in PT?

    • Posted

      Meant to mention going to the chiropractor and deep tissue massage helped a lot along with the PT.
    • Posted

      I wish you all the best in your next surgery Janesse! That sounds like quite the extensive injuries on your foot and leg. Wow you are a trooper!!!!!

      🌸💕Sending healing vibes your way


  • Posted

    Yes everything does hurt at first. I went to physio and they really helped realease my hip and knee pain. Also going for adjustments at the chiropractor really helped. Do lots of stretching it will help . It gets much better as your body adjusts in a couple of weeks. Take it slow.

    Good luck!


  • Posted

    Just an update here: 

    Physical therapy is very helpful. She encouraged me to wear a compression stocking ( I was a little apprehensive as I couldn't see how that could help) and it helped immensely. Also went to wearing a athletic shoe instead of the air boot.  Much easier. Today it's been two weeks since I started weight bearing and I'm walking around unassisted!  Feels so good!  Still swollen and limping but I'm so happy right now! I also massage essential oils on my leg, ankle and foot. 


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