ORIF Ankle Surgery Recovery

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I’m 8 1/2 weeks post  surgery Tib/Fib break w/dislocation.  I was in a cast for 6 weeks & in a boot now for the last 2 1/2 weeks. The doctor wants me FWB in the boot. I’m really struggling with it... Walking no problems with crutches w/ boot.

Trying to get down to one crutch is so hard, I’m in pain when walking with the weight on it and afraid of falling and letting go of that crutch...

Any suggestions?

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  • Posted

    Listen to your body! I had the same issue when I transitioned to the boot after 6 weeks in a cast. I had ORIF for a trimalleolar fracture. When I first started in the boot, I somehow got a bruise in the arch of my foot that was very painful - disappeared after 2 weeks. I'm still in the boot, but don't need crutches anymore. When I was first in the boot, I only put as much weight on the broken side that I could comfortably bear. I started by standing only in the boot to get used to the weight. It takes time, but you will get there!

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    • Posted

      when did you get rid of the crutches? im 10 weeks post surgery and im still 50 percent partial weight bearing (although im pretty sure im barely getting 10 percent). I only used to the boot when i was nwb and out and about. i wear normal shoes now partial w 2 crutches. cant wait to go fwb but how long did it take you to walk unassisted? thanks
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    • Posted

      I think you are actually ahead of me! Yesterday was 12 weeks since my surgery and I'm still in the walking boot - I expect to be out of it at my next ortho appt. on April 5th. I feel like I'm ready to get out of it now, but need to wait  until the dr. clears me. So when I get in normal shoes, I expect to be using crutches again for awhile. I say that, because I've been using one crutch and barefoot to get to the restroom when I first get up in the morning. I am no way near walking normal yet.  I would say when barefoot I'm only putting about 15% weight on that foot. So I believe I will need 2 crutches again when I get into regular shoes. I can update you in a few weeks...I think it might feel like a step back again, since I get around in the boot quite well. I even did the March For Our Lives yesterday...I walked 1.5 miles in the freakin' boot! I needed both crutches the last half though. Ironically, wasn't my ankle hurting, it was my heel and left hip.

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    • Posted

      Wow congrats on walking 1.5miles. I can’t wait til I get to do that . Sorry to hear about your heel and hip . My heel and hip hurt too whenever I walk a lot and not my ankle. And when I stand with my feet straight I see that my torso has shifted to the right. Must be hip misalignment . Il have to see a chiropractor when I can drive again , hard to rely on people to drive me around . (It’s my right ankle)

      It’s week 12 for me. I have been swimming, did 1000 meters today and 250m walking in the pool. 

      How are u doing now? Are u done with the boot? 

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  • Posted

    Hi Michelle!

    I had the same fear as you.  All I can tell you is do it at your own pace. Each day, just push it a bit more, and eventually you will get to where you need to be. 

    When I was able to take the boot off, I was terrified to put weight on the foot, but my PT got me walking with a cane in less than a month. I'm now walking in the house without a cane. It's a process, but you can do it. 

    Good luck and a speedy recovery. 

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    • Posted

      Wondering how long the whole process took you from surgery to walking around the house without a cane. And from the time you got cleared to full weight bear to walking on your own with just the cane. 

      Thank you . 

      I’m itching to walk again 

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    • Posted

      Hi Anne!

      It took me almost four months to walk without a cane.  It took three too four weeks of therapy to get my foot flat on the ground. Once I did that, I was able to walk with just the cane. 

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  • Posted

    Hi Michelle,

    We all know the moment of truth when we first attempt weight-bearing and movement on busted ankles. The byword here is that it may be distressing at first but it 'does get better by and by'.

    The important thing, to repeat what others have told you, is to proceed at your own pace-- don't get greedy and try to do to much, and listen more closely to your body than your doctor (your practitioner is right though in encouraging you to 'push' a little).

    A walker (or frame as it's sometimes called) could give you more stability and confidence in weight-bearing trials-- it is safer and more controlled than crutches for many patients.

    Soon, if all goes well, you will be out of the boot and walking in shoes! For most of us regaining pain-free, natural walking gait is a lengthy work-in-progress. Don't be shy about using a walking cane for a while if it gives you more confidence and support in early stages of your return to walking.

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