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freddy41742 freddy41742

ORIF Surgery - right leg/ankle - general adivce please!


Been thinking about posting for a while but plaster tech's adviced no searching the web!

Would like to get some hope for the future smile

Sorry if this is the same as many other posts!

I broke my ankle/leg on 21st April and was in hospital awaiting surgery in pain most of the time till 30th April.

From then till now I have pretty much been in bed the whole time and only gone to toilet and back. In the first few weeks when I ventured out of the bed room I spent hours recovering from the pain of swelling so have gradually done less and less! I have been on paracetemol and Naproxen for nearly all of this time.

Cast possibly/hopefully to be removed for boot Tuesday 12th June, will there be any light at the end of the tunnel with the boot?

As nice as it should be having people to care and bring breakfast, lucnh etc, I am fed up now and want to repay some of the kindness I have been shown and want to get back to being upright!!

I keen hearing with regards the swelling, keep your foot raised, take ibuprofen/naproxen, drink lots ad wiggle your toes, but none of it seems to make a massive difference!

The bad bit.... I have always been physically strong (not worlds strongest man but can move concrete slabs withough too much issue) but mentally, like a lettuce leaf and wonder if that is the bit that is making it harder, depression etc....

Can anyone turn the lights on ? smile

11 Replies

  • jean11098 jean11098 freddy41742

    I’m so sorry Freddy!  Sounds like no fun at all. I didn’t had the same injury- mine was wrist/arm. So my mobility was much different from yours. And many times I said a little prayer that it wasn’t my ankle.  In my opinion there’s good news and bad news.

    The boot should definitely help, but the pain and swelling may still be bad. I was told my swelling could last a year although it is gradually get better but does flair up.  4 months post op I still can’t get my wedding ring on. Pain is much better and only an issue when wrist is flexed too far (only about 80% of previous range of motion)

    Physical therapy is vital. Do exactly the exercises as given. Don’t overdo them thinking more is better. I did and it wasn’t. Did too much and it actually set me back

    Do as much as you can now. You should be able to exercise the other 3 limbs. You have already lost muscle mass. But if you were strong and active before it should come back pretty quickly. Just frustrating when you suddenly realize how weak you’ve become. Also make sure you go through range of motion with your major joints - hips knees ankles shoulders elbows and wrists.  I now have severe shoulder issues caused from disuse. Shoulder limits me more than the radius/ulna does. Frustrating to need help for something that could have been prevented if either the surgeon or therapist had told me to exercise the shoulder in all directions too. 

    Good luck to you. There is light at the end of the tunnel. It is easy to get down and sometimes it helps to let it out in private - punch some pillows and crying jags helped me.  Just frustrating that that tunnel seems longer than expected.  But you will get back

  • tha doe19942 tha doe19942 freddy41742

    I’m really sorry to hear abt all of this freddy, it’s normal to have those pains and always raise ur leg/ankle on pillow above the heart level to reduce swelling, put an ice bag under ur foot if u feel irritated, and exercise ur legs in swimming pool (walking a bit steps from deep part)  before u walk on the ground, water pressure can help u make steps without being painful much. You can definitely walk around three months, trust urself, rest these days, watch netflix, play games or listen music.

    I feel u because that’s what i have been through, be strong, u gonna reach to the end of the tunnel soon.


    • jude-57 jude-57 tha doe19942

      I haven’t experienced an ankle injury before but my daughter has....she opted not to have the boot (but sounds like your injury is much worse than hers was), because she was starting a job as a lifeguard and would be around pool.  The little exercises she did in the pool sped up her recovery tenfold! So I agree with the other poster — try to get to a pool for water therapy after you get your cast off (your doctor may be able to write a prescription for this and maybe get you into a facility with a small pool just for this type of therapy — it is the best and quickest way to heal (in my opinion anyway). I’m so sorry you’re still in pain. I broke both my wrists over a year ago and I’m just now seeing full range of motion. It seems to take a long time but I am 61 yrs old. Good luck!  

  • freddy41742 freddy41742

    Thank you all for your responses, it does give hope. thank you very much!

    I would have replied sooner today although the swelling got bad and I couldn't do anything but try and concentrate to get it to reduce because of how hard the cast was pressing against my ankle, then I spent several hours feeling really sick, happily both have passed!

    I find it partly difficult thinking while this is difficult and I wouldn't wish it on anyway there are people out there who are having a much harder time so trying to use that to kick myself into being stronger and more patient.

    I will defainately take note of all of the ideas as I want and need to recover as soon as possible whilst avoiding rushing as t is sending my slowly nuts.

    I just hope that whatever I get next week doesn't make things as bad as they were for the first 2 weeks of this cast where it was bad straight away and the thought of 4 weeks after the previous weeks of pain mean that some days it was so bad I couldn't do anything and just stared at the cieling for the day which wasn't good but over that hill now..

    It realy is a long road isn't!! and Netflix etc definately help smile

    Thanks again!!

    Hope you all have a good day/evening!

  • vanessa2018 vanessa2018 freddy41742

    I know just how frustrated you feel!

    Whilst i cannot comment on your broken ankle I can share with you  how fed up you are as I broke my right wrist at the beginning of April! My cast was removed one month ago and since then my fingers are like sausages! Whilst I am not in pain I have very little movement in my wrist due to the stiffness of being in a cast and also some numbness due to nerve compression.

    I hated having to rely on other people to do things for me as I am quite an independent person but now am so pleased that I can just about cut my own food!

    Like you mentioned there are so many other people who are in a worse situation than myself and I should be grateful for every little step of progress that I make but it is difficult. I was quite depressed at the beginning but since attending physio therapy I think I may be able to see light at the end of the tunnel - I’m crawling towards that light though but every little achievement is progress!

    Good luck with your recovery!

  • freddy41742 freddy41742

    I think the loss of independance is a big problem, having never experienced such a loss before where I can't even get food or drink orl eave the bedroom.

    The other difficulty that I am experiencing today, hence writing this so early before I completely loose the will is....The "every other day" nature of the recovery that I experience. By this I mean the day before yesterday was bad, really bad, angry, frustrated, upset, constant pain from the swelling, then yesterday was I think the best day I have had since the accident where I got up to go to the toilet several times and no swelling at all and I felt so much better and ready for nearly anything. Today already really angry and frustrated and had disruptive nights sleep. Has anyone else had it like that?

    Whilst I am also massively paranoid that something bad might be going on or happen within the cast I then think that if every other day is really good then surely it must be fine.

    I wonder whether with these injuries part of the problem (by my thoughts anyway) is the length of time. Sometimes people have injuries they then recover and within days or weeks they are feeling better. Whereas with this it is months and that is really quite wearing.

    To add to the worry my father-in-law has been diagnosed with prostate cancer and whilst the treatment is good I find it doesn't stop the worry. Even though as I know those that don't worry say..that it is a waste of time that doesn't change anything, and while I know and beieve this it doesn't stop it! Oh the brain and its complexities!

    Anyway I am going to now spend the day trying to concentrate on not flipping out due to how things are (could be a difficult time!) so I will wish you all a wonderful day and hope that your suffering like mine dissolves quickly and get better every minute that passes!!

    • vanessa2018 vanessa2018 freddy41742

      I can relate to how you feel (apart from the fact the I have broken my wrist not my ankle!)

      I feel frustrated by my lack of progress even though my physiotherapist is pleased with the stage that I am at.  My fingers are constantly swollen- worse in the morning- which hampers movement.  My physio has told me to hang my arm down by my side and move it as normal as I have been walking around with it dangling in the be air like a dog with a wounded paw, not quite sure what to do with it! I told him I was concerned about the swelling if I kept dangling it but he said to elevate it at the end of the day. I did find trying to get comfortable in bed the hardest and find that by the morning my fingers are once again stiff and feel that I am back to square one!

      I have good days and bad days where I think that I am feeling a bit more positive about my progress as then get disheartened when I feel and ache or pain or a bit more tingling when I move my wrist!  I have been reminded to be patient as everybody’s healing is different but I get so frustrated as I am yet unable to do things that I did before! I too know of someone who broke their wrist and was back in work a week later but my physio said that she was in the lucky 15% who do.

      I got very claustrophobic in my cast and was also worried about every little symptom- if it is bothering you I suggest you go back to the hospital for a check just for some reassurance- I went back twice to have my cast split as I found it too tight - then where the plaster was split it kept pinching my arm -can’t win!! Hopefully you’ll be in a walking boot soon and regain your mobility.

      I am sorry to hear about your father-in-law, it’s only natural to worry about other people close to you- my mother has been diagnosed with breast cancer for the second time but she is an example to me as she is so positive and gets out and about more than me!

      Best wishes!

    • freddy41742 freddy41742 vanessa2018

      THanks Vanessa

      It sounds like there can be similarities between leg and arm breaks albet with some obvious differences smile the frustration is still there at recovery which can be a long journey!

      Amazing how different people experience it, there was another post I replied to this morning where they mentioned 11days post op and already no painkillers etc and no pain, wish that was my experience but glad they are recovering quickly.

      Technically this is my 4th cast as I have been back before this one and it has been changed but all they said they could do was to put a split in as you mentioned but with the previous non full cast I already had lots of pain at the edges of the cast so didn't see the point and generally after a couple of hours it went down.

      Aside from the discomfort/pain and difficulty getting around and the already mentioned lack of independence I really struggle with the frustration that the advice on swelling seems to have no effect on me and that just waiting for it to go down is the only cure and not a friendly one!!!

      Today is the day I am hoping for my cast to be removed and get the boot but at the same time worrying about whats under the cast as it is sore today and whether I will actually get the boot and even ore so whether I will get any releif from the boot, only time will tell!! Something that would permit at least a bit more comfort after all this time would be nice!

      I am sorry to hear about your mother I hope she is ok, as you say only natural but difficult to see others going through very difficult times.


    • vanessa2018 vanessa2018 freddy41742

      Hi - how are you? Did you get your walking boot?

      When my son had his cast removed after surgery on his tendons I was a bit worried about what it worried about what the wound would look like but it was very neat and didn’t look too sore although it was a bit sore for him.

      I find this forum very useful and reassuring with regards to other people’s experiences- it seems we all vary greatly with our healing! I feel as if I am making one step forward and two steps back at the moment - yesterday was a good day with diminishing numbness but experiencing a bit more today! At least I have physio this afternoon so I’ll be able to discuss my concerns.

      The swelling is still a problem for me also - no matter what I do it doesn’t seem to be going down - I am finding that the warm weather doesn’t help!

      Let me know how you are getting on and take it easy!

    • freddy41742 freddy41742 vanessa2018


      Yes I did get the walking boot yesterday, I wish I could say it has been a fatnastic turning point but sadly it hasn't, it has given me more to worry about that really isn't having a good effect.

      The frustrating thing is the consultant said it was healing well but when he took off one of the bandages there was a little blood and so he said to keep it on and gave me antibiotics to prevent and infection risk which has sent the mind into overdrive even though he said it was fine and wasn't by the ankle so no pressure from movement. The other bandage on the inside of the ankle was dry but by the time I got home there was the tinies bit of blood which freaked me out and as it was by the ankle I have been worrying about it all day and night.

      Last night I tried to change the plasters bt the ones they gave me weren't the right size and it ended in a massive argument with the wife just to add to the stress.

      I need to start moving the ankle up and down by of course that hurts too and with that and the worry about the incision and any issues there....I feel like I have fallen off a cliff into the ravine...

      Why is it that for some us experts in a field can say something is fine yet there are still things to freak out about!?

      I am hoping that over the coming days these feels dissolve and I can feel better and get about without worrying so much!

      When I had the cast I too found the hot weather really didn't help, I have had a fan on for days now asa keeping cooler seems to be better!

      Sorry to hear your am is not playing ball either. I hope the physio today provides some relief and progress!

      Do you have some sort of equivalent to the airboot but for the arm?

    • vanessa2018 vanessa2018 freddy41742

      I feel your disappointment- it’s so frustrating when you think that progress is being made and then other symptoms arise giving you more to worry about.

      I found that even though my husband and family mean well I keep getting frustrated with them as they don’t understand what I am going through and how worried I am sometimes. It’s hard going from an independent person to having to rely on other people.

      When my son had his cast removed following an operation on his tendons the wound was more or less dry with a little area of wet blood but nothing too concerning.  Perhaps having your plaster removed disturbed your wound a bit hence a little more bleeding.  Do you live in the UK? If so I suggest that you visit your doctors surgery if you can as the nurse there should be an expert in wound management and perhaps get your doctor to take a look just or a second opinion! I did this with my own doctor as I was concerned that my cast was removed without me even having an X-ray beforehand but he said that this was quite common.

      When my cast was removed I didn’t know what to do with my wrist - I was afraid to move it as it hurt but my consultant got me press my hands together to stretch my wrist but it really hurt! I’m finding movement a little easier now as I have started physio - have you been referred yet? When my cast came off I wasn’t given any support for it - I expected to be given a least a splint for support but nothing! I felt like a puppy with a wounded paw when it came off as I was just holding my arm up in the air, not quite sure what to do with it. Thankfully now I am able to dangle it down by my side but am still concerned that this doesn’t help the swelling but my physio said that it’s fine to do this!

      I’m still getting good days and bad days where I feel anxious and sorry myself but I try and remind myself that I need to be patient and everybody heals at a different rate but this is easier said than done sometimes and no matter how much my physio says that I am doing fine and everything is ok like you I still worry!

      Like you I hope the worry subsides as time goes on - I am aiming to return to work in September so hopefully I’ll feel more normal then!  Next step driving!!!

      Keep me updated on your progress and best wishes!

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