Post op/Ankle surgery

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Hi!

I broke my tib/fib as well as dislocated it about 5 weeks ago, and had surgery about 4 weeks ago. The pain has gone down significantly to where I am comfortable most of the day. I still haven't been able to be placed in a hard cast because I have a lot of swelling, so I am still in a plaster splint.

My question here is, even without the pain has anyone had any trouble sleeping? I have resorted to taking sleeping pills (over the counter) and I can still only get 3-4 hrs per night. Maybe it's because i'm sleeping in a recliner?

Also, around what time do you find you guys are back to your normal life? I'm eager to get up and run again and walk without pain. I have been non weight bearing for so long that I am going crazy for more mobility.

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  • Posted

    I had to sleep in my recliner for at least a month after surgery because I could not manage the stairs to get to my bed. IF you are still taking any pain medications you have to really watch what you might take as a sleeping aide. My daughter is in the medical field and she gave me a huge list of what I could not take as long as I still took a pain pill. I did have problems sleeping for than a couple of hours. I ended up taking plain benedril but I would consult your Docs. Best of luck to you... it does get better I promise.
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    • Posted

      Thank you! I have my first post op appointment with the ortho surgeon today so I will be sure to ask her about the sleeping pills. It's just so hard to be up all night especially when you're this uncomfortable.

      If you don't mind me asking how long ago was your break? And are you back to normal now? I hope your ankle healed already!

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    • Posted

      Karla, My surgery was right at 20 weeks ago. I started noticing BIG changes at about 14 weeks post surgery. It gets better everyday but at that point I was starting to be able to walk without a bunch of support or pain. I still have a pillow on my bed to raise my foot at night, just more comfortable. And all the rain we've had recently has made my ankle heal more than usual. 

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    • Posted

      I think that is something I might just have to get used to. I do know that when I was at the stage where you are I was VERY upset. To not be able to do all that you are used to doing is horrid; but to be that out of it and in huge pain is just ridiculous! Most everyone on this site as been there. I was happy to find this place and just to realize that I was not alone on this journey. The people on here are nice and helpful. Come back often and there are no stupid questions. I hope you have a super Dr. appt. today... let me know.
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    • Posted

      Hi Cass- Glad you are doing really well now! I'm also at 20 weeks and feeling really great now. I also still like to sleep with a pillow or two under my injured leg....makes the sleep wonderful that way. For some reason if I sleep with my leg on the side, it kind of hurts me. Maybe because of the bar on the side. I have no idea. But still...can't complain. Life is good 5 mos. out. 

      Cass- Can you run yet? I can't yet. My PT says until I build my calves back up and toe strength, I won't be able to run in a normal way (except in a whacky unnatural way, using other muscle groups). I'm working on more tip toe walking across the room, trying to be able to get strength enough to stand on the injured foot's toes, by themselves. I think it may be another month at least until I get there. I am also weightlifting to get my calves stronger and back to preinjury levels. Would love to hear where you are on this. 

       

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    • Posted

      Hi patti, how is your range of mobility when walking now? Are you able to walk normally and long distances without much pain?

      My toes are still very stiff and they hurt at first when I start moving them. But I'm trying to move as much as I can so that flexibility comes back.

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    • Posted

      Hi Karla- Don't worry about your toes being stiff. Just keep doing all the stretches and exercises religiously. It takes time, but that goes away if you work at it. I thought at one point, that I might have nerve damage because everything was so stiff and tingly, but it's almost like things got frozen and you slowly have to thaw them out. Almost everything has really loosen up well now on the top of my foot. On the base of my big toe, where it meets the top of my foot, I still feel a bit of that, but now I know that too will eventually go away. It's just part of the process. The PT keeps telling me my dorsiflexion (foot flex) is progressing really well, and almost perfect, but if I compare it to my good ankle, it is still a little lacking. The PT says I still need to work on my plantar flexion (pointing). I am working also a lot now on calf strength to enable me to run. He said until I can push off the injured foot's toes and tip toe easily across the room, I probably won't be able to do a normal running motion. I can do a fake run, but he says that is just because I'm using my other muscles to compensate. I always had really strong calves, so I hope they both will come back well before too long, especially on the injured side. Here are some of the exercises at this point (20 weeks out) I find helpful: sitting on my feet when they are under me and trying to stretch forward and back as much as I can, heel touches off a step balancing on the injured foot on the top of the step, toe lifts and then heel stretches over steps, balancing on a bosu balance trainer on the injured foot for several minutes, balancing on just the injured foot, bending over and touching a cone with the opposing hand, wobble board injured foot balancing (both directions), trying to tip toe as much as possible across the room (I still do a limpy tip toe on the injured foot). I still feel tightness in my inner ankle (the side with 3 screws but not the side with the plate & 10 screws- that side seems fine). The tendons or ligaments are still a bit tight on the inner ankle for some reason. How are you doing? Every week is still bringing small improvements, and every month is showing great improvements. I feel quite normal and happy now. I wasn't sure, back when I first broke my ankle in three places, if I would walk again, but I have found there is a progression with ankles and you just have to do the time and exercises, and things do get better!! All of you who are still in casts and boots...don't worry. Just try to find things to do that make you happy while the time passes and your ankle repairs itself. That time now feels like a distant memory to me, but when I went through it, it was all consuming and worrisome. I received great hope from those on the site in front of me, that I too would one day feel normal again. It is a really miraculous thing, if you think about the body's ability to repair itself. Do things you've always wished you had some down time to do. Might as well utilize the time best you can and be happy. Happiness is the best healer I believe. 

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    • Posted

      Patti, had some house guests so wasn't playing on the computer. I saw your note. I think that basically you and I are in the same place in recovery. A long way from a wheelchair and crutches but still a not up to jogging. I think like you that I can force a short run but that is it. I did not receive any physical therapy so I am doing all of my exercises on my own. I have been working on balancing on the injured foot. Still not solid there. I have an above ground swimming pool in the back yard and I am doing laps daily with different strokes to exercise my ankle in different directions plus as you know that strengthens the calf muscles and the whole leg. I feel like this is helping. We have had a lot of rain and humidity here recently and I think that is affecting my foot. A little more painful than usual. I try to concentrate on walking with the correct form. I wish I had a wobble board to work with those things are great. I might have to look into buying one. I'd use it forever in regular exercise. Just so I didn't hurt myself on it. HA! My inner ankle (the side with the long screws) is still larger than the other. It doesn'e really seem swollen just larger. How is yours? I always appreciate you and others writing on here as to what you are doing for your physio and then I try to do it too. I have been working on walking on my tip toes like you said you were doing. All in all I'm just happy to be able to walk. What a statement, but true. Are you using a cane or anything at this point?  I have one but unless I am going very far I don't use it.  BTW your response to Karla above is fantastic. Talk to you soon.

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    • Posted

      Thank you Cass for your very sweet note. By tomorrow, I will see if I can upload and send you some of my exercises by private message if you would like to have them. I'm not sure if I can, but we will see. Otherwise, if that doesn't work, and you want to give me your email through private message, I will email you all my exercise sheets from my PT and some great excercise sites I have found online.  If you are good at doing them at home, you hardly need a PT at all. I think we are at the same point. Today, for some reason, I was able to do a short (good form) jog across the street and back (certainly not very far).  My 2-1/2 year old granddaughter (who was with me when I had the accident and fell off the hammock and broke my ankle in 3 places) clapped with glee and said "I knew you could run Gigi".  It was so sweet. What I have found is if I tip toe around the house in my tennis shoes, that it is easier than doing it barefooted.  And while at home, I do a fast push off of my toes walk (if that makes sense). It's more for home because it looks a bit exaggerated. It is also something I do with my PT. He actually has a flexible rope he puts acround my stomach (almost like a long jump rope) and tells me to push off my toes and walk forward, while he holds me back a bit. You can replicate this just by exaggerating a walk while pushing off your toes (while in tennis shoes). What I still find kind of hard is walking on the toes of my injured foot barefooted. I try to hold onto a rail while I do it, so I can keep strengthening that foot and calf muscles. For some reason the toe and calf muscle strength seem to be totally interelated.  It seems to be working for me. Give it a try. I would love to hear your progression and I am so glad you are able to swim regualarly. That is the perfect exercise I think. Re. the humidilty, I keep up with Ron who used to be on this site (from NY and had the ski accident and is also 21 weeks out now) and he has been commenting as you, re the humidity and it making his ankle a bit stiff too. I live in California and it is pretty warm and dry here, but I am still stiff in the morning . Do you have a compression sock?  I sleep in one and it really helps me with nightime stiffness. Btw, I can tell you on private message where I got my wobble board and a few other items I love to use to strengthen my ankle. I think I will use them forever too. 

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  • Posted

    Karla,

    I had the same breaks and dislocation as you. I had the splint for 2wks then a cast for 4 weeks then a boot for 4weeks. I was non weight bearing for 10 weeks. I am now 14 weeks. I started PT 3 wks ago and am walking fairly well but certainly not normal. It is a long haul physically and emotionally. This site is supportive and helpful.

    I had trouble sleeping also especially in the recliner. I moved to the bed after a couple of nights and did much better.

    Keep us posted on your progress and keep the questions coming as you progreSS through the phases of recovery.

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    • Posted

      Thank you for your answer Carol!

      Wow 10 weeks non weight bearing... I have my first post op appointment with the ortho surgeon and I was foolishly hoping she'd say I can start walkinh today. I can see that's probably not the case, especially because I still get a lot of swelling.

      Yeah the emotional part is proving to be harder for me than the physical. Thank you so much for your kind words! I am definitely glad I found this place.

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  • Posted

    Keep your leg-foot above your heart as long & as often as u can. That will help to bring the swelling down. Have to do this even with the cast on your leg. I have been 10 weeks in a cast and now 6 weeks in a boot. I can walk a little on my heel without the boot but not supposed to put my whole foot down yet. This is a long process, b patient.

    I was up every two hours for the first month after surgery at night. Then I think because I was so tired I was sleeping four hours. Since I'm in the boot which I don't have on at night I sleep 6 hours which is ok. I only took Oxycodon for the first two weeks after surgery. Now a Tylenol PM at night.

    This is not easy.

    Karran

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    • Posted

      Yeah I keep it elevated most of the day, I added another pillow and I did notice the swelling go down more, I guess it wasn't high enough before.

      It gets so frustrating but I am starting to accept it. That's gret you have some movement back and can walk a little now! Did it hurt a lot when you started weight bearing? How is the pain now?

      Yeah I'm still sleeping on a recliner, but hoping to move back to bed soon. I'm still taking hydrocodone for pain, even though I don't have too much of it still I am scared to switch to tylenol because I am scared my pain will come back.

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