Questions About Post Op Ankle

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I am a 55 year old woman and I broke my left ankle in 3 places and the same foot in 3 places.  I had a plate and 6 screw in on the left side and 2 long screws on the inner ankle.  The breaks in my foot will heal in the cast. I have a few question: 1) I am 3 week out from my operation and I feel pain when I move my toes.  It is not terrible but I am wondering if that is normal.  2) I get a boot in a little over a week and I was told I will not put weight on it for two more weeks but will start PT when I get my boot.  Does anyone have a rough idea on how long it will take until I am walking without crutches or support.  3) What is the best support for walking...  Crutches? Thank you and I admire all who have gone through this...

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  • Posted

    Hi Peggy,

    Wow, that sounds like one nasty injury, I'm so sorry this has happened to you.

    I am just over 9wks in from an ORIF broken fibula, dislocated ankle and torn ligaments and two surgeries.  I have the next one Sept. 27 to remove the two longest screws and a small one that is backing out of my ankle.  There is a plate and 8 screws altogether in my left ankle.

    I have had several casts and am now in an air cast which I've had for about 2wks. and have finally been given the go ahead for 20lbs of weight bearing, which is great.  I thought it would really hurt when I put any weight on my ankle, but it was fine, it's just really stiff and still quite sore but certainly not what it was.  Progress!

    It's hard to say how long it will take to be fully weight bearing as everyone is different, but I would think it will be several weeks at least to really be crutch (or whatever) free.  Personally I do not like crutches, I have never really gotten the hang of them and I don't feel at all safe using them.  I have been using a wheelchair, and now I'm using a walker because I'm able to bear weight.  I still use the wheelchair because my right leg gets extremely tired over compensating for the bum leg.

    I don't think I would be too concerned about the discomfort you feel when you move your toes, it sounds like it's your signal that healing is taking place.  Certainly if it continues and is very uncomfortable, get it checked.

    I am still experiencing shooting pains thru the incisions but that is just part of the healing process, it's not nice, but it's tolerable.

    I am taking whatever small step in the process I can to keep me motivated and try not to wonder how long it will be for anything.  I know I'm getting there, I feel pretty good and before I know it I will be fully mobile.  Geez, how's that for positivity??

    Keep positive best you can, and know it's not forever, you WILL be fully mobile before long and back to your life, good as new.

    Take care of yourself in the meantime  smile

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  • Posted

    I can't speak to your first two questions, but I personally found the walker worked best for me... just felt safer than crutches. There are a variety of mobility aids ...wheel chair and scooters are popular for NWB in particular. I guess whatever you feel most comfortable with is best. Good luck with your Recovery! 

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  • Posted

    I'm 51 and 21 wks post op. Every recovery is different due to each case/person is different. I left the hospital with a walker. I wouldn't do crutches. I love my walker. I feel safebanf can support myself with it. As for pain that's normal. Whatever you do DON'T rush your healing process! No weight bearing early. I was in blue boot non weight for 9 wks, 25% weight bearing for 6 wks then full weight. I've had 4 pt appointments and I was able to walk (not without pain and a limp) today in tennis shoes. I still use my walker as a guide. Best thing you can do is rest, elevate, ice and don't rush the process. Good luck with everything and try to stay positive. It's hard during the pain but it will not last. I tell myself this every day! 😇🙏🏼??

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  • Posted

    Hi Peggy,

    Sorry to hear about your accident. As others have often quoted on here as saying each individual is different.   I had very similar injuries after an accident 30 years ago - I am now 65. So in answer to your question - I too felt pain when I moved my toes. I was told  by my orthopod back then that the last thing to break in an accident is the bone itself. During extreme stress and just prior to the bone itself breaking, other things like tendons, muscles etc etc suffer great stress and they too sustain injury that takes time to heal. There is swelling and bruising as well, all causing pain especially on movement.

    Re walking without crutches? I was ten weeks before my orthopod was happy with the final x-ray - showing the bones had knitted completely. My two screws were removed twelve months later.

    Re crutches?  I use crutches myself but I did borrow a wheel chair for about 6 weeks and found that useful when I went shopping or even getting a meal together. That's right.....  no rest for the wicked....lol

    I wish you well with your recovery and yes, stay positive.   :-)

     

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  • Posted

    Hi Peggy,

    We are the same age and it sounds like we had  similar injuries.  My surgeon told me the tendons are the last to heal. He had to repair two of mine and I couldn't really move my toes for about 4 weeks without pain. I'm 6 weeks out now and I still have a lot soreness and stiffness but it's much better.  The horrible pain from the break and the surgery subsided after the 3rd week but I had complications which made this process longer.  

    My doctor  is a top notch trauma surgeon so I trust his judgement and he said no NWB for twelve weeks total.  Six weeks has already been a long time to me. 

    I could not use crutches and I have a rented wheelchair and I purchased the scooter and walker from Amazon.   

    Hope this info helps. 

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  • Posted

    Peggy,

    I'm glad you found this forum.

    It's been said many times, but bears repeating-- each ankle healing journey is different because there are way too many variables at play to predict what will happen to any one individual. Still, some general facts will always apply due to the nature of ankle and foot injuries.

    If lucky stars permit someone to avoid surgery they are indeed fortunate. Surgery of any kind adds risks and complications on top of the very injuries themselves. So a healing path will likely be more difficult for a surgery vs. non-surgery patient. It's true sometimes we don't have a choice in the matter. I did have a choice, and am so glad I dodged surgery.

    Assuming no complications, bone fracture healing is usually straight forward and automatic, permitting weight bearing in most cases within a month or so. Unless location, severity, and rate of bone mending permit otherwise, doctors often will get patients on a weight-bearing progression, starting with partial and then full weight bearing, almost always in a CAM boot (aka air cast, air boot, moon boot) at first to protect tender knitting fractures (and bone regeneration and remodeling will go on for months, and even years after a fracture).

    Partial weight bearing usually requires an appliance to control weight on injured foot, usually crutches or walkers. You need to know proper way to use crutches to operate them with confidence and safety. I had a fear of crutches until I found this out. An evenup shoe balancer is highly recommended on good foot shoe to prevent complications from imbalances in foot height caused by big bulky moon boots.

    Soft tissue injuries that accompany a fracture/sprain are the last to resolve. The ankle joint has just 3 bones, but there is a bewildering host of tissues (muscles, ligaments, tendons, nerves, joint capsules, etc) that can and do get damaged in these injuries.

    Because soft tissue damage is a limiting factor to recovery it is important to start rehabilitation work just as soon as your health provider permits.

    Rehab is usually called physiotherapy, and involves exercises that gradually re-awaken these tissues, and strengthen, stabilize, and restore them to normal function.

    Most patients don't realize that ankle physical therapy and rehab are not 'one and done' things. Depending on injuries, an ankle patient may need to do PT for weeks, even months, to get back to a fairly good ankle function (and make hard-won progress 'stick'wink.

    It is extremely important to keep a positive attitude throughout, although I would never tell a fellow patient they will soon be 'as good as new'. However, strive for that.

    Pain usually goes with the territory in recovery. Embrace pain and make it your friend. It is your guide to respecting your body in response to recovery efforts. A little pain is usually okay, but extreme discomfort is a signal to back off and wait or do less exertion for now.

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  • Posted

    HI Peggy

    I broke two bones in my ankle 7-17-17, had surgery 7-27-17, got cast on 8-7-17 , cast off and in boot 9-1-17 . Doctor said start FWB . I was Tingley and pins and needles for a a day . I used a Walker with the boot and increased the weight on my foot. I can Full weight bear in and out of the boot . Keep the boot on in the day and take it off at night . My ankle and foot get very sore . I elevate when this happens . I take a 325 mg aspirin in the morning and 2 Zyflamend whole body at night. I have also been rubbing Magnesium Oil With Msm on my foot and ankle which helps. You broke more bones so your healing time line could be longer but this kinda gives you an idea of the process.

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  • Posted

    I'm 13 weeks post op and can still only move two toes. I am 13 weeks post op and can walk with a hobble unassisted. I asked my doctor when I would be back to normal and he said I would never be back to like I was before the break. My bones are 95% healed but was told it could take a year to be completely healed.

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