Seven weeks after ORIF ankle surgery - need some advice!!!

Posted , 5 users are following.

Hi there

I fractured my ankle seven weeks ago and had ORIF surgery the next day. I was in a back slab for 2 weeks & then a lighter cast for 4 weeks. The cast came off on Monday. I was given an ankle brace by the phsysio as well stretching exercises to do to loosen Achilles Tendon & build up my calf muscle, which unsurprisingly was completely wasted. I've been doing the exercises religiously but find when my feet are on the floor I can barely bend the knee on my inured leg when. Is this normal? has anyone else experienced this?

I can get around OK at home with the ankle brace on & one crutch. Can do a few steps without crutches which feels great. But my leg becomes discoloured and swollen v quickly. I have to elevate it after about 20 mins as it becomes too uncomfortable to stand any longer or sit with my leg down. Is this normal??

I'm keen to get back to work as soon as I can but I'm on my feet all day at work - plus I used to walk to the station which is just over a mile away. Think I'll have to do a phased return & find another way to get to work but wondered if anyone could give me any idea as to how long it'll be until I can be on my feet for a couple of hours before needing to elevate my foot???

I'm desperate to be able to drive - I broke my right ankle & drive an automatic... Again any ideas as to how long that'll take???

It's all soooo frustrating. Great to be able to talk to people who understand though...

Thanks for your help.


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  • Posted


    I am now 15 weeks post ORIF surgery and went thru the splint, the cast then the boot. Swelling aching and discoloration are normal at your stage when the leg is down. For me the discoloration stopped around 12 weeks. It is also normal not being able to bend the knee on your injured leg. It's the same as trying to go downstairs normally. I am able to bend somewhat and am just now trying to go downstairs somewhat normally. I still RICE after walking on it for an hour or so. Right after surgery I rented a knee scooter. It was a godsend. It could help you get back to work sooner.

    I broke my left so driving was not a problem.

    Be dedicated to the PT. We all understand your pain. It is a long difficult process physically and emotionally. Good luck with your recovery.

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    • Posted


      Thank you so much for your encouraging message. It's good to know there's light at the end of the tunnel. Will keep at the PT and try to be patient. Will also have a think about whether a knee scooter could work.

      Thanks again. Wishing you all the best for your continued recovery.

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  • Posted

    Unfortunately it all sounds normal to me.  I broke my fibula 4 months ago so I totally can relate to your anxiety and frustration with the recovery process. Keep elevating when swollen and try to do a little more every few days.  You will eventually heal but it can be a long process.  I still go to PT and have almost 90% mobility but still have tenderness and stiffness at times.  Hang in there we have all been where you are.  
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    • Posted

      Thank you! Good to hear you're back to almost 90% mobility 4 months on. I'm just going to have to be patient and accept that it's s long process.

      All the best for your continuing recovery process.


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    • Posted

      Roach63- You are almost through the process. By month 5, you can often stop PT and get totally on with your life on your own. There is still a bit of swelling around the ankle, but it's not bad at all, and you can finally sleep without elevation. If you are at 90% you are about done. That's where I was a month ago too. I was surprised last week when my PT told me to just come for one more appt. This last month has been all about getting rid of the limp and gaining strength in the calf. Try tip toeing across the room to gain strength and doing lots of calf exercises. That helps to get rid of the limp. It's pretty much all gone for me now. 

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