Share Self Care Tips: Non Weight Bearing for 2 Broken ankles,

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I broke both my ankles 5 weeks ago, with surgery, pins and plates in one and a closed reduction in the other.  I have not gotten through a day without crying yet.  I’m so tired of not walking.  Nobody explains how bad your shoulders, back, elbows will hurt from trying to move around in such strange ways. Self care is hard to impossible and I have figured out some short cuts.

 I’m trying to be patient, and appreciate the small things I can do.  One of which is to post here!

1. Try to have a family member stay with you for the first two weeks.  You will need help peeing, (use a “pee pot” by your bed.) bathing, eating.  You will also need someone to pick up prescriptions, rent shower chair, wheel chair......especially if you injured both legs like I did.

2.  Establish a nest, mine was in the bedroom, with a satilite location in the living room.  Fluff your nest with:

    A mini fridge (we had one anyway)

     Tv and remote


      Pens and paper



     Knee scooter, cast boots, ace bandages

     We put mattress on floor in bedroom

     Lots of pillows, blankets to elevate

     Cooler with ice if you are still icing

     A couple of sheets of 4 inch foam to kneel on when getting to chair or scooter

     Baskets to hold things like snacks/fruit

     Phone charger/ change of clothes......

     Pinchers extendable to reach for things

.......please comment with additions to the nest..............

3. Satilite nest is just smaller version of above

4.  Showering- get a shower chair or an upside down 5 gallon bucket will do.  Just drape a folded towel over it for comfort.  You will drop things...a lot. Move from wheelchair or scooter to sit on side of tub.  Swing legs into tub. Then putting weight on hands move over to sit on chair or bucket.  Have helper nearby. Enjoy hot water, have help shaving first few times (razor was what I always dropped) get out the same way you got in stopping to dry off on the edge of tub.  You will need at least 3 towels.  If you are not too modest you can air dry on your bed.  Use cream on legs if you can ( not stitches). Before my stitches were out I used a bag on my leg.

5.  Eating, I usually snack during the day and hubby makes dinner when he gets home from work.

  Now.....what’s in my mini-fridge?


     Grape juice

     Chocolate milk (calcium)

     1 coke....a treat not everyday

     Yogurt strawberry whips

     Sugar free chocolate pudding

     Cheese slices (for cheese and crackers)


     Bran muffins (pain killers can constipate you 1-2 Kellogg’s bran muffins solves this)

What’s in the snack basket?

     Bread and crackers in snack basket

     Baked chips





I did not put a microwave by my nest but I really thought about it for things like hot tea, warm sandwiches........... couldn’t hurt, especially if you have a small extra one sitting around.  

6.  You can send your “help” to the local thrift store or goodwill, Salvation Army to look for things like walkers, crutches, even the stabilizing boot, new they cost about 200 each, I’m not too proud to have doctor look at and approve a used one.  Unfortunately we had been issued 2 before I discover this.  We rented a wheelchair, but then bought one for 25 at a thrift store.  Also, you may find a small tv, mini fridge, or microwave for 10-40 dollars. I also needed  a fan as it was summer and I hate being hot.

6.  Healing you Mind

This whole process can send you into a dark spiral of self pity and depression.  I’m at 5 Weeks and still I cry every day.  I also have PTSD like flashbacks to when I fell and the sound and feel of the cracking.  You must keep busy. But let yourself have some moments to cry.  We all cope differently.  I have made lots of lists! I have a notebook with:

Remodeling my house, room by room drawings with paint chips and ideas.

I also printed some Pinterest ideas to tape into the notebook.

Schedule things to do each day, have hubby bring me the junk drawer with garbage can and zip loc bags to organize it.

Dump clean cloths on my bed, I will fold and put in hamper.

Sit me in kitchen, I will cut and dice things

(Do this in am with hubby, you can smell stew cooking all day in crock pot)

Write thank you notes if others are kind enough to visit or bring meals

Have your pet ( mine is big golden retriever marshmallow) beside fine boy just knew to stay with me, such kind loyalty. It helps to rub a furry head.

Invite friends over to watch a movie or to watch a final or beginning episode of something. Potluck of course (no drinking it’s bad for healing)

I didn’t read but you certainly can.  I watched vintage tv because Andy Griffith and MASH just makes me happy.

You Tube can teach you ANYTHING! Teach yourself to crochet or to knit or loom knit which is easier.  Learn how to write in italics, origami? Listen to educational podcasts (iTunes has lots for free) 

Online shopping! eBay or Amazon, I even ordered our groceries online from Walmart and the hubby picked up on his way home.  That way I always got what I needed.

Organize your music on your phone into playlists

Go online and use a service like Shutterfly to make photo albums with your family photos.  You can also make and order gifts with family photos like calendars aprons, bags, or pillows.


Keep in touch with others!  Everyday my husband came home from work we would roll me up, put me in the car and drive around.  Just getting out helps.   When you are ready you can use a store scooter to motor around grocery or Sam’s Club or hardware store.  A real restaurant makes you feel human, as does shopping.

That is all I have for now.  I will see my doctor next week for 6 week check.  Hope I can start weight bearing, maybe driving....not sure about work. Take care everyone and please post more ideas. We have to stick together and help each other!!!

7 likes, 12 replies


12 Replies

  • Posted

    Thank you so much for this post! When this happened--I had no idea the emotional and mental toll it would take to get through. My one addition to your amazing list -- if you live in a bigger city (like I do!) check for movie theaters with reclining seats. Even when I was at my worst, going to a movie where I could recline the seat and throw a pillow under my cast was a great way to keep from going stir crazy. 

    Also (oops, two additions!) -- journal your experiences, so when you're three or four or five or six weeks in, you can look back to week one or two and see how far you've come. It's easy to get used to a new normal and forget how far you've come from the injury. 

    Thanks again for your post and the encouragement. We can get through this!! 

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    • Posted

      Ooooh, a movie would be great!!!! I might check on that!

      I also wrote on one of my bed sheets with permanent markers.  Lists like: how I broke my ankles ( because just falling is not a good enough story) so I listed stuff like sky diving, biker bar fight, filming Fast and Furious....... I also listed “things that are better then two broken ankles” things like throwing up on a roller coaster, American politics,.......

      I would doodle pictures as well, I’ll always have this silly bedsheet!

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  • Posted

    What an amazing person you are. I have had an ankle fusion and bone graft and one ankle was bad enough. Thank you for your tips. You should understand how much hope you will give people. Not just with the content of the tips but with your positive attitude. Wishing you good luck xxxx
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  • Posted

    Invest in an adjustable bed. I bought one to use prior to my accident. It has been a mind saver. They are not expensive and can be used with your current mattress. I now have two more friends who purchased one. It sure helps with breathing problems as well. Now I don’t have a cache of pillows to deal with. You give up the box springs but you will love your electric bed, call around for prices they will deliver and set up for you. Thank God I have mine. So very sorry for your injuries. Thanks for your ideas, the sleeping in one boot is bad enough can’t image two. God bless and 🙏 for fast healing. 

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  • Posted

    Best post, ever! And so true. This me after 14 weeks ,still NWB and in splint. Hoping for boot this Friday.

    The dog part is like in my household. My dog always next to me, always. Don't cry everyday anymore, but did for many weeks, nah, that is an improvement for sure.

    Hang in there, Winnie. Thank you for really helpful post....

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  • Posted

    Thanks for the response everyone!   

    By the way I forgot a few things in or by my nest....

    Garbage can ( of course)

    bed pan (if needed)

    Lots of wet wipes by the bed and toilet


    Try to set up near a window so you can see the outdoors

    Thanks all!


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  • Posted


    Listen have it all figured out and out into practice big time.

    In my opinion your biggest asset is your wife / partner to "do it all for you"

    I've had it right alright, I also have injured both feet but some what to a lesser punishment to you, I had right foot fracture to 5th metatarsal , treated in air boot to help with mobility (now in 10th week) left foot Fractured ankle ORIF and also a few other bones still in cast. Bed is also my sanctuary with constant elevation well above the chest high (absolutely key in pain relief management).

    My current problem is my GP took me off my initial pain relief of Oxycodone (shortec) 10mg then 5mg, replaced with cocodomol 30/500 (useless in any attempt to control the constant niggly pain at night when leg is lowered down to chest height) drives me to mad so have to elevate up again.

    I have concluded that after 1 week off oxycodone that it has had a negative effect on my ability of function.

    Id appreciate some feedback on this thanks


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    • Posted

      So sorry for your pain!  It is a struggle for all of us to get good pain control.  Some have left their surgeons and gone to GP to admin pain meds.  Currently I’m on Tramadol (Ultram) 50mg 1-2 every 6 hrs. It is not  great control but better than nothing.  Tell your doctor that your pain is not managed, and it is ruining your quality of life.  If they still won’t listen Maybe you take your X-rays and reports to your regular doctor you may have better luck with him/her.  Best of luck!
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  • Posted

    hi winnie

    thanks so much for your post! You bought a much needed smile to my lips and my nest is currently around my downstairs sofa in my lounge as Im unable yet to get upstairs to my bedroom. Thankfully i recently got netflix to distract my mind from my miserable situation. It was bad enough to break one ankle but to break two, how awful!

    I know what you mean by PTSD about your fall, it was the worst day of my life and i went into some kind of shock my whole body was shaking from top to toe once i stopped screaming and crying like a baby ,not realizing even worse was to come at the hospital.

    My kittycat had been a tonic too and smothered me with her love, as my husband works my mums support had been a godsend. You do find out who your friends are too in such times of duress.

    Good luck with your recovery. xxx

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  • Posted

    Wow Winnie! Great post very informational. I've done similar things as u. I set up in living room on couch. The central A/C died 4 weeks into my post break still had cast on & well we got a small window shaker. No money to fix or buy new central air. My pee pot became a dog food tall plastic container. I had b.f. take off toilet seat & lid off 2nd bathroom. It worked great just had to regain my dignity being it was in living room. my whole world is on coffee table & basket with bags ibuprofen. etc. Had a cooler set up with drinks pb& j sandwichs water. I drink lots of water. All in All you do what u gotta do. Baths were my issue only took one every 5 days but baby wiped in between. It was so much with wrapping the cast with cloths & garbage bag. I should have bought the cast bag . I had 2 chairs one to sit on in shower & 1 to sit on to scoot in & out of shower & keep the broken leg outside shower resting on chair. I watched a Utube video that showed wrapping soap bar in an old pantyhose & tying on bar in shower. Also to cut slits in shower curtain liner to keep water from spraying all over floor. It amazes me how we take for granted certain body parts we use every day & then bam! we are without them. Since this accident I have been on a journey of re-evaluating things in life. I broke my leg while gardening a slip on some water on driveway go figure! I was wearing rubber sandals big no no! Lifes lessons ... Well thats all I got for now hopefully I gave someone some ideas. Praying 🙏 for all out there who are hurting /in similar circumstances.

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  • Posted

    1. A backpack is handy also when eventually mobile on crutches, so you can transfer things from one room to another
    2. I put my food in container and a water flask rather than a plate so I could put into the backpack and transport
    3. Plastic cast cover is also a lifeline along with the shower chair as it meant I could wash daily rather than a bed bath
    4. Order groceries online or ask a friend to do
    5. Order/buy large bottles of water and have these in the bedroom and front room so you can keep hydrated without having to get up to kitchen.
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