Trimalleolar Fracture - who can relate?

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Hello group,

It's 4am and day 50 since I broke my Tibia, fibula, and shattered over a dozen fragmented pieces of bones in between. I broke it 2/15/18 and had surgery 3/6/18 they put plates and metal screws throughout. I'm hoping to connect with some people who have gone through this and hear your experiences.

1. Sleep - I'm completely off oxys weeks ago and still have been sleeping 5am-12pm - anyone relate and what have you done?

2. Flex 90 degrees? Has anyone been able to flex their ankle/foot to 90 degrees within basically 2 weeks post reconstructive foot/ankle surgery? My surgeon said he is seriously concerned my foot is 20 degrees off from flexing to 90 degrees. He also.said I will have arthritis osteoporosis and likely nerve damage. He said I need to fix my foot.. not the best communicator this doc. Im confused bc I feel like I just had a major surgery, cast removed and physical therapy pending- how are we supposed to be expected to flex it full range that fast am I the only one?

3. How soon did you get your cast removed and start physical therapy?

4. How long until you were able to walk with the boot and then walk on your own without? Docs are telling me 6-9 months.

5. My relationship with my husband... He has been very supportive. Night time is the toughest he is in bed by 11pm and I'm fridgey until 5am often times he goes to the couch and we've been sleeping separately rolleyes

I'm 29 years old, healthy female, played sports and involved I'm fitness most of my life. I hope for speedy recovery everything just seems so slow..

I hope to hear from you soon. Thanks for your time.

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6 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Pat. 

    I can't remember all your questions but this is my story. Hope it helps.

    Nearly 3 years ago, I seriously shattered my ankle and SUGEON told me it was the worst end of ankle injuries. I too have 2 plates with screws plus 2 long screws inner ankle bone. I was in serious pain, hospital for 5 days.  I lost my job. Yes, depression set in. I was walking unaided 5 MONTHS post surgery. It was a nightmare and today I still carry the scars ( no pun intended) my sleep pattern has never been the same. I had physio and water therapy which I guess helped me. I didn't push anything. I moved my foot and ankle as much as it would move at the time. It was very stiff. I thought I'd busted my foot as well. I still nearly 3 years on suffer pain and have a fear of falling. I am now nearly 62 with osteoporosis and depression. You are young and will heal quicker and if you have a desk job.. Lucky you. No problems to worry about financially. Keep going with what you can do. Little by little you will improve and eventually walk again. You may have your plates and screws removed. I unfortunately can't due to the condition of my bones. It's a long road to recovery but you will get there. Your age has many advantages over me, so don't fear my story because it's not yours. I wish you well and rest up and take care. Keep your mind fixed on positive things and I believe one day you will be up and running free 😀👍

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  • Posted

    Hi, My daughter had similar fracture plus dislocation on 1/22/18, surgery 1/25/18.  She also had a couple of bone fragments plsu some bone graft needed.  Has plate and screws.  Her experience has been relatively pain free, which has been nice.  Or she has a high pain tolerance and just doesn't tell us!  She was put in a cast right after surgery, and then they removed at two weeks, and set her foot at 90 degrees and recasted it.  MY husband is a physio (which has been a blessing and a curse actually), and he sid that'ss an important step.  YOu want it at 90 early, and the person who set it was like sweating trying to get it in position because the foot was so hard to move.  She was in cast another 6 week, and then soft boot for one.  She has been walking without the boot for about 1-2 weeks.  She started physical therapy right after cast came off.  The physical therapy hs made a big difference.  It's amazing to me what they can get done in an hour, def more than she can do by herself (but she doesn' try very hard : (  She had a terrible limp when she first came out of boot, and her knee snapped back when she walked, which killed my husband o see.  Two weeks later, shes got the rolling walking motion down though ankle still very stiff.

    I don't know about fitness.  My daughter is 15, was a gifted volleyball and lacrosse player and was hoping to pay in college.  this ws a volleyball injury.  Some days I think shes young, the bones healed well, all it will take is time, and sh will be back to herself, but my (catastrophic thinker) husband says she will never be the same : (

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  • Posted

    Hi Pat...I, too, broke my ankle Jan 2nd ...tibia and fibula...and had surgery Jan 5th with plate and screws also. I am 72 but have always been VERY busy and active, and this has been the hardest thing I’ve ever experienced. First being non-weight bearing made it impossible for me to be at home because I live alone, so I had to go to my sister’s for six weeks. My home has stairs also which made it non accessible even getting in. When I finally got the boot it was 6 weeks post surgery and I was finally able to come back to my own home. I was so disappointed when I went into the boot that I wasn’t just able to start “walking.”  It still took the walker, and it was still with pain.  Even then, my surgeon was not ready for me to start PT.  I am surprised that they were expecting you to be able to flex to 90 degrees two weeks post surgery.....that is amazing to me...yikes.  I have been in a brace now for the last month and have been going to PT twice a week for this month, and have just NOW started getting that flexibility back, but I am still having swelling and a lot of pain. I have to use a cane to walk with much stability but we are working on that. My gait is still not right but working on that also. My biggest problem is sleeping at night because every evening my foot starts burning like fire. It starts up in the afternoon and just gets worse during the evening. The doctor says it is nerve pain and the nerves are firing....he has put me on Gabapentin at bedtime and it is helping but doesn’t comptake care of it.  But I AM WALKING and I do see light at the end of the tunnel. I can now go out to a restaurant with family and actually walk in. I am driving again, and that is HUGE for me.  I have always had a very high pain tolerance, but I have to say that this ankle thing has pushed me to the edge of my tolerance. Three solid months of pain every single day with almost no let up..... sometimes low and sometimes almost out of control....but it never goes away.  THAT IS WHAT I AM WAITING FOR! I am an optimistic person, and I often laugh to keep from crying.  I have tremendous faith in God, and I KNOW I am going to walk normally and enjoy my life again.   
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  • Posted

    I am 46 and 5.5 months post op,plates and screws fitted.I still dont have alot of range but my physio said it will get better slowly.I have a slight limp now ,much better than it was.Everything just takes along time.I practice mindfulness to help with the dark days and am starting yoga nxt week.my advice is do your physio religiously.I take vitamin d,glucomine sulphate and collagen tablets everyday.I have abit of pain round the screw site.but on the whole I am doing well compared to how I was 2 months ago.you will get there.x
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  • Posted

    hi, i live in germany so i'm not sure about what i did to my ankle in english but your break sounds kind of like my break or at least your doctors sound like my doctors!  i had an open ankle break which in my case means the tibia bone shot through my foot, i broke my ankle in a few places and the fibular in two places too.  the first week in hospital was all kind of a drug-filled, painful blur.  my ankle was in an external fixture.  at the one week point, there was a second operation to put in a steel plate and screws.  two days after this second operation, the surgeons were already displeased with my 'pointy' foot and pushing me to start working for 90 degrees unless i "want to be a cripple for life".  i was in the hospital almost three weeks and every day from then on in i'd get physical therapy which mostly consisted of very painful stretching to try to get my foot closer to 90 degrees and then lots of criticism about how slow my progress was.  at the almost three week point, i still wasn't really upright, in the boot or on crutches and i still wasn't being allowed to go home do to the severity of the open wound where the bone had come out.  at that point, my husband and i decided to check me out against the doctor's advice which turned out to be a great move because i was much more comfortable at home.  i guess i was kind of in the book, with 3 heel inserts, by week 4.  from that point on, i had regular checkups and x-rays at the hospital, regular physiotherapy at home and did my best to work my way out of the inserts.  by week 6 post op, i was in the boot on crutches.  now, at week 9, i've officially gotten rid of the boot and walk in either sneakers with a crutch and limp or at home, i kind of hobble bare foot.  the doctors have told me (like you) that i'm way behind schedule.  i've been told that i'll never get much more mobility due to osteo-arthritis at the ankle joint caused by the impact of the bones crashing nine weeks ago.  most evenings, the foot is pretty uncomfortable.  it's also still really swollen on both sides.  i worry a lot that i won't be able to run or hike, walk normally.  i'm 54 but til the accident had always been very active.  now, my limp is bad, painful, my knee is stiff, my walk is all wrong and i can't do much walking without worrying about damaging the rest of my body due to the incorrect gait.  so, to summarize, sleep wasn't an issue for me.  i was on hydromorphine for weeks and chose to go off at the six week point.  now, i'll take aleve for the pain in the evenings although it doesn't help a lot.  unlike you, i never had a cast, just the boot, and it took me a long time to hit that 90 degrees but getting past 90, walking normally, seems impossible from where i now am.  the boot took me four weeks in bed post op before i was up and in it but with three inserts.  my husband is going crazy because i can't do much by myself.  can't drive.  can't walk the dog.  can't go grocery shopping without him to take me.  i'm going nuts too.  i'd love to hear from people with open breaks and their experiences.  does anyone walk normally, run, hike, walk downstairs, after a break like this???  thanks and hope i was some help,

     

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    • Posted

      Hi Dianna. Thank god I don't live in Germany!!  They are a nasty lot. It's a serious injury and to push you like that is not normal. I really feel for you. I would sue them if they treated me like that. You poor lady. 

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