Vacation at 10 weeks post left ankle ORIF

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Hi - I broke my left ankle on 3/27 (comminuted fracture of the fibula, 4 breaks total). I had surgery one week later, plate and 5 screws. I am currently 3 weeks and 2 days post op. It’s been rough. My leg always hurts but it’s tolerable. Its the immobility I hate.  I’m not able to put my leg on a knee scooter, hurts and feels like the weight of the boot will break my ankle again! I mostly stay in the bed. When I put the leg down, it swells and hurts. 

Anyway, I’m feeling like maybe I’m recovering kinda behind schedule.  Everyone I know seems to think that I should be better by now.  The people I work with act like I should be able to come back to work no problem (desk job). Even people I know who have broken their ankles act like they were doing better at this point than I am. So I’m kind of afraid my recovery may be slower than I had hoped. The doc told me I could start weight bearing in 3 more weeks with the boot on. I’ll do that for 4 weeks, then I’ll be out of the boot and able to walk normally again. Our beach vacation was scheduled for that same week I get the boot off. Will I be back to normal by then (10 weeks post op)? Or should I reschedule for a few weeks further out? 

Thanks! This has been a sucky experience! 

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  • Posted

    Did you have a total ankle replacement ? Or just surgery after breaking your ankle ?

    ​I am heading toward ankle replacement and need to talk to anyone who has done a TAR to see if I should really do this or leave it till later as a last resort ? I have arthritis and bunions both and worry it may all be in vain 

    ​David

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    • Posted

      Not ankle replacement, just internal fixation with plate/screws. I’m not sure how to advise you on that, I’m sorry. Best of luck to you! 
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  • Posted

    Hi Brooke,

    You’re not behind. I laid in bed pretty much for 4-5 weeks. Elevating it just felt so much better! 

    I’m on week 8, in a boot, and having difficulty walking - really painful and still get swelling etc. Still on 2 crutches (and I feel behind in my recovery too compared to others). I don’t think it’s too early for a beach holiday but prepare for a low key one! 

    That’s my two cents since you asked! 

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    • Posted

      Thank you! That makes me feel better to hear you laid in bed for 4-5 weeks! I go back to work part time from home on Monday - I’m nervous as I have to sit at my desk for 12 hours but grateful it’s part time.  I’m currently having my husband figure out a way to get all my stuff at my desk over to my bed LOL. 

       If you don’t mind my asking, how old are you?  I’m 35 years old so I’m hoping I have age on my side. 

      I appreciate your insight and wish you a good recovery! I know it’s a long slow process - hope it gets better and better each day for you smile 

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    • Posted

      I'm 37, female, and hoping for the same!

      I worked from home almost my entire 6 weeks (desk job). I'm no hero, just needed something to do other than watch Netflix!

      As of week 8 (now) I go in to work about half the time and work from home the other half. I got similar pressure from family and friends to get back to work full time but I'm standing my ground and listening to my body....they won't have to live in this body 20 years from now!!!!

      Take your time, it's a serious injury. I ran into someone at work who had my exact tri-malleolar fracture and he took 4 months off!! That made me feel much better. 

      I had a fibreglass cast for 6 weeks which was amazing in one sense in that it was light which made the knee scooter tolerable! I couldn't use the knee scooter with the splint, it was too painful....but that was also the first 14 days after surgery. The negative about a cast is the lack of movement. With a boot, you can at least take your foot out and do minor flexibility exercises. After 6 weeks in a cast + 2 weeks in a splint pre-surgery, my ankle is incredibly stiff. And a stiff ankle is a sore ankle!

      Good luck and hope you recover well. Let me know if you have ANY questions! I lived for these blog posts to get through it. Also, if and when you use the knee scooter- be careful! I once put too much weight on my knee when it was quite forward on the leg rest and the thing flipped head first on me. Not fun. But otherwise it's amazing! 

       

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    • Posted

      Oh that gives me hope that you went back to work from home so quickly! How did you do it - just elevated your leg and sat in a chair? My computer chair is awful and my job gets nonstop incoming calls so I’m pretty much tied to the chair for the 12 hr shift. I wish I had a recliner at my desk or could do it from my bed lol. 

      Yes I can see the cast being lighter for the scooter. I thought I was getting a cast at 2 weeks but he surprised me with the boot. It is nice being able to take it off! But it’s kinda bulky and a little heavy so it seems similar (but not as bad) as the splint did on the scooter.  I kinda think I’m just not there yet and will be able to use it before long as it heals (hoping so anyway!).  And thank you for the warning, I’m sure that was super scary! I have almost fallen several times on my crutches and that was very scary as well. Glad you didn’t hurt yourself! 

      I am so glad I found this forum.  Hearing all of y’all’s experiences is so helpful! Thank you so very much 

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    • Posted

      Exactly! Sometimes I’d leave it down at my desk but then it would just swell. I can’t back this up medically,  but I do believe it’s good for the body to get used to the blood rush and then elevate again and then down, and then up again etc. I always found my blood rushes worse as soon as I got out of bed due to the prolonged elevation overnight. Now remember i don’t have pain when it rushes anymore....but I do remember pain during the weeks after surgery so take it slow!

      A 12 hour shift is a long time. Remember that you’ve got one shot to heal this....don’t over do it and just take care of yourself. You don’t want to be paying for it later. I had my first physio appt  recently and he was concerned about my leg swelling and I asked him why I had swelling In the first place (just wanted a “medical” explanation). He nearly fell to the floor when I asked that....he’s like “your ankle has been through some serious trauma, that’s why!!!!” Whoops.  So don’t forget that...

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    • Posted

      No, broken my fib, tib and back of my tib...so have a plate and seven screws one the outside of my left ankle and 1 screw on the inside. As “standard” as they come! smile
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    • Posted

      I agree with you - I think it helps to get it down and get used to the blood circulating! I’m definitely going to take it easy. I really appreciate your encouragement ❤️
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  • Posted

    Hi Brooke, 

     I am 39, first time breaking anything. I broke my tibia and fractured my fibula the beginning of Feb this year. I had surgery 2 days after my injury, a plate and 2 screws. I stayed in bed for a little over 2 months, and around week 9 started walking with a huge limp and partial weight baring, but each day it became stronger and less painful. As of now barely, I am not limping so bad, and wearing regular shoes (skipped the boot to walk in). I started out barefoot walking little by little each day. I still have to sit after standing or walking for about 20 minutes as it still swells and becomes painful. So a lot of breaks in between getting back on your feet is recommended. I hope this helps. :-)

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    • Posted

      Hi Mary! Thank you for sharing! This is my first break too 😩 That’s the first I’ve heard of skipping the boot. I bet it was scary to put that bare ankle/foot down on the ground the first time! I get discouraged thinking about how long it takes to get better. But I appreciate the info and will definitely plan to take frequent mini breaks as I heal and progress to walking! Best of luck to you in your healing

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    • Posted

      Hello Brooke, Im 33 broke my ankle and had ORIF surgery 16 weeks ago. Was NWB for 9 weeks partial after that then week 13 FWB. im still in two crutches when im out and about but walking barefoot at home without crutches. Painful and stiff in the morning but gets better throughout the day.  icing and elevation helps. take your time. im going on a dive holiday in 3 weeks and hoping to be 100 percent by then smile

      about your holiday, i would reschedule depending on what type of activities you are going to do. i went to the beach at week 10 in crutches, wasnt the smartest idea but still had a good time smile 

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  • Posted

    Hi Brooke, I broke my ankle 2 days before you and on April 6th I had my surgery that included two plates, a bunch of screws and some other band like  thing in my left ankle.  I take the boot off when using my knee roller as it’s too heavy and hurts ( I only wear it when I go somewhere and use my crutches) . I can’t work as my job involves walking and my ankle swells up if I sit too long (I sat all day with my boot on for CE class and it hurt). I pretty much lay on my couch with leg elevated ( purchased a elevating leg rest on Amazon) and am constantly icing with my ice-man (it’s a God send!). I’m going to Las Vegas at the end of June and am hoping I will able to get around ( I too will be 10 weeks post op). What has worked thus far is the icing and elevating (no boot) purchased items on Amazon for Ankle support (light weight boot/shoe). If you have to back to work Part-time would be a way to start based upon your Doctor’s advice.  Good Luck and yes this sucks but it is what is😊

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    • Posted

      You poor thing - we are in the same boat! I hope you are well and ready for Vegas and me for the beach! 🤞🏻🤞🏻 I have not tried the scooter without the boot. My doctor said I could only remove it when resting or showering. He didn’t want me moving about without it. But I can see how it would be better without it!! I also haven’t been using ice. Maybe I should try that. Thank you for the info and best of luck with your healing!

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