Walking unaided but still limping

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Hi all,

I'm now 18 weeks post ankle fracture and 16 weeks post surgery. I've been back to work 3 weeks 2 of those weeks half day. My office is up 2 long and wide flights of stairs no lifts. So whilst I'm still recovering and learning to walk properly and steady again I've been moved to a ground floor office. Which is great! But now my boss is putting pressure on me to move back to my old office and tackle those stairs. I am walking unaided but still with a limp, I am so terrified of having another accident and don't feel nowhere near confident enough. My physio says I should be doing the stairs at this stage. Which I'm doing at home ok, but I'm able to hold both sides whilst doing so. The stairs at work are longer and wider.

My question is. Is anyone else at this stage of recovery? I'm still limping and not walking properly yet and still have some pain and stiffness. Should I be walking properly and not limping by now?

Thank you and my thoughts and best wishes go out to all you fellow patients going through this long and at times torturous recovery process.

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10 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Steph

    I'm just over 13wks post op. I'm not back at work yet though they're now putting pressure on me to return. I work for a large telecoms company and have done for 25 years. I had an ohs referral last week who advised that as I work on 3rd floor I can't return until I can exit building unaided. It's not possible to move me to another floor with the work I do. She has suggested a possible return early next year.

    I can understand ur fear of the stairs, I broke my ankle falling upstairs and I'm terrified of any stairs now. Plus even with 1 crutch at home it takes me ages to do stairs. I can walk without crutch for a little while but im limping all over the place and it hurts and shortly afterwards my ankle swells. Physio said I've to concentrate on my gait and walk heel to toe and push off my toes. My ankle is really stiff first thing in the morning and by end of the day it's really swollen up. My physio had said last week that I might only get 80% of my ankle flexibility back which upset me a bit so I'm doing my exercises as much as I can and hope she's wrong.

    Is there anyone at work that can help u like an ohs or union person who could explain to ur boss how u feel. U don't want to risk another accident and be off again. Good luck with the rest of ur recovery and hope u get things sorted at work.

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    • Posted

      Hi Bailey,

      Thank you for your reply.

      I think I may have to sit down and chat to my boss and explain how I'm feeling. To be fair whilst I've been off my boss has been very good and hugely supportive. I was off for nearly 4 months. But since I've been back and completed my phased return/reduced hours it has just been assumed that although visibly still limping that I should be returned to full fitness and ability by now or very soon.

      I only stopped using my crutches completely last week, but like you I do find that my leg really stiffens up most first thing in the morning, last thing at night and when I get up to walk somewhere after sitting down for a while. I really have to engage the brain and think before I take my first step which is usually a hobbling hop before a more rhythmical limp is established lol. On a positive note I am seeing more improvements the more I walk, which I'm sure you will do too. But it is draining physically and mentally because you do have to think about every step because of the fear of injuring yourself again. This is the thing that anyone who hasn't had this type of physical injury does not understand!

      I wish you all the very best in your recovery and thank you so much for your helpful advice. Do not let your work pressurise you into returning before you are ready also, some things do not have a time limit to and recovering from this is certainly one of them. Take care

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  • Posted

    Hi Steph I'm now week 14 post op and I'm still in boot with crutch. I was told to go home , take boot off and try to walk . I did just that and fell. I was in agony with my foot and had to get it xrayed as I thought it was broken. It wasn't broken but now I've taken a few steps back with recovery. I found those first few steps hard as I couldn't walk just hobbled with shocking limp. Anyway not going to try and walk without boot without I have a physio present watching me. I hobble in the boot. I'm not back at work as I have a very physical demanding job. Some don't understand why I'm not yet running around and they are so ignorant to my matter. I feel for you Steph and think your manager is very unreasanable wanting you to climb the stairs. It's a dark place to be in the broken ankle world and some just don't understand. All the best with your recovery Steph.
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    • Posted

      Hi MsCamboot,

      Thank you for your reply and I'm so sorry you had that fall I can imagine how worrying that must've been for you. I'm glad that your foot wasn't damaged further but this would set you back mentally hugely. As you say, this is the aspect of an injury like this that people do not understand. My boss thinks that because I'm back at work and my phased return/reduced hours is complete that I should be back to full fitness and ability now. If not then when? These are questions I cannot answer, and is added pressure I do not need. Couldn't fault how supportive he was whilst I was off for nearly 4 months. Which makes it more difficult to explain as dont want them to think I'm milking it. It is tough, but your advice and encouragement has hugely helped. Thank you. I wish you all the best in your recovery, and hope you are able to regain back some of that confidence you would've lost from that fall fast. As we both only know how precious that little bit of confidence gained in recovery is. Best of luck to you

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    • Posted

      Hello Ms Camboot... so glad I ran across this forum. July 25, 17 I missed my 3rd aggregate front porch step and shattered my right tibia & fibula. It's been called a pilon fracture.  I believe you suffered the same type fracture and in severity also.  I'm now  7 weeks out from injury and ORIF.  I now am sporting some very expensive accessories in the form of 2 plates and 15 screws. Lol.  I know my road is really just beginning as I read through many of these posts.  Are you now 2 years out and i'm wondering how your pain and mobility is doing at this stage?  I haven't been released for P.T. yet.  Hoping it's soon.  

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  • Posted

    Hi Steph ..I am eighteen tripple athrodeisis with plate ..I felt at fifteen wks I was disappointed with my progress and was still using crutches ..I spoke to my consultant secretary to arrange physio ..I got my first consultation last week and felt a difference.. All I did first week was to stand on my toes as best I could for ten seconds ten times three times a day ..and take a towel and sit down I put it on the sole of my feet and pull towards myself and hold for ten seconds and do that ten times or as many as I could do without discomfort..at first it was dificult but became easier by the end of week I could feel a diferance in pain level in foot went from a 10 to a 6 ...i no longer need crutches ..I have now been told I can go into gym ..I do ten min on the bike ..same on the rowing machine ...5 min walking at a slowish pace on the running machine ...and the matching were you push with your feet while sitting can't remember the name on it I do three at twenty five pounds ..after this first sesion I felt great the really tight ankle had loosened of ..I could walk better I feel I have control back in my own hands again ..I now can see the end of the tunnel for the first time ...those people that went back to work ..I say it's a pity you didn't stay off another month because as we all know as soon as your back to your job you get thrown into the deep end and they don't think about you the same way they think you must be at it after all you now signed off and are back at work ... I really felt the gym bike you sit upright on has made such a diferance to the ankle ..please try it for yourself ...wish you all a good recovery 
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    • Posted

      Hi Pauli,

      Thank you for your helpful advice. Since my initial post, I have improved significantly. I'm still limping but my injured leg doesn't feel as rigid as it was, I'm able to bend my knee whilst my full weight is on it which I wasn't for quite some time able to do before, I can feel the stiffness has eased. I've got myself out and about walking to places such as the shops which has hugely helped my confidence. I like you, can see that light at the end of the tunnel.

      I'm going to tackle those stairs next week, and ready for my return to my permanent office the week after that. This prospect doesn't terrify me as much as it did last week. So it really is a case of recovering physically and mentally! I'm glad to hear your recovery is going well, and best of luck to your remaining recovery period.

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  • Posted

    Hi , I'm now 12 weeks post ankle fracture.(did mine falling down flight of stairs and am still really nervous on stairs)  I've got my last clinic appointment tomorrow. I'm in a boot still and down to one crutch outside. Inside I'm 'walking' without boot and no crutch. I walk like a penguin though as my ankle is still stiff and swollen, I can't bend it properly especially downwards and can't rotate it a lot either. My toes are still swollen too and don't bend much.  It really aches at nightime and gets really swollen. I still use crutch in the nitgh as it gets really stiff. I've had 2 physio appointments and she told me to use towell and pull upwards. I'm hoping she'll give me more to do next time to get it moving more. It does worry me that I'm not going to walk properly again. Also everyone keeps saying "wow you've still got the boot on! and "you're still not walking yet" . I'm trying to ignore these comments and stay positive. It is a very long road to recovery from having a broken ankle and only we know the struggle. I wish everyone good luck and best wishes in their recovery.😊

     

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    • Posted

      Hi Julie,

      Thank you for your reply, I only know too well other peoples ignorance to how long it takes until a full recovery is made. I for 1 naively thought once I start weight bearing I'll be able to walk here there and everywhere again. Had no idea what a slow gradual process this recovery is especially the period after cast and boot removal.

      At 12 weeks post surgery I had just been given the all clear to start to weight bear that was 7 weeks ago now and I'm still limping. Its only the last few days I have seen significant improvement in terms of stiffness, pain and my confidence. Its only now I can see that I should be able to get full mobility back and walk properly again in the future because I like you couldn't imagine that. You will get to this point too, it does improve.

      All the very best to you in your recovery too. 😊

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  • Posted

    Hi, Steph,

    I had ORIF surgery for a trimalleolar fracture on 7/19. Just transitioned to FWB with a boot last week. Felt so liberating to be able to drive and walk again, albeit with a boot, but about 3-4 days in, my ankle became very sore and swollen. I have been doing my PT exercises pretty religiously and had been told by my doctor and physio that I was making good progress, but feel very discouraged at the pain and difficulty I have in walking (limping) even after 8 weeks. From what I have seen online, it is not unusual to deal with pain and swelling for a long time, and this has tempered my optimism about my recovery quite a bit. It's a real roller coaster, this injury, and not in a good way. Stay strong, and hang in there.

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