What happens after the aircast boot comes off?

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4.5 weeks ago I split the bone in my fibula by fainting (distal fibula fracture) - I had one week with a cast, then got an air cast boot for 5 weeks. I walk on it now with one crutch and it's due to be tel

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  • Posted

    Continued...

    It's due to be taken off in 10 days but I'm wondering what happens then. I've tried walking without the boot at home and I can but it's just not natural. Not really painful though. I'm wondering do I just start walking unaided when the boot comes off?

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  • Posted

    Well I started with crutches and only lightly put weight on my foot.... build up to increasing the weight and moving down to one crutch. Now I can go pretty  much unaided,  but take a cane just in case. This happened over the course of about 3 weeks.  I am wearing shoes.. but man the foot swelling is Something! 
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    • Posted

      Hi Zelda,

      Thank you for your message. So you used crutches after the aircast boot came? Based on the stories I've read I feel like my recovery is a lot quicker than others. It's nearly 5 weeks ago that I fell and I'm fully walking on the boot, with a crutch (for stability more than anything) and as I say, I can take some steps without the boot. It just seems like a big step without the boot but it might be absolutely fine. My swelling is pretty much gone now. How long ago did you do the damage?

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    • Posted

      You definitely are having a speedy recovery! I read someone's account and they mentioned that good dorsiflexion was key to walking out of the boot. Have you been doing your range of motion exercises? That's all I'm allowed to do, so my goal is to have as near perfect flexibility as I can by the time I am cleared for weight bearing. The boot makes you walk with a stiff foot, so getting back to normal will need good flexibility in your injured foot. I also read that your footwear choice is important for the injured foot - you want something supportive that also accommodates swelling (if you have that issue). 

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    • Posted

      The crutches were more for confidence building. I am walking now in regular shoes ... I don't need a cane but still keep in handy just in case.  I get stiff so sometimes use the cane for the first step or two til my foot loosens up,,.,it's weird

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  • Posted

    Hi Tara! I broke my ankle 3 months ago and had a cast on for 8 weeks. Using crutches was the way I got around. For awhile I borrowed a wheelchair because my uninjured foot became painful from overuse.

         I finally got the cast removed and was able to partially weightbear with the crutches. It was hard for me to not use the wheelchair, but I had to graduate to using crutches only. So, now I use both crutches or one.

         Tomorrow I am borrowing a walker. This will enable me to go outside, breathe in some fresh air and get a little exercise. 

         My physiotherapist recommends gradual weekly steps like 30% weight bearing, then 60% then 75% and finally 100%!

         I hope everything works out for you and you have a speedy recovery Tara!

         

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    • Posted

      Wow a cast for 8 weeks - you poor thing!! I had it for one week and I thought it was absolutely awful! Yours sounds a lot more serious than mine, i presumed I wouldn't need physio 

      Are you all good now?

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    • Posted

      Hi Tara, You must be a very quick healer. I am happy for you!

           I hated the cast for the most part,  but then became accustomed to it and was almost scared to have it removed.

           Being 63, it takes longer to heal. At one point I was thinking that plates and screws were my destiny. However an orthopaedic surgeon thought "I should be ok without surgery." So, I coped by turning my fears into an adventure,  living day by day.

           My foot feels a lot better. I am now apprehensively walking with no crutches. It is almost like learning to walk again!

            Reading about other people's very difficult experiences in this forum  makes me grateful that mine was less so.

      I now can see light at the end of the tunnel. You have a good day Tara! Keep on getting better! 

          

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    • Posted

      I'm with you - hearing about other people's experiences definitely makes you feel grateful 

      How is the walking unaided going? That will be me next week!

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    • Posted

      Hi Tara, I hope your day is going well!

           I am managing to get around without crutches. My foot gets sore but that is more likely because I tend to overdo it.

           Yesterday, I went for a short walk outside. I also did some housekeeping and rearranged some of my furniture.

           When I woke up today with a sore foot, I made a decision to take it easy.

      However, I wanted to get outside for my little walk and some fresh air, so off I went.

           Then later on I walked up and down my apartment block's hallway. 

           This activity isn't all that much, but it is progress!  

           You must be looking forward to walking unaided next week! I hope it goes well for you and you recover quickly Tara!

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  • Posted

    I'm jealous! I cracked my fibula (stable Weber A fracture) 4 weeks ago and also got my aircast early (at 5 days), but I have to be NWB for six long weeks! I wish I understood why I am not allowed to attempt weight bearing, but I can't get in touch with the ortho doc because she doesn't have a direct phone number. I'm curious if it is a regional thing (I'm in Ontario, Canada), an age thing (I am a fit 55 year old - broke my ankle on a back-country hike and hiked out over 4km on it) or something else. She did say I fractured it in "the best way possible", so its not that there are complications I'm not aware of.

    Are you FWB with the crutch now, or just PWB?

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    • Posted

      Gosh 6 weeks NWB sounds tough - you poor thing!

      As far as I remember I had a distal fibula fracture. I'm fwb on the boot now with a crutch outdoors but in my house, I don't need it.  I also take steps here n there without the boot which isn't comfortable and a bit strange but not painful. 

      In 9 days I return to the. Hospital .. and I presume at that stage the boot goes back to the hospital. But I'm not sure if the expectation is that I walk out of the hospital unaided without any crutches, boot etc .. sounds good but also like a bit of a jump.

      This week I went back into the office 5 days after the previous week of working from home and it was a really stressful week and massively exhausted me! But I recognise I seem to be fortunate compared to others in a similar situationbased on this forum.

      As for region - I'm based in London, U.K. So perhaps diff methods of recovery? And I am 28 and healthy.

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    • Posted

      That sounds very similar to my fracture. I also had a feeling you might be from the UK. It seems that the UK takes a more permissive/patient guided approach to weight bearing for stable fractures. I've been looking longingly at the advice given by the Virtual Fracture Clinic for my type of fracture ( https://www.fracturecare.co.uk/care-plans/ankle/weber-a-fracture/ ). If I was in the UK I believe I would have been given the "weight bearing as tolerated" guidance as outlined in this care plan. I have the same stretches, just told to stay off it, which is a bummer. I'm hoping to get in touch with someone at the fracture clinic on Monday to see if I can add any more different stretches, or at least start doing some toe-touch/touchdown weight bearing. I don't like that this care-plan indicates that weight bearing would help with my healing, yet I'm not allowed to do any for two more weeks sad

      I had to buy my boot (my extended health care plan covers the cost), so I won't have to give it back. It seems odd they would take it from you before you are fully weaned off of it. I would hope that they would let you return it once you don't need it anymore.

      I can't imagine having to be physically present at work yet... that must have been tough! I find it hard enough having the energy to put in my 8 hours from the couch. Good thing my right ankle injury (no driving) and my ridiculously long commute (about 60KM one way) precludes my having to take a cab from the eastern suburbs of Toronto to the western end of it.

      I hope it goes well for you at the hospital in 9 days... keep working on losing that boot... I'll be eagerly waiting for my turn to wean off of mine wink

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    • Posted

      I have an exciting followup! Since learning of your excellent progress coupled with the information I found in the Virtual Fracture clinic, I got brave and left a message for my doctor at the hospital fracture clinic. She called me back today and we talked about my current progress and her usual treatment plan (which she agrees is more conservative that some). We discussed my current bruising pattern (which she declared to be normal), my flexibility progress, my very minimal swelling and my general lack of pain at the injury site. After going over that she felt comfortable clearing me for weight bearing in the boot as tolerated. I have no limit, so if my ankle likes it, I can progress all the way to FWB in the boot. 

      I am so excited!!! I'm going to follow the 4 week + exercises on the Virtual Fracture Clinic too. I love that resource and how it is available for anyone to view. So very helpful smile

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    • Posted

      That's amazing news Carolyn! So happy for you - being able to walk on the boot is such a turning point! It's crazy how protective the boot is - it's magical haha

      I got the tube to work today for the first time since fainting on it and breaking my ankle 5 weeks ago - feels like another little victory! smile

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    • Posted

      Wow - good for you! That is an accomplishment smile Getting right back up on the horse so to speak wink I'm enjoying my attempt at PWB so far. I have managed to get confident enough that I can do it with the aid of my walker rather than the crutches (not a big fan of crutches). I am surprised at how well it is going. I think it is all the iwalking that I did - there are many muscles in my injured leg that were engaged by that process so the atrophying is just confined to the lower leg. I can vary my lean on the arms of the walker according to how solid the ankle feels. My doctor didn't want me to worry about the percentage, just go by how the ankle feels, and so far so good. No pain and only a wee bit of swelling, so I think I must have done just the right amount of PWB. I've walked twice and iced and elevated twice and so far so good.

      Here's to great progress for all of us!!!  biggrin

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    • Posted

      Thanks for asking! The transition to FWB in the boot went really smoothly. It truly surprised me.

      On the first day I started with crutches and then found I was able to bear enough weight to switch to the walker which was easier to use (I hate crutches... lol). My the end of that day I had surprised myself as I was able to bear as much as 80% of my weight with no pain and only the smallest amount of swelling. I did not go out, so did all my walking practice at home, alternating a little walking with rest, elevation and icing. 

      On the second day I was able to start to fully weight bear. I would take a step or two without the walker. By the end of the night I was just keeping the walker close by and was walking short distances in the house. Again, resting and icing a lot.

      On the morning of the third day I woke up and decided that perhaps I could manage in the house without the walker... and I did. All day. I even managed to do stairs (did them iWalk style, having the good leg do all the hard work of bending).

      It's been 9 days since I started weight bearing in the boot and I'm walking around very smoothly now. My gait is pretty good and balanced. I have a nearly identical style shoe on the left foot - a rocker bottom, memory foam insole, Sketchers ShapeUp (from a pair that was collecting dust in the closest  - an impulse purchase from some time back that I never wore), and that is helping a lot. I can do stairs normally now (one step at a time). I'm also able to stay on my feet a lot longer. There is some stiffness and a little swelling but no pain.

      My hope is that I will be cleared to start transitioning out of the boot and also that I will be cleared for physio... I am eager for Friday morning to get here, but nervous too!

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