Will the swelling ever go away?

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I’m 6 month post op surgery. I have a plate and 9 screws. And my ankle is still freakishly swollen. I’m running playing soccer and doing everything pain free but the swelling really bothers me. I want it to go away. And I’m wondering if anyone knows how long it takes? Also I may remove my hardware in 4 months, so I’m hoping that helps remove the swelling on my ankle. 

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  • Posted

    Hi Sarah,

    Thanks for your story. I may have responded to an earlier post by you, but here are my current reflections on your problem.

    Severe edema, or swelling, of ankle 6 months post-op may not be the norm, but it's not completely unheard of on this forum. Still, it is not the norm.

    I suspect chronic ankle and foot swelling post-injury hits hardest on patients with pre-existing circulation issues (i.e. diabetics), those with systemic inflammation (i.e. arthritis, etc.) and those in their mature years.

    But I recall that you fit none of those categories.

    Removal of all that attached metal in your ankle may help, but I can't help but wonder if your continued sports activity is contributing to swelling and inflammation.

    You say you are pain-free when engaging in all that strenuous activity. That is usually a good sign that your ankle healed up pretty well.

    But, ironically, the swelling may be a symptom that your ankle healing didn't progress far enough soon enough for sports, and by being so active you are preventing a resolution to chronic edema/inflammation.

    You might consider taking a hiatus (not days but weeks) from sports and other strenuous activity for a while and see if your swelling symptoms accordingly respond favorably. I know as a sports enthusiast that would be a difficult sacrifice.

    But you shouldn't let the chronic swelling go unattended for much longer. I am a bit concerned you may incur a penalty in form of chronic ankle dysfunction if it goes on a lot longer.

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  • Posted

    Hi Sarah! If you are playing soccer, your stiffness will more than likely go away sooner than later. Maybe if you do foot exercises or see a physiotherapist who will give you exercises; that might speed up the process. I broke my ankle 10 weeks ago; 8 of those being in a cast. I am using crutches but right now am convincing myself to try walking without. I did that a few times today but don't want to overdo it. Sarah, I hope your swelling goes away for you soon!

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    • Posted

      My ankle isn’t stiff at all. It’s just really swollen and I really want it to go away.  The problem for me is that everytime I look at how much bigger my right ankle is than my left one I start to cry and get worried that it won’t ever go down. 
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    • Posted

      Hi Sarah! I am sure the swelling will go away. You are like me; I compare my ankles every morning. Before my broken ankle, I was quit fit, so it is difficult for me to be house bound. Maybe if you give your foot a rest from soccer and other strenuous activities,the swelling might go away sooner. For an active person this is asking a lot! I am glad you are not in any pain. I hope one day soon you won't have any swelling. You might want to check with your doctor or a physiotherapist whether it would be beneficial to rest your foot for awhile or not. I wish you a speedy recovery!

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  • Posted

    Hi Sarah. 😀

    I'm 7 months post tibia and fibula complete break. I've got a rod, two plates, and 15 screws. I'm able to sloooooowly walk without a cane or crutches. I'm working on my gait. Trying not to wobble but rather stride. 

    I have little pain but after walking for a few hours my ankle swells up and throbs a bit. But most of the day it's normal. Just any time I'm active for more than an hour it's going to swell. 

    I do hot baths and ice packs. Whichever instinctively sounds best. 

    My doc sat me down and told me I'd be up and walking at 5 months but total healing was a year away. He wanted me to know I was going to swell so I wouldn't freak out. 

    I'm excited for you that you're so active. Way to go! The swelling is normal. This injury kicks a person's butt. It's life changing. Your recovery is awesome!

    Take care,

    Karen

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    • Posted

      Hi Karen, thank you. Did your doctor say when the swelling go down? I hope you have a speedy recovery, good luck smile 
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  • Posted

    I know it takes a while, but maybe check with your doctor or physio. I wonder if you are stressing the ankle too much by playing soccer. 

    I am about 9 weeks since my fracture ( no sugery) and am still a bit swollen, but haven't started walking yet unaided ( no boot, no crutches). I do notice the area around my ankle is more swollen than the rest of my foot but I hope that is normal? 

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    • Posted

      Hi Zeldas! My physiotherapist told me that swelling around the ankle is normal. Take care!
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  • Posted

    I am 10 months pist op and still have swelling , up to a year can be normal according to my surgeon. It will all get better , massage it when it swells, it helps!!

    Margie

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    • Posted

      Thank you Margie, I was told by my doctor that it should go away over time as well. But I was not sure if swelling at 6 months was still normal. And I am afraid if the swelling lasts forever, I hope that is not the case.. do you still have hardware in? 
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    • Posted

      Hi Sarah! Not knowing when the swelling will stop; I find to be very frustrating. Some people say a year on the outside. Because you are young as well as fit, I wouldn't be surprised if your swelling stopped within a year. You have already gone through 6 months. For me, knowing that the swelling is normal makes the time easier to take. Hopefully your swelling will be history soon!

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