Advice on recovery from ankle fracture

Discussion in 'Face Plant' started by PETDOC, Nov 18, 2011.

  1. Gimpinator

    Gimpinator This is my Mom's cat

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    Oh man!! There is some bad ju-ju going around. I'm sorry to hear about your mishap.

    I was the second guy to respond to your original post in this thread. I said, "my hip is fine now." Well, it's not. I just broke the femoral neck on the same side, in a fall while skiing. I'm having a bit of a rough time recovering, but my issue sounds a lot less severe than yours. In a month I should be well on my way to normal activity.

    Feel better soon! Hopefully your patients' guardians won't be put off when the see the state you're in :eek1

    I sure hope your cycling friend is buying the beer for the next, oh, twenty years or so. :freaky
  2. hateithere

    hateithere anytime now

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    Wow Petdoc sorry to here that. that's awful. rough year, hang in there.

    I'm getting around pretty good now, have some bad swelling by the end of the day. put on some extra lbs as a result of being less active so that's not good.(got my bicycle on the trainer to help with flexibilty and exercise, it's our busy time at work so I've had less time to ride the bicycle than I want) Bought a size larger MX boot to use till the swelling decreases.Some days are better than others.I have a little less flexibility, it seems to get better every week. Another nagging issue is with the ankle i'm not able to ride dirt and have been riding on the street more after work.I've been way more spooked than I thought after being rear ended last fall.hopefully those nerves will work thier way out. It's been 2 1/2 months since my injury, no more cane or air cast.I'm walking around pretty well.The main draw back is I'm pretty wore out by the end of the day, some other previous injuries are healing slower as a result.mentally it's great just to be able to get around without asking for help all the time

    Petdoc, and everyone this thread has been great and I really credit everyone's tips and encouragement to making recovery much better than it otherwise would have been. hope everyone else is doing well!!!!!!!
  3. effensteve

    effensteve Enjoying the ride

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    I took a steep ravine in moab, got the tib/ fib spiral . 9 screws and a 2 inch plate in my ankle. Docs had me doing resistance training, to stretch the achillis out and increase motion, by using a bicycle innertube hooked around the ball of my foot and pulling back on it as much as I could stand it. The post surgury pain is by far the worst pain I have ever experienced. I was walking without a boot in 4 weeks and with no limp in 6. I still haven't been able to get back to jogging because of a liitle bit of restricted movement, but other than that I am great 11 years later I was only 27 when it happened
  4. marco-polo

    marco-polo Adventurer

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    Broke my right tib-fib near the ankle while, believe it or not, skating on the Rideau canal. (In winter, it's a massive skating rink that crosses Ottawa). I was, if I believe the first aid station, the first broken leg of the 2000-01 season.

    My fracture was probably a lot worse than yours - compound and comminuted. It's a bad sign when the doctors do an 'oooohhhhhhh' when they look at the x-ray. I ended up with a failed attempt to reduce the fracture, surgery (x2), a boatload of fine opiates, 6 months non-weight bearing, and about six months of rehab starting 4 weeks or so before I was weightbearing. Physio was tough; I'd forgotten a lot of the mechanics of walking and balancing in the intervening 6 months, so I had to work on regaining the whole process of motion. It's not so simple as you might think, and that's the real lesson for physio, no matter how difficult or occasionally humiliating it is, but you have to work hard at it or receive no benefit at all.

    Like many people, I got the "you won't ever walk without a limp" lecture, which proved to be correct - it's barely perceptible normally, but it becomes pretty obvious limp when I'm sore or tired. But it didn't stop me from running my first 5k less than 12 months after my first post-accident step, my first 10k a few months after that, playing rugby the following spring, then a half-marathon, and so on. There's a light at the end of the tunnel, believe it or not.
  5. PETDOC

    PETDOC Long timer

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    Marco-Polo thank you for your story. I'm curious if you had all the metal removed from your ankle, and if you did what impact it had on your ankle function?
    Because of decades of racquet sports my right knee will no longer tolerate significant running, but last week (about 6 months post ankle fx/repair) I had to run ~100 yards down my driveway to catch a delivery truck. I started very tentatively, but soon was in a full sprint. My ankle felt a little different, but was not painful. By the end of the day it was moderately swollen and tight, but did not hurt. The following morning it had returned to its pre-sprint size and its normal AM stiffness.
    Immediately before breaking my clavicle I had progressed in PT to exercises to regain the fine motor control/balance in my ankle. I was amazed at despite being able to walk normally how deficient my fine motor control/balance was when standing only on my left ankle. I have stopped all ankle PT until my shoulder is once again functional, but will resume those exercises soon.
    Based on your story I assume if they ever develop a simple repair for lost articluar cartilage I'd be able to resume playing racquet sports; however, based on my more recent history I'd probably just break something else. I wish I enjoyed swimming laps in a pool, but I don't.
  6. Eyes Shut

    Eyes Shut See no evil

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    Wow! Six months of non-weight bearing :eek1! I thought my 12 weeks was bad. Once I started walking on my injured leg, a lot of the mechanics of walking came back fairly quickly, but it's so easy to lose the balance and of course the fine motor control. Good for you that you've come back so well!
  7. marco-polo

    marco-polo Adventurer

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    Well, yes, I did. For a couple of reasons. First, I set off metal detectors at the airport (more than a dozen screws, two plates, wire ... you figure?), which isn't a small thing if you're flying twice weekly, every week. Second, I had some lingering pain, couldn't easily wear higher-cut shoes like hiking boots, and had significantly less range of motion: maybe 70% with the internal fixation in place; 90% after it was removed. It's not as good as the other ankle even now, but it's much better than before. It does feel weird when you run on it - the shape and alignment isn't a mirror image of the other side, the screws press on new points when you're on the go, and the ankle doesn't stretch or flex in the same directions or with the same "spring tension" that it used to.

    You can alleviate a lot of this with physio. Have reasonable expectations, but work as hard as you possibly can, as early as you can, an while the screws are still in. If the screws are the limiting factor, you'll progress quickly once they're out; if you have weakness or stiffness from lack of use, or you haven't regained balance, then losing the screws won't help very much if at all.
  8. PETDOC

    PETDOC Long timer

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    When I began the fine motor control/balance PT I had no idea my balance wasn't normal. By this time (~14 weeks after surgery) I was walking normally with my dogs over very steep terrain (slightly stiff when ascending steep hills) and had re-initiated cycling including 24 mile round trip to PT session. The balance exercise was while standing on my left foot only, throwing and catching a large ball (soccer ball size) with the therapist. I was so amazed at how easily I lost my balance I stopped and stood on my right foot to see if there was a difference. Right foot, no problem; left foot, initially about 3 throw/catches before I'd start to fall to one side.
    My plan was to have the fibular plate and 7 screws, and tibial screw removed in November, but now I may wait until March 2013 and have the plates on my clavicle and fibula removed during the same surgery.
    What was your immediate aftercare once the hardware was removed from your ankle and how soon were you using your ankle at the pre-surgery level? I believe the surgeon told me I'd be back in a boot for 2 weeks.
  9. marco-polo

    marco-polo Adventurer

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    Yeah - my physio had me on that immediately rather than waiting. I did the throw back-and-forth exercise as soon as I could reliably stand up, but with a medicine ball rather than an inflated ball. A lot of the exercises were against resistance, as much as I could stand and as soon as I could stand it, and I think that that helped.

    Aftercare for me, post surgery, was minimal, just an elastic wrap to reduce swelling, but it was also 2-1/2 to 3 years post-op. I actually took the subway home that afternoon. High-impact was deferred a couple of weeks, as were sports like rugby. That's not to say that there wasn't discomfort, but nothing really severe.
  10. atomicalex

    atomicalex silly aluminum boxes

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    New here, but did anyone suggest to read Pat Croce's book on his recovery? He's a PT who nearly sawed his ankle off in a bike accident and fought back hard.
  11. bandito

    bandito n00b

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    Here is my advice on recovery from ankle fractures;

    Be realistic in your expectations for recorvery. Ankle fractures are incredibly serious... depending on the nature of course. They are some of the absolute worst fractures you can have. They are very frequently life changing injuries. I've lived it... I've been part of some support groups for people with major ankle fractures.

    This isn't like a broken wrist or collarbone. I've met very few people with major ankle injuries who can look you in the eyes and say "Yeah, I'm 100%, like it never happened".

    I can't run. I can't jump. I can walk... my ankle still has bruising and swelling, almost 2 years POST accident. It will NEVER be the same.

    My doctor looks at me and says "I can't believe how GOOD you have it, considering how bad it was..."

    So... for what it's worth. It's a long haul, it's not easy... and it's not likely to be ever the same. I'm not meaning to sound all depressing about it, but it's reality.

    In my case, I live with the reminder daily.. and it's just become part of life. The day of that accident changed my life substantially... and I have heard that over and over from other major ankle injuries.

    I still talk to this day with people I met online who at the same time were going through ankle problems... and some of them are still not healed very well.

    Get a good surgeon... keep on them to do what they can... work on your rehab.. follow the instructions.. and very important that you eat properly, get rest... and specific to ankles, avoid smoking.
  12. L0cky

    L0cky Been here awhile

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    Hi All

    Continuing the trend, on Sunday May 6 I suffered a Trimalleolar Fracture of the right ankle (4-5 fractures tib, fib & talus) and a full dislocation of the ankle as well which meant I ended up with a big plate and 8 or 9 screws & 4 days in hospital.

    Monday just gone I had the back slab cast and the stitches removed, but the swelling was too great for a full cast, and the fracture too fragile for a Cam Walker (boot), so I have another three quarter cast for another 2 weeks, after which they will have another look, and hopefully then have a full cast for a further 2-3 weeks, then graduating to a boot, depending on what the x-rays show.

    My surgery went well, and had a really nice looking reduction, nice and straight alignment of the leg and ankle, even the screws looked like they had been inserted with a set-square. Fortunately/Unfortunatley - during my first ever surgery they identified a serious heart condition (I'm only 32) which will also need to be sorted out, possibily with more surgery.

    I was wearing full MX boots, and I didn't hit anything but the ground, but unfortunately my ankle basically exploded inside my boot.

    The first week after the accident I had really bad calf cramps in my leg, but these seem to have settled, and I had discomfort with the stitch ends rubbing the inside of the cast, but this is all good now.

    I'm really keeping my fingers crossed that I have a good recovery, as I am right footed, and like to keep active in sports - sad to say I think the bike might have to go - I'm not putting up with this again.
  13. Eyes Shut

    Eyes Shut See no evil

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    Sorry to hear this, even though it makes you a new member of the Exclusive Titanium Club. :D :(:

    Hope you heal up well -- you are young and that should help with your recovery. Also, I think being physically active before your injury probably helps with recovery. It certainly helped with mine.

    Also, bandito had good advice. I think one of the hardest things, as an active person, is to just sit around and let your body heal. But it needs that time to heal.
  14. DiamondLie

    DiamondLie Banned

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    AFO? The orthotic/prosthetic field has made some serious advancements.
  15. L0cky

    L0cky Been here awhile

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    Just a quick update - I know you've been peeled to your monitors waiting for one...:rofl

    4 weeks since the fracture & surgery...I had an xray today.
    Fractures have all healed - Doc had to check they xrayed the right leg!!
    But it was there, plate and all...
    Into a Cam Walker now for 2 weeks, with no weight bearing, then I can start walking again..
  16. Eyes Shut

    Eyes Shut See no evil

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    Good news for you! Be sure to have physical therapy scheduled when you start weight -bearing....

    (I had to wear a cam boot for 6 weeks and had to keep it on all the time except for bathing. Man, was I glad to get rid of that thing!)
  17. hateithere

    hateithere anytime now

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    Sold the bike I broke my ankle on the other day.I had to get it running and make sure everything was working as advertised. it was a little intimidating, strapped on Sidi MX boot extra tight,gas on, choke,decomp, a couple of deep breaths, co workers looking on in apprehension/horror (I noticed nobody volunteered to do the honors, i believe "F- that" was the unanimous response) Two kicks, starts right up, all is well do a lap or two around the lot.go back to work, casually mention maybe i'll keep it-see unanimous response above. Walked the dog for a couple of miles today.My life has definately changed as a result of the accident. Prior to the accident all I did was work 7 days a week, have slowed down in a good way.Not that I'm a huge believer in stuff like this, but the day it happened I got the news my grandfather, with whom I was pretty close to died early that morning, my whole life he always warned me to slow down a little.
    It's nice to just walk, seems like a lifetime ago I was stuck in bed for weeks not able to do much of anything, take care everybody
  18. PETDOC

    PETDOC Long timer

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    After 11 weeks of "recovery" I had a similar experience when I retrieved my 1150 GS, which was 250 miles from home. While gearing up for the ride I found my left boot to be a very snug fit due to my ankle still being quite swollen. As I was strapping on my boot I noticed the toe was encrusted with the red clay where it obviously contacted the ground before rotating laterally. Although I wiped the clay off, the image and its significance stuck in my head for about 5-10 minutes until I had to focus my thoughts on operating my bike.

    As I may have said before, after fracturing my ankle I'll never take walking normally for granted.
  19. Gimpinator

    Gimpinator This is my Mom's cat

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    Whew! I hear you guys loud and clear. It's so easy to take it for granted.

    I'm wondering myself how much longer this broken femoral neck is going to take to finish healing. Doing the usual things is a bit of a challenge still. The GS is sitting in the garage waiting. Another month or two?
  20. Eyes Shut

    Eyes Shut See no evil

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    How is everyone doing out there in broken-ankle land? Hope you all are healing up and back on your feet!