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Heather, Meet Heather. August 22, 2006

Posted by ouchmyleg in Personal Experience.

My physiotherapist is also named Heather.  Apparently naming your daughter after a hardy, mildly poisonous purple shrub from Scotland was a popular pastime in the late 1970’s.  No matter, she’s amazing.  More amazing, though, are the cool physio gadgets she breaks out for my visits.

First, a fun ankle fact:

Most of the time an ankle will only break on one side.  Then, as the broken ankle bones heal, the still-intact ones help hold them up (It’s a little like an Otis Redding song).  Anyway, because my ankle broke on both sides and dislocated there aren’t any tendons/ligaments/nerves/bones/muscles or other sundry body elements whose name I’ve forgotten because I took theatre in University to help shoulder the burden.  To help my body regain its’ former strength, I need a little extra help in the form of electrodes, ultrasound and the deeply cool ice-boot.

The ultrasound doesn’t feel like anything, mostly I enjoy the blue goo that helps to transmit the waves through my skin and into my muscles.  Designed to help increase circulation, the deep sound waves aid tissue regeneration, reduce swelling and encourage the nerves in my ankle to rebuild.  At the start of my physio sessions I had no feeling in the tips of three toes, the top of my foot and the outside of my left leg.  Four weeks in, I’m starting to regain some feeling, although it’s still tingly at times.  Tingling is a good sign, so even though it feels odd, I’m convincing myself it’s awesome.

The electrodes and the ice-boot take a bit more getting used to.  The ice boot is kind of the miracle cure for swelling; or so I’m told the first time they slide it onto my leg.  It’s not bad at first, a little like when my brother and I used to wear inflatable swimming wings on our feet and try to walk on water like Jesus.  (In case you’re wondering, this doesn’t work as well as you’d think.)  Turns out that’s the easy part, because the next step involves filling the boot with ice water, turning on the electrodes and leaving you alone for fifteen minutes with a six-month-old issue of Maclean’s.  The cold is shocking and powerful, I can feel the plate on my fibula cool rapidly and it makes the bone ache.  But, I’ve promised Heather that I’ll suck it up because she’s convinced it’ll help.  Much to my delight, it does.  For the first time since my accident I can see the tendons from my big toe across the top of my foot and I can almost picture myself wearing a strappy sandal.  Almost.



1. Liz - August 22, 2006

Hey Heather, finally I find a site that is by a woman and thus not ‘I broke my ankle/leg 2 weeks ago whilst rugby tackling at 16 stone bloke but stuff it, I’m back on the pitch already’! Thank you! I too have done the fibula and tibia and dislocated my foot and am now pinned together! I’m 33 and after living away from home since the age of 18, I am currently living at my parents since I am pretty much incapacitated and unable to live alone. Just to add to my trauma!

If you can be bothered, here is The Story!……….. I was in the process of packing up my house to move and had just had my carpets cleaned. I was walking barefoot between the dining room and the kitchen when I skidded on the damp carpet and went down one step. One step!! I think I may have whacked my foot on the side of a kitchen unit but it all happened to quickly that I can’t remember. All I know, is that I skidded and was then on the floor on the kitchen, in extreme pain, howling, whilst holding my leg up under the knee. I don’t know if you experienced the same thing, but I knew, INSTANTLY, that I had done something Very Bad Indeed!! I remember looking down and seeing my right foot facing backwards (so my toes were pretty much facing my face!), with my ankle facing towards the left. Which was nice. Not something anyone should ever have to see!! And the heat in my ankle!! Dear God – never known anything like it!!

Luckily, I didn’t pass out and my phone was reachable on the work surface. Called 999, and the guy stayed on the phone with me while the ambulance arrived. Bizarrley, I was singing Dolly Parton songs (never before known!) in order to stay awake and not pass out but the pain and the fear were phenomenal. I also hysterically called my friend Anna and she left work to come and be with me. And because the carpet cleaners had just left (literally, about 15 mins before), the door was still on the latch so the paramedic was able to just open the door – thank god. Bless him, don’t think he’d ever seen a dislocated foot before!! He went a bit green. But luckily for me, he was quite fit!!! Not even a broken ankle and dislocated foot kept me from noticing that!!! I remember asking him, ‘have I broken it?’ and him saying, ‘well, I’m no doctor love, but what do you reckon?!’. Cue more moaning and crying from La Liz! The the 2nd paramedic arrived (blue lights, sirens and everything!). By this time, I’d been given copious gas and air so was ….. well, I was going to say slightly calmer but that would be complete bullshit!! Para number 2 gave me two rather large doses of morphine and that’s when I began to feel slightly numb!! Until they told me they were going to have to re-locate my foot!! Cue much begging and pleading for them to wait till it could be done under anasthetic. But no such luck – they had to do it then or they couldn’t move me. F**k me, it was the most disturbing and upsetting thing I have ever experienced. Basically, it didn’t hurt as much as anticipated, because of the morphine and gas and air (which I was sucking on as if my life depended on it!!) but I could feel it being done and it was deeply traumatic. Again, not something anyone should ever have to go through!! By this time, Anna and my mate Jackie were with me and Anna says she still has the bruises on her hand where I was holding on while they did the relocating. Sorry Anna!!

Then they gave me more morphine (lovely!!!) and gas and air (even lovelier!!), put me in a splint, put me on a stretcher and carried me onto the ambulance. By now, I was off my head!! And laughing at the barmyness of it all!! 30 mins before, I’d been packing up my house, smugly congratulating myself on how smoothly it was all going!! Should have blinking known! Laughing and crying at the same time, whilst bonkers on a combination of gas and air and morphine, whilst being stretchered out of my house into an ambulance is a memory I will carry for a very long time!!

Anyway, off I went to the hospital (more VIP treatment – lights, sirens and straight into a bay at A & E – no hanging around with the drunks for me!! At least they knew who they were dealing with!!). Now, I’ve not seen an x-ray of my leg, due to the fact that the 1st nurse to see my x-ray said, in front of me, ‘Oh Shit, that’s nasty!’. Well, if a nurse thinks it’s nasty, there’s no chuffing way I’m looking!!! Instead, a fit and sexy American doctor told me I needed an op but that there was no way they could do it yet as I was too swollen (believe me, I looked like I had elephantitus in one leg!!) so I had to come in.

That night I was in the High Dependancy Unit, with them giving me morphine every 2 hours and taking my vitals hourly. Nice of them to let me sleep off the pain, eh?! Actually, I kinda slept occassionally but I remember when I woke in the morning, my leg felt solid and as though it had been lying on concrete all night. Not nice. Cue more morphine and the strongest codine known to man. Anyway, still resembling the elephant man in the leg department, they still couldn’t operate (leg was so swollen they couldn’t find me pulse with ultra-sound!! All my life I’ve had a love/hate relationship with my body. But not my legs. Even I knew I had great legs!! Bloody kharma!!!!) but moved me to the Orthopedic ward. Where I spent the next 18 days. They couldn’t operate for the next 10 days due to the swelling but every day they got me up at some ungodly hour, put me into a surgery gown and paper knickers (nice!!) just in case the Consultant decided today was the day. I have had more bags of ice on my leg over this period than Richard Burton ever had in his gin and tonics!

Actually, this time in hospital wasn’t too bad, despite the fact that I was the youngest person on my ward by 55 years!!! Female Orthapedic wards are full of old ladies who have fallen and are having hip replacements. The most disturbing sound in the world is an 85 year old granny farting on a comode at 3 o’clock in the morning! May you never experience it!!!

Anyway, 10 days later, they did the op and I’m not ashamed to admit, I was crapping myself (not literally you understand, not in the ‘I’m an old lady who can’t hold on any longer’ sense! And yup, my nose was assaulted by that particular experience!!) on the way down to theatre. But it’s true what they say – anasthetic works!! You don’t feel / remember a thing!! Praise be to God! I woke up in the recovery ward, saying ‘No, not yet – I’m going to the bar, it’s my round!!!’ Atta girl!!! The pain that night and the next day were horrific but again, god bless the combination of morphine, dihydrocodine and paracetamol – it’s a wonderful world that has created this!!

Got me up a couple of days later and cue much comedy ‘Liz on a Zimmer Frame’ moments!! Then came the crutches. Now, I have 10 pins and 2 plates in my leg, which like you, means no weight on my foot at all for the next 2 months. I am also on crutches. And I hate them. I am useless on them – basically, i am terrified of falling. I mean, I can get around teh house ok but I’m not about to set off on me own for a jaunt. The Para-Olympics are safe!! And I cannot do steps and stairs. Any tips?? Fortunately, I can live all on one level here at parents but it means curbs are a no-no. I have got a wheelchair (sitting in it now!) for journeys out of the house but I am pretty much immobile and dependant. And by god, but does it make one thankful that it’s not a permenant fixture in my life. A humbling experience.

So, now that I’ve found your site and added to my favourites, I will be spending my days reading about you in order to discover what I have to look forward to. I’ve got to go back in about 3 weeks for a Consultants Clinic but other than that, I’m home with the parents. I would move home but I am now homeless, having been in the process of moving when all this happened. Broken legs and moving do NOT go!! Way too much stress!!

Anyway – thanks for starting your blogg and giving me some entertainment and I look forward to reading about you from here on in!

2. Nodrog - August 24, 2006

HEATHER LIBBY! Check your “its”! NO APOSTROPHE!!!!!
Signed, The Grammar Nazi.

3. amy bown - September 15, 2006

Oh boy. You guys haven’t lived until you’ve had a staph infection in your ankle. This is not to minimize anything you’ve gone through, but who the hell ever expects to almost DIE of a frickin’ broken ankle!

I’ve always had bad feet and I tore ligaments in my ankle years ago, so every once in a while, my ankle just sort of collapses with no warning. It collapsed on the Rialto Bridge in Venice, and since the Rialto is marble, my ankle shattered. It was November, there was a storm, and I had to be taken to the 14th century Venetian hospital via water ambulance–we’re in choppy waves and 30mph winds n the middle of the lagoon, and they bring me to the hospital. I was rushed into surgery the next day, had a steel plate put in, and spent 3 days in the hospital. Then I had to be stuck in my apartment. Luckily, I have friends in Venice who got me groceries and stuff, or I would have been screwed. I spent two weeks stuck in my apt in a cast, then said, “Screw it, I’m in the most beautiful city in the world, and I’m not sitting here!” So on crutches, I made my way out of the apartment. It took an hour to go maybe a 50 feet–it was excruciating. But every day I got better and stronger, and pretty soon I was dancing in my cast at my farewell party at Antico Martini–a club in Venice.

So I was able to fly home, and had wonderful friends and family to help me. By January, I was walking with an orthotic boot and a cane. I flew on a business trip to California, and when I got home, I had this burning sensation that I’d never had before. My break hadn’t been in the least painful. But now, my ankle was burning and I felt chilled and like I had the flu. I felt an excruciating metallic burning feeling, like a million hot prickles stabbing your ankle. My ex-boyfriend convinced me to go to the emergency dept. because he was worried it was infected. I laughed it off. I went to the ED, but had an idiot intern who they sent me home.

Two days later, my ankle swelled up like a baseball and I went to the hospital, where it burst. I thought they were just going to give me antibiotics and send me home…but noooo. I was admitted immediately. Still in denial, I’m like, “Oh isn’t this nice they’re giving me my own room!” DUH. I had my own room because I was infectious. The doctors came to me and said, “How the hell are you still alive?”

Turns out, I had been carrying HA-MRSA–Hospital acquired Methicillin resistant staph aureus–a superbug which is so resistant to antibiotics, it can only be cured by one very strong antibiotic, and even then it’s not a sure thing. This is the thing that kills 100,000 people in hospitals in the US alone every year. I can’t tell you how many doctors said to me, “You dodged a bullet, big time.” And finally I said, what the hell does that mean?.” Well, they said, “It is amazing that you carried as long as you did. One more week, and you’d have been dead.”

Oh. But it’s just a broken ankle, right?

After a week in the hospital and two operations, I had to start all over again. Here, I had been almost walking normally, and living a normal life–driving, getting out. And now I was completely confined in my apartment AGAIN, with IV antiobiotics. Only it wasn’t for a few weeks, it was for TWO months. And this time–you know how you cheat a little bit, put a little weight on it, just to grab something or get to the bathroom? I couldn’t do that–because there was no ankle left. The infection had eaten a canyon in my ankle. So not only was the bone injured, now all the muscle and tissue were gone.

So, I broke my ankle in November, but it has taken almost a year for me to walk normally. It amazes me that so many people suffer longer than that with just ankle breaks, and I had a double whammy–so I”m really lucky.

But it’s really funny–we never think of a broken ankle as life threatening, but because there’s no blood flow, ankles are very prone to infection. At any rate, I’m going back to Venice in a few weeks!

Thanks for your blog!

4. Deb - October 30, 2006

Gotta say ladies, I love this website. It pulls me out of my misery (temporarily). Joking aside, I do appreciate reading your personal “broken ankle” stories. I am sure that others who have not had our experience would find it a bit gruesome, but I feel I have some kindred souls out there who know how I feel during every step of recovery.

My story, if you have the time or inclination to read on:

Nothing incredible was happening at the time, I just fell off of my shoes in an uneven parking lot and badly sprained my left ankle and broke the right one one both sides and the heel had broken off as well. I wish I had a more thrilling tale to tell, but it is staggering to those of us who have broken our ankles, just how easily it can happen. In a split second your life changes forever.

Being Canadian, I was ever so polilte to the paramedics while they assessed and treated me. I introduced myself and got all their names within seconds and had shaken all of their hands right away Sounds kinda dumb right? It somehow calmed me down to have, what I thought of as normal conversation with new people. Where do you live? How long have you been a paramedic? What’s the worst thing you have ever seen in your career? Probing questions that they all answered and I quickly forgot as the morphine took affect.

At the first hospital they took me to I had the benefit of anesthesia while they “popped” my dislocated ankle into what I assume was the proper location. Then I was tranfered to another hospital where my orthopedic surgeon introduced herself by telling me her name and the bad news that the dislocated, then located ankle had dislocated again and would I mind if she just popped it back into place then and there. Yes, it would hurt, but only for a moment. In my drug-friendly state I agreed and she was actually right, it only hurt for a moment. I can only imagine how much morphine was in my system at that moment for it to only hurt for a moment, but I thank the pharmacutical gods for their efforts on my behalf.

Luckily, I had surgery the next morning and went home a week later. I couldn’t use crutches due to the sprained left ankle so I had to use a walker (yup, just like granny) and it worked wonderfully well. I think a walker is a much better solution than crutches. No chance of falling with a walker – well, almost no chance–so far so good. Also a wheelchair was appreciated too for the first two months.

It is now three months and I have gone backwards in the past week. A little bit of pain turned into not being able to put any weight on my right ankle again. Seems I didn’t appreciate what a serious break I actually had (according to the ER doctor). Some people are slower to heal and I guess I’m one of those lucky ones. All the activity since getting my walking cast off has led to this point and now I have to stay off it for at least two weeks and start again, again.

I’m a 47 year old mother of four and grandmother of two (and a half) and let me tell you that recovery is all about the relationships that you have. Your family has gotta love you enough to do absolutely everything for you. You have to have a neighbour you can trust to keep a key to your house in case of emergencies. Your friends have got to love you enough to listen to you as you sink into depression and you truly come to appreciate your hair stylist and manicurist in a new way.

I’ve tried to be cheerful and , so far I haven’t gotten angry and lashed out at anyone (yet), but I can feel the walls closing in again with my latest reversal of re covery.

Thanks to this website, I have a place to vent and enjoy the feeling of not being alone.


5. Deanna - November 5, 2006

Glad to have found a site about this. I am currently in a tremendous amount of pain and was looking for answers when I stumbled here. Back in early July, I broke my ankle on both sides, as well as dislocating it. My silly ass decided I was going to play softball at the age of 31, after not playing the sport for ummm.. some 20 years now.

Anyway… first play of the game, I hit… I ran… all the way home, only to slide into home plate, excited that I was safe and then I couldn’t get up to get to the dugout. I didn’t feel the pain immediately… my foot just went totally numb. I remember thinking to myself… Wow, I am safe… but how am I gonna get to the dugout? It was apparently clear at that point, just by looking at my foot literally hanging from my leg, that I had broken it. But being in denial… I thought, well if I ice it… maybe I can still walk on it. So I sat there for the next 2 hours, watching the game, iceing my foot, to find I couldn’t walk at all. (could be it wasn’t attached anymore)
After going to the hospital and having a surgery, that was supposed to take about an hour that turned into 4 hours… I had a plate on the outside with 6 little screws… and 1 big screw coming from the inside to reattach the foot to the leg. Talk about a stupid amount of pain.

Oh, but it gets better. Since my entire foot and ankle area was numb… I thought it was quite bizarre that I was having so much burning pain going on. After 3 weeks of healing… the Dr decides to bring me in early to do the removal of the big screw from my foot… stating that he got it to tight and it was pushing my foot out, instead of bringing it back in. So, during the 2nd surgery, he had to force my foot back into place. AHHHH!!!

So, here I am 4 months later. I am walking, but not normally… and I still can’t believe the amount of pain I am in. Ironically enough, its not even pain in my ankle… its in my leg bone right above my ankle. Anyway… glad to see I am not the only silly woman out there to go through this. LOL

See ya,

6. Deb - November 14, 2006

I’d really like to correspond with with someone going through the same thing as me. Namely, rehabilitation of a broken ankle. Or if you’ve just broken you ankle I’d like to help give you moral support. Write me at: luluchigger@hotmail.com


7. debi - December 14, 2006

hi, i just broke my ankle and had surgery 2 weeks ago. oh, i also fell off my crutches and broke my arm.

8. kk - December 23, 2006

OUCH Debi!!I am the odd one in the group I guess, I broke my fibula while taking my daughter to a Christmas party slipped on the ice. I was in a cast above the knee and now am in a boot but my ankle and knee have such limited motion and are so swollen. I use a walker because crutches scare me…..I probably need some tips on them though because they are getting impatient for me to go back to work. The place is an ADA nightmare….4 steps without rails to the door and then another 4 with a rail when you get there. Any tips would be appreciated on the crutches. I can do single steps with the walker but multiple..no

9. Carolyn - February 23, 2007

Nov 3 2006-
First vacation in 5 years-Belieze- at least day before we were to come home. The resort said if I could get out of Beleize to take care of it I should. Flew home with dislocated Broken ankel and tore ligs and break at top of fibila. Had some vicodin with me. Broke both sides of ankle one side 5 places. Now have plate and screws. 2 screws that are holding torn lig to ankle are to come out next Wed. Nervous about pain as I had terrible pain and bone infection. Has any one had screws removed and is it very painful

10. ginny clowney - June 28, 2007

I’m broken too, left ankel with screws and plates to hold it together,ouch! i’m 59, retired nurse as of a year ago when my husban and i moved to the mountains to enjoy the rest of our life riding our Harleys, 4 wheelers, walks in the woods with our lab, fishing, boating, riding our bicycles along the lake etc. never been hurt before, never sick, not ever on medications WOW what a wake up call! Riding 4 wheelers in woods with husband and friend, having one h–l of a good time my 4 wheeler turned over and to keep it from rolling on me i through up my left leg and thats when i heard, saw, and felt SNAP,CRACKEL and POP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
yelp, my foot hanging to the right and the 4 wheeler resting on my leg. mind you we’re still way babk in the woods, NO 911. my husband and friend picked me up as i held my foot and ankel togrther and put me on the back of my 4 wheeler and my husbabd leaving his 4 wheeler behind drove me out of the woods having to climb many bolders of rocks and hills before we got to the truck, a ride i would never want to repeat, holding my left foot and ankel together with my right hand and holding all but maybe 1 1/2 inches of my husbands shirt collar with my left hand, how he was breathing beats me. closest hospital 40 min away, took x-rays and put splint on and dr. looked at me and my husband and said – your ankel is broken, me with my sweet personality smiled real big and said REALLY? then he propcedes to say you need sugery,once again with my sweet smile, REALLY ? Don’t forget we’re in th mountains because the nest thing he said to us is that we don’t do sugery here. Long story short he called the 4 closest hospitals looking for an ortho surgeon with no luck. now i had the choice to have my husband drive me another hour 1/2 or the hospital fly me to a hospital with an ortho surgeon. since i was already flying from the iv demeral i chose to drive and save the money. got to hospital around 8pm, saw surgeon about midnite and he says you have a very bad fracture BUT i cannot do your sugery so i’m going to send you home and have you come back in a few days. Well, this sweet enthusiastic
innocent cardiac nurse did a complete 360 and said I DON’T THINK SO! after being transfered to another hospita at 2 am my sugery was done on mothers day may 13, 2007, approx. 42 hours after accident. Been in hometown ER since surgery 4 times and now i’m in my 7th week post sugery., still not walking,in soft boot cast, lots of nrrve damage, large fracture blister on top of foot, foot started turning purple last week as soon as i put it down and pain sets in. once it is elivated on pillows color gets better and pain goes away. dr. says to continue to keep leg elivsted 24/7.
i know it’s hard for all of us with these broken limbs,we didn’t appreciate these little piggies when the could go to market but hopefully thy will again. really enjoyed your letters, keep them coming and update with progress.

11. Melanie - July 28, 2007

I was working when I shattered my ankle. I was hiking and went down a steep hill, then at the bottom of the hill my right ankle gave out. Ankle sprain is what I thought I did until all the people with me said “No you deffinately broke it.” No big deal go to the hospital get a cast but make sure 911 called first due to the area I was in. The ambulance had to carry me out on a bed and nearly lost me once. I remained calm no crying it should be over soon. How wrong I was.

When I got to the er they put it in a splint and x rayed it. Then they decided that it was out of alignment and need to align it thus giving me some kind of medication which gave me amnesia and I remembered and felt nothing. Then it was xrayed again. In the meantime they are talking about admitting me. I said why and they lied and said oh we need to do tests and your doctor can’t come in until late. Well when he came in he basically told me I had shattered every part of my ankle and he would do surgery the next morning on July 4th. He thought I would have two incisions a few screws and one plate. The next day I woke up to pain but my blood pressure was low so I had to waite a few minutes for pain med. I just kept crying and screaming ouch. Finally a x ray tech told me how bad my ankle was. She said I had 11 screws and a plate in there. Well when the doctor came in it was even worse there is even synthetic bone because my bone was so shattered that he had to use it. I now have a cast and I have to have it four weeks then I get that gray boot and partial weight. I am told to put it up but the only way it feels comfortable is down due to it being broke on both sides and the back. Im scared to start pt or put any weight on it. I am having more pain now than in the hospital. Can anyone help.

12. Martha - August 3, 2007

Hello everybody, I broke my ankle 4 weeks ago on July 5th. I broke both bones with 10 different fractures, I broke my ligaments and tendons. All this happend in Mexico City a couple of days after my father in law passed away.
I fell a couple of steps in the stairs but my foot got cought in between the steps and received the impact of my full weight. I was taken to the hospital and had a bit of anesthesia to fix the fracture, after a couple of hours I had a 7 hour surgery to try and fix it internally. Because the bone was so badly destroyed there was no way to use any plates because of the amount of pieces so the doctor had to use wire to put it together.
Now I have wire and 7 pins holding my ankle togoether. I had to stay 4 weeks in Mexico and finally came back home a couple of days ago. I am a personal trainer and used to have such a crazy life between my 3 young kids and my full time clients. Now I am sitting down reading or watching TV all day. Tell me how did u sourvived this stage??????
I will see a doctor here in the US on the 20th of August for the first time and until then I use crutches to move around, no weight on my ankle for 6-8 weeks.
Great to have other people with a similar experience to help!!!!

13. Denise - August 5, 2007

I broke my ankle August 2nd while rollerblading. Actually, I barely rolled down the driveway to the street, hit a bump, lost balance and my entire leg and ankle flopped forward to the concrete bearing my weight and the heavy in-line skate pulling my ankle down. Oh yeah, I knew from the awful sound and pain that it was broken. I held my leg up under my knee and did a crab walk to get out of the street and pathetically asked my 7 year old son to tell my husband I needed help!

On the way to emergency I got the trauma chills and nausea. We had little confidence with the hospital due to lack of employees and it just recently being opened. It was a series of events that just weren’t fun. The lady at the front desk answering her obnoxious cell phone, There was only one Doctor, the nurse not being able to get my IV in( blood everywhere), then the nurse forgot the morphine, they couldn’t find anything – so I was in excruciating pain when they tried to get x-rays while my foot was flopping around the table. The Doc said we needed to relocate the bone so they’d have to give me some anesthesia. But of course there are risks!! May damage more nerves or tendons yada, yada, yada. And I’m scared I’m gonna die here.

Well, the orthopaedic specialist said I just needed a fiberglass cast to keep the fibula in place while new bone grows. Don’t need additional surgery or pins! What a relief. I’m now on my 4th day with this cast but it still seems like the bone is moving and clicking and I’m still feeling pain, numbness, tingling and pressure. Last night I took a slight spill on the stairway and stepped on the foot, tumble to the floor and fell and now I feel like day one again. I’m still taking vicodin for pain. Sounds like the numbness and tingling is normal, but it sure doesn’t feel right to me. I’m supposed to get a boot cast on Wednesday, so we’ll see how it turns out.

14. Denise - August 21, 2007

Went to my 1 week follow up and my ankle wasn’t healing properly, so I was scheduled for surgery the following day. The bone was screwed together and a plate was put over the fibula and secured with 6 screws. I’m supposed to stay off my ankle for 3 weeks and then I’ll get a air boot cast for 2 more.

15. TAJ - September 15, 2007

hey all,
Ihope someone has advice and I hope you are all healing…I broke my leg on May 10 2007, because I was trying to slide into 2nd base while playing softball; I was trying to recapture my youth…I played ball when I was in my teens and 20’s and I am now 40 as of July! Anyway, I spent the first weeks in a hard splint with no pressure on the ankle at all and crutches. I went back to work on the Monday after the break and I believe I made it worse because at first the doc didn’t think I had torn ligiments and that the ankle would heal without surgery. Well when the inital swelling went down and the splint was removed, I was told I needed surgery. I waited another 1 1/2 weeks because I was trying to close out the school year with my graduating students( big mistake). I had my surgery on May 25 and I am now the proud owner of a plate and 6 screws. The first night after the surgery was very painful!!!!! I out ice on the ankle to help with the swelling but didn’t realize until it was too late that ice and metal don’t mix. OUCH is the least of the words that came out. My ankle started throbbing even more and I ended up staying up all night, even with the pain killers, all night. I call every available friend to talk with me to keep my mind off of the pain. My mother was my biggest help!!! I found that keep the leg elevated helped the most. At first I had a hard time following the rules because I have a 3 year old to look after. This ankle has forced me to humble myself and ask for help. I live in a town that is 2000 miles from family and I had to really rely on my new friends. My boyfriend was my anchor; my point is, that I had to learn to ask for help. The first night after the emergency room I couldn’t figuere out how to get off the toilet and my boyfriend had to lift me off at 2:00 am (now its funny…) I am now 4 months after the surgery, and I have been through PT and I am back at work. I am on my feet all day with my job and then at night with my 3 year old. I still have swelling and a “cankle”(it looks like a ham hock) anytime I am on the ankle any period of time. The doc said that the bone is healed but that it could take up to a year with the swelling?????? My question is there anything I can do for the swelling? It hurts sometimes and aches most of the time. I was given a sports brace but that seems to make it hurt more and it just pushes the swelling up my leg to my calf and my knee. What should I do for the swelling? how long will it last? I am considering plate and screw removal surgery, how long is the recovery from that? I never want to be out of commission the way I have been this year from May to present. It is just too hard. I do try to remember that I am thankful that I can walk and that time heals all wounds. I just get a little frustrated when I can’t do the thing I used too and I am constantly aware of my ankle. What is the next step?

16. Pat - September 22, 2007

Hi everyone

I’m a 59 year old woman, (living on my own, although I have a partner who lives more than 20 miles away) and I am currently ‘recovering’ from a broken ankle.

I had the cast removed last week after over 6 weeks and was confidently told by the hospital doctor that, because my break was comparatively minor, I should be back to normal very quickly and would suffer no long term effects from the break. She even cheerfully informed me that some people are completely back to normal within a week! Well, guess what, I’m not!! Talk about feeling a failure! I am doing what exercises I have been told about religiously (well, it is the UK; my ‘physiotherapy’ consisted of being shown how to waggle my foot around) but, although my foot feels a lot better, I still can’t put my full weight on it without some pain and therefore I can’t walk.

I think I am even starting to sink into serious depression, especially now that I have been warned by my employer that, unless I can get back to work soon, my earnings will reduce drastically. Talk about kicking someone when they’re down! Mind you, they have been very considerate and have offered for someone to give me a lift into work with my wheelchair (once or twice a week!) Long term, I don’t know what will happen, as I don’t drive and have to walk quite a way to get to work, having to negotiate at least one lot of stairs to get to and from the two trains I need to catch.

I am so glad to have found this site because, as I tell everybody, only someone who has gone through this experience can understand how depressing and debilitating it is. And there is the uncertainty of how good your recovery will be and whether you’ll be able to lead anything like a normal life at the end of it (especially at my advanced age!)

Would love to hear from anyone who has been through this and come out the other end.

17. Tracy - December 7, 2007

I also broke my ankle back in November 12th, 2007, and is the fibula. I hate being stuck inside. Does anyone else feel this way?
Has anyone attempted to try to drive? I am told I cannot, because it is my right ankle. I had a cast on three weeks,and got a new on a few days ago, and get to go back again in three weeks, to have removed ,and x-rayed. How long was the healing process for everyone? Any quetions that may be answered would greatly be
appreciated. Does anyone still have bad pain,after cast is off, and healed? Thanks

18. Debbie - February 21, 2008


Broke my left ankle (fibula) on Jan 6th. Slipped on a wet driveway and heard the snap, but thought I had torn a ligament.Even the paramedic thought this too.Was given gas and air in the ambulance but this made me feel sick so I just had to grit my teeth and bear the pain, although can’t really remember it now!Had operation to fit metal plate and 6 screws on 10th Jan.This was the worst bit, the though of an anesthetic scared the brown stuff out of me!The anesthetis came to visit me on the night before surgery and gave me the great news that they were going to do an epidural as my blood pressure was too low and this was the best way to be able to monitor it…great now I could end up paralysed!Anyway there I was laid on the bed in pre-op room with my very fetching gown and paper knickers…scared as hell and this woman comes towards me with what I can only describe as a small sword!”where are you going to put that” I ask..”in your spine, why”?Well after 3 attempts and a LOT of pain, she decides it isn’t going to work as my spine is not prominent enough (think she meant that I was carrying a bit of back fat!). I was then given the anesthetic and the next thing I remember is recovery room asking a nurse if I had died!
After 1 very comfortable night in the hospital (due to very strong pain killers!) I was seen by the consultant who said “its gone very well Debbie, you will be going for a jigsaw cast fitting and you can go home this afternoon”!I was taken to plaster room and fitted with this very bizzare ast that was cut in 2 and velcroed back together…very clever idea. This was due to having to change the dressing on my wound every 2 days.
Luckily I live with my parents still and let me tell you I could not have got through this without them!I was on crutches and not able to weight bear for 6 weeks.I went up the stairs on my knees and down on my bu..great toner for the posterior though!I watched day time TV for the 1st 2 weeks and then started to go stir crazy.Luckily the company I work for could provide me with a laptop to do some work from home which kept me sane. I was brought breakfast in bed and and watered at regular intervals.I borrowed a DIY wheelchair and ventured out into the anit-wheelchair world on 6 occasions to be faced with unfit pavements, steep hills and very rude and ignorant people!I have so much respect for disabled people, they suffer so unessessarily in the world but are extremley humble! My idea of a great day out to the local supermarket and having a ride in the motorised trollies!They are great, all households should have one.
The one thing I missed so much was driving my car, I am so independent and this was heart wrenching for me.Crutches are not the easier things to use especially if outside on wet surfaces as they do slip. I got better with practice and mastered the art of the showering although I was lucky that I could remove my pot to get in on a shower stool.Having to have my mum dry me at 39 years was not the best but it had to be done.
On 20th Feb I went for my 6 week appointment. X-rayed and chat to the consultant. As I had been able to do my foot rotations whislt in pot, I was lucky to not need Physio!I was walking in my pot with crutches on the same afternoon and without pot and crutches today!I am so shocked at how painless it has been although I do obviously have the aches.I have been told I can drive next week and return to work on 3rd March.
I went through a very black depressed state for the middle 2 weeks but managed to pull out of it with the aid of some fabulous friends and loving family..thanks. To all you fellow “ankle breakers”..best of luck and well done for getting so far or through it, please believe me it does get easier and although you have to suffer pain in the process that no person who hasn’t broken a bone in their life will have experienced, it is worth it in the end.The feeling of being able to walk again is no shorter than a miracle. My advice is to push yourslef as hard as you can and believe in your own abilities, YOU CAN DO IT!

Good luck

Debs x

19. JudiO - May 8, 2008

Hi all,

I’m a 57 year old woman and broke my ankle (fibia, tibia, and ligaments) on Easter 2008. Had surgery three days later with four screws and had a remarkably horrible stay in the hospital for three days. I was no fan of pain killers because the constipation was worse than the pain. Also the IV left me wanting to pee every hour and the hospital room was anything but ADA so couldn’t get to restroom and had to rely on bedpan. Six weeks later, sI’m getting around my house OK but have many stairs inside and out and definitely need to install railing along the outside stairs to be able to engage in the great outdoors.

I am most interested in knowing about the best practices for physical therapy. I see my doc again in 5 days and want to be in the know.

20. the diva - May 21, 2008

I broke my ankle in December 2007. I am still off from work, walking is a pain, just had the big screw removed on May 15, 2008, doctor told me that it may take a full year to recover. I miss my old life before this break. This ankle is forever swelling and I have a standing only job. The only thing this has taught me was patience, I have a greater appreciation for my limbs, I learned how to do things on my own, just getting into and out of the tub can be an hell of an experience. Friends don’t understand that you can’t drive or even use the rest room like you used to. Be careful of black ice because I thought the step was wet and bam my life changed forever!

21. Heather - June 6, 2008

Another heather with another broken ankle! but it seems like I’ve got it easy compared to the rest of you as its only in one place, however I’m working in Africa and had to go to a dodgy doctors to get it put in plaster, and the plastercast feels like i’m carrying a brick around with me on my foot, I can’t tell if its because we have old fashioned technology here or whether this’d be the case if I was in Europe / the States?

Usually I think I thrive in crisis situations but I’m not coping with this one well at all – I’m super tearful but can’t really work out why…

There are several small things but nothing too huge: I feel like I’ve a bad blister inside the cast where my ankle is rubbing against the plaster, am feeling like I’m getting really out of shape as I’m just eating and doing no exercise, I haven’t got the crutches thing sorted out at all yet, and feel like I’m going to topple over all the time, and getting out the house to go anywhere or get anything is a nightmare and haven’t been here long, so don’t have too many friends to pop around to ease the loneliness. And! I’m so annoyed with myself for doing this in the first place…. I guess I’ll get used to it…???? Advice welcome, otherwise thanks for letting me have a little rant.

22. Darlene - June 19, 2008

I broke my rt tibia, fibula, posterior and distal malleous, April 1, 08, followed by surgery, with placement of hardware. Am doing good now, weight bearing,etc. One problem, though, numbness on the left top of my foot. I think I might have some nerve damamge from a too tight cast. Has anyone had a similar problem? How did you resolve it? Any suggestions????

23. Weapons: Tonfa - August 9, 2008

How often do you yourself Rollerblade or do you just write about it?

Can I ask though – how did you get this picked up and into google news?

Very impressive that this blog is syndicated through Google and is it something that is just up to Google or you actively created?

Obviously this is a popular blog with great data so well done on your seo success..

Rollerblading greats you should write about next.

24. Julie - August 25, 2008

Hello fellow broken ankle people-
I have an interesting situation. Not only is my ankle broken in 3 places (no surgery needed so far though thank goodness) I am 36 weeks pregnant! I fell on wet pavement, nothing exciting! Crutches are so horrible when you have an extra 25 pounds on your belly! Plus getting up in the middle of the night 3 times to pee when you have to crutch to the bathroom is no fun. And to top it off, I couldn’t take any painkillers besides Tylenol to help with the pain, so I have had a miserable August. I go back tot he ortho this week, does anyone have any insight to when they put a walking cast on? If I could just walk I would be in a much better place! It’s been about 4 weeks in a hard cast, Iw as wondering if anyone knew how long typically until I’d be able to walk again. I just want it off before the baby arrives!

25. Kellie - September 21, 2008

Hi to all with broken ankle stories. My thoughts are with you. It has definately been an experience. You do not realize what your independence really means until you have to be driven to work by your child or have your husband getting you simple things like a drink because you cannot carry a full cup on crutches! I broke my right ankle Aug 3 after missing a step and hitting the hardwood floor at the bottom of the stairs. Had ORIF Aug 7. Plate and 7 screws on the outside. 2 large screws on the inside. Soft cast for 2 weeks. Had staples removed and hard cast placed. Wore this for 4 weeks. Was getting around pretty good as the doctor told me I could start walking on it. Had the hard cast removed 2 days ago and was given an aircast for 6 weeks. Was told I could be full weight bearing with the aircast on whenever I walk. No problem with the walking (although the fiberglass cast was easier that this big aircast contraption). No pain in the ankle. The problem I am having is that the areas around the incisions over the screws and plate are rubbing against the cast. I have tried to cushion them but the are still very uncomfotable. Is this something I am going to have to look forward to for the next 6 weeks? Also, my doctor said I could try doing yoga in a few weeks and walking around a little at a time without the aircast in 3-4 weeks. Has anyone else walked this soon?

26. Katie - December 14, 2008

Hi all,
Well, I stepped into an obscured hole with my right foot and twisted my left foot, what seemed to be, around in a circle. I have 2 broken bones, one on either side of my ankle. I had surgery within a few days to immobilize the ankle. The surgeon put in a plate and 6 screws on the outside of my ankle and two pins on the inside. I was in a cast for 6 weeks. I just got the cast off this week. I was told to wear sneakers and walk as much as I could on flat surfaces, that my ankle would be painful and swell, that I could use a stationary bike. I asked about physical therapy and was told I didn’t need it (at this point?) and my next doctor appt will be in four week. I have been walking on it as much as I can, using crutches at times; it does often hurt like hell and is swollen.
These are my questions, does it seem weird that I wasn’t given any kind of a walking boot? What about no referral to physical therapy? I am curious about what other’s are doing?

27. Deb G - December 16, 2008

Hi All,

I think this site has helped me survive the past few days. My heart goes out to all of you after reading your stories – it is so true that we are in an exclusive club that nobody else would ever want to join.

I slipped Dec. 6th on ice that I thought was just wet powdery snow right outside my patio. The snapping and cracking sounds as my leg hit the ground are still in my nightmares. Broke the fibula and tibia and the whole ankle shifted over out of place. I now have a plate with several screws on the outside of the ankle and two long angled screws on the other side. Now this is so weird, please tell me there’s someone out there like me – the cast (which was really more a splint wrapped and wrapped in ace bandages) completely freaked me out. Everything was swelling inside, the cast was pressing harder and harder, and I was terrified my leg was going to explode inside there. I was afraid there was no circulation and they would have to end up amputating my foot. I was crying all night every night, couldn’t sleep on my back trying to keep the dumb leg up on the mound of pillows, and I was just a basket case. Please tell me I’m not the only person to be claustrophobic from a cast, I still feel so dumb. The Dr. is nice, but he gave me this look like, lady your broken bones are the least of your problems.
My first follow-up appt. 6 days after surgery, Dr. took the stitches out and butterfly-taped the incisions, wrapped the whole thing in elastic bandages and gave me the big air cast (moon boot). Seems awfully fast to remove stitches. I don’t know when I will be weight-bearing and I still have to keep it elevated almost 24/7 to control the swelling. It’s ok most of the time, but every night when I try to get it propped up in bed to sleep (in the boot), I get very stinging burning pains right where the boot touches the outside ankle bone. They don’t last long, but every time I shift position or try to get comfortable, I get that burning shot of pain. Needless to say, still not sleeping much.

Anyway, it sure helps reading all your posts. If there are any other newbies out there at the same stage as me (10 days post-surgery), please post and we can help each other through.

28. Mwaka - December 27, 2008

Hello all! I really sympathise with you & undestand completely. On Dec 1 i missed a step, fell & could feel my right foot twist further to the right. I had surgery to fix my broken ankle with screws & metals. I am now in a fiberglass cast, it has been less than a week but i feel as though it is too tight, especially around my heel. Is this normal? I can also feel the screws pushing against my skin..very uncomfortable.

29. ann taylor - February 3, 2009

Hello to all,
Wonderful site. dislocated rt anle on Jan 5th 2009 Welcome to the new year! Not quite what i was looking for. Fell on some ice on my front sidewalk to my home. I had a surgery 10 hrs after the initial accident for external fixtures for the dislocation. 2 weeks later had the internal hardware put in (ORIF) At this time a splint was put on. Have pain most of the time. No weight bearing of course.
tomorrow i will have the staples removed and the splint removed and a cast put on for at least 8 weeks.
Can hardly wait at least it is a trip outside. Will keep you posted as new milestones are accomplished.

30. Jacqui - February 10, 2009

Heather, Great website. Going through the same as everyone else. Broke one ankle bone in 4 places and two others, at the end of August have so much metal inside my foot, it feels very heavy. Had to have the bandages removed the first morning after the op as it was hurting the right side of my ankle. When I finally got it plastered, had to have it removed a couple of extra times because my ankle was still hurting. They put some medication on the ankle and a little brown plaster, with a bigger plaster on top. However, now that my plaster have been removed – 3 weeks ago – I still have a small hole (which is weeping) where it has always hurt and my foot is still swollen. Went to my GP who gave me penecillin for a week and when that didn’t settle it, sent me back to the fracture clinic as she thought I might be allergic to the metal. Went this morning and the doctor said the metal is so good, I wouldn’t be allergic to it and he’d give me stronger penecillin. The letter my doctor faxed over last week hadn’t arrived on my file, but I thought as he had my notes on the PC it would be on there. When I got the penecillin and got home, I found it was the same as I had from my GP. By the time I got home and phoned the hospital, the clinic had finished, the doctor had gone and the consultant’s secretary wasn’t there. Now waiting for a call in the morning to see if they can instruct my GP to give me a stronger penecillin. Ho hum – Just want this to stop aching and be back to normal as I’m supposed to be going on holiday in just over 2 weeks time. Anyone ever had an infection and how was it treated. Be glad to know.

31. Dawn Nicole - February 19, 2009

I’m so glad to have found this blog; I, too, have done a combination of laughing (which hurts my chest muscles that I’ve seem to have pulled getting myself around the house) and almost crying! It is so nice to find others going through what I’m going through (especially the depression – I feel like there’s so much I have to do, and my body just isn’t cooperating. Some days I’m fine, but others, I hardly feel like I can get out of bed, which then makes me just feel like I’m being lazy.)

I can definately say this accident has made me less “proper”. I’ve laughed with my nurses over bedpan use (my one nurse said I was her “best bedpan patient ever” – instead of being on the ortho floor, I had been put on the rehab floor because there was an open room, and most of their patients they had to lift. I had come up with my own system where – in addition to requesting the “pads” be put down first, and yes, used the large bedpan – I pulled myself up using the side of the bed, so they just had to slide it under and out from under me). Funny though, that my non-injured friends get uncomfortable when I tell that story – lol. (One friend was like “Well, you know, it’s been nice visiting, but I’d better go.”) I also have no problem dropping to the floor and crawling up and down my stairs, but I think it surprised a good male acquaintenance when I did it when he stopped by to help me get some items out of my car (which other friends had driven over from the site of my fall). I also found myself telling a friend that I was thinking of having her pick me up some Depends, because waking up at 3am and having to pee, then having to hop to the bathroom..?
Did I mention I’m only in my 30’s? (And never in my life have I said the word “pee” outloud until now.)

My story: I slipped on black ice just over two weeks ago. Even though I layed on the ice for 15 minutes before anyone found me, I luckily fell across the street from a fire department, so I was immediately surrounded by about 12 very friendly fireman, and the ambulance was there in minutes. I have a small fracture in my heel, multiple fractures in my tibia, and shifted both it and my fibula out to the right. I had surgery about 36 hours later, and have seven pins (six short, one long) and a permanent metal plate. I had my staples (17) taken out last Friday, and am now wrapped up in an ace bandage (with the butterfly sutchers) and sporting a very heavy walking cast (although I’m not allowed to walk for another five weeks). They told me they would first be putting me in a fiberglass cast, but my doctor said he wants me to flex my foot 10x 3x a day, so they put me in this cast so I can take it off. I will say I can definately tell I’m building up muscle lugging it around. (Anyone else lugging one of these around? By the end of the day, my foot has slid down in it and it keeps wanting to pull my leg to the right when I have it propped up. I’m so tempted to take it off!)

I also lucked out being where I was in the hospital. If I had to break my ankle, everything and everyone in the hospital was wonderful. I, too, made sure I knew everyone’s name, and being in one place for so long, nurses would actually come in and say they were glad to see I was still there. The only hard part? The day I was to be discharged. About two hours before D-time, I freaked out. How was I going to do this on my own? I turned out the light and just tried to rest, then about 30 minutes before discharge time, one of my nurses came to take my last vitals. All she had to say is “Well, how are you doing?” And I lost it. Lol. She was funny, and tried to get me laughing. And when they did come in for me to sign my papers, there was one that said they weren’t throwing me out, that I was ready to go home. Wait – if I sign this saying I’m not ready, I can stay? Lol. I went ahead, took a deep breath and signed the paperwork to go home.

I, like the original Heather, have been going along, perfectly content to live alone, working, buying cat food and “spinster wheels”, and yes, have found myself staring at pictures of heels, wondering if I’ll ever be able to wear them again. My family is 12-14 hours away, but I have been lucky to have some amazing friends (and some people I’d never even thought of calling) help me out. What’s helping the most is I created a “Help” list on my Facebook page, which I keep updated. This way my friends can check out the list and call me if they can help out, as opposed to me having to call and make people feel guilty if they can’t help. I’m also battling the fact my boyfriend is 14 hours away and in the middle of a job hunt, so he has zero plans of coming to see me. (He first talked about moving in with me for the first six weeks, then he started getting callbacks for jobs.) He definately lost brownie points with my family and friends, and sometimes with me (especially late at night when I’m just so freaking tired and achy). I think I’m doing better, but there’s been times it’s made me so mad and frustrated that I’m having to do this on my own. I asked him one night “Isn’t this what boyfriends are for?” Of course, he feels guilty too, so on top of having to deal with everything associated with a broken ankle, we’ve been fighting when we’ve never done much before. Yep, really fun to already be depressed about my situation – let’s throw in some arguing, when I really just need someone to hold me and tell me everything will be alright!

I need to go back and see if I can answer any recent questions, but here’s a few of mine:

Is anyone else dealing with pulled chest muscles? It scared me last night because it hurts when I take a deep breath, but I realized it was a result of the way I am getting myself around the house: using a walker, but also using my footboard and various other pieces of furniture to help me hop around the house. (I also have a wheelchair, but it doesn’t fit in all parts of my house.) I’m going to call my home health nurse in the morning to see what they say, or find out if I can use something like Aspercream. (I had a home health nurse come by on my first day, but he said that I had my house set up good, so he didn’t feel he was needed.)

I also have had the burning/stinging pain from time to time. I usually just keep shifting positions until it feels right. Tonight, I’m relieving it by undoing my cast. I also just cut down on my vicodin from 2 every 6 hours to 1 every 4. Seems to be working ok.

Best wishes to all of you, and I look forward to going through the process with you! (Thanks to all that have gone before – come back and keep us posted on what we have to look forward to!)

32. Pam - February 19, 2009

Hello All,

Its so nice to have a website that we can vent or relate to how it feels to be totally “helpless”!!!! If it weren’t for my family and b/f, I honestly don’t know what i would do.
In Nov. 2008 I had a horrible car accident, a car hit me head on , I suffered bilateral open patella fractures, ruptured the patella ligaments, shattered my rt heel and ankle, suffered a skull fx. and C6 vertabrae fx….
I spent the next month in the hospital for surgery and rehab and now i am home with my walker & wheelchair.
I can’t believe that in an instant my life is forever changed, my legs will never be the same and I will lose my job when my FMLA leave ends not to mention the health insurance…
I am still having physical therapy at home and hoping soon to go outpatient for my therapy.
I have a hard time sleeping, now I find that I wake up several times during the night and feel like I have been beat up.. all my muscles and joints hurt so much it makes me want to cry. They keep telling me its because of the impact of the accident.
Does anyone else have this also ??? Thank god for pain medicine or it would be impossible to move.
Well now that i’ve vented I guess I should thank god that I am alive and someday I will walk again, maybe not like before but I will!!!!

Have a good day and hang in there !

33. Deanna - February 26, 2009

I am so glad there are other people out there like me. I am also glad that I am not the only 30-something who has suffered this injury, I felt like I was the youngest person ever. I too slipped on the black ice on my driveway and shattered my ankle.,actually this is the second time I broke this ankle. I broke it in a car accident 5 years ago and it never quite healed correctly. This time though the pain was like something I have never experienced before and my foot was facing the wrong way, I still shutter to think about it and it has been a month this week. Luckily, my children were home with me and called 911 and an ambulance arrived relatively quickly. Once at the hospital and after a few x-rays it was determined that I would indeed need relocation and surgery. I ended out with one plate and four screws. The worst part of the whole thing is being totally dependent upon people. It is my right ankle so I can’t drive, even if I could I can’t manuever that well on the crutches, I have a walker in the house. Luckily, I live in a ranch so I don’t have to worry about stairs but I have my Mom staying with me to help me with the simple things like laundry, making the kids lunch, getting them ready for school and even getting a drink for myself. It is amazing how much you take for granted when you can’t be independent. It is hard to do things when you are on one foot and you need both hands for the walker. Thank God for great friends and family who have been there for me throughout this whole process, it has made it all better. I still have another 3 weeks in my plater cast, and then I go back to the Doctors to see what my future holds. He tells me I will definately have another cast in my future, but hopefully it will at least be a walking cast with some weight bearing. It seems like such a long road to recovery and I hate not knowing what the future holds and how my ankle will be. I guess I can’t go back and change anything so I have to face my new reality and deal with it the best I can. I hope to come out of this stronger and with a new sense of self.

34. Mary - March 4, 2009

Is it possible to be alergic to the screws and plate put in my ankle 7 weeks ago? I have a rash that’s so itchy it’s driving me crazy.

35. Bibi - March 10, 2009

Hello Everyone ..

I just got out of a plaster cast …moon boot …after almost 4 weeks in it following a fall in which I fractured my ankle when I slipped down a waterfall when hiking…thats a story in itself …lol … I now find I have lost almost 10-12 pounds …(I’m not complaining about that – maybe I should break the other one too !)… I had one clean fracture which seems to be healing well…but I can’t walk and the doctor has given me two crutches to move around ..but not much advice on what exercises to do … no Physio where I am… I find my leg is very weak and almost useless… I feel very frustrated at not being fully mobile.. I know it will take time – could be months from reading the experiences of others on the blog… – no magic solutions I guess…..
….BUT can anyone suggest some simple exercises I can do without overstressing my ankle … that will help me gain strength in my legs and help me recover a little bit faster … what daily exercises did your Physio suggest in the first two- three weeks after the cast was removed ??

Any experiences ??

Thank you …and good luck to you all …


36. Lisa - March 11, 2009


I wish that I would have found this forum for writing about my experince and asking for advice 6 weeks ago when I injured myself. As it is now, I am leaving on holiday in 2 days and wondering if I am going to have a problem when I go to board the plane with a swelled ankle and foot. I am hoping that all is going to go okay and I am not going to upset my family’s life any more than I already have with this freak accident.

6 weeks ago at 8:30 at night, I slipped on the ice and sprained my ankle, fractured my fibula and dislocated my kneecap. The way that I landed was just incredible. Left leg out in front of me and right leg completely bent with foot resting flat on the ground under the left side of my butt and kneecap raised in outer part of thigh. I popped my kneecap right back into place and pulled right leg out infront of me. This seems so amazing to me now since within only minutes I had no power to move my right leg at all. Amazing what adrenaline can do. I slid on my butt the some 60 feet or so to my house and then drug myself backwards up the stairs. My kids then came and helped me to get into the house where I laid for 3 hours contemplating what to do. We called my husband to come home from his nightshift job. He thought that we should go to the hospital right away, but I kept making him wait, for what I have no idea. I guess that I was just so scared to move. Finally I got the bright idea to drag myself to our sunken living room where I could have him move the stairs and then I could try trying to stand up from there with help. After another hour and a half of hemming and haaing, with my bladder raging, I tried to stand. Next came 15 mintues of being semi-conscious and trying to regain my senses. When we realized that I couldn’t send a message to my leg to move at all, I decided to go to the hospital. It is now 2am. After X rays that I could barely stay conscious for, the doctor tells me that I have a sprained ankle, puts me into a knee immobilizer and sends me home to rest. I was told if they missed anything on the Xray, I would get a call from a specialist later that day when he came into work. I hear not a thing. One week later I go back after the swelling and bruising is so incredible and I wonder if maybe they missed Xraying my foot and something may be broken there. Yes, they missed something…a broken fibula. But strangely enough, I have been hobbling around on crutches for a week and really am not in much pain at all.((I have an extremely high pain tolerance level, not really sure if this is a good thing or not right now)) I go to see an orthapedic surgeon the next day and he puts me in an aircast that ends at my knee. Getting into the van my kneecap moves out of place again. I drive home the half hour from the hospital holding my kneecap in place and contemplating how mad my husband is going to be when we get home and I tell him that I am not going to wear this aircast.

So I have been wrapping my ankle in a tensor bandage and doing lots of resting with my foot elevated and ankle and foot iced. When I get up in the morning, my ankle and foot almost look normal, but as soon as I set my foot on the floor the swelling starts.

Does anyone know if I should encounter any problems with trying to go on a 4 hour flight? I thought that I would just try staying in the seat and flexing my calf muscle and foot lots during the flight. Any suggestions?? Please…

37. Jacqui - March 12, 2009

Heather, Had my ankle out of plaster on 20th Jan after breaking my ankle in a few places at the end of November. Still swollen but not so much now. Flew to Singapore on 23rd February with a day’s stopover then flew on to New Zealand the next day. Was told to use those horrible tight stockings so I didn’t get dvt but didn’t want to, so started taking 2 aspirin a day 4 days before flights and continuously for 4 days after flights and was okay- I’m not on any other medication so it was alright for me, but I suggest you check with your doctor.. Had a little amount of alcohol on the plane and then drank lots of plain water. Did a few exercises on the plane and was fine there and did the same when I came back on 6th March. Did an awful lot of walking with no adverse reactions. I ordered a wheelchair as the distances to the gates are quite long and I hadn’t been walking too much – might be an idea for you. I have heard that cucumber on the swelling can reduce it, also using ice packs for 15 minutes, with leg raised, during the day. I’m still having physio but they are trying to get me to a foot and ankle clinic because the foot is still a little resistant when coming up to the leg. Ho hum, anyway started driving yesterday, luckily it was my left ankle that was broken, so pretty good on the clutch. Hope you’re soon better. Regards, Jacqui

38. sharon reyes - May 10, 2009

my name is sharon i shattered my ankle in a car wreck my doctor is wanting to fuss it and i have not had any therapy i need advise help

39. Pam - May 12, 2009

Hi Sharon,

I think you mean he wants to ” fuse” your ankle ??? I shattered my ankle and heel on my Rt. foot and had a plate and screws placed in november its now May and I too may have to have mine fused also….sometimes they do it because there is just too much damage to repair it any other way. You won’t be able to flex or bend it after.
If your not sure about this Dr.s approch why don’t you get another Dr.s opinion ? I know its rough I’ve had lots of pain and swelling still and its been 6 months since my car accident.
Good luck and let us know how you make out : )

40. Zuk - May 28, 2009

Simply stated…broke and dislocated my ankle in a cycling accident and ended up with fractures blisters. Couldn’t operate for 3 weeks due to blisters. Three hour operation to place a plate and screws to repair breaks in my inside and outside ankle bones. Left hospital after two days with a plaster splint. Every time I got out of bed my ankle swelled up and became very painful. Stitches out in two weeks after operation and given a walking boot (but can’t use it for walking). Use crutches more than the wheel chair now. When using wheel chair I stuck a crutch under my butt to support my leg out in front of me with the arm portion of the crutch.

I feel like I have slipped a cog or two while laying here in bed looking at my foot now for over 5 weeks. Without the support of family and friends I feel like I may have lost a couple more cogs in the process.

I’m a musician/drummer and have lost a valuable gigs, as this has been going on during the peak season for festivals, bars and private parties. The most important thing is that we came up with a couple of replacements drummers and the band didn’t miss a beat. I’m feeling really apprehensive about playing again as I need full use of all my limbs to play the drums. I will be working on building up my left leg and upper body but can’t do much, other than stretching my right injured foot. My right cafe muscle looks like a chicken bone and I will have to wait until I can put some weight on it to get stronger. This is about 4 weeks from now.

If anyone know of any kind of exercises I can do to strengthen my limbs I would be most appreciate. I’m doing leg lifts, ankle stretches and working with 10 lb. weights for my upper body. I occasionally get outside with my crutches to get as much exercise for my uninjured limbs.

41. pam - July 19, 2009

Hello Again,

Well its now been 8 months since that horrible accident and though I’ve come a long way , I can now walk without my walker (if you call walking like a penquin walking…lol) and I actually started driving about a month ago !!! I am very nervous but I do it and it feels so good to have my independence back !! I honestly don’t know what I would have done without my family , I would have ended up in Rehab for months and months instead of the one month I spent learing to walk again after all the injuries I had. I still have alot of pain though , mainly my legs and Rt. foot. I went for a second opinion yesterday in Boston and am so glad I did !! He told me that some of the screws in the plate in my foot are coming out and hitting the bone on the outside of my ankle , and that my sub taylor joint is bone on bone !! OUCH….I will need a fusion in the near future to try to lessen the pain I have in my foot.
Has anyone had a sub taylor fusion ? How long did it take to heal ? Was it a painful operation ? I don’t like the idea of starting over again , but I can’t live everyday with the pain and swelling I have every minute of the day. I also worry what it will do to my legs because I also fractured both patellas and ruptured the patella ligaments in my accident…
Anyone have any ideas or experiences to share ???

Hang in there everyone

42. Heidi - August 11, 2009

Hello everyone! I broke my right ankle and my left foot about 5 days ago. I was camping with my husband and his family and someone (not mentioning any names) left their shoe on the step. I stepped on it twisted my ankle and then fell and somehow landed on the top of my other foot. Maybe had something to do with wearing flipflops..I don’t know. Anyways….I am immobilzed in bed now and looking around my house at the mess that my husband is apparently blind to and it’s depressing me!! A couple of questions..Did anyone else have an instant stomach reaction. Not to be indelicate but I had to crawl to the camper toilet…nearly lost it in front of everyone. Like right away! Did anyone else have this? And also is it normal for the ankle to burn? I don’t have much pain just a low level burn in my cast. Anyone else have this?

43. Pauline - October 6, 2009

Hi Heidi, Wish I had seen this before…I fractured tib and fib , spiral fractures in early August. No surgery but I have been in a long plaster for 2 months. Now in a shorter plaster up to my knee. I live in the UK and waiting for physio (10 days later than expected !) The forst 2 months were ver depressing. I live alone and my partner is 20 miles away. He visited every day at first, not so much now. With his help and that of my 92 year old mother who visited ! and friends…I have coped. Feeling much better now but I can identify how helpless you have been feeling and how difficult it is to rely on other people to do things we normally take for granted. Hope you get this and can reply to let me know how you are getting on.

44. Jacqueline - November 9, 2009

Hi there , My name is Jacqueline and I broke my left ankle ,fibula and dislocated my foot on 2nd December 2008. I slipped on black ice on the pavement outside my flat. I have never experienced pain like it. I was sitting on pavement at 7.10am , it was dark still and there was no one about. I heard my bone snap and my foot was pointing a different direction. I suppose you go on auto pilot. My mobile phone was handy so I called 999 and said I was really sorry to bother them but I thought that I would need an ambulance. After that I thought i was going to pass out with the pain . Then thankfully my neighbour came out and stayed with me till the ambulance arrived. I had lots of gas and air , then morphine before my foot being put back in place in the ambulance. Once at hospial I struggle to remember much as the drugs they gave made me forget alot about what they were doing to me.There was a record number of fractures admitted into the local hospital that day so I had to wait till the next day to be operated on.

I have a metal plate with screws on my Fibula also screws into my shin , and under my ankle. I was in hospital for a week then hopped with a zimmer frame for 8 weeks . Also had to move back home where I could be looked after by my Mum & Step Dad.Going back home to live in your 30s IS very ,very strange. I couldnt have coped without them though. Then walked with elbow crutches for a while with physio every week. I am a Nanny and was off work for over three months. The only reason I could go back then was because my Boss bought an automatic car for me to drive. I found the time I was off very depressing . My Dad had died suddenly 4 months before my accident. I felt that everything In life was against me. Now I am nearly a year down the line.

I can sometimes walk without limping and then other times I am limping alot. Now winter has arrived in Bonnie Scotland , I cannot believe how sore my leg is and finding it difficult to walk for long periods of time. I am off to the G.P today to seek advice on what I can do to help improve my leg and ankle.

45. Deborah - June 29, 2010

Hello to all the many broken ankle ,leg,and foot injured . I agree with all the folks that have posted comments regarding their pain from such a break. I read many every night just before i cry myself to sleep, yes it is very depressing not to be able to walk and do the things you used to do before the accident. I broke my right ankle June 13 2010 , xrays at the er showed 2 broken bones the media malleolar and a distal fibular break . I was coming down a little hill in my backyard ( just got finished weeding my garden and was just a few feet from my patio when I slipped on the wet grass while wearing flipflops! I am in week three of my injured ankle , Doctor has me on no weight bearing and in a boot up to my knee. Apparently since the bones have not shifted the trams doc is ok with me staying in the boot for another three weeks and then we will see if I can put weight on the ankle …. Do you think I will be so lucky to avoid all the hardware that others on here write about ? I pray for all to have a speedy recovery and just know that I do feel your sadness . Time will heal us all ! God Bless you all

46. Lee - July 2, 2010

Intresting Reading well I am in the same club not going to well lots of pain
currently day 10 of the accident I am outof hopital after a 3hour op have the plates and screws just waiting now for my check up

47. Amanda Drake-Worth - July 29, 2010

Hi had ankle fusion and achilles tendon lengthening on 8 July. 2 weeks fine and now with fibreglass plaster really burning and rubbing. Any ideas please?

48. Tiffany - February 19, 2011

I’m 24 and I broke my ankle on both sides..ho?! I don’t even really know, I just fell while I was running …needless to say these have been the worst 6 weeks of my life!:( anyway the doctor said one more week and I can walk with a brace. But I started trying to step today and I couldn’t stretch my foot inward towards me. ..is this normal?! And it hurt like hell! Could this mean it did not heal properly? !

49. Liz - April 19, 2011

Broke my ankle in three places (and dislocated it) on 21st March – just missed a step right at the bottom of my staircase. Managed to crawl to the phone and dialled 999 and my neighbour. Morphine doesn’t really work for me so they gave me fentanyl before they popped the dislocation and put me in plaster. Me – scared of the pain “It still hurts” Dr “we haven’t given you the fentanyl yet!” Anyway it worked. 8 days in hospital, the day I was due to come home had another x ray and found the bone had shifted and so I needed the op. Now have plate and pins; spent another week and a bit in hospital, have been home 10 days. Hate hate hate the crutches, which make my arm hurt and I am unsteady on them, and the physio insists I need to hop up the step into my kitchen using them – why? I can already get into it sitting on the perching stool they gave me and swinging my leg round. She also thinks I am going to “hop” on crutches up my steep, narrow, Victorian staircase. ~I said no, I’m going up on my bum. Has anyone else encountered physios who are determined to do it “by the book” even if there is an easier way?

50. karen - May 1, 2011

hi everyone,
wow, what a common injury. i broke 3 bones and dislocated my ankle on april 1st- yes, april fools day ! i had surgery- 8 screws and plate on outside of ankle and 2 pins on inside. i had a backslab for 2 and a half weeks while the 31 staples healed and have been in a cast for 2 weeks now- 3 weeks to go, hopefully.
my question is…. i have this burning sensation and at times it is quite strong, on the inside ankle around where i would say the surgery cut or 2 pins are. the wounds were clean and infection free when the cast went on. i had the pain before the staples came out and thought that they were the cause…. could it be nerve damage from the pins?

51. Broken ankel | Alliterationplus - May 27, 2011

[…] Heather, Meet Heather. « Ouch, my leg! (the broken ankle blog)Flew home with dislocated Broken ankel and tore ligs and break at top of fibila. Had some vicodin with me. Broke both sides of ankle one side 5 places. Now have plate and screws. 2 screws that are holding torn lig to ankle are to come out next Wed. Nervous about pain as I had terrible pain and bone infection. […]

52. mary ellen galasso - September 9, 2011

52.hi, my name is mary ellen. i am 62 and broke my ankle in the beginning of aug. i moved to ct from florida. my husband can’t leave florida because of his job. i get so bored sitting at home. i have to depend on home health aides to shower.

i am getting my cast off in 10 days. can anyone tell me how long does getting back to normal take after this.driving, etc. thanks

53. mary ellen galasso - September 9, 2011

broke ankle in 2 places. i am suppose to get cast off in 10 days. does anyone know how long after that it takes to get back to normal. walking, driving

54. Sam - September 21, 2011

Hi I’m Sam, broke 2 bones of and dislocated left ankle august 19th, on a staircase, carrying a 2 yr old! Had operation 2 days later and ended up in hospital 7 nights. Plate and 9 screws plus pin. Had x ray and stitches out at 24 days post op so far so good. So much pain the first 3 weeks, then last week it was more manageable, but now beginning of week 5 it has been really uncomfortable again, hopefully it’s just from overdoing it when I thought it was better and not a setback. Have another surgery to remove a temporary long pin on October 11 (8 weeks post op) which I am dreading but no weight bearing at all until then so be good to get it over with (i guess)… My worst nightmare is that it doesnt all set in the right place and I have to start all over again, am stay at home mum to a 2 and a 5 year old so really miss my old active life, can ‘t believe how much we take for granted!! Thank goodness my mum has flown out to help me for a month but she is leaving next week and don’t know how we’ll cope then while my husband is at work! Hope everyone else healing well and having a good day today, look forward to when we can be one of the success stories further down the line.

55. Malki - February 10, 2012

Hello-i broke my ankle in January 2012. Great way to ring in new year? I was in a terrible car accident-luckily my two air bags deployed-my husband who was driving was fine but I unfortunately must have braced for impact on passenger side a little harder than normal. Hence-im in a lovely cast now-two wks ago had surgery-surgeon said I had a really bad break(I guess in more ways than one) but surgery was successful so now the journey begins. The sad thing is I was returning from a job interview when this accident happened-now I have to put of potential employers! The guy who hit us was charged. I’m glad we are alive and want to move forward. Would love to have an ankle support email buddy who has gone thru injury-interested?? -plse reply to my post-preferably female like me-im 48 married w great husband and cut dog along with wonderful family and friends!! So if this sounds interesting to you-plse reply backi Would love to share thoughts, share feelings, get tips and just give general support to each other. Healthy thoughts and healing to all!

Rosemary - June 25, 2012

Hi Malki
I hope your ankle has healed by now and you are back to walking and living normally. I broke my ankle in 3 places on 21 March, got 5 screws a plate and 2 pins. Its still painful and I’m getting very frustrated how long its taking to heal so am hoping to hear from others how long their recuperation time was and hints to speed it up. I’m trying to get back to my job teaching 8 year olds but can only do a couple of hours in the morning before I’m just about crying in pain.

Malki - June 25, 2012

Hi Rosemary-how lovely to hear back from a kindred spirit! I feel for you and your broken ankle. My journey has not ended unfortunately-i am going onto my sixth month of recovery. I broke and shatterred my fibula. My surgeon said to me the other day at a follow up that it was the largest plate he had inserted in a leg! I feel special. I have one plate. 8 screws and one pin. I am getting the large pin removed in 2 weeks. This will be my last surgery for a while. My surrgeon said down the road I can possibly remove more hardware-how exciting! Overall I am getting physically stronger but its tough. I graduate from wheelchair to double crutches to single crutch and now no crutches! I walk very slowly with a limp. I am working on walking short distances and correcting my gate pattern of my walk now. My foot gets swollen a lot so I use ice packs in between to alleviate pressure. I was unemployed at the time of accident so I am home still during this time. I applaud you for making the effort to go back to work. I had a job offer but had to turn it down. I jus-my sister is a teacher for grade 1s so I can empathize. t take one day at a time and focus on my recovery and don’t worry bout the job stuff right now. We should exchange emails so we can share directly? I would suggest that you keep up with any exercises you were given to do and walk as much as you can. I go for physio/chiro/accupuncture/massage every week. My therapist is going to get me a gym membership thru my insurance and we are going to work out on treadmill/bike and with weightsfor strengthening. After my upcoming surgery, I will be down for a bit but I should be okay. It’s definitely a long process-i am planning for the year to be working on my recovery so be patient with the healing process. I look forward to hearing from you soon hopefully and making an ankle pen pal! Malki. p

Rosemary - June 25, 2012

No crutches or walking stick that’s impressive! I’m not sure that having the biggest plate your surgeon has ever put in an ankle is much of a claim to fame though! I use one crutch around home and 2 when I need to go somewhere fast, carry my laptop or something in a back pack or when it gets just too painful. Maybe I should try ice for the swelling. Would be something to chuck at the kids when they misbehave in class!
Does your therapist do all those things, or do you go to separate people for acupuncture, physio etc? I have a good physio- she is very knowledgeable and encouraging. Good luck with having your pin removed. I can’t wait for that day, then I’ll be able to sleep on my side again without it rubbing against the sheets. My email is rjcooke@gmail.com.

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