Monday, December 8, 2008

Tri-Malleolar Ankle Fracture, Post Surgery



303 comments:

  1. You've happened upon the most popular part of my blog! Leave a note, why don't you, and share the pain! It will be a relief, I am sure.

    Today in PA is cold and rainy and painful for my leg bones...even when you heal, your bones remember...

    Be well! EC

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  2. Trimalleolar - you broke the Talus too?

    I had a compound bimmalelor fracture in april 2006. I have 11 screws and a steel plate in my fibula. do you have an xray posted? My scars looked nastier than yours....

    Tom X

    amotom@gmail.com

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  3. Yes, the talus, too.

    i did not put up X-rays, but it was pretty textbook, although with a rather long line of screws on the right side.

    The left side (where there was a long pin going up, way up, into the bone, caused me the most pain, and it still does. The other side where the plate was (I got it taken out, and that was one of the best decisions I've ever made, as it relieved quite a bit of pain, at least most of the time) is still very tender. The worst is when I bang it on something, or get kicked accidentally. I see stars!

    Good luck--I am sure that a compound fracture leaves a very bad mark.

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  4. I am due to have the metalwork removed in the near future. What was the pain like after you had the plate removed? I am nervous about the whole operation, even though it is supposedly "routine".

    Why did your Dr's remove the plate? They kept on telling me before that it is "stronger" if you leave it in? Do you have unevenness in the fibula? Is your scar bigger now?

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  5. I was nervous about it, too, and unsure if I should have the metal removed, but it was causing me daily pain. Every day, several times a day, I had to ice my ankle and it was not at all flexible. That is no way to live, and I was taking so many painkillers, I was scared of the health effects from that, too. I also wasn't exercising as much as I should have, because the pain afterward was bad.

    My orthopaedist needed convincing to agree to remove it (he is old school and believes that people can live and die with hardware), but agreed because I was experiencing such pain. He made me wait until 9 mos post-op, and said he didn't like to remove hardward before 1 year, but he was okay with it in my case.

    The pain after the surgery was awful for a few days, but now it is SO much better.

    You will hear conflicting advice about hardware--that it strengthens bone, that it makes bones weaker on either end, that it's not worth removing because it then increases chance for re-fracture...but you have to do what you have to do.

    My leg was weak for about two months after the hardware removal surgery, but I know it was the right decision to make. No more ice, very little ibuprofen needed on a daily basis, and I can exercise without serious pain afterward.

    My original scars were reopened, so it looks about the same (not worse).

    So--I would say get it removed, but only if it is bothering you and impacting your lifestyle, as it was mine.

    Good luck!

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  6. hi, broke my ankle oct 4th 2009 it is march 16, 2010 today they are removing 2 of the screws in my ankle, broke it in 3 places and he put in a plate and screws, mostly small ones but 2 long ones that are the ones he is removing, pain is nominal, dont take meds very often, i am so ready to have these screws out, scared though, never broke a bone b/4 in 44 years, not used to much pain either. Except when this happened, no exciting story either just twisted it wrong on uneven payment hope screw removal will get me back to walking without the walker and "boot" but feel that they are uneven , is that normal, my foot gets so swollen still, not even sure what kind of show i will be able to wear? Well time to go, got to get some sleep before dwelling on screw removal day any advise from any thank you for listening m35cw@aol.com

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  7. Hi--

    Honestly, the biggest screw caused me the most pain, and even where it was taken out, I still have pain on rainy or snowy days (or just random shooting pain). I hope you don't have this same pain--sounds like you don't--but I do think getting the screws out helps with healing and mobility. Don't be afraid to use your leg after this (after initial healing post=screw removal).

    My foot/ankle still swells up. I basically have to wear Danskos now. Or Born shoes. That's okay--though I wish I could wear some of my old shoes.

    Good luck!

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  8. Hi
    I too have a matching scar but am only 6 weeks post op an so scared about not being able to run or wear shoes again.I have 3 children and it has turned my world upsidedown.How long before you could walk and or drive post op.
    I would be so grateful for some information.
    Thankyou

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    1. I am exactly five weeks post op. Iam a registered nurse which makesitworse! lol Noweight bearing of course the orthopod doesn't tell you anything. I have same hardward and wearing boot.I started driving this weekl. I live alone so I had to. Since I exercised and can move toes and ball of foot well,, with boot on I can keep my ankle in position and press on gas. Havent had that much problems. Swelling by end of day but I just elevate no pain meds and some pain but nothing like it was. Very concernedabout future activity, wearing shoes Heh I like my Jimmy Choos lol. Its been a nightmare. Blessings

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  9. Thanks for writing in...let's see...I started walking (not well, and with a cane) about 9 weeks after the ankle fx. My walking (again, not GOOD walking) became more stable a month or so later.

    I started driving when I began walking, but in all honesty, I maybe shouldn't have been driving as soon as I did, but I was desperate. I don't think it was dangerous, necessarily, but it didn't feel good on my foot and having to brake hard would have been scary.

    What I remember most about all of this is how tiring it was to get around (or try to) w/ a walker or crutches. I still have amazing shoulder muscles from that experience, though...

    Hang in there and be well.

    Best,

    EC

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  10. trimalleolar fx on Nov.8, 2010, Nov. 12 surgery. Two screws placed internal bones, lateral fx aligned when medial fx screws placed. Non weght bearing with cast for 3 months, then another 6 weeks once cast removed. Went for Physical Therapy for 2 months. Walked with a limp until mid May. I have arthritis pretty bad in both my feet, but I had that before fx. The only pain I have is the same pain I had before fx. Able to walk very well and the screws will remain in forever. My Dr. does not believe in taking out unless their is a problem. I too thought I would never walk normal again but I am. I am 60 years old and have 11 grandchildren I am now able to pretty much keep up with them. Hang in there.

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  11. I am 2 days post op right now. I wanna know when the pain is going to subside atleast a little? Also, I am using a walker(easier than crutches) but my hands are killing me. Any suggestions on some kind of padding for the hand grips? They put in 2 plates & 8 scres in mine. Almost had to have 3 plates on backside but he thought it would heal ok without it. This pain is worse than labor for 3 kids combined or maybe its that I am 40 years old & this is my first time breaking anything & surgery. Any suggestions are appreciated. Thanks

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  12. Hi--in response to the above Anon comment: the pain is quite bad for the first couple of weeks, at least. Make sure you don't let the pain get too fierce before you take your meds. Take the pain pills on a schedule for the first week or so, then see what you need. I always found that the pain medication made me sick if I was up and about, but if I was just lying in bed (as I was for the first few weeks), then I didn't get sick from it.

    You might wrap the walker hand grips in foam...I know what you mean about it hurting your hands! It is much easier to use a walker than it can be to use crutches, but I highly recommend learning to use them with some sort of stability (you might wait a couple of weeks if you don't need to use them now), just to be able to change it up so your hands don't hurt too much.

    Crutches hurt your underarms, though...

    The pain can be blinding at first. Anytime you put your foot down (standing up to get to another room, for example) the pressure and pain is intense. It really stinks, but it will be a lot better after 2 or so weeks. Again, don't let yourself suffer; you will just go crazy with pain if you don't anticipate it, so take the meds on schedule...

    Know that the first couple of weeks are the hardest. The next two (weeks 3 and 4) aren't great, but they're a hundred times better. Then, you'll be used to the walker and know how to use your crutches (get a PT to come to your house; you will need that!).

    And then--it's over and you will be re-learning how to walk, and it really won't hurt anymore.

    Good luck and I hope you heal fast!

    Best,

    EC

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  13. I am glad to know that I am not the only person out there that had to deal with the dreaded trimalleolar fracture. My date of fracture is 2-19-10, but did not have the surgery until 2-24-10. I have the two long screws on the inside and a plate and seven screws on the outside. I actually used a wheelchair for about 8 weeks, for those of you who have/had the tenacity to use a walker or crutches that is unbelievable. Well, for the first two weeks I don't think I moved off the couch except to go to the bathroom and I used crutches for those excersions. I then went to crutches for 8 weeks and full weight bearing on May 20th, 2010. I started PT about a week after that, it's really difficult without any insurance, but I found a great affordable place. I have made great improvement in the five months since the break and am not that bothered by the hardware. The only thing that bothers me is that I have one screw on the outside that protrudes quite a bit and gets hit and knocked so easily. I am sure that I will have it out one day when I have insurance, but will have to put up with it until then. I am just so thankful to have made it through this most painful and trying experience. I also received great tips from mybrokenleg.com. I wish everyone good luch and fast healing. Angelface2174@yahoo.com

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  14. Hi Angelface,

    The protruding screws that keep getting bumped were a big pain for me. I must have gotten kicked or bumped every day for months! Glad you have made improvements. Keep on moving, stay strong and don't let that ankle stiffen up!

    Best,

    EC

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  15. No, You are not alone...as I read and do research, there are a lot of us with this type of injury and we all healing in different ways. My trimalleolar injury occurred on Jun 11, 2010, I didn't have the surgery until one week later because the swelling was so bad. I have one plate and four screws, I am now on week five of recovery and it sucks. I will agree, the first couple of weeks, the pain was so unfair until it was ridiculous! My doctor told me that I am looking at swelling for at least nine months and healing could take anywhere from one to two years, and that I may never run again. That's hard news for a Soldier as I am in the military. I just went back one week ago for my first set of xrays post op. The doc says I am healing well and gave me the green light to start putting pressure (half my body weight) as I walk (in the cam boot of course). This is a whole lot better as it takes some of the weight off of my right hip (crutches are not fun). I will start physical therapy in one week to start regaining strength in my ankle, loosen up some of the stiffness and rebuild muscle tone...as I have lost of lot of it in my left calf and thigh muscle. The physical therapist suggested I start doing ankle rotations and drawing the alphabet with my toes at home before I start physical therapy so it won't be much of a shock when I start the actual therapy. of course I still can't do alot of the things I used to do, but now I can stand up in the...still can't put all my weight on it and I still have to sit on the side of the tube to get out...but I'm making progress. I can wash dishes with having to sit down. It's still hard for me to carry things in my hands though cause I can't walk with the crutches at all. My plan is to not let this defeat me, regain as much strength as I possibly can through physical therapy (at home and hospital) with lots of hard work and dedication and run again. Good luck with your recovery and I will keep yall posted with mine.

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    1. Hi there, I know it has been a while since you posted this, but seeing as you were/are military I figure you may be able to help me. My husband is in the Army and had a trimalleolar injury to his left foot. Has 3 Plates and 25 screws. We are really concerned about how this will effect his military career. He has Plans to visit a military OS, but I was wondering what your experience was with the military? Were able to stay in the military? Do you have any advice? Please feel free to email me, if you could help I would greatly appreciate any help.
      Missy_902@yahoo.com, thanks again for any help

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  16. Hi and thanks for writing.

    I forgot about the hip pressure on the "good" side. That was painful.

    You are lukcy to be able to walk in the boot. Just be careful; I am still suffering weird effects from my prolonged limping and have bad foot pain now because of it.

    How long does recovery take? I would say up to 2 years, yes. My ankle still swells up and it's been nearly 2 years for me. I can predict the rain with absolute precision...stiffness, aches and swelling let me know several hours before it rains.

    I also wonder if I will ever run again. I sort of doubt it, though I'd really like to. I tried jogging this past spring and actually managed a slow, awkward lap or two until I was felled by shooting pain in my foot. I should try again, but mostly, I exercise in other ways, now.

    Any twisting motion hurts, though, so some exercise classes don't work for me and I wish I could go to dance classes, but...well, I could do it, I just have to deal with the aches and icing afterward.

    I still trace the alphabet with my ankle...the PT exercises will be a lifelong necessity. If you neglect them, you will feel the stiffness return, creeping back like an insidious weed...

    Also try picking up marbles with your toes. It's positively miserable, but a very important PT exercise for foot strength and flexibility.

    Good luck to you, too.

    Walk every day!

    Best,

    EC

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  17. Hi there
    I have been reading these posts with some interest.

    I suffered a bad trimalleolar fracture to right leg/ankle on 5 Feb 2010. The bones were so badly broken that I could not have pins or plates because the bones were literally shattered there was no where to screw into. My surgeon told me I would have to recover the "old fashioned way" after manipulation to put all the pieces of bone back together again like a "mosaic puzzle" (the doctors words!)
    6 months down the line I have just been told that I will now need to have surgery again - this time to fix pins & plates, as the bones did not heal. This means I am going to have to go through the whole thing all over again - I am still not back at work or walking withouth a boot, so by the end of all this I will have been out of my job for a year or more!
    It is good to see personal experiences from others who have gone through surgery and to read their recoverys. It makes me feel as if there is hope. However I feel I am double unlucky to have to go through it all - Twice!
    I am devastated. My op is on 13 September. I am utterly distraught about all this :(
    Rebecca

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  18. Oh, Rebecca, you poor thing! How did you do it? When I was brought into the hospital, all the doctors kept asking, "Car accident?" But no--I just tripped and had my leg snapped in a storm grate.

    I am so sorry you are still dealing with this. Keep yourself strong (the rest of your body); it really helps. Eat lots of pineapple (good for the bones and healing) and yogurt.

    No coke or diet coke--really bad for bones. No smoking (bad for healing).

    Feel free to e-mail me, if you'd like.

    Hang in there and be well. At least the upcoming surgery should put you (once again) on the path to healing.

    Best,

    EC

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  19. Elizabeth

    Hang in there. I was in a similar situation about 6 years ago when I didn't have no insurance. One thing I learned is that every hospital or physician is negotiable, there if your total hospital bill is 10,000 you could bring it down to 5 or 6 grand. Also, most physicians will set a payment plan for you regardless of your income.

    Take care and wishing you the best of luck and a quick healing journey.


    Nicole

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  20. Wow, interesting site, I to have a trimalleolar fracture on the right side, it happened july 18th tripping over my cat going down stairs. My left hip after the surgery was the big problem for me, occasionally i get twinges in the ankle but have been good about keeping the weight off of it. Im glad ai found this site to see all of the comments you have had on the problems in recovery. My big coup was actually negotiating stairs last week so I could escape my house after a mont. I get my cast off on 9/6/2010 and go into the boot. My doctor said I wil only be able to put 25 lbs of weight on the foot each week until back to normal. The whole process for me has been very eye opening.

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  21. Hi Bill,

    So you'll be walking in the boot? I see people with ankle fx walking in boots and I am filled (even now) with jealousy. But seriously, that is great and will change your life for sure when it happens.

    Be careful to walk the way you are instructed to or you can give yourself new, weird problems with your foot and hips.

    Best to you and thanks for reading,

    EC

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  22. Bill, I am only a few days different from you. I fell on July 21st. I go back monday(aug30) & hopefully get a boot. I am so readyy to walk again. I've been having back & hip problems the past several days. I broke down today & went to the chiropractor. I feel somewhat better already. I am now afraid of stairs, lets just say .....I can scoot on my rear end very well now. LOL. I don't know when if ever I will try to walk down the sairs I fell on. Hoprfully, I will get over this fear.
    Best wishes everyone. Stay safe & heal quickly!
    Pam B

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  23. Elizabeth, thanks for hosting this site that addresses living with a broken ankle. My trimalleolar fracture resulted from my not moving aside a child's gate that we prop up at the bottom of our stairs to keep our aging beagle downstairs. I caught my toe on the top of the gate while stepping over and then proceeded to sit on the sole of my right foot with the top of the foot pinned to the stone foyer. The accident happened on July 14, and the ORIF surgery was done on July 19. Don't worry, you still have the record for number of screws and length of incision over the lateral malleolus!

    My recovery experiences have been pretty similar to yours. I was never put in a cast; after a couple of weeks in a post-operative splint, I began wearing a removable boot. I began physical therapy two weeks ago and this week (six weeks after surgery) began some weight-bearing exercises to accompany the range of motion movements.

    Finally, I'm again beginning to feel that my foot is truly a part of me. And, on good days, it even resembles its mate!

    At 61, I don't anticipate returning to any serious running, but I am still hopeful that I'll regain the ankle motion needed to ride a bicycle again. I was planning on returning to bicycle touring weeks before my injury.

    I think that I'd like to have the hardware removed after a few months since such surgery will always be better at a younger age. I'm assuming that the screw holes will fill in and remodel over time restoring the 'me' to me. I have not been able to confirm that this filling-in actually occurs. Has anyone following this site been told anything about this by a physician?

    I wish all who come to this site good health, speedy recovery, and the benefits that come from having to slow down and re-think your life.

    Tom

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  24. Tom,

    Be well and be assured that if there's one thing you'll be able to do during recuperation, it's bike riding. That was basically the only exercise I could manage a few months after the fracture. I still ride all the time and I really notice terrible stiffness if I don't get on the bike.

    The screw holes WILL fill in, though it takes a few months. After the hardware removal, your ankle will feel weak (and will be weak because it will have largish holes in the bones) again, and you need to take it sort of easy, but you can ride the bike.

    Good luck and healthy healing,

    Elizabeth

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  25. I wish all of you a perfect healing.
    Just hang in there and don't forget; IT WILL ONLY GET BETTER :))

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  26. I had a trimalleolar fracture 7 years ago. I had a rod and eight screws. I, too, had all the hardware removed, after talking my orthopedic into it. Good decision for me. That significantly reduced the amount of pain I had. Reading everyone's comments is bringing back lots of memories. I found this site while looking to see if anyone has experienced restless leg syndrome type symptoms. I believe I am having pain in my ankle, which is leading to the RLS symptoms and here I am up at midnite, unable to sleep. After reading the comments though, I don't think anyone is as far along as I am........

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  27. Hi, my trimalleolar fracture, left ankle, occurred April 11; surgery April 13, 2010. I'm 'walking' without assistance now, but with a 'limp' (not a great limp). It's still painful to walk and I'm still in physical therapy. I wonder, at times, and especially at the end of the day (after working), if I'll ever walk somewhat normally again--and without too much pain. This experience has really made me rethink my life and slow down a bit, but mostly I'm so very glad I can still use my foot and 'walk' (well almost), however, it's been a difficult process.

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  28. I suffered a trimalleolar fracture on the left on 7/26....... it was the maiden voyage on my brand new road bike, which had toe straps. I had never used toe straps before, i had my left foot in it, but not strapped down... after riding about 8 miles i was turning around to head back, slid in some gravel, went down on the left ankle, not thinking to pull my foot out.
    i had surgery on 7/30....... have a plate, 6 screws and a pin reattaching the ligaments... i am still non-weight bearing until after a surgery to remove a pin, hopefully next week.
    i am getting a good work out from the crutches and havent gained any weight yet from the drastic change in my activity levels.
    i'm still doing most of the things i want, camping, concerts, whatever, but the pain and crutches are limiting.
    i want to run again so badly, i'm hoping i'll be able to by the end of the year... i hope i'm not overly optimistic. i, of course, hope to be on the bicycle sooner.
    i'm bummed about the possibility of a permanently fat ankle, ug... i know it sounds trivial, but it is distressing.
    i'm used to pain, from lots of other activity induced injuries..... so hopefully it won't be too much so that i can get back to my life.
    this was my first fracture and i'm 42!
    it really really sucks.........

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  29. Hi--

    I don't think you'll have a permanently "fat" ankle--but it can get swollen when you're using it a lot. Icing helps. I had to ice so much the first year and a half, it was sort of crazy.

    I still can't run; I would love to run. But maybe you will be different. I am a little bit afraid to try it because of the pain and my paranoia about re-breaking it, which is probably just me being ridiculous and scared.

    Whatever exercise you can do will help you, I believe. Just keep moving; don't let this sideline you because it will lead to depressiona and further inertia, further pain, etc. I found that the bike was the first and easiest thing for me to use. Elliptical helped, too, but was less pleasant. Now, I mix it up as much as possible, but I don't enjoy the walking as much as I should, and walking is very important.

    Just keep at it!

    Best of luck for a speedy recovery and thanks for reading and sharing.

    EC

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  30. My trimalleolar break was in 2005, plate, pins, screws and wires (no kitchen sink though). Still have a "fat" ankle, and am expert at predicting weather. When the barometer rises or falls, I tell my husband, I can't find a "happy place" for my ankle and my leg becomes very restless. If it happens at night and I can't sleep, I get up and watch late nite tv. I remind myself that it will pass. I feel blessed to be able to walk on my own. Doc says never do exercise that makes foot hit hard so good old walking will have to be it. Good luck to all of you.

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  31. Update: it has been nearly two years since my accident and tri-mal fracture. I still have pain and swelling. I still can't run. Today, I made it to a dance class, but I did have pain (not screaming, writhing on the floor pain, as I was worried could happen...and still happens randomly and without warning, though I can control myself and not actually writhe on the floor). My ankle has been sort of achy all day. I think it's going to rain tonight, too. Anyway--there it is: an update for those who are wondering what the future may hold. Keep in mind that I am religious about exercise and self-care, too. I think you have to be. Be well! EC

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  32. I sustained a trimalleolar fracture on 9/24/10 and it has been a nightmare of an experience for me (psycologically as well as physically. Just got home from rehab and my house looks like a nursing home! I am still NWB and have a doc appt in a few days. I am terrified of starting to do ROM exercises on my ankle...terrified! Any words of encouragement?

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  33. Don't be terrified to start the exercises. You have to move your ankle again before you'll be able to walk with any decent sort of gait. What stunned me was just how much work I had to do. I had absolutely no ROM for a few months. Even with rehab--for example, I'd be told, "Flex your foot. No, really. Flex it. Stretch with your toes." I WAS flexing my foot and trying to stretch my toes; the movement was just imperceptible to the therapist! The exercises cause achiness, yes, but you will be so desperate to walk and feel well again that you just soldier through them. If you don't do your exercises, it all gets much worse. Remember that. You will have to do these exercises every day from now on...if you don't, the stiffness comes right back. It's sort of crazy.

    Best of luck and be well--and try Glucosamine/Chondroitin supplements, too. I find that helps. That, and a heck of a lot of Advil.

    EC

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  34. Another update for those looking for information on recovery from tri-mal fx.

    I really thought I could not dance anymore because of the weird shooting pains I was getting, but after a few dance classes (and a few more shocking jolts of pain during the classes), I am now much, much better.

    I think I needed to force my ankle to twist again. I needed to jump around (although I do this lightly) in order to help loosen the scar tissue.

    I have also been getting massages (it's not luxurious; it's rather brutal, actually) that focus deep tissue work on my scars. Although I don't love this, it really has helped. A few sessions have done me much good.

    I also doubled my glucosamine/chondroitin supplements. I feel one hundred times better now than I did even a month ago, but I'm definitely not perfect, and I still can't run (as I found out, yet again, while attempting to run for a plane in Atlanta the other day. I could speedwalk, but I just could not run. My foot refused the command).

    Best,

    EC

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  35. I fractured my ankle on 11/11/2010 and had tri-mal fx sugery on 11/18. It was really swollen and they had to wait for the swelling to go down. I had never had any surgeries or broken anything prior to this. I am still in a lot of pain. Alot of burning. I had the stitches removed on 12/3. They put me in a walking velcro cast. This has been very hard for me. With my other medical condiions I was a high risk so they could not put me to sleep. I was in the hospital 4 days after the surgery due to all the pain I was having. I had to have a epideral and that was painful then a local. I of course don't remember my surgery but I have been in severe pain. There is still a lot of swelling. I was told 2 days ago that I could put half of my body weight on that ankle. I am using a walker. did not like the crutches they were painful. My body is sore everywhere else from using the walker. I have to depend on my husband to help me with everything. Of course that has caused problems in our marriage. I took off the sock and removeable cast 4 days ago to take a shower and just sat there crying. I hate the way it looks. I hate the way I feel. I hate having to take pain medication and it hurting and swelling all of the time. My husband thinks it should be healed by now and keeps trying to get me to walk. It still hurts a lot and I am afraid to start walking on it. I still have to go to physical therapy they said to learn how to walk again. I just want everything back to normal. I was worried I would never be able to walk again or run or exercise or be normal. I cry all the time. I don't have any other scars anywhere. I am 37 years old and no other surgeries or broken bones. This has been really hard on me. I had to take unpaid leave from both of my jobs. I just want more than anything to be normal again. I feel ugly now like frankenstein is what I say my leg looks like. This is more than just a factured ankle. It has caused finanial problems, strain on our marriage, and depression, I feel I am going to be addicted to pain meds. They still have me on percocet and morphine. I am sorry everyone else had to go through this. My experience has been very bad. I just want it to be done and over with. I feel like somtimes I wish this was a nightmare and I could wake up. I am glad I fond this blog and to see there are other people that have went through the same thing as me. I hope and pray everyone heals really fast.

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  36. Hang in there! It WILL get better. I couldn't walk on my ankle for a good nine weeks after the fracture; I think you have a few more weeks, really, before you can expect to walk (and even after 9 wks, I could honestly *barely* walk).

    I was 37 when I broke my ankle, too. More than two years later, I am much better, but you won't be the same and can't expect that. You have to work with what you have. In the end, I swear that you will so grateful that you can walk again at all, and when you can finally wear a normal shoe, you'll be grateful for that, too.

    It's the little things...If I were you, I would ride an exercise bike, which you can do before you walk, and which will no doubt be part of physical therapy. I truly believe that the inactivity itself (and being stuck inside, out out daylight) leads to much of the depression.

    Try to sit outside in the sun every day for a little bit. Get moving in any way you can.

    Again, it WILL get better. The first several weeks are just awful, but as I said, you will be so happy for the little improvements that come with each passing day.

    Best,

    EC

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  37. Nearly 27 months after my Tri-Mal fx, I can walk well most of the time (not after having been sitting or lying down--that takes about 10 shaky steps to get going), but I often feel as if my right ankle is being squeezed in a vise. It's just uncomfortable. It's often stiff. Exercise helps with the stiffness (someimes I feel that this is a ridiculously huge part of my day--the exercise), but then can lead to achiness. I have decided that achiness is preferable to stiffness, which is just really annoying to me. I still have to ice it every now and again, and keep my leg stretched and I have to rub my ankle as if I am a frostbite victim, but there you have it. Just read somewhere else that recovery from this FX takes three years! I really don't expect my ankle to ever be the same. I would LOVE to run. I would be thrilled to run again some day. So far, running has not worked for me. I will keep trying. That is all we can do. Be well! EC

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  38. Elizabeth, thanks for this blog..I too suffered a tri-mal fx on Thanksgiving Eve..coming down my deck steps..just missed a step somehow. Just got my cast off Wed. after six weeks. The ortho dr. said I could just do the exercises at home but I am struggling with trying to make the ankle rotate. He said to start full weight bearing...seriously? I felt accomplished at just getting the foot flat on the floor. I am scared of the pain but willing to do whatever to walk so that I can drive and take care of my son. Thank God for internet. I have found many sites on ankle exercises. What exercise do you do and for how long? I cry somedays but I know that doesn't change anything..I have to put my big girl panties on and work through this with the help of the Good Lord! Deb

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  39. Hi Deb,

    The most important exercise is tracing the alphabet in the air with your foot. At first, what you're doing will not be recognizable to anyone (even yourself), but just keep trying. This forces you to move your ankle through a fuill rotation and even more than that. It takes months, though, to really do it. Just keep doing it several times a day, every day.

    Also important (esp at first): picking up marbles with your scrunched toes/foot. This SUCKS, but it is good for you! Pick up 20 marbles. Rest. Then try it again. I would only do this one twice a day, because it is not fun.

    Be sure to stretch your foot often (pull your toes back toward you). Stand with your bad leg behind you, pressing against a wall (you know, a calf stretch). This works better when you do it on an incline, like a small plank (that's what they had me doing in PT). Do this one several times a day--morning, noon and night.

    Get an exercise bike if you do not have one. Ride all the time, slowly but surely. I was cycling about 7 miles a day towards the end of my 9 wks. I was going so slowly, it wasn't burning a lot of calories or anything, but it really did help me to build up my severly atrophied leg.

    I think it's kind of weird that after 6 wks you are supposed to be full weight bearing. Are you in a boot cast anymore?

    I couldn't even walk for a good 9 weeks, and I had to re-learn walking, seriously. I never walked while I had the boot, but maybe that was my particular injury.


    Just keep moving your ankle! I was just keeping still yesterday (because I didn't feel great) and today, my ankle is a stiff, terrible mess. I just did 8 miles on my bike. I am going to do more of something else.

    Best of luck!

    EC

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  40. Gosh, Hon, what a lot you've been through. Better things for you this year, hey? Yes, much better things for you. What a lot of strength you have shown over the passage of time. You inspire!

    Peace and continued healing,
    Diane

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  41. So glad to find this site! I fell on black ice on Nov 22 and had a tri-mal fracture w/ dislocation. Just beginning now to start incremental weightbearing. It's tough and scary but I am determined to do whatever it takes to progress. I can empathize with most of you and really appreciate hearing the positive comments. I'm a single mom, unemployed for six months and my biggest worry is getting a job - not sure when I will be able to walk well enough to work full time.

    Anyway - thank you so much and sincere best wishes to all of you going through this. - Kelly

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  42. Good luck to you, too, Kelly. Heal quickly and don't be afraid to do the exercises, when you can.

    Best,

    EC

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  43. Another update: the snow kills my ankle! I've been in bad pain since the snows began three weeks ago. Stiffness, achiness and the random shooting pains are back. I am trying to cycle as much as possible, plus doing all the PT basics, taking the Glucosamine-Chondroitin supplements and probably too much ibuprofen. I can't wait for spring!

    Best,

    EC

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  44. I have had my life turn upside down. In October a crazy guy in Vegas inadvertently hit me in the face. The trauma caused loss of vision in my two eyes. I was very upset! Then a couple of weeks later, because of my distorted vision y fell, missing three steps. I had a trimeollar fracture. The doctor said it is one of the worst he has seen. I have a plate and nine screws. I live in Mexico and am happy to say my doctor is the best. Have had little if any pain. I'm on my seventh week. I started this week putting weight on the ankle. It feels very stiff and I am careful as the day I came home from the hospital I slipped and fell, hurting my wrist! That was scary! I have had many surgeries but this has been the longest time I have been in bed. Lucky to have a loving husband who has turned out to be a great cook! Every cloud has a silver lining.....

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  45. Good luck with everything. Thanks for writing in (what a story!).

    Best,

    EC

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  46. Hello EC and all other contributors, I am British and found this site while satisfying my fascination with other people's trimalleolar stories. The only forums I can find are American so I hope you don't mind a gatecrashing English girl! I am 41 and suffered my tri mall + disloc on holiday in India on 12/12/10. I wish I had a more exciting tale to tell but it was just a twist and heavy fall - I have never regretted 30 seconds of my life so much! I was taken by taxi on a 3 hour journey to a specialist ortho hospital wearing a makeshift splint. The first doc I saw promptly re-dislocated my ankle during my xray - I howled like an animal, a sound I will never forget. I had surgery the next day and have 2 pins, screws and k wire along with scars on the top and sides of my foot. I was put in an open cast and stayed in hospital for five days. I was then flown home to London first class! Two days later I was given a new open cast which I wore for 10 days before having my stitches out and going into a full fibreglass cast. This was removed on 25/01/11. I am now almost eight weeks since my accident and wearing a removable plastic brace, tho' I don't use it much. I am more comfortable in just a tubi-grip. I am using crutches but being encouraged to PWB and try to put my foot flat to the floor with every step. Of course my foot rises straight away without any obvious rolling motion but it feels positive. I can flex and rotate my ankle quite well, although the physio lady was not so impressed. I am finding that I absolutely can't bend my knee when I place my leg in front, tho' I do get some knee bending if I put my leg at an angle away from me. The sensation is like a concrete band around the base of the foot which I can't budge. I was told this is the metalwork causing such resistance but I suspect it is much more to do with my tendons and ligaments. It really feels like my ankle is set in concrete once I reach my current limit of motion. Anyone else getting this sensation and how did you get past it? Will it loosen up if I keep exercising?

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  47. Hi Susie,

    Interesting story--wow, breaking your ankle in India sounds like something I wouldn't want to experience (although for a point of comparison I will tell you that here in the good old USA I was charged $29,000 for my second outpatient surgery, so you probably had it better). I think the first surgery and hospital stay was about $100,000, but I had insurance. Still--it was insanely expensive.

    Anyway--the "concrete" sensation you are experiencing sounds to me like the hardware restricting your foot's movement. I got the hardware removed because it caused me pain and because I felt as though I could never really progress with rehab until I could move my leg in all the same ways again.

    It will take a while before you can plie (for example) without your broken ankle rising up. For me, it didn't happen until I got the hardware out.

    You also probably have quite a bit of scar tissue. I still do; I still can't run because of it, and when it is cold, rainy or snowy, I get that restrictive, squeezing feeling again (that must be swelling and scar tissue).

    Definitely keep exercising. Try dancing. Use the elliptical, use the bike, stretch as much as you can. It should loosen up a bit, but 2 1/2 yrs later, I still have problems. It is much better than it was, but it is still not the same.

    Best to you,

    Elizabeth

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  48. I am so glad to find this blog...
    I had a Trimalleolar ANKLE fracture on the right side on Dec 19,2010 and operated on Dec 22,2010
    I have all the hardware in my ankle, screws , plates. After 6 weeks I started to walk with the walker.
    I though I was doing pretty well, until ...
    After two of weeks of "walking" with the walker, I started to experience very sharp pain in my right side back, spasm like. Pain comes only when I lay down, not when i sit or walk. so far its two days in the row.
    Did anyone experienced it ?

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  49. I think maybe the use of the walker (which puts pressure all on one side, especially in the hip) is throwing your back out. Maybe lying down (straightening it out a bit) makes you feel it.

    I get sharp pains in my ankle sometimes--was told it was arthritis, but to me, arthritis is more of a dull, persistent ache, so i don't really know.

    Try taking glucosamie-chondroitin supplements and stretch as much as you can, whatever you can do. Watch your posture, watch the leaning and pressure.

    I hope that helps!

    Best,

    EC

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  50. Hi, I´m a 35-year old woman from Finland.
    I suffered a trimalleolar fracture with completely torn ligaments 22 years ago when I was 14 years old. This happened at school while doing gymnastics just because I HAD TO TRY a move I pretty much knew I couldn´t pull off. How stupid....
    I had some metal pins put in during the surgery which were removed about a year later. They wanted to remove them automatically because of my young age. Although I healed very well it took 2-3 years before I was back to jumping and running like before. I was left with a permanently "fat" ankle, reduced mobility and a feeling of "thickness" in my ankle but otherwise I was able to continue doing sports as before.
    In recent years I´ve mostly been a couch potato because of mental illness and last week I somehow tore the ligaments of the previously injured ankle :(. Going to see a doctor on monday to find out how bad the sprain is, hopefully not bad but very painful anyway. Feels strange that my ankle was able to take anything before and now I got this sprain from simply getting up from the toilet seat!
    I guess the lesson is KEEP MOVING since those once torn ligaments will never be the same and they need the excercise to stay strong.
    Well, I just came across this blog and wanted to share. Reading this blog brings back the memories of spring 1989....
    Best wishes, Hanna.

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  51. Thanks, Hanna,

    I am a big believer in "use it or lose it"-and I know from experience that the less movement, the worse the stiffness and pain. I, too, have that "thick" feeling in my ankle all the time. I tell my husband that it feels as if my ankle is being squeezed when the stiffness comes back.

    Be well and thanks for writing,

    EC

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  52. Elizabeth,

    Thanks so much for the blog. I am 6 weeks post op from my Tri Am fx. I am an American living in England but broke my ankle in Belgium. After several hours in the ER we decided to make the journey back to England for treatment. It was about 6 hours in the car with my ankle still dislocated (unknown to me). I went straight to our ER in order to get some pain meds. Met with the ortho surgeon the next day who graciously put my ankle back in place for me. That was fun. He kept telling me the best thing I could do was relax. I kindly reminded him he was manipulating an ankle that was broken in 3 places (he found a 4th break in surgery). In Belgium, they put me to sleep to put my ankle back in place. Unfortunately, it did not want to stay in place.

    In the 4 weeks post op, I managed to only fall on my foot twice (in one week). You are right about how the first 2 weeks are horrible. Nothing is comfortable. Everything is upside down in your life and things seem they will never get better. After the first 2 weeks, I started to feel a bit better. I was fully off pain meds but then, I went to get the stitches out. I am a big wimp when it comes to stitches. They took the open cast off me and sent me to x-ray. I decided I could crutch it down there. Bad choice. I got hot, light headed, and started to get tunnel vision. I opted for the wheel chair on the way back up. Once the stitches came out I was better mentally. He told me to start the ABC's at home. I was pretty sure that wasn't going to happen. I practiced the lower case L for the first day. I felt that was all I could do. I now feel at 6 weeks out, I am a pro at the alphabet. I do both feet together so I can track how far behind or how much progress my right foot is making. Plus, I sprained my left foot at the same time so it has helped that heal faster.

    I was just starting to ride my bike regularly before the accident. Am looking forward to getting on one again. My husband has a stationary one in the garage. I am able to start partial weight bearing. Based on what I have read, you started before 9 weeks out. So I might start trying that next week. Anyway, there is my novel. Thanks for the inspiration.

    For the lady half way down that has struggled so much with this, I feel for you and I hope things are better for you. I am an active person and sitting doing nothing for the last 8 weeks has broken me spiritually at times. I have only been in England for 6 months and relying on people I don't know well or for very long to get my kids to and from school has been the hardest thing for me to deal with. Having my family and closest friends so far away has also been tough. But none of that compares to what you have gone through. I will pray for you because I know you are still healing from this. Please don't let it steal your joy. Focus on the good things you have going on and the progress you are going to make tomorrow. Take care to all going through this. Thanks for your posts.

    KD

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  53. This is a pretty nice blog to stumble upon, considering I'm finding that this type of fracture is pretty rare! About a month ago I was hit by a car, who had run a red light, was put on a stretcher, brought to the hospital, and discovered like everyone else here I had broken every bone in my ankle. The next morning I had surgery and had a plate and a bunch of screws put in. I can commiserate with everyone over the pain-- I felt like my foot was on fire and the pain medication made me feel so loopy and out of it. I couldn't even appreciate hospital guests because I was in between this sleep and awake state, so bizarre!

    Anyway, it's been about a month, and the LONGEST month ever! I was wondering if anyone has any advice on how to keep busy? My physical therapist and primary care have been given me different information on when I can expect to walk--but I can't wait anymore! (6 weeks is average). Once you are weight bearing, if it doesn't hurt are you allowed to try to start and walk? If not, once weight bearing, approximately how long does it take before I'm steady on two feet?

    I'm in my early 20s in a graduate program so of course everything has been flipped upside down for me. I'm used to being busy 15 hours a day every day and now I am sitting around trying to remain sane! It can be very depressing and I don't think people understand how being mobile only via crutches is very difficult. I will say, I have not gained a lb since they take so much out of me!!

    Thanks for putting up this site, it's nice to vent :)

    --M

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  54. Hi--I know how bad the pain is and I know exactly what that limbo (in between consciousness and sleep) is like due to the pain meds.

    As for keeping busy, well, I'm a writer, so I wrote (when I had my head together). I played quite a bit of online Scrabble. I graded exams. I rode my exercise bike at around week seven.

    I was not weight bearing at all for 9 weeks. Then, when I wanted to walk, I had to re-learn walking. That was the strangest thing. That took a while--a good three or four weeks before I stopped looking like a total freak when I was walking. It might have even been longer than that--maybe two months before I stopped the terrible limping, at least most of the time.

    I am lucky to have a kitchen that has two long counters that I could hold with both my hands...and I learned to walk again by holding on to them and practicing. I had to use a cane otherwise. I could go up stairs, but not down.

    Yes, the crutches or walker are positively exhausting. I was very thin for a while there (wish that part lasted longer...although my right leg was so skinny and atrophied that it looked wrong, and it took a year, no joke, for the muscles to come back. It's still slightly smaller, I think).

    Can you walk in your boot? Just be careful because you can give yourself hip and back problems if you are limping badly.

    Good luck,

    Elizabeth

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  55. I stepped in a hole with my left foot on 1/11/11.
    Trying to steady myself I fractured the right ankle. Dislocated and had tri-mal fracture on the left. Had Surgery 1/12/11- plate and 13 screws. my surgeon told me to start weight bearing without boot after only 4 weeks. Excruciating! I have asked about physical therapy but my doc says he doesn't think it is necessary. I limp horribly and my back and hip hurt from dragging the aircast around. Suggestions?

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  56. Wait--did you fracture both ankles? I am confused.

    I can't imagine how you'd be able to be weight bearing without a boot after four weeks. Maybe in a perfect world--and maybe your surgeon wanted to prevent atrophy as much as possible?

    I also believe with my entire heart and being that you need PT. I had to go for months; I could barely walk after the fracture healed, and my limp was awful. You need to strengthen the atrophied muscles, and there are dozens of weird little muscles in the feet and ankles that are likely out of commission.

    If you are walking now, take off the aircast/boot. You can't walk normally with it, and yes, your hip will be hurting.

    Get on an exercise bike (this is what I tell everyone) and cycle as much as possible. If you can walk, walk around a lot--slowly. Walk upstairs. Do balancing exercises and lots of foot stretches. Pick up marbles with your toes. These are all things I did in PT and still have to do.

    Best of luck with your healing!

    Elizabeth

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  57. Yes both ankles were both fractured. I am now 10 weeks into this grueling process. I am a school nurse and started back to work 2 weeks ago. My ankles were so swelled last night they looked like footballs.
    I was so excited to find your site yesterday. Reading everyone's stories gave me a new insight that I'm not getting from my Dr. I even went home and got a marble and started picking it up. I also did the alphabet exercise.
    Thank you so much for the support. My husband has been wonderful but it's hard to make anyone understand how it really feels.

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  58. Fracturing both ankles at once sounds like a nightmare! I assume one of the fractures was the tri-mal. What about the other? Worst case scenario would, of course, be two tri-mal fx!

    I fractured my ankle 2 1/2 years ago, and it still swells! Ice your ankles. Keep them limber, too--stretch and walk and don't be afraid to use them.

    The alphabet exercise is something I still do a few times a day. I just rode my bike, too; I could feel the stiffness coming back.

    Watch what you eat and drink and stay away from foods/drinks that are bad for your bones. You definitely don't want to break anything else!

    I now live in fear of fracturing a hip...that sounds simply awful in terms of how many people never really recover from that. I think ankle fractures are among the most painful, if not the most painful.

    I feel for you being a school nurse. Being in school (I was a teacher) was hard for me while I was recovering. The standing and walking between classes did a number on me for sure).

    Best,

    Elizabeth

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  59. I too have had the 15 months from hell I broke my leg after slipping off the third step of my stairs (will never moan about a hang nail ever again it causes lack of concentration) I basically sat on my own foot. After hearing someone screaming which I later realised was me I looked down to see what happened whereupon i noticed my foot was facing the wrong way. On arrival at the hospital it transpired I had dislocated it Great I thought I can deal with that. It was then put into place under local anshaetic. After the Xrays I was told it was broken in three places. I had surgery after the swelling went down a bit and was in plaster for 6 weeks. My plaster came off and a non weight bearing boot was put on for another 6 weeks. I then had the screw which apparently was holding my ligament in place (Did not know that I had snapped it til then) was removed and that was that. Or so I thought after 7 months of physio I was walking great then all of a sudden I developed a lot of pain. I was xrayed again and they discovered my leg was rejecting my screws and that the ankle joint had moved. 3 weeks ago I had my metalwork removed so sat here waiting to see what will happen next ...................

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  60. Hi--thanks for reading and writing in.

    Your ankle will be weak again after the screw removal and you'll have to do a shorter version of recuperation and therapy again this time.

    Wishing you well. Try to stay strong (mentally, yes, but I really mean by exercising your ankle and taking care of yourself).

    Best,

    Elizabeth

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  61. Hi Elisabeth, Never could I imagine that reading about other peoples disasters makes me feel better! By the simple reason that I don't feel all alone in the world being in this situation..that I almost thought in the beginning.. I'm in bed since one week, had my accident slipping down the stairs at my house. I'm in India for work, and this makes my well crafted plans go totally upside down.. Had a tri malleolar ankle fracture and dislocation.. I must get a loads of painkillers, because pre surgery I have not felt any pain.. (touch wood!!) I had two metal plates, a number of screws and a huge bolt keeping it all in place.. My doc says it's better to keep all the metal for life, let's se how it goes, If I don't have any trouble I frankly don't have any problem keeping it in.. I'm worried it will take ages for me to walk again, I love trekking in the mountains for days and days and I know now that next time I will be able to do it I will be so immensely happy... Flying home to Sweden in two days, recovery will start, I'm positive, I will do my best.. The most difficult for me now is to be dependent of other people, friends and family.. It's easy to help, but asking for help is a different story. I know I have support and I have to learn to accept all the help I need. Thanks for being able to read yours and all other stories. Wish you all get well and up on your feet as soon as possible! Stina

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  62. Good luck, Stina. Reading about others with the same injury IS helpful, and I don't think it's schadenfreude, but, rather, knowing that we are not alone when it comes to this tumultuous and (temporarily, we hope) devastating injury. It took me nearly three years to recover, and I still have pain, and I still can't run, but it is useful for me to be able to look back on how much worse it was 1, 2, and nearly 3 years ago. It is then I can see how much I have really healed. Best, Elizabeth

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  63. Hi, all. I just saw that someone today found my blog and this posting by Googling, "Is it harmful to run seven months after tri-malleolar fracture?"

    I can't stop myself from saying yes, I think it would be harmful (nearly three years post-fracture, I just had a specialist tell me, after I begged to know when/how I could ever run again--since it is not even physically possible, and I've tried it--"You should never run again, and I seriously doubt you'd be able to run more than a lap."

    If you can run post-tri-mal, then good for you (but I think I might have to secretly hate you). I am sure there must be pro athletes who manage it, but they are willing to sacrifice their bodies for their gigantic paychecks, or maybe they receive much better care. I don't know the actual answer.

    But I wish you luck with healing!

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  64. Hey everyone, just stumbled upon this blog and am getting some great information. I suffered my tri-mal fracture just two weeks ago while playing basketball with friends. I also completely dislocated the ankle and it was quite disturbing to look at. The ER nurses were coming into my room left and right just to catch a glimpse haha. Anyways, I had surgery just 15 hours after the break. Had a great doctor who inserted 2 long pins in on the inside and a plate with 15 screws on the outside. Yes, I said 15 haha. Im now 2 weeks post op and am doing pretty well thus far. Very minimal pain and am looking forward to getting healthy once again. Im maintaining hope that I will still be able to remain active and run on a regular basis. For those with low spirits just remember that positive thinking yields positive results. Good luck to all! -Randy

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  65. I am glad you are not experiencing too much pain, Randy. I think most tri-mal fx patients experience quite the opposite. Also, I have yet to hear of a tri-mal fx patient being able (or advised) to run again. This is not to say that I do not hope you can run! I wish the same for myself. Be well, EC

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  66. It was comforting to come across this blog...I was walking in my condo when I remember hearing a pop and the next thing I knew I was on the ground with my ankle hanging out to the side. Instinct made me grab my ankle and put it back in place and then I screamed due to the most intense pain ever...I later realized that I had relocated my own ankle (everyone was surprised I was able to do this on my own). I ended up having a dislocated trimalleolar fracture and had surgery the next day. I agree with most posts that the first 2 wks are the worst, but I was just happy to get past the first 48 hours which were full of uncontrollable pain for me. I got out of my open cast at 2.5 wks and was placed in a cam boot. I'm now 4 wks out and was told to begin weightbearing, but can only tolerate touchdown weight at this time. I do get out of my boot to perform passive calf stretching/toe curls and ankle pumps as tolerated and am slowly increasing my range of motion. The MD thinks I will be able to begin jogging at 4 months, which I don't think is realistic. I am a physical therapist and have seen a wide range of outcomes for similar surgeries. I am just focusing on keeping swelling and pain under control and increasing my ankle range of motion at this time. I see the MD for xrays at 6.5 wks out and will wait until those are taken to ensure good healing before I try increasing my weight bearing. I am considering a knee walker to get back to work quicker and was wondering if anyone else has ended up using one...I'll end with a note that it really does get better...the progress is so slow that it can get discouraging, but positive thoughts do make a difference. Best to all.

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  67. I could still hardly walk at four months post-fracture. It was stiff, wobbly walking with a pronounced limp. The hardware made it literally impossible for me to run. So, I got the hardware out. Still can't run (although I *might* be able to manage a slow job for a short distance).

    I think it's so interesting that you are a PT. Please be sure to share hints/tips for increasing ROM and decreasing stiffness. That seems to be the primary issue post-tri-mal fx. I personally still do the prescribed PT program...but I am sure any kind of exercise helps.

    Best,

    EC

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  68. So glad to find this discussion! It's very interesting to read everyone's stories. I'm struck by how many people, including myself, wound up with this rather serious injury by doing some everyday, mundane activity. On June 18th, 2011, I was walking across the backyard wearing sandals with a bit of a high heel while carrying my 8 year old niece. The grass sloped down and my right foot rolled to the outside resulting in the trimalleolar fx and dislocated ankle. I'm 41 and have never broken a bone before.

    I don't know why it was this way with me, but Percocet and Morphine did nothing to take away the pain. I was in agony until they gave my Dilaudid, which was a wave of relief. I was given conscious sedation to have the ankle reset, and then I had ORIF surgery on the 20th resulting in 2 plates, 6 screws and 1 temporary screw. Following surgery, I was also given an electronic bone growth stimulator to wear at least 10 hours a day to promote bone healing.

    I've been sitting home spending most of my time on the couch unable to put any weight on my right foot, especially because I could easily damage the temporary screw. This has put the fear into me of not risking unnecessary movement. I'm using crutches and they're quite a workout with the benefit of strengthening my arms. I haven't ventured out except to our balcony and to visit the doctor once a week.

    I'm relieved that I have not experienced much pain, just the occasional twinge that I attribute to healing. I occasionally have a difficult time finding a way to position my leg comfortably especially when I 'm trying to sleep. Sometimes I experience soreness and I worry I've jarred something because I admit I sometimes forego the crutches to hop short distances, which is quite foolish.

    For the first 2.5 weeks, my ankle was wrapped with compression bandages and a splint. This past week, my doctor allowed me to have only bandages which was a relief because the splint was uncomfortable, but having no splint added a risk of more easily injuring myself should I lose my balance. Luckily, no problems.

    On July 14th, the staples were removed and I was put in a cast, which is firm and makes me feel more secure. I'm scheduled to see my doctor on July 25th for a check-up and then scheduled for a same day surgery on August 4th to have the temporary screw removed. I'm excited about this because after this procedure, I can start putting weight on my right foot again. (My right calf muscle was strong, but has virtually turned to jelly after the first two weeks.) I will be in a boot and I'm not sure what that will be like. Also, I plan to return to work on August 8th and I'm hopeful this will go well. My doctor recommends having the remaining hardware removed a year from now. I plan to do this but am wondering what the recovery time is for this procedure.

    Aside from the facts of the injury and healing process, I've been depressed about this whole experience, although feeling much better now that I'm seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. I was initially so embarrassed and self-conscious about what I felt was a stupid mistake, and very fearful that I will suffer pain for the rest of my life. I'm trying to think more positively and accept that it was just an accident and I'm also trying to visualize healthy, strong healing.

    I'm willing to do any diet changes and exercises to help healing. I'm not an athlete by any means, but I love walking and do a lot of it. It will be very challenging if I can't get back to that. I asked my doctor when physical therapy would begin and he said I may not need it. I'm trying to learn as much as possible about the recovery process once weight can be put be put back on the injured leg. I believe physical therapy is very important and plan to do it.

    Thanks for the forum to put all this out there and best to everyone going through this experience!

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  69. Hi Jen,

    Definitely get PT. Sometimes it feels like a waste of time to drive to the PT center, and do the same old routine, but it does help (even if it also sort of hurts). As for diet, I would recommend steering clear of diet soda (phosphates are really bad for your bones) and alcohol, but really watch the diet soda (or any soda). I barely ever drink that, but when I do, even now, I feel it in my leg! Very weird, but I am serious about that. I could not put weight on my leg for 9 weeks, post fracture. Some people who comment here are told to start partial weight bearing at around four weeks (but they also say it's excruciating, and that they can't do it). WHat you can do is keep your leg moving, like on an exercise bike. I started doing that at 7 wks. My leg was so atrophied it was crazy. It remained very thin for nearly a year. I finally have my lower leg built up again, and I know it takes a while to go from nothing to something. Best of luck, Elizabeth

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  70. Thanks for your blog. I had trimalleolar fracture and dislocation on 5/27 with ORIF on 6/1. Given okay to weight bear with boot on 7/11. Lucky I have little pain. My suggestions for those just injured are: 1) be obsessional about non weight bearing until MD gives okay for walking 2) elevate as much as you can
    3) a leg scooter allowed me to go back to work 2 weeks postop. Much easier than walker or crutches 4) I stopped all caffiene not just soda, ate lots of calcium and vitamin D rich foods as well as taking them as vitamins and took no NSAIDs.
    Psychologically I felt good about doing everything I could to heal the bones.
    5) Keep tracing the alphabet. 6) don't attack yourself. Many people get injured just in day to day life. I caught the toe of my shoe in the carpet.
    Good luck to everyone.

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  71. Hi to all my new friends! So glad I came across this blog to know I am not alone. I was on a hiking trail in Colorado Springs (on vacation) and somehow I guess got my foot stuck in a rock. I went one way and my foot went another.This all happened on July 7th 2011. Needless to say I ended up with a tri-mal fx with dislocation. And yes EMT had to come up the mountain to rescue me, that wasn't fun. Had surgery the next day because we were scheduled to go home on the 10th. I have 7 screws and a plate, 5 on the side with the plate and 2 on the other. The pain was more than excrutiating following the surgery. I was on percocet and morphine for about a week post op, then switched to Lortabs.

    I am now four weeks out and find that this has literally turned my life upside down. I am married with four children, thankfully the youngest is nine so I don't have any babies to care for. My mom has been my hero. She comes over every day to care for me. I am in a removable boot that looks like some kind of space equipment!The one thing I have that I noticed no one has talked about is fracture blisters. It looks like someone took a car lighter to my ankle and had fun. I have three on my left side and one huge one on the top of my foot. They are all scabbed up now but seem to be taking an awful long time to heal.

    My pain level at this point is bearable. I don't do much getting around. I sit in my lazy boy with the foot elevated almost all day. I get up with crutches to go to the bathroom and have a wheelchair to occasionally go out to eat or go to Walmart. I find I get exhausted after 2-3 hours of being out and about. I do take the boot off twice a day, once to wash the foot and then at night to exercise. All I can do is bend my toes and move the foot to an almost 90 degree angle. After reading all these posts, I see that I am probably progressing as expected. It is just very discouraging to see that healing and/or side effects can be in excess of two years. I also will admit I scared of pt. I am just so tired of being in pain and knowing that more pain is ahead of me to try to learn to walk again is nauseating.

    Well, that's my story. I will enjoy talking and getting any support I can from any of you as I realize I have a long road ahead of me.

    Karen G

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  72. Hi Karen,

    Even though your ankle will not be nearly the same for a long, long time, you will grateful (as I was--as all of us were, I think) for the incremental improvements. Finally being able to take some steps, even if they are stiff steps, is huge. Driving again--huge!! The pain in PT is really not too bad; PT just requires icing your ankle afterward. I still have to ice my ankle after exercise, and I still can't be on it and walking around for too long without stiffness and achiness. But that's how it goes. Just take care of yourself, take Glucosamine-Chondroitin and calcium/mag/D. Get exercise, as much of it as you can, because it will be so much worse if you stay inactive after healing.

    Best of luck,

    Elizabeth

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  73. Followup to 7/18/11. I am now out of the boot and walking pain free in running shoes. On vacation and managed walking in airports and on the beach. My PT say walking in sand is great therapy. I encourage those just starting PT to do exercises at home and ride the exercise bike. My physical therapist says consistency as made a big difference in my recovery. The rehab feels like an additional part time job but I am so happy to see results. It's hard work, sometimes boring but so important.

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  74. hello all.. i had tri mall fx back about 5 years ago with internal fixation... after long rehab it got better but about 2 years ago it started getting hard to stand for any period of time without severe pain. i was in nursing school and obviously can not work with that pain. i went to a new surgeon who sent me for a mri, told me i had bad arthiris and a shepards fx causing tendon strain and pain. i decided on surgery sep 2011 after i graduated from school... turns out the day after i graduated my ankle gave out and broke a additional bone on that ankle..just lovely... well today i had my hardware removal surgery, removal of the shepards fx and arthroscopy ... i dont remember if my first surgery was just as bad, all i know is i woke up in incrediable pain they gave me fenteyal before i was awake so i would have no pain... didnt work..moved to morphine...didnt work..then on to dilaudid...finally relief... not saying this to scare any one against surgery but just my personal experiance... i did this same day surgery and am in bed with a temp cast and wrap til post op on monday.. i am non weight bearing for 6 weeks i cant even imagine putting pressure to walk for post op pain i have percocet 5/326 and naproxen 375 2x a day > hopefully the pain subsides soon as i can not even sleep lol i am sorry for spelling and grammer mistakes i am sleep deprived. good luck to all with new fx's and removal of hardware! if any one would like to chat please email me.. tweetylover20@aol.com

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  75. Good luck, Donna. I found it was always ten times better to anticipate pain and take meds on schedule, rather than wait for pain to arrive.

    Of course, I can't take the oxycodone stuff or Percocet without puking, but if I am in bed, lying down, I am okay. I still take Advil all the time. It is raining like crazy here, so I've probably had 6 for the arthritis today. For natural fixes, I find avoiding red meat and soda helps, as does taking Glucosamine-Chondroitin (doubling up on bad days).

    Best,

    EC

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  76. Joe: conservative in exile NW OhioSeptember 25, 2011 at 7:34 PM

    injury tri fx took place aug 2nd 2011. 2 plates 11 screws and no cast or walking boot. non weight bearing 7 weeks and did not suggest rehab. walking with crutches now. i think everything i read included some sort of cast and rehab. 42 yr old good health otherwise, should i be concerned?

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  77. Well, I think it's odd that you don't at least have an air cast to protect your ankle, but the cast doesn't put the broken bones back together in a tri-mal fx; the ORIF surgery does that.

    See how your ROM (range of movement) is now that you are walking again. Do you have any (I really didn't). How is your walking? You might not know for sure until you stop using the crutches.

    Physical therapy certainly can't hurt, but I am of the belief that you can do it yourself almost as well...it's like seeing a personal trainer; the trainer can show you what you should be doing, but then you are set to do it on your own (if you have the equipment).

    Best,
    EC

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  78. Thanks EC
    i work in a manufacturing enviroment with many levels/steps. when should i expect to be capable of safely navigating steps and uneven surfaces?

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  79. Serious question: Is there an elevator at work? A physical therapist can show you how to get up and down stairs with crutches. It takes a lot (a lot!) of arm strength as your arms push very hard down on the cructhes while you lift with the good leg (and of course you never put the bad leg down).

    Honestly, I would NOT go down an entire flight of stairs w/a broken leg, even if I had the crutch thing really going well. I just would not risk it. My house has a few steps between levels, and I could get down those okay, (and to go up, I liked to face backward and use the banister and one crutch).

    Going up is a lot easier than going down, and it feels safer, even though I had some near misses going up...

    Once your are weight-bearing, then--still--Up is better than Down.

    The trick to uneven surfaces is really watching where you are going. If I were on one floor, I'd switch to the walker.

    Lots of people are saying now that this other piece of equipment that lets patients rest the knee of their bad leg on a little hammock (I do not know what this is called) work really well and are easier than anything else...but of course you can't use those on stairs, or so I think,

    Best,

    Elizabeth

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  80. Sorry for typos...I was rushing...have to get kids dressed for school.

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  81. thanks ec

    but but I'm asking when i will be climbing stairs unassisted. crutches and knee bops are a no go in a factory. I'm shooting for 2 months after start of weight bearing

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  82. Oh--good. I didn't like the idea of you trying to get around a multi=level factory after a tri=mal fx.

    I could climb stairs around 10 weeks post fx. I did not try to go down lots of stairs then, but I could do a small staircase. You just need to go slowly.

    That's a tiny bit more than 2 mos....but it seems that I began weight bearing later than some other people on here.

    It's actually good therapy to up stairs. Just cling to the rail and tell everyone else to stay far away from you as you go down!

    Best,

    Elizabeth

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  83. I am glad I came across this blog. I had a right trimalleolar fracture March 12, 2011 with a fibular shaft fracture with tendon/ligament tears. The ortho said I had the worst possible fx. I slipped off icy porch steps. Had ORIF surgery the same day of my fall-plate, screws and rod. 8 weeks of non-weight bearing. Then 2 weeks of 50% weight bearing then full weight bearing with PT. It is now almost 7 months, I have been walking/driving, etc., but have had tremendous pain at night with the foot actually spasming. With continued exercising, the pain decreased. But the exercising caused rubbing on the inside of my ankle (can only wear tennis shoes comfortably) so now it is so very painful to walk. I used a support to wrap my ankle when not in tennis shoes but the pain is very bad just on the inside of the ankle. I quit taking pain meds (prescription) a long time ago but have continued with over the counter advil, etc. The ortho does not want to remove the hardware and really I do not want to go through another foot surgery unless I absolutely have to. Has anyone had any similar issues and if so how did you get through it. I have been riding a stationary bike for 2 1/2 miles a day. Walking is challenging at times, but with a slight limp and the help of my chiropractor I can keep my hips from hurting. Folks I've talked to say this is a long haul. Any suggestions would be most helpful.
    Debbie, Pittsburgh, PA

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  84. Hi Debbie,

    I also had those weird spasms (I called them shooting pains--I still get them, but usually only on rainy days). Time will ease them somewhat, and I recommend taking bone supplements.

    Avoid soda...change your diet to be clean and bone-friendly. (I don't know what you eat; this is just general advice.)

    I personally would up the bike riding to 8-10 miles a day. You don't have to do it all at once, but exercise is the key. Keep walking; I know you don't want to. I can't be on my feet too much, even now, but force yourself to do a mile here and a mile there...use a treadmill on level incline and then ramp up the angle (not the speed that much). I think you should ultimately walk at a 3.3 mph pace at a steep incline for a half hour at a stretch to see the best recovery.

    Good luck.

    I also have the inside ankle pain...I think it's from the long pin that went up into my fibula (I still get random pain there, and I had the hardware out. I HAD to get it out; it was causing me so much pain and swelling, I recommend that everyone gets it out...and I do not know why these orthopedists are anti-hardware removal, but I know in the end you will be better off. You probably can't think of it right now, however, and that's perfectly understandable. Right after I had the second surgery to remove the hardware, I woke up in blinding pain (the only way I can describe it), wailing, "What did I do?" But two months later, it was totally worth it the second recovery.

    Best,

    Elizabeth

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  85. Nyloxin.. an over the counter pain med has worked wonders for me. began taking it over a year ago for back problems. continue taking it for my tri-mal. used vicodine for a week after injury and nyloxin only since then.

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  86. I have never heard of this. Is it widely available? I was just reading about a supplement that is supposed to be good for pain (I have not tried it): "Hips, Shoulders, Knees and Toes," a Serrapeptase supplement from Lane Labs. That's supposed to be for joint pain. I also just read about something called "Curamin," but I believe that's for muscle pain. Do share pain relief tips, esp. natural ones.

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  87. www.nyloxin.com/consumers/

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  88. Elizabeth, I just want to thank you for having this blog for all of us who have suffered this miserable fracture to share our experiences and ways to get through this process of healing. I found that I was getting a bit depressed over the fact that I was struggling with the pain and the inability to do all of the things that I used to do well. The pain alone was tiring. Friends and family understood the pain and mobility issues when I had the cast and boot on and only could hop on my good leg with the walker and crutches. But once I was able to move without the "aids" folks just felt that I was back to the way I was. They acted as though I was healed and should be able to function as I normally did. This injury is a life changing incident. I am so glad that I found your site and thank you and all of the other TriMall fx "friends" for sharing and support.
    Debbie

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  89. I know what you mean, Debbie. I am nearly 3 yrs post-fx and now experiencing a new pain--arthritis. It really stinks, and I was feeling quite down about it myself (knowing it's just going to get worse). I then decided that the only thing I can do is keep on as if I didn't have the pain--while obviously realizing that I do. I can't wish it away, but I also can't let it hold me down. You are right that other people do not quite understand the permanency of this injury. I hope you heal fast and well! --Elizabeth

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  90. Additional Benefits to Using Nyloxin Oral Spray

    Safe and Effective
    All Natural
    Long-Lasting
    Easy to Use
    Non-Narcotic Pain Reliever
    Non-Addictive Pain Relief
    Analgesic and Anti-Inflammatory
    Works on Multiple Types of Chronic Pain

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  91. Thank you so much for posting this blog. It has been a great source of info and encouragement for me. I had a trimalleolar fx with ruptured ligament and dislocation on July 4, 2011. I had surgery July 13 and now have a plate and 8 screws/pins. I was totally non-weight bearing for 11 weeks. I have been in PT for 2 months (3x week) and found out my doc has ordered another month for me. I am thankful for PT--it's painful, but makes me feel like something is being accomplished. I do my exercises at home, use ice regularly, and motrin. My hardware is painful, but being only 4 months out from injury, I am hoping that will change for the better. Now that cooler weather is here, I am all ready experiencing the "barometer effect" on my ankle. I walk with a cane for support, ride the stationary bike, and "write the alphabet" with my foot. I enjoy the pool therapy. This has been the most painful experience of my life, as well as emotional and depressing. I have been most fortunate to have good friends who helped with everything, as well as just letting me cry and vent. I love my surgeon who has been very informative from the beginning. He told me this would take up to 2 years to heal. It's hard to explain to someone unfamiliar with this injury how life-changing it really is. Good luck to anyone else going thru this process of repair and healing.

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  92. Hi Louise. Thanks for writing. I would say it even takes more than two years, but it's better to know that from the get-go, I think. I kept expecting to feel better and was really confused about why I did not. Self-care is important...that and being grateful for what you can do, not just what you can't. Be well, EC

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  93. November 11/2011. Friday. I had my big break on Weds. I am a Hospice nurse and I slipped down my patients slippery wheelchair ramp. All I heard was snap, crackle, pop. The bone was sticking out but stayed inside the skin. I pushed it back into place praying it would stay put and all would be forgotten. However, I was left crawling my way back inside and waiting for help. The bone would not cooperate. I had my ORIF yesterday and was rushed out pf the hospital 25 hours post op. I am sitting here reading these post and it frightens me. I just want to get through this. Right now the pain is really bad. Percocet 2 makes me nauseated. The thought of what is ahead of me is beyond anxious filled. As a nurse for 23 years I never once heard of this injury .... until now. Let the healing begin.

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  94. Hi @sadnurse. The pain will get better. It's at its worst right now, I am sure. The first few weeks, take your pain meds (Percocet or Oxycodone worked for me as long as I was lying down). You will be so happy to get out of bed in a few weeks...then you'll be happy to be done with crutches...don't worry about the PT; it's not horrific, you just have to do it. Be well, EC

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  95. Thank EC,

    Day 5, The pain is not too bad until I get up and move around. I am using a walker. My leg just feels so heavy when it is dependent. Will it always feel like this? It feels like the blood rushes down to my ankle. I get nauseated when I am up for too long. I know I have incisions under this cast. How would you ever know if they are infected or pulling apart? I don't see the Dr again till next week. What do they do the first Dr. visit? Do they take the cast off and the sutures or staples out? How long did you need pain meds? Did you ever take Advil along with the Percocet? Ok enough questions, but know you have been where I am and I am thankful I have someone who knows. Thanks for your blog.
    Yes I am a Sad Nurse! :(

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  96. The pain of the blood rushing down to the broken ankle is the worst, but it will get better after 2-3 weeks. You'll still want to keep the leg elevated whenever you're sitting, but it will be better. I was also worried about the incision. I didn't see it until about 10 days post-op, when my leg was finally unwrapped for suture removal. The incision has surgical staples, probably. These will be removed (take a pain pill beforehand, but it's not too awful). Then you will get surgistrips over the incision. These will stay on until they fall off (a couple of weeks, probably). I think I took pain meds 2-3 weeks. I can't take that pain medication if I am up and working, so I took Advil. I still take ridiculous quantities of Advil, although with the arthritis issues I have now, I am taking Aleve (one a day or so). It's best to alternate Advil and Tylenol, I find, but I won't take Tylenol every day.

    Best,

    Elizabeth

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  97. Hi all, I posted a few months ago. I am now a little over 4 mos of my tri-mal and surgery. I walk without crutches or any assistance but not gonna lie, it hurts. I feel like a turtle and one of my kids says I walk like a penguin. I try to walk without the limp but it is not easy. I don't really take anything for pain and havent for about 3-4 weeks now. The pain is not too bad just like the soreness of when you first start working out at the gym, it's kind of like that "good hurt" where you know you are doing what you should it's just no fun.

    The doctor said the bones are completely healed and I am free to do what I can as I can. I have been in physical therapy for alomst 3 months and that has been my life saver. It is not as bad as I thought it would be. Painful...a little, but not nearly as painful as those first few weeks. I still am in shock that this happened to me and yes it can be depressing and emotional at times because you just want to feel normal again. I wear a small ankle brace now for support as my archilles is still very weak.

    @sad nurse...hang in there, it does get better I promise. That first month is really the worst and it is an uphill battle from there. The best advise I am finding is to DO YOUR EXERCISES! No doubt the stationary bike has become my new friend. Elizabeth I may have to try and take your advise about the soda. I am a diet coke freak and highly addicted. It could be what is contributing to some of my pain. I also think I may have developed some sort of arthritis. Rheumatiod runs in the family so I am hoping it is not that! My hands are stiff every night/morning sometimes they get stuck in postion and I have to wait for them to thaw out. Gonna have to get it checked soon I'm sure.

    Keep up the healing process everyone, I know I am a work in progress too!

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  98. Just keep moving...I don't think I walked even semi-normally for almost a year after the fracture (but I did have a second surgery nine months after the accident). Take supplements; eat well and be healthy. --Elizabeth

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  99. 11/11/11 is a date i will never forget. The date i decided 4 inch heels were a good idea, though they were pretty, they definitely were not a good idea. All was fine until I was walking into my friends home and missed the doorstep, lost my balance and fell breaking my ankle. Since this was not the first time I fell in these shoes (and you would think i would have learned my lesson with the close call before) this was the first time I broken any bones in my body and it happens at the age of 30. My friends looked at me like I was crazy when I tried to get up and they yelled at me not to. They immediately picked me up and put me in the car and drove me to the ER.

    The doctors were all astonished as to how bad it was, and suggested i do not wear heels again. It turned out to be a Trimalleolar Fracture. One even suggested inserting the heel into the plaster when resetting it so i can enjoy it without breaking anything else :) Their spirits were uplifting and they were all great and funny.

    What wasn't funny was that it could not be reset until the ORIF takes place so they had to do an external fix in which a "jungle gym" is placed around the ankle (forgive my sarcasm i try to make a bad thing better with humor), so I have rods and pins going through my bones to save the cartilage and skin tissue from dying. My friend told me I look like frankenstein and family says my leg looks bionic :) So that is where I am at right now. I go to a follow up on 11/22 to check the swelling and make sure the fracture blisters have gone down.

    My mobility is limited but the pain is pretty well controlled with the percocet I was given. I stay on a time schedule with the pain relievers to prevent the pain because if I miss a time I will definitely feel it. I have become proficient at the booty scoot up and down the stairs without putting pressure on the ankle at all. Baths have actually surprised me because my tub is low enough I can elevate the leg outside of the water and bath like normal with the exception of the obvious injury site.

    For the external fixture, I have to take blood thinner shots in the abdomen each morning and clean the pin sites twice a day (thankfully my mother is living with me and makes my life easier because I am not capable of poking myself with a needle everyday).

    Hopefully I can get my ORIF surgery on 11/23 (day before Thanksgiving) and be released from recovery in time for turkey dinner :) For those of you on the Percocet, I recommend a high fiber diet and stool softeners (sorry for the graphics) because those do back you up.

    When I do elevate it and fall asleep pain sets in a lot faster I have noticed. I have to not elevate it at times to relieve the stress. I get the same blood rushing feeling when I stand up as well as some of you have, I found that if I kind of move the whole foot and ankle in a circular motion (try not to lose your balance) it makes the pain and pressure subside quicker. I use the crutches because i find that it helps me keep up with my fitness to some extent and being in the military that is important to me. I just hope that this injury does not prevent me from doing what I need to do for my job for too long. I want to retire from the military and if this jeopardizes that I will be super upset.

    To all of you going through this, I didn't realize how rare it is, however, you will get through it. I intend to fight with everything in me to get to a full recovery. I am realistic in knowing that I will have some set backs and frustrations. Also that it will always affect me for the rest of my life, but at least I will never be caught in the rain without notice again :)

    I will update after my surgery, I am grateful to have been able to read all the stories and get insight on other experiences. I wish the best to you all and God Bless.

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  100. Good luck! This is a terrible injury (when I was first seen in the hospital, every physician who saw the Xrays said, "Car crash victim?"), but you seem to have good perspective already. I hope you heal quickly! Elizabeth

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  101. EC,

    It's sad nurse and I am still sad. Dr. tomorrow. I hope to get this cast/wrap thing off. I feel like my heel is raw underneath it all. I don't want to look when he unwraps this thing. Still hurting. I am afraid they will take away my Percocet. I am a bit depressed over it all. The helplessness is what is driving me crazy. Along with living with 4 dogs who can't figure out what has happened to me. I guess I will get another cast tomorrow? Hopefully one that doesn't rub my heel raw. Oh the joy and around the holidays and all. It really stinks. Bah Humbug.
    Sad Nurse

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  102. What type of cast do you have? I had a ton of Ace bandages for the first 10 days. Then when I went to get the staples out, I got a boot cast. I hope you get that. It is so amazing to be able to bathe without a cast. Yes, your ankle will feel strange and vulnerable when it's out of the boot, but it's great to be able to change your socks, etc.

    Once you are more mobile--which I hope you will be when/if you get a boot--you won't want the Percocet. It doesn't mix well with being upright, I have found.

    My two big dogs were out of sorts for a long time when I broke my ankle. No more walks...my husband pretended to walk them, but he really just put them out in the yard. They were sad! I was afraid to walk them for a while even after I could walk, but by then, being out of bed, I was able to see when the husband was not really walking them, and at least they started getting actual walks from him then. i even thought about hiring someone. Had some volunteers who never actually showed up. Oh, well.

    Get some good movies and take care of yourself. Don't let it get you down too much! I found that hobbling out to my deck and sitting in the light really helped boost my mood.

    Best,

    Elizabeth

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  103. Elizabeth,

    Yes! I got an air type boot cast. It is called a Biomet fracture walker. I am so excited. The heel feels great now with no more rubbing. Got the staples out 7 on one side and 13 on the other. One got stuck.. ouch. Dr. said I could put some weight on it if I want. Is he totally crazy? Yes I have that vulnerable feeling. I am allowed to take the boot off to sleep, but that is way too much for me at this point. It almost feels like my ankle isn't a part of me anymore. Weird. I will take your advice and go outside when it stops raining. Too funny about your hubby and not walking the dogs when he knew you had no ability to check up on him. Typical... haha. Thank you so much for your support and response to my pitty party post. Your the best. Hope you have a nice Thanksgiving. A lady said to me today "Your lucky, at least you won't have to cook Thursday" Lucky... really? I would have cooked 10 turkeys to take these past 2 weeks away.
    Take care..

    Semi sad nurse

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  104. Hi--glad you are doing better with the boot. Personally, I wouldn't put weight on the broken ankle (I was told not to even think about it for 9 weeks, and the few times my foot accidentally went down, I saw stars). I slept with the boot, too. I was just too worried about one of my dogs bumping into my ankle or something (or, God forbid, falling out of bed and landing on it).

    Have a great Thanksgiving...my ankle was broken at this time three years ago, so I remember sitting around while other people cooked. I was taking painkillers and they were making me feel so woozy, I kept almost passing out. Somehow, I perked up enough to make bouillabaisse which no one ate (I am still annoyed about it)--even me, since I had no appetite. I understand about willingly doing *anything* to have avoided this injury!

    Have a nice holiday and be well,

    Elizabeth

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  105. Well I am supposed to finally have my ORIF surgery tomorrow. I went last Tuesday for a follow up and they said it was too swollen for the Wednesday surgery (after 2 weeks). Therefore, I am hoping that tomorrow my ankle isn't too swollen and i can get this external fixture off and get the ORIF completed.

    Thanksgiving was interesting. My brother and sister were grossed out by the pin sites on my External Fix. Then the blood thinner (lovenox) shots in my abdomen didn't help them either :) I didn't have to cook or clean, which is a blessing for them more than they realize. I had my little pallet set up on the living room floor and tried hard not to pass out and get my face drawn on by the pranksters.

    I hope tomorrow is a success and will share my experience after i am released from the hospital. Happy Holidays and God Bless.

    11/11/11 girl

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  106. External pins are disgusting looking, but they really add to the whole Franken-ankle effect, don't they?

    Getting your face drawn on...cracked me up, and reminded me of my college days in Ireland when the person who passed out would get an obscenity scrawled on his face.

    Good luck!

    Elizabeth

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  107. Elizabeth,

    Hope all is well. My Dr. office called today. Said I am released to go back to work doing light duty. Can you believe that? It hasn't even been 3 weeks since my surgery. I have had no rehab/PT at all. I am just in shock. I am still generally weak. I can't imagine going to even sit behind a desk for 8 hours. Their response "It's just an ankle" They said that they will let my employer know that I may have to have my ankle elevated. WOW. I guess worker's comp just doesn't want to pay me. Ok just venting. How long did it take for you to work again? I just can't believe this is an option.

    Mad Nurse

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  108. Hi Nurse,

    I went back to work about 2 1/2 weeks after my ankle fx. I went back (teaching) because I was paranoid not to--kids were not learning anything without me. It was too soon, though. I was exhausted and miserable, and I couldn't get anywhere far at all with my crutches, walker, etc. It totally sucked. It gets better, though--I think 3 wks is the best time. You don't need PT yet since you aren't walking, but it is important to keep mobile as much as you can. If your job isn't really compatible with being so active, then I can understand the problem. You WILL need to keep it elevated, and you will need a lot of rest (don't try to get down long hallways all the time--as I was). Best, EC

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  109. Elizabeth,

    You are one strong woman! I guess I was under the impression I would have more time. I am glad to know they are not just picking on me. Believe me I will not be doing long hallways or going out visiting my Hospice patients. I thought that PT came before work. I am glad you are here for me. I had no idea. I will take your advice. Thank you so much!

    Not as mad Nurse

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  110. Oh, it would be nice to have more time, for sure. I was on short-term disability. and I got a lot of pressure to return countered with "Make sure you have a doctor's note to return." It was strange. The worst part for me was the fact that I was a teacher in the particular school where I worked...they made no accommodations for me (though they would move everything for a student on crutches!), and I was always hungry because I couldn't get to the cafeteria. I lived on protein bars from my bag and no one helped me during the day (though I did have a nice co-worker drive me to school and drive me home)...except for my students, who'd bring me ice packs, coffee, etc. Hopefully, you have a better work environment. Best, Elizabeth

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  111. Good Evening,

    So I had my ORIF surgery yesterday and am home today. The pain is unbelievably worse than with the external fixture. I guess when I thought it would be similar i was wrong. There is a stinging sensation that pops up from time to time and i suspect that is the incision sites. Elevating it seems to hurt or make it more uncomfortable than actually walking around on the crutches.

    The doctor said that one of my bones was really soft so i have to supplement vitamin D and Calcium since milk has a way of messing my tummy up. I still eat high fiber cereal to push things through since the percocets have a tendancy to make things stop. Sorry for the graphics.

    I believe the worst part of the whole experience was having a nagging roommate while in recovery, who decided she knew better than all the nurses. I was in a great deal of pain, and trying to deal with that and her, was unbelievable that i didn't lose it. I felt especially bad for the nurses. They were awesome and always did what they could to alleviate any discomfort. I was happy to fill out a feedback to commend them.

    Back to the surgery, I am now in a splint and have to go back in 10-14 days. That is when i find out if i get the boot or the cast. I am not picky, I told the doctor I know her judgement is better than mine and that I completely understand her decision either way. After being home for 7 hours today i feel like i finally have my pain under a descent control. I hope that since the lady kept me up all night last night, I get a good night sleep tonight.

    I know that being on Percocet, i can't take anything for pain to accompany it. Does anyone know if an ice pack actually helps anything? if so where would I put it? The nurse suggested on my knee or my toes, but i don't know that that would help.

    I have come to notice that this is a great support site and Elizabeth I thank you for being so supportive to everyone on here. Thank you for setting this up and giving us all a place to come together and learn about each other's experiences. I have not found another site quite as good and always find myself back here sharing my stories. Thank you all and God Bless.

    11/11/11 girl

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  112. Hi Nurse,

    I used tons of ice packs, but I know it seems as if it the ice can't get through to affect the ankle (on top of all that wrapping). Don't worry--as a nurse told me, it will help. You will want a giant bag of ice. I placed the bags about halfway up my foot, going way up the calf--couldn't really get to the sides, but the cold does help alleviate the swelling.

    The pain is a beast, I know. I had an annoying roommate, as well. I kept zonking out from the pain meds and she kept clapping in my face to wake me up. Then I'd throw up. I couldn't wait to get away from her. It was hell--at least you are out of there!

    To make matters worse, in the beginning, I was in such excruciating pain and the orthopedist hadn't signed orders to give me medicine on a schedule. I was screaming in agony, not something I would normally let myself do, but it could not be helped, and the nurse kept trying to fake me out by plunging empty syringes into my IV (while she waited to get the okay from the doctor). It got to the point where I was saying, "Faking me out does not work!" Nice try, though.

    Good luck!

    Elizabeth

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  113. Wow that sounds like a hellacious roommate. If that happened to me I would have probably knocked her out. This girl was lucky my New Year's Resolution this year was to keep better patience with people or she would have been hurting worse hehe... but seriously, I will try the ice packs. I miss the IV Meds (can't remember what it was called but started with a D) though the only one that worked was the very last dose because my IV was bad until that one. Those IV meds worked really quick, though didn't last long. They did suppress until the percocet kicked in though.

    I got a little more rest last night. I sucked up the discomfort from elevation and eventually I was too sleepy it didn't matter anymore. It seems like my mind is on a time schedule with these meds though because it wakes me up in time just to get what I need when I need it.

    After three weeks of this injury I notice my injured leg is a lot more smaller than my right leg. This will affect me big time when I finally can start walking again and will have to attempt my military fitness tests. I plan on getting through this though with a strong outlook. I have a lot of support with the Doctors, my mother helping me and motivating me, and all the wonderful response i get from this blog.

    For all of those still going through this and those who will join the "team" I wish you all a successful recovery and minimal discomfort.

    11/11/11 girl

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  114. My tri-malleolar fracture took place Oct. 24, 2011 on a hiking trail in NH. The previous day I had slipped in some mud and fallen and hurt my humerus, which turned out to be a hairline fracture-no big deal I thought- so I was hiking with a sling. The weather was beautiful and we were going to leave the next day so a nice gentle trail hike seemed like a good idea at the time. What could go wrong?
    Slipped on a wet log and sat there for 3 hours while the mountain rescue team assembled. Then a 1 1/2 hour carry-out , in the dark by then, made it all very dramatic.
    The orthopedist on duty had just reviewed my arm x-rays from earlier in the day. (Are there frequent flier miles for twice in one day ER visits?)
    He was able to operate the next day and I had a "nerve block" anesthesia which lasted a couple of days. Even after I got back home I never had pain in my ankle other than the first few nights getting a comfortable position for sleeping. Used very little Percoset.
    The arm caused me more pain than anything-especially because it meant wheelchair only.
    A local doctor took over and at 5 1/2 weeks post surgery (today) I had the cast removed . I have an air cast-mostly for my own peace of mind. The cast was like a cocoon-very comforting. I was told I could use a walker and put weight on it as much as I could bear. OUCH!!! The pain was waiting in reserve for me to put weight on it. PT has helped the arm considerably and I start PT for the ankle Monday.
    I did discover that even in the mountains where your cell phone says "searching for service" you can dial 9-1-1 and it will say "searching for emergency service" and someone answered! Heratfelt thanks, and a donation, to all those who volunteer to go up mountains in the dark carry injured hikers to an ambulance.

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  115. Wow--a carry-down in the dark. Yikes. From this blog, I have learned of so many interesting (but scary) broken ankle stories...having accidents in third world countries, having to fly home for treatment, etc. You sound like my cousin who had a simultaneous leg and arm fracture and was in a wheelchair for months. Another big yikes. We are indeed lucky to have people who will rescue us--glad you were not in terribly remote wilderness. Best wishes, Elizabeth

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  116. Has anyone had an itching issue with the ankle when it was splinted/casted after surgery? it is making me crazy!!! The pain is subsiding though :) so i am very grateful for that :)

    11/11/11/girl

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  117. After almost 6 weeks of focusing on keeping my bad leg off the floor it takes concentration to start using it again. I am now scooting around in the wheelchair using both feet to propel me along as a start. No full weight on the foot but am getting some dexterity going there. PT starts tomorrow .

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  118. Hi 11/11--I never had itching. I think it's because I never had a cast (had a boot).

    Betty--I could not remember how to walk. Seriously. I had to practice walking in my kitchen holding onto counters. PT helped, too. This is normal! But it's still disconcerting as all hell.

    Be well!

    EC

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  119. I didn't have itching though the skin was flaking off like a snowstorm when the cast came off. The cast removal tool(looks like a saw but isn't) caused so much tickling when he cut the cast off in the foot area it sounded like we were having so much fun.

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  120. I had my trimalleolar fx with fib fx 3/12/11, screws, plate and rod. It has been 9 months since the slip on ice on my porch. Been walking, riding my exercise bike daily 5-8 miles a day. Suddenly yesterday I developed a severe leg cramp in my "bad" leg which caused my foot to twist for over 25 minutes - similar to those leg cramps one gets when stretching in bed, but much much worse. The cramp did not cause the calf muscle to lock, it was deep in my leg tissue running down my leg to my foot which was rather frozen in place. Finally it stopped. Today after riding my exercise bike just 3 miles I felt the leg muscle tightening and pain beginning again. I have some tingling in my foot. Has anyone had anything like this after sufferly the trimal fx? Just a little concerned that this started out of the blue.

    Thanks for any thoughts
    Deb from Pittsburgh

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  121. Hi Deb,

    I know exactly what you are talking about. I would have random shooting pains that would almost make me fall down--like a huge jolt of a shock running through the shin bone from the foot. Awful. I think it has to do with weather. I don't get that as much anymore, but yesterday I had bad pain due to the cold front moving in.

    Keep up the exercise and try to mix it up so that no part of the ankle can get stiff or weak. The bike is always good to ride, however.

    Best,

    Elizabeth

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  122. Well, I went and got the post surgery splint off today; they put me in the boot :) I am sooo happy because i really need to shave it and those staples were annoying me. She told me to do up and down range of motion but no weight or side to side moving at least until my 4 week (from today) follow up. The boot, I realize, is way more comfortable to sleep in and it doesn't allow my foot or heel to move around as much. My leg is very skinny and sad looking. I went through the percocet cut off withdrawal yesterday and it was hell. I felt like I had the flu and cancelled all plans. Today is much better and I suspect tomorrow will be even better :)

    11/11/11 girl

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  123. Elizabeth,

    Hi, I am going on week 5 of my ORIF. Today for the first time I started walking with my air boot without crutches or cane!! I am so excited to be able to do this. I can now use my hands again. It is amazing to be able to carry things in two hands. I am taking it easy, but the freedom is wonderful. I still have occ. pins and needle nerve pain. I wondered if you ever took Neurontin? When you try to walk without the boot do they suggest wearing shoes? I can't imagine walking barefoot. Have you found any shoes that are comfortable? I am glad that I have very little swelling. I hope all is well! TY for this blog for we all appreciate hearing from those who have "walked" this path before.

    Sad nurse

    Sad Nurse

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  124. Hi.

    What is Neurontin? OTC or prescription? I never walked in my boot (wasn't allowed to). Finding shoes to wear WAS a problem...I ended up wearing these fleecy Merrell snow clogs for a while (could only get blue...wearing blue shoes is not cool). The foot with the broken ankle was quite swollen and none of my regular shoes fit. Then, I got some New Balance sneakers...so awkward to wear sneaks with everything. That went on for a couple of months. Finally, I could go back to Dansko clogs. The swelling is an issue, as you'll no doubt find. So, too, is needing stability.

    Best of luck and congratulations on the walking! I actually forgot how to walk because it was about 10 weeks for me.

    Elizabeth Collins

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  125. Hi Elizabeth,

    Yes Neurontin is a perscription med used origionally I think for seizures but is best used for nerve pain. It works great for the pin and needle pain. I might ask for it to see if it will work for me. We use it alot in Hospice as many tumors grow and press on nerves. Most pain medications that are used for aches and pains don't touch nerve pain. But Neurontin does and it is not a narcotic. It does take about a week to work but when it does it is a miracle. I had it a long time ago after a car accident that hurt my shoulder. I wondered if your doctor ever discussed it with you?
    Thank you for the shoe suggestions. I will need to buy some Dansko's. Dear Santa... lol.
    Take care and thanks for getting back to me. I am not sure when I will ever get over the scared feeling of falling down again. The thought of going through this again is very frightening. I can still hear the sound of my ankle breaking in my head. It is like a bad dream.

    Sad nurse... AKA Patty

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  126. Thanks for the info on Neurontin. I had never heard of it before.

    I love Danskos and wear them all the time, but I would be careful (if I were you) to be sure the ankle is fully healed before wearing them. They are very comfy (and good for the back), but very occasionally, your ankle might roll because of the platform. Just be careful. You should probably do sneakers...

    I actually just got the most comfortable pair of sneakers EVER...they are Brooks. They have memory foam inside and in the sole. They are awesome!

    After my fx, I had to wear wide shoes because of the swelling...

    Best,

    EC

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  127. Elizabeth,

    Thanks for the info on shoes. I am definitely going to be buying some new ones ASAP. I went to the Dr. on tues. (6 weeks) He told me to take off the boot, the fracture is healed, and "put your shoes back on and start walking" He feels I do not need PT or even an ankle brace. I was shocked, The Dr. said my limitations were now "all in my head" Yes I do believe he is on crack. Well I went and bought an ankle brace wrap and put that on. I have an old pair of slip in tennis shoes and have been walking. OH the pain and swelling have returned big time. I have a pretty good limp too. He said my achilles tendon needs stretched and demonstrated a few exercises to do. Did your pain and swelling increase when you started walking again? I am just a bit frustrated. I thought PT was important? The workers comp lady at the Dr office is so rude as well. She called and ask if I had drove yet. I told her no as I have a clutch. (yeah I know, thought it was a fun car to drive) Her reply "Well I suggest you drive cause you are back to work Monday" GRRR... I guess the sympathy over my injury is now over.
    Well have a great Holiday!!! Just needed to vent. Thanks for that!

    Patty

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  128. Hi Patty,

    1. Ask that jerk doctor for an air cast, maybe (that is a small padded wrap with a hard outside (almost like a shin guard for the ankle). It won't help you walk, but it will keep your ankle protected from bumps and kicks. Downside: it is hard to wear a shoe with it. It's possible, but it just makes that foot a bit wider.

    2. Use a cane. I think you might need it for a bit. It is hard to get going when re-learning how to walk, and you will need to lean on the cane at times like these.

    My swelling was bad. I had to go to PT every other afternoon for months. Basically, they'd have me pick up marbles with my foot (scrunch up the toes), stretch out by standing on a box that slopes down, ride an exercise bike (which I have at my house, so I could never see the point of driving ten miles to ride their old bike), and trace the alphabet in the air with my toes. I also had to stand on one leg for minutes at a time. Then they'd ice my ankle (after doing some weird electrical stimulation thing that didn't hurt, but I didn't like it). You could do all these things, too.

    Best!

    Elizabeth

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  129. Hi Elizabeth. So glad to see this blog as one needs to be able to vent, share their experiences and,most importantly know what to expectfor the future.I had a trimalleolar with dislocation on 9/1/11 with orif on 9/2. at 55 years of age and never having had injury of illness the rug was pulled out from under me, my life changed forever. one week later i had bilateral pulmonary embolism which were coined "potentially lethal and very large" which then stunned my right ventricle. now being almost 4 months later and another surgery to remove a stabilizing screw i am just now trying to put weight on this foreign limb. the pain and stiffness are incredible is this normal? when will i be able to walk normally and without pain? does anyone ever walk right again? Is there life after this injury. my employment and finacial status are in the toilet and to top it off i pulled a muscle in my back probably from over compensating. anyways thanks for the blog and thanks for listening

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  130. Good Evening,
    Today was an interesting day. Has anyone ever fell down a flight of stairs while wearing an air cast boot? I can't believe how instinctive it was for my body to take the fall down 8 stairs and keep the broken ankle safe! I was sure as heck cursing and shaky after I did it. When I stopped being so shaky and my mother was ok again from her nerves, I couldn't stop laughing at how unbelievably clumsy I am!!! I just wanted to share this. I wonder if my mind wants my body to heal. If so, it sure has a funny way of playing with gravity :)

    11/11/11 girl

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  131. All I can say right now is power through the pain and keep moving. The more afraid you might be to use your leg (the one with the broken ankle), the worse the stiffness and pain will be. You will need lots of ice and advil, but keep moving, and move in different ways. I was just thinking the other day how long it took me to truly recover. I will never be exactly the same. But I actually ran a block the other day (and not the Frankenstein slow jog I had managed before...a normal looking jog. It wasn't a sprint, but I'll take it). Granted, I couldn't keep it up long, but at least I did it. Must always keep trying. It will get better! Best, Elizabeth

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  132. Elizabeth,

    All I can say is OUCH! I am still hurting so bad. I am taking Advil 800mg about every 4 hours along with Tylenol XS 1000mg every 4 hours. I am in constant pain. I went to the Dr. for a checkup. Of course I just got to see the nurse. She did write me a script for PT which she said would help 3x a week for 4 weeks. No more pain meds. I guess the tears didn't even bother her. I got a new lace up ankle brace, but it doesn't help much. I keep going back to the Cam boot. I just hope and pray that PT will help this pain and stiffness. I find it ironic that putting ice on the ankle helps, but going out in the cold air causes sharp pains? I feel an amputation would be the best course at this time. (humor)
    Congrats on your limp free jog!! It must be wonderful to have accomplished this!!! I keep telling myself if I ever walk again, I will walk my dogs daily. Poor things may need Prozac soon as will I.
    Take care and God bless.

    Patty (sad nurse)

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  133. Patty, If it hurts all the time, I think that full weight bearing might be the problem. It just seems too soon (to me) for you to be walking on the ankle. It's good that you are walking--the severe atrophy I had was not something I'd want you to experience--but the pain is sending you a message, I think. There is something in the health food store that I saw called Curamin (I think). It's supposed to help with pain. I have not tried it myself. I considered buying it, but for a small bottle @$40, I wasn't sure. Another poster here recommended something called Nyloxin (OTC natural pain med, I think). Do the PT. Move the ankle--I like the bike for non-impact exercise. You'll also need to keep elevating your leg for a while, I think. I know I did. You might try heat pads on the ankle, too. I often find now that I need those heat pads when the arthritis is bad. You might try alternating advil and tylenol, For some reason that works best when it comes to swelling, fever, etc. I might do the same for pain.

    Best,

    Elizabeth

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  134. Elizabeth,

    Thanks for the information re: the pain meds. I did order the Curamin and hope that will help. I will give anything a try. I am taking your advice about elevating and keeping it moving. It does stiffen up if it is immobile. I have applied heat which has helped. I have a hot pack on it as I type. I never thought in a million years a broken ankle could stop your world. It has. I will let you know how PT goes. I have to have it Ok'd by workers comp first. Always something. Have a great New Year!

    Patty

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  135. It's weird, because elevation helps with swelling, but keeping still makes the ankle very stiff and painful. I guess the key is to do it all and alternate leg positions, activity, etc. Let me know how the Curamin is. I read the label--has herbs/spices that are supposed to help with inflammation (turmeric, etc). Happy New Year! Elizabeth

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  136. Debbie, Happy New Year all. I went to another orthopedic specialist (not the ortho who did my original tri-mal surgery) who feels that the pain in walking is being caused by the pins/screws. His practice routinely remove all hardware in tri-mal fx's a year after the original injury. I am considering it as the inside of my ankle feels as though something is going to poke through the skin (I do have several broken screws). If I have the hardware removed, are there advantages/disadvantages? What about rehab/pain after the hardware removal surgery? I do not want to go through the rehab of surgery if it is going to be as painful as when the hardware was inserted. Need your opinion of removal versus not removing the hardware.

    Thanks all
    Debbie

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  137. Hi Debbie,

    I had so much pain from the hardware; after getting it removed, I felt so much better. I don't understand (at all) why some doctors are reluctant to remove hardware. They say it strengthens the broken, but now healed, area, but really, it weakens the ends of the bones and can cause serious pain and lack of flexibility. Get it removed. Yes, it will hurt for about a week and you'll have to be careful and use crutches for a short while, but is is SO WORTH IT. Just do it. You won't have to go through PT again. Best, EC

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  138. Hi Elizabeth,
    I tripped up some steps July 27 and ended up with a trimarllor fracture on my left ankle. Surgery and a plate and seven screws. My inside ankle bone has a long screw that goes in on an angle, this portion of my bone would not heal as fast as the other ones so I have been on an electrical bone stimulator for the past 2 months. I had my doctor appt this past Monday and he said the bone finally looks healed which is good news,except for I still have alot of swelling. I have developed the weird rash on the outside ankle on top of where my hardware is locatedit itches and never goes away even with prescription cream. So my os wants to remove my hardware next month which will be only 7 months post op, he usually likes to wait over a year for removal. He told me I will need to be extra careful to avoid refractor. I am so worried about this removal surgery as my first surgery was so painful I thought I was I hell. I was non weight bearing for 4 months so my ankle is so tight pt helps though! My os thinks I may be having an allergic ration to the hardware hence the rash, pain and swelling. How long were you non weight bearing after removal surgery. I feel like I may not be able to go through all of that again! Im only 52 years old but this experience has aged me!!! As I'm walking very slowly now with a limp and a cane!

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  139. Don't worry about the removal surgery (as I say now...although I was sobbing as I waited to go into surgery...I just could not deal with the thought of that pain and recuperation). You will only be non-weight bearing for a week, maybe even a bit less. Get the hardware out; some people are adversely affected by it, as I was and it sounds like you are, too. Just get it out (try to bargain with your orthopod to take it out now; mine bargained with me and we settled on 9 mos post-op, not a full year). Good luck! Elizabeth

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    1. As many have posted, I appreciate very much hearing the experience of others with this injury. My trimalleolar fracture of my right ankle occurred on Oct. 24 with surgery Oct 26--two plates and 9 or 10 screws. (Fell down stairs.) Am still non-weight bearing for the most part; just started putting 25 lbs. of weight on it (with boot) about two weeks ago. Have another appt with surgeon in two weeks when hope to be able to add more weight (50?). Have given up trying to determine when I will be walking again as every time I estimate it is so off (thought it would be total of 5-6 wks... man, was I wrong). Hoping for spring. Am participating in PT 3x/wk and doing the recommended exercises at home. Progress on Range of Motion, but still stubborn. Using a walker and a narcotic for pain. Am getting more concerned about the use of the narcotic, but my doctor has said that I will be going through some of the most painful PT during this phase. It is life-changing. The doctor does not give me much in terms of looking ahead and others' experiences cited here are enlightening. Thanks to all for sharing. Janet

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  140. I hope you can walk soon...re-learning how to walk was something I never thought I'd have to do. It has honestly taken me almost 4 yrs to feel nearly-back-to-normal (though my leg will always hurt a bit). Just keep trying. Don't worry about the time, take it day-by-day and try to do something every day to help your ankle.

    Best,

    Elizabeth

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  141. Hi All,
    I slipped on the kitchen floor on 2/2/2012, Trimalleolar and dislocated right ankle. ORIF same evening, great doctor and very lucky as haven't needed any pain meds for days. Please can anyone answer these questions?
    1 How long is it best to get complete rest except for hops to the loo? (using 2 wheeled walker as hopeless and dangerous on crutches)(Lucky to have husband and sons looking after me)
    2 has anyone had aquatherapy and how soon after the break?
    3 How soon has anyone been able to swim breast stroke?
    4 How soon has anyone been able to play golf?
    5 Is there a mobility aid like an office chair you can propel with the good leg? I can't use a knee walker due to previous right knee surgery but something like that you can sit on would be a good idea.
    6 Is anything available other than bin bags to waterproof the plaster easily for a shower?
    7 How soon has anyone been able to drive?
    8 Has anyone been able to drive a manual car with foot clutch after the accident or should I sell my car?
    Thank you all for your very useful insights into your accidents and recovery and I'd be most grateful if anyone has any answers. Mo in Oz

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  142. I will try to answer most of your questions. I was in bed for 2 wks post-fx and post-ORIF. I would recommend getting out of bed as soon as possible because of atrophy and dizziness, etc. The problem is the intense pain/pressure of the blood rushing down to your foot when you are upright. It is horrible. Still, try to keep moving as much as you can.

    As for aquatherapy, honestly, I find it very unpleasant (still) to flutter kick in the pool. I know they say swimming is great non-impact exercise, but I do not enjoy it anymore. I do have a friend who had multiple fx that would not heal, and he finally got union of bone after prolonged aqua therapy (really, any exercise would be useful; the point it to get the blood circulating around the injured areas so that they heal).

    Can you get Gore-Tex wrap for your cast? My daughter had 2 broken arms that I got gore-tex waterproof wrapping for so she could shower.

    I drove 10 wks after fx, but I would not recommend that. It hurt and it felt dangerous, just braking, not even using a clutch. I don't think you have to sell your car, but don't expect to drive it for months.

    Best,

    Elizabeth

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  143. Elizabeth,

    Hi, It's sad nurse..AKA Patty. I haven't wrote in awhile and wanted to say hey. My surgery was Nov 10th. I am unsure how many weeks that is now? It feels like forever, then again it feels like yesterday. I returned back to work this past week. It has been challenging as I really was not getting out that much prior and had it up the majoirty of the day when I was home. Now I am walking so much and not able to elevate it. It has been aching with all the new activity. I pop my Advil throughout the day and come home and ice it. I walk pretty well when I wear slip on tennis shoes, but barefoot I have a significant limp. It stiffens up whenever I keep it immobile for even a hour. I wear my elastic hose (ted) and brace. I went through 4 weeks of PT which helped and hurt! Work hasn't been too supportive with my return. Some nurese go on about how I was so LUCKY to have this happen and be off for the holiday's. This makes me so angry. They have no idea how horrible the holidays were. They act like I was on a cruise in the South of France or something... So irritating! It is as if they feel I acutally sat down and planned it. GRRRR. Anyway just wanted to say hello and I guess vent. Sorry.
    To the above writer Mo. I had just bought a new car a few months before my fall and surgery. It is a manual with a clutch. I thought it would be so fun to drive, then I go and have a left fractured ankle. I thought for sure I would have to sell it. I am pleased to say I started driving it again about 2 weeks ago. Yeah it hurts...ouch... but I was determined. Don't sell the car just yet, it will take time but you will be able to drive again.
    Well what an ordeal and even 3 months later my ankle still seems to rule my life.. Someday I hope to go even a few hours without the aggrevation of it all.
    Take care and talk soon.

    Patty

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    Replies
    1. Patty,

      Try icing during the day, as well (whenever you can sit down--bring another chair to rest the injured ankle on and put a huge bag of ice on it). I believe the key is to keep the swelling from coming back. and ice is a wonder drug.

      I still have the stiffness upon getting up. It will get better, but expect the first ten steps or so to be clumsy and awkward for a long time yet to come.

      Best,

      Elizabeth

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  144. Elizabeth and Patty for the very helpful replies. I hope you both recover fully and lose the pain soon.

    Cheers MO

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  145. Mo,
    Don't sell you car. I have manual which I resume driving 6 weeks after my ORIF with my MD 's blessing. I too dislocated my right ankle and had trimalleolar FX. Also try a 3 or 4 wheeled knee walker as they are much more stable but might not work due to your prior knee surgery.
    Once you start PT ask about swimming and golf. My wonderful PT used the reduced gravity
    Treadmill to help me gain walking strength quickly.
    Good luck,
    CK

    ReplyDelete
  146. Boot vs cast 2 weeks after Trimalleolar ORIF NEW
    by: Mo

    My Doc has given me a boot 2 weeks after ORIF so I can start to move my ankle up and down and prevent total stiffness. It was almost impossible to move but after a week of gentle movement it is moving 3/4 of other ankle. My calf and thigh muscles are wasting so fast even without a solid cast, I daren't imagine what another 4 weeks in one would have done. I hated wearing it at night and doc said it was preferable but not essential so had my first night without the boot last night. FREEDOM! My ORIF sites are still very sore and skin is falling off. Has anyone tried Aloe Vera plants on the ORIF sites? I tried a leaf newly broken off our plant and it seemed to enable almost full motion up and down and soothed the operation scars but left it feeling tight and sticky.
    I bought a shower chair with lockable wheels yesterday which is great for getting around the kitchen as can propel with good leg and a hand on the kitchen bench and get from fridge to table to sink carrying stuff easily. I liked the sound of the knee scooters but bad knee. The chair is much safer an an office chair and very comfortable. Highly recommend it. Haven't figured out how to get it into the shower yet though!

    Happy healing everyone!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi--

      My leg muscle atrophy was extreme, so I sincerely recommend moving the leg as much as possible. Ironically, I was doing leg lifts and all with my boot, but still, my leg with the ankle fx became unnaturally thin and remained that way for more than a year (despite exercise).

      For my scars, I used to do massage with lavender oil. It didn't help make the scars look any better, but massage does help break up the scar tissue underneath (which you need to do to regain full ROM).

      It sounds like you need a second shower chair that remains in the shower.

      Best,

      Elizabeth

      Delete
  147. After the broken left arm and tri-malleolar fracture of my left ankle I was recovering nicely by New Year's Eve. I thought 2012 would be a better year.
    Jan. 1st, 12:15am the phone rang and I discovered my elderly father, who lives about 1500 miles away, fell and broke his left ankle. His was a Bi-malleolar fracture but the x-ray looked pretty much like mine. New Years Day was busy with making plans to fly to take care of my Mom(Alzheimer's). Not to mention taking down the Christmas tree and packing away all the decorations. I arranged for wheelchairs in the airports (excellent idea!) and I brought my cane. Three weeks of helping out until Dad came out of the nursing home was all I could take. I had missed 5 weeks of work due to my own injury and had only been back for about 3 weeks when I had to miss 3 more weeks.
    It's good to be home and I do my PT every day. Wake up with a real stiff foot but it loosens up after exercises and walking. The ankle is still swollen and I get sharp pains every now and then for no apparent reason. I take Advil to help with the swelling and pain when I exercise. I take walks on the road- about 1 1/2 miles (45 minutes) but haven't ventured out onto a trail just yet. So glad our winter has been virtually snow-free so I don't have to contend with slippery sidewalks.
    I look forward to the day when I can go about my day, pain-free, and then have to remind myself-"Oh yeah, I used to not be able to walk/run/bend or squat without pain".

    ReplyDelete
  148. Wow-what a story! The random sharp pains were happening to me the past couple of days (no idea why; it can't be the weather, which is unseasonably warm). It makes you (or me) not want to walk on the ankle, but the walking is a necessity, and it WILL get better. Maybe not all the way, back-to-normal better, but so much better than it was.

    Best,

    Elizabeth

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  149. Thank you, everyone, for sharing your experiences here. I missed a step 3 weeks ago, had a newer kind of surgery 2 1/2 weeks ago (plate, 6 screws and a heavy suture that went through my bones to a kind of 'hinge' so my ankle is more flexible). Same experiences everyone else here has had to deal with: pain management, how to do the simplest tasks, developing massive shoulder muscles from crutches, etc.
    What's a bit different for me though, was that my surgeon put me in an aircast/walking boot right away- I didn't have a solid cast at all. Not that he wanted me to walk at all, but the walking boot acted like a cast, and sounds like it was much more comfortable and lighter weight than the fiberglas or plaster casts. After the padded dressing wasn't needed anymore, I started wearing an ace wrap inside the boot, and I take the boot off to sleep at night.
    The hardest part for me is accepting how serious this kind of fracture is. I thought, maybe 2-3 weeks off of work, then I'd start walking again, and maybe I was being a bit of a wuss (sp?)still feeling weak and shakey. It really helped reading everyone's experiences and knowing that this IS a very serious injury, and takes time to heal. Fortunately, I have a very supportive orthopedic surgeon, who is telling workman's comp that I need 4 more weeks (a total of 6) off, and then can go to light duty. He's really serious about letting this heal right.

    So I'm going to try my best to be patient. Not one of my strengths, to be honest, but I can do it. It's crutching up and down the stairs that's the bane of my existence right now . . . but if that's all I have to complain about, I'm doing well ;)
    Thanks again for all your posts . . . it's making the journey much easier for me, knowing it's shared.

    Laurie
    PS- I'm off of pain meds, but am still achey. Any additional thoughts/comments about Curamin or the Nyloxin?

    ReplyDelete
  150. Thanks for sharing, Laurie. That more flexible hinge suture sounds like a great idea. Lack of flexibility (for me, this was/is because of hardware and scar tissue) was one of the worst souvenirs of the fx.

    I should tell everyone that I recently found a very good arthritis supplement: Trigosamine. I like it better than any other type I've tried--and I have tried them all (my other top pick would be the expensive Cosamin D, which I really can't afford). I find it helps with pain somehow--I think because the original formula has curcumin in it.

    I just bought the extra strength variety (no curcumin, for some reason). Maybe it's the hyaluronate that helps, or the potency of the glucosamine & chondroitin? At any rate, I like it.

    Best,

    Elizabeth

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  151. Hi All, HOPE FOR EVERYONE! My 6 week post ORIF trimalleolar (plate, 12 screws dislocation plus high ankle sprain) visit on Wednesday he said all bones healed well, just cartilage and ligaments still to worry about and can full weight bear and swim and wean myself off the cam boot so I stuck it straight in the bin when I got home, swum 300 yards, walked for the first time using crutches (wheelchair and walker all I could manage before) and by the end of the day walked with no support. Next day managed with just a walking stick and today I start physio but popping down for a 40 minute swim to loosen up first. I know from all your posts I am so lucky to have had an excellent surgeon and to have healed quickly, it hasn't hurt much and I haven't needed drugs (except a quick swig of Grand Marnier when it hurts a lot) since 5 days after the op. Also, so lucky to have husband (now gourmet level chef after these 6 weeks) and 2 sons all looking after me cheerfully without complaint. It meant so much to be able to rest for 6 weeks, 2 in cast, 4 in boot (didn't wear it much though). So very lucky and hope to be golfing again a little next month, can already putt around the bedroom!
    Hoping all of you have the same great luck, great doctor, great carers and a very speedy recovery. Love and hugs to all of you and many thanks for your support.

    ReplyDelete
  152. Congrats and best of luck with your continued healing, Mo.

    --Elizabeth

    ReplyDelete
  153. Hi,

    I love this site, it's been a comfort to me throughout this process. Thank you.

    I fell on "invisible" ice on Feb 17, walking into work carrying a box of supplies. It was 38 degrees, melting and pavement just looked wet. Lots of people moving through the parking lot with no sign of ice or salt.

    Lucky me, I found the spot! The box I was carrying did not spill a thing. I landed on my own foot and heard the snap. Another teacher was right next to me so I had immediate help. I was so embarrassed to have so many people gathering around while I sat there looking at my "sideways" foot.

    I was taken by ambulance with an audience of school employees following or stopping by the hospital during that first hour. Amazingly, I was cracking jokes and planning for my absence. I totally tuned out until I was placed on the bed in the emergency room--then the tears came hysterically. I was angry--I don't have time for this!

    I was fortunate to have my surgery within the hour. I spent the night in the hospital.
    A week later, when the first cast was removed and I saw my foot, I finally realized how serious my injury was. My pics look just like yours! Frankenfoot. I really broke down then.

    I've been in a NWB cam walker since and using crutches to get around the house. I've only been out twice for Dr visits. This week I'm FINALLY seeing improvement. I've stopped the Motrin completely. The outside of my ankle's incision is closed up completely. The inside incision is still gruesome but has finally stopped spotting. I have occasional shooting pains for no rhyme or reason. Generally, there is just a fuzzy, tingly feeling. My foot is still swollen and varies throughout the day. When showering, it turns a beautiful shade of raspberry.

    Has anyone used a shower chair?

    I would appreciate recommendations. I've been using a two step (step and seat) kitchen step stool. It's mostly metal however and the water is not being kind. I think all plastic would be the way to go. I'm worried about stability when scooting over onto the shower seat.

    I go back next week to find out my next step and when I may return to work.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi--

      This IS a terrible injury. We can deny it for a while (or not), but the truth remains that it's serious and it takes years to truly recover. Now, don't let that scare you...I have found the trick to a decent mindset and faster healing is to keep moving and also cut yourself a break. When something is too much, it is too much. I remember being forced to attend a school Mass about three weeks after my fx. It was hell (no pun intended). I had to go to this "retreat" and sit through the dumbest activities and I could not put my leg up. It throbbed terribly. I just started to cry and there was no sympathy; it was like, "Well, shouldn't you be better by now?" (this, despite the fact that it was another two months, nearly, before I could walk). I had not broken down about the ankle before then, but I guess my point is that we need other people to understand that this is serious--whether we deny the seriousness or not. I am not one to beg for sympathy, but this retreat/Mass thing really sent me over the edge; it was completely inappropriate to demand my participation. Anywho...

      As for the shower--I used a plastic lawn chair! It was not ideal. I would use a plastic stool of some kind, I think (you need an open back, otherwise you can't really wash your back). Getting into the shower is the hardest part. I would hop in with crutches, park the crutches on the wall outside the shower and sit down. When I could balance on one leg, I did that rather than use the chair.

      Expect the swelling for a long while. My ankle still swells a bit and feels very uncomfortable whenever rain is on the way. It can be perfectly sunny and yet I will feel that terrible squeeze and I will know that we are going to have rain within the next 12 hrs.

      What kind of school do you teach in? I ask because I was a high school teacher when I broke my ankle. I had to return to work within 2 weeks, which I would NOT recommend to anyone. I taught while sitting (also used a walker, which is humiliating) and kept my leg up. Getting around the school was very difficult, however. I couldn't even get into the bathroom.

      Best,

      Elizabeth

      Delete
  154. Elizabeth,
    I actually teach Art Jk-12 in two different buildings. Thats the reason I was carrying a box of supplies. The week after my injury was a vacation week. My doctor said no work for 5 weeks at my one week visit to have the first cast and staples and stitches removed. I go back next week and will find out what's next. Budgets have squeezed my job. I teach 7 back to back elementary classes, Art is not something that can be taught from behind a desk, especially at the elementary level. On alternating days, my 7-12 students are taught in two different rooms in a building across town. Hard to imagine doing any of this on crutches. I've already heard from the sub that HS students think there is no reason I shouldn't be back because "it's just a broken ankle". My response, "wow, they do love me!" One strategy that was effective was to share the photo we took of my X-ray and Frankenfoot from that 1 week appt. Colleagues and students quickly change their mind. Thanks for the plastic stool idea. My shower is in a bathtub. I sit on the toilet next to the tub and can pull myself over to the tubs side and on to the step-ladder while keeping my foot up. Luckily we already had a handheld shower. I'm also fortunate to have a very helpful and supportive husband. Yes, a 15 minute shower now takes an hour.

    ReplyDelete
  155. I do sympathize! My job had me teaching all over a school (I did not have one room where I always taught), and this was very difficult. The school grudgingly adjusted some classes for me, but not enough. I should not have been back at work, I understand now, for a good month or so.

    Yes, of course you can't do your job what with the moving around to different buildings. That makes perfect sense. I am glad you have (more) understanding co-workers.

    Do you have a boot? I liked being able to take off the boot so I could shower. Otherwise, I kept the boot on all the time, even when sleeping.

    Best,

    EC

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  156. Oh dear, not so hopeful! After being able to walk unsupported(very badly) no boot 6 weeks post ORIF and the next morning I had to go back to a walking stick andd then 6 and 7 days later back to hopping on the walking frame! Yesterday tried taking it easy with just a 30 minute swim which was 5th swim in a week but first time it hurt and it was still too painful to put any weight on inside of broken ankle and heel this morning. Then something seemed to click out of pain and suddenly I'm walking able to put full weight on again with no support and very little pain. Very grateful and hope it lasts but is this usual 7 weeks post ORIF or is something slipping and wrong? Many thanks Elizabeth, I've just read through all the posts again this morning to see if any similar experiences and you do an excellent job of responding to everyone and giving help and encouragement. Many thanks for doing this. I'd be most grateful for any input. Great fast healing all, cheers Mo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Truthfully, I think it is early for you to be weight bearing. But maybe I say that because I was not weight bearing for about 10 weeks post ORIF. I agree that swimming is not enjoyable right now...everyone recommends it as non-impact, but there is something very, very unpleasant and jarring about flutter kicking with a weak, sore ankle. If I were you, Mo, I would wear an air cast, if only for psychological reasons. It does feel as if things are coming loose; I know the feeling! It will go away. I think your main task right now is to strengthen the foot and calf muscles to better support the healing ankle. Try balancing on the broken ankle leg. Try slow walking and bike riding. Also, try standing on your tip-toes and the lowering the feet. Do this quite a bit and flex and strengthen the foot/leg.

      Best,

      EC

      Delete
  157. Hi Elizabeth, You mention Dansko clogs, they sell them here in Australia. What style of Dansko do you find most comfortable please? Cheers Mo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have had many pairs of the Dansko Professionals. My faves were red patent leather, but they are not making that kind anymore (curses). I like these for the closed back; it's more stable. I have some tall Dansko boots, but in all honesty, they are not that comfortable. Regular Dansko Professional clogs are very soothing, once you get used to the arch support inside, etc.

      Best,

      EC

      Delete
  158. Hi Elizabeth, I am 4 months after surgery and doing quite well. Walking ok with a little limp only. Wonder if you or anybody else here know if massaging the ankle area helps with getting rid of the stiffness and swelling...?

    ReplyDelete
  159. That's a good question. I think deep tissue massage (be careful: this HURTS when it's your affected leg) helps with mobility and helps to break up scar tissue. I am not sure that it does anything for swelling. Maybe?

    Exercise helps with stiffness a bit--but when rain is in the forecast, nothing makes the stiffness or "squeezy" feeling go away completely.

    Ice definitely helps with swelling (as does ibuprofen).

    Good luck!

    Elizabeth

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  160. Roxanne in ColoradoApril 11, 2012 at 1:07 AM

    Found this blog right after my accident. 01/16/12 I slipped on black ice while walking my dog. Two titanium plates and eleven screws later I was flat on my back in the worst pain ever and really thought I'd never walk again. Dr. was strict, no weight bearing for eight weeks and then I was given the green light to full weight bearing. Started physical therapy before I even got into the boot and it really gave me a jump start. 12 weeks on I can walk unaided with a slight limp (worse at day's end), doing strength training and balancing on my bad (left) leg. Swelling is still bad and I had the worst fracture blisters which are still inhibiting range of motion. Looks like I'll be in sneakers (Brooks are the best!)and compression hose for some time until the swelling subsides. Dr. says six more months to one year of swelling. Wondering if anyone rides horses? I am afraid of getting my foot caught in the stirrup and hoped someone on the blog might have some experience with that. Thanks to all for your posts; they really gave me hope through all this.
    Best,
    Roxanne

    ReplyDelete
  161. Hi Roxanne,

    I agree about the Brooks sneakers. I am about to get a second pair. Nothing else even remotely compares to them.

    When you mentioned riding, I thought of "Seabiscuit" where Red, the jockey, races again, after tying his once-broken leg back together...it still hurts, of course.

    I won't put my injured leg into any stirrups, but it's a psychological thing. Not bicycle pedal clips, especially (too many people have experienced fx when they fall and their foot is still clipped in). Don't mean to sound like a downer.

    Hope that helps.

    EC

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  162. Elizabeth,

    Thanks again for this blog. I've found it very helpful throughout this experience. I wanted to provide an update. After 6 weeks NWB in the cam walker I was instructed to walk with one crutch partial weight bearing. Began PT 2 days a week with new exercises added each time. After my first PT day I was so excited--I could wiggle my big toe! After 3 PT days, 12 days altogether, the swelling was down enough that I could fit back in my sneaker! I'm practicing walking using crutches while shifting my full weight on to the injured foot. By the end of this month, I should be walking on my own.

    My progress seems to have improved exponentially. My advice--do your exercises. I'm hopeful I'll be back at work by the first week in May. I've got a new pair of Brooks on the way--Sierra Trading Post is the best.

    ReplyDelete
  163. Thanks. I haven't thought about Sierra Trading Post in years...I guess I've been off the catalog list for a while now! Still, it's good to know another place to buy Brooks. The only place I have seen them was, I think, Foot Locker (one of those sneaker chains).

    Best,

    EC

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  164. I have been looking for answers and encouragement since my surgery on March 8, 2012. This blog has given me new hope. I now understand that the symptoms I am experiencing are "normal". I am almost 6 week into my NWB period. Hope someday to jog with my chocolate lab again!
    Thanks!
    Kathryn Joyce

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  165. I'm glad that the blog is helpful.

    Good luck, KJ.

    ReplyDelete
  166. Roxanne in ColoradoApril 14, 2012 at 6:49 PM

    EC - You are right about Red riding Seabiscuit with a badly broken leg; I am not that brave or foolish. I've been out to the rescue barn where I volunteer and am just so happy to be out in the pasture with the animals (horses, burros, goats, etc.)Grooming and loving them will have to do for now.

    BTW - You can find Brooks running shoes on Overstock.com for really good price. Also discovered Sanita clogs which are every bit as good as Dansko but you can get them for a fraction of the cost at DSW Shoe Warehouse. My co-workers tell me I walk much better in clogs than sneakers and that my limp is not as noticeable - not bad for 12 weeks out.

    Kathryn - Keep up with therapy, elevation, icing - the whole nine yards and you'll be back out with your dog. I have a greyhound and the am thrilled beyond belief to be back out with him on walks. My goal is to run with him by Fall.

    ReplyDelete
  167. Good to know about the Brooks. I paid about $100 for mine and it makes me cringe pay that much for sneakers when I need a new pair about every four months.

    My latest Danskos are peeling, which really ticks me off, considering how expensive they are. Don't get the cheetah ones.

    Anyway--animals are the best therapy, I agree. My dream is to have some horses and donkeys and goats...

    Best,

    EC

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  168. Hello. This is a great blog. I had surgery on March 12 2012 with plates and screws and i was nwb for 6 weeks. I was told i can walk now and to start with my boot that the dr gave me just to get used to walking. Are there any exercises to do to loosen up all the muscles and everything because as soon as i try to put weight on my foot it hurts so bad. Actually in the boot it doesn't even feel like i am putting any weight on, so i take the boot off and i hold on to a walker and try to put weight on my bad foot and it hurts so bad from just a little pressure. I try to lean forward with my foot flat on the ground because the most pain i seem to have is right where my foot bends (on the top of my foot) Any suggestions for exercises would be greatly appreciated. I start therapy on april 30th and i want to be prepared a little bit for the pain.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi--I think if it hurts, you shouldn't be putting that much weight on it. What about partial weight bearing? I did not walk for nearly 10 weeks post-fracture. I was told not to put weight on the foot.

      What you will need to do are foot strengthening exercise. Bend the toes toward you, flex and point. Balance on one foot (VERY hard at first!). Stretch the foot behind you (I did this on a sloping wooden box at the PT office). Pick up marbles with your toes (AWFUL!); and ice your ankle, rub it a lot, and trace the alphabet in the air with your toes (imperceptible "writing" at first--keep at it!).

      Best,

      EC

      Delete
  169. Lisa (lisapass@msn.com)April 21, 2012 at 7:29 PM

    Thanks so much, i will try some of those. I just want my foot to be a little bit loose for when i start the therapy because i know i'm going to be in so much pain then. I can't believe how casually the dr said to start walking. He was like, you can start walking, you don't need to sleep in the boot anymore or even wear it all the time. When you start to walk, use the boot until you get used to it. I can't even put full weight on my foot so i was thinking something is wrong with me and i should be able to walk from the way he said it. Thanks for the suggestions, i appreciate it

    ReplyDelete
  170. Yeah, it seems that some orthopods are really cavalier and say stuff like that or give you a weird look as though you are some whiner for not being able to walk normally (or without pain) yet. The best case scenario I ever heard was 1/4 percent weight bearing at your stage (approx 6 wks post-fracture). I can't believe any doctor would tell you just to start walking as if nothing had happened.

    I wouldn't say that the therapy will hurt, but certain things are uncomfortable (the marbles exercise was my least favorite). My PT did electric stim on my foot (didn't hurt, but I don't think it feels good) and lots of hard rubbing/stretching and ice. You will need ice for a long while yet. Ice is your best friend.

    Be well,

    Elizabeth

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    Replies
    1. Lisa (lisapass@msn.com)April 21, 2012 at 11:43 PM

      Thanks so much!!! I don't feel like that big of a loser now for not being able to walk. ;-) So glad i found this to read, made me feel so much better. Thanks again for writing back so quickly

      Lisa

      Delete
  171. Hello everyone,

    I'm so glad I found this blog. I am a 20-year-old college student. I fell down a flight of stairs on 3/12/12 and had the surgery on 3/16/12. Between my injury & the surgery, I was in a cam boot. After the surgery, I was in a splint for 3 wks. I was prescribed hydrocodone but only took it for a few days because my stomach doesn't do well with painkillers. I took Motrin as needed for the next couple weeks. The first two days after the surgery were the absolute worst - it was literally the most terrible pain I have ever been. I cried nonstop and couldn't sleep. I got the splint off on 3/3/12 and was put back in the cam boot. The doctor never told me I could weight bear, but I have been using my heel in the cam boot for balance. For showers, I use a shower chair. I am going back to the doctor tomorrow to get an x-ray and hopefully will get the OK to start bearing weight and begin PT. At my first appointment, the doctor made it seem like I would be ready to walk by the 6th week, but now that the 6th week is here - and taking into account all I've read on this site - I am very discouraged about my chances of walking. I have always been a very active person, and I am still very young so I'm hoping that I will be back on my feet soon. The worst part is not being able to drive. I have been using crutches since the very beginning and I am pretty good at getting around on them now, but it's still a pain. My boyfriend and parents have been very supportive, but I still get disheartened and very sad sometimes. I know it could be a lot worse, though. Thank you to everyone for sharing your stories - I wish you all the best of luck for speedy recoveries. You are all in my thoughts and prayers.

    KM

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  172. Hi KM,

    Thanks for your note, and of course I wish you speedy recovery. I think the recovery for the young is much easier, though I find it very hard to believe that anyone will really be ready to walk at 6 wks post-fx. In my opinion, that is risky because of weakness of bone, but hey--if you can do it, you should do it. The atrophy I experienced was profound--it took a year to have my leg looking regular size again. If you can do at least partial weight bearing, do that. I never once walked in my boot (was told not to, for whatever reason), but most of the teenagers I see with fx do walk in their boots and seem to have an easier time in general, which is great for them.

    Don't be sad! It WILL get better. I think getting out and trying to do normal things as much as you can really helps.

    Take care of yourself, too. No diet soda (it ruins your bones and certainly won't help with healing). Eat calcium rich foods and pineapple, which has an enzyme that is good for bones. Do walk if you can to help rebuild the bone.

    Best wishes,

    Elizabeth

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  173. Hi,

    I'm so glad I found this post--I suffered a trimalleolar fracture with dislocation on 2/24/12. I fell on the last step at home, caught myself with my right leg, which hit the rug my cat had rumpled, slid across the entryway and into the steel front door with my heel--all while still holding the stair rail. If I were shorter, I would have missed it.

    I had no idea what a life-changing event this would be. It was a nightmare, especially the first six weeks with splint and then cast. My husband works out of state and is only home on weekends, and all my friends work in the daytime, relatives are in California or back east, so I was alone for five of those weeks. It was very difficult.

    I've had the cast off three weeks, am using the walker to get around, but I don't have a lot of energy or endurance. OH--I also got bronchitis the last two weeks in the cast, and it's still not 100% gone even with antibiotics. I've only been to PT once because my husband took me. I just started driving this week, a little, so I'm going to try to get to PT next week.

    I've documented the whole thing on my blog, allthatsparkles.typepad.com, including pics of the different stages.

    I still can't believe how long it's going to take to get back to "normal"; I can't seem to make friends and family understand that.

    My mood varies from day to day--today is a down one.

    Thanks everyone. I've learned a lot and been relieved to know I'm not the only one who had a trimal.

    Best,

    Jules

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  174. Be well, Jules, and thanks for writing. The isolation is hard, I know. I don't have any family near me to help (besides the working husband and the kids who did not help).

    Best,

    EC

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  175. Hi All,
    After my Trimal on 1st Feb plate and 12 screws plus high ankle sprain and cartilage, ligament and tendon damage I was worried I would never be able to play 18 holes of golf again even on a ride on. I'm pleased to say on 25th April I managed 18 holes playing not much worse than usual and after that back to playing 3 times a week. After the round on 2nd May my ankle stopped hurting and I could walk without a limp, it was great! Gone stiff and back to limping since but I am so lucky to have recovered quickly and relatively little pain throughout. My surgeon is a genius. Wishing everyone else a speedy recovery and a rapid return to your favorite sports. Cheers all Mo

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  176. I just wanted to thank you Elizabeth and everyone for sharing their experiences. I suffered my trimalleolar and tib fx March 2011. After surgery began the almost year of hell - therapy, pain, swelling, limping, and lots of depression. No one understands unless they have been through this type of fracture of the time and energy it takes to go through the recovery process. I have to say there were times that I believed I would never get any better. BUT I DID! I got very determined that I would be back doing all that I did prior to my fall. I became almost obsessed with doing my exercises and riding my exercise bike daily. If something was going to interfere with my scheduled exercise time, I made time. Today, 15 months later, I walk my dog again, climb the ladder to wash my windows, work in my yard, etc. I have times where the ankle gets painful, but those times are far and few between.

    There was a time I believed I would never walk normally again nor would I be able to walk my dog or do anything that I enjoyed.

    I live in New Balance shoes, they work the best for me.

    For anyone who doesn't believe they will get better, keep working at it, it will come.

    Elizabeth thanks for creating this post and providing all of us a place where we can share the goods and the bads of this terrible injury and to learn from each other. I've always believed that knowledge is power and I thank all of you for your sharing because it helped me fight my way back to a relatively normal life.
    Debbie

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  177. I am glad you found this forum useful, Debbie. Thanks for your note and best of luck with your continued healing and mobility.

    Elizabeth

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  178. I'm glad I found this post , thank you everyone for sharing your experiences. I broke my ankle, trimalleolar fracture on April 30th. I tripped on concrete steps and took a fall. My ankle stuck out way to to side and it hurt a lot.It was the same right ankle i had injured 30 years ago hang gliding,( no broken bones, but surgery, 10 days in hospital with elevated leg and 3 months walking cast and then I went mountain hiking the day I got the cast off. They told me I might never be able to walk on uneven ground again)
    So I knew this was bad right after my fall and I saw my foot hanging to the side and could only move my toes. When I called my HMO to see whether I could go to the nearest hospital I was told no this wasn't an emergency and I should go urgent care. My husband and neighbor put me into the car and the drive on the highway every bump was extremely painfulI. THe people at urgent care gave me lots of oxycodin and a splint and sent me back home. My surgery was a week later. I got 13 screws and a plate for the spiral fracture in the fibula and my tibia was broken in two places. The first two weeks after surgery I was in a splint and now in a fiberglass cast non weight bearing. I get around on crutches and have a knee scooter for down stairs. It took me about two weeks to learn to maneuver the stairs in my house. I will have to be non weight bearing for 8-12 weeks post op and it is getting very tiring. What I am concerned about the most is that my ankle sticks out to the outside diagonally (right ankle out to right) by about 45% or more. I have looked at pictures of other people's ankles on the internet and they seem to be set more at a straight straight normal angle. When I got the cast and the tech asked me to turn the ankle in to a normal angle the attempt was excruciating and it didn't move in one bit.. I can't imagine how I can possibly walk like that. I knpw I'll have to learn how to move my ankle up and down and feel confident I can learn that. When I asked the Dr I was told it had always been like that. I finally started to doubt my memory and looked at pictures from the past couple of years and in the few I have with my feet on my ankle looked much more normal. The pictures made me really sad because most of them were hiking in the mountains and with my foot sticking out like that to to side I wonder whether I'll ever be able to even go a mile long walk.The cast puts a tork on my knee and hip so they hurt now too just from sitting and lying around. I am now concerned whether I'll need another operation or whether I just broke the ankle so bad that this is the best it could be set. Did anyone else have an ankle that was set so much out to the side? I'll see my Dr next week to get a new cast and I'll bring my old photos. The swelling is down and if I am lucky my ankle can be set better this time or maybe I'll get at least some information. It's quite amazing how one moment can change life so much.
    Christine

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  179. Good luck, Christine. You have a long, long way to go with PT and recovery and re-learning walking (hate to say that--but I think it's better to know up front how much effort it will take; you have to WANT it bad and work at it assiduously). I often felt bad about my own recovery because no one ever told me how long it would seriously take to feel even somewhat normal again. It is nearly 4 yrs for me and I will never be all the way (pre-fracture) normal, but I want you to know it gets better and better. It just takes time and work. Cut yourself a break in that regard, and just keep trying to get back to normal.

    I don't know about the sticking out to the side thing...could be your own walking/posture idiosyncrasy. The PT should work around that or help with it.

    Best.

    Elizabeth

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  180. I slipped in wet mud on 21 APril 2012, whilst walking the coastal path in Cornwall, I heard it snap and it dislocated badly too, facing sort or backwards/sidewards. I was airlifted to Plymouth as we were over an hour by road to the nearest hospital. I had ORIF 3 days later to insert a plate on the outside with 5 screws and 3 screws on the inside bone which broke in 3 places. I had a backslab cast for 3 weeks to allow for swelling and then the next cast which was a lightweight cast. I went back at 6 weeks and the inside bone still showed a slight fracture so I was put back in a cast but told to weight bear on it. I went back at 9 weeks and the cast came off. My foot is very stiff, and physio starts next week. It swells more in the evening, I am trying to elevate it regularly, I work from home now so am sat at my desk all day so have to set a timer to make me get up and walk about! My scars look great thanks to taking lots of Vitamin E and rubbing Elizabeth Arden 8 hour cream in 3 times a day since the cast came off. I start physio next week. I was very active before this, we walk a lot and have done Ben Nevis, Snowdon and Scaffel Pike before, and I ran a half marathon 3 weeks before my accident. I dont think I will run again, but am hoping maybe I can walk or cycle instead. I am going to concentrate on physio & swimming for 6 months with some gentle walking. I know this is going to be a long haul but its great to read other stories!!! I have a blog too, all about my fall with photos of my scars etc. please comment on it! www.knottybox.blogspot.co.uk and I also set up a forum as there was no such thing when I searched, please join and add comments. www.brokenbones.ning.com

    xx

    Tracey

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    Replies
    1. Best wishes for your recovery. Thanks for sharing your story.

      Elizabeth

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  181. I have an air cast now which I can take off and massage my scars with vitamin E. Next week after 9 weeks I finally can begin to put some weight on the leg with crutches and begin physical therapy one week after that. The ankle and foot is still swollen and motion very limited. I am allowed to do 20 minutes non weight bearing moving of ankle when I take it out of the boot.Hopefully it won't stiffen up even more. It seems this will be a lengthy recovery. I have 2 screws in the tibia which I broke in two places at the malleolus and 11 screws and a plate in the fibula where I had a spiral fracture. These screws had to be inserted from different directions. I also broke a little piece off the talus but that was not fixed. My foot is still set more to the outside ( laterally) than it ever was. I certainly hope that eventually I will be able to hike again.
    Christine

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    Replies
    1. Don't be afraid to move the ankle. It WILL get better, but it's slow.

      Best,

      Elizabeth

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  182. I suffered a trimmalleolar fracture with dislocation on April 13, 2012. I am walking with an ankle brace, and by walking I mean lumbering like Igor. I cannot afford PT as I spent every penny I had on the medical expenses up to now. I am devastated at the shape I am in right now. It has to get better than this. Can anyone tell me about their experience in the first couple months after being released from the cam boot? I would appreciate any info. My email is RoannaO@cox.net Thanks so much.

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  183. Hi Roanna,

    Walk as much as you can (you will only be able to do this for 15-20 mins at a time for a while). Do ankle circles, balance on the broken leg, pick marbles up with your toes. Also, try yoga. It's gentle, and it helps--lots of balancing work, too.

    Wear sturdy, comfortable sneaks or padded shoes. Ice your ankle a LOT.

    I could barely walk for about six months. The more you use your ankle, though, the better you will be.

    Best,

    EC

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  184. Hi,
    I suffered a trimalleolar fratcture and dislocation on Sept 10,2011. Much of the same recovery as others. Had the 2 inside pins taken out 6 months later and that did help. Turns out one pin was sticking out 3/4 inch.

    Exercise and stretch at home regularly, PT is running out so trying to stretch out time between appointments. Although the pain decreased with the last surgery in March I am still in a good deal of pain most days. I have 3 young kids so I can not sit around a lot. I have intense pain on the inside of ankle, like ligament or tendon pain, and on the outside knubby part of the bone - but under where the rod ends. THere are days where I have a good deal of trouble walking - even after those 10 steps to losen me up. In the past month I have been having pins and needles and tingling along the bottom of my foot and pain in my calf when I sit down. The calf pain is like I have a big muscle knot that needs to be massaged out but when I try it does not work. I was wondering if anyone else has experienced anything like this and what they did about it.
    It is quite discouraging and frustrating. There are days I can not push through my foot in a normal gate - well normal for me with limp.Can anyone offer some help?

    Best,
    Jen

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  185. Hi Jen,

    I still have the same pain on the inside of my ankle (where the long pin was). It feels like a burning, shooting pain going up through my shin bone. I still get it--especially when it's about to rain. I think it's arthritis.

    I also get pins and needles sometimes. and the calf pain. Sounds just like what I have--nearly four years post-fx.

    All I can offer you is to say take glucosamine-chondroitin supplements, ibuprofen, keep active, use ice and avoid diet soda...but nothing helps 100%.

    I could barely walk the other night...ironic, and frustrating, since one thing I really want to do is climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, but honestly, I can't handle walking the damn boardwalk for two hours.

    Hang in there. Stay positive. Keep working on it.

    Best,

    EC

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  186. Hi All - I don't know whether to be relieved or cry some more. I fell April 26, surgery on April 28. Complete dislocation, trimall, five fractures between the tib and fib. One plate, 8 screws and two pins.

    I was coming down stairs - my Mom left her house shoes at the bottom; I stepped on the shoe instead of the floor and my left leg shot off one way. My right leg was still on the last step and got drug underneath me. When I landed, it was quite obvious my foot was no longer properly attached to my leg. I literally had to put the foot more or less back on my leg and climb upstairs to get my cell phone to call for help.

    I was given 12 weeks zero weight bearing, the first six of which were in a cast, then nothing for six weeks. I had a lot of numbness and no feeling in probably 40% of my foot for about 3 weeks after the cast came off. Slowly but surely I've gained a little more. The pin came out about 3 weeks ago and he put me back in a cast for two weeks to help raise my foot.

    Yesterday, he took it off and told me to walk. At first, he was going to give me PT and a boot. But, because I don't have insurance, I said I was going to see how they'd work with me on going a little less and doing more work on my own and he just pulled the whole thing out from under me.

    I'm a hairstylist - I went back to work 3 weeks after my surgery in a wheel chair because I couldn't afford to not work. I'm self employed. Yesterday just felt like more of a set back and I've been crying off an on since. He just told me to get in the pool and walk. That's it. No other instruction, not how, nada. I can't put my foot flat on the floor. I can put some weight on my toes an ball, but not anywhere CLOSE to flat on the floor. I feel like I'm being punished for not having insurance. My surgeon has been a jerk from day one - condescending, won't talk to me or explain anything. I get the whole 'I'm a surgeon, I'm g-d' thing, but give me a break.

    So, I've been trolling the interwebz today and stumbled upon this. Thank you, Elizabeth, for your generosity in sharing your blog with us. I've gleaned some good information from all of you. I'm headed to the pool and see if there's an exercise bike in the workout room. And consider a new doctor.

    Diane

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