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    Old 07-02-2006, 09:16 AM   #1
    KIDD9979's Avatar
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    Broken ankle questions about healing/rehab

    Hi, I'm new to this board.

    I broke my ankle in two places, and tore tendons on my vacation five weeks ago. I'm starting my sixth week with the big ugly black boot, no weight on that foot, and using a walker. Needless to say I've been miserable! No surgery was done. My ortho dr. says after the 6th week he'll do another x-ray then I can start putting "some weight" on the boot, but I'll keep wearing the boot for some period of time. He said I can use a cane, but the walker can go. I'll also get some physical therapy.

    As much as I want to get on with it, it scares me too because I'm overweight (not grossly) and wasn't in good physical shape prior to this accident. Has anyone been through this, who can tell me what the physical therapy is likely to be like (painful? hard? helpful?) and what it's like when you first put weight on the foot (will it feel terribly weak, will it be easy to fall, will the cane help?) How long will it be before I can actually just go somewhere and walk, and maybe feel normal again?

    I'm just sitting her with way too much time on my hands, worrying!

    Thank you very much,
    Donna in Nashville

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    Old 07-02-2006, 10:48 AM   #2
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    Re: Broken ankle questions about healing/rehab


    Sorry to hear about your broken ankle and torn tendons, and while on vacation - how frustrating. Anyway you asked about PT. While I have not had a broken ankle, I have had and am having my share of ankle PT. Do not expect to immediately be able to put full weight on it after you Dr. appt if he says all is good. After being off of it six weeks, with torn tendons, the ankle will be very weak, and I'd be extremely surprised if he does not put you in some sort of support brace/wrap. PT will be about regaining flexibility and strength in your ankle. Don't be disappointed if you need your walker for the first week or two, it is scary putting weight on it as first, and it takes time just getting use to it. Take full advantage of the PT. Don't worry about being overweight, it shouldn't hold you back - been there, done it. Keep a positive attitude, do the exercises and you will get there.

    Hope all is well at your next appointment. -eko
    "Every good has a better and every bad a worse."

    Old 07-02-2006, 07:05 PM   #3
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    Re: Broken ankle questions about healing/rehab

    Ditto what Eko said. I have broken mine and overall 'trashed it' a few times. Once you get ready to put weight back on it don't make the mistake of expecting to be able to "walk" right away. As one doc told me - nobody learned to walk in 5 minutes, and healing doesn't magically occur after 6 weeks in a cast/boot either. Just start to put a bit of weight/pressure on the injured limb, and add more weight as you can tolerate. Different folks progress faster or slower than others.

    I personally think the first week PWB (partial weight bearing) is the hardest. All those muscles, etc need to remember they have a job to do and they have had quite a lengthy vacation of not doing a thing. Think of the first few sessions you tried any form of exercise - hard and sore the first few times, but it got easier and you got stronger as each week passes. Kind of a similar analogy with rehab.

    As for weight, don't worry. It won't be a big deal - look at all those linemen who weigh several hundred pounds. They rehab just like the skinny place kickers

    I wish you luck, little discomfort and a speedy recovery! Welcome to the club...

    Old 07-02-2006, 07:07 PM   #4
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    Re: Broken ankle questions about healing/rehab

    By the way- if they say you are all set to walk out of there with or without a brace take the CAM boot home with you! You will need it off and on for a bit.

    Old 07-02-2006, 09:07 PM   #5
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    Re: Broken ankle questions about healing/rehab

    Yeah... my doc gave me the go-ahead for walking (going from NWB to FWB). So as I was standing at the counter checking out, I decided to put my full weight on it, and it's a really good thing I had my hands on my crutches because it hurt really bad! So absolutely, you need to go through the PWB stage. For some people it lasts a few weeks. I ended up slowly increasing the amount of weight on it for the rest of the day and over the next few days. I think I kept both crutches for that day and the next, then down to one crutch for a day or two, then I was walking in the boot. Then I slowly started walking around the house without the boot but wearing it to go out. I was also doing PT at that time.

    My PT wasn't too painful. I did hot water soaks with e-stim (doesn't hurt, just feels a little tingly), then ultrasound and massage for the swelling. The stretching was the only part that was a bit painful, but quite necessary, and not unbearable.

    I didn't break any bones, but I had a tendon graft to repair ligaments in my ankle. I had the surgery in the middle of March, NWB for 8 weeks, then several weeks in the boot with PT. But by mid-June I was able to help my brother move (carrying light boxes and being very careful on the stairs!).

    Old 07-03-2006, 06:58 AM   #6
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    Re: Broken ankle questions about healing/rehab

    Hi, KIDD!
    My experience is a broken fibula, surgically repaired, and stretched and scarred ligaments, untouched. 11 weeks in fiberglass casting, now in a boot. Tomorrow I am to begin pwb, progressing over 4 weeks, without benefit of pt. I asked, and while he looked at me funny, he okayed my removing the boot and doing nwb exercises. Some things are easy, some are still not cooperating...
    In the boot, your joint is still immobilized, and pt will include exercises to regain your normal motion. In pt, you will be trying to bring muscles back to normal motion, and may encounter some odd tingling sensations, and maybe some electric-shock-like stabs, pin-pricks, etc., but not what we'd call pain, after what we've already endured. Post-pt, expect some aching, maybe mild throbbing, and plan on countering it with elevation and ice, a heating pad if you have one, a warm, moist towel if you don't.
    Be careful, and progress as quickly or slowly as you need to. When you're bearing weight again, if you feel your ankle is "weak," don't push it. Use the boot, a brace, or a wrap for support while walking. The exercises will strengthen your muscles, but slowly, and depending on the damage suffered or initial looseness, might need further work and support... Good luck, and let us know how you do!!! Kim

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