broken flowers and concrete

Broken ankle recovery: learning to walk again

broken flowers and concreteSeptember 6, 2015 is the day I went from a healthy, strong, independent woman to an instant cripple. You see, while walking on the sidewalk in my platform wedge shoes, I stepped on a pebble and lost my balance. My left foot went sideways and my leg landed right on top of it.

Have you ever twisted a chicken wing to separate the joints? Well it was kind of like that. All the bones were broken in what’s called a trimalleolar fracture. Basically my foot was disconnected. It’s the worst fracture you can get and the worst case my surgeon had seen in many years.

And from that fateful day the only thing I wanted to know was when can I walk again. The short answer to that question is this: I was able to walk on my own 20 days after the doctor said I was allowed to walk.

But there’s a lot more to the story, a story I wasn’t sure I wanted to tell because I’d rather pretend this nightmare never happened. But reading other people’s stories helped me, so here goes.

Broken ankle: waiting for surgery

There was surprisingly little pain. My ankle was stabilized at the ER and I was sent home with instructions to stay off my left leg (non weight bearing or NWB) and keep it elevated while awaiting surgery. Oh, and I wasn’t allowed to shower either. (Try washing your hair in the kitchen sink while standing on one leg.)

Being NWB means I had to use crutches which is its own little nightmare.

Using your hands for crutches means you can’t carry anything, not even a cup of coffee. Luckily I had a small thermos and bottled water which I packed in a tote bag along with my phones and other items. I had to plan every excursion from the couch as if I were going on a long trip: what did I need to take with me, what did I need to bring back, how many stops did I have to make.

Sometimes I would take a break from crutches and roll around the kitchen in an office chair. That’s how I was able to prepare meals for me and the dog.

Drive Medical DV8 Aluminum Steerable Knee Walker Crutch Alternative

My borrowed knee scooter looked like this

The week after the accident my sister-in-law borrowed a knee scooter for me. This was life changing! I could get around faster and, with the tote bag hanging from the handlebars, was able to carry a dish in one hand and steer with the other.

Even with the scooter, the physical exertion of going from one place to the other left me extremely tired. I spent much of the time napping on the couch. I think my body was in shock. This exhaustion continued for several weeks.

Broken ankle surgery

That happened 11 days later on September 17. Right before going into the OR the nurses told me this was going to be a painful surgery. Such an inadequate word to describe the horror of the next 24 hours. The pain was excruciating. It felt like someone was sawing away at my ankle with a hacksaw. I counted the minutes until I could take the next pain pill, and this from someone who doesn’t even take headache medicine.

The next day the pain was about 50 percent less and each day it got better. By the fifth day I stopped taking pain pills. There was still pain but it was tolerable.

The surgeon installed a metal plate and six screws on the left side of my ankle, and one screw on the right side.

My foot was in a cast for two weeks and then I had a decision to make.

flowers on broken concrete

Removing stitches, and do you want a cast or a boot?

The cast came off and I didn’t want to look at my foot but got a glimpse of it anyway. My exact words were, “I look like Frankenstein.” My foot was laced with wounds: a five inch long one on the left side, one inch across the top of my foot, and three inches on the right side.

The stitches came out and there were lots of them. It didn’t hurt as bad as I expected, just mostly felt like someone snapping me with a rubber band.

Did I want another cast or a boot? A cast makes the foot more stable but you still can’t shower or exercise much with it. It’s also much lighter than a boot.

A boot costs extra, it’s heavy and bulky, but you can remove it to bathe. And this is what really sold me—I could start physical therapy two weeks earlier which meant I would be walking two weeks earlier. Done.

That being said, I hated every minute wearing that boot especially in bed where it was nearly impossible to get comfortable. Still, it was the right decision.

Then the doctor dropped a bomb on me. I would have to go another six weeks without being able to walk.

I was crushed thinking it was only going to be four weeks because bones take about six weeks to heal. I think he was being extra cautious due to the severity of the fracture.

The long road to recovery

dog laying on my pillow

My little doggy nurse testing out my pillow. Puppy approved!

The next six weeks were hard and I counted down the days until I would be allowed to walk again.

I rented a ramp for the back door so I could do a few things in the garden and dump my trash. Being able to finally get outside lifted my spirits somewhat.

I kept up with light housework, running the vacuum cleaner, keeping the bathrooms and kitchen clean, doing a little bit of cooking.

In the evenings while lounging on the couch I would take a break from the boot and let my foot out. By that time it really seemed like a very fragile foreign object attached to my body. I massaged it a little and did various exercises like curling my toes, bending my ankle and making little circles.

I noticed that the surgery had left me with slight numbness on the skin and a lump on the bottom of my foot.

I started physical therapy on October 23. I’ve done a separate post with more details about the exercises I did on my own as well as the ones that were prescribed to me.

Being released by the doctor, I can walk again…or can I?

Finally the day came on November 12 when the doctor told me my X-rays looked good and I could now walk! Well, I think what he meant was that I was allowed to walk, having previously stated it would take 3 to 5 months before I would be able to walk.

He told me I was allowed full weight bearing (FWB) with no restrictions except that he wanted me to wear the boot when I went outside, and after a few weeks I could throw it away.

Anyway, I was so excited leaving the office that I thought maybe I could just walk right out of there. But I didn’t, so I rode my scooter one last time to the car.

Then I put my left foot on the ground for the first time in over two months, and ow, OWWW, that really hurt! I picked it right back up again, dejected with the realization that I would still be dependent on the scooter for a while.

Learning to walk again after a broken ankle

When I got home I took out the crutches and practiced walking while putting some pressure on the left foot. I found it impossibly clunky to try and walk with the boot on so I ditched it immediately. My foot needed a lot of support which the boot did not provide. Not having anything suitable I ordered orthopedic shoes which helped me a lot.

my fuchsia vionic shoes

My fuchsia orthopedic shoes help me walk without limping

The next day I went to the physical therapist. They gave me a walker to use for as long as I needed. They told me to practice putting pressure on the foot, shifting from one side to the other.

And they also told me to practice walking around about 5 minutes a day. I ended up doing a lot more than that though, sometimes too much, resulting in a couple of setbacks.

One of the scariest things happened to me two days after being FWB. It was midnight and I was trying to see if I could vacuum using the walker. I used my left foot to release the vacuum cleaner, lost my balance and fell backwards, landing on my rear end.

I wasn’t hurt, just scared at what might have happened. The tension of being alone and feeling vulnerable for so long overflowed in that moment and I just sobbed my heart out.

The next day I kept at it, using the scooter to get around and practicing with the walker. I would tell myself, “You know how to walk, just walk!” But it was too painful and I couldn’t…yet. Each day I was able to tolerate more pressure on my foot.

And then one day I walked…on my own. Granted, I looked like a monster come to life but I was walking! Like Quasimodo without the hump. Twenty days after being FWB and 87 days after the accident, I could walk on my own at last!

Driving after a broken ankle

It’s illegal to drive with a cast or a boot on either foot. When I became FWB I was legally allowed to drive but couldn’t since my car has a manual transmission which requires the use of both feet. So I had to learn how to drive again.

A week after being FWB I started getting ready to drive. I practiced turning on the motor and shifting the gears with my right foot on the clutch. Then I turned the car off and practiced pressing the clutch with my left foot, using it as an exercise machine, pressing it 50 to 70 times. That was the first and second day.

On the third day I pressed the clutch 100 times, then drove up and down driveway a couple of times.

On the fourth day I drove around the block.

On the fifth day I drove to Trader Joe’s. And this was 11 days after being FWB. I was actually able to drive a stick shift before I was able to walk. Going to the store meant I had to take both the walker and scooter.

I needed the walker to get to the back seat where the scooter was. Then I took the scooter into the store where I was able to steer it with one hand and steer the shopping cart with the other. People stared at me but I didn’t care. I was finally on the road to freedom.

Walking without a limp

While I was able to walk on my own, limping was a problem. I began using one crutch (on the good side) for support most of the time while training myself to walk properly.

Believe it or not, it takes a lot of mental concentration to walk normally. It was frustrating as I told myself, “Why am I limping? I know how to walk.” My foot wasn’t strong enough to support my weight through each step. I would automatically throw my weight to the left and as I began falling to the right, my right leg took a step. Spending unequal time on each leg produces a limp.

To conquer that I actually had to practice walking while repeating “heel, toe” and trying to balance my weight in the center instead of throwing it out to the left, spending equal time on each step.

I also found it very helpful to do calf stretches followed by a 15 minute walk unaided.

I was finally able to ditch the crutch 53 days after being FWB.

flowers on concrete

Pain during and after a broken ankle

Pre surgery

For me there wasn’t a lot of pain when I first broke my ankle. I rated it as a 3 out of 10.

I was sent home from the ER with my foot wrapped in an ace bandage with splints which doesn’t provide a whole lot of support. I was happiest when my foot wasn’t flopping around too much. I used ice packs and occasional prescribed meds to combat the pain.

By the day of the surgery I had no pain at all.

Post surgery

I’ve already described the horrendous pain following the outpatient surgery. That was definitely a 10 out of 10. I did a lot of foot icing the first two days which was hard because the weight of the ice bag was too much for me to bear and I had to use very little ice.

I took my pain meds on schedule for the first two days, gradually increasing the time in between doses so that by the fifth day I stopped taking it altogether.

The pain greatly diminished with each passing day. Toward the end of the eight weeks while waiting to be released by the doctor, I was once again pain free.

Post FWB

The pain returned for the FWB phase. My foot hurt all the time but obviously the most when I was putting pressure on it. It felt like pins and needles combined with very sharp pain concentrated in the heel. I would rate it a 5 or 6 but I refused to take anything for it.

The one thing I did do was get acupuncture because it’s helped me a lot in the past. Right after I began driving I started the treatments, five in a three week period. I was using the walker at that time and desperate to walk on my own. The treatments did help but were not the miracle I’d been hoping for.

After I began to walk, I was still in constant pain and also began getting leg spasms in the left leg which kept me awake at night. My shins hurt too. And then my left knee started hurting as a result of limping.

Sometime in early January I noticed that there were some breaks in the pain, mostly when I wasn’t moving. It’s been gradually going away since then (but not entirely).

And I haven’t mentioned it before but there was a lot of swelling from the time I broke my ankle which continues to this day. The more swelling there is, the more pain I have.

Timeline from broken ankle to recovery

9/6/15 broke ankle, couldn’t walk, NWB

9/17/15 ankle surgery, in cast, not allowed to walk

10/1/15 cast removed, stitches removed, given walking boot but still NWB

10/23/15 started physical therapy, NWB exercises

11/12/15 released by doctor, allowed to walk, FWB

11/19/15 started “driving” practice

11/23/15 able to drive, made my first trip to the store

11/25/15 began acupuncture, five treatments

12/2/15 could walk a few steps unaided but used walker then one crutch part of the time

1/4/16 stopped using crutch, walking entirely on my own

1/23/16 walking without a limp, went dancing for the first time

My life today (March 3, 2016)

Very gradually my foot went from being something strange attached to me, a separate entity with its own needs, to once again being a functioning member of my body.

At the present time I usually only have pain when I walk or do my foot exercises. If I’m on my feet too long, it will hurt afterwards even when I’m resting. I mostly feel pain on the right side of the ankle and the top of the joint.

The numbness is almost gone but the lump on my arch remains.

I’m still going to physical therapy, with only two sessions left.

I can do almost everything I could do before. I can climb ladders, go up and down steps normally, and of course dance to about 90% of my former ability. The dancing does cause me to suffer for a day or two afterwards but hopefully that will improve soon.

I can’t wear high heels yet and had to buy some low-heeled booties to dance in.

my low-heeled shooties

These boots are made for walking…and dancing!

At night I sleep with my legs on top of a flat pillow. I’ve been doing that ever since the accident and it’s still too uncomfortable sleeping without it.

I recently resumed my kettlebell exercises.

I’m able to walk much faster now, almost up to my pre accident speed, although I’m very mindful of where I’m stepping.

To look at me now, nobody can tell anything happened. Things are looking up!

If you have any questions on things I may not have covered, please leave them in the comments below.

Update: June 14, 2016

It’s now seven months FWB and my ankle is feeling so much better. I’m able to stand for as long as I want doing my normal things like cooking, cleaning, shopping and working in the garden. In fact, I just completed a large garden project which involved a lot of digging.

I can dance for hours without suffering afterwards.

I don’t need to sleep with my legs on a pillow anymore.

There’s still some pain doing certain movements and some swelling, but not enough to make me want to ice my ankle. I haven’t used the ice pack in a couple of months.

Now I can even get out of bed in the morning and walk perfectly without having to stretch first.

I would say I’m 95 percent recovered.

I still can’t wear high heeled shoes but I don’t need to wear my magic pink shoes all the time.

Standing on tiptoe on just the left leg is difficult but getting easier every day.

I’m able to squat all the way down to the ground like I could before even though the dorsiflexion is not quite back to normal. I suspect that might be the last thing to come back.

Related posts

Rehabbing my broken ankle

My magic shoes for broken ankle recovery

Broken ankle recovery: one year later

103 replies
  1. Nancy
    Nancy says:

    I had a trimalleolar fracture on August 23, 2018. I had ankle surgery on September 7, 2018. My orthopedic surgeon told me “ we are in a long term relationship”. On September 23, 2018, I go to the surgeon for my first after surgery appointment. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate this blog. I now have questions to ask and I know what to expect. Thank you all😘

    Reply
    • kel
      kel says:

      Hi Nancy, I’m really sorry to hear about your injury 🙁 I had the same exact injury and my surgery was November 2016 so it’s going on 2 years now. I had a lot of issues and pain after my surgery but the good news is I’m fine now but it took a long time. I actually feel like I am still healing from that injury, it was definately life altering for me. I didn’t have anyone to ask questions and I was afraid a lot about what the future would hold so I’m only too happy to be here for you and answer any questions you have if I can, take care Nancy!

      Reply
  2. Beverley Toland
    Beverley Toland says:

    This is amazing thankyoy for sharing your story! I experienced the exact same break on 28th October…and reading your story has helped me judge my recovery rate. Im still using crutches but weight bearing and concentrating hard on walking properly! Loved how you describe that “just walk normally” moment! Thankyou again!

    Reply
  3. Kel
    Kel says:

    Hi, thanks for sharing your broken ankle story, it’s been very helpful to be able to read about someone going through the same experience as me. I had the same injury happen to me and had surgery 8 weeks ago, my issues are very similar to yours except I had an issue with a lot of nerve pain. I’m now trying to walk and its difficult but I wanted to ask you if you ever found out what that lump in your arch was. I have the same exact thing in my arch its like a hard round ball I can feel in there when I rub it and I’m a bit worried about what it could be. Thanks again!

    Reply
    • [email protected]
      [email protected] says:

      Hi Kel,

      No one was able to tell me what that lump was but I now think it was probably bunched up nerves. It did go away and this is what helped–rolling my foot around on top of a tennis ball. Start doing this when you are FWB.

      I had a lot of nerve pain too, that’s why it was so painful for me trying to walk. I only learned about the tennis ball trick about four months ago and it really helped to very quickly eliminate the nerve pain in my heel and arch. I also use it to massage around my ankle bone and on top where it bends. I hold the tennis ball in my hand and roll it around while putting pressure on it. It’s a very good self-massage and so much easier than using your hands alone.

      So give that a try and don’t worry, everything’s going to be fine. Take care!

      Reply
      • Kel
        Kel says:

        Thanks for replying so fast Lynda! I’m sorry you had the nerve pain too, it’s a tough thing to go through as you know but it’s getting better as the weeks go on. Yes rolling my foot on a tennis ball makes sense and if it helped your foot then I’m going to do it too! I already massage the foot but going to add the ball into the routine. I have nerve pain on the top of my foot only and it’s still numb on the top and my 4th toe is totally numb. I also have a weird feeling under the toes on the top of foot like there is a rubber band inside or a webbing and I’m hoping that loosens up over time. Well your story gives me hope that all these terrible feelings will go away in time, thanks for keeping my spirits up! God knows I need it after being stuck in a room for almost 3 months lol

        Reply
  4. Jaclyn P
    Jaclyn P says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. Unfortunately I’m just at the beginning of this miserable process and to make it even better, I’m 24 weeks pregnant. I have surgery scheduled for 1/11/17. I’m very anxious. I was at 10 out of 10 pain for the first week after my injury(12/21/16) and I can’t imagine going back to that. Did everyone have general anesthesia for the surgery? Because I’m pregnant they are going to do spinal anesthesia with a nerve block. The thoughts of being awake freak me out but I have to do what’s best for my baby. I’m hoping someone had spinal/nerve block and can share their experience with me

    Reply
    • [email protected]
      [email protected] says:

      Hi Jaclyn,

      I actually did have a spinal instead of general anesthesia and it wasn’t bad at all. I thought it would hurt a lot when they stuck me in the back but it didn’t hurt that much. I was completely knocked out. I only remember getting the shot and then waking up in the recovery room. I had to stay in the hospital until the nerve block wore off which took a few hours.

      There was a lot of pain the next 24 hours after surgery which I described in detail. I hope you’re able to take something for it. For me at least the pain lasted a relatively short time. Good luck with everything!

      Reply
  5. Dawn Richardson
    Dawn Richardson says:

    Hi and thank you so much for posting your journey with a trimalleolar fracture. December 13, 2016 is when I slipped on ice in my driveway and the rest is sort of history. My X-rays were epic. I had surgery to repair my ankle on December 19th, and had my stitches removed on January 3rd. I didn’t get the option to have a boot or a cast, I was casted and obviously still NWB. My doctor also told me I needed to elevate my leg more often than not because the swelling hasn’t really subsided (as if I wasn’t elevating it all the time already!). Showering hasn’t been a problem for me because I got a watertight leg seal, the hardest part is trying balance on one leg and clean yourself.
    I go to the doctor for my next X-ray on January 24th, and hopefully I will get some good news. My folks and I have different levels of opinion as to me getting out and about being NWB, but I am going stir crazy and I just have to be able to go out with my daughter for her birthday in February. I have both a walker and crutches, all I need is a willing driver to take me places. 🙂

    Reply
    • [email protected]
      [email protected] says:

      Hi Dawn,

      Well you’re just at the start of your long journey to recovery. I hope you’ll be able to find rides when you need them or just want a change of scenery. That’s always a problem being dependent on somebody else to get around. Good for you for even wanting to get out and about! Take care and have fun at your daughter’s birthday party next month.

      Reply
  6. Tammy
    Tammy says:

    Almost similar situation. Mine happened 9/8/15, I was holding my then 9 month old daughter, tripped down a step and took all of the fall. She had not a scratch. Dislocated my right ankle and ended up with 6 total fractures. Had surgery, 3 plates and 14 screws. I had a nerve block which lasted 3 days, so I didn’t have much pain at all, even throughout the my whole recovery. It’s been over a year since my accident and sometimes it will bother me if I’m on my feet too long or if I rotate on it the wrong way. I’m no way near 100 %, in fact today I pointed my foot too much and it felt strange. I can drive no problem. I used a wheelchair to get around since I had a baby to take care of. I was NWB for 14 long weeks!

    Reply
    • [email protected]
      [email protected] says:

      Hi Tammy,

      Oh my goodness I can’t imagine having to take care of a baby with a broken ankle! And 14 weeks is a very long time to be NWB.

      My research indicates that recovery time is at least two years. I do believe it’s possible to get back to normal with a lot of effort. It’s just going to take a very long while. Have faith and keep working on it. Things are going to get better.

      Reply
      • Olga Danes-Volkov
        Olga Danes-Volkov says:

        Two years? Oddly enough, that’s very comforting. When I hit wet tiles at the bottom of a staircase in June this year and sat up to find my left foot pointing left at 90 degrees, I assumed I’d broken my ankle. In the end I found it was my tibia with the titanium rod in it that had broken!!! (Fourth break in 7 1/2 yrs. No osteoporosis, just too many animals!) Not being in UK currently, it was v badly set and I now have a tibia and ankle at quite the wrong angkle. My ankle means my foot is hopelessly over pronated. I doubt at 71 it will ever get completely right. My left leg is a good 1 1/2 inches shorter than the right now but I can walk at last without limping unless v tired. Your researches lead me to believe that if I last two years, I will perhaps be able to walk fast, even run, again!! Thank you.

        Reply
        • [email protected]
          [email protected] says:

          Hi Olga,

          My research was focused on broken ankles and it does take a long time for the body to recover from that. I’d say you’re doing very well if you’re able to walk without limping, especially considering one leg is shorter than the other. In two more years you’ll be doing even better, just don’t break your leg again!

          Reply
  7. tracy
    tracy says:

    I broke my ankle on 11/12, surgery was on 11/18. I have an appointment this Thursday to get my cast off and *hopefully* get my walking boot, depending on how xrays are looking. I am very nervous about the rehabilitation time you mentioned from the walking boot to walking completely independently. I get married August 12th and want to be at least to 85% healed by then.

    Reply
    • [email protected]
      [email protected] says:

      Hi Tracy, I think you’re going to be doing really well by the time you get married. Be sure to focus on the proper form even if that means you have to use a cane for a while. Then one day you’ll be able to walk normally without assistance. And that’s going to happen long before August rolls around.

      Good luck and I’d love to know how you’re doing in a few months. Take care!

      Reply
    • Lillian Hammer
      Lillian Hammer says:

      By August you should be able to walk down that aisle with a smile because you will be fine once again. Physical therapy will help you do it. I credit them for helping me walk again

      Reply
    • Paulette
      Paulette says:

      Hi Tracy, I had my Trimall on October 4 and my surgery on October 14, 2016. I have been out of the boot for about three weeks and off crutches (95% f the time) for about two weeks. For me, it was really difficult to walk without the crutches, but I practiced quite often in my condo – just a few steps. Now, I no longer need to see my OS. At therapy, I’m moving from three weekly sessions to two. I am walking unaided, but with a slight limp. I’m not sure if it’s a limp or I’m just trying to get my balance. I am walking slowly around my development (a toddler passed me today), but I have been given the go-ahead to bike, walk and swim. I would think that by August, you should be doing quite well.

      Good luck!

      Reply
  8. MM
    MM says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience. This post is really helpful because it’s hard to know what to expect in terms of recovery from a broken ankle, and it can be difficult to envision eventually feeling normal again.
    I’m six weeks out from a comparatively simple lateral malleolar fracture – no surgery required. I’m still in a fiberglass cast for one more week, but with permission to bear as much weight as is comfortable. I had kind of expected to be able to walk by now, but I’m not there yet.
    Your post, and your readers’ comments remind me that the healing process is variable, and that there is an emotional component to overcoming the sense of fragility, as well. Positive thinking and patience, it seems, are important now.

    Reply
    • [email protected]
      [email protected] says:

      Hi MM,

      I think you’ll be recovering a lot faster having only broken one bone but it’s still a traumatic experience. Yes, positive thinking, patience and determination will get you through this. Best of luck to you!

      Reply
    • Paulette
      Paulette says:

      I had a trimalleolar fracture on Oct 4 and surgery on Oct 14. I just moved out of my Cam Walker a week ago and am starting to walk for very short periods of time without crutches. However, by later in the afternoon, evening, I need to use one crutch as I’m just too tired.

      Like you, I felt I’d never feel normal again and wondered if I’d ever been FWB. My steps are more side to side instead of moving forward but the idea is to be FWB; I’m not FWB every day or all day but with practice I will be. You will come to a point where you suddenly ‘turn a corner’ and really start to see progress, but for me it really wasn’t happening until two weeks ago when I could easily walk with just one crutch in the Cam Walker. A week later, I moved to just a MalleoTrain brace and hiking boots with one crutch. It really is ‘one step at a time.’

      Reply
  9. Jowanna Burton
    Jowanna Burton says:

    Hi my name is jowanna, and I have a trimalleolar fracture. Had surgery 9/30/16 and been nwb since then. Your story has really inspired me to not give up just yet, even though I did at one point but I have a strong support system with me and reading your story has helped me alot.

    Reply
    • [email protected]
      [email protected] says:

      Hi Jowanna, thank you so much! Never give up. There’s a lot of work ahead of you but you will make it. Best of luck to you!

      Reply
  10. Lillian Hamme
    Lillian Hamme says:

    When I found
    Linda’s article it helped me so
    Much. Have faith and you will walk again. I was laid up for 3 months and with physical
    Therapy I
    Am walking again. You will too.

    Reply
  11. TC
    TC says:

    I searched for help, and I found it in your article. Never regret reliving it to help others! Today I’ve gone from a cast to a boot. I foolishly thought I would walk ever so gently out of the Doctor’s office. But my pain, and unused limp ankle had me in tears in his office. I used my crutches to come home and have been wondering how long until I can get my strengh back enough to walk. I’ve been working the entire time too. I have a scooter, but want to walk. Your experience has helped me realize it’s going to take what ever time it takes. Thank You. Incidentally, I broke my ankle nearly the exact same way, wedge heels, but the street was rather bumpy and I went down. It’s been a nightmare. But I’m hopeful. The hard part is seeing a friend who had surgery, she went quickly from cast to boot to her own shoes, not a limp, not an unkept appearance. I know I can’t compare my injury to hers but, it’s got me discouraged. But thank you again.

    Reply
    • [email protected]
      [email protected] says:

      Hi TC,

      Knowing that my story has helped you means so much to me! It’s the one good thing that’s come out of this horrible experience.

      No, you really can’t compare your experience to your friend’s especially if she did not have the same exact injury. Do you know while I was learning how to walk again, an acquaintance had “broken” her ankle and told me she’d rather have a break than a sprain. With her type of injury she was allowed to walk on it the entire time. Well I had to strongly disagree with her! I would have gladly had a sprain!

      Good luck with your recovery!

      Reply
  12. jeannette
    jeannette says:

    I shattered my tibia and fibula at the ankle on September 2 of this year and was just cleared for FWB and no boot yesterday! My ortho made it sound like I should immediately be able to walk unaided, encouraging me do ditch the crutches, so I felt like a failure when I tried to take a step and started crying from the pain. Your post is a great reminder that this won’t be fixed overnight and I still have a long way to go.

    Reply
    • [email protected]
      [email protected] says:

      Hi Jeannette, it’s amazing how little information the doctors give you. What you experienced trying to walk for the first time is normal. Hopefully you’ll get a good PT who will guide you constructively. Just do your best and it will happen in due course. Take care!

      Reply
    • Paulette
      Paulette says:

      Jeannette, I had exactly the same issue with my OS. I had a trimall fracture on Oct 4 and surgery on Oct 14. Five weeks ago, my OS gave me a boot with the instructions to use crutches for 2-3 days and then walk without unless there was pain. It was impossible, so I felt so discouraged. I have been walking without my boot since Dec 9, but I still need one crutch throughout the day. In the am, there is pain and then after stretching and walking a bit, I can awkwardly walk with out crutches, but after a bit of time, I definitely need the crutch.

      I’m also experiencing a bit more pain as I’ve started using the treadmill at therapy, along with some weight resistance activities. Tonight, I am back on my knee-scooter.

      I totally understand as does everyone else here!

      Reply
  13. Jennifer L
    Jennifer L says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your story of recovery. I broke my ankle the same way on Oct. 28, 2016. I did not require surgery, but I broke my fibula and distal, as well as my arm.
    I tried to use crutches but just couldn’t do it. I have a boot that I wear and take it off go shower and sleep. The doctor said the boot stays on until after Christmas. The swelling seems to me the most painful part, and yet the swelling never goes down when I ice it. It’s just a constant throbbing.
    Do you ever really return to normal? I do nature photography and have a trip planned in March and one in July that will require some hiking. Any good suggestions on how to prepare for it?

    Reply
    • [email protected]
      [email protected] says:

      Hi Jennifer,

      Yes it is possible to return to normal but it takes a LOT of work over a very long period of time, two years or more. I think a lot of people get to a point where they think “this is good enough” and they don’t push themselves to recover all their range of motion because PT is painful.

      I imagine it will be pretty difficult for you to do that trip in March, but doable. You’ll have to be very diligent with your PT beforehand. Tell your therapist what you’re planning and he may have suggestions on how to best prepare. When you’re FWB, doing daily walks will help strengthen your leg.

      Also, make sure your nutrition is good so that you’re getting all the right nutrients for healing. I go into greater detail in my article Rehabbing my broken ankle.

      In the early days I had the same complaint about the swelling not going down even with icing. Continue doing it because it does help. Over time the pain and swelling will subside.

      I hope that’s helpful and good luck with your recovery!

      Reply
  14. Haley
    Haley says:

    I slipped and fell on Oct 4th, 2016 and I immediately went to the ER! Come to find out, I had a trimalleolar fracture… a real nasty one! This is the first time I have broken a bone in my almost 22 years of life and man did I do a “good job”! 24 hours later on the 5th, I went into surgery where they put in a plate and 10 screws on the left side and then 2 large screws on the right! I spend 4 more days in the hospital and then I was set free!

    Unfortunately, I had to leave school to return home to recover because I had 6 weeks ahead of me in a hard cast NWB. I struggled with leaving because this is my senior year of college, but during my recovery; I was surrounded by love and prayers from my family and friends. My parents were the best nurses I could have asked for and I am truly thankful that they have taken off from work on some days just to care for me!

    I got my cast off a week ago and the doctor put me in a walking boot! I can put as much weight on it as I can tolerate! That same day, I was in my boot walking with two crutches at PT… 2 days later I was walking with only one crutch and then no crutches and I took my boot off and stood on my bad leg for a few seconds.

    Oh man did it feel weird! My ankle and foot are still swollen and tender to the touch. I get quite frightened and apprehensive so I was scared. It hasn’t been painful… just uncomfortable.

    Today at PT, I put my ankle stabilizer brace on that the doc gave me because I will be transitioning to that in a week. My pt wanted me to practice walking with just the brace on… I didn’t like it. He kept on telling me to take longer strides with my good leg and to stop leaning to the right (my good side). I know it will get better in time! I have to practice everyday!

    I am so happy because I am returning to school this Friday! Quick question for ya: did you notice that the swelling kind of changed shapes throughout the healing process? It seems like the swelling is going down in my foot, but my ankle, especially the inside bone, still looks huge! Did this happen to you? I’m guessing it’s because I’m putting more weight in my foot so the swelling is going down but the ankle will take longer to regain normal shape!

    Any advice for me as I go forward as I enter my second month of healing? Thank you so much for posting… this was so helpful for me!

    Reply
    • [email protected]
      [email protected] says:

      Hi Haley, thank you for sharing your story here. The swelling does “change shape” a lot. My whole foot and ankle were swollen for a while then it was concentrated around the ankle. Sometimes the foot and ankle were swollen in different areas, probably depending on what type of exercises I was doing. It takes a long time (most likely two years) for the tissues to recover from the trauma of surgery.

      I hate to tell you this but I don’t think your ankle will ever return to its normal shape because of all the hardware inside. When I get up in the morning, before my ankle starts to swell, it’s a little larger than the other one, especially on the outside where the plate is. But it’s probably more noticeable to me than anyone else.

      At this point in your recovery it sounds like you’re doing very well, especially since you’re not feeling pain. My advice is just to do all your PT faithfully, be as active as you can without overdoing it and be sure to get plenty of rest. Also, make sure to practice walking without a limp all the time, even if that means using a cane or a crutch for support.

      You’re doing great! Keep up the good work!

      Reply
    • Paulette
      Paulette says:

      Wow, Haley, you had the same break on the same day. I’m quite impressed that you are already walking without crutches. I am almost FBW with crutches, but not quite. However, I am much older and that could be why. That’s also great about returning to school. I absolutely noticed how the swelling changes. Before my entire calf, ankle and foot were swollen. The left side seems fairly normal and my calf isn’t swollen at all. I also thought my right side (with 2 screws) seemed more swollen, but here is my theory. I believe that it was always that size but with other swelling diminishing, you notice it more. Also, walking and standing are going to cause more swelling.

      What amazing progress you are making. I’m a teacher, so education is quite important to me, which means I’m very happy you can get back to the books. Good luck.

      Reply
  15. Paulette
    Paulette says:

    Lynda, your story has been so helpful to me. I suffered my Trimall on Oct 4, 2016 and had surgery on Oct 15, 2016. Like most people, I had about 3 splints, a hard cast for 2 weeks, and now I’ve had my Cam Walker for one week. My surgeon told me to use LWB and PWB for the first couple of three days, and then lose the crutches if I could. I’ve been freaking out that I can’t walk yet without both crutches, but seeing this page made me realize it’s much more involved. While I’m discouraged I’m not crutch-free, I see that this is typical.

    I do see small progress each day (standing up on both feet without crutches, standing on both legs without crutches and today I actually shuffled a little bit with one hand on the knee-scooter and both feet on ground. I had my first PT session yesterday, so I’m very excited to have some exercises to do.

    Reply
    • [email protected]
      [email protected] says:

      Hi Paulette, I’m surprised the doctor is allowing you to put any weight at all on your foot now since it’s barely been a month after surgery. It sounds like you’re doing very well and yes it does take a long time to begin walking again. I’m glad my story has been helpful to you. Good luck with your recovery!

      Reply
      • Paulette
        Paulette says:

        Thanks so much Lynda. I see it was about three months before you were crutch-free. Most of what I read online also shows about three months or so, which is not what I’d expected. Now that I know, it makes it easier to endure as I know I’m probably where I should be. In fact, I am doing well with PWB; I have started walking about 15 minutes around my development – not very far and could do it in about two minutes sans crutches.

        Reply
        • [email protected]
          [email protected] says:

          You really are doing very well to be able to walk that much. I think you’ll be making a speedy recovery. Take care!

          Reply
    • Catherine Eddy
      Catherine Eddy says:

      Oh…what a relief to ready a positive story. I fell over on Oct 14 with a dislocation and trimalleolar fracture and haven’t heard anything but horror stories since. My scooter has been fab, I’ve been kept in a fiberglass cast for 4 weeks with a regular plaster cast for two weeks post the pin and plate op (NWB). 9 days to go. Woo hoo! I’ve been documenting the experience and while I can’t say it’s been fun, I think attitude might have a bearing. Anyway, let’s see. I might fall into a screaming heap in 9 days time. AND, I should add, I have a hubby who isn’t working at the moment so I’ve been incredibly lucky having a full time driver and carer. I only wanted to kill him note first day home; since we’ve developed a mutual healthy respect!

      Reply
      • [email protected]
        [email protected] says:

        A positive attitude helps a lot, and so does having someone there with you full time. Hope your recovery goes well and that you get back to walking soon!

        Reply
      • Paulette
        Paulette says:

        Hi Catherine, it sounds as if you are progressing nicely. Attitude is so important. My niece died the day after I broke my ankle, but she has been my inspiration. She fought so hard to live, enduring the loss of her hair, 2-3 rounds of chemo, metastasis of her cancer, radiation, and then surgery to put in a peg as her esophagus was completed damaged by the radiation. This meant that for the last few months of her life, she could have only liquids. She was positive and hopeful for most of that time and her motto was “I’ve got this.” She said it so often we believed it. So, if I’m having a pity party, I remember how much worse her condition and pain were and that helps me. However, as long as you don’t break anything when you fall into a screaming heap, this too shall pass! And, you have’t killed your husband yet!!!

        Reply
        • Catherine Eddy
          Catherine Eddy says:

          Hi Paulette,
          I’m so sorry to hear about your niece – that must have been absolutely devastating for you and your family; but the bright light is that she is your light and your inspiration. Hang in there!
          Catherine

          Reply
    • [email protected]
      [email protected] says:

      Nila, if he left you after surgery then he’s the one who’s worthless. Lean on your family and friends to get you through this difficult time. The only thing that matters right now is your recovery. Good luck!

      Reply
      • Nila
        Nila says:

        Your post helped me so much.
        I have hope i can be who i was before my accident.
        He is the father of my son…and a lie of an ex girlfriend came between us…she harassed me to the point i filed a police report.
        I begged him…to come back and not turn his back to me right now…
        But he didnt bother….
        I was with him for 10 years…
        Did you ever feel you were not going to be able to have a future? Like a normal female…
        How did you pass your days?

        Reply
        • [email protected]
          [email protected] says:

          I’ve had many ups and downs in my life. It feels like you won’t get through the bad times and be happy again but you will. Nobody needs that kind of drama. Just focus on yourself and your child right now.

          Your future is up to you. I recommend that you read 10 Stupid Things Women do to Mess up Their Lives by Dr Laura Schlessinger. That really helped me to stop making bad choices. That’s my best advice. You have a lot of work to do and I wish you well.

          Reply
    • Paulette
      Paulette says:

      I have read that depression does happen after a Trimall even if there is no other outside influence. I’m sorry he left you, but try and focus first on getting well. I know it’s difficult but would you want a ‘man’ who is only there in good times?

      For me, I broke my ankle on a Tuesday, my niece died the next day and Hurricane Matthew came through the day after. I live alone in a condo with stairs, so I definitely had some meltdowns and bouts with depression. I hope you have a support system as it’s very important not to go through this alone.

      Reply
  16. Rachel
    Rachel says:

    I’m so pleased to have come across this post. I broke my fibula on Sept 10, I’m in the U.K. And was away from from home at the time, the hospital admitted me for an op the following day but were unable to do it, so I travelled home to my local hospital, they couldn’t admit me so sent me home with crutches, never having used them before I fell trying to get into the house, which caused a dislocated fracture…sheer agony! Anyway I’m now cast free, boot free and have crutches. I knew it was going to be tough walking but I never anticipated it would be this bad. I don’t have to be up for long before it looks as though I’ve swallowed a tennis ball. I’m still waiting for a physio appointment but reading this has helped enormously so thank you…and thank you for everyone else’s experience too. I know it’s going to be a long road to walk, hobble or maybe even hop!

    Reply
    • [email protected]
      [email protected] says:

      Oh my goodness, you’ve been through a lot! Crutches are so dangerous. I know what you mean about the swelling. My ankle used to look like I had a donut around it. The swelling gets better in time. Good luck with your physical therapy, Rachel!

      Reply
    • [email protected]
      [email protected] says:

      The benefit is for pain relief and it did help somewhat. Acupuncture addresses the cause of the pain, not just the symptoms.

      A few years ago I had a crippling case of plantar fasciitis and it was cured with acupuncture, never to return. Now I’m dealing with tendon pain after ankle surgery and I may get more treatments. I only hesitate because it’s expensive and I have to pay for it myself.

      In the meantime I’ve been testing an herbal ointment (Dr Christopher’s complete tissue and bone ointment) that’s been very well-reviewed on Amazon. (Their comfrey ointment is supposed to be very effective in healing bones.) In 10 days I am noticing a bit of improvement, not as dramatic as acupuncture though.

      Hope that’s helpful, and please be sure to check out Rehabbing my broken ankle for more tips.

      Reply
      • Seryan
        Seryan says:

        Hi Lynda how are you? I’m already FWB for almost 2 weeks now and I’m getting this heel pain. My PT told me I might have the Plantar Fansctiis because I had the hard cast for almost 3 months no bearing weight. My question is how do you fight this Plantar F? It’s really killing me to practing walking because of the pain. Any advise to lessen the pain? Is the accupuncture is realling helping you to treat the Plantar F? Thanks for the help.

        Reply
        • [email protected]
          [email protected] says:

          Hi Seryan, I’m doing fine and will be posting a one year update on Saturday.

          I had PF years before I broke my ankle and it went completely away with acupuncture. Right after becoming FWB I also had severe heel pain and I thought I had PF again. The therapist examined me and said I did not have it. I’ve since discovered after doing a lot of research that heel pain is normal. The whole foot becomes very sensitive during the time of immobilization.

          As I wrote in my post, I did have acupuncture again and it helped a bit with the pain. You really need to just continue with the physical therapy and practice putting weight on the foot to desensitize it.

          If you can, please check my post Rehabbing my broken ankle for more details.

          Reply
          • Seryan
            Seryan says:

            Thanks for the reply Lynda. Actually my PT told that’s the other reason maybe my heel is hurting because the nerves and tendons are stretching again after non usage for almost 3 months. I had the massage therapy and it helps to loosen the tension on my ankle. My ultimate goal is to walk unaided and to become normal again. I’m scared in needle so I’m not sure If I can do the accupucture. Is the needle hurtful?

          • [email protected]
            [email protected] says:

            Sometimes the needles hurt a little but so much less than the pain I’m being treated for! Another way to massage your foot is to roll it around on top of a tennis ball. Spend more time on the areas that are bunched up and sore. That really helped me a lot.

            You will be able to walk again on your own and it’s going to take a long time and lots of PT to get back to normal. Don’t give up!

  17. Adria F
    Adria F says:

    Hi there! I broke my ankle on April 8 2016 (tripped on a duvet that I was carrying down the stairs and broke both my tibia and fibula) and am still walking with a lil limp now. I had 9 screws and a plate fitted in and it took awhile to get to FWB but today for the first time ever I am walking around without a crutch for support. A little scary but I will get my confidence back! I find that exercising in the pool helps as it makes stretching and other exercises recommended by your PT much easier. I just can’t wait to walk properly and even start running again!

    Reply
    • [email protected]
      [email protected] says:

      Hi Adria, congrats on being able to walk without a crutch! Swimming is very good exercise for you. Keep at it and I’m sure you’ll be running again some day. Good luck!

      Reply
  18. Lillian Hamme
    Lillian Hamme says:

    Let me tell you all. You need a lot of rest . I start the day thinking I can accomplish all the things that did not get done when I was in rehab for 8 weeks and now that I am home I don’t even have the energy to empty the dishwasher or fold the laundy. The pain in the ankle is still there and drains you and I find myself laying back down a lot36

    Reply
  19. Brian
    Brian says:

    Thanks for your account. I am also in the process of recovery and as everyone knows, it sure isn’t easy. I had a tri-mall on August 4th playing baseball and sliding into third base. It wasn’t pretty when i saw the x-rays. Surgery Aug 9th (3 plates and 10 screws). I went FWB on Sept 14th, but that in my opinion ended up being a bit too early. My doctor gave me very little instruction, just said i was healed. Take my advice, as much as getting back on your feet sounds like the most important thing in the world, TAKE YOUR TIME. I am not 11 weeks post surgery and have been trying to make progress at PT and working on Range of Motion but have been dealing with more foot issues than ankle. When I do walk the bone around my 5th / pinky toe has a lot of pain. The entire outside of my foot has pain, and i am unable to really move my pinky toe like i can on my other foot. Has anyone else had this experience as they start to walk again?

    Either way. I know it’s still early and things will take time to work out. Just need to stay positive and do what you can to get better.

    Reply
    • [email protected]
      [email protected] says:

      Hi Brian, I feel for you as you are at the beginning of a long and painful recovery. I had pain everywhere at different times. When I first started learning to walk the pain was the worst in the heel. My pinky toe wouldn’t move either, but now it does. It’s going to take a very long time to regain range of motion. Just keep doing your PT as directed and rest as much as you need to. Good luck to you!

      Reply
  20. Lillian Hamme
    Lillian Hamme says:

    I am now home from 8 weeks in rehab for my fractured ankle. It was quite emotional come because truthfully I never thought I would ever walk again. But I am walking some with the walker and other times by myself. Ankle still hurts but nothing I can’t bear. Pt people at rehab were wonderful..don’t think I could have done it without them. The one thing is troubling me is since I blacked out while driving (didn’t know I needed a Pacemaker/since never had signs of a heart problem) I am fearful of driving again. When you have a car crash that scares you and you lose confidence. Thst I need to work on

    Reply
    • [email protected]
      [email protected] says:

      You’re making progress, that’s very good! The pain is going to get better in time. Recovery is a very long process.

      I can understand why you’d be scared to drive. Dealing with a broken ankle is already a horrendous experience, and I can’t imagine having to deal with additional health problems and more anxiety from the car accident.

      Hopefully you don’t have to do all this alone. Take care, Lillian!

      Reply
  21. rosa
    rosa says:

    Today I started walking but I think I over due it I’m hurting and ankle swelling up a bit. August 2, 2016 had a car accident it was a hit and run that’s how I broke my ankle had a surgery August 3,2016 after 5 weeks cast is off and was walking on boot for 5 weeks I will start my theraphy tomorrow Oct 14 I hope it will help me to walk better. Thank you for sharing your story.

    Reply
    • [email protected]
      [email protected] says:

      Hi Rosa,

      I’m sorry to hear about your hit and run accident. Unfortunately, pain and swelling are a natural part of the recovery process. Physical therapy will help you walk better. It just takes time. Be sure to use an ice pack to relieve some of the pain and swelling. Good luck to you!

      Reply
    • Lillian Hamme
      Lillian Hamme says:

      Therapy really helps. Now that I am home I hate to say it but I don’t practice anything they taught me but it was in therapy that I knew I must learn to walk. again despite the pain. And pain there is

      Reply
      • [email protected]
        [email protected] says:

        I can’t stress enough how important it is to do your therapy as directed. Even if that’s the only thing you do all day, it’s the one thing that needs to get done every single day if you ever want to get back to being somewhat normal. Pain is an inescapable part of the process but I think it’s better to suffer the pain now so that you will come out on the other side pain free. That’s not going to happen if you don’t learn to walk properly and strengthen your muscles.

        Some of the exercises I do hurt so much I almost want to cry. But when it’s over I feel better and every day I can see small improvements.

        Reply
  22. Vern
    Vern says:

    Thank you so much for this, I broke my ankle and assumed I was doing well, evdn walking and standing myself. Physiotherapy however triggered my pain, and now it’s a daily constant. Even with pain medication there’s still a nagging soreness. I am unable to walk medium distances or standing very long, and the irony is I was doing it in my own before I started the exercises… I broke my ankle in the beginning of August, and if it took you 7 months to heal… seems I may have a very long road ahead. I’m 29 years old and have my own cake business which I’m unable to do now because of the injury… I’m also studying and can’t concentrate through this pain for my exams which are this month. I’m really frustrated. But thank you for sharing your experience and letting us all know we aren’t alone in this, it really helps.

    Reply
    • [email protected]
      [email protected] says:

      Vern, it means so much to me that writing about my experience is helping you and others. Recovering from a broken ankle is a very long process. After the bones are healed there’s still a lot of pain from tendons and ligaments that have tightened up and/or become inflamed. You really do need physical therapy to get everything back to normal. Your injury is still fairly recent so I’m not surprised that you can’t endure a lot of walking or standing. Don’t push it too hard and keep resting and icing your ankle in between. It really will get better. Good luck to you!

      Reply
  23. S
    S says:

    So ladies i am a 26 yr old healthy female. I broke my ankle July 14 2016. Went to emergency. Got surgery a few weeks later. Everything seemed ok then the doc took cast off. Did am xray then said shucks you gotta have another surgery tomorrow. I had no time for a second opinion. Got another surgery. Now 16 screws later my bimalleolar fracture hurts more than ever. Im still nwb. I had to cancel an appointment and he won’t me for another month even though last appointment he said i would be able to walk in a boot by this time I know what to do. and another doc take me unless i have post-op reports which i only have the first one. My second surgery was over a month ago and he still wrote it. Either that or i find it on my medical records. Smh……whyyyyyyyy

    Reply
    • [email protected]
      [email protected] says:

      Well you’ve had more than your share of bad luck with this injury. So sorry you had to have a second surgery. Remember that it takes at least six weeks for bone to heal. I had to wait eight weeks before being allowed to walk. It’s the hardest thing waiting for that to happen. I hope you’ll be back on your feet as soon as possible.

      Reply
  24. Lillian Hamme
    Lillian Hamme says:

    Some days I just want to bawl. Other days depression sets in as you try to vizualize walking again and just don’t see it. I al going into 2nd fwb using a walker for fractured ankle after 8 weeks of no walking and am in pt. Ankle hurts like heck and I am wobbly with limited balance I am trying my best to be positive but it’s tough. I am icing ankle now as it swelled up petty good today

    Reply
    • [email protected]
      [email protected] says:

      Lillian, I feel your pain. You WILL walk again, I promise you. Every day you’re getting better and better. Say that to yourself even if you don’t believe it. It’s going to hurt for a while but that will get better too. Just keep moving as much as you can without overdoing it. And if you get a chance, please check out this article for more tips on making a speedy recovery. Hang in there, Lillian!

      Reply
  25. Tally
    Tally says:

    Very helpful! And good to know I’m not the only one going through this. I’m 9 weeks and 2 days from my fracture date, 3 weeks and 1 day out of the cast, and only 5 days into physical therapy. # of days walking without crutches: 3. When the cast came off the doctor said I’d be walking in two weeks (I thought I would be walking out of the doctors office – little did I know!!), but in reality the muscles and ligaments are rigid. Even now three weeks later with doing exercises and great improvement I can see how this is going to take a LONG time for recovery. I’m lucky as I don’t have the swelling (it only became inflamed the first week or two) but now my hip, muscles, and joints are killing me on the fracture side because of the limp and lack of use. Major body protest, I literally have to think through every step I make to walk correctly and even then it’s the slowest I’ve ever moved. It’s like baby steps (What About Bob, anyone?). I live in a walkable European city and was shocked to learn crutches on this side of the pond are different as well. Today I did about 2 miles. Doc says no bikram yoga as the heat will only swell the area so I think I’ll head back to the gym and not do legs. It’s been an interesting experience. Hope everyone heals well! My thoughts and prayers are with you all; keep to happy thoughts (anyone in a cast and crutches don’t get too depressed – some depression is inevitable but this time will end). Netflix, delivery, and inviting friends over for dinner helped me stay sane. I also set up the kitchen with high top chairs so I could cook and hop around. Eventually I had a high top chair pathway so after I cooked I could slowly move the food plate from the kitchen to the living room coffee table, one chair top at a time. Also helps to put a stool in the bathtub. And zip tie a cup holder to your crutches – most genius thing I’ve ever seen in the doctors office!

    Reply
    • [email protected]
      [email protected] says:

      Those are some good tips, Tally, thanks for sharing them. I used to eat at the coffee table too since I was camped out on the couch during the day. I’m glad you’re walking now and hope you’ll be back to normal soon.

      Reply
  26. Olga Danes-Volkov
    Olga Danes-Volkov says:

    Found your posts really helpful. I imagine you live in the US. I am/was a very active 70yr old who had already broken her left leg three times in two and a half years! Now living in the Caribbean, I live in a house on a 45 degree slope with five sets of Stairs! I had a right malleolar fracture nine weeks ago, slipping on wet tiles and am a week out of plaster with my left foot still splayed left and my already damaged leg looking like the Creature from the Black Lagoon! Having to move everywhere like a crab and being dyspraxic, thus unable to use crutches without fear of falling, I was despairing. However, a week before FWB, I have today “walked” with crutches, which is to say, using my left foot as a slight balancer instead of hopping. The timescale you describe now at last leads me to feel that while I never expect to be pain free (I wasn’t before!) I do think that eventually I may walk properly again (though my left leg is now 2 ins shorter than the right) with slightly less of the awful pain and instability I now feel. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    Reply
    • [email protected]
      [email protected] says:

      Hi Olga,

      I’m so sorry to hear about your horrific injury. I wouldn’t want to have to deal with all those stairs! I’m glad my story was helpful to you and I wish you a full and speedy recovery.

      Reply
  27. Ti
    Ti says:

    Thanks for blogging about your broken ankle. On May 20th, I broken my ankle, dislocated it, and broke my leg. I look forward to FWB…hopefully on Aug 1st (next appointment). I wish you the best getting to 100%!

    Reply
  28. Michelle
    Michelle says:

    This is the most helpful info I’ve found online having broken my ankle on both sides six weeks ago. My surgeon said I could start walking full weight bearing today, but the pain and tight muscles in my foot make that impossible. Your experience gives me insight and hope! Thank you for sharing it!

    Reply
    • [email protected]
      [email protected] says:

      Thank you, Michelle. That means so much to me. Recovery is a long, hard road but you’re going to make it! Best of luck to you!

      Reply
  29. bden b
    bden b says:

    thank you so much for this article, you are really helping people, i am on on week 3 after my tri molleolar surgery, scariest thing ive ever been through, i am overweight and scared i wont be able to walk right or will break it again trying to walk,i sure needed this article today, thank you!

    Reply
  30. Christina Smith
    Christina Smith says:

    Hello im so glad I came across this article. I broke my ankle on May 4th (playing on the sliding board with my son). The worst thing ever. But I made it.Im day 2 of FWB with the boot. I wanted to read up on similar situations for things I can do at home. Thanks for posting your experience. Its very comforting and informative.

    Reply
  31. Mary M Smith
    Mary M Smith says:

    I’m 43, overweight and just now three weeks into the same fractures and dislocation of the talus. I was walking down some steps on a porch and on the second step down I went. I had surgery 20 hrs after my break. I’m an emotional wreck and feel defeated. How do you get past the fears in your head. I just had my first pt session and I can barely move my foot. One week ago it had been completely locked. Doc said he wants me to walk into his office, with the boot, on my next visit. That is only 21 days away. I don’t see it happening. I’m just wondering what kept you going, what kept you from being defeated?

    Reply
    • [email protected]
      [email protected] says:

      Hi Mary,

      Well the first thing would be to believe that you can do it. I know it’s hard and I hated every minute being disabled. But I concentrated on all the things I was able to do to promote healing. I detailed all of these things in my followup post Rehabbing my broken ankle. Please take a look at that and I’m sure you’ll get some good tips.

      Take care, stay positive and you’ll get through this.

      Reply
  32. Chris M
    Chris M says:

    Thanks for writing about your account. I have only been FWB for 11 days and thought it was taking forever. I can’t believe it takes this long to recover. I broke and dislocated my ankle and tore a lot of ligaments on 1/21.

    I was told to roll and put pressure on a tennis ball with my foot to get rid of the pain in my heel and bottom of the foot. It worked in a week.

    Doing the PT excersises and icing the ankle when it is swollen helps alot.

    Thanks

    Reply
    • [email protected]
      [email protected] says:

      You’re welcome, Chris! It does feel like forever when you’re struggling to walk. Healing takes time and it’s different for everyone. Best of luck to you!

      Reply
  33. Danielle Bush
    Danielle Bush says:

    Omg I’m so glad I came across your article. I had a Trimalleolar fracture on Feb. 2, 2016. This is so depressing. I’m so ready to get up and walk. I have a lot of help but I’m so use to doing everything thing on my own. My 16 year old daughter and 10 year old son are so helpful. Just really glad I seen this. It makes me feel a lot better about the future.

    Reply
    • [email protected]
      [email protected] says:

      Danielle, I’m glad that my story is making you feel better while going through this very difficult time. I’m just about finished with a follow-up article about exercises, nutrition and motivation so I hope you’ll come back and check that out. Good luck with your recovery! You’re going to make it!

      Reply

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