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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    2,161

    Recovering from ankle surgery: Month 3....still a few questions

    So i'm going on 3 months since i had ankle surgery to repair my break/partial ligament tear. I have a metal plate and 5 screws now in my ankle. I was on crutches with no weight bearing for about 5 weeks then partial weight bearing for the next 2 weeks. After that it was onto the cane and now after about 10 weeks i'm walking in my normal shoes with a slight limp. I thought i would heal faster and am still worried that i have too much pain after almost 3 months. I guess i forgot how long it takes to really get back to normal. So i guess i have a few questions......anyone else have similar surgery? What was your timetable like? I hope to be walking without a limp by new years. The back of my ankle is still very stiff and i am still feeling pain but getting better every week. At first my doc said i could ski in january but i'm thinking more like feb or march.

    Also, it seems like the plate is going to start bothering me, would you suggest i get it removed when i can (10 months) - even though it will be more recovery time and another surgery.....

    Thanks guys, all input/ stories are appreciated......
    Check Out My New Blog: http://www.stuffmikelikes.com

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Taking names later
    Posts
    3,595
    The stiffness in the back of the ankle you have is from your achillies getting tight from being immobilized from some time. You should start some warm soaks and stretching for your achillies. Also start getting into a pool if you can to do some walking in there. The reduced weigt bearing in the pool might help you regain your normal gait.

    As for the plate, wiat and see what happens. Most peeps won't need to have it taken out, some will. If you do the recovery from something like that is minimal so don't worry too much about it. The only thing I would see that might bother you with it is having it in a ski boot. The tight boot pressing on it might cause some discomfort.
    fighting gravity on a daily basis

    WhiteRoom Skis
    Handcrafted in Vermont
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    At Work
    Posts
    61
    I am not exactly sure what you did to your ankle, but I exploded mine a few years ago, and had two plates and 9 screws in it. I had the hardware removed because the tongue of my ski boot ran right along one of the plates, and even with a lot of trimming was no good. Plus, banging a screw against the rock while climbing makes my stomach feel wrong. Recovery was a breeze. Just get the hardware out when you have a 6 week break between sports seasons. I got it done in September and had bone fully filling the screw holes by Thanksgiving.

    Work your PT like you are a pro athlete.

    I ended up with little range of motion, and gnarly arthritis. A little heel lift on that foot evens things out and helps keep me out of the back seat.

    Good luck!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Boulder, CO
    Posts
    242
    I'm 11 weeks out from ankle surgery - peroneal dislocation and torn ligament - and I feel your pain. Apparently at 12 weeks, all the tendons/ligaments are almost completely healed (80&#37, but it takes another 12 weeks for full healing (100%). I'm still in a soft cast during the day, and an ankle brace at night. I've been going to the PT clinic once a week, but doing my PT everyday, and I can see progress each week. Keep stretching out your achilles tendon – I’m sure it feels like a steel rod right now, but stick with the stretching and you will slowly get more mobile. Here’s what I’m doing this week:
    10 x 20 sec runners calf stretch (leg strait)
    10 x 20 sec Achilles stretch (runners stretch with leg bent)
    5 x 30 sec balance on one leg – injured ankle
    5 x walk the length of my apartment with no brace on, focus on form (roll your foot when you walk, try not to drop your heel hard).
    20 x walking motion – position your feet like you are half way through a walking step, and rock back and forth. Repeat with feet switched (its hard to describe in words)
    20 x sit in a chair that rolls on the ground, feet a few inches apart, your good foot behind your bad foot. Roll the chair forward to stretch your bad ankle – keep both heels down on the ground the entire time.
    20 x side to side range of motion– lying down, move your foot so the bottom of the foot tries to face the wall at your right, then move it to face the wall to your left.
    20 x 5 sec heel raises. Stand on your tip-toes and hold for 5 sec.
    15 min on a stationary bike per day

    Hope that helps – and be patient – it takes time. Make sure you are seeing a good PT – someone that understands your goals and is helping you to get there.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    209
    I had a few screws and a plate put in my ankle after dislocating my foot and breaking my fibula (I'm now 14 months out). I had the hardware removed after five months because my body was basically rejecting it. It felt so much better after I got it out, and my ankle was less stiff. I still have major ROM problems, but I'm told that's because I dislocated my foot in a really bad spot (subtalar). Anyway, do your PT exercises as often as possible!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    2,161
    Quote Originally Posted by Froman View Post
    I'm 11 weeks out from ankle surgery - peroneal dislocation and torn ligament - and I feel your pain. Apparently at 12 weeks, all the tendons/ligaments are almost completely healed (80%), but it takes another 12 weeks for full healing (100%). I'm still in a soft cast during the day, and an ankle brace at night. I've been going to the PT clinic once a week, but doing my PT everyday, and I can see progress each week. Keep stretching out your achilles tendon – I’m sure it feels like a steel rod right now, but stick with the stretching and you will slowly get more mobile. Here’s what I’m doing this week:
    10 x 20 sec runners calf stretch (leg strait)
    10 x 20 sec Achilles stretch (runners stretch with leg bent)
    5 x 30 sec balance on one leg – injured ankle
    5 x walk the length of my apartment with no brace on, focus on form (roll your foot when you walk, try not to drop your heel hard).
    20 x walking motion – position your feet like you are half way through a walking step, and rock back and forth. Repeat with feet switched (its hard to describe in words)
    20 x sit in a chair that rolls on the ground, feet a few inches apart, your good foot behind your bad foot. Roll the chair forward to stretch your bad ankle – keep both heels down on the ground the entire time.
    20 x side to side range of motion– lying down, move your foot so the bottom of the foot tries to face the wall at your right, then move it to face the wall to your left.
    20 x 5 sec heel raises. Stand on your tip-toes and hold for 5 sec.
    15 min on a stationary bike per day

    Hope that helps – and be patient – it takes time. Make sure you are seeing a good PT – someone that understands your goals and is helping you to get there.

    Yeah this seems like me pretty much but i've been doing PT 3 times a week to accelerate it......i was very excited to get off the boot this week but i'm walking with a major limp.....but like you guys have been saying, its a long process and patience is key. Thanks for the list, some good ones that i aren't on mine that i will add. When are you thinking of trying to ski? Is this year done for you? I'm thinking Feb, taking is slow of course.....
    Check Out My New Blog: http://www.stuffmikelikes.com

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Boulder, CO
    Posts
    242
    I've been asking my PT when I can ski - I have a long ways to go. Might be another three months for me - if its that long I might just write off the ski season.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    1
    hi i fell 2 stories inside a barn and broke both of my ankles.my left one had 2 pins put in them.a week later i had 2 pins 7 screws and a plate put in my right ankle because i hadto wait for the blood blisters to heal.its been 5 months and i still am in a wheel chair.the doctor will let me put pressure on my left foot to pivot to get in and out of my chair and thats it.the pain right now is about the same as it was when the surgery and not changed.the doc said that when you injure the ankle the nerves and tendons were damaged so bad it will take some time for them to repair themselves.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    1
    Wow... I can't imagine breaking both ankles! It's been 8 weeks since my surgery to repair my broken right ankle and a torn ligament. I have 6 pins and a plate, and it's been a hard 8 weeks, but now that I am off crutches, I feel a lot better. It was so frustrating not being able to carry even a cup of coffee! Being unproductive was really tough, especially since we are in the process of selling our house and moving.

    In any case, I am now hobbling around in a walking "boot". The ankle is tight, but not nearly as painful as even a week ago....but now my right knee is hurting! Is that because the boot is higher than my other shoe? Has this happened to others? I don't want to injure my knee, but it is still very hard to walk without the boot. I don't know when I'll get into a "normal" pair of shoes ; (

    I haven't started PT yet (long story concerning insurance delays!) but I've been doing some stretches and circles with my ankle. I also "write" the alphabet with my big toe to get different motions. I saw the list of suggested exercises in an earlier post below. While I am waiting for PT to start, is it safe for me to do some of these on my own, or would it be best to wait until I can do them with supervision? Will it be really bad if I can't get into a formal PT program until week 9?

    One last question....since it is my right ankle, I have not been able to drive. What is the usual amount of time needed before it is ok to drive? I imagine it is when I am out of the boot, but my doctor is evasive when I ask him how long that will be. Would love to know about other's experiences concerning driving, the boot, the knee, etc.!

    Good luck in your recovery!! (recoveries!?)

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Teton County
    Posts
    319
    One hell of a bump, but I did my lower tib/fib last year and was non-weight bearing for 5 months. I was driving within two weeks of the accident with my left foot. I had to trade my truck to a buddy of mine with an automatic for that time, but you really get used to driving with your left foot pretty quickly (like a few minutes). Shouldn't be a problem. I was driving 200-300 miles a day for work 4 days a week with my left foot. I also found that cruise control helps too.

    oh, and I didn't start PT until late August, I broke it in early April. I just had surgery to get my hardware out 3 weeks ago and I'm walking as good as before my accident.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    1

    7th week after surgery PR up next in June

    Almost two months after a six hour surgery of both my ankles that twisted 180deg. and are now full of metal and screws am glad to be out of casts and in boots and although being able to stand up* I am still dealing with the frustration of being productive from a wheelchair and all above listed frustrations I offer my sympathy and wishes to "fast recovery" to all! As i guess a lot depends on whom and where the surgery is performed as I recommend the Mount Sinai Medical Center In Manhattan NY

    *guess my question is how soon is it possible for one to start putting full weight on both feet since my next apt. is beg of June and PR in mid June

    Thanks
    Last edited by carbon_man; 05-25-2009 at 12:02 AM.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    2
    i broke 3 bones in my ankle on the 14th of april this year. 3 weeks later i had 3 screws inserted and just last thursday i had 2 of them removed.the doc said i can start walking a bit on it straight away but it still hurts plus my left leg is much bigger than my right leg,i guess due to muscle loss.just wondering how long it takes too get back too normal??i can sort of walk now but its more like a limp and my achillies tendon hurts a bit too..

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    577
    Not to be over-reacting . . . but, do not expect normalcy for at least a year . . . do ALL the exercises recommended . . . especially balance . . . think there is another thread here - be patient . . .

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    1

    Post

    [QUOTE=Raps;1038629]So i'm going on 3 months since i had ankle surgery to repair my break/partial ligament tear. I have a metal plate and 5 screws now in my ankle. I was on crutches with no weight bearing for about 5 weeks then partial weight bearing for the next 2 weeks. After that it was onto the cane and now after about 10 weeks i'm walking in my normal shoes with a slight limp. I thought i would heal faster and am still worried that i have too much pain after almost 3 months. I guess i forgot how long it takes to really get back to normal. So i guess i have a few questions......anyone else have similar surgery? What was your timetable like? I hope to be walking without a limp by new years. The back of my ankle is still very stiff and i am still feeling pain but getting better every week. At first my doc said i could ski in january but i'm thinking more like feb or march.

    Also, it seems like the plate is going to start bothering me, would you suggest i get it removed when i can (10 months) - even though it will be more recovery time and another surgery.....

    Thanks guys, all input/ stories are appreciated......

    I know what you are feeling, I slipped on the ice Dec. 28, 2007, and have had 3 surgeries since then, the first was to put a plate in, with six screws, the second was artroscopic to shorten the tendons, the third one was Dec. 8 2008, to fuse the ankle with bone grafts and 4 large screws. It is now 7 months later, the pain is so bad and I need a boot to get around, my car has handicapped plates, and have not been able to play golf or walk the dog more than a half mile, in 19 months today.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    1
    My name is Eric I feel twenty feet off a ladder and broke my left ankle and have seven screws and two steel plates. It happened Feb 23 and I had surgery two weeks later do to swelling and I m not able to put any weight on it for five more weeks.
    I work heavy Construction and I am worried That I will not be able to work this year. I pray that I am able to walk again because it hurst alot and the never damage is pain full.
    Good luck.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    1

    Question Questions re. ankle recovery

    I'm four months post ankle surgery from a broken fibula; spiral fracture from skiing. I'm doing well except for sensitivity in the area when I wear just about any regular shoes. I have a plate with seven screws and I'm wondering if I should plan to get it removed in a few months?
    Also my blog has lots of helpful info. from 0 to three months post surgery - http://www.fibulafailure.blogspot.com As of the last two weeks, I'm walking without a limp for about two miles, but I'm still along way from my pre accident stamina. If I'm up and around all day I still get some swelling in the evening but icing helps. Thanks.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    1
    On July 22 of this year, I tore 4 ligaments and 1 tendon by missing a step and falling from my porch. After initial swelling went down, I had surgery Aug 9 to repair the ligaments and tendons and a plate and screws inserted. Two weeks later, the doctor had a fiberglass cast applied, which I wore for 3 weeks. One week later I had surgery to remove plate and screws. During all of this, I was non-weight bearing. Now I have started PT, and am wearing a boot. I am back to work, but unable to do patient care, because of my limitations. I am using a cane for balance to walk. It has been 2 1/2 months since the accident and it is so painful when I walk. After 4 hours at work, I have to come home. Now, my knee is beginning to ache, preventing me from doing all my ankle exercises. Is pain rated a "9" normal at this stage? I'm getting so discouraged. It's almost been 3 months and my progress is slow.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    112
    What worked for me was to get into the pool and put some swim fins on.

    As to skiing....I've spent lots of money on custom boot fittings, but after 20+ years of having my feet kill me every time I skied, I finally broke down and got some Intuition liners last year. They were totally worth the money!

    Heal Well!

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    1

    I'm at six weeks....

    I just joined this site after searching "ankle surgery recovery" and reading the posts. It is so helpful to hear from others who are going through the same thing. I just had a torn ligament (anterior talio fibular), tendon (peroneal) and bone spur fixed in my left ankle. My first injury to the ankle was in 03 playing college soccer. Since then it has been through countless PT and re-injured, alll the while I ignored the pain. Now, I am experiencing a new kind of pain and forcing myself to learn the limits of what is acceptable pain and not. Any advice on this front? How to be patient and not push too fast? I am dying to be running again (among other things) and am trying to go day by day. I was hard cast for 5 1/2 wks, with PWB as tolerated at the end and am now in walking air cast/boot for 3 wks, just weaned off crutches. I only weight bear sans boot while in the shower or brushing my teeth. I sleep in the boot and DESPISE it. As others have mentioned, my achilles is so tight and my ROM sucks. I start PT today and can't wait (although am trying to temper my expectations)...

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Carbondale
    Posts
    8,031
    lol at this being a ankle support group thread with so many 1 + 2 post peeps...

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    1
    hey everyone i just stumbled upon your blog while researching recovery from ankle fx/sur gery. i am seven weeks post fx my ankle on both sides. i have a plate and seven screws. finally a week ago i go into a walking boot had been doing what i thought was pretty good. now i am having all this pain in my right lower leg right where i suspected the plate starts. i am worried. i am a nurse and my mind goes to all the bad places. i meam my ankle looks really good considering incisions are healed no swelling or bruising. anyone else have this problem or something similar? little scared and frustrated here in NC.

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    2
    little late to the game on this one. I had peroneal reconstruction four months ago. being a tele skier this has taken what seems like forever to heal. the only thing i've found that helps is swimming/kicking. seems like the only way to get good strength and flexion

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    1
    13 months post surgery & I just spent 5 days pretty much not being able to walk or put any weight on it (no swelling)! I've just kept off it the last 3 days, icing it since it started, several times each day, and seems okay now. What I think happened was I'd gotten orthotics and slipped them into a Propet fur-lined slipper (they've got really good soles - but I think the support just wasn't there after only using these slippers for only 2 months, mostly just around the house). My surgery was due to a genetic anomoly that caused me to pronate (Accessory Navicular Syndrome - an extra bone at the inner ankle).

    So...I now have 3 pins, doc lowered my heel, and had to take out a tendon from back of my lower calf. He moved a tendon over from the middle position to the first position (toward the big toe), and stuck the new tendon back in that middle position - 3 pins in all (oh, said that). Took me 5 months to walk somewhat normally...

    What I think also caused the pain last 5 days was that my big toe has also developed terrible arthritic condition called Hallux Limitus, almost to Rigidus - looks almost like a bunyon on top of big toe joint that meets the "foot" area. So will be having surgery on that in 5 more weeks.

    All this has been caused by years of wearing high high high heels & platforms back in the 70s through 90s, doing disco dancing, disco skating, skating, gymnastics, lots of walking in the wrong shoes over the years, lots of walking, hiking, etc., without supporting the arches.

    Get your support - cuz I'm only 56, and my feet are like an 80 year old! I'm just sayin...

    Have fun, but treat your feet right - it's really freakin me out to have this pain come back after having been able to walk mostly normally now for 7 months. Thanks for this forum! I enjoyed reading everyone else's ...

    If anyone has had this happen - pain after no pain for long time after surgery, I'd like to know if you know why?!!

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    2
    Hi

    I dislocated and broke my ankle in 3 places at the end of October 2010. Got 2 plates and 12 screws in there now. It's now the end of January and I've just started hydrotherapy, which has helped quite a bit. Back of my ankle is still very tight and the plate on the inside ankle is giving me quite a bit of pain. I'm doing all my exercises, but progress is sooo slow! It's frustrating. I'd love to throw away my crutches and go for a long walk. Will this never end?!

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    2
    Quick update on my progress. Now early March and I'm down to using one crutch...................YIPPEE!

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