Me and My Trimalleolar: A Life-Changing Tripulation

If you are here reading this post, I will assume you’re dealing with or have dealt with a Trimalleolar. Please, don’t suffer alone. Write in the comments section any questions you have.

Things will get better!

I’ve called this blog Travels and Tripulations and never before realized that my pretend word Tripulation could be anything other than a travel story.  A friend reminded me how this event now gives an entirely new meaning to the Trip in Tripulation. Hence, arriveth, Me and My Trimalleolar: a Life-changing Tripulation.

Trimalleolar Fracture - swollen ankle
Little did I know that having a dislocated talus for two days was a bad thing…

The Life-Changing Tripulation

On July 3, 2011 Scott and I were walking to the beach to watch the sunset.  It was just about 7:30 pm.  A fresh, clear, and cool Santa Cruz evening prepared us for what was expected to be a gorgeous sunset.  We were heading to a cliff that offered a stunning view of the surrounding area and a chance to see dolphins, sea lions or sea otters.  Barely 50 yards from the car and walking on a dirt path that was rocky and uneven, I took a bad step and sprained my right ankle.  Not a moment later I heard a cracking popping sound, and I was down for the count.  While my body was contorting and trying to correct herself from the right ankle sprain, I fell badly on the left.   VERY BADLY.  I knew something was acutely wrong when I looked at my left ankle and saw a bone attempting to pop out of my skin.

I was paralyzed with confusion and pain.

Scott, only steps ahead of me, heard the POP POP POP of three different bones and rushed over, pulled me off the ground, and got me into the car.  I was in the back of the car, on my back, with my knees bent, and holding both feet in the air.   Elevation was the only rational thought I had along with many other irrational thoughts such as ‘it’s probably just a dislocated joint or somethin’ and they’ll be able to pop it back into place at the ER’.  I told Scott, ‘Let’s stop off at home so I can change into cleaner clothes’.  It was Sunday, I hadn’t showered.  Naturally, he refused.  At least one of us was thinking clearly.  That two-mile ride seemed to last a long time.  I didn’t know if I was going to puke or pass out, and each bump on the road was an agonizing reminder that something was greatly amiss.

We arrived at a busy ER.  It was the July 4th weekend in Santa Cruz, and we were surrounded by firecracker victims, some guy who had a badly bleeding hand (knife wound?), a young, very ill-looking woman leaning against (I presume to be) her mother, families, and a bustling group of nurses.  X-rays were hell at best.  I thought that trying to hold my feet in various positions while shaking like a leaf from shock was the greatest test of my strength, but I was naïve.  There have been several tests since then including waiting 3 hours for any pain meds while holding my dangling, left foot, but even that paled in comparison to what I’ve since felt.

After two doses of morphine and some Valium for good measure, I began to feel some relief.  The Nurse Practitioner, a sweetheart, as were all the folks who helped me, came to me to set the ankle in a soft cast. She asked, ‘please point your knee forward’.  You see, she thought my leg was bent to the left because my foot was hanging loosely in that direction.  When she realized the dislocation of my foot, she excused herself and promptly dialed in to the Orthopedic Surgeon (OS) on call.    While she was on the other side of the wall from my bed, I could hear bits of her conversation:  “something something…lovely 44 year old woman (or maybe it was ‘unlucky 44 year old woman’.  My head was, after all, rolling in a blur of narcotics), dislocated something something.  Trimalleolar something something.”  The NP thought the Ortho should come and see me but she was instead instructed to relocate the foot and place it in a soft cast.  Timidly, she pulled my toes straight up and with the help of another nurse they put on the cast/splint.   They put an air cast on my right ankle, which was ‘badly sprained’.  I vaguely recall hearing the word ‘surgery’ and thought they must be referring to someone else.  The helpers went away for a while tending to others and returned to release me.  By this time, my left ankle sank back to the ‘falling to the left’ position and no one seemed to notice.  I was scheduled to see the OS on July 5 since the 4th was a holiday n’all.

Trimalleolar fracture, broken ankle, swollen foot
VERY swollen foot…but damn, my nails look nice, don’t they?

My friends Percocet and Valium got me through those days.  I barely recall going to the OS office and waiting to see Elisabeth Siegler, MD.  She looked at my dangling ankle, and had what I would describe to be a muffled, surprised look on her face.  She thought the ER folks ‘reduced’ it.  She informed me that she would have to do that straight away and that it was going to hurt.  With some local numbing on the top of my foot and Scott holding down my thigh, she confidently and forcefully pulled, yanked and twisted my bones so that my foot would be pointing in a near upward direction.  I have NEVER before in my life felt that kind of pain.  Scott told me all I said was, ‘Oh MY!’.  I don’t remember.  Dr. Siegler rewarded me with ‘good job’ and a nod of tough-girl approval.  The only good thing I recall from that visit was Dr. Siegler telling me that I ‘must have good skin’ because that bone didn’t break through and a compound fracture would’ve been much worse.  And considering that I already had a (this phrase has been mentioned many times to me) “severe” fracture, I suppose some luck came my way.  Hooray for hydration!   I was diagnosed with a Trimalleolar Fracture.  Three broken bones that makeup my ankle.

The lateral malleolus is the anklebone along the outside of the ankle (away from the other leg), Bimalleolar means both the medial (inside closest to the other ankle) and lateral bones were broken. A trimalleolar fracture refers to fractures of all three malleoli of the ankle: lateral malleolus, medial malleolus and the bottom posterior (backside) tibia. This portion of the tibia is sometimes referred to as the posterior malleolus.

According to www.uptodate.com:  Over five million ankle injuries occur each year in the United States alone.  The vast majority of ankle fractures are malleolar fractures: 60 to 70 percent occur as unimalleolar fractures, 15 to 20 percent as bimalleolar fractures, and 7 to 12 percent as trimalleolar fractures. There are similar fracture rates overall between women and men, but men have a higher rate as young adults, while women have higher rates in the 50 to 70-year age group. 

The surgery was scheduled for July 12 ASSUMING that my swelling was down.  She showed me how she wanted to see ‘wrinkles’ on my feet otherwise she would have to wait an additional week to operate.

My next appointment on July 6 was with our GP to get the pre-op blood tests, chest x-rays, blood pressure and EKG.  Should’ve been a piece of cake, right?  Everything was fine EXCEPT the EKG showed an abnormality.  The nightmare turned into a night terror, and I was in absolute disbelief.  Turns out I may have an uncommon condition called WPW Syndrome, which is a slight mis-wiring from my atria to my ventricles. Whaaa?Supposedly I’ve had it my entire life and most people are asymptomatic, yet this didn’t stop our GP from scheduling an appointment with a cardiologist.  For two days I awaited that appointment wondering how my life could be turned so easily to upside-down in a matter of seconds.  And still I had small doses of optimism, because at that time I was certain the entire healing process of this fracture would be about 4-6 weeks. Frankly, I don’t recall where I got that info. It might have come from my two new buds Perco and Val.  I spent the week dazed and confused with the sole focus of reducing swelling.

Before we got the script for a wheelchair, Scott was rolling me around in an office chair.  Every day I elevated like the Chrysler building, iced, drank about 2 liters of water and consumed anti-inflammatory foods and spices. I found this supplement that includes a number of anti-inflammatory herbs and spices.  

It also comes in a tincture.

None of this would have been possible without my superhero husband who waited on me hand and foot – literally. With a severely sprained ankle and a Trimalleolar fracture that was to have ZERO weight bearing, who else do you think helped me skip to the loo?  He wheeled me to and fro, got me in and out of bed, brought me water, food, and ice, and rigged up the shower so I could take at least one shower that week.  I wondered several times throughout the week how folks who live on their own handle this situation.  How painful and difficult that must be.  Or for those who are not in good physical health or shape to begin with.  So very hard.

A consult with the Cardio, Dr. Potkin lead me down the path to two days of heart testing including a STRESS test (don’t ask) and a NUKE test.  Here I am a total anti-prescription, anti-toxin, eco-girl, and while I was doped up on prescription meds and actually allowed a stranger to fill my blood with radiation (enough to equal 50 chest x-rays) so that they could take several images (30? 40?) of different angles of my heart only to tell me what I inherently knew, your heart looks good!  I was good to go for surgery only it had to be rescheduled from July 12 to the 13th moving me from a surgical center to the hospital so that I could be monitored by the cardiologist…just in case my heart exploded.

Surgery

This was rescheduled for 5:00 pm on July 13th.  The surgery is called ORIF (Open Reduction, Internal Fixation).  After a few calls back and forth between the OS and a radiologist the night before, it was confirmed that I could actually eat a piece of toast that morning at 8:00 and drink water until 9:00 am.  I’m such a water-aholic I was freaked out about not drinking throughout the day, yet my worry of surgery overrode all the other anxieties.

Scott and I were sent to a hospital room, because they weren’t sure if I would be admitted after the surgery.  There I adorned myself with one of those lovely snap-button hospital gowns.  I recalled a story my Dad told us after he had surgery:  He was walking down the hall with his ass hanging out the back.  A nurse approached him and said, ‘Mr. Swartz, would you be more comfortable if I button this up here in the back?  He replied, ‘No, would you be more comfortable if you buttoned me up in the back?’

I was wheeled out to wait in the recovery room and Scott was sent to the waiting area, which vaguely resembled an isolated hotel lobby and looked comfy.   I gave Scott my good-byes…ya know.  Just in case.  And off I was sent to a little corner of the recovery room passing two others who had just emerged from surgery.  A curtain surrounded my little space.  Mind you, I still, at this point, didn’t know if my swelling was reduced enough to actually undergo the surgery.  I suspected so, though, given all my efforts.  I was correct.  The OS came in, tested my wrinkles, and I was given the ‘okay’.  The Radiologist, whose name escapes me, was funny.  He asked if I had any questions, and I did; yet they were for the OS and not for him.  He called her back, and to my astonishment, she was abrupt with me.  Curt.  Basically appearing from behind the curtain and asking, ‘What?  I felt my anxiety rise and after a moment of speechlessness responded with, ‘Oh.  You asked me so abruptly I now can’t remember my questions!’  Eventually I did.  Everyone departed, and I dozed off.  I was rolled into the operating room, a very sterile place, which is exactly how I would want it to be given the stories I’ve heard about folks getting infections while IN the hospital.  The two nurses were rummaging about their tools n’such and prepping me.  I was still concerned about the skill of my OS, because I had a difficult time finding info on her success rate.  The one nurse told me, ‘As far as I know, none of her patients have been brought back to correct any problems and she is very careful and takes her time.’

The radiologist came back and told me he was going to move me onto my stomach in order to give me a behind-the-knee shot called a popliteal block.  He said this would make my life easier for the next 18 hours as it numbs my entire leg from the knee down.  Right on!

Post ORIF, trimalleolar fracture
Post ORIF

Next minute, I awake in the recovery room chatting, babbling, really.  The nurse waiting on me said I had been talking before I was even conscious.  I’m sure that doesn’t come as a big surprise to those of you who know me.  Her name was Hari and she asked, ‘How are you?’  At the time, I was feeling pretty darn good and asked, ‘How are you, Hari?’  Somehow we landed in a discussion about her grief around the recent death of her father, and I recalled the grief counseling I had done in the past with a strong desire to help her.  Really, though, I remember very little of the conversation and according to Scott my speech was very slurred, but in my world Hari and I had a very healthy and healing discussion.  Scott suddenly appeared as if he had been beamed down, and that might have been one of the happiest moments in my life seeing him.  I was dressed, wheeled out and sent home about 10:00 pm.

Post Surgery

I awoke the next morning at 7:00 am feeing amazingly refreshed regardless of the plate with five screws on one side of my leg and the torn ligament screw in the middle and the other screws on the right.  I seriously couldn’t believe how great I felt, and NO real pain – just a kind of heavy discomfort.  But workable!  I felt very optimistic about my recovery and healing – big ‘ole fiberglass cast on my left ankle n’all.  That euphoria wore off about 12:30.   I was able to squeeze 19 hours of numbness out of my popliteal block, and then my current reality set in.  Pain.  A progression of pain.  I was prescribed Norco (hydrocodone) that I discontinued 3 days later as it made me ill.

One week post ORIF, incision with two screws
One week post ORIF: Left foot – right side: incision with two screws
Left ankle: One week post-op and Right ankle: Still sprained (swelling mostly on the right)
Left ankle: One week post-op and Right ankle: Still sprained (swelling mostly on the right)
ORIF post-op, Trimalleolar fracture
There’s a plate with five screws behind those bandages…oy – and the bruise beneath my knee. I have no idea where that came from.

Tanya, at the OS office called to schedule my first follow-up visit for one week after surgery, July 20.  I was informed that if my swelling was reduced enough, they could get good x-rays otherwise I’d have to wait another week.  Again, I went on my de-swell journey.  This time I visualized the OS saying in astonishment, ‘This looks GREAT!  I can’t believe how little swelling you have!’

For the most part, the week was challenging.  I was either on the meds or confused, unmotivated and unfocused, or off the meds and in pain and not sleeping.  Somehow I still managed to do some work. FINALLY on the day of my follow-up appointment, I was feeling very little pain.  Just that constant discomfort that I will describe shortly.

The Follow-Up Appointment

We waited in the OS office for two hours before we were seen.  The wait lent itself to our hearing some interesting stories.  One guy with a shattered heel from chasing a fugitive out of his house, one woman with two broken arms from dancing at her nephew’s wedding.  My story was boring.  Still, I was very anxious and eager to see what was lurking beneath that massive and oddly-shaped cast on my foot.  I actually thought there was some type of draining device in there, because it was so heavy.  While there were draining pads, there was no device.  I anxiously watched Tanya cut away at the cast and pull off those pads, I felt some fresh air on my skin and looked down at what could’ve been Frankenstein’s foot.  YET Tanya was surprised at how little swelling I had.  It was almost exactly as I visualized only it was the assistant and not the OS sharing the good news.  The new x-rays showed the plate and five screws on the lateral part of my fibula and a long screw (a syndesmosis) used to repair a torn ligament and the other two screws on the right.  I was informed this screw would have to be removed in 12 weeks.  I forgot, however, to ask the reason but later discovered that 12 weeks is the necessary amount of time to heal the ligament.  This means I have to undergo another surgery in 12 weeks, and while it is a less debilitating surgery, it is surgery nonetheless.  I will also have the option in about a year to remove the other hardware should I choose.

I came armed with questions for the doctor.  And while she seemed like she was in a hurry, she did take the time for my questions.

Devastation smacked me upside the head when she told me I would not walk for FOUR months.  As in, I will be only taking steps in four months, not even actual walking.  I have since discovered that actual walking without a walker or cane or limp could take up to NINE months (don’t worry folks, this is a crazy conservative estimate and now know it’s certainly not at all true).  I was blown away and trying not to break down.   At that moment, my heart was more broken than my ankle. The instant Scott got me back into the car, I sobbed uncontrollably.

Dr. Siegler departed and Tanya returned to put me in a boot, because my ankle looked ‘great’ according to the doc (again, visualization does work!).  Das boot is a 3-pound ski boot.  My heel had to touch the bottom, which meant it had to be turned back up from a pointing forwarding position to a near 90-degree upward angle.  Scott said I was levitating with the pain.  I seriously thought I had a high tolerance for pain, and this entire event is making me question that assumption.  But we got the foot into the boot managing the trick of pushing it in while not bearing weight.  I was scheduled for another appt. in 4 weeks and told STRICTLY NO WEIGHT BEARING.  I was also scheduled for physical therapy the following week:  Gentle flexing only.  I was in agony the rest of that day and night.  I even took drugs that night and couldn’t sleep.  Add insult to injury, I had a webinar scheduled for 7:00 am the following morning.  Scott got up with me at 5:30 to get ready.  He reconfigured my office so I could elevate both legs while teaching the class.  I was essentially spread-eagle sitting at the corner of my desk and laughed to myself because the learners could only see my face and had no idea what else was going on around me.  The training could’ve bordered on unethical had they seen me as a whole person.  Which brings me to this…being a whole person.

A Shift in Priorities:  An Ankle-Altered Reality

It’s not good days and bad days that I have, it’s good moments and bad moments. And they shift continuously throughout the day fluctuating between total despair, fatigue from inactivity, pain, discomfort from poor posture elevation, the makings of acceptance, nauseousness when I feel the screws in my leg, anxiety, fear, fleeting thoughts of opportunity and dashes of hope.   Many folks have told me this is the ‘universe telling me I had to slow down’.  While that may be true, surely there could’ve been a less traumatic, painful, or depressing way for the universe to deliver the message.  Did I really need to be smacked down like this?   Was I really that unconscious?  All signs point to YES.  I was given an opportunity in May after receiving a speeding ticket driving back from Southern California.  A trip that should’ve taken 6 hours took 9 because of traffic in…you guessed it, LA.  Clearly, I wasn’t ready for the message, and that one cost me $250.00 and traffic school.  Well, I hear it now.  I, indeed, slowed down.  I went from 100 to 0 in an instant, much like getting pulled over by CHP, only there were no flashing lights involved in this go-around.

I’m reading online about various people’s situations, and so many of them say they have pain and swelling for years.  Runners are no longer running.  Jumpers are no longer jumping.  Can this be real?  It hardly feels like it.  It has given me such a massive appreciation for people who live with chronic pain or who are confined to a wheelchair.  I refuse to believe there are not just as many success stories to match the dismal tales I’m reading online.  I also try to remind myself that my situation is temporary (even if months and months feels like a miserably long time), so can I really relate to those who are permanently in chronic pain or confined to a wheelchair?  Really?  Probably not.

I was a total neat-freak ensuring that every item has its place in my home.  Dust was dusted, plants kept well-watered, and dog hair was found mainly on the dog.  Now, I must accept the fact that things I need have to be within reach, and disarray has to be okay.  Scott can take on only so much.  I don’t want both of us to lose our emotional stability.  And he has been amazing taking care of me, the dog, and the house.

A visit to the bathroom can take 15 minutes (with the getting there, dropping trou and returning being the most time-consuming part).  A shower is an event. It involves plastic bags (yes, they are biodegradable) duct tape and strategically placed chairs with towels.  Water covers the floor on the outside as well as the inside of the shower.  I only shower now twice a week and would probably do less if I could stand the smell of myself more readily.  Getting to my office (the only room in the house that is upstairs) means scooting around on my butt (I call it ass-taxi) with my left leg in the air and asking Scott to lift me into my chair.  I no longer worry about getting dog hair on my clothes, because I spend a lot of time on the floor getting from one place to the next especially when I want to switch things up from using the wheelchair.  Oh, and the wheelchair.  Turns out I’m not good at driving that either.  I have banged up every corner and door jam downstairs.

What was once an obsession with moisturizing my hands and face has completely disappeared.  I haven’t touched hand lotion in three weeks.  Flossing is now a luxury, and wearing the same clothes everyday for 3-4+ days is commonplace.  Yes, I am changing the essentials.  I haven’t seen my face or hair in the mirror up close for three weeks.  I have a 20-second moment between brushing my teeth and wobbling on the right leg to spit when sometimes I check myself out.  It ain’t purty.   I wash my face and hands less because the sink is so high that even reaching over to wash my hands takes effort, and sometimes I just don’t feel like pulling myself up on the sprained ankle.

One of my new goals is seeking comfort – morning to night I try to find a good elevated position for my foot.  One night, shortly after surgery and after several pillow rearrangements, I was so desperate for additional comfort that I wheeled into our master bedroom closet in search of another pillow.  It was about 2:30 am, and I got stuck in there.  It took about 30 minutes and a 100-point turn to get myself out.  I didn’t want to wake Scott, who is in the guestroom with Stella, but the expletives poured out nonetheless.  I sometimes find myself envious when I see people in the news or in a movie who are walking and especially engaging in higher impact activities.  I daydream about weeding and walking Stella.

Oh….night sweats and nightmares add to the bedtime fun.  For some reason, I am operating on the ‘warmer’ than usual side.  I can only hope it’s my body’s healing system all fired up and working her magic.  The other night I had a dream…a dozen or more small, alien-like animals came into my bedroom, only it was my bedroom from childhood.  They pulled up the mattress and knocked me off the bed onto the floor.  They were scurrying all around me as I was trying to get them off of me.  I grabbed one in the comforter and when I saw it up close, it was a Dachshund.  In my dream, I thought, ‘This is just a cute little dog?  Why am I getting so upset?’  Then one began biting at my foot, and I kicked my leg out really hard (in my dream and in real life) as I was trying to yell for my Dad, only there was no voice despite my efforts.  I awoke with a very sore leg in the air.

My darling and wonderful husband waits on me constantly.   Have I mentioned yet how amazing he is?  Still, I feel guilty about this.  His days are filled with making sure I’m fed and watered and taking over most of the chores at home.  There are some things we just have to let go.  The only fortunate aspect of this situation is my timing:  1) Scott took early retirement from Cisco, and that began July 8 which means we really only had a couple days of his dealing with finishing up work stuff and helping me and 2) My current contract has slowed down dramatically and my next month of work can all be done at home.

But what next?  And how fair is it that my husband should be working so hard when he’s supposed to be enjoying some time off before delving into his next thing?  And furthermore, while it’s been a few years since I was an athlete, I am (was) still an active person.  Sure, I haven’t skated 50k inline races or tackled trail races up Mt. Diablo (17 miles up and down a mountain) for a while, yet I had the goal of getting back to regular running this summer when things slowed down, and regardless of the day, walked a couple miles with Stella every morning.  But that is no longer, and I may not be doing that for many months to come.  It’s simply shocking as is most acute tragedy, I’m sure.  One really doesn’t know from any moment to the next what will happen.

And what about my work?  I’m a corporate trainer spending much of my time on-site in front of an audience.  Hopping from table to table during breakout sessions.   Up and down and all around.  Carrying loads of supplies and bursting with energy on my feet.  I work for myself.  There’s no disability for the self-employed.  No work = no pay.

While it used to be a joy to hit the hay, now each night, I have to build courage to go to bed to face the battle between comfort and my boot.  I am unfortunately a very light sleeper.  Admittedly, I went back on the pain meds a few nights ago, because I needed sleep so badly.  Finding a comfortable position with this boot is challenging.  I feel sharp pains around the incisions and screws, numbing in my toes, poking, pulling, tearing, searing, aches on my heel.  The pain meds definitely help, yet I’ve begun to back off again starting last night.  Somehow I need to figure out how to be with this, because I’ve learned I can expect to have this discomfort for a long while.  I don’t think I’ve had one moment since this ordeal in which I was unaware of my discomfort – even that morning after surgery when I felt the best.  It seems like there is very little escape from it.

Many mornings seem just as challenging as bedtime, because I have to get up and face my day.  Folks are saying, ‘Four months, it’ll fly by’.  I know those words come from good intentions and are meant to ease my pain, yet sit on my couch day after day and try to focus through the agony of this situation and share that sentiment.  Sadly, turns out this thing will last longer than four months. Rationalizations from others just don’t work at the moment. Not now. Not yet. Not at this very moment.  Just acknowledge my situation with me, and that will help it dissipate much more quickly than dismissing it.  I realize that one day I will look upon this time with great relief and think, ‘I guess that really wasn’t so bad’.  For now, at this very moment, it’s a challenge.  And yes the challenge now is a bit less than it was three weeks ago, so I get it.  I can see how this whole ‘time heals all wounds’ thing works.  And I have certainly been there with other painful or grief-ridden events.  It’s just…for now…theory and reality are not aligned.

Why Me? And Other Tough, Whiny, Anxiety-ridden, Bitchy, Questions

Sometimes I have a big ole WHY ME pity party and the different parts of myself and I cry together in persecution.  There are some folks in my life who think that perhaps my veganism has diminished my bone density and lead to this demise.  That is absurd. One thing I can make clear, my calcium levels are very good, not that I have to defend the healthiest diet on the planet.  Almost everything I eat throughout the day has calcium in it, and I am not lacking vitamins.  My last blood test showed my calcium on the ‘high’ end of the standard range, and the only thing that might have been low (but still in the acceptable range) was Vitamin D.  This goes for most people.  And of course, I have since learned that this fracture has little-to-nothing to do with bone density and is simply a fracture from torque (as opposed to impact). And I suspect the order of events began with the dislocated talus rendering my ligaments unable to hold muscles which were unable to hold the bones. If anything, this injury is a result of my placing a priority of work over exercise.  And now that I know weak muscles can wreak this kind of havoc on my body, those priorities are going to change.

I have read that folks who have issues with ankle spraining are more prone to ankle fractures.  Turns out I have had a lifetime of ankle sprains and rolls.  I estimate about once a year I sprain or slightly roll an ankle.  I’ve grown so accustomed to it and for the most part they have been so mild. In some instances, I used to RICE:  Rest (R), Ice (I), Compress with a tight sock (C) and Elevate (E). In other instances, I just dealt and did nothing.  They recover, and I move on.  Perhaps I have not treated them properly enough or taken them seriously enough.  A shout out to those of you who are also prone to ankle sprains, do some research on strengthening those ligaments and perhaps check in with a PT about how to avoid a future ankle fracture.  Tanya at the OS office told us that 80% of the ankle fractures they see are from regular folk like us taking one bad step.

Update: New research is suggesting that icing may impede healing!

There is one other thing that I have not yet mentioned:  I was wearing two different shoes on that day.  And while both shoes were sturdy and both were the same height, it might have been a contributing factor even though some experts don’t think so.  And why was I wearing two different shoes you ask?  This is embarrassing and a clear sign of my acute sensitivity and complete disregard for fashion…so a couple times a year I treat myself to a pedicure.  July 1 was one of those times.  I mean, a real pedicure at a real place that brings a bowl of hot water dressed with orange peels, garden roses and essential oils to soak my feet.  This was not a cheapo $12 in and out the door kind of place where you wonder if the pedicurist is talking about you to her friends.  It was like a spa kind of place.  Well, I told my pedicurist that I like to have my toenails very short, because they grow fast.  She took me seriously and cut the first toe (the big one on the left foot) so low that it was below the pink part.  Ya know, the underneath part of your nail that is not to be exposed.  For two days I couldn’t touch that toe to anything. I couldn’t wear a sock or even have the bed sheet touch it.  It didn’t hurt, it simply skeeved me out.  That evening, July 3, was cool here in Santa Cruz.  I had been wearing my hiking sandals all day (to keep my left toe exposed and unskeeved) but decided I needed to wear something warmer on the other foot.  Thus I put on a sock and a walking sneaker.  Granted, I don’t know if the shoe-thing contributed, because the foot I first twisted was the one with the walking sneaker and besides my Chaco sandals are very sturdy.  They’re made for hiking and being in water.  Needless to say, I no longer feel that irritation on my big toe.  I will never truly know the answer to the question:  What’s the most expensive pedicure you ever received?

Other questions I hear myself asking:  What about when I do start walking?  What if I slip and it happens all over again?   Is it possible to get a Trimalleolar on the same ankle twice? What about my other ankle?  Could it happen to that one too?  What about Scott or other people I love?  What if this happens to them?  Will I ever run again?  Will I regain my confidence?  Will I regain a ‘normal’ life?  Will I have the strength and fortitude to make the best of this situation, to face the next several months?  Did I get a good OS?  How do I keep my incisions from getting infected when there is nothing protecting them but this boot that I wear 24/7?   Will my atrophied muscles build back up?  Why don’t I have an appetite? Will I be able to successfully complete physical therapy?  When does it stop hurting?  Will I be profiled and patted down in airports for buzzing through security with all this metal in my body?  Why am I getting anxiety attacks?  Will I be able to look back at this time without fear or PTSD?  Who am I?

I know.  Enough of the bitching and whining already and pull up my bootstraps.  Well, it just so happens I have a boot and while the straps have Velcro, I can kind of pull them up.  Unfortunately, these boots are not made for walking.

A Focus on Healing and Making the Best of a YUCK (You Understand Crap, Kid) Situation

Now, three weeks and one day from TF (Trimalleolar Fracture) day, I have to focus my energy on healing.  A couple days ago, I had a fabulous conversation with a highly skilled PT who was trained at the Mayo Clinic.  His name is Dan Vold (best friends with my friend and colleague, Bob), and he told it to me straight and explained in greater detail the technical aspects of my situation.  I can expect to bear weight in 8-12 weeks post surgery and begin walking in about 4 months.  I can expect to be walking without assistance or a limp in nine months.  Dan also suggested I get a knee scooter which I will do as soon as I have my right ankle sprain healed properly.

I do believe the pain is subsiding and while I still feel those zinging shots of pain around my incisions and the plate/screws (almost like little electrical jolts), and while my toes for the most part have to be wiggled constantly in order to prevent them from feeling like they’re falling asleep, and while I need to keep the foot elevated thus it begins to feel very heavy and throb, I really do believe things are getting better. For one, my ‘severely sprained ankle’ can hold all of my weight without wobbling and shaking.  I have learned to go to the bathroom and put on pants while holding my left leg in the air.

For folks who have taken too many NSAIDs and worry about leaky gut or get sick on narcotics, an alternative to pain meds is Metagenics Kaprex. This will also help with inflammation.
Do not expect it to be as efficient as the narcotics, but it will be a whole lot gentler on your body.  

– Food
I am eating three times a day even if I don’t feel like it.  My focus is on bone healing, and the good news is that many of the foods I like and that are already good for bones, are foods I eat regularly:  Kale, lentils, almonds, beans, chickpeas, whole grains and apples.

– Water
I drink lots of it. All day long.  And yes, while it may mean an extra trip or two to the bathroom, which can be such a hassle, I still do it.  Caffeine is a goner now too, as I’ve recently learned it’s not good for bone growth.

– PMA
I’m fully aware that my positive mental attitude plays a vital role to healing.  I am working on it when I have the energy.  On the same token, I let myself have those down moments, because I know if I resist the anger, sadness and fear, they will only grow larger.  I have never seen myself as part of the ‘norm’.   I don’t mean that in an arrogant or self-effacing way.  I have simply had the belief that 1) there are always options despite the difficulty of a problem and 2) I believe in the healing power of the mind.  So if normal means beginning to walk within 4 months, I envision myself walking before that.  If normal means walking without a limp or pain in nine months, it will be less than that for me.  If normal means swelling for the rest of my life, that is absolutely not an option for me.  I will be one of the success stories. I’ve already made up my mind. There is no other option.  Hmm….now…where again did I place the courage to help me meet that goal?

-Prescription for perspective

A dear friend and physician, Dr. Anteneh Roba, of the International Fund for Africa, gave me a dose of perspective today.  He takes groups of doctors and nurses to small villages in Ethiopia to administer healthcare to folks who may never otherwise receive it.  Here’s what he shared:

On my medical mission in March, I saw a young man who fell three months before and broke his hip, he lives in a small village in the middle of nowhere, the nearest hospital is 100 km away and they don’t perform surgery. He fell 3 months prior to seeing us with no pain meds whatsoever hobbling on one foot for three months with a hip fracture. When I saw him he was wincing in pain. Imagine the kind of pain he is in everyday with no chance of being treated. Condemned to hobble around for the rest of his life. The only thing I could do is give him Motrin.

Surely, I am not experiencing pain in isolation.   And perhaps you, the reader, has no clue about my particular experience with this particular injury.  Yet I know any person reading this sentence right now knows pain.   Just as you know healing.  Just as you know about the inner strength that somehow emerges even when you’re feeling weak, tired or ill.  I realize I will need to muster up some courage and find that strength lurking in the recesses of my soul and then share it with my psyche. I realize I have to deal with the existential element of this situation and overcome the fear about how one instant can dramatically change a life, and it’s not always bad, permanent or depressing.

-Where’s the opportunity?

And perhaps it is time for me to work more toward the change I’ve been talking about for years.  Writing and painting have played major roles in my life – in the past.  And while painting currently feels out of the question (too much up and down getting materials, cleaning brushes, etc), writing is a possibility given my new immobility and small laptop.  I have my new kids book coming out September 15 and since Scott and I won’t be taking that campervan trip up the coast to Vancouver that month as we had planned, perhaps I need to work on another book.  Just the other day an idea came to me…

– Dealing with the present

In the meantime, I will try my best to focus on the work I have and work toward becoming an armchair marketer for my book, and I certainly welcome any assistance anyone can offer in getting the word out to your local bookstores for ordering it.  Ironically, the book is called Well Earth Well MeFunny, given my current state of wellness.

First day out in the hood…the sun did wonders to my spirit.

If there are any immediate lessons, they are to cherish any good health you have, embrace the love that surrounds you, and be present.  I feel very blessed with the love and support that have been offered to us.  Oh, and if there’s another lesson in this… watch your step!

Today, Scott and I took the wheelchair down the street.  It was good and refreshing to see some of our sweet neighbors, to move around a bit, and get some sun.  Physical therapy begins next week…looking forward to that milestone.

To see all the  posts in the trimalleolar series, click away!  Things DO get better!

This is Post #1 Me and My Trimalleolar:  A Life-Changing Tripulation
Post #2 Me and My Trimalleolar:  Transcending the Funk
Post #3 Me and My Trimalleolar:  Tiny Bubbles of Progress
Post #4 Me and My Trimalleolar:  A Healing Ankle
Post #5 Me and My Trimalleolar:  Talus All About It
Post #6 Me and My Trimalleolar:  A Week of Firsts
Post #7 Me and My Trimalleolar:  Cast of Characters
Post #8 Me and My Trimalleolar:  9 1/2 weeks…
Post #9 Me and My Trimalleolar:  The Screw, Some Scars, and a Busted Uvula
Post #10  Me and M Trimalleolar:  Walk a Mile in My Screws
Post #11 Me and My Trimalleolar:  11 Months and Moving Right Along
Post #12:  Me and My Trimalleolar Go to Mexico…with my husband and our pooch

813 Comments

  1. Chelsea

    Good afternoon fracture friends,

    I come with good news, thank God! I had my follow up with ortho. He said that my xrays and incisions are healing well and I was cleared for partial weight bearing! I am still in the big black walking boot. But, he said that I can start using my crutches to walk and put weight on my leg while standing. I have a follow up to start physical therapy. As you can guess, my ROM is awful. My ankle is very tight. So I am excited to get going on that! He said we will follow up again in 4 weeks and if all looks well then we will move on to full weight on the leg. I am getting there, slowly!

    I also think that my mental health is in a much better place. My anxiety is not as crazy as it was. Now if I could somehow make all these little aches and pains magically disappear…. sitting and using crutches 24/7 is not kind on the body. (May 12th – 7 weeks post break).

    1. Jane Dev

      Chelsea! That is wonderful news – the dimmer knob is turning up the light! So glad to hear from you and to hear that you have good news from your doctor. ROM is always a work in progress….physical therapy will help a lot with that – something to work on for a long time! Will it ever end? And the stiffness too – I am still working on all of these things. I will be curious to see how your weight bearing goes – you are young and my guess is that it will go well! So pumped to hear that you are doing well emotionally – the emotional rollercoaster seems to be this hidden gem that comes along with these injuries #sarcasm.
      Not sure what aches and pains you re having – I have a terrible back so I always have issues. I went to bed every night with my heating pad from the very beginning to keep my back loose. I can imagine that would help anyone. I was sleeping in a different bed, and my hip flexor was killing from lifting those big casts up all the time! The heat helped with that as well. I do not miss early post surgery weeks. I feel for you. I did start stretching at about three weeks – I was getting down on the floor – I still had my cast on so that helped protect – but I started stretching to keep limber. I am glad that I did. Anyhow, keep up the great healing! Are you taking any specific vitamins or is there anything special you are doing to heal yourself up so nicely – if so pass it along! (Jan 1st – 26 weeks post break!)

      1. Chelsea

        Jane,

        Thanks for the advice on the heating pad! I have SO many aches and pains. A lot, I am sure are completely related to being sedentary. I am having a lot of left side pain/arm pain/breast pain. I think all of it is related to being on the crutches for so long. I think I am subconsciously baby-ing my broken leg too much.
        I am not taking any additional vitamins other than a normal multi-vitamin. I suffer from lupus and a host of other auto-immune issues, so everything I can take is very regulated. I think the only thing I’m doing differently is I have upped my calcium intake. Although, I recently had labs done and everything came back great. So no bone issues (which is great). I thought with how easily my leg/ankle snapped that I had to have some sort of bone disorder. But, alas, it was just a freak accident.

        1. Jane Dev

          That is good to hear. Yes take care of yourself. So glad you have no bone issues. I have a few years on you, and I do have bone issues now – very very scary. Take your calcium and make sure that you weight bear! It is the weight bearing that actually helps to heal those bones – that is what my OS kept telling me! I had no idea that stopping my walking for exercise for three years while having plantar fasciitis, at the same time I hit menopause would deplete my bones as it did. I never even thought of that. Be sure to take care of yourself. Again, so glad for your improvement. Stay strong!

        2. This is what my OS and PT told me, too, that the tri-mal is an injury of torque not of bone density. Having lupus and other autoimmune issues makes your quick (er) recovery even more admirable. Rock on!

    2. Debbie

      Chelsea, I’m so glad you found us early in your recovery. It sounds like you are right on schedule for recovery. You will have the tightness for quite a while. It is the swelling that nature provides to support the ankle structures while healing. Expect to freak out as you relearn to walk- we all did. It takes an while to strengthen the muscles and ligaments. I laugh now, as you will later, when I see people in various points of recovery because you can guess pretty well where they are. Today I saw a nurse at my PCPs office limping exactly like I did at 12 weeks. When I asked if she had broken her ankle about 12 weeks ago, she asked how I knew…we had quite a support session. Anyway, we are here to help you through with all we have learned.

      1. Chelsea

        Debbie,

        You are so kind! Thanks for your insight. I appreciate that everyone across the board (including my surgeon) has been very upfront with me about the recovery time period. It looks like we are all in it for the long haul! I am super excited to begin physical therapy, but also a tad nervous. The office showed me xrays today of the back of my ankle, which I shattered. I was aware of the fact that they said my bone fragmented off and they had to use a plate to correct it. I was unaware of the fact until today that I no longer have that chunk of bone at all. It was irreparable. So, PT will be more intense. I am worried about having a permanent limp because I am missing a chunk of ankle bone. But, I am trying to have a positive outlook!

        1. Debbie

          Chelsea- I had the same injury and am glad to tell you you will not limp forever. The repair makes up for the bone loss. You will limp until 1. You strengthen the stretched ligaments and tendons
          2. Until you convince your brain that it is OK to not limp- which takes conscious practice walking without a limp. Pushing a stroller is great for this! Somewhere around 16 weeks your limp will improved enough that you won’t feel like you need a crutch. It took me about 6 months to mostly get rid of my limp though.

    3. Hello Chelsea!

      My sincere apologies for this delayed response. I’m in the midst of earning my CELTA certification to teach English, and it’s been an incredibly demanding process. But I had to respond and congratulate you for the good news! You’ll find that PT will help with the ROM. And I saw your other message about bearing weight. My gut tells me to make sure you get it signed off by your PT before walking, but my heart says WOW! It’s amazing you can bear weight already! If you’re moving ahead with the full weight bearing in the absence of a PT, do it carefully. But yes, weight bearing will facilitate the bone healing. You’re really moving along well! I hope with each passing day, you’re seeing that light at the end of the tunnel.

      Cheers to your healing!

      Kenda (Tri-mal 7.5.11 – eight years!)

  2. Chelsea

    Hi all,

    I, too am joining the Tri-mal club. On Mother’s Day I was walking out of church holding onto my one year old daughter. I was playing with her and not paying attention and I walked right into a pothole. Instead of catching myself, I caught my daughter and heard a pop and a crunch! An ER trip later we learned about the fracture and I had surgery 4 days later. I am currently 5 weeks post surgery. I have 2 plates, 8 screws, and 1 long screw through my ankle. The surgeon says that this metal will stay in for life. I am still NWB. I have an appointment on July 2 for more xrays. I was told that if those look good then we can talk about partial weight bearing and maybe some flexing of the foot. This will be another 4 weeks. Then they said in August we will talk about putting weight on the leg with PT. So that means that I will go 11+ weeks before I can try to walk again. This has been the most stressful event of my life. I am 26 years old and I broke my leg so severely in just an instant doing a normal activity like walking! This break has made me crazy. All I do is sit day in and day out. It has given me anxiety. I am stay at home mom of two little ones. So I basically feel useless to my family. We love the outdoors and live in a more remote area that we can enjoy all that the land has to offer. This has just been a totally soul crushing event. I am afraid that this break will cause me to not be able to do the things that I love, like hiking, kayaking, camping, etc. I’m so grateful to have found this thread though. It’s good to know that I’m not alone.

    1. Hi Chelsea,

      Let me begin by saying that you are such a good mom to take that fall for your baby.

      Reading your post, I was thinking how “soul crushing” is an amazing descriptor for this injury during these beginning stages. I know it’s rough right now. I know it’s anxiety-provoking and can also be depressing. These feelings will shift as you gain mobility. It will happen. Hang in there. That July 2 appointment is right around the corner. I know it seems like forever away, but the time will come when you can bear weight again. Once that starts, then things will move more quickly for you.

      The long screw you mentioned. Is that a syndesmosis screw? If so, that’s a screw that is supposed to come out at 12 weeks, so maybe it’s not that given what your OS said about having the metal for life. Which, by the way, is not necessarily the case. It may be a matter of a second opinion. For most, they keep the metal in, because they don’t notice it. That’s something to think about in the future. Right now, focus on your healing. Allow others to take care of you. You are not useless just because you’re unable to move around. As a mom, you will forever be useful.

      You’re also young, and I predict a full recovery and a normal life for you once you get through this rough patch and heal up. I was 44 when I had my tri-mal, and after I healed, I eased right back to my normal active life. The only real thing that changed is I’m a lot more aware and a little more cautious than what I was before.

      Please, if you get a chance, update us after your July 2 appointment. I also appreciate following the progress of my fellow tri-mal club members.

      Sending healing thoughts your way! 💕

      Be kind to yourself. Let yourself have the range of emotions that come with this injury. Then focus as much of your effort as you can on healing. Eat well. Drink plenty of fluids. Get lots of cuddles from your kids. Let others take care of things, because that will help your healing.

      1. Jane Dev

        I love your words of encouragement Kenda. I always say it, but you are a gift as is this blog. Every time you write to someone else, it helps me too. I am forever thankful. My entire family knows how much I love this blog. I even read posts to my daughter!

      2. Chelsea

        Kenda,

        Thank you so much for your kind words. It feels so nice to be validated during this crazy time in my life. I feel like I am going from one extreme to the other on the emotion scale everyday. It’s utterly exhausting. I have a very supportive husband and church base, so our needs are being met. But, this injury is stressful on my family as a whole. My babies don’t understand why mommy can’t chase them. However, my son does affectionately tell people that mommy fell in a hole and broke her leg. He now says I have a “metal leg”. “Mama show me yours metal leg”. I do find some humor in that. I am bionic mom now.

        As for the long screw I mentioned before. No, it is not a syndesmosis screw. I wish it was. Having all the metal in my leg freaks me out a bit. I am hopeful that someday I can have it removed.

        I will update again after the July appointment.

        1. Oh Chelsea, I do remember it well, the emotional rollercoaster. I’m relieved to see you have a strong community to help hold you up during this time. It’s so stressful on a family. Nobody in your life who has not had this injury could possibly understand the severity of it. Most folks who have had an experience with a broken bone(s) could lead relatively normal lives, and casts were off in 6-8 weeks and life got back into full swing. It’s not like that with a tri-mal, as you know. But it’s nearly impossible to explain the internal struggles that go on with this injury. We fully understand the depth of the pain and its severity as we try to balance the physical pain with that of the emotional and spiritual distress that strikes several times throughout the day. It’s mind boggling, especially at the beginning. Soon (probably doesn’t seem like soon enough, but soon) the struggles will begin to shift and dissipate as you continue on your healing journey and become increasingly mobile with decreasing pain. Time. It really does heal wounds…

          I await your update in July and send you many many healing thoughts. Hold onto that notion of being a bionic woman, because you are! Your son…his words! So precious! ❤️

    2. Jane Dev

      Chelsea, my heart goes out to you after reading your post and hearing what you are going through. I am so happy you found this blog at five weeks out – even though you probably wish you found it sooner. I can honestly say that if there is a heaven in the injury, it is this blog, if that is even possible. Comfort, experience, and knowledge is here….and hopefully it will help you. I am forever trying to explain what the emotional path has been with this injury, and I can sense that no one I speak in my daily life seems to fully appreciate. It is hard to say this because I do have family members who care, but I never felt like they truly “get” the emotional journey. I will now use the term “soul crushing”. That is a perfect way to explain this. OH, I wanted to tell you, I have noticed something with my doctor and maybe yours is the same. He seems to say everything in extremes and then pulls back as things start to go well! So he also told me that I would have the hardware in for life! Then, at about five months, he said that we will look at that at a year ( and I have osteopenia so he wanted to keep it in, and now he may take it out!). Also, he told my family that I would walk with a limp for a year (I am confident it will not be that long at all – fingers crossed), and he said I would not drive until May (Which I drove in April. :)). Anyhow, please consider that this may be the case for you. I would expect x rays at every single visit, that was my experience. Please take care of yourself, rest and as Kenda said, drink fluids as it helps with the swelling. I feel as Kenda does that your youth will help you to be able to get back to your life. You will be surprised, all of a sudden, you will see some light and then more….. in the next few months, your life will be as if it is on a dimmer switch – the light is very dim now but over time, it will be turned up until the light is bright and more hope comes into play. With encouragement!! Jane (Jan 1 injury)

      1. Chelsea

        Jane,

        I truly appreciate your kind response! The grace and compassion I have read through this blog is so nice. I am so grateful to have found it in my constant google searching about tri-mal fractures.

        You are definitely right about the emotional toll that this injury brings with it. As I stated with Kenda above, it is utterly exhausting. It’s so hard to explain to people that yes, I broke bones. Yes, they will heal. BUT, no I will not be the same. It’s not like we’re taking a cast off in 6-8 weeks and life goes back to normal. This whole experience is just awful. But then at some moments I feel confident in life. I feel like “heck ya!” I’ve got this! Then I go back to, oh I can’t walk. Anxiety. Depression. It’s quite a vicious cycle currently.

        Thank you for being so positive and kind. I’m glad to have met you, even if it’s just via the internet under sad circumstances!

      2. That’s such great feedback, and I totally agree, Jane, that the OS will take the conservative route first until s/he sees how the healing plays out. Then some adjust their instructions with the ensuing follow-up appointments. Also remember you are your best health advocate and have every right to speak up when you don’t understand something or when your gut tells you differently. 💕

  3. Andrea

    Hi! I just wanted to thank you for your blog! It got me through the first few weeks after my ORIF surgery back in December!! I am 40 years old and fractured my right ankle (trimalleolar) while walking my dog December 1st of 2018. Here I am 7 months after and I still have some soreness and stiffness. I’m walking a lot better now and am looking forward to some pool time this summer. I’ve just completed my PT but I was wondering about physical activity. I can walk at a pretty quick pace on the treadmill but is anyone close to doing anything more intense? I have two daughters ages 10 and 12 and an active outdoorsy husband. We spend our summers bike riding, camping and kayaking… doesn’t look like I’ll be doing anything like that though . Any sort of impact on the ankle still hurts. Thoughts? Words of encouragement?

    1. Jane Dev

      Andrea. I loved reading your update and feel the same. I had my spill Jan 1 2019 one month after you. Somehow we went through this together!!! I still feel so connected to this blog and the strength and help it has given to me. I’m so glad to hear how well you are doing. I feel comforted to know you are still looking for encouragement as I feel the same way at times. We are blessed to have Kenda and everyone else to here on the blog to help us through and to know we all care about one another. Keep up the amazing work. Good for you for walking well and fast and looking forward to summer and pool. Keep sunblock on your scars! I put it on every day!!! Jane (5.5 months post bimal!)

            1. Jane Devereaux

              Kenda, I am sorry. When you and Dee Dee asked about the appt I had with the Doctor please know that I did answer, I have no idea what happened. I actually wrote twice. To sum it up now so much after the fact – he said it was swollen and it was also painful – the x ray did not show anything. He wanted me back in three weeks – which I am going next Wednesday for another x ray to see if there is calcification showing so we know if it is a stress fracture or not. If not, it is likely a ruptured tendon? Very confusing. The pain actually continued for about 10 days with swelling on top of the foot. I finally just started using a crutch and that helped to take the weight off and then went down to every other day – just for a few days. That seemed to get me over the hump and this week starting to feel better. I am also using my PEMF machine directly on the foot so hopefully that is helping the healing. He wanted me to wear Birkinstocks for three weeks to help support it and just not to bend the foot which I have been doing. I hope next week I can get some answers and can predict how to move forward. I dislike being back to a full blown limp, but what can I do. Also, I have been unable to to any exercises and my calf is back to being wicked small again – I mean not like it had gotten big, but it was improving! Plantar facia still seems to be bothering my arch and that’s annoying. I appreciate your caring! I will def let you know what happens next week. Jane ( 5.5 months out now!)

              1. Ya gotta love a doc who prescribes Birkenstocks!

                Looks like a lot has happened in the past couple of weeks. Some good news, yes? It seems like the pain is subsiding a bit. Ruptured tendon…not sure what to make of that. So, I’ll wait until the doc gives you more info after your next appointment.

                Thank you for taking the time to update, and so sorry it wasn’t easier. It seems like DeeDee had some troubles commenting, so I just don’t know what’s up with the blog. If anyone else is having difficulty, please let me know. You can send a comment through the feedback form. You can find that on the top menu bar under the header, “About Stuff.” On that dropdown menu click “show us some love.”

                You know I’m rooting for you, Jane! I want you to walk without that limp and to build up that calf muscle and to move through the plantar fasciitis! You’re managing a lot. I hope the remodeling stuff is going well at home.

                💕

                1. Jane

                  You are funny!!! #newbirks!
                  I think I figured out for some reason the computer at work does not push through a message. The other day it was denied and I may have not noticed before! That could have been an issue if I sent from there. Not sure. 😊

                2. Jane

                  Kenda and Dee Dee – went to the doctor today and had a repeat x ray. He was surprised to see foot was still thick and swollen in middle of foot near toes. X ray revealed not one but two stress fractures. Yup. ( second and third toe – probably the metatarsal but I emailed to ask exactly which bone). Stay on course of action I am on. He said wear Birkenstock through July and see how I feel in August. If all is good I can then I don’t need to see him again and I would start to walk regular in August as foot or pain allows – if I can wear a shoe without pain, then I can wear another shoe! So birks it is. Until then he wants me to row, stationary bike and swim. I have done none of that – I guess because of my ankle and plantar facia which everything bothers! Made an appt with primary doc and going tomorrow (Tuesday) to discuss osteopenia. Strangely enough the surgeon says he suspects they will do nothing systemically at this point. Interesting. Hope all is well with you guys.

                  1. Well, from the looks of it, your OS doesn’t seem to think this stress fracture business is too serious. That’s a good thing. He also doesn’t seem to be too worried about the osteopenia, so maybe it’s not as dire as you may think?

                    Good to get out there and row, (stationary) bike, swim, just move stuff around so you can heal.

                    Ya know I’m thinking about you and patiently await for that update that tells us all you’re healed! #newbirks 😍

                    1. Jane

                      Thanks Kenda. I agree. Birkinstocks for stress fracture – for 8 weeks! He recommended I see my PCP which I did today. He said I am young to have the osteopenia at this level and thinks I should go on meds. He said that if you think about it, you’ll get osteoporosis – just a matter of time, and at 76 I could be looking at a more serious bone. We decided I would go talk to an endocrinologist. I dislike medication for anything. I guess that’s part of getting older. I like this blog because it reminds me even young people can get real bad breaks!

                    2. I think it’s a good idea to get other opinions. Oh yes! This break is one of torque. It can hit all people of any age!

                      Well, at least the Birkies are super groovy. 🙂

                      ❤️

    2. Welcome to the blog, Andrea. As always, I’m just sorry for the circumstances that brought you here.

      I think you’re doing great. You’re well through the worst of it and it’s all fine-tune healing from here on out. I think swimming will be a valuable adjunct to your healing process plus you get to have some fun. No doubt you are due for some fun.

      It’s normal, IMO, that you still have some soreness and stiffness. You can expect stiffness to stick around for a while. That and some swelling too. It will continue to improve with time. Something that might help (when you’re ready) is massage. A good massage therapist can help break up the scar tissue that may be contributing to some of the stiffness. I also found relief after removing my metal, but not everyone has issues related to the metal.

      I’m wondering about the summer activities you mentioned. With some adaptations, you may be able to do some of that stuff later in the summer. Light biking (I wouldn’t recommend mountain biking this summer tho!), kayaking with some assists of getting in and out, and camping with some help of those awesome active family members. And with some super sturdy hiking boots and probably at a site that’s close to the bathroom and lit at night. I’m just talking out loud here! I wouldn’t write it all off just yet. With the right tools, you may be able to pull it off if you feel comfortable doing it. And that’s important, the comfort part. Only you will know what feels right. It’s not worth risking reinjury if you’re not feeling steady enough to do some of that stuff.

      With the okay from my OS and PT, I threw myself back into some of my activities (with adaptations in the beginning) just to combat the fear that was seeping in. Clearly, we get PTSD from this injury. I mean, most of us are basically engaging in a simple act when it happens That’s frightening as hell to think we could break so easily. In some ways, I look at my injury as a freak accident. As I have mentioned somewhere in the blog, this is an injury of torque. Our bodies turned just the right (or wrong) way to break those bones. For me, it was a definite wake-up call that I can see as an important juncture in my life, yet I’m almost 8 years out. It’s much easier to look back on the situation totally healed than look ahead when in the midst of healing. One day, you too, will be looking back on this.

      I think you can expect some of the healing struggles to last a year, but I also think getting back to normal grows increasing more realistic with each passing month during that first year. Hope that makes sense. I’m rambling, sorry. 🙂

      I see Jane checked in with you (thank you!) as she’s very close to the same injury date. Hopefully a couple of others will chime in, too.

      Keep on healing on, Andrea! 💕

  4. Jane Dev

    Oh dear! I have had a set back – today on my LAST day of Physical therapy, I hurt my foot – the therapist asked me to do a toe raise – still a real challenge. I told her I could not do that so she had me go up on both toes, and then lift my good leg, and hold up myself on just the right foot. I told her I did that last night, and could do that – confident. Well, I heard a loud pop! And oouuch!! I thought I broke my foot near the toes. Still don’t know what happened, something not good. Cannot bend the foot, or really weight bear on my fore foot… and have an appt with my orthopedic Dr. that did my surgery. I am a little nervous – wondering if I broke a bone, or detached a ligament, or tore a tendon or even tore the Plantar Facia. I have to be patient. I am not very happy and will be praying!!

    1. Oh no! Is it swollen or bruised? Are you unable to bear weight because of pain? Let me get this straight – it’s the foot that does not have the Tri-mal. I ask, because I had a couple of big pops post tri-mal and was told it might have been scar tissue breaking down.

      I understand that you’re not happy. I’d be freaking out about now, too. When is your appt? Hopefully soon. In the meantime, did the PT give you any instructions?

      Thinking about you and hoping for the best…❤️

      1. Jane Dev

        Hi! That is the strange thing and yet a positive thing. There is no swelling or bruising. It is so strange because I have no idea what I did. Such a loud pop and immediate pain, and cannot push weight on front of foot, or bend when walking. IT IS the foot I had the ankle injury! Just so hard mentally on last day of PT! You remember asking if I had a stress fracture and maybe that was why I was having so much pain on front of foot with walking? Now I am wondering if it finally pushed it too far. I have no idea. I am bummed, but not broken!! I am more bummed that if I broke something it is because of osteopenia, and also that I cannot keep strengthening my calf muscle. The toe raise has always been the issue and I still could not do it. There was too much stress on those bones I guess. I also wonder after reading if I could have done something to the plantar facial plate where it attaches at the second toe… and with all the plantar issues, who knows? So, I am to live life as normal, try to walk as I can this weekend. If I have too much pain, add a crutch, and boot if needed and then go to see doctor Monday. This weekend we are prepping the house for the floors being refinished, so I will be on my feet a lot. And I was already going to be dealing with ankle swelling and now this joint behind the second toe! Prayers please!! And fingers crossed!! Have an amazing weekend! Thank you for your caring.

        1. And yet through all of this, I can still hear your uplifting spirits, Jane.

          No swelling or bruising. I’m hoping it was just a scar tissue event. Glad you can see your doc on Monday. Please let us know what happens. I know you have a lot going on at home. Try to give yourself little respites here and there? Many many thoughts coming your way! ❤️

          1. If anyone is having an issue writing a comment, please let me know via the feedback form. I tried to change the option of having to input a URL but I think I messed things up instead.

            Also, what have others done in place of using a URL (when submitting a comment)? I’m trying to figure this all out, so I can fix it! Thanks for your patience!

        2. Hey Jane,

          DeeDee emailed me with a message for you as there’s some issue on the blog and she’s unable to write in. I am working on it, BTW, in case others are having issues. Feel free to send me a message through the feedback form (go to the dropdown menu “about stuff” and click on “show us some love”). I’d like to hear what specific issues others are having with writing comments.

          Here’s what DeeDee wrote to you:

          “I feel bad that this happened and maybe it’s not serious. I will definitely be sending prayers and positive thoughts your way. If it really bothers you, you should probably go off to ER to snap an X-ray or at least put in a call and ask your OS what you should do. Maybe wear the boot to isolate movement.”

          ❤️

    1. Jane Dev

      Hello! Dee Dee, so glad the trip went better than expected! Where did ya go? I find traveling hard on the swelling and discomfort – I am almost five months out now! So hard to believe. Curious how everyone else feels in the morning – I am very tight in the ankle and someone what sore. Arch pain still a factor for me as well. 🙁 Went to a water aerobics class today for the first time! Lol – it was fun, but I think I was the youngest one there. When I got there they said the class would let out early because everyone had to get ready and look nice to celebrate “Charlies Birthday….he is 100 today!!!” My jaw dropped. He looked totally amazing, and still drives!!! His wife is 97 and in assisted living, but he goes to take care of her. A light hearted tid bit if I may?! Cannot believe I did water aerobics with a 100 year old man who drove himself there!!! Glad I got out there to try something new!

      1. I love your water aerobics story, Jane. How marvelous for Charlie! Wow. He was born shortly after WWI. Isn’t that incredible? The changes he has seen in his lifetime. Incredible.

        I’m guessing the plantar fasciitis is also a contributing factor, but the morning tightness and soreness may stick around for a while. My suggestion is to start your morning out (sitting on the edge of the bed) making circles and doing the alphabet. Seems to me you may already do that, if I recall.

        You’re doing SO great Jane! ❤️

  5. Terry C

    Hi … I have had same fractures as you and would probably do what feels good for you. It’s been 35 weeks and getting better every day ! Use common sense ! Cheers Terry

  6. Lark

    So, I’m three weeks post op (ORIF for my trimalleolar ankle with dislocation) and my surgeon has just taken off my cast and put me into a boot, telling me to start working on weight bearing. At three weeks. I get that he finds him seem to be a liberal dr with regards to treatment plans, but this feels so wrong to me, as we as SUPER painful. My gut tells me to get a 2nd opinion, so I’m meeting with a podiatrist next week. Thoughts? I know my X-ray is “perfect,” but my dr just isn’t listening to me about how this all feels.

    1. Hey Lark!

      Well, I’m not sure how best to weigh in on this one (totally accidental pun!). I started weight bearing at around week 5. I’ve communicated with others on this blog who started earlier, yet you and I have had the same injury with the dislocation. My gut tells you to trust your gut. Get the second opinion from the podiatrist and your PT, if possible. Is it realistic to just go to another OS for a second? I think some docs want to approach it more aggressively as they know that weight bearing helps the healing process. Still, it’s your body, and you have ever right to advocate for yourself.

      Let us know what happens, if you get a moment to write. Your information could be valuable to others who are reading.

      The good news is that your X-ray looks “perfect!”

      Cheers to your healing!

  7. Jane Dev

    Hello and Happy Mothers Day to all the mommies. I have been wanting to update for a while. Everyones advice for driving, patience and all the other tid bits, thank you thank you thank you!
    -started driving for the first time at 16 weeks 4/24, with my sister in the car.
    – Since 4/29 I drive myself where I need to go!!
    – went back to work only 2x now – they don’t need me as much but that’s fine. I am behind on house jobs! A friend comes over and we painted my master bath and dining room! Lots of swelling and soreness, but figuring it out.
    – Walking without a cane or crutch since 4/25 except occasionally when very sore – still limping some as my foot hurts still on top – but that is improving. If I take one Alieve, I have almost no pain and can walk better. PT says we should do that for a little while to get strength going in my foot and calf.
    – PT down to twice a week and going to once next week. no calf muscle to see, and cannot do a single leg raise at all – would LOVE to know from others when they could do a single leg raise – seems impossible! – they tried the dry needles with stim to wake up the muscle so we keep trying!
    – standing up to take shower now for about ten days – still careful and holding on to my hand rails!
    – Walk up and down stairs holding on to rail! Yesterday I found myself on the stairs not holding on – and my shoe got caught on the step. I could have fallen! I was mentally preoccupied and I freaked myself out. scary. I have to remember to ALWAYS hold on! I am going to put a sign up – I am.
    – The main thing is the pressure in my ankle that we have all had for months as we recover is diminished almost completely. The pressure I felt when going to 25% weight bearing, and then 50, and 75 – has slowly gone away and for that I am thankful.
    – still working on nervy issues – inside of ankle just below scar is the most irritating with shoes. You can actually see a red spot below the scar where I think the dislocation was pressing on – not sure if anyone else has that and if it resolved.
    The big news is my daughter graduates college next Friday/Saturday up in Pennsylvania – and I will be there, walking. Thankful to be shopping for shoes now. She does not like my choices! But hey – is what it is I told her! Fingers crossed this week is uneventful and I will be there with a box of tissues on her special day! Flat tie shoes for sure, and a cane just in case as walking on grass is not easy still and I feel unsteady on it!
    Continued healing, love and positive energy to everyone! Jane

    1. Wow, Jane! That’s an incredible update! You’re driving – woot! I love reading that the pressure has diminished. This is so important for others who are in the midst of that annoying and sometimes highly irritating discomfort. It goes away – yes! The nervy stuff, will take some time.

      I don’t remember when I did leg raises. Keep at it. The muscle atrophies so quickly and seems to take forever to build back up, but it does. Keep building those muscles. I wonder if there’s a strap (like a yoga strap) where, while lifting, you hold part of the weight with your arms and give your leg a chance to hold some of the weight as well.

      A big congrats to YOU and to your daughter! Two major milestones accomplished for you both! Enjoy the graduation. No one will be looking at your shoes, and a cane is a brilliant idea for navigating unfamiliar, uneven surfaces, especially during an emotional time.

      Keep looking ahead while keeping your mind at the present. No more falls allowed!

      Big hugs and am so appreciative of the positive energy you’ve brought to this blog. Thank you.

  8. Dolores

    Got the OK to go back to work on May 21st. It will be more part time than before my injury, and subsequent surgery. But out of the house , and dressed like a big person, nonetheless. Going to ease into to the work thing. The OS has advised athe Darco ankle brace to wear. The cam boot can go back on if needed. Usually if I am standing for a long period of time, like making my salad the other day, or my peach pie today, the. It goes back on. Just wondering if anyone has any suggestions for foot wear that provides support and enough space for the ankle brace. I currently have a pair that I am using, but it is a real struggle to get the left one on with the brace. Have to get used to sleeping in a lying down position, after sleeping in a semi propped up position in the recliner. I will have to try the pillow between the knees as suggested in a previous posting. To all of you on this post, stay positive and heal well. To all of the Mothers, have a wonderful Mother’s Day.

    1. Jane Dev

      Dolores, congratulations on being able to go back to work – it will be here before you know it. As far as the shoes, I find it is such a personal choice. I have some NB shoes (sneakers) that I wear, went up to a larger size – now it is really getting ridiculous! Went up for inserts and now up again in size! But the NB do rub on the inside ankle area where I am super nervy and they bother me still. For someone else, might be great. Keep looking! Zappos is easy, quick and great for buying and trying shoes with free and easy returns. At work – I have a couple of suggestions…a chair to put your foot up to at least keep it horizontal so as not to swell too much. I bought an icing unit – air cast cryocuff ( think about 70.00). I fill with Ice and cold water in the morning and ice when needed. Only worked two half days so far though! Pillow between the legs – a big YES for me – for 22 years now – can’t sleep without!!! Try a nice down king size pillow for that. I hope whatever you try helps you! Peach Pie – YUM!!!!

    2. You’re on your way, Dolores! I love the “like a big person” remark. 😘 It’s a good day when we all get to put on our big girl (or boy for some of our mates here) pants.

      I went from the boot to hiking boots with nothing in between. Maybe others here will have a suggestion for you. Yes! Pillow between the knees. I still use that one, eight years later. I grew addicted to the comfort of it.

      Peace pie, eh? You’re doing great! Thanks for the words of strength and positivity. I share your well wishes for all the mother’s here. I know there’s a new mother we haven’t heard from since just before her surgery. I hope all is well with all of you!

      To your healing! If you get a moment, as the days and weeks progress, please send us an update. Once you’re up and running (pun intended!), things will get busy again, so no pressure.

    3. Jo

      Hi Delores. I remember going back to work felt so good. I was missing the routine of my work and the connections with my co-workers. I did find that I needed to ice and elevate as soon as I got home. And some days I needed to resort back to a prescription pain med for the evening. That didn’t last long, though.
      Regarding shoes – i started wearing a shoe about 12 weeks post op (almost two years ago today). I wore my Ecco walking sandals. They provided good support without putting pressure on my incisions. I was able to wear the ankle brace in them and eventually transitioned to a sock style ankle sleeve from Incrediwear that also worked with the Ecco sandal.
      Best wishes on your return to work.
      Jo

      1. Hard to believe it’s been 2 years! You’ve come a long way, Jo. I wish I had known about some of those accessories when I had my injury. Thanks for the tips and for chiming in. I hope all is going beautifully for you!

  9. LAT

    I broke my ankle in three places about a month ago and went through surgery. It has been very hard to be so dependent upon others. My family and friends have been wonderful but I find myself depressed because I am an active person and I’ve been pretty much been bedridden this whole time and I still have a ways to go to get back to walking.

    1. Jane Dev

      LAT, this is Jane. Hi, I am having a hard time for some reason following the posts. I have not seen a post from you yet personally, is this your first post? I am sorry if I missed something. I am always interested in meeting the new followers of Kendas blog and truly care about you and everyone on here. I am person who has found great comfort in this blog, all the other shared stories and the feeling of support and understanding. I am very sorry for you injury, and how you are feeling – all completely understandable. The physical pain is obviously a part of this, but the emotional challenge is what shocked me more than I could ever imagine, or even explain, except for on this blog! I sometimes still feel overcome by the emotions. Just yesterday, I was an old email from January 1 (my injury day) and seeing the date written down nearly brought tears to my eyes. This is a very difficult experience to go through and sometimes you may feel alone as you lay in bed or the couch and depend upon others. I felt like no one truly knew how I felt until I found this exchange. This left event will challenge you in many ways as you continue one day at at time to move forward, sometimes at a snails pace! From my standpoint, this is all normal. If I may suggest to take one day at at time – take a keep breath. That was one of the first pieces of advice I had, and as simple as it sounds, it helped. I hope it helps you. I literally took deep breaths. I found actually praying for others I had heard about who were also hurting in some way helped me to feel like I was helping others, somehow feeling useful. Feeling unproductive can be hard. Before my accident, I had purchased fabric to recover furniture and had planned on having my wood floors refinished. We had to wait on the floors, but I insisted that we get the furniture recovered, and insists that my living room be painted as scheduled – I felt productive from the couch! …and that was important to me. (truth be told, I was eventually pushing tables in my scooter – not smart and not advised!). Maybe there is something you can find, as small as it may be to feel productive and find some sense of minor independence. If not, it is absolutely OK because your body is working hard and you are being productive in your healing! Be patient with the process, be good to yourself. Patience is a virtue. Please be patient and just think that every day is a new day, every day something miraculous is happing in your body to heal your injury, every day truly is a gift. I do hope you start to feel better.

    2. Dear LAT,

      Thank you for joining our T-mal team here. I’m sorry for the circumstances that brought you here, but glad you’ve arrived. This is the hardest part, reconciling the situation while grappling with physical and emotional pain. You’ve gone through surgery, however, so one major milestone accomplished.

      Your depression is validated. Difficult is an understatement to go from being active and then getting smacked down to the point of being bedridden. Yes, you have a way to go before walking. But you can use this time to focus on healing in preparation for walking. Right now, it’s your time to focus on you. Jane gave some great advice about breathing and taking it one day at a time. Patience will become your best friend or your mortal enemy at this juncture. You get to choose to embrace or reject your inner patient (trying to make a pun here!).

      Please, check in and share your progress. It will happen, and I believe when someone takes the time to write out any progress (even very small milestones), there’s a sort of built-in acknowledgment. In turn, that acknowledgment is like an incentive to keep moving forward. Not sure if that makes sense. In short, take note of any progress!

      To your healing!
      Kenda

  10. Dolores

    I know it has been a while since an update. PT was prescribed after my last appointment with the OS. We stopped at the PT office in our local town on the way home from the appointment. Have been going twice a week, and seem to be coming along fairly well. The PT let me use one of their canes during therapy and it felt very freeing. Like I would be able to do more on my own, without as much assistance. Have been doing the exercises at least twice a day, when not at PT. Still icing the ankle, which is still swollen. Weekends we try and have a good dinner, and was able to make potato salad all by myself. Although, once I was done with that, I was so done. My ankle was throbbing, and my back was tired. It was nap time. I go to the OS on Monday, for the third followup. Hopefully he will let me know if I can drive, and possibly go back to work, a little early. I was holding off driving until not having to manuever a walker would make life easier. Once I get my cane, get out of my way! The only errands have been going to the OS appointments, and to PT. Was able to make it to church, finally, on Palm Sunday. That was tiring. Still wearing, and sleeping, with the cam boot on. The only time it comes off is for showering, and exercises, at home and PT. What a struggle to get my sneaker on for the exercises, with the ankle so swollen. Hopefully the cane will provide a little more freedom of movement around the house. Sleeping in my own bed, instead of my husband’s recliner will be wonderful. Getting up to the second floor was not high on the list. My husband has been really wonderful during all of this. Being my aide, and chauffeur. Also, our main bathroom is on the first floor of our home, and either the dog or the cat must accompany me, to make sure I get there safely. This would not have been safe if I was sleeping in our room, and trying to get to the small bathroom on our second floor, with a walker. This about it for now, and will keep you updated. Everyone, remember, take the time to heal, mentally and physically. This is a shock to your being. It will all get better for you. Stay positive.

    1. Jane Dev

      Dolores – I read your update. I have been trying to go back and read some of your old posts to find out when you had your accident but can’t find a way to get back to all those old posts I want to read! I agree that this is mentally and physically a shock to our life, mind and body. That is literally why I am so thankful to have this blog. This is literally a friend to me during this time. You are not alone!
      One thing that was frightening to me was not sleeping with a boot. The doctor said I could do that at five weeks out of surgery – I was terrified. I thought he was crazy! I actually came up with a transition of my own. I put a large tall knitted sock on my foot, up to mid calf, then I used a padding that came in my Plantar Fasciitis boot – kind of like quilt interlining but it was nice because it was like a boot liner just on the back side – and then I wrapped that loosely in an ace bandage. It gave me a safer feeling to sleep. Of course every time I got up to go potty I had to put on my boot for safety. Anyhow, maybe you could come up with something. I never thought that feeling of pressure and heavy feeling in my ankle and foot would ever go away, but it is – and for the most part, it has gone away. Also, I literally eventually loved my one crutch – gave me support and felt safe more than the cane for some reason, but if you are using the cane that is truly amazing progress! Seems like you are doing wonderfully and improving. You have to re read your own post to be reminded about all of these little improvements that are getting you one step closer to walking and independence. PT, cooking, cane, church (huge!), wearing a sneaker at times, and sleeping in your own bed – keep up the positive attitude and great work Dolores.

      1. I adore your input, Jane. Thank you for being such an upbeat addition to this blog and for your inspiring and kind words. I think your advice of transitioning out of the boot is fabulous!

        You are doing so well! 😍

        To your healing!

        PS: I forgot to add that I don’t know how to better organize the comments. If anyone here has WordPress experience and can suggest a way, I’m open to figuring it out. I, too, would like to see the comments displayed in a way that makes them easier to follow.

    2. I’m glad to hear from you, Dolores. Thank you for the update.

      Looks like you’re on your way! Well done on doing the PT exercises on your own at home!

      Not many folks may be able to understand the joy in being able to make potato salad by yourself, but I totally get it. It’s an accomplishment! I so remember feeling wiped out from what most folks take for granted as regular daily activities. I’m really glad you’re able to give yourself time to recover from them.

      How lovely the cane is giving you freedom to get around and even get to church. And yeah, swelling. It will be a part of your life for some time to come. Are you noticing if the swelling is decreasing? It’s so incremental sometimes, it’s difficult to note. Sleeping in your own bed is a worthwhile goal to have. That will feel good on many levels – a sense of normalcy, the ability to be horizontal, and comfort.

      Your hubby, cat, and dog all sound like a good team -keeping you well cared for and safe. It helps to be surrounded by love. ❤️

      Thank you for the update! One day, you’ll be walking and reflecting back on this journey, appreciating your ability to heal (like you said, mentally and physically) through this incredibly challenging situation. You’re getting there now!

      To your healing!

  11. Debbie

    Welcome Ariel. So sorry you had to join us, but we are here to support any way we can. My best two bits of advice: 1: accept all the help offered and don’t hesitate to ask for what you need. It’s hard but I bet your “mothers” want to be there for you. 2: borrow a wheelchair or buy a Rollatoror Walker ($59 Walmart) as it has a seat that you can sit on and push yourself around, get a knee scooter ($99)and a bathtub chair (amazon is the cheapest about $40 and gotta love delivery) and handheld shower attachment . And depending on your insurance these may be partially reimbursable. And, sorry, it 3 things, but ice and elevation REALLY help.
    Enjoy all those extra cuddles from your son.

  12. Jane Dev

    Ariel, I want to add – I saw that you are also very nervous. It is so understandable that you are nervous – this is a difficult thing to face but you will do it. I was told by someone a very simple thing – and that is to take a deep breath and take it one day at a time. Please let us know how it goes. You are very lucky to have found this site for support. I had my surgery on January 3rd and I would have loved to have this site back then for support. We have all been through this, and you will make it through too. I know you will hear from others friends on here too as everyone is wonderful – so please check back and stay in touch!

  13. Jane Dev

    (I hope it is ok to respond first!). Ariel, hello, I just saw your message before bed. I am just another person here on the blog who has taken comfort in this wonderful exchange. I am sure that you will hear from Kenda soon, she has been a blessing to all of us who have been through this, and a wealth of comfort and information. I am so sorry for your injury especially at such a special time your life. I have three kids and nursed my twins sitting on that couch for 14 hours a day doing so – so, lots of cuddling like you said. I hope this will go well tomorrow and you can continue to enjoy your little one. Please – take very good care of yourself and stay positive. We are here.

    1. Ariel

      Jane, thank you for your quick and welcoming response. Here’s hoping third times a charm for my reply (I’m on mobile and keep accidentally canceling my reply!). It’s so wonderful to find this community on the eve of my surgery. It’s comforting to know there are people to talk to. Kudos to you for breastfeeding twins during this ordeal!! One is a challenge. Luckily we finally got our groove and can (now sometimes quite literally) do it in our sleep. I’m so scared to leave him tomorrow, it’s the longest I’ll have ever been away. Mom and mother-in-law are here to care for him while we’re gone, but I’ll still miss him like crazy. He’s going through his 6 week growth spurt and wants mommy and milk more than ever. Tomorrow when I get home and steal his cuddles will be the greatest. Thank you again for the warm welcome. I’ve never felt compelled to join and online community or comment on a blog but this one felt right. I look forward to learning about everyone’s stories and recoveries. <3

      1. Ariel, I’m quite relieved to see that you have family support during this ordeal. No doubt the grandmothers will take excellent care of your little guy. I’ll bet a million bucks they are honored to show up and help out at this critical time. I hear you about being scared to leave him, and I hope the time passes quickly so you can get him back in your arms.

        Thank you for being a part of our little community. One day, you’ll look back on this with great relief that you overcome one of the most challenging moments in your life. It will happen.

        Wishing the very best and speediest outcome today! ❤️

        1. Jane Dev

          Ariel!! No! My bad! I nursed 21 years ago! 🤣🤣🤣 I’m saying I can relate to sitting on the couch for hours upon hours nursing and that it will be good cuddle time for YOU and your babe!! I’m 56 now!!😬! I think your youth will help healing too!!! Hope it went well!!

  14. Ariel

    I have my trimalleolar surgery tomorrow morning. I also had my first child 6 weeks ago. I’m so nervous and overwhelmed and it was wonderful to find your blog and reach someone who really knows what this is like. I look forward to reading the rest of your series as I recover from my surgery. Like you, I’m a go go go person and I think the universe just slowed me wayyyyy down. My current silver lining is this gives me lots more time to cuddle and breastfeed my son. Breastfeeding on top of this (and the limitations on meds) has added a whole next level aspect to this.

    1. Dear Ariel, thank you for connecting and welcome to the Tri-mal club. I’m sorry for the circumstance that brought you here, yet am glad you’ve reached out. I was reading your comment and thinking that you’re a hero for being a new, breastfeeding mom who has to go through this without meds. That sense of feeling overwhelmed and your nervousness are totally valid. Please know you’re not alone in this, even if it may feel like it sometimes as you may find others could not possibly understand the worry and discomfort (pain) that comes with this injury, especially at the beginning. We do. We get it.

      I will be thinking about you today as you undergo surgery. This is the first and most important step to your healing. When you get through this, a major hurdle has been overcome. Yep. The universe is slowing you waaaayyyy down for sure! Let the cuddling begin!

      To your healing!

      PS: I’d love to know how you’re managing the pain. I’m also curious to know if you can breastfeed after anesthesia. Please educate us on that if/when you feel like it. I think you’re the first breastfeeding mom to be a part of this thread, yet others are probably reading. Any tips or advice are welcomed!

    2. Dolores

      Just thought I would update. There is light at the end of the (long) tunnel. This is the second week I have been back to work. Three days a week, for six hours a day. That is more part time than before my injury/surgery. But definitely enough. Beat by the time I get home. Two of the days are longer as I go to PT right after work. Get home, eat dinner, ice and elevate my ankle. Try not to fall asleep in my chair. Does not always work. If the nap lasts two hours I will stay awake until 1:00 am. No bueno! Especially when I need at least 5 straight hours of good sleep. A previous post mentioned body temperature being out of whack. Ain’t the truth! Being post menopausal, this has screwed up my body temperature worse than before. The swelling in the left ankle seems to go down a very little bit. If I over tire myself, it swells. This past weekend, my husband and I drove to Utica NY, to visit my daughter and her fiancé. This 2-1/2 hour drive, one way, did not make for a comfortable ride. Hobbling around their apartment was different. My ankle had to work harder as their bathroom was on the second floor, of an apartment with “granny” stairs. Anyone with a much older home knows what those are. Still trying to get the swelling to go down. Thank goodness PT today had the ice boot at the end. My favorite part. Still walking with a cane, but getting better. Finally took a “big girl” shower, did not use the shower chair. Finally feel comfortable standing in the shower, and my husband put the shower doors back on. Getting there one tentative step at a time. Everyone heals at a different pace. Don’t get discouraged. It will get better, and don’t push too hard. You don’t want any setbacks. Next OS appointment is June 17th. We will see how it goes. Before I forget, had my regular doctor appointment this past week. I showed him my last X-ray, with my new jewelry. He was amazed. I always take an image of the current X-ray. See him in December, he said he expects that I will be dancing. We will see. That is about it for this update. Everyone, stay positive, don’t overexert, journal your feelings if needed, pray if needed, stay on this blog. Suggestions and other insights are helpful along the way.

      1. Jane Dev

        Dolores! Great to hear your update. It’s so hard to keep track Of everyone’s time line. I should go back and write them down! Or at the end of our posts we can put in parentheses either injury date or number of months out? That would be helpful! Sounds like you are doing well. I loved the ice boot so much that I bought one! pT and doctor said I would have swelling for a year so why not ! When we travel in the car or plane I bring it with. I fill up the cooler with ice water and have icing on hand. Came in so handy for daughters graduation in the hotel every night and brought in car between events. If I already said this just ignore me!!! ( Jan 1st, 5 months)

        1. Brilliant idea, Jane! I hope others read your comment and write in their injury timing. I sure wish I had heard of this ice boot when I was healing. Sounds like a good thing to have in the healing toolbox.

          Are you any of you, per chance, wearing compression socks when traveling? I forgot to mention that in the response I just wrote to Dolores. They helped me immensely while traveling. I still wear them just out of habit now.

          I appreciate your insight, Jane.

          To your healing 💕

          (July 5, 2011 – exactly 7 years, 11 months!!)

      2. I so appreciate your updates, Dolores! You sure have reached a lot of milestones since last writing in. It’s a BIG deal to go back to work, and you’re doing it. Two weeks now. Well done. I know it takes a toll. Your body is still healing. Most folks have no idea (if they haven’t had this kind of injury) how much energy it takes to heal. I like this ice boot thing you mention. Sounds like a good plan to use it every time you go to PT.

        Looks like some challenges still exist, yet the accomplishments look bigger than the challenges from my perch! I mean, you took a “big girl” shower! That’s huge too! I remember my first stand-up shower. I was so nervous about slipping. I left my right leg unshaved for quite some time as I was afraid to stand on the healing ankle in the shower. Eventually, the fear dropped away and courage seeped in day by day. I believe it’s a part of this process. It’s like an opportunity to find ourselves again. A rediscovery process, if you will.

        Thank you again for the update. I think about you all and really appreciating hearing how you’re doing. And thanks for the words of wisdom. 💕

        To your healing!!

  15. Jane Dev

    Thanks Debbie. I am at 15 weeks now. Physical therapy said I have to be able to get out of the car if needed in an accident without any assisted device – no crutches, no cane to avoid being sued. And they said I have to be confident to be able to slam on the brakes if needed! I have been thinking of going and sitting in the car to do what you did – I guess I will! I have been pedaling on that little pedaling device and increasing resistance which should help. Just stiff at times for sure. Thanks so much!

      1. Jane Dev

        Kenda I’ve thought of that with the stress fracture. I asked last time and he said well if you did it’s had all the time to rest and heal – that kind of answer! Made sense. That and PF is what’s holding me back I think. And I had so much numbness too. Much has come back. Top of foot last to get better. Very nervy to touch. And did yours go away? The bottom of foot feeling seems to be better. The big toe on the side still a little strange sensation. Thanks!!

        1. Okay. Well, I guess that question is answered.

          Yes, for the most part the numbness went away. The top of my foot was the last place my nerves healed. There’s still one tiny patch at the base of my big toe that is kind of numb. I do not notice it unless I look for it. It’s a faint numbness unlike a new injury numbness. And nothing like that weird-tingling-numb feeling I had on my leg. Even shaving skeeved me out. That was the first to heal. ❤️

          1. Jane Dev

            All good to know. The top of my foot and where foot meets leg is very nervy. Like if I touch with my finger tips it tingles. I have one spot at the large knuckle before the. Oh toe that has like a horizontal nerve pain only sometimes. Strange we had the same area. And the scar on the inside is numb too. That’s where the ankle dislocated and I had lots of pressure on that side. I thought I had an open sore for weeks only to finally realize it was nerves. And I thought I had tape on the bottom of my foot when I had the cast. All nerves! He stuck my foot with a pin when I got the cast off…many spots felt nothing but seems just about fine now. #blessings. So thankful.

            1. A friend of mine, a body worker, told me to (several times a day) touch the numb areas with various textures to stimulate the nerves. I found myself grabbing all kinds of things – different clothing items (various textures), socks, wash cloths (wet and dry), brushes (including paint brushes), even tapping the area with my fingers. Maybe it helped?

        2. DeeDee

          Jane

          I had numbness too. I had it on top from the big toe back towards the ankle and by all my scars. Doctor said nerve endings come back about 1 centimeter a month. He was right. I had about 5 centimeters and it took about 5 months

          1. DeeDee

            Hi Everyone

            Well I found out what part of my problem is by OS. My screws up front are right by my tendon sheeth and probably causing a bit of inflammation when I walk/dorsiflex. He wants to wait until Sept to remove them. Okay please chime in on how LONG this recovery is going to take. He is removing my plate too with 7screws and the medial too.

            1. I find myself feeling great relief knowing that you have the cause to the tendon issue. This may be useful to others as well who are having tendon issues. The recovery will be so easy, especially compared to the ORIF. I was walking unassisted in less than 2 weeks after having my metal removed. It was practically painless (and I’m almost ultra sensitive!), again, compared to the ORIF. Add to it, I felt great relief having the metal out. I realize it’s not for everyone, but the doc identified an actual issue you’re having. I’m placing my bets on your having a good outcome. 💕

          2. Jane Dev

            Dee Dee, Kenda – I was away for the weekend! thank you for the information on all the nerviness. I will continue to be patient and use my brushing and facecloth and all that! And appreciate the information on the monthly progress to be patient for! Even though he said I the bone is healed (which I suppose that means it’s now one chunk), the area on the side that was all comminuted in little pieces continues to be painful when trying to walk – so I think it is still strengthening and solidifying! Patience I suppose. I heard back today from the girl I met at the doctors office who had a ton of hardware removed six weeks ago. She said she is doing well, back in PT, but she said the removal of the hardware was the right decision for her and she is happy with the progress! (I actually gave her the information on this exchange and we may meet her here. We will see!).

            1. Jane, so I admire your enthusiasm for healing. My best guess is that you’re right about the area with the little pieces especially if the X-rays show that everything is progressing. I would still ask the PT to clarify that – the pain in that particular area. It’s hard to know what’s causing the pain sometimes. I think the muscles are all trying to figure out how to get back to normal, too. And the nerves are all rewiring and healing. There’s a lot of activity going on in that foot/ankle.

              Thanks for sharing the blog to the woman who had the hardware removed. I hope she joins us and shares her metal removal experience.

              To your healing!

  16. Debbie

    Jane, the official time for driving is 9-12 weeks. I was closer to the 12 week time. I would drive to the grocery store where I would throw the crutches into the cart then practice not limping by consciously pushing the grocery 🛒. Before that I would sit in the car and practice pushing the pedal to strengthen the muscles and increase my flexion. Let me tell you, I couldn’t believe how good it felt getting that independence back. Your day will come. It’s not a race.

  17. Jane Dev

    Love it! My husband Paul and I were talking last night saying, how could biking not be somewhat weight bearing! I get swimming isn’t. I am so glad to hear. I bought a little peddler recently that I have been using. I like it and hope it helps me get back to driving sooon. When did everyone else start driving the car – I may be being super/too cautious.

    1. DeeDee

      I did not start driving until 15 weeks because I was worried about the tension on the pedal. At 12 weeks I could take a shower, dress myself, start sleeping on my side with a pillow between my legs (side that wasn’t injured), make myself breakfast and very very light housework. I still needed help with my hands getting off the couch and could not go up stairs or down (except like a toddler), I could walk 8 minutes without limping. There was a crap load of stuff I couldn’t do well and even now still a crap load I can’t do. I’ll never figure skate again because the risk is not worth the reward (I actually was quite good at it). I’m a slow healer and like I said when I do too much mr tendinitis sets in. But hey we are upright

      1. Jane Dev

        Thanks! Love all this to give me bench marks. Sounds like you’ve been doing amazing with walking for a longtime. (I also broke both sides and dislocated, not tri). I walk but need more strength in leg to get more confidence. I hope I don’t get the tendinitis as I had before but on other leg. The main thing right now holding me back and would love to know if anyone else has/had is the bones and muscles or something in the top of my foot still hurt a great deal when I walk. Especially at the toe bend part of gait. Kenda did you have this. Seeing doc tomorrow and will ask. Going to try to walk in appt without crutch or cane. PT challenging me to try as I do walk well at PT (with foot pain!). Will see🤞

        1. Jane, I don’t remember specifically if I had the top of foot pain like you described. I do remember, however, having pain when I was “learning” to walk again. For me, I think the bigger issue on the top of my foot was numbness. It took a while for those nerves to heal. I’m wondering…any chance you have a stress fracture on top of your foot? I’m guessing they x-rayed everything tho. Maybe others could chime in about the top-o-foot pain.

          Keep on healing on! Look how far you’ve come!

      2. You’re so organized for logging all of that, DeeDee! Well done. Could figure skating be in your future again if you were fully geared up? I had an ice skating party for my 48th birthday, and brought knee pads. 🙂 You are upright, indeed, and I think you’re doing really well.

    2. I was a late bloomer in my post-recovery driving. Since I had to have my syndesmosis screw operation at 12 weeks, I wasn’t driving until a couple weeks after that. Not sure (I’d actually have to read through the blog to check haha), but I think I was driving at 16 weeks.

      1. Jane Dev

        Thanks Kenda. You did well! And I ready about your skating party at 48. I wouldn’t dare! Even before I gave up skating because of my bad back. Soooo, I went to my surgeon today. He said the bones are healed. I held his hands and said Thank God. The bones inside are not pretty – very uneven on the sides where the comminuted fracture was but he said it’s healed!. And obvi to keep gaining confidence, strength and ROM. I did walk in there without crutches or cane but I’m not ready to totally ditch them just yet In life! My PT laughs when I hug my crutch! 💕 Paul laughed today when I wanted to go to the school parking lot to try out driving! I thought…we last did the parking lot almost six years ago with our twins, our last “teenage drivers!” And now me?!

        1. Good news, Jane!

          I don’t really understand the uneven sides part. Maybe when this is all over, you can decorate your crutch and hang it (her?) up somewhere. 🙂 Or burn it!

          You and Paul are precious. Love that you want to practice driving. 😘

  18. Jane Dev

    Dee Dee, thank you. It still does shake me bit when I think about your friend because I remember last year at some point, I missed a step! Talking to a friend just a few weeks ago, she told me she missed one or two steps and I cannot remember if she fell or not but it shook her – because she saw what happened to me in my closet! I too thought I was so careful, but not careful enough. I am trying to make a deal with myself to be careful. And if I hear myself say – ” it will be fine, or start a though with “it’s just” – then I will think twice and take any the extra effort” !! I was talking to my husband about riding a bike and I told him, I am just not sure it’s worth it. (And I said, it does not even help build bone density so what’s the point! – hahah!) Anyhow, thanks again, I said a small prayer last night for your friend and for all of us too! er

    1. All good points, Jane! You and DeeDee are both offering good reminders for the rest of us to keep paying attention to the thoughts in our heads and our actions.

      I love bike riding and was just reading about whether or not it can help with bone density. Most articles say, “no” but I just found one written by a doctor (who wrote a book about osteoporosis) who says it can help as it’s considered weight bearing for hips and legs. I’d love to hear some of our in-house (in-blog?) medical professionals’ thoughts on that.

  19. Jane Dev

    Kenda – what is the tens unit you are referring to? I try to do everything that I can! I would like to ask PT. Also, I have a unit here that my son used way back when he had a back issue – I wonder if it is the same thing – that was more for pain I think. Thanks, Jane

    1. That might be the same device your son used. A TENS is probably most used for managing pain, but my understanding is it helps with blood flow and healing. Ask your PT about it and let me know, kay?

  20. Jane Dev

    I adore all of you and all of the comments that help me feel that I am not alone in this journey! I feel blessed for that. And my husband wants everyone to know he is a good guy! Haha! He was laughing when I told him what I wrote! I guess he was really just asking for specifics!

    1. I know your husband is a good guy. I knew that from the very beginning of your posts. Please tell him I think he’s doing a great job, and I know that being a caregiver is not an easy job, even for a great patient like yourself. 💕😘❤️

      1. Jane Dev

        Awwe!! I am glad- don’t want to throw my guy under the bus! I think reading “Dee Dee’s update though helped to put things in even more perspective – even 6 months out where I may be. I think she is doing amazing!

  21. Nancy

    Hi DeeDee-
    I had surgery to remove one plate, 8 screws and one button six weeks ago on my outer right ankle. I still have a large screw, a wire and one button on my left side of the right ankle. My surgery was the result of an infection in my surgical incision and was not planned for hardware removal. I was quite surprised when I woke up from surgery for a wound debriment to find a bag of hardware large enough to belong in Home Depot😂

    I am an active 72 years old and my original surgery was September 2018 so I definitely thought I was getting DONE with my trimal journey- a second surgery was a shock! To make a very long eight month story short- the hardware removal surgery was not bad and the recovery was much easier then the first surgery. I am back in PT and walking without any assists. I don’t have much pain but I still have limited dorsalflexion and my foot swells when I am active. I don’t have osteoporosis or osteopenia, but my age certainly has been a factor in my lengthy recovery. I hope I have answered some of your questions
    and worries-as the Kenda’s blog says- You will get better- the tough stuff is already over!
    Take care-
    Nancy

    1. 💕 Thank you, Nancy. I chuckled when reading your Home Depot comment. 🙂 What a surprise tho! Glad you were able to get that infection straightened out.

      And while it may not seem like it now, I think you’re so fortunate to have made it through menopause without bone density issues. Well done on that!

      Keep working on that dorsiflexion. It’ll continue to improve. Sometimes the scar tissue gets in the way, too. If so, your PT could zap it with the TENS or deep tissue massage may help. The swelling is still normal, even 8 months out and especially with the added complication. My hope is that you’re noticing less swelling as the days and weeks pass.

      To your healing!

  22. Debbie

    Jane, I can totally understand your not wanting more surgery. I’m sure they would want to wait now anyway. Hopefully it will improve without surgery. But yes, the surgery is basically making a couple very small incisions and a couple small snips inside to release the cause of the tightness and pain. I need to quiz my doc about heel padding loss.

      1. DeeDee

        6 month update. Walk with slight limp when not thinking about gait. Ankle still swells and foot turns slight shade of pink after being on it but goes away with elevation and ice. Tendinitis still on one side but not both. After 4000 steps to 5000 steps I’m spent for the day. Can walk 3/4 mile on treadmill for 20 minutes then sore and start to feel tendinitis and get a slight limp. Walking outside on wonky sidewalks, I don’t do as well and seem to struggle more with limping and pain. Can go up stairs but not down with one leg in front of the other. Stiff when wake up and must stretch everyday at least a couple times a day. Yesterday I did 4500 steps st the end of my day and I was sore. I think I can feel my screws in front. Trust me there is not a day that goes by that I just forget my ankle at this point. It’s a daily reminder that I screwed up and fell down my stairs. It could be worse, a friend missed only 1 or 2 steps carrying something and is a quadriplegic. I’m grateful for what I have but occasionally miss what I am unable to do or get frustrated with the pain. It’s normal but everyday is a gift

        1. Jane Dev

          DeeDee. When reading your update I could feel for you even though I’m only just over three months out. My therapist says recovery is a roller coaster. You sound like you are doing amazing. I’m upset for your tendinitis- we could do better without all the side shows injuries! My husband asked me this weekend…why do you limp. The question shocked me …I can’t get it out of my head. I told him how I felt at bed time last night- And today I just think …maybe he he just doesn’t get it. But I am sorry for your struggles. I struggle with confidence and doubt and now when you wrote about your friend who missed the two steps I am so freaked out – so upset for her and it makes me even more nervous. 🙏

          1. A roller coaster indeed! Your therapist nailed it, Jane.

            And you’re right. Folks who have not had this injury truly have little idea of the difficulties. It would take the compassion of Buddha for someone who hasn’t been there to understand. Still, it can be frustrating when a partner asks questions that demonstrate their own lack of understanding of the hardships of a Tri-mal. It’s good you can talk with him. He seems like a good guy who has been showing up for you. I hope your chat straightened things out.

            I found myself feeling shaken by DeeDee’s friend’s injury, too. I reminded myself that anything can happen at any time, and if I fret about all the possible injuries/accidents/diseases that I or my loved ones could get, then I’d never leave my house and would definitely never climb stairs.😘 For the most part, our days are filled with neutral happenings, but those things don’t steal our attention away like all the possible bad stuff that rarely comes to fruition. If only the good things commanded as much attention.

            To your healing, Jane! You’re doing great!

          2. DeeDee

            Hi Jane

            I want to clarify what I wrote about my friend. She was going downstairs with her hands full and not able to see her feet when looking down, she thought she was at the bottom stair and could just “walk” off. Disaster struck, she was unable to catch herself when falling forward (hands full of stuff in front of her). She was NOT holding the railing, she was u aware where her feet were and where the stairs were and she was rushing that day trying to get things done. Guaranteed none of us will probably do any of those things anymore knowing the seriousness of our injury. Her injury did not make me hold the railing. I fell down my stairs. This TM injury changed everything and makes me careful EVERYWHERE! I always know where my feet are on sidewalks, parking lots and stairways. I’m more careful now. I try not to rush (physically impossible) and I pay attention to my surroundings more. I guess the reason I mention her is because when we have a hard day or even terrible day, just think we can go outside, take a shower standing up, do light housework, etc. When I have bad days and I morn what I lost, I think “chin up” it could be much much worse.

            1. Eight years later, and I’m still aware of where I put my feet most days. I have had a couple moments of not thinking about it, which is both good and bad! Oh how my heart goes out to your friend. Sending all ya’ll healing thoughts…💕

        2. Thanks for the update, DeeDee. I do believe the day will come when you’re not reminded about the ankle. I recall feeling wonky going down stairs, too. It was almost like my body couldn’t figure out how to do it. After a while, it all came back. It just takes time. That’s the hardest part about this injury. It’ll get better…it just takes time.

          Your activity level is impressive. I sure hope you’re still taking that vacation. I’m guessing you need it more than ever.

          The story about your friend wrenches my heart. Tragic and troubling. Thanks for the reminder that every day is a gift.

          To your healing! 💕

    1. Thanks for this info, Debbie. It’s good stuff, and I’m relieved to know there are some simple treatments (albeit surgical) for PF. I know how annoyingly painful it can be. I would love to hear what your doc says about padding loss – on heels and the balls of feet. That’s where my pad loss is. I’m assuming it’s from a lifetime of distance running, but maybe it’s something else?

      Really appreciate your participation here…thank you.

      1. Debbie

        Heel padding update: it does seem to be caused by wear and tear either from activities like your long distance running or from gait issues that put increased pressure on these areas causing them to wear more. Rest and antiinflammatories seem to be of some help. Also wearing gel type insoles to make up for the loss.
        Jane- he says he wonders if you have PF or the symptoms are from your thinning pads and the stress on the arch. Could be both though. Damn, it’s not fun getting older!

        On osteoporosis- my personal opinion, which is only my opinion, is genetics is a big factor. I’m 63 and so far have been lucky to have minimal loss. I do believe Vitamin D is a factor though, my excuse to get out into the sun! I was happy to learn that ankle fractures evidently do not happen due to osteoporosis, but rather the torque of the fall.

        1. Debbie, this is very helpful. Please thank your doc for me. I need to check into gel insoles.

          Your genetics thought makes sense. Well done on you for only having minimal loss. I guess I better stop dousing my skin in sunscreen and shift my focus to finding a balance of protection and getting natural Vitamin D. My skin is paying for underprotection from youth, and my bones are paying for overprotection in middle age! In the words of my dad (RIP), old age ain’t for sissies! 😘

          My doc said the same thing about torque being the cause of (versus impact) ankle fractures.

          Appreciate your insight. Thank you!

  23. Jane Dev

    Try it – done by physical therapist. Game changer for me. That and my bi monthly massages for my back over past five years has really helped me… despite my set backs!

    1. Debbie

      Jane, Have you had steroid injections for your PF? I work with a Podiatrist who believes if symptoms are no better with treatment after one year, then you should consider surgery. This is basically a carpal tunnel like surgery- very quick and good results.

      1. Jane Dev

        Hi Debbie. I did have one or two steroid injections early on. I read they are not great because I already have a thinner heel pad as I have very thin feet too and can make that worse. I did do the PRP injection after a year in both feet and it did help. Ironically I’m not a lover of surgery albeit this time with the injury I had no choice! The injury seemed to bring it back into play in a bigger way again. The dry needling is keeping the pain down some and I pray with time it will heal🙏🙏🙏. I could not face surgery again now. You are so kind to respond. Thank you for your recommendations and I did not know it’s quick and easy. Is that the one that puts little cuts in it?

        1. I didn’t realize one could do PRP for foot padding. I was told last year by a podiatrist that the padding on my feet is thin, which the cause of some discomfort. This doc said nothing could be done about it because “fillers” aren’t lasting. I didn’t even consider PRP. Thanks for that idea. 😘

          Does anyone else have any suggestions for dealing with foot padding that’s thinning?

          PS: Just read this again. It looks like the PRP was for your PF? Sorry for any confusion.

          1. Jane Dev

            Hey. I did not do PRP for the thinning heel pad, I did it for the plantar fasciitis because many times cortisone shots can be used for PF. I read however that Repeated cortisone could cause even more thinning of the foot pads. NOTE: This is something I read and for that reason I opted to do the PRP instead – but again for the PF. Maybe something to ask the doctor as far as PRP for the foot pad! Let me know!

  24. DeeDee

    Hi Delores

    Yes I have Osteopenia too. Same thing. A 50 years old normal and at 55 a nose dive to Osteopenia. I wonder what impact this is having on our healing too. I find that the younger crowd (before menopause seem to have an easier time at this). I wonder how many of us are over 50 when this happened. I broke my ankle falling down the stairs in October.

    1. Thanks for sharing that, DeeDee. I’m curious to know what a nose dive to osteopenia means. You both mentioned that. I realize that’s very personal info, so no pressure at all sharing here publicly.

      I thank you both for bringing up this topic. It’s a really important one!

      1. DeeDee

        Kenda

        Strangely I had a bone density test done at 50 right as I went into menopause. All was normal under – 1. Now that I had this TM fracture I did a new one almost 4.5 years later and I am -1.8 in neck and spine. I’m going to ask my doctor about it. I have 1200 mags of calcium and 2000 iu of vitamin D3 plus magnesium and k2. So who knows. Does anyone do more D3? I eat mostly plant based diet. My PT says start weight baring activity now! I’m talking with my OS this week about it. I was running before everyday but apparently not enough to spare me. My question to anyone over 50 did you have hardware removed? Were you Osteopenia? If so how did you heal? I wonder if Jo or Paulette are still on here because they are older and a few years out. Hoping Anyone chimes in

        1. Jane Dev

          Hello. My sister has great bone density and takes so much D 3. She takes like 10k units and has been told it’s too much. I take a lot but not that much and I hope the drops are good since I take a couple of the 2000 per day plus what is in my Nordic Naturals. I’m interested in any osteopenia information too!! Thank you Kenda again for this entire blog!

        2. Hey DeeDee,

          I hope those over 50 with osteopenia chime in about metal removal. I’m curious too.

          It seems totally unfair that women lose their estrogen and their bones start to degrade (not to mention other things sigh). I mean, what kind of designing is THAT? I recall a family member telling me her doc told her to boost her Vit D to 5000 IU/day. Still, I would get a doc’s blessing before doing that.

          It looks like you’re really on top of it. I see you’re also taking in nutrients that help the absorption of Vit D. Boron and Zinc may help as well, but with a mostly plant-based diet, you’re probably getting that stuff already. I’m right in the mix now, too, figuring this all out. I take Vitamin D drops every few days, but because I have little control over how many drops come out (I have to basically shake the little jar to get them out), I’m probably getting about 3000-5000 per dose; hence every few days instead of daily.

          I so appreciate the direction of this conversation as it’s important to many of us here. ❤️

  25. Jane Dev

    Kenda,
    All fractures it seems. Never mentioned stress fractures. Looks more like pieces of bone, or crushed bone and splintering. A lot of movement in the joint and bone due to the dislocation towards the medial side. Not sure if this is different with osteopenia.

    1. Okay. Thanks for answering that question. I’ve read other comments from folks who have had multiple pieces of bone broken. It never crossed my mind that was a result of osteopenia. Maybe for some, it’s also the angle from which they fall/land?

      1. Jane Dev

        I can say that the surgeon said vitamin D vitamin D vitamin D! . I’ve taken a good amount over the years but now I am faithful daily and Also work to get the 1200 mg per day of calcium. I am always looking to learn as much as I can. The surgeon did say we may need to revisit medication but I m so against any medications ….but then again that’s how I got here because I did not want to take so much calcium. I try to get most through diet and I drink almond milk in my bone building shake daily and try to get another glass each day and green leafy veggies too and then supplement as needed. If anyone else has any other insights I’d love to hear. I’m so afraid of this happening again. I want to feel strong and confident again while being realistically cautious.
        So by tanking on bone density, I can give some specifics for you. I am an open book, ask away. So at just under 51 years I was normal for all three areas – spine was-1.0, neck left -1.3 and neck right .9 (femurs). Total mean was 0. Confusing to me. At age 54.2 osteopenia in all categories. Spine was -2.0, said it was down 10.9%, neck left -1.8 down 7.6%. right neck -1.7 down 12.1%. Total mean was down 20.8%.
        Way down. Then this December 2018 at 56.2 I was down 5.1% more to – 2.4 in spine and down 6% more in left neck to -2.1 and down 2.7% in right neck to a -1.8. The mean was down 5.6%. I felt hopeful that I went from a decrease of over 20% to a decrease of 5.6% like I had slowed things down. Still bad though. IF I had focused on more calcium and being more faithful with all my D over the past five years and I did not have to stop walking for three years because of plantar fasciitis maybe I could have been better off. As best I can tell watch the calcium. Keep exercising and take D,D,D. -2.5 is osteoporosis and like my spine is at -2.4. I have a neighbor who has to take shots daily now and she fell on the ice this year and did not break a thing. I think it does depend one on the circumstance of an accident as well. Stuff happens. My 21 year old son was just hit in a game and two bones in his back broke from the muscle contracture.

        1. Jane, this is a very helpful post. Thank you for being so open about sharing your bone density info and the advice of your surgeon. I gave myself a little extra Vitamin D today in your honor. It does sound like some of the actions you have been taking had a positive effect given how the percentage of decline slowed. I also wonder if there’s any kind of weight bearing exercise you can do (once you’re healed!) that wouldn’t exacerbate plantar fasciitis or if there is a way to heal it so you can get back to walking? I’ll be curious to hear how that all unfolds. Would it be possible to tell your PT about the plantar fasciitis to see if s/he can give your some pointers while you’re working on healing your ankle? Apologies if I’m throwing a bunch of solutions at you at a time you may just need to deal with what’s in front of you.

          I totally agree that the circumstance of an accident helps determine the outcome. I was told that my injury was a result of torque as, supposedly, is the case in a majority of Tri-mals. My doc told me that usually 1 or 2 breaks is a result of impact whereas 3 is a result of torque. I’m guessing there are folks who will disagree with this.

          It sounds like the medication is working for your neighbor. My mother has severe osteoporosis. She’s been on medication and took a fall on the ice – nothing. She was a little sore, but no broken bones. While I prefer to handle my health in a natural way, I also see the value of western medicine! I was “put back together” thanks to it! And your son – is he okay?

          1. Jane Dev

            No problem. I value to exchange of information. Yes the OT is now helping as I am walking some now. She is dry needling the foot which is helping. We are trying to advance without heightening the PF! Tricky. I do a lot of foam rolling! And trying to get some calf strength is paramount now with out again irritating the PF. The surgeon had hoped the immobility might have helped it but so far it’s still an issue. But hey things could be worse! I like to do things naturally as well. I appreciate that. Be proactive now though. Bone density I believe is hard to improve naturally. I MAY be able to stabilize it and slightly improve naturally from what I read. Weight bearing is tricky with foot issues as many can likely attest. My sons injury should heal fine but crazy. Interesting on the torque versus impact. When the ER said the talus was broken and the OS said it wasn’t, it was confusing but I feel ever so lucky for sure! Your ROM sounds so good. I have always been able to point my toes right to the floor, very flexible and I can’t seem to get to that!

            1. Hi Jane,

              I never heard of dry needling before this! I just looked it up. Do you notice how it’s helping?

              All good points and advice about the bones. Thank you.

              Your ROM will continue to improve with PT. You have a great attitude. Keep it up and let the healing continue!

  26. Jane Dev

    Kenda,I hope I won’t be kicked of for being a Bi instead of Tri! :). I am so thankful to be on this and reading all the experiences. And I am grateful for not breaking the talus too! It’s been a heck of a journey even still. When I first saw the surgeon, he said, Yah, Bimalleolar pretty common – like no biggie. My husband and I were like, ok, cool.. cuz we thought it was a Trimal. Then he walked back in after looking at the x – rays and said, yah, umm, this is not what I thought it was going to be, do you have osteopenia?

    1. You are welcome here for as long you need to be here! We don’t discriminate between types of ankle fractures. 🙂 I welcome others with different types of breaks if they need to be here.

      I’m so curious about how the osteopenia impacts your injury. I’m certain other women on this forum also dealt with that and would like to hear their thoughts. I know I have a little osteopenia now in my back but not, as far as I know, if my ankles. Could the doc actually see it on your X-rays? Did he state any specific difficulties?

      1. Jane Dev

        Kenda, I was shocked when the doc walked back into the room and asked me if I had osteopenia. Somehow hearing him say that made it more real than ever. I had bone density when I was 51- fine. At 53 – started to decrease a little. At 55, it had taken quite a nose dive. I felt like I was such a healthy eater that I just started to take one calcium a day faithfully, and took lots of Vitamin D. I should have taken more calcium, and really watched it closely from 53. I struggled with not wanting to have too much calcium. I had just had my bone density scan about a week before the fracture and it had decreased small amounts, so the progression slowed significantly. They said you have to be careful for sure. I said, OH, I am careful! Boy I ate those words! So, the deal was that the bones broke “in a way that he would not have expected for someone who did not have osteopenia”. I only know that my fibula broke in one area where it was in so many small in pieces. He did not expect the breaks I had from falling off an ottoman – the complexity of the fracture. I personally feel it was partially also that I have very loose joints and my ankle had tipped over twice that week and was unstable. The dislocation along with falling off the ottoman caused the injury; I do accept it was worse because of bone density. He told us that it was not his most difficult case, but it would be a tough one for sure – again prob because of the osteopenia I think. He was not able to surgically repair that part of the bone and said that since it was still in the bone sheath, he would leave those pieces to heal naturally, and hopefully it would. He did not want to disturb the vasculature that was there. It does have a plate along the side, a long one and he did have to use traction on the bone to get it back to it’s normal length. It is braced above and below that to deal with the other fractures above and below that one area. When I told hi that area continues to hurt when I walk three weeks back, he said that is the area where it broke in pieces. I guess bones that have osteopenia can take longer to heal. For some reason, he also says that the tibia was also a difficult fracture/ repair – but I see two screws like everyone else. So maybe he saw something there in the way the tibia broke as well? It is hard to see on an x ray due to the screws, but he hopes it is knitting well. I have started to take the homeopathic medicine for bone healing just as an extra measure, and I have started to do PEMF therapy on my own as well. This is used for non – union fractures (which I do not seem to have) but I have a friend who sells these devices in another state and recommended using it as well for good measure and that it could not hurt. It is my understanding that bones with osteopenia can take longer to heal. At five weeks though, he had me starting with 25 to 50% WB and after I fell at 8 weeks out on my scooter and the hardware held, he said that he was “being cautious because of your osteopenia” but now, let’s get going with no restrictions. It has taken me another five weeks to go full weight bearing. I may be a couple of weeks behind others but I have been pushing myself based upon my own pain an everyone is different. I searched back and did not see osteopenia mentioned on the site. I feel like the osteopenia is another reason I have PTSD – I have to be careful. I mean, if I had been on a step stool this would not have happened!!!

        1. Thanks for all the info, Jane. This is really waking me up to the potential issues of the Tri-mal with osteopenia. On the one hand, your OS was being extra cautious, yet on the other he had you up to 50% weight bearing at 5 weeks. To me, that sounds early! Looks like he has his confidence back in your recovery/healing ability.

          You’re right. Osteopenia, as far as I recall, has not been mentioned. I’m so grateful you’re bringing it up. When I fell, I was early-mid 40s and osteopenia wasn’t anywhere on my radar. It is now that I’m post-menopausal. Surely, this has impacted others here, so thank you for broaching the topic. I think we could have some rich dialogue here about it.

  27. Dolores

    Just got back from my second post op appointment. Had new X-rays done, and was told everything is looking good. When the PA came in, she saw that there were two staples that were inadvertently left in my ankle. They were covered up by the scabbing. No biggie. She just used the staple remover for them. She also removed the tapes that were place during over the stitches at the last appointment. I was told they would come off in 7-10 days. I did not want to remove them myself, as I did not want any of the screws flying out of my ankle. (😉😉) I was told that I could start putting 50% weight on my ankle, and start PT. We stopped at the PT office in the local town, and got an appointment for this Wednesday to start. Have another follow up with the OS in four weeks to see how i am progressing. Hopefully I can go back to work, on a minimal basis. It is very difficult to have to be so dependent on my husband for so much, that I was always able to do on my own. I keep praying that he will stop stressing over everything, and that we will get through this. I just do not like being a burden on anyone. Whether it is my family, or anyone else. So I just keep praying that I will heal quickly and be able to do more, and more, on my own. Thank you for this sight. It has been helpful. Everyone have a great day.

    1. Hi Dolores,

      I smiled out loud when reading “no biggie” about the two staples they left in your ankle because they were covered by scabs. Many folks would probably totally freak over something like that. Well done on taking it in stride (no pun intended!).

      I would heed her advice and let the tapes fall off when they’re supposed to. I don’t think you have to worry about the screws flying out of your ankle tho. 😊

      Today you start PT! Please let me know how it goes! You may find yourself a little more swollen and sore after PT. Totally normally if you do. That said, someone suggested I take pain relievers before PT and I did not and was just fine. I actually preferred to use my body’s message system to tell me when I was doing too much. That said, it’s different for everyone so do what you must.

      I am surprised they’re already suggesting you put 50% weight on your ankle. I do hope you wait until you get to PT so they can guide you on that. It’s hard to know what 50% is, and the PT will be able to help you do it correctly. The PT may even suggest you wait a couple of weeks before bearing weight.

      I understand that feeling of being a burden on others, and I know the stress that comes with it, yet I hope you’re able to let that one go and just focus on your healing. It’s valuable energy you’re expending on stress -on a situation that will only change through healing. You will get back on your feet and in a timely fashion if you follow the healing journey as it is meant to be followed. If you do or try too much, you could relapse and then you prolong the healing and that sense of helplessness.

      You and your husband will get through this, and when you do, you two will be better and stronger than ever. This may be one of the biggest challenges you’ve faced as a couple. Focus on managing it in a way that fortifies your love and patience for one another and tolerance for handling stress as a team.

      You’re not alone as most of us have or are going through it. I can tell you from one own experience that I learned a lot about myself, my husband, and how we function as a team. My love for him grew stronger than ever when I saw how much he showed up for me despite the angst he was feeling over this whole thing. It really put the “for better or worse” thing to a test!

      Cheers to your healing and thank you for taking the time to check in with us!

  28. DeeDee

    Mindy,
    Hi. I to am having trouble with Achilles Tendinitis and pronation. I can speak a bit about what has helped. Epsom salt soaks twice a day in very very warm water, a roller pin to gently roll my soleus muscle and gastroc muscle in calf (Tendonitis is caused by these stiff muscles not firing correctly and tendons due the work) (DONT roller if you have DVTs) and then physical therapy to rebuild my muscle.
    I had to go to true orthopedic shoes that DO NOT allow me to pronate with orthopedic orthodics inside. No walking barefoot , even in the house. I can walk for about 3/4 of a mile in my special shoes then absolutely spent after about 20 minutes. Muscles are fatigued and then tendons and ligaments try to keep me up and stable (not their job).
    Trying supplements for inflammation (vitamins c, e, b, d3, magnesium, bromelain, omega-3 and collagen to heal tendons and muscles and ligaments). Our bones are healed but this is now a muscle tendon and ligament problem.
    Guy and kid on the internet really discuss Tendonitis (I think he’s called The Tendonitis Expert) didn’t buy his book but another kid discusses same thing and how to relax the soleus and gastroc muscles and then you need PT to really build the calf, thighs, gluts and hips. How are problems are tied to above the ankle, I find interesting.
    Have you tried any of these things? Just curious.

  29. Mindy

    I have epilepsy and happened to have a seizure that came on so fast that I didn’t have my usual aura that alerts me. Typically I go unconscious for several minutes during the event, however my ankle snapping pulled me out of it almost immediately due to the pain. I knew it was severe from the start. It was immediately swelling and hanging at such an angle that my husband almost got sick when he saw it. An ambulance and er trip confirmed a displaced trimalleolar fracture. My talus had been shot backwards nearly breaking through my skin. I had seen the entire bottom of my foot as I went down and a pop as I landed on my leg. I had 5-7 pieces on one side and 7-10 on the other. Immediate surgery 10 hours later with two plates and 14 screws. My surgeon said a rep from the company that supplies the hardware happened to be there, and stated it was the worst he had ever seen. Not very comforting. A total of 3 days in the hospital. I have lupus so of course my inflammatory reaction was severe. Sent home in surgical boot and replaced two weeks later with a fiberglass cast. Two months later transferred to air cast. Now 9 months later, I still have swelling, highly visible veins, swollen tibial and Achilles with aafd where my arch has collapsed making walking impossible with my ankle rolling in. Now facing tendon transfer or ankle fusion/replacement. Down for another year. My foot looks deformed with virtually no arch and misshapen sides. The pain is horrible still after only improving briefly when I first tried walking. Has anyone any experience with post-op problems like these? My foot is also still bruising on both sides of my ankle and across the top of my foot where the nerve pain is still significant. Can anyone relate? It’s so hard to find info on this.

    1. Dear Mindy,

      That is quite a story. Thanks for providing all the background info. This seems to be the most severe T-mal I’ve read about on my blog. Some of the things you mentioned like the swelling and visible veins seem to be within the norm for some. Swelling is a part of this journey until well past the walking stage. For many, it decreases as the movement increases. Yet, I surmise that some of the continued inflammation you’re experiencing may be exacerbated by the Lupus. I have a friend who has basically cured her Lupus through nutrition, and she has her own business consulting with folks. I will happily share her information if this is something you want/need. I also realize this is probably an overwhelming time for you, so no pressure from me.

      I had to look up AAFD as I didn’t know what it was. From what I read, it appears as if there are treatments, likely surgery, to correct it. I’m curious to know if you’ve gotten 2nd and/or 3rd opinions. For something this serious, I highly recommend. From what I’ve read, the treatments you mentioned can help you regain your ability to walk, and hopefully without pain. It seems you’re still having pain as a result of the AAFD. Even plantar fasciitis, which isn’t even as serious as the AAFD, comes with some serious pain and discomfort.

      We also have a couple of nurses on this thread. I hope they chime in.

      How are you holding up – I mean, emotionally?

      I do hope you continue to update us, if you get the chance, as no doubt there are others who may have a similar situation but have been reading the blog without commenting.

      My heart is going out to you as you navigate all of this. Many wishes of healing and full recovery are coming your way from me.

  30. Jo

    Tricia, I remember thinking I would never be able to do the things I could do, and loved to do, before I fell. I’m two years out and I’ve had my life back for quite a while. Some things I do differently than I did before but there is really noting I can’t do. I’m glad you found this blog. It helped me immensely when I was really struggling with all of the fear, pain and unknown. Jo

  31. Tricia Connor

    3 weeks out from my fall and 2 weeks post op. Fighting a lot of pain and some anxiety and depression. I have 2 jobs that I LOVE. And a very active independent life. I just want reassurance I’ll get my life back. Thanks for sharing everyone

    1. Dear Tricia,

      This is one of the hardest parts – shortly after post-op when the pain and vulnerability are high and spirits are low. What you’re experiencing is very normal, even though it totally sucks. You will get your active, independent life back. Right now, healing is your top priority, so please do everything you can to focus on that. And by doing so, you’ll get back on your feet faster and back to that active life.

      Journal, write to us, talk with people, get all the support you can right now. This is a tough time. Also, drink lots of water, eat healthy, whole, anti-inflammatory foods (hopefully someone is helping you), follow the OS’s guidelines, and try to rest as much as you can. Have you started PT or do you know when you will?

      You will get through this, and I predict you will emerge stronger than ever.

      To your healing,

      Kenda

    2. Jane

      Tricia, I just found this post blog myself and I am thirteen weeks out. I felt exactly the same way as you and was trying to be so positive but also had a hopeless and scared feeling in my heart. It has been quite a journey that I am still on. I wish I could have found this blog back then in January after I fell. I think we will get our lives back. Some told me to just take a deep breath every day and take one day at at time. It helped me. I am still a work in progress though, but slowly I seem to be gaining confidence back (I had a set back because I fell again on my scooter which was terrifying emotionally – even though my ankle survived!).

      1. So glad you joined us, Jane. Relieved to see your ankle survived a scooter fall. I sometimes wonder about those scooters and any lurking dangers. I’d be curious to hear from others about their good/bad/indifferent scooter experiences.

        I like the suggestions you’re taking – deep breaths and taking it all one day at a time. Cheers to you and your healing. Do keep us updated on your progress if/when you feel like it.

        1. Jane Dev

          Kenda, thank you for your sharing and thank you for responding to us after all this time. You are amazing and make a difference for those who are going through a very hard time. You made a difference for me. This injury will forever allow me to have compassion for anyone going through such an ordeal. Thank you as well for touching upon all the same feelings that I had! I read most of your first blog out loud to my husband – thank you for making it possible for him to see that someone else had the same feelings and experiences. You touched upon it all – the battle of the pillows – fifteen minutes getting the pillows and blankets ready – for me, no weight on the foot!, the bathroom trips (yes Dolores, I wore depends as well, much to my 21years olds chagrin!), PTSD which I have, finally washing my hair after 10 days!, the vitamins, the bone healing diet, extra protein, water, the pain coming on like a freight train the first night and so focused on healing healing! Still am! One thing for me was the dreams… from the start, I was injured in my dreams and then I started dreaming that I was walking on the broken ankle by accident! All the while trying to stay positive while feeling emotionally fragile. I know there are others who face so much worse, but this was a new challenge for me. I am grateful that nothing worse happened. My accident – not glamorous – standing on a small 16 inch high ottoman in my closet, shoe tipped inward, ottoman suddenly tipped over, and the rest, is recovery. I knew right away I broke both sides of my ankle, but did not know that it was dislocated too. The Ottoman has since been thrown into a very large bonfire which I recorder from a distance! No one else will fall from that cute little ottoman! Anyhow, the ER thought it was a Trimal break but thankfully it was bimal. The surgeon knew right away I had osteopenia based upon all the fractures and small pieces of bones. Curious if anyone else has experience on having osteopenia and having the hardware out or left in. Surgeon seems to want to leave alone, but so uncomfortable. NO likey! Also, I have questions about nerve discomfort. I have a very nervy area below the tibia along the inside of my foot which feels like I am having sandpaper rubbed beneath the bone mixed with the tingling of falling asleep. Wearing Sox makes it even a little worse. I try brushing the area and rubbing with a facecloth to desensitize, but seems like as I put more weight on it, it gets more intense. Good news is – I just walked this week alone for first time since New Years Day! Now I am wondering what shoes I will wear to my daughters college graduation! (nothing too cute cuz I am still struggling with my plantar faciitis!) Thanks so much again; I only wish I found you sooner. 🙂

          1. How kind your words are. Thank you, Jane.

            Oh a battle with an ottoman! It’s either ice, stairs, rocks, grass, ladders, countertops – all these objects that changed our lives and quashed our innocence! Hope the bon fire was healing.

            This post answered a question in my last response to you – the surgeon knew you had osteopenia based on all the fractures and small pieces of bones. Are you talking small, stress fractures mixed in with the larger two fractures? I will be curious to see if anyone else with osteopenia had the metal removed. It sounds like the surgeon wants to leave it in to keep the bones fortified. Keep researching this as you have time. Metal isn’t removed for at least 1 year post-op anyway.

            I do believe that nerve discomfort you’re feeling is due to nerve healing. So, that discomfort is a good thing! I had a body worker tell me to touch the skin in that area using different objects of varying textures (kind of like what you’re doing). She believed it would help the nerves heal more quickly. Maybe so?

            You’re walking on your own! Fantabulous! You have plantar fasciitis on top of all of this or as a result of this break? Two other people are having similar issues. Ah shoes. I wore hiking boots and a nice dress to a dressy occasion. 🙂

            Keep on healing on!

  32. Dolores

    OMG, I did not expect such a quick response. I live in Western New York. Between Buffalo and Batavia. We are a rural community. I got my injury being a good deed doer. Our Church was serving the funeral meal for a member of the community, and I was taking the remainder of the food back to the family, when I fell. As stated, review your insurance and see what is covered. The rehab was a big help. My next follow up is in April with the surgeon. Thank you, and everyone keep up the good work.

    1. The commenters in this blog are a high priority to me. Glad you were pleasantly surprised. 😘 And wow, Dolores. Your story and the fact you’re getting that kind of care in the states is incredible! Thanks for the heads-up. There may be other folks here who have that option but are unaware of it. Heal well and let us know how you’re doing!

  33. Dolores

    Glad this blog was located. After reading many of the “tales of woe”, I am not alone in this recovery. Do not want to go into detail, as there are many that are in worse condition than I. Just want to comment on a couple of issues though. 1) My surgery was not planned, and was in the hospital for 5 days. The PT evaluation in the hospital was very brief. What worked for myself, and our family, was going to a rehab. Check with your insurance to see if that is covered. The time in rehab helped me to come to grips with my situation. Also having a good roommate. We were a good combination for each other. The PT director, for the rehab, came in for the evaluation, and OT/PT was scheduled for the next day. The team that was assigned were amazing, and made my stay fun. It also gave me the confidence to do daily functions. Did you know there is a right way, and a wrong way to use a walker? The stay in rehab was three weeks, and now at home one week after leaving rehab, 2) Have not healed anything about getting to the bathroom timely. I have found that using the adult briefs (adult pull ups) have been a life saver. Cannot imagine no one has the bladder strength to hop to the bathroom, without some type of bladder leakage. We are all friends here, it happens. Plus , my husband will not want to do the laundry every day. Just saying!, 3) the staples, and sutures, were removed the Monday before I left rehab. Suture removal was not bad. The staples were another thing altogether. Good thing the nurse was cute, and my deep breathing helped through it, 4) insurance covered the first visit for the first Home OT/PT/Health Aide visit. OT/PT may be holding off coming back until I am weight bearing. As that assistance will be required. The Health Aide gave me my first shower. It felt SSSOOO good. She will be coming back once more, as my husband can assist me after this point, 5) still out of work until seeing the surgeon in April. Then may only be able to go back on a limited basis. Although my position is only part time. But we will push through, 6) My neighbor has been amazing. She is one of the elders in our rural community, and she has been sending meals up to my husband and son since the beginning. Extra soup, or scalloped potatoes, whatever she is making. She just sent up chicken soup and Mac n’ cheese yesterday for us, 7) my sister in law was able to secure a knee scooter for me. Which is amazing. Obviously our home is not set up for DME (Durable Medical Equipment). Another quick thought, find out which DME your insurance will cover. Luckily, my brother in law stayed with last year after his surgery, and we were left with a good quality shower chair and the handles for the toilet. The toilet handles make going to the bathroom so much easier. I think that is all that I can come up with at this time. Thank you for this site. It has helped.

    1. Hello Dolores and thank you for sharing your experiences. It’s helpful for others to see and learn different ways of dealing with this tragic injury. You are definitely not alone, and I’m glad you’ve joined us despite the unfortunate circumstances.

      I’m curious, can you tell us from what country you’re writing? I ask, because rehab in the US is not a common practice for this type of injury. I think it’s brilliant and would be very helpful.

      I had no idea there was a right way and wrong way to use a walker. Please share! And yes, we’ve all had to deal with the bathroom situation. It never even crossed my mind to use the pull-ups. Again, great idea. I also wished I had thought to get the toilet handles. Those would’ve been very useful.

      I do appreciate your insight and tips and welcome any or all you’re willing to provide. I’m also honored and happy to know this site has helped you.

      I send many cheers to your healing and hope you can update us with your progress!

      Kenda

  34. Hey DeeDee,

    I’m sorry to learn about the two types of Tendinitis you have. Talk about negative reinforcement for your ambition and hard work! Crap! On a lighter note, it’s amazing what the body does to protect itself. Your tendons were sending a message, and it seems like you heard it fairly early.

    Did the podiatrist or PT give you any timeline regarding healing these Tendinitises (I have no idea how to pluralize that)? My guess is a few weeks – maybe 4? I know it seems like you’re coming down to the wire, but a lot of good stuff can happen in 2 months. Do keep us updated. It’s valuable info.

    Sending molti healing thoughts from a far-away land…. 😍

  35. DeeDee

    Hi All
    Here is my 18 week update. I have Peroneal Tendinitis and Achilles Tendinitis from doing too much too fast. Two weeks ago, I tried walking a mile every day without stopping and walk 6000 steps. HA! Well by day 7 I had severe tendinitis, My soleus and other calf muscle is weak (along with hamstrings, glutes and core). So my tendons are trying to stabilize my ankle. They protested this by being inflamed,
    swollen and hurting a lot. They are a supporting cast in this play not the the lead. I saw a podiatrist and he started me on PT again and wanted Brooks Orthopedic Tennis Shoes. He also gave me some insoles to put in them to use, I also bought an ankle brace sleeve from Bauerfeind. I can walk slowly without a limp for about 10 minutes tops. Then a slight one after that. I cannot go down stairs and PT says this is the most difficult thing to accomplish along with uneven surfaces. Wish me luck and a few prayers, I leave for Europe in 62 days.

  36. Hello Terry,

    Wow. That’s an incredible update. You’ve come a long way in 24 weeks. It looks like you’re doing great despite some of the weird pains and tingling (still, normal IMO) and the range of motion. Did your PT say where it is and where s/he wants you to be regarding your ROM?

    I think your surgeon’s predication about getting arthritis in the future is common for a serious injury like the T-mal. The good news is there are and will continue to be advances in the treatment of arthritis in the coming years. Even Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy will become (I predict) a mainstream treatment for arthritis.

    I still don’t take walking for granted, and my injury was nearly 8 years ago. 😊

    Thank you for the update. I do appreciate hearing from you.

    One day, when life is completely back to normal and this difficult time is a distant memory, please stop by (if you get a moment) and let us know how fabulously well you are doing.

    Thank you for your kind words. You are most welcome. It’s an honor to provide a space here for our incredible tribe of T-mals.

    Cheers to your healing!

  37. Terry C

    Hey All…24 weeks post surgery update ! S.P. Your story is pretty much the same as mine and i am improving every day. I too am learning to walk down stairs and uneven ground . Physio therapy say that recovery can take up to a year or more. I bought some running shoes called Hoka . PT told me that they are like the rocker boot and help with walking and they are great ! Still have weird pains and tingling but not as often as before. Range of motion is not improving as quickly as the walking. The last 24 weeks were the longest and most painful days that I’ve had in my life. This blog has been very encouraging to myself and I’m sure to many more ! My surgeon did a ct scan and imformed me of the issues with my cartilage or the lack of cartilage. I will have problems down the road with arthritis !
    Can’t worry about that now and hopefully it’s a long way ahead. In short i am soo happy to walk around . I will never take walking for granted ever again and feel so badly for the people who will never walk !
    Thanks for all the information from everyone suffering this brutal injury and a very special thanks to Kenda for her time responding to everyone. Cheers

  38. S.P.

    Dear Kenda and all,

    Hope everybody is doing good. I have all exciting news. I’m almost 4 months post-op and I’m pretty much back to normal life. I can walk without any aid. At first, I wore only a pair of new balance tennis shoes with good arch and grip. But, now, I bought a good pair of flip flop sandal which helps me walk inside home. As much of a fairy tale as it seems, it still has its not so bright sides: I have to walk slowly (at first I had limps, big ones, but little by little it’s getting better), I find it difficult to walk down the stairs, I’m too afraid to try escalators (actually I didn’t even try it yet, one time I really wanted to try but then again backed off). Whenever there are uphills and downhills, I walk like a 100 yr old. I can’t run, can’t jump, find it difficult to lift heavy things. I can’t walk for like a minute or two after I wake up. But, everything seems to get better with each passing day so I think I am going to do alright. Although, I still have this many shortcomings, my OS and PT both said I’m making real good progress and they are proud of me. The recent x-ray looked like it’s been already healed. A little gap line is still visible but it’s definitely better than my January X-ray. They predicted that when they will see me again next in April for the X-ray, may be it won’t be visible anymore. They said the only reason I still have pain and swelling is now all the soft tissues are trying to heal.
    I started making efforts to start a PhD and probably I’m entering it from this summer. I’m all excited about that but a little worried if beginning a so demanding program so soon will hamper my recovery (I’m sure like all engineering programs, it’ll employ a lot of standing on my feet for a longer period and a lot of physical activities). But, as my therapist said, the more I’m willing to take, the sooner I’m gonna recover, so I will surely start it soon if I get this opportunity, do my best to ace, won’t forget to do my ankle exercises regularly.
    I am doing standing calf stretches to bend the knee of my injured leg smoothly – my PT said it will help me walking down the stairs (I don’t see much problem walking up, I can do it like before breaking my ankle). I’m getting great help doing the gym exercises. We’ve a gym within our apartment complex…I try to go their everyday. I use treadmill, elliptical, leg resistance machine and bike. I feel so better to see that my walking speed gets better every week in the treadmill.
    I will appreciate if you share what type of exercises might help me walking down the stairs.
    Love, regards, and best wishes for all.

    P.S. : Kenda, what a nice picture you uploaded as PP, loved it <3

    1. S.P. you’re doing so great! Thank you for that update. I often wonder about this incredible tribe of T-mals, so I appreciate hearing from ya’ll.

      My guess is that the best exercise for helping you walk stairs, would be to practice on actual stairs. But I’m no PT.

      I’m super psyched about your upcoming studies. Go for it! They may have some challenges, but I think it will feed your soul – the best medicine in some ways!

      You are really working your recovery, and it’s paying off, S.P. Well done!

      Thanks re: the photo. It’s a little dated. 🙂

      💕

  39. DeeDee

    Debbie Thank you so much for your valuable information. It makes all good sense to me now that you stated it. It is so funny because I find OS (mine was great putting me back together) can be vague on what to really expect. Its these blogs and others comments that you can piece together what is normal and why. THank god for these blogs and the comments!!!! I will not cancel my vacation. I really really want to go! I booked it the day before I fell (isnt it ironic)! Ill try the heating pad at night! Good idea. I limp when my tendons around my malleolar get sore and the bottom of my front foot pad and bottom of my toe. The bones dont seem to hurt at all. Its all that stuff around them that seem to get angry. Almost like a very severe SPRAIN. Also my hip and hamstrings and calf gets sore too. THis walking crap aint easy. LOL

    1. Thanks for the blog encouragement, DeeDee! My OS was reticent about answering questions initially, and I found myself uncomfortable with her lack of responses to my questions. But then I realized she was great at putting me back together, and I realized that’s the most important aspect of her job. I found answers elsewhere! True that, this post tri-mal walking crap ain’t easy, but you’re doing so well! I am envisioning you on vacation walking with nary a worry!😘

  40. Debbie

    Kenda, my phamplet is going to my In house design team (just found out we have one) for help to make it pretty. It includes what to expect after ALL ankle fractures, not just TM. My interviews have reviewed similar issues for people with even one bone fx so I’m out to help them all. Of course we TMs are mostly at the further end of the timeline, but as you know there are so many variables. Is it OK to put your site as a reference still, or would you rather not? I would still like to send a copy to you for input.

    1. Kenda

      Great news! I’m thrilled you’re pulling this off, Debbie. How cool there’s an in-house design team to help you out.

      Yes, I’d be honored if you included this site. I’ll send you an email privately, and then I’m going to delete your email address from this post to protect you from getting spammed.

      I’m in the process of a big move (location to be revealed in a post!), so I may be slower to respond the next 2 weeks.

      Thanks for all you’re doing to help those with ankle fractures. I think it’s a good idea to include everyone and not just the T-mals.

      Cheers!

  41. DeeDee

    Hi All. I wrote on a different page of Kendra’s but thought I would write on this page because of all the great comments. My trimalleolar fracture occurred October 22 and surgery was 2 days later. I am FWB now with Brooks athletic shoes. No crutches. I have a slight limp and I am barely pass neutral in dorsiflex. I have been in PT since December 11th. I do my exercises everyday. I walk and occasionally swim. I can walk about 3/4 of a mile before I limp badly on the track at the club. The bottom part of my front foot pad and underneath the big toe hurts the worse after walking for a while. Went to OS and he states it’s coming from calf and Achilles’ tendon. He took xrays of my foot and saw nothing abnormal. I’m about 14 weeks out from surgery and this is frustrating. I also swell like everyone else. My PT said ice doesn’t help swelling but only pain. Thoughts on this would be most appreciated. I do heel flat toe religiously but was told yesterday by OS that I’m not coming down hard on the heel. He doesn’t want me to go back to one crutch either. Ugh! I leave for vacation in May and I’m wondering if I should cancel it. Did anyone limp for a long time? Thanks

    1. Kenda

      Thank you, DeeDee, for adding your thoughts to this page. Do any of you, who are in a similar point of your healing, have thoughts to add regarding DeeDee’s concerns? From my perch, this all still looks like the normal healing process.

      That’s interesting about how ice only helps pain and not swelling. I didn’t know this.

      Sending dorsiflexion thoughts your way!

      1. DeeDee

        Thanks Kendra. My dorsiflex actually got better this weekend. Interestingly my ankle now hurts more in the achilles tendon area and lower back of calf. Go figure. My walk is getting better but boy do I swell. I only have one pair of sneakers I can wear because my feet are two different sizes. I wish I knew more ways to gently stretch that area. Don’t want it to rupture. Has anyone tried hot bath soaks with Dead Sea salts or Epsom salts? Also my incision sites are fully healed but some times they feel like little bees around them. Hope that’s normal

        1. Kenda

          I remember those “zingers” all over my foot. They kept me up at night. I do believe those are your nerves healing. (!!!)

          And well done on the improved dorsiflexion! Time really does heal our wounds. The swelling is normal. Are you noticing any changes to your swelling? For instance, does the swelling arrive immediately upon weight bearing or is it after you’ve walked around a bit. Is your foot still eggplant-colored or are you noticing normal skin tones again? Does the swelling last as long once you’re off your feet?

          I would check with your PT about stretching. My guess is your PT is keeping all of that in mind during your sessions. I hope some of the others get back regarding the salts. My best guess is that the Dead Sea salts are even better than Epsom because of the magnesium. Soaks rock in countless ways.

          Hang in there…I see a fun vacation in your near future. ❤️

        2. Debbie

          I wish there were Agree and Like buttons! Some great comments Akhli and DeeDee. Yes, at 14 weeks I still had plenty of swelling and limping. I went back to work, on my feet all day, at this point. I found a heating pad and elevation to be helpful at the end of the day. Limping,too, is normal and just takes time to improve. Partially it is practicing walking without limping and convincing our brain it’s Ok and believing full weight bearing won’t hurt anything. At 15 months I will still limp a little, so say my coworkers, at the end of a very long work day. I don’t notice anymore. The zinging Bees is the tender nerves regenerating, a good thing, even though it doesn’t feel that way! Numbness and tingling depends on your extent of injury. I had a lot so was happy to believe the numbness was protecting me from pain… Now that the numbness is “wearing off”, I very occasionally get a little aching, especially in that Achilles’ tendon area. OS says completely normal especial with TM injury. The Achilles’ tendon is a hugh tendon that gets injured by the twisting and stretching of this injury, and then gets “lazy” with the immobilization. I takes longer than we think for it to get back to normal. It’d say you’re right on schedule. Time is your friend.
          Definitly DO NOT cancel your vacation. You will see big improvements between now and then.

          1. Kenda

            I so appreciate your input, Debbie. It’s good to have a medical professional onboard this Trimal-Ship. Thank you!

            I love the reframe about numbness protecting us from pain. Brilliant! And I completely agree about our having to convince ourselves that we won’t break if we bear full weight. At the point of weight bearing, I’m guessing everyone could use some special support in whatever form is most comfortable (reading self-help books to therapy to ??), because PTSD is invariably an aspect of this injury for many.

            DeeDee, you heard if from the professional – go on that vacation! I concur. 😍

          2. Denise

            Really helpful Debbie, you answered a lot of my questions too!

            DeeDee I am almost 14 wks post surgery. I still struggle to know what is normal and what is not. I was just on vacation in Savannah, and did a lot of walking a.k.a. limping for me. I couldn’t walk for too long – and I’m quite slow. I had a lot of paint at times on the left side of my ankle, towards the front where the bend is. Felt like a sharp pain, but if I stopped and stretched, it got better for a bit. I also find pain, similar to a sprain like feeling on the top of my foot when my weight is on the front pad. I took breaks when needed, and my foot was very swollen when the walk was done. So I soaked it in the pool for a while and then elevated it. If you are taking a plane, a compression sock is the trick, or even of you are driving for more than an hour. It really helped me a lot. My achilles is also very tender and I think I’m at 50% dorsiflex now. Seems like you are ahead of me on this journey, as I limp badly after about 15-20 min walking – so you can definitely go on vacay and enjoy it. Just take your time and don’t get discouraged. I really enjoyed my vacation, however I won’t lie, sometimes I found it hard to watch everyone breeze by me and enjoy their long walks down the beautiful Savannah streets. I missed walking like I use to in those moments. I just kept telling myself – “soon that will be me!” I only started walking unassisted mid-Jan, so I do feel grateful and I don’t regret going on this trip. Hope you enjoy yours, especially because you’ll have more weeks behind you by then:)

            Also, I go to the dead sea salt pools, which is at one of the spa’s by me that offer water therapy only options, including a cold pool which is great. I find it helpful. Not sure I can say what works better, I just know my ankle feels better after.

            All the best,
            Denise

  42. Nancy

    Hi Akhil-
    I loved your post!!!! I am 5 months since T- Day and your encouraging words were just what I needed!!! I am still doing PT since lots of hardware and scar tissue are making walking normally a challenge. I am very jealous of all your physical achievements, but they gave me hope that I will be doing them someday- maybe not the deep squats😂😱!!
    Thank you again for reminding me “ This to shall pass” and Kenda for keeping the blog going!
    Nancy

    1. Kenda

      Thanks for checking in, Nancy! I’m so happy to know the blog is helping others.

      The scar tissue can be a hindrance. Can your PT work it with a TENS machine? I think that helped my scar tissue break down. I also worked that scar tissue nightly with coconut oil while watching Netflix.

      I know healing through this injury takes time. You’re doing great! Please update us when you get a chance.

      Cheers to your healing,

      Kenda

  43. Akhil

    Hi everyone

    Akhil here. Back with a 3rd post, approximately 8 months since T-Day.

    I remember hoping fervently as I lay in my bed, roughly 15 odd days after the fracture, that I could somehow leapfrog all of this suffering and fast forward to today.

    Not only because I wasn’t willing to do the hardwork (I most certainly was), but I was filled with crippling (pun intended) anxiety around whether things will eventually turn out okay. The stories on the internet, as I am sure you are all aware, is nefarious and rife with selection bias i.e. you hear a disproportionate amount of negative stories as opposed to positive ones, because the folks who have healed move on with their lives with (I presume) a steely intent of leaving this trauma behind permanently.

    And trauma it is. I broke my ankle in a ridiculous fashion (that I can now look back on with humour), by trying to kick down a steel door fuelled by drunken bravado. It’s hard now for me to recall the intense self loathing and mortification I felt, often more overwhelming than the physical pain. As I have learned since, the mind is after all far more pivotal in the healing process than the body. The first step for me was to forgive myself and acknowledge the naked burden of what had transpired.

    Platitudes and hysteria aside, I am sure for anyone reading this, there is likely an almost maniacal urge to fast forward time to where I am. Allow yourself to live vicariously through me as I describe literally my physical achievements over the past week.

    1. I have walked upwards of 12000 steps every day, including 2 miles of running & sprinting, followed by intense weight lifting or bodyweight exercises that tested all my joint mobility, including my ankle (deep squats anyone?)

    2. I played table tennis for 4 hours with every twist, turn, lunge, jump, and dive possible. I came out unscathed and with the sweet afterglow of

    3. I went dancing with my friends and pulled off moves that I thought were memories of a distant past.

    Did my ankle hurt?

    Yes, it did.

    Was it unbearable?

    Not by a long shot.

    Yes there is soreness, but it passes in an hour or so.

    Don’t believe me? Check out this story of a fellow sufferer –

    https://medium.com/@velez.j/the-long-road-to-recovery-b59a059dd908

    Besides the update, I also wanted to share some techniques that worked well for me and in my opinion, made the recovery process a little more expedient than it might have been. Please look out for the next post if you are interested.

    This injury is serious no doubt, but with great resolve and immense hard work (not scaring you, just calling a spade a spade), it CAN BE OVERCOME. I cannot stress this enough. You will be OKAY.

    Will it be the same as before?

    I’m not sure as it’s a little soon for me to say.

    But will it be enough for you to do everything you did earlier?

    Most definitely. There’s an added bonus too. You will most certainly appreciate life and all it’s vagaries more than you ever did before. You will also have acquired a newfound respect for yourself with regards to how truly amazing your body is.

    I wish you all the health and happiness in the world. I shall pray for your healing and am confident that you will remember one very essential mantra whenever you’re in the absolute trenches of despair (I’ve been there, trust me) –

    This too shall pass.

    Akhil

    1. Kenda

      Hello Akhil!

      I loved reading your post. Thank you for sharing your honest narrative and journey with us. I’m so grateful for your inspiration. Your words provide valuable insight to others.

      You are welcome to come back any time and let us know about your continued healing.

      Cheers to you!

      Kenda

  44. S.P.

    Dear Kenda and all,

    It’s been a while since I’ve come here to share my progress and check on everyone. Just being able to have both feet on the ground, walking with both of them (although with crutches) made me go back to some daily responsibilities which take up much of my time. But, here I am today to share my progress. For some split seconds, I feel its slower than what I expected but just after that I shake it off and have pats on my back to be able to come this far.

    I started PT on January 10. I am doing 2 sessions per week. After the third session, I was able to go back to normal shoes…..although I’m wearing normal shoes as tolerated. My previous tennis shoes hurt much on my bad foot. I got a new shoe with better grip, better arch support and with overall softness.That new pair helped me walk with ease and with much better gait. I’ve been practicing walking with one crutch from the last two PT sessions. Today, my therapist told me to use one crutch for most of the time, as I’m not much wobbly on it anymore. Every weaning off (non-weight bearing, the air cast, one of the two crutches ) seems like achieving a milestone. Sometimes it’s hard to manage time to do all the exercises I was advised to do per day. For those times, I only do the most necessary ones, specifically I never forget to bend my foot forward with straps multiple times. I can stand only on my bad foot now keeping the good foot up for longer. That’s another good progress. I couldn’t lift up my good foot and stand on the bad one at all during during earlier sessions.

    I’ve started using compression socks and those do help to deal with swelling. Once you start becoming weight-bearing, swelling is one of the biggest issues. Compression socks helps me to stay in regular shoes for longer period.

    One thing I’ve realized that with trimalleolar, you’ve to expect every progress to come gradually. So, don’t dump anything until you’re really sure you don’t need it. Now, did I try walking without any crutch? Yeah, although my PT told me not to do that just yet. I have limps, big ones. I have pain, too. But sometimes I just can’t help walking a little bit without crutches. Hope that won’t damage anything.

    That’s all for today. Will come back with more. Stay blessed.

    S.P.

    1. S.P.

      Correction: it would be “bend foot backward (towards you) with straps multiple times”. I have heard bending foot backward with straps helps people achieve better dorisflexion and easiness in walking.

    2. Kenda

      Hi S.P.,

      Thank you for the update! SO many milestones for you. Well done! You seem to have a great plan, doing what you can (no rhyme intended!). And yes, the progress comes gradually. From my perch, once the walking begins, the progress moves faster. Good advice to the others about holding onto the assistance tools until you know you won’t need them.

      Maybe a little walk here and there without crutches won’t cause damage, yet I’m guessing your PT has your best interests in mind. The limping and pain are normal at this early stage of walking. I think you’ll find it diminishes the more you use it.

      Great report! Keep up the great work!

      To your healing!

      Kenda

  45. Denise

    Hi Kenda and all,

    Hope this comes as a separate post and not in reply to someone else’s. My computer is being wonky.

    Happy to say that 71/2wks after surgery, I took my first steps without any assistance and without the boot (air cast). Just me and my feet:) Carried a bit of a limp with me, but not as much as I thought. I could only go for about 20 min, sitting down here and there, however I could carry a coffee and go from one end of my apartment to the other with little struggle or pain. I didn’t push it, so the day after I did little walking. But now I am taking steps every day without a walker or crutches!

    I have two plates, 11 screws and honestly was worried it would take me much longer to take my first steps. This has given me such hope, as I know once you start weight bearing and add more and more weight, it really helps you heal. I know everyone’s journey is different, but maybe it will offer some hope to those have recently had this injury happen to them.

    I really feel my daily dedication to PT and stretching was integral to me taking these steps. I started PT 4 wks after surgery when I got the air cast, and since that time I have seen such great progress every week.

    Looking forward to reaching the day when I can say I can walk all day without assistance – and in normal shoes lol. But right now, I am very thrilled about this development in my healing.

    Thankful to everyone on here who has shared and helped me stay positive!

    Denise

    1. Kenda

      Hey Denise,

      Yes, looks like you started a separate thread.

      You did it! Walking unassisted! Isn’t it SO marvelous to carry stuff?! I’m so psyched that you’re walking, unassisted, with hardly any pain. That’s excellent news. I’m thrilled for you and only 7.5 weeks post-ORIF. You are doing great!

      Your commitment to PT and stretching is paying off. Keep doing what you’re doing and before you know it, you’ll be walking without assists from morning to night – in normal shoes.😊 Imagine that.

      I remember it being so difficult to be patient at that point. It will happen. Keep listening to your body, and please give us a shout when you reach that day.

      Keep on healing on!

      1. Denise

        Thanks Kenda!

        Normal shoes…oh my! That will be another milestone:)

        My ROM still needs work, so my PT says.It’s just very painful on the sides of my ankle. Did you have that? I do what I can, and I hope now that I can take steps it will help.

        I went to grab some things yesterday with my cousin, and after 2 hrs in my air-cast I was very uncomfortable. Some days I feel like I take a step back.

        I’ll be sure to scream from the rooftops the day I can walk without assists all day long.

        Thanks for the support.
        Denise

        1. Kenda

          Denise, thanks so much for your comments and contributions. All valuable stuff for others who are in a similar situation.

          Healing through this injury is like a dance (maybe not the best metaphor!), a 2-step going back and forth. I found for myself, that I was, overall, moving ahead (if even incrementally) even though it felt on some days I would take a step back.

          I recall, that as I healed, new pings and pains would reveal themselves. Each one was alarming to me, because I thought something was wrong. Eventually, I realized it was just a part of the process. That said, listen to your gut. If you have a new pain that feels off, it’s best to talk with your PT and/or OS.

          I welcome all news – the good, the bad, and the funky. Sending healing thoughts from afar!

  46. Nancy

    Hi Kenda and all-
    I haven’t commented in awhile even though I am a member of the Summer 2018 Trimal Class. My trimal ankle fracture occurred end of August 2018 and my surgery was early September 2018. I started PT January 2019- just last week!!!! When my orthopedic surgeon told me “We were in a long term relationship-I should have taken him seriously”!!!! The good news-I will spare you all the ugly stuff- I am partial weight bearing and trying to make the crutches work😊.I still have a long way to go’ but as the blog says,- “I have hit another milestone”!

    For all those starting the long journey of recuperating from an ankle fracture-their is light at the end of the tunnel and Kenda and this blog will get you through the good, bad and the ugly. Thank you everyone-you have helped me soooooooo much😘

    1. Kenda

      “Summer 2018 Trimal Class” gave me a chuckle. Humor really does help sometimes, doesn’t it tho?

      Congrats! You’ve hit a major milestone, Nancy! Weight bearing is a big deal in the healing process. I predict you will find things progress much more quickly from this point on.

      Still cheering you on from the sidelines! Please give us a shout (if you can) when you’re walking without assists!

      Well done – yay!

  47. Debbie

    Denise My young OS was educated (based on research) that at 16 weeks everyone is at the same point in recovery whether they have done formal PT or not so he does not promote it. He says just keep it and you moving and it will all even out. So that is what I did. I know this would not work for everyone.
    I went back to work at 14 weeks. I used crutches, two then one, for a few more weeks to get in and out to take some of the weight off, but could not use any assistive devices in my job. So I limped through my day gaining the nickname Gimpy. I did get a fair amount of swelling and needed to put my feet up when I got home. By 20 weeks I was walking pretty normal.

    1. Kenda

      That’s so fascinating, Debbie. I had never heard that before about the 16 weeks. It’s kind of a cool thought, that everyone is on the same playing field at 16 weeks. Thanks for sharing this.

    2. Denise

      Hi Debbie. So interesting about the PT and it’s role, or lack thereof in recovery. I find the exercises help with circulation and help with pain from all the blood pooling in my foot.

      I find out at the end of January when I can go back to work and drive. I honestly hope to be walking by mid February which will be at the 14 week mark. I have a trip planned. My PT thinks I will be walking by end of January. Based on where I am at, I really can’t see that happening but I open to the possibility.

      I dream every night that I can walk, and it is just freedom. Holding something in my hands and walking, being mobile and getting my life back will be so welcome.

      Thank you for your timeline, it gives me hope:)

  48. Jo

    Hi all and happy 2019!
    I’ve been away from this blog for a bit and am trying to catch up on the new developments. Sounds like good progress is being made by many.
    Denise- I also live alone and am a very independent person. I really had to push myself to ask for help but knew I just could not do all I needed to to by myself. I was very fortunate to have family and good friends who rotated staying with me. I also learned the true virtue of gift bags with handles. Essential for transporting items, including my covered coffee mug 🙂, from room to room and up and down stairs.
    When I went to OS appointments, I would, with consent from the OS, use my phone to record the conversation so, I could review his assessment and recommendations after the appointment. That was super helpful as I really struggled to recall information from those visits, especially early in my recovery.
    I recently sought a second opinion regarding hardware removal. This OS did not believe my pain was due to the hardware, but rather to arthritis that has developed in my ankle. In her opinion, removal of the two lateral plates would not be difficult, however, removing the posterior plate that is located between the ankle joint and the Achilles tendon would be major due to the need to manipulate and stretch all the tendons and ligaments surrounding the plate. She indicated recovery associated with removing that plate would would be lengthy. She also wanted my to consider cortisone injections in the ankle on a 6 month cycle. So, I have some options to consider regarding removal and steroid treatment. For now, I’m going to just continue with ankle exercises for additional strengthening and flexibility.
    Warm water and a white sand beach to work on that flexibility next week. Sure beats snow and ice in MN.

    1. Kenda

      Hi Jo, thanks for the update!

      Great idea about recording your visits. Thanks for sharing that.

      It looks like metal removal is a bigger deal for you, too. I’m wondering if anyone here has had a similar situation, especially with the posterior plate.

      I hope there’s a solution that works for you regarding the arthritis. I wonder if PRP is an option there? It may be worth it to see if someone locally does PRP injections.

      Keep on healing on. I so appreciate your contribution all these months. 💕

    2. Denise

      Hi Jo! Gift bags are a life saver lol, I do the same. I also have a walker with a seat that was my uncle’s and I use that to transport meals, laundry etc. around my apartment. Very helpful so far. I don’t have stairs, so that makes it a bit easier.

      Interesting what you were told about the removal of the hardware.I will ask my surgeon when I have my apt. at the end of January. I really don’t want to deal with another long recovery. So far, it’s too early to know what the impact, if any, the hardware will have on me.

      Sorry to hear about the arthritis. Are you open to acupuncture? I hear it is helpful. Also hear drinking distilled water helps with arthritis – I have read some interesting articles but haven’t researched it enough. My uncle swears by it.

      Hope you enjoyed the white sands and warm water!

  49. S.P.

    Hello everyone,

    Happy new year. Hope everyone had fun around holiday season and celebrated the New Year’s Day.

    I finally had my doctor’s visit for 8 weeks post-op. It is actually the first visit after they removed my stitches after 2 weeks after my surgery. My doctor gave me the green light to start PT. They said healing is taking place just as the way it should be but it hasn’t been finished yet. I also can see one broken malleolus is still not completely healed from the X-Ray. The OS said a little weight bearing from now on would help further healing. So, yes, although I’m a bit disappointed as I hoped to bear weight from today but I’m happy everything’s good. I went through a fall in the meantime but it didn’t hurt the plate and screws. Everything is in place.

    It’s a bit unfortunate for me that I was having terrible fever for the past few days (nothing related to ankle, it’s just cough and cold). On the day of the appointment, I had no fever but was still weak. So, I couldn’t ask the Doc any good question (I made a list but was so weak even not feeling well to go through it). After I got back home and got better, I felt I should have asked the doctor questions like what to expect from PT? How to do well in PT? How to get prepared for PT? I would appreciate it so much if you guys can share your experience on that part. I thought about buying a pair of sneakers but wanted to wait till I talk to my PT specialist. If anybody here has some advice, please let me know.

    S.P.

    1. Kenda

      Hi SP,

      So sorry to hear you have been under the weather. I realize that adds insult to injury. 🙁

      But it sounds like positive news from your OS! You’re healing as expected. That’s a good thing!

      Take all those questions you were going to ask the doctor and bring them to PT. I found my PTs were more knowledgeable/helpful than my OS about the finer aspects of healing this injury.

      And yes. I’d wait to buy any shoes/sneakers before talking with your PT. S/he can recommend what will best work for you.

      You’re getting there!

    2. Denise

      Hi SP and Happy New Year!

      So sorry to hear about your fall and being under the weather. It’s that time of year and sickness has been circulating like crazy. It is so much harder when you are not mobile to be sick though.Ugh!

      Happy about you starting PT, that is positive! Key to PT is doing your exercises at home everyday. I do mine 3x a day and find it helps with circulation, flexibility and pain. Other than that, follow your PT’s instructions and be honest about pain. It’s normal to have little set backs here and there during the healing process, don’t let it discourage you.

      As for shoes, your PT will likely tell you to buy running shoes with a wide rim around them for balance. New Balance has shoes with a wider rim around the sole.That is what my PT told me to wear, especially when I am out of the boot and start to wear a shoe on my injured foot.

      Let me know what your PT says. Best of luck!

      1. S.P.

        Denise,
        Thanks a lot for all the wonderful suggestions. Yes, I needed to buy a new pair of tennis shoes from new balance. I have always wore new balance before and my shoe size always remained the same before the accident. But, this time we found out I got half inch bigger and also my regular size has changed to a “wide”. Yes, as like what you suggested, I got shoes with wider rim. I’m killing it with the new ones :-). Thanks again.
        S.P.

  50. Debbie

    Denise. I also had a large blister which took longer to heal than the incision. My friend, a wound specialist, recommended Bio-oil which did allow it to heal faster. She said keeping it moist is the key. Once it was healed, I joined my local health club where there is a therapy pool. Walking in the water and doing water aerobics helped both build the muscles and improve my mood! I started driving at 10 weeks which helped me get out of the house. I would put my crutches in the grocery cart and slowly walk with the support of the cart.
    My injury sounds similar to yours: 2 plates, 12 screws, blister… I kept it elevated on a heating pad most of the time I wasn’t actually up doing something for at least 12 weeks. I took it as an excuse to read and knit. Most patients do not need to have their hardware removed, so don’t assume you will have to. As the swelling goes down, you will feel the screws because there isn’t much muscle at the ankle to cover them. But unless this freaks you out, there is not usually a need for them to be removed. I pretend they add extra strength to my ankle.
    Remember we’re here for you.
    Good Luck.

    1. S.P.

      Debbie,

      Thank you for your advice on blister scars. Both Denise and you mentioned about blisters that a lot of ankle breaker don’t get in their way of recovery. I had a lot of blisters within a week of my accident. I appreciate the water stuff that you shared. Yes, I am only 8 weeks post-op but I started to feel the screws and also the plate. Since last night I’ve been having minor itching problem in the incision area and probably in the protruding part. I really don’t like them showing. But, from now on, I’ll try to think the way you think about having hardware inside – they are extended support for our ankles. Thank you. Let us know how you’re doing these days.

      S.P.

    2. Denise

      Hi Debbie! Thanks so much for the support and information, so helpful and very appreciated.

      Yes, appears we have very similar injuries. When you say you weren’t up for doing anything for 12 weeks, does that mean you were not doing PT? Sounds like at 10 weeks you were weight bearing a bit with using the shopping cart. I can’t wait to drive. At this point it’s not feasible. When did you start walking unassisted?

      My scabs are now gone and I started to use Bio-Oil and I also ordered Visible Aid and Nutri-hydrtaing mist from Aloette.com. My cousin swears by it, so I figure I’ll do a combination of Bio-Oil and these products, alternating days.

      I feel like the hardware will eventually bother me because my ankles are thin, but I won’t jump to decision until I know for sure. Prefer not to have another surgery, however I also don’t want to be limited as a result of the hardware.

      Thanks again for reaching out Debbie:)
      Denise

  51. Denise

    Hello all!

    Kenda, reading through your journey and seeing tons of stories similar to my own has helped me so much.Thank you for creating a place I can turn to feel inspired and hopeful when I have hard days.

    I slipped on ice a week before I was to leave for Europe on vacation, which was Nov 16th. A pretty simple fall. Unfortunately the way I landed back on my ankle left me with trimalleolar fracture with dislocation of my left ankle. All of a sudden my whole life changed. I was in the hospital 5 days before they performed surgery, which was Nov 20th, and I was released a day later. I ended up with 2 plates and several screws and some nasty huge blisters from the first cast they used to set my ankle. It was way too tight and the swelling caused extreme pain and blisters the size of hockey pucks.

    I went through 4 casts before finally getting the air cast aka moon boot on Dec 17th and I have completed my first week of PT and starting week 2. I am weight bearing as tolerated and doing my own exercises at home as well. I still can’t walk and I’m surprised how painful it is to weight bear. Also touching the skin on the top of my foot feels like its all exposed nerves and makes me want to scream. My PT told me it’s all the blood in there causing swelling. When he massages it, I could jump out of my skin.

    Some days if wonder if I’ll be normal again, if I’ll ever wear heels, go to spin and walk my dog.I am so happy just to stand now. I am looking forward to the day that I can walk. I took some steps using a walker, and still feel nervous that my ankle will break again. My PT keeps reminding me my ankle is strong and we just have to keep progressing. He thinks I’ll be walking by mid Jan, which I pray is true.

    No one has a clue how hard this is emotionally and physically. I am a single woman who is always on the go and very independent. I had to let that all go, and it was so hard to be vulnerable. My Dad has been wonderful and does so much for me. My family have all stepped in to help as well as my friends. I also hired help. I hired a dog walker, house cleaner and order food from a company that has pre-made fresh food that ships to your home. I also use a grocery delivery service and live on Amazon. Yet, the basic things like walking my dog, cooking, taking out the garbage, running to the store – all those things we complain about or take for granted…I miss more than anything.

    You mentioned on another person’s post that you had the plates and screws removed. How was the recovery from that surgery? I heard it takes another 6 months to recover and I just can’t imagine. What has been your experience with it? I think it’s something I will have to do, but want to know more.

    Thanks again for creating this place. Saved me on the days I wanted to give up.

    Denise

    1. Kenda

      Hello Denise and welcome to the T-team. I’m sorry you have to be here but glad you’ve arrived.

      Sounds like you’ve had quite a journey – especially with that cast situation. Painful. 🙁

      Will you be able to take a rain check on that European vacation?

      I’ve learned that almost all of the Trimalleolar fractures are the result of a simple fall. Amazing, isn’t it? That such a severe injury can happen as a result of a little tumble? My doc told me this injury is a result of torque not impact.

      You are right on. Folks who haven’t had this injury have no idea of the difficulties. But you are with veterans (and some rookies too!) here who totally get it. You are not alone here.

      I know it’s even more difficult when living alone. You’ll see from some of the comments that a few of our team members have shared that situation as well. I think one of the lessons or gifts (depending on how one looks at it!) is the opportunity to allow ourselves to being vulnerable and receiving help. Looks like you’re doing a great job with that. Your Dad sounds like a sweetheart.

      You’re doing a great job at maximizing on your resources, too.

      Yes! I had the metal out one year after the ORIF. The recovery was very fast. That surgery is not nearly as invasive as the ORIF. The healing time is for the holes to fill in and weight bearing is what helps make that happen. So I was off my feet for about two weeks and then a short stint of PT and voila! Compared to the previous year, that surgery and healing was a piece of cake! I’m guessing it’s a similar process for others as well.

      Thanks for your kind words. Try to make the best use of your time to heal, keep your body strong, and do whatever you can/need while off your feet.

      Please keep us posted on your progress if you get a chance?

      Keep on healing on, Denise!

      1. Denise Darroch

        Thanks Kenda. Definitely will book another trip of some sort when I am healed. Think you are right, there have been a lot of lessons I have learned from this and will be able to use throughout my life. So that is a big blessing coming out of this.

        Thank you for the information about having the hardware removed. Seems a bit more reasonable then what I had heard.

        Will definitely keep you posted and share my updates with everyone in case someone is going through the same right now or in the future. Hope I can give back as well.

        Thanks,
        Denise

        1. Kenda

          Hi Denise,

          Given how quickly you’re already bearing weight, my guess is that metal removal (I was told you have to wait at least one year from ORIF) will be a breeze.

          May all good things happen in 2019!

    2. S.P.

      Denise,

      As another trimalleolar fracture sufferer, I understand what you’re going through. But, you’re not alone. I always try to tell myself, things could have been way worse. At least, we injured ourselves in a way that’s treatable.

      It’s too good for you that you’re weight bearing already and started PT. I had my surgery on November 5 but I’m still not weight bearing. My doctor wants me to wait 8 whole weeks before I start PT. So, I only do exercises now at home by myself.

      I got those fracture blisters, too. I am not worried about the surgical scars because those don’t seem to last long. But I’m kinda worried about the blister scars. Let me know how you’re planning to handle them. Of ocurse, scars shouldn’t be our primary concern now. But, getting rid of them would really be good.

      Yes, allow yourself to take help from others because this is that time in life when you need it to survive. I often feel so bad thinking how much my husband is taking everyday but I also think afterward this is what I’ll remember and cherish all through my life. Glad to hear you’ve got a supportive family and circle of friends.

      Best wishes for your fast healing. Keep us posted.

      1. Denise Darroch

        Hi S.P.

        Thank you for the words of encouragement:) I absolutely agree, could have been worse. At one of my fracture appointments at the hospital, I was waiting to see my surgeon and as I was brought to one of the beds – I passed a young girl who had recently lost her leg. I took a moment to put everything in perspective. My injury will heal, I will have my foot, and I will walk on it. Even though there are still lows, it’s never too low or for too long.

        Did your doctor/surgeon say why you had to wait longer to weight bear or start PT? I was surprised when my surgeon looked at my x-rays and said “Wow, this looks really good. Let’s get you in an air cast and weight bearing as tolerated in the boot.” Especially because it had been less than a month since surgery. Sometimes I am afraid they made the wrong call, but he’s the expert.

        I do exercises at home too and I walk now with the walker, not fully weight bearing but I try everyday to put a bit more weight on it. It is still very painful to weight bear and after PT it’s very sore and swollen. I also find it’s itchy and red where the swelling is bad.

        My blisters are healing and scabbing over now, finally. I wash them with warm water and mild soap. I use coconut oil to moisturize my leg and foot. It’s natural and so I’m not concerned about it getting in the wounds. To prevent scarring, I will use Bio-Oil when it’s fully healed. My cousin mentioned a cream she used for one of her scars that was amazing. I’ll share the name once I get it. My blisters were so big that I prefer to try and minimize the scarring as much as possible. Did you have a lot of blisters? Were they big?

        Best wishes to you as well S.P. Since I’m a bit ahead of you in recovery, I’ll make sure to post anything I think will be helpful about the process as I go:)

        Denise

        1. S.P.

          Denise,

          So good to hear from you again. I appreciate sharing the fact that although we’re in pretty bad situations, we’ve a lot of things on the upside.

          I don’t know why my Doctor had to wait for 8 weeks after surgery. Probably it’s my third malleolus break – it was not fixed by any hardware. The break was so small that my OS wanted it to heal all by itself. I saw the doctor after 8 weeks and yes, it’s not completely healed yet but Doctor said it’s healing the way they expected. I am going to start PT from next week. I guess even though we have the same type of ankle break (T-fracture), everyone’s treatment will vary a little bit.

          Yes, I had a lot of big scary blisters around ankle area. All of them are completely healed by now. But I have big white round vacuum like scars now caused by those blisters.

          Thank you for mentioning bio-oil. I will wait on the name of the cream your cousin used for scars. I will let you know any other suggestions that come on my way.

          I would also appreciate any advice on making the PT appointments more successful.

          Best wishes towards being your 100%.

          S.P.

          1. Denise

            Hi S.P.
            Happy New Year! Hope all is well and you are recovering nicely.

            It’s very true that even though the fracture is the same, everyone has a different version of it, for a lack of a better medical explanation lol. Makes sense that with the plates and screws I have additional support and that weight bearing started sooner. I did tell my PT that we had to take a step back on some of the exercises, especially weight bearing with the walker with no air-cast. Too painful and now that I only take an Advil once a day, pain management is not feasible when weight bearing to that extent.

            I have about 10 PT exercises I do three times a day at home. I bought bands for stretching and light resistance and I also just bought a pedal exerciser from Amazon so I can do the bicycle motion that I do at PT for ROM. The more I do the ROM exercises, the better my foot/ankle feels as it helps with circulation. The trick is do stay on top of PT exercises everyday and multiple times so that your ankle does not swell or get too stiff. It’s also important to rest and not over do it.You’ll start to feel your limitations and play within them.

            The scabs on my blister are now gone (celebrating the small wins), and I have started to use Bio-Oil on them. They are still such a deep red, quite scary looking. I still use the coconut oil to moisturize as well which I find is good to help with all the layers of dead skin on the bottom of my foot.

            The name of the cream my cousin mentioned is Visible Aid and she also recommends Nutri-hydrtaing mist. She is ordering for me from a friend who sells it – you can by from Aloette.com. She swears by it, so I figure I’ll do a combination of Bio-Oil and these products, alternating days.

            Hope all this helps. Once you start PT and have any questions, let me know. I can’t fully weight bear until I see my surgeon at the end of Jan to assess. Right now, I can tell I’m not ready yet.

            Stay in touch:)

            Denise

            1. Kenda

              Thanks for sharing that info, Denise! I so appreciate how you’re advocating for yourself at PT (telling the PT that you need to take a step back). This is valuable info for anyone in a similar situation. You are the one with the power to make these vital decisions for yourself. Well done on holding onto and using your power.

              Keep on healing on!

          2. Kenda

            Hi SP, I was told to take a mild pain reliever (like Tylenol) before PT, but I tried it without and did fine.

            Mostly, go in there with that can-do attitude you already have, and I think the progress of your healing will pleasantly surprise you!

            Also, I went into PT with all my questions written down. I brought a pen and wrote down all the answers as well.

            Looking forward to hearing how it goes for you! This is an exciting milestone!

  52. Kenda

    Your kindness has no end, S.P. Thank you.

    I do believe 2019 is going to be a good year for you. I look at my scars in that way. Surprisingly, they’re very light. I’ve even had doctors not notice them until I point them out. Yet, I do so love those scars and appreciate them in a way I couldn’t possibly articulate. They’re like battle wounds (of a battle I won!) and certainly, like you so brilliantly said, evidence of a “stronger, wiser, me.”

    Wishing you and all the other “warriors of healing” a most lovely holiday season.

  53. S.P.

    Thank you, Kenda. As inspirational as always…..your words help me nourish my stronger self.

    My mother is a writer herself. She’s always been too supportive to make myself a better person. Yup, I’ll refer to my journey through t-mal by saving my comments here in some format. Good advice.

    I also believe I’m about to see the light at the end of this long terrible tunnel. My going back to normal life will really make me believe that every big or little thing gets alright as time passes. Only some scars might be left. But, those scars are important marks for stepping into a wiser, stronger “me”.

    Happy holidays. Have fun in doing all the great things you do. 💖

  54. S.P.

    Kenda, season’s greetings 💕. I took long to get back. Lots of stuff happened in between and I am here to share all that.

    Yup, I also observed the pain was worse at the first knock of temperature decline. The foot and the metals seem to adapt afterwards. Yes, we can’t talk directly to the doctors when we call doctor’s office. So, some information can be “lost in transmission” between the front and back end communications.

    What’s new on my side? My pain is mostly all gone, I just felt increased stiffness and swelling prior to and during my period this month. I experienced the same in last month, too. Actually, last month I was all flooded due to taking blood thinner. My doctor stopped the blood thinner 2 weeks after surgery, thankfully. The only drug I’m taking now is baby aspirin which I need to continue untill next doctor visit. I have swelling now only around the surgery areas. And sometimes at night during sleeping the foot swells within the aircast. I continued the ROM exercises and there are little, very little improvements with each passing week.

    Yeah, I have been doing awesome. Increased mobility both in the body and in the foot, awesome grasp of using crutches, increased appetite, started drinking tea one cup per day (I’m still saying ‘no’ to coffee), thinking about or trying a little bit of studying again, did some light kitchen stuff to help hubby (not much help tho).

    But, all on a sudden, I fell down. I got so so very confident in crutches that I was hurrying up one time real bad (so reckless of me) and I fell on the floor. Yeah, my wounded foot touched the ground but I don’t think I put more than 20% of my weight on that. I was trying hard not to fall on the injured leg so I think I first tried to balance the fall by the good leg and hands. I didn’t feel any pain or anything. Called my relative who’s an OS right away that night and was told not to worry if there’s no new pain or swelling. Called the doctor’s office in the morning and they said the same thing. I feel lucky that it happened after almost 6 weeks after surgery and not any sooner.

    I’m not that good in keeping journals yet. The only log for me is what I put into your blog and sometimes what I share in social media. My mom, too, over the phone conversations (She’s not in this country) told me over and over to write what I feel and experience everyday. Didn’t happen for me. I tried but I only get the flow of writing when I write here.

    Hell, yeah, I got you and others here. Another soul will be in need of me. And yup, I will do my best to support.

    Cool emojis again. Hugs and kisses. Happy holidays 💖. Wish I’ll be back with good news.

    1. Kenda

      Great news about your diminished pain, S.P.! I think you’re the first woman to mention increased stiffness and swelling during your period, but that makes total sense. I don’t even remember that, now, if I had that same experience. You’re only taking baby aspirin now, too. Well done!

      You are really doing awesome! Look at all you’ve accomplished now compared to only a short while ago.

      How frightening to have taken a fall, but two experts concurred that if you had no swelling or pain, you should be okay. Still, I can imagine your worry.

      If you ever need, you can copy and paste your comments here into a word doc for a quick and easy journal.

      I adore your mom and her support of your expressing yourself!

      Good things are happening, and one day these challenges will all be a distant memory. And when you come out of this, you’ll be stronger than ever!

      Happy holidays and may all good things come your way!

  55. Kenda

    Hello S.P.,

    I agree that a change in temperature could impact how that metal feels in your bones. I noticed it when the weather became colder as well. It’s curious the docs would seemingly contradict themselves by, on the one hand, saying you’d feel the weather with the the metal, and now recently saying there’s no way the pain is coming from the metal. It sounds like an internal miscommunication.

    Risk only within your comfort level and when PT starts you’ll have a new kind of support to guide you. It seems like you’re still continuing your ROM exercises, so well done there!

    It’s also wise to log the events, troubles, improvements, etc., so you can look back and see your progress. It’s so incremental at times, it’s hard to believe progress is happening. But it is! In the future, sooner than you know, you’ll be one of the healed Trimal commenters offering sage supportive suggestions to a Trimal rookie through his or her journey.

    Hugs back! 💕❤️😘

  56. S.P.

    Dear all,
    I am almost 4 weeks post-op and in an aircast. Just after 2 weeks of my surgery, my calf skin started to peel off. But now all the skin throughout the injured foot – upper and lower part, even the toes started to come off. Anybody have any idea why is this happening? Also, is there any way to bring back some of the calf muscles within this NWB period?

    1. Kenda

      Hi S.P.,

      I’m not sure to what extent your skin is peeling, but I do recall having very flaky skin, myself. I’m guessing it has something to do with the skin being in constant contact with the cast or boot and no chance to breathe. I used coconut oil and lotion to ease that issue. I think the muscles will atrophy until you’re able to bear weight again. They’ll come back but I know it’s surprising to see what happens when they’re not in use. I did try to keep some muscle tone by doing leg lifts when it felt okay to do so. But that didn’t help the calf muscles. I think you’ll find the healing process progresses more rapidly when you can start to bear weight again. In the meantime, do everything you can to take care of your body to create a foundation that will facilitate the healing.

      Cheers to your healing!

      1. S.P.

        Kenda, you amaze me. Just like Akhil said it takes great patience to reply to every single message that gets posted here. I can’t sleep at all tonight. It’s already 1:08 pm. The aircast is worse than cast plaster in case of letting the patient sleep. My husband and I sleep in the same room, although now in different beds, we were worried if somehow my legs get banged during sleeping. He won’t sleep in the living room in the thought I might need him at night. I really thought to take one hydrocodon at night just to let my hubby sleep better. I don’t worry about my sleeping as I can compensate for that in the daytime (although doesn’t happen much). I worry about him as he needs to rise really early then make everything handy for me, get himself ready for office, drive 50 minutes, do tough radiochemistry research, drive 50 minutes or even more to get back at evening and do all the cooking, cleaning, and feeding me. But, again, both my hubby and I have to consider the future effect of these medications. I am so against of taking any medication if not heavily needed. I stopped hydrocodon after two weeks of surgery. Every night I need to adjudt the straps of the aircast and those are so loud to make a sleeping person wake up. The aircast is a boon in daytime as I can do as much exercise as needed but a curse at night because of being too heavy and uncomfortable.
        Yeah, all the skin of my foot, toe, wound, calf upto knee are coming off and new skin is emerging. Thank you for your thought. I also think so. I, too, started using unscented lotion. I agree with you on the muscle loss issue as well.
        Need a hug, need wishes. Love for you.

        1. Kenda

          Oh how I remember those sleepless nights, S.P.! They seem like they go on forever. You are a good candidate for journaling. This is how I passed some of my sleepless time. It helped me to process the angst and discomfort.

          You and your hubby sound like a super kind couple. How lovely that he’s taking such great care of you. You found yourself a good partner. No doubt he recognizes his good fortune too.

          Good idea about the unscented lotion. I, too, prefer unscented as I’m not only sensitive to certain chemicals but some are endocrine disruptors.

          I’m happy to respond. There are days in which I’m busier than others when I’m slow to respond. I also tend to respond less when I’m traveling. But I do the best I can do to let you and others know you’re not alone on this journey. Fortunately, for me, many amazing people show up on this blog and chime in when they have a moment. It’s a lovely community.

          I send you that hug and healing thoughts. 💕

          1. S.P.

            How lovely that pinky heart emo is! Thank you, Kenda again for all the thoughtful words. I called the doctor’s office to discuss the pain and they said there was no way the pain was coming from the metal pieces. They said after surgery some pain is normal. I later thought that it might had something to do with temperature gradient. Because before surgery the doctor told me I’d feel the weather with metal pieces in me. And yes, the next day which is a sunny warmer day, the pain got reduced. Apart from that sudden pain issue, every time when I try to move my ankle nowadays, I can feel the metals. I can’t push myself harder for that (I know Debbie said not to be afraid and also the doctor’s office said do any type of exercise being NWB but I’m too afraid to take any risks before the PT starts). But, I started some new exercises like picking towel with toes. The toes are still not good at it, but they’re slowly getting better at grips. Also, I am trying to write C and D as these two are offering me to make at least a half circle in opposite directions.

            Journaling, yes, not only you guys are helping me with support and advice here but this is also helping me to create my own logging of events, troubles, and improvements which will help me help anybody in need in future (I really want no one to go thru the trimalleolar disaster we’ve been thru.)

            Thanks for the hugs and wishes. Love.

  57. S.P.

    Debbie,
    Thanks a lot for being so informative. As Kenda mentioned, I feel lucky and happy to get someone like you who is in healthcare. I appreciate your taking time to get back to me.

    1. Kenda

      Good point. The first time I really experienced that, I thought I broke a screw. It was incredibly loud and shocking. But it didn’t hurt, so I figured nothing too serious happened. In retrospect, it was a great thing!

  58. Just reading your other message! Well, I didn’t start any of the range of motion exercises until I was in PT. That said, I started PT shortly after my surgery. I hesitate to advise you before you get specific instructions from a physical therapist. And maybe writing the letter “O” with your toe at this juncture is too soon? If I recall, your OS made the suggestion already for your to start writing the alphabet with your left foot? If so, may begin with an easier letter? The letter “T” comes to mind as does “N” or may of the letters with vertical lines. Keep in mind that these letters do not have to be “perfect.” The idea behind the exercise is to slowly build on the range of motion. If you have wonky letters at the beginning, totally fine! I’m eager for you to start PT so that you can have an expert guide you.

    You’re welcome! Cheers to your healing!

    1. S.P.

      Dear Kenda, I take great delight in learning that you’ll be there to support my future endeavor of being a vegan. You are right. Making circles at this stage is too tough. I tried “N” and “T” today. I was not good at those either as the ankle didn’t want to move. But it was certainly better than making “O”. Specially, the big toe movement was lot improved when writing letters. One thing is new. I feel some pain on the right side incision of my ankle. This is the place where I have two screws. I have a plate and seven screws on the other side and that side is fine. The pain is very “metallic”, like this is coming straight from screws. I don’t know if I am doing too much exercise (I was advised to do as much as I can and to wear aircust only during ambulation or sleeping). I don’t know if this comes directly from aircust being tight at that place. Tonight when I was wearing aircast, one side of the cast exterior lightly touched that right incision side. Did you face any such pain during the post-op NWB period? I am worried. It’s not unbearable, it’s just a sharp “metallic” pain. I’ve not been taking any pain-med for three days and this is the first time I’m experiencing this.
      Thank you and best wishes ❤️.

      1. Kenda

        Well done on your new letters, S.P.!

        You may be feeling those screws because your nerves are coming back to life and because you stopped taking the meds. I was super sensitive to the metal. A year out from my ORIF, I had all of it removed. Good to know it’s not unbearable, but clearly you’re concerned. It may be worth a call to the OS. Something to consider is that this injury lends itself to a myriad of new sensations, particularly pains for the first weeks. Still, trust your gut and check with the doc when something feels off.

        To your healing!

      2. Debbie

        S.P. Don’t worry about over doing the exercising/stretching. You are strengthening the muscles and tendons that were stretched and/or weakened with the injury and inactivity afterward. The bones are pretty well healed at around 6 weeks, so after that you are safe there. It is strange to get those wandering pains, but as Kendra says, it is just nerves coming back to life. That’s a good thing. I do laugh though when I get a pain and realize it’s in my good foot! The goal of PT is to keep moving and stretching to get back to normal. Research has shown that it’s not overly important what you do, just that you do something. Move your foot in as many directions as you can. When you get it stretched as far as you can, hold it there for about 10 seconds. Then move on to stretching it into a new direction. Over time, and as swelling goes down, and the muscles get stronger, and your Achilles’ tendon gets stronger, you will notice a big difference. I’m one year postop this week and feel like I’m mostly there. Still a few twinges and aches, but that’s my new normal. I just got home from line dancing… Hard to believe now, but you will get back to normal.

        1. Debbie

          Just have to say, Now that my swelling is down most of the time, I can feel my screws. I just laugh and say thank you to them and my 2 plates for holding me together while I healed. They don’t hurt so I’m leaving them in.

  59. Hi S.P.,

    From my perch what you’ve detailed above is normal given how early in the process you still are. You’ll find the range of motion exercises will continue to get easier, but for now, it looks like you’re doing great!

    And the swelling…that’s an unfortunate aspect of this injury and is worse early on diminishing with each passing week. I didn’t have an aircast, so I am unable to speak to that. i wonder if your OS could find you an alternative?

    But yes, drink as much water as you can! I know it’s a pain, because it means more bathroom trips (note I didn’t say, “breaks” haha). Spicy food could actually help. Pepper, turmeric, cloves, and ginger could help with swelling. I’m a BIG fan of turmeric. Highly recommend!

    But yes, this all sounds normal given what surely feels like an abnormal situation.

    To your healing!

    1. S.P.

      Thank you again, Kenda. All great advice indeed. Yes, the break is over and I’ll call the doctor’s office with all the concerns. Yup, it seems like I got little more flexibility in the toe and in the upper foot area. The skin of my foot gets so wrinkled day by day. My husband says it means swelling is reduced. Some bones in the upper foot area right below the toes are coming back. I don’t know why I still feel swelling only at the night when I sleep inside the aircast. I started drinking more water from yesterday. I’ve always been good at that but after my injury, specially at night I wanted to shorten the number of bathroom “trips😄”. Even though I try not to call my hubby at night, he rises as I rise. He still has to rise very early for office. Now, I changed the plan and drink more water at daytime. Hope that will reduce swelling.
      I also like turmeric much. I’m originally from South Asia and turmeric is an integral part of cooking there. My husband also brought ground turmeric for me and we’ve plans to make juice of it with ginger and honey.
      Hope you had a wonderful break. Best wishes, stay blessed!

      1. I think your husband is correct about the wrinkly skin and the reduced swelling! Well done on changing your water schedule. 🙂 I try to do that, too, front load the water early in the day.

        My guess is that swelling is worse at night, because being sedentary could reduce blood circulation. I found myself doing my foot exercises at night while in bed. Sometimes I still do them in the morn before getting out of bed. Just to get warmed up. 🙂

        Happy spice juicing!

        1. S.P.

          ❤️. Thanks again. I actually meant whole turmeric not ground turmeric. Honey is still a vice that we have. That reminds me I can use something else instead of it. My hubby and me have plans to be vegans in the long run. My husband introduced me to the concepts of nature-friendliness, veganism, to be gentle to other species after our marriage last year. I am still not a good follower. Your writing attracted me so much for one reason that you’re one of these most thoughtful human beings. There are many other reasons to love your blogs and love you as a person. Stay blessed.

          1. S.P.

            Also, Kenda, as you mentioned at some point of your recovery you could make circles with your left foot. I’m also trying to make circles with my left foot. No luck with that. I know it’s tough now to recall….but would you give me some tips how to make circles by moving ankle a bit? I only made progress on pulling my foot a tiny tiny bit forward today, I can wiggle toes as better as yesterday, but no progress with writing letters (Initially, I only want to write “O”). I can’t do most of the things I should be doing, but I didn’t stop moving my foot in those directions. Thank you so much ❤️.

          2. Dear S.P., I’m beaming after reading this message. Your kind words lift my heart. Thank you. Do let me know how I can support you on your future veganism. It’s a worthy transition for your health, the health of the planet, and to reduce animal suffering. ❤️

  60. S.P.

    Dear all,
    So, it’s been 3 days since I came back from doctor’s office getting rid of cast, stitches and with an aircast. I am 2 weeks 4 days post-op now. I thought it was pretty early so didn’t raise this issue before. I know it’s still pretty early since it’s been only 3 days out of cast. For these 3 days I wanted to do range of motion exercises as I was advised by my doctor to practice it by myself for now. Honesty, the only thing I could do is to wiggle my toes. I admit there’s some improvement in my big toe movement and I can push my ankle back a bit. But, that’s it. I cannot pull forward my ankle. It’s so so stiff. Also, I’m too worried to force my ankle to do anything thinking something will break. Although the sweet assistant of my OS told me, “No, we didn’t put the screws that loose that they will come out if you do range of motion exercises.”
    The other issue is the swelling at night inside the aircast. I was pretty naive to think aircast will make a big difference in case of discomfort at night. Now I think, I could probably sleep better with the cast I had before. Well, yes, there are variables. I am not taking painkillers every 4 or 6 hrs like I used to take. I take only one painkiller now before sleeping. I don’t take any painkiller in the daytime. But, tge daytime is more or less ok. I don’t have much swelling tgen. It’s the nights that are horrible. I have to be in the aircast when I sleep and for the sleeptime I don’t keep the aircast too snug. But, the foot swells all the night. My husband and me, we both wake up, sometime in the middle of night. My husband pulls out my aircast to let my foot breathe. It takes about 30 minutes for my foot to get a bit normal. I keep my foot elevated most of the time. But, the elevation only is not helping reduce swelling. I don’t know if there are other things, like drinking more water, eating less ptotein, eating less spicy food (we don’t use much salt, but we use spices) will help. I’ve heard swelling is not good for healing.
    May be all this are pretty normal. I am sure a lot if you went through this. If anything you think made you a bit better from all this, let me know.
    Thank you.

  61. S.P.

    Kenda, thank you for mentioning that I might consider contacting my OS again to start PT earlier. I will remain in close contact with the OS office and let them know the updates. Thanks again.

  62. Nancy

    Hi Terry, S.P. and all-
    Very good news Terry about your progress and S.P. sounds like you have a good plan.
    S.P. I wash my wounds with very mild soap and a soft washcloth. I was very gentle in the beginning! I use neosporin on some irritations from the cast and Nivea and Aquaphor spray ointment lotion for all the dry skin. I have probably shed three legs (TMI) already😂 I wear my husband’s socks as Kenda suggested. My OS was not specific so I have been using what feels comfortable.
    Take care

    1. Kenda

      Ya’ll are doing great! And Nancy, it’s not TMI, it’s a T-mal reality!

      Terry, you’re doing great. My only concern is that using one crutch is very painful. Is the pain diminishing or increasing? Please try not to overdo it. I know how thrilling it is, the notion of walking again. Well done on working the range of motion, too.

  63. Terry C

    Thanks for your kind words and i am working very hard at loosing my crutches ! I only started on 1 crutch yesterday. It’s very painful but makes me happy to see some light at the end of the tunnel ! So when they took the staples out they put white strips to keep the wounds from opening up ! She also said the strips would come off by them self’s. I had my first sit down shower 2 weeks after surgery and gently used some regular soap on the wounds every time i showerd ! The strips came off around 2 weeks. I also had to wash all the dry skin around my ankle ! I do wear a compression sock for swelling at PT advice . I am constantly moving my ankle to get more range of motion up to where it hurts and take a break and start again. Anyhow this what i have been doing. Hopefully this helps P.S. Good luck .

    1. S.P.

      Wow, Terry. That’s wonderful. May all the pain, patience, hardship lead us to full recovery and help us being our stronger selves. Glad to know you kept working hard on loosing crutches. Thank you for the advice on cleaning wounds and the type of socks. You’re getting there. Keep it up by listening to your body and let us know of your progress.

  64. Jo

    Keeping in mind each of our incisions and situations could be different, my OS wanted me to just let water gently run over the incision. He strongly recommended letting the steri-strips fall off on their own. I would put a mild body wash (Dove) on a wet wash cloth an very gently wash the incision without rubbing and then let warm water run over to rinse. Using a shower chair in the tub with a hand held shower head made this pretty easy.

  65. S.P.

    I’ve already asked this question to our t-buddy, Terry. I am sure he’ll get back with some suggestion. In the meantime, it would be so helpful if you guys could give some idea about how you cleaned wounds after removing the sutures/ stitches. Thanks and best wishes.

  66. Terry C

    Hi S.P. So this is the surgeons instructions she told me up to now . Surgery September 18 put in a soft cast . October 1 staples out and X-ray and air cast boot. Surgeon says go home and keep boot on except to clean wounds and shower. I took it as no movement so didn’t move ankle but I did move my toes though. Surgeon says come back November 5 and still in boot she takes X-rays and says start PT . I should ween myself off the crutches and eventually the boot. 4 sessions at PT and now on 1 shakey crutch . Surgeon says come back December 21 and she will asses me .So it’s been painful and happy too ! I can’t wait to walk hands free and hug my wife ! She is the best ! In short the process has been a good life lesson. Anyhow that’s my story so far and good to hear about everyone’s story. Cheers

    1. Jo

      Terry, it’s so good to hear the optimism in your post. Remaining optimistic through the pain, frustrations, and the unknown is such a huge part of recovery from this injury. Congratulations to you on the progress you have made and will continue to make!

    2. S.P.

      Terry, have a big pat on your back! You’ve come a long way and you almost made it! Proud of you, buddy. Now, I need one advice from you. I’m planninng to clean my wounds tomorrow. Would you please tell me a good way to clean that? I asked the nurse and they told me just remove the strips and do normal cleaning. Did you use anything more?
      Best wishes for your wife and you. Better days are on their way!

    3. Kenda

      Thanks for the chronological order of events, Terry. That’s helpful. I can’t wait for you to be hands-free and hug your wife, too! Please, send us an update, if you get a chance, after your 12/21 appt. Cheers!

  67. Paulette

    Hi SP, are you going to PT? They will show you all the exercises and even give you written directions. They will also bend and stretch the ankle for you to help with increasing your range of motion. If you are not going to PT, please ask your OS for a referral, which is what I did.

    Happy Thanksgiving to all of you.

    1. S.P.

      Hi Paulette, thank you so much for getting back. My OS is planning to start PT for me after 6 weeks. I am glad to know what happens after PT starts. Have a wonderful thanksgiving break.

  68. Kenda

    Hi S.P. I would try it both ways and see which way is most comfortable. At the beginning, I believe I started the exercises with pillow support. Mostly, it’s important to get working on that range of motion as this will be one of your big tasks at PT. It may also help get your blood circulating.

    You’re on your way!!

    1. S.P.

      Thank you so much, Kenda. My OS is planning to start the PT for me after 6 weeks (all for good reasons). As I am doing it myself, I have so many confusions. Thank you for clearing it up. They told me to do the exercises in the daytime as much as possible and to wear the boot when ambulating or sleeping. So, I guess the purpose of the boot is to protect my foot…..not like as I thought at first it is shaping the foot. I actually started to tighten the boot so much thinking the latter (shape thing) that it hurt me awfully. Now, I keep it a bit loose if it gets uncomfortable. Have a beautiful thanksgiving weekend.

      1. Kenda

        Thanks for clearing that up, S.P. Yes, I see the boot as protection. Definitely keep that boot as comfy as you can. Since you’re nonweightbearing, the protection comes in handy if you move around.

        When you say you start PT after 6 weeks, does your OS mean 6 weeks post-op? Refresh my memory, when will that be? I ask, because it’s a good milestone for you to aim toward.

        Have a lovely Thanksgiving weekend yourself! Let everyone and anyone take care of you this year.

        1. S.P.

          Kenda, thank you so much. I will be 8 weeks post-op when I see my doctor next on January 3rd, 2019. That day they’ll check everything and if everything looks fine, they’ll give me heads up to go for PT. Let’s keep our fingers crossed. Have a wonderful rest of the break ❤️.

          1. Kenda

            You’re so welcome, S.P. I’m wondering, would you be willing to call your OS around mid-december to see if s/he can prescribe PT at that point? You’ll be 6 weeks post-op then, so it may bolster your confidence to get started on PT. Plus, you’ll have a face-to-face support system available. I went to PT armed with questions and left, each time, comforted with the answers. <3

  69. S.P.

    Dear all,
    As I mentioned before I was given an aircast boot yesterday during my first post-op visit (2 weeks after surgery) and was prescribed to do some range of motion exercises with my ankle, like bending the foot a bit downward and upward and writing capital lettters with the toes by moving the ankle. I am kind of confused if I have to place my pillow below my foot when doing this exercises or I lift my leg upward in the air to do these exercises. I will certainly talk to my doctor’s office as they open after the break. In the meantime, by any chance, somebody can shed some light, it will be really helpful. Happy thanksgiving.

  70. Nancy

    Terry C and Paulette-
    Thank you both your responses were extremely helpful. I am working to get my foot to neutral to begin weight bearing soon and I am very anxious about walking. I love this blog because you all are so willingly to
    share your experiences. You help me manage my fears and emotions.
    Happy Thanksgiving to all!

    1. Paulette

      Nancy, I was terrified of walking. My OS gave me the walking boot and told me to start weight bearing after 2-3 days, but I could not do it. I was like Frankenstein’s monster and my mind could not remember what to tell my leg/foot to do. PT is essential in getting back to normal and you will! I live on the 3rd floor and go up and down at least twice a day, along with swimming, biking and walking. There is no quick fix for a TriMall, but it will come!

  71. Paulette

    Hi Terry, swelling lasted a long time for me and it will continue since you are weight-bearing. Once you are standing, your ankle will swell and continue to be discolored but it is normal. I continued icing it as long as I continued with my therapy – for about three or four months.

    I did all my first-time walking with my PT. I can tell you that I walked without any crutches (barely) about 10 or 11 weeks after my fall. However, even then, it was slowly and my gait was all wrong, so I continued PT to learn how to walk correctly and to get the same ‘motion’ in healed ankle as in healthy one. I still had a bit of a limp for some time.

    I hope that helps.

    1. Terry C

      Glad for all the information and can see some light at the end of the tunnel ! It’s nice to know that my recovery is going as expected according to all here ! On a good note I found a show called the Big Bang Theory which makes me laugh 😂 ! Cheers

  72. Terry C

    Hi All… I am just curious about swelling and how long before you see improvement ? My ankle is swollen every day despite the ice and elevation ! Also how long before 100% weight bearing ? I can tolerate about 75% . I want to go full weight bearing but scared to take that first step yet …kinda of like a baby bird taking his first flight ✈️ Its 2 weeks since I was given the go ahead to weight bearing as tolerated ! Or is this normal and i am on track ? Cheers Terry

    1. Kenda

      Swelling at your stage is normal. Annoying, but normal! Once you get walking on that foot, it’ll begin to dissipate. You gotta get the blood circulating.

      Even baby birds use caution when flying the nest. This past spring, I witnessed three baby nuthatches hanging out at the edge of a nest. Day after day, I thought, “today, surely they’ll take flight.” They hung out there looking down and all around. Then, one day, one of then was ready and took off. By the next day, all three were flying in circles expanding their perimeter until they were gone. Moral of the story: It’s a process for us all – humans and nonhumans alike! Take that flight when you’re ready. And I think it would be easier to do while with your PT. That’s when I took my first step. It felt more secure that way.

      Cheers!

  73. Kenda

    I think it sounds like a good idea to try to keep your ankle all the way back on the inside of your boot. I wore my hubby’s tube socks inside my boot, but it wasn’t an aircast. Still, the tube socks worked great for me because they were big enough to easily cover my ankle and made a soft padding for the boot. Not sure if this helps tho!

    1. S.P.

      Thank you, Kenda for the idea of tube socks. I tried to check with the Doctor’s, but it was already late and now there’s Thanksgiving break. I will call them again. I never used compression socks, I have to find info on those, too. Happy Thanksgiving.

      1. Kenda

        You’re so welcome, S.P. I realize that my solutions may not work for others. So, if you find something else that works for you, please share. We all get to learn from one another here.

        I bought my first pair of compression socks on Amazon as this gave me an opportunity to read lots of reviews and see which socks might work the best for me. I didn’t stay long in them, however, because I found them annoying despite their helping me. Now, I only wear then on airplane rides.

        Wishing you all a lovely holiday.

  74. S.P.

    If anyone can give me an idea about what type of socks I should wear with aircast boot, it would be very helpful. Also, did you use the air button of the air cast? I assume it makes the boot more snug. But whenever I try to pump a little air, it gets very uncomfortable. I don’t know if only holding the straps tightly will work. I am trying my best to put my ankle all the way back of the inside of the boot.
    Thanks.

    1. Terry C

      Hi S.P.and friends… I have been in a air cast boot for 7 weeks now and couldn’t get my foot all the way to the back . So i was worried when I went back to the surgeon after 7 weeks to get X-rays . My foot would not sit flat on the floor. Now i have been to the Physio and my foot sits flat and all the way back in the boot ! I kept my boot loose so it wouldn’t rub on my wounds but only enough to make it comfortable . Also I am now leaving my boot off around the house . It’s a very long process. It’s been 9 weeks for me post surgery and 2 weeks of Physio ! I thought it was going to be quick to walk and now I know it’s going to take awhile ! Time and patience S. P. ! Which i don’t have. Take Care and you are not alone ! Thanks to everyone for all the well wishes ! Terry

      1. Kenda

        Thanks for your update, Terry! Well done on getting that foot to sit flat. Oh yes, time and patience. That was one of my lessons with this injury. Seven years later, I’m still trying to figure it out. Clearly, I’m a slow learner. 🙂

        Cheers to your healing!

      2. S.P.

        Dear Terry,
        Thanks for getting back. Glad to know that your foot can sits flat now. Whenever I hear this stories of gradual progression, I get more optimistic. Thank you for sharing. Best wishes for your healing.

    2. Jo

      S.P.
      I had my foot, ankle, and calf wrapped in an ace bandage inside my boot and then I wore a white cotton surgical sleeve that the OS gave me. I didn’t wear a sock inside my boot. As far, as pumping up the boot, I didn’t inflate until the swelling had decreased significantly. I agree, it felt uncomfortable to inflate. I did work hard at getting my head all the way back in the boot so my ankle was kept at a 90 degree angle.
      Jo

  75. .Nancy

    Hi S.P. And T- Buddies-
    Sounds like you are making wonderful progress and you had a very good OS visit.
    I am so happy for you.
    My treatment and situation is a little different. I have had several fiberglass cast changes over the last eight weeks and I am now in a regular boot without the aircast. When I experience discomfort I loosen the Velcro straps. I take the boot off three times a day to do theraband exercises recommended by my OS. I did notice going from casts to a boot did take some adjusting, but your ankle adapts and it
    gets better. Sorry I couldn’t be more help, but I am sure one of our other T-buddies will be.
    Take care.

    1. Kenda

      T-Buddies, that’s super cute!

      Well, S.P., THAT is a great report. I do believe you have successfully made it over the hardest hurdle. Yay!

      I remember when the OS assistant first placed my foot in the boot, it was very painful in the beginning. But it was a regular boot with the velcro, like what Nancy has. I didn’t experience the aircast boot. My guess is that it should be snug enough to hold your foot in place and loose enough to feel comfortable. I’m guessing, like with the regular boot, you’ll grow increasingly familiar with this new step (no pun intended!) and will find the most comfortable way to wear it. Still, I encourage you to check with your OS. I don’t recall your mentioning PT. When do you start? I leaned heavily on my PT for answers to questions.

      To your healing!

  76. S.P.

    Dear T-Buddies,

    I saw the OS today after 2 weeks of my ankle surgery and I have all good news. X-rays done, sutures removed, got the aircast boot. The OS said the X-rays look good…..yay! My OS and her assistant were compassionate and they took their time to answer every of my questions. The sutures removal – yes, just like Nancy said – feels like a bit pinching and as in my hubby’s words, nothing like the pain I’ve already been through. Thank you, Kenda, Nancy, Debbie, and Jo for helping me feel strong to go through the first post-op appointment.

    I just have some confusions which arose after I came back home. So, when the nurse tried to put my leg in the boot, it hurt much. I requested her to make it a bit loose. She loosen it up a bit. But, now I am thinking if it is right to make it a bit loose? I have to be in the boot for another 6 weeks. I’d appreciate any advice on how fitting the aircast boot should be?

    Thanks.

  77. Jo

    Hi S.P.
    I recall a lot of anxiety and fear related to not knowing if my pain and discomfort were typical or if something was really wrong. And I never believed I would, someday, forget that pain. In the past 20 months, I have forgotten the specifics of the intense pain. I do recall, however, what felt like bolts of electricity suddenly hitting my leg, ankle, and foot – And frequent small “bites” of electrical impulse. I think Kenda mentioned in one of her blogs about this being a positive sensation as it meant my nerves were waking up. That thought was comforting because it meant healing, in my mind.
    I had a nerve block after surgery which lasted about 36 hours (I think). My OS strongly recommended being prepared for and staying on top of the pain. So I did set an alarm for every 4 hours to take the prescription pain meds and gradually reduced them 1/2 tablet at a time. Several times I thought I was done with them and then would have a bad day and need to take again. Be patient with yourself and remember your body is recovering from a very serious injury and surgical repair.
    I found moving from bed to recliner helped and I had several pillows in multiple locations in my house. I also used a free app called Headspace with quick 10 minute meditations to help with periods of more intense pain. A diffuser and a cotton ball taped to my pillow with a few drops of essential oil were also very comforting.
    Although I was terrified to have sutures removed and trading the cast for a boot, it was wonderful to be able to take the boot off at home and ice directly on the ankle. So much more effective.
    It sounds like you have made much progress already. Stay focused on healing and taking care of you. I look forward to hearing more about your journey.
    Jo

    1. S.P.

      Thank you, Jo for being so informative and coming up with such kind words. I am so glad that I am getting so much compassion and advice from my t-buddies here. I really liked all your tips and will experiment with the same or similar to help me feel better. Although it’s the 2nd week of my surgery, I’m non-weight-bearing since October 13, the day I broke my ankle. So, it’s already a month now. At first I started dealing it with being strong, but now sometimes I break down. I know this is not good for healing. So, certainly the meditation idea will really be helpful in this case. I watch mostly comedy series in the evening time with my hubby and that also helps elevate my mood. My husband keeps telling me when I recover from this, I’ll emerge as a very strong person. I also want to believe one day I’ll recover from this and life will get better. Best wishes.

      1. Kenda

        I think watching comedy is a fabulous idea, S.P.! I agree with your hubby: you will emerge from this a very strong person. He sounds like a wise man and a good partner.

        Sometimes a part of being strong is acquiescing to a tough reality: there will be tough days. I think you’re doing a great job allowing yourself to feel the range of emotions as that will help you move through them.

        To your healing!

        1. S.P.

          Kenda, thank you again for responding to my every queries, doubts, and feelings. Yes, I am very lucky to have such great life partner. Its for him I am able to eat a lot of cooked food with very low sodium and all good spices. My husband believes in cooking daily and everyday we eat a number of vegetsble and fruits. We used to cook together in the evening everyday. Sometimes, when I got too busy, I tried to convince him that we don’t need to cook everyday, we could eat outdide or order something. Then, he got back with this reply, “Look, cooking good and eating good are the most important stuff. If we can’t manage 1-2 hrs everyday for this, then I’d consider my life as miserable.” Although, we were very happy, this thing was sometimes our only source of argument. To make me happy, he even agreed to eat outside or eat preserved food. Now, I know, he is really wise. Now, I can only eat what he cooks.

          Best wishes,
          S.P.

  78. S.P.

    Thank you, Nancy and Debbie. The sun still shines today but I woke up at 9 am with a pain in the left side of my injured left leg slightly upper part of the ankle, in the lower leg and severe swelling. I was hoping to maintain only 3 Tylenols per day from now on. But after I woke up, the severity forced me to take hydrocodon again, not tylenol. Now I have started to feel better. I am kind of confused. It’s true that the pain like all metal screws are biting me that I had in the first week of surgery – no I don’t feel the pain anymore. But, there are many new types of pain, discomfort and sensations. Sometimes at the end of my foot I feel there are no bones, only flesh (I apologize if that sounds gruesome), sometimes there is itching inside the cast in all places, sometimes the toes starts to ache so much. Did you face the same? I know I might sound nagging, childish. But, I am too scared when all this happen.
    Thanks and best wishes.

    1. Kenda

      S.P., your range of emotions is SO normal. I appreciate that you’re voicing them as this is a way to process them out of your mind and body.

      To me, it seemed as if there were new sensations/pains almost daily after surgery for the first few weeks. I so clearly recall the electric-type zingers in my foot every night while trying to sleep. It was so disturbing to me, and I had a difficult time finding what it meant until I spoke with a professional. Turns out a lot of those sensations were my nerves trying to heal themselves. I used that information as a reminder that the pain/swelling/discomfort was all a part of the healing process. It’s unfortunate, sometimes, that healing has to make itself so blatantly an painfully known! It reminds me how one of my mentors used to say, when she had a cold, that this was her body’s way of healing. I think often we look at sickness and pain as a problem, when, sometimes, this may be our body’s way of healing and bringing about awareness to something else. Not sure if that makes sense.

      All of that said, if you have a concern that doesn’t seem to be correcting itself, voice it to your OS or PT. I am not a medical professional, and I would feel more comfortable if you get these things checked out. I also didn’t have a hard cast, so I am unable to speak to what might be happening there. I’d also like to share that you do not sound childish or nagging. The last thing I would want is for you to judge yourself while dealing with all these other things. You are dealing with a serious injury and you’re scared. There is nothing childish about that.

      Cheers to your healing! You will get through this, and one day, I believe, you’ll look back on it with great relief.

      1. S.P.

        Kenda, I don’t know how I missed this reply of yours to my November 17 post. Thank you so much for mentioning that all this are part of healing process. I remember I read the same in your blog. It’s great to be reminded of it again. It’s so easy for me to share all this with you and others here. But, it’s sometimes very tough sharing all this to the outdide world, even with the professionals. I noted down all the questions I need to ask my OS tomorrow. Thank you for your wishes.

        S.P.

        1. Kenda

          Hello S.P., no worries at all! I don’t expect a response to each of my comments, anyway. I just want folks to know they’re not alone.

          The outside world can not possibly understand the difficulties of this injury. Even some of the professionals won’t understand. That said, it’s a good idea to come armed with your questions written down, because sometimes in the midst of an appointment, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and forget.

          I hope your OS appt. went well!

  79. Nancy

    Hi S.P.-
    Hope you continue to have good days. You asked about stitches/staples being removed hurting-feels like lots of pinching- at least that was my experience. I had about 40 staples removed and it was done pretty quickly after the first cast was removed. I closed my eyes while they were being removed and made a “to do list” in my head😂!! I have a lot to do!😂
    Good luck at your appointment this week.

  80. Debbie

    S.P. As Nancy said, swelling is a natural part of the process. Swelling is the reason you have trouble bending your toe. It will gradually improve. Also ice is very helpful, especially at night. I used it for at least 8 weeks post op, alternating with a heating pad after a few weeks. I also had a foot fracture, but needed to pretty much keep it elevated for 12 weeks, slowly increasing the time down. So don’t get too discouraged, it’s all normal and will pass with time.

  81. Nancy

    Hi S.P.
    Hope today is a better day. When they remove the stitches they will check for infection. Also I had several cast changes and they checked the wounds during that time too. The cast will probably be replaced with a removable boot and you will be able to see the incisions. Unfortunately in my case, my leg swells when it is not elevated-I think that is normal and part of the healing process. . If you are very worried call your doctor and explain your concern.
    Take care-
    Nancy

    1. S.P.

      Thank you, Nancy for getting back. Today is a better day indeed. The rain is gone, beautiful sunshine throughout all day and the swelling seems to be reduced much. I am able to sit longer for eating, can stay in the restroom longer. I called the doctor yesterday and they said not to worry about swelling much as this is gonna be my friend quite a while from now on.

      Guess what? I started using a leg-test from today. Mine is a blue wedge, too. And I started liking it and feeling better. Thank you so much for this suggestion. I also shifted from hydrocodon to Tylenol and it’s been a game-changer. I am no more constipated that much.

      I just wanted to know did it hurt much when they remove the stitches? I know this is nothing compared to what we came through. But, I just wanted to have an idea beforehand.

      I am sorry to hear you’re still dealing with swelling. I wish for your fast recovery and an easier rest of the healing process.

      Thanks and best wishes.

    2. Kenda

      Nancy, you are right. Swelling is a normal part of the healing process – even if it doesn’t feel normal sometimes! The swelling shocked me at the beginning, especially when I started bearing weight. I was really worried about my ginormous, purple foot. I thought for sure something was horribly wrong with me. My PT confirmed it’s normal and that as I continued to move it (thus circulating the blood), the swelling would decrease. And it did!

      This injury, as everyone is figuring out, requires an outrageous amount of patience. Time is your friend.

      Thanks for your input, Nancy. It’s very helpful.

      Cheers to your healing!

  82. Nancy

    Hi S.P.
    I feel your pain. I had surgery 11 weeks ago and am now dealing with an ugly, gigantic boot and nonweight bearing exercises. I will say when you think you can’t handle the pain anymore -things do get better- hang in there. Unfortunately for a trimalleolar fracture you need a lot of patience- it is a slow process.
    One thing that really helps me is a leg rest-I could never get comfortable with a pile of pillows. Amazon and Walmart sell them online. I have a blue spongy one that I use all the time. It keeps the ankle stable because it molds around your leg.
    Take care.
    Nancy

    1. S.P.

      Dear Nancy,
      Thank you, Nancy for all your precious advice. Thank you for recommending leg-rest. I definitely will try to start using that. One thing I hear from other people a lot is infection. My foot is inside cast so there is no way for me to look inside. But sometimes when I swell too much, I worry about infections. Is there any way to be sure my foot is not infected?

  83. S.P.

    Dear Kenda,
    OMG, you’ve been so quick to get back with all precious information and comforting words! Thank you so much. To be such compassionate and lend a hand to people who are suffering from the same situation in a purely voluntary way might be one of the best traits one can have.
    Life got too rough for my husband and me after my t-fracture. We just moved to this new place 15 days before my accident. My husband got a new job here and we were full of new hope, new dreams. I completed masters last year and was hoping to start phd in a nearby well-reputed university in this new place. Alas! We were just decorating our new apartment and in a weekend we went for a hiking to get good exercise and suddenly I slipped through a downhill trail and broke my ankle. My husband is passing tough times now trying to manage his new job, taking care of me, doing all household and outward work. Luckily, one angel-like girl from a very few newly-made friends in this new place agreed to take care of me when my husband is at office. We don’t know how long she can do this.
    I was hoping to make more progress in this second week after surgery. My surgery happened three weeks after my t-fracture. In the first week I had so much pain when I was in the cast given from the ER. I had my my first doctors appointment after a week of my accident. I mentioned before they couldn’t do this because of the swelling and blisters. After the first week somehow I started feel lot better, got able to take care of myself all alone when my husband is in office, I could myself feel the swelling has gone down to a good amount. So, the 2nd and 3rd week before surgery, It’s been easy for me to laugh, breathe, eat, go to the restroom.
    The horror started after the surgery. My husband needed to stay with me 24/7 two more days after surgery as I was so numb, stiff and full of pain. Somehow from the 3rd day I started to feel better. But again, from the 4th day it got worse and it is still the same. I cannot hop anymore like I did before surgery. I can only use crutches. If I hop, I can feel pain in the stitches. I cannot stay longer without keeping my foot up. If I do, the swelling becomes so bad and pain starts. I was hoping to reduce the amount of hydrocodon from the 2nd week but no luck with that, too. I remember the 2nd and 3rd week before surgery, I managed with two Tylenol’s per day, not even hydrocodon. I don’t know, if the way I set up pillows is messing up with swelling. I formerly used one pillow from below hip to knee and two pillows under knee to foot. But after surgery, the only setting seem to work for me is two soft pillows upto knee and three hard or not that soft pillows upto knee to foot. I can remember the days before surgery when I could sit and stand at one foot longer to eat or just to talk.
    Any advice or thought would be helpful.

    1. Kenda

      Hi S.P. Apologies for the delayed response. I’m on the road these days.

      How difficult this must be for you! You’re in a new place and trying to move forward with your lives, but then the T-mal hits. How fortunate to have a new angel-like girl to help you out. I hope she can stick around for a while.

      Oh the pillows! I was in constant search for a pillow formation that gave me comfort. I think I had 4-6 pillows in the bed on any given night and was constantly reconfiguring them as my comfort needs seemed to change daily.

      The swelling, unfortunately, will continue to be an issue until you can start bearing weight and get your blood circulating. Elevate as often as you can. I would also recommend taking turmeric in any way you can, assuming you have no sensitives to it. I was drinking turmeric a couple times a day. You can have it in tea form, which is a little easier to consume than straight turmeric.

      I know the pain can be unbearable. Hang in there, it should begin to diminish and continue with each passing week. If it doesn’t, I would check with your doc. There may be something else going on there. Not sure if you have access to CBD where you are, but it may help you. It’s not addictive and won’t upset your stomach like hydrocodone.

      I know these are difficult times, S.P. Hang in there.

      To your healing,

      Kenda

  84. S. P.

    Dear Kenda and all,

    Kenda, thank you for creating this helpful platform and thank Kenda and others for keeping it alive. This has been my solace since I broke my ankle in three places last month. I had my surgery earlier this month as my ankle was too swollen and also full with blisters before that time. It’s the 2nd week after my surgery but still I experience so much pain when not on painkillers. And the pain after the surgery is different like I feel metal plates and screws are all coming out. This kind of pain….is it normal? I will have the first visit to doctor next week after surgery. Also, I have some difficulties moving my big toe. When I try to wiggle my toes, at first my 2nd toe and 3rd toe move. My big toe moves later and much slower than the 2nd and 3rd.

    Best wishes for all.

    1. Kenda

      Hello S.P., and welcome to the blog. I’m sure you would much rather be doing about a gazillion other things that dealing with the Trimalleolar, but I’m glad you’re here and honored that you’re finding solace here.

      You’re still at the beginning of this journey, but you’re over the first hurdle – the ORIF surgery.

      From my experience, the pain you’re feeling is normal. This injury is most painful, IMO, at the beginning. I recall the pain diminishing with each passing week, but those first few weeks are rough. In time, I think you’ll also find your toes will all regain mobility. The Trimalleolar is a serious injury, so try to take it one day at a time and note any progress as this can help you mentally move forward as well.

      Please keep us posted if/when you feel like it. I’m rooting for you!

      Cheers to you and your healing,

      Kenda

  85. Terry C

    Well this is gonna take awhile ! 😂 at least now i can start this process and get walking. I am going to walk over and pick up my coffee ☕️…that’s for sure ! Got a lesson from Physio on how to apply some weight on it with crutches ouch ! Thx 2 All

  86. Debbie

    Terri- weight bearing as tolerated brings back memories. We think, for a minute, that means we can just put that foot down and walk. I actually laughed/cried when I went to walk that first time when I realized it was, in reality, going to be a process. It does feel fantastic to have the leg freed though. I found I mostly only wore the boot when I went out or for standing when trying to cook a quick meal. Keeping it off allowed for more stretching and exercise. My leg was strong enough to drive at 11 weeks, a very happy freeing day. I drove to the grocery store where I could push a cart around and pretend to be normal, and practice walking without a limp. Good luck.

  87. Terry C

    Hey All … I got the go ahead to go to Physio today 😀 7 Weeks post surgery ! Surgeon 👩‍⚕️ said weight bearing as tolerated and wean off the boot by 2 weeks and maybe be able to drive 👍 like waiting for x-mass 😃 gonna Drive for That

    1. Kenda

      Alright, Terry! That’s some good news! You are really moving right along. I see golfing in your very near future. It totally is like waiting for Christmas. Only this is better, because the gift – walking again- is something you can enjoy the rest of your life. Yay!

  88. Akhil

    Harp

    This will sound a little radical, but try walking with one crutch? Do check with your PT if this is possible of course (only ask if possible ie your break has healed, not if they’d recommend it, because I’ve noticed PTs tend to err on the side of caution).

    I found that I was able to leave the sticks behind quite soon by transitioning to one stick.

    You’ll be fine soon! All the best for your healing 🙂

    1. Kenda

      Hi Harp,

      Welcome to the T-Club! You are through the hard part, if you’re soon to be on crutches. Glad to know the blog helped to cheer you up. 🙂

      Give us a shout if you have any questions or feel like sharing updates. I like to keep track of where folks are on their healing journeys.

      1. Thanks Kenda luckily I avoided the crutches they gave me a Zimmer frame. I have the fun moonboot and I do know the night sweats. It is the sticks with elbow thread throughs I can’t do. Thankfully I can do flat topped sticks going to ask at physio appointment if I can try swan necked walking sticks. At present I can only walk with two sticks.

        1. Kenda

          Hey Harp (I like your name btw),

          I had to look up the Zimmer frame. Life is going to feel monumentally different when you progress to one stick and you can carry stuff in the other hand. Oh, the night sweats…not fun, this I know.

          1. Yes Kenda my Viking is six foot four inches long hair broad shouldered and I’m lucky to have him getting out in the wheelchair is so fab I even tested self when lift not working and got up stairs with the help of two sticks. When having to go back down I had Viking to lean on to help me

  89. Nancy

    Hi Kenda ,Terry C, Jo , Debbie, Paulette, Akhil and All-
    As I lay here foot elevated for almost 8 weeks😱 – I can’t tell you how much this blog means to me to know there is a light at the end of this tunnel. Every night when my pug Henry brings me his leash for his nightly walk and I have to call my husband to take him out-I grab my iPad to read all your encouraging words-thank you😘
    Speaking of words- hoping to start PT in mid-November-any words of wisdom on how to prepare and what to expect? Things to have in the house for exercising at home? Shoe/ sneaker recommendations? Any thoughts would help-I am anxious .
    Thank you again everyone especially Kenda❤️