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  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.


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


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.

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.

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


  1. Wow Kenda….Such a thorough description of all you’ve endured so far. Keep writing as you go down the healing path. Surely it could help persons who follow in your ‘non-foot steps’ on their road to recovery.
    Big hugs, Irene

  2. Oh Kenda! So sorry about all this. I have chronic back pain and know how it feels to have to change things around in your life. You will get through this. I think another book is a great idea! Love, Margaret

  3. I know exactly what you are going through. I fell on October 19, 2010 and had a trimalleolar fracture. Doing a journal is the best therapy to watch your progress. It happens so gradual you need to be able to look where you were and where you are. Your descriptions are so accurate from the extreme pain to the energy it takes just to get a shower. I had many days where I was extremely down but it does get better. I am still not 100% yet. Still a little stiffness and aching but I’m still improving. I would have never ever thought healing would take this long. I wish you the best of luck in healing and keep your spirits up!

  4. Thank you, Irene, Margaret and JBonsall for your comments! It’s so helpful to have the e-support!

  5. Pingback: Me and My Trimalleolar: A Week of Firsts Travels and Tripulations

  6. Pingback: Me and My Trimalleolar: Transcending the Funk - Travels and Tripulations

  7. Pingback: Me and My Trimalleolar: 9 1/2 weeks… - Travels and Tripulations

  8. Wow I have been suffering the same I broke my ankle on 26th July 2014 and have trawled the internet for information and this is the best so far. I too have an awesome husband who has given me the strength to get through. I try to believe thing happen for a reason I am just trying to work out what reason.
    Thanks for the help

    • Thank you for writing in, Joanna. I’m sorry you’re dealing with such a severe injury, but I’m very happy to see you have a supportive husband. You’ll be leaning on him a lot (figuratively and literally) these coming months.

      Write in anytime. I have several posts that outline my own healing process for the Trimalleolar fracture, so hopefully some of that info will help as well.

      It does get better, and the tough days pass and become less frequent. Sending tons of good healing vibes your way!

      • I fell in Russia on June 26 and sustained a tri malleolar fracture of my left ankle. I had to be treated in a Russian hospital for 40 hours to stabilize the fracture enough so I could fly home. On July 6, 2017 I had surgery and now have an ankle full of metal – one plate, 7 screws and two rods. My cast was removed last week and I now have the boot, which I call my leg coffin. I’m doing physical therapy now and praying for a positive recovery so I can get back to work and life.

        Your blog has helped me realize I’m not alone. I was active, independent, traveled all the time, loved to walk for miles and have a fabulous job I don’t want to lose. Now I cry all. I’m down and blue most of the time and my husband is losing patience with me. I’ve started to see a therapist because I’m so depressed. I want my life back and I want to feel like me again.

        Thank you for sharing your story. It really helped to know I’m not alone.

        • Hello Dianne and welcome to the group! My heart goes out to you for the reason that brought you here. But wow! You might have the most interesting story yet – a tumble in Russia. I can only imagine the hardships that accompanied that fall. Flying back…must’ve been tough.

          You are definitely not alone. Your depression is also normal, and I’m glad you’re seeking help. I’m concerned about your husband losing patience with you. My guess is that he’s accustomed to his very active, independent, and optimistic wife and now doesn’t know how to cope, himself, with this new (temporary) situation. I wonder if it would help for him to go to a couple therapy sessions with you? Having a supportive caregiver is important, IMO.

          It may be hard to believe right now, but this will pass. I feel confident you will be back on your feet again and that you will regain your active life. It’s a hard fall from such a full active life to a full stop. One day that leg coffin will be shoved into a closet, and you’ll only remember this difficult time during spring cleaning. For now, focus on your self – your emotional, mental and physical health.

          Please keep us posted?

          To you and your healing,


          • My husband is not a saint but he’s been there with me every “step.” We do not have other family here and the entire care giver burden has been on him, while working full time. He’s stressed and I agree I would like him to
            get a bit of therapy as well. I don’t think he understands how depressing this can be.

            Thanks very much for letting me be part of your group.

          • I hear you, Dianne. Being the sole caregiver and working full time is a stressor, for sure. It’s harder when there’s no family around. I lucked out (?), because my husband retired about 1 week after my injury. Poor guy was gearing up for a chillaxed existence and ending up in another job – taking care of me.

            I don’t think anyone can understand how depressing it is until they’ve experienced it. Living with pain, being immobile, the worries, all of it accumulates. It will get easier. You will get your life back. Hang in there and see how you can maximize on this downtime. Write, draw, do puzzles, do arm exercises, do your PT exercise, whatever it takes to release the stress.

            We are very welcome here. I will relish the day when you check in with a “I’m bearing weight!” or “I can walk!” It’ll happen.

            To your healing,


  9. Kendra,
    I just broke my ankle in 3 places and was looking for info on other people’s experiences. Your site has helped me so much. You are very honest and forthright with your thoughts and spot on as far as this experience goes. I am due for surgery in 4 days and look forward to reading the rest of your letter. Thanks so much. This is really a drag!

    • Oh Cathy,

      My heart goes out to you. If I may make a suggestion, try to stay away from anything online that seems negative. There’s a TON of negative stuff out there, and it was starting to depress me as I was searching for answers. Granted, not everything I write is peaches and roses. I do share some of the “unfortunate” aspects of the Trimalleolar, but I continued to believe things would get better. And it does! Life will feel normal again one day. For now, you’ll be redefining normal and hopefully can find some time to discover whatever gifts (if I may use that loaded word) emerge from this injury. But for now, at this very moment, yeah, I hear you. It’s a monumental drag.

      Please, if you feel like it, keep me posted on your progress. I will keep you in my thoughts and hope for the speediest recovery possible.

      To your healing,

  10. Mine happened January 22th, so only 10 days post op. Staples, stitches and cast #2 off in 1 week. My target date to return to work is 7 weeks. Hope I’m not setting myself up for disappointed. Minimal pain right now all casted up, except for the cast weight n it rubbing on them sutures. Lots of swelling if not kept elevated to the right degree. Long road prayers appreciated. PS I hate not having my independence most of all. Thanks for listening

    • That should have said January 12th 2014

    • Hello Lora,

      To me, the hardest part of this entire journey was the first three weeks post-op, and you are half way through it! And it’s fabulous that you have minimal pain. You’re ahead of the game.

      I’m curious to know if you have to stand up for work. If so, you may have to make some adjustments, yet I imagine returning in 7 weeks is doable. I was working the day after the surgery, but I work for myself and was able to change my schedule to be at home. I could also sit at my computer or on the phone with the leg elevated the entire time, and I worked a much shorter day than usual. So, from an energy/mental perspective, you’ll probably have no problem going back to work (you may find yourself quite eager to get back) on your target date, but from a physical perspective you may have to take time during the day to elevate whether you stand or sit.

      One of the lessons I gained from this experience was to really focus on myself and my health. I hear ya, it’s hard not having your independence. In that statement, I hear a woman who is likely more accustomed to taking care of others rather than having others taking care of her. Receive that help without guilt, because it’s a blessing to have it. When loved ones (friends or family) offer help, they’re offering their hearts, and there is no greater gift. Right now, you need all the energy you can muster to heal. Try (easier said than done!) not to squander any time on worrying; because it will take away energy and focus that you need to heal.

      Have you started PT? Do you know how many PT sessions you have? Usually, there are not enough sessions allowed on insurance plans, so you may have to prepare to get your doctor and your physical therapist to extend the sessions. PT, optimism, a support network, and your nutrition are (IMO) what will help you gain the strength to heal through this.

      This probably feels like a dark time right now. It did for me. With each passing day, notice the little glimmers of light, because they are there. And one day you will look back on this very moment and realize that you’re a stronger person because of this journey. I’ll be thinking about you and hoping for the quickest recovery possible. Please, if you get a chance, check back in and let us (myself and the other folks who come here for support) know how you’re doing.

      To your health and healing,

      • Thanks for the encouraging words, I’ll keep in touch with the process. And no therapy at this point. Plaster casted. . Thanks again,


        • You are quite welcome, Lora. Oh yes, that cast has to come off first. I’m getting ahead of myself here! One week to go if I read correctly. Thanks for keeping in touch. I’ll be thinking about you and sending tons of healing thoughts your way.

  11. I am at 6 days post-op. It has been interesting! Thank you for your positive and honest review of things. I have 5 young children and have had to keep a happy face on. This made me feel a lot better!

    • Maecy, you are my hero managing this severe fracture with FIVE little ones! How in the world are you doing that? Hopefully you have tons of help.

      And, (here comes an unsolicited suggestion) I think it’s perfectly okay for your children to know that their mom has some not-so-good days. It’s perfectly normal given your situation. I think it helps their own coping when things go wrong – that there are good days and bad days and life still carries on. I know; I should just mind my own business.:)

      Please, keep me posted on your progress! I’m rooting for you!

  12. Tomorrow marks 3 months since I slipped on ice on a wheelchair ramp leaving an appointment. 3 months. Trimalleloar with dislocation. Re hospitalized with infection a few weeks later. Just got to start PT at 10 weeks post-op. Worst New England winter ever. I still struggle with nights. No way to be comfy. Tossing and turning. A
    Constant feeling of exhaustion. Working hard in PT. Good days and still really painful days. My foot locked up pretty tight not moving for 10 weeks, but I am getting there. Loved reading everyone’s stories.

    • Maggie, I’m glad you’ve come to my blog. Thank you for your comment, too. I know oh too well your struggles, and I also know things will get better. It may be challenging to remain optimistic after 3 months, but it looks like you had a setback with the infection along with having no movement for 10 weeks. I predict that things will get better now that you’ve s been in PT for 2 weeks. I started noticing significant improvements at about 3-4 weeks of PT.

      Q: Do you have any plans of removing the metal? For me, that locked up feeling improved dramatically when I had the screws and plates removed (at one year). I noticed how cold temps really impacted that metal against my bones. Just food for thought. Folks may respond differently to the metal.

      Hang in there. Those uncomfortable sleepless nights and that exhaustion will one day be a distant memory. I used to get so pissed night after night of discomfort and lack of sleep. Eventually the discomfort started to wane and then disappeared altogether. I still regularly feel relief for not having that pain and discomfort, and I rarely now take for granted all the days I feel great.

      Here’s to you and your healing. Please, if you get a chance, write back and keep us updated. These posts get tons of hits, and your updates may help others.

  13. This has been a tough winter. I too sipped on the ice January 19th and ended up with 2 plates and 12 screws in my right ankle. As I read about everyone’s experiences I fully understand them intimately. I am now weight bearing and doing PT but I am struggling with the tightness and some numbness in my foot. I hope with continued exercise and therapy it will one day feel normal. I wish all of you full and complete recoveries. Thank you for sharing.

    • Hello Cathy, and thank you for writing in.

      I do believe that the tightness and numbness will dissipate. I still have some numbness (damaged nerves on the top of my foot), but it’s barely noticeable, and periodically some tightness as well near the talus. Again, hardly noticeable. I absolutely feel normal again.

      You will feel normal again one day, too. This is a classic situation of time heals all wounds. Keep up the great work at PT. This, too, shall pass.

      If you get a chance, please keep us posted on your progress and let me know if there’s anything I can do on my end to help.

      To you and your healing,

      • Thank you for your healing wishes and for posting your experience. It really hits home with me.

        • I wish I could do or say something to make it all better right now, Cathy. I truly hope you stay in touch and let us know how you’re progressing.

          I’m cheering you on virtually!

  14. Thanks for writing this! I am currently at week seven of almost the identical injury – except that I severely sprained my left leg and broke my right. Most of your experiences sound exactly like what I am going through (though my OS has a slightly different treatment plan – no weight bearing for 12 full weeks 🙁 Like yours, my husband has been a saint. We don’t have children, but we do have a farm with 15 horses (plus full time jobs) so I really don’t have time for this!

    It has been a true nightmare and some days I just don’t know how I am going to keep up the strength to deal with this. But reading your blog helped me see the light at the end of the tunnel! Thanks!

    • Andrea, thanks for writing in and sharing! It looks like we are kindred Trimalleolar spirits.

      I wish there was something I could say or do to make the time pass more quickly for you, but time can be cruel in moments of angst and pain.

      I can tell you with confidence that one day you will look back on this time and feel relief that it has passed. I look back now (going on FOUR years) and can hardly believe it happened. It does become increasingly, over time, a distant memory. One thing I hold steadfast is gratitude for my ability to walk and to do so without pain.

      You WILL get through this. Hang in there. Get these next 5 weeks behind you, keep your other body parts strong. As soon as you start bearing weight, the time passes so much more quickly. It’s like the passage of time increases with each incremental improvement.

      Please, keep us posted on your progress. I love it when folks write back in and share their progress. I want to hear all about how happy you and those 15 horses are when you are back in the swing of things. And thank goodness for that rock star husband who is helping you through this.

      In health and healing,

  15. Hey, thanks for writing this! There’s not a ton of info about these fractures online, and it’s comforting to read other people’s experiences. I suffered a trimal fracture on Wednesday night at a heavy metal concert. I decided to go up by the mosh pit (“Just for a minute or two, for old time’s sake,” I told my friend — I’m 32, so still young but probably too old to be in a mosh pit) found there wasn’t one, stood around to watch the show from up close for a song or two, and almost immediately had someone fall across my leg and fracture my ankle. Honestly, it barely hurt at any point and people kept telling me they couldn’t believe how calm I was. I actually had to show the concert security and emergency room people how I could flop my foot right out of the joint to get them to even take me seriously. 🙂

    Once the adrenaline wore off, of course, I became severely nauseous and my evening become a lot less enjoyable. After a couple hours of holding my foot in place in the ER, they doped me up, set my foot, fussed over me for several more hours, and sent me home. I’m currently waiting to see a specialist ortho on Monday. My biggest concern is that I’m a very active person, I backpack and run and recently got into weightlifting and I’m worried about missing out on the stuff I enjoy long term. (This isn’t my first traumatic injury, I ripped my MCL skateboarding 5 or 6 years ago, so I know you can come back 100% but it takes a long time and a lot of effort.)

    It also sucks feeling like a burden. I’ve just been lying in bed for three days at this point, messing with my computer, and meanwhile I can hear my wife going about all the business of taking care of life-stuff. And it drives me crazy that I can’t help or contribute!

    Anyway, thanks again for these posts. As I said, it’s nice to read about other people dealing with all the same dumb stuff.

    • Hey Kurt! Thank YOU for writing. I think you have one of the best stories on this blog to date. I’d stick with the “caught in a mosh” and leave out the someone fell on you part. 😉 jk.

      How did your OS appt. go? When is your surgery?

      You’re right. You CAN come back 100%, and it DOES take time. For this (the time part), I am sorry, because it’s a total cramp on an active lifestyle.

      Despite feeling like a burden (which, yes, totally sucks), for now, do your best to receive all the help you need, because resting, elevating, eating healthily, and icing are the tasks of healing. I suspect your wife, like my hubby, feels some relief (from her own helplessness with this situation) by helping you as much as possible. Love rocks. She may get frustrated at times, because the situation is frustrating. Hang in there and receive. Hopefully she will never need caregiving from you, but if she does, there you are.

      Maybe you can use some of your lying around time to write her a song about being caught in the mosh pit of love. 🙂

      Please, keep us posted! The trimalleolar posts get a ton of hits daily. I’m sure others can benefit from your experience. You’re also welcome to write a guest post if that will help you heal.

      Cheers to you and to the process and progress of healing!

  16. Thanks for all the info. I’m exactly 3 weeks from my right trimalleolar fracture. I broke my ankle simply going outside to turn the sprinklers off and slipped and fell. My husband was out of the country and it was late at nite. I laid there and cried for about ten minutes knowing I had heard multiple breaks and was in the worst pain I had ever had. Finally I crawled into the house and called a neighbor who luckily and thankfully called and ambulance and got me taken care of until I could get help at home. I’ve just given up the pain meds and the realization of what really lies ahead of me is certainly kicking in along with the depression of being alone as everyone who has so graciously helped for 3 weeks gets back to their normal lives and jobs. Your blog really helped understand the reality of what truly lies ahead and some good ideas of how to get through all of this. Thanks for sharing!

    • Dear Jodie,

      My apologies for such a delayed response. I try to stay on top of this knowing that folks are in a funky situation and could use all the encouragement possible.

      WOW. I can only imagine how hard it was that you were left there in the dark on the ground in agony. Somehow you managed to find the strength to get inside and make that call. It’s times like that I’m grateful for neighbors. I can’t say that about all my neighbors. 😉

      If the depression does not subside, it may be worth it to look into some help – medicinal. However, you may find the depression subsides now that you’re off the pain meds. Those things really messed me up.

      Yes, I won’t lie. It’s a long road ahead – while you’re in the mix. But with each milestone, you come closer to healing. The surgery, the outrageous tingling in your toes and legs (nerves healing, is what I was told), your ability to wiggle toes, decreased inflammation (be sure to give inflammation tons of attention via nutrition as this can expedite your healing), then PT. Along with PT comes many milestones like sitting on a bike, flexing, eventually lifting some weights, then standing, then walking, balancing in a chair, then balancing on the floor. Each of those things along the way is something to celebrate. Not that I would ever minimize anyone’s fear or worry or depression. Sometimes we just need to have those feelings – to feel them very deeply by accepting them – and then finding a way through it.

      I hope your husband comes home very soon! This is such a burdensome injury to carry alone.

      Please, if you can, keep us posted on your progress. These posts get a lot of hits daily. I know there are the folks out there living this in silence. Anything progress related may help others.

      Cheers to you and your healing,


  17. Hi Kenda, I am 4weeks post injury and surgery. Like you I was hiking and my left foot slipped on uneven ground. I knew straight away the ankle was broken and sent my hiking friends to call the ambulance immediately. Within 1 hour my foot was in an inflatable splint, I was on pain killers and on my way to emergency. Within 8 hours I was in surgery and emerged with a plate and six screws on the outside of my ankle and a screw and lots of wire on the inside. As my husband was overseas at the time and I had an 8 year old and 10 year old at home, I was admitted to a rehabilitation ward 48 hours post surgery. I stayed for one week and had the pain meds administered, vitals constantly checked, daily physio, OT, and regular meals. By the time I went home I was confident showering by myself and getting around with crutches or a hopper frame. I then found out about a knee scooter on line and it has kept me sane, for sure. Like everyone I have my good and bad days. Right now I have at least another two weeks non weight bearing and then the real work begins. I am concerned that there will be an expectation that I will be ‘back to normal’ once I can weight bear. But I guess that is the challenge that has been set me… To stand up for myself and my recovery. Thank you for your blog. It is great to read of yours and others’ experiences with this debilitating injury. Wendy

    • Dear Wendy,

      I’m glad you wrote in. I’m just sorry you had to. I have to say, though, it looks like (from my perch) you are doing great. Weight bearing six weeks post injury? Amazing. I’m curious to know if you live outside of the US, because you received exceptional and proactive care wherever you are. The fact you felt confident in one week taking a shower is exceptional IMO. I never got the scooter b/c of my other ankle being sprained. But I can certainly see the value in having it, and maybe even a little fun.

      I think you’re right. I think people in our lives have the expectation that bearing weight equates to being “back to normal.” I love love love that you are taking this as an opportunity/challenge to stand up for yourself (no pun intended) and reset the expectations of those around you. Well done on that! Let me know if you need any support. My specialty is personal communications.

      Yes. Good days and bad days. It’s like a friggin’ rollercoaster ride. I truly believe the only people who understand are those who had the experience. That’s no fault of our loved ones – even those that try to understand. Like with most things, if one hasn’t had the experience s/he just won’t really get it.

      It sounds like, however, you’ve had a great start to your recovery. It will happen. It just takes time, some effort, and a hell of a lot of patience.

      Be well and please keep us posted if you get a moment.

      Cheers to you and your ankle,


      • I almost forgot to mention that all of this happened while your husband was away and you had to care for children at home! Talk about an added complication – being a single mom and injured. Somehow you made it all work out – with a little help from your friends. 🙂

  18. Hi Kenda, thank you for your encouraging reply. You are right, my care was exceptional because I live in a regional city in Queensland, Australia. From what I have learnt, having surgery within the 8 hour window post-break is the key so as to beat the swelling. My poor husband had no idea how serious the injury was till he returned from his business trip 5 days (!) later. It then took him another week or so to fully adjust to being my carer. You are absolutely right, if it wasn’t for my amazing group of friends the situation would have been much more isolating and distressing than it was. I am full on into physio, keeping the muscles active and loose and ready for when I can weight-bear. Cheers, Wendy

    • Hi there, Wendy,

      It’s truly a silver lining to have received the care you did. Those practices are not common in the US, and I think it expedites healing time as a result. My OS couldn’t even see me until two days post-break, AND my talus was left in a dislocated position. Whaa? In retrospect, that is nutty. I should’ve demanded better attention, but I was too looped out on the pain meds. And my poor husband was just in shock. Live and learn.

      I do love Australia, and not for what is clearly excellent medical care, but for everything else as well – people, culture, beauty, wildlife, etc.

      If you get a moment, give us a shout and let us know how you’re doing. These posts get a lot of hits daily, so I know there are people out there who read and could use a new and fresh perspective.

      Cheers to you, your health, and your husband-caregiver!

  19. I just want to say thanks for writing this blog post. I am a 32 year old female who is very active: cycling 40 miles per week and also constantly rock climbing (outside and in a gym setting). I also spend a lot of time outdoors hiking and camping. Friday, November 27, 2015, I fell akwardly off of a climb at my gym. After hearing the horrendous crunch and subsequent cartoon-like appearance of my severely dislocated left ankle I knew things were definitely going to change. I was so lucky to be taken via ambulance to the local ER immediately. They ‘reduced’ the dislocation (luckily I was under ketamine at the time) and set my trimallelor ankle fracture in a temporary cast. I was also very fortunate to receive immediate ORIF that next day. My world has been a world of constant pain, unfortunately. One week post op, I spent 5 hrs in the ER learning the post surgical bulky cast they had put on following surgery was too tight and was cutting off circulation. I am currently,10 says post surgery and am still finding it difficult to do daily tasks.
    Unfortunately, I’m single with no family nearby so lots of things have been much more difficult than if I had a partner or mother to take care of me. However, I have a great group of close friends who are helping me through this with their love and support.
    Throughout all of the misfortune I continue to remain optimistic. I know I will be able to ride my bike, go hiking in the mountains, go camping, go backpacking, and especially go rock climbing again! I also recently applied to graduate school to get my PhD in biomedical sciences so I remain positive about my future.
    I have had a lot of people tell me this injury is a message to slow down!! I also experience moments of pure happiness and moments of abject depression and sadness.
    I will work hard to get better. Reading blogs, likes yours, gives me hope, and inspires me! I will probably begin writing one, too.
    Because of the severity of the injury I am actually not returning to work until mid-January. I went to focus all of my energy on healing.
    My first post-op appointment is Dec. 17th!
    Thanks again!

    • Dear Nikki,

      Wow. What a journey. You described it so aptly – the horrendous crunch and cartoon-like look of a dislocated talus. I’m so sorry you had to go back to the ER because of the cast being too tight. Oy. Talk about adding insult to injury. However you, like another recent commenter, Wendy, had your ORIF right away, which I think will help you in the long run.

      It’s not at all surprising that you’re having difficulty doing daily tasks. You are only 10 days post-op, and you had that added complication. I so vividly recall having a hard time doing anything that required being vertical for the first two months. I couldn’t bear weight on the other foot with the sprained ankle for the first few weeks, so I wasn’t at all vertical initially. Still, when I could bear weight on the other foot, my trimalleolar foot felt so heavy and unstable. I recall throwing my entire leg over the sink just to wash dishes, because I could not bear the sensation of having my leg downward. I was also freaked out that I would re-injure myself (highly unlikely but those paranoid thoughts enter a vulnerable and tired mind). It seemed like my body was utilizing every ounce of energy to heal, rendering me incapable of carrying out many tasks.

      The fact that you’re handling this without having a partner or family right there at home with you is admirable. I know how hard it must be for you. Times like this you find out who your real friends are – the people showing up at your door to help with feeding and caring for you. I applaud them. One word of advice that my partner gave to me that I’d like to pass onto you: Avoid the negative information out there. So many people just need to voice their complaints, and initially all I found was the scary stuff. My hubby reminded me that most people don’t take the time to write the positive stuff. Even if they initially voice the negative stuff, they are unlikely to return when things get better. Human nature, I suppose. But reading all the negative stuff at the beginning threw me into a sort-of depression.

      You have a brilliant attitude. That, your will power, and your being in great physical shape will get you through this. I expect you’ll hear good things at your first post-op (not sure why you have to wait so long for that appt, but I suspect you’ll be stating PT very soon after). Then onward to Physical Therapy. You’ll kick PT’s ass.

      You are very welcome to write a guest post (s) on this blog, and I totally support you starting your own blog. I found it very healing. If you do, please write back on a comment with the link to your blog so my readers can check it out. These trimalleolar posts get a lot of hits – and we’re entering a Trimalleolar season, Winter (ice and snow aka slipping and skiing).

      Looks like you’ve done yourself a service by taking a lot of time off work to focus on your healing. Well done on that. And you have a bright future ahead of you! Between the PhD program and all of your activities, good things will happen. I have a sense that you’re going to have a similar experience as did I: One day, sooner than you can possibly imagine, you will look back on this time as one of the great reminders in life to slow down.

      Despite the pain, the hassle, and the emotional roller coaster that accompanies this injury, I do believe I am a better person because of it. One thing for sure: I find myself grateful on practically a daily basis for the use of my ankles. Just this past weekend I jumped off of a rather high ledge after taking some photographs. I hit the ground with some bounce in my ankles and found myself chuckling. So, even 4 years later I am grateful for everything my ankles do for me, and they’ve done a lot in four years!

      Cheers to you, your healing, and your awesome friends,

  20. I have been reading this off and on for the past few weeks. I had my trimal on December 22 and surgery December 30 and currently 6 weeks post accident. I go in two weeks for X-rays and see what will happen next. It’s been my first ever surgery at 59 so it’s been quite a learning experience. I have been very fortunate to have a wonderful support system (retired husband, 16 year old very busy son, and friends that delivered meals for 3weeks). I’m ready to get on with things and just am trying to determine my limitations.

    • Hello Janeen,

      Thank you for writing in. What a silver lining in a dark cloud to have such a solid support system. I’ve heard from many people over the years who have had to manage this thing on their own.

      Have you started PT? I’m guessing you’ll learn more then about the limitations, which will improve with time. Are there any specific limitations that concern you? Please keep us posted as many folks read these posts – daily!

      Sending healing thoughts your way,


  21. I thought I posted something the other day here.. don’t see it 🙂
    My right foot trimalleolar occurred Valentine’s Day…. to say it has been miserable and life changing is not enough…as everyone here knows.
    As long as I recover back to normal I will be thankful… as of now, I have to say I go from overly optimistic to downright terrified I will never be the same again. I also dream of everyday things like walking my dogs, gardening, heck..even vacumming 😉
    I am so happy to have found your blog…thank you!

    • Hello Sandra and thank you for writing in.

      I’m sorry your first post didn’t come through, but I’m glad you’re here now. I (and the other folks here) DO know your struggles in a BIG way. What you’re experiencing is totally normal – the ups and downs of this journey. Nearly two months in, so you’re in the fairly early stages of your healing process. But the good news is you’re in the healing process. One day (and I believe this with my whole heart), you’ll look back on this as a distant memory. For now, the best suggestions I have are to keep moving forward, do PT faithfully, keep your body as strong as possible, and one day you’ll be walking your dogs, gardening, and finding yourself enjoying vacuuming (not many can understand this simple pleasure of life).

      Please, write back and let us know how you’re doing. A lot of folks come to these posts, so updates are valued.

      Cheers to you and your healing,

    • Hi again Sandra,

      If you get a chance, check out a recent comment from Kurt (your two comments came in only about 10 minutes apart from one another today). He’s made it through to the other side of this journey with a very uplifting update.

      Hang in there!

  22. Hi guys, I posted a comment on here back in the fall shortly after I had incurred my own injury. I wanted to follow-up, and give anyone else going through this some info about outcomes.

    It wound up being a long, hard, and frankly very frustrating path, but nine months later I’m back to 99% of where I was before my injury. It took two weeks for my swelling to go down enough to have my surgery, then another couple weeks before I started noticing any real improvements. But a month out or so, they started having me use my leg in a very limited capacity, and with support obviously.

    My injury was in mid August, and by the time November rolled around I was back to walking unassisted for a good chunk of the day. Jogging and running took longer to come back, and for a month or two longer I could really feel it the next day if I had to do any appreciable amount of walking over any distance. By the beginning of December, I was really starting to feel like my old self again. And then it was all uphill from there.

    I’m going to reiterate what a bunch of other people have already said, which is to stick with your physical therapy and don’t let yourself get too down about it. I still have a little trouble full-blown sprinting, but that’s literally the only time I notice it now, apart from the occasional pop and click. There’s still some swelling, but at this point it seems almost like a bad memory, and not something that occupied almost half of a year.

    Good luck, everyone, and stick in there!

    • Hey Kurt!

      Welcome back and THANK YOU for that uplifting update! Just recently, I was wondering about you, so I really appreciate your writing back.

      And WOW. You’re doing great despite that hard and frustrating journey. And you’re running – that’s awesome! I hope that one day even the trouble you’re having with sprinting will be just another memory. Occasionally I still get the little pops and clicks but I barely notice. To this day, I appreciate everything my ankle is capable of doing, and I test it regularly. Talk about a lesson in gratitude. 🙂

      Thank you again for the update and for the words of wisdom. I guess you have no other reason to come back, but you’re welcome anytime as positive updates are a gift to us all.

      Cheers to you!


  23. Thank you Kenda for the encouraging words… 🙂 And everyone here for sharing, certainly does help soo much, such a relief to relate to others that have come through this!
    I just started PT this week – I have restored faith and hope to soon be able o share good progress. “weight as tolerated” for now.. which is not much, all on the walker..but hey, able to to put my food down on the floor, IS progress 🙂
    I need to start weaning myself off the knee walker… just when I was fast on it, now it’s turtle pace on the walker, lol
    Thanks again!

  24. I’m happy to support you, Sandra, if even in this small way. I know from my own experience that unless someone has had this exact same and serious injury s/he did not understand. I’ve had other people tell me that “they broke an ankle” only to be walking normally in 6 weeks. This may be the case for stress fractures or even a “regular” ankle break (one bone) but not the case for us trimalleolar folks.

    Starting PT is a major and important milestone – especially weight as tolerated. Putting your foot down on the floor is a big deal. You are on your way!

    I never had the chance to get the knee walker because of my other ankle being sprained, and I remember the walker! One day sooner than later you’ll be walking in that boot and before you know it in sturdy shoes (I was using hiking boots). That day WILL come, and you’ll feel like a new person.

    Please, if you get a chance, share your updates. Not only do I want to know how you’re doing, but others are looking and waiting as well.

    I wish you the very best and send you healing thoughts of wellness and courage as you embark upon this next step (no pun intended). The song I sang over and over (to myself mostly as not to annoy those around me) was “just put one foot in front of the other.” 🙂

    Cheers to you and your healing!

  25. Thank you so much for your detailed posts! It has truly helped me out! My fun began 3/06/16. Fell down some exterior stairs, landed on concrete. Right leg, trimalleolar ankle fractures with displacement. Left ankle sprained & a peroneal tendon tear on left foot. I have 1 very long screw through both leg bones, that could break. Plus, I have 7 pins, 1 plate and a cable. Surgery to remove long screw will come at 3 months post accident. I appreciate your optimistic view on life!

    • Hello C and welcome to the blog and to your new adventure! Wow. And what an adventure. That was some tripulation you took – down exterior stairs onto concrete. I’m guessing you’ll be following a journey similar to mine as you probably are unable to bear weight on either foot. That’s a big deal and a unique challenge in this injury. Simple things -like going to the loo – suddenly become quite complex! I remember struggling to brush my teeth, because I couldn’t reach the sink from the wheelchair.

      I hope you’ve had some good help – a partner, a support network. You’re almost 2 months in. How do you feel? How is your progress? You have just one more month before the long screw (is that a syndesmosis?) comes out. From my perch, you’ve made it through the hardest part.

      Please keep us posted on your progress, and thanks for writing in.

      Cheers to you and your healing journey,


      • Just wanted to send out an update. I had surgery #2 to remove the Syndesmotic screw almost 2 weeks ago. Still in my boot & still using my knee walker (which everyone who has injuries below the knee should get). Getting my stitches out in a few days. Then, I am supposed to be able to walk with no boot. Yay!
        I can walk in the boot “as tolerated”. For me, “as tolerated” ends around 1pm! I am in good spirits though as this particular journey for me is almost over, for the most part. Surgeon said we will discuss having surgery #3 to remove the rest of my hardware in about 6 months.

        • Hello C,

          Yay! That’s a great report! Thanks for the update. You are well on your way. I felt like I got my life back when I could walk without that @#% boot. Thank you for writing back. I (and I imagine the other readers) really appreciate it. Maybe we’ll hear back from you after you get that metal out in 6 months?

          Cheers to you and your healing!

          • I realize that I have waited an extremely long time to follow up. My accident was 3/06/16.) But there are a few things that I wanted to share, since many times people in the “trimalleolar” club have different issues/ scenarios, etc. I ended up being non-weight bearing for 4 months. A detail that I had left out in my previous posts is that one of my breaks actually broke the bottom of my tibia off. It had to be reattached with a cable & screw. This is the reason for so long of a non-weight bearing time. Also, my Physical Therapy didn’t begin until 6 months after my accident. This long delay did not hinder my recovery though. I had PT for 3 days a week for 7 weeks. As to having the 3rd surgery to have the remaining metal removed (1 plate, 7 pins, 1 cable & 1 screw), I am still undecided whether to have it or not. It will be another major surgery under general anesthesia. I will be cut open down both sides of my leg/ankle again. And, I will be mainly non-weight bearing for a few weeks (which I know is nothing compared to my original 4 months of that). I’m just not sure the metal bothers me enough to go through the above listed again. My OS said it was fine if I just want to wait & see.

            Thanks again for starting this blog. I hope it helps the spirit of many!

          • Thanks for following up with us, C. That’s a lot to process. It seems as if the metal isn’t causing you any issues, which is a good thing. Add to it, you still have plenty of time to think about it. I agree with your OS, just wait and see. Get through the entire year and decide if it’s something you want to do. I was unable to handle the “feel” of the metal which is why I had it removed. Had I not an issue with it, I may have chosen differently.

            I really appreciate your sharing this important info with the readers, because I’m sure others are in a similar position wondering what to do. It’s good to have options, but it’s even better to know you can choose and have control of the outcome. Many feel powerless with a Trimalleolar, but you remind us all that we have control over our decisions.

            Thank you and cheers to your healing!


  26. melanie robinson

    Hi Kenda,

    Just happened upon your journey! I too suffered a Trimalleolar fracture, and this happened at work! I am Physical Education teacher, so really! This was quite surprise for me, as I am active and in fairly good shape!

    The pop pop you mentioned; ugh, me too. It was almost funny, like the sound of stepping on a bag of chips! What was that?? I was merely coming down some stairs and took a wrong step (I have heard this happens, numerous times now)!

    I am single with 2 rescue dogs, oh, and live in a 3 story townhome!! Boy oh boy, was that challenging. I totally related to all of your feelings and hurts and anguish along the pathway back to “normal”! I called the moving around on my bum the “boot scoot”. Yes, forget the showers for now, and get used to tons of dog hair all over your clothes! I too am a neat freak, and I was always trying to have my place clean when I knew I had family or friends coming over!! Haha! I did my best, crutching about and ever so slowly making my house look clean and pretty!

    Anyway, of course there are tons of other things to discuss, but I wanted to say thank you for your comments. It helps to know others in the same situations. My injury was back in late February, 2016. I did not get to go back to work for the school year. Workers comp is an interesting journey, but I was able to receive a partial paycheck which helped tremendously.

    I hope you are doing well now, and I am curious if you had your hardware removed? I too have 2 plates and 12 screws! Eeesh! Not looking forward to the airport security!!!

    Thanks again and take care,
    Melanie : )

    • Hello Melanie and welcome to the group!

      Your story illustrates (very much like my own) that one wrong step can dramatically change the direction of a person’s life (temporarily) – even for those of us to are very active and into fitness.

      Oy. That sound! It still reverberates in my head.

      And you, single with 2 pooches and a 3-story home. How in the world did you make that happen? You must have some great family and friends in your community. The “boot scoot” is much more appropriate than my “ass taxi.” 🙂

      I’m sure others reading these posts can also relate to your journey, so I thank you very much for writing in. I hope it helps you, too, if even in some small way, to share your journey.

      Yes I did! I had that metal removed almost one year to the date of my T-accident. I couldn’t stomach having that stuff in my body plus it really seemed to bother me in chilly and damp weather. There were just too many compelling reasons to remove it (for me). The healing process was quite simple compared to everything else. I was walking on it again in less than 2 weeks after having the metal removed. My OS let me keep the metal, and that was fun. I’m going to put it in a piece of art one day. 🙂

      Thank you for writing and feel free to write back with questions or comments or more stories.

      I’ll be curious to know what you decide. In the meantime, keep on healing on!


  27. Thanks for the great Blog!
    I have suffered a trimalleolar fracture when I was having some fun time on the playground three weeks ago.
    Not much difference from everyone else, I dislocated my joint, heard a cracking noise and endured loads of pain before the ambulance came.
    I may not be able to thank all these people who helped me along the way but when I think back it was them saved my foot.
    Throughout the entire hospital stay, the key point I learnt was to elevate the foot and stay positive. It is too easy to think why it happens to me and all the negative consequences I had to face. I lost the locum job I was working on and potentially will
    lose the upcoming permanent job. The young surgeon of mine was not helping either. He had a straight face treating me as if I am only a leg and telling me how bad the fracture was, how likely I will have an arthritis later and how big the scar is gonna be.
    I am an very acitve female I guess thats why we are more likely to get hurt to start with.
    Days of lying on the bed knowing my leg muscle is wasting was an extremely frustrating experience.
    I cried a lot and then start the internet searching.
    After reading your story, it definitely put me into a more comfort mental state. Thanks for encouraging us!
    Thanks again!

    • Hello Jingyi and thank you for sharing!

      Those who read this part of the blog know your situation and hardship very well. You are not alone. And to have a surgeon who is negative is not at all helpful. I don’t agree with him either. My scars are barely noticeable now and if arthritis sets in at a future time, there are alternative ways to deal with that too. You will be okay IMHO. I, too, had a surgeon who reminded me on numerous occasions that I had a “severe” or “very serious” break. I think she was more concerned about my not taking the situation seriously and re-injuring myself.

      You will be active again. Your muscles will be strong again, and you may find that your ankle is stronger than ever after it heals. Your big decision in about a year will be whether or not to keep the metal in your leg/ankle.

      The tears are okay, too, I think, because releasing that fear and sadness will help you heal. When you get through the tears, you will have space in your mind and body to focus on the healing and find the positive aspects of this painful ordeal.

      Please, if you get a chance, write back and let us know about your progress like when you start PT or when you get the boot or when you take that first step. Those moments were all thrilling to me, and when I look back, they gave me courage to carry on.

      I am thinking about you and hoping for the best outcome possible. I’ll be cheering for you from afar.

      Peace and healing to you!

      • One other thing – I hope the job situation works out for you! I’m sorry you may have lost your chances at a permanent job. I surmise that something great is waiting for you when you get through this!

  28. Kenda – I found this blog two days ago. I’m eight weeks post trimalleolar break on my right foot. Was t-boned in the back of the ankle by our rescue Boxer going 30mph which broke the first bone and I broke the other two while stumble-step-cussing. Lay in the drive for 20min before I my Husband found me. It’s been a loooooong eight weeks. Hopefully the cast comes off today (!!!) and I’ll be into the boot for the beginning of my weight bearing stage and life can begin to resemble ‘normal’ again. If ‘normal’ means being terrified of the dogs, walking, stairs etc…
    Anyway, I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for your blog, especially the ‘Shift in Priorities’ and ‘Why me?’ sections. I have felt ALL the feelings and it has been good to read I am not alone. Wish I had found you earlier but didn’t look online for stories because I was very afraid that what I might find would be worse than what my brain was coming up with at 3am.
    Thank you for sharing – it has been a MAJOR help.

    • Hey there, ej, thank you for writing in.

      Wow. Okay. That’s traumatic, when the furry human in the family causes the trimalleolar. Our giant pups have no idea how their enthusiasm can contribute to our hardships sometimes. sigh. Stumble-step-cussing. That ought to be a dance move. 🙂 And then 20 minutes waiting in the driveway. oy.

      OMG. I know. It’s a long 8 weeks. I’m eager to hear about how it feels to have the cast off. I predict that your excitement for being out of that #$%^ cast and one more step toward “normal” will override your fear of dogs, walking, stairs, etc. Though, as you read in the blog, I held similar fears that surfaced at various times throughout this journey. We have no choice but to overcome those fears, and in some ways it made me stronger in the long run.

      A poem that gets me through the tough times by Anaïs Nin:
      “And then the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

      Thanks for finding the blog and for your kind words. IMO it was a good move to stay away from the intergoogle at the beginning. I popped right on after T-day, and the stories I found exacerbated my 3am awake nightmares. You are much wiser than I.

      Please keep me posted on your progress. I checked out your website and loved the story behind “iamwhaleshark.” Hopefully some of the readers here will check it out, especially the Emotional Maintenance section where you share your story.

      Let the healing continue!

      • It is OFF!!!

        And I am hairy and swollen and have a dead person’s purple leg but it’s OFF!!! I’m now supposed to walk on it like I’m stepping on a jelly donut and absolutely terrified that I’ll squish all the jelly out. Giving people with large Libraries of Worries imagery like that is just cruel. That poem by Anais Nin is PERFECT for how I feel right now… Off to shave and then work on not squishing my jelly donut.

        Thanks again for putting your ‘self’ out here for people like me. So. Dang. Helpful.

        • Yay! It’s OFF! Putting the hairy, swollen, dead person’s jelly donut aside, can you wiggle your toes?! 🙂

          Well said, large Library of Worries imagery. I see the acronym for that is LOW. OMG. I recall all those worries. One day you will look back on this and think, “Okay. Did that. Kicked its butt.”

          This is one of the many turning points in your journey. I totally believe that.

          Now go out there and shave that jelly donut. It won’t squish.

          You are so.dang.welcome.

          Write back anytime you feel like it.

  29. I am currently 8 weeks post tri break. I slipped in flip flops that got wet. What a nightmare it has been. I have a plate and 18 screws. On my last visit the ortho only found one small spot that is still fractured. I am depressed and frustrated. I am a runner a crossfitter and the most important mom to two boys who play competitive travel soccer!. While i am walking with a brace (graduated from a cam walker) i am not able to do anything except upper body and the pool. I am riding a stationary bike and the ellipitcal i get tired and sore. PT only has me lying there alone doing the stretches they gave me to do at home so i am doing things on my own. My ortho gave me permission to walk was i am healing ahead of schedule i am afraid.
    My other problem is flash backs..i keep havi g them back to that awful night. I can feel the break all over again sometimes!
    I just want to be able to run and practice with my boys again.

    • Hi Kathy, and thank you for writing in.

      18 screws – that’s an impressive amount of metal. I’m most impressed, however, that you’re walking already and are clearly working hard to keep up your strength with swimming, the bike, and elliptical. PT will start to get more active and interesting when they get the all-clear from your OS. I’m guessing s/he wants to ensure that one last spot knits first? Just a guess.

      Your fear is totally normal even though probably none of this seems normal at the moment. This may be an opportune time for you to take up some meditation if you haven’t already done so. It just sounds to me that you may need some help through this crisis. Again, this is all normal. I remember holding so much fear – fear of walking and rebreaking and being laid up the rest of my life. Stuff at the time that fed my crisis, which is the reason I started blogging to relieve that bundled up emotional energy in my body. If things get really bad, there are calming cures out there – both pharmaceutical and alternative. If it will help relieve your mind of this burden so you can focus on your healing, it’s worth it (IMO). One thing I still use is called “Calm” it’s magnesium in powdered form. Sometimes I take it before bed to help me sleep. Unless you have a reason not to add magnesium to your diet, it’s a good supplement. I included a link that connects to my Amazon account. If you purchase through that link, I receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you (just figured I’d be very transparent about that as it helps me maintain this blog).

      Given your athletic background, I’m not surprised you’re healing ahead of schedule. I also won’t be surprised if you continue on that path and are active again sooner than most. Still, that doesn’t necessary ease the angst now. I know from my own experience that as I became stronger and more active, the fear also began to dissipate. And while now, it’s basically vanished (and has ben gone for years since right after the injury), I’m also much more alert about walking – on rocks, also in flip-flops, near cliffs, on slippery surfaces, etc. I’m just more cautious. Even recently I was standing on a chair taking a photograph, and jumped off with great relief (still, five years later) that I’m capable of putting such impact on my ankle after that serious break.

      It will get better. You will run and practice with your boys again. For now, you are healing, and what a good opportunity for those boys to nurture their Mom. Receive all the help, care, and love you can get, because when you’re back on those feet (without assists), life will pick back up again and zoom off. And you will probably never take for granted the ability to walk freely and run, and that’s a handy reminder of how fortunate we are to have available medical care that makes us whole again.

      Please, keep us posted. I want to know how it’s going, and I want to hear how this unfolds for you. I especially eagerly await the day you write back and are like, “I’m running again, yay!”

      To you and your healing,


      • Dear Kenda..,
        Foremost your Experience is wonderful to gain Spirit & boost up my energy level…Really Life is all about Experiencing… Obviously that one wrong step can dramatically change the direction of a person’s life (temporarily) – even for those of us to are very active and into fitness.
        Being a Mechanical engineer & Sportsperson…
        In the mid of August, while playing Tennis- to be quite unfortunately injured & into Trimalleolar Fracture on Right ankle. I still think everything happens for good reason, Just mailed my medical certificate to company. Right now Resting.
        About Family, One year ago my mother faced same kind of trouble as of yours then after surgery she is fine. Actually its all about caring & love…By this Pain fly’s off.Sometimes screws & plates vibrates,so wanna remove hardware’s soon to feel free.
        Some injuries happens & let’s take positively by doing reading books, documentaries-movies, writing, online,switching sports channels etc…
        Universe is Amazing, I love to enjoy Nature- After my surgery the things I enjoy by looking at Sky- Stars – Moon. Unique Techniques to escape from pain…
        I’m Inspired by your words.. Mind is everything: Healthier Thoughts helps me in Healing process…I set my target to walk well by November.
        I’m really grateful for you & everyone posted their status.
        Really Sportive people & looking forward for Healthy days to all.
        Healthy Foods & Positive vibes are ultimate secret for recovery.
        I would love to play my Tennis & will be back soon by doing things I enjoy.
        I wish Law of Attraction helps me to make my good comeback in Sports as a Youngster.
        Pleasure & Blissful…
        Whatever happens, Let’s Stay Strong & Focus on believing wonders ahead.
        #Healthy Thoughts & Lifestyle
        #Inner Happiness & Attract Nature
        #Gratitude of Attitude
        Shining off by Showing Gratitude for reading my experience.

        Thanks a Sky,
        Gautam Sachin…

        • Thank you for that beautiful message, Gautam (this is your given name, yes?). It reads like a poem. I can clearly see that you are well on your way to healing, and with that lovely spirit, you will surpass healing and come out of this situation stronger than ever. I also believe in the Law of Attraction, so continue to focus on your healing, and this is what will manifest.

          Please, stay in contact. I’d like to hear more about your progress. I want to know when you’re playing tennis again, because you will be!

          Cheers to you, your attitude of gratitude, and to your healing!


          • Hi Kenda, Thank you for sharing your story and inspiring those who are suffering through this. It has been 4 months since my break and surgery. I have been weight bearing 5 weeks. My progress and recovery has been so slow. I recently started driving (two days ago) which feels great. But when i walk more than 40-50 steps, I get so tired. I just had my first outpatient PT. Gosh, i hope they can help. I was so
            swollen and spent today from grocery shopping, I had to sit for 30 minutes to rest before i could walk to my car, This discouraged me quite a bit. I am supposed to be cleared to work next week. but it doesn’t look good. Don’t know where I went wrong in the process. thought i did everything correctly. Hope PT can help, especially with stamina. Thank you again

          • Hello Steve,

            Thank you for writing in. Oh how I remember the frustration! You’ve only been weight bearing for 5 weeks, so you still have plenty of healing ahead. I remember that horrible sensation of how heavy my foot felt, almost like my blood was pooling in that one place. It disgusted me, and I didn’t like putting my foot down because of how awful it felt. AND it was draining, physically. I imagine you just have to keep at it (according to what your PT suggests) until you feel better. Try to note any positive change as this will help you feel more encouraged. It’s hard to heal and feel discouraged at the same time. I get it, though. I understand how discouraging it can be.

            Now, if you think there is an actual issue, I’d call your OS. But you’ve only just started PT in a facility if I understand correctly? If that’s the case, give yourself a couple weeks of PT as this will expedite your healing which I think would have a positive impact on your stamina and energy as well. Also, it looks like you’re starting PT later than I did, which may have put you behind in the process a bit. So, if you’re comparing your situation to mine, it’s not an accurate comparison. I started PT shortly after surgery. PT is the key, IMO, to feeling like there are little successes in this process. For each PT session, try to take note of what you are able to do that you couldn’t do the week before. Then CELEBRATE those successes!

            Can you get another week or two off of work? If so, do so. At work, are you standing or sitting? If you have to go back, try to be on your foot only for as long as the PT recommends. I recall elevating as much as possible while sitting.

            Just out of curiosity, how is your diet? Are you getting greens? Do you take any supplements like B12 or D? Load up on healthy foods and eliminate sugar to the best of your ability. I’m vegan, so I had no animal products at all, which I think really helped. Animal products can make your blood more acidic which can impact inflammation and healing. Just throwing some stuff out there for ya. I know this is your journey.

            I hope you have support at home. It’s hard to go this alone. Please know, I’m supporting you from afar.

            If you get a chance, please write back and let us know how you’re doing. These posts get a lot of hits daily, so I know there are others reading who may not write in. Each person has his/her own healing journey that have differences from the others. Any sharing can be useful to others. PLUS I really want to see everyone through this. 🙂 I know the difficulty. I also know how great it feels to be on the other side. Hang in there. This shall pass, and you will reflect back on it one day with relief that’s it behind you. I really believe that.

            Cheers to your healing,


    • Hi Kathy,. I wanted to see if you’re now running with your boys? I find the hardest thing about my bimall break was not being able to be active with the kids 🙁

  30. I wanted to give an update. I went to the surgeon on Monday..i am completely healed bone wise!!!!! I am brace free..PT free and can resume cross fit with No running or jumping and no contact sports. This is until Nov 30 when i have to have a screw taken out that was put in to hold the bones in place. He said either the screw or the bones could break..i will obey that is for sure!!! The trainers at the gym i go to have been super awesome with modifications..i am 3 mo to the day post accident. The surgeon attributes my healing quickly to my shape and attitude and ability to follow directions to a “T”…lol…i am super excited.

    • Thanks for the update, Kathy!

      YES! That is great news! Of course it makes sense that your healthy body and healthy mind contributed to this speedy recovery. Oh, and yes, following directions is very good too!

      This is really great news. I can feel your joy through the computer! YAY!

      I remember worrying so much about breaking that @#&* syndesmosis screw. But then, before I knew it, the darn thing was out and part of a distant memory. You’ll heal super fast from that surgery. It’s just a matter of giving yourself a week or two to let the holes in your bone fill in. That will be a piece of cake considering what you’ve just gone through.

      I’m super excited for you! I really appreciate the update especially since two new readers just joined in. Now they can see that things do get better.

      Cheers to you and your speedy healing!

  31. Hi! So about 2 years ago my boyfriend and I went sledding and unfortunately found a cliff. My right ankle had a trimaleolar fracture, and it has been a major struggle. I gained about 70 pounds being down for a year and now I’m working like hell to get that weight off! But I have good and bad days with the ankle, I used to be a runner, can’t do that now. It hurts to much, but I have found I do okay with beachbody programs. Something I’m noticing a lot more now is I get sharp pain and it hurts to be weight barring. Especcially after an intense work out. My ankle does fine durinf but its after that i struggle. I use k tape and it helps but do you have any other suggestions ??

    I was also told it’s bad for your food to not wear any shoes, but I hate shoes, I could go barefoot every single day If I could! But I was wondering if there’s like a sock or something to support feet? I’ve tried to Google a bunch of things, but it’s a little to specific to Google and I get a bunch of random things.

    How has your healing and getting back to active life been?

    • Hey Mandi,

      Thanks for writing in. Nothing like a trimalleolar fracture to take the fun out of winter recreation. Oy.

      It looks like you’ve successfully found a program that helps keep you active. It sucks tho that you’re having sharp pain. Have you checked with your OS or PT about it? Are you weight bearing without shoes? Do you have the pain on just your trimalleolar foot or both? It seems like there’s something about the weight exercises + the pain. Maybe it’s impacting your arches? I’m sorry to say, I don’t know, but I would definitely get it checked out. Having pain is not the usual result of the trimalleolar fracture – especially after 2 years. But the pain has a message, and it worth it to find out what is going on. Maybe there’s some unresolved thing in there like a stress fracture.

      Try a google search on “socks for barefoot walkers.” Some useful stuff may come up. There are some shoe/sock-like things that feel more natural than regular shoes, but I’ve never tried any of it. I now walk with socks and slippers at home and shoes outside. Mostly, because I have high arches and walking barefoot hurts after a while – it’s always been that way even before trimalleolar day.

      My healing is so great. Thank you for asking! Yes. I am back to my active life with very few issues. Really, the problems that come up now are more a result of age than anything, and they’re minor.

      You might want to consider an anti-inflammatory diet (or just make a concoction of turmeric, black pepper, and cinnannom – it doesn’t taste great but is good for inflammation) as you figure this thing out. There may be some inflammation and scar tissue stuck in there somewhere.

      I hope this helps a little! Please keep me posted.

      Cheers to you and your healing,


    • Hi Mandi, I’ve just had this break. I did break my right foot about 12 years ago and I did gain weight – not sure how much but I went up two clothes sizes. This time, it’s been difficult for me to eat – not much of an appetite, but I think maybe because it was more serious and because I had surgery, that affected me somehow.

      My surgeon told me I’d be able to start swimming soon, which is excellent low-impact exercise, but it will be awhile before I can go biking. I have read about a lace-up contraption that some people wear during their physical therapy. Would that help?

      • Thanks for reaching out to Mandi, Paulette! Your suggestion for the lace-up contraption sounds like a good one. Is it a brace?

        Mandi, maybe you can check with your PT about this?

        Cheers all!

        • Hi Mandi and Kenda, I actually read about the lace-up splint on another site about broken ankle treatment. Some wrote that after they graduated from the walking boot, they got this lace-up splint from their PT. I’ve also seen them on amazon, but of course, it’s best to check with professionals first. It appears you can wear it inside a shoe, but I”m not sure.

          • This is helpful, Paulette. Thank you! I hope Mandi is receiving these comments. Sometimes folks don’t sign up for the comment notifications. I appreciate your reaching out to others!

  32. I am so glad to have read your journey, Kenda, and everyone else’s. I had a trimall break on October 4, 2016 and had my surgery on Oct 14. Like you, I started with a splint (about 3 different ones, and then got a hard cast. The biggest difficulty is that I am one of those living alone and I have stairs that lead to my garage, laundry, mailbox etc. I won’t lie, it’s been tough as I have no family nearby. What saved me was a couple of really good friends (one took me to the hospital for my surgery and the other one drove me home the next day). I did rent a knee-scooter, so that has helped, and I am able to get get my groceries delivered. If x-rays are good, I will be in the boot for about a month (partial weight at first) and then therapy. It has just helped me as I feel so isolated, so reading your journey has helped. Thanks for sharing.

    • Hello Paulette, and thank you for writing in!

      My heart goes out to you, because living alone with an injury this serious is a challenge, no doubt. Add to it, it’s all still so new, and I remember the struggle early on. Your good attitude, along with those stellar friends (!), will be a powerful ally as you heal. Thank goodness for grocery delivery services and scooters.

      I’m grateful to know that this blog has helped you in some way. Please stay in touch as your journey unfolds as I am honored to support you albeit virtually.

      Cheers to you and your healing, Paulette!


      • Thanks so much for your speedy reply. I can definitely say the knee-scooter changed my life. Even before then, I managed to scoot on a chair into my kitchen, where I sit when trying to get a meal ready (nothing too complicated). When groceries are delivered, they stay on the counter – same with clean dishes as it’s too difficult to reach into cabinets. I also managed to push a foot stool into the cat’s bathroom, where I can sit while cleaning his box.

        I should add that that first week was brutal and is a blur. I actually drove myself to the ER the night I broke it, my niece died the next day, and Hurricane Matthew (a wimp) came through that Thursday, when I had to drive back to ER for a checkup – ankle had swollen so much I couldn’t feel toes or foot.

        I ordered a shower stool for my shower and can actually sit on it with cast dangling over the edge (outside of tub). Even though I bought a cast cover, I worry about balancing while putting it on, so the former is easer.

        It just helps so much to have others who have been through this. Most in my family don’t understand what the big deal is with getting around on crutches. One family member asked me just last week if I ‘was able to get out.”!!! Oh my gosh, where would I go? I’m exhausted just getting down my steps, into my garage where there is another step, and into my Hummer! I only go out to OS office and I did drive out last sunday to personally mail my election ballot. Besides as everyone here knows, it’s crucial to protect our ankle during recover as a rein jury could be a big set-back.

        Wow, this is cathartic. I will keep you posted if I get the walking boot – every other visit results in an excellent progress/prognosis report. I’m actually calling today to see if I can go in Weds instead of Fri to get an early jump on walking.

        By the way, when you first started walking (limited weight), how much weight could you put on ankle. I’ve seen youtube videos on 25% (which is almost no weight), 50% and 75%. Could you actually put weight on it or were you just sort of brushing it against the ground? Thanks again

        • OMG Paulette, what a tragic experience. My heart goes out to you for all that you’re endured = the break, your niece’s death…I wouldn’t be surprised if you had a little touch PTSD from such a crisis-ridden week. And then Hurricane Matthew and you drove yourself to the ER on the night you broke it? THAT is wild. You must’ve been in shock and are so fortunate to not have passed out at the wheel. I can see you’re a strong woman.

          You’re also wise to get all of those supporting tools to help navigate your house and manage your life. I remember that keeping the ankle elevated was vital for healing, but more so, it hurt like hell when I didn’t elevate. It was like all the blood in my body rushed down to my foot making it feel like 100 pounds.

          And no one could easily understand the exhaustion that comes with this type of injury. Your body is using all her available resources to heal. This means that doing anything, even small tasks require an unusual amount of focus and energy. I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to work from home, but my goodness, it was tough and exhausting. I’ve met some folks who have to go back to work soon after the injury, and I often wondered how they navigated an office or harder yet, a position that involved being upright.

          I’m not surprised your family doesn’t understand. It’s such a challenge to grasp the severity of this injury unless having had it or being super compassionate. I remember telling folks: “I have broken every bone that connects my leg to my foot. A human foot bears 50% of a human’s body and carries a person everywhere she goes.” When I found out how long the healing process was, I was blown away, because initially, even I didn’t realize how long it takes to heal this injury. I had the added burden of a severely sprained ankle on the other foot. If you have one functioning foot, that will help your healing immensely. Still, it’s frustrating when family members aren’t “getting it.” There were times I was feeling foolish because of others’ expectations. Being knocked down like that already makes a person feel vulnerable. It’s not fair when family members expect you to pick yourself up by your bootstraps when you and I both know, THAT particular boot is on for one main purpose: to help with an essential healing process while protecting a fragile and healing ankle. There’s no picking up those straps until the authorities (your OS and PT’s) say so. I worked to do some expectation-setting, but there was a lot I had to let go.

          When I think back on weight bearing, I think initially it was only about 10 or 15%. I don’t remember well. I may have written that down on one of my posts. But what I recall is that the PT’s were very cautious about weight bearing in the beginning. I think it took a full month to go 100%, but don’t quote me on that. I just remember being impatient and wanting it all “now!” 🙂 But yes, I think it started out with just putting a part of my foot down. At home, I practiced with the crutches on a scale so that I could see how much weight I was bearing slowly, over time, taking the weight off of my arms and onto my foot. It’s a process, but it was one of the highlights of my healing (this I remember), because the ability to walk again was thrilling. Mostly, listen to your PT’s (if you like and trust them – if not, get new PT’s), because they were a valuable part of my healing. Bearing weight actually helps your bones heal faster when it’s done correctly. I remember getting the okay to bear weight as tolerated. Oh the freedom! Don’t be surprised if the first time you bear weight feels really really weird.

          Thanks for writing in and helping others, too. One day you will look back on this time and breathe a big sigh of relief for having gotten through it. In the meantime as my dad used to tell me about challenging journeys, “it’s character building!” He died in 2009, so I was unable to get those words of wisdom directly from him when I had my trimalleolar; but I sure heard them in my head almost every day!

          Cheers to you and your healing,


  33. Well I should tell you that the hospital is literally two blocks away, so driving there seemed more logical than having an ambulance come. However, that meant they couldn’t give me any pain meds since I was driving. I actually thought I could get by without any pain meds, but that lasted about 8 hours and then I was begging for them.

    I know exactly what you mean about all the blood rushing to the ankle -it all feels so heavy, and I just don’t remember that when I broke my foot. However, the doctor called it a dancer’s break and said it was quite common. The bone was on the right side of the foot, so once I got the boot, I was off and running – sort of. And, I didn’t need surgery.

    Wow, so the trimall means we have broken all the connecting bones? No wonder it hurt so much! My ankle was curved and when the first nurse saw me at the ER, she called someone to come get me and said my ankle was distorted looking – never a good sign coming from a nurse!

    Well, my surgeon said I will be in the boot for a month and then do PT afterwards unless I’ve misunderstood. I recall seeing it all writing down; anyway, I’m taking it in stages – waiting for the surgery, waiting for the hard cast, now waiting for the walking boot.

    I feel awful for those who must go back to the office. At another blog/journal, a woman wrote that her co-workers all thought she was just trying to get extra time off leading up to Christmas. My own daughter-in-law, who is a nurse practitioner, didn’t seem to worried about my being alone and reminded me I could get groceries delivered. Yes, I can but do I feel like dragging myself into the kitchen on crutches, where I then had to rest before having the energy to make a cup of hot tea in the microwave!

    I have been elevating my foot since I broke it and until I had the hard cast, I was constantly applying ice packs. I miss being able to do that, but I’m wondering if I can do that in the evening from bed – undo the boot to pack it on ice or maybe the ice works through the boot?

    Funny thing – I had a dream last night that I’d forgotten I had a broken ankle and decided to just walk on it. Then today, I almost slipped from the scooter and to keep from falling with the scooter, I put the bad foot down a bit hard. However, it was for about a second and I was holding onto the scooter. I called dr’s office and since there wasn’t any increase in pain, they said to watch for swelling.

    I, too, am looking forward to walking at whatever weight it is…baby steps. I think I read in one of your comments here, or maybe at another site, where someone wrote that she would never take for granted getting out of bed and putting your feet on the floor and walking!

    Your dad was a wise man. I think it was Nietchke who said that what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger (whether we like it or not). A good friend in Philly has just ended a long-term marriage and she reminded me this is probably one of the times it’s nice to have a husband. I’ll admit it would be so easy to just ask someone to bring me something, but it keeps me getting up and getting a ‘work out.”

    Okay, I’ve vented again and it feels so good! Thanks for helping me along, Kenda (by the way, my best friend in college was named Kendra!)

    • That makes sense – for you to have driven yourself given the two blocks. Still, it took courage. And I’m with you on the pain meds. Those saved me the first couple of weeks but then messed me up shortly thereafter. 🙂

      Yes, I was told the Trimalleolar is considered one of the most severe breaks. I remember my OS telling me numerous times about the severity until it sunk in! A nurse practitioner saw me in the ER the night it happened and seemed about as competent as the one who saw you. She was super nice, but sent me on my way with the dislocated talus, which fortunately didn’t turn into gangrene during the 2-day wait for the OS (July 4 weekend sigh).

      I ended up buying one of those gel packs for icing. It was really helpful and less messy. I think icing any way you can would be a good thing IMO, yet definitely check with the professionals about undoing the boot in bed. Not sure if the cooling will go through the boot, but I love your thought process!

      It really bums me out how cavalier some folks are about this injury. Not that I wish anything bad on anyone, but I wish them all a dose of compassion for better understanding and support. I know how much energy EVERYTHING takes with a Trimalleolar. Making a cup of tea requires herculean efforts not to mention preparing food – which is vital to your healing process. One thing I had to do -against my own current- was ask for help. It was hard yet healing in some ways.

      Walking will be a joy! That time will arrive. It will! Almost every day I feel grateful for my ankles and their ability to carry me around. This gift was granted me by that darn Trimalleolar. 😉 Your friend is right. Life would be easier with someone to help out. No doubt. You will emerge from this stronger than ever, and you’ll be able to carry around that power for the rest of your life. You go girl!

      I’m so often called “Kendra” that I don’t even bother telling folks anymore, so thanks for spelling it correctly. 🙂 Tell Kendra “hi” from Kenda. 🙂

      Sending healing thoughts your way!

  34. Let me clarify about driving self to ER. From a previous broken bone, I already had crutches or I could never have managed to go alone. And the first nurse at the ER actually was calling for a bed for me – sorry I didn’t make that clear. Attendants came to get me, wheeled me back to a bed in the hall and helped me get on it; I saw many different doctors, resident doctors and maybe interns. They put lots of ice on it right away, took X-rays and took very good care of me. When the ER Drs came to tell me about the X-rays, they said I’d done a good job, so I thought maybe I’d only sprained it (which wasn’t logical considered ankle was bent at an unnatural angle). Then they told me how serious it was. I knew that breaking 3 bones was not good.

    My surgeon (who looks about 18) is super. He did the surgery as outpatient that next week but he didn’t want to send me home alone, so he said he needed to keep me for 24-hr observation. That mean all those wonderful nurses and staff members pampering me and because he deemed it necessary, insurance paid – well I have insurance and a supplemental plan so almost everything will be covered.

    I’m so glad you understand about how difficult getting around is. When my DIL tells me to just order groceries or have meals delivered (who can afford that every night for 6 weeks?) she doesn’t understand we still have to get it someplace to eat it and then put it away. I ordered pizza that first week and I had to tell the delivery guy to put the box on the floor. That way I could scoot it into my bedroom with a crutch – had to to the same to get it into kitchen and put away.

    I have had to learn to ask for help, but I hate it. Anyway, tomorrow is my OS appointment and I do expect the X-rays to be fine – they looked great the first week post op and the wound is healing nicely according to him.

    Kenda, did you need to have the plate/screws removed? I don’t want more surgery, but many say they later have it removed?

    I agree that this break and surgery is an odd sort of gift as I now understand the value of just getting out of bed and walking!

    Thanks again for encouraging me. Misery loves company, so they say!

    • Okay. Thanks for that clarification. Your surgeon looks about 18. 🙂 That’s probably a good thing to have a young OS as those youngsters are totally hip on all the newfangled procedures. And well done on his keeping you for 24-hour observation. That should be a practice in my opinion. Some folks have written me from other countries, and it’s standard procedure. Plus, there’s someone right there for all those questions that pop up those first 24 hours!

      I SO understand. I really really do. I know, right? It’s costly to have groceries and meals delivered. Why are they not helping you? My heart broke a little when you wrote that you asked the delivery guy to put the pizza on the floor and you had to scoot it into the bedroom. That’s wrong. I hear you. Asking for help is hard. But there is no time like this time to ask. Maybe you have the same experience as I: I have no problem helping people. Even more so, I am so willing to do it especially when I know someone needs it. I have no doubt you know people like that. I have no doubt, you, yourself, will help others when in a pinch. You deserve the support. And your friends or coworkers or neighbors will feel your gratitude, and they can feel good about themselves for lending a sista a hand.

      Do shoot us an update with your OS report.

      I had the plate and screws removed at almost precisely one year out. I could not stand having those things in my body. I was very sensitive to it. Removing those things also increased my range of motion. I know it’s different for everyone, but if you have any pain or difficulty with the metal, the insurance should cover its removal.

      Keep up the great work, Paulette! Misery loves company and so does hope!

  35. Aha! I found a new club to join. I shall call it the trimalleor club or fight club for short. I had surgery 6 days ago after fracturing the big 3. Today, I started the “google” process and very luckily ended up here on your blog, Kenda. So comforting to read your story. I have just read this first post and am really going to spend the next couple of hours reading the rest of your fight to normality 🙂 Thank you for sharing and generally just being inspiring.



    • Welcome to the club, Deb! I like both your name ideas. Maybe the T-Fight Club. 🙂

      Well, I can see this is still new for you. Well done on seeking some virtual support. I’m honored that you’re here. It is a fight to normality, and you will get there too. There are ups and downs, and really, writing the blog is what saved me from sinking into a depression. So if you have any (seated!) activities that bring you joy or help you to release pent up emotions, this is a good time to engage in those things.

      In the meantime, do keep us posted on your progress. I relish in the fact that folks send updates. It’s like I want to see each of you heal and go back to the good life. 🙂

      Cheers to you and your healing!


      PS: and feel free to share your story here too!

  36. Hi Deb, welcome to the Kenda’s Club. I fractured my trimall on Oct 4 and had surgery on Oct. 14, so it’s all very new for me. I just found the site myself a few days ago I am still staying home and elevating ankle, but I go for X-rays tomorrow and hopefully will get a walking boot. It has been brutal and a huge adjustment. This place and Kenda have both really helped psychologically. I hope you aren’t in too much pain.

    • Paulette, I adore you. Thank you for being so communicative. Support is incredibly helpful at times like this, and it’s my dream that this site takes on a life of its own where folks can write to one another and create the system of support. I love that you wrote back to Deb. Thank you.

      And Deb, Paulette is a recent T-fracture sista. So, you two have some things in common! You’re T-days are only a couple of weeks out from one another.

      I hope you both are managing your pain. I know it’s tough those first weeks. It does get easier and the pain slowly melts away.

      Thank you both. You rock. 🙂

  37. Hi Kenda and Deb, it’s true we need support. Well good news! I went to OS and had X-rays, and I’m healing nicely. He did say it’s a bit early (5 weeks) but I got my cam walker. Wow, it’s strange. I’m not putting much weight now – still going up and down the stairs on my bottom, but I am able to walk with crutches. He said to just go heel to toe.

    I am supposed to start therapy but the nurse forgot to give me the info, so I’ll call them tomorrow.

    So, I am onto the next stage. I keep remembering how you have called this a sort of gift. I believe it is and my niece really helped me during this. I remembered everything she went through during her cancer battle and how she never complained. She has given me strength. Not to say it’s not been difficult and I’ve definitely had some meltdowns. I even read about a type of depression that people recovering from broken bones (those confined to bed) go through and I had some rough days.

    I’m seeing some light now. What has helped me is looking at everything in stages. Right after I left the ER, the next step was to see the surgeon. After the surgeon, it was to get my pre-op exams. Then it was surgery. After surgery, I waited for the next appointment; after that appointment I waited for the next one. It has helped to just measure things in days or just to the next step.

    So, I will go to mass this Sunday – something that is a huge part of my life. I don’t know when I’ll be ready to swim or bike again, but I am just looking at my next stage.

    Wish me luck!

    • What a great report, Paulette! Yay for good news! And you are on your way with the cam walker. Good things are happening.

      I love your vision and plan of breaking this process into stages. That’s such a healthy approach and makes i more palatable. I love the metaphor: steps. Brilliant. And you are on your way! That’s a touching story about your niece and how her quiet strength has carried through to your challenges. This is a good time to have strong faith, so good for you for getting to mass on Sunday. Swimming and biking will come, in time.

      I wish you SO much luck!

      I think depression is very normal, too. I struggled with depression for several weeks at the beginning. It was unfamiliar and uncomfortable. Writing helped me tremendously.

  38. Kenda, I forgot to ask this. My boot puts me much taller than my shoes/boots. What did you wear to have a shoe the same heel height as your boot?

    • Oh yes. I recall that issue. I wore a hiking boot when out. At home, I usually just wore a slipper and dealt with the height differential.

      Cheers to you and your healing, Paulette! You’re a gem.

      • I am thinking of a hiking boot or a clog of some sort. So, I went to a store for the first time since my accident – almost 6 weeks later. I must say that walking with LWB is not difficult, but it’s extremely tiring. My palms are getting calloused and I’m going to need to put some padding on the ankle as it seems to be rubbing even though I wearing a sock.

        I took a shower with my broken ankle in the water today for the first time, but I was very nervous. It’s true it is purple and swollen and when it first came out of the cast, my leg and ankle looked like I was a snake that was molting – such dry scaly skin for me@ Yikes. However, after showering, I was able to gently moisturize, which was a treat.

        So, I only made a quick trip out today and was thoroughly exhausted after, but it was nice to get some fresh air – I’m in s. Fla, so it’s about 80 here today.

        I didn’t find a shoe or boot, so I will try a short trip out tomorrow – really need something close in height, so wish me luck.

        Kenda, I loved how you found a metaphor in the steps – yes, I am literally measuring my progress in steps, but it is more than that. I’d not even noticed.

        I will also add that since I am LWB, it’s back to being exhausting trying to get my breakfast and I’ve had to return to putting tea in a thermos and that and my food into a plastic bag. However, it won’t be long!

        Thanks for your constant encouragement and for keeping this page alive for those of us who need it.

        • You are making huge strides, Paulette! Well done on you for getting out. You are a brave woman. I recall using one of my hubby’s tube socks with the boot for extra padding. I remember that first shower. I had such trepidation. I had some pads on my crutches, Starksy and Crutch (I had a crutch naming contest and that was the winning name), which helped. I wonder if biking gloves would work?

          Not sure if this would work for you, but I used coconut oil on the scaly skin. Ay dios mio. The purple and swelling freaked me out when I first saw it. Can’t say I ever real got accustomed to it, but fortunately it dissipated as my circulation improved.

          I’m relieved to see you live in a warm climate and don’t have to worry about ice or snow as we enter winter.

          You’re right, and great attitude. It won’t be long. That said, I would never minimize the difficulty of everyday activities with this injury. And while having crutches and the walking boot offers a new freedom, it’s still not easy. I remember the awesome feeling of freedom of getting permission to use just one crutch and actually being able to carry stuff in my other hand. And then, no crutches. THAT was fabulous. You’ll be there before you know it.

          I’m honored to have this page for you and any others who can benefit from it. Thank you for reading and sharing your experience. I appreciate that.

          Cheers to you and your healing!

  39. Okay, I haven’t ditched the crutches yet, but I did reach a new milestone. I went up and down the steps on my crutches putting weight on my bad ankle. It went very slowly, but I felt quite proud.

    I found a very comfortable shoe at Payless – it’s called Safe-T-step or something like that. It’s a clog that is almost the same heel; it’s definitely not stylish, but many nurses and waitresses wear them for comfort and safely – non-skid.

    I’m really nervous about putting full weight. OS said to increase and if there’s pain, cut back a bit. At times, there is a bit of pain if I put all weight (or close) and it feels sometimes as if my ankle is going to turn. I know it’s not possible but I’m so scared about FWB!

    I think my boot may be too large as my ankle doesn’t fit all the way to the back and even if I force it back, it slides away some.

    Anyway, I’ve been out three times so I’m getting there – just wish I could get brave enough to try full-weight! Have a great weekend. I’m going to my church’s fall festival this evening! Hooray.

    • Goodness, Paulette, you are really getting around! It seems way too soon for your to ditch the crutches. What is your PT telling you to do? Mine eased into the process and was very cautious. Maybe too cautious. You’ll get there with the FWB. Please make sure you’re not pushing it too far too fast, okay? As you get accustomed to bearing the weight, it will feel increasingly stable.

      Oh yes! Stairs on crutches. I forgot about those! That’s a big deal. Stairs intimidated me. I ended up taking the butt taxi up and down stairs for a long time brining my crutches with me.

      Your shoes sound perfect and practical for this situation. Do you have a thick sock you can put on to fill up the boot space? I recall using a sock for three reasons: padding, filling the boot, and hygiene. That boot gets nasty without a sock and I didn’t have the energy to wash it or the desire to give my husband one more task. 🙂

      Again, I understand your need to get FWB, but I encourage you to build up to that point. You will get there! You will! Hope you’re having a blast at your church’s fall festival this evening. Socializing is important and the good feelings of being with friends helps the healing process.

      Cheers to you and your healing,

  40. Hi Kenda, Here is the thing; my OS told me I’d be able to move to FWB after 2-3 days, but I’m not ready, at least mentally. I have been able to go from LWB to PWB rather easily. However, along with the stairs (one step at a time) I tried standing today without crutches and full weight on both, which caused no problems. Remember I’ve been splinted and casted since Oct 4 and had surgery on the 14th. I am listening to my body though.

    I had a wonderful time at my church’s festival. I saw some friends and even drank a very large beer (I drink about 2- 3 times a year). I also went to mass today and got a special blessing from my priest. For those who aren’t Catholic, it means nothing but it is huge for those who are.

    Like you, I’ve washed a few things in the sink and will continue to do so until I am crutch-free. No way can I handle clearing out the mammoth pile of laundry in my closet and getting it downstairs.

    I have some knee socks I bought and I discovered my Cam walker has a pump that compresses it a bit more. It feels more solid when I’m walking and standing, so tomorrow I will stand some more without crutches. This is what I saw that others had done. Then they tried shuffling instead of picking up feet – that seemed to help others start walking. I can’t believe how terrified I am to take that ‘first step.’

    The OS mentioned I’d be starting therapy, but I didn’t get a referral when I was there, so I called and left a message. I checked my insurance and it does cover it as long as doctor has deemed in necessary and is monitoring.

    So, thanks for your continued encouragement and support. I will check back when I have made another ‘step.’

    • Well done on listening to your body, Paulette. I’m concerned you haven’t yet gotten the referral for PT. I was in PT one week post surgery. I really really want you to walk under the guidance of a PT. Will you call the OS tomorrow for that referral? I was doing a number of activities prior to bearing weight – peddling on the bike, strength training, range of motion exercises. Add to it, they were very particularly about how I made my steps. I’m probably overprotective, but I really want you to see that PT.

      I’m so happy for you for getting out to that festival, enjoying a brewski, and receiving the special blessing – so healing! A pump with the Cam walker – cool!

      I am honored to support you on this journey. Please let me know if you’re able to make contact with the PT. Cheers to you and your healing!

  41. Hi Kenda,

    I believe the reason for the delayed PT was because I didn’t have a cast on after surgery – only a splint, so my ankle was very vulnerable. I did call OS on Friday and will call again today.

    What is funny is that when I am in bed and remove the CAM, my leg and ankle feel perfectly normal – very little pain. My can can even walk on my leg and rub up against foot and ankle – no problems. I think the rhythm or gait is what is really causing issues; plus the heel hurts some. That was broken, but he didn’t need to put any screws in. Both sides of ankle feel fine when I try and walk.

    So, I’m going to take a short walk outside today – with crutches, but doing as much weight bearing as possible to continue to use that left leg, ankle and foot. I think one problem is I work from home, so I’m usually sitting down. Also, my condo is quite small, so there isn’t really anywhere for me to walk. That could be part of the issue.

    It may be mental. It’ funny as it was so easy to walk in my boot after my broken foot, but that was just a bone on the side. I’m now seeing just what a big deal a broken ankle is. Seeing how hard it is to start walking again really brings it home!

    Thanks for continued support. I will keep you posted on my call to OS.

    • Hello Paulette!

      Like you, I didn’t have a hard cast, and during PT my ankle was totally exposed. I was mostly on the table, and they were VERY gently manipulating it – slow very slow movements to begin working on range. And the peddling was on the stationary bike. The broken ankle resting on the pedal while the other leg pushed. Over time (in just a couple of weeks), I was able to put some movement onto the healing fracture.

      This is the reason I really want you to have some PT support as you bear weight. There were a number of things they did with me before bearing weight standing up. I did a lot strength training and slowly built up the ability to bear weight sitting, and then standing.

      I had a similar issue – working from home.

      Oh yes! It’s a big deal, a broken ankle. Thank you for keeping me posted! I want you to heal as swiftly and as properly as possible.

  42. Also, I’m really surprised you were peddling a bike as I recall asking OS about when I could ride by bike again (okay I know it’s different out on the street that in therapy) and he’d said it would be q while.

    • Yes, you’re right. It was a stationary bike indoors, and the PT’s supervised very closely at the beginning making sure that my other leg carried the weight. Then slowly, over time, the weight was transferred more evenly. It was a joy to be on the bike. Go get that PT and you’ll see. Add to it, my greatest hope came from doing PT. I was immersed in support and encouragement, and for three days a week had milestones and goals that I met. I loved it.

  43. I guess different surgeons have different attitudes towards the PT and when to start, but I have heard from the OS’s staff and they are going to choose a therapist near me and get back with me, so I will hopefully be able to get in this week.

    I did have two more firsts. Without even thinking, I got up from the bed without the crutches and stood up! I did push off with my hands, but I think I usually do that also. Plus, I found that I can get into my SUV by bearing full weight on broken ankle, stepping onto my car’s nerf bar and then entering almost the way I normally do. These are huge as to get into my car, I’ve been standing with my back to the seat, putting both hand down on the seat behind me and pushing myself up and onto the seat (thanks for all that swimming) as I am a grandmother but still fit.

    I also went down the stairs outside (very cautiously – I keep one hand on railing and crutch for other. I walked to the end of my building and back and then up the steps. I just want to do something but I don’t want to do the wrong things.

    I’m excited about starting therapy as I was so active before.

    Funny thing is that my appetite is still off. I will fix things or buy things I think will taste good and then have trouble getting the food down – I will feel hungry not just not too interested in many foods. On the other hand, I crave coca cola – something I have always loved but have limited to special occasions like the movies, etc. I drink one almost every day, but I’m not going to deny myself now as I need some pleasure!

    Thanks again as your own experiences really help me!

    • Well done on those new “firsts” Paulette! Each of those milestones is so important, and I love that you’re recognizing them. Yay!

      Okay, let me know about the PT. On the edge of my seat here. 🙂 Sometimes having joy is more important than anything during time of crisis. Do what you must!

  44. Yes, I’m very excited about my firsts. Plus, I teach one course on campus – everything else is online, so I returned tonight for the first time in six weeks. Campus security picked me up at my car (I had to call them) and drove me to my class in their carts.

    I got a call from the PT but couldn’t get to phone in time, so I will call in am to make my first appt. I am ready!

    Watch this space!

  45. I teach at a state college with several campuses – each one somewhat small. So, yes, they are really kind. And, drum roll please – I have my first PT tomorrow at 900!

    • YEEEEEEEEEEEES! Yay! Your PT should be your champion, your ally, and the person who can answer so many of those questions that pop up as you heal. I cannot wait to hear about it.

      And, how cool you’re a teacher. I appreciate teachers immensely. 🙂

  46. Hi Kenda, So, I had my first PT today and am quite pleased. First, my crutches were all wrong, which is probably why walking is impossible. They were much too high for me. Two of the therapists watched me walk and then adjusted them and now when I walk, the crutches are more like extensions of my arms- so much easier. He did some assessments and then printed out some exercises for me to do at home – bend my ankle and draw the alphabet – all letters looked the same. Then I did some leg lifts and something where I wrap a towel around my foot and pull as hard as I can to stretch the foot back towards me. I will be going 3x/week in the beginning. I’m really feeling optimistic especially since using my crutches is so easy. I also feel optimistic as I’m doing something now – now I know what to do at home to add more flexibility to ankle and to strengthen it!

    Plus, another first. For this first time in about 8 weeks, I went to my French group – I speak and teach French and there is a group of people who gather once/weekly to simply speak French. I’ve really missed going, so today was a first.

    • Bonjour Paulette!

      THAT is a great report. I love PT and how they know to make simple adjustments to improve our lives. I feel very optimistic about your first PT session, and I remember those exercises well. I still do the alphabet in the morning (not always) before getting out of bed. It’s like a little morning stretch to start my day. Your letters will become more articulate as the days progress. The towel exercise will help your range of motion. Your PT’s will give you measurements for your range of motion (ROM) and that can help create milestones.

      Yay for your new first – your French group! In a former life, I was married to a man from France. It’s been a while, but I learned the language to converse with his family. I still don’t spell well in French, but j’adore la langue de francais!

      Au revoir!

  47. Hi Kenda,

    Okay, today I rode the stationary bike (with boot) for 10 minutes, I picked up some marbles (very badly) and dropped them into a container, and did some other exercises to work on my ROM in my ankle. I have very little going to the right but left is easier – odd as the plate is on the left side, so I would have expected that to be more difficult.

    I’ve also begun walking in my development – okay, I go down the stairs and walk to the second building over and back – it’s a 15 minute -20 minute walk now but sans crutches, it would probably be a 2 minute walk.

    They also put ice and some electrical impulses on my ankle; the therapists were surprised as they turned the machine up to 41 before I could feel it and they said most need it at only 10-15, so I definitely need to wake my my nerves and muscles, I guess.

    Feeling good but I did have to rent the knee-scooter for another month. I’ve considered buying one, but I’m in a small condo and just don’t know where I’d put it.

    Here’s hoping that one more month is all I need. Have a great weekend d.

    • Hello Paulette,

      Apologies for the delayed response, I’ve been on the road visiting family for the last several days. Looks like you continue your progress! I so remember and loved the stim. I imagine you’ll be making big strides (literally and figuratively!) these coming weeks. Thanks for keeping us posted. I am cheering for you from this virtual corner of the world!

  48. Happy Thanksgiving! Yesterday (6 weeks post-op and 7 weeks post-accident), I began learning to walk with one crutch. I am only practicing at home now and at therapy until I get better. My steps are slow and shaky, but they are steps nonetheless.

    • Happy Thanksgiving Paulette! Yay! You’re walking with one crutch! Steps! They all count – fast, slow, shaky, steady. Every single one counts. Well done!

  49. Also, re: the stim: I feel nothing on left side (where plate is); the only sensation is right side, so they turn it up according to what that side can tolerate.

    • It took a while for some of my nerves to wake back up, and to this day there are small spots on the top of my foot that are a little numb. I think it helped to have the metal removed. A friend of mine in the healing world suggested I lightly touch the numb parts of my foot/ankle with different textured materials (soft cloth, terry cloth, metal etc) to stimulate the nerves. Maybe that helped as well.

      Thank you for the updates!

      Cheers to your healing!

  50. That is a good idea. I had a hysterectomy years ago and some of the areas of the incision are still numb – not that it matters there. Well, I have totally abandoned one crutch, but ‘m worried it is too soon. I feel pain with each step – bearable but the heel and inner ankle bone hurt and when I take off my boot, instead of relief, I have pain. I guess that is to be expected. I will discuss it at PT on Monday and also with OS on Wednesday. I’ll find out if boot comes off. It’s very hard to walk in it, but it also gives me a lot of support, so I am nervous.

    Each time I stand to walk, I have to ‘relearn’ and remind myself of what to do. I don’t mind that, but I’m in pain now and will probably have to take tylenol – something I haven’t taken in awhile. However, in reading other posts here, along with yours, I see that pain stays with us for quite some time, so I guess I need to just suck it up.

    • Hi Paulette,

      I think it’s a good idea to check with your PT and the oS about the pain and using the one crutch. I do remember having some fairly intense heel pain and that it definitely diminished over time and with use. Eventually I went from the walking boot to a hiking boot for support. I wore my hiking boots for quite some time as I built up strength.

      Yes! Relearning to walk is interesting, no? I learned that I wasn’t walking correctly before the injury and to this day have to remind myself to walk correctly (not so much now fortunately). This shall pass, and if tylenol makes it easier, go for it.

      Hang in there. It gets better and easier. Cheers to you and your healing!

  51. Update: i am having the screw that is holding the tibia and fibia straight and together out Wed. I am nervous yet looking forward all at the same time. I will be back in the boot and non weight bearing again for a few days. Since my last updates i stopped doing cross fit because i really was just to scared. I figured take the surgeons advice and be careful. Even with the accomodations the pain and fear were holding me back and i figured if i wasn’t giving my all then it was a waste of everyone’s time. My PCP told me the feeling should come back..the swelling and discoloration at the end of the day are normal and to hang in there. I don’t want to scare anyone going through this, you will heal and return to your normal. Cross fit is my normal and i went to hard to fast and had to step back. That was MY mistake but biking, elliptical, walking and regular weight machines are fine. I will update after Wed again.

    • Thank you for the update, Kathy. I’m guessing that screw you’re having removed is the syndesmosis screw? That’s a major milestone, and I suspect you’ll have improved range of motion and decreased pain afterwards. The healing from that surgery is a breeze compared to the ORIF.

      You’re wise to listen to your body regarding the cross fit especially if you were having pain. And well done on maintaining the biking, elliptical, walking, and regular weight machines. It’s such a process, isn’t it? Time. It really does heal. And yes, the swelling and discoloration were normal for me as well.

      I look forward to your update and will be cheering for you from afar.

      To your healing!

  52. Hi Kathy, I know that Kenda also had her hardware removed, but I”m in a much earlier stage. My surgery was Oct 14, so I’m now in a Cam walker and on one crutch although I’m worried I might not be ready for one crutch. I’m going to discuss it with PT and OS this week to be sure the pain is normal for adding more weight. I’m still not FWB and not sure if the boot will come off on Wednesday. I’m scared too, as I don’t think my ankle is strong enough to walk without boot, but maybe boot is hindering me?

    Good luck with the surgery!

    • Paulette, I so appreciate you and your support of others here on this forum. The fear you and Kathy and others are experiencing is totally normal, and the fact you’re both willing to share it is very healthy. Thank you both for your openness.

      Yes, Kathy, I’m with Paulette wishing good luck on Wednesday with the surgery!

    • Hi Paulette…eeek…you are early but you can do it. Are you in Fla? I am in West Palm. If you are and close to a beach, once you are fully walking I found beach sand walking really loosened things up. I too walked accident was June 19 and by July 19 I was walking in a CAM fully unassisted. I also found during those partial weight bearing days a waker was better than a PT thought so as well. I hope you heal quickly.

      • Yes, beach walking is fabulous (when you’re ready)! It was one of my PT exercises to strengthen and stabilize all those little muscles. Looks like you’re both ahead of the game.

      • Wow, Kathy, yes I’m in Royal Palm Beach! What a coincidence. Actually I have found that the most recent therapy sessions have been very helpful. I’ve started practicing walking without the boot (still with one crutch – cannot quite manage that yet). They also have me doing some side-to-side lunges and forward lunges to stretch that ankle and I can actually feel that I am beginning to have more mobility.

        Re the Walker – I rented a knee-scooter which I use at night so I don’t have to put boot on to walk – I am thinking I can get rid of that in another week. Walking without the boot is very slow-going, so I really need to gain confidence before trying it out in public.

        • Progress! Yay!

        • I am in Palm Beach Gardens. Who is your surgeon /PT if you don’t mind me asking?
          I remember doing all that in PT..i also did my own as well.

          • Kathleen, my surgeon is Dr. Daley – he looks like a teenager, but I googled him and he has operating privileges at several hospitals and seems very knowledgable. He is so kind and caring as well.

  53. Kenda, it HELPS me to read and speak about trimall breaks. My own DIL, who is a nurse practitioner, just doesn’t understand. Her suggestion was to simply order food or meal delivery and all would be well with the world!

    This is a club no one wants to join, but once a member, other members become our strengths.

    So, I tried going out to the mall yesterday (Sunday) with my knee-scooter; remember I have stairs and it was not easy getting the scooter down the steps, but by scooting down the stairs on my bottom, I was able to drag it. However, it was not easy at all. Using the knee scooter going across pavement and in the mall was so tiring and uncomfortable. However, now I know that I will continue to keep my outings short and limited to necessary ones.

    I’ll update Wednesday after my visit to the OS!

  54. Paulette i remember being EXHAUSTED from using the knee scooter and actually lost balance a couple of times and fell…onto a couch but still!!
    No one understands the trouble we have. At one point my husband was so fed up i ended up rolling around the house trying to dust and vacuum while he sat there. My oldest son actually stepped up to the plate more than he did most days and he is only 14! So i understand. With this surgery coming up I am glad my SIL is here for the season to help me for a couple of days. Hubby says i am being stupid because he has a flexible schedule but..if he got caught up in something at work i would be left hanging. When i had fibroids taken out he picked me up in a pick up truck and his mother was in and i had to figure out how to crawl into the back seat! So i will take my
    I also remember needing a lot of rest so take advantage when you can.

    • I’m reading this about your husband and wishing him a big dose of compassion. I wonder what would happen were the situation reversed? Would he be as tough on himself as he is on you or would he melt into a big helpless puddle of mush? Your SIL sounds awesome.

  55. Oh my gosh, it’s probably funny now to remember you rolled around to dust or vacuum. I have abandoned all ideas of cleaning house until I’m crutch-free. I’ve tried but it just pushes the dirt around.

    Before I got my walking boot, I would have to scoot into my bedroom or living room seated as I couldn’t get into a standing position after coming up the stairs on my behind. Maybe I was mopping at the same time?

    Well, your husband is a man, after all, so that explains much of it. Well, I had a hysterectomy about 12 years ago and again, I lived in a different city from my family and again, no one came to be there with me. Fortunately I had good neighbors/friends there as well.

    Again, this is why your blog is so important. Here, we all understand exactly and we have all had those ridiculous moments of trying to do a simple task that become monumental. I’m so grateful for your continued support.

    When is your surgery?

    • I remember the first real cleaning job I did after T-day. It must have been nearly 3 months after! I was never so happy to clean. Fortunately, my hubster did a pretty good job keeping up with the dog hair. I read some of this stuff and feel even more grateful for his attention and care.

      Keep on healing on you two!

  56. So, Kenda, I had my visit with the OS today, but I need to backtrack as for the past 2-3 days, I’ve had significant pain when walking on one crutch. I really believe it’s associated with the boot but I’ve tried pumping it up with air, deflating the air, adding more cushioning, taking out the cushioning. However, I believe it’s irritation from the boot, so I’m adding the air and padding back in. It was so bad I had to go back to both crutches today.

    OS took X-rays and said everything has healed nicely. He wants me to stay in the boot another week (that will make 4) and then I will try and wear only the compression brace he gave me (MalleoTrain). It feels wonderful as it has some sort of gel packs inside and I feel all safe and cozy.

    I’m thinking maybe I’ve tried to do too much (walking around my development, going up and down stairs to carry laundry), so tomorrow I’m gong to use just both crutches and I’m restricting my activity just to the exercises I get at PT.

    OS could not find any reason for the pain and when I’m stationary, all is fine. However, I got so upset at the nurse that I started crying in the exam room. She was insisting I could stand and walk on broken ankle and that enough time had passes. Well if I’m in pain using one crutch, then I guess I will be in pain using no crutch. I didn’t cry in front of her, but the tears really flowed when I was waiting for OS. He was upset to see me upset – he’s such a kind doctor; funny is then the WITCH came in, she could probably see I’d been crying or had heard us talking as she was much nicer (of course she was also in front of her boss). I’m so tired of people who do not understand the pain and FEAR of trying to walk again!

    Anywho, I feel good now with boot off and brace on (I’ll wear that for about 6 months); tomorrow is another day and by Friday, I should be able to go back to just one crutch. So, more to follow as I see how once crutch works again. It’s interesting as I had a lot of pain in my heel when I first started walking, but that has disappeared. Now it’s across the top of my ankle, which wasn’t even injured! Go figure.

    • Oh Paulette, how frustrating with that nurse! It’s her job to listen to the patients, and she clearly was not going a good job at that. Your pain and fear are real, and her dismissiveness doesn’t help at all. I’m sorry. 🙁

      Listening to your body is so important, and I’m relieved to see that you’re doing that. Taking a step back and doing less seems like a good plan as you heal. That compression brace sounds like a helpful device too!

      I recall the pain moving around, leaving one place and surprisingly going to another. Like what you’re experiencing with the top of your ankle where the injury didn’t directly occur. Your foot experienced stress, and I think it’s all normal. Hang in there. Thanks for keeping us posted. I’m thinking about you!

  57. Hi there…i actually had 2 screws out today…yay..i am “toe” weight bearing with 2 crutches until Tuesday. Hardly any pain but i had a block. I am very swollen but other than that feel great. Paulette seriously the fear will go away. When he gave me the grren light i was super psyched. I found the brace gave more mental support. I say this because of the range of motion it gave which psychologically made me feel better. I can tell you the best way to practice is if you have a hallway with 2 walls..hold on to the walls and go for it…or if possible a walker. Both helped me tremendously. You are doing great and in no time be walking limp free..i promise.

    • Congrats on this latest milestone, Kathy! Two screws got – yay! Oh, those blocks sure are marvelous. Thanks for your hall-walking advice. Good call! Keep us posted if you get a chance. No pressure ever tho!

    • Did your doctor miss the sydesmosis injury in your first surgery? If so, what were the symptoms to find it afterwards?

  58. Congrats on being Toe weight bearing. Well, I am going to practice at therapy – my only hallway so to speak is the stairwell. I really feel this brace will help. I’ve just taken it off to shower and my ankle doesn’t feel as good, so I’m putting it on until sleep time – I forgot to ask about sleeping in it but honestly I think walking without boot will be easier – I just need to stay in boot another week and then try and get out.

    I’m glad you are doing well. It never occurred to me that you wouldn’t have to ‘go under’ so that is something to consider if I ever need my hardware out!

    Get lots of rest!!!

    • I agree. I think you’ll find some freedom and ease when that boot comes off. I’d probably sleep in the brace until you hear otherwise as it offers support during the night. Just my 2 cents. I hope you both get lots of rest!

      • Hi Kenda, Interesting about sleeping in the brace – I forgot to ask OS, so I’ll call tomorrow, but before getting brace I was sleeping without boot and just a sock – but whatever he suggests I will comply.

        I know it will be easier without the boot – it’s so heavy. I’ve just gotten to comfy with it and feel secure – it’s my security blanket. It’s so hard to suddenly use a foot that was off-limits for so many weeks.

        The good news is the pain I was feeling with one crutch walking as gone – I think my ankle was just so stiff that any movement was torture. With walking more and more and with the exercises at home and therapy, I’m loosening up. I even froze a bottled water and use it to roll my arch back and forth. Plus I successfully picked up all the marbles moving from both sides of the container.

        Anyway, tomorrow I’m attempting the post office with a bag of packages and my boot and one crutch – wish me luck!!!

        • This is an outstanding report, Paulette! I think you’re right about the pain and stiffness. Well done on the marbles! If you’re sleeping better and safely without the boot, then that sounds like a good plan. I surmise your OS will concur, yet I’m glad you’ll check.

          Good luck with the post office and thanks for your updates.

          Cheers to you and your healing!

  59. Post surgery update.
    I had my post op yesterday. Stitches stay in for now but i can wear any shoe i want, shower etc. Just no ocean or hot tub…i can deal! Fully weight bearing and he said i could start running next week
    …this is one happy girl here. I know i still have a ways to go and i am sure setbacks but i am amazed with my progress in 7 months.

    • That is great news, Kathleen! You give me hope with such speedy progress. I don’t run, so I’m hoping I can start biking swimming soon. Well I could swim but getting in and out of the pool until I’m FWB would be difficult. Hopefully the weather will cool off just a bit for running!

      • They are saying Friday..lets hope!!! But i know what you mean about the pool. Here is what i did..i took my scooter or crutches or walker to the edge and used the large handle (on the big stairs area) and made my way down. Once you actually get into the water at waist you can walk without assistance. I spent hours walking back and a square in a single a circle whatever .doing back, side and front lunges to loosen and strengthen the ankle joint. It feels great. I would then use the same handle to get out…and act like a contortionist to the nearest seat. Dry off and put the boot or brace on to get into house. Once you do it you won’t want to stop…

    • Wow and congrats Kathleen! This is incredible progress and great news! You’ve done marvelously. I am so very happy for you! Well done!

  60. That is a good idea, Kathleen, about the swimming. I may try it in a couple of weeks.

    I’ve been given the go-ahead to start walking without boot at home to try and get out of it. I’m not quite ready yet, but suddenly, things seem to be happening quickly. I am able to walk in the boot without crutches, but not easily, so I still have a little more to go; I can literally feel my ankle getting stronger. For now, I will start walking around my development with one crutch and boot and inside with one crutch and just my ankle brace.

    I can say I’ve started relaxing in my nightly bath again – a little tricky getting in and out, but it is possible and I sleep so much more soundly – like a good baby.

    • Paulette, I remember getting to that point when things started to happen quickly. You are on the downhill side of the healing process, and it will continue to get better and easier from here IMO. Still, baby steps and listen to your PT. I know from experience how easy it is to want to go from hobbling to hopping!

      Ah. Yes. A nightly bath sounds like the perfect remedy for a good night’s sleep. I’m so happy for you to have that back in your life. Well done for all of this progress!

  61. Hi Kenda and Kathleen, Today is a big day as I am walking without the boot! I must say that by end of the day, I can’t do it – I need both crutches or the knee-scooter, but I am going to go out with only some hiking boots (and ankle brace). I planned on surprising my therapist but my car was acting up and had to have it towed for service. Monday will be the big reveal there and tomorrow, I will go to mass with just one crutch and no walking boot. I could walk without the crutch, but it means hobbling/limping, so I want to keep it for maybe another week until I’m more confident walking out of boot. It’s so weird not having that huge weight pulling my leg down! Wish me luck

    • This is very exciting and GREAT news, Paulette! I remember that feeling of freedom when I no longer had to lug around the heavy boot. I also remember feeling reliant upon my hiking boots – for protection – for a short while. I agree use the one crutch if it helps you walk more correctly and especially if it helps you walk without pain. You are on your way!! Sending lots and lots of luck your way!

  62. Thanks so much Kenda Going up and down stairs is still tricky and I am wearing my boots inside as well – more for that secure feeling. It just feels so odd to suddenly be walking without a boot as all those weeks in bed seemed like an eternity! So, heading out as I want to show off my missing boot!

  63. i forgot to mention I had to go up a size in boots as the shoes I’d bought for this recovery don’t fit my bad ankle – foot is still too swollen. Right boot is large but it laces up, so it should be okay.

  64. Okay, so things are going okay with shoes and ankle brace, but I can’t quite lose the right crutch. It’s impossible first thing in the am and there is a time after I’m warmed up where I can walk with a limp and no crutches, but later in the day, my leg and foot/ankle are too tired I guess.

    However, ever since I broke my ankle (starting with waiting for X-rays in ER, I’ve been experiencing a lot of cramping in foot/ankle. Did you have that, Kenda, and if so, how did you deal with it?

    I’ve been trying to relax in bubble baths at night, while massaging the foot. Any suggestions?

    • It’s a process, I know, Paulette. Ups and downs throughout the day.

      Yes, I don’t recall cramping, specifically, during my T-healing but I wouldn’t be surprised if it had occurred. I’ve had cramping at different times in my life, and usually, for me, it’s a sign that I need potassium or magnesium. Some suggestions: Up your banana intake and try the Calm Magnesium powder. I think I listed it somewhere on my posts. I tend to take it each night to help me sleep. And keep massaging and stretching (point your toes forward and then toward your head). I recall doing a lot of that if only for circulation. And of course I’m no doctor, I just know what works for me.

      Keep me posted?

      Baby steps will keep you moving forward. Thinking of you and eagerly waiting the day you walk freely and unassisted. It will happen!

  65. Update, Kenda. I sent the knee-scooter back today and I had my final appt with my OS yesterday and he told me I’ve graduated. Everything has healed fine. In fact, I walked in (okay, i lumbered in) without any crutches. I am keeping a crutch in my bedroom and one in the car for those times I’m too tired to walk or if I have pain.

    This morning, I took a short walk around three buildings in my development – not much I know, but I’m walking for 10 minutes on the treadmill at therapy, so this is not much different.

    If the weather is good next week, and it probably will be, I’m going to start swimming two days a week.

    I find that my balance is off at times and I have to concentrate on walking. I get thrown off if I suddenly step on a small pebble or even have to move from sidewalk to grass. My ankle has really taken over my life and everything I do, but it feels wonderful to lumber merrily along out in public!

    I am continuing with my therapy and my OS said to call if I need more rX for therapy, etc.

    Happy Holidays!

    • You’ve graduated! Yay!!!! Lumbering, walking, no matter how you phrase it, you are using your ankle without an assist! That is so fabulous, Paulette!

      You must be so thrilled to be swimming again. I cannot wait to hear how that feels to you.

      I believe your balance will return with practice. In the meantime, walking becomes a great exercise at being present. At least, I can say that was my experience.

      I get it. It’s an ankle-altered life. I surmise that in time, it will become less and less so. I also totally support you on getting the extra therapy rX to really maximize on the professional help. They will continue to work with you on your balance and strengthening all those important little muscles that help your ankle work optimally.

      Happy Holidays to you! I’m so happy for you and your healing process!

  66. Thank you so much for this blog. I had my first surgery to insert scaffolding til my swelling went down then my second surgery to insert two plates on dec 7 . I’m trying to keep that positive mindset and rest, elevate my ankle and eat right, and reading about experiences feeling tired, bum scooting which I’m doing, rethinking household chores, scaly skin, knee scooters etc is helping me cope . getting some hope about recovery has been really beneficial. Happy holidays from New Zealand, nerissa 😊

    • Hello Nervosa and welcome to the blog!

      Looks like you’ve had a rough December, and you’re doing a great job keeping a positive mindset. I know it’s hard. Be sure to let yourself have whatever feelings arise, and push through them so you can focus on healing. Ah yes, scaly skin and bum scooting. How I remember that well.

      I’m sending you hope, courage, and healing thoughts from afar. We visited New Zealand 10 years ago and fell in love with that beautiful country and lovely people.

      Please keep us posted on your progress and come back for support when you need it.

      To your healing,


  67. Thank you for the blog, even though it has been awhile since your trimalleolar experience. I am 4 days post ORIF, and going stir crazy. I think the worst part is the forced dependence on others to meet my basic needs. I have always been an independent sort. Take care and happy holidays!

    • Hello Dawn!

      Yes, it’s been a while for me, but my memory remains as well as the gratitude for overcoming the challenge.

      My heart goes out to you, because I understand the struggles of forced dependency and of being stir crazy.

      This is still so new for you. Time really does heal this wound. Hang in there and keep us posted on your progress. We await the news of your healing ankle.

      Cheers to you and your healing and happy holidays!


      • Hi Kenda! I wish I had better news, but my ankle fracture took a turn for the worse. I had just started PT for range of motion and flexibility, but was still non-weight bearing because my incision wasn’t healing well. Then my incision sort of inflamed and opened up again 2 MONTHS AFTER my ORIF. Turns out I had acquired a resistant bacterial infection that spread to the bone! Osteomyelitis. So I had a second surgery on March 1, stayed in the hospital a few days while they cultured the bacteria to determine best antibiotic, and am now back at square one with no weight bearing for another 6-8 weeks. To make matters worse, my antibiotic is for IV administration for 6 weeks, so I had to have a picc line put in so I could do my infusion at home. Needless to say, my experience is not common, the doctors say it happens in 1-3% of patients, but bow howdy, this has set me back a little.

        • Oh crap, Dawn. I’m so sorry to know you’ve had these difficulties on top of a situation that is already a challenge. Six weeks of a self-infused antibiotic. oy. I’m just so sorry. Are you physically feeling any relief from the treatment for Osteomyelitis? How are your spirits? It’s not easy to have a setback.

          Maybe this is a good time to play the lotto given the odds here! I think this may make you “one in a million.” 🙂

          If you get a moment, please give us another shout and let us know how you’re doing.

          Cheers to you and your healing (and may it come swiftly so you can be on your feet again soon),


    • Hi Dawn, I’ll chime in here as my trimall and surgery were in October, 2016. I also went stir crazy and hated asking for help as I live alone and am used to being independent. What helped me was to break everything down into stages or steps – I’d count the days to the next appointment or a new cast or the walking boot. Looking ahead months into the future was too overwhelming.

      Now, although I thought it would never happen, I’m walking most of the day without crutches although by the evening, I sometimes need a bit of help. My therapy has been so vital in my improvement and my therapist feels I’m ready to start biking. This week, I will test out the pool and my bike – but for short amounts of time. I’m going up and down stairs and am practicing how to do one foot per step rather than having both feet on one step before advancing down (if that makes sense).

      I do have pain, I move quite awkwardly and sometimes lose my balance, and I have some pain throughout the day. My ankle is still swollen as is my foot and my entire left leg is still discolored. I don’t tell you this to depress you, but just so you know that with all this, I’m so happy. Will my limp go away? Probably, but i’m so happy to be walking with a crutch or boot that I don’t even care.

      The days seemed to go very slowly for me and the weeks, but now as I look back, I can’t believe what I thought would never end has ended. Good luck with your recovery.

  68. Merry Christmas, Kenda! Today, I rode my bicycle for about a mile – I could have done more but the front tire is low on air and I don’t want to overdo it. Therapist actually recommended it as it will continue to stretch those ankle muscles and help me improve my range of motion. Today, I’m buying a tire pump and I will start biking everyday!

    And…suspenseful pause…I took a shower standing up! No more sitting on the shower stool. My back is finally as clean as the front! I was nervous, but I had plastered adhesive tub strips almost everywhere; I did hold on at times to the towel rack and I kept the shower stool outside the shower for getting in and out. I probably don’t need it, but I’m not 100% confident yet.

    • Wow wow wow! That’s great news on all counts, Paulette! The confidence will return with practice. That was my experience. But yes, those first couple of standing showers, I held onto the little shower bar thingy for dear life.

      I feel like my little bird is about to take flight…

  69. Thanks so much for writing this! I was having such a hard time with my trimalleor break and being stuck at home I went into a deep depression. I found your article and started reading and couldn’t believe the similarities. It was like reading that there was a light at the end of this long dark tunnel. So thank you. You will never know how much your article truly helped me get thru a rough time. All the best. -Anika

    • Welcome to the blog, Anika!

      Would you like to tell us a bit more about your trimalleolar? No pressure, but if you feel like it, there are readers who will understand.

      Yes, yes, yes! There is light at the end of this dark tunnel. With each passing day, the darkness fades. That said, I also understand the deep depression you experienced. Keep taking care of yourself and hopefully you are getting support.

      Cheers to you and your healing,

  70. Hello, and thank you for this input (and all the other folks replies). I was wondering if after your initial injury, you’ve had any problems with your hip? I had the same surgery as you in 2009, but am now suffering from achilles tendon issues, and worst of all, hip pain. My podiatrist told me my ankle break was probably the compression type, which usually causes a hip fracture at the same time. Since the focus was on my ankle, no one bothered to look at my hip, and now if I bend down, its horrible pain trying to get back up.

  71. Hello Lorraine,

    Thank you for your message. It sounds like you are due another visit to the OS. While I’m having some hip and back discomfort, it’s from another injury. And my discomfort is manageable. It sounds like you are having some serious pain. Will you get it checked out and let me know how you’re doing?

    Life is too short to exist in agony. I want you to live a pain-free life.

    To your healing,


  72. Hi Kenda and everyone,

    So, I am 3 months post-op and am now going to therapy two times weekly, down from three times weekly. What I recently discovered is that I was probably not FWB until just this past week as I was sort of leading with or throwing my right foot out very quickly – as soon as I put weight on left, I was throwing out that right foot, causing a limp. My therapist worked with me and that really helped.

    Now, I’m really focused on giving the same amount of time to each ankle, so to speak. It’s slowed me down a bit, but I’m walking correctly now. I will say that walking still isn’t something I take for granted. I am totally aware each time I stand and each time I take a step. I still look at the ground for any danger, such as an ominous pebble or leaf! I still have to think left/right/heel/toe, but it is so great to be back out in the world. I go to the mall, to the movies, and whatever. I’m not pain-free yet, but it’s bearable.

    When I first went to therapy I had 1 degree for range of motion. I now have 10 degrees, which is functional. Most people have 20 degrees. I am a bit down as the therapist said I would probably never be 100% where I was before. However, I’m walking and biking and if I get to the point of no pain and more flexibility, I will consider myself completely healed.

    What I’m working on now, besides more range of motion, is balance and walking on uneven surfaces. I can’t walk a straight line yet, have occasional difficulty with balance, but I’ve come a long way.

    Lorraine, I’ve read that hip problems can develop after we become PWB especially if you were in a boot for awhile. We aren’t distributing our weight correctly, so perhaps this is result? I would think that with surgery in 2009, such problems would have shown up sooner though.

    I hope everyone is having a good start to the new year!

    • Hello Paulette! I was wondering how you’re doing. Thank you for writing in!

      Isn’t it curious to learn how to walk again? I remember that experience having a big impact on my thoughts. Thank goodness for the PT’s and teaching us how to start over with our steps.

      It’s understandable that you’re feeling a bit down because of what your PT said. It’s hard to face a potential reality of “never” being 100% where you once were.

      True Story:

      I have a pair of boots that are probably 20 years old. I loved these boots because they were cool and dressy and very comfortable. They have a sweet square heel (maybe about 3 1/2 inches). **Keeping in mind I am not a shoe person at all. I probably own 10 pairs of shoes, and 4 of them are sneakers (trail sneakers, 2 pr. walking sneakers, running sneakers) and two are flip-flops and river sandals**

      After my Trimalleolar I tried to wear those boots, but my ankle just wouldn’t comfortably sit against the bottom. My range was not 100%. I figured, this is the new me. I’ll just never be able to wear those boots. I packed them away. This past fall, after 5 years, I pulled out those boots. I needed a winterish shoe that could dress up a dull outfit, and it’s on a rare occasion that I buy new clothes or shoes. I tried them on, and much to my surprise, they felt very comfortable. Over the years, I gained some flexibility in my ankle. The only time I know it’s not 100% is when I put both of my legs out and stretch both feet back (toes pointing toward my head). It’s then I see my left ankle doesn’t quite reach as far. Otherwise, I wouldn’t notice the difference one bit.

      My point is, that I never stopped stretching and moving, mostly out of habit more than anything else. I had no idea that I was gaining range through the continued movements. Even a small improvement is still an improvement. So, while that PT may be correct for right now, this doesn’t define you in any way. You are active and healthy. You will come out of this thing shining if even at times it doesn’t feel like it (especially at this moment).

      I laughed at your comment “I still look at the ground for any danger, such as an ominous pebble or leaf!” Even after all these years, I still do that lest an ominous leaf reaches up to grab my foot and pull me down!

      Thanks for reaching out to the others on this thread, too, Paulette. I appreciate the support you show others as you, yourself, are grappling with challenges. That’s super kind of you.

      2017 – this will be a defining year for all of you who are healing through this injury. And as the winter ensues, others will be joining us because of unfortunate slips, slides, and falls. Everyone is welcome as we figure out how to keep on healing on.

      Thank you, Paulette. I raise a glass (well, it’s a cup of tea) to you and your healing.

  73. Hi Kenda and anyone else reading this. I am 3.5 months post-op and this week, I walked a mile on two different occasions. My therapy is now once weekly and by mid-February, I will probably stop the therapy. I seem to be walking limp-free although still somewhat slowly. I’m now working on trying to get more range of motion – it’s still at 10 degrees in left ankle and right is 15. I suspect it will take much longer on this.

    However, I have some pain in left hip today – about 3 hours after my walk. I’m wondering if I’m doing too much too soon? I am certain I’m not limping as they watch for that at therapy and, when I entering a store with glass doors, I watch myself walk and the gait seems even.

    I will cut back from a mile for the next week to see how it goes, but there is, indeed, normalcy after a tri-mall!

    • Hello Paulette!

      I’m happy to hear from you and was curious about your progress. You’re doing great – walking a mile only 3.5 months post-op! Well done on your good gait too! The range of motion takes time. Please, don’t give up on it. Keep plugging away even after PT finishes. kay?

      You mentioned pain in your hip before. Is it painful enough for you to have it checked out? It may just be that your body is out of alignment which is totally normal after a trimalleolar IMO. Chiropractic was a big help for me to get my twisted-up bod realigned.

      Thank you so much for your follow-up. Each report gets better and better. Good things are happening. I welcome any updates when/if you feel like it.

      Cheers to you and your healing!


  74. Hi Kenda, In retrospect, I believe it wasn’t the walking but the exercises they have me doing in therapy and at home. They want me to walk on the balls of my feet for 3 minutes. Naturally I can’t walk on them at all, so it’s more of a lurch or lunge on my left ankle. I believe this is the reason for the hip pain – I can’t support my weight on the left foot, so my weight is all off-balance. I’m going to therapy tomorrow, so I can discuss it with them. I can stand on tip-toes, so that is a start I guess.

    The pain isn’t bad and in fact, is gone now. I took a super-duper pain killer and when I visit my family in two weeks, I’ll have my nurse-practitioner DIL examine me if I’m still having issues.

    I absolutely will continue with the exercises they give me as I want to get as much motion back as possible. I will continue to check back here from time to time.

    Have a great week, Kenda!

    • Thanks for clarifying, Paulette. This is a great example of the patient knowing herself better than anyone else. It all makes sense, too. Glad the pain is gone!

      Enjoy that visit with your family and glad to know your DIL can help out if needed.

      You have a great week, too, Paulette! It’s good to know you.

      Cheers to you and your healing,


  75. Hi Kenda, So, I have one more therapy session on the 24th – that will be my graduation. The therapist said my improvement in range of motion is about the best he’s seen- I’m not back to normal yet, but working hard on getting there.

    However, he asked me about the ankle brace I wear; the OS said I need to wear it for 6 months, so wear it 6 months I will. He seems to think it’s not necessary, but I’d rather trust. my OS than my PTA!

    He also encouraged me to move to regular shoes instead of hiking boots, but they really help give me stability. I know you wore them but am wondering for how long? I think I’ll know when I’m ready to ditch them.

    I hope all is going well with you and yours!

    • Hi Paulette,

      Wow. You’re graduating. That’s fabulous! It sounds like a great report, too. Well done!

      I recall the challenges of getting conflicting info between the OS and the PT. I usually just averaged the information and assimilated it according to how I felt. You do a great job at trusting your gut.

      Yes. I remember when I ditched the boots. It was right after my birthday mid-December about 5 months after T-day and about 2 months after my second surgery. It was scary at first, but all those little muscles that control the various movements needed to be strengthened. I remember the first day I walked on the beach without shoes. Wow. It was incredible and scary and wonderful.

      All is well and wonderful. Thank you! If you get a moment, please check back in. I lovelovelove hearing the follow-up success stories.

      Cheers to you and your healing, Paulette!


  76. So, many things have happened since I last posted. I ditched my hiking boots and am walking in a slip-on pair of sketchers with memory foam. I’m still wearing my MalleoTrain and will until July.

    Friday Feb 24 was my therapy graduation day, of course with exercises to continue on my own. The week prior, I visited my son, who lives in a hilly neighborhood. I took a couple of long walks but I almost called him to come get me on my first one. I had quite a bit of pain, but the next time was much easier.

    Today, I rode five miles (barely) on my bike. For biking, the problem has not been my ankle but my lack of exercise except for walking and therapy. I plodded my way through it all, so I’m sure the next time will be easier.

    Thanks, again, Kenda for your blog and constant encouragement. I’ll check back from time to time, but I am definitely on the other side now!

    • Wow Paulette!

      You have made some amazing strides (no pun intended)! You are really moving along, and I’m so thrilled for you!

      Thank you for the update. This is your best one yet. It will only get better from here IMO.

      Keep on keeping on! We welcome any check-ins. In the meantime, cheers to you and your healing!


  77. Kendra,
    Thank you for posting about your journey with your trimalleolar fracture. As I write this comment, I am lying on my back with an elevated right leg and my good friend, the ice pack.
    My TM fracture and dislocation occurred on 2/13/17 as the result of slipping on ice. I feel fortunate that my left leg was not injured so I am able to make full use of that leg to assist with mobility.
    In the ER, the joint was manually relocated and then a plaster splint was applied to stabilize the fracture. Surgery one week later-two plates, 12 screws, and a rod to skewer the small bone fragments together. My leg was placed in a new plaster splint, which I fondly named “Halibut Foot”. The resemblance was amazing!
    I am now 18 days post surgical repair. A cam-walker has replaced the plaster splint. It feels wonderful to remove R2Boot2 a couple times per day and expose my leg to fresh air.

    I so identified with many of your comments. Unlike you, I live alone in a multilevel home. No bathroom on the main level creates quite a challenge. So, I spend most of my time on my upper level consisting of my bedroom, bathroom, and a den. I am reliant on family and friends to prepare and serve meals, do laundry, ………… Very isolating. The feelings of helplessness and dependence are not good ones.
    I appreciate your honest comments about your experience. I hate nighttime – so difficult to get comfortable, and so difficult to make the numerous crutch trips to the bathroom in the dark of night. Yet each morning means one more day of healing has passed. The heel aches and burning and the numb toes are the worst for me. My incision and hardware pain is fleeting.
    You mentioned a bit about the anxiety attacks. I have never experienced anxiety prior to this injury, and so these attacks really took me by surprise. Breathing and aromatherapy help to some extent, but I remain very frightened by them. And I vacillate between bitchy, appreciative, and self-pity every day.
    Love the phrase “ass-taxi” and am going to start using that for my trips up and down the stairs.

    Thanks again for your blog. I plan to read the additional entries as I reach those milestones in my recovery. Reading your words helps a bit with the discouraging and persisting thoughts about ever walking or playing with my grandson again.

    • Hello Jo,

      Thank you for reading and sharing. Wow. Reading your comment, my heart sank. I cannot imagine the difficulties of living alone in a multilevel home with this injury. I’m relieved to see you have help, and I totally understand the struggles with that and this whole d@mn thing. Relying on other people for everyday chores/activities/needs is so hard especially if you’re accustomed to or prefer to handle those things on your own. That is tough, and you manage to throw in some wit despite this hardship. (Love the Halibut Foot and R2Boot2 haha) This tells me what you’re going to emerge from this difficulty shining. If you can have humor now, during the hardest part, you will be fine…one day. You just have to hang in there during the dips. There are dips as you have already discovered.

      I so appreciate the phrase “each morning means one more day of healing has passed.” I have a vague recollection of thinking that on some days. Hold onto that phrase, because it gives you something to strive for, a goal each day. Like an internal form of strength. It may become a personal slogan.

      Something else to realize, as you probably already have. Your caregivers as wonderful as they are, will not be able to relate to your situation unless they’ve had something similar. They’re expectations will likely be different than yours, because they are not going through the agony and fear that you are experiencing. As a result, you may have to continue asking for help for a while. You must use as much of your energy as possible to heal. Accept any help you can get. Just my 2 cents. 🙂

      Anxiety. OH. It’s so stinky! I’m not a doctor but there’s an herbal remedy I take at night for anxiety and insomnia (long story but I developed Hashimoto’s). It’s called Ashwagandha, and it’s helped me. Naturally, I cannot offer any kind of guarantee about it quelling your anxiety, but the Amazon reviews may help you decide. If you do try it, let us know how it goes.

      And let me know how the ass-taxi goes. 😉

      Please check back in if you feel like it or if you just need a virtual hug or a warrior cry from afar. I’ve had the great honor of witnessing countless people through this journey. You are not alone. There are people here who understand, and you will get through this.

      Cheers to you and your healing (and humor!),

  78. Kathleen Correia

    Hi all, sorry I haven’t updated in a while, both of my sons play travel soccer and that just eats up so much of my time, I am lucky I can even find time to breathe! With the season over, I find myself able to catch up. I am fully back to “normal” I am running, still afraid to jump, but honestly haven’t had the opportunity either so don’t know what the situation would be if I had to. I have not gone back to cross fit, I feel at this point (just about a year out) I may still injure myself. My question is this…I am still swelling in the ankle and foot every night. I have just about all feeling back (finally), but the swelling has suddenly become much more noticeable. I am upset over this, I am thinking probably because now that I have full feeling, I notice it more because I feel the shoe being tight and the sausage toes not flexing fully during a walk. I thought initially it was because of the south Fla. heat but now I am not so sure as it is not going away with elevation. Have you experienced this? I will be a year June 19.
    Thanks and keep up the great work everyone, it really does get better very quickly and all of the pain/stress and immobility quickly becomes a distant memory.

  79. Hi Kathleen, Paulette here. I’m glad to hear you are back to ‘normal.’ My break was in October and I’m fairly back to normal. However, all of my exercise is low-impact. I am now swimming laps 3-4 times a week and before that, I was walking and swimming, so I don’t know about the swelling. I can say that my recovered ankle is larger than the other one – no swelling, but it’s just bigger than the right.

    I recall that we are both in south Florida, so I don’t believe the swelling has anything to do with our heat or humidity.

    My swelling finally went down as did a warm-to-the-touch feeling that I had until just about 8 weeks ago. I do still walk with a bit of a limp at night, particularly if I’ve been fairly active during the day. Again, I don’t do anything high-impact, so I have no idea what to expect after.

    One thing I have noticed and don’t like is when I do the breaststroke kick, it’s almost as if I can feel the screws shifting inside. I don’t think it’s possible, but there is a sort of ‘movement sensation – no pain, but it’s maybe like when you first felt movement when you were pregnant? Something very slight that was barely noticeable – but you knew it was there.

    I would strongly encourage you to see the OS as it sounds unusual to me. However, Kenda has been recovered much longer, so she can probably add more.

    Good luck to you and I look forward to Kenda’s response and your updates.

  80. It was good to read your posts, Kathleen and Paulette. I am 3 months post surgery (Feb 20, 2017), and have been weight bearing out of the CAM boot for two weeks. My ankle, foot and lower leg are very swollen and I was sure it was something I was doing wrong. I’ve found an ice bath is more effective than ice packs, but sure is a shock to the system. My struggle is to walk with a near normal gait. I tend to turn my foot out because of the reduced flexion in the ankle. It requires serious concentration to focus on the position of my foot when walking. And sometimes have pain when pressing near the medial malleolus, especially when doing scar massage. Not sure if that is a muscle or tendon or something else.
    Did get out and do some gardening this weekend. Hands and knees in the dirt provided lots of opportunity for functional flexing and extending the joint.
    Any tips to walk in a more typical manner, or am I just being impatient?
    I appreciate the contributions on this blog and look forward to your replies.

    • Kathleen Correia

      Hi Jo
      I am happy you are “free” and yes it takes a while to have a normal gait. I would constantly have the foot out to the side it sort of just goes back to its usual position.
      I still have weird pains in the scar site and i am almost a year out..i think it is hardware! If you have a syndemosis screw, once that comes out everything falls into place quicker!
      I found and still find beach and grass walking loosens everything up.
      I may just try the ice bath, being in south Florida it may just feel real nice!
      Keep up the good work

  81. Hi Jo, Are you going to PT? It took me almost four months to come out of the boot and about five months to walk without a crutch. I had to relearn to walk at PT as I was throwing my entire left leg out in front from so long in the boot and on crutches. I would ‘learn’ at PT and then go home and practice. However, I believe it’s only been in about the last two months that I’ve been walking with a regular gait most of the time (except when tired or overworked).

    As for tips, you have to retrain yourself. I had to walk more slowly and with purpose in order to have the same weight and pace. It was a bit when I learned to Salsa dance. Everyone was thinking, “Short, short, long.” This was the same thing and I was literally thinking “left, right, heel, toe”.

    Kathleen had her hardware removed, but I’ve not considered that – yet. I would rather keep it and avoid another surgery if possible.

    I hope that helps and it’s great you are getting outside and back to your normal routine. Yes, an ice bath would be nice most of the year here in so. FL. Continued success with your recovery and keep us posted.

    • Hey you all! As usual, I’m late for the party.

      I love how you three are supporting one another, and it sounds like you’re all well on the mend!

      Kathy, I would check in with your OS about the swelling. I have a recollection of some swelling when I became more active again, but this sounds like it deserves some professional advice. One thing I noticed for myself: Everything felt better after I had the hardware removed. Definitely removing the syndesmosis screw helped, but I got it all out. I was one year out, and the hardware was bothering me. Similar to what you shared, Paulette, I was aware of my hardware only almost all the time. I didn’t have the exact same sense like you (shifting screws – loved your analogy btw) but I could feel the screws. I had to get rid of it. It became increasingly bothersome to me. I’m glad I did, and the recovery was really fast. I was on crutches for a few days post-op, then to one crutch and walking again unassisted within 2 weeks (maybe less, I have to check on that). It all felt better after, and I don’t recall having any swelling issues after that surgery. To date, I have no swelling and would not even know anything was different except it gets a little stiff especially during drastic temperate changes.

      Jo, I share Kathy and Paulette’s thoughts about your gait. What you’re experiencing is normal. I basically had to relearn to walk, and it required some serious concentration and practice. Uneven surfaces, especially sand, helped force that concentration. I had great support from the PT place, and they kept me in check and made frequent corrections. I highly recommend continued PT for your continued recovery.

      I really appreciate hearing from you. Look how far you’ve come! One day you will look back on this, and it will be more of a distant memory. Not sure you had this experience, but I don’t regret my injury. It taught me a lot about myself and my ability to cope with crisis. It showed me who, in life, were my true supporters, and it taught me how to slow down and focus on health and healing.

      I send you all my best wishes for continued recovery and many cheers for your healing,


  82. Hi Kendra,
    I can so relate to your blog. May 7 we were walking the dogs in a park in the field got swampy the dog went I went down hard bone snap I have a trimal fracture or 10 screws and a plate.
    I had surgery on May 10 and I have another appointment on June 20.
    I am blessed to have a loving support from my husband and my daughter.
    Then I can relate to not looking in the mirror anymore not combing my hair, not putting on hand lotion, not worrying about everything out of place in the house because I’m so OCD when it comes to the house.
    I have crutches, a wheelchair, a potty chair, and I find most of my time is spent wheeling around on office chairs they work wonders.
    I escape mostly by cooking in the kitchen and watching the birds out back we have a swimming pool but I won’t be going anywhere near that for at least a couple months.
    I miss driving.
    I miss going to work I am lucky that I get to work from home but I sure miss socializing with everybody.
    I know it’s going to be a long hard road to recovery but I always think that things could be worse just like you mention that guy with a hip fracture in Third World countries I couldn’t even imagine what they have to go through.
    I do take the ass taxi up-and-down my steps to go down to when I call my dungeon where I have a bad about the room the TV and microwave and my daughters college refrigerator I spent most of my days down there working and I am able to get outside where I have windchimes and sunshine.
    You sure slow down and smell the roses I just noticed many things that I’ve never noticed before specially when you go to the grocery store in a wheelchair and you noticed everything that is after I level.
    I look so forward forward to car rides and just little short trips to Walmart or the grocery store.
    Before this accident, I was very very Active.
    I work an eight hour job and we come home cook clean go to the gym run three days a week garden I really miss that too.
    Oh afraid I’m going to get fat, I’m really trying to watch my weight it’s really hard when you are you do is lay around all day.
    So today is five weeks from the accident but my leg actually feels like I’m feeling a lot of pressure so I’ve been doing a lot more elevation and ice under my knee.
    It’s crazy when you stand up how much pressure you feel is the blood flows to your feet.
    I know things can be worse, so I am just blessed to have my friends and family and God it this time.
    I have some 5 pound weights and I write out route out a little regimen to lift weights in the morning when I wake up but sometimes I’m just so exhausted that I can’t. I can honestly say sleep has not been a problem for me knock on wood.
    I really don’t want to wish the summer away but I’m looking forward till June 20 hoping that I can get what they call a walking cast on obviously I’m going to have to go through a lot of physical therapy. I just wanted to reach out to everybody out there and feel like I’m not alone as I go on this journey.
    Please feel free to reach out to me, I didn’t mean for this to drag on.
    Staying positive and believing that I will be walking again soon you watch commercials and you see people walk in you see people run and yes we do take everything for granted! God bless all of you and take care, Diane ❤️✝❤️

    • Welcome to the blog, Diane. I’m sorry for the unfortunate circumstances that brought you here, yet glad you came.

      Oh, that is a familiar journey. Yes, our experiences have some parallels for sure. I’m glad to see you’re able to keep your sense of humor and spirits especially given how “new” this still is for you. If you’re doing this well now, the rest of it is sure to go smoothly IMO.

      My biggest advice – eat whole, healthy foods rich in nutrients. If you’re not eating junk food, the chances of getting fat are minimal. Even though at times of distress junk food is precisely want many of us want (I’ll speak for myself haha). Now is the time to heal, load your bod with lots of greens and legumes – all excellent sources of bone-healing properties. Throw in some avocados, too, because there’s a lot of good bone stuff in those. Then, just let yourself heal, because you don’t need the added worry about weight. You may find that your body is working so hard to heal that’s it’s using extra energy. I was surprised to see that I lost weight the first couple of months. I think my body was just burning through the energy to heal herself.

      Glad to see sleep is going well. That’s a huge plus!

      And yes, that pressure when standing was the thing I had the most difficulty with, I think. It just grossed me out to literally feel all the blood rushing to my foot and then basically stop there. I know it didn’t actually stop, but it felt like it. I think the circulation is slower. Keep it elevated and iced as much as possible. That feel does dissipate when you start PT and get things moving around. When do you start PT? Hopefully soon. And yes, you’ll need a lot, but for someone as active as you, I think you’ll like it. I really loved PT. I felt like I came out of the entire experience so much stronger – physically and mentally.

      It’s a long haul. Good thing you have that ass taxi to get yourself to the dungeon. 😉

      Keep us posted on your progress? There are always folks rooting for you from a distance!

      Cheers to you and your healing!


    • Kathleen Correia

      Hi Diane
      I can tell you from experience it gets easier and better. On june 20 i will be 1 year out. I have currently 16 screws (2 removed already) and a plate. I too was very active, a cross fitter and runner, plus travel soccer mom of 2!! I took the time to heal and rest but i did get antsy..i strengthened my core and upper body. Once you get the boot and the green light to walk you are golden. I did a lot of pool work once the staples came out ( PT and surgeons ok first) and that helped tremendously. I was in the pool by the 2nd week of July! I would just maneuver my walking aids to help me out. I can tell you the walker was better for me than crutches! I was back to running in December right after the syndemosis screw and one other came out. I am full range of motion and back to myself. The only issue now is swelling but i started wearing compression socks during exercise…problem solved.
      Listen to your body..give in to the exhaustion and welcome the break. I had no help from my hubby and rolled around on the floor dusting and vacuuming becausE of OCD!!!
      You will be back to yourself in no time. My surgeon attributed my speedy recovery to being in great shape so take that into consideration.
      We are here for you…

      • So glad you found a solution with the compression socks, Kathy. Wow – you’re at one year in 2 1/2 weeks! Thanks for sharing your suggestions. I agree, since Diane was already in good fit, her recovery should go more smoothly. Any celebrations planned for the 1-year mark or are you keeping it low key? Here’s my early congrats as I’ll be on vacation – yay for you!

      • Kathy, I’ve been wearing a Trimall Brace since the end of January and will through June. I believe it is a sort of compression brace; I wear it all the time except at night and when sleeping, and I believe this is why I haven’t had that swelling you mentioned. Of course, your exercise routine is more high-impact than mine, but I recall the OS telling me that this brace was popular with runners as well to help prevent twisting their ankles.

        I’m glad that the compression socks are helping you!

        • That Trimall brace sounds fabulous, Paulette. Wish I had known about that way back when…

        • Paulette,
          Can you tell me more about the Trimall Brace? I’m really struggling with swelling. Compression socks don’t seem to be helping much. PT and OS are not too concerned but I find the discomfort and awkward gait are directly related to the amount of swelling. Thanks, Jo

          • Hi Jo, My OS is the one who gave (well sold me) the brace after I came out of the boot. Now, I still had quite a bit of swelling at that time. However, coming out of the boot and walking more and becoming more active seems to have helped. I was also going to therapy at the same time.

            The brace has gel padding on both sides of the ankle, so it has some protection. It was form-fitting at first, but now, it’s loose as the swelling is all gone now.

            I’m not at home now, but I think I’ve been calling it by the wrong name. It is called a MalleoTrain by Bauerfeind and you can get it at Amazon although I got mine from the surgeon.

            I was standing in line at the movies and a guy said his wife wore the same brace, so I assumed she’d had the same break, but she simply wore it for more support in her ankles.

            Anyway, I don’t know if it will help or it you need it, but I was told to wear mine for six month. I will stop wearing it in July but will keep it handy in case I need support (pun intended). I hope that helps

  83. Diane,
    Reading your message reminded me so much of my journey the past few months. I had forgotten about the feeling when the blood rushes to your foot when you stand up. I am 14 weeks post surgery and this weekend I planted two of my three gardens and all of my pots. I was tired and sore yesterday, after three garden centers and then unloading the plants and hauling them to the gardens. Spent a fair amount of time in an ice bath last evening. I say that to let you know it truly does improve. I was convinced I wouldn’t get plants in this year or would have to hire it done. Every day brings a glimmer of improvement. Twice this week, I walked with a minimal limp.
    I live alone (although I had help from family) so I had to be OK with things not getting done, or not the way I wanted them done. It was hard at first, but got a whole lot easier as I used my energy to focus on healing. The walking boot was a true gift because I good take it off to shower. And then eventually I was able to bear weight in the boot and then with no boot. I learned how important patience is.
    Don’t underestimate elevation and ice behind the knee!

    Kenda’s blog and comments from others helped me to stay encouraged, when I was really struggling. I’m glad you found this site. Stay in touch. I look forward to hearing of your progress.

    • Jo I love that you joined in and shared your experience. This is exactly how I would like this blog to flow, so thank you for that. And yes, I echo your thoughts about not underestimating elevation and ice behind the knee!

      BTW: Well done today! You’re getting out there – yay for gardening! You did it!

      Thanks for your kind words and being a valuable part of this forum. I’m glad to see how well you’re doing. Keep up the great work!


  84. Hi Jo, Everyone here can definitely relate to your injury. I wanted to reassure you that I doubt you will get fat. I actually lost weight after my break, but most likely because I live alone and cooking was too much of an ordeal, along with the mild depression of being imprisoned and isolated. I was quite active before and am back to normal routine. I don’t have full range of motion but I’m about 7 months post-op. Uncarpeted stairs are a little challenging, but I am back to doing everything I did before.

    I’m so happy you have a good support system as that will be so helpful! I’m sending you prayers (if you want) and good wishes for your continued recovery.

  85. I experienced this same injury on May 27, 2017. And last night I couldn’t sleep and I was just looking for anyone who’s going through this same thing and I am just so grateful that I found this because it definitely helped my spirits. It’s just nice to know that someone else has experienced the whole going from 100 to 0 and being forced to slow down. It doesn’t help that im so young (only 20) I had so many plans for this summer and I was looking for a job when I did it because I desperately wanted to work (Im a college student so I was taking full advantage of my summer) but it’s certainly hard to just have to slow down like that. But now I’ll be lucky if I’m actually walking before school goes back. Ill probably be a little weightbearing by then but its unclear weather ill be walking. I spent ten days from the day of TF in my first splint (mine was broken in three places and then also dislocated so they did the splint to allow room for inevitable swelling). I then went and had stitches out and had a new splint put on and I’ve been in this one for two weeks, I go in three weeks to have it looked at again along with my first xray. It’ll be a day after a month when it all happened. It feels so much longer but it’s okay. I’m just trying to make the best out of everything I do. I’ve finally got to where I can (kinda) get food out of the kitchen for myself and it takes me an hour and a half but I can get a shower all alone too. (Thank goodness for walk in showers) anyways, your story is just so inspiring and uplifting and let’s me.know that it really will be okay. It’s just gonna take patience and knowing that I can’t rush this healing process with my body

    • Hello Elizabeth!

      I’m currently out of the country with some crappy internet, so hopefully this message comes through.

      I had to respond, because my heart goes out to you in a big way. I have no doubt this is difficult for you – with such big plans ahead for the summer and the hopes of making some money. I wish I could make it all better for you right now.

      You do have youth on your side. I say that, because I imagine your healing process will go quickly and smoothly. But yes, going from 100 to O is probably a tough transition.

      Thank goodness for walk-in showers, indeed! You’re already doing so great! And getting your own food despite the 1.5 hours it takes…if this injury teaches anything, it’s to slow down. A lesson that many of us likely never have asked for.

      Sorry to cut this short, but I want to save before the internet goes out. Please, keep us posted on your progress. I’ll be cheering you on from afar!

      To your healing!


    • Hi Elizabeth, I”m another TtriMall survivor. I’m 8 months post-op now, but I definitely remember the mammoth efforts to simply make a cup of tea or take a shower. The worst part, I think we would all say, is being inert and at home for so long. Being so inactive can and does cause depression, but you will recover and being so young, probably more easily than me. Several of us continue to read the blog and watch for updates, so if Kenda cannot respond, others of us are still here. You sound positive and realistic. I suspect you will be walking by the time school starts, but you may still need a crutch. I was on my crutches forever it seemed and then suddenly I wasn’t. Good luck!

    • Hi Elizabeth,
      I’m glad you found Kenda’s blog. It was very helpful to me because of its positivity and inspiration. My trimalleolar fracture with dislocation was on Feb 13 with surgery on Feb 20. I have been weight bearing without the CAM boot since May 16. Although it still takes me longer to do things, there is very little I cannot do now.
      And I remember those days in Feb, March, and April when I felt like I would never be able to navigate around my own house much less public spaces. It took so much planning and effort to shower, go up and down stairs, or to the grocery store. It does get easier!
      Hang in there and keep updating in your progress.

  86. I had a trimalleolar fracture & dislocation in 1989. I was young and went back to life afterwards, despite the pain and encroaching arthritis. Last year, I had a fusion after a suspected avulsion fracture exacerbated the arthritis. That has healed but not taken then pain or dysfunction away. I’ll be getting a below-the-knee amputation soon and have much hope for the first big recovery of this life-long injury in a very long time.

    • Oh my, Deborah. That sounds like a very rough journey you’ve had. I never heard of an avulsion fracture before this.

      Please let us know how your healing process goes. I know so little about your situation. I wish you a very speedy recovery and a future free of pain.

      To your healing,


    • Deborah, I’m sending you big hugs for the surgery. It sounds daunting, but I hope this will give you relief.

  87. Thank you to everyone for the wealth of information. I suffered a right TF last Saturday morning, and I am awaiting surgery next week. I slipped and fell down wet stairs, and the pain was absolutely excruitating. The pain is minimal now when at rest, but increases highly when I attempt to stand on my left leg. I’m curious to hear, and scared, of how surgery will be and the pain that involves surgery and thereafter. Will the pain ever be as intense as the initial TF?
    Thank you so much!

    • Hello R,

      Thank you for writing in. In my opinion, the pain was much worse before the surgery. I feel like the surgery helped me turn a corner from agonizing toward healing. It’s not that the pain went away, but it seems to subside bit by bit as the days passed.

      I’m not sure the reason the pain increases when you bear weight on the opposite leg. Is it possible during your fall you banged that leg up a bit, too? Your body experienced trauma and will need to heal – ankle and all.

      My suggestion: Write down all your questions so that when you talk with the OS you can get a solid consult with that person.

      Keep checking back in so we can see how you’re doing. There are many of us wishing for your speedy recovery!

      Cheers to your healing,


    • Hi RTurner, I’m so sorry you had this happen. Everyone here has been there and done that; I try and follow the posts as I’m one of the most recent Trimall patients were, so everything is still fresh in my mind..

      First, there is stillso much swelling now that you will feel tremendous pain – because of the breaks and because of the swelling which worsens when you stand. IN fact, I returned to ER a second time due to pain – the soft cast was too tight and they loosened it. A couple of days after that, I called my OS and I was told it was okay to loosen it again. I suspect that may be the issue, so if you are in a soft cast, you can slightly loosen the gauze bandage around it and probably need to. Your ankle will continue to swell for a few days after the break and it will be months before the swelling leaves.

      I had surgery a week after my break. After my surgery, I felt almost no pain at hospital as I was getting IV and oral pain meds. My surgery was on 10/14 and I went home late afternoon on the 15th. However, if you OS will let you stay in hospital (most likely for observation) stay as long as you can! My first full day home (10/16) was terrific non-stop pain – not from the trimall, but the surgery. However, by 10/17, the surgery pain had really subsided. I am wondering if because I had to get up and move around to make meals, clean the cat box (I live alone), that is why I felt pain.
      However, the surgery puts everything where it is supposed to be and the post-op pain is different.

      On a happier note, I had been wearing a MalleoTrain brace for six months, but that ended yesterday!

      Good luck to you with your surgery. I’m wishing you a speedy recovery (an oxymoron when speaking about a Trimall) and less pain!

      • Great points, Paulette, about the swelling and the soft cast. Thank you so kindly for your willingness to share your experience and help others. I appreciate it immensely.

        AND you’re doing so marvelously! No more MalleoTrain brace for you! Yay!!

    • H RTurner,
      You have found a great site to ask questions and get encouragement. My fracture was Feb 13 with surgery on Feb 20, 2017. To be honest, my memories of those first couple weeks is a little hazy due to the amnesiacs I was given. I had a nerve block after surgery that kept me pretty pain free for first 24 hours. My surgeon stressed that I take pain meds as prescribed to stay on top of the pain. That was excellent advice for me. I don’t recall any severe pain after surgery and was off prescription pain meds within a week or so.
      You are on the road to healing. Good recovery wishes!

  88. I’m a professional firefighter who suffered a Trimalleolar create of my left ankle at the end of March of 17.

    Slow recovery and I’ve made the mistake of reading some horror stories online if people who never got back to work with non physical jobs, and is messing with my head, although the doc sends to have a good prognosis.

    Just wondering if anyone can give any honest tales of years after the injury as it relates to strenuous work. For whatever it means, I’ll be 32 in July of 17

    • Hey Rich,

      Well, one thing I learned through this process was to not pay attention to the horror stories online. I was getting so worked up over it that my husband was feeling super concerned to the point of entertaining the idea of hiding my computer in a high, unreachable, place. 🙂 Instead, he talked me off the nutty internet ledge, and I decided to use my angst to create inspiration instead of perspiration.

      I am six years out. I’ve had a life of endurance sports (namely trail running, distant road running, and distant speed skating), and I am here to tell you that I feel capable of doing any of those things again. I started running again within a year of the injury (granted, it was very slow running at that time). I no longer skate, because I live in an area where it’s not conducive. I’ve since had communications with other trimalleolar folks and my PT (many years ago) told me positive stories of people coming out of this and even years out, being just fine and capable of doing everything they did before. Add to it, I was told by the OS and my PT that the healed ankle is now stronger than the other one, as is often the case with a break. All the bodies resources go to mending the break making it very strong.

      I’m going to assume that as a firefighter you were in good physical condition. And already your doc has given you a good prognosis. I see no reason why you wouldn’t get back to your strenuous work. Add to it, you’re young still. My advice is to take exceptional care of yourself right now. Eat great, bone-healing foods (think greens and beans), drink a lot of water each day, and keep the rest of your body strong.

      You’re now about 3.5 months out? Do you have a syndesmosis screw to remove? Did you have a dislocated talus? How is PT going?

      Thanks for writing in. Stress right now will not serve you, and you only have control over yourself- right now – in this moment. Maximize on that and heal so you can get back to saving lives.

      Keep on healing on,


    • Hi Rich, although I don’t do strenuous work, I did have a Trimall in October 2016, with surgery to implant a rod on one side and screws on the other. I just turned 68 and am back to my normal routine. In fact, two weeks ago, I danced while spinning and holding a four-year old, so I’m pretty much back to normal. If I’m really tired at night, I find I slightly limp, but from what I read, most people are about 90% back to normal after a year.

      You are young and physically fit, so you should be able to return to normal. Some of the commenters here are even into high-impact exercise, like cross-fit and/or running. I simply bike, walk, and swim.

      I didn’t think I would ever get out of bed without first thinking about my ankle. Okay, maybe I still do that as I stretch first, but I rarely think about it or my injury and I’m only nine months out.

      Staying positive if key as is getting therapy as soon as your OS prescribes it. Everything thing I learned to do again (walking with only one crutch, walking without the boot, walking with no crutches, I did at therapy first and then went home and practiced.

      Good luck to you.

  89. Rich, I had a pretty bad tri-mal/dislocation 30 years ago. Yours may. It have been as bad as mine. I’m glad to talk with you. You can find me on Facebook or Google (Deborah Simon) or give me your email.

    • Hello Deborah,

      Thank you for your offer to talk with Rich. I fear (I have to admit) that your situation is not the norm and may contribute to his worries in light of what you shared with us. That said, it’s kind of you to offer your support.

      Hope you’re doing okay!

  90. Hello Kenda,

    While I understand your desire not to scare a newcomer to this type of injury, and that not all (or even most) end up in my situation, I find it distressing that you deem it necessary to push away potential sources of information. As someone who has dealt with this for 30 years, I know that I’m not necessarily the norm, but I do have valuable long term coping experience that may be beneficial.

    During my quest I have been more than frustrated at the utter lack of useful and honest information available regarding the problems I encountered and long term road this injury set me on. This site is better than most but even here there are few with long term experience. As I have some, I’ve offered it.

    I do not believe that everyone with this injury ends up where I’m at. I have some suspicion (but no proof) that an underlying deficiency contributed to the arthritis progression in my ankle. Which, hopefully, makes me a more unique case. I have put in the hard work and gone beyond my doctors’ expectations and still eventually got to this point. So I have valuable insight to offer that is hard to find. Don’t push that away. For me amputation is not a failure (the fusion was). It is just the logical next step that will grant me the mobility and quality of life I desire. Do I want it to be this way? No. But spilt milk and all that. Sometimes life sucks, I’m just trying to make lemonade. Still no regrets.

    If anyone wants to talk feel free to look me up on Facebook or google, and pm me.


    • Deborah,

      I’m bummed you interpreted my message as pushing you away. It sounds like you have worked so hard and are keeping a good attitude despite it all. I appreciate that tremendously. We’ll leave it up to Rich. In the meantime, thank you for offering your honest information. You’re right, all sites need the truth so that folks can see all sides of this experience.

      I send you my best, sincerely,


  91. Kendra and others,
    Just a quick update on how things are going.
    I am now 5 months post surgery and have been walking without assistance for 2 months. For the past several years I have rented a lake cabin for a week and spent time with my kids and grandson. And I am so pleased to say that this year was no different. Albeit a bit more slowly than past years, I did the pre-preparation of meals (the week is really meant as a break for my kids) the loading and hauling of water toys and beach gear and food and beverages, etc. Nervous about how walking on the sand and lake would go, I approached very tentatively that first day. Oh, the cold lake water was heavenly. Got lots of good range of motion kicking in my float. And I didn’t miss a single water blaster battle with my grandson.
    After my TM I was fearful that I wouldn’t be able to do many of the activities I loved or they would be so cumbersome that I would no longer enjoy them. Since my TM I have traveled to D.C., attended lots of MN Twins games, and now enjoyed my week at the lake. I still get impatient that I do things more slowly or tire more quickly, but I’m doing them. I am wearing a compression sock during the day and have accepted that I am creating my new fashion statement.
    My OS has released me from regular visits and only needs to see me if I have a problem. Going to PT weekly where the therapist does a lot of stretching and range do motion and recommends strengthening exercises to do at home. Both the OS and PT say it will be a full year of recovery.

    • Sometimes autocorrect frustrates me. That should have read “Kenda and others”.

    • I love this report, Jo! Thank you for the update. It’s so telling of your courage and all the hard work you’ve done.

      I’m really really happy for you. I suspect your fashion statement, the compression sock, will be short-lived. I only use it now while flying. Otherwise, it’s been in a drawer for 5 years. Yes, a full year of recovery is what I was told as well, and I opted to have the hardware removed at almost exactly one year. But healing from that was a breeze compared to everything else!

      You’re doing great! Keep on healing on!

    • Congrats, Jo. You are really doing well!

  92. Jenn Sutherland

    I loved reading your post I am going through the same thing ..I fell feb 1st spraining my right ankle badly and fracturing my left ankle ( trimalleolar ) had surgery a week later 6 weeks cast 4 weeks boot was told I could do full weight bearing but was in too much pain .. have a plate and 14 screws .. 2 were taken out its been 6 months and still not back to normal ..legs very week still some pain with walking and lots of swelling , numbness in the whole upper part of foot from my toes to my ankle … just want all of this to be over

    • Hi Jenn, thank you for checking in with us, and my heart goes out to you for having to be here.

      Oh how I know your situation. Were you in a wheelchair at all? I was for several weeks while the sprained ankle healed. What I a challenge.

      Sounds like your break was a bit more severe than mine. I think I had 8 screws (now I don’t remember and I’m too lazy to read my own posts!) including the syndesmosis.

      Well, I think it’s fairly common to not be back to normal at 6 months. I was told and also felt that “normal” arrives at about 1 year. That said, I don’t recall having pain at 6 months except for those cold mornings when I first put my feet on the ground or when I overworked it. Some use a compression sock for the swelling. Are you still in PT? Have they given you some tips for that?

      My suggestion is that you do what you can to build up strength in your legs – within reason, of course. Whatever exercises you’ve been given at PT practice at home – as often as they recommend.

      I’ve recovered almost all of the feeling in my foot now. It took a while for those nerves to heal, but bit by bit I regained the feeling. I have one little spot on my big toe that serves as a reminder of the trimalleolar obstacle I overcame. Time and effort will be your friends as you continue this healing journey. Please keep us posted on your progress and thank you for being here.

      Keep on healing on,


    • Hi Jenn, It took me quite awhile to recover from my TriMall. I don’t think my legs were weak, but walking without a limp was still a bit of an effort. Don’t be afraid to express your concerns to your OS as you want to be sure your recovery is on track. Good luck.

  93. Hi Kendra and everyone!
    Thank you for all your support!
    I just wanted to give everyone an update! I am now 3 weeks and 4 days post op, and I am feeling much better! I was terrified to go in to surgery and terrified of the aftermath! I had a nerve block with surgery, and that was a great decision. I honestly believe it helped me get through the first 24 hours. The pain did kick in once the nerve block wore off, but it was a different pain (surgery pain). At my 2 week check in, I was placed in a non weight bearing boot. It’s much lighter than the heavy splint, but sometimes I feel that my heel isn’t all the way down. Im still bruised, and sometimes more swollen than other days. Today was really the first day (other than doctor appointments) that I was able to go outside of the house. It was so refreshing… foot and ankle are a little more swollen tonight, but I’ll pay that price for some fresh air and sunshine on my face. Thank you and everyone for all their help and support!
    Much appreciation!

    • Hey R! Great report!

      I, too, remember the feeling that my heel wasn’t entirely seated properly in the boot.

      Oh how great that sunshine must’ve felt on your face! Take care of that swelling, as I’m sure you will. Time will continue be your friend as you carry on with this courageous journey.

      Keep on healing on,


    • The post-op pain was much more bearable than the actual fracture pain. You will continue to have quite a bit of swelling and pain, but it does go away. It sounds as if you are doing really well. My ankle slid all over the place in my boot, but it didn’t matter too much as I needed crutches for the entire time I used boot.

      Keep up the great progress!

  94. Hi. I can hear the energy in your post! Your progression sounds very similar to mine, getting the boot at the 2 week post op appointment. I recall feeling that my heel was not flat in the boot but as I gained range of motion in my ankle it improved. So glad you got to enjoy some time outside.

  95. To all who replied to me:

    Thank You, I read all of your comments and an grateful that you shared your experiences, as different as they may be.

    Currently 6 weeks into an original recommended 8 weeks off PT, 2-3 x a week. Of the crutches as of a few days ago but still have a limp I’m working out. Regaining some side to side motion but there’s been no gain in regard to lifting my toe above neutral baseline, making walking up ahh grade or steps difficult and exaggerates the limp.

    I understand that not all motion returns with this injury, and that some keep a limp, and that’s just how it is.

    I still have my job regardless, there’s just some concern in my mind over what I’ll officially and unofficially be permitted to do, but in a 20+ year career in this profession, of the worst I walk away with is somewhat of a limp…I’ll take it… But hopefully that will be worked out in time.


    • Hey Rich,

      Thanks for checking in. I’ve been wondering about you.

      You’re still early in the healing process (even if it doesn’t seem like it). Given your attitude and your physical stamina, I feel confident you’ll be walking without that limp. You just need some more time and to keep at the PT.

      Will you check back in when you’re up for it? In the meantime, I’ll be sending healing thoughts your way.


    • Rich, I’m sure the limp will go away. It’s really more about relearning to walk and have an even gait and you really do have to practice that and be aware. Now, you may still have a limp now as you are still recovering, but my break was in October, 2016 and I’m back to doing everything normally for the most part. Going down stairs is the only thing that is a bit difficult still – I’m a bit slower on them, but other than that, life is good. I thought I would always have a limp, but it’s only occasionally at night when I first get up after being sedentary for awhile.

  96. Thank you everyone! I started PWB last week and am moving to FWB as tolerated today! I had PT Monday and Tuesday, and I’ve felt an increase of pain (soreness, stiffness, often throbbing pain these past two days). Since I transition to FWB as tolerated today, PT said she was going to make me stand on the tilt board (barefooted) today. It frightens me a little because I’m worried about standing out of the boot. Has anyone else experienced this? I’m just over a little bit of a week in PT and I’ve seen great progress, but this does scare me a little. Thank you everyone for all your help and support!

    • Hi Robin,

      Wow – you’re already moving to FWB as tolerated. That’s great news! Totally normal – the increased pain, soreness, stiffness. Also normal – the fear of standing outside of the protection of the boot. I was so freaked out about the possibility of breaking my syndesmosis screw – each step was terrifying until it wasn’t. You’re entering the space of retraining your brain that you, as a person, are not broken and not breakable but simply mending from a fracture.

      Courage will come with each step you take – little by little until you are living your life as you had before. Only now, you may be a little more aware and possibly more grateful (I sure am) for when your body parts are working well.

      Please keep us posted if you get a chance. You’re on the way!

      To your healing,


    • Hi Robin,
      I hope your time out of the boot at PT yesterday went well. I definitely recall being frightened with the “firsts” – putting weight on my leg while in the boot, walking in the boot without crutches, and especially the day my PT had me do limited weight bearing stretching (with his support) with the boot off. Each “first” gets a little easier, especially if I can remember that I made it through all the previous “firsts”.
      It sounds like you are making great progress! Congratulations.

  97. Hi Robin, EVERYTHING about therapy terrified me – walking with one crutch, moving out of the boot, walking with no crutches. I will say that whatever I learned at PT, I went home and practiced. About once an hour, I would do my rounds, so to speak. I practiced a lot before trying it out in public. In fact, when I first went to only one crutch, I was rather full of myself, so I went to get my toenails painted – not a pedicure, but just the paint. Well, I bragged to the nail tech that I could walk with just one crutch to the drying area, but when I tried, I couldn’t do it as I hadn’t practiced enough. He had to hold my arm and guide me there. Of course, that is all in my past now, but I believe your feelings are quite normal! Good luck!

  98. You described my experience to the “T”. I’m currently on my 4th week post Op for the same break. When I was in the hospital for surgery I did not receive the numbing medication behind my knee unfortunately, that sounded amazing. Instead, I woke up from surgery in agonizing pain. The doctor kept trying to send me home with Percocet instantly. I was screaming in pain for 7 hours when they finally gave me morphine and a room. My mother and boyfriend where so stressed watching me in that much pain. The best I can describe it would would be: it felt like my ankle kept locking up in a 90degree angle. I could feel every bit of metal inside and the pain was mostly from the swelling they explained. The hospitals main focus was sending me home, so they kept swapping the Percocets and morphine (to say the least, Percs didn’t make any difference in pain) so every other dose I was in screaming pain. I would never wish that pain upon anyone. The second day in the hospital the doctor gave me hydrocodone, and I was stable enough to be able to head home that evening.
    When I broke my ankle I rolled the opposite ankle the same time, luckily didn’t sprain it like you. As you speak of fears going through your head, I constantly worry about breaking the other ankle as well. I don’t think I could mentally handle this all over again. For work my title is Director Of Training, I travel and lead a team who trains restaurants and management. Without being able to drive (broke my right ankle) for 12weeks. I have not been able to work, crutches slip on restaurant floors, and the scooter is too bulky for the restaurants. So months without pay is pretty stressful. Luckily I have recently started putting money into savings. Biggest thing iv learned from this experience is being prepared better; get accidental insurance, and put in savings.

    • Hi Stephanie,

      Welcome to the blog, and I’m sorry for the circumstances that brought you here.

      It sounds like you had a hellacious time after the surgery. Your description paints a vivid and painful image. I predict, one day, you’ll look back on this with a huge sigh of relief that you overcame a great hardship. The fears will dissipate, and you’ll be left with strength that you may not have known you have.

      I was once a Director of Training too! By the time I had my “T” time, I was doing more webinars, so I could still work. Months without pay definitely adds a stressor to your situation. There’s no way you can take FMLA? Please, check into disability or something, because it’s so important you spend your energy on healing and not worrying. Well done on the rainy day savings, because a trimalleolar is like a torrential rainstorm.

      Have you started PT? If not, I encourage you to get your doc to get you in unless you have a very limited amount of sessions. PT is where I found solace, because I felt like I could have some control over the situation.

      Are you getting help at home? Take all the help you can get, so you can keep focusing on healing. You’ll see a theme here with my message. 🙂

      Please, keep us posted on your progress. You’re not alone. Most folks you meet will not understand the severity of this break, and it can feel minimizing sometimes. We all know and understand.

      To your healing,


    • BTW: Nice play on words “To the ‘T.'” 🙂

  99. Stephanie,
    I’m sorry to hear about your break and surgery. I am glad you found Kenda’s blog. I fractured and had surgery in February and this site was so helpful and encouraging. Today I am 6 months post surgery and I still gain insight and encouragement here. I also fractured my right and could not drive. Relying on others to do things and get me places was one of the hardest things for me. I was able to do some work from home so I did not have your stress related to not working. I can only imagine how it must feel to have that on top of the stress directly from the fracture.
    Has your pain gotten any better? I found icing behind my knee was very helpful, in addition to ice on the ankle. I kept that up even once I was in a boot and able to ice directly on my ankle.
    I hope you write again to give an update on how you are progressing. It truly does improve!

  100. Stephanie,
    I am so glad that you found this site. I am 3 weeks ahead of you (7weeks post op), and this site has provided me so much information and some much needed support. Every day will get a little better! Hang in there!

  101. Kenda and others,
    Six months post-op – I have been experiencing a strange phenomenon lately and just wondering if others have gone through anything similar. I frequently get “electric” sensation in my ankle which my PT explains as my nerves waking up. That makes sense to me.
    Now, for about the last month, when I am driving and am in a situation that might need a defensive driving maneuver, or another driver sounds his/her horn, I get that same “electric” jolt in my ankle but multiplied by 10. It doesn’t last long. It’s such a strange sensation – I don’t make any quick ankle movement to cause it. I’m wondering if it’s a brain to nerve communication in the form of a more abrupt nerve wake up call.
    This injury and resulting surgery is really a complicated situation. It seems to impact multiple body systems – things I would never think would be affected by a fracture.
    I’d love to hear if others have had a similar experience or other weird things I should prepare for.

    • Hi Jo,

      Now that is curious! I clearly remember the electric current. I called them zingers, and each time I felt hope that my nerves were mending. But I don’t recall the other sensation you’re experiencing. I love the explanation – the abrupt wake up call – brain to nerve communication. I agree that this injury impacts multiple body systems. To me, it highlighted how connected every part of my body is to other parts. It’s a strangely beautiful thing.

      Did your PT have anything specific to say about this new phenomenon?

      Cheers to you and to your thoughtful contribution to this blog,


    • Hi Jo, I don’t believe I’ve experienced that sensation. I do occasionally get sudden, sharp, shooting pains in my ankle – they last just a second or two, but these are very sporadic. I am thinking it is something else and not related to the surgery? I would see the OS again to be sure all is on the right track.

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