Me and My Trimalleolar: A Healing Ankle

August 17, 2011:  Precisely 5 Weeks Post-Op

shaving - nope

Yeah, shaving becomes much less of a priority in times of crisis…

Admittedly, I was nervous about my OS appointment today.  I’ve been working so diligently to heal my ankle and follow PT. I’ve been visualizing several times a day.  Subpar news would have been a massive disappointment.

We walked to the OS office and there were no other patients in the waiting room.  Surely this was a good omen.  Mary Ann (who I’ve repeatedly called Gail for some reason) took me back for x-rays.  She asked, “How are you doing?”  I responded with, “Great!  I think my bones have healed!”

We were then promptly sent to a patient room.  Boot off.  Brace Off.  Sweating.  Nervous.  My list of questions and a pen in hand.  Elevated foot to give it that more normal skin tone.  In comes the Doctor with my x-rays.

Frankly, I don’t remember the first several seconds of our discussion, because I was terribly ungrounded.  My consciousness came to light when I heard her say, “Your ankle looks really good.  It’s doing really well“.  She showed me the x-rays from four weeks ago and today’s x-rays pointing out how the fracture lines were barely visible and how everything looked in place.  She pointed out two more times how good it looks and how well it’s doing.  She seemed very very pleased with how little swelling I had.  This felt incredibly rewarding, because I could see through her that things were very good – better than she expected I assume by her near enthusiastic response.

If it weren’t for the syndesmosis screw that has to stay in place for 12 weeks (and then surgical removed), I would have been able to start the process of walking (increasing weight bearing for four weeks) straight away.  But unfortunately, the syndesmosis screw is also holding a ligament in place, and the ligament has to heal properly before I walk.  Turns out ligaments take longer than bones to heal.  If I walk, the screw could break in my foot, and they will not be able to remove it.  Supposedly this is common and there are thousands of people out in the world getting by with a broken screw in their foot.  Not for me.  That appeals to me about 0%.

While I was bummed to learn that I must wait despite my well-healed bones, I am STILL overjoyed that my bones are doing so well.  Only five weeks post-op and if it weren’t for the ligament, I would be on my way to walking.  This puts my healing bones way ahead of schedule.  And I can begin to bear weight!  I can also replace the big ole’ boot with a hiking boot if I choose.  I think for safety’s sake, I will continue to wear Betty (that’s my boot) when in the car.   I still feel kinda vulnerable.  Tho I no longer have to sleep with Betty!  Hooray!  Dr. Siegler gave me the okay to remove the bandages that were suppposed to have fallen off two weeks ago, and I can get my foot wet (not soaking wet, but I can bring it into the shower with me if I keep the spray off of it).  If I wanted to, I could also start driving.  Again, I don’t feel ready for that.  I’m still wearing the brace on the right ankle and…well, I’m just not ready.

All in all, I’m keeping my chin up, because I am well on the mend.  Who knows?  Perhaps at my next follow-up in four weeks, she will tell me that the screw is coming out sooner than expected.  I’ll start visualizing that now.

More photos coming next post!

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

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
This is 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. Pingback: Me and My Trimalleolar: A Life-Changing Tripulation Travels and Tripulations

  2. Pingback: Me and My Trimalleolar: Cast of Characters - Travels and Tripulations

  3. I’m so glad I found your blog. We’re very similar in the sense that I too eat a mostly plant-based vegetarian diet (almost vegan, but I cheat with butter here and there), and taking a bit of a holistic spin on things.
    I’m a 29 year old girl living in LA, and I broke my ankle in September. Your blog was the first one that I found that didn’t sound like…. I don’t know…the world was going to end because of this injury.
    I needed to hear some positivity, and I’m so glad you had some to give:).

    • I’m so glad you found my blog too, Kimi. Thank you for your awesome words. Sooooo…how’s the healing coming along? One of my posts I list a bunch of bone-healing/inflammation reducing foods. I’ll send them to you if you don’t find it.

      And no, thank god, the world is not coming to an end. Quite the opposite (tho it may not feel like that at this very moment), actually. My Trimalleolar was one of the most mind-expanding, character-building events of my life.

      I’m guessing you’re about 6-8 weeks out? It’s a fine line between being authentic and being kick-ass optimistic. There were times I just had to let myself feel like shit so that I could free up the energy to heal and feel better. I felt a lot better (emotionally and physically) after I stopped taking heavy-duty pain meds. Let me know how I can support you.

      Keep on healing!

      • Thank you so much. My surgery was on October 7th, but I broke my ankle September 14th. They initially did a reduction, and then had me on a waiting list to operate (took forever, but hey it’s free healthcare). So I’m about a month post surgery. Two weeks after surgery, my soft cast got removed, and they were about to put me in a cast. I asked them if I could have a boot instead, and because I was showing such good progress they agreed.
        No weight-bearing yet, but I have my next appointment in two weeks, and I’m hoping they’ll let me start weight bearing.
        I have read all of your trimalleolar related blog posts (and then some), and have already taken to eating super anti-inflammatory foods. Lucky for me I was already a bit of a health nut pre-break, so it’s easy for me to stay in that lifestyle.

        It’s just so good to hear that you made such great strides in your recovery. I’m a performer, and when i first started looking on the internet, all I could find was people talking about how they still walked with a limp years later.
        I just stopped taking me narcotic pain meds last week, and the withdrawal was horrible. I’m still in a crazy funk, and have this super low lows.
        I have so much to be grateful though- such a supportive boyfriend (who much like your husband does everything in his power to take care of me) and a great group of friends. I just have to keep my head up. Whenever I get down or scared that I’m not going to get better, I always read your blog.
        Thank you!!!

        • You’re doing great, Kimi, especially having had to wait THREE weeks for surgery! And yeah, it’s an expensive surgery, so woot to affordable healthcare!

          It sounds like you were already in a good place – physically, emotionally, nutritionally – to take this thing on. My husband, who never tells me to do anything, told me to get off the internet after my fracture (s). I was spiraling down into negativity hell. I’m so happy to know my blog has helped you. And I love the fact that you have a blog too, and I just read your post. It’s fabulous and you’ll help people too. There’s something incredibly healing about getting it all out our heads and into the world. The super low lows will pass once you get all that pharma $hit through your system. And tell your supportive boyfriend (from me) that he rocks. We are both so fortunate especially since most people have no clue the seriousness of this fracture (s). It took a few times hearing my OS tell me, “this is a very severe injury” before I finally got it. But given all that, everything turned out great! And sure, sometimes my talus still gets a little stiff (I’m guessing b/c it was left in a dislocated state for 48 hours). But it’s nothing that interferes with my life in any way and there is no pain at all and certainly no limping. My PT didn’t let me limp once I could bear full weight. And I can run, skip and jump with the best of them! You’ll see that once you can start bearing weight, the healing speeds up. Just please listen to your PT but also, your own body.

          Do you have a syndesmosis screw in there?

          Feel free to keep sharing your blog posts as I get a lot of Trimalleolar hits on this blog, so hopefully some of my readers will check out your blog as well. And I’d love it if you could share my link too. There are a lot of folks out there to reach who need a dose of realistic optimism!

          Thank you so much for writing. I think most folks don’t write, for whatever reason, so I really appreciate hearing from you.

          Keep up the good work!

  4. Pingback: Me and My Trimalleolar: The Screw, Some Scars, and a Busted Uvula - Travels and Tripulations

  5. OMG! I feel like I am reading about myself here. Well, except the fit and vegan part (I wish I were!) I too have a trimalleolar fracture. I too initially twisted my right ankle then tried to compensate with left and CRACK!
    I thought a quick cast and out but no, I didn’t leave the hospital until four days, two plates and numerous screws and pins later!
    Anyhoo, thank you for posting your recovery as I have no one to talk to who has experienced this.
    Thank you!

    • Hi Jane and welcome to the community! Oh, I SO remember the day I thought “just a quick cast and I’ll be on my feet again in no time!” Unfortunately not with this break and definitely not with a twisted right angle to boot. What a parallel process. Oh how I understand.

      Where are you on this journey? Are you in a wheelchair still unable to bear weight on the twisted ankle? OMG in the hospital for FOUR days? Oy. That’s sounds intense.

      Write in anytime you feel like it. It’s hard to face this thing without the support of others who understand it. I hope you’re getting a ton of help at home. It seems like you’re in good spirits. That’s a major plus.

      I hope to hear how things are progressing!

      Cheers to you and your healing,


      • Thank you for your reply! Yes, a day I will never forget. I have to say it was up to this point THE worst pain I have ever felt and I have had many surgeries, survived breast cancer and a serious blood clotting disorder.
        I am one week and one day out from the injury. I am still in quite a bit of pain but it is certainly better each day.
        I remember laying in that hospital bed for two nights before they put my ankle back together. Probably what hell is like! If I so much as blinked my ankle hurt! Once the surgery took place I had immediate difference. Still much pain but at least I knew I wasn’t grinding my bones at every move!
        I am still stuck in the house. I get around fine with the little knee scooter. I also have the shower bench and higher commode. So inside, no problem but I need to get out soon!!
        Therapy for crutch skills is helping me to manage my three measly steps to get out of the house. I have an issue though. Due to blood clots I have no functioning superior vena cava, subclavian and left jugular veins. I live on small collateral veins to get the blood from my head, neck and arms. So every time I try crutches. Blood rushes to my head and because it cannot drain quickly enough I feel like my head will explode!
        But…I just ordered that knee crutch, I will keep you posted with how that works out!

        • Well, that is very telling when the trimalleolar was the worst pain you ever felt, and you’ve dealt with some very serious health-related issues. My heart goes out to you in a big way, Jane, seeing what’s on your plate. Seriously, breast cancer survivor and a blood clotting disorder. You’ve got it going on GF!

          I remember that hell of waiting to see the OS for two days with my dislocated talus and the breaks. It made me very grateful for western medicine and the availability of health care despite my alternative bent.

          I cannot even begin to imagine what you’re experiencing because of those blood clots and the issues with having no functioning superior vena cava, subclavian and left jugular veins. I don’t even know what all of those are!

          I also don’t know about the knee crutch, but it sounds like you don’t have to stand up quickly nor the whole way with it.

          Please, keep us posted. How is your back with all of this? I found myself needing chiropractic after getting on my feet again. The weird positions and postures did a number on my body. But hey, that was minor compared to everything else. Walking again…unassisted…just you wait. It is a joy like no other I’ve ever felt. I still appreciate it very much.

          Cheers to you and your healing,


    • Oh, I also had cute painted toes!

      • I wonder if there’s a way to post photos on the comments. Would love to see those cute painted toes! 🙂 I clearly remember looking at my toes and feeling happy they were in such good shape despite my feeling like a total wreck.

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