Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Trimalleolar fracture recovery

This blog is for anyone who has suffered a trimalleolar fracture, and particularly those who are looking for a glimmer of hope that it won't take 12 months to be back on your feet like some surgeons will suggest!

To give you a bit of background of my injury, I broke my ankle on November 20th 2010, jumping off a rock. I had an ORIF the following morning (7 pins, 1 long plate), having had a series of rather testing manipulations to realign my bones the night before, and was on my way home via a 7 hour sleeper train journey the day after my op.



4 months on and I am back to full training in the gym, squatting, lunging, deadlifting etc. Today I did 3 sets of 24 walking lunges with barely a difference between the two sides. My physio and I are both confident that I will be starting to run again in the next few weeks, and I am happily walking the dog for 40 minutes or so each day. Range of motion in the ankle is still limited compared to the other side, but improves weekly and no longer affects my gait.

I have seen my physio once a week since I came out of plaster (5.5wks post op) but also did various exercises to keep my upper leg and glutes strong whilst I was in plaster. I believe this is key to a quick recovery. I also ate with my recovery in mind, supplementing with Kaprex, bromelain, tumeric and echinachea to promote bone healing and reduce inflammation, and ate a clean diet full of quality lean protein and nutrient dense foods such as vegetables and fruits.

I think the key things to remember if you have suffered from this, or any break for that matter, is to stay as fit and strong as you can whilst you're in plaster to reduce muscle atrophy as much as possible, eat a really clean diet to give your body as much support as possible while it heals, and keep a positive mindset. These three things will undoubtedly affect your rate of recovery, and let's face it, when you are on one leg there isn't that much better to do than a few exercises! :)

Wishing all those of you with a fracture a very speedy recovery, and keep your chin up, I know it feels like it sometimes, but you won't be on crutches forever!

Charlotte

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22 comments:

maria p said...

can you tell me with this awful fracture (trimalleolar) when the swelling and throbbing lessens? Its been 8 weeks since the surgery and if my foot isn't elevated (like at all times) it swells and turns an ugly red and throbs. I'm supposed to start 25% weight bearing but how with all the swelling?

Trayjkay said...

I have just done the same to my ankle walking the southwest cornish coastal path on 21 April 2012. I too am very active and run half marathons & 10k regularly as well as going to the gym 3 times weekly. I have been doing leg raises and also squats on good leg with crutches for balance! My arms geta good workout from crutches, but I do ab crunches too, I have ordeded specific supplements such as Vit E max strength with D-Alpah Tocopherol, Calcium Citrate and Magnesium Maleate and I am eating lots of fruit veg and protein too. I am desperate to run again, but will settle for walking,cycling or swimming, I just like the feeling of being fit and dont want to put weight on!

Ed Salazar said...

I had a trimalleolar fracture 3 weeks ago (06/09/12). I am looking to do a full recovery in the next 4-6 months as opposed to the 1 year the surgeon told me. I can't wait to hit the gym!!

Skiathos Dreams said...

I had the same in 2005. I was lucky not to have much pain as no ligament or muscle involvement. The thing I found most helpful to regain almost full range of motion was Pilates. Helps realign everything and builds strength back...after PT.

Skye Sandiford said...

I suffered this fracture at the end of July this year, on holiday in Italy. Being A 17 Year old girl this affected me greatly. but being the motivational person I am I was off my crutches within 3 weeks walking/limping attending physio every week improving faster than they expected, but with great pain at the end of the week!! my ankle swelled up all the time still does now!. I have no feeling all on the right hand side of my ankle its all numb as they had to cut through a nerve given the fact my family nudged me hugely to overwork it! please listen go at your own pace!! do not try to rush back into things as you will feel the effects and they arnt very nice.
nearly 2 months since my cast came off I'm back at work full time! having weekly driving lessons. I cannot run yet though:( Goood luck to everybody, Skye x

Jason Berg said...

I suffered my fracture on Feb 2 of this year. I injured it playing hockey. I lost my edge and slid feet first into the boards and heard it snap. I had to have a plate with 9 screws to repair it. I have been in my soft cast for a week. I thankfully had no ligament or muscle damage. I have managed to avoid pain medication as much as possible. Thankfully the pain has been minimal. I just hope my recovery time isn't too long.

Kim Brown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kim Brown said...

had trimalleolar fracture on 14/4/2012 and had about as much metal as you put in the ankle and leg. I was in 1 cast or another for 15 weeks; then walked with a boot. I returned to walking unaided by September 2012- sort of- my foot was/is very swollen. I went back to the ortho and it was determined that the metal in my foot was causing problem - digging into the cartilage and/or muscle. I then had to wait until now- Tuesday 14/5/2013 to have them removed. I can't wait. I am hoping that then the true rehab starts and I get my life back- pain and hobble free.

Robyn Schrimsher said...

It is inspiring to hear your story, Charlotte so thank you for sharing. I am recovering from a trimalleolar fracture after slipping on the bathroom floor May 13, 2013. I am a 43 year old active female: running, some weight lifting, hiking, etc. I am so hoping my recovery will allow me to resume the same. I am about 4 weeks into the recovery. No cast and ready for PT but no weight bearing. Praying for inspiration from the PT and full recovery!

kimberly venuto said...

Hello Robyn. I too suffered a trimalleolar fracture. May 26, 2013. I am 42. My dr said 6 wks s/p surgery before PT. How are you doing now that you are almost 6 weeks and how is pain with PT? How much hardware do you have? Just wondering what's in store for me thanks...

coco said...

Trimalleolar fracture on June 12,2013. ORIF with multiple screws and plate. Immobilization in non-walking boot for six weeks. Eval at 2 weeks showed fractures healing. Good diet, rest and no weight bearing will hopefully produce a good result at the 6 week post op visit. Fracture was reduced in the ER before surgery to prevent compounding and now the patience and waiting is underway. My job required daily lifting of a patient and 12 hours per day on my feet four days a week. Not sure I will be able to return to this even though I am very active, I am 65. Time will tell. Not a lot of pain, but some involuntary nerve pain especially at night. But I have to sleep in the boot. Only have it off to shower and a couple of times during the day! New experience for me as I have never broken anything but a fingernail. Stepped in an armadillo hole coming off my front porch steps!!!

Stephanie said...

I had a TFX Dec 30, 2012. Dec 31 I had an external fixator placed for 2 weeks, a second surgery to place 2 plates and 13 screws. Casts for 15 weeks and a boot for 8 weeks. I still had a considerable amount of pain and swelling 6 months post fall. Just ad things were very slowly getting back to normal I now have to get most of my hardware removed due to it backing out. I will be out of work again for 4 -8 weeks. Im ready for this to be over.

Terisa Montes said...

On Memorial day this year I rolled my right ankle while jam skating. I am 32 and always very active. I had one plate, nine screws, and a repair to the ligament done on May 31, 2013. I had the splint after surgery for 2 weeks and then a fiberglass cast for 4 weeks. I have been in a walking boot for a little over 2 weeks now and I am having issues with feeling in my foot. I am able to hobble with out my boot for short periods of time and shower, however if I stand for too long my ankle looks like its going to burst at the scars from surgery. Literally my scars turn purple almost black. I am able to swim fine but other than that I can't do much. As of last week, my knee buckles when I walk like something is moving and popping along my knee cap.This is starting to freak me out because I was planning on being back on skates by January. My left knee and right knee are significantly different in size and I am worried that when I fell that maybe I possibly injured my knee and just didn't realize it at the time. Has anyone had issues with their knee as a result from a broken ankle?

torry said...

I had a trimalleolar fracture 6 weeks ago 7/8/13 with a dislocation. A lot of damage. plate with 5 screws on one side and 2 screws on the other. In a hard cast for 2 weeks then switched to a clam shell cast so i can take on and off. Went to the dr today and I can start putting weight on my foot approximately 25% a week - I am hoping to walk in another 4 weeks. It does swell, but not too bad. I am also a runner so I am hoping for a quick recovery but not pushing it. good luck to everyone.

Kelley Albeck said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Helen Karol said...

Hi

I had similar fracture Aug 3. It was decided not to operate as the nurse set it really well in the ER. Two weeks after new consultant wanted to operate. I was admitted but it just didn't feel right and I discharged myself. On the Monday met with new doctor and the team met and decided it was 50/50 surgery or not. Met with a new consultant and we agree non-operative route. I did a lot of research and turns out recent studies show better long term recovery without surgery. six weeks in I have th cast off and am recovering as well as if I had surgery and avoided that trauma and will not have scars and hardware. it is a long haul though as in boot and unable to weight bear yet. but really glad I went with my gut and avoided surgery.

It certainly is a debilitating injury. I just quit my teaching job to do more writing but was planning to do supply but that is out for a while!

Anita said...

Some hope for older folks. I am 71 years old. I had a trimalleolar fracture on June 29th. Surgery with the usual hardware. Had the cast off on Aug. 13 and started walking on it right away. I use a lace-up brace. Now, mid October, the pain and swelling are minimal unless I do too much. Back in the gym, but only using the bicycle - no treadmill yet.
I don't think it will take a year to fully recover. The trick is to follow the doctor's and physiotherapist's instructions to the letter.
Good luck to everyone else out there.

Unknown said...

Hi All:
I had a trimalleloar fracture with a torn ligament on March 6th. According to my 1st Ortho Surgeon it was a very serious injury. I had a slip & fall on black ice on a driveway. I had surgery to repair the ankle within 15 hours of the incident. The surgeon put in 3 screws and 3 pins to stablize the ankle. I was 57 when it occurred. I was in a soft cast "in a nursing home" for two weeks, then a non-weight bearing cast for 4 weeks, then a partial weight bearing cast for 3 weeks. Although the cast has been OFF since the middle of May, I STILL experience pain and swelling every day, I wake up each morning in pain (you would think otherwise after a good night of rest), and have been in Physical Therapy since the cast was off. To complicate matters, I fell out of my SUV and tripped over the walker I was using at the time. I sprained my injured left ankle and broke my right wrist. Fortunately, it was a clean break which did not require surgery. Before the two accidents I walked 8-10 hours a day, I own/operate a pet sitting service. These days, I am lucky to be on my feet a total of 2.5 hours/day. In order to do that I am on the maximum amt. of Ibuprophen/day and the maximum amt. of Acetaminophen/day along with 3 tabs of Tramadol spaced t/o the day. Last week we tried a diagnostic injection IN my ankle to see if we could find the specific joint(s) that are causing me excruciating pain in my left ankle. Is it TRUE that most surgeons wait a year before removing the hardware? I am wondering b/c I believe that that might be the source of my chronic daily pain. I certainly DO NOT want to live on medication the rest of my life, I had NO IDEA that this type of fracture took so long to heal, it has already been 7 months, and although I can "walk", it's NOT pretty (I limp), and every step is excruciating pain. I am at my wit's end - - and it seems that the physicans that I have been seeing are too? Any ideas?

Unknown said...

Since my most recent posting, my 2nd Ortho Doctor has ordered a CT scan. Hoping that this will shed some light on the chronic pain in the ankle joints.

ian medlicott said...

Hi

I suffered a Trimalleolar fracture playing football and had surgery on 18th October this year. 17 days post op and counting the days down until syndesmosis screw removed in January. I also have a plate and screws in the fibula due to a spiral fracture. Once that screw is removed I am able to fully weight bear and at least think about driving and get some indepence back.

I had a pot put on last Thursday (31/10/13) which is lighter than the original cast/back slab. I'm told I cannot fully weight bear in case the screw snaps but can hopefully just spin on an exercise bike when the pot comes off in a month.

Can authors let me know what exercises they were doing whilst in the pot, would be very useful.

Will keep you up to date with progress as it happens.

Regards
Ian

ian medlicott said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chris Geoghegan said...

Suffered a bad Trimalleolar fracture in November last year,spent 4 days in hospital before I had surgery to put it right
Was back in work 16th of April,my recovery was quite short to others for some reason,to this day I have no pain or aches
Back out airsofting too
I was 24 when this happened

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