Six Week Anklebreakerversary
Monday, August 18, 2014
Today marks 6 weeks since I slipped and broke my right ankle, and I believe healing is coming along as it should.
Shortly after the break, a couple of friends lent me boots that they had for their previous injuries, and I brought them to my 2 week appointment for the ortho to look at. He said one was too big and the other might work, but I could not go into a boot until the 4 week mark. My last appointment, 11 days ago, was the 4 week mark and I brought in the boot thinking I was going to be put into it. After looking at it again, he said it would not provide the support I needed, as it was too low. He further said he wanted me to stay in the cast until today (August 18).
However, I was tired of the cast – I was tired of the weight of it, I was tired of being unable to sleep well, I was tired of not being able to get around without a wheel chair or crutches, and I was tired of the tightness when my lower leg and foot swelled. I wanted to start moving the leg around so I could start rebuilding the muscles that had atrophied. After some discussion (actually it was more begging), he agreed to put me in a walking boot. They had boots there, but he thought they were $300, which would have been out of pocket. At that price I decided to stay in the cast for 10 more days. After checking with the nurse, however, she said the one I needed was $70. To me, $70 to get out of the boot 10 days early was worth it, and off came the cast!
I spent several days after that using crutches and slowly putting more weight on the boot. I am happy to say that I now no longer need the wheel chair for anything (the cats use it for a bed), including getting in and out of the shower (I have a shower stall into which I need to step down, not a tub, so getting out was tricky), and I haven’t used the crutches since probably last Thursday. The doctor said that I should sleep into the boot until today, but I took it off on Saturday, and I can sleep on my left side rather than strictly on my back. However, I can’t sleep on my right side and I still need pillow support no matter how I sleep, but that’s fine. I am making progress.
I take the boot off anytime I am sitting, and I continually move my foot up and down to get the range of motion back. I have not been cleared to move the ankle back and forth yet, and I honestly don’t think that it’s quite ready for that. I will admit that there were a few days that I overdid walking and I was in some pain afterward. I thought I messed up something, but the next day there was no pain, so I think that means I am making gains. Some of the pains I have are not even in the break area, which probably means it is from using atrophied muscles (as in post-exercise muscle soreness), as well as from some of the soft tissue damage I am sure I did. The foot is still somewhat bruised looking and the calf is pretty skinny, but I know that’s all temporary.
My next appointment is this Thursday and I will ask the doctor about whether I can start walking in a pool and whether I can start some additional stretching exercises. He probably won’t order official PT for another 2 weeks, but I think as long as I am not hurting anything that I should start doing what I can as soon as possible. Not only do I need to build the muscles back, but my cardio and my endurance have suffered, too. When I am up and moving around for the day, I am wiped out by late afternoon and can easily take an hour nap and then get my regular 7-8 hour night’s sleep. I suppose the tiredness is because my body is using its energy to heal itself in addition to my increased physical activity.
While this whole ordeal has been frustrating, when I look back at my progression in 2 week increments, I am happy with where I am now and look forward to continued improvement.