How I did it: I completed this goal with perseverance, patience (oh. my. God. The amount of patience...) my amazing and supporting family as well as my fabulous doctor and physio instructor.
After the plaster cast, I was put in the boot (I'm continuing the story from there because my initial post has these details in it and I don't want to bore you guys :] your welcome) and had begun physio. I ALMOST needed surgery (the broken talus almost 99% of the time does. BUT I was a very lucky one and was able to heal without it because my bone was not displaced by over 2mm :D :D :D) Because of the sevarity of this injury and its fickleness (from being good to bad very easily and requiring surgery) I am practically radioactive from over 19 x-rays and one MRI. There is hope though! I am just happy and proud I've gotten this far and am walking again!!!
It took A LOT of time just to heal, there is nothing you can do at this point to speed up the healing of your bones, (drinking milk and eating broccoli at this point may help a little tiny bit, BUT the time to strengthen your bones really was BEFORE you got hurt...)
To heal you need to eat healthy, not have any more trama and BELIEVE that you will get better. Positive attitude will help, crying everyday and being down on yourself will not only make the healing process seem like its taking for ever, but will put stress on your body that WILL make it take forever.
How did I do it?
Time!!!! + Physio x Eating Well + Relaxing and SLEEP
Listening to Doctors Orders = Healing/Walking
Lessons & tips: Lesson Learned?: Don't be reckless. Before you hurt yourself you think you are invincible. After? Well, you become overly careful and may have pain for a looong while, all in addition to an incredibly embarrassing story of how you were so stupid that it hurt! (Haha, get it cause you broke you ankle? :P I can appreciate the humor in this whole situation now...lol)
Top Twenty Tips:
1) When you are in a plaster cast TAKE IT EASY!DO NOT try to do things that you know you can't do. Because your only going to discourage yourself/ hurt yourself trying, making your recovery SO MUCH LONGER.
Take your time learning 'The Ways of the Crutches' (have someone there to catch you should you trip a bit) AND be SUPER CAREFUL when walking from inside when it had been raining to a tiled floor. It is like an ice rink.
2) Get A New Hobby, you are going to be sitting down for the majority of your day, and you are going to be BORED. I took up violin (my parents didn't find my playing for 6-7 hours a day annoying at all LOL giant use of sarcasm :P)Or continue one that you already have :)
3) Don't Think That You Are A Burden...I know its probably annoying to have to ask people for help all the time while you are hurt, BUT its actually just a huge test. The ones who stay and help don't mind because they love you and care for you and are your true friends. Those who do mind, well your better without them, so be happy you found out sooner than later :]
4) TRY To Deal With The Pain... I actually read somewhere that pain relievers actually RETARD the growth of bones. Right? I was prescribed T2's for the pain. I still have the full bottle. I dealt with the pain, every time it hurt I just told myself, "That's just the bone fixing itself, you are getting better!" If your the type that can't handle pain, you can take some, just try not to overly medicate yourself, after all a bit of pain is going to be expected.
5) Record Your Progress:I kinda wish I did this better, because as you go along and start moving your foot your happy for a bit and then you quickly forget this small victory and are only depressed cause you are still staring longingly at the big picture-- Walking.
If you take pictures/record in a journal/blog you can see how far you have come and appreciate/ be inspired to work harder at it. (It also might help someone else who is in the same situation as you if you post it in a blog!)
6) Get Good Nights Sleeps And Good Eats: Treat your body well and it will be happy, and you will be happy. You kinda realize this more after you have hurt yourself so badly though..
Sleeping is healing time for your body, so plently of this is needed!
7) Get OUT!Just because you can't walk you still need to go outside. When I was hurt it literally rained/was gloomy for a month and a half! Being inside was depressing I would actually go outside and breathed in some outside air. Instant boost of happiness! Get some friends to take you out to a place where you can sit! (Your favorite restaurant, on a patio etc etc)
8) ALWAYS Bring a Sharpie Pen With You!When I had my plaster cast this guy asked to sign it, I looked at it later that day HE WROTE HIS PHONE NUMBER ON IT! lol. :] (...Hey, us ladies still got it.. :P :P)
9) Be Positive! Your outlook is SO important. When you are happy you aren't wasting time being sad, being sad won't heal you, it will make it take longer. So crack a smile!
10) Treat Your Feet:When you are still in your boot/cast I would paint your toe nails, file them and scrub the soles. Ya know, a little 'I'm sorry for hurting you guys' pampering. You got the time, and you kinda owe your poor feet an apology. lol. I did this, they looked cute, filled up time AND now I am not afraid of feet, just appreciative of them! :D
11) Get Lots of Pillows:Prop up your foot above heart level while it is healing, this helps with pain and promotes blood circulation. AND Get a few buckets to soak your feet in. One filled with warm water and one with ice cold water. This really helps with blood circulation! When you stick the foot in the warm water blood will flow there, then plunge it in the cold water. The change of temperature will increase blood circulation so your feet won’t look that purplish colour from lack of circulation AND this will continue to promote healing. ALSO. ICE PACKS. You want to ice that baby A LOT. This with the elevated foot is awesome!
12) Your Walking-Boot is Made For Walking... After Your Ready That Is!: LOL BAD JOKES ALERT..
I started walking three weeks AFTER I got my walking boot. I started walking on it late because I still had pain. A doctor can say that you are ready to start doing something, but your body also has a say in when you can (it actually has a HUGE say in this lol). I started more stretching/range movement improvement BEFORE I started walking and weight bearing. This helped with the pain. The saying No Pain No Gain is not entirely true. DO NOT FORCE YOURSELF IF THERE IS SHARP PAIN, ask about it first because it CAN CAUSE irreversible damage!
Also when you do start walking with the boot you may get a tingly feeling in the bottom of your foot. This is not bad, just due to the fact that the muscles on the bottom of your foot have not been used for a long time and are not used to stretching in the ways required for you to walk and put pressure on them. This shouldn’t hurt, but just feel weird. Totally normal, walking on it minimally and stretching it with designated exercises is the only way to fix this. Stretching helps with the movement of the foot while walking. Weight Beraing will help with circluation and swelling because the act of putting pressure on the foot and then 'relaxing it' when the other foot is in use (the act of walking essentially) pumps the blood. Thus improving circulation, and healing overall, (your foot will also stop being that gross purplish colour)
13) Actually Do Your Physio Exercises..these are important, do them. If they hurt you (sharp terrible terrible pains) you need to stop and not do them until you have the OK from your physio instructor. You need to do these because when you break your ankle the muscles in your ENTIRE leg are deteriorating, you got to retrain your calf's, thighs, ankle AND foot! Its as if you broke your whole leg!
A great exercise is walking in a pool, using a pool noodle like a bike and ‘peddling’ your feet, and riding a stationary bike with very very little resistance on it. This takes putting weight on your foot out of the equation and lets you focus solely on range of motion.
14) When You Do Start Walking (Without Boot) Try To Take It Easy..
Do not walk for hours the first day you realize you are almost walking normally. You will be very sore the next day. Take it in steps, walk for 20 minutes, then the next day depending on the swelling/pain after this, the next day walk for 25 or maybe keep it at 20 etc. Oh, there will be swelling for about a year, so minor swelling is not an issue as long as terrible pain is not present.
15) Get REALLY Good Orthopedic Inserts:Your feet will throw a party for you. Seriously. Don't skimp out, your feet are hugely important as we all know now.. AND get shoes that have arch supports, the days of heels and flats (the latter of which I have been told to my surprise are actually the worst things for your feet) are over. Well. For at least a year.
You will need inserts because your arches in your foot from the lack of use/ stretching will have fallen. Fallen arches leave room for numerous problems. After your aches are so damaged I'm not sure that they can be brought back up to 100% but with stretches and time they can be improved. Arches are SUPER IMPORTANT! If your arches suck, they will cause knee, hip and back problems!
16) Monitor Swelling: After you have begun to walk again, still monitor pain and swelling. I am VERY happy to say personally there is very minimal pain for me. The swelling looks bad, but there is no pain. Which is a good sign. My ankle will be swollen for about a year, which is normal. If you notice unusual pain, stop what you are doing, call your doctor for further instructions.
17) Massage Your Foot:Feels good and again, helps with the swelling and circulation.
18) Work Towards Range of Motion Improvement: You need to do this to be able to walk down stairs properly.
19) Take The Time To Relearn How To Walk:You wanna know why babies are so cranky? They just know they are gonna have to learn how to walk. Believe it or not, you actually forgotten how to walk spending all this time in a cast. You need to have someone actually watch you and tell you if your doing anything weird otherwise this is how your going to walk forever. Not only will it look funny (limply etc etc) but your new and improper walking pattern may cause other problems for your hips, feet, back etc etc. You need a physio therapist who will watch you walk to show you what you are doing wrong and help you fix it.
20) Please Refrain From Stupid Shit:Basically once you start walking, if you broke your ankle jumping from stairs, don't jump from stairs. I know that once you can walk your gonna be all celebratory, BUT do not jump up and down. No contact sports. No running. No jumping. Just in general? Nothing Stupid. I have to wait a year and a bit before I can attempt to do these things. I'm just happy to be walking actually, so I'm totally okay with this haha. Talk to your doctor about the activities you should avoid and for how long. You don't ever want to have to experience this again after all. BE GOOD!
Resources: Physio: SO WORTH IT!
- A Stretchy Elastic Work Out Band:They come in different colours that correspond with the degree of pressure they will put on your foot. They really help with range of motion and building back strength. SO WORTH IT. I got mine when I went to physio.
- Work Out/Stretches Sheet: Instructions of what exercises you are ready to do and how to do them.
Remembering one off the top of my head is using your injured foot to pick up small marbles and put them in a small cup. Works the bottom muscles in your foot for walking smoothly. It may be tempting to just find a list from the internet, BUT you NEED a medical official (physio or doctor) to give you the exercises you are ready for to prevent injury!
- Instructor: She personally worked with me, we did pool strengthening exercises, she hooked me up to a electrode machine which helped with the swelling and stimulated the muscles that had been still and unused for months to give them a head start. She massaged my foot (AWESOME!) and did this stretch called 'Glides' to help my joints become looser. SHE WAS SO NICE! I was actually sad on my last day of physio :(
Plastic Bags/Milk Crate/Bathing Suit: For showering with a cast cover it with a plastic garbage bag and duck tape. I also used a milk crate to sit on in the shower. I wore my bathing suit while showering in case I fell somehow and needed assistance getting up. (If you were wondering there is no dignity when you have a cast lol)
YES:Milk and Broccoli: SO HEALTHY! Eat it up.
NO!: Alcohol, Cigarettes, Coffee, Salts/Sugars(FAST FOOD): They will retard bone growth, tissue healing, and destroy blood circulation! BAD BAD BAD.
Emorp Kettle's on
Personally v delighted to read this post – I’m recovering from triple broken and dislocated ankle (not trying to score points there, but hey!) and did need surgery, even so your advice is very informative and positive.
Hurray for your progress and I hope to post similar for myself in the coming months. :o)
Lots of great information
Everything you said is true, and knowing this is very helpful.
A few years back I broke my ankle playing baseball, and it honestly was one of the worst experiences I’ve had in my life. It just goes to show you though, that it makes those moments without pain so much sweeter. It reminds me of the guy who repeatedly hit himself in the head with a baseball bat. Finally someone approaches him and asks “Why are you repeatedly hitting yourself in the head with a baseball bat?” And he responds, “Because it feels good when I stop.”
Jim Tracy | http://footandanklemedicalcenter.com
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