Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Broken Ankle Searchers
I interrupt the regularly scheduled programming of this blog to speak to those of you who have stumbled upon Forensics and Faith through online searching for broken ankle.
I feel your pain.
Every day at least five people come to this blog as a result of such a search. Other common searches that bring people here include broken ankle photos, ankle plate and screws, running after a broken ankle, etc. I can imagine each of you with the cast on your leg, wondering about the process. How long will it take to heal? What about that hardware tacked onto my bone? How have other people handled this?
May my experience give you hope. Yes, there is life after a broken ankle, even if the recovery time seems to take forever. There are many accidents that are so much worse.
Perhaps you have extenuating circumstances. I certainly did. My list of peripherals were:
1. Inability to function on pain meds. Except for the first 24 hours after the initial surgery, I survived without them, even with undergoing three surgeries in total.
2. Ended up not being able to use crutches normally because I couldn't put weight on my right arm. So I hopped on one foot and used one crutch. I wasn't exactly going many places in those days.
3. Badly torn ligaments. This makes for a longer healing time. Today, 10 months after the accident, I walk normally--and I'm back to running. Even so, my injured foot does not have the full motion it had before. And when I go down stairs, the broken-up scar tissue inside sounds like macho Rice Krispies.
In a nutshell, here's the schedule of my broken ankle saga:
Ten days in splint after surgery
About six weeks in a cast
About four weeks in the boot. (This got me to Memorial Day weekend.)
One week later--outpatient surgery to take out the long screw (docs like to do this 3 months after initial surgery)
Another 10 days back in boot following outpatient surgery.
Time for physical therapy and slowly getting back into walking, then running.
Early October--final surgery to take out plate and screws (the docs want to wait at least 6 months from initial surgery to do this)
Back in boot for about a week. Off of running for a number of weeks as bone heals.
All done! Time to get back into full running! (I took this way more slowly than the docs said I needed to. I'd come too far to not be cautious.)
To see photos and read more details of my story, start here. At the bottom of each post is a link to the next in the story. If you zip through them all you'll read about physical therapy, the surgeries, the hardware, etc.--with some humor thrown in, as we all need to laugh. You'll also see photos of the hardware and x-rays. I hope you'll find these posts entertaining and informative. If you leave a comment/question on any of the posts, I will see them. Google emails all comments to me. Check back to the post for my answer to a question.
One important note: if you're used to exercising as I am (I run five miles a day), not being able to catch those endorphins is really gonna get to you. Depression can set in as a result. I managed to use a stationary bike as a replacement for running. While in the cast I just put my foot on top of the pedal--no use trying to slip in under the holder. Once I graduated to the boot, I took it off for pedaling. You're not putting enough weight on the ankle to hurt it. No, the bike isn't a full substitute for the high of running, but it did give me some endorphins. I was very grateful for it.
God's blessings to you during your journey toward healing.