AP’s battle with ankle fracture

AP commented with his experience and thought it would benefit more people if it was made into a separate post. AP graciously agreed to post the story here. Here it is in AP’s words:

What you have started is a very nice blog and it will surely help many to prepare themselves for a recovery. I am just including my experience so far after a year from ankle fracture here.

I was working on the roof and section of roof collapsed, while falling down my right foot got stuck between two objects and my whole body rotated around the foot and broke the ankle bones in 12 pieces before falling down another 15 feet into concrete floor. Luckily I didn’t fall on my head. But unfortunately, my ankle turned 180 degrees (inversion) and broke bones were sticking out of joint (open fracture). I was taken to emergency and foot surgen performed the surgery on 6/17/2011. I had my talus bone fractured into pieces and lost all my ligaments and tendons in ankle area. Heel bones and tibia were fine whereas fibula had a chipped bone at the edge. Doctor said that was the worst level of fracture he had seen in his life. I have the picture of my ankles taken at ER (if you want I can share).

Initially, doctor was not hopeful at all that I will ever be able to walk straight. He said I would be able to walk slowly but running/jogging/jumping I should just forget about.

First 3 months I was under a cast with crutches and then next 3 months I had PT where I pushed myself as much as I can despite pain. I was able to walk without a support and pain and that point my PT were done with some exercises advised to be done at home.

For next 6 months, I kept stretching my ankle with various exercises and now I am at a stage where I can walk on my tippy-toes. I am still unable to jog or run mainly because of limited foot movement.

All, please have enough patience and take your PT very seriously. If you avoid some exercises because you are having pain, you will not get flexibility back as scar tissues get stronger and stronger day by day which prevent your movements.

It has been over a year since the surgery and now no hardware in my foot, I am able to walk fine now but still there are following issues.

1) I have a very less flexibility in my ankle. I can move foot up and down about 50% of original (compared to left foot). I can move my foot inward only about 20% of original (compared to left foot). I can move my foot outward almost 100% of original

2) Looks like doctor put my joint in place in such a way that my right foot points 5 degrees outward. His reason was that my foot wanted to keep turning in the way it broke and he had to do some over correction.

3) If I sit down for more than 30 minutes, I am limping until I take 20-25 steps

4) Climbing stairs is absolutely fine but going down the stairs is something that is still not smooth. Although slowly slowly in last 2 months I reached a level where I can go down the stairs without doing one step at a time and also without holding any rails or support.

5) I am unable to sit down with crossed legs.

6) My right foot points outwards, while trying to walk when I try to keep it straight then it gets me pain in my right knee and left hip joint area

7) If I stand on my ankle for 4-6 hours (mostly standing and some walking) when I visit some amusement parks, my ankle swells up and pain starts increasing.

I sincerely hope that I reach atleast 80-90% of original flexibility in next few months.

I kept reading about massaging scar tissues to break those free for further flexibilities but I think my scar tissues are way down the surface so I am not sure how to massage those. My insurance won’t cover any more physical therapies.

If anyone can help me with instructions on how to massage scar tissues I will really appreciate it.

I will post back my progress in another 6 months or so.

If you would like to contact AP, Please leave a comment

Wow 1 year! And still not 100%

Wow! It is been exactly a year since I broke my ankle. I have stopped seeing the doctor, physical therapist. But still not 100% back to normal yet. I would say I am 90% back. The remaining 10% not sure if I will ever get back. Got to wait and see! My ankle still gets inflexible after sitting for 2-3 hours. It takes about 2-3 minutes to get back to normal. Still have trouble standing in ski pose. So no skiing this year. Went to Lake Tahoe couple of times this year, but stayed indoors enjoying the snow from the comforts of the cabin. Still have to send that letter to the insurance about me needing the physical therapy in December. Just sheer laziness preventing me from sending it. Will do it this week to commemorate the broken ankle anniversary!

Insurance Woes

I graduated from physical therapy mid Dec. But still have pain on my ankle when I Squat, during Yoga Warrior pose or in skiing pose. Looks like my skiing days are over. Have a doctor appointment end of this month to check it out. In the mean time, Insurance company, Aetna, thinks that my Dec physical therapy session was unwarranted and hence it won’t pay. Now I have to provide them proof that I was still aching in Dec even though my pain hasn’t gone totally yet! God! I hate phone calls with the insurance companies. Feels like I am part of the cast of “Sicko”. Ankle woes continues………….

Diagnostic Injection – Confusion and Update

Got the injection a week back. There were some confusion as to what kind of injection it was. It turns out that it was not a diagnostic injection after all. It is just a cocktail of analgesic, some short acting and long acting steroid. The doctor thought that it will help with the soreness and scar tissue. The injection was administered right at the ankle. Had to take it easy for 48 hours after the injection. Then now I am back to normal. The soreness has reduced. But I do see some unstability(Don’t know how to describe) when I am walking at a faster pace. Need to closely monitor and understand what the issue is. So that is where I stand.

Diagnostic Injection???

The Doctor told me last week that I would need to get a diagnostic injection to see if the scar tissues are the one that is preventing me from squatting/extending. I have set up an appt for next week. But still worried as to what that would bring to the plate of worries!

The good thing from all this, the other half got me a Wii and Wii Fit plus to get me going. Have been getting tired of people telling me that I have put on some weight since the fracture as if I didn’t know that already! I am enjoying my Wii even though it tells me that I am 64 in Wii age! Let us see how long it keeps my interest!

6 Months update

6 Months… Still not 100% alright! I need lots and lots of patience. But there are improvements even though it is slow. My Physical therapist in the last month was so good. He went back to school :-(. Thanks to him, I could see considerable improvement. Now I am able to walk with less limp. Jog in a trampoline for 5 mins. Walk fast ( at the rate of 3.3 miles an hour) in a treadmill for 15 mins. So it is good!
On the flip side, I still cannot squat, run or jump. Have a Dr. appt in a week. So will know more then.

Wow! Itz been 5 months today!

Seriously, it has been 5 months since I broke my ankle today and I am still recovering from it. There is progress, it is slow though. In India, I learnt to walk in uneven surfaces. That really helped. By the end of my 5 weeks in India, I kind of learned to come down the stair without my crutch and side railings. That was good progress. My return trip was pretty normal without much swelling in spite of not wearing the compression socks. The wheel chair assistance helped in getting in/out without much strain.
Work has been keeping me busy since I came back. I am continuing my physical therapy sessions. It is definitely helping but slowly. Everyone still sees me limping a little. Have to consciously get rid of it. My ankle still hurts when I try to squat. That is the reason, I am not able to come down the stairs easily. I am using something called quick steps to come down. I still need to learn how to do it normally without pain. My ortho thinks that I might have scar tissues in the joint, hence the pain. So we are going to wait for a month and then see if an orthoscope is needed to scrap away the scar tissues. I am so NOT looking forward for that. So I have started going to gym. I am hoping getting back to regular activities and physical therapy might fix this problem. Crossing my fingers!
To add to my adventure, travelling this week again on a short trip. My first flight after the fall without wheelchair. Let us see how it goes!

Another flight with a recovering ankle fracture

Had a good flight as far as the ankle is concerned. It was a 20 hour flight plus 3 hour transit in Hong Kong. As per my physical therapist recommendation, I had requested for wheel chair assistance and that was really very helpful. Even though I could walk, couldn’t have managed to stand in the long security lines with the recovering ankle. The airport staff at SFO, HKG and MAA were great. The main thing that made the flight bearable was the compression socks. The compression socks I bought had 20-30mmHg pressure. Even though it was a little tough to put it on, it was very comfy once it was on. I just wore it on the injured leg, did not wear it on my good leg. I am so glad my physical therapist recommended it. That really supported my ankle and also kept the foot from swelling real big. Also I made sure, I never removed my shoes. Since putting it back on after the swelling might become impossible. So on the whole it was a comfortable journey for my ankle. As for as the food and sleep is concerned, that is whole another story for my other blog.

3 Months update

It has been 3 months, still not completely alright! But there is a lot of improvement. I can climb up stairs without any aid. I can walk without any aid, but still limp a little. So trying really hard not to limp. The tough part is coming down the stairs.. That is very painful without the railing and a walking stick. I am doing yoga regularly. Continuing with the physical therapy routine everday. I can see improvement. But still a long way to go. The swelling also has reduced which is a relief. Will be leaving this friday on a long flight trip! Hopefully I will survive! Physical therapist has recommended that I wear the compression socks when on flight! I see they cost between $25-$35. Yet to buy. So much for travelling to Zurich since I got a great deal on flight ticket! Have a doctor appointment tomorrow. Keeping my fingers crossed!

12th Week update

Can’t believe it is almost 12 weeks since I broke my ankle. Still limping along. Physiotherapy is good. Have added more exercise. I am using the cane to walk up and down the stairs. At home, I am walking without the cane. The leg doesn’t swell up as much now. Still have to practice to walk without the cane.

Looks like I overdid an exercise (the therapist assistant insisted I do it) , so it started hurting a bit earlier this week. Resting and icing has calmed it down a bit. So it is not bad now. Can’t wait to shed the limp and walk normal again.

Exactly 2 more weeks before I fly out. Have asked for wheel chair assitance since my therapist thinks that is probably better given the 20 hour flight.  Keeping my fingers crossed that I should improve a lot before leaving!

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