Today I decided to write about my ankle fracture and the recovery from it. I know from my own experience that any information or comments from people in the similar situation could be a support or a comfort in our hard efforts toward becoming normal again.
On Aug 26, I broke my right ankle and became a cripple from an energetic and strong woman in an instant. X-ray confirmed fibular and medial malleolus fracture. The doctor said it must have been a severe twist, like what happens to a dancer falls during a spin. I went through a surgery on Aug. 30 to fix the bones with one plate, a handful of screws and and was discharged from the hospital 3 days after, by which time the pain was already bearable without medicine and I could walk on two crutches and handle necessary self care (toilet, shower, grabbing a taxi etc). The injured ankle was kept immobile in a splint and still swollen.
For 4-6 weeks post operation, the injured ankle was not supposed to bear any weight. I felt that I could do nothing to speed up my recovery. As instructed, the right foot was elevated, ideally above the level of heart, most of the time. It was really hard to fall asleep when I could only lie in one position.
My first doctor's appointment came 9 days after the surgery, during which X-ray was taken and I was reassured that the bones were well positioned. They took away the splint and made me a removable plastic brace mainly to help to shape my foot into a 90 degree angle with my leg. The doctor prescribed anti-inflammatory pills for the incisions and some aspirin type of medicine to prevent blood clot. Physical therapy started right after for some magnetic, electric and ice/compression treatment. I was also instructed to loose the straps on the brace and try to move the ankle a bit once in a while and do cycling movement on my back to help with blood circulation, though the doctor's primary concern was swelling rather than mobility at this stage.
The second doctor's visit was about 2 weeks after the first. Only incisions were checked, dressing changed and no X-ray taken. Again anti-inflammatory pills were prescribe and I started to suspect that the incisions were not healing as well as they should have. Nonetheless I was told to work on increasing my ankle's range of movement and at PT, in addition to all the usual magnetic, electric and compression treatment, the therapist got my foot on a ProStrech and told me to roll back and forth to the best I could. Quite scarily, I had a slip in a mall when I went on my crutches to the Apple shop to fix my laptop after the doctor's visit. My injured foot hit the ground twice and certainly bore some weight. There was pain afterwards but it disappeared quite soon, so I didn't go back to the doctor.
Now I'm about 5 and half weeks post operation. On each day, I stretch my ankle back and forth and draw the alphabet in the air plus some yoga postures and core exercise in the bed. The ankle now folds back slightly less than 90 degrees. The right foot still turns to red and to purple and feels swelling soon after it's not elevated. There must be still swelling in the ankle area but I cannot see with all the wrapping. Icing brings relief. A few days ago, I tried to stand with both feet on the ground but put no weight on the right. Even this brought a wonderful feeling of more stability and security.
In 5 days I'm seeing my doctor for the 6-week-post-operation appointment. I am nervous but hoping he would allow weight-bearing.