1. Health
Brett Sears

When to Start Running After an Ankle Fracture

By April 15, 2012

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I recently evaluated a patient who had suffered a severe ankle fracture. She broke her tibia and fibula, which are the two bones of your leg that are part of the ankle joint. Her fracture was so bad that a surgical procedure called an open reduction internal fixation (ORIF) was required to help hold the pieces of bone together so normal healing can occur.

The patient walked into my clinic with crutches. Her weight bearing status was written on her prescription from her surgeon: Non-weight bearing. This means that she is not allowed to put weight on her foot or ankle, so she needs to use the crutches to walk.

After evaluating her I started to work on her scar mobility and range of motion (ROM). I instructed her in a home exercise program so she could work on ROM and scar management herself. I asked her if she had any questions.

"Just one," she said. "When can I run again?"

I had to step back and chuckle a bit. Here is a patient who recently had major surgery to correct the alignment of her ankle after a severe fracture. She is unable to put weight on her foot and needs crutches just to walk. And she was worried about running.

So when is a good time to start running after an ankle fracture? The answer is different for everyone. I explained to the patient that we need to focus on walking first. Then I explained that it takes about eight weeks for bone to heal, then another few weeks after that to be sure that the bones are completely healed. And still it may take considerable time to restore normal gait and stride after such a severe injury. Conservatively, it may be 6 to 9 months (or longer) after her injury before running can be attempted.

If you have a broken ankle, be sure to work closely with your physical therapist to gain normal range of motion and strength and to restore normal functional walking. If you want to get running again, discuss this with your therapist and set realistic goals that you can attain.

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Comments
September 21, 2012 at 11:30 pm
(1) Nina D. says:

Hello. I’d just like to ask if following the physical therapy instructions on this website is sufficient to allow me to walk properly again. I broke my fibula and dislocated my ankle, and I underwent ORIF for it. The syndesmotic screw has been removed, and all I need to do now is to go to Physical Therapy. Problem is, I have no time and no money to go to a PT clinic. And if those instructions are not enough, do you have any suggestions as to what I should do? Thank you for your time.

September 29, 2012 at 7:37 am
(2) physicaltherapy says:

Thanks for your comment. The information on this site is provided to give you information on what to expect from physical therapy. It should not be used in place of care from your physical therapist or from your doctor.
If it is difficult for you to get to physical therapy, many PTs don’t mind seeing you once every week or two. He or she may be able to prescribe you specific exercises that you can work on independently. Every now and then you can check in with your PT to measure progress and to update your self-care program.
Good luck!
Brett

October 19, 2012 at 6:26 pm
(3) Betsy says:

I had a bad ankle break and surgery a year ago, pilon fracture in the tibia and I currently have a plate on either side of the tibia and across the front bottom and 12 screws holding them all in place. My ROM is very good and I have most of my musculature & strength back. What I’m having trouble with is running. Specifically, whereas I used to pronate with both feet and could handle that with the right running shoes and arch supports, now I only pronate on the foot that I did not break (the left). I also am getting shin splints in the leg with the broken ankle (the right). Do you have any suggestions? I really miss running and can’t do it right now just because of the shin splints.

October 21, 2012 at 9:40 pm
(4) physicaltherapy says:

Betsy,
Thanks for your comment, and sorry to hear about your ankle fracture.
Shin splints can be a tough one. Of course, you would want to maximize your strength and ROM in your ankle. I always have my patients work quite a bit on balance and proprioception too. I use a BAPS board quite a bit for those patients with shin splints. Also, many of my patients suffering from shin splints also exhibit some core and hip weakness; hip strength is really essential to ensure that your lower extremity is in the right place when your foot hits the ground. Try a visit to a physical therapist who can measure and assess your balance, ROM, proprioception, and hip lower extremity (including hip) strength. He or she may also be able to recommend a good running shoe to try to get you running again.
Good luck, and let us know how things go!
~Brett

December 7, 2012 at 9:20 am
(5) Kerri Criscuolo says:

CLEARLY you only learned and can report what you read in your textbooks in PT school. I read your post two months ago, to the day… I broke my ankle – trimalleolar fracture – 10/6/12 had ORIF on 10/15/12. Your post frightened me, running is in the heart of a runner- that’s why your client asked you that. I ran 7 miles yesterday on the treadmill. The human body heals VERY differently in everyone. I’m 34, been jogging for 20 years… Mom if three 14, 10, and 9. People are capable of AMAZING things: healing is completely individual and is based on the body and mind. When you tell people this, you tell they CAN’T, and then they don’t. This was a discouraging and NONFACTUAL article. HAVE you ever healed from something like this? DO you know what is genuinely possible? Body, Mind, SPIRIT: it all works together.

December 17, 2012 at 12:36 pm
(6) physicaltherapy says:

Kerri,
First, thank you for your inspiring comments. I am so happy that you are back to running so soon after your injury. I’m certain your personal story is an inspiration to many of my readers. Thank you.
Second, many of my patients after a severe ankle fracture and ORIF are non-weight bearing for four to six weeks following surgery. That’s the doctor’s orders, not mine. It would be impossible for them to start running so soon after such a surgical procedure. I agree with you that everyone heals differently, and it is not my intent to tell anyone that they “can’t.” It is merely to provide information to the best of my ability. And I must write to the mean, not to those who progress flawlessly after surgery and return to normal activity and function well ahead of the curve. Can you imagine if I wrote that you would be running in 6 weeks after your injury, and you did NOT? Would that not also serve to take the wind from your sails?
Third, the tone of your comment is a bit abrasive. “CLEARLY you only learned and can report what you read in your textbooks in PT school” is your opinion, and I defend your right to have it. Sometimes it is easy to write aggressive comments behind the anonymous veil that the internet offers. But please be aware of others’ feelings when doing so. We don’t know each other (father of three kids as well), but we can still maintain a certain level of diplomacy when commenting.
Again, thank you for your insightful and inspiring comment. I really think that your story will help my readers. And you’re right. Body, mind, SPIRIT: it all works together.
~Brett

January 11, 2013 at 12:31 pm
(7) Kerri Criscuolo says:

Hi Briett,

I post with my real name, I’m on the internet and am not hiding behind any veil of internet privacy. I found your comment about “stepping back to chuckle a bit,” condescending and unsympathetic to a runner’s desire to return to the sport that gives such joy her. The truth is, I am one week less then three months out of ORIF surgery, 7 screws/plate and two long screws…I run daily. My ankle is 95% better. I PT’d it myself. Your response of “6 to 9 months (or longer) is incorrect. Muscle has memory; and the sooner you get back to attempting normalcy, the sooner the body will respond. When I googled “ORIF and RUNNING” your post came up and it was highly discouraging to me. And incorrect. Also, I had no PT. The power of an individual to heal his/herself from this type of injury can come from within. Streatching, Range of Motion, hot jacuzzi soaks daily to reduce inflammation, assisted walking by holding on to treadmill hand rails and progressing to slight jogging….that would have been more informative. I hope someone reads this who needs inspiration and accurate information

January 18, 2013 at 9:33 am
(8) Bkitt says:

Kerri,

No need to be so confrontational. Brett is giving the AVERAGE recovery time, he is spot on, and I’m 100% sure he knows WAAAAAY more about this than you. I agree that people heal differently, but YOU have to account for different people having different procedures and directions. YOU were obviously weight-bearing shortly after surgery. BRETT was talking about a patient that was completely non-weight bearing. I was non-weight bearing for 2+ months. As Brett said it would have been impossible to have started running at that point. After 2+ months of being completely non-weight bearing in a cast your muscles atrophy so much, you have no ROM, and no balance. I don’t care who you are, but that is medical fact. I went for my first jog yesterday, but for a NORMAL person undergoing the same procedure I don’t think this would be the case as I was in outstanding shape before the ORIF and rehabbed extensively. I’m 4.5 months out which I would consider to be the absolute best case after being non-weight bearing for so long (and at that my ROM was barely enough to convince the PT to let me run). I’ve suffered a number of serious ankle injuries all with varying degrees of rehab time so I understand the process.

Get off you high horse and stop the psycho-babble….of course determintation is a factor, but reading your confrontational posts made me angry; not inspired.

January 28, 2013 at 9:58 pm
(9) physicaltherapy says:

BKitt,
Thanks for the comment! Appreciate the support!
Brett

January 21, 2013 at 9:43 am
(10) Kerri Criscuolo says:

BKitt:

How could he know more than me, when I actually lived through the experience….and seriously? My Trimaleolar fractrue wasn’t the weight bearing kind. I got back on the bike two weeks after surgery so I wasn’t left with devastatedly atrophied muscles, tendons…ligs…whatever…my point of posting WAS TO MOTIVIATE PEOPLE TO BE THEIR OWN VECTORS OF HEALING, and give some bright light to all the darkness that is out there in ORIF land…I had an amazing surgen, I worked my a## off daily and I’m like 95% better…Good news or any other runner who whats to get back in the saddle asap. and Bkitt, i’m not really a horse person…i don’t think I’m better than anyone else, I just found a better way to do something than sit around and wait for tri-weekly PT appts. to magicly heal me.
Psycho-babble, lol, first grade much. This is for those who need the message. and for the rest of you like Bkitt….just scroll on, Not replying anymore, so if yoru one of those last word peeps, then by all means….

January 28, 2013 at 9:57 pm
(11) physicaltherapy says:

First, the amount of passion that all are displaying here is great. I appreciate the comments and the cordial interaction.

Kerri, your story is inspirational, for sure. Keep working your *** off and enjoy your running!

Heart and spirit go a long way, but are we to say to those who are NOT running after this injury that they did not have the right heart, spirit, or drive? I think not.

I think the bottom line is that everyone is different, everyone’s injury status and severity is different, and everyone’s functional outcome after such a traumatic injury is different.

Again, thanks for your comments.
Brett

January 22, 2013 at 5:37 pm
(12) Tan says:

Hi. I have a question. I broke my ankle over 3 years ago now, I have screws holding it together. My problem is I still can’t run. I never regained full mobility in the ankle and its still tender to touched at the scar. I have tried running for short amounts of time but I end up limping without realising then I get sharp shooting pains and have to stop. What would be the next step for me? Do I keep pushing the ankle? I used to play squash five times a week, I’m only 24 it’s ruining my life…

January 28, 2013 at 9:51 pm
(13) physicaltherapy says:

Tan,
Thanks for your comment. I wish there was an easy answer for you, but you must keep pushing it a little bit more and more each day.
I have had patients who required surgery to remove the hardware to allow more normal motion to occur around the tibia and fibula. Have you spoken to your doctor about this? I also had a patient who required surgery to remove excessive scar tissue around the ankle joint after an ankle ORIF and she gained a bit more ROM.
I think your best bet is to return to the doctor and discuss your options.

Best of luck, and thanks for your comment.
Brett

January 26, 2013 at 6:19 am
(14) cookie says:

Broke my tib and fib 10 months ago I dont want to run yet. I just graduated from crutches my doctor gave me a cane now . But I walk with limp , is funny I got to force my good leg to move .I just want to walk normal ,need to go back to work Im 46 years old I need get out my house and enjoy life again.

January 28, 2013 at 9:48 pm
(15) physicaltherapy says:

Cookie,
Wow. Hope things start getting back to normal with your ankle. Keep working at it, get the range of motion and strength back and slowly things will start coming around. Just keep pushing a little more each day.

Thanks for your comment!
Brett

February 21, 2013 at 4:03 pm
(16) Sarah Roberts says:

I found the physical therapy advice here really helpful – thank you SO MUCH for taking the time to post this information. I had a trimalleolar fracture in December and am getting back to walking normally. I’m also an avid runner and it’s killing me not to run yet but I respect that these things take time.
In the last post you mentioned removing the hardware – I have a plate and a few screws and I mentally hate having them in there. I want them removed and to me, it seems like it’d make sense to remove them earlier than later – when I think about it, I think having them removed now, having that scar tissue that built up while the ankle was immobile for 10 weeks removed, and get on the PT right after this surgery, I would be better off than fighting through this scar tissue and swelling just to have another round of scar tissue to work through – over all time off of running would be minimized. I have heard that surgeons typically look for a full heal before removing the hardware but I’m wondering if you have any thoughts on that…

February 25, 2013 at 10:26 pm
(17) physicaltherapy says:

Sarah,
Thanks for your comments. Hopefully things are going well with your recovery and you are back up and running soon.

Many of my other patients also voice concerns about the hardware, and others have told my that they also “mentally” have a problem with the hardware. Your point about doing things about it sooner rather than later is valid. In my experience, patients usually must wait about a year before any consideration is given to hardware removal. Now, this is only in my own professional experience, and your surgeon may have other ideas about the hardware, so a discussion with him or her is a must.

I hope you continue to improve. Keep working hard, and thanks for reading and commenting.
~Brett

March 10, 2013 at 3:32 am
(18) lakshi says:

Hi.
All your answers are very helpful.
I had a fibula fracture and did OrIF with one screw fixed.Now 5 weeks post surgery doc said i can start walking without crutches.
My leg starts swelling again when keeping down. sometimes pain like needles and pins.
Is this normal ?
Is it alright to apply anti inflammatory gel?

March 10, 2013 at 4:11 pm
(19) physicaltherapy says:

Thanks for your comment! Hope things go well and you get back to full function soon!
The swelling that occurs when you are up and about is normal. Talk to your doctor or physical therapist about it, and try to keep it elevated every now and then throughout the day.
Not sure about the anti inflammatory gel. Some gels are over the counter, others are prescription. Best bet is to ask your surgeon or family doctor.
Good luck, and keep us posted about your progress.
~Brett

March 11, 2013 at 3:17 pm
(20) Anna says:

Hi Brett,

First of all I just want to say thanks for taking the time to answer everyone’s questions- I went through this whole message board and feel very educated and not alone in my recovery process.

So I am 20 years old and I was in a car accident in May of 2012 (40 year old woman was texting and driving and failed to yield on a green light. She turned right in to me and my foot was so hard on the break that I ended up with a pilon fracture on my right ankle (broke bottom of tibia, fibula, and the bottom bone that connects those two together). My car was totaled and her insurance is maxed out due to all my surgical bills- I try not to harbor hate but it makes me so mad that she wasn’t paying attention to the road and my life is forever changed.

Needless to say, it was a long recovery b/c I had to get surgery (7 screws, 2 plates). It’s now mid march and I’m coming up to almost a year since my accident and I’m still having trouble walking correctly and I cannot run at all b/c the pain. I know you don’t know much about my injury, but do you think screws and plates immobilize the ankle? My doctor seems to think taking them out is unnecessary but I’d like to get a second opinion. Also, I’ve gained a considerable amount of weight due to decreased activity so I’m wondering if the extra weight on my body has something to do with increased pain. I know this is a long post (I tend to be wordy) but I’m hoping you can give me some solid advice… Maybe pros and cons of screw/plate removal?

Thanks!
Anna

March 13, 2013 at 9:48 am
(21) Cecil says:

Just wanted to give another perspective. Broke tib/fib, 2 plates, 8 screws. 6 weeks non-weight bearing, 4 weeks in a boot gradually increasing weight bearing (using 2 crutches, 1 crutch, and finally no crutch), then about 6 weeks of PT before I was running semi-comfortably for short periods. About 2-4 more weeks before I was truly running comfortably. No self-rehab spirit thing here, just followed the directions for the most part. Call it about 20 weeks/5 months, though it was definitely a bit less than that.
To those that are reading a bit nervously, from my experience 6 months before attempting to run is very conservative. Situations are different but your surgeon and physical therapist should give you a good idea of how long rehab will take. Do your PT exercises every day and don’t eat tons of bad food while you’re recovering. The exercises will suck and you’ll get frustrated because you can’t move like you used to. No balance, no power, no flexibility. Keep struggling with it though, it gets better with time and effort. It does take much effort by the way, so do put in the effort. Also tell your surgeon AND PT person every abnormal symptom or anything bothering you. More information is always better from their perspective.

March 13, 2013 at 6:14 pm
(22) Jennie says:

Hi, I got a question:
I broke my ankle in the end of January 2012. I slipped on ice, my fibula had a spiral fracture and a piece of tibia broke too. And if that’s not enough – I also dislocated it.
I had a surgery and was in a splint for 2 weeks, then cast for another 3, now I’m in a walking boot (for about a week now). I’m still non weight bearing, but I started working on ROM. The doc said I should do it daily 3 times a day and that’s what I do (I got a PT coming to me 2 times a week, and I do the rest by myself).
I guess I’m just anxious, I’m doing good according to the PT, and I see the improvement too, but my ankle still feels so stiff and hard to move…
I’m a 30 yo, single, and just want to return back to my life, like walk, go to work, going out, driving (it’s my right ankle too…) and dating – meaning wearing heels (not steletos – never had balance for that), but I do have lots of shoes that I still haven’t worn that will break my heart if I won’t be able to do it this spring-summer…
I don’t care about running, but when do u think I’ll be able to walk well enough to be able to wear nice shoes?
I’m gonna be non weight bearing for another 2 weeks then probably 50% for another 2-3 weeks…
I’m really doing all I’m supposed to do with PT at home, I just need some reassurance or something…
And also – my leg is extremely itchy, how much time until it stopps?
Thank u,
Jennie

March 13, 2013 at 7:28 pm
(23) Cecil says:

@Jennie, if you’re like me, your March will be shot, April will get better and May is when you get closer to back to normal. I didn’t get much flexibility back until I really worked it, and for me that was around May. I remember having to lotion up the leg regularly once the cast came off. I used Curel, that stopped the itch. And you are kinda like me actually, my break was a year ago in late January, also 30, single but male. Therefore I’m sorry, can’t speak to the heels. Getting on tippy toes was around late April/early May.

March 13, 2013 at 10:32 pm
(24) Elizabeth says:

Broke my left ankle hiking on 7/6/2012, bilateral tib/fib with dislocation, comminuted fib. Plate with 7 screws in the fib, two long screws in the tib. At this point I’m walking very well (up to four miles at a brisk pace), but my real issue is I can’t put on a hiking boot or snowboard boot due to the prominence of the hardware. There’s still a lot of pain when the scar is touched – electric jolts, very nasty – my little toe and the one next to it are still numb, and the top of my foot is numb.

Tomorrow I’m having surgery to have the hardware removed. My ortho is concerned about the bone build-up on the plate and has agreed to take it all out. I’m hoping to get some relief for the pain and to be able to get back to the things I love doing. I’m not an athlete but my ortho is understanding that my quality of life depends upon being able to snowboard, hike, golf, bicycle, jet ski, etc (I’m 55 and just retired last year).

I told him if this doesn’t work, I’m opting for amputation and I’ll get a blade to replace this stupid ankle (kidding).

March 14, 2013 at 8:10 am
(25) amanda reeves says:

I have just read all the posts and thank everyone that takes the time to tell their personal experience.I too broke my tib and fib following a fall down a flight of stairs at home!!!Apparantly i broke it particuarly badly an injury more commonly found following an R.T.A.(this happened in june2012).Following ORIF 2x days after injury, pins plates and ithink approx 6 screws ,iwas non .bearing for 8weeks and then followed the usual PT up untill Jan 2013. Ihave since made a big attempt at building up physical fitness with very regular exercise at the gym etc. Doing pretty well ,however no chance yet of running ,too painful and still suffer sharp shooting pains upon movement(intermittantly).My surgeon upon my final discharge (jan3013)said he was pleasedwith my xray but that i would NEVER regain more than 90%rom.Does this sound typical or do you think i too should hope for a full recovery,?will i ever move freely again or wear heels?or should i remain grateful that they fixed it at all ?(which i truly am.)

March 15, 2013 at 1:00 pm
(26) charo says:

I broke my fib/tib on 2/14/13 I was in a hard cast for 7 days then had surgery got a plate and six screws I was in a splint for 12 days and then put on 50% weight bearing started pt this week I was very surprised with all I read online that I would be on my feet so fast I will have my long screw removed on April 2 my doc says this will help with motion. Looking forward to walking and working again

March 21, 2013 at 7:52 pm
(27) physicaltherapy says:

Good luck with everything!
Brett

March 19, 2013 at 10:45 pm
(28) Jen says:

Hello, all. Broke my ankle on end of tibia and fibula taking a bad fall off of the horse during a lesson. I broke the ankle on 3/3/13 but the doctors are not sure if the fracture on the medula talus (sorry if misspelling here) needs surgery. I do not find out until 3/25/13….isn’t this rather late to find out about whether surgery is required or not??
I’m really bummed about what everyone is saying on here about how long it takes to get up and going again. I’m an avid walker and bike as my mode of transportation (not to mention I can’t ride [horseback ride] for at least 2 months!!!). I hope this is not a crippling experience.
In the meantime, I’ve been nonweighting since 3/4/13 (ugh, so annoying, I am used to being active, not lazy…maybe this is a life-lesson).

March 21, 2013 at 7:50 pm
(29) physicaltherapy says:

Jen,
Sorry about your injury. I have had patients who have also waited to find out if surgery is needed. Sometimes the bones start to fuse with no surgery. Every case is a bit different.
Hope all goes well and you get back and moving quickly.
Brett

March 21, 2013 at 8:36 pm
(30) lou says:

How, I am not alone, there is no set time as we can all agree just from this site. At 56 running dail for more than 30 years, I’ve experienced the worst mid life crisis, I broke my right fibula last summer (9 months out) and required a orif. To also mention it was work related with W/C doctors involved.I still can not run pain free and just this past month I was told that I now have a ligment impengment due to scar tissue from the surgery. I given two seperate options; first try cortisone shots to break up the scar tissue, which I never heard before also thought cortisone was used for reducing inflamation. Second another surgery with three month recovery all over again. Both are not a sure fix. Not sure what to do.

March 25, 2013 at 9:20 pm
(31) Amber says:

At the beginning of February I was in a car accident and experienced a pilon fracture, I broke my tib, fib and talan (sp?). I have been through two surgeries, the first with external fixation, the second removing the external fixation and adding hardware to my ankle. I was just given an aircast less then a week ago but am still not allowed to put weight on my foot. I was however just given direction to start PT for ROM, got all the stiches from six incision sites out and told I no longer have to lay around with my foot elevated all day! YES! I go back to the doctor in about two weeks for a check-up. Because of my injury (right leg) and the location I live, I am unable to get to the PT office. Can you recommend some beginning PT exercises for ROM? The doctor said I needed PT that is gentle active and active amist motion of ankle, subtalan and toes. Thanks for all the information and help!

April 2, 2013 at 12:49 pm
(32) Cynthia Payan says:

Hello. I have a question to which I haven’t been able to get a straight answer yet. I am in the US Army and less than two years ago I fractured my ankle during deployment. I didn’t find out it was fractured until months later after coming back to the States. I ignored the fact that it was fractured and did not seek any kind of treatment for it. Recently I had an unrelated surgery (hysterectomy) and after a week of this surgery I started getting a horrible pain on the same leg I had the ankle fracture while on bed rest. I could hardly walk. It turned out that the tendon above my knee was inflamed and I had to get steroid shots to ease the discomfort and walk normal again. Tendons don’t get inflamed out of the blue. Is it possible that perhaps this later tendon injury may be due to my previous ankle fracture?

April 10, 2013 at 8:25 pm
(33) Megan says:

On 9/11 I fell and had a tib/fib break. Had surgery (ORIF) to put 2 screws in on 9/21. I was Non-weight bearing for over 8 weeks in a boot. Once I could put weight on it I started PT to work on ROM and strenght. I was surprised how much the muscles were just gone in that amount of time. I did PT twice a week and worked to walk with 1 crutch and then to a cane. I was to have surgery at the end of March to remove the screws but they ended up breaking at the end of February (yes they can do that if they put in ones they had intended to take them out – I was lucky to have a sports med ortho that wants his patients back to as normal as possible). I am a little over 6 months post surgery and just am feeling like I can walk with a small limp. Now I am working to get back to regular activities like walking. I get a ton of swelling and right now there is no way I could run and I have been sooo true to my recovery doing everything have been told. People will be different and I know it will be a year before I really get to whatever will be the new “normal” – I know my ankle will never be the same. I just really want to be able to walk a 10k with little to no issue by next April.

April 11, 2013 at 12:32 pm
(34) Hello says:

I am having the pin removed that connects the tibia and fibula. Assuming it doesn’t break in the process of removal how long would you guess I will be off my feet. My job requires a little bit of hiking and am hoping to be back in 3 weeks. Thanks for your help!

April 21, 2013 at 2:17 pm
(35) physicaltherapy says:

Your recovery time is generally dictated by how the surgery goes and by your doctor. In my experience, patients who have had hardware removal are usually off their feet for 2-4 weeks. Again, check with your doctor.
Thanks!
Brett

April 21, 2013 at 2:41 pm
(36) jason says:

Hoping Cecil, who posted on March 13th, will get this and reply … I just broke my ankle which required surgery with screws for both bones, a plate on the outside and some wiring.
I am a very active athlete/triathlete who just canceled his race at Ironman Lake Placid b/c of the injury. Everything I read on the internet seems to be negative in tone and yours seemed to go the other way so I’m hoping you can follow up with an update. It sounded like you were running short distances in March and I am wondering if you are feeling any better in April. Has your PT made a significant difference?
Please let me know your thoughts – I am desperate for something positive!!!

Jason

April 22, 2013 at 1:39 pm
(37) jules says:

Hello, I am 47 yrs old and use to be very active and thin. At 21 of age I had severe auto accident leaving me with shattered pelvis and a plate with 5 screws. I healed and even had two more children after. Last year I took a motorcycle ride with an old friend of my daughters. A car darted out and he paniced. I hit the pavement, of course I jumped on my left ankle (the same side of hip surgery) my foot twisted completely around and I had to have surgery to replace it.. Now 6 months later and 20 lbs heavier, I would like to start an excercise program that will help me lose weight without injuring myself.

April 25, 2013 at 3:27 am
(38) cookie says:

Hi Im cookie Im recovering from a broken tibia fibula. April 14 2013 would be a year I’ve been walking with a cane about three months . I’ve been walking without the here and there I think the more walk without the cane my walk gets better .My limp is not as bad ,but I don’t give up . I hated the wheelchair when didnt need anymore I stored it the garage , my walker got set a side the wall my crutches I finallyleft them on the bottom of stairs. I want to stored my cane in the closet .But Im not ready,my doctor just told me last month one of my bones hasn’t mended completely. I could get a bone graph or let heal on own I got six more months hopefully I’ll have better news . But still continued to walk , I feel like each day my walk gets better . I have 2 – 3 inch scars and a skin graft ,does anybody know how long does it take this scars to fade .

it mend on its own .Got wait 6 months more hopefully it

April 26, 2013 at 4:04 pm
(39) Sarah says:

Hi. I wonder if someone can help me. I have been searching the net for info on tendon problems after an ankle fracture, but cant find much info. I had a bimalleor ankle fracture last June. I have a lateral plate with 6 screws and a screw on the medial side. I also have flat feet, which ive always had. I have been experiencing pain on the medial side and wonder if its a tendon problem. The consultant has said i need my metal taken out before they can diagnose my problem but this seems a little extreme as a starting point. Does anyone have any experience of this? Thanks

April 28, 2013 at 3:13 pm
(40) physicaltherapy says:

Sarah,
If you have pain on the medial side of your ankle and have flat feet, you may be experiencing posterior tibial tendonitis. Stop in and see a physical therapist who can perform an exam on your foot mechanics. He or she may be able to offer strategies to manage the problem.
Thanks for reading
~Brett

April 30, 2013 at 1:16 pm
(41) Sarah says:

Thanks Brett. I’ll phone the physio.

May 3, 2013 at 10:28 am
(42) nikki says:

Brett,
I broke my ankle in Feb 2013, (fibula) and i am wondering is the healing process the same as for someone who didn’t have surgery.. I opted to not and wore a walking boot and ankle brace and now I don’t wear either unless I am out with the kids running around to make sure it is sucure… i was not referd to a PT… I don’t have much trouble with it unless I catch it on something heavy and drag it across it :)
I would like to get back to the gym, but really unsure of what to do.Any advise would be great.. really miss the gym but know that running will not be an option for awhile. Maybe I should be seeing a PT? IDK thank for any info you could provide.

May 5, 2013 at 8:16 pm
(43) physicaltherapy says:

Nikki,
The surgery for a broken ankle carries with it a few more wrinkles that may affect the healing process. Surgical scarring, longer immobilization time etc. may play a role in your recovery. If you didn’t have surgery, then your bone should heal in about 6-8 weeks, with full healing in about 12 weeks. You should be sure to check in with your doctor from time to time to be sure everything is ok. I think a few visits with a PT to get things moving again may help in your running and exercise goals.

Thanks for reading,
~Brett

May 7, 2013 at 1:56 am
(44) cookie says:

Thanks Brett
Is been 1year and 1month since I broke my tibia and fibula . Im doign lots motion walking more with my cane and without it , my walk is improving still have a little limp . It doesn’t bother me anymore as long Im walking . when I walk my shins on my leg sure gets sore and my leg feels stiff . Is that normal , I was sweeping outside some leaves my good leg got cramp on my thigh. Why does that happen I can’t vacuum for the same reason my leg cramps out . Does anybody have that problem. Good luck to everyone day by day weeks by weeks months by months you will get better it just take time and hard work.

May 8, 2013 at 1:04 am
(45) Nik says:

Hey there Brett,

I broke my ankle quite recently (4/15/2013); and had an ORIF of a fibular fracture, and a tear of the tibiofibular syndesmosis (with a dislocation of the tibiotalar joint) on 4/17/2013

…I honestly have no idea what that means, but I wrote what I could parse from my discharge papers. I can recall my orthopedic surgeon advising me that “this is an awful break– and that I’ll never be able to walk properly or unassisted ever again (even with the aid of PT) for the rest of my life… and that I’ll have arthritis forever… and blah, blah, blah”.

Truth be told, I wanted to tune him out– because he seemed like a “fire and brimstone” kind of doc, who wanted to scare me out of thoughts of weight-bearing too early. But now that it’s been about a month out, I’m having some concerns about my break.

I’m experiencing some very strange and random bolts of pain in and out of my ankle, and also some unpredictable twitching sensations in my toes and underfoot. I know that some after-procedure soreness is to be expected, but I was curious to know if these sensations were normal. On a more positive note, however– I can now fully curl my toes, the swelling on my foot is nearly nonexistent (the same can’t be said for my ankle, though), and have nearly fully-healed sutures from the removal of my staples.

I’m not set to start PT until 9 weeks out, and I’d really like to make sure that my healing is on-course. It’s an awful time to be a senior in college– living in Las Vegas, and freshly 22 years-old.

May 12, 2013 at 3:54 pm
(46) Marc says:

Hi Brett,

Thanks for hosting this site, I found it very informative. I broke my fibula on April 16 2013, and had surgery on April 24th. I had (from what I heard) a very competent surgeon, but with a Dr. House type of bedside manner when it came to questions. I am in a fiberglass cast now (2nd one), which will stay on until June 6th. I also have a very busy June in store, I run a small business and this is our prime time – I’m hoping to be reasonably mobile. Here are my questions….

1. Would you have any idea of why I’ve never heard (from my doctor) of this walking / air cast option? It seems part of every recovery I’ve read about, but I was told once the fiberglass cast comes off June 6th – that’s it – she specifically said no type of cast after that. Does this mean I should be able to (slowly, I would imagine) walk home after that?

2. Can I be optimistic that I will be able to walk (and drive – right ankle broke) in June? Is there anything I can do while casted-up to help?

3. If I push the envelope in June in terms of weight bearing, could I set back my larger recovery? (Or, will any pain I encounter be part of providing the bone with “incentive” to heal faster)

Thanks again. I am a 40 y male who had an active lifestyle before this.

May 13, 2013 at 3:50 pm
(47) Debbie says:

I broke my tibia and fibula on 3rd March 2013, today 13th May I got my full leg cast reduced – my knee is now allowed to bend but have cast up either side of knee with gap in the middle to limit movement. I never received any surgery. My doctor said today that I can put my foot down but not weight bear without crutches, unsure exactly what it means. I also wonder about being able to bend my knee whether is means I can actually sit with my two knees bent at the same angle or whether I can only partially bend my knee. Not sure what exercise I can do – should I be sitting with my knee bent for the majority of the day or be resting for the majority. Not clear to me. Desperate for walking again but I have gone 10 weeks and not about to ruin anything now. Unsure how much exercise to do as my thigh muscle seems to have deteriorated and I am keen to build this up but don’t want to overdo anything. Your reply would be appreciated.

May 14, 2013 at 5:10 am
(48) physicaltherapy says:

Debbie,
Thanks for your comment and sorry about your injury.
First, it sounds like you should speak with your doctor about your questions. He or she should be able to help you understand what you can and cannot do.
Putting your foot down on the ground with only crutches is a form of modified weight bearing. Perhaps your doctor meant “toe touch weight bearing” where only your toes touch the floor when walking with crutches. A little weight bearing (safely) can help a bit with bone growth.
At this point in your recovery, you should be able to do some light exercise to help with the atrophy in your muscles. A visit to your local physical therapist may be in order to help you safely initiate an exercise program.

Thanks for your comment,
Brett

May 15, 2013 at 3:59 pm
(49) Debbie says:

Hi Brett
Thanks for your response – appreciate it greatly. Doctor did not give a good deal of info but I am very lightly putting my foot on the ground but maintaining rest too. Lifting my leg up and down gently to try and gain some thigh muscle, thanks again.

May 27, 2013 at 5:53 pm
(50) Martin says:

16 months ago I broke my leg in 4 place. a spiral fracture on my tibia and a clean break across the joint on my fibula. I’m running again now, although (even after surgery to remove plates and scar tissue) it’s still incredibly stiff. are there any further tricks my physio may not be aware of? I’m looking to play sports again but am a bit apprehensive on it’s stability, despite being told it’s looking good.

June 1, 2013 at 4:09 am
(51) Michael says:

Hi there world. I appreciate each and everyone’s comments and feedback. They are very helpful and motivational. It puts me more at ease to hear great success and improvement from individuals going through a similar situation like mine.

I am a 20yr old male with no health conditions.
I was recently in a car accident on April 14th 2013
I broke my right ankle in 3 different places. The Fibula, Tibia & Talus.
I had 4 surgeries done.
My 1st surgery was a Open Reduction Surgery with an External Fixation.
After 2-3 long weeks of being in the hospital I was finally released with Non Weight Bearing instructions.
Shortly after being released I went back to have the External Fixation removed.
I was then given a boot that I still use, but I have never put weight on my ankle.
It has now been 7weeks since the day I broke my ankle and I still haven’t been assigned to any Physical Therapy.
I tend to move my ankle a little bit with my hands in a small rotation.
I have seen quite a bit of improvement in movement.
I also have noticed that most of my pain comes from the toe next to my pinky. It appears to be numb. I have sense of feeling when I touch it but at the same time it feels like its half asleep.

I sincerely appreciate everyone who took time to read my story.

I would truly appreciate any feedback whether it be facts or opinions.
I am open to ANY comments so please feel free to leave me any motivational words of recovery.

To all of you out there on this God ruled planet..remember that everything happens for a reason and that God gives his toughest battles to his strongest soldiers.

“God can restore what is broken and change it into something amazing. All you need is Faith.” – Joel 2:25

God Bless You All.

And remember that Faith is key.

June 1, 2013 at 12:25 pm
(52) Cecil says:

@jason It took me from late Jan 2012 to late May 2012 before I was running tentatively. By mid June I was running at 7.5 mph and 20 lbs heavier. That being said, it did not “feel” normal like prior to the surgery but I was running mostly comfortably. You’ll need to relearn how to walk first though, then walk up and down stairs, then hop on one leg, etc. and do the frustrating stretching exercises the PT will give because they do help. And oh, just in case you’re one of those go all-out types, give your ankle time to rest too.
I had an issue late last year where it felt like a tendon would occasionally rub against the plate/screw and cause pain or make my ankle feel “stuck” in a position. Never happened while I was running but would when wandering around the apartment. Doctor said it might be the hardware, so let’s remove it to make sure. Had surgery in early March to get those plates/screws removed. No cast needed, just needed to wear a wrap for 2 weeks, get the stitches removed and not do anything too stressful for the ankle for around 6 weeks. Could still weight train the upper body and walk around normal, just no running, hopping, twisting, cutting, all that stuff you know you shouldn’t do. Technically it sounded like I could have stressed it around 4 weeks but what’s an extra 2 weeks in the grand scheme of things? Anyway it feels MUCH more “normal” now that the hardware is removed. Range of motion is much better too. I’ve had the tendon twinge happen a few times but as time goes forward it’s much less intense and much less frequent. I’ll probably ask my doctor his thoughts on why it’s still occurring at all. Running is no problem. Jumping is no problem. Cutting is no problem. It’s not perfect yet, but it’s getting there.

June 2, 2013 at 8:35 pm
(53) physicaltherapy says:

Wow. Great comment and super encouragement! Thanks!

And by the way, check out Physical Therapy after Hardware Removal.

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June 4, 2013 at 9:13 pm
(56) Carrie C says:

I’m about 4 weeks out from a major trimalleolar fracture and about 3 weeks out from surgery (2 plates, 12 screws). I broke my ankle at work as a wilderness guide. My job entails hiking up to four miles a day with about 60 pounds on my back over rough terrain. I’m still non-weight bearing and will be for a while still.

Right now I’m on worker’s comp, but I’m going crazy not being able to be active outside. My orthopedist hasn’t been able to give me an estimate of when I can go back to work. I can make it another two months or so, but if my ankle won’t be ready by then, I need to find something else to do with my time. I would appreciate any estimates of when I could go back to work safely.

June 5, 2013 at 1:03 pm
(57) Pasha says:

So basically i had a medial melloleolus fracture 8 months back, i went to an orthopedic surgeon who said that it would heal without any cast or surgery. I waited for two months but it did not heal so i went to another orthopedic who immediately asked me to have a medial melloleolus fixation surgery, but he said that it wasn’t possible to use screws any more due to the fact that i had wasted alot of time and the bone had become blunt and so he said he would have to do bone grafting and use k-wires to fix the fracture. So i went through the surgery it went successfull. My foot was put into cast for 12 weeks after which i started to use crutches to walk, after the removal of cast i also started physiotherapy. One month after the removal of cast i had my k-wire removal surgery after which i continued my physiotherapy, i had a regular physiotherapy of 4 weeks after which i started walking. But the problem is that its been now 3 months and i still haven’t gained full mobility plus i still have pain in the part behind my medial melloleolus which resists me from bending down,jogging or running. (The avulsion fracture of my medial melleolus was very small and the cause for my fracture was a bad tackle while playing football). Can you tell me if thats normal or not? What can be the cause of pain behind medial melloleolus? And how can i regain full mobility?

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June 6, 2013 at 11:30 pm
(59) Kristene says:

I spiral fractured my leg at my knee and ankle when I was in the sixth grade. I was in a cast all the way to my hip for 6 months and then up to my knee for 3 more months. Fast forward through my life story of being morbidly obese for the next 20+ years to me losing 130+ pounds (which I have kept off for over 5 years now) to today, I am now 38. My knee is killing me and I always baby it when I exercise. Forget running I wouldnt even attempt that!! Just doing lunges once made my knee sieze up and I could barely walk the next day. Motrin and glucosamine just aren’t cutting it. Would physical therapy help me? Thanks!!!

June 7, 2013 at 11:38 am
(60) jason says:

CECIL …..
You are the man for taking the time to respond. Your positive comments help and provide hope!
So at this point you are feeling great? Did you have surgery on inside and outside? Hardware removed from both???
Thanks man!

Jason

June 10, 2013 at 11:00 pm
(61) Cecil says:

@jason My tibia and fibula were ORIF’ed, so I had plates/screws on both sides, something like 2 plates and 8 screws. I had surgery on both sides to take them all out. And those screws are way longer than you’d think. As for how I feel, I did an INSANITY workout yesterday for fun, and while my quads are sore, my ankle feels good. Looking forward to playing some tennis this summer.

@Carrie C Just my opinion as I’m not a doctor, but I am a former patient with similar hardware and as much as I wanted to get out and about doing complicated things 3 months post surgery, it just wasn’t going to happen. It seriously takes time to relearn everything after your ankle is immobilized for that long. If i had to wager, I’d bet minimum 5 months after surgery before you were good to go on rough terrain. Maybe you’re a fast healer and could get out quicker, or a slow healer and it takes a bit longer to get good range of motion, who knows. But I do know that your body is the only one you get for the rest of your life. Looking at it from that lens, maybe it isn’t so bad to give yourself a little extra time to get stronger.

June 11, 2013 at 3:32 pm
(62) MadMoto says:

I broke my talus back in 2011 in a motorcycle accident and it STILL gives me problems. Sometimes the ankle will just be a nagging thing I suppose, but, it has it’s bad days (can’t put weight on it) which usually follow heavy activity from the day before.

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June 16, 2013 at 9:00 am
(64) g says:

I was on a major road stationary, waiting to tugn right on my motorcycle when some blind as a bat van man pulled out and crushed my right ankle (im really lucky as he could so easily have squashed my leg and foot if he’d have been more abrupt with the accelerator pedal!!) and then my left arm was broken when the bike fell. What a turnip head!… He obviously wasn’t looking where he was going! Anyway, trimalleoular fracture followed by a failed closed reduction, followed by a hopefully successful (yet MAJORLY PAINFUL) ORIF. It’s now 5 weeks post op and I’m feeling much, much better, but still non weight bearing. Hoping I can get back to normal, I ran and cycled before. Because the fracture extends inside the joint there may be cartilage damage, therefore I’ve taken it on myself to leave running for abound a year or two, as I’m really scares of posttraumatic arthritis. I’m only 33 years old and I don’t want a dreaded ankle fusion! I’m just hoping for the best!

More people need to post who have had a good recovery. There are a lot of negative comments that are very valid… But hoping that’s because the really positive ones just don’t post. I will post across the web if I have a positive recovery. The surgeons seen to think it Will be, but from what I read online that seems highly optimistic! Good luck to everyone with this terrible fracture.

June 17, 2013 at 12:48 pm
(65) tnt219 says:

I had a trimallelor fracture and surgery on Thanksgiving 2012. Being patient with recovery and PT, and celebrating the little accomplishments! Getting better everyday, so there is hope.
My question: I bought new shoes yesterday (I always was an overpronate runner), but it seems like there is just too much arch support. Is there such a thing?
Thanks, Tracy

July 10, 2013 at 10:23 pm
(66) physicaltherapy says:

TNT,
Yes, there could be a thing as too much arch support. Perhaps a more neutral shoe is in order…
Thanks for your comment,
Brett

June 17, 2013 at 11:15 pm
(67) Mary-Lou Sionemale says:

I had a car jacknifed me .. on my way to work.. which she failed to give way.. on 19 dec.. 2012.. suffered ankle injuries. To fibia.. tibular.. @ ruptured tendons.. ligaments on top of my foot.. about 6 months.. been xray..ultrasound .. mri scan.. been to physio.. but they can not understand why my big toe @ small toe cant fully bend.. still shooting pains under @ all around my foot.. work cover is not covering anymore .. soo still at home no job.. but still tryn to keep up with my stroll along walkin.. like to know what is wrong with my ankle… besides injuries..

June 20, 2013 at 5:11 am
(68) Cody says:

Hi Brett,
I’m just over 6 weeks to the day. Oblique fracture of the fibula and part of my actual ankle(right foot). Had ORIF, pin in my ankle, plate and screws on the fibula. I’m pretty much walking just fine without any PT thus far. Limping here and there but mostly all good. What I need to know is not about running, it’s actual in regards to longboarding. The problem is, to stop on a longboard.. you kind of don’t stop. You have to hop off while you’re moving. Thus there’s impact and a lot of weight suddenly put on it. As well as while riding, there’s lots of weight on it because you have to push with one foot on the board. How long do you think(in your professional opinion) I would be best to wait before attempting again?

July 10, 2013 at 10:16 pm
(69) physicaltherapy says:

Cody,
Be sure to check in with your doctor before trying out the longboard. We don’t want any extra problems, do we?
Usually, things heal in a fracture in about 8 weeks, with another few weeks after to fully fuse. A visit to a physical therapist to work on progressive weight bearing and then progressive plyometric exercises may help you get back on the longboard (those things are pretty cool…)

Thanks for your comment, and good luck,
Brett

June 21, 2013 at 10:06 pm
(70) Jignesh Patel says:

I had accident in ankle and fracture in tibia and fibula which cure by surgery with wires and pins etc. Now four months is completed and I got all movement But I can not sit on my foot. Also when I take down stair my foot is not bend totally and I can’t take down step.
After doing Exercise I got some range in ankle but when I take rest it’s again go to same state.
So, Please reply me how I get my full range and maintain it.

July 10, 2013 at 10:10 pm
(71) physicaltherapy says:

Jignesh,
Thanks for your comment. Keep working at the range of motion, and over time things should get better and remain better.

Brett

June 23, 2013 at 3:14 pm
(72) Gill says:

This is a devastating injury. Fractured left ankle 4 months ago two procedures later. . Off all devices, hardware still a concern. Ongoing pain, and pins and needles in hand? Any guidance re golf, gym and normal shoes? Swelling still there. And my mental state. Thanks all Gill

July 10, 2013 at 10:12 pm
(73) physicaltherapy says:

Gill,
As things heal, I’m sure you’ll notice improved ability to perform basic activities like wearing normal shoes. The gym and golf will slowly come too. Keep at it!
Interested in the hand pins and needles…usually an ankle fracture doesn’t cause this…
Thanks for your comment.
Brett

June 25, 2013 at 10:15 am
(74) Tejas Rathod says:

Hello,
I have ankle fracture. My lower end of fibula almost broke but everything was in place. Almost 1 month have passed after the incident. I can walk slowly. But people constantly say me not to walk at all. so wat should i do? I dont feel any pain while walking. But of course i cannot rotate me toe as plaster is still there.

July 10, 2013 at 10:09 pm
(75) physicaltherapy says:

Tejas,
Good question for your doctor. In general, the fibula is a non-weight bearing bone, so a simple fracture there should allow for some weight bearing. Everyone’s injury is different, so please do check in with your doctor.
Brett

June 30, 2013 at 4:02 pm
(76) pepe says:

I fractured my Talus early in May. I have been out of plaster for nearly 3 weeks. Please can some one tell me how I long it will be before I can drive my car legally to be covered by the insurance. Is there a set number of weeks I dont want to ask the insurers as they are not aware of the fracture no need to tell them really.
My ankle is still extremely painful especially after excercise and walking.
I know it is an individual thing but I wondered if there is an offically number of weeks.
Thanks
Pepe

July 1, 2013 at 8:21 pm
(77) Jerome says:

Hello Brett,

8 weeks ago I suffered a open, grade 3 tib/fib pilon fracture that was deemed “highly comminuted”.
Reduction was performed in under 12 hours after incident by 5 K Wires, in addition to external fixation. Post Op remarks said reduction was nearly anatomical.

My current doctor, who did not perform the initial surgery, says my cartilage is “all gone”. This has left me feeling pretty hopeless. I am 31 years old and prior to incident was extremely active in various sports. My question:
Is it possible for the cartilage and intra-articular surface to heal, regenerate, or at least get close to pre-injury condition?

Most information is outright negative, depressing and disastrous. I would love to hear any possible shred of positivity in regards to prognosis, long term “super active” lifestyles or any success stories.

Thanks so much for any response,
Jerome

July 10, 2013 at 10:07 pm
(78) physicaltherapy says:

Jerome,
Sorry to hear about your injury. Sounds like a pretty serious one.
Your question about cartilage is a tough one. There is some evidence of cartilage regrowth after a surgical procedure along joint surfaces, but most information available looks at knee joint problems, and not necessarily ankle joints. The body does have an amazing way to heal, and over time positive changes can occur in with your ankle so you can get back to normal activities or near normal activities. Keep working at it!
Thanks for your comment!
Brett

July 8, 2013 at 12:03 am
(79) Jean says:

I have been so discouraged after ankle surgery for two breaks a couple of years ago. Break was on the left ankle and I after I started to resume some of my activities, like sweeping, I developd plantar faciitus in my left foot. Years of trail running and I never had injuries, except to my ribs when I fell. Post surgery I developed anemia, which wasn’t diagnosed for months. I now have a bump on my left ankle. I really don’t want the hardware removed. Fact is, I’m scared to run. I’m 67 and terrified of another break. I walk fine now, but I really miss my passion, running up and down trails. Is there hope? Don’t know where to turn.

July 10, 2013 at 9:58 pm
(80) physicaltherapy says:

Jean,
Sounds like you’ve had a difficult road. I think you should see a physical therapist who might be able to get you running again, safely. Good luck!
~Brett

July 10, 2013 at 11:48 am
(81) Allison says:

I fractured my right ankle 4/20/2013. I was in a hard cast for 4 weeks and a boot for 2 weeks non-weight bearing the whole time. By week 8, I was walking around with just a small brace and no crutches. I am now at week 12 and should get the OK to start running/jumping again next week. I have very little pain, just some tightness from swelling when sitting all day at work. To those who asked about driving, I was driving as soon as I could walk on it. I figured if my ankle could take the full weight of my body, then it could definitely handle pushing pedals.

July 10, 2013 at 9:55 pm
(82) physicaltherapy says:

Allison,
Thanks for your comment! Hope you continue along such a positive road of healing!
~Brett

July 13, 2013 at 6:56 pm
(83) Carol Anne says:

Hi Everyone,

I had a bimalleolar break with dislocation on May 9th. ORIF with 2 plates and 12 screws May 20th. I was in a splint for 2 weeks, then a cast for 4 weeks. I’ve been out of the cast and in a small splint for 2 weeks now and I’m just starting to walk without crutches, slowly and awkwardly, but I can get around. I started driving again a few days ago (it was my right ankle). It’s been 9 weeks total and I’m finally getting back to a normal routine.

I had some really low days over the last two months where it felt like I would never be able to be independent or enjoy outdoor activities again. I just wanted to give some hope to others out there. Once I started physical therapy, my ankle started improving pretty quickly. It aches a bit after I’ve been up all day but really isn’t bad. I’m very optimistic about getting back to hiking and biking soon. This is such a devastating injury and it’s so hard to stay positive during the weeks and weeks of being helpless and bored. It gets soo much better, I promise!

July 13, 2013 at 8:08 pm
(84) Mashelle says:

Hey,
I managed to break my fibula and tear a ligament. I had orif done on jan 11. I have a plate, 6 screws and a rope to repair the ligament and was non weight bearing for 8 weeks. I’ve been in a splint, a cast and a boot and was doing physical therapy until I had to stop in april because of insurance issues. I’ve been pushing myself mentally and physically and now no one can tell I couldn’t even walk a couple a months ago.
Brett, I was slightly overweight before the injury. what exercises would you recommend for someone post orif surgery 6 months?

July 14, 2013 at 12:19 pm
(85) Derek B. says:

Brett,

I have visited a lot of forums recently looking for advice on what to do regarding weight bearing, etc. I had a displaced oblique fracture of my left medial malleolus on June 8th. Thanks to the VA, I didn’t have ORIF surgery until July 3rd. I left the hospital that day after having two screws placed in my ankle. I was on severe pain medication (obviously) for the first 3 days.

4 days after surgery I read a study where 43 patients had similar surgeries ankle surgeries ranging from bimalleolar fractures to single. Half were immobilized for 6 weeks and the other half had early weight-bearing (EWB) as tolerable. The study revealed that the patients who EWB returned to full weight-bearing at a mean of 7.7 weeks. The patients who were immobile didn’t return to full weight-bearing until a mean of 13.5 weeks.

After reading about such a dramatic difference in return to full weigh-bearing, I decided to start light weight-bearing as much as I could tolerate without going back on my narcotic pain medication. A week to the day following surgery, I was able to lightly walk/limp back and forth to the bathroom and the kitchen. I felt a significant amount of soreness and stiffness the following morning. Since then (days 8-11) I have been able to walk around the house, albeit with a limp, without much pain whatsoever.

I’m still in the original splint and dressings since my surgery and am due back to visit the surgeon’s office to have them removed on the 17th. My question is, in your opinion, do you believe I am doing more harm than good by walking around the house so soon after surgery? I really look forward to reading your, as well as the other reader’s, opinion on my story. Thanks in advance for taking the time to read and respond!

-Derek

July 18, 2013 at 10:20 am
(86) Russ H says:

I was just curious about when my 13 year old son will be able to get back to basketball. He broke his tibia and fibula and had two screws put in on the tibia side. He broke it 6 weeks ago, had surgery 5 weeks ago. He has started swimming (would’ve went sooner, but we wanted the incision to heal completely) a week ago and it has made a huge difference! He has almost complete range of motion back. He still has pain, but not too bad. He is a very good basketball player and has to miss his entire summer basketball traveling team, which is fine, but he starts his Fall leagues in September or October some time. Can he do any bike riding to gain the muscle back in his leg (he is non weight bearing for another 2 weeks) and will swimming help his recovery time when he can start weight bearing again? He is anxious to get going, but we keep telling him not to push it too hard, until he’s given the green light! He wants to do anything he can to speed up the process, but he does want to do it safely. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Also, if you know of any other non weight bearing exercises that he can do in the meantime, we would appreciate it.

July 21, 2013 at 12:55 am
(87) Jerome Maynard says:

Brett,

HI!

Just checked back and saw that you responded to my comment. THANK YOU SO MUCH! It is amazing that you take the time to thoughtfully respond to so many people in this forum.
SERIOUSLY, THANK YOU. What you said pretty much echos’ what I’ve learned regarding injuries that are as severe as mine….Bummer for me :( …Trying to saty positive. I am almost 12 week out from fall/surgery and still have KWires in place w/ an Ex-Fix………..No word yet on whats next.

I will update my progress for anyone who comes looking for answers (like myself)….

July 22, 2013 at 1:19 pm
(88) Old guy says:

I had a ORIF for a Trimalleolar on 6/12, 1 long screw + 1 plate with 7 screws.

I currently have great ROM, but recently started to experience pain near 1 of the screws @ the top of the plate. There is also swelling @ the site too.

How best should i locate another OS to get advice on to examine & move forward with hardware removal if necessary.

I didnt care for the original OS performing the surgery, so i want to look elsewhere.

July 27, 2013 at 3:05 pm
(89) physicaltherapy says:

Hey Old Guy,
Thanks for your comment. Perhaps you could check in with a local physical therapist who may know an ortho who specializes in ankle and foot surgery?
Good luck,
Brett

July 25, 2013 at 8:55 pm
(90) Josh says:

Hello, on 11/18/12 I dislocated my ankle which broke my tibia and fibula. The ER doc reset my ankle and the next day I went to the doctor. A month later I had surgery. 7 screws and a plate. A month from that I started PT. I only did it for 5weeks (2 days a week). I never had a end evaluation. In April I had one screw removed hoping it was the problem I am having. The problem is. I have 0 ROM in my ankle. I have to walk with my foot sideways and if not on pain pill I am in extreme pain. More then when I had the accident. It’s now 7 months after the first surgery and I’m no where near 15%. Running is out of the question as is jogging or riding a bike. I’m 34 years old and walk like I’m 94 years old and have constant pain. Any ideas?!? Lol.

July 27, 2013 at 3:03 pm
(91) physicaltherapy says:

Josh,
Thanks for your comment. Sounds like you may need to start fresh and have a new set of eyes look over your situation. Perhaps a visit to an orthopedist who can assess your situation. At this point, I would assume that the bones have healed, and that you could be put through some pretty aggressive ROM and stretching. Maybe another go-round in PT? Keep at it.

Brett

July 28, 2013 at 7:09 pm
(92) Kay says:

Hi I had avulsion fracture of my Fibula at the end of January 2013. I did not go to the Dr until 3 weeks later when I found that it still hurt to turn over in bed. Turns out it had this break which they thought would just heal on its own. I had another fall after ankle giving out and was put in a cast for 1 month and the physio all seemed good when the moment it saw uneven surface it gave out again. 6 months later I am now in an air splint for a month and had an MRI which showed intense oedema around the break. The ligament is still unattached. What can they do from here I don’t want to keep having my ankle giving out.

July 28, 2013 at 8:15 pm
(93) Granni K says:

At the end of Jan 13 i badly sprained my ankle and caused a avulsion fracture I did not go to a Dr for 3 weeks following this as I thought it would just heal. When they found the break I was referred to a Physio Therapist and the ankle started to come right, but I got up during night and it gave out once again. I was then put in a cast for a month followed by more physio. I thought that was the end of it but know the ankle gives out once more and they find the original break is still there. I am now in a air brace for a month, I had an MRI and it shows the break is still there along with a the ligament which hasn’t reattached. The MRI showed very intense oedema. Do you think it will ever heal or what would the next step be. I like walking and this has changed everything. Thankyou

July 30, 2013 at 9:49 am
(94) Sharon says:

I hurt my left ankle on July 7 while hiking. Got three fractures, had an ORIF on July 15. Currently, in a cast, non-weight bearing. Expect to start weight bearing on August 8. Currently, I feel fine when elevating my injured foot. However, when I put it down, the toes get red pretty quickly – the redness disappears shortly after I elevate my foot. Is this normal during the recovery period or is it a problem? BTW, I haven’t let my foot down for more than a few minutes. So I don’t know whether my toes would turn blue or not if I let my foot down for a long time.

Also, my surgeon mentioned that about 75% patients leave the hardware in. But people posted here mentioned about removing those hardware often. I wonder whether it is better to leave the hardware in my ankle or remove them later. Any comments?

August 2, 2013 at 2:34 am
(95) Cecil says:

@ Sharon
After my surgery I kept my foot elevated for several weeks. If I put it down for anything longer than a few minutes it would feel hot, turn a bit red, get swollen and painful. (So I’m thinking that’s normal). My surgeon mentioned like 90% of his patients keep the hardware in. They recommend that under the philosophy that if it’s not causing you any problems, then there’s no reason to go under the knife again. I think for a lot of people there’s no serious effects, only little ones that they can manage, and it’s easier to manage it than go through another surgery. I went through another surgery to remove them because they annoyed me enough to warrant it. Bottom line is I got increased ROM and highly reduced discomfort by removing them, but it WAS definitely another surgery, so all the risks of surgery/anesthesia apply, as well as the recovery time component. It’s worked out for me so far, but that’s definitely something to discuss with your surgeon once you’ve healed up and get a feel for it.

August 4, 2013 at 8:42 pm
(96) Jen says:

I had trimaellelleor fracture 6 years ago! I had a tremendous good attitude but was really not able to walk halfway comfy for 9 months! To this day I can’t run my range of motion is still not perfect! I experience intermittent pain and still have swelling from time to time! I did everything the dr and pt said! Sometimes I feel discouraged but I had one of the top surgeons in San Diego! Sad truth is my ankle is not the same and as I age other factors impede it! I use the elliptical that is the best exercise for me! I found all of Brett comments insightful and helpful! Thank you! Though I don’t get what the Internet is sometimes used to attract people and there beliefs and feelings!

August 8, 2013 at 2:55 pm
(97) tibiacast says:

Good article. I definitely appreciate this site.
Keep it up!

August 15, 2013 at 4:05 am
(98) Gracie says:

In 2/2012 I was in a serious accident a young woman was talking on the phone and did a u turn in front of me. I have two plates in my ankle 13 screws, a rod in my femor and half of my quad muscle removed. Due to over 5 inch of femor missing (removed from severe damage). I could not be weight bearing for almost a year. Although it is frustrating I’m still in PT 5 times a week. Very few PT places will work on the detailed and delicate ankle I’m on my 4th therapy place. I’m now post accident 8 surgeries later and still only have a neutral dorsiflextion. In the last 9 weeks I have went from a -8 degree to a neutral. Heading for 22 degree, you need 10 degree to walk with out a limp. I guess my point is to keep working it hard everyday not just at therapy sessions. You have to find a PT place that is very aggressive and yes it hurts everyday, I spent 3 months at one PT place and wish I would have interviewed others now. Wishing you the best! You can do it. They were going to take my leg that day and I’m happy my orthopedic gave me a chance.

August 15, 2013 at 4:09 am
(99) Gracie says:

Also wanted to say don’t be to worried about the hardware, a know it can be very annoying and mentally not feel good on a good day I can rub my ankle up both sides of my fibula/tibula and count each screw to me that is a great feeling as the swelling is down, sometimes I can even see the plates poking out.

Be Well and Happy!

August 21, 2013 at 12:16 am
(100) Bruno says:

Hey i need some advice please. Well i had a really bas fall (to be honest it was on my birthday, i got too drunk, and blacked out, i woke up the next day with a swollen ankle and i couldnt walk at all) This happened on july 31, i didnt think it was that bad so i went to this place where this guys gives massages and puts the bones back if there is a dislocation. Well he put my back back, it was the worse pain i could go thru, and he massaged my foot really hard. But i was able to put some weight on it and walk alittle. Well it got swollen really bad and i had balck ans blue spots all over my ankle. It was getting better. I went the following week for another massage it hurt but it wasnt as bad as the first time. I was able to walk with a limp and drive and stuff. The 3rd week i was returning to work. But for some reason it started to hurt bad and it was getting swollen, so i had to leave work and i went to the er because it just didnt feel right. Well on the er they took x rays and yelled at me for not coming to them as soon as it happened, they said i have a fractured fibula. I had to come back two days later to see the orthopedic. They took more xrays to see if i need surgery or not. They said i have the option to do surgery or to have a cast on for a month with no surgery. The doctor said he reccomends surgery(one plate, 2 screws). But i have the option not to. I never had surgery, but i did have a motorcycle accident and couldnt walk for 4 months. I really dont know what to do (i chose surgery, they put a splint and it was somewhat painful, because they had to do a reduction with the splint) but i just want some advice on what i ahould really do. Please help.

August 21, 2013 at 10:30 am
(101) physicaltherapy says:

Bruno,
Thanks for your comment and sorry to hear about your ankle. I had a friend in college who suffered a similar injury and limped around for a week before getting treatment. When he discovered his ankle was broken, he had the surgery and did fine. These days he is doing great.
I want to be careful not to make the decision for you, so you really must listen to your doctor and have trust that if the fracture is severe enough and your doctor thinks surgery is necessary, then you should take it pretty seriously.

Best of luck!

August 22, 2013 at 3:42 pm
(102) joshua says:

I broke my fibula do you know when I could run again?
I’m 7 weeks in on the healing

August 23, 2013 at 11:36 am
(103) Kim says:

Hi Brett,
Great website for info And an array of hope!!
I have a trimalleolar fracture ORIF on 1Aug13, now 3 weeks on, been in a cam boot for 10 days.
Not expected to weight bear for 12 weeks, but can I use the PT hot pool at my local YMCA in a bid to retain ROM and reduce scar tissue, can I start this now or must I wait another 5 weeks to get an X-ray for progress??

Many thanks and good luck to all in their recovery!

August 28, 2013 at 10:37 pm
(104) physicaltherapy says:

Kim,
Thanks for your comment. Better check with your doctor first. Usually no pool or tubs until the scars are fully healed. We don’t want a nasty infection, do we?
Best of luck!
Brett

August 27, 2013 at 12:59 am
(105) scott p says:

I broke my tb and shattered tib at base of ankle on July 20th and surgery on August 6th. They have me in a temporary splint and i can move my foot up and down. Question is…..is it ok after 3 weeks now to sleep with the splint off? Had orif surgery, so i have plates and screws. Please help.

August 28, 2013 at 10:39 pm
(106) physicaltherapy says:

Scott P,
Best to check with your doctor. You wouldn’t want to suddenly move and disrupt anything. Most likely you’ll be fine, but only your doctor can say for sure.
Good luck,
Brett

September 3, 2013 at 2:30 pm
(107) Loic says:

Hey, I just broke my ankle (Tibia and Fibula) and one of them shifted backwards. It happened at soccer practice. (forgot which one) and i have to get surgery later today. The doctor said I will need at least 1 plate and some screws all in place. The start highschool soccer season is in January, I’ll miss tryouts, but I wanted to know if it was possible for me to play then. I will be on crutches for six weeks, then a walking boot thing for another six weeks, so I should be healed by the start of December. I really want to play this season, but I really don’t know if I will be ready by then. Do you have any advice? Thanks.

September 5, 2013 at 6:21 am
(108) Jenny says:

On 8th July my dog knocked me over in the park,I knew something had happened to my ankle,hubby took me to hospital they X-rays it said there was a fracture but that it would hopefully heal on its own,and they put it in a back slab cast.Two weeks later I returned to have another X-ray and was told that I would need original surgery.
The cast was taken off yesterday 4th sept,the foot us still purple and very swollen but my consultant says I need to put weight through it to strengthen it.
It s agony when I put it to the floor it feels like it did when I first broke it,The onus,tant didn’t give me any sort of support for it.
I am not a thin person and I am finding it really difficult, I use my crutches for a little while until the pain gets so bad I end up using the wheelchair again.
Is this normal I am a 62 year old female with a lot of arthritis.

September 5, 2013 at 6:23 am
(109) Jenny says:

On 8th July my dog knocked me over in the park,I knew something had happened to my ankle,hubby took me to hospital they X-rays it said there was a fracture but that it would hopefully heal on its own,and they put it in a back slab cast.Two weeks later I returned to have another X-ray and was told that I would need original surgery.
The cast was taken off yesterday 4th sept,the foot us still purple and very swollen but my consultant says I need to put weight through it to strengthen it.
It s agony when I put it to the floor it feels like it did when I first broke it,The onus,tant didn’t give me any sort of support for it.
I am not a thin person and I am finding it really difficult, I use my crutches for a little while until the pain gets so bad I end up using the wheelchair again.
Is this normal I am a 62 year old female with a lot of arthritis.,in my feet ankles and spine.I know it is early days but surely I should ave been given some support for my ankle,I asked him and he said no.

September 5, 2013 at 6:27 am
(110) Jenny says:

Hi
I meant to say ORIF surgery,it is on the outer side if my ankle.

September 5, 2013 at 6:29 am
(111) Jenny says:

Sorry,I meant to say ORIF surgery to the outer side of my ankle

September 23, 2013 at 12:29 am
(112) Gina says:

Hello, I’ve been reading all of the above comments and they are all very helpful. I’m now 5 weeks post surgery after a bad fracture. I’m am so ready to start PT, you have no idea but I know it takes time. I thank Brett for his great advice and wish you all a speedy recovery! Good luck.

October 2, 2013 at 8:13 pm
(113) physicaltherapy says:

Gina,
Good luck with your PT. Work hard, ok? Keep us posted on your progress!
Brett

September 30, 2013 at 11:54 am
(114) james says:

i had a bimalleolar fracture on 8/8/13 and my metalwork inserted on 9/8/13. Cast came off on 19/9/13
i have been doing all my recommended PT and a little hydrotherapy. Putting my foot down on scales i can put 40kg ( half my bodyweight ) onto my foot w/o pain.
My question is when can i try full weightbearing ? is the metalwork going to be okay and not shift around ?
This is a great site. Thanks for any responses.

October 2, 2013 at 8:12 pm
(115) physicaltherapy says:

James,
Thanks for commenting. It seems a little early for weight bearing, so you better check with your doctor before moving forward with that one.
Good luck, and keep us posted!
Brett

October 6, 2013 at 6:15 am
(116) brokenKDH says:

The end of August I was knocked down some stairs and ended up with a couple of fractures in my ankle as well as a hardcore maisonnueve fracture tearing everything that connect my ankle to my leg and snapping my leg just below the knee. The doctor gave me a 3 month sentence of nwb. Initially, I ignored the injury. I tried to walk it off for 4 days before going to er and learning of the fractures. I landed on my head and also managed to partially tear my right rotator cuff, so those two injuries had me forgetting my ankle. When I went to er and asked for a scan of my head they decided to xray my ankle for fun and there it was. Anyway, they threw a plate and a few screws just above my ankle and, as I said, told me not to bear weight for 3 months.

It’s been a month and a week or two and I have allowed my depression and never-sleeping mind to get the best of me. At night I have been walking around the house. I do not jump or run, just slowly walk while the rest of the house is sleeping. I obviously know this is bad or I would not do it at night when I’m alone. That being said, what could I expect I’d I continue this routine of walking the house at night? I looked at the xrays last week and it appears everything is healing wonderfully. The main reason my nwb period is so long is because of the torn ligament. Not going to hold you to anything, so please don’t tell me to ask my doctor. Just looking for a pts opinion.

Also, I had a nurse and an OT for the first few weeks after surgery when I got home. I never called the pt because I am nwb, errrr I’m supposed to be. When should I get in touch with my PT? After the nwb period?

Thanks Brett!

October 15, 2013 at 1:58 am
(117) Corey says:

Hi there,

A lot of useful comments in this thread! I have a quick question – I broke my Fibula just above the ankle in late August and had a plate and 5 screws put in. The question I have is that I had the cast removed 5 days ago and I have a pretty bad limp and some serious swelling. Is this normal and will the limp go away the longer I walk on it? Have physio scheduled this week and have been swimming which seems to help but generally speaking how long does it take for the limp to go away after this type of injury? Thanks in advance!

October 22, 2013 at 7:40 pm
(118) Adele says:

I slipped on a wet tiled floor on October 4, and broke my tib/fib and had a dislocation. Immediately I went to the ER. They fixed the dislocation about 8 hours after the injury injury happened. I needed surgery, but had to wait a day because of swelling. I got a plate and screws, not sure how many. I was so out of it due to the morphine and just being so upset. I’m struggling with depression right now because I can’t sleep well, can’t get comfortable, and can’t do anything for myself. I was given a walker, but it has wheels and scares me. My pain level is about a 2, which is great. However, if I stand longer than a minute, it is awful again. I have been wiggling my toes a lot and doing leg lifts a few times a day for as long as I can stand to. I am so sad about missing so much work, but I try to stay grateful and positive that my company is supportive and I can take off as much time as I need to. Unfortunately I only had enough vacation/sick/personal time that I will only get two paychecks. The rest will be unpaid time off. That hurts because I will have all of my bills, plus hospital bills. I have spent my sleepless nights reading message boards, blogs, and articles about broken ankles. It seems like everything I read is negative. I enjoyed reading the information here, because it was a lot more positive than anything else I have seen. I guess I am just wondering what I can do to help with the healing process. I am terrified of walking with pain and a constant limp for the rest of my life, and I will do anything to prevent that. I am 34 years old I that matters. Thanks!!

October 28, 2013 at 9:12 am
(119) physicaltherapy says:

Adele,
Sorry to hear about your injury. I have never had a broken ankle personally, but trust me, it will get better.

First, if you are depressed, why not contact your doctor and see if there is someone that can help you? I have worked with many wonderful professionals like psychologists and clinical social workers that can help you work through things, plus they may be able to direct you to some other resources to help financially.

Second, a PT can help you learn to walk with your walker and give you the confidence you need to be safe while walking and moving around your house.

Finally, it sounds like you are doing everything you can to help yourself with the wiggling of your toes and leg lifts. Keep with it!

Let us know how things work out for you!
~Brett

October 30, 2013 at 1:21 pm
(120) karthik reddy says:

Hello sir I had an ankle fracture last year this day.after healed my bone I didn’t take phisicaltherapy till now.I want to start from now.I just trying to walking now.can I run after phisical therapy? or how much time it takes? Any problem I should face? Advanced thanks for your reply…

November 4, 2013 at 12:51 am
(121) physicaltherapy says:

Karthik,
Thanks for your comment. Sorry to hear about your ankle.
If your ankle was fractured and repaired a year ago, there should be no reason why you would not be able to put full weight through your leg. Just check in with your doctor, and an x-ray will confirm full bony healing has taken place.
You most likely should start with some range of motion exercises. <a href=”http://physicaltherapy.about.com/od/flexibilityexercises/a/Towel-Calf-Stretch.htm”>Gentle stretches with a towel</a> can help increase your ability to flex your ankle. Strengthening exercises can be carried with resistance bands or tubing, or you can simply perform heel raises on a step to improve strength in your calf.
Balance and proprioception tend to be a problem after this injury, so a simple way to improve your balance is to stand on one foot. To challenge yourself further, you may wish to stand on a pillow to vary the surface.
Finally, running requires your ankle (and body) to be able to tolerate significant forces. <a href=”http://physicaltherapy.about.com/od/abbreviationsandterms/g/Plyometric-Exercise.htm”>Plyometric</a> exercises may be necessary to get you running again.
The speed at which you progress through your rehab depends upon many factors including your initial range of motion and strength, your pain levels, and the healing that has taken place.
A really good place to start is with your doctor, and see if you can locate a physio near you who can help guide your rehab.
Good luck,
Brett

October 30, 2013 at 1:41 pm
(122) Sarah says:

Hello. In 2009 I broke my tibia, fibula, and ankle. I think it was a pilon injurie. I now have three plates and 20 screws. I was told that the only plate that would come out was the one on top of my foot. The one on my ankle and tibia will never come out. The doctor said that I would never be able to do anything high impact, like running, again. Is this true? Not being able to run is very hard when it’s something you did every day. However, I do not want to cause any further injuries.

November 4, 2013 at 12:54 am
(123) physicaltherapy says:

Sarah,
Sorry to hear about your injury.
Some folks are able to return to running after this injury, and others not. I would assume that if your injury occurred 4 years ago or so, things should be well healed, and you should be able to tolerate some running. Now, pain and limited range of motion may prevent you from running, but in general at this point things should be well healed in your ankle. Check in with your doctor and a simple x-ray would confirm that the bones are healed.

Good luck, and let us know how you’re doing.
Brett

October 31, 2013 at 7:22 am
(124) karthik reddy says:

My bone is well healed. Iam just walking but not freely and i have one screw in my leg.guide me for further steps..

November 3, 2013 at 10:50 am
(125) karthik reddy says:

Pls sir waiting for your reply…

November 4, 2013 at 12:00 pm
(126) Terri says:

Hello, I broke my ankle and my Fibia (that’s the smaller bone ?) on the 11th July this year. I had 6 weeks in a cast, total non weight bearing, the cast came off on the 1st of September. Up to now, i would say i have 70% of my movement back but not strong enough yet to run, although i can jump with two feet and can now tip toe on the broken ankle. I have physio twice a week, but is there anything else that you can recommend please. Many Thanks for any advice. Terri

November 7, 2013 at 6:17 am
(127) Dayo says:

I had an ankle ORIF in May 6 s/p tibia fracture and ankle dislocation. Initially had 6 screws placed. had 2 syndesmosis screws removed 2 months ago. So there are 4 screws and a plate left. Its been 6 months since the initial surgery. Still cannot run or return to soccer that I love. Is this normal, and do I just need to keep pushing. Just want to know the normal recovery period for this injury is and if this is typical.

Thanx for all your expert advices. Really appreciate it. God bless.

November 9, 2013 at 10:57 am
(128) AJ says:

Hi,
In April 2012, I fell down my basement stairs and sustained a bimalleolar ankle fracture along a fibular fracture. Surgical repair the next day with plate and screws. I went to PT for the rehab and still had quite a bit of stiffness in the ankle joint. I started to use the Stairmaster at the gym and it really increased my flexibility at my ankle joint.

I am back to walking normally, no pain, and I can actually run up a flight of stairs. The only problem is that I have never been able to get back to running. I ride my bike, I walk a lot, and use the Stairmaster. I miss the mental and physical benefits of running. It is the hardware that is bothering me. The ankle joint does not hurt at all but on the side where
the plate is aches after I run. I am seeing my ortho doc in a few weeks to request hardware removal. I am hoping that this will be the answer

November 11, 2013 at 6:58 pm
(129) Luke says:

I suffered a trimalleolar fracture on Sept 6th and had ORIF surgery performed on Oct 9th. I’m a 50 year old man who loves to run too.

I haven’t started PT yet and I believe I’m probably about a month from weight bearing.

Although I’m not sure if I’ll be able to run again…my docs have justifiably been bracing me for the possibility of not running again…I found your article to be helpful because it helped provide me with some perspective.

I’m going to focus on my PT, mobility, flexibility, overall fitness, and weight loss in 2014. If all goes well, l’ll try to run in 2015. If not, I’ll find a new passion.

Thank you.

November 13, 2013 at 11:27 am
(130) physicaltherapy says:

Luke,
Thanks for your comment, and I hope all goes according to plan. Please keep us posted about your progress.
Brett

November 13, 2013 at 11:32 pm
(131) jen jen says:

On October 19 I fracture my ankle and on October 29 I had surgery and they put metal plate n screws..but I worried would I be able to walk normalagain without limping…

November 14, 2013 at 1:54 pm
(132) physicaltherapy says:

jen jen,
Thanks for your comment. It is early after your injury and surgery. Give it some time, listen to your doctor, and work really hard in regaining range of motion and strength once your doc gives you the OK. Stay strong.

Brett

November 17, 2013 at 11:07 pm
(133) teemarie says:

I broke my ankle July of this year, which resulted in a bimalleolar fracture. I was non weight bearing for 13 weeks & it took almost 2 weeks for my initial surgery to happen. So in all 15 weeks of no walking, now after removal of my pin I’m left with a plate and a lot of screws. My doctor said no pt, that it wasnt necessary but after 3 weeks I’m wondering what I can do to help me get back to before. I ran 5-8 miles 3 times a week with 2/3 bootcamp classes. Now I have a limp and sharp pain the next day if I do cardio on the elliptical.
Any suggestions?

November 19, 2013 at 12:10 pm
(134) geoff says:

I got a trimalleolar fracture on 2nd may 2013. Could run at 1mph on tread mill with a 5 percent incline for indefinite period by early November. Outside I cant get past 9.55 min mile whereas before I was under 8 min mile. But, its only been 6 months and I have 9 screws and a plate in my ankle. I can do most things and have been discharged from all treatment now. Just be patient in recovery… but never be scared to push recovery is my advice. It will hurt a lot just trying to walk once out of plaster… but walk anyway. .. with crutches. I started walking 3 miles a day with crutches.

November 21, 2013 at 6:41 am
(135) karthik reddy says:

Sir,if I late to start physical therapy.i mean 4-5 months.can I face any problem? Pls…

November 27, 2013 at 1:59 pm
(136) physicaltherapy says:

karthik reddy,
Waiting 4-5 months to start rehab on a fractured ankle seems a little late, although some sort of complications may prevent you from starting sooner. A long period of immobilization may make gaining ROM and strength difficult. Good luck,
Brett

November 22, 2013 at 8:27 am
(137) Pasha says:

So basically i had a medial melloleolus fracture 13 months back, i went to an orthopedic surgeon who said that it would heal without any cast or surgery. I waited for two months but it did not heal so i went to another orthopedic who immediately asked me to have a medial melloleolus fixation surgery, but he said that it wasnít possible to use screws any more due to the fact that i had wasted alot of time and the bone had become blunt and so he said he would have to do bone grafting and use k-wires to fix the fracture. So i went through the surgery it went successfull. My foot was put into cast for 12 weeks after which i started to use crutches to walk, after the removal of cast i also started physiotherapy. One month after the removal of cast i had my k-wire removal surgery after which i continued my physiotherapy, i had a regular physiotherapy of 4 weeks after which i started walking. But the problem is that its been now 8 months and i still havenít gained full mobility plus i still have pain in ligaments behind my medial melloleolus which resists me from bending down,jogging or running. (The avulsion fracture of my medial melleolus was very small and the cause for my fracture was a bad tackle while playing football). Can you tell me if thats normal or not? What can be the cause of pain in ligaments behind my medial melloleolus? And how can i regain full mobility?

November 25, 2013 at 9:39 pm
(138) vell says:

Had ankle surgery on my right foot one plate 4 screws go to the doctor on Wednesday to remove my stitches what next I have never been and any pain sence Oct 28 even win I broke it that night. I just want to go back to work I am 51.

November 27, 2013 at 1:58 pm
(139) physicaltherapy says:

Thanks for your comment. After the stitches come out, the doctor will assess when it may be a good time to start rehabbing. You should progress with range of motion, strength, balance, and proprioception exercises. Hope things progress nicely and your function returns to normal quickly.
Good luck,
Brett

November 26, 2013 at 11:27 pm
(140) Trent says:

I had a lateral malleolus fracture in October doing a Spartan Race. I was told that I would not need surgery. Two weeks after my ortho took me off crutches and told me to walk around the house without the boot and sleep without it. I also love to run long distance races. It’s been 5 weeks since the injury. Is it realistic for me to be able to do a half marathon at the end of Feb? I have an appt. next week and he plans on me leaving in shoes. I expect to start rehabbing next week with swimming and the elliptical.

November 27, 2013 at 1:56 pm
(141) physicaltherapy says:

Trent,
Thanks for your comment. Sorry for your injury. My first reaction to running 13 miles so soon after such an injury is that it sounds a little soon. But it does appear that you are progressing nicely, and the lateral malleolus is essentially a non-weightbearing structure in the ankle. The fact that you did not require surgery is also on the plus side. Work hard in rehab, and hopefully you progress to the point where 13.1 miles is a reality in Feb. Please, let us know how things turn out.
Thanks,
Brett (A Tough Mudder survivor)

November 29, 2013 at 11:34 am
(142) Trent says:

Thanks. I will send an update.

December 7, 2013 at 6:07 am
(143) dr-k says:

Hello and thank you for hosting this site.
I sustained multiple fractures in a car accident 30th October 2013: right compound anke fracture; left foot all five metatarsals; and right mid humeral fracture.
I have had orif with plates and screws for the humerus and ankle fractures with closed reduction/one k-wire for the left metatarsal. I’m now 4 weeks post-op,on pain/calcium medication, sling for the right arm and of course can’t stand at all.
My OS says I can start standing on d left leg after 6 weeks.
My question please is averagely how soon do I start ROM for my Ankle (not that I’m anxious) ahead of weight bearing; and with my right humerus involved what general rehab advice/routine can you give me.
Thank you.

December 20, 2013 at 4:11 pm
(144) Amanda says:

Hello,
I had a dislocated ankle and broken fibula which resulted in 2 surgeries, 9 screws and 2 plates. Cast and crutches for 8 weeks, but as soon as these were off I focused on strengthening my ankle instead of relying on my moon boot. I ensured that I wasn’t limping and that my injured foot moved the same as my good one so that I didn’t place all my weight onto one leg. I walked very slowly but it worked out well, after a month of physiotherapy I was able to run again. I could run for 30 minutes without discomfort, and I just listened to my body and felt when it was time to have a break or run slower. I still do my strengthening exercises, and the only problem I’m having is that the tissue around my ankle is still fragile and I don’t yet have much flexibility in terms of squatting. It’s only been 6 months though and I was able to run 2 months after my cast, everybody is different but I strongly believe in listening to your body and doing strengthening exercises for an effective recovery!

January 1, 2014 at 9:15 pm
(145) Jolie says:

I broke and dislocated my right ankle almost two years ago on Easter. I was wondering can I start my Insanity workout program? I always been physically active and I go to the gym as well as even run on the treadmill, which is a plus seeing I couldn’t even do that for awhile. I however can’t extended my ankle whenever I do yoga or Pilates. I struggle with the stiffness and pain during winter months but I still push through the pain. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks!

January 25, 2014 at 10:46 pm
(146) Jenita Thomas says:

Physical Therapist I hope your New Year is off to great start because mines is not. At the time of my daughter accident she was 11 years old. At the end of June 2013 she fell off the sidewalk and fracture her ankle…I took her to the hospital for exams and they confirmed she had a pilon fracture in the right ankle….My daughter was in so much pain I could see the Agony in her face..The ortho put a cast on but later that night the ibuprofen he gave her was not strong enough for the pain. So early the next morning I contacted his secretary about the pain she was in and she told me to bring her in. This doctor was told to me that he was a good doctor so I trusted him with my daugher..i worked for them almost two years but when I resigned to return to college this doctor was not there but I still trusted him with my daughter..After 4wks pass she returned to the doctor and he took her cast off and that’s its…I ask him was she able to go to great escape and he said No her summer is basically off that right foot and will take about six months to heal. At the time of her fracture Mt daughter was 270lbs from all of the steroids she been on since she was two weeks old from having that chronic asthma….My daughter has never been a complainer her pediatrician of 13years knew that…The ortho gave her 5/325 Norco for pain that was not strong enough I would give her one pill and she would sit in Agony…Her pediatrician said I want to move her up to 10/325 because she shouldn’t suffer for 45 minutes to have some relief after taking her pain med the relief should be abrupt…After that cast came off my daughter was not able to wear a normal shoe on the right foot..we were basically cut off from the world because she couldn’t stand to wash dishes, clean her room, go to the mailbox, walk in the mall with her d friends on their bday..We waited a patiently for these six mos to come and my daughter would have some relief..

February 16, 2014 at 11:49 am
(147) Elissa says:

Hi Brett,
I had a pilon fracture to my tib/fib almost a year ago. I got tripped while playing ice hockey and slid skates-first into the wall. External fixator for 3 weeks and ORIF after that. I ended up with 2 plates and 14 screws. Of course I was casted, then booted. I also developed CRPS in the bad leg. Needless to say, recovery has been slow. My PT recently made the exercises more challenging (with my blessing). The exercises were going well for over a week, then one evening I started having enormous cramping pain in my calf and shin. I took 2 Tramadol and put heat on it. Eventually it felt better, but I could hardly walk that evening and my shin has been very sore since. One of my exercises is to stand on my bad leg (left) and pull a theraband to the right with my good leg. I can’t do that one at all now because it sends shots of pain up my shin. I was not exercising when it started hurting, and I just can’t figure out what happened. I’m sorry this is so long, but do you have any advice until I see my PT next?

Thank you so much!

February 17, 2014 at 12:14 pm
(148) physicaltherapy says:

Elissa,
Thanks for your comment. It sounds like progressive loading of your ankle is the right thing for you to be doing, and a diagnosis of CRPS can really be challenging. Sometimes your “pain alarm” can be screaming like mad when there is very little actual danger to your ankle. Most likely, things in your ankle are fine. I think your best course is to contact your PT and be sure you are doing everything properly. A call to your doctor may be order too, just to be sure.

Hope all works out for you, and keep us posted.

February 17, 2014 at 3:57 pm
(149) Luke says:

Follow on to my Nov 11, 2013 post…shortly after my last post, my surgeon notified me that I have osteoporosis in my lumbar and osteopenia in my hip. The surgeon was as shocked as me. So, he sent me to an Endocrinologist who found no secondary causes. Now, I’m taking Fosamax for my bone density.

I’ve asked my PT for an exercise plan that fits a 50 year old male who was running half marathons before the injury. Most literature on the web seems to be focused on older woman.

It’s been an interesting few months. But,I haven’t given up on running just yet.

February 18, 2014 at 4:25 am
(150) deepali says:

Hi, Got an ankle fracture nd undergone a surgery with a plate and aone screws inserted 9 months back, due to unawareness i didn’t join physiotherapy Now get my hardware removed few days back and will join pt after stiches get removed, cant able to walk due to lack of range of motion , i think my ankle has been jammed, will pt work and improve my range of motion. Or not.

February 21, 2014 at 1:08 pm
(151) Ami says:

Thanks for having this very helpful site. It’s a great resource for us injured ones.

I had a classic Maisonneuve fracture a month ago with two screws put in to close the syndesmodal rupture. I am prescribed “no weight bearing besides touch down” for two more months and was wondering if any flexibility or stretching exercises of the foot and ankle (even passive) are allowed until then, when I will begin full PT on the leg.

February 24, 2014 at 9:10 pm
(152) physicaltherapy says:

Ami,
Sorry to hear about your injury. Sometimes when you are non-weightbearing you are still able to perform gentle active or passive range of motion exercises on your ankle.
But…check with your doctor first, just to be sure.

Hope all goes well.
Brett

March 27, 2014 at 1:54 am
(153) Cookie says:

Hi , I broke my tib and fib April 14 ,2012 . I could walk now I still walk with a limp not that bad , I use a walking cane only if out in public is easier to get a far distance . I still have swelling everyday some pain if I wake up in the middle of the night to go to the restroom my the front of my foot and leg get so stiff I have to hold onto the walls until I walk it a little . Im thinking if I should ask my doctor about removing my plates. But how would they do it I have a scar on the outsde of the leg on my ankle and the other scar is on the front of my leg to my lower leg . Plus I had skin graft done next to my scar . Bad enough my graft is not pretty . If I remove my plates would my stiffness go away and swelling .

April 21, 2014 at 11:08 pm
(154) Missy says:

Hi! I just wanted to say that I have read all the comments, I appreciate all the input.. here is my story. I fell in 11/2013, surgery 12/2013 (having a plate, eight screws and a clip put in), and it wasn’t until just this month that I can actually walk at a fast pace. I had to take my time, when I knew I was ready, I increased physical activity. I wasn’t an avid runner before, more just sporadic, but when I knew I wasn’t able to do it, I really missed it. ..this setback has taught me to enjoy physical activity and to improve my health. I’m almost 41, better late than never. :)

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