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  1. #1
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    Broken Ankle Advice.....

    In early May I was ran off the road by a car and broke my right ankle..
    Officially called a Distal Fibula Fracture. I got a cast and just had it removed last Friday after 6 weeks in the plaster. Doc says the bone is healing at his anticipated schedule. I am now in boot for at least 3 weeks, but at least I can now take it off and go swimming, shower without a garbage bag around my leg.. So my doc said I could start walking on it, but it is still to sore and painful to do so yet. Still on crutches.

    Any Advice on how to rehab from here? Any and all advice would be surely appreciated! Prior to this I rode 100 plus miles a week as a commuter and hit the dirt on the weekends! I am in AZ so plenty of riding I am missing out on! Driving me nuts! If anyone has been thru this I would love to hear how you rehabed

    Jabert

  2. #2
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    It's going to be sore and painful for a bit. Remember for the last 6 weeks it has been in a cast and non-weight bearing. Work on the range of motion, and you will find that once that begins to come back some of the pain will go away.
    I crashed hard enough on my Tallboy to break my leg,
    The carbon is way more durable than most people.

  3. #3
    clo
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    no visits to a physical therapist?? that would be my next visit...

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    Quote Originally Posted by clo View Post
    no visits to a physical therapist?? that would be my next visit...
    No Insurance... This is already going to cost me 8K out of pocket. My Doc said I can do most PT at home or in my pool, and on the bike. I found on line some at home stretches with towels to start my range of motion stuff...

    Jabert

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbikej View Post
    It's going to be sore and painful for a bit. Remember for the last 6 weeks it has been in a cast and non-weight bearing. Work on the range of motion, and you will find that once that begins to come back some of the pain will go away.
    Each day I put a little more pressure on it, not full body weight yet. Doc said it might take a week or two for that.

    Jabert

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    Where in AZ? I am a PT in Ahwatukee and I know we offer free consults for a 15 minute assessment that would probably be a good start...Many PT clinics do the same. Plus AZ is a direct access state where you can simply show up, pay a hundred bucks and get a good start on rehab. No script required. 8k is a lot to spend and not be at full function, so what's a few hundred more for a better outcome?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by pwrtrainer View Post
    Where in AZ? I am a PT in Ahwatukee and I know we offer free consults for a 15 minute assessment that would probably be a good start...Many PT clinics do the same. Plus AZ is a direct access state where you can simply show up, pay a hundred bucks and get a good start on rehab. No script required. 8k is a lot to spend and not be at full function, so what's a few hundred more for a better outcome?

    What part of Tukee? I have lived in there for the last 8 years. I am now in S Tempe but my office is at 48th and Elliot.

    Jabert

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    Haha! Figured as much. Check your PM's

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by pwrtrainer View Post
    Haha! Figured as much. Check your PM's
    I know exactly where you are! I will call you to see if you can help!

    Thanks Bro

    Jabert

  10. #10
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    Just saw your post, jabert, and thought I'd chime in. I broke my ankle in an mtb'ing accident almost 2 years ago. Here is some info that might help you:

    +1 on the physical therapist. You don't necessarily have to go twice a week. They can teach you many good exercises that you can do at home. Pay close attention to learning proper form. You should probably visit the same therapist every few weeks so that they can recheck your form and teach you more exercises as you progress.

    One vitally important piece of info that I didn't get until almost a year after my injury is that virtually all broken ankles include significant injury to the tendons and ligaments. It's likely that much of your discomfort from here on out will be attributable to soft tissue damage. Tendons and ligaments can take a couple of years to fully recover.

    Easy cycling was the only time that my ankle didn't hurt during the first couple of months of weight bearing. Check with your therapist to see if your ankle is ready to ride. If so, remember that your foot and ankle are "stupid" right now. They've lost proprioception, (knowing where they are in space), and your balance will be off. Stick with wide, flat trails for your first several rides.

    I was riding less technical mtb trails and doing easy trail running by 4 months after my injury. I was competently riding all of my favorite mtb obstacles 3 months after that. Almost 2 years out, my ankle is still a bit stiff but I rarely notice it anymore.

    Best of luck. The healing and rehab may sound a long way off now but you'll be able to resume your favorite activities long before your ankle is fully recovered. Luckily, time passes much faster once you can start doing what you love again.
    Last edited by Bernina; 06-22-2013 at 10:04 PM.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by pwrtrainer View Post
    Where in AZ? I am a PT in Ahwatukee and I know we offer free consults for a 15 minute assessment that would probably be a good start...Many PT clinics do the same. Plus AZ is a direct access state where you can simply show up, pay a hundred bucks and get a good start on rehab. No script required. 8k is a lot to spend and not be at full function, so what's a few hundred more for a better outcome?
    Quote Originally Posted by jabert View Post
    What part of Tukee? I have lived in there for the last 8 years. I am now in S Tempe but my office is at 48th and Elliot.

    Jabert
    Small world. I'm in Ahwatukee also, run a machine shop up by Broadway/52nd. I just so happen to also be nursing an ankle injury, took a fall up at the waterfall on National last weekend. Bad sprain, multiple fractures of my navicular.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bernina View Post
    Just saw your post, jabert, and thought I'd chime in. I broke my ankle in an mtb'ing accident almost 2 years ago. Here is some info that might help you:



    One vitally important piece of info that I didn't get until almost a year after my injury is that virtually all broken ankles include significant injury to the tendons and ligaments. It's likely that much of your discomfort from here on out will be attributable to soft tissue damage. Tendons and ligaments can take a couple of years to fully recover.

    Best of luck. The healing and rehab may sound a long way off now but you'll be able to resume your favorite activities long before your ankle is fully recovered. Luckily, time passes much faster once you can start doing what you love again.

    ^^^^This:

    My Ortho just about guaranteed that I would have eventually get arthritis in my ankle when I got older......but I didn't expect it to flare up only 3 years later.

    Granted, when my ankle was broken, I also dislocated the foot back nearly 3/4"....so the tendons and ligaments got stretched out and I damaged the cartlidge in the joint pretty bad.

    I now know when the weather is gonna change....my ankle tells me so.
    I crashed hard enough on my Tallboy to break my leg,
    The carbon is way more durable than most people.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bernina View Post
    Just saw your post, jabert, and thought I'd chime in. I broke my ankle in an mtb'ing accident almost 2 years ago. Here is some info that might help you:

    +1 on the physical therapist. You don't necessarily have to go twice a week. They can teach you many good exercises that you can do at home. Pay close attention to learning proper form. You should probably visit the same therapist every few weeks so that they can recheck your form and teach you more exercises as you progress.

    One vitally important piece of info that I didn't get until almost a year after my injury is that virtually all broken ankles include significant injury to the tendons and ligaments. It's likely that much of your discomfort from here on out will be attributable to soft tissue damage. Tendons and ligaments can take a couple of years to fully recover.

    Easy cycling was the only time that my ankle didn't hurt during the first couple of months of weight bearing. Check with your therapist to see if your ankle is ready to ride. If so, remember that your foot and ankle are "stupid" right now. They've lost proprioception, (knowing where they are in space), and your balance will be off. Stick with wide, flat trails for your first several rides.

    I was riding less technical mtb trails and doing easy trail running by 4 months after my injury. I was competently riding all of my favorite mtb obstacles 3 months after that. Almost 2 years out, my ankle is still a bit stiff but I rarely notice it anymore.

    Best of luck. The healing and rehab may sound a long way off now but you'll be able to resume your favorite activities long before your ankle is fully recovered. Luckily, time passes much faster once you can start doing what you love again.
    Thanks for the info... my Dr said no tendon or ligament damage that he could see. He see's this as a stanard break of the Fibula. I still cant put full weight on the ankle, but it has only been 10 days since the cast came off. I go back in July 12 to get my last Xray and he said maybe a brace at that time. I commute to work so that should be plenty of rehab once I can do that again. It's only about 5 miles to my office, so my Dr said that will be the best rehab I can do. I am hoping to be there again by Sept 1. My break happened April 27, so that would be 4 months... Does that sound realistic?

    Jabert

  14. #14
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    When I snapped my fibula a few years back i had a non-weight bearing cast for 6 weeks. It wasnt completely healed so they gave me a brace. I used that for a few weeks but the ankle was stiff for awhile. The one exercise i found that worked the best to regain strength and range of motion was calf raises. Id do then at work at my desk. Once i could do them on flat, i started used a ream of paper to elevate my foot and get more range. I was shocked by how fast i regained my strength and range of motion. By 12 weeks i was lightly jogging and back to riding.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Lynch View Post
    When I snapped my fibula a few years back i had a non-weight bearing cast for 6 weeks. It wasnt completely healed so they gave me a brace. I used that for a few weeks but the ankle was stiff for awhile. The one exercise i found that worked the best to regain strength and range of motion was calf raises. Id do then at work at my desk. Once i could do them on flat, i started used a ream of paper to elevate my foot and get more range. I was shocked by how fast i regained my strength and range of motion. By 12 weeks i was lightly jogging and back to riding.
    You were riding in 12 weeks from the cast being removed? I would love to be on the bike in that time frame... giving I had the cast removed June 14, that would put me in that Sept time frame. I found online a bunch of stretching of the ankle that can be done at home also. I also work at a computer so I can do those calf raises at work also. I am gonna go see PT-ist to see what he has to say also. Thanks for the encouraging words Lynch... I really needed them. This has been very emotionally as well as physically difficult thing I have ever been thru. Biking is my life as I need to to do the miles for my heart... got a pre-existing congenital problem I am dealing with and the excersise I am sure is keeping me alive longer.

    Jabert

  16. #16
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    I wore my boot for 6 weeks. I did my first ride 2 weeks after I got out of the boot. It was probably only 2 miles on a wide, flat, empty trail. Based on my experience, I think that you will be plenty able to commute 5 miles by 4 months, post injury.

    Strengthening exercises are excellent but don't neglect the range of motion exercises, like writing the alphabet in the air with your foot, picking up marbles with your toes and dropping them in a tall, narrow mouthed container, and towel scrunches with your foot (do a You Tube search for that one). The range of motion exercises will also help you regain your proprioception, a necessity for getting your feet off the pedals and planted on the ground quickly and steadily.

    I totally understand the emotional component of dealing with this injury. It changes your life for at least a few months. Are you still taking pain meds? They're depressive and I blame much of my emotional instability while I was non-weight bearing on the pain meds. I broke my humerus 8 months ago and took as few pain meds as possible. I got through the initial healing phase with much less stress without the pain meds affecting my emotions.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by jabert View Post
    You were riding in 12 weeks from the cast being removed? I would love to be on the bike in that time frame... giving I had the cast removed June 14, that would put me in that Sept time frame. I found online a bunch of stretching of the ankle that can be done at home also. I also work at a computer so I can do those calf raises at work also. I am gonna go see PT-ist to see what he has to say also. Thanks for the encouraging words Lynch... I really needed them. This has been very emotionally as well as physically difficult thing I have ever been thru. Biking is my life as I need to to do the miles for my heart... got a pre-existing congenital problem I am dealing with and the excersise I am sure is keeping me alive longer.

    Jabert
    12 weeks after the injury i was trail riding again. 6 weeks in a cast, 2 weeks in boot, then 4 weeks of rehab and indoor spinning on a trainer.
    5 months after the injury I was playing soccer and flag football and running like it never happened.

    Like posted above, writing the alphabet with my big toe was very helpful. I'd lay on the floor and watch a movie, prop my calf up in the air and write the alphabet over and over emphasizing the movement of my ankle.
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    I got so bored writing the alphabet so often that I started writing family and pet names. My MIL's and my dog's names had the most interesting combinations of letters. My daughter's and mother's names were a pain because they both have 2 n's next to each other in their names. I hated m's and n's

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bernina View Post
    I wore my boot for 6 weeks. I did my first ride 2 weeks after I got out of the boot. It was probably only 2 miles on a wide, flat, empty trail. Based on my experience, I think that you will be plenty able to commute 5 miles by 4 months, post injury.

    Strengthening exercises are excellent but don't neglect the range of motion exercises, like writing the alphabet in the air with your foot, picking up marbles with your toes and dropping them in a tall, narrow mouthed container, and towel scrunches with your foot (do a You Tube search for that one). The range of motion exercises will also help you regain your proprioception, a necessity for getting your feet off the pedals and planted on the ground quickly and steadily.

    I totally understand the emotional component of dealing with this injury. It changes your life for at least a few months. Are you still taking pain meds? They're depressive and I blame much of my emotional instability while I was non-weight bearing on the pain meds. I broke my humerus 8 months ago and took as few pain meds as possible. I got through the initial healing phase with much less stress without the pain meds affecting my emotions.
    I have had the boot almost 2 weeks now. I found the youtube excersises online you mentioned. Should I start the towel pulls yet? The range of motion excersises are hard but I do have some ability to move my ankle. Or should I wait til I get the boot off. I still cant put weight on the leg and still use crutches. I do take the boot off when I sleep and that seems to work with out pain. My doc said keep it on while sleeping. What did you do while sleeping?

    I took pain meds the 1st week on the cast then stopped, I didnt like the way they made me feel. I just toughed it out so to say.

    Jabert

  20. #20
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    My experience may have been different from yours because I had surgery with a bunch of hardware implanted. The medical assistant at my ortho's office insisted that I sleep in the boot but the doc never said anything about it. I couldn't sleep with it so I used an OTC ankle brace and wrapped it over with an ace bandage. Seemed to work fine. I was non-weight bearing for only 6 weeks total. Once I had permission to bear weight again, they told me that I could toss the boot. I considered burning it instead.

    My doc said that I could move my ankle as tolerated but not to bear weight on it for the first 6 weeks after the injury. That meant alphabet writing, picking up marbles with my toes, and towel scrunches. After 6 weeks, he told me that I could do anything that my ankle would tolerate, and I did. It sounds like my doc is less conservative than yours.

    Towel scrunches are different than towel pulls. Here's a link to the scrunch exercise How to do a Towel Scrunch to reactivate foot, arch, and ankle muscles - YouTube The marble and scrunch exercises get your foot and toes working again, which improves your balance and takes some of the stress off of your ankle and calf muscles.

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    I guess I am just getting impatient. I need to take easy. I will probably be in the boot til August. That would be 6 weeks. Then hopefully 4 weeks on a brace and rehab and maybe try to road ride by Sept 1. My doc said not to start PT till after the boot is off.
    I just want this to end and get back to my life. Very frustrated right now.

    Jabert

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    I feel your pain. I have a cast on my left hand (shattered pinky) and it comes off on July 10th. I booked a trip to whistler for July 20th months ago. I'm goig there with 8 riding buddies and all I may get to do is start the bar tab early.
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Lynch View Post
    I feel your pain. I have a cast on my left hand (shattered pinky) and it comes off on July 10th. I booked a trip to whistler for July 20th months ago. I'm goig there with 8 riding buddies and all I may get to do is start the bar tab early.
    Yeah I saw that... ouch.... I could barely look at the pics.
    Sucks your trips is toast. At least you can enjoy the scenery!

    Jabert

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    Yesterday, at the office I ditched the crutches and walked! My Knees hurt more
    than my ankle! Now I am walking around the house! What a milestone! I am beginning to see the light at the end of this dark tunnel.... Now going in the pool to rehab and move the ankle around for an hour.

    Jabert

  25. #25
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    Man, I just broke my ankle yesterday in a DH wreck. I was hoping you guys would say you were back on the bike within a week.
    Quote Originally Posted by Fuglio View Post
    You guys suck im all bummed now

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