Lessons from an invalid

As I mentioned in a previous blog, I recently broke my ankle (http://wp.me/p1le37-6Z).  It’s only been a few days, but I’ve already had a few insights that I thought I’d share about the experience.

crutchIt’s great to have tools, but they need to work seamlessly.  I was given a pair of crutches when I left the hospital.  Granted, they’ve come a long way, baby, going from heavy wood years ago to today’s nice light aluminum.  However, they aren’t perfect.  Just to point out two problems. 

  • First, crutches made today are very smooth.  If you need to stop and do something, and temporarily need to lean the crutches anywhere, they slip to the floor 9 times out of 10.  Um, leaning over to pick up crutches is NOT something someone who needs crutches should be doing.  Wouldn’t it be a simple matter for crutches to have one side that is rough, so crutches could be placed next to counters, tables, etc. and they wouldn’t slide to the floor?
  • Also, both hands are required in order to move around with crutches – your hands are both busy actually propelling your body from place to place.  So crutches do not allow the invalid to carry something, which is required if no one is around to help.  I’ve come up with some ingenious ways to get coffee, for example, from my kitchen to my office, but bottom line, if I had the proper tool to begin with, I wouldn’t need workarounds.   How hard would it be for crutch manufacturers to add, for example, a small hook on the side of the crutch for holding bags?

Bottom line here – you need the right tools to make any job the most efficient.  Do you have all the right tools to take care of your business?


disabledIt’s not always the visual disability that’s the problem.  It’s obvious to anyone who sees me that I have a problem with my foot/ankle.  And yes, my ankle hurts, especially when I accidentally tap it into something or move it the wrong way.  BUT, the REAL problem in terms of pain are my arms, shoulders, back and legs, in other words, the rest of my body.  I’ve had to support my weight mostly with my arms as I move around on my crutches.  I’m using muscles I haven’t really worked out.  Same with my upper back muscles and my shoulders.  The thigh on the leg with the broken ankle is getting a lot of work since I have to move that leg mostly using my thigh.  And my non-broken leg is taking all my weight when I’m standing or moving.  The first morning after my accident my “good” leg was shaky and I had to be really careful getting around.  The second morning after my accident, my arms were screaming at me.  I’m feeling stronger today, on morning #5, but my ankle is splinted and besides throbbing a bit, it’s not really the major issue I’m dealing with. 

I think the lesson here is that there may be things bothering the people we’re working with or talking to that are not obvious.  They may be physical.  They may be emotional.  Practice tolerance and patience with everyone.

helpThere’s nothing wrong with asking for assistance.  I have always done everything myself; I’m very independent.  I grew up with the knowledge that no one was going to do things for me; I had to do for myself.  And I have.  I am now in a position where I am forced to ask for help, because there are things I simply cannot physically do.  I don’t like this change at all.  But, what I’ve found is most people actually don’t mind helping because it puts them in a position to give.  And believe it or not, most people feel better when they’re helping others. 

So as long as you’re asking politely, and you really need the help, ask!  Whether that means asking a top producer in the office for tips on how they handle expired listings, or it means asking someone who has an awesome Facebook page for tips, or it means asking someone who is going to the store to pick up something for you, go for it.  If they don’t help you, ask someone else.


Nothing beats having a circle of support.  This one really doesn’t need a lot of explanation, but having a circle of people who care about you (because you care about them of course) is absolutely invaluable when the chips are down. 

So never get too busy to spend quality time with your family and friends, because those are the only people that will really matter when it matters. 

I’m sure I’ll have more insights as time goes on.  Today I’ll find out how long my cast will need to remain on, so there may be plenty of time for more lessons from this invalid.

72 thoughts on “Lessons from an invalid

  1. I both the Née scooter which I found very helpful from the start. It gets me around very quickly. And wear ever I stop I can still have my leg with the broken ankle up, and my hands free to cook clean or what ever. I even went back to work really quick cause I was able to use my scooter to get around. Here is the eBay seller I used for my scooter if anyone is interested. Believe me this scooter has been a life saver.

    • I wish I had known about this at the time — I’ve heard from a few people who thought the scooter was a great idea, so Dee’s right on target with this suggestion! Thanks Dee.

  2. I found your article while sitting here in week 4 of broken ankle. Trying to figure out when I can put some weight on this thing. Doc says “everyone is different” so there’s no way he can tell me when I’ll be good. They say the bone heals at 6 weeks but I suspect it won’t be that soon when I’ll be walking again, especially after reading this post. One but if advice I would like to offer to other invalids is I bought a stool with wheels and use that to get from room to room in my house. It’s been a godsend. Also bought one of those chairs for the tub that swivels so I can turn around easily. I was given the camo boot about 1 week after the injury (mine was a little more fun as I was skiing in trees and my left leg hooked onto a stump- SNAP!) and I have not been wearing it much as I just lay on the couch all day, so I will change that pronto!

    • Michelle – That stool sounds awesome! I wish I had known about it.. At least your broken ankle came about by doing something fun… You’ll be back on skis next winter!

  3. Another thing… I went on Amazon and bought some really comfy crutch pads for under the arms and for the hands (I too, am 5’4 and have it on the 5’5 setting btw). I also bought a pouch for the crutches which attaches to the handles just below the hands. It’s perfectly sized for your phone, keys, and even bottled water (or a sealed coffee cup!) and it doesn’t get in the way. The brand is “Crutcheze” and they offer them in all sorts of fun colors and patterns. If you injure yourself in the winter, which many people do here as I live in a ski town, make sure you find “spikes” for your crutches which will enable you to get around in the ice /snow a little better.

  4. Thankyou so much for sharing your experience, im on week 6 now and feeling much better about the ankle im wearing a boot but had week 1 in plaster was that a shock and a half, I could partly walk on my ankle before going to a and e and pain didnt kick on for half an hour after fell down 2 steps yes just 2 tiny little steps.
    For bath I got a sock looks like a very large condom worked well but trying to slide in and out the bath because couldn’t stand up nightmare.
    Trying to get anywhere or do anything forget it, I just wanted to cry.
    I tried putting clips on crutches no good makes them very unstable,
    Ive been left to it hospital week 2 next appointment is week 8 so reading this has helped so much. Looking forward to full recovery now x

    • Sharon –
      I laughed out loud at your description of the sock! Thanks for that. 🙂
      Yes, trying to get around or do anything or carry anything was absolutely frustrating.
      I’m sorry to hear you fell down steps, but happy to hear you are almost at week 8. Recovery is coming!!!!
      Hugs to you,

  5. Broke my ankle in 3 spots on memorial day trying to roller skate (at almost 40) with the family. Had surgery & no weight bearing for 6 weeks. Going Thursday for the 6 wks appointment to see if I can walk with boot & crutch. Thanks for an honest & far less scary recovery story.

  6. My biggest problem with my ordeal is dealing with being by myself and depression! I am in a cast, day 9 and think I should be feeling better. My kids all took turns coming, as did my sister and my guy. ( we all live in different towns). I have a knee scooter, which is great. I just do not feel like doing anything outside of being in my house. Getting a shower, getting dressed, and hobbling to my vehicle wears me out. I hate being a cry baby. I am NWB for 6 weeks…supposed to be 3 weeks cast and 3 weeks NWB boot. Then WB boot.

    • Suzanne-

      Hang in there. It IS exhausting showering and figuring out how the heck to get your clothes on – it’s a lot trickier than someone with two feet can imagine! You can’t balance on one leg to put your pants on. So don’t worry about feeling blah. That will all change when you can stand on both feet again.

      I’m not sure where you live, but if the weather would cooperate, perhaps you can just get dressed and then go sit outside in the sun and read a good book or something. Even just a change of scenery might help.

      Thinking of you! This too shall end.


    • Awe Kathleen I know exactly how you feel! I promise it will pass if you can just hang in there a little longer. For me it took about 3 weeks – as that’s when my foot started feeling like a foot again and not just some lump of dead weight. I injured myself skiing which is my favorite sport and it really bummed me out. What helped me out is I bought a bunch of ski passes for next season to places I’ve never been which really made a difference as it gave me something to be excited about. Perhaps book a trip or something (if you can) for when you know you’ll be healed. I’m at 13 weeks now and while I’m still a little swollen, I am psyched at all I can do now! :). Good luck to you 🙂

  7. So, today I fell. I went to get my hair colored and cut. While I was at the salon, it started to rain. I have a knee cart which is so mush easier than crutches…except putting it in the back seat, then hobbling, hopping, etc back to the front seat. I put my hand on top of the car, hopped with my good leg, and down I went. I hit both knees, but it truly jarred my ankle. Anyway, came home…back on the pillow and the pain meds. It really has’t swollen, and its just a dull pain…but I felt like a klutz. I hope this is not a set back! Thanks for your blog and your support. There is not a tremendous amount of info on the Internet.

    • Suzanne –
      OUCH! That must have been an awful moment but it doesn’t sound as though you did any damage to your leg. I guess this morning if it’s still just a dull pain and not swollen you can probably breathe a sigh of relief!

      How’s your hair look? 🙂

      One of the commenters on this blog mentioned a Facebook group that seems to be quite helpful – if you have a Facebook account, you could add “Broken Ankle / Foot / Leg Recovery – On a Quest for Normal!” which has a lot of people who post questions and/or advice and information.

      Be careful today!

      • Thank you for the information and encouragement your blog has offered me. I slipped and fell on June 8th twisting and fracturing my right ankle. My time line has mirrored your experience. My feelings of depression and helplessness were not pleasant but I see now they were normal. I am at week 8 and need to be able to drive 150 miles to work next week. Not sure I will be able to do that. At 66 years of age I am blessed with healing and family. I swear this was not an “old lady fall” and I will be “normal” again!

        • Karen-

          Thank you for your comment!

          You have a great attitude — it wasn’t an “old lady” fall at all – apparently, people of all ages slip and fall and break bones – who would have thought? 🙂

          Best wishes next week with the drive. Perhaps someone can drive you if you’re not ready yet?

          Good luck!

  8. Hi Kat!!! Broke my ankle June 16, 2014 Casted, needed plate and 5 screws to fix the bone..Loving your posts. Just wanted to mention that if your doctor has prescribed codeine as your painkiller, very often it will make you sick and depressed. If you are feeling that way, stop the meds, call your dr, and substitute ibuprofen..I took 3 every 3 to 4 hours. Stopping codeine was so helpful for me. Thanks

    • Peg G-
      Thanks so much for that tip! Being sick & depressed from the medicine that is supposed to help you is no good at all. I’m glad to hear there’s an alternative.
      Best wishes in your recovery!

    • I had the same reaction to codeine plus an unpleasant withdrawal after using it for 4 weeks. I would recommend patients to try & get through the pain using ibuprophen or something similar.

    • Hi, Peg. I am reading all the comments in this blog, because I am in recovery from a broken ankle, as well. I was told by my D.O. not to take any NSAIDs whatsoever while in the healing phase. I don’t know why, but I have to trust the doctor.

      This real accounting of a broken ankle has confirmed a lot of what I have already experienced, and whay I am currently feeling and doing. I got my cast removed last Friday, and it was on for six-weeks. My doctor did not want to remove it, but I begged him to, because I was experiencing “castrophobia” — where I felt absolutely claustrophobic in that thing! It was driving me crazy, and I promised him I would not do anything to screw it up.

      I have been walking without crutches, driving very little, and just monitoring the swelling. He showed me the X-ray from the day the cast was removed, and he pointed out where the calcification was occurring, but he said that it wasn’t enough yet. He recommended a high-protein diet, so I am eating the heck out of salmon. I’m not mad. 😉

      • Gail –

        Castrophobia! I hadn’t heard it called that before, but what an appropriate term. I’m glad your doctor took it off and that you are walking and driving without too many problems.

        Best wishes with your healing, and enjoy the salmon!

  9. Thanks for this, and the tips! Broke my fibula on my first day of vacation during a mountain biking lesson on Aug 10… Did feel a pop, but no particular pain. Thought it was sprained. Continued vacation, including 100 miles of road biking. No, I’m NOT tough…it just didn’t hurt very much at all. I kept it elevated and iced it a lot… It was only after my first day back at work, when I was miserable at the end of the day that I went to the doc. We were BOTH surprised — it’s easy to see the fracture, even for a non-medical professional! The journey begins, thank you fellow travelers for sharing your stories!

  10. OH MY! I can’t believe you were able to do 100 miles of biking after you broke your ankle. I am sooo impressed. I’m guessing you might have an easy recovery!

    Here’s to a smooth process,

  11. Thank you Kat for such an informative blog on the never ending trials & tribulations associated with breaking an ankle. I was on the first day of a holiday & simply went over the side of my shoe. I didn’t fall or hit the ground but knew instantly I had a bad injury although I thought it was a ligament injury. So, I booked a flight home immediately with a support bandage. When I finally got home the next day & to the hospital I had 4 breaks – 2 on each side of my ankle and was booked in to surgery straight away. Two plates, eight pins & seven weeks later I am having my cast removed in 2 days. Your blog has covered everything that needs to be addressed and like you I am a small business owner with the resulting effects near catastrophic for my business. Depression, tears, anger, frustration & fears are all things that will be experienced. I’m happy to say that it’s all worked out fine, friends & family have pulled me through it. My only fear now, will I ever be able to function normally on it again, will I ever be able to wear heels ever again? I know that seems trivial but as a short woman this is important to me. Once again, thank you your blog really helped me.

    • Julie G-

      Thank you for writing! Wow, 4 breaks is a lot – Thankfully you realized something was wrong and went straight home to see a doctor. Good for you! One of the things I STILL notice is that I am MUCH more careful with where I place my feet because I definitely don’t want a repeat. As for your heels, it will probably be a while before you can wear them, but eventually, you should be back to normal wearing all your normal footwear.

      Best wishes with your healing,

  12. Being in week one, am looking online for assurance I will get through this, simple break, in cast, told probably for about 5 weeks which seems like a lifetime right now, but mastered the shower today with an old chair, and putting padding on my crutches. Have done a little big of work from home but can’t really face the hurdles of the office yet. My biggest upset is that I had to cancel a holiday was due to go on in two weeks time and by the time I am fit it will be winter. Lovely to read your blog and I think a sense of humour is going to be vital to get me through. Thanks for all your advice.

  13. Dear Kathleen:

    Thank you so much for writing about your experience with a broken ankle. I just broke my left ankle 5 days ago and wish
    I read your suggestions on day 1.
    ( My Day 1: Complete denial…this will be
    No problemo. )

    Day 2: Bam! Snap out of it and acknowledge a few things:
    The pain, feeling dumb
    X dumb for tripping in my garage,
    The crutches are difficult and not easy,
    No more zoomba , and no walking the
    Dog. Next, officially regroup and:
    Cancel my trip out west for Thanksgiving,
    Call my five brothers and sisters for
    Assign chores to my college graduate
    Daughter living at home until Dec 27;
    Agree to the scooter rental;
    Call my husband and tell him the
    Divorce is still on;
    Call my friends for local help;
    Think about a high fiber diet so
    My bathroom experience does not
    Turn into another 911 emergency ;
    Organize my bedroom and bathroom,
    Get out of shock again!!!

    Fast forward Day 5:
    grateful for my daughter, the scooter,
    A healthy right foot, not having to
    Work for a while, our flat coat retriever,
    my family , neighbors , friends, Harney tea bags, and discovering your blog when I goggled
    “How to survive a broken ankle!”

    Best wishes,
    Nancy, Helene and dog Finn

    • Nancy, Helene and Finn –
      Oh my gosh, I laughed at the calling your husband to tell him the divorce was on part!!!
      You did all the right things – calling for help, getting a scooter, and finding things to be grateful for. I’m sure you’re going to do great, and having your daughter there to give you a hand must be a wonderful benefit.
      Best wishes to you too!

  14. I love your blog. I broke my ankle in
    October and still waiting to drive. I fell running down stairs, left by ambulance which is only a one way ride, who knew! Had to crawl to door to let them in. Did not know what was wrong but had severe chills after it happened. Was told it was a sprain that would heal in 10days, it didn’t so back to my primary another xray but now they found break.
    The funniest was being shown how to use crutches after they gave me Percocet. …I heard nothing so continued adjustments til it some how worked.
    Tried driving which was okay except for longer traffic lights, then I had to brake with both feet and very shaky.
    I had to get ready for holidays without using rides that were for appointments.
    I used grocery delivery service and a cab once for appointment but I have new appreciation for people with special needs, not enough I’d available. I got stuck in theatre seat when boot and crutches crowded in space.
    Your blog was encouraging. Some friends were so helpful and for others it was holiday time and they had much to do. That might have been me too before this but now I call and check up with those out of commission..

    • Grace-

      It’s funny how having a problem such a broken ankle all of a sudden shows us things we wouldn’t have known otherwise. It IS difficult trying to get things done when you don’t have use of both feet. I too have a deeper appreciation of people with special needs.

      Best wishes with the rest of your recovery!


  15. Thanks for the good read. I found the first few days on (elbow) crutches just awful. The sudden lack of hands and not even being able to make a cup of tea was a rude shock. Then of course there was the pain driving up through my hands, with bruises and nerve pain because of the pressure. I wasn’t prepared for the uselessness of three out of four limbs! After a few days, I discovered the freedom that a wheelie office chair – or stool – could bring. (As someone else mentioned) I could cook, make coffee and feel a bit human again. I also agree that the plastic chair in the shower is definitely the easiest way to go. If anyone else feels the urge to go to the shops, I found a back pack worn on my front and partially unzipped was handy for a few items. You look ridiculous or like a not very subtle thief, but as anyone on crutches will realize, you don’t care at that point! There’s also a product I haven’t bought but it looks helpful, called iwalk 2.0. Two weeks down, a few more to go!

  16. Hi Kat,
    Just found your blog while lying in bed researching ankle fractures. I’m in week two after breaking my ankle in two places and having 6 pins inserted.
    It’s so frustrating not being able to do anything, and I’ve found your words really encouraging! I’m totally useless on crutches, so am currently using a walking frame. My knee scooter arrives from the US in a weeks time, so looking forward to getting some independence back.
    Thanks for all your helpful words of encouragement, I’ll definitely be reading them again over the weeks to come.

    • Hi Kathleen!

      You’re doing all the right things! Trying to find methods that work for you, doing research, etc. I never used the scooter but everyone who has loved it, so I’ll bet that will be really helpful. Best wishes in your recovery!


  17. Thanks!! Really good info! I too am afflicted with an ankle break..12 loonngg days post op after slipping on steps at my Dads house in AL..only problem, I live in FL!!! ( now can’t go home til …..). We (sister & daughter) were here tending to him from a fall breaking his clavicle! Now I’m another patient in house! I get cast in 5 days still NWB.. I chose standard walker instead of crutches to avoid falls and debating getting a knee walker but seems could be a tip over fall hazard too. I ordered a lightweight wheelchair with leg lift that was recd today and I actually bathed myself😏 My prob is I had same issue happen 20 years ago!! on left one and knowing what’s ahead has me in fear Mode this go round! Im now 67 not 47! Anyway, thanks for the info..I wish it wasn’t months to go before I walk! After all this time from previous break, I still pulled out my cane last month to aide on a hurting day!

    • Bren-

      Thanks for commenting. Time does go slow when you’re not able to do what you normally do, but it goes realllly slow when you aren’t able to go home! It’s unfortunate that you already had a break and still need your cane from time to time, but it’s fortunate that you know what to expect and you do know things will eventually heal. I wish you the best on your road to recovery…


  18. I’m day 5 of a broken ankle and feel like no one understands. I also managed to sprain my good foot at the same time so have been unable to move well at all. Feeling very down at the moment. I have been signed off work for 6 weeks and feel like I am letting everyone down as they have to take on my work even though they are busy themselves. My partner does a physically demanding job and comes home shattered but still has to look after me. Everything seems to ache especially the broken ankle and I am worried it will ever heal and I won’t get back to the way I was. Have shed tears today and just wish I could change things.

    • Liane-

      Those of us who have been where you are DO understand, although most other people don’t. Having TWO feet that don’t work right is definitely a tough thing to get through. Please know that eventually you will feel good and you will be ready to walk/work normally. You’re not letting anyone down; you can’t help it that your bone is broken.

      You also can’t change anything except how you cope with your broken bone going forward. Listening to the doctors, getting as much help as possible, doing all the exercises when it’s okay to do so, and listening to your own body and spirit – those are the things you can do to move forward.


  19. Oh my, so glad to find your blog about “broken ankle”, I broke both of my fibula and tibia four weeks ago. The most unfortunate part is I was in a foreign country(Taiwan, where my parents still live here) when this happened. I broken my ankle a day before I was supposed to go back to US. The medical system here is totally different than I am familiar to. Now after four weeks, I finally am able to find a ticket to go home. By the time I started my 24 hours fly adventure, it will be 5-1/2 weeks post surgery. Thank you for all the advises, I am eager to go home and start my PT as soon as possible. The flight back home might be the most difficult trip in my 51 years life. Did arrange for wheel chair service, any other advises?

    • Diana-

      I think breaking your ankle (or getting sick in any major way) in a foreign country would have been a bit scary, and definitely would have gotten in the way of plans. You sound as though you handled everything well.

      I think the wheel chair will be a big help; there isn’t much else that can be done to really help during your long flight home. The aisles in most planes are so skinny now it’s hard to get back and forth if you need the rest room. Can you weight bear yet? If not, maybe the airline would allow you to bring a knee scooter on board? I’m not sure if they would fit in the aisles either but it might be worth a shot.

      Bottom line, just ask for help if you need it and don’t worry about moving slowly. Stay safe!!!

      Good luck!

  20. Reading through the whole story of your broken ankle saga is really helpful. Getting any little
    piece of information about my injury really helps understand what i’m facing and I feel more
    prepared. It’s also really good to see other people in the comments etc, who have also broken their ankle severely and recovered. I’m not happy to see that other people had to suffer but sharing the experience helps keep my sanity and optimism up 🙂 There’s another really good page with information about ankle fractures and recovery with a place to share at


    • Tomer-
      Thanks for your note! I’m glad all the information has been useful. Thanks so much for sharing another site. The more data the better.
      And yes, keep your optimism up! There is sunshine coming!

  21. This is so helpful, I am 30 weeks pregnant and fell and broke my ankle a biomalleolar fracture they said its day 7 and I still don’t see my specialist till Tuesday :/ 4 more days, at night and in the morning the pain is just horrible, the ER gave me morphine and Percocet but that didn’t last long. I’m depressed and just ready to be better before the baby comes, and I still don’t know if I’ll need surgery :(.

    • Jessica-
      That stinks! Dealing with the last trimester of pregnancy is hard enough but being in pain and incapacitated due to a broken ankle at the same time is the pits. I hope when you see the specialist, they will tell you that you don’t need any surgery and you just need to stay off of it. Then just be careful and rest as much as possible.
      I’ll bet you are depressed but in a few months that bundle of joy will take your mind off of any remaining aches and pains.

  22. I am in week 2 and going crazy already. How am I going to last several more months of body aches and complete dependence??? I can’t even be alone with my own kids because I can’t so much as pick them up if they fall.
    The depression is not something I anticipated.
    This blog and comment section helped me feel less alone for a few minutes. Thank you.

    • Amanda –

      I’m sorry to hear you are already feeling depressed about the lack of independence and inability to do what you normally do (especially with your children). But please believe, this IS temporary and in a few months you will be feeling much much better.

      Feel free to contact me directly if you just need an ear…. 914-419-0270.


  23. Enjoyed reading your blog! I dislocated and broke my ankle in two places – fibula and tibia on November 8. Slipped and fell at a friend’s house while helping them move. Have been out of work since. I had surgery on the 12th of November and got a fiberglass cast on the 24th of November. I go back to orthopedic surgeon on December 15 for walking boot I guess? Christmas vacation begins December 21. I’m a special Ed teacher at a high school so I don’t know if I’ll go back to work for those three days or not. It’s felt like a long and slow recovery process. I like so many others have mentioned am used to being independent. I’m a single mother and this whole experience has been eye opening. I stopped the hydrocodone last Friday and have been able to get a little more sleep. I have kept myself busy by doing as much work remotely (emails, paper work is all online), watching Netflix, playing games on my phone, doing online surveys.. I’m looking forward to walking, driving, and putting my life back together! I have some very helpful friends but I’ve also ordered things online. I haven’t tackled the shower yet.. I bought rinse free products from Walgreens just easier. I fell day two with crutches and broke my end table so… I’ve used a walker (that I bought for my mom last thanksgiving) and rented a knee Walker which is ok but I don’t feel comfortable using it outside my house. I wondered if anyone else experienced the occasional spasms and twitching in the ankle (this hurts) or shaking when you yawn? I guess that’s the nerves waking up.. I pretty much keep my foot elevated all day and only scoot to the kitchen once to get water and lunch. Glad I found this blog bc yes I’ve had several break down and cry moments. I’m hoping to return to work in January and also be able to drive myself!!! My job is about 15 minutes from my house…

  24. Kristi-

    I totally get where you are coming from! I felt all those same frustrations, although I don’t remember twitching of the ankle. That does sound like muscle/nerve spasms. Your ankle is probably as frustrated as you are – those spasms are probably your foot saying, “Hey, how come I’m just sitting here? I want to go for a walk!” Hang in there – you are doing everything you can to keep busy and cope, and hopefully in 4 days you will get a boot and be one step closer to freedom.

    You’re doing great!


  25. Dear Kat,

    Thank you so much for this blog, and while I realize you are no longer posting about your ankle, just reading your postings has made me feel so much better. I slipped and fell on ice on January 18th, while trying to help my wheelchair bound brother out of his van. (How ironic, and now I’m of no use to him.). My foot was completely dislocated from my ankle, and I was rushed via ambulance to the hospital where it was reset and they discovered I have broken 3 bones (tibia, fibula, and another one I can’t remember, plus torn tendons). Had surgery and now have a plate and lots of screws.

    Here I am 10 weeks later, and I’m still non-weight bearing for at least 2 more. I’ve been so freaked out because the doctor has not seen enough bone healing yet. Of course your mind goes to dark places and you worry if you will walk again. I live alone in a house with lots of stairs, and I’m so physically exhausted from the crutches and pushing a scooter around that I’ve cut back my work schedule and am just waiting out these last couple of NWB weeks. I tried initially to keep the same work schedule, but as a previous poster mentioned, just showering and dressing is time consuming and exhausting. I’ve given myself permission to work from home, and take some time off. The depression has been awful, along with the pain. The pain is reduced, but there is a constant awareness of this concrete block of stiffness. I hope this goes away someday? I don’t want my entire life to be about this ankle, yet it consumes most of every waking moment. ….and of course the worry as to whether I’ll ski, or dance, or walk normally again. Anyway, it’s been so good to read others’ experiences and realize I’m not alone and can expect things to get better, and that my healing process is normal.

    I really just wanted to say, you must be an exceptional person. I can read it in your caring responses to all the previous posters. God bless you, and thank you for all the information!


    • I found helpful FB closed groups from reading this post. Best is Broken ankle/leg/foot Recovery – on a quest for normal.
      Thanks, Kat!!!

    • Cheryl, I agree with you about Kat being an awesome person. 🙂

      I so hope that you can gain a bit of perspective on the healing process, whether from this blog or your own experiences. Yes, it will take time, but every day you are healing, even if you can’t feel it or measure it.

      When it is time for physical therapy, follow their instructions. Don’t expect your ankle to look anything like it did before the break. Don’t expect to be able to walk without a limp. Don’t expect to be “normal” for quite a while. All in due time!

      Every day is a blessing, so count them all, even if you feel like discounting the time with a cast.

      If you feel confined and alone, please reach out to someone you trust, or even to a stranger. You are welcome to contact me! I would be happy to listen to your frustrations and concerns. I would only hope to bring you hope and peace of mind. It wasn’t that long ago that I, too, was depressed, alone, and worried. I needed this blog as much as anyone.

      Please smile and know that you are a fighter!

      • Gail-
        You are amazing. What a beautiful note, and I couldn’t agree with you more. Cheryl is not alone. Thank you for your offer to talk with her and your encouragement.

    • Cheryl-

      Thank you so much for your complements in your last paragraph, and for sharing all you did of your situation. That must have been a horrible experience (when you actually broke your ankle and dislocated your foot) and it sounds as though it’s been a very tough 10 weeks for you. It is definitely a difficult experience to get through, especially because the “end” isn’t visible yet. I can say that as soon as you are able to put some weight on your foot, things should start improving fairly rapidly. Right now your ankle hasn’t had any stretching, pressure, etc., for more than two months, and it’s forgotten how to work. Once you start retraining it, your ankle will thank you by working better. Also, I agree with Kim in the next comment. If you are on Facebook, there are a lot of people in the “on a quest for normal” group – and they can definitely encourage you as you move forward.

      Thinking of you, and wishing you well!

  26. The iWalk has been a life saver, that’s what I’ve been using. Yes there’s no silver bullet that makes this time as pleasant as it would be if I could walk, drive, go to spin class, etc. But I can get up and down the stairs without crawling up and down them (if you can believe that’s what my doctor expected me to do, in a 3 story townhome!), I can carry things, I don’t have to worry about my crutch falling over (you can’t really prop it up, it leans on the ground and you set it next to you when you sit down so you can still reach it). Look it up! Insurance will cover it same as a knee scooter. It is a one-time use item, you cannot rent it, but cost-wise it is at parity to renting 1 knee scooter anyway (and if you have stairs you know you’ll need multiple scooters on each level anyway–same with crutches, they’re $50 a pop and you need one pair per level you need to walk on while this guy was $150 total). I saw Cheryl’s post above and am sorry this is too late to help her. I do use a rolling deck chair on my main level for the majority of the day since it’s a hardwood floor, but also on carpeting the iWalk is much easier, any wheels get caught.

    As you said your body still hurts. I have flat feet and am having such sharp pains in my left knee ibuprofen doesn’t cut it, basically the pain is now at such a level it’s worse even then my initial injury (and now my injury doesn’t hurt at all and ironically my “good” leg is in agony). But unlike crutches you’re bearing the majority of the weight ONLY on your good leg/foot, not your arms/shoulders/or even stomach like with crutches which is huge help.

    Be aware your doctor will most likely NOT know about the iWalk, you will need to contact your insurance and get the product yourself (it is FDA-approved so I don’t know why apparently no one knows about it). I bought mine via Amazon and got my doctor to write a script so I could claim it out-of-network. You should contact your insurance who may prefer you do everything in network (in which case compare their medical supplier list to iWalk.com’s list of stores where it’s carried).

    Caveat-there’s a learning curve with the iWalk, but within a day or two I felt much more stable on the iWalk then the crutches and anyway I felt the crutches had their own learning curve that I never 100% conquered. This is walking like normal with an object strapped to your knee you use in lieu of your leg so at some level it’s just intuitive.

  27. Thank you for this blog. I take great comfort in hearing others’ stories and that you can get through it. Today is week 3 for me, broken fibula & 5th metatarsal. So far no surgery, but I have my second follow up on Thursday and I’m worried about healing.

    Like so many others here, I’m frustrated by the loss of independence and mobility. Additional challenges are that I am morbidly obese and suffer from depression & anxiety.

    My knee scooter has been a god-send, I ordered it on Amazon and went with the large tires. It has been great, though the turning radius is the pits and I often have to physically pick it up and flip it around in my condo. I couldn’t handle the walker or crutches.

    I’m trying to balance pushing myself a bit, yet not over doing it. It’s a fine line. I also keep reminding myself that it is a long time, but a limited time. I also focus on things that I’m grateful for when I start to feel down. Your blog is one of those things!

    • Kristen-

      Virtual hugs to you. Depression and anxiety are difficult enough when things are going relatively well, but when faced with something major like a broken bone, life can be even more challenging. I’m glad you found the knee scooter; apparently that really does help get around. Try to keep yourself busy while healing, even if it’s by doing crosswords or starting a new hobby or something. My thoughts are with you as you move through the next few months!


    • Kristen, please do not hesitate to reach out to someone when the bad feelings and thoughts creep in. Your emotional health is crucial during this time of physical healing, even more so than when you were not injured. Laughter and creativity will help immensely, and you will discover new aspects of yourself as you remain limited in normal social activities. I extend an offer for you to call me at any time, if you find yourself lonely and needing an understanding ear. I won’t post my phone number publicly, but would share it with Kat to give to you, if you request it. I absolutely understand your situation. I am in physical therapy now, after having broken my ankle in January. I’m on the brighter end of the tunnel. You will get there, too!

  28. Hi … I just found this site after breaking my carceneum 9 days ago. It has been great reading everyone’s experiences and the good wishes sent.

  29. Thanks for a really helpful blog, I broke my Tibia in Madeira’s Tropical Garden day 3 of my holiday,staying in a mini hotel on the top floor no lift. So it has been a steep learning curve. Now back in the UK, 4 weeks with casts, 5 and 6 week in a boot. Reading your blogs has given me confidence that I am doing OK. I would recommend the read to all in a similar situation.

    Thanks for the confidence boost,


    • Graham – Thank you for writing. It sounds like you’re six weeks in, so hopefully you’re getting closer to the end! I wish you the best in terms of getting back on your feet. Best wishes!

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