Broken Ankle Experience – Part 5 of 5

In the first four parts of blog series, I’ve shared my recent experience with my broken ankle – what to do when traveling, tips on how to survive around the house, the cast versus boot process, healing and physical therapy.  I hope the information was helpful.  This is my final blog on this subject, and I’ll cover some overall thoughts and will also share how I was (or wasn’t) able to work during my three months of disability, for anyone who may be in the same field as I am.

GETTING AROUND IN PUBLIC

Getting around while on crutches is very difficult, and even if you are going stir-crazy, as I was, sometimes it is better just to relax rather than attempt to do too many public things.  I didn’t pay attention to my own advice and grabbed every chance I had to get out.  I covered taking public transportation in a previous blog, so the following is focused on being out in public (in general):

disabled signI volunteered to go along to a major airport a few times to pick someone up.  In one instance, when we got there, I needed to use the rest room, so I hobbled into the airport.  The parking garage was at the lower level and the baggage area (where we were picking someone up) was on the second level.  No problem, of course, because they have a big elevator.  Over to the elevator we went.  We pressed the button.  And waited.  And waited.  The elevator indicator never moved off the “Parking” level and the doors never opened.  There was no sign that the elevator was out of service but it obviously wasn’t working.  So there were now two options: To take the escalator or the stairs.

Escalators are not a good idea while on crutches because balance is impacted, as is speed.  In order to get on the escalator, you need to time it perfectly, swinging your good leg onto the moving stairs and then lifting the crutches at the exact proper moment so you could place THEM on the moving stair.  It really requires a lot of balance and practice, and unfortunately I didn’t have that.  My only option was to take the stairs, so I did.  I made it up to the second level where I went in search of a rest room and when I couldn’t find it, I asked an airline attendant.  He told me the only rest rooms were on the third floor and I could take the elevator.  I told him the elevator was broken, and he insisted it wasn’t, so I tried it again.  Nope.  Still stuck on “Parking”.  Sigh.  Now I was annoyed, so I stomped up the stairs.  Mind you, there are about 25-30 stairs from each level to the next, so I just stomped up 50 or 60 stairs.  I thought of writing a letter to the management of the airport, but instead I’m complaining here.

Finally, I found the rest room, and there was one stall that had a handicapped sign.  While smaller stalls are certainly usable, because they are small, it’s a little difficult to move around with the crutches, so the larger stalls are definitely preferable.  But the stall was locked from the inside, with no sign that it was out of order, and it was not in use.

So here’s my thought on public accommodations for the disabled.  I was able to get to where I had to go anyway, but what if I had been in a wheelchair?  I would have been stuck outside the terminal.  There may have been an elevator on some other part of the terminal building, but there wasn’t any way for me to know that, and without crutching my way around an entire building, there was no way for me to find out.  Second, if I had a wheelchair, I would not have been able to use the rest room at all.  I simply could not have fit in any of the regular stalls.  Third, if I hadn’t been as strong as I was (as she flexes muscles in demonstration!), I wouldn’t have been able to use the stairs either.

So if you’re reading this and you are currently going through the cast/boot/crutches process, you may wish to stay home if possible, OR do some research ahead of time about accommodations for disabled, just so you are prepared for any possibility.   If you’re reading this and you work at a public airport, or other transportation location, OR any restaurant, etc., borrow a pair of crutches and see where you need to ensure there are backup arrangements.  Try to open the bathroom door while using crutches – in most places, it’s almost impossible.  Also train your employees that people with temporary or permanent disabilities really do have special requirements – they aren’t just being a pain in the butt.  The airline employee I mentioned above, once he found out the elevator was broken, kept telling me to take the escalator.  He said it about three times, and I kept saying, but I CAN’T take the escalator.  I physically couldn’t.  I would have fallen down and hurt myself even worse.   Also, post signs that indicate the location of other elevators, just in case the one you’re standing in front of is broken.

I have a lot more examples, because I went out fairly often, but they all boil down to the same thing – it’s almost impossible to get around when you have any kind of issue that impedes movement.  One more thought before I move on, curb cuts.  Many sidewalks have curb cuts so you can get onto the sidewalk (without a handrail, it’s impossible to get up stairs or onto/off of curbs so you need the curb cut).  Look for the appropriate spot to get onto the sidewalk before you head over.  Sometimes it’s all the way at the end of the block.  Sometimes it’s in a weird spot you can’t easily get to.  Sometimes there isn’t one.  If you don’t have an easy way to get onto the sidewalk by yourself, you’ll have to ask for someone willing to give you an arm to hold on to.  Otherwise, you’ll just have to go home because you’re not going to be able to get up there.

WORKING IN REAL ESTATE WITH A BROKEN ANKLE

And now, to switch gears.  The following will only be of interest to other real estate agents.  I wanted to share whether having a broken ankle or leg gets in the way of being able to properly conduct real estate business.

The answer is YES!  It does indeed.

realtorAs many of you know, I’m a relatively new real estate agent, who changed my name and moved to a new area in the middle of last year.  I’m still in the process of building a new list of contacts in my new area, and I need to be able to get out and meet people.  For the people I am currently helping to find a rental or a new home, I need to be able to show them properties.  For the homes I’d like to list, I need to be able to get out and view the homes, meet with the owners, come back again with a proposal.   For all of this, I need to be able to jump in the car when needed and drive to appointments.  I need to be able to review second floors and third floors and attics and basements.

Obviously, since I couldn’t drive, all those activities were seriously impacted.  I was able to do some showings, but it was extremely difficult.  First, I needed to get a willing driver (luckily one lives with me, but time for showings was very limited).  Then, I needed to be able to actually SHOW the houses.  I didn’t do well with this, since some homes I hadn’t been able to preview, and therefore I didn’t know what the upstairs looked like (or basement/etc) and I had difficulty getting up/down stairs.  If the handrails are not there, or are two fat, too low, etc., it’s nearly impossible.  So I did do showings, but it was tough and I wasn’t as effective as I could have been.  Also, I was not able to do any listing appointments, and I didn’t even pursue them (and again, I’m new, so they didn’t pursue me either).

So what DID I do?  What WAS I able to do to help move my business along?

  • Contact, contact, contact.
  • I made phone calls.
  • I investigated properties for customers and clients online.
  • I followed-up on leads.
  • I sent market reports and other materials out to my mailing list.
  • I emailed.
  • I blogged.
  • I researched about real estate areas I wanted to learn more about.
  • I took tutorials on new lead router systems and other real estate updates.

I used the time to do those things I still COULD do, but I simply had to let a lot of activities slide.  So yes, having a broken ankle set me back a bit, but I’m hopeful the activities I was able to do will pay off long term.  If you are in a similar situation as I was (as a new agent in a new location with a broken ankle), just know there are still many things that CAN be done so do those and try not to worry too much about the things you cannot get to.  Eventually, your broken ankle will heal, and you’ll be able to jump back into business with both feet.

Thanks for reading, and if you wish to review the other ankle related blogs, they are listed below.

 

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48 thoughts on “Broken Ankle Experience – Part 5 of 5

  1. Kat, just found your blog abiut the broken ankle. I just broke my fibula two days ago , fell over my dog in the kitchen 🙂 I have a short cast on it and am wondering what to expect since I’ve never had a broken bone! I am also a Real estate broker so I can rely relate to your experience! Lucky for me I broke my left foot so I can still drive! Thanks for writing about this!

    • Kim, Thanks so much for your note, and good luck with the next few months. Being able to drive is going to be a huge help – at least you could get to some appointments or the office! Being stuck is no fun! Thinking of you.

  2. Kat – just found your blog too. I broke my right ankle Oct. 17 2012. I was unemployed and did not have insurance. So I negotiated the best I could with the doctors and hospital. Your blog is right on point! I am at week 10 and my ankle is still swollen. Doc told me the same thing – I just need to learn to walk again and start walking! I am glad I found you post with the exercises. I have started to do the alphabet ones and they do help. I sort of skimmed over the travel section as I didn’t travel. I was soooo sick of being home bound. I live in a second story apartment (stairs only) and for the first 6 weeks the only time I went up and down them was to get to the doctor. I can walk up stairs fairly easy now and am still having to hold on to the rail for support going down them. Light is at the end of the tunnel. While I was laid up I was still looking for employment and low and behold I got a great job. I just want to add if anyone else is reading – when you are out in public in the cast/boot – be alert. Most people don’t notice it and will make you move out of their way. The worst place is the mall – avoid it at all cost if you can. 🙂 (I had to go to get a outfit to go to my job interview) Again thanks for the post it did help.
    Marcy

    • Marcy,

      Ugh, I bet being stuck in your second floor apartment was so frustrating! Light IS at the end of the tunnel and it is wonderful that you were able to get a great job.

      Thanks for your warning about the mall; I never tried to go there and hadn’t even thought of it.

      Best wishes!

  3. Finally! I have read so many horror stories regarding broken ankles, I was beginning to think my life had ended with my broken ankle. I am a 53 year old, full-time Respiratory Therapist who works 12 hour shifts. On January 5, 2013, I broke my ankle slipping on the ice in our driveway. Surgery quickly followed with a plate and 8 screws. I have been in a cast for 4 weeks and get my cast off in two. I have had a pretty easy time of things as far as healing and pain. I am anxious to get the cast off and start walking again and everything I can find on the internet seems to be really bad experiences. I am so grateful to come across your blog, it gives me hope for the future! Thank you!!

  4. Kelly – OUCH! Thinking of your slip and your surgery made me cringe. That must have been painful. Just know that there is definitely hope! I got off crutches about a year ago, and I’m totally back to normal. I’ve hiked, jogged/walked a 4 mile route, biked, can exercise almost daily, jump in and out of my car as needed. I very very rarely feel any pain at all. Maybe once a month my foot will land wrong and I’ll get a twinge but otherwise, I’m fine. Best wishes on your speedy recuperation!!!

    • You said you got off your crutches a year ago I have a long way to go I broke my ankle slipped and fell from the rain and mud a month ago on June 22 and it’s now july 30 my next doctors appointment is august 4 I can’t wait I fell off crutches like 5 times so I use a walker instead my body weight is heavy it’s so hard getting around so I like crawling better but hopefully I’ll get like u someday thanks for letting me read your posts

      • Lisa –

        Crutches can really be difficult – it took me a while to get the hang of them and it was still a pain in the you-know-what. If a walker works for you, then that’s definitely a better choice – a lot of people also like the knee scooters.

        Hopefully you will get good news next week and will be able to start putting weight on your ankle soon. I’m thinking of you!

        Kat

  5. thanx a lot i broke my left ankle on 12th May that i consider after having x-ray that its just ankle sprain, but later on on 23rd July a crack diagnosed on ankle bone.I went for cast 3 weeks and nowadays walking with cane as a school teacher it is very problematic for me to run fast around the school timings as I am a kindergarten teacher.I need some suggestions to reduce swelling on my foot as i cant walk and sit for long time coz my foot get swelled badly. I am really happy to read your blog that its a hope that soon i will recover.I am doing some exercises also that i read in your blog.Stay blessed!

    • Hi Sana,
      The only thing I can recommend is that you put your foot up every night and ice it — maybe you can do that at lunchtime also. It’s just time and ice. Also, you might want to ask your doctor about those socks that are supposed to reduce swelling – they didn’t work for me, but they’re supposed to hep.

  6. Hi Kat…
    I fell off a ladder… I broke my Talus bone in my ankle 6 weeks ago…
    My doctor gave me the green light to begin some light weight bearing with the use of crutches….
    I found your Web Sight and Blog…

    So I began to follow your example by using crutches in my home trying to block out some of the pain which is normal… Your example is so expiring to me; every time I get discouraged and want to give up; I come back to your web sight to read about your experience…

    For me, it is really like learning how to walk all over again for me at home… Your personal experience really touched me… Thank you Kat for sharing your Experience……

    • Don,
      Thank you as well! I’m glad some of the blogs have helped. I bet doctors know the minute they say “some” weight bearing, we’ll be trying to do as much as possible. Not being able to walk is really limiting and frustrating and we just can’t wait to be free of those limitations.
      I hope you can drive now. That was a real pain in the you-know-what.
      Best wishes,
      Kat

    • I am 7.8 weeks out,1.8 weeks in walking boot ,stretching daily in circles,up and down ankle movements,no pain what so ever ,very limber ,had a cracked fibula at a 45 degree angle healed up well ,doc said walking boot for 3 weeks than i am good to go, not much muscle loss..I walk 50 steps an hour than sit down not.to over do it..Thank you for your blog..

        • Thank you,people need more people like you to tell the their story in detail it gives so much hope to people who think they are all alone and truely are not,your awesome..

        • One thing i learned on my own was how tight do you wear the walking boot ,the strap that goes across where the ankle articulates the movement of the foot up and down ,i learned if that strap is too tight over time your ankle bone becomes sore and irriatated,the cast room room people tell you nothing on wearing the boot.I just did not want my ankle to move in the boot letting the bone continue to heal while walking very slow.Anyone come across this kind of discomfort…THANK YOU FOR THIS MIRACLE BLOG..

          • D.C.-

            Yes, I always made the boot snug but not too tight. It’s a tricky thing to get exactly right. I wonder if you put something soft between your ankle and the boot whether that might help?

            Thank you!
            Kat

          • Out of the boot now,doc.told me to walk with velcro brace in a tennis shoe i chose a work boot and the brace because i needed to test my ankle strength while waking.I started out 1st day i walked lil more than i should,next day every hour walking in the hse.I forgot that in a boot or a cast the calf muscle shortens i want stretch doc. doc said bone is 80 % healed,i feel the outside of calf sore after walking where the peroneal tendon lies,i ice after waking ever hour..Can you relate to this..thank you again for this blog. I bow to you..

          • D.C.-

            I remember it hurting on the opposite side of my foot (on the front) but I’m sure there are others who are sore where you are. You are 80% healed, and are obviously determined to get back to 100%. I give you big kudos for all the walking and icing you are doing. Keep at it – I bet in another week you will feel even better.

            And yes, your muscles do shorten/tighten when in the cast and boot – it takes time to get them stretched back out. It’s amazing how quickly they shorten/tighten and how much work it takes to get them back to normal!

            Best,
            Kat

  7. Hi Kat, I just broke my right ankle in 3 places two days ago by falling on ice in our driveway, just like one of your previous commenters. I now have lots of new lovely plates and pins in that ankle. I appreciate all the good info in your blog. It will definitely help me as I go forward! Kim

    • Hi Kim!!! Ouch! It sounds like you still have your sense of humor since you called your plates “lovely” (or maybe a bit of sarcasm!). Keep up the great attitude; before you know it it you will be back to normal!

    • Hi Kat, I broke my right ankle 4 weeks ago I am a 52 year old truck driver I was told that it would take 6 weeks for my ankle to heal I hope to go back to work the first week in January.

      • Fred –

        Wow, you really NEED to be able to drive! Did you get your cast off yet? I’m hoping you can go back to work the first week in January also – you must be going bonkers being stuck at home. But that does sound pretty quick.

        Good luck!

        Kat

        • Hi Kat I went to the doctor this past Friday and they gave me a Cam-walker,this week 7.5 for me and my job as a truck driver let me go because I was not covered by FMLA. The doctor told me that it will be 6 weeks in the Cam-walker no weight baring.My struggle now is I want and need to drive because I my be going for job interviews that involved doing administrative work. I wonder how are they going to few me when I show up on crutches and a Cam-walker.

          • Frederick –

            Perhaps they will view you as dedicated and determined! That you would be going out on job interviews while still on crutches and unable to walk says a lot about how much you want those jobs. Do you have a way to get there? That sounds as though it would be the trickiest part.

            I’m sorry to hear you lost your job — that stinks. Best wishes with the job hunting – I have a feeling you will do great.

            Kat

          • Hi Kate thanks for the word of encouragement I never looked at it from that perspective, I only viewed it as a liability. My dear wife will have drive me or I can call a cab.I have considered taking my Cam-walker off and attempt to drive,then put it back on once I get to my destination.I think I am going to practice on the road I live on since it is a dead end road.My ankle muscles are tight and stiff, I have moved my toes up and down and even turned my foot to the right and back to the left.I am more than ready to get back to normal, I really did not think this would be such a long drawn out situation.
            Thanks Fred

  8. Thank you so much for writing your blog. I broke my ankle last Sunday by slipping on a wet floor. Unfortunately I was away from home which has complicated things somewhat. I’m travelling home today courtesy of a very kind friend who will be driving me 225 miles to my door and tomorrow I go to my local hospital. Your blog has helped to check some of my initial nerves. It’s strange isn’t it, the comfort you can get from others who have been in the same position. Although you have written your blog from your experience, it is extremely informative and practical and is not only helping me to manage my expectations about recovery but has also has given me some food for thought about how I might manage things when I get home.

    Many thanks!

    • Mo –
      Wow, that is an awesome friend! Hopefully when you get home, said friend can relax a while over a nice meal and a few drinks. 🙂
      It’s also strange how easy it is to break something. One minute you’re walking on a dry floor, the next minute you have a broken bone.
      I’m glad this helped; best wishes with your recovery!
      Kat

  9. Hi Kate,
    I’m 6 days out from having ORIF surgery for a broken tib & fib. I have a titanium plate & 6 screws. The date of the surgery was the 2nd June & on the 2nd September I am meant to be on holiday in Italy. The Dr is saying that I’ll be in a plaster back cast (boy, is it heavy) for at least a month, then a boot and that I cannot weight bear for at least 6 weeks. Do you, or anyone else, think that I am fooling myself that I can fly from Sydney, Australia via Hong Kong to Milan and be able to walk around in 3 months time? I will speak to the Dr when I see him in 10 days but I think the answer may be in the crystal ball as everyone heals differently. I’m 62 & pretty fit but do have osteopenia so my bones are flaky. If I am going to cancel the trip I need to do it soon. It’s so disappointing but could have been a much worse injury.
    Your blog & the related comments are incredibly helpful.
    Thank you

    • Emily-
      Wow, that sounds like quite the holiday! I think the answer is just as you said, everyone heals differently. If I had to guess, I would think in three months you should be able to travel easily but in terms of walking around on a holiday, it might be a bit difficult. But definitely see what the doctor says – he’s the one that knows your bones!
      Wishing you a very speedy recovery so you can enjoy your Italian trip.
      Kat

  10. sooo happy i found your blog!I broke my ankle on June 10th.I will have this nonbearing cast for 21 more days.then back for xrays.do you think the next step will be no cast.?

  11. I Googled “driving with two medical boots” and found your interesting blog. I’m a real estate agent and miscalculated the last step off my deck with my hands full of – well, we women have a tendency to do too much, and broke both ankles. So, Memorial Day weekend wasn’t as productive as I had planned! All of the information you wrote was both disheartening and very helpful. I HAD this bonehead idea that my 6 week visit to the surgeon would free me from these hot, miserable black boots. (Appt is next week) After reading your blog and some comments, I’m prepared for the worst, which would be still no driving. I just printed your “real estate” to do list of things I will get busy doing instead of just moving papers around on my desk! Thanks so much

    • Jackie-
      Wow, when I read your comment and saw you broke BOTH ankles — I just couldn’t even imagine. That must have been horrible. I’m sending you a lot of good wishes that you CAN drive and will be free in a week or so; hopefully you are healing faster than I did! Keep me posted, and I”m glad my list might help.
      Hugs,
      Kat

  12. Hi Kat. Thank you so much for writing this blog. I broke by ankle 6 weeks ago and should be moving to 50% weight bearing at my doctors appointment this week. It is comforting to read that someone was in my same situation and feeling the same things. I agree with the other commenter, the knee scooter has really helped me move around more easily. Thank you for suggestions on getting around with crutches, too!

    • Colleen –
      Thank you for commenting! I’m glad some of the suggestions helped and best of luck this week at the doctor’s. Before you know it,you’ll be walking on both feet. Yay!
      Kat

  13. Your blog has been so helpful to me, as I broke my ankle on June 19th at age 86. Coming down stairs in a hurry, not hanging onto the banister and thought I was on the last step, but I was on the second step. I stepped off in to the air and the foot I left behind twisted and broke the ankle.

    I read your week 3 (of recovery) and you told about walking into your Drs. office, were you wearing the boot or were you only wearing shoes? I am in week 4 and afraid to walk without my boot, the Dr. said he will give me an ankle support to wear inside my shoe, next week. What did you use. Thank you.

    • Waunita – Wow, 86 years old and still walking up and down stairs! You rock… You’ll be doing that again soon!

      I bought a pair of larger than normal sneakers (I had to get them wider since my regular shoes didn’t fit). I wore the sneakers to the doctors with no boot. But I had been practicing walking without the boot already — I don’t see anything wrong with your wearing the boot and telling him you afraid to come without it. Perhaps he’ll have you walk around his office a few times without it to see how you do.

      You are doing great!

      Kat

  14. Your blog had a lot information. Thanks for sharing. I am in a cam boot doing physical therapy. Going into week 11. I really appreciate all the tips, guidelines, and inspiration.

  15. I am writing you again to let you know my progress since the last time… I am on week 8 and I have started walking in my boot with a walker… I at first thought I could now do everything but figured out I still need to ask for help and take it one day at a time… I am in a better frame of mind now thanks to your respond last time I wrote to you…Thanks again for your kind words…. I WILL walk again on my own slowly but surely… 🙂

    • Kristy-
      Good morning!
      One thing I’ve learned from talking to various people is everyone’s speed of healing is different. Listening to our bodies and healing as fast as we can is all we can do.
      Best wishes! You are definitely on the road to recovery.
      Kat

  16. Hi Kat, great blog! Was very reassuring reading someone else’s experience just as I’m 2 weeks into recovery and was getting overwhelmed. I’m also in Real Estate and your suggestions were very helpful. Hoping to put some weight through the boot in 4 weeks time.. having been through it all do you believe in the long run I’ll be able to return to sports (basketball etc) at full mobility with confidence? Thanks so much

    • Leigh-
      Good morning! Thanks so much for your comments and I’m glad you are planning to put weight on your foot in 4 weeks time. That’s really the first step in returning to normal.
      In terms of your question, all I can tell you is that I am now doing everything I was doing before my break – running, biking, hiking, etc. and I am doing it just as I was previously. I don’t feel a thing. So it certainly is possible!
      Best wishes,
      Kat

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