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How I Am Recovering From One Broken Ankle and One Sprained Ankle

Updated on June 25, 2017
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Over the course of one weekend, Tomi managed to break one ankle and sprain the other. This is the story of her treatment and recovery.

Broken Bones

Now this may not be a big deal to most people, but this is my first experience with a broken bone—unless you count a fractured nose from a car accident. I don't count that because there was nothing the doctors could do about it, and I didn't have to change my daily life activities. How ironic that I have recently been writing articles about positive thinking techniques, only to have to depend heavily upon those techniques to get me through this difficult time.

RICE (Medicine)

How did you spend Memorial Day? I spent part of it visiting the Urgent Care. See, talented as I am, I had twisted one ankle the night before while walking into the kitchen, only for my other ankle to then twist and completely give out, causing me to collapse to the floor.

I'm not real big on medical appointments, so I just decided to apply the RICE method—rest, ice, compression and elevation (thanks to my husband's quick thinking). The next morning, I visited the Urgent Care, where they placed splints on both ankles, as they had no real casts or medical walking boots.

Within 48 hours of a injury, you should start using ice. You can use a plastic freezer bag filled with ice and water for molding, or a bag of frozen vegetables such as corn or peas. You should layer a towel between your skin and the ice. Never leave the ice on the injury longer than 15-20 minutes, in order to prevent frostbite. Then, wait 40-45 minutes to allow tissues to return to normal temperature and sensation before icing again. Repeat the steps. The ice helps reduce or slow the swelling, and the numbness sensation will ease the pain. This technique helped me so much, especially in those first couple of days. Even now, icing helps my sprained ankle.

Thanks again to my husband, he decided to roll out a desk office chair to the car to get me into the house, since I was told by the medical doctor, that I had broken both ankles with multiple fractures. I was given a prescription for a wheelchair. I don't think many pharmacies or medical supply stores would be open on Memorial Day, so this chair on wheels was the next best thing, a brilliant idea. The chair with wheels is also very helpful in small areas where a wheelchair wouldn't fit, plus it is adjustable, which comes in handy, too.

Desk Chair with Wheels

Placing a bath towel on the seat of the desk chair helps for many things too, such as just drying off your hands. The advantages of an adjustable desk chair with wheels:

  • Easier to brush your teeth since you can adjust it higher
  • Easier to style your hair or put on make-up
  • Easier to take a sponge bath
  • Easier to just wash your hands
  • Easier for a man to shave or for a woman to prop her legs up on something to shave her legs

Make Peace With Your Past

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Crutches Versus Walker Versus Wheelchair

A trip to the orthopedic doctor the next day proved that I only had possibly broken one ankle and sprained the other ankle which was good news. The doctor felt some of the other fractures had either been there for awhile or were too slight to count. However, he did not want me using the wheelchair my husband had gotten earlier in the day. He said it is not a good idea to spend a lot of time in a wheelchair because it can start causing you all kinds of medical issues such as pneumonia.

I have to admit, a wheelchair can be kind of fun for a little while, and it sure helps get me around. It just takes some practice to maneuver around! You have to be careful not to get your arm and hand caught in tight places when you are turning the wheels yourself. I sometimes find my arm being caught between the wheels and walls or furniture. Wouldn't want to cause yourself more injuries. Also, sometimes, my cast will slide off the footrest since my current wheelchair doesn't have any type of strap on the footrest so duck tape comes to the rescue. By placing some duck tape on the bottom of my cast, it seems to keep my cast from slipping off the footrest so much.

You need to keep moving as much as possible instead of being so sedentary. The doctor wanted to fit me with crutches and then mentioned physical therapy with them since I had voiced some concern of possibly injuring myself further trying to use crutches. Obviously, I'm not the most coordinated person from the injuries I just endured so we settled on a walker even though I'm not elderly. I feel a walker is the safe bet for me, hopefully. Better safe than sorry, right? I now have a below the knee cast on one leg, thank goodness, it is below the knee, and an air splint on the other leg. Things could always be worse, right?

Time Heals Wounds

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Difference Between Sprained (Damage to Ligaments) or Broken (Fractured) Ankle

Sprain
Fracture
Pain, Often Sudden and Severe
Pain, Often Sudden and Severe
Swelling
Swelling
Bruising
Bruising
Inability to Walk or Bear Weight on Injured Joint
Inability to Walk or Bear Weight on Injured Joint
Stiff
Tender to Touch, May Look Deformed or Out of Place and Swollen
Popping Sound
Cracking Sound
 
Numbness
 
Likely Can't Move Ankle Joint or Extreme Pain
 
Likely Can't Put Weight on Ankle at All
If after following the RICE (medicine) for 1 or 2 days and the swelling and pain have not resolved, you should seek medical attention for a possible broken bone.

Poll

Have you ever had a broken bone?

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Dry Shampoo and Other Convenient Products

The orthopedic doctor told me to stay off both ankles. Now, if you ever had a problem similar to mine, you know what a pain it can be to not be able to stand or walk and do things for yourself.

So far, I have found out that I actually like using dry shampoo even though I didn't particularly care for it months before when I bought it just to try. It is something I have heard people recently mentioning especially from the reality t.v. world. Never knew those little disposable mini Wisp toothbrushes we had bought for our son for a summer camp would come in so handy. Nothing like brushing your teeth on the couch.

I also found out that you can cover your cast with a tall kitchen garbage bag by taping it at the top so your cast doesn't get wet while you shower. Personally, I have found that the quick-tie bags work best for this, since you don't have to bother with the tape. Also, I put a towel on the top of my leg, so the towel can catch any water going in the direction of my cast. You can sit on a bath chair to help with your shower or bath.

Just make sure you have everything within reaching distance such as: shampoo, soap, razor, towel and washcloth. You may also want to use a pitcher to collect water to help rinse yourself off. This seems to help me a lot. Also, make sure you have a towel or a good rug on the floor, to keep from slipping on all the water that can possibly escape from your shower.

Also, in a pinch, baby wipes are a convenient and fast way to clean off your toes sticking out of the cast when you are not bathing. This way, you don't have to worry so much about getting your cast wet with a wash cloth.

Thank goodness, I had recently purchased some wide leg cargo pants. The zippered pockets really come in handy to hold your cell phone so it won't fall on the floor which you possibly couldn't get to with two injured ankles. Plus the wide legs make it easier to get over the cast and splint.

Shower Chair and Walker

I went ahead and ordered some things from Amazon. Did you know you can even order a wheelchair from Amazon? I recently ordered one to help me with going long distances since using the walker goes so slow and I'm not that good at it, lol. Also, glad I happened to notice that some wheelchairs can be moved by the patients by turning the wheels themselves and some cannot. Other wheelchairs can only be pushed by another person. Glad I didn't make that mistake since I want to be able to move myself along if needed.

Awesome to know if you are in desperate need of a wheelchair or most medical supplies for that matter, you can easily order these items from Amazon. How convenient! I also decided to order one of those bath chair benches for the shower and the walker. I also read you can use a lounge chair if you have a big shower in place of a bath chair. I thought that was a good idea, too.

Shower Chair

Plastic Tub Transfer Bench with Adjustable Backrest, Gray
Plastic Tub Transfer Bench with Adjustable Backrest, Gray

There are all kinds of shower chairs you could purchase: small ones, long ones, some with backrests and some without backrests. I purchased this shower bench with a backrest because it seemed like it would work best for me with two ankle injuries. I like how the bench is long and it has a backrest and bar so you have two areas that you can hold onto. The adjustable backrest could possibly come in handy for others. The bench really does work good for taking showers and I am so thankful I bought it during this time to help with my showers. The bench looks so inviting in the bathtub and makes bathing so much easier. I have the whole bench placed into the bathtub; however, you can leave the bench partially out of the bathtub if you like. The bench was easy to put together too since you do not need tools to assemble.

 

Poll

Do you enjoy being alone?

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Want to Be Separate

The "want" to be separate is definitely something I have been thinking about. I am someone who likes to be alone at times. I find the quiet enjoyable. Well, at this particular time in my life with two injuries, I kind of like having people around because I need the help. It is much appreciated; I would be lost without people being around at this point to help me.

Hope

So what do you think I've been using to help me deal with these injuries? Positive thinking techniques and prayers—as well, of course, as Aleve for swelling and Extra Strength Tylenol for pain. My goal statement: I will allow myself to heal quickly and correctly. I never knew all of these positive thinking reinforcements would become so beneficial, but they sure have helped me to have a more positive attitude about this unfortunate situation.

Luckily for me, the orthopedic doctor said it was a perfect break, meaning the bones were still all aligned, so I should not need surgery. Yay for me, right? He does have to keep an eye on the bone, though, to make sure it heals properly.

Hope

Source

Pain

Pain is like a warning light in our car. At first, it is alerting you to a problem that might need to be fixed, like a broken bone. After that, pain can become more of a memory or thought of what was, and can make us feel we are in more pain than what we actually are.

Our negative thoughts or memories can cause us to have more physical pain so we need to rid ourselves of those negative thoughts. By listening to audios by Hale Dwoskin, it has helped me ease that physical pain of a broken bone (or the memory of it) so much.

Further Reading

I'm so glad I have been practicing positive thinking before all this happened because it has helped me to be more positive about my situation. It is helping me deal better with what life has given me at this point. The techniques and positive thinking have given me a "crutch" to lean on mentally at this trying time.

If you would like to read more about positive thinking techniques, please see my first article: "Introduction to Freeing Yourself From Your Problems."

Please feel free to comment or ask me any questions, and I will try to respond. Thank you for reading.

© 2017 Tomi Smith

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