1-Week Post-Ankle Surgery: When will I be able to lower my leg without massive swelling and pain??

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I (34 yrs old) am now 9 days post-ORIF surgery on my left ankle (plate/screws for spiral fracture and repair of torn ligaments) for a Weber C fracture/dislocation (surgery was one week post-injury). I now have a splint-type cast and go back to the surgeon for my first follow up next week (2 weeks post-op) and will be in a removable cast for 4 weeks, and then in a boot. I am non-weight bearing until I am in the boot.

I have been off pain meds for several days now and have minimal pain when my leg is elevated. When I put my leg down to get up to use the bathroom and shower, etc, my leg and ankle immediately swell from what seems like blood/fluid going down there by gravity. Putting my leg down results in almost unbearable pain within seconds, and is only relieved by elevating the leg again.

My question for those who have gone through similar ankle procedures is: how long should I expect until I will be able to be upright without this massive pain from lowering my leg?

I am not able to use my knee scooter yet and am now in bed with leg elevated 99% of the time because of this. I know that once this stops (or at least the pain is reduced) I can be more mobile and upright, which will certainly lift my spirits. Any advice folks can give based on similar experiences would be most appreciated.

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Hello Forest

My heart goes out to you , on this!

It is a long journal ahead, to be honest with you.

The pain, may not be better, until the cast comes off. Keep taking your meds!! .they help alot. Keep it

Elevated as much as you can. I have to still keep

Mine elevated every day! You can read my story

I listed here, for advise and help! I’m still trying to get well. It’s been now 16 months for me. I hope you get better soon! Thank you

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Keep elevating Andrew you are early days. Crutical for a few weeks. Even when you get your boot this will be ongoing until the foot adjusts to healing and new normal – you are young you will heal well I suspect. Do what your surgeon tells you at two week checkup. Bones still healing and not out of the water until re- crated to see how bones are knitting at six weeks usually. I’m much older that you but had same injury basically as you. Take good care….

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I think it probably took about six weeks for the blueness and pain to disappear when standing. I hope yours is quicker, I don’t think everyone gets it, but it is extremely painful.

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I’m 5 and half weeks post op ankle surgery on both of my ankles. I’ve got my 6 week check up this Wednesday and hopefully should be in boots from then on.

I do keep my legs elevates 75% of the time but I have found that once the swelling goes down. As the weeks have past that I have been able to lower my legs and the pain isn’t as bad. I haven’t been taking any pain relief for the past few weeks. Which has allowed me to start doing seated work out and has help when I’ve been going out the house for a few hours.

The only think have had problems with casts were they have been rubbing on my heels, from where I’ve been keeping my feet elevated. I was advised by the nurse to keep my heels free from resting on anything and place a cushion behide my heels.

I hope this is some help.

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Hi Forest, I broke my ankle (tibia and fibula) in February, had orif surgery in March ( plates and screws) . I think is important to rest your leg as much as possible the first two weeks after surgery. Don’t try placing any weight on it. After they remove the staples the leg should feel better. The swelling will last a long time. I am walking without any aid now, and even now the ankle swells. Sitting up with your leg down will cause a lot of swelling, so try lying down with you leg elevated all the time. Take your meds as prescribed, don’t wait until the pain is unbearable before taking them. It is a long road to recovery but you are still young and this should be in your favour. Be patient and remember to rest and elevate your leg as much as possible. Good luck with your recovery and please keep us posted.

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