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The Cast Comes Off – Fractured Ankle Diaries Weeks 5 – 7

The Cast Comes Off – Fractured Ankle Diaries Weeks 5 – 7

Fractured Ankle Diaries I delve into the final weeks of being in plaster…

In week four I had my second cast removed – this was the cast they put in place after the ankle operation. Going into week five I now have a shiny new purple cast which seems much more sturdy than the last one. I also have the joys of wearing a ‘shoe’, not exactly the height of fashion but hey, it allows me to stand up and brush my teeth without hanging onto the sink for dear life. Here’s what happened over the final few weeks:

Week 5

Week five began with balance, the introduction of the somewhat massive ‘shoe’ mean’t that I could balance much better. Being able to stand up without the need for crutches was a step forward in the right direction for sure and with the doc saying I could put weight [albeit very slight] on the foot I was off, hardly like a March hare mind you but it was increased mobility nonetheless.

My approach to going up the stairs changed, still using the banister to take most of my weight I could now go up the stairs step by step which proved quite significant as my left leg was beginning to suffer from all the ‘hopping’ carrying 100kg’s every step to the top by which time I was a touch dizzy.

broken ankle support
broken ankle support – the big shoe

Walking through the house was easy now, I just had to be very mindful that the ankle was not healed yet and it was still ‘very light weight’ allowed. I continued to use the crutches although if something was nearby I could hobble across without the sticks. Being able to stand up without crutches also meant that I could get in the kitchen and help out prepping tea, there is only so much you can do sitting on the sofa when it comes to food prep – chopping turnip for example is a non starter so it was good to get behind the chopping board again!

Going places was easier, the increased mobility allowed me to get to meetings etc which up until the big shoe would have been impossible just with the crutches. It’s amazing how just allowing you to balance can make a huge difference.

Week 6

By the time week six came around I was able to get around the house without using crutches at all although I was very careful when using the stairs. The extra mobilty was great, just being able to get up and grab something for yourself or nip upstairs on my own was like complete freedom!

Week six also saw a visit to the GP [non foot related] where I was dropped off around a hundred yards from the front door – around the house is one thing but a walk of that distance made me realise that the foot was nowhere near ready just yet.

no more crutches around the house
no more crutches around the house

Time was passing by quickly and before I knew it there was only a few days left until the next hospital visit. I couldn’t help thinking about getting the cast off and getting into either another big shoe or a moonboot. The other thought that was entering my head on a regular basis was getting behind the wheel again, even if I could only walk short distances to begin with the 4×4 could get us out to enjoy a change of scenery at the very least.

Week 7

Week seven and it was Feb 22nd the cast was to come off, I couldn’t wait. We arrived at the hospital early, no chair this time as a drop off at the front door was now an easy ‘hobble’ through to outpatients. After a short wait my name was called and I went through to the same room where the cast was put on.

Getting the cast cut off was interesting – and it tickled to the point where I could only just bear it. The vibration of the oscillating saw was hellish especially under the foot, apparently the whole leg is much more sensitive to pretty much everything after being covered over for so many weeks.

So the cast comes off and what lies beneath is like something you might see in an Alien movie, it certainly didn’t look like my foot I know that.

broken ankle diaries
Getting the cast cut off

After six weeks in a cast the skin had dried and was falling off in strips, a blister had popped which made a right mess and the ankle was still very swollen. The ankle didn’t actually look any better size wise than it did when I first went into hospital after the accident. Anyway, I could move my foot around with no pain, it felt stiff, swollen, hard and as supple as a brick but I could put weight on it which meant mobility – and no crutches…

cast removal broken ankle
off it goes…

After the cast was removed the nurse asked what size foot I was, I told her eleven and she promptly pulled an enormous ‘moon boot’ from the shelf, sized up the foot and proceeded to fit the boot all the while giving instructions on how it worked. A nifty piece of kit the moon boot has a dial and a pressure system which allows you to pump air into either or both sides of the boot to give extra stability should you need it.

The boot is massive. A clunky thing which, after losing quite a bit of muscle tone in the leg feels rather heavy too. It does however give you some serious mobility compared to having the cast and using crutches. You also have the rocking motion of a foot step too and while this is subtle it is way better than a rigid cast that allows for no foot action at all.

After the boot was fitted I head off to x-ray where I’m told to take the boot off, okay, no probs then I have to stand on a box and put some weight on the foot while the x-ray is done. Now with my balance after the stroke this was no easy task and I end up gripping an upright of some description behind me to stop myself falling head long into the x-ray machine.

Me and expensive hospital equipment don’t mix.

broken ankle wear a moon boot
The ‘moon boot’

After a half hour wait I then see the bone guy who has a feel around the ankle, brings up the x-ray pictures and tells me he’s very happy with the way things are healing. My two questions were 1. How long do I need to wear the boot? and 2. What about driving? For the boot I was told to wear it when I needed it for support, around the house I could take it off but to use it if there was any pain etc. For driving it was a case of if I could perform an emergency stop then I was okay to drive.

The driving thing is massive. Sitting in the house for the majority of seven weeks is testing, sure you can mitigate the boredom but there is nothing like being able to get out, have a change of scenery even if you can’t really can’t walk about too far yet.

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So the cast is off, driving is back on the cards and the next step is going to be physio – the final stage of getting back to full mobility.

Tips:

Don’t use one of these skin exfoliator things to get the dry skin off, you’ll pay for it later when you put cream on your leg as it will set your skin on fire… Don’t pick the skin off, that has repercussions too. Do wear the white sock you get at the hospital and not one of your own, the latter is too small around your swollen foot and the top of the sock will feel like it’s digging into your leg – right where the scar is. Get outside and enjoy some fresh air!

Links:

Stuff

  • Books read: 2
  • Peaky Blinders episodes watched – 36
  • Steps per day – approx 250
  • Falls and near misses – 2
  • Blog articles scheduled – 3

Where are you in your broken ankle journey and how did you find getting the cast removed?

1600 900 Mac

Mac

K90overland is Mac and Gayle, they lived in Andalucia for 19 years before moving back to the UK. Overlanding since 2019 the pair have built up a 'budget rig' and now enjoy a relaxed approach to discovering Scotland and the north of England.

Mac

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