Before you can run, you have to learn to walk. At the moment, I’m re-learning how to walk.
At the Fracture Clinic, six weeks post-op, I was told that, having spent the past seven weeks totally non-weight bearing, I should start partial weight bearing (PWB), wearing the Aircast boot, and progress to fully weight bearing (FWB) in the boot in 7-10 days. Once I’d done that, I was to try without the boot, PWB and aiming to be FWB (i.e. no crutches) within 7-14 days.
That seemed like a very short time to return to walking, and it would have been nice to have some hints HOW to increase weight bearing. I got lots of support from an online discussion group of people with broken ankles/legs, and some good tips from people who had been through this. At three days I thought there was no way I would progress fast enough. At six days I still thought I would be lucky to be walking in the boot by 10 days, but by eight days I was walking short distances with no crutches – amazing.
Now I’m progressing through the “no boot” partial weight bearing. In some ways it’s easier than with the boot: the foot is the correct size not horribly large; the leg is the same length as the other one, not nearly two inches longer; the boot isn’t pressing or rubbing against my ankle bones, so there’s less pain; and my ankle can flex, rather than being held rigid with my foot at 90 degrees to my leg. The ankle does, however, feel rather vulnerable.
I’ve also had my initial physio assessment. At the Fracture Clinic I had been cleared to start some basic range of motion (ROM) exercises, so I’d been doing those. The physio thought that my ROM and lower leg/foot muscle strength were pretty good, considering. He also really appreciated that I had written out a full clinical history for him, so he didn’t have to spend 20 minutes asking questions to find out what damage I’d done and how far along I was in healing. I’d also taken in printouts of possible exercises, so he could just confirm which ones I was to start doing, rather than having to go into lots of detail describing them and showing them to me. It also helps that most of the exercises are the same as the ones I had to do to regain mobility and strength after my posterior tibial tendon tear.
So, now it’s basically up to me to do the exercises to strengthen the leg and get the ankle moving again, and to reach fully weight bearing without the boot for support.
My motivation is high to progress in the walking: once I can walk properly (and have strengthened the leg up a bit) I can start returning to running!