Ankle Surgery Part 4: Cleared to Walk!

Part 1 is here where I share how I broke my ankle and had surgery. Part 2 is here the worst part is surgery the first 2 weeks. Part 3 was the beginning of physical therapy and waiting to heal. I began writing to help others who were feeling defeated like I was after an ankle break especially post surgery. I’m an avid hiker and ultramarathoner so this was difficult.

Surgery of the ankle was the most painful experience of my life, and I have completed five 100 mile ultramarathons, given birth 6 times, and ran a marathon with a torn calf muscle. So that should give you an idea of the pain it brought. By week 5 the pain was greatly decreased and I was rowing, getting out on crutches and even using the knee scooter for a walk on a rail trail.

The final day before I saw the surgeon for my 6 week post op visit.

The question I hear a lot is what is the hardest part of the surgery recovery?

That’s easy. For me, being helpless was unbearable. You have to navigate pain and swelling and learn how to do everything with one leg. I’m so independent and it destroyed my ego greatly to need help just to get a glass of water. Never mind the helplessness of hearing your baby cry and not being able to simple walk over to her playpen and pick her up.

The next hardest was the pain. I barely slept those first few nights post surgery because the pain was unbearable. I went into this process vehemently opposed to taking the opioid pain relievers they prescribed, however I really had no choice to take them those first few days. This posed a mental issue for me as they made me feel depressed and I could not take my Wellbutrin due to the drug interaction side effects.

And finally. It broke me. Literally and physically. I went through a dark period of postpartum depression and anxiety in the second half of 2020. I had finally begun feeling more like myself.

2 weeks before my fall.

Mentally this was a major setback. I felt terrible. I was on such a running high I was loving the coaching plan I was following thanks to Coach Heather and I really had my goal race of the Mohican 200 in my sights in June. I knew I could do it. I was fighting through the adversity that training for a 100 brings and then the day I fell it felt like all my hopes came crashing down.

So that bring me to the current state of the ankle. I hobbled into my 6 week post op visit just one week ago with my boot and crutches. Anxiously awaiting the new X-ray results and the doctors game plan.

Healed!

I was shocked when the dr came in pulled up the X-ray and told me the bone was healed back in place and I could begin fully weight bearing right away. I think it was a surprise to me and I wondered how does one go from one extreme to the other with a simple picture of an X-ray. I was of course shocked for 20 seconds and then immediately joy filled.

The doctor explained that because I was active that the joint was mobile and it would be great for me to wear my sneakers and begin strengthening the ankle. I still had one scab on the incision which is normal. Even now at 7 weeks post op there’s one scab that’s being super stubborn.

I carried my crutches and danced out of the doctors office. I felt like a million bucks! However that feeling shifted to concern when I realized, I could barely walk and the pain was pretty intense. So it was a relief to walk and care for my children again, but it was not simple. I limped around the rest of the day.

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