If you have sustained a fractured ankle as a result of a sports injury or otherwise, then your orthopedic physician may have recommended surgery to repair your bones. While some fractures can be treated by casting the broken bone, severe fractures may require the insertion of hardware to repair the bones. It is essential that you do certain things and avoid other things during your recovery period to help hasten your healing and lower your risk for complications.
Here are some things to consider during your recovery from ankle surgery that may help speed your healing.
1. Be Mindful of Weight Bearing
Bearing weight on the affected ankle before your orthopedic physician says it is safe to do so may slow down your healing, and it may even necessitate the need for another surgery if you re-injure the ankle.
Before your physician allows total weight-bearing on the affected ankle, he or she may recommend partial weight-bearing. This means that you can bear some weight on your ankle with the use of a cane or crutch, however, you should be mindful of putting all of your weight on your ankle. Your orthopedic surgeon will let you know when your ankle is ready for full weight-bearing, based on the results of your X-rays and physical examination.
2. Complete Your Physical Therapy
After your ankle surgery, you will need to start physical therapy. This helps promote circulation, increase strength, and promote balance. During your therapy sessions, the physical therapist will teach you strengthening exercises and you will practice walking up and down the stairs. You must be able to navigate the stairs without pain or weakness so that you don't accidentally fall.
Your therapist may also ice your ankle during your sessions to help relieve pain and diminish swelling. Your orthopedic physician may recommend that you take your prescribed pain medication before your physical therapy begins so that you are comfortable enough to perform your exercises effectively. When you are in pain, you will be unable to work as hard during therapy sessions, and because of this, your recovery may take longer.
If you are anticipating ankle surgery or another orthopedic procedure, talk to your surgeon about your weight-bearing status after your surgery and what to expect during and after your physical therapy. When you are an informed patient, you will be better equipped to cope with the challenges of orthopedic surgery and its recovery phase.