How To Survive a Broken Ankle

You never see it coming. That moment when you take a step and land on your foot wrong. Your ankle and foot start to swell up immediately followed by pain.  Your visit to the doctor confirms it’s a broken ankle. Now what? How are you going to survive a whole month, or more, with only the use of one leg? Not to worry. I have compiled a list of things you can do to survive a broken ankle.

First things first, tell everyone. Let your family and friends know that you have become temporarily immobile. Heck, you can even have fun with the story of how you broke your ankle. I like to joke that I lost to a tree when I tripped.

Accept all the help. I know, it can be hard to accept help when you’re so used to being independent,  but now is the time to move past the ego and say YES. Happily accept all the meal offers, house cleaning, laundry, babysitting, ice pack changes, you name it! And even better, tell them exactly what you need!

Surround yourself with activities to keep your mind busy. While you’d probably want to get up and down all the time, it is best to stay put and keep your foot up as much as possible. Consider making a new list of shows to binge-watch. Utilize the zen coloring book you got for your birthday. Catch up on your pile of reading books. Try a new craft like cross-stitching or miniature watercolor painting.

Research mobility aids. You will quickly find out that crutches stink. If you can afford a walking scooter or an iWalk2.0, get one. They will make life with a broken ankle, so much easier. Sometimes insurance will cover them, if not, the used marketplace can be an affordable option.

If you wish to stick with crutches find something soft and cushy to cover the armrests and save your armpits from bruising and rashes. Another note about crutches, make sure they are tailored right for your height and arm length. You do not want to be bending forward. Here is a video on how you should fit and use your crutches.  (Always consult with your care team before using a walking device different from the ones that were originally provided to you).

Get creative.   Find a basket or bucket with a loose handle. You can put items in it like your snack or drink, and hold onto the handle while you walk in your crutches. Use an elastic headband to help keep your ice pack around your foot. Don’t use a headband that is tight.

Embrace the downtime. Chances are your life is go, go, go. Look at this time as a chance to slow down and focus on YOU!  This is especially important if you’re a parent.  Enjoy not feeling guilty about taking a nap, chatting on the phone with your best bud, and not cleaning the house.

Socialize with others. Whether you’re a hermit or a social butterfly, making time to socialize will make this recovery time go by much faster.  Invite friends over and order pizza. It can’t get any easier than that!

Invest in comfort items. Buy pillows that will allow you to rest your leg comfortably during the day and at bedtime. Use a swivel table or tv tray stand to keep necessities within arm’s reach. Purchase a shower chair and scrub brush with a long handle.  Buy cute and comfortable sweatpants with pockets. You can be practical and fashionable while you heal.

Buy quality, flexible, icepacks.  The more flexible and longer the icepack, the better icing coverage your foot can get.

Having a broken ankle isn’t fun, but with these tips, you can certainly make the most of the time by being comfortable and focusing on your healing.

Always consult with your healthcare provider before using any type of walking device.  If your pain worsens or does not improve, notify your doctor. 

If you have endured an injury to your ankle, seek medical care.  Dr. John D. Hollander is here to help you recover! Call today to schedule your appointment at 707-578-1222.