Broken Ankle Recovery: 5 Tips on Making it a Success

If you have had the unfortunate experience of breaking an ankle, whether it was a simple break with only one bone fractured, or a compound break, you know just how painful the ordeal can be. In most cases, an ankle fracture will heal within 6-12 weeks, less so if it doesn’t require surgery, and longer if it does. The total recovery time is determined by the severity of the break, your overall health, and your age. So, what are some things you can do to make your recovery smoother and more successful? Let’s jump in.

1. Engage in PRICE. You are going to feel a lot of pain, see a lot of bruising and swelling, and have localized tenderness. To help manage these symptoms, we recommend that you engage in PRICE or protection, rest, ice, compression, and elevation. You will be given a cast or boot for the protection portion, but you still need to be careful not to knock your leg or ankle off anything. Get tons of rest, use ice packs with velcro straps to keep them on, and compress and elevate to reduce swelling. You will want to take over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen.

2. Purchase Equipment to Make Your Life Easier. Look at getting yourself equipment that will make your life easier while you are in a hard cast. In doing this, not only do you save yourself a lot of frustration (anger consumes energy), but you will be kinder to yourself and your ankle. While this might sound a bit silly, it is important for you to be in a state of recovery and relaxation, not spending your time being frustrated at how your broken ankle has limited you. With this said, look at getting items like:

a. A shower bench! This is perfect for when you are in the non-weight-bearing stage of your recovery. This will allow you to keep some of your independence and keep you from accidentally putting weight on your ankle as you try to wash.

b. Ankle braces; a lot of them. Once you are out of your cast, putting in an ankle brace with structured (hard) sides will help you feel safer when you sleep. No accidental knocking of the ankle during those few transition weeks, from a hard cast to a soft one. This will also make getting in and out of bed easier if you wake up during the night.

c. Athletic pants with wide bottoms. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to put on or take off pants that do not fit around your boot. Plus, taking the boot on and off can be downright exhausting.

d. Apply for a temporary handicap parking placard. While this one isn’t a “purchase” it is something that can make it a whole lot easier to get yourself out of the house. Being able to get out, whether that’s with a friend, or by yourself, can do wonders for mental health and make the healing process a bit more positive.

3. Weight-Bearing Activities? Only when gi