Recovering From Your Trimalleolar Fracture Repair: Tips For Success


Breaking an ankle is never fun, especially if you find yourself on the receiving end of multiple breaks at once. If you've recently had a trimalleolar fracture repair surgery on your ankle, then you've already been advised that the healing process can take months. While your surgeon will most likely prescribe medication to keep you comfortable once you've been released from the hospital, knowing what to do to reduce pain and encourage healing can help you to stay positive, too. The helpful tips below can reduce pain, encourage healing, and ensure that you manage stress during the healing process, from start to finish.

Patience is the Key

Above all else, following your doctor's orders to rest in the first few weeks after your surgery is crucial. Using your ankle too soon, even by accident, can compromise the fragile state of both bone and tendon after screws and blades are inserted. For this reason, it's best to have help at home on a daily basis. In many situations, doctors recommend staying completely off your leg for at least the first 30 days. Depending on how well you heal, you may be able to use crutches or a walking cast at this point.

It's far easier to prevent problems from occurring than to fix them once they do, so always err on the side of caution.

Protect Your New Implants from Cold and Heat

Even if you're still in a cast, temperature extremes should be avoided whenever possible. This is largely because very cold or very warm weather can actually cause pain at the site of your metal implant. When it comes to explaining why this happens, a variety of theories exist. Some doctors believe this occurs because temperature has the ability to alter circulation. Others believe it's because metal contracts and expands in cold and heat respectively.

To prevent additional pain due to environmental temperature shifts, consider your cast and ankle to be especially sensitive at all times. Stay out of direct sun if it's summer, and keep your home at a steady, even, and comfortable temperature. If you need to venture outside in the winter, try wrapping your leg in a small towel. Disposable heat wraps for the lower back can also be wrapped around a leg or even around a cast, helping to block out the cold.

Make Use of Non-Drug Alternatives for Managing Pain at Home

While the majority of patients do require medication to manage pain--at least in the first few weeks--there are plenty of non-drug alternatives you can try, too.

  • Ultrasound therapy, a process where ultrasonic waves are reflected into the break, has been shown to speed healing and reduce pain. While you should always follow the advice of your orthopedic surgeon or ankle doctor, a small, portable ultrasound is easy to purchase and use right at home.
  • Using a rice bag or other gentle heat source can help to encourage blood flow, which can sometimes help the body to speed healing. Because increased circulation can lead to increased bleeding, heat should only be used in the later stages of your healing process.
  • Psychotherapy techniques that focus on mindfulness and relaxation are helpful when you're feeling anxious or upset by pain. According to this article, using well-known DBT exercises can help you to accept and better manage the emotional turmoil experienced with post-surgical pain. 
  • The Cleveland Clinic reports that mental escape can be a fantastic way to tune out pain. Whether you engage in this by watching your favorite movies, listening to soothing music, or watching relaxation videos, the first few weeks after surgery should be about pampering yourself. Be kind to yourself, and don't hesitate to enjoy your favorite stationary hobbies. Sewing, playing video games, and reading books are all excellent choices for getting your mind off your situation.

A trimalleolar fracture repair is a serious surgery, but there are plenty of ways to reduce pain and focus on healing. Having an excellent medical care team and support network at home will help you to manage your situation with less stress. Once the first few weeks have passed, consider booking an appointment with a podiatrist. He or she can assess your gait and help you to work towards strengthening your ankle. Contact your local podiatrist today or visit to schedule an appointment.


6 July 2015

Foot Tendinitis: How the Podiatrist Helped

When I developed tendinitis of my foot and ankle, my podiatrist helped me on the road to recovery. An over-use injury from the job caused me considerable pain in my foot and ankle. Ice, elevation, rest, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory relieved my inflammation of the tendons. My podiatrist also prescribed physical therapy, which helped restore my mobility. Gentle stretching exercises performed during physical therapy seemed to have a positive effect. I was shown how to follow up these exercises at home. After several weeks of following doctor's orders, my podiatrist was happy with the results. The bottom line is if you're suffering from foot pain or injury, you should see a foot specialist as soon as possible because treatment options are available.