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ankle reconstruction surgery and recovery

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

As many know I had a severe ankle injury last December. The surgery included 9 screws and a plate. After six months I have gained back the ability to walk but I am wondering about regaining explosive strength and power. Average recovery timelines are a bit hard to find but I am wondering if anyone else has gone through this injury and how long it took for them to regain power and explosive strength in that ankle?

post #2 of 6
I was hit by a car, on my dirt bike,when I was 13.
It broke my ankle badly, but I didn't have any screws.
I couldn't run, play baseball, soccer or football for four years. I still skied the whole time, but not at a very high level, for those four years.

I wish you a quick and full recovery.

Did you go to Hawkins Clinic and if so, how was your experience?
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 

Thanks Shred, did you do a ton of rehab work as a kid, or let it heal without a rehab program? I'd love to hear more about what you did to get back use of your ankle, if you remember.


At sixty mine is all mapped out and while I am going to share some of the circumstances, my focus is more on timelines and expectations. That being said, I am still going to tell most of my story but since my injury was a workers comp thing, I am not at liberty to share some of the internal workings of VRI's  workers comp program. Not that there is anything that went wrong, I would say at this point the folks at VRI were exceptionally great through every point in this long and tedious process. I can also share that Dr. J did an excellent job of piecing together the all the bone fragments he could. A few very, very small pieces are still floating around in that ankle but the bones have healed quite well and in rehab I have 94% of my previous Range of Motion back. That is enough to do everyday things like walk (they say) but I tend to be the type who want that other 6% back as well.


What I have discovered is the original damage was only part of the injury, the rest of the "damage" occurred as a consequence of the four hours on the operating room table. Not that anything went wrong during the surgery, it was just how much time they needed to put me back together again(sic).


Recovery wise I started rehab within a week of the surgery and over the next five months I worked with my PT until I reached the point I just mentioned. The next phase in that recovery plan was creating a home program so I could work on recovering that 6% as well as much of the strength, explosive power, and dynamic flexibility as possible. Which is why I am asking about the experiences others went through as they worked towards full recovery. What they did and how effectively different activities were being my main interest.


Interestingly enough what most of us consider simple tasks (like walking, skipping, hopping, and running), have taken on new importance because nothing about them was possible when I started the recovery process. Imagine having to concentrate on how you stand, what muscles you engage, what muscles you relax, and the scope of this process begins to become clearer. How we move is normally something we just do and take for granted but I can tell you my PT studied and changed just about everything about my gate. This took about four months just to learn how to walk without a significant limp, and another month to learn to walk with a very small limp. I still find myself needing to concentrate on using these new moves rather than my old habitual ones though. Hopping and skipping have taken another month but a very slow jog is still a challenge and it takes all my focus to not favor that ankle as I jog. As an interesting aside my gym is really helping me get back more strength but so many folks there stare at me when I skip around the place. A couple of folks have approached me about the skipping and as I have discovered most of them had ankle reconstruction surgery and they remember having to learn to relearn how to skip again. The rest just think I am doing some weird things and they avoid talking to me. Hopefully they never will find themselves going through the same injury and recovery but it did open my eyes to how we as adults often take our mobility for granted and how that leads to losing it!


The old saying about "use it or lose it" sounds like a cliché but it really is true. We simply stop doing activities like skipping, hopscotch, playing on the playground because they are viewed as childish things that we adults should leave behind. Which is an interesting side subject, as adults playing on a playground raises a lot of eyebrows and if that playground is at a school, the security guards generally will chase you away. Leaving park playgrounds as one of the few public places where you will find real hopscotch squares painted on the ground. Even there the average moms act like adult males on the local playground are only there to do harm to their kids. Police seem to share that thought and while I have not been approached by them, I certainly have noticed their extra attention to my activities.  I even considered painting a hopscotch thing on my driveway but liability wise my insurance might say that would be too inviting for the neighborhood kids who might get hurt using that hopscotch thing.  What a world we have now days.


Anyway, that is my story, I am working hard on rehabilitating that pesky ankle and I still hope to regain my lost ability to hop, skip, and jump.

Edited by justanotherskipro - 6/25/16 at 1:11pm
post #4 of 6

You'll get there.  Sounds like it's just going to take time.

post #5 of 6

My dad was ex MASH, small town, do everything kind of doctor.   I could have probably used a plate, but that would have involved going to Ann Arbor.

He just set it, put a cast on it and called it good.  I never had any PT.


I wish you the best of luck.   I know as I've grown older, it's much, much harder to recover from injury.

post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 

Glad to hear dad was there for you Shred, many of my ex ski patrol and EMS peers were Vietnam SAR and Med folks. Their calm in situations most find too traumatic to deal with always impressed me. I chose to emulate their "do what needs to be done as calmly as you can" attitude and as a patrol trainer I tried to pass that on to our trainees. I have nothing but respect for those folks who did that work, if he is still around thank him for his service.

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