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I started 2022 on the wrong foot — literally. Thirteen days ago, on January 4, I was working in my home office and decided at about 9:30 a.m. to take my pup out to the yard. I took one step on my home’s front outdoor concrete stairs and flew over two stairs and landed on my butt. The stairs were covered in ice! I instantly developed pain and swelling in my right foot. It seems that the force of slipping on the stairs broke my ankle.
I immediately texted my family, and one of my daughters came out to get me right away. I had to slide myself back up on the stairs and into the house because I could tell I couldn’t safely put any weight on my ankle.
My husband called 911 but was told I needed permission (not sure from who) to go to the ER because of COVIID. We called my doctor at Princeton Family Care, and she agreed to immediately see me. She could tell right away that I had either a strain or a break, and gave me a script for an x-ray. My husband took me to Windsor Radiology later that day, and they confirmed that I broke my ankle.
Princeton Orthopaedic had walk-in hours later that day. I saw an orthopedist and he confirmed that my ankle was broken and told me I’d probably need surgery. The doctor put my ankle and a leg in a fiberglass cast that went up to the top of my calf.
On January 14 I saw Dr. Levine with Princeton Orthopedics. It turns out that Dr. Levine is the same doctor who performed my bunion surgery in 2015. He confirmed that I would need ankle surgery. I am really bummed to be off my feet again, but I know I’ll be in good hands with Dr. Levine.
Recovering from a Broken Ankle
I had my ankle surgery on January 11 to put in a plate and screws to stabilize my ankle so it can heal. So far, I’m doing OK. The pain started kicking in Wednesday night, but I have been able to handle it pretty well with my pain medicine. I’ve been trying to take the least amount of pain killers necessary. I have been trying to ice fairly regularly (I ask my kids to bring me ice packs) and have been elevating my ankle.
I have been getting around with a new walker that Dr. Levine got gave me (through my health insurance) the Friday after my accident. Before he gave me my walker, I used the knee cart/scooter that I used after my bunion surgery.
I don’t think I am supposed to use the knee cart now, but I’m hoping I can use it again after my ankle heals some more. I have bad balance and little arm strength, so I am not very mobile right now on my walker. I don’t want to risk further injury so I have been moving around the house as little as possible. I am hoping that once I’ve healed some more, I can traverse more of my home’s first floor than I am doing now. It is really hard having to ask my family so often to help me with things—I am usually the one who takes care of most things around the house. It’s been an adjustment for everyone, I think, since I can’t cook, shop, or clean the house. I have been taking care of my personal needs, but I have needed rides to see the doctor and to and from my surgery.
Ankle Injury Must-Have Products
For anyone with an ankle injury, these supplies will come in handy.
When you have an ankle injury, you can use a walker to lean on for balance while you hop place to place. A walker does require some effort and arm strength to use, so it can be a little tiring if you are like me and lack arm strength.
Crutches: Those with good arm strength and balance can use crutches, but that’s not me.
If you can put some pressure on your knee, you can get a knee cart to get around. I loved my knee cart after my bunion surgery. There are some knee carts that come with a seat and ankle rest. (Mine doesn’t have those features.)
If you have access to a stand-up shower that is easy to get into, you can keep your leg dry with a shower bag.
Adjustable Bathroom Chair: I might eventually try to use the shower, so an adjustable chair that can be placed in the shower will be quite useful.
Such a chair would also be helpful for washing in the sink or brushing my teeth.
You need an ice pack that won’t fall off your foot. It’s helpful to use ones designed for fitting on a foot and staying in place.
f you have a tub shower, you might not feel up to using the shower for a while, since it will be difficult to get into the tub on one foot. It’s easier to keep a stack of wash cloths in your bathroom and give yourself sponge baths (using your bathroom sink) as needed. I basically do this every other day.
When you are off your foot, it it will be helpful to bathe and wash your hair as quickly as possible, especially since you cannot stand on both feet while doing so. I have been using a shampoo/conditioner all in one product for my hair—that way, I only need to suds up and rinse once.
I use a water bottle and a water bottle carrier to get and carry water for myself since I can’t carry a glass of water while using the walker.
I also use the water bottle carrier to carry my cellphone when I get up to use the bathroom, in case I need my phone to call for help.
It’s helpful to keep all the supplies I need in the bathroom. If you don’t have a cabinet in your bathroom, I found that this rolling cart is really helpful. It can be used for your soaps and shampoo and you can place things like a change of clothes and washcloths in it
I’ve been living on the family room couch since my injury. The room has two tall lamps that I can’t turn on and off on my own. So my family plugged them into two Kasa Smart Plug Power Strips so I can use the Kasa app to turn the lamps on and off from the couch. Each plug in the strips are controlled separately, so I can turn the lamps off but still keep the plugs on to charge my cellphone and laptop. I set up two powerstrips in the family room, so each lamp can be turned on and off remotely. It is quite helpful! The Kasa Smart Light Strips also work with the Alexa app or a smart-home assistant like the Echo.
Multi or Slow Cooker:
My kids will be going back to college soon, and they have been doing all the cooking since I fell. I am thinking that my slow cooker would allow me to cook some meals on my own.
Otherwise, an Instant Pot might be helpful. The oven might be harder to handle with its big door (and I worry about my pup getting in the way), and the microwave is mounted above the stove and is a bit out of my reach.
I see my surgeon in two weeks to see how I am coming along. I will be sure to give you an update!