The day was Friday 16 November when I played my first rugby game for the upcoming season. I’ve been looking forward to this day for a very long time as the team was well prepared. Two unfortunate things happened at his game, firstly; I sustained a potentially season ending injury and second, we lost this game.
During the game I knew I had injured my ankle, but at that time I didn’t know exactly what I had done, nonetheless, I finished the first half with my injured ankle and sought some medical attention when I came off the field. My ankle was supportively strapped up, ice was applied to ease the swelling and I had taken some pain killers to relieve the pain.
I attended the post-match function, headed to the airport and flew back home the same night. With strapping still in place, myself and my partner had done our usual grocery shopping for the upcoming week, still ambulatory at this point. I waited till the following day before I went through any sort of special investigations for my ankle, as I thought it wasn’t serious enough to immediate care.
At the doctors’ office, he assessed my ankle and found persistent tenderness and swelling, he immediately sent me for x-rays to rule out any fractures. It was at this point, after taking the x-ray that I found out that my ankle was indeed fractured.
The realisation dawned on me that I had to get off my foot to avoid any further damage. I was advised by the orthopaedic surgeon that I had to go for surgery the very next day, as the fracture was bad enough to be surgically repaired. He explained exactly why, he thought, surgery was necessary and what the outcomes would be had I not gone for surgical management. I took his advice, but still decided to refuse surgery.
I never listened…
So, at this point the options has to be discussed and analysed in detail in order for both parties to decide on a way forward. My fracture is classified as a Weber B fracture which is a fracture of the distal fibula bone. Sometimes the syndesmosis ligament and the deltoid ligament is also affected. Stability of the ankle joint may be compromised which most often will indicate surgery. I didn’t listen to what the doctor had advised and went straight for conservative management (self-healing) or non-surgical approach.
The decision was made because of these facts:
Because of my eventual decision, I was placed in a cast for what was meant to be six full weeks and told to rest with my feet up. I was also not allowed to place any weight on my foot for the mentioned six weeks.
I did not listen…
The doctors’ advice was not incorrect at all. With any fracture, healing takes placed at six weeks depending on the type of fracture. The pain and swelling persists for at least three months, full healing of most fractures only takes place from twelve to eighteen months. Had my fracture been at a different point in my leg, I would have listened to him.
I was very lucky to have the support of my colleagues and special friend around me at this time, without them I would not have progressed very well.
In my first two weeks I had already been applying slight pressure to my ankle while still in the cast. The following two weeks I had placed more pressure and sometimes walked indoors without any assistive devices. At the end of the four week cycle, I kindly asked my doctor to remove the cast and to place me in an orthopaedic boot. The reason for this was to avoid further blisters and ulcers from forming on my foot. I also wanted to start early ankle movements to avoid further stiffness. Finally to make my daily functioning easier, especially showering. I was meant to wear this boot daily, but I chose to wear it intermittently, often swopping it out for an ankle brace for nights out on the town.
At my six week follow up at the doctor, I was deemed safe to drop my crutches and start walking without them. Now I’m safe to continue with normal daily activity, without surgery.
Follow me to see how my rehabilitation process goes to get me back to a higher level of functioning!