Ankle Fracture

Hi all,

So it was all going so well this year until I went over on my ankle running on a trail a few weeks back and snapped my fibula. Been really lucky, it's a Weber A and a very simple break. Gutted though, I'd lost 2 stones and my mileage was ramping up really well without niggles or injury.

I went straight into a boot which I've had on for 3 weeks now, the hospital told me to remove it after 4 weeks and, like Lazarus, to get up and walk. Problem is I've lost confidence! I can fully weight bear without pain standing still without the boot now, and can walk in the boot without pain. ROM is really good, been doing my ankle stretches and circles since week 1.

I'm seeing a physio next week but does anyone here have any tips on weaning off the boot? I'm terrified that my ankle is going to give way again, got a very clear memory of the pain when it broke - and I suspect this is just my mind playing tricks.

Also I'm getting really bad pain up the inside shin of my bad leg, like deep shin-splints. Opposite side of the break, which is weird. Could this just be through walking heavy-footed in the boot?

Anyone else had a stable fracture, if so what was your time back to running?




  • Hi how did you get on with the recovery? I dont have a break but a very bad sprain last week running trails after a successfull 2 stone weight loss and ramping my mileage up to more than ever in my life. Gutting feeling and quite hesitant to hit the trails afterward until I know its fully healed, likely 6 weeks or more
  • GipfelGipfel ✭✭✭
    Hi thecleanerleon, I just wanted to let you know about my experience with a bad ankle sprain earlier this year in case any of it is helpful. Although it's hard to say exactly, as all sprains are different, 6 weeks probably sounds about right. My physio cleared me to run after 5 weeks, but I did take it very easy at first (walk/running on the treadmill, gradually building up mileage) and had done a lot of rehab before that. I also did find that even when I was back running properly, uneven surfaces on trails would make it grumble, so I'd suggest being pretty careful, as the last thing you'd want to do would be to go over on it.

    My biggest recommendation would be to do rehab exercises really diligently! I'm not sure if you are able to see a physio, but it's worth it if you can (the physios in my area are still doing in-person appointments even during this lockdown). Not only will they help you with a progressive rehab programme, but they may also be able to massage the swollen ankle gently, which I found helpful in the early stages when I could barely move my foot. If not, you can look up a lot of the exercises online - you'd start with really basic things like ankle circles and moving the foot to one side then another after the first couple of days (plus keeping it elevated etc), then moving to simple balance (eg standing on one leg while drawing shapes in the air with the other leg - progressing eventually to standing on an uneven surface such as a cushion) and strengthening exercises (resistance band is good for these). Bear in mind too that when you sprain your ankle, your proprioception will be affected because of the nerve damage, so even when the ankle feels pretty strong, you are at greater risk of tripping over etc accordingly. My physio really stressed this to me and said that many people neglect this part of the rehab.

    When I did mine, I had a skiing trip booked in 3.5 weeks and a foreign marathon in 8.5 weeks, so I was absolutely desperate to do anything I could to make these things possible! All the rehab did help, as my eventual recovery was better than the physio had originally estimated. My recovery timeline went something like this:
    Very gentle indoor biking after a few days (if you can get access to an indoor bike, I'd recommend this - it encourages the blood to flow to the injured area and therefore promotes quicker healing of the ligaments - I was able to do this even when I could hardly walk at all)
    Normal walking possible after about 3 weeks
    1.5-mile walk/run on treadmill after exactly 5 weeks
    7 miles of continuous running on treadmill at 7 weeks
    Back to fairly normal running (inc. a fast 5k and a 10-mile outdoor run) by 8 weeks - just with the odd minor twinge here and there
    Stopped feeling any ankle twinges at all by around 12 weeks

    Don't be discouraged if you have to wait for a few weeks - it's better to take your recovery slowly and come back stronger. I totally understand your disappointment, as mine also happened when I was feeling really good and running my highest ever mileage - but you'll be back there before you know it. My 5 weeks off in January felt like about 5 years at the time, but I've now been running normally for months, and it's like a distant memory now - I'm back to highest ever mileage stage again, and the ankle is all fine. I wish you all the best!

    bodiddly, I have no experience of fractures, but I really hope that everything is going ok with your recovery too - I hope that the physio helped you and that your pain is starting to diminish now. These things are so frustrating!

  • I have a similar situation with a small avulsion of the Rt distal fibula about 1.5x1cm.

    Unfortunately, I did not use a boot and just tried to be careful with it and gradually resumed running without issue for a few years and then had another injury.

    What I'm looking at now is a fragment that is not properly fused to the fibula.
    I'm stuck here debating about getting surgery to remove the fragment and repair the ATFL, which is attached.

    The fragment is now rounded and "corticated" and can't really be attached back to the fibula - it's a piece of mostly dead bone.

    The ankle is stable in terms of not spraining it but somewhat lax and gets pretty sore when I run, or walk.

    What I have found to be a LIFE SAVER is the lace-up style (ASO style) splint. This is a minor hassle to put on before you run (has to be laced each time) but it helps to prevent re-injury. I recommend it when transitioning off a boot and cleared to run.

    Many people will use this splint forever and it is often recommended for running in people who already had surgical ligament repair.
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