ankle joint has locked

by paul
(lancashire)

I broke my leg and had compound fractures to both bones in my lower left leg; I've had an external fixator on my leg for 14 months with pins in my leg from knee to ankle 30 pins in all so my ankle had pins in place so it didn't move and now 16 months on everything is off.

I have seen my physiotherapist today she's had a look and said my ankle is locked and is very unlikely it will ever release again.

Is there anything like an operation I can have to change this? Otherwise I will never walk properly again. Please help.

Hello Paul,
This is distressing; it must have been a very bad fracture to have been cast for so long.

I'd start by getting an opinion from the surgeon.

Meantime, start exercise the ankle every hour of the day for five minutes, all not weight bearing; whilst sitting.

Carve out letters in space, make the ankle go through all the ranges of motion. You can also ask a family member to do this passively, mobilizing the ankle in all directions, but without pain.

Stick with your physiotherapist for a month or two; if you feel you're getting no where then you might like to see a chiropractor with a FICS qualification.

I wish I could be more encouraging; the physio could be right, but I would certainly give it a damn good try!

If you're a smoker, stop. Fractures like this never heal well without maximum oxygen.

Dr B

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