Broken Ankle Week 10

Leanne Waldal
4 min readAug 7, 2022


This is the week the surgeon gave me a date and said I could start weight bearing on that date (9 weeks after surgery, 10 weeks after injury).

She didn’t say what to do for weight bearing so I looked on reddit (r/brokenbones) to get some ideas. I got out a scale, had my wife help, and tested how much weight I could bear on leg with injured ankle. It’s 17% of my body weight. There’s my starting point! I start PT very soon.

The scale showed that I lost 5 pounds. That shocked me since I’ve been doing little to no exercise and mostly sitting with my leg elevated. Injury recovery uses a lot of energy.

CAM boot stretched out on bench next to picnic table with a view out to a cliff above the pacific ocean
Enjoying the view at Fort Funston (San Francisco) after crutching to picnic table

My wife and I went out to the ocean on a foggy sunny day (my favorite kind of weather) and had a picnic. It felt so good to breathe ocean air and feel confident crutching a few feet on sand to get to picnic table.

The mental struggle is still very real. I received a survey from hospital saying something like “it’s been more than 6 weeks since your surgery and we’d like to know about your progress.” Most of the questions were about ability to do activities of daily living — carry a bag, walk up and down stairs. I still can’t do a lot of those activities since I’ve been non-weight-bearing this whole time and repeatedly answered the questions “cannot do” over and over. Taking the survey made me feel sad and frustrated at the slow recovery for this injury and how much I still can not do.

Progress I have noticed:

  • There’s a trend of more achy/swelling ankle in evening and less achy/swelling in morning. It used to be achy/swelling all the time.
  • Sleeping without an ace bandage now. I sleep with just a cotton stockinette sleeve on my ankle.
  • I’ve been using a Rumpl puffy blanket because it’s lightweight and warm and my ankle has been really sensitive to any blanket weight. I put a heavier blanket over my ankle and noticed it’s still sensitive to blanket weight but not as much.
  • Resting foot on the floor in the car is a current experiment I’m doing to see if I can sit with both feet resting and not feel anxious that it will cause pain/swelling.
  • New sleep disturbance where I wake up a few times at night because my ankle feels tight and it wants to stretch.
  • Showering (still sitting on stool and using a bowl to pour water) is getting easier and the dead skin on ankle/foot is finally sloughing away. There are still scabs and dead skin around incisions and the skin is still too tender to rub or scrub.
  • I tried a bunch of different oils, lotions, salves and here are the ones that feel, and absorb, best on my incisions and tender skin
    + Gilden Tree Foot Cream
    + ElizabethW Soothing Salve
    + The Ordinary Argan Oil
  • While I work on Zoom every day I alternate between cold therapy machine, boot, and out of boot doing toe crunches and dorsi + plantar flexing. A couple days ago I realized I can finally flex my ankle a tiny bit more.
  • At a certain point, flexing and stretching makes my ankle ache so then I go back to cold therapy machine.
  • The top and sides of my foot are still tingly without full feeling. I massage my foot every day and have noticed feeling slowly coming back.
  • Crutching a lot has improved my shoulder and arm strength. I think I might actually miss the crutches since now they make me feel strong.
  • The pockets in some of my hoodies are starting to wear and tear because I use the pockets to carry almost everything every day (while on crutches).

I’m still sleeping on the ground floor of our house (with our cats’ litterboxes in same room which I really appreciate my wife and daughter regularly cleaning!). It’s 2 flights of stairs up to the floor where I used to sleep and hope to sleep again. I can get up 1 flight of stairs to our kitchen/living/dining area but I can’t yet get up the second flight of stairs because those stairs are too steep.

The cats won’t sleep with me. They don’t like the smooth texture of the Rumpl puffy blanket. Typical finicky felines.

The cats



Leanne Waldal

I like you. San Francisco.