April 08, 2013,
T.S. asks from Langhorne, PA on April 06, 2013
Getting Around with a Broken Ankle
My husband broke his ankle 3 weeks ago. He was home from work for a little over 2 weeks and his past week he wanted to get back to work again. Problem is, he works in Philadelphia and we live a half hour (depending on traffic) outside in the suburbs. He worked 2 days and after I dropped my son off at preschool, I drove him into work and then went and picked him back up again. He wants to be able to take the train. The station is very close to our house but 3 city blocks from his office. Getting around on crutches is proving to be difficult as well as a bit painful on his upper body. He wanted to get a knee scooter to make it easier to get around but I think it may be more cumbersome than he thinks. He can't put any pressure of his leg. Then he found (online) a hands-free crutch where you put your knee up on a crutch and I guess strap it in. I am doubtful about how that will work as well without getting totally annoying by end of day. So I wanted to ask if there was anyone who was (or had a family member or friend) in a similar situation and what they used that worked out well. DH is looking on Craigslist and would rather buy something used rather than go and rent the same thing and pay the same amount of money. Thanks for your input.
So What Happened?™
He has been to hospital, doctor and currently seeing a specialist. He doesn't use a briefcase, only a backpack. And the hospital people are the ones who adjusted the crutches to make sure they are using them right. I just wanted to see if anyone had used, or know someone who has used an alternative to crutches and how it worked for them.
S.B. answers from Redding on April 06, 2013
I'm surprised the doctor let him go back to work so soon considering the difficulty with transportation. I broke my right leg and couldn't drive. I broke my left leg and couldn't drive because my truck has a clutch. After my bones healed, I had to do physical therapy to strengthen my muscles and tendons and kind of re-learn how to properly put weight on my legs.
My doctor put me on short term disability because it was absolutely unrealistic for me to try to use public transportation on crutches, not to mention the fact that I was supposed to be keeping my legs elevated as much as possible to combat the swelling.
I'm not a doctor by any means, but it would seem to me your husband has tried to go back to work too soon. Using crutches can be excruciatingly painful in the first month or so. It kills the palms of my hands and being boney, I get terrible bruises under my arms along my ribs. My good leg gets so sore and tired. It's rough!
I think your husband should talk to his doctor and let them know how difficult it's been for him to get to work. Ask the doctor's advice about alternatives to crutches. Your insurance may pay for it if it's deemed medically necessary. Where I live, you can rent medical equipment which is really nice because then you aren't stuck with something that you may never ever need again.
Bless your husband for wanting to get back to work so soon, but he really needs to be thinking about healing properly or he could have problems with that ankle for the rest of his life.
Just my opinion and best wishes.
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P.G. answers from Dallas on April 06, 2013
Find the place that rents and see if you can do a "test drive".
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J.S. answers from Hartford on April 06, 2013
Get your husband to the doctor that's dealing with the broken ankle. The orthopedist will likely refer him to a physical therapist. Your husband needs to do this the right way or he risks causing the injury to become far worse than when it started out. If he doesn't work with the doctors and PT, he could come away with permanent damage.
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C.O. answers from Washington DC on April 06, 2013
Knee scooters can be the answer. However, he will need to make sure that the path he takes from the train to the office is not uneven...if it is? He will have more problems.
Crutches? Sorry - was on them for a year as my knee was soo messed up. He is building upper body strength. Go to CVS or Walgreens and ask for moleskin - put it on the arm portion and hand portion - he will find it to be not so painful.
He also needs to be checked by a Physical Therapist to see that he is using them correctly, they are adjusted to the right height and so much more.
Instead of a briefcase, he will need a backpack - just like he would for the scooter as well.
When I broke my ankle in 1997, I was lucky and able to work from home. My co-workers brought in the stuff I needed (I broke my right ankle). If it had been my left- no big deal!! LOL!! As I don't have a manual transmission (that's husband's car).
I've never seen the "hands free crutch"...sounds like it would take a lot of motor skills and balance.
D.M. answers from Chicago on April 08, 2013
I rented a knee walker when I broke my ankle. It was a life saver. I had to use it almost three months and we rented it. Definetly worth it. Frees up your hands, keeps your hip and knee from loosing as much strength, place to sit, place to prop/elevate ankle when sitting elsewhere, can attach a basket to carry things room to room,etc. I was caring for my ten month old at the time and couldn't have done it without it. Much safer and more stable than crutches too. I found it less cumbersome than crutches for around town. I could move much faster, open my own doors, pay for things without worry of loosing my balance. Everyone commented "oh..man wish I'd had that instead of crutches!" It handled uneven ground and gravel well. I even took some stairs with it.