How to heal your fractured foot and ankle:
An artist's guide


My Left Foot
Watercolor pencil, 4 x 6 inches


I am not a doctor. However, I've enjoyed a lifetime of learning how to heal myself and keep myself relatively healthy. It's fun for me. Herein, I'm sharing the healing measures I've taken for my own foot and ankle fractures with hopes that some or all of this information may be of help to you.

I am somewhat of an expert on ankle sprains but, after a recent fall, not only did I suffer a massive ankle and foot sprain but also fractured my 5th metatarsal (a Jones Fracture) cracked my medial tibia from mid-calf straight through the ankle bone and cracked something on the outside ankle bone. I did not have any displaced bones and did not require any surgery. You can read about the details of my injury on my left foot posts.  In fact, I recommend that you read these related earlier posts on healing!

Upon Injury

R.I.C.E.

Rest. Ice. Compression. Elevation. Stick to this tried and true formula for the first 48 - 72 hours to which I'll add...

Immediately apply Arnica Gel or Traumeel.  Begin taking Arnica Tablets internally. Take the recommended dosage of any pain medication. Apparently, Ibuprofen is "off the list for mending bones" (it interferes with process) but helps to reduce swelling in sprains.

Ask for help. Have x-rays taken so that you know what's injured. Ask for a ride to the E.R. Bring a good book. Ask for print copies of your x-rays. Why? A succession of doctors did not notice that my medial tibia and ankle were fractured for one month. I had to tell them that I thought I had additional breaks.

Do not try to walk on your foot. I mean it!

Your healing regimen

Attitude is crucial. So, first off, Count Your Blessings! Fractures and sprains are temporary. Become aware of any whining or complaining. Whining and complaining do you no good whatsoever. In fact, engaging in this crankiness will probably make you feel worse. People will expect you to complain. Surprise them. Be of good cheer. You won't always be able to feel chipper but make a go of it anyway. It'll make you feel better. All things considered, you're experiencing a rather minor issue. But if you do not properly care for yourself, you'll make matters worse and add to your recovery time.

Do NOT walk on your foot. I still mean it! I am off my foot for 12 - 14 weeks. When I first sprained my ankle at age 11, it was placed in a plaster cast. Within a week, I'd removed it with my father's hammer and chisel. I know you want to walk as soon as possible. Do not do so until your bones can support you. Deal with it.

Do NOT smoke. Trying to walk on your foot before the bones, ligaments and tendons are healed and smoking are the absolute worst things you could possible do. Frankly, I was a closet smoker. Just two or three cigarettes in the evening. When I broke these bones, and I smoked... I could feel my inner self compromised at the cellular level. I don't know how else to express it. I have not had a cigarette since, nor have I desired one.

Rest. And I'm not talking about for one or two days. You must plan on resting more than usual throughout your recovery.

Do your research. Educate yourself. Ask your doctor as many questions as you can think of and then learn about your particular injury or set of injuries. It's interesting, fun to learn about and empowering. Make it a creative project! Go crazy on google. You're not going to be able to do much else for the first little while.

Expect a few pitfalls. Immobility, crutches, and slow going can be a pain. Like the learning curve, the healing curve is not straight up. You can pretty much plan on having a couple sets of downer days. If you're prepared, you can work your way through them more easily. Just relax and let it all wash over you. You're not always going to be laying around.

Accept your situation. What's done is done. Surrender. You are healing. It's going to take some time. Be Brave. You can do it! You are not actually healing your foot and ankle, you are creating the optimal conditions under which your bones and tendons and ligaments can heal at the cellular level.

Exercise. What? Yes. It's really important for your body but also for your mental state and general well being. You'll be much happier during and after recovery because of it. Swimming is your best bet and non-weight bearing yoga poses are wonderful.

Swimming: Find the schedule for your nearest pool and plan at least two lap swimming sessions per week. Ease into it. Don't force your injured foot to do anything it doesn't want to. Start with a kick board if you have to. Make it a game to increase your number of laps and time in pool per session. Be very careful with your crutches on the wet floors! Ask for whatever help you need getting in and out of the pool.

Yoga: I have created a sequence for you of non-weight bearing yoga positions. Obviously, you will have to modify some of these positions to accommodate your injured foot and ankle and you don't want to try anything you are not already secure with. This sequence will give you a basic routine to add or subtract from.
Click here for my PDF of non-weight bearing yoga sequence.
(Click here for further information on poses).

Remedy List

Arnica Gel
Arnica Tablets
Comfrey Tincture
(or Comfrey Leaf to make a poultice)
Juniper Oil
Olbas Oil
Garlic and Ginger Capsules
Vitamin and mineral supplements
(a good multi-vitamin, Calcium Supplement , Vitamin C and B Complex )

Does this seem like a lot to buy?  All of these items should live in your medicine cabinet or kitchen at all times. They are part of fundamental first aid and you should be taking the supplements anyway (imho). Think about doctor bills.

Speaking of which, if you want to add essential oils to your medicine cabinet, kitchen, and cleaning supplies, visit my essential oil store for the highest quality and my hands down favorite essential oils of all time.

Regarding the matter at hand (or foot!):
Arnica acts as pain reliever and anti-inflammatory. Application prevents or hastens healing of bruises and reduces swelling and works especially well if applied immediately after trauma (though is helpful to prevent pain and inflammation throughout healing period). Homeopathic Arnica pills and tablets taken internally have same effect.

The main active ingredient in Comfrey is Allantoin which generates cells and promotes cell replacement. Bones knit themselves back together on the cellular level. An old folk name for Comfrey is "knitbone".

Juniper (especially), Rosemary, Wintergreen and Peppermint help to promote circulation. Circulation helps to promote healing on a cellular level. So does massage. Healing on a cellular level helps to knit bones. Foot bones (especially the 5th metatarsal) have limited circulation (they're far from the heart), therefore, trouble healing.

By the way, I only recommend what I consider superior products at good prices that I, myself, use and love.

My triple threat treatment!
3x per day:
Slather a thin layer of Arnica Gel over your fracture and sprain areas
Drop Comfrey tincture on fracture and sprain areas and massage into skin
Gently massage adulterated* Grampa's Therapeutic Massage Oil into foot and ankle for 15 - 20 minutes (or as long as you can — some time is better than no time!).

*Add additional Juniper Oil and Olbas (contains juniper, rosemary, peppermint oils) to Grampa's Garden Therapeutic Oil to help further promote circulation.

I slept with a comfrey poultice on my foot and ankle during the first ten days. I could actually feel it working but the whole thing was a bit time consuming and messy so I switched to the tincture which I think is less effective but still very helpful.

Nutrition
Steer clear of sugar and caffeine (especially coffee), (if you can).
Do I have to say to not drink alcohol?
Eat well. Fresh vegetables and fruit. Real food. Drink pure water. You'll feel better.

Healing Stones
(couldn't hurt!)
Infinite
Faden Quartz
Rainbow Obsidian
Labradorite
Blue Kyanite
Green Kyanite
Apatite

You can find these in new age shops or ask a massage therapist where you might buy some or check ebay. You can sleep with these stones under your pillow and carry them around in a little stone pouch as you go through your daily life.

And one more thing! Buy yourself a good pair of knee pads. Sometimes you might have to climb, foot and knee (careful!), and sometimes you might just want to crawl. I recommend Fiskars Contoured-Fit Knee Pads.I've been using them all along and they've really helped.

As I stated at the outset, I am not a doctor nor am I in any way liable for any harm or injuries sustained if you choose to follow any of my leads in this post. However, I do have a load of personal experience and this has been my share on it!

Happy healing!


15 comments:

Art with Liz said...

Wonderful advice! Great sketch. And being who you are, have you figured out why you hurt your foot in the first place?
Hugs

Suzanne McDermott said...

Great to hear from you, Liz! Why I hurt my foot? You mean... metaphysically? Oh...probably support issues. Definitely recognition that I still have a purpose to fulfill. Now I'm on my way over to Louise Hay to see what she says. XO

Suzanne McDermott said...

Louise Hay says:
(area, metaphysical issue, affirmation)

Ankle — represents mobility and direction.
"I move forward easily in life."

Feet — Represent our understanding of ourselves, of life, of others.
"My understanding is clear and I am willing to change with the times. I am safe."

Foot Problems — Fear of the future, and of not stepping forward in life.
"I move forward in life with joy and with ease."

Lower Leg Problems — Fear of the future. Not wanting to move.
"They were doing the best they could with the understanding, awareness and knowledge they had. I release the past with love. I move forward with confidence and joy, knowing that all is well in my future."

Accidents — Inability to speak up for the self. Rebellion against authority. Belief in violence. Anger.
"I trust the process of life. I am safe."

Left Side of Body — Represents receptivity, taking in, femine energy, woman, the mother.
"My feminine energy is beautifully balanced."

and for those who've hurt their right foot...
Right Side of Body — Represents giving out,letting go, Masculine energy,men,the Father.
Alas... I cannot find the affirmation for the Right Side of Body!

Here's a link to a good alternate post on Metaphysical issues for Head Back and Leg injuries:
http://www.compassionatedragon.com/metaphysics2.html

More happy healing!

Hazel said...

THANKS SUZANNE! BIG HELP! I just got a sprain the other day from track! =D

Suzanne McDermott said...

Hey hazel!! No... Did you really sprain your ankle? Well, that's it for track this season. You're too busy with school work anyway. Sending loads of loving supportive energy.

Cathy Gatland said...

I do love how you immerse yourself in and work through experiences - good or bad - mentally, physically and spiritually. I hope I'll not need this advice, but thank you for it!

Suzanne McDermott said...

Thanks, Cathy. I appreciate it.

BostonVegChef said...

Thank you so much for your no nonsense advice. I loved the part about the knee pads. I have done this a number of times (way too many) and this time i am determined to get to the root of the problem and deal with the issues so it doesn't have happen again. Downer days...oh boy...had a lot this time (9th time spraining the same ankle over 26 years). Thank you for the Louise Hay list. Right side - definitely dealing with father issues. Thank you again.

Emthe said...

Thanks for the wisdom. It's hard to remember to go slow. With your advice, a little easier to appreciate it.

Anonymous said...

Thank u! this id the mosy help full and loving post i came across; and makes me feel pro and ud of being part of the human family; sharing information and wisdom and beleiving in who we are

Ashley Only said...

Thank you so much for this! I sprained and fractured my ankle about 7 weeks ago and have been struggling with it so much. I was trying to just accept that it happened and get through it, but I was fighting it for the first couple weeks. I have actually given myself time to rest, though! I'm looking forward to trying some things you've suggested here! The knee pads were a really good suggestion no other websites mentioned! Sometimes crawling really was easier. =)

Suzanne McDermott said...

You are welcome, Kate, Emthe, and Anon. I'm so glad to know this post has helped. Download my Creative Wake Up book, too. That will help start your day in good spirits. Take your time and heal up right. XO

Meera Light said...

Hey Suzanne,
Thank you so much for this beautiful information. I am a dancer , giving time to heal my ankle and eager to get back to work. Your blog really helped me calm myself down, be patient with my ankle and allow it to heal.
Wishing you a lot of happiness.
Meera

Suzanne McDermott said...

Thank you, Meera! I'm so happy that this post was of service. Wishing you love and healing!

Anonymous said...

Hi Suzanne! I am glad to stumble upon your post. Very interesting and helpful. I am quite upset with myself right now after the fall I had 3 weeks ago which has caused fracture on my left foot. Having 2 schooling kids with no helper everything seems a lot harder and put me into pressure. After a week of casting, I have requested for a foot splint instead so that I can easily take it off and walk around (slowly and carefully) when needed to. Due to that I have to bear with the swollen pain at times in the middle of the night. After reading your post, you mentioned to not step on the fractured feet at all. Like seriously not at all no matter how careful I can be? The doctor did tell me not to actually, but I thought it wouldn't be a problem if I do slowly and as long I don't put a lot of pressure on the fractured area since I really need to get some jobs done. Sorry if I commented too long but I seriously do want to recover the soonest. Thanks for your advise in advance.