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Dealing with a broken ankle

dizzy

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning for 2019
First, if this isn't the correct place for this post, I apologize.

Now, my issue. Last week I broke my ankle just bringing the trash can in from the street. I had planned for a camino this year. My doctor has said it would be healed in time and out of the cam boot but he is very concerned that I would reinjure it if I attempt the trip this year. He did think that next year would be better.

His recommendation includes boots that are higher around the ankle and a brace, but gave no definite "brands".

For anyone on this forum who has broken an ankle, have you successfully walked the Camino after breaking an ankle? What equipment did you use? What would you recommend? Are there training tips for rehab you would recommend? When on the camino, what should I expect now from my ankle (pain, sore, slow, ??) ? Any specific brands of boots or braces that are recommended?

Thanks in advance for any help.
 

C clearly

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
I assume that every broken ankle is different, but I've never had one. We can't give medical advice here, obviously, but I'd suggest making sure you have a doctor or physiotherapist who is knowledgeable and up-to-date about sports injuries and the latest thinking about shoes, braces, etc. Maybe you need to let the bones heal and get started with some physiotherapy before you can make the best decision.

When (what month) were you thinking of walking? You say "this year" and "next year" but there are 12-months of opportunities in between! :) And what route were you planning?
 

dizzy

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning for 2019
Hi C Clearly, sorry for not being clear. I was planning on leaving the 1st of September 2018 starting in SJPD to Santiago. However, the physician has said I won't be out of the boot until the middle of June 2018 and not to plan on walking this year 2018. As I said, his recommendation is to have a hiking boot with a higher ankle rather than a tennis shoe type and a brace but he hasn't been clear on what specific type is needed. As he (dr) said, hiking is not his thing so he wasn't familiar with brands.

I realize that medical advice can't (or shouldn't) be given here. What I'm trying to find out is what of equipment/shoes/braces have been used by others how have had broken ankles in the past and how successful or unsuccessful they felt. Is there any type of training that would help after rehab? What should I set for expectations on pain, soreness, or should I even attempt a camino now?

Thank you
 

Jodean

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
22 Sept. to 21 Oct. 2015, Pamplona to Santiago
6-23.04 Porto to Santiago 2018
17.09-30.09 CF 2018
I broke my wrist on the Camino almost 7 months ago. I still can't put any weight on it, like for a push-up and it still hurts. Have had tons of physical therapy on it, but it hasn't helped.
I think planning a Camino only a few months from now is unwise. The weight, the long walks, the hills both going up and going down, all may end up causing you permanent damage or be a very, very painful experience. Why subject yourself to misery if you don't have to?
 

sugargypsy

Member
Camino(s) past & future
First one planned for May 2019: Camino Francés
I've broken my ankle some years ago in May and it took quite some time till it was healed and I could put full pressure on it again.

After I broke my ankle I had to make sure not to move around much that it could heel properly. That took about seven or eight weeks. Then I started with physical therapy 3 times week to build up muscles again. That took another 6 weeks, if I remember correctly. Then I was allowed to bike or walk again slowly, so till I was back to normal and be able to walk an hour or two without any problems I needed round about 4 or 5 months. But I would have been by no way be able to walk up to 15 or 20 km a day, day after day, for weeks.

You should also consider that a broken bone heals faster than the soft parts around the fracture. Depending how complicated the fracture is, it can take anything between 6 months up to year till everythings okay again. That does not mean that you still have pain or notice something, but
but the resilience of the ankle is simply not as high during this period as it is in a healthy, healed bone. One clumsy step and the ankle usually breaks faster.

Of course, one can argue, this could also happen if you stay at home, but I'd be more "comfortable" with that, than having this to happen abroad, needing to find out a way to get back home. That was the case with me (breaking the ankle abroad the first time), and was not really nice, though the nearest doctor was easily accessible and I spoke the foreign language well.


A very pragmatic issue also to consider: I would have a very close look at the conditions of your health insurance before you leave for the Camino, because at least here (Germany) the insurance may not cover the costs for treatment of previously known problems under certain circumstances, e.g. if you start walking against the advice of your Doc.

Wish you all the best and that you make the right decision for yourself.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
My observation is to comment that with each decade of life, healing from ANY injury or surgery comes much slower. Even though the actual broken bone(s) is set and 'healed' all surrounding tissue, muscles, tendons, ligaments, etc. are affected. Sometimes, just being inactive is enough to set your full recovery back.

First, you need to give yourself time to heal fully and properly. DO not rush things. The Camino will still be there.

Second, if you feel the need to press on, consider HIGH boots. Not shoes, and perhaps not even mid-high walking boots. I will use the Keen Footwear website for reference only.

I wear the Keen Targhee II mid-high boot. It is excellent but may not be 'tall' enough to support a recently broken ankle, even with a rigid ankle support. So, one MIGHT consider a boot with a higher 'leg.' Again, using the Keen men's collection for reference, the Keen Revel III, Summit County, Pyrenees, or Targhee High styles might provide better support.

If you are going to attempt walking with an ankle brace and higher ankle / leg you MUST have them properly fitted. If you are in the US, I highly recommend you go to an REI store. They have both the selection and usually hire clerks who have actual experience.

I would also consult with your doctor. He / she can better advise you regarding an appropriate ankle brace. You should settle the brace issue FIRST, as this may affect the boot you can buy, ot if you can find one to work at all.

Hope this helps.
 

Pam Scott

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Santiago compostella 2015
I sympathise with you entirely. I broke my ankle at the beginning of November last year. Thankfully it was was low down on my fibular, so not a seriously load bearing bone and it was a clean break. It took 6 weeks before I was allowed to walk without the boot. I was then given a splint and had regular 2 weekly physio sessions until mid March. I can now walk in the hills again with my splint on but I still get some swelling if I overdo it. I am going to walk in the foot hills of the French Alps at the beginning of May, my physio holds a very dim view of this but said as long as I wear my splint.!
I wear light weight SCARPA leather boots which come just above my ankle which I have worn on many long distance walks and I am very pleased with them. My splint is NHS issue, the brand name is Chaneco and is a great help.
Love or hate them use two walking poles for stability and support, they make a big difference.
I think the biggest challenge for me was getting my strength back in both my legs and ankles. It certainly isn't something you can rush as you could do more harm than good.
Personally I think you would be pushing it if you plan to walk in September. I don't know what sort of break you have but mine was one of the simplest and its all a matter of time. Remember on the Camino you will be walking day after day, which puts a lot of strain on even a fit body.
Wishing you well very soon.
If you like and can report back as to how I got on after a weeks walking in France? x
 
Camino(s) past & future
Plan to walk around 2022
I broke my ankle a year and a half ago and have yet to do the Camino. Based on my experience with recovery, I’d have to agree with your doctor. Ankle breaks are very painful and complex injuries which take a year or more to heal completely, and usually physiotherapy is necessary. Eighteen months in I feel strong enough to do Camino but still have pain and swelling some days, even if it’s just from going up and down my stairs on laundry days! I did a short flight to Florida about 5 months after the injury and that induced enough pain and swelling that I had to use an electric scooter for a week on my trip. Give yourself time to really heal and build some strength. The Camino will be there next year.
 

Iriebabel

Iriebabel & the cyborg turtle
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances April (2018)
Camino Del Norte 26 March 2019
Talk to your physio...and doctor. The physio can advise on taping up the ankle and also type of boot...especially one who specializes in sport injuries. There are many mid hi to hi hiking boots or trail runners. I have a heel spur and I went from Lowa aeox mid trail runners to HOKA toe hi...because I needed additional padding and ankle support. I also have orange superfeet insoles I’m on the Norte now so far no issues. Spur hurts some but my ankle feels secure. Good luck take it easy don’t rush the healing listen to your body.
 
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Neoscan

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (Sept 2016)
I broke my ankle at the start of January 2019 and have only recently gone down to walking with one crutch (it was quiet a bad break and involved getting metal work, bolts, plates and screws etc). I was originally planning to walk my camino in May this year but soon cancelled these plans. I had considered trying for September or October instead but now realise that this won't be doable either. I'll hopefully be able to go next year sometime.

As mentioned above, every broken ankle is different and so recovery times will be different too. My advise would be to wait a while and see how things are feeling once you are out of the cam boot. While the bones may be healed it will take some time for the muscles etc to gain back their strength. 3 and a bit months after my injury I still can't walk properly and if I do walk for any length of time it results in pain and swelling. This will hopefully improve but it can take over a year apparently. Physiotheapy helps but it is a slow process.

If your physician recommends not walking a camino this year I would probably take that advise. It is really not something you want to take risks with and no-one can say for sure when you'll be able and ready. I hope you feel better soon - it just takes time (and a lot of patience)!
 

Delphinoula

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino PdC 2018 Finisterre Muxía 2018
C Franconia 2019
Camino desde Algeciras Sevillia (2019)
I broke my ankle thinking it’s was just sprained, treated it at home like it was sprained, cooling for swelling and a firm bandaging some weeks of less stress weight on. Walked on it not knowing didn’t notice just a slightly longer recuperation time. Years later a surgeon told me it had been broken.
Long story short why should you not recuperate within 5 months? We all heal differently fast. I always walk with ankle high boots in uneven terrain, it that’s because one of my legs goes sometimes off line and I use poles.
Get well soon.
 

Francois de Meillon

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances Part of (2018)
Primitivo (2019)
Finistere (2019)
First, if this isn't the correct place for this post, I apologize.

Now, my issue. Last week I broke my ankle just bringing the trash can in from the street. I had planned for a camino this year. My doctor has said it would be healed in time and out of the cam boot but he is very concerned that I would reinjure it if I attempt the trip this year. He did think that next year would be better.

His recommendation includes boots that are higher around the ankle and a brace, but gave no definite "brands".

For anyone on this forum who has broken an ankle, have you successfully walked the Camino after breaking an ankle? What equipment did you use? What would you recommend? Are there training tips for rehab you would recommend? When on the camino, what should I expect now from my ankle (pain, sore, slow, ??) ? Any specific brands of boots or braces that are recommended?

Thanks in advance for any help.
Dizzy, your predicament is clear. There is nothing great about being injured or incapacî itated when open spaces and winding footpaths are calling you. My take on the matter will however lean towards being conservative . Serious injuries like yours is best served with patience and wisdom. Your doctor's response follows that line from a medical model perspective. The issue of re-injury flows from there. I would sttongly advise you to rehabilitate your ankle first before you tackle any camino. In the long run it will show itself to have a more lasting outcome.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/Francés ('16)
Baztanés/Francés ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/?/Invierno ('19)
I am very sorry that this happened to you, @dizzy .
There are braces and there are braces. And not all fractures are equal. So the best bet is to talk to a good sports PT so they can assess your injury and give custom-made advice.

The Camino is not going anywhere.
And the more completely you rehab that ankle before you stress it with 800km+ of repetitive motion, the happier it will be in the long run. I didn't do that decades ago and am reaping the consequences.
 

freescot

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
La Plata (2010) Portuguese from Coimbra(2010) Levante (2011) La Lana (2013) Francés from Roncevalles to Molinasaca then the Camino de Invierno (2014)
You will walk the Camino if you want. It won't be your broken ankle that stops you. I was told in 2012 by the Orthopaedic specialist who looked at my x-rays that I couldn't hike again. Total nonsense. I even bought a television because I believed him.
I'd had a compound fracture of the tibia and fibula at the ankle with osteomyelitis in 1991 and walked only short distances, often with difficulty until 2009. Then I walked the Via De la Plata in 2010, and the Levante in 2011. I was referred to the specialist in 2012 because I agravated the injury carrying a heavy load up a hill. I have chronic arthritis in my ankle. But the Camino is possible.
I am slow, I am often last to arrive in the hostels, I need to stop every few kilometres and I now acknowledge that my long Caminos are coming to an end, as much because of heart problems and age as my ankle.
I am sure you will walk a Camino, maybe next year, and maybe others after that. Burn Camino
 

Harington

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Vézelay/Francés 2011, Primitivo 2012, VdlP 2013, Via Domitia 2014, Inglés 2015, Francigena 2016
First, if this isn't the correct place for this post, I apologize.

Now, my issue. Last week I broke my ankle just bringing the trash can in from the street. I had planned for a camino this year. My doctor has said it would be healed in time and out of the cam boot but he is very concerned that I would reinjure it if I attempt the trip this year. He did think that next year would be better.

His recommendation includes boots that are higher around the ankle and a brace, but gave no definite "brands".

For anyone on this forum who has broken an ankle, have you successfully walked the Camino after breaking an ankle? What equipment did you use? What would you recommend? Are there training tips for rehab you would recommend? When on the camino, what should I expect now from my ankle (pain, sore, slow, ??) ? Any specific brands of boots or braces that are recommended?

Thanks in advance for any help.
Last year I had a double displaced ankle fracture with soft tissue injury and nerve damage, and it is pinned and plated. I have just walked the Magna Via Francigena across Sicily, which - although short - is quite strenuous. The ankle gave me no trouble whatsoever - my knees did though!
I don't know what age you are, but I seriously advise against doing too much too soon. Up to a couple of months ago my foot and ankle still swelled and were hot every evening. I'd count on at least a year before you do any serious distance walking.
I did all the exercises the physio gave me, and still do. I put my foot up each everning. I was fortunate in that I was reasonably fit before the fractures. Within a month of the plaster coming off I was doing approximately 8km a day.
You'll do what you think is best, but get back gradually.
 

dizzy

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning for 2019
Thank you to everyone who has responded. I appreciate everything you have mentioned.

@sugargypsy, I will definitely review my insurance, as that was something that hadn't entered my mind for it being considered a "pre-existing" condition.

Actually my body has made the decision for me! At my last visit, my physician said the bone wasn't showing any new growth. So this is going to be a longer ordeal than originally suspected.

I do need to remember the Camino will be there and I need to take care of my body to be able to walk the Camino regardless of the strength of the call I'm hearing now.

Thank you all again!
 

Pam Scott

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Santiago compostella 2015
So sorry to hear this. Rest, and I know this is hard be patient the Camino will be waiting for you. Get well soon x
 

JillieB

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino del Norte 2019
My heart goes out to you with this - I too have just broken my ankle (yesterday). Our Camino was planned to begin four weeks from today after receiving much help from AJGuillaume and peregrina2000 (to both I am deeply grateful) but all things were scuppered by a simple at-home accident.

Although we won't be walking this May (and I'm gutted) I hope we can do this as soon as is possible. Perhaps somethings are meant to be and when the time is right, it will go well.

The Camino will wait for us.

Heal well and stay strong x
 

dizzy

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning for 2019
My heart goes out to you with this - I too have just broken my ankle (yesterday). Our Camino was planned to begin four weeks from today after receiving much help from AJGuillaume and peregrina2000 (to both I am deeply grateful) but all things were scuppered by a simple at-home accident.

Although we won't be walking this May (and I'm gutted) I hope we can do this as soon as is possible. Perhaps somethings are meant to be and when the time is right, it will go well.

The Camino will wait for us.

Heal well and stay strong x
I'm so sorry to hear this has happened to you! I totally can commiserate. Maybe we will meet on the trail next year!!
 

AlexanderAZ

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2017 (Sept/Oct): CF: SJPdP-->Fisterra-->Muxia (solo)
2019 (late Sept): CF: SJPdP-->Leon (honeymoon!)
I had ankle surgery earlier this year and have been in physical therapy for the past month after getting out of the boot/cam walker (finally!). I’m wearing Salomon Ultra Mid shoes. They are the closest shoe to trail runners but with ankle support. I wore them on my CF in 2017 and they performed flawlessly, gave me great ankle protection for the other foot’s recovery from plantar fascia surgery earlier that year. I’m wearing them again this fall for CF #2. I’d *much* rather recover from a broken bone than a tendon or ligament injury (I’ve had way too much experience with all). Find an excellent doc and excellent physical therapist who will support you in reaching your goals.
 

mguillen

MGuillen
Camino(s) past & future
2019
First, if this isn't the correct place for this post, I apologize.

Now, my issue. Last week I broke my ankle just bringing the trash can in from the street. I had planned for a camino this year. My doctor has said it would be healed in time and out of the cam boot but he is very concerned that I would reinjure it if I attempt the trip this year. He did think that next year would be better.

His recommendation includes boots that are higher around the ankle and a brace, but gave no definite "brands".

For anyone on this forum who has broken an ankle, have you successfully walked the Camino after breaking an ankle? What equipment did you use? What would you recommend? Are there training tips for rehab you would recommend? When on the camino, what should I expect now from my ankle (pain, sore, slow, ??) ? Any specific brands of boots or braces that are recommended?

Thanks in advance for any help.
My husband and I used Solomon high top boots. I have sprained and hairline fractured both ankles on diff occasions years ago and find they have been somewhat weakened bc of it. These boots give the extra support I need. That said it takes a long time to heal so you may want to heed (sp?) ur doctors advice to take extra care.
 

jburr3708

James on The Way
Camino(s) past & future
2014 Frances SJPDP
2016 Portugues (with wife)
2017 VDLP
2018 Portugues (with daughter)
First, if this isn't the correct place for this post, I apologize.

Now, my issue. Last week I broke my ankle just bringing the trash can in from the street. I had planned for a camino this year. My doctor has said it would be healed in time and out of the cam boot but he is very concerned that I would reinjure it if I attempt the trip this year. He did think that next year would be better.

His recommendation includes boots that are higher around the ankle and a brace, but gave no definite "brands".

For anyone on this forum who has broken an ankle, have you successfully walked the Camino after breaking an ankle? What equipment did you use? What would you recommend? Are there training tips for rehab you would recommend? When on the camino, what should I expect now from my ankle (pain, sore, slow, ??) ? Any specific brands of boots or braces that are recommended?

Thanks in advance for any help.
When I was 71 I broke my ankle on the VDLP in April shortly after Seville. I was taken back to the hospital in Seville where they operated and inserted plates and screws because I had broken both leg bones. I stayed a hotel in Seville for about 3 days before flying first to my sister in London for a few days and then back to the US. The orthopedic surgeon in the US was very pleased with the work done in Seville and I wore a boot for about 2 months followed by physical therapy.
The next year (age 72) I returned to Spain and completed the VdLP. Since then I have walked the Portugues twice. I wore mid-high Merrill Moab boots and the doctor told me that if I had worn high top boots I would probably have broken my knee which would have been much worse.
Give your ankle time and listen to the advice of you orthopedic doctor. It worked for me. Now age 76 I am planning another Camino.
 

Seabeggar

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Mozarabe
Give it 12 months. Good sports physiotherapist, walking poles for balance, consider a DEXA bone scan to check you don't have osteoporosis. With regard to shoes/boots its difficult. There is an argument for more simple shoes rather than boots. You have more awareness of foot position in simpler trainers than in built up trainers or boots and may in fact be less likely to sprain again. I noticed this when I went over to Hoka trainers (thick soles) and suffered more ankle twists than in more minimalist shoes. Get a feel as you recover for what works best for you.
 
When you out of your boot seek advice from a sports therapist, they are more used to players who want to get back playing their sport asap; heed and complete their advice on rehab.
Before your Camino do a shakedown hike one third of the distance you intend to cover on the Camino.Succeed with that and you are good to go.
 
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