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Worried about going back to work after broken ankle

Discussion in 'Health and wellbeing' started by Lilybett, Feb 6, 2012.

  1. Hello. As some of you know,I broke my ankle over Xmas and have been signed off work this half-term. I've been in a non-weight-bearing cast the whole time, and due back at Fracture Clinic on Thur to have it removed.
    The consultant said to begin to gently put weight down from about 1st Feb, which I have been doing, but it doesn't feel right. I can't take any weight at all, it feels really unstable. It doesn't feel any more stable and mobile than it did 4 weeks ago. When it was first broken, I just had pain on the outside of the ankle, exactly where the fracture is.The doctors kept poking at the INSIDE of the ankle and seemed to disbelieve me that I didn't have any pain there... But now when I put my foot on the ground, I get sharp pains on the INSIDE. That's worrying - new pain!? Anyone else had this??
    I'm worried sick about going back to work. As an NQT, I stop getting sick pay on 10th Feb, so I need to earn some money! Things were really hard before Xmas and didn't feel I had much support from the school; and the practicalities are really scaring me, and I know nobody is going to help!! My classroom is up some stairs. I'm still in pain and hopping/limping at a snail's pace on the crutches and I don't have a TA, so stupid things like walking the class down to assembly, getting resources and photocopies, getting my laptop, files and books into school and home again, and just getting round the classroom are going to be a nightmare.
    Am I just going to be cut loose by Fracture Clinic on Thursday or might they, for example, stick me in a walking cast for a couple of weeks and sign me off for a bit longer? It will suck to lose sick pay but I don't feel ready to return to work at all. Eek! Thanks for readin' xx
  2. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Oh, lilybett, what is it they say about'never rains but it pours'. has anybody put you in touch woth Occupational therapy. They should be able to come up with some suggestions how to manage some practicalities.
    Some suggestions of my own:
    Leave the laptop in one place, school or home, and transfer things using a memory (or data) stick.
    Ask children to carry things for you, most classes have a great bunch of children only willing to help 'miss'!.
    Mark in school don't even attempt to carry anything.
  3. Heh, I know. Some people find it charming. [​IMG]

    To be honest, I'm considering asking to go back on citalopram. I thought I was depressed because I was unemployed, but employment hasn't helped! Just worried about how it will look on health screening questionnaires. Ehhhhhh.
    No, I didn't think OH would be involved. Maybe hunky doc will suggest this on Thur. Thanks v much for suggestions, I'll follow them as much as poss :)

  4. It doesn't matter how it looks! You're protected by the Equality Act 2010. It was my understanding that OH should always be involved for long term sickness (thanks to the latest buzz word 'safeguarding'). I'm surprised that you haven't heard from OH already. Yes, you should definitely ask your GP or HR at school about this before your GP gives you the go ahead to return to work.
    Sorry to hear that things aren't going well for you at the moment, btw. I hope that they improve soon!
  5. Thanks, Ms Brainy. I didn't know I had any protection like that. I'm an *** for putting it off this long, then! Thanks again xx
  6. Sorry to hear you're experiencing more pain lilybett - doesn't sound reassuring. However, did you tear any ligaments / tendons when you broke your ankle? I've heard that they take simply ages to heal (sorry to say, years in some cases) which might explain the pain after all this time.
    When I switched casts 3 weeks ago, the 'walking cast' was just the same as a normal cast but with a velcro shoe on it. When I first put weight on, it felt really odd and was painful. I also felt like I had to learn how to walk all over again. However, within an hour I was taking tentative steps unaided and by the following day was walking fine without crutches. By Day 2, there was no pain and walking was fine.
    But, I didn't do any ligament or tendon damage and have plates/screws in ankle so I know it's stable.
    As for going back to school, I went back last week. I was incredibly nervous walking outside and still don't go outside if I can possibly help it and the children get used as carriers. However, it still takes ages getting round from classroom to staff room etc but I just take it easy.
    I echo what the others say about asking doctor about physio and occupational health and stuff. If you're not confident and in pain, they can't say you're fit to work. You could ask for a phased return so you can go back slowly.
    I've got my cast off a week Thursday and I can't wait - I'm so excited to have a decent shower!
    You'll be able to walk soon Lilybett, don't you worry.
  7. Hey
    I'm a newly appointed deputy head in Cardiff and I broke my fibula playing football last Tuesday. My doctor told me I need to get Surgery and put a plate and screw in to make it stronger. How long were you out for? I'm hoping to be back after half term in 5 weeks. Do you think that will be a possibility? I'm currently on my back slab and visiting the clinic again on Wednesday and hopefully will get more answers. Any advice would be brilliant! I dont care about playing football again I just want to go back into work! Would a boot be an option? If it helps I had a clean break!
  8. Hi

    I also broke my ankle recently. It was on the 14th of march and it happened at work. It was a displaced fracture and a snapped tendon. I was in hospital for 5 days and had a plate, screws and an additional long screw to keep the fib to the tib. Had a cast on now for 7 weeks and I get it taken off on Friday. Dreading the appointment because they are going to make me walk on it with a 'moon boot'. It is still very painful and if I move around with it not propped up for over an hour the swelling is so sore.

    The replies in this thread have reassured me slightly that the doc probably won't send me straight back to work. School have said they have dealt with broken bones before and I will probably come back an hour a week or so at first. Any other comments and advice on this would be appreciated. Feeling very anxious about the return. It is a new school for me so I don't know the protocols and my classroom is up 3 floors so they will move me far away from my department.

    I hope this response replies a little to the last post. If you've had surgery, ul probably be non-weight bearing for at least six weeks then you and I will be needing a lot of physio etc to sort our leg out.

    I would be greatful of any advice regarding this matter.

  9. Red wine fan

    Red wine fan New commenter

    Does it not also depend on your role and how the school is laid out? I badly broke my ankle in 3 places 9 years ago and have a plate and 6 screws in it. I worked in 2 different schools at the time. The first half term I was non-weight-bearing so was signed off work as it was as much as I could do to get around the house. Once the cast was off, I had to try to bear weight on it. I had a lot of intensive physio, although this should have started sooner. My GP was happy to keep signing me off as I was still dependent on the crutches.

    One school had polished floors, I had to negotiate steps to get to my classroom or the toilet and the staff room was upstairs with no lift. My GP agreed that I could not go in there until I was much more stable on my feet. The other school has no steps, carpeted floors, a designated toilet for disabled people and a very lovely colleague who was more than happy to ply me with coffee and lunch (I still work with him!). The GP thought that it would do me good to go in there as the environment was more supportive. SMT did not mind me wearing trainers and it was good for me to get back into the swing of things.

    From the accident to being able to function reasonably normally took around 5 months. To those currently suffering, I would urge caution. As soon as the casts come off, make sure you use ice packs or frozen peas to keep the swelling down. I was not told to do this and it delayed the rehab significantly. As far as pain is concerned, it will feel really odd for a few days then as you are able to do more, it will ease a bit. Your body tells you when you have done too much. However, I am still suffering and now aim to spend part of each lesson sitting down, because if I don't, it swells up and hurts. I had extra physio about 18 months after the accident, which helped a bit - maybe I need to go and get it checked out again.

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