YANMD, I get it.
June 28, 2008 7:47 AM   Subscribe

I'm back. They put the broken ankle in a cast. YANMD but I'm asking you because my doctor thinks I'm a whiny baby (he'd be right but

The break is a "good break." No nerve, muscle, tendon or ligament complications. Cast for just three weeks. Here's the problem-- If I keep my foot down (like sitting at my desk) for more than about 20 minutes the blood starts to pool in my foot. Nasty. Elevating the foot (way up high) solves the problem, but I don't have a laptop so I can't really hang out on MeFi work if I'm lying down. I can work with my foot up on my desk (I'm doing it now), but then my whole lower leg goes to sleep. Speaking of sleep, my baby toe goes completely white and numb overnight.

Ortho nurse says this is all normal, I just need to keep my toes elevated over my nose and everything will be fine. She apparently inhabits a world where this is a practical solution.

So, hive mind, especially those with medical knowledge and/or prior experience with broken legs, help! Keep my foot from being swollen and numb!
posted by nax to Health & Fitness (9 answers total)
Yeah, it sucks. You'll elevate your foot, and then when it goes numb you lower it for a while, and then when it throbs you raise it again for a while. Ice packs help a lot with the swelling and throbbing. Good luck, hope you heal quickly.
posted by acorncup at 8:11 AM on June 28, 2008

Try a wireless keyboard and some books under your monitor to tilt it to a convenient angle for when you're lying down. Maybe a screen magnifier, too. A minimum amount of exercise may help keep the blood flowing, so a short "walk" around the house every 30 minutes or when the leg starts swelling or getting numb.
posted by cocoagirl at 8:28 AM on June 28, 2008

I've broken my ankle twice and went straight to cast both times -- there's definitely an adjustment period with swelling and general uncomfortableness (both physical and mental).

One thing I found that helped was to make sure that the cast was bearing weight when my leg was propped up, and not some spot further up on my leg where I was inadvertently pinching things. Sometimes that meant putting a pillow underneath the cast -- not to help the cast so much as to make it clear distance for the rest of my leg.

If possible and especially if you're comfortable on a couch, you might want to think about putting your computer on something with wheels. cocoagirl beat me to the wireless keyboard recommendation.
posted by gnomeloaf at 8:33 AM on June 28, 2008

I just got my broken foot out of a big, ugly boot that gave me the same problem exactly. I solved it at work by putting two lounge-type chairs front to front. I'd sit on one and put my leg out straight onto a pillow on the other. I needed it elevated higher than that (like, above my heart while lying down) for the first few days, but I just didn't go to work for the first few days since I was in too much pain to work anyway. I just scooted my monitor really close and used a lap desk with a wireless keyboard. It wasn't ideal, but it got me through the six miserable boot weeks okay.
posted by mostlymartha at 9:03 AM on June 28, 2008

Can you get your hands on a projector? Depending on your work setup, they can give positioning flexibility similar to what a laptop gives.
posted by madmethods at 9:18 AM on June 28, 2008

Why not just ask for a laptop? You're temporarily disabled, you need something to help you do your work, and if you're office is large enough you likely have one or more loner laptops sitting around. Seems reasonable enough to me.
posted by zachlipton at 12:13 PM on June 28, 2008

Laptop as a loaner and piles of pillows to get to the right height with the right support. I spent about six months in boot and casts with a non-healing broken ankle. Getting the elevation/support right is key to being a lot less miserable.
posted by leslies at 2:59 PM on June 28, 2008

Thanks all. Looking into the wireless keyboard option, as getting a laptop, while clearly the best solution, is not going to happen (I telecommute to a mid-sized nonprofit, I like macs, they're on pc, blah blah blah). All suggestions were great. Thanks also to everyone who MeMailed their support! Y'all are the best! (sniff)
posted by nax at 5:18 AM on June 29, 2008

Update: After I lost all feeling in my baby toe and my other toes turned blue unless I was prone for 23 out of 24 hours, I insisted that the doctor see me early. Went in, they put on a new cast, and all the problems went away. I can sit at my desk with my foot on the floor like a normal person, my toes look gross, but don't hurt and I got the feeling back in the little toe. I painted a flower garden on the new cast, to help the chi with the healing!

Lesson learned? You know your body, don't let doctors intimidate you. If you think something is wrong, it's probably wrong. Thanks again for all the great ideas and support.
posted by nax at 6:42 AM on July 3, 2008

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