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Aircast versus hard cast, swelling.

by G
(Maryland)

Four weeks ago, I broke my ankle, not a clean break, but not a hairline either...a fracture of the distal fibula. No surgery recommended. I went to the doctor (A {AC_ today, and he had told me he would give me a removable cast today, but did not do so. Indicated that the fracture was in line, but had been a chance of it popping out of place, and though it was healing, there wasn't as much healing as he'd like, probably due to age...age 47. However, he said I can slowly experiment with light weight through the cast, and wriggle my ankles much as i like, working my way up to full weight. another appointment in 3 weeks.


q: does it make sense to go weight bearing without an air cast? what's the difference between weight bearing with an aircast and without? i am not 2 and do know how to follow doctor's instructions, after all, and would be happy mostly to keep it on if those were the instructions.

also, the cast i have it loose around the ankle...not really loose, just a little loose...if i lift my leg up it, it probably drops about a quarter of an inch.

q2. what can i do about this swelling. i know, elevate. but they say the swelling can last a long time and it's dangerous...what can i do to shorten the overall life of this need to prop my leg cycle? when i tried to get short term disability insurance a few years ago, some insurance adjuster said someone, somewhere had given me a dx of Peripheral Vascular Disease, and I balked and got my primary doctor to say that's not his diagnosis. I was in the hospital for major surgery, so maybe that's when the dx came down...never worried about it as it seemed false, though i do keep my electric heater on my feet even in the summer...but, that's irrelevant, probably.
anything to make this swelling go away permanently in under a year?

Hi,

If your doctor is at all concerned about the fracture line, then I would suggest maximum protection which would be non-weight bearing and wearing the cast. I am not a big fan of giving a patient ambiguous instructions such as try a little of this and little of that. I would stay non-weight bearing another three weeks, have another x-ray and see where you are. Hopefully, there will have been further healing and your course of therapy should reflect that.
I would actually have to see how much swelling there is to offer an opinion as to whether or not it is too much, as swelling is very common in type of injury.
With casts you do need to be concerned about thrombophlebitis which can also be manifested by swelling. So... if you have any questions about the degree of swelling, you should discuss it with your doctor.
Marc Mitnick DPM

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