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Plaster done on broken fibula. Feeling swelling and uncomfortable. Prescribed anti depressant. Any advice?

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Orthopaedic Surgeon
Practicing since : 2004
Answered : 189 Questions
hi I have broken my ankle,at the bottom of the fibula. I am now at the begining of week five in recovery.
I was put in a full leg plaster for a week. this was then removed and I was put into a removable air splint. For the first 4 weeks I did no weight bearing as this felt uncomfortable. Also because I had alot of swelling.
I still have a problem with swelling, but have been told this is normal? however I have had mixed responses to the swelling.. I am beginning to slowly weight bear and walk a tiny bit with the aid of my crutches.
The Question of concern is because i hadn't weight beared for the first 4 weeks have I done some nerve or other damage. I havent been sleeping well and the doctor at the clinic prescribed me the anti depressant
Amitriptyline XXXXXXX Ta 10mg.
I do not wish to take these,. Am I doing my foot harm by not taking them, and is there something else that you can suggest that does not have such strong side effects?
do the nerves in my foot need some drug to help aid the swelling and minimal pain and nerves.
My toes do feel sore some of the time.
And any other advice you can give so I can have a full recovery. thankyou Gina
Posted Mon, 30 Jul 2012 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Sathyadharan Panneer 39 minutes later

Thanks for writing in,

For a fracture 1 week cast is not enough. It needs minimum 3 weeks cast immobilisation with non-weight bearing walking till it shows signs of good union(may be another 3 weeks). But since your doc has advised you cast for just one week, I would like to see the X XXXXXXX of ankle. If you can upload your Xray , it would be great. You can use the ‘Upload your reports’ section on the right.

After switching over from cast to brace, such swelling and pain is supposed to happen because of dependent position of the leg. The following measures will help:
a.     Keep your leg elevated over pillows
b.     Avoid hanging your leg as far as possible
c.     Applying crepe bandage from toe till mid leg will help reduce the swelling and thereby the throbbing pain.

Since its almost 5 weeks, we have to take a repeat xray, to see how the fracture is uniting. Depending upon the union, partial weight bearing can be allowed.

Immobilising won’t affect your nerves. Immobilising will cause some joint contracture/stiffness with involved muscles going for wasting. All these are reversible when adequately mobilised by physiotherapy once fracture shows good signs of union.

No drugs are needed for your nerves. Soreness in your foot will also recover once you start bearing weight in your foot.

Hope this answers your query. Wish you a speedy recovery.
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