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What causes swelling and stiffness of ankle after walking?

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Orthopaedic Surgeon
Practicing since : 1994
Answered : 10450 Questions

I had ankle surgery (plate and 7 screws) for bimalleleolar fracture on XXXXXXX 4th. Was asked to start full weight bearing as tolerated starting July 15th. I also started therapy (4 sessions so far). Today was the first day I went out and walked at Costco and Target (without crutches nor wheelchair). Was able to walk with little limp for good amount of time, with just walking boots (Aircast). However, as soon as I came home, my swelling and stiffness has increased quite a bit. I am really not sure if this is normal. (I will check with my therapist/OS tomorrow). Now being Sunday night, just wanted to make sure I did not get too much done today by walking with boots (without crutches). All the full weight bearing I have been doing so far was just at home and that too barefoot. Today was the longest I did FWB outside home with walking boot. Just want to make sure I did not cause too much problem for myself
Posted Mon, 18 Aug 2014 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Praveen Tayal 23 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Yes. Swelling is normal.

Detailed Answer:
Thanks for posting your query.
The increase in the swelling and stiffness after walking for a while is normal. No need to use the crutches. Aircast is fine for walking short distances.
To reduce the swelling you can keep the foot elevated on two pillows while resting. Continue doing hot fomentation and apply a local analgesic gel on the area to reduce the stiffness.
I hope this answers your query.
In case you have additional questions or doubts, you can forward them to me, and I shall be glad to help you out.
Wishing you good health.
Dr. Praveen Tayal.
For future query, you can directly approach me through my profile URL
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