What Does a Broken Ankle Feel Like?

 If you ever wondered what a broken ankle feels like, let me tell you about my experience.

There I was skiing downhill trying to catchup to my wife on a beautifully sunny day with fresh packed snow and no crowds. Suddenly, I catch an outside edge of my ski and the next thing am airborne and land extremely hard enough that both of my skis snap off violently and I continued tumbling down the hill head over heels. I had immediate strong pain in my left ankle and felt like I couldn’t move. A few moments later a nice lady skier had picked up my skis up the hill and brought them down to me and asked if I was okay. I said “I didn’t know but I would try to get up.”

When I stood up and tried to put a little weight on my left ankle it didn’t hurt too much but when I tried to snap my ski boot into my skis– oh boy– too much pain. The lady skier called the ski patrol and the next thing I knew I was flying down the hill laying on my back on a toboggan feeling every little bump of the hill. The ski patrol told me he had to go fast otherwise he wouldn’t be able to get me down to the bottom of the hill. I left my ski boot on in place to support my ankle while my family got me to the emergency room. When the emergency room nurse twisted my ski boot off I saw stars. 

They took an x-ray and sure enough I had a fracture of my lateral malleolus– the small bone on the outside of my left ankle. The bone was slightly out of place and they suggested that I consider having surgery to repair the fracture but I had them put my leg in a brace for the time being. I used the RICE system of rest, ice, compression and elevation to decrease the pain on my trip home. As an orthopedic surgeon in practice for more than 40 years I knew that the fracture had to be reduced into perfect position. When I got back home I visited a fellow orthopedic surgeon who was fortunately able to push the fracture back into place and hold it in place with a cast. It took several months of not stepping on my left leg and avoiding twisting my ankle and using either crutches or kneeling rolling scooter to get around. I’m grateful that I was lucky enough to not require surgery and now my ankle is completely healed and after about a year for the small twinges of pain to completely settle down I am back to normal.

Dr. Elliot Gross is an experienced orthopedic surgeon who has practiced in the Los Angeles area for more than 40 years. If you are in need of surgery for ankle fractures or any other type of injury, Dr. Gross services patients in Culver City, CA as well as surrounding areas. 




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