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Broken Ankle Xrays With Plate and Screws

My husband is back on his feet without crutches! I believe it's because we put together a diet strategy incorporating healing foods.

Here's my experience when I saw my husband's broken ankle xrays for the first time. I knew the surgeons would be operating to insert a plate and screws to hold the broken bones in his ankle and tibia together when they wheeled him into surgery, but I had no idea what the hardware would look like until his broken ankle xrays appeared on the screen.

The size of the wounds surprised me when his bandages were first removed. At that moment it was clear any plates they'd used to hold his bones together were larger than I had imagined.

The doctor very kindly agreed to me taking photos of his broken ankle x-rays while they were displayed on the screen. I am sharing the photos with you here in case you have a friend or family member who had similar surgery but you missed the chance to see their broken ankle xrays. Here's an example of the plate and screws used by orthopaedic surgeons.

Broken Ankle Xray Shows Plate and Screws

Thanks to the surgeons who inserted the plate and screws to repair my husband's broken ankle.

Thanks to the surgeons who inserted the plate and screws to repair my husband's broken ankle.

My Reaction to Broken Ankle Xray

It was important for me to see the damage, but I wasn't prepared for my physical response to his broken ankle xray. As I raised my camera to focus on the break, I was forcing myself to concentrate and capture an image that I could reflect on later.

The damaged ankle wasn't even mine, yet I felt ill. As I looked at this x ray on the screen, I felt my head drop and my shoulders scrunch. My husband lay on a bed on the opposite side of the room with his bandages removed. I was conscious of the fact that he would see my reaction to the x-rays so I struggled to make myself stand tall.

I am a great believer in the need for gathering as much information as possible when trying to address any problem, particularly a medical problem. If I can understand what needs to be achieved, I can search for a solution. That's why it was important for me to pay attention to the broken ankle xrays.

Broken Bone In Xray

A piece of bone clearly displaced. What a challenge for the surgeons!

A piece of bone clearly displaced. What a challenge for the surgeons!

Doctor Explained Plates and Screws in Broken Ankle Xray

The doctor beside me stood patiently as I looked at each image. My youngest daughter, then 12, was in the room and came to stand slightly behind my line of vision. When she asked which of the bones were broken on each image, I pointed out the breaks. Then I took a photo.

The doctor, a younger member of the orthopaedic team, clicked to the next x ray each time I lowered my camera. He chatted with me and explained the plates and screws as though I was familiar with all his medical terms and comfortable with the images of damage on the screen before me. Nothing could have been further from the truth.

It obviously takes a particular type of person to be a surgeon. A surgeon looks at a broken ankle xray and sees a challenge. A bone is just a bone, and a stainless steel plate is just one of the tools of their trade. I respect their ability to distance themselves from the emotion and pain associated with broken bones. Patients need surgeons who can fearlessly strive to fix a major problem without being overwhelmed by sentiment.

Yet as I look at these broken ankle x-rays in the privacy of my own home, I am still slightly overwhelmed.

Multiple Fractures in Ankle

I enjoy a good jigsaw puzzle, but not when it is made of broken bones!

I enjoy a good jigsaw puzzle, but not when it is made of broken bones!

Broken Ankle Physical Therapy

I don't know how many people with broken bones receive ongoing monitoring of the performance of plates and screws after surgery. We are very fortunate to have access to a dedicated team of surgeons who continue to show interest in my husband's recovery. Access to xrays helps determine appropriate broken ankle physical therapy.

In the interests of sharing information about what to expect if you suffer a broken ankle that requires similar treatment, I am including examples from the 'gravity view' xrays and the series of 'weight bearing' x-rays taken a few months after surgery. My husband says the most difficult aspect of the weight bearing xrays was holding his balance.

Broken Ankle Xray ~ Gravity View

This is one of the later x-rays taken of my husband's ankle after surgery. It is a 'gravity view', clearly marked on the x-ray..

This is one of the later x-rays taken of my husband's ankle after surgery. It is a 'gravity view', clearly marked on the x-ray..

Weight Bearing Broken Ankle Xray After Surgery

One of the 'weight bearing' xrays taken of his broken ankle. This is one of the side views. It is interesting to see the exact positioning of the plates and screws.

One of the 'weight bearing' xrays taken of his broken ankle. This is one of the side views. It is interesting to see the exact positioning of the plates and screws.

More Than Just Broken Bones

I try to look at these photos and distance myself, seeing just broken bones. 'It is really very simple,' I say to myself. 'Just look at the damage. It is there in black and white.' Seeking information and knowledge comes easy. I will ask appropriate questions, search for useful answers, and comfortably process and analyse any relevant information ... on just about any topic. But I cannot look at his broken ankle xrays and just see broken bones.

Wrapped up in the package is the memory of watching my husband falling from a great height and my fear that when he landed he might die; the relief when he landed on his feet not his head. And a perverse kind of pleasure that he broke his ankle when he hit the ground, because he could have broken his neck.

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Multiple Broken Bones

Every broken ankle x-ray showed damage. A different angle, a different broken bone.

Every broken ankle x-ray showed damage. A different angle, a different broken bone.

A broken ankle is no excuse for being idle, in my husband's mind, even if he does have the x rays to justify spending time with his foot up.

The surgeons predict future arthritis after surgery of this type but we are confident we can prevent arthritis with natural remedies from nature's medicine chest (in normal circumstances) so that doesn't frighten us as much as it might.

Just what difference a stainless steel plate and a bunch of screws through his bones will make remains to be seen. Whatever the outcome, I will look occasionally at his broken ankle xrays and remain grateful to the surgeons who repaired the damage in a way that, just years ago, was impossible.

Alternatives to Old-Fashioned Crutches

UPDATE ...

For those who are interested (and particularly those who require encouragement that they might be back on their feet quite promptly), it only took about three months before my husband had recovered enough to walk without crutches.