Fracture Recovery Part 6: Getting Stitches Removed and Getting Back to Life

Before and After x-rays side by side

Read part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4 and part 5.

Some days, I feel like lately I’ve spent as much time at Sunnybrook as anywhere else. This time around at fracture clinic had me at 2 weeks post-op. This meant the incision was sealed back up, but the skin had also started to heal around the stitches, making it incredibly painful for them to come out. Often, it will be a little less than two weeks that you’ll have stitches in, for this exact reason, though it depends on why you’ve had them in the first place, for me, they came out 15 days post-op, so I was largely healed externally. Despite the pain, knowing that I was healing, even if it was just on the incision site brought my mood up a good bit. Here’s where I’ll reiterate the point I’ve made about the fracture clinic each time I’ve written about it, and that is to take your strongest pain medication while you’re there. This may sound over the top, but everything they do to you in the fracture clinic, at least for the first few visits, hurts. A lot.

That said, aside from my usual Wednesday visit to the fracture clinic, the past two weeks have consisted of my return to work and a whole lot of physio. There’s a decent chance your surgeon and their staff will not have recommended you for physio at this point, but this process is long and hard, and the more you put it off, the harder it is to get back to your regular life. Not everyone has the luxury I do of having amazing physios at work with me every day who are more than willing to help me recover, but the earlier you start, the less it’s going to hurt you in the long run.

My physio has consisted of nearly daily treatments of both acupuncture and manual techniques to reduce pain and increase mobility. Though these treatments are hard, they have reduced the hypersensitivity in my leg and are slowly increasing the range of motion in my ankle. My recovery though, has been anything but linear. Some days are much harder than others. Some days my mobility is a little more restricted. Most importantly, in many ways though, my pain has been bad some days and minimal on others. It can be hard to stay positive when you feel like you’re improving for a while, only to feel like you’re taking a step back into pain.

The mental portion of the recovery is, in many ways, just as hard as the physical recovery. It’s a long road, and that takes a toll on your mentality. It can be easy to let the pain and discomfort overtake your life, but it is possible to take a step away from the pain and decide that it isn’t going to be top of mind all the time. Even if it’s just moments here and there in the beginning, if you can manage this it can impact your whole day.

Over time, you’ll slowly start to be able to put the pain out of your head more and more. It doesn’t mean it’s gone, but when it’s not the centre of your universe, that attitude makes you feel better.

For anyone who’s interested, I’ve included a photo of what my incision site currently looks like, but I’ll leave a little space in case that’s not your thing.

 

 

 

 

 

Scar from incision on ankle

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