Your feet are essential in helping you get from one place to another, so it’s easy to see how activities can be hindered if you suffer a severe injury to your feet and ankles. Severe ankle sprains can happen at any point throughout the year, but most Minnesotans don’t yet have their “winter legs” beneath them, leaving them open to slip and fall accidents.
Each winter I help numerous patients who have suffered painful ankle fractures on the ice and snow, but care doesn’t stop once they leave the clinic. Oftentimes the biggest challenge is maintaining some semblance of a normal life while recovering from a fractured ankle. Today, we share five ways you can help make life easier for someone who is recovering from a broken ankle.
Broken Ankle Basics
Here are five things you can do for a friend or family member who is dealing with a broken ankle:
1. Driving – Depending on the severity of the injury and if surgery is necessary, a person with a broken right ankle may not be able to drive for a short while. However, they’ll still need to get around to drop their kids off at school, run errands or get to work. Let them know that you are available to drive them places when it fits into your schedule, or sit down with them and some other friends to help create a schedule to ensure all their driving needs are taken care of while they recover.
2. Meal Planning – Even if they aren’t confined to bed rest after their ankle injury, odds are they aren’t going to want to stand for long periods in order to cook a healthy meal while they are recovering. Offer to help cook them a couple of meals, or bring over a few dishes that are ready to cook/can be reheated easily. Aim for healthy options, as this will aid in recovery. If they are unable to drive to the store or cook for themselves, people may rely on delivery options like pizza or Chinese food, which aren’t the best options when your body is looking for essential vitamins and minerals after surgery.
3. Work/School Notes – Missing school or work can put you behind the eight ball, so if a co-worker or classmate injures themselves and can’t make it in, offer to take notes or keep them in the loop. Take notes of lectures or meetings, and pass these along to your friend. It will make them feel good knowing that you’re helping to ensure they don’t fall behind while they are recovering from a broken ankle.
4. Entertainment – As we mentioned in the intro, breaking your ankle can make it difficult to get around, meaning you’ll likely spend most of your time at home when recovering. Being cooped up inside can make anyone a little stir crazy, so consider bringing your friend some entertainment options. Come over and watch a movie with them, bring them a Sudoku book, or lend them a few of your favorite novels. Staying entertained after foot surgery isn’t always easy, but it can be done.
5. Emotional Support – Sometimes the hardest part about recovering from an injury or surgery is the emotional and psychological aspects of being unable to perform all the tasks you used to do. Oftentimes the best thing you can do for someone who is recovering from a broken ankle is simply to be an ear to vent to or a shoulder to cry on. Visit them or call them once and a while to see how they are doing, because it can make a huge difference.