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I got my first—and hopefully last—broken bone a few weeks ago (get the whole story here), and quickly realized I was going to need some broken ankle recovery supplies to get me through the following weeks.
I usually waffle on making purchases, investing way too much time in researching which is the Absolute Best version of a thing. I didn’t waste any time buying these broken ankle supplies; if I was going to drop money on this stuff I wanted to get the most use out of it.
Here are the six broken ankle recovery supplies I bought, listed in order from least to most useful. With that said, I have been using all of these things every day during my rehabilitation.
6. Knee-high socks
Cost: $2.50 per pair
I have a broken fibula and am in a tall walking boot rather than a cast, which meant I needed some tall socks. I started by digging through my sock basket to unearth a small selection that didn’t really do the trick. One pair was too tight, the other too hot, and none were really tall enough to reach the top of the boot.
I read a hack to cut the toes off of old socks to give your toes room to breathe, which I thought was a great idea. It wasn’t, not really—the toe section of the boot liner quickly got gross, and the socks rolled back to the ball of my foot.
I had some luck with a sun sleeve I’ve been carrying around since Korea, but it was just a little too thin. So I started by purchasing these toeless compression socks. These worked for a couple of days, until I realized they were compressing at the toe and causing unnecessary swelling. Plus, they were really hard to put on over a busted ankle joint with floppy ligaments and painful tissue.
Amazon’s sock options were frankly overwhelming so I turned to my old standby, Target, where knee-high socks were only $2.50 a pair. I bought three pairs, which last six days since you’re only using one at a time.
These socks were the winners because:
- they’re cheap
- they’re easy to pull on over an ankle injury
- they don’t pinch my calf at the top
- they feel nice
5. Extra pillows
Cost: $4 per pillow, $5 for 2-pack of pillowcases
So. Many. Pillows.
I initially bought 3 extra pillows to keep me comfortable on the six-hour drive from St. Augustine to Atlanta, since I’d be riding in the back seat with a freshly broken ankle. Plus I knew we didn’t have many extra pillows at home.
I bought three of these pillows and the cheapest pillowcases I could find, and have continued to use these pillows to tuck along my sides at night. I’m a natural side sleeper and the pillows make sleeping on my back much more comfortable while the ankle is healing.
I chose these pillows because:
- they were cheap
- it was convenient for my mom to pick up the order at Target
4. Platform sneakers
Cost: $29.40 on sale
A walking boot adds several inches of height to the leg with the ankle fracture. This doesn’t have a huge impact when you’re non-weight-bearing, but once you start touching the boot to the ground it can throw off your alignment.
People recommend these shoe levelers, which makes sense if you wear a variety of shoes. However, I work from home and quite frankly have not been going outside much with this injured ankle. I also gravitate towards sandals, at least in the warmer months, which don’t seem compatible with the levelers. (I also bought these platform slippers for crutching around the house. They’re not quite tall enough but they do help.)
I tried platform Supergas but the fit wasn’t quite right so back they went. Then I ordered Seavees because this pattern was on sale for $30 and they’ve been a very close fit for the boot height. The platform is thick, but the real trick is the insert which gives me a vertical boost.
I like the Seavees because:
- they come in a variety of fun colors & patterns
- they’re comfortable
- the platform is generous – about 1.5″
- the sneaker insert gives that extra boost to match the walking boot
- I’ll keep wearing them after my symptoms subside
3. Shower chair
I am so grateful I didn’t need surgery and can remove my walking boot to shower. I started by trying to balance myself in the tub shower, which was fraught with danger and required some complex twisting maneuvers to get in.
I thought a shower chair would be handy but underestimated its powers to help with limited mobility. It allows me to get into our main shower, which is a few inches up from the ground—there’s no way I could get in there otherwise.
It’s also such a relief to sit and not worry about balancing on a wet floor.
I’m 5’9″ and have the legs set high, which I thought would make it feel less stable but it’s been totally fine.
I like this chair because:
- it’s adjustable
- it’s sturdy
- it has handles (super helpful for getting in/out)
- it’s fully waterproof (bamboo chairs looked better but reviews suggested they can get moldy)
- it’s inexpensive
2. Knee scooter
Cost: $143.58 (includes $15 off coupon + tax)
This was my biggest purchase and I haven’t regretted it for a second.
I assumed all lower leg bone fractures would be non-weight-bearing, but that hasn’t been the case. My x-ray showed a non displaced fracture of the distal fibula, so my doctor cleared me almost immediately to be weight bearing as tolerated. He discouraged reliance on a knee scooter because he wanted me to keep my muscles and joints active, but I needed more mobility sooner.
I considered walkers, arm crutches, and the iWalk hands-free crutch, but went with a knee-scooter because it best fit my needs—I was looking for convenience and the ability to use my hands, and the scooter gave me both of those.
Our apartment has wide hallways and hardwood floors: perfect for rolling. I try to prioritize my crutches, but the knee scooter opens up so many more options. I worried about using it with a boot. While there was some initial tenderness and a tiny bit of bruising from the top of the boot pressing against my leg, it hasn’t been an issue.
The scooter would work well for most ankle sprains or breaks involving a below-the-knee boot, cast, splinting, or ankle brace—but as always consult your doctor. I think some higher-up leg injuries, particularly to the tibia, may not be suitable.
I knew I’d be using the scooter mostly inside, so I didn’t look into the expensive rugged versions with better shock absorption and tighter turning circles. I also knew I wanted a basket and that was 100% the right decision.
This scooter fits easily in the back of our Subaru Forester but isn’t great on uneven ground. I have taken it on a trip to Trader Joe’s and once to brunch and the movies. Even though I only scooted half a mile, it was hard work staying steady over sidewalk bumps and going uphill. But there’s no way I would have attempted it on crutches, so it got me out of the house when I otherwise wouldn’t have gone.
I’m planning to sell the scooter when I’ve recovered; they seem to go quickly on Facebook marketplace.
I chose this knee scooter because:
- the wheels were a step up from the basic version, which I hoped would give a little more shock absorption
- the wire basket was included (I didn’t want a fabric one with a lid)
- it came in green (I’d be lying if I said that wasn’t a factor)
- It had a brake lock, useful for doing things in the kitchen
- Amazon had a $15 off coupon
1. Elevation pillow
If I’m sitting or sleeping, my leg is propped on this elevation pillow. After a couple of days of attempting to elevate on a stack of pillows I was more than ready to drop $40 on this pillow.
It’s so important to elevate your leg above your heart to keep the blood flowing and avoid a clot in your blood vessels, but stacking pillows to find the right height is tedious.
The pillow is adjustable, so you can remove the bottom layer for less height. It also has handles, useful for pulling the pillow towards you when you’re getting comfortable. The groove on top is perfect for keeping your leg in place—I’m much more comfortable resting my leg up without the boot on at night because it’s not going anywhere.
It also comes with a support strip which I use to get the angle just right or lift my heel when it’s pressing down. I didn’t ice much, but it would also make it much easier to position an ice pack.
This pillow comes in a single- or double-leg version; I can see the benefit of a double if you want your legs on the same level or have two injured limbs. For me the single is perfect.
Why I love this pillow:
- soft material
- angled front fits well with legs, better than pillows
- handles to pull it towards you
- cradles injured foot in place
There you have it—the six things I wish I hadn’t had to buy but are making a big difference in my broken ankle recovery. Now if you need me, I’ll be on the couch in my knee-high sock, leg on an elevation pillow, drowning my sorrows in cheese and ice cream because calcium = bone growth.
You may want to confirm with your doctor but I’m pretty sure that’s how it works.