Today is not a good day…I need some support!

The feeling of frustration has started to set in…I’m not really sure where it came from but it happened very suddenly last night. I’ve had a constant tingling, pins&needles feeling in my ankle that is just so uncomfortable, and last night my skin under my cast started itching like crazy. I looked up remedies online and found the one that seemed the safest and wouldn’t cause any potential damage to my skin under the cast or the injury - using a blow dryer on cool and pointing it down your cast.  Mine is too tight at this point and it was difficult pulling at it to get the cool air down there, which frustrated me more.   Basically, it didn’t help.

Also, I began icing under my knee to help with the swelling but I think due to me being so stressed out, it didn’t feel like it was really working. I know I’m in the home stretch…exactly (I hope) 12 days until I get the cast off and get put into a walking boot..but I think it’s going to be a hard 12 days..it just feels so itchy and so annoying and so painful. Sleeping is a nightmare, and I just want to shower normally. I HATE the crutches, simply because I have 2 flights of stairs I have to conquer at work every day, and the bathroom of course is on the bottom floor. I think when you have an injury like this it takes an emotional toll, because a couple days ago I felt happy and positive, and today I just feel miserable.  I just want to get back to my normal routines, be able to walk freely, be able to really stretch my leg and scratch it if I need to..I’m just SO frustrated! Any support would be great…I’m 24 years old so I think that’s also playing a role in this…I’ve never had an injury of this type and it’s difficult to overcome at times.  I guess the dreary weather here doesn’t help. :-p


  1. ryanb:

    You mention that you just want to “shower normally”.

    Have you got a system down for showering yet? For me, it was a white kitchen garbage bag, taped, rolled, and taped again just above my cast/splint. Under the bag, I tucked a small towel in, just to catch any water that might seep through. There are special cast covers made for this purpose too. I didn’t have a fancy shower chair, I sat on a cheap camp-stool. Luckily, my shower already had provisions for a hand-held shower-head, but those are cheap and easy to add (suggest an extra long hose on it). With all of that, I could take a long hot shower, and started doing so the day after my surgery. It definitely helped me feel like a “real person” ;-)

    Even after you get the boot, I suspect your doctor will want you to wear it in the shower for a while. With the slick wet floor - you’ve already discovered how that’s incompatible with crutches - you’ll probably want to have the security of the boot for a while anyway.

    So, my suggestion is to gather up the necessary gear, and go take that shower you’re craving. Well, unless you’re already doing that, and by “shower normally” you just mean without the requisite paraphernalia.

  2. victorialyn12:

    Thanks for the comment! And I didn’t know I’d have to wear the boot in the shower, I thought I’d be able to go freely…do you have to wear it while you sleep also? Even so, I’ll just be happy to have the freedom of being able to rotate and move it at times, I feel like my ankle is confined to a jail cell right now.

    I shower daily still, I just hate all the extra stuff necessary. I wrap my cast in plastic trash bags and prop it up on a hamper, keeping it out of the water just to be safe. (The first time I got the cast I taped the plastic to me and put a towel around my cast as well but it was just too much of a hassle when I’m getting ready for work). Just to be able to have my entire body in the shower with the door closed will be a small victory for me :-)

  3. ryanb:

    I don’t know what your doc will tell you- but my suggestion for showering with the boot would probably be to use the boot to get into and out of the shower. But once you’re in there, securely seated, you can probably take it off during the shower itself. When you’re done, I’d put the boot back on before trying to get up and out of the shower.

    Hopping around on one foot, on a wet tile floor, without the boot on, is not something I’d recommend.

  4. jenniferanderson:

    I have found taking a bath is much easier. I bought a cover for my cast and I put a plastic milk crate in the tub to keep my leg elevated on. I use a large plastic cup to wash my hair. I miss taking a proper shower but I have to say I am starting to enjoy taking a bath. It’s a luxury I would not have permitted myself before the injury when I was too busy running around doing this and that.
    I have good and bad days too. I hate not being able to cook for my family or ride bikes around with my kids. Yesterday was one of my bad mood days. Everything was frustrating me so I got in the bath to soak away my trouble. As soon as I got in my towel fell off the side and into the tub. At first I wanted to scream. But then I just started laughing. What else can you do? I hope your day turns around and you find something to laugh about. We’re all here to support you.

  5. johnsfbay:

    All of us sympathize with your frustration during those first few weeks.

    For sleeping, I used a small bean bag and propped my casted foot up on it. This had two benefits - keeping it elevated at night reduced the swelling, and since the bean bag is malleable you don’t feel the cast pressure as much. I also put a small pillow under my knee so there wasn’t additional pressure on that area, since the ankle is elevated. You can modify if you sleep on your side, by putting your cast/boot on the bean bag, and your good leg can go in front/back - I used lots of pillows around me to keep me in the most comfortable position for sleeping. I think I read this tip on someone’s blog and it really helped me greatly to sleep!!

    It sounds like there is a lot of pressure on your leg in the cast due to swelling - so you may want to email your doctor (maybe the cast is too tight), and check whether you should take some anti-inflammatories to aid in reducing the swelling. I elevated a lot during the cast period, but didn’t have to work so you have a disadvantage there - and stairs are always a challenge.

    I know those weeks in the cast seemed endless, but once you get into your boot it will be way better. You can shower without the boot, if you have good places to sit and hold on while getting in and out of the shower. Just be extra careful when moving around. Also, several of the bloggers out there don’t sleep in their boot - I used an ace bandage for the first week just because it felt safer, but probably would have been fine without that. I still used the bean bag for a while un-booted, but a couple of weeks later it felt fine without elevation.

    There is light at the end of the tunnel - getting out of the cast is certainly one of the nicer mileposts during our rehab marathon!

  6. victorialyn12:

    Ryan - You’re definitely right about using the boot to get in and out of the shower…I can see myself now slipping on my tile! I can’t wait to get to that moment though..I’ll probably still use the chair but at least I can have the door closed!

    Jennifer - I need to learn to laugh more at this situation…you’re right, what else can we do? I LOVE the bath idea..I was always wondering how I could make it work but I think I’m going to try your idea of propping my leg up on a crate I think a bath and a good book would help me relax a little more.

    John - The beanbag idea is a good one, I think that may be a purchase of mine this weekend. The pillows help sometimes but I need something to sink my leg into. I’ll probably use the ace bandage idea for a while too because I tend to forget a lot in my sleep and I’d probably stretch my ankle more than necessary without realizing it.

    This forum is amazing, you all have helped so much! It’s so nice to be able to have people that can relate exactly to what I’m going through! Thanks for all the support :-)

  7. ryanb:

    Months ago, somebody (sorry, forget who) came up with a great suggestion- that was to prop up your foot with something *under* the mattress. That way the whole mattress under your lower leg was elevated, and there was no way to roll off of it (the lift) during the night. You could sleep in any position, and your foot would stay elevated. And, the thick mattress would cushion any transition resulting from the “lift”, so there would be no edges pushing into your leg.

    I was far enough along at the time, sleeping with my foot free, that I never had a need to try it. But, I always thought it was a good idea for those in the early phases of recovery.

  8. victorialyn12:

    That’s actually a really good idea…I think that would help me a lot because behind my knee always gets SO stiff and I usually wake up throughout the night because of it..so I’ll have to try that.

    Does anyone have any remedies that help with the itching underneath my cast? It wasn’t bad at first, but now that the stitches are out, it has been itching like crazy. I tried the cool air from a blow dryer down the cast, didn’t do much for me. I’m thinking Benadryl?

  9. HarleyLady:

    Benadryl maybe a good idea. If its an itch away from incision I used a wooden letter opener. Just be careful. I’m also having a bad day. I’m at 8 weeks of casts, hoping to get the boot today, left with pink cast. Was excited to go to Dr this am carrying in boot, took old one off and incision had been draining. Dr had to put silver nitrate on it and lg bandaid, then recast, unfortunately leg wasn’t swollen like in afternoon, now cast is nice and tight at 90 degrees. Gonna be another long 2 weeks:( This has to be the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. Need patience. So glad I’m not alone. Still hate it for all of us. Can’t wait to ride like the wind on My Harley:))

  10. Janus:

    The frustration comes and goes. Some days just aren’t as good — even as you’re improving and recovering.

    It just seems part of the process. Difficult being so dependent on circumstances, and finding previously ordinary tasks dangerous or draining or both. Getting a shower, grocery shopping, walking down a flight of steps — all at times challenging beyond previous experience.

    I guess I would point that you and I are not alone in this, and and dozens of others on this site alone — as well as thousands of people each year — have an ATR, and then rehab and recover.

    It’s a matter of sticking with the program, grinding some things out even on a bad day, and not mentally or emotionally beating yourself up over it. I’m just now pulling out of a minor funk — but again, all this will come to end, soon enough, and it’s not worth treating a temporary condition like a permanent one.

    Somebody once said that if you worry too much about the future, you’re paying interest on money you haven’t borrowed yet. The reverse seems to me also true. If you get stuck too much in the present, and not able to see all the opportunities coming your way, you waste precious time and energy that could be used instead building assets for what will soon enough be your new reality.

    Not saying it’s easy to positive and stay focused — it’s not at least for me. Just that I don’t think we have better choices.

    All best.

  11. victorialyn12:

    HarleyLady…that is so rough! I’m sorry to hear that…just make a big countdown and make sure you have a little party for yourself when you make it to that two week point..that’s what I’m doing. 11 more days till my cast is hopefully off, and when it is I’m treating myself with something! You’ll be back on your Harley soon enough. Keep us posted!

    Janus- your words helped a lot..the fact that we have these blogs and others to lean on during rough days really helps. I hope everyone reads your comment because it’s very true..we need to stay positive and make the best of this and just keep moving forward…

  12. ericbabula:

    Victorialyn - sorry you’re having a bad spell. But, trust us - they come and go! I’ve been out of the cast for 2 weeks today, and thought I was cruising to an easy recovery! But, no - I had a not-so-good day two days ago - shooting pain in my heel like someone drove a spike into the bottom of my heel, up thru my ankle! I could not get comfortable all day/evening/night! I finally broke down and took one of my 3 remaining Percocet pills, and was finally able to sleep.

    Anyway - that doesn’t matter to you. I guess I can’t offer too much help, other than to say we kinda know what you’re going thru, and please know that it will get better. It WILL get better!!! The best thing I could do for my emotional well-being was to get myself to understand that it was a fluke that could happen to anyone. Being active, the odds are that you’re gonna get hurt sometime, and you just have to understand that and deal, when your time comes. I knew that it would catch up to me, eventually, and accepted it many years ago, and I am coming to grips with the length of recovery. Sure, it seems like a long time, but if you can accept your temporary predicament, you can get to just dealing with getting better, and not think too much about the why-me or whatever. Remember, in the grand scheme of things, it’s really just a temporary setback in what will be a long career of activity!

    As for the itching, the first thing I thought of was Benadryl, too. But, if I were you, I’d talk to your doctor, too - especially if you’re using any other medicines, just to be safe.

    I, too, longed for a shower. I didn’t really have a good solution to taking a shower with a cast on, so I washed myself in a sink every day for the month that I had the cast on. Now, THAT’s a Pain in the butt!!! I like the bath idea, if you can do it - wish I would have tried it. Maybe you can lay in the tub and hang your cast leg out, over the edge of the tub? I think the bath would be soothing and relaxing. Make it your own time - put some scented soap in there, light some candles around the room and turn out the lights, play some soothing music (not too close to the tub!) - take your time! Enjoy!

    I tell ya, tho - as soon as the cast came off, I got into that shower that evening! Nope, I didn’t wear the boot, but boy, it was hard and scary to get in and out, and standing in that shower! I didn’t care, though, and I figured it out! I don’t know if I’d recommend that to everyone, though.

    Well, boy can I ramble on, hey??? Sorry. I really hope you find some relief for that itching, and can be comfortable. And, I really, really hope your tomorrow is better than today!

  13. starshep:

    Victorialyn, I was in a cast for 4 weeks and fortunately I didn’t have an itching problem. I found this device and kept it in mind in case I did have an itching problem. http://www.castcooler.com/ I have no idea if it works but the concept sounds good.

    Being in a cast, I was given blood thinners and I understand this is standard procedure to prevent clots while in the cast. If this is the case with you, be very careful about trying to insert something into the cast to scratch your leg. It could result in a real mess. I was told in no uncertain terms not to do so.

  14. victorialyn12:

    Erica - Sorry about the ankle pain…I can imagine that I’m going to be feeling that throughout this entire thing, until I can really get back on my feet. I feel the pain right now in my cast…it’s like a mixture of pins and needles and someone just constantly snapping something against my ankle..not very fun! I appreciate your comment though, I am trying to stay away from the “why me” thoughts and just focus on getting better so I can get back to being active! Jennifer had a great idea about using a milk crate to prop your leg up in the shower so I’ll probably do that…music and candles sound fantastic! I’m so glad I found this forum, everyone knows what the other is going through, nice to have some support!

    Starshep - I’ve heard about that cast cooler…I’m definitely thinking of ordering, just not sure if it’s worth spending extra when I only have a little over a week left…the Benadryl is really helping at this point…I’ve heard horror stories about people who try and stick things down their cast to scratch their legs so I think I’m going to stay away from that.

  15. Stuart:

    Victorialyn - I am a bit behind the rest but wanted to offer my support. I have read your post a couple of times and thought of taking a different angle. What you describe could be symptons of another problem. I was wondering if you wake up at night feeling anxious and with a hot flush or this may occur at any time of the day. You may be restless, agigitated, unable to stay still. You may also feel claustrophobic. The mental part of this injury is huge and although we all want to heal as soon as possible, many of us have to get over some sort of hurdle with anxiety. I was fortunate in that my doctor understood this and put me in a boot early. I cannot stand the restrictions of a cast and needed some ‘chill out’ pills to help me through the first few weeks. The pills I took are addictive and I was very carefull to use them only when I really needed them. I hate pills but I hated this injury more. It only took me a few weeks to get over the anxiety. I just needed some time to see that the Sky was not really falling. I am at 11 months now and can do everything I was doing before. It has been like that for some time now and there is no reason it will not be the same for you. Every milestone on your recovery will now be a cause to celebrate. That first free shower is something I remember. I had a seat in the shower and had to be careful getting in and out. If you need some help to relax then get it. It doesn’t have to be a pill, it could be some counselling. I hope you heal well.

  16. victorialyn12:

    Hi Stuart,

    I appreciate the comment - I ‘m already a somewhat anxious person, but as far as those feelings, I don’t really have any of those. I do feel very restricted with my cast, sometimes it seems like too much for me. I have 8 more days until I get my boot(I hope) and my ankle underneath the cast actually feels okay, so I know I am ready for it…I didn’t know how MUCH of a mental game this was though, my emotions have gotten the best of me a few times but I have to realize this is not permanent. I just keep telling myself that it’s only 8 more days, and that I can do this. I’m glad you’re back to your old self after 11 months, that is awesome recovery and I’m hoping to have the same! :-)

  17. Stuart:

    Victorialyn - I am glad to hear this. The next few weeks will tend to drag on and especially the next 8 days. I can assure you that time will return to normal speed when you become more mobile. Until then all I can offer is a suggestion. Find something to do that will keep your mind occupied. Learn something new or hard. You can also exercise unaffected areas of your body if you have the resources. You are not used to sitting around doing nothing so take the time and use it well. You have about 4 weeks or maybe less to kill. Years ago, while rehabing from another injury I taught myself how to use the Corel programs on the computer and later I used that knowledge to do some graphic design work. Good luck with it all. I am not always able to catch up on things with this site. My page is Xplora.

  18. Itch Under Cast:

    Excellent post !! Your blog is really very informative and helpful.

  19. Sallye:

    Christmas night, husband working and only 4 days into the first cast and the itching is already a problem. I was happy to find this blog, it has made me feel much better. I had my right leg repaired when I was 30 and it was fairly easy. Now having the left done 25 years later, everything is so much harder than I thought, even with the knee scooter which is an amazing invention.

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