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KateandKc
Nov. 16, 2009, 12:12 PM
Not really a disability...but still pretty bad. :(

I had a bad fall in May that resulted in a nasty concussion (2 months recovery) and a hurt arm. Fast forward to 3 weeks ago....took a simple, easy fall off my horse and ended up breaking my ankle/leg in 4 places.

http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y250/kateandcoco/leg-1.jpg?t=1258389266

Ortho surgeon says that my ankle is never going to be 100% again as far as flexibility and strength. We were doing low-level hunters and eventing (2'6" to 3'). I'm really doubting that I want to jump anymore (or will be physically able to).

Anyone done a complete discipline switch after an injury? Coco's a QH that is just as happy with a western saddle on....but we've spent the last 2 years getting her to really go forward. I'm sure she can still jog and lope, but I think it's going to be an either/or situation.

Meliora
Nov. 16, 2009, 12:55 PM
I broke and dislocated my ankle 2 years ago from a fall. I was on crutches for 3 months, and then it took 6 months before I could ride. I am a Hunter/Jumper trainer and I am happy to say that I am back to riding and training (Jumping too 3'3"). My ankle will never be the same, but it actually has more stability than the other ankle because of all the hardware. Please move your ankle as much as possible after your cast is off. It will hurt, but you will be better for it in the long run. (The fall before I broke the ankle, I had a concussion and a broken tailbone, so I feel your pain). It took a while to get my confidence back, and I still will not ride rank horses that I don't know. Those days are over for me, and that is OK:) Good luck and fast healing!!!

pintopiaffe
Nov. 16, 2009, 12:56 PM
ooohhh.... I'm so sorry! Ouch!

Don't be quite so sure you won't be able to do what you love. Give yourself enough time to REALLY heal, and then try different stirrups--jointed, wide platform, etc. One of them might be the answer.

Be kind to yourself in the meanwhile. And think positively. So maybe you have to ride with longer stirrups. That doesn't rule out lower level jumping--things like baby-baby Combined Training, or Hunter Paces (where you can go around, OR over, and often there are different heights on the same jump!)

It sounds sappy, but being positive about recovery is a HUGE part.

If you really are thinking you'll have to change disciplines--why not research everything out there. What about sidesaddle? You can even show jumping sidesaddle! Or Working Equitation (Portuguese) Combined Driving, etc. etc. There are lots of venues... find something that makes you go, "OH, that would be FUN!" and make plans (daydream) on how you're going to do it!

KateandKc
Nov. 16, 2009, 01:41 PM
I got all the staples out today and now have a removable cast with instructions to move my ankle as much as I can tolerate. Obviously still not putting any weight on it for another 5 weeks, then I will (hopefully) be able to start putting a little weight on it. The injury was 3 weeks ago, surgery was 10 days ago.

The ortho surgeon said "You'll be able to ride by summer". Not that encouraging considering that its November.

The worst part is that it was such a wussy fall. We were doing a 3 jump 1 stride gymnastic....made it fine over the first one, stumbled and landed funny over the second, and Coco decided (wisely) to not do the 3rd jump. I think it would have been a major crash had she jumped the last one because I was off balance from the stumble.

I'm not sure if I want to jump anymore. It hadn't been fun since I fell off this spring. At least I have a long time off to think about it :p, and a willing horse that can do whatever.

Invite
Nov. 16, 2009, 05:45 PM
I hope you feel better really soon. I have had injuries that have left me with permenant limitations. You really learn to compensate quite quickly. It might not always look pretty, but you do indeed learn to compensate. When you are getting told to get that heel down, just remind your instructor the ankle doesn't work.

I did indeed do a complete discipline change after a very bad accident. I had been riding dressage. At the time I was bringing a mare back from an injury and she flipped over on me. I was left with a concussion and major right leg and knee injury. Once recovered, I started riding in a jumper barn. I did the jumper/Eq stuff for a little while, but I decided I missed dressage far too much and went back to it.

If you truly love jumping, don't give it up. If you are jumping because that is the most convenient type of barn to find in your area, give it up. If you are too nervous to jump, don't let anyone make you feel badly about giving it up!
Get well soon :)

Trakehner
Nov. 16, 2009, 07:15 PM
Don't give up yet. I broke my lower leg, foot and ankle in 1976 in a Gold Cup race (killed my horse too! Not a good year).

When I awoke from surgery, the doctor said, "We didn't know if we'd be able to save your foot." Auuuugh!!! and then I fainted.

A year later, after months in a cast and gimping around, I was back doing x-country. I haven't been able to run in a straight line since the accident. Less angle available in my ankle, but with the flexible stirrups, doesn't matter.

Don't give up...you're just major bummed out with good reason.

Invite
Nov. 19, 2009, 07:20 PM
How are you feeling?

KateandKc
Nov. 19, 2009, 08:04 PM
How are you feeling?

Doing ok. Having a rough day and feeling sorry for myself. The pain is finally getting better, so thats a big plus. The length of my "stall rest" is starting to sink in....and I found out that I can't drive for at least 8 weeks.

I get to the barn on Sunday and see Coco. :) She's doing really well in her new job of being a lesson horse for the little kid lessons. I'm so lucky at the barn I'm at, don't have to worry about her at all.

Thanks for asking. Its hard to sit at home all day by myself. Well, with a whiny boxer that just doesn't understand why we aren't going for walks on the beach and playing like usual. Thank god for doggie daycare.

whicker
Nov. 19, 2009, 11:40 PM
You might look into hand controls for your car. I drove with my other foot and used lots of cruise control. (I broke my right leg from being kicked by my son's POA, while I was galloping on a big tb)

There are lots of exercises you can do to gain back your working flexibility. See my post to Akstaj, for some starter ideas. There are several different kinds of stirrups now to help you use your leg aids. When you get back in the saddle, pm me and I'll share what I have learned by then. I liked the endurance stirrups with their thick soft rubber insert pads and broad base. They make a huge difference in the shock absorption.

You might also want to look at trail riding events, too. There are different levels and kinds of events and competition. You might want to look at the endurance and trail forum.

Dressage Art
Nov. 21, 2009, 08:58 PM
I,m glad to see that you are feeling better. Im on my 3rd week of fracturing my leg tibia. I also feel sad and wondering how Ill ever will get back in the saddle, and also feel that it was a stupid ride on somebody's horse that wasnt worth fracturing my leg over it...

However, a friend game me advice to take it week by week and not rush and agonize what will future bring. So I also would say the same for you. Dont rush it and think positive. May be with time you will heal really well and will be fine doing what youve been doing.

Good luck!

whicker
Nov. 21, 2009, 10:23 PM
I am sorry that you both are feeling so low tonight. It takes courage to be still and do nothing when we are use to being happiest in movement. It is exhausting to to do the basics of life and figuring out how to get the things that are out of reach. It is boring when everyone is away DOING stuff, and we can't think clearly enough to write or read or otherwise stay amused.

I wonder if anyone has thought of have a remote camera set up in our horses stalls or paddock and using the internet to beam the view to the computer?

My neighbor did that for his business and his barn, and he could keep tabs while he was even in some warm place in the Carribean. I don't think it was expensive, either. Worth thinking about...

I can ask if you want to learn more.

KateandKc
Nov. 21, 2009, 10:36 PM
Luckily my trainer and a few barn friends send pictures to me every couple of days. Otherwise, I'd consider setting up a camera in her pasture to I could get my horse fix. Hubby is bringing me to the barn tomorrow :) :) I think that will help alot. I haven't seen Coco since I fell off, and she's on semi-rough board so I usually see her every day.

Dressage art: good idea on taking it one day at at time. I get overwhelmed with how long it will be to get back to regular life.

My ankle and foot are starting to slowly look like they're supposed to again. It hurts like h*ll to move it and do my stretches....but thats what I have to do to be able to walk normally again.

Barn friends are somewhat condescending about me not wanting to jump and possibly switching to another discipline. Lots of "Well, lots of people fall off" and "You've just got to get over the fear". Its not even that I'm scared, I wasn't having fun jumping before this fall.....I can't imagine it will be any better afterwards. At least trainer is taking me seriously (from what I can tell).

I hope everyone else is healing well and starts feeling better soon.

Dressage Art
Nov. 21, 2009, 11:00 PM
Thank you Whicker for your kind words.

Kate, I just was contemplating to stretch or not to stretch ;) It hurts so bad to do it and then I cant sleep at night, but when I dont stretch its much easier and I can sleep... hard choice to do every day.

At my barn there is not web or cell service, its a remote place along a small canyon, thats why it has 700 acres of trails. So no way to set up a webcam. My hubby today went to Zena to drop feed and took photos of her. That was nice to see.

Kate, some people are unable to sympathyse or fully imagine themselves in other peoples shoes. So its a lot to expect from them to understand fully how you feel, to understand your desire to change your riding. Try not to expect too much from some of them and it will be a bit easier on you. It seems that your family is supportive and your trainer is supportive as well and thats is very good already.

pharmgirl
Nov. 22, 2009, 09:01 AM
Broken bones suck! Definitely stay positive! I broke my elbow in Feb, and knew it was really bad. I love medical stuff, and it took me several days to even look at my radiograph after surgery. I can't imagine how my family felt when the surgeon showed them this (http://www.flickr.com/photos/merdely/3322943895/in/set-72157617215642847/).

I knew elbows (probably like ankles) don't do well with injury, but I kept plugging along. My surgeon is truly amazed at how I have recovered, saying no one ever does this well. So, just remember that there are good outliers out there and we can be them :). I also had a nasty shoulder fracture and with lots of tough PT came back very well from that too.

I definitely got depressed, I definitely got down on things. But, I tried to just take it one day at a time and look forward to whatever little milestones I got. My husband said I was a totally different person once they told me I didn't have to wear the elbow splint anymore!

It may hurt now to do those exercises, but in the long run it will help I promise!! For me, I would always make sure I had meds on board, apply moist heat before stretching to help loosen it up, and ice afterwards to help with soreness.

ShotenStar
Nov. 22, 2009, 09:53 AM
I had a similar injury 30+ years ago ... multiple fractures of the tibia and fibula at the ankle. Got a similar diagnosis re: future mobility but elected not to have orthopedic surgery unless the breaks failed to heal. Flash forward to today: that leg is fine -- I have about 95% Range of Motion in the ankle, more than sufficient for everyday life plus riding. I am careful to make sure I have on lace up boots that support my ankles whenever I am walking on uneven ground (hiked through England for 10 days last year with a nice pair of Ariat paddock boots .... unconventional but excellent support.)

Even the femur I broke this time last year is doing well .... I can trail ride for about 2 hours at a stretch now and I am back to doing lateral work with Her Large Chestnut Self. So, there is hope after major breaks. Time, patience, and due diligence in doing physical therapy and exercises are the keys. Wine and the occasional Percocet also help .... :lol:

*star*

KateandKc
Nov. 22, 2009, 10:47 AM
I had a similar injury 30+ years ago ... multiple fractures of the tibia and fibula at the ankle. Got a similar diagnosis re: future mobility but elected not to have orthopedic surgery unless the breaks failed to heal. Flash forward to today: that leg is fine -- I have about 95% Range of Motion in the ankle, more than sufficient for everyday life plus riding. I am careful to make sure I have on lace up boots that support my ankles whenever I am walking on uneven ground (hiked through England for 10 days last year with a nice pair of Ariat paddock boots .... unconventional but excellent support.)

Even the femur I broke this time last year is doing well .... I can trail ride for about 2 hours at a stretch now and I am back to doing lateral work with Her Large Chestnut Self. So, there is hope after major breaks. Time, patience, and due diligence in doing physical therapy and exercises are the keys. Wine and the occasional Percocet also help .... :lol:

*star*

No surgery wasn't an option for me. :( All the fractures were very displaced, so it had to happen.

Its good to hear from others with similar injuries. I'm working hard to follow dr's orders and move my ankle, even though it hurts.

Did you break the femur on the same leg as your ankle?

ShotenStar
Nov. 22, 2009, 11:34 AM
Did you break the femur on the same leg as your ankle?

Nope. Ankle was the right, Femur was the left. The right has been broken in five places in three different accidents ... it was the Left's turn ...

Like I tell my doctors, I don't get sick, I just break things.

*star*

KateandKc
Nov. 23, 2009, 03:01 PM
Thank you Whicker for your kind words.

Kate, I just was contemplating to stretch or not to stretch ;) It hurts so bad to do it and then I cant sleep at night, but when I dont stretch its much easier and I can sleep... hard choice to do every day.

Kate, some people are unable to sympathyse or fully imagine themselves in other peoples shoes. So its a lot to expect from them to understand fully how you feel, to understand your desire to change your riding. Try not to expect too much from some of them and it will be a bit easier on you. It seems that your family is supportive and your trainer is supportive as well and thats is very good already.

Stretching does eventually start to help. The swelling in my foot/ankle is a lot better, and it *almost* feels better to move it around than keep it still. The first few days were torture, but I think moving it has helped loosen up all the ligaments and tendons.

Thanks for all your kind words and advice. I went to see Coco yesterday and that helped so much! She didn't move a muscle while I brushed her and hobbled around on crutches. Coco really is a such a sweet horse....:) I got to see a lot of my barn friends again, so that was very nice. It was good to feel like I was getting back to "normal" life again.

That is a scary elbow x-ray!! I can see why you didn't want to see the x-ray for a few days. Its good to hear that PT can help get good function back.

pharmgirl
Nov. 23, 2009, 04:23 PM
Glad to hear you got some good quality time with Coco!! I remember it really made a difference just to go out and see him once in awhile.

Yeah, it was definitely a bad break (as elbows can be). The therapist I used was very big on trigger point therapy (http://www.triggerpointbook.com/) and I really think that is what helped me recover so well. I have used this book for other issues (back, neck, headaches, etc) and I am definitely a fan!

KateandKc
Nov. 23, 2009, 04:53 PM
Glad to hear you got some good quality time with Coco!! I remember it really made a difference just to go out and see him once in awhile.

Yeah, it was definitely a bad break (as elbows can be). The therapist I used was very big on trigger point therapy (http://www.triggerpointbook.com/) and I really think that is what helped me recover so well. I have used this book for other issues (back, neck, headaches, etc) and I am definitely a fan!

The PT place I go to (a few bad ankle sprains) does some trigger point therapy. I'll have to talk to them about using it for my ankle.

rodawn
Nov. 28, 2009, 12:13 AM
Barn friends are somewhat condescending about me not wanting to jump and possibly switching to another discipline. Lots of "Well, lots of people fall off" and "You've just got to get over the fear". Its not even that I'm scared, I wasn't having fun jumping before this fall.....I can't imagine it will be any better afterwards. At least trainer is taking me seriously (from what I can tell).


That seriously annoys me when people say things like that.

I used to do dressage, eventing and jumping. I took a really nasty fall while jumping - the horse's feet went out from under him on takeoff, and he and the jump landed on top of me. It was lights out - for a couple hours. Smashed my helmet to smithereens. If the ground had not been soft, I would have been completely crushed through my torso and killed. As it was, the ground sunk and I was protected. No broken bones. Extremely fortunate. But, I have complete loss of memory to this day and still have brain-related repercussions to this day that I have learned to compensate and deal with.

But the point is, I could no longer jump after this. Simply put, another major bash to the head could possibly be the end for me. So, I switched purely to dressage. Yes you can still fall riding in dressage, but the likelihood of a really serious body-smashing fall is much, much less likely than jumping or eventing.

Don't allow anyone to pressure you into doing something you are not sure your body can handle.

A break in 4 places - what a serious injury! You are so lucky you did not bleed out! This will indeed take a very, very long time to heal and not just the bones, but also the ligaments and tendons that were stretched all to wack - and these are what will take the longest actually.

I need to ask: Have you had your bone density tested? You stated it was a "wussy" fall... I don't know how old you are, but if you have poor mineral densities in your bones, it could contribute to serious breaks. Although that being said, an awkward angle can cause all kinds of crazy things to happen. I watched a hockey player slide relatively gently into the board, seemingly a situation that would result in little consequence, until we watched in horrified silence as his leg ribboned into positions that no leg is supposed to be in. He was out for a year and it was 2 years before he was fully right.

Something that will help your bones in this serious time of healing and remodeling is upping your intake of vitamin A, C, D, magnesium, phosphorous and calcium. Usually, an "osteoporosis" multi-vitamin is a good one to take.

I would say, let's set your first goal to be walking again with progressive improvement in the stiffness and pain. When you're allowed to, go to physical therapy religiously and do all the mobility exercises at home without fail. They might hurt, but you must train the joints, ligaments, and tendons mobility again. For the first 4 months walking after the cast is off, be very careful as your bones will be soft from lack of use and prone to refracture.

Mostly, take care of your body and only do what you are comfortable with doing! :) Take care and keep your chin up. One day at a time! You'll get through this!

KateandKc
Nov. 28, 2009, 09:12 AM
A break in 4 places - what a serious injury! You are so lucky you did not bleed out! This will indeed take a very, very long time to heal and not just the bones, but also the ligaments and tendons that were stretched all to wack - and these are what will take the longest actually.

I need to ask: Have you had your bone density tested? You stated it was a "wussy" fall... I don't know how old you are, but if you have poor mineral densities in your bones, it could contribute to serious breaks. Although that being said, an awkward angle can cause all kinds of crazy things to happen. I watched a hockey player slide relatively gently into the board, seemingly a situation that would result in little consequence, until we watched in horrified silence as his leg ribboned into positions that no leg is supposed to be in. He was out for a year and it was 2 years before he was fully right.

Something that will help your bones in this serious time of healing and remodeling is upping your intake of vitamin A, C, D, magnesium, phosphorous and calcium. Usually, an "osteoporosis" multi-vitamin is a good one to take.



Thanks for the encouragement. I've decided to just avoid the people that annoy me and say comments like that. Its just not worth the effort to try to be nice at this point.

I'm 27, bone density is fine (checked it a few years ago at a local health fair).

SillyFilly
Dec. 24, 2009, 01:56 PM
Hope you are doing okay!

I fractured my ankle in 3 places on the 1st of August, had surgery the 6th. 6 weeks in cast, 6 weeks in removable cast - and now sort of gimping along, swimming when I can. I'm not in a place to ride currently - I'm a vet student, but just can't wait to be STABLE and FUNCTIONALLY SOUND!

I too worry about the fear, as it's always been something I've dealt with, but I guess I will never know until I am there. I have been doing low level hunters, but we'll see what the future holds.

KateandKc
Dec. 24, 2009, 09:38 PM
Hope you are doing okay!

I fractured my ankle in 3 places on the 1st of August, had surgery the 6th. 6 weeks in cast, 6 weeks in removable cast - and now sort of gimping along, swimming when I can. I'm not in a place to ride currently - I'm a vet student, but just can't wait to be STABLE and FUNCTIONALLY SOUND!

I too worry about the fear, as it's always been something I've dealt with, but I guess I will never know until I am there. I have been doing low level hunters, but we'll see what the future holds.

Thats not encouraging that you're still gimping along. :( I'm into a walking cast now and am weight bearing as tolerated. I can handle every other day with no crutches. Still out of work, hoping to go back for a few 4 hr shifts a week starting in January (I'm an RN, usually work 12 hr shifts). The surgeon kinda laughed when I asked about getting back to work 12 hr shifts.....asked how my work felt about me doing 8 hr shifts from now on. :lol: I still have another 4 weeks in the walking cast, then I go to an ankle brace/air cast for another 2 months or so.

My fractures healed well after surgery. Tibia is completely healed, just a tiny fracture line still visible on the fibula. The biggest part now is healing all the tendons and ligaments. Apparantly the ankle was also severely dislocated (ankle joint was out of place, then the tibia and fibula were both pointing in opposite directions). The ER xrays were crazy, I hadn't seen them until a week ago.

I hope your ankle is more stable soon. Its so hard to get ROM back into the joint, and I had a removable cast after my 2 week post-op appt. Wasn't able to put any weight on the foot, but at least I could start moving my ankle and foot some.

Good luck with vet school. :)

walkers
Dec. 25, 2009, 06:56 PM
I also broke my ankle in a very simple fall, held on to the horses neck put my foot down and it twisted on the wet grass. Now I am a ankle expert and if you want I can refer you to the best ankle surgeons on the east coast. I have learned that the ankle is the most complex joint in our body. Don't let them fuse it or try a joint replacement as they don't work.
My bone never healed as the blood supply to the bone was cut off and never healed. So basically I ride with a broken ankle.
I have given up on trotting horses because posting was painful and the ankle just wasn't going to hold up to that stress. I now ride gaited horses and can ride all day. I have a fox trotter that works like any western horse. I have a big TWH that does almost anything a trotting horse can do and I have a friend who has a gaited barrel horse!
I understand you love to jump and I don't think a gaited horse will be safe for big jumps but may be fine for 3' or smaller. As always its the difficulty of finding the right horse.
For all of you struggling with disabilities a gaited horse can make riding less painful,safer and more fun. They even do dressage!
My friend rides a huge 18 hand warmblood and we trail ride together with my 15 hand MFT. Yes we match up, I gait and she trots and we fly like a matched pair. So much fun.

whicker
Dec. 26, 2009, 11:16 AM
Walker.

I can't handle lateral gaits. for example, pacing is awful. My neighbors have kentucky mountain horses, and I can't take more than about 4 steps and my back is zapped.

I do have a friend whose sister has MFTs, so I could ask to try one. I just haven't after the KMH experience.

Thanks!