/ Skiing with ankle metalwork

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EricH - on 21 Jan 2013
I'm interested in hearing from anyone who has managed to return to skiing after a nasty fracture.

I broke my ankle while climbing a year ago and now have a plate on the inside. I've done a lot of physio since then and haven't had a bad recovery compared to some, but have lost around 30% of the movement and now sport a permanently fat ankle.

A short tour in the Lakes before xmas ended in pain with lots of friction on the plate - compeed was no help. Since then I've been to a specialist shop and had my boot modified, with a golf ball sized indentation to give the plate more room, but after a couple of hours on Lose hill/mam tor this weekend the skin above the plate was rubbed raw again. The ankle itself also found skiing very punishing, though this could improve with strength.

Apart from a long term aim of having the plate removed (a possibility, but not an easy option)I'm slightly at a loss as to what else I can try.

Any shared experiences in this area appreciated!

Climbing Pieman on 21 Jan 2013
In reply to EricH: No experience of this, sorry, but if friction between the boot and the skin is part of the problem, you could try the likes of shin shields. These are for protecting the thin skin over the shin bone which in some folk gets rubbed raw. They are thin, can be cut/shaped and probably at a guess could be used on the ankle? Alternatively, one of the runner's friction reducing compounds like body glide may help reduce friction?
Hope you find a solution.
Stone Idol - on 21 Jan 2013
In reply to EricH: With a similar-ish problem I pack out the boot ankle with foam. It gives me a bit longer on the slope and does not interfere with the skiing (or not so I can tell!)
EricH - on 21 Jan 2013
Thanks for these - food for thought
31770 - on 21 Jan 2013
In reply to EricH:
Broke mine skiing last year and have only done a very small amount indoors since to see how the boot was fitting. Didn't have too much of a problem but if rubbing is an issue have you tried the old tactic of shave hair off > finger tape > gaffer tape as layers? - Should provide some protection for abrasion and removing the hair also stops some pulling making the whole lot more comfortable.

Also have a look at your socks (I now wear thinner socks to keep a good fit) and lastly (and most expensively) have you tried a custom inner boot like the ones from Sidas?

Hope you get it sorted - still nervious about my first skiing trip coming up since my break.
gary1 - on 21 Jan 2013
In reply to EricH: no experience personally but a friend had a similar issue.The metal was left in the ankle and depite all the physio etc she had restricted movement and pain.Against the doctors advice she had the metal removed and hey presto..all solved.Not saying that will be the case with u but defo worth checking out.
jon on 21 Jan 2013
In reply to EricH:

Apart from having the shell blown out, have you had anything done to the inner? Have you a Thermoflex (or other brand) type inner or the standard one that came with the boot. If the latter, treat yourself to some custom inners.
kevin stephens - on 21 Jan 2013
In reply to EricH:
I have a metal plate on outside of Fibula, funny shaped ankle bones and limited forward lean of my shin following an extremely nasty compound fracture to my ankle. I'm also a very keen off piste skier and ski tourer

First go to a good boot fitter; not all so called good boot fitters are that great. "Giving the plate more room" may be counter productive if it allows it to move around and rub too much. Backcountry UK in Ilkley or will do this. Ideally the fitter should use a special sock with adhesive padding as part of the moulding process for the Inner as well as the outer

Secondy if your fracture has changed the arrangement of your foot and ankle bones (mine did) get some new footbeds made, I also needed a heel lift to compensate for my lack of forward shin movement.

The above sorted most of my problems but I still get a sore spot where my skin is very thin over the edge of my plate, a thin ouece of chiropdists self adhesive felt (from Boots) stops this.

Good luck
Anonymous on 21 Jan 2013 - 02dba333.bb.sky.com
In reply to EricH:
Getting the plate removed isn't such a bad idea - it isn't doing anything structural a year down the line and is interfering with your life.

EricH - on 21 Jan 2013
Backcountry UK did the modification, though no special socks were involved. I've just bought an ankle support which has very low friction outer surface to act as padding - going to give that a try with compeed underneath and see how I go before considering custom inners.

Some GP nagging has got me another consultation at the fracure clinic so will be pushy about plate removal option - can't say another lay off from everything has much appeal though could be price worth paying.
localboy on 21 Jan 2013
In reply to EricH: I did my lower leg (Tibbia, Fibula and dislocated abkle)a few years back and ended up with a plate. It's not too noticeable when looking at the skin (other than the scar) but is definitly there when you run a hand over it (or a German airport metal detector!).
At first (year one) its restrictive nature, muscle regrowth and reduced flexibility kept me away from many sports, but since then I have skied, biked, run, swum and climbed harder than I did before.
I may not achieve the levels of these sports I might like, but I don't think that the plate is the reason I won't get there.
I may be lucky since I don't need special adjustments to equipment to cope with it, those kind of adjustments come from other requirements.
In short, my plate hasn't held me back once I got used to it.
JudyB on 21 Jan 2013
In reply to EricH: I had a similar problem last year (plate and screws on end of fibula) and tried all sorts of padding etc, but it still hurt to wear ski boots, or even hiking boots. I have thin ankles and you could clearly see the screw heads under the skin, anything that put pressure on it was painful. See this thread for some dicussion: http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=480331

Eventually I gave up with boots and went snowshoeing instead with low shoes and gaiters! Then had the metalwork taken out last March. Depending on what doctors advise I'd definitely consider it, it is more time out but in my case the recovery was easier and quicker than I expected.

Walking boots are now fine, and I went skiing for the first time since the break last weekend! Could feel it a bit because one area is still slightly lumpy and tender, but it didn't hurt as such and I could more or less remember how to ski!

Good luck in finding a solution.
David Bennett - on 01 Feb 2013
In reply to EricH: I had a plated tib and fib which even when I had the plate removed did not allow me to ski for years. I know the pain of skin rubbed raw and bleeding from ski boots. Eventually I went to a decent boot fitter and got some boots that really sorted me out. Currently on my 3rd (painless) week of the season. I say get the metal out and then go to a decent fitter, explain you problem and let him do his (her) thing. I wish I had taken my own advice earlier!

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