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Broken fibulaIf - will using only my boot slow healing?

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I have a clear broken fibula about 4 inches below my knee. It has been 3 weeks with a walking boot on and crutches. If i just walked around school with my boot on would that slow down the healing process, or is it fine im struggling using crutches.
Any thoughts would me much appreciated
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First Helper User Profile Gaelic
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replied February 2nd, 2012
Especially eHealthy
foxy99,

As long as this is not a Maisonneuve Fracture, which involves the ankle ligaments and the syndesmosis ligament, then weight bearing as tolerated is fine.

Usually, a Maisonneuve Fracture occurs with a violent twist of the ankle, resulting in the rupture of the ligaments, and a fracture of the proximal fibula. But, if your fracture was due to a direct blow on the side of the leg, then the chances of ligamentous injury is very small.

Since you are in a fracture brace (walking boot, cam-walker, air cast, etc), were you given any instructions on how much weight that you could put on this? If so, you should follow the surgeon's instructions.

However, if you have minimal pain at the fracture site, then it is probably okay to advance your weight bearing as tolerated. Put some weight on the foot, and see if it hurts. Let pain be your guide.

Good luck.
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replied February 3rd, 2012
thank you so much for this,
i can tolrate wait on it easily it just takes me a long time to walk, its just im a very sporty person and this accident has put me out alot so how long till i can get straight back into basketball and fitness??
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replied February 3rd, 2012
Especially eHealthy
foxy99,

That depends a lot on how hard you work in therapy.

It usually takes about 6-10 weeks for the fracture to unite. But, that is just the time for the bone to unite. It does not include the time for soft tissue rehabilitation.

Again, letting pain be your guide, you can put as much weight on the leg as you can tolerate. If you do not have significant pain at the fracture site, then it is usually okay to go without the use of crutches. You might want to use a cane in the hand opposite the injured leg.

By using a cane in the opposite hand, up to 50% of the body's weight can be taken off the injured limb. It also allows the patient to walk with a more normal gait pattern and mechanics.


Also, by applying stress across the fracture site, you can stimulate the bone to heal faster. This is according to Wolff's Law, which states that bone will respond to the stresses applied to it. If you stress the fracture by weight bearing, the body will respond by laying down more callus.

This is why weight lifters and people who do heavy manual labor have stout, strong bones. And the reverse, people who do not stress the bones (age, injury, space flight) will develop osteoporosis.


Once the bone has united, then you will have to regain your ankle motion and strength in the muscles. The ankle will be very stiff. You will have to work very hard in therapy, to get the motion back. You will also have significant atrophy of the muscles in the leg. You will, again, have to really work on regaining your strength.

Until you have corrected the motion and strength, you will have a limp.


After you have regained your motion and strength, then you will have to work on balance, agility, proprioception, and sport specific skills. We usually tell the athletes that for every day they are out of practice, it will take two to get back to pre-injury condition. That's just an estimate, everyone is different. In fact, it takes some patients as much as a year, before they are fully recovered and feel comfortable when playing sports which require running, jumping, pivoting, etc. That is not to say that you will be totally out for a year, but in some patients, it does take the long for a full recovery.

So, you will have to work hard in therapy, just like getting into shape at the beginning of the season. You can't sit on the bench and get in shape. Recovery depends a lot on how hard you work.


Hope you get back to playing very soon. Good luck.
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