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broken tib and fib healing time ? (Page 1)

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hello I hope you can help. I broke my tibia and fibula on the 8th August wearing high heels. I had orif surgery the next day. I was non weight bearing in a fiberglass cast for 6 weeks. The first three weeks I was in unbearable pain.
I have had the cast off on Monday and was told x rays are fine and I should now weight bear. My problem is I am in alot of pain and cannot move my ankle in any direction especially when I try to pull it towardsme it really hurts. It is very swollen (more swollen than when the cast was first taken off) and some areas of my skin are completely numb. I cannot weight bear because it hurts too much especially the outside of the leg. I was wondering if this is normal and how long it will last for.
I am 23 year old female usually fit and healthy.
If anybody had had similar injury or same situation please let me know how long you took to heal. Im desperate to walk again!
many thanks
soreankle1
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First Helper urs73
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replied October 3rd, 2009
I am in same boat as you... I broke my tib/fib and tore out almost all the ligaments from my left ankle on July 25th. I had my first screws put in my ankle on the 29th, tore them out (accidently, got my foot caught)and had a second set put in on Aug 12th. I have been non-weight bearing since injury(10 weeks as of today). I just had the screws removed on Sept. 24th;supposedly the bones are healed and the ligaments have grown back. I am allowed to touch down for balance only until after my follw up which isn't until Oct. 13th. but I am going insane.....I have begun to put some weight on the leg - yes it hurts like all get out! I have been told by friends who have had simialr injuries in the past that it will feel like I have broken it all over again for the first few times I weight bear. Interestingly however, it is not my tib/fib that hurt but the ankle, the top of my foot and the acrch. I have successfully begun to strengthen the muscles of the thigh and calf again with a weight machine. 2.75 pound of weight and doing 3 sets of 10 reps for both thigh and calf. Yes, my foot still turns a lovely shade of bluish purple if it is down too long. My guess is the pain you are feeling is more from the weeks of lack of movement than anything else. As to the numb areas of skin, not sure, I know I have been peeling like a serpent but there is no numbness although my calf feels somewhat "bruised". Keep your chin up, it will get better and after all there isn't anything we can do but concentrate on healing and walking again. No use dwelling on pre-injury, everything now is dependent upon how badly we want to return to our former athletic ability and then working towards it....Take it one day at a time and celebrate every little success no matter how small!
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replied August 16th, 2012
Your ankle.
I have broken my tib and fib. My understanding is that the fibula forms the outside of your ankle and the tibia forms the lump on the inside of your ankle so these are involved. Are you on painkillers?
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replied November 11th, 2009
Hey I had surgery as well but only fractured my Fib. I got my cast off 6 weeks after surgery it hurt as well but I did some physical therapy and it really helped a lot. But you need to walk on it because the more you do the faster it will strenghten the muscles and tendons in the foot. It will swell but just ice it for a while and sleep with it elevated. You will ok in a month the swelling will still come and go for 6 months. Also 12months post op the plate and screws can be removed if they bother you.
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replied October 12th, 2010
Tib and Fib break on r leg
I brok both the tib and fib back on september 5th of 2010, no cast but steel rod and 6 screws. I was up and walking in two weeks but lots of pain and with crutches and only 25% of weight on my right leg. I did start doing stretching excersises about half way through the 2nd week at home and before I started Physcal therapy, wich I started today. I am walking with no crutches but still do not have full mobility. I must say the stretching and iceing is making the recovery faster for me.
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Users who thank monewton505 for this post: misstoni123 

replied October 22nd, 2010
Tib And Fib
I'm two weeks post surgery following Tib and Fib break, have no cast which is very nerve wracking!! Got a bit of mobility in ankle and toes, swelling going down and can take a slight bit of weight on it. Looking for targets for walking etc, any time scales would be very useful thanks.
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replied October 22nd, 2010
Tib And Fib
I'm two weeks post surgery following Tib and Fib break, have no cast which is very nerve wracking!! Got a bit of mobility in ankle and toes, swelling going down and can take a slight bit of weight on it. Looking for targets for walking etc, any time scales would be very useful thanks.
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replied February 16th, 2011
same thing happend to me djmcc, i got cast off after 10 days and i was a nervous wreck aswell. i was really frustrated and got upset because i wanted to walk. just take ur time. i started putting weight on it by using my crutchies and slowly putting my working foot forward then my bad one and so on. a few weeks later i started walking a couple of steps without crutchies and jst kept at it,its been 10 weeks since my accident and i got pin put in day after i broke it. i am now walking without crutchies and i am alot more mobile, still gets swollen and is a bit painful when walking bt just keep at it, but rest it as much as u use it. i can sit with my knee bent and can cross my legs too, i have been swimming and i go for little 10 min walks.
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replied April 18th, 2011
tiband fib - wieght baring
Hi all,
I broke my tib and fib 5 weeks ago ina motorboke accident. I too have metal plates and screws and no cast. I have been told I must not put any weight on it at all, which after reading that most of you are wieght baring a lot earlier has confused me. I too am really frustrated by it all. Could there be a reason why I can't weight bare for so long? or is it over cautious m,edical advice?
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replied August 16th, 2012
If you have a rod and screws the rod shares the weight bearing with the bone. If you only have a plate this doesn't. However bones may have repaired themselves quite a lot by 6 weeks so your situation may change soon.
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replied May 10th, 2011
I broke mine 3/25, 4 places (tib, fib, and 2 in ankle)rod & screws put in the 26th. Doc told me that had it only been a tib/fib injury normally I could begin walking on it immediately due to the rod (like an "internal cast") - but because I also broke my ankle. I could not weight bear for 6 weeks. She let me start walking on it at 5 1/2 weeks, after successful xray, but also weaning off oxy (causing a detox effect) makes it all so difficult. Having lots of wierd sensations and pain, some swelling, but over-all not so bad. Been 6-7 weeks post surgery, just now *today* beginning to feel like there is a light at the end of this god-forsaken tunnel. If your doc told you no weight bear maybe there was more going on in there than he/she told you? I would ask... I think the faster you start moving and walking on it the faster it'll heal. My first two days or so I had uncontrollable shaking in that leg when using the muscles because they were already atrophy-ing, better to strengthen it as soon as possible I think. I'm very glad to see so many people NOT having relied so much (or at least mentioning it) on oxy, it is a very dangerous drug so please don't take it lightly! I think coming off that stuff was worse than breaking my leg actually.
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replied January 5th, 2012
Pain meds n healing
yes! to all those on oxy or any pa7in killers. research the fact that they cause up to 70% tissue regression. the longer u r on pain medication, the longer ur injury will take to heal. i broke my tib/fib n had screws n plates in two weeks aftr break. cast on now for almost 2 weeks. doc says no weight for 6-8 weeks. i will be walking in 6-8 weeks because i quit the forsaken pain med crap. I speak the truth. i managed pain for 1 week post op and then quit all togethr, had a cupl days of withdrawls n dea7lt with the pain. it only lasted 2 days. hm-mm, direct correlation to tissue degeneration n pain medica7tion. ur doc will nvr tell u, or prolly will not because they are not supoz to talk much a7bout those things even if they do know it because of how pharm companies work n docs make money on the physician bonus arrangement anyway. i have emergency medical training from the military, studied pre-med at one of the top 100 medical schools before changing my career. i have friends that are researchers with PhD's in biology. if u want to heal quick, DO NOT take pain meds as soon as possible.
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replied June 18th, 2012
Broken tib/fib. Knee Reconstruction. Weight Bearing.
Hey guys, only just came across this thread recently, so i thought i'd throw my experiences in. I was in a motorcycle accident 6 weeks ago, a car knocked me off my bike, broke my tim/fib in my left leg, and severely dislocated my right knee (damaged LCL and PCL). To repair my left leg the docs put a in plate (about 20cm long) and 4 screws i think. Its been 5 weeks since the left leg repair and the leg's feeling pretty good. Im in a wheelchair and have been told not to weight bear on either leg just yet. Doc seems to think i can get up on crutches in 2 weeks time after a check up and X-ray- using my left leg to weight bear with the crutches. At 5 weeks since op now i have far less swelling in my left leg. Movement is only just starting to come back to my ankle ( a little bit more each day with resistance band exercises) and the pins/needles and numbness is starting to settle a little more each day. In regards to my right leg i have had knee re-constructive surgery to repair both the LCL and PCL and have been told that i'll be in the knee brace for a period of about 6 months. Has anyone here experienced injuries to both legs at the same time, and can anyone give me any insight into the rehab I'm due to get onto. Closer still, any tips about getting up onto crutches after not walking for 7-8 weeks would be appreciated. Thanks, and wish you guys a speedy recovery. P.s. Im a fit and healthy 31 year old male, Im also a Carpenter by trade so i kinda need a strong set of pins Smile
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replied June 19th, 2012
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zokgyro,

Boy, you are lucky to still have either of your legs. Both of these injuries are very significant. Knee dislocations carry high risk of arterial damage, and as such, still have a fairly high rate of amputation.

You have so far avoided the first big problem, which is infection. So far, so good.

But, you have a very long road ahead of you. Healing times for tibia fractures can take anywhere from 13 to 50 weeks, depending upon where they are low or high energy fractures (open fractures take the longest). And, this is just for bony union, not for recovery.

Knee dislocation, which have had to have both cruciates repaired often get very stiff. So, decreased range of motion may be a problem. Usually, motion is started pretty quickly after surgery and it is very important to regain full extension. Flexion will come with therapy and time.

As to getting up on crutches, it is best to start out using parallel bars in the therapy department. Then go to a walker, because it is more stable, just till you become accustom to being upright again and regain the strength in your arms.

Since you are strong and probably agile, you may want to use the Lofstrand (forearm) crutches. Those patients who can use these, find getting around much easier. But, they do take some practice using them.

Again, you are going to need assistance the first time you get up. And it is usually best to use the bars, as they do not move. Once you can "walk" between the bars, then you can go to the walker, and finally crutches.

You will be very tired the first time you get up. Hopefully, you have been doing some weight lifting with your arms. You might want to start doing some, if you haven't been. You are going to need very strong arms for a while. You will be surprise at how much your muscles atrophy after an injury and it takes a lot of time and effort to regain that muscle bulk/strength. This is both in the lower and upper extremities.


So, eat of good diet (with extra protein, calcium, vitamin D, and magnesium) and do not smoke. Smoking is probably the single most detrimental thing there is to bone and soft tissue healing.

You can look forward to a long hard road in rehab. It may take as long as a year to 18 months before you know the final outcome.

Good luck. Hang in there.
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replied June 19th, 2012
Gaelic,
thanks for the informative reply.
Yes i understand i am very lucky to not have received worse injuries, so i think luck has definitely been on my side so far. I know the road in front of me will be long and hard, but i am prepared (or as best i can be) for what's in front of me. Thanks for the tips. I have been doing upper body weights in my chair, as well as the resistance band footwork. I can lift my own weight (of 72kgs) with my arms with no problems at all, i have been doing a lot of wheelchair push-ups with my excess spare time:) so i may have a few things working in my favour in terms of rehab. My wife is a naturopath so thankfully i have a good strong diet, (incl. protein, calcium & V-D). I also used to cycle a lot so i take a fair bit of magnesium generally. I don't smoke either. (the docs mentioned how bad smoking is for bone repair). All in all i am feeling pretty good (despite the obvious) and with a positive attitude & hard work hopefully i'll overcome my injuries sooner rather than later. Thanks again.
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replied July 2nd, 2012
healing time
Hey thanks a lot for all this information. I was in an accident in may nd broke my right tib and had metal plate ans 6 screws put in. Initially it was painful but now its 7 weeks and the healing seems to be coming on well. My doc gave me 12 weeks to get full recovery I cant wait to walk again. At least am now mentally prepared that walking again is gonna be another excruciating journey but hey it is better than crutches
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replied July 2nd, 2012
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kemmy_,

Sounds like you are going great.

Remember, that that 12 week recovery is basically just for the bone to unite. That does not include the time for rehabilitation. Do not expect to just skip down the sidewalk when the surgeon says that you can walk on it. You stated "...now mentally prepared that walking again is gonna be another excruciating journey...", hopefully, it won't be that bad. Once the bone has united, you should not have sharp, intense pain at the fracture site.

You may have discomfort in the muscles and soft tissues, as they all have to stretch out and bulk back up again. Hopefully, you have been working on knee and ankle range of motion. The better your ROM is the easier it will be to strengthen.

Good luck. You are well on your way. Hang in there.
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replied August 16th, 2012
Thanks Gaelic for your response. I have now been walking but I have to say my foot hurts with every step I take, I understand this should take 2 months to completely go away.
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replied August 16th, 2012
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kemmy_,

Your foot may have some discomfort in it, just from the fact that the tissues have not been walked on for a fairly long period of time.

Once the tissues get toughened up again, most of the discomfort should resolve. But, if it does not, you need to have it evaluated.

Good luck.
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replied September 5th, 2012
Hey guys, stumbled across this thread and thought I would share my experience...... I'm a 26 year old healthy athletic male.... Well I was up untill 6 weeks ago when I had a dirtbike accident. After coming from a broken back and full knee recon within the last year I was not very happy to say the least !! Back to the ankle.. I'm 6 weeks since the accident and 5 from surgery ( due to it being to swollen to operate) I broke my tib and fib and messed up my tendons requiring a 100mm vertical plate and 6 screws fixed to my fib and a 50mm bolt threaded through both tib and fib. All of this wrapped in a pretty green fibreglass cast. The bolt to be removed at 12 weeks and the remainder of the hardware to stay (provided it does not irritate me) my experience has taut me that the first two weeks after an injury is always hell, and my ankle was no exception. The throbbing pain when putting your foot down is not fun. I took myself of the pain killers after the first week, which is tough but have been advised is one of the best solutions for best healing times / results. At my 4th week I felt zero pain but am still required to non weight bare for a further 2 weeks. At that point I get my fiberglass cast removed and a fitted boot which I'm told I will be able to remove in the shower and for sleeping. Can't wait! So it will be 5 weeks with the removable boot then a day op to get the 50mm bolt out. It will the just be a matter of learning to walk again! Long roads ahead for anyone with these types of injuries. All the best for all of you in these situations, it sucks I know!! Sad
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replied September 7th, 2012
Hi, I broke my tib and fib about 7years ago now. I have 2 plates and 20 screws. It took me about a year to walk properly, i was still limping at 12months. Now 7years later it still hurts if i try to run or if i am at the beach in the water with the drag of the ocean it is very painful. Just wondering if anyone has a similar experience to me.
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replied September 7th, 2012
urs73

Did you consult your doctor on whether the plates could be removed? My doctor advised that i should ensure that my plate is taken out within two years failure of which will lead to a conflict between my healing bone and the metal as both are hard and there is only room for one.

On limping, I hoped i would stop limping soon after i could start bearing weight on my broken leg but 6 weeks on I am learning to take each day as it comes. Otherwise I really hope you get better soon!!
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replied September 8th, 2012
Thankyou kemmy for your info. And thankyou for your well wishes. I did have the chance to get the metal removed but my surgeon advised me that it was unneccessary so i didn't. I am now wishing i did (but who knows if it is the metal that's causing the problem)
I hope you have a speedy recovery and are free from any pain in your leg in the future.
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replied September 7th, 2012
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urs73,

While there is no absolute medical reason to remove internal orthopedic fixation devices, if they are causing problems, they can be removed.

However, for the surgery to be successful, you have to really show that it is the hardware that is causing the problem. If the hardware is proud, you have soft tissue rubbing over the hardware, or something similar, then its removal will usually take care of the problem.

But, in cases, where the hardware is just taken out “to see if it helps”, the chances of it actually helping goes way down.

Also, removal of hardware is a major orthopedic surgery. It carries all of the usual risks of any surgical procedure, plus a couple more (not being able to remove all of the hardware and fracture of the bone when removing the plate). And, after seven years, your plate is going to be a little difficult to get off of the bone. It is not uncommon for the bone to grow up around the edges of the plate, over time. This bony overgrowth has to be chiseled off, before the screws can be removed and the plate pried off of the bone.

Usually, though, patients do not have too many problems with hardware removals. The bone has to be protected till the screw holes fill in (which usually takes about 6 weeks). Most of the time, that just means no impact activities or twisting during that time. Some patients require crutches/cane for a little while, till the soreness from the incision goes away.


So, discuss it with your surgeon. Good luck.
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replied September 8th, 2012
Thankyou Gaelic and Remmy, your information has been helpful. I did speak to my surgeon a few years back and he said i should be ok and the metal should not be causing me a problem and no need to remove them. I will definitely be seeing him again to see what can be done. I just don't want to go through another surgery if the pain is not caused by the plates and screws. Thanks again.
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replied March 17th, 2013
I feel your pain, I shattered my tibia, fibula and ankle, had my leg completely reconstructed , with a rod, two plates, and screws. I was put in a walking cast for 6 months, walked with a very noticeable limp for another 12 months, the surgeon said I probably wouldn't be able to walk normal again, 4 years later. I'm 21 now, I can finally walk normal again, just a little discomfort every once in a while along with a lot of nerve damage. I can just remember, when I was getting prepared for surgery, the surgeon told me that it was the worst he has ever seen, and then went on to say that there was a possibility he may have to amputate it, I was only seventeen, and I was horrified that I may lose my leg. But luckily I woke up with my leg.

Hope everything worked out in your situation as well

Regards
Brock Raymond Walker
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replied September 16th, 2012
tib/fib
My son has broken his tib and fib in a footballing incident (he is 16). It seems that almost eveyone else has had pins and plates? Even though he had clean breaks on both bones they just put a full leg cast on. It has been four days since it happened and I am really worried as he is hardly able to sit up let alone do anything else. Any advice would really be appreciated right now!
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replied September 16th, 2012
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doodah,

Tibia fractures are significant injuries, which take quite a while to heal. It is not surprising that he is a little slow at present. Once the fracture becomes "sticky" (where there has been enough osteoid laid down to "glue" the fragments together), it does not hurt as much. This usually takes about 10-20 days after injury.

He should be elevating the leg, with the foot way up in the air (above the heart level). He needs to wriggle his toes several times every hour he is awake. Both of these will help reduce the swelling in the limb. Moving the toes will also help reduce the chances of the tendons getting scarred down. It may be a little uncomfortable wriggling the toes the first few times, but it will become easier and easier.

In the current acute phase, he is going to note throbbing around the fracture when the limb is placed in a dependent position (hanging down). But, he is athletic, so he should not have too many troubles in starting to get up and move about some. While he should not be hanging the leg down for extended periods of time quite yet, he should start moving around.

He should have the upper body strength and coordination to be able to use crutches just fine. When he is resting though, the foot should be up in the air.

He should not really have a lot of pain around the injury site. Yes, it is going to be sore, but once a fracture is immobilized, so that the periosteum is no longer being stimulated, there really should not be a lot of intense pain. The periosteum is a thick sheath of soft tissues around the bone, which carries the blood vessels and nerves to the bone. So, again, while he will have some soreness and occasional throbbing, he really should not be in a lot of pain. If he is, that may need to be evaluated.


In terms of treatment, the indication for surgery is failure of nonoperative methods to treat a fracture. If the fracture is essentially nondisplaced and is in good alignment, then treatment in a long leg cast is the standard of care. Surgery does not make a fracture heal faster, in fact it can actually slow down the union of a fracture.

Once the fracture is showing signs of callus formation and has begun to unite, the long leg cast may be able to be cut down to a PTB cast. This is a patellar tendon bearing cast, which is a special type of short leg cast, which has special molding around the proximal tibia, so that rotation is controlled (the reason that a long leg cast has to be used at first). This will allow him to start working on knee range of motion. If the fracture is healing well (and the fracture pattern is one that is stable) he may also be able to start weight bearing some at that point (but every fracture is unique).

Your son is also sort of at that in between age, in terms of fracture treatment. Young kids rarely need to have tibia fractures surgically treated. There is also concern about damage to the growth plates in kids. At 16, your son may still have open growth plates.


So, while he has a ways to go in terms of recovery, he is athletic (and young) so he should not have too many problems. Once he gets the hang of how to move the cast, getting up and down, and the use of crutches, he should be tooling around with no problems.

One trick to move the casted leg when in bed is to hook the foot of the uninjured leg under the back of the ankle of the cast and use the good leg to power the moving of the casted leg. You then sort of pivot on the butt when swinging the legs over the side of the bed. The hands can be put on the bed for extra stability, as they do not have to be used to help move the casted leg. This technique can also be used when getting back into bed: sit on the edge of the bed (couch), hook the good leg under the cast, lean back, pivot on the buttocks as the good leg lifts up the casted leg, and swing the legs into bed. This takes a little practice, but is a great way to get in and out of bed.


In terms of healing times for tibia fractures, it usually takes about 10-13 weeks for a low energy tibia fracture to unite. That is just for bone healing and does not include time for rehabilitation. Your son may heal a little faster because of his age.


He should be eating a proper balanced diet, with some extra protein, calcium, vitamin D, and magnesium. Most of the time, these can be obtained through the diet, but a one-a-day vitamin could be used. Vitamin D is mostly obtained from sunshine, as food is a poor natural source (some foods are fortified). So, 10 to 30 minutes of sunshine on the face and arms is enough to get the full daily requirement for vitamin D. And, getting out of the house is also a good idea for sanity. Depression is common in patients who have a significant injury, so getting out of the house helps (even if it is to the back yard).

No smoking. This is the single most detrimental thing there is to fracture healing.



So, he should be feeling better day by day now. He should not be having a lot of intense pain. Yes, soreness and occasional throbbing is to be expected, but he should not be in agonizing intense pain. That may be a sign of something going on and should be evaluated. Eat a good diet, get some sunshine, wriggle the toes, keep the foot elevated and he should be on his way to healing and recovery.


Oh, one final note, he should not rest the cast on the point of the heel (either on the floor or in bed). Short times, such as when going to the bathroom, are okay. But, resting on the point of the heel can lead to pressure points, which can lead to pressure sores in the skin. When elevating the leg, place the pillows or pads under the calf over a broad area, so that the heel is hanging free.

Also, if your son is still taking opioid pain medication on a regular basis, this can cause significant depression of the faculties, sleepiness, being unstable when up on crutches, etc. These should be used if needed in the acute stage, but they do not need to be taken out of fear of developing pain. Patients with fractures tend to get better pretty quickly, especially the young one, and as a result the discomfort should decrease pretty steadily also.

Good luck. Hope your son does well.
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replied September 17th, 2012
Gaelic,

Thank you so much for your extremely informative reply.

He had to go back to hospital last night and have the cast split as the doctors decided it had been fitted much to tightly as there had not been enough time left for the full swelling to come out first.

He has to go back at the end of the week for a new one to be fitted.

He is a very a healthy and fit boy who eats an excellent diet. He is worried though about putting on weight due to the inactivity. Like I said to him, it shouldn't be a problem as he doesn't usually eat anything that would cause weight gain.

Your help is greatly appreciated and you provided lots of facts I was unaware of so a huge thank you!
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replied September 17th, 2012
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doodah,

He really needs to keep the foot elevated above the heart. This is hard to do, because you basically have to be flat on your back with the leg up in the air.

But, if he had to have the cast bivalved, he has significant swelling. The swelling is from two things: the injury and the immobilization.

The injury is obvious, but when a limb is immobilized the lymphatic fluids and venous blood have a harder time getting back to the body. These are both low pressure systems, which rely on muscle action to pump the fluid and blood back up the leg to the body. This is a reason to wriggle the toes. This muscle action helps jump some of the swelling out of the leg.

Thus, the elevation and the wriggling of the toes will help to reduce the pressure from the swelling.


Again, he is a young kid, athletic, so he should not have too many problems. He will develop atrophy of the muscles in the the calf and thigh, which have to be rebuilt. The joints will be real stiff when coming out of immobilization, but again, that will be worked on in rehab.


Keep and eye on the swelling. The intense pain is an indication that the pressure from the swelling is making the tissues ischemic (lack of oxygen) and they will scream about that. Again, fractures do not usually hurt very much once they are immobilized. If a patient has significant pain, something is going on that needs to be looked at.

Good luck. Wishing your son the best.
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replied February 9th, 2013
hi i broke tib fib august 2012 took 10 weeks before i could put weight on it . its now 6 months later and bones have healed take another 6 months for muscles to heal fully alltogether about 1 year.
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replied March 16th, 2013
I'm 9 weeks along in my 'journey.' Fell down the stairs and twisted as I did so, resulting in a spiral break at the bottom of the tibia, a broken fibula at the outer top of the calf and, I later learned, a broken ankle (although the surgeon says that they may have done that during surgery!)
I have a rod inserted up through the inside of the tibia, with a plate on the inner anklebone and various pins. I had no cast or orthopaedic boot, just a bandage for the first couple of weeks. This meant I was able to get going with physio and flexing the ankle much more quickly.
I was in hospital for a week post-surgery, and came off painkillers, apart from the odd Nurofen, after 3-4 weeks.
But it's a slow old road. I can partially weight-bear now, and might switch to one crutch in a week or two. Am back at work (teacher) on a phased return with amended duties (an adult in with me at all times to help).
Any idea when I might be able to think about driving again? This is currently my biggest bug-bear.
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replied March 17th, 2013
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Claire,

Driving is a very personal thing. There are quadriplegics out there who can drive a modified van, and yet, there are other people who cannot drive with a hangnail! It also depends upon if you have an automatic or standard transmisssion (clutch and stick) and which leg is injured.

So, usually, the surgeons will not allow a patient to drive until there is significant weight bearing by the patient. Again, if you have an automatic, and the injured leg is not the one pressing the pedals, the surgeon may allow you to start driving sooner.

Also, you have to be careful about accidents. Even if it is not your fault, if you get out of the car, and you are on crutches, the law enforcement officer might cite you for driving while impaired. This might not be right, but it happens.


So, we usually told patients, that there is a difference between being allowed by the surgeon to drive, and the patient feeling comfortable driving. We would tell patients, that if they were a parent/grandparent, would they feel comfortable risking their children/grandchildren being in the car with them driving? Remember, it is not just the patient who is at risk, but all of the other cars on the road are also at risk, if the patient is still impaired.

We recommended that the patient have someone drive them out to a large parking lot (like a stadium lot, not being used), where the patient can practice driving, stopping, starting, curves, parking, etc, etc. That way, the patient can get an idea of whether or not they are ready.


If the injured limb is the one that pushes the pedals, it is going to be longer getting back than if it is the other limb. There is some data, from studies of patients with ankle and tibia fractures, that patients will still have slowed reaction time to braking for as much as a year after the injury. So, just be aware of this. Make allowances, stay well back from the car in front of you, allow extra time for braking.


Again, everyone is different. And, every driver is different. So, discuss the situation with your surgeon and just take it very easy when you first start back.

Good luck.
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replied April 2nd, 2013
Hi, I broke my tib fib in July of 12... its been 8 months, I have been out of therapy about for about 2 months now, im using a small exercise pedals for exercise. but im still walking with a limp and my leg have been stiff and hurting for the past two days....d anyone have any suggestions on how I can strengthen my leg and how long do u rally recover from a tib fib injury...
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replied April 3rd, 2013
Especially eHealthy
philly73,

Sorry you are having problems.

Unfortunately, every one has his/her own rehab program.

It is just a matter of figuring out what is causing your limp, and then work on that.


Limps are usually caused by: pain, decreased range of motion, decreased strength, lack of confidence, lack of balance/agility, or habit.

So, you figure out what the problem is, and concentrate on that.


If you are having problems with your exercise program, you might want to look into getting into a pool. The warmth of the water makes tissue more pliable/stretchable, so doing range of motion is easier. The buoyancy makes the weight bearing anywhere from nonweight bearing to partial weight bearing. Water exercises are also safe, one cannot fall down in the water. You can also do resistance training in the water.


Unfortunately, it is not possible to tell you why you are having pain the last two days without an examination.

So, if the problem continues, see your surgeon for an evaluation.


Keep working hard on your rehab. It is not uncommon for it to take a year to 18 months for full recovery.


Good luck. Wishing you the best.
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replied June 27th, 2013
Broken tib/fib
On March 18th, 2013 I was ran over by a Harley Davidson and it broke my tib and fib and ankle in left leg and to broken bones in my right foot. They immediatly took me to surgery to repair my leg with full rods, screws, and more. I went back for 3 month appt with my surgeon today and finally got the okay to bare very little weight on leg. OMG,Its so painful. Doc said it was a complete blow-out break. Not sure what that means but I am 48 and very active but have found that I am becoming discouraged due to the time it is taking my left leg to bare any weight. He won't do the surgery on my right foot (another rod and screws) until I can put weight on left leg. Its been 12 weeks and I am wondering if that is typical for the healing of such major breaks? I would appreciate any responses. Thanks
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