I fractured my leg (hairline fracture on the upper crest of my tibia on December 29th and have been on crutches since. The doctor told me to stay off of it until January 30th, which will be a total of 4 1/2 weeks on crutches. As of yesterday, I am allowed to put 10 - 15 lbs of pressure on my leg, but I can't walk on it.

My concern is that on January 30th I will be limping or walking strangely since I've been off of the leg for so long. Does anyone have any experience with being off of a leg (with a similar type of injury) for that period of time? What should I expect?

Thanks in advance.
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replied January 18th, 2013
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Honey646,

You will have significant atrophy and be very weak.

You will have already develop quite a bit of atrophy. You lose a lot of muscle bulk in just the first couple of weeks. The quads (front of the thigh) are the ones that usually atrophy the most.

If you are allowed to work on range of motion, do so. But, as for the weight bearing, that will have to wait till there is enough healing that the bone will be strong enough to hold up to the stress.

Unfortunately, there is not a whole a lot you can do about the atrophy, until you are allowed to work on strengthening. But, the muscle will come back, it just takes a lot of hard work.


Good luck. Hope you are allowed to start weight bearing on the 30th.
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replied January 18th, 2013
Thanks. According to my doctor I will definitely be able to start weight bearing on the 30th. I do have full range of motion - there's no cast, so I know I haven't lost that.

The reason I'm concerned is because my wedding is on February 2nd, which gives me 3 days to get used to walking without crutches.

I won't have a lot of walking to do on the date of the wedding, but I don't want to be limping or walking strangely. I expect I'll only be able to walk slowly, but will the walk appear "normal"?
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replied January 18th, 2013
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Honey646,

Congratulations on your wedding.


Unfortunately, unless you walk very slowly, you will most likely have somewhat of a limp.

A limp comes from several things: pain, decreased motion, decreased strength, lack of balance/agility, lack of confidence, habit, or a combination of things.


So, most of the time, patients are advised to figure out what is causing the limp and work on that. You already have full range of motion of the joints, so that is not going to be a problem.

As to pain, you might have some discomfort in the muscles around the knee and leg. But, again, if you go slowly, you can probably control that.

Confidence, well, you have a great motivation to get going. So, that should not be a problem either.

Balance and agility could be a problem, but again, if you take it easy you should be okay. However, you may not be dancing too much at the reception.

You will not really have had time to develop any bad habits, so that can be ruled out.

As to the strength, there is no way that you are going to rebuild the muscles in three days. So, you know that is going to be a bit of a problem.


When you are allowed to weight bear, you might want to have a cane handy. Use it in the hand opposite the injury. That way, your gait mechanics will be normal. You will have three days to practice. But, you might want to take the cane with you to the proceedings, just in case. You will probably be able to get "down the aisle", but you may need some help at other times.


Again, congratulations. Wishing you the best.
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