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When to start weight bearing after distal tib/fib fracture?

Hello, I sustained a left distal comminuted, transverse, tib/fib fracture from a horse kick on July 4. The fracture was displaced, and ready to come through the skin. I underwent an ORIF of the tibia with locking plate and 6 screws, fibula was not repaired. Four weeks no weight bearing then allowed to bear some weight, was in a fracture boot at this point,at 6 weeks post op was allowed to continue bearing weight up to full weight bearing, I was given no physical therapy, just exercises to do at home. 8 weeks post op, four weeks into weight bearing, my leg looked deformed, I had developed a 13-14 degree valgus at the tibia, I ended up having a second surgery, and a plate was also placed on the fibula, the tibia was re aligned. My x ray at 6 weeks post op from the first surgery showed almost no callus formation and distinct fracture lines, although alignment with plate and screws was good. My question is,should I have been weight bearing with no callus formation? Thank you.
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replied October 7th, 2014
Experienced User
Mandy68 - Wow, sounds like you have had quiet the venture! Weight bearing is a really good at stressing the bone; which creates callus, but…this has to be a guideline ok’d by your doctor (look up Wolff’s Law). You and I could have the same types of injuries and be given completely different time-lines. There are so many variables to each and everyone’s healing time-line.

Six weeks really isn’t that long to see much bone modeling. I know at my 6 week I had to be super creative looking at the X-rays to see any type of callus. My doctor showed me, and then the creativity kicked in. “Ohhhh, yea, I do see some haziness… I think!”

So, if your doctor advised you to start putting weight onto the leg, I certainly would. A perfect way to know how much, is what your body tells you. Obviously it’s gonna hurt regardless even if it’s only 5%. So having some pain is normal, but if it is unbearable, then your body is telling you to “STOP!” You can also do a little bit at a time. In-between putting weight onto the leg, make sure to ice and elevate the leg!

I wish you the best! I know it’s frustrating, and I know first-hand! But, in time things will heal, and you won’t’ be living “my leg, my leg, my leg!” Instead of everything being around your leg, you will start doing other things you love! My leg finally doesn’t run my life. Before - even 7 weeks ago, everything was all about my leg. Now I have days where I don’t focus completely on the pain and problems of my leg, as things are starting to get back to normal -

Becca
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