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Recovery time from a broken leg?

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Recovery time from a broken leg?

Old 04-06-13, 04:18 AM
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kjmillig
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Recovery time from a broken leg?

I know each case is individualized, but has anyone else suffered a broken leg? How long did it take for you to get back on the bike, even for easy rides?
Monday will be 4 weeks since I was involved in a scooter-on-scooter collision that resulted in a clean break to my tibia, just below 1/2 way from my knee to my ankle. I'll be in a 1/2 leg cast for at least 2 more weeks, and I've had to keep all pressure of the foot/leg. I'm sure I'll have to do some rehab to stretch the Achilles and strengthen the muscles. I'm in no hurry to push beyond what the doctor recommends, and in no hurry to get back on my scooter. Just curious what others may have experienced.
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Old 04-06-13, 05:07 AM
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interestingly, this is what shows up as an advert on my screen based on your text

a little bit of humor in an unfortunate situation I guess

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Old 04-06-13, 11:01 AM
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Bill Kapaun
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I broke my tib & fib on Oct. 25. Had "intermeduallary nailing" on the 30th.
I took my first "ride" on Feb 27th?. Very short. I rode 13 miles on March 30. I definitely couldn't do that 2 days in a row because of ankle swelling.

I saw the surgeon Thur. and he said It's about 60% fused.
My problem is mainly the ankle and then the knee.
4 months of inactivity for the ankle. I recommend "working it" as much as you can.
My knee was already "bad", and then having the titanium rod driven through it doesn't help. If the ankle wasn't bothering me more, the knee wouldn't be too far behind.
Now you're probably younger than 65 and will heal faster + you didn't break as many bones.
I have a big dark spot where the tib "almost" exited the skin.

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Old 04-08-13, 06:48 AM
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kjmillig
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Yes, I'm "only" 48, but this has been a constant worry since I've never broken a limb. I'll have another x-ray Thursday afternoon. 2 weeks ago the doctor said he was pleased with the progress over the first 2.5 weeks and was confident I wouldn't have to have a rod put in to keep the bone aligned.
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Old 04-08-13, 07:03 AM
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I broke my tibia when I low-sided my motorcycle. I also broke 4 metatarsal bones, two tarsal bones and dislocated the tarsal-metatarsal joint (lis-franc injury). Initial surgery was September 30th, 2010. They installed a screw through both tibia and fibia to stabilize the ankle, two plates with two screws each on the tibia to fix the injury, 4 pins to stabilizie the TM joint and two screws to repair one of the metatarsal bones where it intersects the TM joint. I was in a splint for 4 weeks after surgery, when they removed the pins that were stabilizing my foot. Then a cast for 4 weeks, followed by a second cast for 3 more weeks. I then went to a boot. The removed the ankle stabilizing screw in late January. My first trainer ride was February 15th, but I still barely flex my ankle. I did not have the strength to unclip my foot and my calf muscles were basically gone. My first outdoor ride was late March, and my first ride with no notice of the injury was July. My injury leg is still noticably weaker than my non-injured leg, but I am able to ride to work regularly with no issues. Best of luck. At times it will feel like you will never get back to normal. You will.
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Old 04-08-13, 08:48 PM
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Originally Posted by kjmillig View Post
Yes, I'm "only" 48, but this has been a constant worry since I've never broken a limb. I'll have another x-ray Thursday afternoon. 2 weeks ago the doctor said he was pleased with the progress over the first 2.5 weeks and was confident I wouldn't have to have a rod put in to keep the bone aligned.
Sorry to inform you but you are still pretty young. You'd be surprised at how how even old timers like myself can heal up... you just need to be patient.

Good luck with your recovery.
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Old 04-08-13, 10:20 PM
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Stop whining and walk it off.






(For the humor impaired, don't. I tried that with a dislocated knee. Apparently, when your knee is so swollen you have to get bigger pants to be able to pull them up, that's nature's way of saying "skip the pants and lounge around at home for a while longer.")
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Old 04-09-13, 11:08 AM
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Tibia and fibula breaks take the longest to heal, unfortunately. Expect about 3 months before you can walk on it and 9-12 months for full recovery.
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Old 04-09-13, 11:24 AM
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I broke my tibia plateau last year...which is apparently about the worst thing you can break from a recovery perspective. I was on a bike (at least an exercise bike) before I was walking. If memory serves, I turned pedals for the first time about three or four months after the initial accident. I wasn't supposed to ride a bike for another several months because my doc was worried I'd rebreak it if I had an incident before it was fully healed. I bought a Raleigh 20 with very low top tube to mitigate the risk and was riding it around 5 months after the accident. I rode my first "normal" bike around 7 months afterwards. It's now about a year later and it still isn't fully recovered, but it's a lot better.
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Old 04-11-13, 01:50 PM
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OP, be patient, REALLY patient
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Old 04-11-13, 04:02 PM
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Busted my fibula and ankle in Tokyo quite some years ago. The fibula healed and fused in just 3 months. But the ankle was shredded - all major ligaments. So that took almost 6 months and a full year if you add therapy. I didn't get back on the saddle for quite some years because the ankle continued to swell. I used large ankle braces to reduce the swelling and found that if I cycle more, it'd actually improve vascular circulation, but the problem was my calf muscle got overworked and cramped at night time, and it was strong enough to damage the ankle (held together by screws) and delay the repair. So you're going to have to go easy. Too much strain. 20 years later, still have two permanent screws holding my ankle together, and I have to watch for swelling on the one ankle on any ride over 50 miles. But it's still better than not riding.
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Old 04-13-13, 05:51 PM
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Got new x-rays this past Thursday. Still looks the same to me but my doctor said the bone alignment still looks good so we'll continue with non-surgical treatment. On the 25th he'll remove the cast to get a completely clear x-ray then decide whether or not he needs to recast. Sitting on my but all the time at home, having to use a wheelchair at work, and all the things I can't do for myself is really wearing on my patience. I know I need to be patient, but it sure is hard. And yes, sometimes it feels like I'll never be able to ride and do other things again.
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Old 04-13-13, 07:33 PM
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Kjmillig - I was there last year and I understand every word you're saying; I had the same feelings. The worst was missing the spring, summer and fall - recovering just in time for winter

i passed my one year accident anniversary last week and walked in beautiful weather today. It WILL end, even if it seems endless. Use the time to catch up on reading - or furthering job skills. You'll be ok - it sucks, but it gets better. I focused on the little mile stones - crutches, standing, therapy...week by week.
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Old 04-14-13, 01:41 AM
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This is a disucssion you should have with your doctor. All "broken legs" are not the same! A co worker recently had a fib-tib break with compartmentalism and no weight on the leg for 12 weeks. How that would apply to your situation, I don't know.

My advice would be to stay away from any risky bike riding until you are fully healed. Consult your doctor for appropriate exercises to keep up strength and fitness levels. A stationary bike will be the safest choice. You have your entire life ahead of you; don't risk long term permanent damage for short term thrills.
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Old 05-27-13, 06:35 PM
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kjmillig
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Update:
11 weeks now and x-rays show very slow but continuous improvement. Lost the cast 2 weeks ago but no boot. The doctor says to simply be careful. He also advised beginning to stretch the Achilles and beign putting very light pressure on the foot while standing with crutches, but no real pressure and certainly no attempts at walking. I sit while at home, and sit in a wheel chair at work. only occassionally have a small bit of pain. I have daily edema around the ankle and foot, and the doctor has given meds to help improve circulation. I can drive myself to work now. Still seems like it will be forever until I can walk or ride my bike, but I now know it is getting better. Thanks for the support and encouraging words.
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Old 05-27-13, 06:57 PM
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Clean break callouse formation on the tibia takes at least 90 days - And thats fast healing, excelent nutrition, and thinking good thoughts...

Internal fixation and casting is a good thing and can speed healing - Don't be swayed by the removable cast boot or walking cast boot - They are convenient but they don't speed healing...

If your a slow healer look up FORTEO injections - They are off label for tib fractures but I have seen them work in slow healing and imuno compromised patients...
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Old 05-27-13, 07:00 PM
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Bill Kapaun
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I'm still having edema around and above the ankle.
The elastic on my socks has a major effect on the degree of swelling.
Around the house, I'm still wearing slippers/no socks and I found some old stretched out socks for when I HAVE to wear my shoe.
7 months last Sat.
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Old 05-28-13, 11:40 AM
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dude, give it a year
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Old 11-06-13, 12:54 AM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
dude, give it a year
Rumrunn6, I'm believing you. Here we are 8 months out (as of 11 Nov). I got cleared to begin walking with full pressure at the 6 month mark in September but it took me another month or so to lose the crutches. I've been using only a cane when out or at work, and usually nothing while puttering around the house. I made it through the grocery store on Saturday and to church on Sunday with no support.
Best news is that I rode to work today (Wednesday)!! Overcast and a little drizzle, but that's OK. It took me a little longer, of course, but I just took my time and enjoyed the morning air. Felt Great!
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Old 11-06-13, 07:18 AM
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right on man!

I have a similar break of my tibia 17 yrs ago when I fainted after peeing. the doctor said imagine twisting a pencil until it breaks, that's what happened to you. lovely. it was a diagonal break but not shattered as I would imagine a wood pencil might break like a tree, it was a clean diagonal break. he thought about bolting it together but ultimately decided not to. I was pretty protective of the limb for a long time. I wasn't doing any personal training so-to-speak and I was not into cycling yet.

eat nutritious food and work on your metabolism. slow and steady now.

oh about crutches, etc, my surgeon said if you can't walk without a limp you need 2 crutches, never use just one. everyone is different and and every situation is different. I suppose there must be a medical reason to use a single cane but I would think 2 walking sticks might be smarter - you know the hiking kind? they are pretty cool.

I also had knee surgery and from both incidents I remember having to deal with muscular atrophy. cross training, walking running, weight training, cycling & swimming is the best way to build up muscle mass again. of course you won't be doing leg presses and thigh lifts for a long time but other moderately impactful things might be ok like walking and cycling.

thanks for keeping us updated, looking forward to monitoring your progress.

how old are you? any pics of your legs? any x-rays you can share?
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Old 11-06-13, 10:58 AM
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I broke Tibia/Fibula skking Jan 2011. Had a clean break f teh fibual & spiral fractured the tibia, requiring ORIF with 2 plates & 16 screws. Patience is the key here!! About 6 3 weeks after surgery I was in a walking boot, but not weight bearing for 6 weeks or so. The doc said it would be ok to use my bike on a trainer with the boot on, so I did that for a while, as circulation will help the healing. The onler you are, the longer it takes though. By Summer I was out on the bike, however the tibia still had a partial union a year later, so I went in for a bone graft procedure Dec 2012. Things are looking better with the healing of the none, yet still have discomfort when I try to run, so possible next step might be to remove the hardware. The good news is that since summer of 2011, I done a few century rides, got involved in CX racing, and did alot of bike commuting, so has not held me back to much from the bike!!
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