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Comment : Welcome to the club you really don't wanna join
Posted by Arlo on Fri 4:55pm 6 January 2006

Hi Alan,

Welcome to the site. You will find a lot of inspiration here on these pages which may well prove a life saver over the course of your recovery!

Anyhow, I have a diary at http://www.mybrokenleg.com/arlo where you can read about my exploits.

I live in Kent so can relate to any NHS fun and games you may well have experienced to date. A lot of the folks on here are stateside, but most of the experiences and treatments seem to be the same, some worse than others!

I too sustained a compound (open) fracture of the tibia and fibula. This happened back in June 2005. I don't wish to alarm you, but I'm only just starting to do FWB (Full Weight Bearing) which means being able to support all of my body weight on the bad leg whilst taking the good leg off the floor.

Of course, everyone's injury is different, and we all heal at different rates. I would suggest that 12 weeks total recovery for a compound fracture is a tad optimistic. I'm not saying that to depress you, but would rather give you a realistic outlook of what you could face. Have you spoken to your consultant and asked him how long he thinks you will be out of action? They do tend to know their business.

It's not uncommon to show little or no healing after 6 weeks. My fractures didn't really show any major signs of healing until 3 months down the line, but like I said before, everyone is different and we all heal at different rates.

In answer to your questions, firstly, I would attempt to keep your leg elevated as much as possible at this stage. Your body will tell you if you've had the leg down too long and will turn different shades of red and purple and will puff up - let your body be your guide, but don't overdo it.

I can recommend certain physio exercises as follows, which will work even if you can't weight bear much:-

Alphabets The simple goal of this simple exercise is to increase range of motion in the ankle. Basically you allow your foot and ankle to hang free and then use your toes to trace the movements of writing the alphabet in block letters, making the letters as large as possible.

Heel Lifts While sitting, I brace my foot flat on the floor and then attempt to raise up the back part of my foot, lifting my heel off the ground.

Alternatively, I rest my heel on the ground and make an effort to lift my toes, and eventually the front part of my foot, off the ground.

Not sure about the 25% weight bearing if you don't have scales, but again, try increased weight bearing on the leg and back off if it starts hurting. Again, be careful and don't overdo it.

I was prescribed low dosage valium (2mg) as a muscle relaxant to help me sleep when the pain kept me awake, but you again should speak to your consultant or your GP to see if they can prescribe something to help here.

Lastly, the swelling is quite normal.

Good luck and keep us all posted. Happy New Year!

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 Fri 4:55pm 6 January 2006
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