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Readers Tips

Here are additional tips offered by members on this list and offered in the following groupings: Diet, Entertainment, Medications, Smoking, Exercise, Swelling, Safety, Assistance, Clothing, Food/Hydration, Hygiene, Sleep, Psychological, Skin, Cast, Mobility, Bathing. We hope you find value in these tips.

BEST OF THE BEST TIP: Well, I finished my PT sessions with my physiatrist. What is the new I did not know and many PT do not give much attention to: We, BLers, have an instinctual fear of pain. If we are afraid of pain we cannot walk well, as we have to do. I mean we do not load weight on our BL, as if it is made of glass. Fear of pain. Well, I was trying yesterday to stand up from a chair I was sitting in the PT room. My physiatrist was watching me. I did it completely wrong. I was using my abs to get up, very bad for the spine. No. In order to get up, turn to the side and use your hands. I got up right at the end. I was standing up. Another fault: My center of gravity was above my good leg. I had to correct it moving my hips, not my body. I did it right after some tries, but my brain did not learn it yet. I have to do it hundreds of times to learn it again. It is difficult, I assure you. If you do it wrong correct it. Learn how to move your weight from the good leg to your BL, it is not obvious, we are afraid to bear weight on it. Close your eyes and try to find the center of gravity, that it has to be in the center of your body. Then open your eyes. Try it for hundreds of times, better in front of a mirror. It seems to be not so important as it is ROM or other things. NO, it is important as it helps to gain extension. And walk with your chin up, do not look at the floor. You see, all these months your body learned a wrong pattern. If you cannot do it by yourself, ask your PT to teach you. If he/she does not know it or do not give much attention to it, change PT. If you learn it you will walk freely, as you did before your accident. An important issue in your rehabilitation is balance. When you start walking without crutches or cane, try not to limp, as your body will learn a wrong gait pattern. It is very bad for your spine. Do not load you spine with extra work. Exercises should never push your spine. They have to isolate and load the muscle groups you want to strengthen, not the spine. Moreover they are more effective this way. Learn to find your center of gravity in front of a mirror. Try to shift from the broken leg to your good one and vice versa. Do not hesitate to bear weight on your broken leg, if it is permitted by your OS. Your physiotherapist will teach you the right way to walk properly and freely and balance your body. And remember: Never load your spine with excess force.

BEST OF THE BEST TIP: Be your own advocate. I broke my tibia and fibula all the way through. I also dislocated my shoulder in the same accident. Emergency room staff sent me home with crutches. Now I have a leg in a temporary cast, everything inside my leg is popping and twisting and the bones are not attached so any movement is painful. Additionally I wound up re dislocating my shoulder twice. Using the crutches was probably aggravating the injury. Moving around on crutches is jostling my leg injury around. Not ideal. Get my ortho surgery appointment. Same lesson. The front office did not get me the soonest available appointment with the ortho surgeon so I had to speak with a nurse to get a timely appointment. So anyway, I called the Drs office and requested a prescription for a wheelchair. It did not occur to the professionals to even suggest a wheelchair? I spoke to an assistant in the Dr office and she suggested using one crutch...this is somewhat hysterical if you will conjure up the picture of a person attempting to use a crutch on their right side and their right leg for mobility, and hello. Sounds really safe right? So I asked to speak with a nurse her reaction was, oh my, this is terrible, of course you can get a wheel chair. It stuns me that I had to ask under the circumstances, but it shows...if you need something say it. And do not let the first line at the Dr office tell you that you do not need it! Go through the nurses..they get it and they will help you but you need to be vocal.

MENTAL HEALTH: Be in charge of your care. You were most probably assigned a surgeon by the hospital. While you may have a great surgeon, he/she might not be the right choice for your recovery (communication, attitude, approach) If you do not feel comfortable, seek a second opinion. I switched and it made a HUGE difference!

SO IMPORTANT I AM INSERTING THIS TWICE: Be in charge of your care. You were most probably assigned a surgeon by the hospital. While you may have a great surgeon, he/she might not be the right choice for your recovery (communication, attitude, approach) If you do not feel comfortable, seek a second opinion. I switched and it made a HUGE difference!

NEW! A new section has been created for DIET. How could we have missed this important topic before? Experience has taught us well that what we eat dramatically affects how we feel and heal. So enjoy this new section and thanks to our first tipster on this subject.

DIET: Not only will you need to increase calcium intake but also protein. Bones are nearly half protein. Also, consider your calorie intake. Wound healing takes a lot of calories, good ones that is. An average adult with a healing broken bone can require 2-3 times more calories than an active adult! Just keep them healthy... you guessed it, fruit, vegetables, nuts like raw almonds, poultry, fish. And stay away from salt, caffeine, alcohol, refined sugar, soda, and red meat - they all rob calcium. And DO NOT forget to call and visit your local health food store for additional healing remedies to complement traditional medicine. My Doctor says I am 4 weeks ahead of healing and I contribute it to diet, homeopathy, accupuncture, and treating the injury with respect (I fell down 3rd day after surgery and scared myself right into the bed!) I know that seems like a long list but 4 weeks was my goal and I tried all good healthy sane ideas that were under $20.

Osteodiet.com has some great diet tips for healing broken bones and other good stuff.

ENTERTAINMENT: If you live close by to an oldie but goodie...... a drive-in movie theatre, its perfect for those who can not walk. I know they may be hard to find nowadays, but its very convenient and very cheap.

ENTERTAINMENT: I broke my tibia and fibia 5 months ago to keep my sanity I rented tons of comedy dvds.. LAUGHTER PROMOTES HEALING

ENTERTAINMENT: After having 2 major breaks in 5 yrs, my best basic advise is 2 things-entertainment~sign up for netflix movies, it comes in the mail and easy to obtain any movies that you want. And have someone buy you a grab-it reach stick. You can usually get them at Walgreens or Walmart. It is the next best thing when trying to reach for things you cant get to!

ENTERTAINMENT There are many sources of free ebooks available on line libraries, but I was not able to focus on reading for some weeks. I lived on INSTANT VIEWING of movies and TV shows on Netflixs, Hulu, and Youtube. Catch up on series, old favorites, and undiscovered gems.

ENTERTAINMENT: To decorate my 17 month olds long blue cast, my husband used liquid paper white out for the outline, and kids paint to colour it in.

MEDICATIONS: I would add Dole Flavored Prunes as a suggestion for the constipation problem. Try the natural way first.

MEDICATIONS: If you are getting an ankle screw out, I highly recommend getting sedated and having a local anesthetic put on your ankle. I had general anesthesia to put in the screw but the removal takes almost no time at all and you do not feel a thing. You are totally asleep still, but do not feel out of sorts like with general anesthesia.

MEDICATIONS: For constipation associated with Percocet try Senicot. Natural and works overnight.

MEDICATIONS: Bone healing more than doubled in speed when I stopped drinking coke (or any soda with phosphate in it). It was throwing the calcium/phosphate balance out of whack. Highly recommend staying out of the sodas until the bone is back.

MEDICATIONS: Every hospital has been required now to address effective pain management as a patient right. There are nurses and physicians who specialize in it in almost every hospital. But you may have to demand it by going up the ranks, possibly using a patient advocate. Many nurses and physicians do not agree with it. Orthopedic surgeons are noted as being some of the worst.

MEDICATIONS: You should be able to tolerate your pain, and your pain medications should be managed with a written plan to decrease their use over time and changing circumstances, monitored by a professional. Addiction to pain meds is not a problem if they are used effectively. Misuse and addiction are usually caused by mismanagement, causing the patient to think they crave or need more, when they never had the correct levels to start with. When the right combination and doses of pain medicines are being used, your pain becomes controllable, predictable and level. You do not have the fear of it because you are in control again and looking forward to getting off of them altogether in the future.

MEDICATIONS: Begin taking collace (laxative) as soon as possible and keep taking it. Pain meds cause constipation and its best to be ahead of the curve.

MEDICATIONS: First night home after surgery set an alarm every 4 hours during the night to give yourself pain meds. There are few things worse than waking up in the middle of the night in excruciating pain due to pain meds wearing off.

MEDICATIONS: Calcium is absolutely essential for getting the bones to grow back. It is especially important to get a whole lot of calcium into your system, and milk is the fastest way to do it -- a quart a day is a good amount. Yogurt is another good way. Calcium supplements are good for some, but if you are prone to kidney stones avoid the ones with calcium carbonate, or you will start excreting stones.

MEDICATIONS: After I broke my leg (compound tib & fib), the first week home I was on painkillers - Norco - who work great! Then after a week taking them I tried to stop as the pain was much less but the withdrawal was horrible, I could not sleep, I could not stay in one place for more than 10 seconds (even with a broken leg), there was no such thing as a comfortable position - to keep it short - I wanted to scratch my skin out with my bare hands. What kept me through it was playing video games, that was the only thing that could keep me in one place for more than 30 mins. After 2-3 days I slowly got better and calmer and back to normal. I think painkiller withdrawals should be addressed more as it is an important part in the beginning of the healing process after a leg fracture.

MEDICATIONS: If you have multiple meds to take, make yourself a chart so you can check off when you have taken them, especially if you are on narcotics! Use you Cell phone alarm as a reminder for taking your meds.

MEDICATIONS: What helped my bones heal were some calcium tablets which also contained magnesium, zinc, vitamin B3 plus other ingredients which promoted bone growth and calcium absorption. They were ideal because my day to day diet was not enough and the tablets gave my bones what they needed for healing.

MEDICATIONS: Constipation from painkillers can be severe! I became impacted (Google it) and wouldn\'t wish that horrible experience on my worst enemy. The day you start taking painkillers, also start taking a stool-softener w/no side effects or sudden urges.

HEALTH: One of the BEST things you can do to help your broken bone heal is to STOP SMOKING.

WHY. The time it takes for a leg fracture to heal is significantly longer in smokers compared with non-smokers Ė up to twice as long! In one group of folks with broken tibias, the nonsmokers healed in 136 days, but the smokers took 269 days. Thatís 4 Ĺ months versus 9 months! With a slow healing rate, itís also more likely that the fracture wonít heal at all (that is, nonunion). In studies of tibial fractures, smokers are 5-40% more likely than nonsmokers to have nonunion. Smokers are also more likely to need a bone graft or have nails inserted to help hold the fracture together. In the long run, decades after the fracture finally heals, smokers have more porous bone (i.e., osteoporosis) at the site of fractures. Allow your bone to heal properly by stopping smoking.

This isnít just true of tibial fractures, by the way. Smokersí risk of nonunion is 2.7 times higher than non-smokers with a broken heel; 2.0 times higher after lumbar fusion; 3.7 times higher with a broken ankle; and significantly higher with broken jaws and arms as well.

WHEN. NOW. Studies disagree about how helpful it is to stop smoking once a bone is already broken, but thereís evidence that once you stop smoking, you have a significantly better chance of normal bone healing, possibly even as good as someone who never smoked.

HOW. Having a broken leg is actually an ideal time to stop smoking. You may not be able to get to the store to buy cigarettes, for example, which makes it a lot easier to resist cravings. Enlist your caregiver in helping you to quit by throwing away your cigarettes and not buying you any more! Some of the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal may be indistinguishable from the symptoms of pain medications, surgery, and so on, so you can get all of it over with at once. By the time you feel better from your fracture, most of the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal will be gone as well.

Try not to use nicotine replacement, because itís at least in part the nicotine in cigarettes that causes bones to heal more slowly. Instead, treat the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal. Most of them (irritability, fatigue, restlessness) will be indistinguishable from the symptoms of inactivity and confinement, so everything you do to cope with those things will help you cope with nicotine withdrawal. The stool softeners they gave you for the constipating effects of narcotics will work just as well for the constipation that sometimes occurs when you quit smoking. Sore throat after surgery and sore throat from stopping smoking can both be treated with lozenges and hot drinks. There are also prescription medications that can help reduce your cravings to smoke; ask your doctor. Donít be concerned if you cough more for a while after you stop smoking Ė itís just the parts of your airway that help keep it clean coming back to life after being suppressed by smoking.

Use the internet to help you. There are lots of FREE online programs to help smokers quit, including the American Cancer Society website (www.cancer.org/docroot/PED/ped_10_3.asp?sitearea=PED ) or help line (1-800-ACS-2345), the American Lung Association Freedom From Smoking program (http://www.lungusa.org/site/pp.asp?c=dvLUK9O0E&b=22931& ), or the National Cancer Instituteís website (www.smokefree.gov).

Tibial fracture

Union odds ratio .63 vs. non-smokers (Castillo et al., J Orthopaedic Trauma, 2005).Union rate 84% vs. 94% in non-smokers (Harvey et al., Am J Orthopedics, 2002). Union rate 95% vs. 100% in non-smokers (Schmitz et al., Clin Orthopaedics Rel Res). Graft required 26% vs. 18% in non-smokers (Adams et al., Injury, 2001). Nailing required 38% vs. 26% in non-smokers (Adams et al.). Time to healing 269 days vs. 136 in non-smokers Ė 98% delay (Schmitz et al.). Time to union 32 weeks vs. 28 in non-smokers Ė 14% delay (Adams et al.) . Delay to union 69% vs. nonsmokers (Schmitz et al.). Increased risk of osteoporosis after 16 years in smokers (Khalid et al., J Clin Densitom, 2005)

Mandible

Increased incidence of abscess, fistula, nonunion (Furr et al., Laryngoscope, 2006)

Hindfoot (heel)

Risk of nonunion 2.7 vs. non-smokers (Ishikawa et al., Foot Ankle Intl, 2002)

Ulna

Union rate 70% vs. 100% in non-smokers (Chen et al., Am J Orthopedics, 2001). Time to union 7.1 months vs. 4.1 in non-smokers (Chen et al.)

Lumbar spine

Risk of nonunion 2.0 vs. non-smokers (Andersen et al., Spine, 2001). Union rate 40% vs. 8% in non-smokers (Brown et al., Spine, 1986)

Ankle

Risk of nonunion 3.75 vs. non-smokers (Cobb et al., Foot Ankle Intl, 1994)

Effects of nicotine in experimental rabbit model

Union rate 87% in nicotine-exposed vs. 100% in unexposed (Raikin et al., Clin Orthopaedics Rel Res, 1998). 26% weaker bone 8 weeks after fracture in nicotine-exposed vs. unexposed (Raikin et al.)

EXERCISE: Buy one of those apple-sized spiky rubber balls used for massaging. To regain ankle mobility, you can exercise your ankle by rolling the ball on the floor with your foot while you are in a sitting position.

EXERCISE: To speed up the recovery process try aqua therapy. the water will make you bouyant and take the pressure off of your injured area allowing you to get a much better range of motion. It also takes the swelling down. I cannot say enough good about it.

SWELLING: For traveling, the disposable single use ice packs are great.

SWELLING: I wet a large bath towel, fold it twice (one time each way), put it in a kitchen size trash bag & rolled it up, placed it in the fridge overnight, then unrolled it and put it in the freezer for about 20-25 minutes. This gets it slightly stiff yet leaves it pliable enough to wrap your leg from knee to foot. I then wrap it with a large elastic bandage, which secures it and helps drive the cold into the leg. It will stay good and cold for about 30 minutes, which is what most therapists recommend. Then I simply roll it back up and return it to the fridge to get it ready for the next 20-25 minute trip to the freezer.

SWELLING: When the cast is off and you want swelling to subside, ice the leg by applying an iced towel: Wet and wring a kitchen towel, put it in the freezer in a plastic bag for a couple of hours. This tip comes from my PT.

SWELLING: ICEMAN is a cooler that is attached to an ice bag that keeps cold for 24 hours straight. Just plug it in and you are ready to go!

SWELLING: I know of no better method of comfortably controlling swelling and the resulting pain better than using a Cryo/Cuff by Aircast. I was given a unit on release from hospital after my accident, and another after both my hardware removal and recent knee replacement. These have been loaned out to dozens of MBLís over the years and each has said the use of the Cryo/Cuff was a lifesaver for them. Briefly, a small cooler (jug) is connected via a quick connect tube to a bladder cuff that is Velcro attached to the knee. The cooler holds a full days worth of ice and cold water which you can fill and drain from the bladder in the cuff as often as you wish. Look for this on-line. I have no connection with this company nor any interest in the product except to share with you a wonderful solution to a common problem.

SWELLING: The best ice pack ever: Add 1 big bottle of Karo syrup (or generic light corn syrup) to a gallon ziplock bag. Make sure most, but not all, of the air is out of the bag. Also double bag to avoid leaks. Freezing this make a very pliable ice pack that stay cold for a long time. Make a few so you always have a backup!!

SWELLING: For elevating feet and comfort, the best thing I have found is the GRAVITY CHAIR, an outdoor recliner which actually puts the foot at heart level. The back is flat and the fabric is mesh.

SAFETY: Too all ski lovers please do not ever use ski/Snow blades. They look like fun but they will land you in hospital with a broken leg which is not fun. I have been skiing since I was four and considered myself an excellent skier and I am not sure what possessed me to try these stupid blades. Please what ever you do not try them. I am Canadian and I am so glad that snow blades are not allowed there. If you really love skiing do not ever use snow blades. I was not going fast, I was not even moving I was just turning to go down when my blades got stuck into the snow because they do not have the length to go over the snow the only thing that can move is your body and that is what happen to me I fell forward and heard my leg snap after that all I remember is being in a lot of pain .I could not get the dam blades off I should have known when I tried to put them on I had to ask Tarzan to buckle me in. I was in so much pain my leg felt very heavy and I still could not get this dam blades off s! In the end I gave up and lay there my leg twisted crying and hoping my friends alerted the ski petrol and that they would be these soon . It felt as if I has been lying there for along time . Please enjoy skiing and tell you friends not to ever try ski/snow blades no matter how experienced a skier you are. They are dangerous.

SAFETY: Before you go in to surgery to have hardware put in, be sure to tell people if you have an allergy to metal, so they put in titanium to reduce reaction possibility.

SAFETY: Scared of another fall whilst trying to hop over doorsteps whilst NWB on crutches? Provided there is sufficient room, and the ground is even, a sturdy chair strategically placed can enable you to sit, swivel round and stand up safely on the other side. It is lovely to be able to sit in the garden and enjoy the fresh air, sun and flowers, knowing you can get back inside.

SAFETY: wwhen learning to walk with walker/crutches, first look around the floor for loose items, slippery spots, wet areas before proceeding. Check the bottom of crutches and walker for trapped dust bunnies to avoid slipping.

SAFETY: Bring along a family member or friend to your appointments with your OS. That way there are two of you to hear what the doctor says about your condition and progress. It is amazing how quickly you will forget important information if you try to remember everything yourself.

SAFETY: Make a list of your questions before each doctors appointment and bring it with you. Refer to the list while the doctor is in the room to be sure you covered all of your concerns.

SAFETY: Repeat any instructions from the doctor back to him before he leaves the room to make sure that your understanding of what he wants you to do or not do is crystal clear in your mind.

SAFETY: If you have a fiberglass walking cast, NEVER try to do ANYTHING without the accompanying cast shoe-even just hobbling to the bathroom in the middle of the night without it is extremely dangerous, as the fiberglass bottom is very slick.

SAFETY: I found the standard foot pads that came on my new crutches to lack slip resistance on wet tile floors. After experiencing two scary near misses I ordered a pair of slip resistant rain guard crutch tips from tipsthatgrip.com. I found these to be much better. There are many replacement tips available online. Save yourself from a 2nd injury and get slip resistant crutch tips.

ASSISTANCE: My 15 year old daughter broke her tibia 1 week ago and her bedroom is on 2nd floor. I have a plastic portapotty that I bought about 30 years ago from a camping store. She is using this in the night if she has to go to the bathroom, rather than having to come down the stairs (and disturb me too). It works great! Also, she has been using a cell phone to call me on our regular phone. I keep the cordless phone beside my pillow at night (my room is on the main floor).

ASSISTANCE: When the volunteers are lining up... let them. However, it will benefit everyone if you ask a friend to help you organize these outreach efforts. It can be overwhelming for you in the first few weeks when you need the rest. It would be a shame if tons of great food is stacked in the fridge and you can not possibly eat it all. Apply this to visitors as well. I found a strange double-edged sword to it all. I was so tired from visiting and talking on the phone the first 2 weeks I was goofy. Be honest, you will not offend anyone and yes, by all means, do accept help. You are providing a chance for a friend to help you. It is a good thing for all concerned. Take their name and number. Remember, when people offer to help....they really mean it. You will be shocked at how many do not even offer to help.

ASSISTANCE: Do NOT be shy about asking your church or synagogue or mosque for help. That is what the deacons (church) are for. They like to do it! If you do not have a church, ask anyway. You will be surprised to find you have a 100 new friends.

ASSISTANCE: Get a handicapped parking permit now! You do not think you need it because you are not driving, but you will need it, and it takes 4-6 weeks to process.

ASSISTANCE: Have your friends move your food and toiletries down to chair level.

ASSISTANCE: A medic alert (Help - I have fallen and can not get up) system reassures me when I am home alone that I can get help if I fall. Also a baby monitor can be a great tool to communicate between different rooms.

ASSISTANCE: I find that controlling the temperature of my body while convalescing in bed, is particularly difficult. Of course, it is much easier when the effects of the morphine wear off after coming home from the hospital (I curse morphine, though I realise it is necessary in the initial stages of agony...), and easier still as I progress and reduce the amounts of meds I take. I have a remote-controlled fan, the tower type, and I find it absolutely invaluable for temperature control. When I start to overheat, I just turn it on the time it takes to cool me down, then turn it off, without having to call for caretakers. If you have progressed to the stage where you can hobble about in bed without too much pain, I find the fan great to dry up any areas that have become uncomfortably sweaty (bottom, back, any pillows you are propped up against for too long, etc.). Just wiggle about until the area to be dried is comfortable.

ASSISTANCE: Remote controls for mains sockets! Sold in most DIY or household electronics-hardware stores. A receiver unit plugs into the mains socket, and the light, TV, Hifi, etc plugs into the receiver. A remote control can then be carried in the pocket, or positioned at the doorway. A typical UK version can be seen here:- http://www.maplin.co.uk/remote-controlled-mains-sockets-5-pack-348217

ASSISTANCE: If you have friends who are offering to help with meals, go to carecalendar.org and set up a schedule (it\'s free and secure.) We set up the calendar with meal requests for every other weekday and folks then simply posted when/what they were bringing on their preferred open; day, avoiding a bunch of emails chains and phone calls about dates and preferences! It also allows you to post updates and provides directions to your home

ASSISTANCE: I am a 70 plus with back problems. I do live at the end of a family house, but 2 steps into the families end. I broke my lower leg. My daughter sorted me out a camping fridge, in which she put milk and butter along with some goodies and breads etc. She also gave me a flask, so if she is out I can fend for myself. I cannot use crutches because of back and age problems. The hospital gave me a zimmer frame. However even this was too tiring for me. I found on the web a K9 knee scooter, which I bought. This is invaluable, and can even with care get up the 2 small steps into main house. I found a site which sold covers for your plaster. They are fitted for your height and weight size also for the part of body needed. IE in my case lower leg. It has a rubber seal which does not stick and easy to get on and off. You apparently can swim in this. I also bought a revolving shower seat. I am lucky in having a bath size shower. On my K9 I have tied a bag in which I place things to be taken into the kitchen for the dishwasher and to bring back top ups of flask and milk. My daughter cooks my evening meal. I can also help in feeding our kittens when she is busy. The church has loaned me a wheelchair. I do still feel quite housebound as Im used to going out every day and have to rely on my daughter approx twice a week to take me out. I cannot drive my car as its not automatic. I hope some of my ideas will help others.

ASSISTANCE: Bring in an adjustable hospital bed and overbed table if you cannot access bedroom due to stairs.

CLOTHING: To assist in pulling on pants: Attach suspenders to the pants then work your legs into the trousers and pull them up to within arms reach.

CLOTHING: I found this very helpful for pulling pants/jeans over a cast when you go back to work or have an important meeting with people and want to look a bit professional. I had a long zipper sewn into the inseam of a few of them. When the cast comes off you can leave it in or take it out.

CLOTHING: Bed help: Find a good pair of those sleek sporty basketball shorts. its tough enough to move around the bed with pain in your legs and these shorts make it a bit easier to slide in and out of bed.

CLOTHING: I have been wearing the slinky black travel pants, which are known for traveling well, not wrinkling. They are commonly found at stores like Chicos, but can be found elsewhere. I like them because they are easy to put on by myself, they slide easily over my cast, and they are very comfortable to wear, and they don\\\'t make you feel frumpy, and anything to boost your mood is worthwhile.

CLOTHING: My husband got me some scrub pants from a uniform supply store. They\'re decent-looking and fit great over my cast.

FOOD/HYDRATION: When drinking fluids (water) use a lot of ice, so that it melts and provides you with a prolonged drinking source while the ice melts.

FOOD/HYDRATION: I had friends buy cases of water, and put the bottles in accessible places around the house.

FOOD/HYDRATION: Stock your fridge with bottled water. Each bottle can be refilled, rechilled and used for a constant supply. You can get your caretaker to refill them with lemonade, Crystal Light, etc, also.

FOOD/HYDRATION: A cramp usually lasts around 60 seconds. Knowing that helped me to tough out the few I had. Keeping very hydrated really helped to minimize leg, ankle, foot and toe cramps.

HYGIENE: If your bathroom is narrow and you want to sit in front of the sink to shave, apply makeup, etc, try placing a folding chair against the wall opposite the sink ( as long as it does not block your walker or crutches.)

HYGIENE: Depends underware with velcro worked great. Knee walker made getting around much easier and Canadian crutch for when I started walking on it after 6 months.

HYGIENE: She wees - those female toilet things make it easy to have a wee when bed ridden

SLEEP: For comfortable sleeping invest in a bean bag, the leg will sink into the middle preventing covers from lying on top and also preventing leg from moving during sleep.

SLEEP: Get a neck contour pillow, the leg rests in the center groove and does not roll out during sleep.

SLEEP: Waterbed: I have been out of the hospital for a week and a half and have come to the conclusion that sleeping in a waterbed and being comfortable is next to impossible. If you are on antibiotics the bed will make you sweat. And when you are done sweating and all wet you will then freeze. There is no happy medium. Just a word of advice from someone who has been there.

SLEEP: Bed: I rented a hospital-type over-the-bed table for $20/month from a medical supply co. Everything I needed was handy and within reach.

Sleep: I have found that MELATONIN is an awesome sleep aid. It is natural and does not leave you waking up groggy like Tylenol PM, etc. Doctors recommend it to autistic children and patients with bi-polar disorder who have difficulty sleeping. It is also much more cost effective than over the counter sleep aids.

SLEEP: It is difficult to get some sleep in these stages, so the best thing is try yoga before sleep. Just breathe in for 10 secs, hold for 10 secs and breathe out for 10 secs do 5-10 reps.

SLEEP: After I broke my leg and was non-weight bearing for 12 weeks, the best thing I did was get a hospital bed and a bedside commode. We live in an old house and too hard to get around. It didnít even cost me anything, our American Legion has had all of these things donated to them, so they lend them to the community. You can give them a donation or not, we are waiting until I am back to work before we do this.

SLEEP: The best $50 I spent is on an orthopedic foam wedge pillow for my legs. I used it in bed every day and night for weeks after surgery. It was a significant advantage in swelling/pain relief. They come in different sizes and manufacturers, but get the 10" to elevate foot above heart. It looks huge (both legs will rest on top) but it fits fine in my queen-size bed (without inconveniencing my husband) It is wide enough to accommodate both legs and is very comfortable. I liked using it while sitting up when taking visitors and in car riding the 2.5 hrs from hospital visits!

SLEEP: Put your pillows etc UNDER you mattress this way your injured leg cannot slide off and stays elevated all night.

PHYCHOLOGICAL: I was not prepared for the depression. I live alone, and while family and friends visited every day, I have never felt so alone and helpless, and ashamed of feeling sorry for myself. Reach out to your loved ones with a broken ankle, not only by shopping and taking out the trash -- which is very important -- but make sure they know they are not alone. Spend time with them, talk with them about current events, rent a movie to watch WITH them, bring over a great take-out dinner -- this will be a treat for someone with limited cooking abilities. The gift of your time is extremely helpful in keeping their spirits up.

PHYCHOLOGICAL: Take a camera with you to each of your MD appointments. Take a photo of each of your x-rays while displayed on the light board. Look at them if you feel down, you will note your progress.. Hey look it IS healing nicely!!..... that works for me.

PHYCHOLOGICAL: A comment about depression. I am highly motivated to set an example for my kids about dealing with adversity. So, when my wife sends me the signal that I am too grumpy, I just hide in bed for a few days rather than yell at the kids for acting just like they always do. Not being able to use my hands (because of the crutches) was extremely frustrating, especially after being mostly ambulatory the last 2 weeks for the fixator- but sometimes progress needs 2 steps backwards. The bottom line is, just like most things in life- there are others better than me at just about everything- even at being depressed. This morning, I saw a man with 2 artificial limbs below the knee jogging. Another reminder that I can not afford to be too self-indulgent.

PHYCHOLOGICAL: Best advice from my sister-in-law: Just because you are in pain, does not mean you have to be a pain. Smile at friends and family when they are trying to be helpful but are just getting in the way.

PHYCHOLOGICAL: You will discover who your friends really are... they are the ones who take time to visit, help, and/or call you. They may not be the people you expect either. Learn from this : Maintain contact with those who care and forget those who do not

PSYCHOLOGICAL: Best gift: I received maid service set up and paid for by my parents. Seeing my house nice and clean and not having to worry lifted my spirits immeasurably. I will pass this on to the next person I know who breaks something!

PHYCHOLOGICAL: Scrapbook : When I broke my leg I started a scrapbook. It was great! I took pictures of my visitors and anything I wanted to remember, plus it kept me busy.

PHYCHOLOGICAL: Get out of the house! If a friend offers to take you to the mall, or park, or anywhere, go. Even though you may feel self-conscience in a wheel chair, the change of scenery does wonders for your sanity and morale.

PHYCHOLOGICAL: Psychological Distress: Understanding psychology associated with severe lower-limb injury. http://www.mybrokenleg.com/forums/read.php?f=2&i=49404&t=49404

PHYCHOLOGICAL: The moment I realized my ankle was broken I hypnotized my foot - disassociated it, and repeated self-hypnosis cue words, and used the Control Room of the Mind Technique to turn down pain signals and apply hypno-anaesthesia.

PHYCHOLOGICAL: Hypnosis tapes and self-hypnosis techniques are very helpful for analgesia/anesthesia with no side effects, depression and feelings of frustration, I have even used self-hypnosis to dissociate from the unreachable interminable itch that could not be scratched! One source of CDs/tapes is www.michaelyapko.com

PHYCHOLOGICAL: The best tip I can give anyone is to remain positive ... when you are feeling depressed and down remember you will heal in time and there are people out there that are much worse than you ... Trust me this works.

PHYCHOLOGICAL: Balance. You are going to have good days and bad days and that is ok. Accept the bad with the good and then move on.

PHYCHOLOGICAL: Set a goal of learning something new during the healing process. I have three months of NWB and knew I would go crazy if I thought that time was completely wasted. So, I am learning Turkish. It feels great to have accomplished something everyday and I am glad that I will be able to look back at this difficult time and see something good that came from it.

PHYCHOLOGICAL: Give yourself lots of time to heal. Keep busy with what you like to do best, read, watch T.V., play on the computer, Keep your attitude positive. When you are able to get up, take it slow knowing you have to have many rest periods. Talk to your doctor about depression if you need to. Remember it is not how hard you fell that counts, but how you get back up!

PSYCHOLOGY: I started a diary in the hospital and it happened that I expressed some of my feelings in poems. That helped me a lot.

PHYCHOLOGICAL: One of the things that really helped me early on was doing modified yoga practices. I could sit on a chair and stretch upper body, and I could do lying relaxations/meditations once I was able to take the airboot off. I recommend Swami Pragyamurthi\'s yoga nidra CDs, especially volume 6, Prana Nidra, which helps to get the energy flowing all around the body. It helped me to feel that my broken leg was still part of me!

PHYCHOLOGICAL: Try to stay positive! A good way to do this is to have friends and family over. Company helps A LOT!

SKIN: I could not see my toes for all the white cracked skin. I used Emu Oil and just can not get over the difference! My toes and upper foot on the broken leg look much better than my other foot and in 24 hours time!

SKIN: For dry cracked hands after walking on your crutches for a long time try using a hand scrub - mix salt with a little Almond oil and then rub on to your hands. The salt scrubs the skin but the Almond oil nourishes and moisturises.

SKIN: I have found cycling gloves (with the gel pads on the palms) an absolute godsend. My hands were hurting so badly after my 1st day on the walker and the gloves make a big, big difference.

SKIN: Those callus you have been working on since you could first walk is now falling off the hard way...in horrible cracking layers: your hands (especially the palms) are becoming hamburger, then callused...PALMERS Cocoa Butter and Vitamin E cream is great for this painful process of callus replacement...

SKIN: For the awful cracked dry skin that you are left with when the cast finally comes off: I had great results with Bag Balm. It is the ultimate cure for over-dry, cracked skin. It is made in Vermont (actually for use on dairy cows), and is available in supermarkets and drug stores throughout the country. This stuff is truly magic! For those with sensitive noses, try Udderly Smooth udder cream. Very pleasant smell.

SKIN: Watch out for those calloses that build up on the base of your palm from using crutches or a walker. Sand them down with a pumice stone or sandpaper before they get too think and begin to split. That is when the splits start hurting and getting around is more than just a pain in the a**.

SKIN: A great tip for scars which was given to me by a nurse whilst in hospital- pop a vitamin E capsules and rub the oil into scars, massaging for a few minutes. It improves the appearance and makes it much less sensitive.

SKIN: to remove the ugly white skin parts I rubbed my hands in Baby Oil and massaged the foot; all the skin parts got stick to my hands. I did this about 4 evenings, after that the foot looked good again.

SKIN: Having an im rod in my femur caused my leg to stay painfully cold. Chemical body warmers found in the pharmacy or camping section of department stores help warm up my leg. Just follow directions. Some adhere to the inside of your clothing, some directly to your skin.

CAST: Cast insights. Even though it feels gross (and it will!) do not put perfume, powder, etc. into your cast...it will eventually just make things worse.

CAST: Cast insights: For really hot itchy days, an old fashioned fly swatter or the blunt end of a bent wire hanger works great...put it in the freezer for a few minutes and then the cooling effect inside your cast is soooo refreshing.

CAST: If you get a Velcro walking boot, especially in hot months, you will sweat in it a lot. I bought the largest big and tall mans socks I could find and cut the seam out of the top (so they did not bind at the top of my leg.) They come up almost as high as the boot and they prevent a lot of uncomfortable sweating!

CAST: Cast Itching. Use a hair dryer on cool setting to gently blow on the area of the cast that is itching.. (fiberglass casts have small holes that will allow the cool air to help) or you can take some over the counter benadryl.

CAST: Protecting your dry cast can be accomplished with cast covers. You can get them at drug stores, medical supply stores and online. Some brand names to check out are Aquashield, Seal Tight and Xerosox.

CAST: The fastest answer is to take a garbage bag and tape it to your leg above the cast with packing/electrical tape. Note: make sure that you are fairly well shaved in the tape area, even if that means a dry shave (it hurts a whole lot less than ripping the hair out when the removing the tape!)

CAST: I wrapped the cast first in an ace bandage then I used a variety of methods garbage bags, tape, cast protector with velcro. The ace bandage kept the cast dry from inevitable leakage.

CAST: To keep your cast from soiling and tearing bed sheets, as well as eliminating abrasions when your cast rubs against your other leg or body while sleeping, get a section of 4-inch stockinet (the cotton tubing applied over your leg when your cast is applied) and pull it over your cast prior to going to bed. You can get a length just long enough to cover the cast from your doc or a hospital. It stretches and is easy to pull on and remove and can be washed if necessary.

CAST: Now that all the flowers that people have sent are dead and gone, I have discovered the true gift: the long, plastic card holder. It has become my best friend as I use it as my scratcher for reaching into that nasty cast!

CAST: Cast itching. I found a wonderful product called Castblast on the internet. It is like canned air with talc powder in it. It is so wonderful to spray it under your cast, cooling, soothing, and dries out sweat.

CAST: For itching, I found a plastic chopstick does the trick.

CAST: Make sure you go home from hospital with at least one spare insert into your cam walker, so you can wash one and wear one. The cam walker is a cast, but looks like a ski boot with Velcro straps, and it is heaven, and puts your foot in exactly the place it needs to be. I couldnít stand two plaster casts before I got one for my broken ankle and finally found relief, as you can adjust the tightness, insert extra padding, and even open it carefully to wash your leg - ask your surgeon.

CAST: I found these great cast socks called cast mates online, they never fall off and keep my toes warm, full leg cast (left leg) for three months and counting!

CAST: My two year old niece broke her leg at the beginning of the summer and my sister was so upset because she would miss out on all the swimming. I went online and found this incredible cast cover called XeroSox. I do not remember where I bought it online, but you can Google it. She bathed and swam in it and it was completely waterproof. It was amazing and made bathing a much less tense experience. Good Luck.

CAST: Having worn a heavy full-length plaster cast for 6 months, when using a walker and then crutches, it helped to wear a tie-on shoe with a 1-1/2 inch stack heel that enabled my broken leg to be raised from the floor, thus I did not have to raise my hip to hold my leg up off the floor.

CAST: Cast itching. I found using a hand held viberator on the side of a cast produces a soothing tingle that lasts quite awhile.

CAST: My mother had a bad camwalker experience and we want to share our caution with others. Please be aware that you can choose your own brand of boot, and the best one on the market will cost the same as the worst one if insurance or Medicare is involved. The possibility for a larger profit with a lower quality boot results in doctors and hospitals rarely providing the highest quality boots for patients. Please take the time to research the brands available and find which boot will provide you with the best care possible.

CAST: To seal a garbage bag over a cast or brace, Vet-wrap (readily available online -- Stateline Tack, Smartpakequine.com are two places) -- works great, does not stick to your skin or hair, and is easy to use. CoFlex bandage is almost as good but not as self-sticky.

CAST: Colored casts are supposed to be more fun than traditional white, but the big chunk of solid color is boring and decorating a fiberglass cast is not easy. Sharpie tips are quickly eaten dull by the raw materials and most markers can nott cover up a colored cast underneath. NAILPOLISH is a perfect solution. Even cheap polish covered up the base color and the brushes were not damaged by the coarse surface. We used a sharpie to draw heart shapes on a particularly ugly red cast and used every color of nail polish to color them in. Even cheap glitter polish worked! There are several manufacturers who sell decal decorations (Casttoos is one) but since they are not cheap ($30 for short leg) and I was getting a new cast every month, it was going to be a pricey proposition keeping myself entertained and my leg properly adorned!

CAST: Disposable work boot covers are great to keep boot clean while going out! Extra large size fits right over entire foot of boot & you can trash it when you get home or it wears out. Boot stays clean for when you are home again and for bed!

Cast: I had a lot of discomfort wearing my air cast due to two tender incisions rubbing. After trying different padding, knee high tube socks (too tight due to swelling) I found fleece boot liners did the trick - soft, inexpensive and not too tight.

MOBILITY: For those on crutches for a long period of time - get yourself a bicycle basket and attach to crutches so you can easily store keys lipstick whatever wont fit in your pockets.

MOBILITY: I found a thermos flask invaluable as I could not carry a mug with coffee in it [obviously!] and I could hang it round my neck on my journey. It meant I could have drinks throughout the day without the major effort of trips to the kitchen. I also found a soft pillow between my lower legs, with plaster cast and afterwards, eased discomfort when I was in bed. I moved all regularly used foodstuffs to a small, reachable area on a kitchen table/surface saves time when you have to prepare food. Be prepared to eat microwave able food: it is just so much easier. Drinking lots of water can not be underestimated.

MOBILITY: I am 21 and got sick of having to find clothes with pockets in them, so I went to the pub and they gave me polystyrene stubby coolers - I taped them to my crutches and they carried everything - from keys, phone, wallet to beers!

MOBILITY: I used an office chair with wheels as a wheel chair around the house. I pushed myself with my good leg or used my crutches as oars.

MOBILITY: I took a lanyard with a clip on the end, attached to it a cloth shopping bag and carried objects around the house in it...even my used dishes...small decorator pillows at the end of the bed under the covers raised the covers off my leg, and also provided a surface to push against, lessening foot drop.

MOBILITY: When using crutches on stairs, lead with your bad leg going down and lead with your good leg going up. A doc told me, down to hell (bad leg), up to heaven (good leg).

MOBILITY: We live in an older house so a wheel chair is too wide for the doorways. I thought to use my computer chair (no armrests) and it is much easier to carry things as you control the chair with a good foot rather than your hands.

MOBILITY: I use a walker and have a little attachable pouch to the walker that holds a cordless telephone. Feel VERY secure having this when I am making trips to and from the bathroom in case I should fall.

MOBILITY: Look for fore-arm crutches on E-bay, they are alot more comfortable than regular armpit crutches!

MOBILITY: I found one more good way to get around. Once again, do not do this unless you are totally confident in yourself and your friends. Piggyback rides. Especially during the holidays, it really makes life a lot easier if you have a long walk.

MOBILITY: Pre-positioning: If you are on crutches, it is hard to carry things around, so think: pre-positioning. Put things where you will USE them, not where you usually store them. For example, put some napkins, and a trash can, by the chair where you watch TV. Put your medicine and bandages by your bed instead of in the medicine cabinet. It is only temporary, though it may seem like a long time.

MOBILITY: Short leg cast (below the knee) - I find it helps to have a small chair (the height of your knee) around. Use it to walk with by resting the broken leg in a kneeling position and sliding it across the floor. (helps if you do not have carpeting) Place the chair backwards so your thigh is resting against the back of the chair. If you need to, you can move the chair forward one step, and then walk with the other leg, and so on. I walk all over my house this way! I find it also helps with my quad muscle on my broken leg. At least it gets a little use.

MOBILITY: I used an office chair with wheels around the house like a wheel chair for cooking, transporting items, going into the bathroom to brush teeth, etc. I pushed myself with my good leg or used my crutches as oars. It was very helpful as I lived alone and had to care for myself most of the time.

MOBILITY: Use a rolling waist high cart to put anything you can not carry. I push it forward a few feet, hop up to it and push it again.

MOBILITY: If you can sacrifice the space then remove the front passenger seat of your car. My boyfriend did this and now I travel in style with my leg on a padded stool.

MOBILITY: I found carrying a backpack in the front instead of the back very useful when you are on crutches! Everything is in easy reach!

MOBILITY: To carry stuff while on crutches, try an apron with pockets. I use an old kitchen apron. Guys often have aprons for their tools. I put everything in my apron.

MOBILITY: For casts below the knee: if you do not have a table with a chair in your kitchen, get one, and place it right in front of the sink with the chair in between. This way you can eat comfortably, then get up, turn around and do the dishes resting your knee on the chair (put a pillow if the seat is not soft). - I use a large fanny pack to carry things around (I am on crutches), it is more comfortable than a backpack and easier to reach inside. - If you use an office chair in front of your computer, it might be a good idea to raise the seat a bit, then place another chair in front with a pillow to place your casted leg. - A three-legged collapsible aluminum/cordura camping stool with a strap to sling it over your shoulder is invaluable to have around the house and in outings, both to place your knee when you have stand on your crutches, or to seat if you need.

MOBILITY: I had a certain amount of fun figuring out how to carry spillables from the kitchen. I set up a series of stations (mostly folding stack tables). I would reach the item from the kitchen to the first station, pick up my crutches and walk past it, then reach back and pick it up to move it to the next station. It was not fast, but it got things from one place to another.

MOBILITY: Golf gloves work well for crutches. A small folding hunters stool can be used to kneel on to free hands.

MOBILITY: In my 2.5 years on crutches, I have found that the best backpacks for crutch and cane users is the sling-style with one strap. The strap goes over one shoulder, crosses the back and the chest and comes to rest low on the opposite side of your body. With this style of bag (I use one made by Victonianox), you avoid the underarm bunching that happens when you combine a bag with two over-the-shoulder and under-the-arm straps with crutches. You have more freedom of motion and no chaffing!

MOBILITY: I spent a year on and off of crutches, and my favorite accessory is a cloth tool belt tied around one crutch, just below the handle. It can hold a water bottle, keys, cell phone, whatever. And they are easy to find at Home Depot (a place with nice, wide aisles).

MOBILITY: I have been using fore - arm crutched for 3 weeks now. The handles are just hard plastic and were really uncomfortable when used for a sustained period. I bought two tennis grips, really cheap from any sports shop. I then wrapped these round the handles. Not only is it more comfortable, due to the padding, but it also gives you more grip.

MOBILITY: The best investment that I made was getting a folding shopping chart with wheels. When I get home from grocery shopping, I head to my apartment, grab the unfoldable shopping cart, and fill it with my various bags of groceries. My dad had one of these in his garage, but I noticed CVS.com and Target.com have advertised these foldable shopping carts. It has made it quite easy in moving my groceries, laundry, etc to and from my car to my apartment.

MOBILITY: I have found that copper piping foam insulation (can be found in any local hardware store) makes the walker grips more bearable. Just buy enough to cover both grips and cut to size. It is just cushy enough to be easy on your hand, but it is also strong enough to stand up to repeated use.

MOBILITY: If you happen to live in New York (5 boroughs) use Access A Ride to get around. It cost as much as the subway, and they will take you door to door. The # is; 877-337-2017

MOBILITY: Two words - CARGO SHORTS. The leg openings are ample to get over my cast and I can carry everything in the pockets; from the phone, my dayrunner or a book to sandwiches (in a bag), my thermos or toiletries. Makes it a ton easier to get stuff where I need it go without throwing off my balance!

MOBILITY: A great way to carry around small stuff such as mobile phones, keys ect,, is to duct tape a solid stubby holder in the gap of your crutch, it was great!! Best thing I ever did.

MOBILITY: If using crutches over any distance try wearing weight lifting gloves. They protect your hands and prevent blisters.

MOBILITY: If you are pregnant, a bedside commode is a MUST! A walker will be safer than crutches the bigger you get. A pouch around the neck for a cell phone, keys etc. is better than a backpack for balance when the belly gets big. I learned this 3 falls later.

MOBILITY: I broke my ankle and had a knee-length cast. Instead of using crutches, I rented a knee scooter. They are just like regular scooters, but they are adjusted to be knee-height. You kneel on your bad leg and use the good leg to push. I was able to go anywhere I needed to go (as long as there was a ramp) and as a bonus, it kept the bad leg elevated when I used it. I felt much safer and more stable than I felt on crutches. They even make all-terrain models for going over grass, gravel, and even a single step. Definitely check them out. Mine was a Roll-A-Bout but there are other companies that sell and rent them.

MOBILITY: Purchase an oversize chair pad for your wheel chair for added comfort. It will also decrease the pressure on the back of your knees.

MOBILITY: Medical supply places sell crutch pads. They look like fleece, are very soft and Velcro over the top and handles of the crutches. I found them to be helpful with comfort.

MOBILITY: Walking with crutches seems odd and awkward. There are some great YouTube videos showing techniques for getting around and navigating stairs.

MOBILITY/PSYCHOLOGY: I live alone and people who came in to bring food and empty the bins were very eager the first 4 weeks, after that time got long. I started to search for online shopping possibilities. For going to physio I now call a taxi and do not rely on friends, as it became frustrating to always hear that they would drive me but had good reasons why they could not. I started to become as independent as possible to avoid to hear my friend\'s apologies. I wasnot prepared for the fact, that now, that I need physio, friend\'s are less reliable than with the cast, although I need them as much as before.

MOBILITY: I have fixed a small light linen shopping bag to the crutch at the side of my good leg to transport items.

MOBILITY: For my first shoes after the camwalker I tried ankle boots (like Doc Martens), the foot, although still a bit swollen, fits in, they give great support and feel light.

MOBILITY: I was carrying my travel mug of hot coffee in my pocket, my plate of food clenched in my jaw and hounding my kids to get me this and put away that. Then I realized I could get a food trolley. I got a chrome one with wire racks, big wheels, a handle and raised edges on two of the shelves. Makes me more independent and life a whole lot easier.

MOBILITY: Get the type of wheelchair where the top back folds down. When sitting on the couch, put the wheelchair n front of you with the brakes on, top folded down. You can put pillows on the chair to prop up your leg, still see TV, and the wheelchair is right there when you need it

MOBILITY: Hardwood floors are your friend! Put the item you need on a soft cloth/towel/throw rug ; you can push it with your crutch step forward push again until you get it where you want! (laptop, food plate, water bottles, heavy book etc.)

MOBILITY: I live in a quad level house - lots of stairs. I borrowed a number of walkers and have one at the top of each set of stairs I use a crutch on the stairs and switch to the walker at the top.

MOBILITY: Give yourself a break (bad pun) and go disposable Send someone to your local big box or wholesale club to pick up a collection of plates (dinner and lunch) and bowls. Why? No loading or unloading of the dishwasher (kind of hard when you really cannot bend over without losing your balance!!!) You can still wash your silverware. It makes a huge difference on your daily to-do list!

BATHING: When showering have someone help bathe you for the first couple of times, it will ease anxiety and frustration, and progress to self-bathing. Place a towel under your walker and against the tub edge so that if you can not reach your good foot enough to dry the bottom, it will dry the foot for you and possibly prevent a slip.

BATHING: A backup method to ensure that water does NOT drip into the cast while showing is to roll a facecloth on the diagonal and then secure it with a thick rubber band at the top of the cast prior to placing in a plastic bag.

BATHING: Everything takes longer when you have a leg cast and crutches. It takes some getting used to the idea that the shower that took 10 - 15 minutes and included getting in and out now takes close to 1 hour. Getting your clothes ready and to the shower, making sure your towel, shampoo, etc. is accessible. All this takes awhile to figure out. Here are some tips that will make bathing easier...

BATHING: First, get a stool to put in the shower. You can purchase a shower bench fairly inexpensively. Another idea is a rotating mechanics stool - it adjusts up and down and rotates so you can sit down backwards and rotate yourself in. If you do not want to purchase anything special, try a lawn chair or a step stool. Additionally, changing your showerhead to the handheld variety will also make washing easier.

BATHING: If you put a laundry basket in the bathtub - you can put your leg on it to keep it out of the water. Best part is - it does not float or fill up with water.

BATHING: We bought veterinary gloves at the local farm supply store to cover an arm cast for showering. Not expensive, they come in several sizes. They were big enough to slide over the cast, and go clear up to the shoulder, where we sealed them off with tape.

BATHING: Lay a towel on the bottom of the shower or tub (avoiding or cutting a hole for the drain) to prevent legs slipping or bottoms slipping and slamming legs against bathtub walls (much more comfortable than a bathmat).

BATHING: For us blokes with hairy legs, sealing the plastic bag over the cast so it does not get wet when having a wash is a bit problematic. You either have to shave that bit of your leg (adding to an already tiresomely long routine), or give yourself a painful wax each time you remove the bit of tape.

BATHING: Look for disposable microwaveable bath towelettes in your drug store. They are much larger than baby wipes and are designed for giving sponge baths to people who can not use a shower or tub. They can be heated in the microwave to provide a warm, disposeable clean up.

BATHING: Consider using NO RINSE products for bathing body and hair. They will eliminate the need to cover the cast to rinse.

BATHING: I used a detachable shower head so I could direct where the water went. I left the door of the shower open so I could prop my leg up outside of the shower. I used a trash bag to cover it and then used Press and Seal to wrap around the top. This does not hurt to remove like tape and works great!

BATHING: I splurged and got a new fangled SHOWERHEAD with wand built in, which allowed the water to fall from above in addition to in hand. It was so much warmer than that wand alone! The SHOWER BENCH, feet in and outside of tub, was very safe and easy to use, even solo. My situation meant my back was to shower head. To keep water in bath and off the floor, Iíd wrap the shower liner around the bench, sitting on some of the liner, so much of the curtain is in front of me, not behind. CURAD CAST COVERS were there better than the pricey specialists ones. Right in the band aid aisle! Used PRESS and SEAL saran wrap to make a waterproof barrier. It was airtight! Never got my casts wet!

BATHING: One thing I found helpful for showering while I recuperated from a compound tib/fib break - Glad Press n Seal. It kept my open wound dry while it healed.



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