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Reem's diary | Respond to this comment
Comment : tibial plateau fracture recovery
Posted by Barbara on Wed 1:02am 1 June 2005


Hi Reem, I also fractured my tibial plateau. It happened on April 23 while skiing in Colorado. My surgery was in Chicago on May 5. The surgeon drilled a hole in my tibia (for arthroscopic instruments), built up the fractured part and inserted a long screw, and then filled in the voids in the bone with some cement that degrades in one year (it's replaced by calcium produced by the body). He also shaved off some damaged cartilage (meniscus).
The pain after surgery was unbereable for a few days, and no pain medication seemed to work well. I was sent home about 4 hours after surgery (a friend picked me up, of course), and the first 3 or 4 days were hell. I live alone, but the first two weeks I had friends staying at my place and taking care of me. Now I have friends and my brother (from out of town) visit me to take out the garbage, bring groceries, etc.
I started hating my house, because it has 3 levels. The kitchen is on the first floor (no bathroom there), and my bedroom with a shower stall bathroom on the third floor. I don't think I could manage to get in a bathtub. So I scoot up and down the stairs like a crab, because I don't want to fall and break my neck. I carry things in a backpack. Needless to say, this is a major hassle. But I drive my car, because the injury is in the left leg, and I started going to physical therapy on my own.
I am really concerned because reading most people's accounts it seems that 8 or more weeks on crutches with no weight bearing is common. My surgeon, who is very young and seems kind of impatient, said 6 weeks on crutches. Right now it has been over 3 weeks since surgery, and I don't feel like I am anywhere close to putting weight on my left leg. The knee is still swollen, and I still have some pain in it, especially in the morning. Maybe I twist my leg while I sleep. I was also told not to use a brace. The physical therapist is torturing me with range-of-motion and strength exercises. Admittedly, my range of motion has improved a lot (I can almost straighten my leg) and I am developing some muscles, but I also feel that this may be re-injuring me knee.
Reading your and other people's stories has given me a new perspective on the recovery period. When I was told "6 weeks on crutches", I imagined that I'll be able to walk normally after 6 weeks. Now I see how naive I was.
In any case, hang in there and count your blessings (like helpful parents). You are not alone!

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