Recovery


A tibial plateau fracture is really not much fun, but it helps if you are prepared and in many cases doctors will not prepare you properly for daily life after your injury. If I had to give you only one piece of Advice on TPF recovery it would be: be patient. And in the end, it’s not as bad as it looks.

Below is a more elaborate list of time-tested knowledge and information on different subjects related to your TPF. There are also separate sections for the different stages of recovery (from the menu above choose “1-8 weeks” etc.)

*Note: this website is not intended to provide medical advice. Your doctor is a much better source for medical advice.  This information is based on firsh-hand personal experience and research*

What to expect – overview

You will be leaving the hospital on crutches, usually with a hinged brace. For the first few weeks you will experience quite a few different uncomfortable symptoms but these all pass quickly. Natural symptoms include limited range of motion in your leg as well as pain, heat flashes, edema and stiffness Some of these will be cause by the fact that you are not completely mobile. Things will progress from here until in the end you are (in most cases) completely able to do your everyday activities, but it will take some time and hard work.

Time to recovery

Recovery from a tpf fracture is different from person to person. It depends very much on the exact type and specifics of injury, your age, prior issues, level of physical activity, physiotherapy, nutrition and many other factors. Given all of these differences it is still quite safe to say that for most people, if you the injury was treated by surgery, you will still be in some kind of recovery for a complete year after your injury¹. In most cases it will be more than that, Improvement showing up to three years after. This sounds like a lot, and it is, but I can assure you that it does get better and that for most people after a few months your the injury will not prevent you from continuing with you daily life and you will be able to do all your daily activities to some extent including walking short distances, going out, meeting with friends, going to work etc.

Weight Bearing

For a period of about 6-8 weeks after the surgery you will be NWB (non-wait-baring), this means that you can not put any pressure on your leg and will need to use a wheelchair, crutches or both. For some injuries it might take up to 12 weeks until allowed FWB(Full weight bearing). Depending on your doctor and your specific health condition you will be moving from NWB to PWB (Partial Weight bearing) or FWBAT (Full weight bearing as tolerated). This period of NWB will cause many mobility concerns and will affect your daily routine.

Mobility

You will be spending a few days in a hospital bed then progressing to a wheel chair and crutches, which you will be using for about 2 months, possibly followed by a single crutch and walking stick (see paragraph above – “weight bearing”). It could be up to 3 months on crutches, and up to 6 still using a walking stick (but usually much less). Also expect that initially you won’t be able to bend your knee much for a few weeks. This is called limited ROM (range-of-motion). Crutches are hard to use at first, and may be painful on the hands and shoulder, but don’t worry you will get used to them very quickly. And as a bonus you will develop very strong arm muscles. In some cases, overuse and pressure on your hands can cause secondary injuries to your wrists, arms or shoulders. If you are in pain from using crutches take it easy and use a wheelchair for a short while. You should also consider testing different types of crutches. Forearm crutches are usually more comfortable (then underarm) and come in ergonomic varieties. Today many advanced crutches also support ergonomic designs, anti-slip, and special features (link, link). Underarm crutches are usually safer then regular forearm crutches (link), but tend to be less comfortable, and don’t come with as many smart designs. Platform crutches might be good for people with a poor grip, but I haven’t tried them myself. Some crutches will also have shock absorbers to help your wrists and arms absorb shock (link).

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All this will require that you prepare for a period of partial mobility. Things you might be limited in doing include – walking up and down stairs, house jobs (cleaning, cooking, washing), carrying things from place to place (no free hands when using crutches), reaching high and low cabinets, showering. At first, you might also have trouble getting dressed and undressed but this will pass quickly. The best way to deal with this is have friends, partners & family help you with everyday chores and prepare the house as much as possible to make things easier. A few things you could do are:

  • Get a shower chair so that you are able to shower without bearing weight (link) and possibly also invest in some big bags or drycast or other cast covers (link) so that you can shower without taking your brace or cast off during the first few weeks.
  • Be very careful when using crutches in a wet surface because you could easily slip. Even more dangerous is if the crutches are wet and the floor is not. Make sure to dry the bottom of your crutches on a towel before leaving the shower.
  • If your crutches are very old and the tips are cracked, replace the tips with new rubber tips. The come very cheaply (link)
  • Use a gripper (link) to be able to reach those unreachable cabinets and to be able to grasp and retrieve items you would not be able to otherwise while on a wheel chair (link).
  • Make sure that someone prepares food and goes shopping for you. Other options include ordering in prepared food and ordering groceries online.
  • If your bed is on the second floor, Consider sleeping in a different room if you find it hard to get up the stairs. You can also climb stairs with crutches, or sitting down.
  • High and low cabinets are are hard to reach. Try moving things around so that they are easier to reach. Doors on low cabinets can also be unhinged to allow for easier access with a wheel chair. They can easily be put back on later.
  • More useful ideas can be found in the “logistics” section and “Tips & Tricks

Physiotherapy

Physiotherapy is going to be a regular part of your life. The are several goals: increase ROM, increase muscle-mass, teach your musculoskeletal system to operate as before and increase your stability. It is very very important that you start physiotherapy as early as possible and keep at it until you are completely better. This is the one factor that will affect your recovery more then any other and it is completely up to you. I’ve written a complete section on physiotherapy alone. Usually you will be given exercises to perform from your physiotherapist. At the very beginning you will probably not be able to bend or straighten your knee at all. This can be quite frightening but don’t be alarmed. Initially exercises will aim to teach your neurological system to control the leg again. It might even only be hours before you will start to be able to bend your leg, or it could be a few days.  After this, during the NWB (not in all cases) period you will be performing gentle exercises to enhance your ROM, strengthen your muscles and reduce stiffness, sometimes using stretch bands(link). Exercises might be done at home or in a medical center. It is very important that during this stage you follow PT instructions and do the exercises as soon as possible and as much as possible. This will reduce stiffness, boost recovery and give you a better chance at developing good ROM. When you progress to WB, physiotherapy will include many exercises with weights and machinery with the aim of gaining stability and muscle and to exercise everyday activities like walking. I can not emphasize enough how important it is that you keep at it (even if it means you go to work less). To be able to do physiotherapy at home you can consider purchasing light ankle weights(link).  For more info and tips, have a look at the physiotherapy section.

Medical professional

Several medical professionals will be involved in your recovery process, including the radiologists, the OS (“operating surgeon”), Physiotherapist and sometimes others. You will be having regular checkups with them. It is very important that you make sure your OS is a good one, and that you consult with him on every question you have. Be curious and ask everything you want to know. Sometimes doctors will not be generous with information, make sure that you get your answers. You deserve them. Seek extra information in sites like this one (more sites in the further reading section). In many cases the PT and the OS will be discussing your condition either directly or passing notes through you. Make sure that they talk if they are not already talking, but remember that when they give contradicting advice – the opinion of the OS is always the one to go by. You might also want to consider getting a second opinion both before or after your surgery.

Diet

Bone healing requires quite a lot of nutritional help, especially during the first 3 months(This is when the bone is healing), so make sure to eat well, and consider supplementation. For your healing to progress well you need to make sure that you get a lot of Calories, Protein, Antioxidants and minerals. During the first few weeks of healing your body will consume about 2-3(!) times as many calories as normal. This is about 6000 calories per day, so no need to feel bad if you’re eating a lot and very hungry. It’s all going to healing.

Protein is an Important nutritional ingredient. By volume, roughly half of your bone is comprised of protein, and you will also need to get a lot of it to reduce muscle atrophy as much as possible. If you think you are not getting enough protein consider using protein powder to supplement your daily protein intake (link), or adding protein rich food to your diet (meat, eggs, milk products, nuts & seeds).

Minerals are very important for several reasons. By weight bone is about 70% minerals. These are the building blocks of your bones. The high need for minerals will mean you might no be getting enough of them, which can cause other problems. If you are depleted in magnesium for example this may cause muscle cramps which are not much fun during a tpf. Consider using a multi-vitamin(link) containing minerals during the recovery process just to be sure. Studies have shown a lower rate of complications in healing in people taking multi-vitamins (link). The most important minerals to consume are Zinc, Copper, Calcium and Silicon.

Vitamins are the catalysts for the process of healing and are also in high need during recovery.  Vitamins that play an important role in bone healing include: Vitamin C, Vitamin K, the Vitamin B-series. Be sure to eat a varied diet and Consider using a multi-vitamin for Vitamins and minerals (link).

Anti-Infalmmatory Nutrients help reduce inflammation and pain. Bone creates a lot of inflammation which causes pain.  Unfortunately it is not advisable to take NSAID (Non Steroidal anti-inflammatory Drugs) during the bone recovery process as these slow recovery. Natural Anti inflammatory agents that may work to reduce pain include Vitmain C, Omega-3 (link) and others.

There are many foods you should avoid. Some foods will interrupt normal absorption of nutrients and their consumption should be limited. Some of these are:

  • Salt or foods prepared with lots of salt
  • More than one cup of coffee or other caffeine beverages. If possible, avoid coffee altogether.
  • Sugar
  • Chocolate (because to caffeine content)
  • Soft drinks and carbonated beverages
  • Alcohol (it inhibits calcium absorption)
  • Caffeine (it increases rate of calcium loss and inhibits absorption)

Pain

Pain is an unpleasant but normal part of recovery. You will be experiencing different types of pain and discomfort throughout your recovery. Pain might be felt in different parts of the leg, and won’t neccesarily concentrate only around the knee. Most pain comes during the first few days and weeks after the surgery. Pain management is an important part of your recovery and you should not be in constant pain. You should use pain medication as advised by your OS or hospital medical staff. If you are unable to use the medication prescribed by your doctor or are more comfortable using a different type of pain medication remember that some types of painkillers should not be taken for long periods of time(read the label!), and that you should never take NSAID as pain-killer while the bone is still healing. These types of medications will postpone healing. Brands included in the NSAID group which you should not use include Aspirin, Motrin, Ibufen, diclofenac, naproxen and others. Don’t use these. Instead use what is recommended by your medical staff or another medication that is not a NSAID. In some case, mostly in the first days you might experience more severe pain that can be treated with stronger drugs. This is normal, but if you experience abnormally strong pain or other abnormal symptoms, get yourself evacuated to a medical center as this is usually nothing but could be a sign of a complication. Make that in the first few weeks you have a bottle or box of painkillers in your pocket so that it’s always handy. Remember – liquid pain medication usually act faster then the tablet equivalent of the same brand.

Staying at home/Mental Health

You might be staying at home a lot and will be quite immobile for a while. This can get affect your mood very much and can at some point get depressing, especially if you are used to being very active. There is no magic pill for this, choose a good book, and a good TV series and try to regularly talk to as many friends, family and close people as possible. The proximity of  friends and close ones is very important. You might also want to find a community of people who have suffered from TPF before who share your experiences and feelings. There are several such communities, and some of them they can be in the further reading section of this website. Also, try to do as much exercise as you possibly can. Even if this means exercising while sitting or lying down. This can give real boost to your mood. Another good Idea is to start watching a new TV-show you’ve never had time to watch, or subscribe to online video providers like netflix or amazon prime (link). If in need, consult a psychologist or mental health professional. It is quite normal to be affected by a prolonged period of immobility and recovery, and a psychologist will be able to help with this.

Physical Activity

You will eventually probably be able to do anything you were able to do before your injury. However, this might take a long time (1 or more year for some sports) and you might have to be careful when doing extreme sports. There is a limited amount of things that you may not be able to do exactly as before, for example some yoga postures will not be possible with limited ROM, but you can always work around these limitations by doing things slightly differently. Also, you might experience some pain which will be limiting. If you want to take up a fitness activity shortly after the injury bicycling and swimming are both good options which will also help with recovery. Upper body weight training might also be a good option but will not directly advance your recovery.

Work

You Might be dying to get back to work or could be in need for a vacation. Going back to work is something that very much depends on you and on your specific job and state of mind. Some people go back to work on crutches after 4 weeks (me, for example), while others might wait a whole 6 months.  There is a good side to going back to work (aside from money) since you will be interacting with people all day long and will not be bored. The important thing to remember is that you must avoid overworking and stressing yourself out. When you go to work it is important that you leave enough time and mental energy to be able to do your physiotherapy as much as you need, to rest, to relax and to visit your medical professional. This will allow your body to recover. You might be tempted to sacrifice your physio for your career. Don’t do that. Your career will still be there when you recover, the condition of  your leg is something you will be living with forever.

Sex

There is no physical limitation from having sex as soon as the initial pain has subsided, but this injury can affect your sex life, something which you will not find a lot of information about and your doctor might not tell you. Decreased mobility in one leg and one leg which is half the strength of the other can naturally affect sex. This gets better as your leg heals and strengthens, and you will need to ask your partner to be patient as you progress through the recovery process.

On a good note

Tibial plateau Recovery takes a long time but at the end of the process you are looking at excellent recovery and usually a fully functional life.  Moreover, trying to find the good embedded in the bad, this injury can help you put things in perspective and appreciate all the things you have in life: friends, family, health, a loving spouse. It gives you an opportunity to stop and think about what matters most.

144 thoughts on “Recovery

  1. Overall a very informative article. I did not have surgery following my injury. I am hoping this might mean I will heal more quickly. I am focusing on nutrition and exercise. Thank you Anne

  2. Thank you. My injury was 5 weeks ago. Surgery was 2 days shy of being 2 weeks after the injury as I do not live in a populated area. It has been very difficult for me lately to deal with not being able to do things. The muscle in my thigh is still paralyzed and reading this is going to help get me through another day.

    • U have to learn how to let people help you. i know this is very hard, it still is for me, but its ok to ask for help. i also live in a small town 2000 people not public trans, so i had to go to an acute and now sub actute rehab facilities. can be wierd at 30 lol. but just keep pushing

  3. I have a question. How long does it usually take for all of the bruising to go away? It’s been 4 weeks since my injury and 3 weeks since surgery. Still have lots of bruising.
    I’m sure it varies but just wondering what others have experienced.

    • Hi Ellen, It can take a few weeks for bruising (also known as contusions) to go away, sometime up to around 8 weeks. The best treatment for bruises is RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) which will help alleviate the bruising.

      If the bruise looks like a big “lump” of water under the skin and does not lessen with time, it might actually be edema which can be solved by wearing a medical pressure sock for several weeks.

      Neither of these symptoms is in any way dangerous or abnormal.

      Thanks for the question! Ive added it to the Frequently asked questions so that other people suffering from this might find a suitable answer for their needs,

      Shlomi

    • The bruising in my knee was mostly gone before I had surgery and the surgery itself did not add much, if anything to the bruising. It took me several weeks to get into care and have the surgery, so that may have made some difference.
      My stomach is a different story. I had a blood thinning medication, while in the hospital, and 7 more days of it after I went home. Those made for HUGE bruises on my stomach (even with rotating and using different injection sites.
      Good luck to you and I hope you are well.

  4. My injury was 6 weeks ago surgery 4 weeks ago. I still have some bruising around my ankle but that is all. The bruising by my knee was gone a while ago, but all I had was one on the back of my knee. Everybody is different. I think keeping it iced as much as possible helps keep the bruising minimal. And helps it to resolve.

    • Amanda my accident was the end of july. i broke both legs, ankles, my rt shoulder and arm. my tpf was in my right leg and this is probally the worst injury i have had to endure. I had compartment syndrome before i went into the or. it has only been since july 22 but i was out of a cast or brace for the first 3 weeks after surgery except for an xfix the 2nd week. After that was removed and all my hardware from knee to foot was all screwed, plated and rods installed my life was all pain and very little gain. i was always asking for ice but i couldn;t really keep the sweeling in check until i got help from an cold machine. this made a big difference. that and eating. my diet was lacking becuase of pain and the realization of how much down time i had infront of me. i luckily was fortunate enough to have substancial muscle mass at the time of the accident so i was able to start moving on my own with my left arm. i did transfers with my left arm and broken leg. i was cleared to bear weight as tolerated on my left leg with the assistance of a moon boot lol. this still was no breeze but i had a lot of support from family, friends, even strangers. this helped a lot. i defiantly was very depressed and in severe pain but was transfered to a great acute care facility. i pushed hard and harder but the gains were limited by the severity of my injuries and def had bad days. however, i tried to see the good and it def wasnt and still isnt easy. u stated that your quad is not firing becuase of down time. something that helped me a lot was doing ankle pumps and focusing on top quad contractions where you push for 0 flextion and also manually moving that patella right left forward back for counts of thirty. also passive leg extensions can help. and def keep icing. i gained a lot of flexion from always pushing and i also used a cool machine all day and slept with it on. just becareful u don;t get any freeze burns and listen to your doctors and pt/ ot. hang in there sounds like you are one the right track. :)

      • Thank you. I am now able to move my leg, it started twitching 2 weeks ago and 1 week ago I could lift it. It was so exciting! I was at the Dr today and my knee is not flexing as much as it should and I will be starting PT this week, also due to the lack of motion I am now growing extra bone where I shouldn’t hopefully this doesn’t continue to grow but it could mean another surgery :( Right now I am hoping for the best! I was cleared to put 50 pounds of pressure on my leg and should be off crutches in 2-6 weeks.

        • Cleared to put 50 pounds is AWESOME. I am 2 weeks out from surgery and still zero weight bearing, probably for another 9 to 11 weeks. I am getting OT and PT from the home health group I am signed up with, so I am a bit surprised at the delay in starting with that.

          • I am a PT, and am going through TPF recovery now. I was worried that therapy didn’t start until 6 weeks out, but I can tell you therapy is mostly a waste of time until you are full weight bearing. Do your own ROM, but until you are full weight bearing, you have to wait for the bone to fully heal. And then the fun? begins. I had asked the surgeon about therapy right after the surgery, and this is what he told me. I did the ROM exercises, and non weight bearing strengthening, stationary bike riding etc. I also recommend patellar mobilizations and scar massage on your own. Those two exercises will pay dividends when you are full weight bearing. Hope this helps.
            Chris

  5. My daughter has just had an operation for a TPF injury. Researching the details of TPF I came across your website and I find it very interesting and helpful. I will be passing the details to my daughter so she can learn more about the injury and recovery. Thanks, Often it takes experience of an injury to help other people.

  6. My injury was about 2 weeks ago. I had an x-ray about 10 days ago. The physician assistant came, who treated me at the urgent care center, came in the room after and said “well you did a good job on your knee there.” She went on to explain that I had 2 medial plateau fractures. One was where the ligament comes to the lower front of the patella. She said that bone was broken. Next, she explained how there was a tear, rip or fracture where the tibia and femur come together. I got in to see the ortho. doctor this Tuesday and just had a CT Scan done Thurdsay (2 days ago). I went into the x-ray room with the mindset that is was a total waste of time, as those only show broken bones, and it felt and sounded like all off tissue damage so there was no way anything would show up on z-ray. How wrong was !?!? Anyone out there with 2 breaks as I have and if so how bad was the tearing of the tendons and ligaments? I am attending college and this is really giving me fits.

  7. I would like to thank all those who put this sight together. I’m 27 years old and am 2 weeks post op on my tpf I am a bigger guy at 240 lbs and did my while skate boarding. This sight is great and is helping get through this whole big fun adventure . Thank you so much !

  8. I wold like to thank you for your help, I’m 31 years old, I had a car accident and my injury was on May 2009 in my right leg, i had tiny TPF so the DR put a cast for 3 months then therapy.

    I was able to walk and run but i don’t feel my leg normal like before, i feel pain when i set for a long time during work, In September 2013 i checked it again with another Doctor and after he looked at my X-ray he said it shows i still have old TPF and prescribe DICLOFENC 75MG for 2 month.

    After 2 months i did a follow-up visit and i told the DR i didn’t felt any improve then he advice a Arthroscopic Surgery to clean the surface

    My leg it doesn’t hurt me when i walk or run but it’s not normal but actually i am afraid from the arthroscopic Surgery :(

  9. Try not to be so afraid of the surgery. I am less than 2 weeks out from mine and they even had to cut into the leg further than they were hoping and my leg pain is surprisingly low. I am not saying it never hurts and not saying it didn’t smart for a few days post surgery, but I think in the long run I will be better for having it done. I know that once they start therapy and working the knee it is going to hurt, but it hurt like the dickens before the surgery to repair it. I had TPF times 2. There was a dent on the inner half and the inner edge of the dent was split, causing a fissure down into the tibia. It is an extremely long wait to be able to do any weight bearing, but that is to avoid causing the repair to collapse. If you have someone to help at home and the time off, I would go for it. Don’t be scared and you will come out the other side a champ.

  10. I am 2 weeks out and honestly I am surprised that the knee is in very little pain. I know I will get some increased pain as PT picks up, but the pain level was honestly way down by the time I left the hospital. The patience part is the hardest for me. I am a very independent person (AKA hard headed).

  11. Fracture 8-23-13, surgery 8-27, FWB 10-9-13- 4 weeks into PT, and I am a physical therapist by the way. Started with crutches, aquatic therapy mostly to start, then one crutch-now on cane and sometimes no assistance. I am very frustrated with my recovery thus far. My ROM is good with 130 degrees flex, and -3 extension. Big complaint is I am still having foot/ankle pain. I know the knee strength is not there yet, but my foot is always the joint I feel is gonna give way. I can go up and down stairs, drive etc. But I don’t feel I am close to returning to work. I have to be able to not only be stable on my feet, but I have to be able to catch my patients from falling, so I have to be almost fully recovered before I can return to work.

    With no disability, and no paycheck in almost 3 months, I am very concerned. My profession requires a full recovery, and I don’t return to surgeon for 2 more weeks, but at the rate I’m recovering, I don’t know if I will be ready even then.

    My question is how long do many people feel it should take before they are really confident about their balance and strength again? I’ve heard 5 days for every day of non weight bearing. If that is accurate, I won’t be fully recovered for close to 10 months! I hope I will beat that time table. Anyone have any suggestions/reports on recovery time to feel confident again? Anyone have any idea how long I should expect the foot and ankle weakness to last?
    Thanks,
    Chris

    • Hi Chris,
      Feeling confident on your is something very personal, however mostly you can feel comfortable walking around for short periods of time and be stable at about 6 -8 weeks after you stop using crutches (about 3.5 months after surgery). Unfortunately gaining the strength in your leg and being able to be out and about all day long, doing physical work etc. could really take up to a full year . It is not definite that you will regain all of your leg strength until a full year has passed (sometimes a little more), and depends on your personal situation and how much PT you are doing. I would consider talking to your doctor about how to adjust to this new situation that can be a reality for a while, and what your expected time line for recovery is. Perhaps consider changing something at work or easing in to it slowly to see what you can and can’t do.

      Also – seeing as you are a physiotherapist, how would you like to help out writing the physiotherapy section of this site?
      I’m sure a professional hand would be able to give a lot of helpful insights.

    • TPF on 08/26/2013- surgery 08/30/213 that included bone graft to fill in compression fracture- NWB until 11/07/2013 with return to work without restrictions on 11/16/2013- I am a registered Nurse and after working two 12 hour shifts in a row could hardly walk the second night from the edema in my leg when brace removed and the pain was mainly in my heel/ankle region. I now feel like I might have shin splints that I am treating with RICE- sure do hope the foot/ankle pain doesn’t last very long since I like you cannot afford to be off work any longer and will have to “work” thru the pain. I figured alot of the issue was needing to restretch the tendons in my ankle and foot. The knee itself feels great, havent had any pain in that area for the most part since the incision healed. Hopefully the other issues resolve themselves soon.

    • I had my accident on 1/22/2014, surgery on 01/31/2014 and did not put any weight on my leg for a full 12 weeks. At 12 weeks I was told to put half my weight on for a week and then full weight after that week. My knee is not what is hurting but my foot is giving me so much pain when I walk, I have to just keep going and take the pain. Why does my foot and ankle hurt?

      • Terri I am experiencing the same. I did not have surgery, however I was NWB for 6 weeks. My accident was on 4/14/14. This week my Dr. said I can start FWB and therapy. I am still on crutches and just started testing weigh on my leg. My foot and ankle have a tingling feeling and my therapy starts Friday. What did you learn from your experience.

        • I did not have surgery either broken ton/fin March 29th no in boot as of Friday. NWB still but in therapy hope to walk soon!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Hi Chris,

      Broke my tibia 9 days ago (playing rugby), surgery straight away the morning after, fixed the two bone parts with a titanium rod and a screw at the knee and one at the ankle… I know it is very early, and am lucky as they haven’t given me a cast but only a moonboot and let me put weight on it as tolerated (FWBAT).
      First time with a big injury like this, haven’t got a direct comparison – of course, anything is too slow… ROM in the knee is getting there fairly quick, but the ankle is taking its time. Feel like this will be the problematic part in rehab, too – can definitely feel the screw down there, especially at night when the leg is resting.
      How are you doing now? And how long did it take you to get rid of the ankle pain / restriction in mobility? Are you fully recovered yet, and if not, how fare along are you? I know everyone’s different – but would love to have a rough outline from someone who went through a similar situation. How soon did you start with aquatic recovery, and how did you cope with your frustration?

      take care,

  12. Shlomi, I will be more than happy to help this website anyway I can. I’m glad I found you after you responded on kneeguru. I have found that this is a very unusual injury for younger folks unless they participate in mountain biking, kite boarding or skiing primarily. And then a lot of people get hurt like I did by having their dog take their leg out. However the TPF occurs, it is a devastating injury. Look at Olympic skiier Lindsay Vonn. When she was injured last year, fracturing her TPF as well as tearing ACL and PCL, most journalists focused on the ligament injuries. But doctors quickly pointed out the tibial fracture was much more of a concern for her to return to world class skiing form. She is still wearing a brace now almost a year later. So the TPF is a serious injury to overcome.

    I have been a physical therapist for 16 years, and I have never treated a TPF. So this has been a real eye opening experience for me. And any input I can add from my experience, I’ll be glad to help.

    I had a reassessment yesterday, and my therapist thinks I’m doing well. I’m hoping to return to work in some capacity in 2 weeks but I still have a lot of work to do. My foot/ankle and calf are still very weak, but I have some new exercises to focus on. Because my job entails I be completely stable on my feet all day to prevent my patients from falling, I have to accelerate my progress as quickly as possible. I always tell my patients that how fast they improve is up to them, and now I have to practice what I preach. Once the surgeon says the bone has healed, it is then up to the patient to determine how fast they will improve. And because I daily document how my patients are progressing, I’m doing the same for myself. And hopefully my experience can help others as well. I’ll continue to update here.
    Thanks,
    Chris

    • Hey Chris,
      I hope you are getting better by the day, and thanks for the insights and offer to help. If you take a look at the physiotherapy section you will see that it is somewhat lacking, as I don’t have any professional PT training, and only wrote from my experience and research. If you would like to send me some text or exercises that you think would provide better guidance to people suffering from this injury that would be great. Or, if you prefer I can give you access to directly edit the PT page, and add stuff as you like.

      I’m available at info@mytpf.com

    • Going on 6 weeks from fracture and 4 weeks from final surgery. I’m still having a great deal of pain although more like very strong ache in the front of my knee. Oddly my heel also hurts from time to time. My range of motion is very good but i’m still NWB. My knee also just doesn’t look right to me. I understand there is a lot of hardware in there, but my lower leg looks and feels shifted to the outside. Anyone else have this? I’m not in physio yet but I have been doing movment exercises and hand manipulation as recomended by a few places. My knee cracks and groans alot too, which I don’t know if its just because its not bearing any weight or because its just not right.
      @Chis the physio guy, yep . . moutainbiking . . miss it tho!

  13. I am 13 weeks post surgery for tibia plateau fracture and full weight bearing. Physio advised walking round house with no crutches, but using one outdoors which I am doing and all is okay. However, I have developed a small soft swelling at the bottom of my stiches, not red or sore by any means, which goes down with rest, but comes up when I walk. Just wondering if it is worth bothering my physio about. I have never broken anything in my life (50 plus!) so not sure what to expect – any advice please.

    • Hi Jenny,
      Thank you for your question. I’ve copied the question to the new forum page on the site and also posted a detailed answer there.
      In general – it doesn’t at all sound like something to worry about at this stage.

  14. Hi Everyone!
    I’ve added a forum page to the site so that other people can find and read everyone’s questions and their stories in one place.
    Feel free to use the forums for questions, answers, personal stories or anything else. I will be coming by there every once in while to answer questions if I am able to help.
    Shlomi

  15. HI Shlomi, Great website about TPF, thank you, I have just had my Hardware removed, 4 weeks ago, so was back on crutches for a few weeks, and now recovering again, its a long road.. but reading all this information gives me hope for the future.

  16. I suffered with tpf on 7th September and at the time was not xrayed until a week after when i was put in a full leg cast for 4 weeks and then a hinged knee brace for 4 weeks, am now weight bearing and awaiting appointment for physio. I slipped last night and am worried to death i may have damaged myself again but i seem to have movement i had before that and no further swelling. I agee it is a long process and i am sca.red about walking without crutches. I also suffer with sharp pains now and again in the middle of my knee and swelling in my leg and foot. Is this normal?

  17. Diane-thanks for the question/comment- I am AMAZED that you were able to return to work a week after beginning weight bearing-WOW, you are much tougher than me-I am just now walking some without a cane-My body is so sore and weak in general now just doing basic daily tasks at home-my balance is not stable enough yet to work-I have to be able to work with geriatric patients so in order for me to feel confident with them, I HAVE to make sure my strength and balance is excellent-
    Foot ankle pain was so weak and painful that I had to do a few weeks of pool therapy before the pain in my foot really was able to put full weight on it. I started PT oct 9th, and I went to my job today and I am telling them that I would like to return 1st week of dec-probably half days or so for the week I return. I so have to get to work-3 and a half months with no paycheck has been brutal-but I just can’t return until I feel totally confident. Tell me about your ROM/strength overall–Did you have ANY therapy to help you? I cant imagine doing your job so soon after getting off NWB status- for the ankle/foot I would recommend doing ankle alphabets, towel slides where you use foot to curl towel towards, picking up marbles with toes,stretch ankle with theraband both dorsiflexion and plantar flexion with resistance, calf raises, calf stretches standing against wall.
    I hope this helps you-those are great ones to be doing– Are you able to balance on the affected foot for 30 sec? Single leg stance abducting your leg out without holding on to anything? Sidelying hip abduction 2 x 20 reps under control is key before you do them in standing etc
    Ice your foot ankle as often as you can-I really recommend ice massage with water frozen in small paper cup for 5 minues at a time-Way better than regular ice packs IMHO-last thing on foot,grab the top of toes and manually stretch toes curling foot under holding it for 10-15 sec-do that for 10 or so reps
    I hope this helps you-if you have other questions let me know-my email: healthierhome@cox.net
    Chris

    • I had home health therapy that came to see me a few times and gave me some exercises to do on my own, mainly just heel slides, straight leg raise, and quad sets. they were not very helpful so I talked to some of the PT at the Nursing home for their recommendations. I am going to try your recommendations to help build more strength in my right leg. I am able to walk unassisted but still have to wear a brace and probably will for a few months. Hoping that it gets easier soon, as I to work with Geriatrics as well as ortho rehab patients and must be able to care for them as well as myself. Main thing I learned thru all this is that maybe I really am to old to be riding dirt bikes…of course was having the time of my life up until the moment that I wrecked. Now doing a lot of “Grinning & Bearing it” to get thru everyday.

  18. Hi Everyone!
    Please Try to use the forum page to the site so that other people can find and read everyone’s questions and their stories in one place. The forum is better suited for multiple comments!

    Feel free to use the forums for questions, answers, personal stories or anything else. I will be coming by there every once in while to answer questions if I am able to help.

    Shlomi

  19. Hi all,
    My injury was 7/14/13. I had surgery on 7/17/13. It has been 19 weeks, with 5 of them Weight Bearing. I broke my right leg (why always the right one I ask) in 3 places, both sides and down the tibia to 2 inches above my ankle. I have an 8 inch plate and 7 screws (or whatever I can tell from my xrAY). The outside plateau break required a bone graft. The day after I was released, following 4 weeks in the hospital and nursing facility, I had to call 911 on my husband. Dennis had Congestive heart failure and a tear in his aorta. He spent a month recovering in the hospital and the same nursing facility. August was a rough month. They called us Romeo & Juliet.

    I’d like to comment on the kindness of friends, family and strangers. The fire chief accompanying Dennis’ paramedics, set me up with life alert that day. He sent over a Senior Service lady that same day, to see what she could do for me. Amy even went to the grocery store for me. A home health care agency stayed with me during the next week. I had OT, Pt and a personal aide come to my home. One friend’s husband built me a wheelchair ramp. Neighbors took out my trash, brought in my mail, and store shopped. Meals on Wheels kept me fed and checked on me daily. They even gave water to my cat, and helped with the litter box changing. The Provide a Ride service transported me to doctor appointments, to help keep my ambulance costs down. Friends and family took my husband clothes and visited him in the hospital. Joe, his best friend, did everything he could to help us both. My sister helped with everything else.

    I teach Software programming 2 days a week. Cab drivers assist me in and out of the house and work. People I don’t know are so helpful.They help me open doors, hold them open, push me into and out of elevators, and get things off store shelfs for me. Students bring me coffee in class.
    I’m still reliant on a walker and wheelchair to get around, but I’m 66 years old and heal slower. Life is good. Glad to meet you all.
    Chris

  20. I suffered my tpf 6/12/13. I’ve been through therapy and now workout on my own. I can’t walk or stand for long, I don’t feel secure on uneven ground like a golf course. I have a lot of pain behind my knee and in my foot. Doctor says my leg is healing fine, I am also seeing a foot doctor. Does anyone have comments or suggestions? Luckily I am retired so I don’t have that worry, but I want to enjoy being retired. I hope you all heal fast!

    • Hi K. I was a little disheartened to read your post because I am now almost 4 months post op and am frustrated that I cannot stand or walk for longer than 10 minutes. How long are you able to walk and stand now? I also have a lot of pain behind my knee and foot. I wonder why.

  21. Has anyone had this injury and did not have surgery? I just got the results of my MRI today. 2 1/2 weeks after my injury. I have a horizontal linear nondisplaced fracture line involving the medial tibial plateau. No talk of surgery. Should I be worried about having to have it eventually? Will I ever be able to run again? My injury was due to the inpact while running. I’m 45, 5’4″, 140 lbs. How could this happen just from jogging?

    • mine shattered while walking across the street.. I will never forget the sound, good luck, I havent had surgery either, not sure if that good or bad?

      • Oh the SOUND. That popping sound. I remember that vividly. I was the only one up, cause it was the middle of the night and I got up to use the bathroom. I manged to get to my roommate’s door knob and into her room and onto the end of her bed. She is hard of hearing. Well death, because I screamed bloody murder and she never a thing. I tried to explain the popping noise and how that was along with the feeling that I had torn everything in my knee, but unless it is you, you just really don’t know. Don’t feel back about just walking across the street, because I got up and took like 3 steps and then planted the left foot and realized the leg was asleep. Then BAM I went down.

    • I suffered a non-displaced type-I tibial plateau fracture on 2/10/14 while snow skiing in Colorado. I have gone with conservative treatment – immobilization for 4 weeks. I am weight bearing now at 3 weeks with no pain. If things are going well, I should come out of lock-down on the brace and begin riding a stationary bike. I am a marathon runner – anyone familar with a good training plan following the injury?

  22. I slipped getting out of the shower on the 19/12/2013 and therefore ended up with a TPF shatzker 3, I had surgery 3 days later and was released from hospital on the 28/12/2013 completely NBW for 8 weeks, I flew home only to experience a cyclone a few days later. I have had a few falls eg. Supermarket door closing on me, slippery floors. It has been three weeks now, and I have not come across any informative information on the net until I found this website. Thank you now I know what to expect, I have my first physio session tomorrow and I can’t wait to get into it.

  23. I tripped and felt my TP shatter, and was admitted to hospital, they told me my Tibial Plateau was “shattered” but no surgery. They used fiberglass splint and immobilizer. I was wondering what is this burning sensation on my kneecap, and is it okay to flex my ankle and calf muscle?? my calf muscle hurts but is really stiff, so i feel like I NEED to move my foot around.. I just had a baby 7 wks ago and I have two small kids at home, IDK how I can deal with all this

    • I would go as far as to suggest that it would be recommended to flex your foot up and down and also to move the foot around in circles (foot only my using ankle) both clockwise and counter clock wise. This is something small that you can do while seat and without twisting or bearing any weight on your knee. It should help stretch the calf muscle some (but probably not to total relief, but some) stretching of that calf of yours. If will also help your circulation in your ankle and foot. I feel at the end of September, 2013 and I still have some swelling in the leg and mostly in the floor. My physical therapist, who came to my house, let me remove the immobilizer while safely seated and doing these little exorcises. The immobilization is a necessary evil, but it sure does tighten the calf muscles. Mine even cause some pinching and sciatica at the top end of it.

      You need to tell your doctor that you are home bound and need help from a home health agency. When I got home from the hospital there were some days where I had 3 different people coming in to help. If not a physical therapist (because not a lot of that can be done yet) or an occupational therapist, they should at least get an aid to come in and help you. Are you allowed to put weight on the knee? If not, how are you even able to shower. There was an aid that helped me do that for weeks until I finally got a shower transport chair and was able to learn how to do if myself from the chair. An occupational therapist could come into your house and talk to you about how you are getting around the house and how well you can or cannot do certain activities of daily living tasks. Mine was able to give me ideas on where these could be moved around. She had some clever ideas, which I would not have thought of on their own. It can’t hurt to ask the doctor for this help. The worst thing that can happen is he will say no and you have lost nothing by asking.

      I wish you the best of luck.

  24. On New Year’s Eve fell trying to get the mail at a community mailbox. Have a lateral tibial plateau fracture. Had surgery on jan 9th plate and screws. I am 5.5 weeks post surgery. Still no Weight. Crutches didn’t work for me so I have a walker. I am 35 years old with 3 kids age 2,3 and 8. I hate everything that goes on around me as I hAve no control, my In laws watch the kids during the week, they are home on weekends. My husband works long days and my mom is helping me, but I am not pleasant to be around these days. To top everything off during my surgery they accidentally broke my front tooth. I now need to pay for an implant. Nothing to smile about here! And iam a Dental hygienist! Can’t wait to be mobile again! Love reading other stories. Gives me hope!

  25. Really enjoyed this site !! I got a good amount of useful information from it . I am going on one full week since my tpf, it’s been very painful and very uncomfortable . I fractured my left knee while skiing went to stop and my right ski turned perfect , my left ski did not and I heard my knee crack

  26. My tpf happened in a car crash on 12/13/13. Also broken ankle, all on right leg. Surgery on 12/20/13. I have been through breast cancer, ruptured appendix..nothing compares to this. Pain and frustration. I am almost three months post surgery. I have screws, plate and bone graft. The ankle has healed, but of course very weak. Just started pt two weeks ago. Prior to that , nwb. Using walker now. The biggest problem seems to be my ROM. I was in a brace and not allowed to bend. Then swelling in my foot would never go away. Finally found i have a DVT..three days in hospital at the beginning of February for that. So had to get an OK from primary to start pt after starting treatment for blood clot. I am blessed that it wasn’t much worse. Someone ran a stop sign and hit me. I have a wonderful family helping me. Encouraging to hear other’s situations. Feel like I should be doing better than I am at this point. Best wishes to all.

  27. Well I can certainly relate to your frustration and feeling that you should be doing better than you are Diane. My tpf occurred on Nov 23 after falling off a step ladder while painting. Fortunately my surgery was the next day; I don’t know how you managed it for a whole week before your surgery; I kept telling people the pain was worse than childbirth. I was too afraid to use crutches so I spend the first 3 months in a wheelchair, using my walker sometimes to keep my other leg strong. I live by myself so it was a real challenge but like you, I have a wonderful family helping me. I started wb on Feb 3 with a walker and a month later I switched to a cane. Since I started wb I cannot remain on my feet for longer than 10 minutes without excruciating pain and discomfort. I do my exercises daily but I honestly don’t feel like I have progressed at all. I can imagine how hard it must be for you having to postpone your pt because of your blood clot.; I’m sure it has impacted on your recovery.

    • Wow Judy, it has been a long time for you as well. It is so frustrating! I also only used a wheelchair until two weeks ago. Still can’t put all my weight on bad leg. I need and want to get back to work but my job is ten hours on my feet.I don’t know how people do it. Like you said, you have horrible pain after standing just a few minutes. It all can get overwhelming. My family encourages me alot, but everyday just feel I should be better. It does help to see that others are going through the same . Are you going to pt still? Wish you the best in your recovery!

    • Hello Everyone,Thank you so much for all this input.My tpf happned on 12/15/13.I am 55 years young. I was on the roof of my house taking off snow and I fell off the ladder coming down off the roof.I landed on one foot.My right!! I knew I broke something but not sure what.My problem was,I went to the hospital and they took X rays and said nothing was broken!! REALLY? Sent me home and said use it as much as possible,it was a muscle spazm.I then followed up with my Dr.One week later and he said how does it feel to have a broken leg,again,REALLY?I spent one whole week with a tpf and didn’t know it!!! How’s that for a good hospital!! Anyway,had surgury, screws,metal plate,bone graft and now I am still not able to walk.Going to P.T.two times a week.Do not see much improvement.*85% back.Hearing all of you and your systems makes me feel not so alone.I am so sorry all of you got hurt!! But to know that someone out there knows how I am feeling makes me feel not so alone.Or crazy.I am trying to keep to keep my chin up but it is very hard.My best to all of you. and again thank you for this sight.DEBBIE

  28. Hi
    Looking for any younger TPF patients… my beautiful big girl (14) fractured her left lateral tibial plateau on a family skiing holiday on Feb 18th in Austria. What a journey so far. She has an external fixator for ??? months and really would like her to be able to be in touch with other young people who have had this terrible injury. So when it looks bleak she has some hope. Sporty skier and hockey player, a different life for a while I think.
    thanks
    Michelle

    • Hi michelle,
      You might want to try finding someone in the tibial plateau fb group as well as here. A link can be found in the ״further reading” section.

      Beat of luck, and a hasty recovery for your daughter,
      Shlomi

  29. The above information as well as the comments is the most information I’ve received about TPFS seen since my accident and subsequent TPF on 12/15/13.

  30. I’m in my 10th week of recovery. I stated physio at 9 weeks. The first week was only toe touching ground. The second week was heal-toe walking with very little weight. Next week I will have 50% weight bearing leading up to full weight bearing by the 4th week. My question is, I have a lot of pain in my foot, especially the bottom of the heel when I try to put any weight on it. It hurts more than my knee at this point and I have not seen anyone post a similar complaint. My physiotherapist told me its from bone loss from being NWB for so long. Has anyone else experienced this?

  31. Janice, I had the very same problem when I was allowed to begin weight bearing. My surgeon said my xrays showed the fracture had healed, and I could begin walking. I’m a physical therapist, although I had never treated this injury. I went to PT, and the therapist said to lose the crutch on my affected side and put weight on the leg. I almost collapsed from the pain in my foot. The therapist then put me in the pool for the next 3 weeks. The first time in the pool, I was having excruciating pain in my foot. She suggested I call the surgeon immediately to make sure there wasn’t damage to my foot that had gone undetected. The surgeon’s assistant said this pain in my foot wasn’t that uncommon. Nothing was wrong she said except that all my foot muscles had atrophied from being in the splint post surgery for 6 weeks.
    The mistake I had made was I did very little stretching and strengthening of my foot and ankle while NWB. I have high arches so the first thing I did was get a Dr. Scholls gel pad to put under my arch of my foot. I used that pad in my water shoes which allowed me to gradually put more weight through my foot as I walked in the pool. I also kept the pad in my regular shoe on land. The pain in my foot seemed to move from my heel to my forefoot. I was really frustrated. My knee didn’t hurt but my foot did. When off my feet, I really focused on stretching my foot muscles with such exercises as curling my toes with my hand forcefully forwards and backwards. Being non weight bearing causes your plantar fascia to really tighten as well, similar to plantar fasciitis. I also did a lot of calf stretches, and standing on a foam pad (Airex balance pad or Hemingweigh balance Pad-I have a hemingweigh pad I use for balance training with my patients-most PT clinics have these-you can get one on Amazon for $35- the airex is much more expensive) The pad was crucial for me to begin putting more more weight on my foot on land-I also did a lot of tennis ball massage to my foot rolling the ball back and forth under my foot- Pool therapy was the most important aspect of rehab for me when I started weightbearing. If you can get in a pool, that would really help you beginning to weight bear.

    I think it was probably 6 weeks at least after starting PT that my foot started to feel less pain, and I could put full weight through the foot. I hope this helps allay your frustrations a bit. The foot pain was my most frustrating part of my rehab. But it will eventually subside. Just remember to also do your quad sets as much as possible. That is the most important muscle group to strengthen. I’m 7 months post op now, and I’d say my leg is only about 40% as strong as my other leg. I was in great shape when my dog broke my leg, and I’m still very weak. I was out of work for almost 4 months, before I felt I could return to my job as a PT. Since my job entails me being on my feet all day, I had to be able to feel stable on my feet as well as be able to support my geriatric patients if they were to stumble. If I had a desk job, I would have been able to return in 2 months probably. Be patient. From what I have learned thus far, this is a very serious injury, and we need to give ourselves at least a year before we can truly gauge how far we have recovered.
    You will get stronger and have less pain one day at a time. Recovering from a TPF is a full time job. You have to treat it like a job, and work just as hard on your own time as when you are in the PT clinic.
    I hope this helps. Take care,
    Chris in Va. Beach

    • Thanks so much Chris. I couldn’t find anyone with this same complaint. About 15 years ago I had plantar faciitis surgery on both feet. I had suffered for years and tried physio, cortisone injections but nothing heiped until the surgery. Not quite sure what it is they did, but I know they cut into both sides of my heel and somehow released the plantar fascia. Could it be that with being NWB for 8 weeks that the facia has shortened again? Our pool at the hospital physio is closed right now but I can see that being extremely helpful. I would be too nervous to go into a public pool and slip on the wet tiles as I am only PWB right now. I will try the tennis ball exercise and let my physiotherapist know about this info. I was hoping to get back to work on the 7th of April that would be 13 weeks post op but as I am in teaching in a very large school, I think I need to be healed a bit more. Once I can put that heel down I’ll be fine.

  32. Chris,
    Thank You for your comments on exercising foot and ankle of injured leg. I have a TPF and am non weight barring until 4/10/14. Since hearing of your issues of pain in foot once weight barring I have started focusing on foot and ankle of that foot.

    • I was advised to begin doing excersises with my foot right away. Of course in the beginning you are in too much pain to even think about inflicting more upon yourself. After a week or so I started bending my toes towards me and pointing them away from me. I rotated the whole foot in circles each way. I did feel like something was tearing a bit on the bottom of my foot though. The sole of the foot felt like I had shards of glass in it when I used my good foot to touch it. I don’t know if everyone experiences this. Just my experience. I do think the more you move your leg, bend your knee etc. The easier it will be in the long run. I can’t believe the progress from day to day now that I have started physio. Good luck to you.

  33. Janice and Dottie-Glad to hear my experience may help you both. Janice as far as getting in a pool, I was nervous as well. But as I said the pool helped me the most. I used 2 crutches to walk, and I wore those non skid deck shoes that slip over your feet that windsurfers use. I wore them into the pool and never took them off except to put on a pair of sweatpants to leave the facility. I was in such agony and frustration when my surgeon told me to start walking, and my foot wouldn’t allow it.

    Since you know what plantar fasciitis is like in a big way, if you remember the first steps in the morning were usually the worst, and then your feet loosened up a bit. That was because as you slept, the fascia in your feet actually started to heal from the micro tears to your fascia during WBearing during the day. So now imagine 6-8 weeks without putting any weight on that foot. EVERYTHING in the foot as far as muscles, fascia, tendons etc shorten and atrophy. Just like your knee stiffens up being in a splint/brace, so does your foot ankle stiffen up. Weight bearing is the only way to fully stress our muscles etc. Think about astronauts being weightless for a month or more-when they return to earth, they are too weak to walk.

    Another way to stretch/massage the foot is with a raquetball or use a whiffleball bat, a wooden rolling pin etc to roll under your foot. I also recommend calf stretches using a piece of foam which puts your foot at an incline i e toes on foam wedge, and heel flat on floor. We need to get our ankle flexibility back in order to help extend our knee and strike the ground with our heel as our feet contact the ground. Just wait until you start testing your balance on the wobble board. That was a rude awakening for me. But it gets better everyday. Have patience.
    Chris

    • Very scared! My physiotherapist has talked about some sort of balance board when I am weight bearing. As my balance sucks to start with, not really looking forward to finding another way to fall. She is excellent, and I trust her 100% but still sounds scary. Every day I feel I am making such progress it’s exciting! I am faithful about my exercises at home and love to push myself even though I am 55 and overweight. Last visit she introduced me to a wonderful machine that is like a sit down cross trainer. When I first sat down and tried it it was a bit tricky, after a few pushes though I was more comfortable. She said I would find my rhythm, and boy it was fun! After 1min. I was off and running and feeling better with every push. Got kicked off after about 10 min. Because another therapist wanted it for her lady. This is such a wonderful forum. I’ve never been on one before, but so helpful to learn from others that are, or have experienced this specific injury. Hopefully if another person experiences this heel and foot pain they will know they are not alone.

  34. Don’t worry about the wobble board. You will be holding onto some bars against a wall most likely. It will really point out your balance deficits, but you improve fast. Sounds like the sit down machine is a Nustep. They are great. Below is a great article on recovering from TPF. It is the only scientific study I have found studying TPF’ers for a full year to gauge their recoveries.
    http://www.bjj.boneandjoint.org.uk/content/87-B/9/1233.full
    This was an interesting article I found studying recovery for TPF after a year. The basic conclusion of the study is that only about 15% of TPF injuries have full quad strength back at one year’s time. So this is a marathon, not a sprint. Great to hear you are trusting of your therapist. That is very important. And you have a great attitude about this whole ordeal.. ATTITUDE DETERMINES ALTITUDE!
    Chris

    • Chris,
      I read that you are 7 months post op in March. So now you are 9 months in May. Do you still feel stiffness in your injured knee/leg?

      I had tpf surgery on Dec 17, 2013. I fell while skiing in Korea and had a type I tpf. So I am now 5 months post op. about 3 months FWB. I still feel stiffness in the injured knee/leg, but it gets better with rest. I can do almost everything, walking (no limping) slow jog, cycling, swimming. Walking down stairs I do feel a pain at the patella especially if the knee needs to bend at a sharper angle. Squatting is still troublesome, with about 5 minutes of warm up just to get the muscle to accept the squatting position.

      I tend to agree with the Scottish study that quad muscle takes a long time to recover. I told my OS of the patella pain, and he has told the physio to ease off the squat exercises. And unfortunately squat exercises is the best way to build up the quad muscles. SO now I do a lot of leg presses at the gym to strengthen the quad.

      Anyone who has tpf and is now more that a year post surgery? Would like to hear about the experience with stiffness and quad strength.

      Thanks
      BH – from Singapore

  35. I am nearly 8 months post op for tpf and seemed to be doing okay. Taking a stick with me outdoors but not using it, only have it with me as I seem to have “no brakes” when going down a slope or hill. Now, unfortunately, my ankle on my “good” leg seems to have developed soft tissue damage!! I have wanted to scream with frustration as it has hampered my walking. I’m using ice and gel on the bad ankle, as per doctor’s advice and she thinks the ankle has become “stressed” due to taking more weight than normal. My ankle may be “stressed” but so am I. Sometimes it feels like one step forwards, two back. Frustration, as you all know I’m sure, plays a big role with this condition. Anyway it’s good to “rant on”. Hope other sufferers are going on okay.

  36. Please tell me long the pain lasts….especially around the fracture area? Almost any activity at all seems to aggreviate my leg. I am 2 weeks out from surgery and was just fitted for a brace that is thigh to ankle with a locking mechanism at the knee. I use a walker now , instead of crutches .
    I would very much appreciate some input as to how long this leg will hurt!!
    Or any tips to keep it from hurting in the first place. Early mornings are the worse right now .
    Thanks , Cary

  37. Please advise how to join the Facebook group for this injury ???? I would love to see more of what others have experienced !!
    Thanks , Cary

  38. Very useful site, I was really wondering about the nutrition and supplement side for the healing process–great advice!! I am just starting week two of my recovery from two fractures of the tibia plateau and have found this site extremely useful, including the suggestions for keeping my affected foot more mobile during this long recovery. I am in a cast from the hip to the ankle and finding the inactivity is truly getting to me in so many ways. Kathy

  39. Ice has been my best friend. I am seven weeks out and still icing in the evening and when I go to bed. A walker worked so much better for me than crutches. I put my stuff in the seat and could travel so much more independently.

    • The hospital sent me home with a polar care cube after surgery and I used it 24/7 for two weeks until I had my stitches out. It made the biggest difference.

  40. I just injured myself on March 23, 2014 and was told that i have a non-displaced TPF and will not require surgery; presently my Doctor has be on an ice machine and an Optiflex motion machine to provide 20-degrees of knee movement.

    typically how long does it take before i can bare weigth on my leg for a TPF that did not require surgery. Will I be able to run and jump again?

  41. I had my skiing accident on 2/10/14 which caused a Type I Tibial Avulsion Fracture (non-displaced). I was immobilized x 4 weeks with weight bearing at 4 weeks. I was taken out of immobilization on 3/12 and have began working on range of motion and riding a stationary bike while wearing my brace (ankle to thigh). I am a distance runner so I hope to have more freedom on 4/9. Getting better daily.

    • That is good to here. I had a collision playing soccer. My soccer days are over. I was doing alot of crossfit and hope to be able to return to it in July. I hope that is not to optomistic.

    • 17 weeks post fracture……I ran a 5K race today with a run/walk method (3 min run/1 min walk) and ran 9min55sec average. Not the 8 1/2 minute mile I am used to, but I am VERY pleased with my progress. If my progress continues to move forward, I will be successfully running the New York City Marathon in November. To all those recovering: keep a positive attitude, take one day at a time, set goals and be patient. After 25 years of skiing – the question would be “Am I going snow skiing next winter?….the answer would be “No”. I have lost too much of what I enjoy daily for one week of enjoyment a year.

  42. I broke my tibial plateau February 7 skiing. 6 weeks with the brace straight, then bent for the past three. I started PT two weeks ago and have made progress with ROM, however, my right leg is quite bent. They say it will straighten, but I’m freaked out that it won’t and I won’t be able to resume with my hiking, skiing, snow shoeing, and kayaking. No one has mentioned this. They say it will straighten when I build my muscles. I pray to God it does. Can someone attest to this?

    • I know what you mean Gail. My TPF was on 2/12 on a ski trip. I’m 7 weeks post-op & no longer wear the brace & plan on ditching the one crutch for a cane this weekend. Yippee! My flexion has progressed well from 90 degrees 2 weeks ago to 115 today @ PT. But the extension is another story…I can’t seem to get any progress with it. I learned a good exercise today, lay on your stomach on your bed or somewhere you can dangle your foot over the edge, place a towel or something semi-bulky under your quad/thigh & apply 2-10 pounds of an ankle wgt. ( whatever you can tolerate) & simply let gravity pull the leg straight. Just simply lay there 5, 10, 15 minutes or however long you can. I was amazed after that he measured my extension & it was cut in half.

      I think our collective fears are likely quite normal. I too hope to get back to a very active lifestyle of hiking, cycling, etc. But as many have said, this is to take many months, not days or weeks. Hang in there, best of luck.

      • Acupuncture helped me get my leg straight. Seriously if I hadn’t witnessed it first hand I wouldn’t have believed it

        • Thanks for the recommendation Pauline. I’m now 9 weeks post-op & have good flexion but poor extension. I went to see my Ortho today & he injected a steroid in the joint hoping that would help…and advised me to start taking Iboprofen ATC (Around The Clock) for the next 6-8 weeks to see if that would/should help. I got a name of a good Acupuncturist that I will look into if I don’t get results soon. Like you I am/was skeptical but we all need all the help we can get!

          Best of luck.

  43. I like you had my injury skiing on Feb. 10th. I am having difficulty with getting the leg straight. I am improving….when I am laying down or sitting in a recliner, I put a small pillow under my foot and put something on my knee (ice bag, etc) to put a small amount of pressure on the knee to assist in lowering it. It is working, I am within an inch of touching the back of my knee to the surface. Be patient, it will come. I was allowed to come out of the brace 2 days ago(after 8 weeks) but have been doing rehab for 5 weeks. Once I was able to get enough range of motion to ride a stationary bike – progress continued. I am able to ride about 6 1/2 miles and begin on a treadmill.

  44. I hurt my knee skiing on the 12th Feb, I had surgery on the 28th Feb, and have only just been given the go ahead for partial WB. It has been so hard for me normally at the gym three to four times a week, can’t drive my lovely new car that I only had three weeks before I hurt myself! However, the positives are it has given me a lot of time to think and get my life into perspective. I’ve had to learn how to ask for help, and stop my pride getting in the way. My leg is stiff and sore and I worry that I won’t get full mobility back, but my surgeon says I will with perseverance and giving it time, I think that is the watch word – time.

    This website has been the best one I’ve found helping me understand what I’ve been through and what is yet to come.
    Thanks

    • Hello Everyone,
      I wish I had seen this website weeks ago. I had my accident on 1/22/2014 skiing, surgery on 1/31/2014 with instructions not to put any weight on my leg for 12 weeks, the doctors told me I would have to have knee replacement if I damaged it again, that made me follow the instructions. I am very active and have always run and lifted weights, my legs were the one thing I really liked about my body. Now I have this skinny awful looking leg that makes me mad and sad. I am 48 years old and have always just done things without thinking, like skiing as I did when I was 20 years younger. I have really had the worst time with my mental. As soon as they said I could start stretching I did, all day I would do as many stretches as I could physically stand. During the 7th week of not being able to walk I fell in to this awful depression and my husband kept telling me to get up and do something but I had no desire to move. At week 12 I went to the doctor and was told I could put 50% weight for a week and then 100% weight with crutches for a week then I could walk with no assistance. I didn’t follow those instructions but I did use a cane and made myself walk. My foot is killing me, the knee is a little painful but nothing like the foot. I ice my knee and foot every day and make myself walk even though the pain is awful. It has been almost 14 weeks since I had my surgery and I’m so ready for all this to go away. I guess I’m trying to say thanks for all the posts, I felt crazy, I felt like I was just feeling sorry for myself but after reading what everyone has to say I now know that all these feelings were normal and experienced by several. This has been awful but I had a great husband and friends but people who have never had this happen to them just do not have a clue. Not only is it physically painful it is mentally draining. When I get well enough to walk without so much pain I would love to help anyone in this situation even if it is just going and cleaning their house!!!
      Thanks

  45. Hi all
    On March 22nd I fell from a height of approx 2.5feet, landing upright on the medial aspect of my right ankle which caused a comminuted depressed lateral TPF. I had surgery 24 hours later which included screws and bone grafting and was discharged from hospital the next day with crutches, hinged leg brace and NWB for 8 weeks. I was reviewed by my surgeon a week later and my wound has healed well, with only some aching in my knee.
    My main issue has been pain, swelling and inability to undertake ROM exercises in my ankle due to what feels like something grabbing at the medial side of my it when I try to move it. I even went to an after hours clinic at my local hospital 2 weeks post injury and requested an ankle x-ray to ensure there was no damage or break that had not been identified at the time of the initial fall. All I kept getting told is I have to expect pain and swelling due the injury.
    It is now 5 weeks since my fall and I see the surgeon in two weeks, I’m hoping he will give me the go ahead to start exercising and partial weight bearing then (even though it will only be 7 weeks).
    Reading that others have experienced pain etc in their ankle has reassured me that I am not losing the plot or being a typical nurse that self-diagnoses and this site has given me a place where I can talk to others that have gone through this.
    Feel guilty when friends ask “how is your leg?” and all I can think of replying is “well it’s still connected to my body”.
    Staying positive is not always easy and it’s hard not to get frustrated when you are used to being very active but I will get there.

  46. I also had the same problem with my foot! I read everyone’s stories but couldn’t find anyone complaining about their foot. My TPF was on Jan. 6, 2014. I was NWB for 8 weeks and then was to start physio taking another 4 weeks to get to WB. The first week went OK because I was just to have my toe lightly touch the floor. The second week when I was supposed to put my foot down I almost dropped to the floor. I felt like I was walking on a floor of broken glass. It turned out it was the plantar fascia giving me this pain. Being NWB for so long was the problem. You also lose bone like the astronauts when in space. Your body decides you don’t need the bone if you’re not using it. You were NWB for even longer than me so I imagine that’s what it is. If you can get in a pool to walk around that helps and physio can help with excersises for the plantar fascia. I found this set back very frustrating. When you go through the terrible pain of the fracture and then the surgery followed by the pain and boredom of recovery and then are finally excited to begin your life again just to find out you have hit another snag. The thing to remember is it WILL go away as you start using your weight more. Good luck with your recovery.

    • Thanks for the comments, this has been so great for me to hear from people who understand what I am going through…one thing I did when I was NWB is get in my wheelchair and walk around the house. At first it was like Janice said about the broken glass but after a few weeks I was so much better. I looked crazy dragging myself around the house in my wheelchair, I removed the feet supports so it was just the chair. It worked my thigh muscles as well as my foot, just a thought for anyone at that point in their recovery. I also ice my knee, ankle and foot every single day. I figured what could it hurt, it made me not so guilty feeling when I was watching TV. Today is the first day I feel close to normal, still painful to walk but I make myself walk as normal as I can without limping, it hurts but I make myself do it and just go very slow. Today is almost 16 weeks since my injury and I still cringe thinking about the long journey it has been just to get where I am today. Patience, stretching, ice, and walking is the key and friends that understand!! Thanks

  47. BH,
    Yes I still have stiffness in the leg. Whenever I have been sitting for 20 minutes or more the first few steps when I try to walk are slow and unsteady. Getting out of bed is the same for the first few steps then I loosen up. I still have trouble going up stairs as well as going down. As far as the squats I do more half squats with a 25 pound kettlebell which works pretty well. I recommend doing step ups on a couple of phone books taped together to simulate stairs with the involved leg on the phone books maybe 6 inches off the ground, then try to lightly touch the ground with my heel concentrating on fully extending my knee going up. Single leg calf raises are also a great exercise. Quad sets are still a must every day. I still limp at the end of the day, but it is getting stronger. I would say at this point 8 months post op that my repaired leg is about 50% as strong as the good leg.

    I ran into my surgeon a few weeks back, and he told me to expect 18 months before I can truly say I have recovered. I used to do Ironman triathlons, and recovering from this injury is much more difficult than training for those races. The key is to be patient. Sounds like you are doing well. I also recommend the website kneeguru.uk in their forum section to learn from people who have had the injury for years. You go to the main page and scroll down to the “Bone breaks around the knee” section to find other tpf stories. Everybody recovers differently, so keep that in mind. Those of us who were pretty active before the injury usually recover sooner than those who weren’t as active before the injury. But this website is the best for general information.I am a physical therapist, and info on this injury was difficult to find when I initially got injured. But Schlomi has done a great job putting this site together for all of us.
    Hope this helps. If you have other questions feel free to contact me.
    Take care,
    Chris

  48. I had a rod put in my tibia just over a year ago. I have knee pain wich I know is common with this surgery however I still have pain at the sight of the break when I run. Is this normal, (I’m assuming not) has anyone else had the same issue?

  49. Had a bad fall 01/05/2014, have had a weak knee for some time now and that night I stepped onto the second step down and BAM I went down, heard two cracks and then the pain OMG, nothing to compare with it! Rushed to casualty, put onto a drip to ease the pain, sent for XRay which revealed the TPF, the Dr in casualty put a bag leg plaster onto my leg and bandaged the leg. The Ortho Sugeon operated on 3/5/2014, had to insert a screw as there was a break and he has had to secure the bone back into place. Cannot use crutches, have tried before! Using a frame and wheelchair and generally coping at home but OMG do not sleep at night, can bend my knee with no problem but cannot straighten my leg out in bed with out terrible pain, have tried using a pillow. Am in a metal brace during the day which does help and have relatively little pain. However after a couple of hours at night I am woken by such pain that I cannot sleep and feel terrible from lack of sleep. The medication made me so ill I was throwing up so he put me onto PANADO only and just no good at all! Have also had the burning flushes at night and pain in the foot and ankle (full of bruises) If I could only have more sleep life would be a lot better. Waiting for the Ortho to phone me today perhaps he can suggest something I could take at night. I do have help a few times a week and hubby works full time so have had to manage so far. Thanks for all the follow ups on this site, strangely enough the Doctors do not fill you in on all the problems you can encounter as a reault of TPF.

    • Make sure you use the pillow under your heal and not your knee, I made that mistake, putting the pillow under your heal will hurt more but will force you to straighten your leg. I still have a lot of pain at night and it wakes me up, I just thought it was in my head but it hurts, like a burning from the top of my leg to the foot. This has been the pits!

  50. Hi Dee, I can’t help, but I suggest you join the tibial plateau fracture recovery group on Facebook, where there will be people who can advise. The details are under the further reading tab.

  51. I just had the tpf a week ago and see the ortho in 2 days. He said it was non displaced but the tibia is fractured in 3 places and the fib in 1. So they are waiting to see if the bones remain in place so that I do not need to have surgery. I have a plaster half cast on that is wrapped for now and I am afraid of having the surgery due to many of the issues indicated here. I am worried about not doing the exercises soon enough either as I really do not want to lose all ROM. What are people taking for pain control?

  52. Hi Everyone. Im just viewing this site for the first time. I was in Lake Tahoe skiing when I fractured my right tibial plauteau. I got distracted on one of my favorite runs; I turned my body to the left to respond to my friends kid who was shouting something and naturally my legs followed. I then tryed to correct myself turning my body straight so I wouldn’t crash into her. It happened so fast. What I’ll never forget was the pain I felt in my knee while still upright on my skiis and then looking down at my right ski which was turned perpendicular to my body. All my weight was on the right knee. My left ski released. Then as I went down I felt a deep “thud” and heard a loud crack like a dead branch breaking off a tree. I thought, “oh man, I really did it this time; to my cartilage.” Talk about denial!! I’m a former professional dancer and very active and had previous menicus and mcl injuries on the same knee. In shock I stood up to assess the damage. It hurt like someone was hammering on my knee and was wobbly at the same time. I knew I did not HAVE A LEG TO STAND ON. Pun intended! My friend helped me over toward the bank to get out of the narrow path of other skiiers. I started piling snow on my knee while my friend went to alert the ski
    patrol. I texted my husband who was on the other side of the mountain and wrote, ” hurt my knee bad. SKILL Patrol on the way.” Later we had a good laugh
    about the irony of my misspelling. Fast forward to the little emergency clinic. The pain was getting worse and down my tibia a deep ache. I was getting more worried when the xray tech kept asking me about my toes; if I could move them. Still in much denial. I kept thinking why if I just injured my knee, thinking cartilage and soft tissues, is he taking so many xrays and why the shin bone ache? Later the emergency physician approaches, looking at my xray and asks me what kind of work I do. “Um, I’m a Pilates instructor and used to dance professionally.” “Well, he says, you won’t be dancing for awhile.” I think my brain translated that to mean: ever again. He explained I had a tibial plateau fracture and may have a depression and if so would need surgery. What?! I’ve never known anyone to fracture their knee joint! It’s not like I was going that fast. They finally give me percoset, put a soft splint on and give me crutches. We decide to drive thirty miles to a local hospital thinking maybe I could have the surgery done right away. After talking with two OS’ s we realized it was better to
    have the surgery closer to home and also to let the swelling go down. It was a long 4 hour drive home with my leg elevated and an ice bag on top. I could not sleep that first night as I was reading as much as I could on TPF. Over the next few days I was gathering referrals and made 3 appointments with an orthopedic trauma surgeon, and 2 sports medicine orthopedic surgeons. We went with the trauma surgeon since he did about 4 of these sugeries a week. I had the ski accident on February 23, 2014 and surgery on February 27. I had a Schatzer type 2 with an 11mm depression. Seeing the hole in my tibia on the CT scan was unreal. Side note: I had been taking ibuprofen the first day we left Tahoe along with percoset. I found out from the surgeon to NOT take ibuprofen due to bleeding in the joint! Fast forward to now 12 weeks post -op. I have been NWB for the duration. The biggest challenge was figuring things out as the days moved on. I had 30 degrees of flexion at 2 weeks. Recovering from anesthia and all the drugs took awhile. I had no appetite for 2 and a 1/2 weeks. My husband gave me injections of the blood thinner I was on. Plus, he had to do all the chores plus take care of me while working full time. He’s been a real champ but its been a rocky road at times. I had to get comfortable asking friends for help, but it made all the difference having support and meals. Eventually I had the appetite of a horse and craved burgers. It’s certainly true that the knitting of the bones takes a lot of energy.
    It took awhile for me to keep weight on. I went back to work probably too soon, but only five clients a week. I have a wheelchair at my studio and at first would cry everytime I opened the door and entered the studio. I now average 12 hours a week with clients and have no residual hip or tibialis anterior (calf muscle on tne front of the shin). My knee flexion is at 170 degrees the same as my left knee and knee extension is normal. I have a lot of flexiblity so I had further to go on getting that knee to bend. That was the most painful but I had a very good PT to manually push the bend in my knee to get the scar tissue stretched. Doing passive range of motion and later active range of motion exercises diligently made me feel so much better. Plus using weights for upper body strengthening was a huge mood lifter not to mention things I could do on the Pilates equipment. In 4 days I see the surgeon and hope to be given the green light for FWB but partial is okay too! It will be a whole new ballgame to start walking again. Warm wishes to everyone!!!

    i

    patrol.

    t took awhile for them to find me. Moving my leg on the wooden sling took two guys and hurt like heck. Shock was wearing off. Finally they get secure me into the sled

  53. Pliz let me know abt tibia plateau recovry time bcoz I don’t hv big facture it just a crack but docter use plate and screw on it so when I can able to walk as b4 I walk ? When can I walk a normal wtout any support

  54. Appreciate all the work in putting this website together. Very informative. I was playing with my large , strong, lab dog 21 days ago in the backyard. She ran at me from about 30 yards away and hit me directly on the right knee causing a nondisplaced tibia break. No surgery but suppose to stay off leg for 6-8 wks. Doc said I have a little arthritis in knee and probably will need surgery in4-5 years because of the arthritis. Have strap on brace that doc gave me.I’m doing well. No pain. But having hard time on crutches and staying completely off the leg 24 hours straight. A little cheating, but not much. I know what can happen if I screw up.

  55. This is such a wonderful article. 10 months ago i did mine on a last minute evening jog. Going from being very active to not at all was incredibly hard. Physio is still on going and having an arthroscopy in a couple of weeks due to continued pain but back to walking the dogs and using the stationary bike at the gym has helped.
    Can’t wait to run again.

  56. I had a TPF from car accident on 4/7/14. I had an external fixator before surgery on 4/18. I immediately began PT. I was so glad to find this site today. I am still in a lot of pain, mostly my ankle especially if I get in the wheel chair for any period of time. I felt from the beginning that I have to beg for pain medication. ice all night and mostly when up but still the swelling and pain can get out of hand. I haven’t been able to sleep in my bed since the accident. I tried a couple of times but the pain was worse. I take Norco now and the told me next is Tylenol 3. I’m afraid it’s not enough. I’ve been hording pain pills for the most painful times. I do the exercises, but I’m glad to know that I’m pretty much experiencing the same problems. I see my OS on 6/9 and hope to be returning to work part-time soon after that. Maybe that’s wishful thinking.

  57. I wish I had found this site earlier – it certainly would have helped me understand what I was going through and what to expect next. I suffered a TPF and ankle fracture on Feb. 23, 2014, (hit by a large fast moving dog at a dog park) and received surgery within 18 hours – plates and screws inserted for both fractures. I was NWB for 10 weeks – that was a killer. I can certainly relate to all the comments about depression. As an active independent 53-year old, I did not take well to being completely dependent on others, though I tried my hardest to maintain a positive outlook. The good thing about all this was the outpouring of kindness from family (especially my husband), friends and strangers – I could not have gotten through this without the support of lots of people. I wore a splint for the first two weeks and everything seemed to be healing well, but my big issue at that time was swelling. Any time I moved my knee or got up to walk with the walker, my leg would swell terribly. A trip to the GP proved there was nothing to worry about in my case, as circulation seemed fine. I was lucky to be able to start working from home within about 5 weeks of my accident – I was going stir crazy. There’s only so much bad daytime TV a person can take, and I didn’t feel like reading – normally a favorite pastime. Working helped me re-engage with my co-workers and get my mind off my injury. The surgeon was not happy with my range of motion (ROM) at my week 6 visit, so I started physiotherapy. I was going at it pretty hard, but progress was impeded by pain and swelling. At week 10 , still unhappy with my ROM (knee was bending to about 70 degrees at that point), the surgeon ordered AGGRESSIVE physiotherapy and put me on Celebrex. The Celebrex helped immensely with the inflammation and allowed me do my exercises. I borrowed a stationary bike and eventually was able to pedal full revolutions – I now ride 30 min/day comfortably. Almost 4 weeks after my last surgeon visit, my knee is comfortably bending to about 115 degrees (140 would be normal for me), and, thanks to my fantastic physiotherapist, I have progressed from walker to crutches to cane, and am now starting to walk unassisted. I still have a ways to go, but I am confident that I will get there. I go back to work Monday – another step (ha ha) towards normalcy. To those of you who are at the beginning of your journey, hang in there, and celebrate all those little achievements along the way. My advice – start physio as soon as you can, work hard, and be patient. Good luck to you all!

  58. My TPF was from a ski-ing accident on 20/2/14 and I had a stainless steel plate and eight screws to mend the IV fracture in France on 22/2. Around a month ago – early May – after making steady recovery in ROM and pain reduction – my knee swelled, became incredibly painful, hot to the touch, with a rash of small red spots all around the scar site.
    I was admitted to hospital overnight, had blood tests and was released with a diagnosis of probable internal tearing of soft tissue by over-doing things.
    Now, four weeks on, I’ve had a whole body rash for two weeks (not on face or scalp) – its intensely itchy and knee has remained hot to the touch all this time.

    Saw my GP and was referred to a consultant dermatologist (after ruling out scabies, other allergic irritants) – he immediately said it is a severe allergic reaction to metalwork in my leg. He took biopsies initially that I’m waiting for the results from.

    I’m pretty scared and anxious about the outcomes of this – as at four months post-op I’ve not returned to work or normal life yet and now face potentially a second op before the first one had even healed.

    Has anyone any experience of such am allergic reaction?
    Nic

  59. I did not realize, I was going to have to learn how to walk again after only being NWB for 6 weeks. Slow progress. My ankle and foot is giving me the most problems, not my knee. It feels like I have a bad ankle sprain and a falling arch. Still on crutches Dr. say for another 3 weeks and have aquatic therapy twice a week. Cannot understand this ankle and foot problem. Has anyone had a similar experience?

    • Jackie
      Many of us have had issues with ankle pain during recovery and when commencing weight-bearing again.
      I was 7 weeks NWB (meant to be 8weeks but I had a problem where the strap from the brace had caused my wound to break down).
      I have always had issues with ankle pain and inability to perform ROM exercises which I have now found out was related to ligament involvement from the initial injury.
      I am now 11.5weeks from surgery and exercising to strengthen both my knee as well as my ankle.
      The TPF facebook group has many members who have also had trouble with their ankles.

      • Just passed the 6-week mark from accident (depression and displacement, with partial ACL tear and total MCL tear, repaired with metal and cadaver bone; surgeon refused to give a I-VI number, saying it didn’t really fit any) and got a smaller lighter brace (Townsend Rebel), a prescription for anti-inflammatory Mobic (prohibited before to allow the bone to heal more), and the order to start getting more active including “touchdown only” weight and adding some resistance on the stationary bike, all this for 6 more weeks before real weight bearing is allowed. I can finally wear some of my pants, yay!

        I was always heavy but went to the gym 5 days a week and had halfway decent curves; now, my lower abs and the right side of my pelvis (the injured side) look like a toasted marshmallow that toasted and re-congealed. So, abdominal crunches have been added during the supine leg raises, and a set of reverse crunches afterward.

        I can’t tolerate even the walker much, forget about crutches, due to preexisting wrist and thumb problems, and have a rolling stool for inside the apartment. I’ve just started standing up from it to do things like put dishes away up in the cupboard instead of fishing them out of the dishwasher as needed from a sitting position.

        Also, after reading all the comments about the feet and ankles when walking begins, I’ve added non-weight-bearing calf raises (basically, lift the heel off the floor and keep the toes and ball of foot on the floor) while seated here at the desk… for the first few in each set, the bottom of the bad foot is all pins and needles, but the sensation passes. Maybe 6 weeks of doing this will enable me to start walking when the time comes!

        • Hi Elaine,
          I am in a similar situation in regards to the having to use a frame, compressed carpals in wrists. I have just started the past week (week 8, 2nd week of pwb) using crutches majority of the time. And it is getting easier. Your injury is worse I imagine. I hope things start progressing for you soon.

  60. Hello everyone:
    It’s been a while since i’ve posted so wanted to give an update. I’m now 4 months post-surgery & doing well. As I’ve read this & many other forums it’s becoming clear to me that the length of NWB seems to play a major role in the length of time of recovery; in case that wasn’t obvious to everyone?!! As for me I think I fell into the “lucky” group as I was able to start PWB at 6 weeks. I drove from that appt. to my local pool/fitness center to get a membership! Yes, it could be said I’m VERY MOTIVATED to get this leg & the rest of my life back!

    As we all know this is not an ‘overnight success’ story, this is a long haul requiring constant persistence, motivation & patience. I’ve been back to work a month now & just noticed yesterday that my limping has dramatically improved from when I first got back. What that means is now my limping is the EXCEPTION, not the RULE. The mornings are still stiff & slow but I’m noticing how that time is also decreasing each week. Stairs continue to be my only major hurdle & they too are becoming more smooth & flowing. As a side note I feel that a great rehab exercise would be to simply go up & down stairs multiple times a day. The skill & range it requires on the leg & knee are tremendous & the regular repetition would help a great deal to hasten recovery.

    I alternate swimming with riding one of my bikes nearly every day. I swim now for approximately 45 minutes & notice using a kick board to be the most difficult but also the most rewarding stroke for recovering my nearly absent quad! The biking started off at about 7-8 miles but now I can safely do 20 on my road bike or about 2 hours on gravel roads on my mt. bike.

    Extension progress continues to be much slower than flexion although in the last 2 weeks that has also improved. A month ago I was considering calling my Doc as my lousy extension was starting to scare me but now I feel that will also improve, slowly with time. What has seemed to help it progress the most has been after a walk or bike ride I lay on the floor next to the refrigerator (or wall) & place one leg up on it & try & push my knee downward toward it. I used to do this as a great hamstring stretch but now it also serves as my ‘extension’ stretch! I’ve noticed a direct correlation to my progress with extension & how that has lessened the limp in my stride. Since the biking doesn’t require full extension I’m guessing walking the dogs every day (& the refrigerator) are the ones helping it? Also, quad strength helps with extension & since mine shriveled down to a stick I’m guessing that weakness had something to do with it progressing so slowly as compared to flexion?

    This is a major insult to our lives but luckily most of us can overcome it with time & persistence. I never realized how impatient I was until this!

    I will reiterate what so many have said before me, the degree of progress we each achieve has a lot to do with our diligence to rehab. This is a long battle, but since I really want to get back on skis next Winter I’m going to do all that I can to make it happen.

    Best wishes to everyone.

    • Excellent post Bill. I’m with you on the optimism. I’ve got great range of motion after 3.5 weeks out and I fully expect PWB at 6 weeks after my followup. Pain has been minimal since I got home from the hospital. all good!

  61. I am in my 7th week of having my TP. I didn’t have surgery. My main concern is foot drop to my left foot which I have a brace for. My other concern is that my muscles in my lower leg and foot feels very tight. What could I do to alleviate that?

    • I used to stretch my foot back and forth all day when I was non weight bearing, almost like doing a toe touch sit on the bed and pull your toes in to you and then out as far as you can, you are going to get really tight muscles bc they are not being used.. Just be careful and dont try anything the doc says not to do. it will only set you back.. After a month they allowed me to take everything off and lightly rub my leg to help my skin and stuff, Lotion it up to avoid rash.. Which I needed help from the hubby bc sudden movements hurt so bad..

  62. I hade surgery on my tibial plateau on Thursday June 12 th. It is now June 17 th and I’m in tons of pain still.. Having a hard time standing up on my crutches without dealing with a ton of pain. Just wondering if I should just get more rest and stay in bed for a bit longer.? They plated and screwed it togther by the way. I’m also 33 year old male

    • Colin, I’m 32 yr old female and abt 10 days post op, I’m still in a lot of pain and I’m finding it very hard to get around as well. I was wondering how your doing now and when I might expect to start feeling better.

  63. Good reading from all of you – this is a really nice support group. I’ve not read a lot of you talk about any knee injury, but I fractured my tibia badly and also completely destroyed the knee. Any of you have thoughts on how a bad knee affects the recovery? I had compartment syndrome so my actual hardware was not put in until probably mid-late April so I’m almost 2 months post surgery and still not sure when I’ll be NWB. To top it off I also have staph in my leg and they’re not sure if it’s in the bone or not so I’m on daily IV treatment for 6-12 weeks.

  64. I am having similar problems with my foot and ankle. I started aquatic therapy and it has really helped a lot. I’m in my 9th week of TPF and third week of therapy. I was 6 weeks NWB and was surprised how atrophy set in. This is a lengthy recovery that I have had to accept.

  65. Hello everyone and what a great site. Wish I’d come across this months ago.
    I had a TPF of the left knee back in February 2014 after a work accident and surgery within 48 hours resulting in 2 large screws being fitted to re-connect the fractured bones. The fracture caused a piece of bone to be broken away from the main joint just next to the fibia, one of the worst placed to have a fracture (so all the specialists kept telling me)!! Up to this time I had been fortunate enough not to have been off work ill for around 25 years+ (I’m now 53), as I’d always been fit and healthy.
    I can relate to almost everyones experiences and I guess the one thing I can’t quite get my head around is the recovery time, I just really want to get back to work and full normal life, but as yet I am not allowed to drive (manual car that is). I have been fully weight bearing since mid/late May and have gone through the pain in the foot, swelling of the knee and muscle/joint aches. My knee still feels that it may give way on me sometimes and I certainly know if I’ve overdone it. I’ve also been back into hospital for day surgery where the consultant who originally operated on me cut away a tear in my cartiledge and had a good old poke around to make sure all was as well as my xrays had been showing. I have noticed that the pain in my foot from walking has mysteriously gone, so I can only attribute this to the consultants actions during surgery. He did tell me he would manipulate my leg to check all was working!
    Having read a lot of the above stories I can see that perhaps I need to be a little more patient and keep in mind that my health is worth more than work and any hasty decisions to get back to work could result in further complications, which is not wanted. My manager is quite understanding, but as I’m probably the only employee to have long term sick leave in quite a number of years, they are obviously anxious for me to fully recover and return to work.
    I have been asked by quite a number of people about whether or not I have made or considered making a claim, but my reply has been me getting better first then I may consider. There seems to be lots of companies out there who deal with claims, but can we really trust any of them?
    I wish all of you good luck for the future and hope all goes well with your own recoveries. I’ll make sure I visit the site regularly from now on. Kind regards.

  66. The suggestions from fellow TPFs on this site has been incredibly supportive in my own recovery – thank you! Much has been shared about the earlier stages of recovery so I’d like to ask about some later stage concerns. First about my TPF – I did mine skiing on Feb 9, 2014 and had an excruciatingly painful external fixator for 2 weeks before they did the full repair. I’ve now got more screws in my knee and leg than I think we have in the garage. I guess mine is pretty bad as when I asked my surgeon exactly what I had broken, he told me it would be easier to say what I hadn’t broken! Around wk 13 I started WB and had the toe and heel pain mentioned in earlier posts. I got through that but then started a stabbing feeling towards the side/back of my knee. The PT said it was just the bones waking up but, surprise, surprise, it was one of my screws making a break for the surface.It almost popped through the skin so I had it removed a couple of days ago – Question #1 – has anyone else had this happen and if so, did any more screws come loose? My WB is going OK but my ROM is not. I’m only at about 88 degrees and 5 degrees so my surgeon is planning a manipulation to break the scar tissue. Question #2 – has anyone had this manipulation and does it work well? Thanks for responding – I’m going to join the FB page too! Good luck to you all.

  67. I’m in my 50′s and obtained my tpf falling off a ladder. I was quite active before so it was hard to be non-wt bearing for 11 weeks. I had 1 week of the external fixator and then 2 plates. I was warned to bend my leg or they would do it for me so I really worked at it. It wasn’t fun. No PT but did fine without it. Once weight bearing, I was shocked at how weak my leg had gotten. Spent much time in the current pool at the fitness center and lifted weights. I was trying to get in shape to go back to work at my hospital job which requires about 3 miles of walking in 12 hours. I did it. The hardest thing was the energy level. I went from sitting around to hard labor. I still have a bit of a limp at 17 weeks out but as I continue to strengthen my leg, it feels better. I have been lucky in that I have no pain, just weakness. Advice. Bend the leg early and often and things will be better for you in the long run. Also stretch the ankle.

  68. I am 2 weeks out of surgery for fractured tibia plateau had 6 screws and plate installed think i tried cutting pain meds off to soon as i dont believe in them but think i will bite the bullet and take them as bending hurts so bad.I am not in a brace or immobilizer which i find odd but think maybe its due to previous patella dislocation and the ROM issues i had was worried about it but getting around on crutches well cant wait to be able to shave and get haircut due to blood thinner injections

    • Brendan, it does seem strange that you do not have any brace or immobilizer fitted, but I guess that is up to the consultant surgeon and his team, as to what they feel is best for you.
      Whilst I was in hospital I was fitted with a brace that could be adjusted at increments and secured in place, so any attempt to move the leg beyond its setting was impossible. When I was discharged I was given meds to take (29 tablets per day, plus anti blood clotting injections), never had so much in all my life and after about 10 days I stopped taking them, as this was when the injections finished. I was lucky not to be in any pain at all, so I felt taking the tablets was a little fraudulent really.
      My pain started when I was able to go without the brace (nearly 12 weeks) and do real exercises, but thankfully this was short lived as the muscles, tendons and ligamnets started to get stronger. Foot pain kicked in as soon as I started full weight bearing, but this has stopped as per my statement above.
      I found crutches difficult initially and had a couple of stumbles (nothing bad), but I also used a wheelchair, which brings a whole new view on life to you.
      I’m now able to walk with a slight limp but take it easy and use ice packs if you overdo things.
      Hope all goes well and as everyone else on these boards say – take it easy.

  69. I am 2 almost 3 weeks out of surgery. I was put in a brace in the hospital emergency as soon the TPF was found. I still wear the brace but the staples came out yesterday. I also received a copy of the OS report who did yesterdays exam and my fibula was also broken at the neck. Surprisingly not much pain, and I came off the pain meds after week one. Sitting in the cast clinic with the other Ortho patients I had myself half convinced that I would back in the saddle in a couple of months. The OS told me I would be off work 6 months to a year. Crutches are getting easier to use and I fill my day with little victories, like sitting in the back/front yard watering the garden. The one big scare I had was my crutches slipping on the ceramic floor which had a wet spot and I had to step down on the injured leg to keep from falling. Didn’t hurt but scared me. The x rays yesterday came back without any new damage so its a wash I guess. This is gonna be a huge exercise in patience. Going from all out to 0 is tough.

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  72. I had my injury 6-9-14. I am currently 1week post op. I had a level 6 TPF. I had 3-4 different fractures. ( having trouble remembering everything the surgeon said). I am still in a lot of pain and will be going back to see the doctor in two days. This has to be the worst thing I’ve ever gone through but I’m trying to keep a positive attitude. I have been do some ROM exercises already but find it very difficult to be able to do any daily activities. My mom has been staying with me to help. My question is how long should I expect to need full time help at home?

    • Hi Andrea,
      I’m so sorry you are going through this! Your question about how much full time help you’ll need was/is one of my concerns, too. What did your doc say as far as the nwb period? I was told I was going to be nwb for 12 weeks. I have 3 kids so my biggest concern was how the heck to take care of them. I had my mom and then my mother in law out to help for a total of 5 weeks. I then hired a gal to help with the baby and light house work. She lasted 3 weeks. I’ve been about a month on my own with the occasional babysitter. Let me tell ya, its rough. But it is also amazing what you can do when you have to. The pain will go away very soon and then it will just be time and patience. Keep bending and straightening that leg and do anything to get some blood flowing. It helps everything. My advice: get a wheelchair and one ofthose arm gripper things. The chair is so much easier than crutches when you are in your home, plus you can carry things. The gripper let’s you reach things without constantly having to stand up and down on the good leg. I can take care of the kids for the most part and feel a not-so-small victory after i cook dinner. I still cant go to the grocery, carry laundry, put away dishes etc. My husband picks up a lot of that slack. Anyway, I don’t know what I’d do without some kind of help until I am fully able to walk again. I hope that comes sooner than later for you. Hang in there. It is slow but it really does get better, and you can learn an awful lot about yourself in the process.

  73. Excellent read. Thank you. My biggest concern is longer term complications that restrict my activity levels. It’s comforting to read that, should I stay patient (which I’m struggling with) and carry out physio diligently (which I’m not concerned about, I’m just itching to get to the physio stage) that I can expect a full recovery. Ill be bookmarking this page and reading over regularly as it has raised my spirits considerably. Thanks again.

  74. It takes a lot of time and care in order to be ‘normal’ again. I slipped and fell of my bike and suffered a TPF Schatzker VI, plate and screws.. Nearly 7 month ago. I immediatly started little exercises even when i was NWB, stretching, pointing foot and such. After 6 weeks i was FWB and had to learn how to walk again… I trained very hard to walk without a limp and always listened to my body, pain is stop!
    At the beginning i was very tired which is normal because your body needs lots of energy to heal, i didn’t have to work luckily.
    This can take up to 2 years the whole proces! Now i function okay, i cannot run, nor sit on my knees, jump and other things which i used to do without thinking, annoying because i feel confronted with the fact of still being limited. Seeing where i come from after sitting in a wheelchair and being completely depending it is anyway a huge improvement and i cherish that daily!
    Whish you all the very best and take care!

  75. I was out of school alone for 2 weeks and basically bed ridden the entire 2 weeks. After that I would say I would have been ok if I was on my own around the house. Granted my surgery did have some complications that put me in more pain, I would guess about the same is true for you since you had multiple fractures. The meds they had me on also made me very fuzzy and even simple things like getting out of bed on my own was very difficult because I couldn’t keep my balance. Don’t push anything. I would keep someone around until you feel comfortable being on your own.

  76. I am now 3 weeks post-op from my TPF, which was about as bad as they get. I also tore my ACL, MCL and had a proximal fibular fracture. I am a resident physician and am lucky my program is letting me do a research month from home while I recover this month. I have always been a very independent person, and been the one to take care of others. Now I am reliant on my boyfriend to help me with nearly everything. I have begun to feel more and more depressed, and don’t know how to get out of this “funk”. I am also becoming terrified about returning to work in 2 weeks. As a resident, we work 80 hours a week, and I just don’t know how I will be able to do it. Residency has been so hard even without an injury. Starting at week 8 post-op, I will have 28 hour shifts every 4th day, and work everyday in between. I am non-weight bearing for 3 months. How will I be able to function when I am so deconditioned from sitting all day? I am not doing any PT now, as my ortho told me that won’t start until after 6 weeks. I just didn’t expect it to be this hard. I am trying to keep a positive attitude and put on a positive front to my friends, family and coworkers, but it’s getting harder to do. I don’t want to take time off residency, because that could push my graduation back and I have already been in training so many years (7) and I want to have my own life someday. Any advice on how to push through? Wheelchair or crutches when I return to work? I will have to cover a lot of ground everyday at the hospital. Thanks.

    • So sorry to hear about your injury Megan.
      Your fracture is quite involved and takes quite a while to recover. Many of us are NWB for 8-12 weeks and then physio before we are able to go back to work. I am an RN in a busy Dialysis/Oncology unit and work 8-12 hour days.
      I have only just gone back to work on short shifts 16 weeks after my injury and mine was only a Type 2. You are allowed to feel down and negative at times as unfortunately it is part of the healing process (unfortunately).
      I am not sure if you use Facebook, but if you do can I suggest you join the TPF group as there is much support and just being able to talk with others in your position might help with the depression we all go through.
      https://www.facebook.com/groups/tibalplateaufractures/

  77. Megan,
    Sorry to see you or anyone on this site. I had my TPF last August, so I am 11 months post op. I was out of work for 4 months before I could return. I am a home physical therapist, so in order to return to work, I not only had to be stable on my feet, but make sure I could react quickly if one of my patients were about to fall.
    Even if your injury wasn’t as severe as it is, I don’t think it is realistic to think you can return to your residency for those 28 hour shifts unless you were in a wheelchair. After being non weightbearing for 8 weeks, it took me another 3 weeks in the pool before I could bear weight on land, then another 2 months of land therapy. My first month back was really tough with my leg swelling, wearing compression stockings, and just general deconditioning.
    If your residency will allow it, plan to be in the wheelchair. As a PT I thought I would recover within 2-3 months. How wrong I was. I have done 4 Ironman triathlons, and this injury blows those races out of the water in difficulty. Whatever your projected date of returning to work full time is, I would say add 2-3 months to that realistically. My surgeon told me to expect 2 years before I know if I am fully recovered. I may never run again, or jump or play ball with my kids.
    BUT
    This injury has been a blessing to me. As a PT this injury has totally changed my perception of how important my profession is. I have total empathy for my patients, as well as instant credibility. When my patients see my scar, they know I have been through some tough times. So as bad as this recovery has been, I am a better clinician as a result.
    With you as a physician, I pray that you will experience a similar realization that this experience will make you a better physician. I recently treated a very well known orthopedic physician. He thought he knew what physical therapy was all about. It wasn’t until he broke his hip, and became a patient that he understood the importance of what we do. Because you are now a patient, you will have a newfound respect for your patients, as well as a new appreciation for what YOU do. The lessons learned for you will be worth it in the long run. I know you may not understand this now, but things happen to us for a reason. This injury made me a better PT, made me a better husband and better father. The 4 months I was away from work sucked financially, but the time with my wife and 2 boys was priceless. I pray that in time you will realize this terrible injury made you a better physician.
    At 11 months post op, I still limp, cannot climb stairs without a railing, and have difficulty standing up after sitting more than 20 minutes. But when I think back to those first few weeks in a wheelchair, elevated toilet seat, and shower bench, I don’t remember how I persevered. The pain and depression and doubts you are feeling now will get better. One day at a time.
    Take care,
    Chris

    • Chris, your words mean so much to me thank you. I can already see how this injury will helps to empathize more with my patients. I know I will make it through….it just seems like such a long road. I have never been one to give up, and I won’t now. This website is really helping me and I’m so grateful for the support and understanding.

  78. Thank you so much for your response Lee. I can’t tell you how much it means to me to have someone understand what going through. I will definitely join that Facebook page. I’m just having such a hard time having everyone tell me it’s going to be ok. This is not ok, it sucks. But I will survive and I know it could be much worse. Your words have meant so much to me thank you!

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