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 Tibial Plateau eracture 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 Tibial Plateau fracture. 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 (in the knee and ankle joints) as well as pain, heat flashes, edema and stiffness Some of these will be caused 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 Tibial Plateau 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 knee and 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

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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 Tibial Plateau fracture. 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 Tibial Plateau fracture 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.

1,472 thoughts on “Recovery

  1. 6 months post op and I’m still concentrating on walking without a limp. I do upper body weights and sit ups but squats are still a challenge. So sports? Not yet!

  2. I as well have some clicking but only when I’m sitting down raising my leg up and back down. I fractured my tibia plateau on May 15th of this year no surgery required. I still can’t fully squat down so my range of motion is not all there. I was wondering when any of you guys returned to sports.

  3. Hi there
    I still have discomfort after almost 6 months but it is tolerable and usually don’t need any assistance from a crutch or cane unless I’m walking a lot.
    I do have full range of motion and u attribute that to being dedicated to my PT program. I think that is imperative for you to straighten your leg eventually unless there is a surgical reason keeping you from doing that. Good luck and I hope your pain and rom resolve.

  4. Hi Vincent
    I did have some clicking in my knee … It also felt like it was shifting a bit from side to side. I called my surgeon and upon examination he determined that the fat pad was swollen. He gave me a cortisone injection which resolved my problem albeit temporarily. I guess I’m saying to call your surgeon so he or she can determine the cause for your problem. Good luck to you. I was injured in March and this is a long and arduous road. Have patience.

    • Hi Rosemary,
      I still have some swelling around my knee and foot so hopefully when that goes down I will notice that the clicking goes. At the moment it is quite audible to all and it can also be painful too.
      At my last check up the surgeon said that she will keep a note of it and if it is still the same when I go back she will organise a scan on it to see if there was any other damage done around the knee.

  5. Hi its 6 months now since i did my tbf and also cant bend or straighten knee properly and still on crutches and in pain and got to go for ct scan in 2 weeks

  6. Hi all,
    I was just wondering if any of you have the clicking of the bones when you are walking?either the tibia or around the knee? Also how long will it take the swelling on my knee and foot to go away completely?
    I had my accident on May 5th and surgery the following day.
    Like all i was nwb for about 8 weeks after the operation, then partial for another 2 weeks or so. When i started to weight bare fully I started to notice that I was having a fair bit of clicking both with my Tibia and knee. the clicking can be quite loud and my physio has noticed it too. At the 12 week check up the surgeon could feel the click as she was bending my knee and said that there could be something more going on and that if i still have it at the 6 month check up she will have to organise a ct scan to check the rest of the joint around the knee.
    I returned to work on the 10th of August and have a good hour plus drive to and from but so far all is good apart from stiffness getting out of the car. I use 1 crutch for walking long distances but try to walk without it as mush as possible.
    I wonder if the hardware can be removed in Ireland where i live? might have to ask the question.

    • Hello Vincent, I have audible clicking too when I walk. I am 16 months post op. I’d be interested to know what your CT scan will show. I am in the UK and cannot seem to get the NHS to do a CT scan or take the metal work out. I have seen a private Dr and he had a Roseberg projection x-ray taken, this shows my femur is in contact with my tibia and so I have early oesteoarthritis as a result of my TPF.
      Good healing Vincent.

    • Hi Vincent,
      First, sorry about your accident! I had my accident on December 4, 2015. I am not almost 9 months post-op. In answer to your question: yes, I have had clicking of the bones when walking, around the knee. I remember having this once I was fully weight-bearing, which was at 3 months post-op. I do remember that it went away eventually. I brought it to the attention of my physical therapists and I was told that it was normal especially after this type of injury, as a result of the swelling. Once I began to walk more, I noticed that the clicking went away.
      Three weeks ago, I had my hardware removed. My surgeon said that he prefers to remove the hardware in most of his patients so I agreed to have it taken out. I also felt my hardware most of the time so that became really annoying, especially if I tried to kneel. I basically could not do that because it was very uncomfortable. I had my stitches removed last Friday and I am doing very well. My ROM is almost back to normal, at about 120-130, and I am not using a cane or crutch at all. I, again, have clicking around the knee but notice that the more that I walk, the less clicking that I have. I am also still swollen. I am walking about 75% normally; I am just slower. I have stiffness in the knee area but I know that that will go away once the swelling goes down and the more that I exercise. I am not quite able to run yet; just trot (LOLLL). Running will take time for me. I went back for more physical therapy at the advice of my surgeon, for another 6 weeks, 3x per week. In 3 months, I will go back for my final x-ray and will be discharged permanently.
      Just some information about me: I am 60 years old and was never an athlete. My surgeon advised me that I must keep up with my exercises even after I am finished at the physical therapy place. He said to especially work on quad exercises for strength. He said that swimming is also a wonderful exercise. My physical therapists say that I am doing really well for someone my age and who was never an athlete. I am returning to work next week; I have been out of work for almost 9 months. I didn’t want to go back to work until my hardware was removed. I have a long commute.
      My advice to you is to ask questions of your surgeon to keep you informed of what is expected of you, and keep up with your physical therapy exercises, whether they are at home or as an outpatient, and have patience! This injury/recovery is a long one but with hard work and patience, you will be good as new. My injured knee is in much better shape now than my other knee, which will eventually need a knee replacement due to osteoarthritis and no meniscus. Good luck and keep us posted!

      • Hi Barbara,
        Thank you so much for the advice I really appreciate it.
        I am still at about 110-120 degree of movement and it makes sense that the plate is causing difficulty as I can feel it as I try to push it more. I will make sure to ask about removing thae plate next time i see the surgeon.

        Thank you again,
        Vincent

  7. Hi John: My wife also had her TPF also in February and is walking now without much problem or pain. But there were moments when she was discouraged along the way.
    I am sure that recovery time and results depend on many things. How serious was your injury? Did you have surgery? Was the surgery successful – how did the X-rays look? What did your surgeon say about the results and your recovery? Does he/she still monitor your progress and provide care/advice for you? Did you have other damage? Do you have other medical issues?
    From what I have learned, everyone’s recovery is different. As long as you are seeing continued improvements, you will get there eventually, back to, or very close to, normal.

    • Hi thanks, my surgeon said it was a serious fracture also split my cartridge, I was in theatre 3 hours I just seem to have come to a standstill with recovery in the last 2 months many thanks John

  8. I did my tpf in February still not full weight bearing and still using my crutches does not seem to be getting better,do my excersizes every day, how long does this injury take to fully recover? Any suggestions much appreciated
    Thanks John

    • Hi John,
      Sorry to hear about your injury. I had my accident (was hit by a car) back in December. Had the surgery to repair the Tibia and also had some torn meniscus among other things. I was non-weight-bearing for 3 months but at 7 1/2 weeks post-op, I was allowed to place 20% weight on the injured leg, which is basically not much at all. It’s comparable to lightly squashing a grape tomato with your toe (placing your heel down and then coming up very lightly on your toes, while putting most of your weight on the other leg and using your arms). I had better luck with a walker rather than crutches for this. At 3 months, I was allowed to fully weight-bear; however, it was with the use of a cane and was still difficult and painful. By the end of the day, my knee was swollen and my foot was, too, and it also ached a lot. About 5 weeks after that, I was told to get rid of the cane and just walk normally. Of course I didn’t walk “normally” but it was much better than it was at the 3 month mark. However, I needed to take an anti-inflammatory for the swelling and pain. During these months, from December through most of June, I went for physical therapy outside of the home 3x per week and also did exercises at home. I would say that at around the 6 month mark, I was feeling much better, was able to go up and down stairs and walk many blocks without a problem but I had to take the anti-inflammatory. If I didn’t, the swelling would come right back and that caused me a lot of pain.
      Two weeks ago, I had my hardware removed, as it caused me discomfort, and just had the stitches removed today. That was 8 months after my first surgery. I am walking without a limp and without pain, although slowly. The only medication that I am currently taking is Acetaminophen (Tylenol) when needed. I have to take it fairly easy for another month but after that my surgeon said I will be “good to go.” I have another follow-up appointment with him in 3 months and then after that I will be finished with seeing him. I was told today that I must continue with exercising, whether it be going to a gym, swimming or both, or doing my exercises at home. It is very important to strengthen your quad muscles and I was told this today. He said that I have to continue with this for the rest of my life.
      As far as how long this injury takes to fully recover, I would say that probably would be about one year but it really does vary with each person. What I have read online has confirmed this. Some people feel much better by the 1 year mark while with others, it takes longer. With respect to your particular injury, does your surgeon take x-rays when you see him or her? If so, what does he or she say about your progress? Every case is different so before I would compare myself to others’ TPF recoveries, I would see what your surgeon has to say about yours. You are about 6 months post-op and probably should be feeling better and perhaps not using crutches or at least only using one, but as I said, every case is different. Check with your surgeon or P.A. to see what they expect of you. You may need a bit more time with your particular injury. Let us know how you are doing and good luck!

      • Hi many thanks for your information my consultant sending me for ct scan in the next couple of weeks so l should no more then, he did mention about it could be loose screws , I’m worried I will not be able to do my job again as I’m a decorator going up and ladders etc I will keep you informed many thanks John

        • John: For what it’s worth, I would ask for specific , few number of x-rays of the injured area, particularly at first, but not a ct scan which is many x-rays all taken together. Sure you get a better look from the ct scan but with a much higher dose of radiation. Doctors seem to ask for ct scans because it makes their job easier without considering the extra radiation they are exposing their patients to.

  9. Hi Barbara: Thanks for providing that very useful information. Yes, my wife is feeling the effect of the hardware, especially in certain movements. While not excruciating pain, she does get pressure points when bending. As well, being fairly slim, the plate is quite visible and probably quite vulnerable, just under the skin.
    Your experience and ‘insider’s’ information will definitely help her to decide whether/when to get the hardware removed.

    – Jake

    • Hi Jake,
      That is exactly how I felt with my hardware inside of me. Feeling pressure points when bending, and even sometimes when walking. I am not very slim but I am not very heavy, either, and the plate was still fairly visible.
      Had the stitches removed today – yay! – and was so happy to have the bandages removed. It felt so cool on my leg! I have steri-strips there now but I took a long walk, although slowly, and it felt great! Will keep you and your wife posted on how it goes from this point on. Please let me know what your wife decides to do about her hardware and also about her progress!

  10. Katie
    Hang in there. My bicondylar TPF occurred on 3/5/16 surgery on 3/6/16. It is hard…. But do your PT religiously and keep you mind busy particularly while you are not weight bearing. When you begin weight bearing it is more painful than I thought it would be but just be persistent. Around 6 months in I still have pain but I can get out often and on my own and contribute to choirs and other essential daily duties. This is harder than I originally thought it would be but this time will pass. My surgeon has told me that recovery will take a year….. At first I didn’t believe him but know I know that he is right.

  11. Hi Barbara: Thanks so much for the update on your post-hardware-removal situation. That is very informative. My wife has had the TPF with surgery about 6 months ago and generally doing fine now. She is considering hardware removal too but is a little leary of another surgery, albeit less onerous than the first time. May I ask what prompted you to have the hardware removed? Did the surgeon recommend it? Was it your choice? How long did you have to wait after the first surgery to have it done? Is there a preferred ‘window’ of time for that secondary operation?

    • Hi Jake,
      So glad to hear that your wife is doing well. Can you believe that 6 months has gone by already?!
      I had the hardware removed at the suggestion of my surgeon. When I was first operated on and found this wonderful website, I learned about hardware removal. Before this, I didn’t know that the hardware is considered to be removed. My surgeon never mentioned it. When I went back to him for post-op visits, I mentioned the hardware removal and that is when he said that he does remove the hardware from 98-99% of his patients. He told me not to worry about that back then and we would address the topic at my 6 month checkup. When I went to him in June, which was my 6 month checkup, he examined me and said that he felt that I would be much more comfortable without the hardware. (I definitely felt the hardware in my leg in specific areas, namely under my knee and to the left of my knee where the plate was and where it bulged out a bit.) After reading up on the web about hardware removal (pattysbrokenleg.blogspot.com), I decided to have it done. It was a mutual decision. So far, I am happy that I did. The stitches come out tomorrow so I will let everyone know how I am doing after that. My 2nd surgery was performed 8 months after the first surgery. It would have been done sooner than that, about 6 1/2 months after the first surgery, but I had to wait for approval from my insurance company. As far as having a preferred window of time, I believe it depends on each case but can be performed anywhere from 6 months after the first surgery and on.
      I also spoke with a few different people about the hardware removal, other than people who have had this type of injury, some of whom were doctors, and most of them felt that if you don’t need the hardware inside of you, have it removed.
      Does your wife feel her hardware at all?

  12. I broke my tibia/fibula 6-19-16. Spent 18 days in Seattle trauma hospital. Tibial plateau fracture, complex bicondylar (?). See my surgeon about every 2 weeks. Using a walker most of the time, wheelchair when I go out. Still not weight bearing. Seeing my surgeon 8/24, hopefully I can start weight bearing soon. 9/19 will be 12 weeks since accident.

    • Hi Katie,
      Sorry to hear about your injury. I, too, used a walker. I found it to be better than crutches. I had better balance. I began partial weight-bearing at 7 1/2 weeks (only 20%). Each case is different so I am sure that your surgeon has a reason for you not to be weight-bearing yet. Maybe at your visit on the 24th, he will let you put partial weight on the leg. Keep up with your physical therapy; that is very important. Once you begin full weight-bearing, usually at around 12 weeks, you will probably have issues with pain and swelling in the foot of the leg that was injured as it is now taking on full weight after not having weight on it for 3 months. This is normal. I also had pain and swelling in the knee area. Icing the knee helps tremendously! Anti-inflammatories do, also, such as Ibuprofen, if you can take it. Have patience – it gets better. I am now 8 months post-op and just had my hardware removed. I can bend my knee fully and am doing so much better than I was. Keep us posted on your progress!

  13. Hi Jen,
    Yes, I was able to go up and down the stairs normally before my hardware was removed. A bit slower than before my TPF but had no issues at all going up and down stairs. My ability now is a bit slower than before because of the bandages. The leg is stiffer because I am pretty well wrapped up, although the bandages have gotten much looser because the swelling has gone down so much. I can bend the knee fairly well, though, and I would imagine I will be able to bend it even better once these bandages are gone and the stitches are out. I have no issues sitting at a table for dinner and the other day I went to the movies and sat for almost 2 hours without a problem. (When I first get up from a sitting position, however, I have to go very slowly because the knee is stiff but that gets better once I walk it out.) I used to get a sharp pain underneath my knee at times which I assume may have been from one of the screws but now I don’t seem to have that pain at all. I know that total healing of the holes takes approx. 6 weeks but I don’t feel that I will have to wait that long to take long walks. I will let you know about that after my visit on Friday and I will continue to keep you posted on my progress. Please do the same about your progress, too!

  14. Hi Barbara,
    Thanks so much for the update. You seem to be doing really, really well. Glad to hear you get your stitches out Friday! Were you able to go up and down the stairs normally before the hardware removal? Wasn’t sure if your ability to do so now is an improvement. I can’t do that yet. Still taking them one at a time. I would love to know when you’re cleared to take a long walk! If the recovery for this is roughly two weeks, I can live with that! Still thinking I’ll postpone till January or so. Partly because of my Dad and partly so I can continue to work out without having to take another break. I’m glad you’re not in a lot of pain. Does your leg feel significantly different? More like your own, haha?
    Thanks again for keeping me posted as to your progress. Would love to know how you’re doing in another week!

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