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.

2,025 thoughts on “Recovery

  1. Hi all!
    On August 24 I fell about 12ft at Red River Gorge, left me with a pretty gnarly tbf and a hunk of cartilage also broke off from my knee and lodged into the fracture. On the 29th (one week ago today) I had surgery, one plate and 4 screws. I also had a suture put through my tibia and fibula in my ankle (both left leg). First PT session is tomorrow, currently in a hinge brace, splint on ankle/foot, and what seems like 10lb of bandages/ice pack. Seriously, it hurts to stand up because all that stuff drags down on my knee cap it seems. I just turned 22, I’m 5’4″ and 135lb. Pre-injury, I was a gymnast for 17 years, competed through college and continued to practice about 6-8hrs/week up until the accident. Also did XC/track for 6 years before college. In addition I was doing crossfit for an hour each morning. So clearly I’m an extremely active person, I walk/bike to work, grocery store, gym, basically everywhere within 6miles of me. And I’m an avid runner, hiker, etc. This injury has been extremely mentally difficult on me, to all of a sudden be told I’m on bedrest for 12 weeks, and I have no idea what I will be able to do other than hopefully walk. I’ve read through this forum quite a bit, and so I just wanted to put my story down because I know I’ll spend some time here. If anyone has progressed further than me and has any outlook, I’d greatly appreciate it 🙂

    • Hi Kelsey – first let me say how sorry I am about your injury! You are correct in saying that mentally this injury is very difficult! the good news for you is that you are young and extremely physically fit before your injury so your recuperation time should be shorter and better than most like me who was not. I am 5 weeks post left TPF surgery for the second time since my first one was done incorrectly so 7 months of recuperation was wasted there. It’s not easy having to go through it again but I am trying every day to find a positive thing to hang on to and my friends are awesome and still very supportive. Keep in touch on this website and let us know how you’re doing as you go along or if there are any questions or problems that we may have experienced and can help with. I have found it useful. Take care, speedy recovery, and God Bless 🙂

    • Kelsey, I’m so sorry to hear about your injury. I just wanted to let you know you are not alone in your sadness about the change of lifestyle after this injury. I was also extremely athletic prior to my injury, and so depressed by the loss of that part of my life. It’s really hard–and don’t feel bad about mourning that. People will probably say things to you like, “You’re so lucky you lived!” to try to make you feel better, and of course that’s true, but it doesn’t change the loss you experienced.

      I am about 8 weeks into my recovery from my second surgery (to remove my plate and screws). Honestly—before I had those removed, I felt hopeless about my future physical capabilities. I’m feeling much better now, and can actually envision hiking again some day (I’ll probably never be a runner again–but I can live with that.)

      I would say to do everything you can as soon as you can to get that athletic endorphin rush back. I started with a recumbent bike that had hand pedals (you can get your heart rate up quite a bit), and progressed to legs in the foot pedals as soon as it was ok’d by my med team. If you can get 20 minutes of aerobic in daily it will do wonders for your mental health. I ended up getting a recumbent machine for home because I consider it as important as food and water now.

      Good luck with your recovery, and keep us posted.

    • Kelsey & Jennifer,

      There is hope to resume your normal, or a pretty normal, active lifestyle. I am 8 months into recovery, and while I still have a long way to go I am able to do many things…like go on a 30-mile bike ride, do 5 miles on my elliptical, and go hiking (not too difficult terrain) with use of a brace. And best of all I am back to exploring Europe with my family! My surgeon also cleared me to ski again, but my muscles aren’t there yet. I have just started sprints in PT and some cross fit, like box jumps, burpees, ropes, etc. And I am now 47 years old–so if I can do it at my age and not as fit as you to start, I’m sure you can get there, too. I am hoping that once I get the hardware removed I will have even more functionality with less pain. Just try to stay positive–it does make a difference!

      • Starr, hearing your progress makes me feel very optimistic! Does the hardware really bother you that much? My surgeon told me it’s designed to stay in forever. Hasn’t bother me yet, but that’s not saying much I guess since the only thing it can do right now is bend 70°.

  2. Was just wondering how many of you took of your brace to sleep at night. I want to. Cause I can’t get comfortable. I have always laid on my sides. And I can’t flop my leg around. And since I have been sleeping in a recliner for a month now. It’s safe to say my. Ass hurts. Lol
    I always couldn’t wait to get home from work and sit down to relax. Now I just want to stand normally. Or at least lay flat I. A bed.

    My biggest fear if I take the brace off is. Bending or moving wrong. Any comments would be great

    • Hey Randy! I had my tibia plat surgery about two and a half weeks ago and had my first post op check in. I actually addressed this concern with my doctor for I too side sleep and have a hard time getting any sleep with sleeping on the back and with the brace just rubbing the back of my leg constantly with the straps. If you have a hinged brace locked in at an angle, like mine is at 30 degrees, I was advised I could unlock it when i sleep, which allows it to straighten and then only curl to the max of 30 which it is set at. Now unfortunately I was told that is the best I am allowed to do. I definitely would ask your care doctor if you’re able to unlock if you have the hinged brace, it may help a lot with sleep. As always, don’t take my word and make sure to ask. Good luck, hopefully our half bionic legs will come out on top!

      • My. Brace is at full motion. Was never lock. I am almost. At 90 degree bend. After my first. Week. Of physo my leg feels great. It is still a little swollen. And does ache after a full day of exercise. And the knee slid board.
        It’s the two more months n w b. That will suck. I broke it back in July on the 16th. Then had my surgery on the 20th.
        Plate and 11 screws. It was a class vi break with over a inch displacement.

      • But you were allowed to turn over and sleep on your side? I had surgery 1 week ago today, and I’m so so so restless. I have my first PT session tomorrow and my post-op appointment in one week, so I was going to ask then. But I’m just really hoping I’m allowed to! I’m not a back sleeper at all.

        • Hi Kelsey I still sleep in the recliner. But tonight I’m going to try and sleep with the brace off back in. Bed.
          Hard part is the 15 stairs I’ll have to climb to get there. I tried one night with the brace on and it sucked. Let ya know how it goes.

          • Hi Randy!
            Try going up and down the stairs on your butt. Much easier than hopping up and down using crutches! When going up the stairs, I would use my walker (I found the walker easier than crutches) to get over to the stairs and then I would turn around and lower myself down and sit on the 2nd or 3rd step and then pull myself up the stairs. (Good way to build upper body strength.) Once I got to the top of the stairs, I would carefully pull myself up and onto a folding chair that my husband placed at the top of the stairs. Do not do this without someone with you. My husband would walk up the stairs as I was pulling myself up so that I had someone to block me in case something happened and then once I got onto the chair, he would come up around me and pull the chair away from the stairs and into the foyer where I would then grab onto my walker and pull myself to a standing position, without putting weight on my healing foot, of course.
            When going down the stairs, he would pile a bunch of pillows on the floor of the foyer and then lowered me down, on top of the pillows, and then I would go down the stairs on my butt. When I got to the 2nd or 3rd step from the bottom, I would use my walker to pull myself up. Worked great!
            I am now 21 months post tpf injury and surgery and am doing great! I am 61 years old and was never an athlete, by the way.
            Good luck and be patient-do your exercises!!

    • Hi Randy,
      I did not take off my brace at night until the doctor told me that I could. I believe it was at 7 weeks if I remember correctly. What helped me was putting a pillow underneath the calf of that leg.
      I am now 21 months post tpf injury and surgery and am doing very well. My leg feels great!
      My advice is to listen to your doctor and do your exercises. Good luck!

  3. I am recovering from TFF on my right leg ,its been 7 weeks and now I am bearing 60-70% weight on my right leg.I have 3 screws and a titanium rod ,its not paining much but when i walk I can see some swelling but next day morning its disappears..

    • Totally normal! It’s going to take a bit more time for the swelling to completely go away. Your ankle may swell, too. Use ice as much as you can-that helps so much. Good luck!

  4. I am recovering from a type VI tibial plateau fracture. I just turned 56 a couple weeks ago. My accident occurred on 5/24/17 at which time my experience began with an external fixation device for two weeks. Then surgery on 6/7/17 which I now have two plates and 13 screws. My sutures have healed beautifully. You can clearly see the marks from the xfix. I’m not complaining. I am still nwb and have seven days, that’s right, seven, to see if I can become pwb. I am concerned because my rom is little bit more than 50. I realize I have a long way to go, but this frightens me. Also, I have been using a walker. I weigh 135 and just don’t feel very safe on crutches, although when I become pwb I will try them again. My hands have become calloused and ring finger and pinky numb on both hands. I am a very active person. I’m so worried about my rom and my hands. I would like to hear if anyone else has experienced this, and gained full rom. I have full extension.

    • Cyndi – I can’t address your rom concerns but for your hands I can recommend some round pipe insulation and insulation (cushy) tape for air conditioner units. My siblings came up with these things for the handles on my walker as I have been using a walker for about 7 months now off and on and just had my second surgery on Aug. 1 for a left leg TPF that wasn’t healing. My hands were so very calloused in the beginning I cried from the pain. So we came up with more comfortable gripping areas on the walker to help. Good luck and happy healing! 🙂

    • cyndi, hope you’re hopes didn’t get too high to be weight bearing this soon. no way. I had my break same day as you and i was just told i’d be another 6 weeks nwb (i cried)This injury takes forever to heal. good luck.

  5. Hi… I am almost 4 months post surgery for TPB and 53 years old. I have almost full ROM, but still have lots of pain in the knee area and my ankle. I know that I sprained my ankle from my fall on 4/14/17. My doctor didn’t even look at my ankle until 8/3/17 after explaining many times that I had pain there. I just had an MRI on my ankle and now they said that I am almost to a point of a stress fracture. Now he says that he may have to remove the hardware in my leg also, another MRI to be scheduled, this time on both leg and ankle. I can hardly sleep with the pain that I have. I limp a lot and use a cane regularly. I am afraid what will happen to my leg if he removes the hardware. If anyone has any advise on this please help me out…. I will greatly appreciate it….thank you.

  6. My boyfriend had this kind of injury just over three months ago now. It happened on May 25th this year just the week before the Giants game he was going to go to that he had tickets for. He fell off of 14 foot ladder at work (he’s a painter). As terrible as that is he’s not a little guy either weighing 360 lbs at 6 feet tall so you can imagine it was a pretty bad break, breaking both the tibia and fibula. The break was a higher break than what they usually see I guess. He was scheduled for surgery the next day and that was around the time that these fracture blisters popped up. Those were something very very difficult to look at and to care for which really surprised me. You think I’d be able to touch him but it’s amazing what you do for somebody who you love in the challenges you can overcome once you are faced with them. So, he went home with an external fixator on the leg that took a lot of patience and adjusting for the weeks to follow. Not sure if they told us to take stool softeners because of the pain meds or if we just didn’t hear them or what but that’s brought on about a week-long struggle to get a bowel movement. Lots and lots of effort and different remedies but finally it all came out. Wish I could say all in the bathroom but hey, it came out and that’s what matters. Then surgery came about 3 weeks to a month later for the external fixator to come off. Doctor was still slightly concerned about infection but proceeded. After about a week or two I told him it looks definitely infected to me he needs to go in. I was correct he ended up with staph infection in his leg. Another surgery came from that to go in and clean it out and got sent home after a week in the hospital with a PICC line… which is a catheter from his bicep that feeds inside all the way to his heart for me to administer antibiotics every day for four weeks- which then turned into six weeks due to slow progress. The PICC line came out last week, he’s now on a oral antibiotic one pill twice a day x 30 days. Very slow progress but then again his diet isn’t all there like it should be because he lacks appetite and still has his beers occasionally. I am the mother of four boys and now taking care of everything on my own and I won’t lie, this has not been an easy Journey. When the accident occurred, he was working under the table and come to find out, the company doesn’t have work comp insurance on his workers that are out painting and climbing ladders. Work comp only on the office staff. Blows me away! So it’s really a messy situation and we’ve gotten nowhere yet. I don’t understand why they don’t go through the homeowners insurance if you can’t do work comp. He already got contacted by the employer who was trying to settle this out of court and said they would cover all the hospital bills. However, I really don’t think they know just how much that is. After three surgeries, all the doctor visits, all the medications, the PICC line, the nurse home visits twice a week, physical therapy and supplies and so much more and it’s not even close to being the end. More than likely, he will be affected by this his whole life and I really don’t think he will be climbing ladders in the future, or maybe that’s just wishful thinking on my part. It’s taking its toll on our relationship I am sure to go above and beyond for him and do anything and everything necessary to give him the best outcome possible and also to be there supportively in everything else, through the ups and the downs and everything in between. He struggles with showing any kind of appreciation which is kind of how he was before anyways. Spoiled brat is a nice way to put it. Regardless I am a compassionate person who will never turn my back on somebody in this situation and pray to God somebody would be there for me. It’s just kind of eye-opening when you realize that if the tables were turned, I really don’t believe he would be there doing any of this for me so. More than likely once this is all said and and he is able to care for himself again, I will be leaving. But I will leave knowing that I did my best and I did what I believe any compassionate person with any kind of a heart would or should do and that is stuck by his side through it all.

    • Shawna, you are an amazing woman. I am so sorry you are in this situation. Please think about putting yourself and your kids first.

    • I commend you Shawna for all that you are doing! I feel that many times this injury is as hard or even harder for the caregiver than the patient. I know this because I live with my 88 yr. old disabled Mother who now is helping me through daily life challenges. The tables have completely turned from what I initially moved in for. Anyway, you are a very brave, compassionate lady and I hope that when the worst of this is past that you’re able to find some peace for yourself. Until then may God Bless you and give you the strength and courage to endure! Take care

  7. I am. 4 weeks in from my surgery. From left leg T p f. Plate screws. Blah blah blah. I was reading what people posted and feel better knowing what is normal and to be expected. But I was wondering. Did any experience burning or tingling in there feet.
    More specific. The bottom of the big toe. Feels like glass shards or fire. When touched. ( for lack of better description).
    Also the top along the little piggy is very sore to touch. Along the bone. Line.
    I have been told. 4 months n w b. Then to p w b. Not sure my bottom will last that long sitting. Lol.
    any way thanks for the info.
    Oh ps. How did anyone else. Break there’s. I hoped a 6 foot fence. To get to my daughters soccer game. Faster. And let’s just say I didn’t. Stick. The landing. Now the kids call me dumb ass. Lol.

    • Hi Randy!
      So sorry to hear about your injury. I was hit by a car in December of 2015. I was 59 at the time. Thankful that it was just a tpf with torn meniscus and bruised elbow; could have been so much worse!
      Yes, the tingling is normal in the affected foot. I had it in big toe and underneath. I could barely touch my foot! Awful feeling but it does get better. When you start walking again, that will help. I also massaged the foot as often as I could. Once you start to rub it, the tingling sensation gets better and allows you to continue rubbing it. At least it did for me.
      My leg is great now although still a bit weaker than it was, at almost 21 months post injury and surgery. Do your p/t exercises-so important!!!! Keep us posted.

  8. Hi I am 4 months post LPTF, my bone healing is slow but somehow with physiotherapy strength of the leg has improved and flexibility has also improved. The doctor had told me to put 50% weightbearing on the leg with a walker. Now the doc has told to me start walking with tripod walker, but somehow I am fearful and I am unsure how much weight to put on the fractured leg which is making my walk very difficult for me. Did anyone have faced similar situation and how to deal with it.

  9. I am 19 months post dual TPF. Left leg was repaired with a Titanium plate (and screws) right TPF allowed to heal on its own. Such a long, hard process. Had a lot of trouble with the left leg–finally had the titanium hardware removed month 18 and it made all the difference. I was living in a world of pain, and now that the metal is out I feel like a completely different person. I had a very difficult time convincing my Dr’s that I was having trouble with the metal, despite my symptoms being textbook metal sensitivity side effects. I worked my ass off for 18 months, and still was unable to walk even 2 miles without unbearable symptoms. Dr kept telling me it was “Arthritis.” Trust your body, people. Fight for your health.

    • Hi jennifer, WOW. Good for you! I totally agree. You have to know your own body and push for what you believe you need to get better. I am 7 months post (2)surgeries. I have 2 plates and 15 screws AND wire? I am looking forward to next January when I get all that crap out! I still can’t walk right and I have been working my ass off too. It is soo stiff all the time. It feels like super tight rubber bands around my knee and calf ALL the time. And my knee bows in a little. I am just having such a hard time regaining my quad strength and stability in my knee. If you have any tips, Please do tell me. swimming has been helping alot as well as the steam room and jacuzi. I will fight for my health. thanks for your post.

      • Hi Susan–I don’t know if I have any tips other than to agree that all that hardware (2 plates and wires? ugh–I’m so sorry) is not going to play well with your natural body. Don’t get me wrong–I know I had to have a plate to heal, but leaving it in forever was clearly not an option. Post hardware removal surgery I have had people tell me that my leg looks “straight” again (it was always bowed and causing a huge strain on my MCL.)

        I had quite a bit of atrophy of my backside, because so many exercises you do post-TBI focus on quads. I started stooping / bending forward at the waist when climbing stairs, etc. because my butt had gotten so weak. Make sure you are balancing your front, back and side muscle development.

        I also had a lot of the stiff/tight sensations–all the way down to the tips of my toes. Maybe talk to your PT about breaking up the fascia under your skin (really painful, but it helps.) That also has improved greatly since having the metal removed.

        Good luck!

  10. I should also add, the break has completely healed fine and I have absolutely no pain, so pain is not the cause for lack of progression. One of the drs called me a medical mystery (not what you want to hear) 😔

  11. Hello there
    I am looking to see if anyone has experienced similar complications to me.
    I am 6 months post Grade 6 Tibial Plateau surgery. I was NWB for 12 weeks and was not allowed to bend my leg at all for 8 weeks post surgery. I have had extensive physio, hydrotherapy, swim and walk daily and still my ROM is less than 50 degrees. Multiple phsyios have said I have a hard block and feel physio will not improve things. My surgeon did an amazing job, but says there is nothing to operate on, as positioning is perfect. I need a manual manipulation under GA however I was diagnosed with Osteopenia as in surgery they found I have extremely soft bones (I’m on 35 yrs so this is rare). Doing this procedure will therefore probably break my leg. The surgeon feels physio will work in the end. Everyone is telling me conflicting things. 4 months into physio there has been no improvement and. I have been working extremely hard. I am going to get a second opinion, but has anyone else been stuck with an almost straight leg?

  12. I had TPF surgery 3 weeks ago and feel like I am doing pretty good in regards to pain. I was wondering if anyone else has experienced restless leg type symptoms after the surgery. The past couple of nights I have been unable to sleep due to frequent involuntary leg jerks. Any suggestions?

    Thank you for this website- it has been a wealth of knowledge!!

    • Mandy, I was wondering myself if anyone else had experienced those leg jerks. Kinda scary! I found that sometimes they seemed to come on from my pain medicine if I took too much at bedtime (was taking Hydrocodone and a muscle relaxer at the time) also seemed to have something to do with being NWB and improved once I could start doing more exercising with the muscles in that leg. I would suggest trying to just find a most comfortable position for sleep and to “calm your brain” and thoughts to try to relax. Hope that helps and know you’re not alone with this. Take care

    • The leg jerks go away after a few weeks, the nerves that were cut are healing. I had a few dreams where I was running and fell or realized my leg was broken and woke up in extreme pain because my leg jerked. Very realistic.

    • I am 24 days post op of a post tibial fracture ( ORIF) The first two week post op I was told those involuntary leg jerks were due to the muscles and the band that runs on the side of the leg being tight. Once I started the leg stretches that physio gave me it have improved greatly and only occurs here and there. If you are seeing physio I would ask him or her as to what stretches you can do to help with them.

  13. I had my second surgery this week for my TPF that happened on Feb. 5,2017. The bone was not healing because the plate was not positioned correctly is what this new surgeon was telling me. So I have 2 long incisions now and am starting back with 4-6 weeks NWB and then on to therapy etc. I’m so glad that I sought a second opinion or I would’ve just been dealing with the pain indefinitely and assuming it was normal. It’s hard having to back up and go through the recovery all over again but I am hoping for total recovery this time around and at least I am aware of what to expect with the initial pain/swelling etc. Take care all, speedy recovery and God Bless!

    • any recourse on something like that? not your fault it was positioned wrong, you shouldn’t have to pay for it but i’m sure you prolly had too. so sorry to hear you had to do this, good luck 2nd time around.

      • thank you for your well wishes Michael. Both surgeons are from the same Orthopedic Group so I doubt that I would have any luck trying to “pitt” one against the other. Really would be hard to prove too that the positioning of the initial plate was the ONLY reason that healing did not occur. So, onward, lesson learned! Take care

  14. Hi barbara mam…this is priyanka here…daily still now my ankle is paining even without much strain..the part where v wear anklet…that round joint pains a lot…my surgery was at knee..but my ankle is disturbed…its paining..please tell if did u also experience this pain..even my calf muscle pains..

    • Hi D. Priyanka, I am sorry that you are having pain. No, I did not have pain there. I did have swelling, though at the ankle for awhile but then that went away. Please see your doctor about this and let us knock how you are doing.

    • I did have pain and swelling in my ankle also. I believe the ankle got twisted and sprained at the same time the leg broke. It took quite a while to feel better. When I started therapy, my therapist said a ligament in the foot/ankle had been stretched and a small bone in the foot was slightly out of place. So the pain wasn’t healing. She pushed the bone back into place, which hurt, but it healed quickly after that. Your doctor should check your ankle/foot. Also, I had a lot of calf muscle pain early on. I mean a LOT. Stretching the muscle is the only answer, with a towel under your heel and you pulling on the ends gently. Don’t pull too hard as that will pull on your injury area, but gently. Hope you feel better soon.

    • Hi D. Priyanka, I just want to clarify that I did have pain and a lot of swelling in the ankle area immediately after I first began to walk, at 3 months after my tpf surgery back in March of 2016. After a few months, that went away. If I remember correctly, your surgery was about a year ago I believe so by that time, I no longer had ankle pain or swelling.
      Have you been to the doctor yet? Use ice in the meantime to help with the pain and swelling. Please let me know how you’re doing.

    • I broke the tibia/fibula close to the knee. TPF. I had pain from my groin to my big toe. The initial pain eased after a month, to a tolerable level that I could go without pain medication, only for PT. The nerve pain from the surgery will persist for months, numb prickly pain, similar to a foot half asleep… all the time. It is basically mind over matter with this. Stretch and massage the muscles. Forget the painkillers, they aren’t really helping. I’m having a dull ache most of the time. Keep everything moving, resistance exercises. Recovery is like watching a glacier move.

      • I agree–the opiod pain killers (“Oxy/Hydro Codone” “Vicodin”) stop working after a while. Eventually, your pain level will actually feel like it increases, as your body craves more of the drug. You have to get off those pain killers as soon as you can. First 48 hours will be hard, but then it gets better.

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