Tips and Tricks

*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*

Surviving at home:

  • A shower stool will help you shower (link). A garden stool is not recommended, because the plastic leg could bend or slip causing you to fall. The stool should have rubber at the end of the legs
  • Always wipe the bottom of your crutches before leaving the shower room.
  • If your hands hurt from using the crutches consider getting a crutch with shock absorbers, or ergonomic crutches (link)
  • Replace the rubber at the bottom of your crutches if it cracks. this could be a safety issue.
  • A gripper (link) will be very useful in allowing you reach, grasp and grab all those out-of-reach items. If you are on a wheelchair you will be very happy you got one.
  • Use a big bag or drycast (link) to keep your cast and brace from getting wet while showering.
  • Use a small bowl of water and a towel to wash your foott while you cannot wash them in the shower.
  • Hinged braces will fit over tight jeans, but wide sweatpants are much more comfortable and will fit right over the
    brace. Make sure to get a pair that is wide enough to go over your brace (link).
  • An electric massager can help relieve muscle tightness and spasms. Use it gently (link).
  • keep a set of dishes and healthy snacks on the counter for easy access.
  • Use your wheel-chair and a tray for taking food and dishes from place to place. A cushioned tray is perfect for holding with one hand as it rests on you thighs, leaving your other arm free to maneuver the chair (link).
  • storage bowls with lids (link) will also work to help transfer food, especially if its liquid.
  • Always keep at least one bottle/box of painkillers in your pocket.
  • In most areas It is possible to get groceries delivered home, but it’s best if you have someone else do the groceries.
  • A backpack (link) is very useful for moving things around while on crutches or going shopping. Just make sure nobody in the shop thinks you’re trying to steal!
  • Holding plastic bags while on crutches is not very comfortable
  • prepare a library of entertainment. You have a lot of free time on your hands. This is a chance to watch that show you always wanted to watch, all 300 episodes of it. consider registering to a service like Netflix or Amazon prime or similar.
  • keep a positive attitude

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Hastening the recovery

  • Don’t overdo it. Your body needs rest
  • Smoking will prolong the recovery and might cause complications. Try to avoid it.
  • Alcohol, Caffeine and salt should be avoided
  • Eat well, supplement if you feel you need it. Make sure you eat enough protein(link).
  • consider taking a multivatamin. Studies have shown this helps the healing rate and reduces the rate of nonunion (link)
  • Do your exercises
  • Do you exercises
  • This is not a mistake.. Do you exercises

Legal

  • Consult a lawyer to understandweather you should be filing an insurance claim.
  • Keep all receipts for all medical expenses, and other expenses caused by the injury.
  • Keep a detailed log of how the injury affected your life

General

  • If relevant, ask for a “disabled parking” authorization from your OS. This can be very helpful.
  • If someone offers help, they mean it. You should take their offer.
  • A “clicking” or “cracking” feeling in your knee or ankle is normal and are caused by joint instability
  • Find a doctor to give you a second opinion
  • Talcum Powder is very useful in preventing itching while using a cast or a banbdage
  • don’t use long objects to scratch an itchy spot inside the cast or under your bandage. This carries a risk of damaging the skin or surgical wound and could cause an infection.
  • When replacing your bandage, make sure to wrap it from the foot all the way up to the knee. This will prevent the  edema.
  • If you have edema, A medical pressure sock will help. wear it for a few weeks, but not during sleep.
  • Drink a lot of water. this has a lot of medical benefits when recovering from a fracture.
  • painkiller can cause constipation. Consider using natural laxatives (link).
  • Some studies have shown that ultrasound may help bone healing. This is not yet medically established.
  • It’s very easy to announce that things are getting better prematurely. sometimes things go up and down and get better before the become worse. Be hesitant to announce to friends and coworkers that everything is OK now.

 

Hope is was all helpful. If you have any more tips or tricks, post them below or email me at [email protected]

 

Shlomi

177 thoughts on “Tips and Tricks

  1. I recently missed a step and came down so hard my leg hyperextended and i wound up with two fractures to the tibial plateau. i am a larger gal , 240 lbs, and i have found it almost impossible to keep all weight off of that leg. I don’t bear full weight on it but I’m scared of the long term complications that are to come. It has been a month since i injured it and the pain is still intense. has anyone else feel like that.

    • Hi only just found this site. I have a tibial plateau fracture but I also have a prosthetic knee which has collapsed and is the probable cause of the fracture. I’ve just come out of hospital where I’ve had a cast from foot to thigh to immobilise the leg ( and of course me).
      The team of Orthopaedic Surgeons have aspirated the knee and sent samples of fluid down to the Path lab to see if I have infection.
      They don’t know what has caused this catastrophic injury and are more perplexed that I’ve been walking on it for several months, obviously with extreme pain but then I’m a mere woman. We know pain. Anyway after a CT scan they said if I could go home for a few days I could be admitted, not as a trauma patient, but as an elective patient. This way I go to the best ward, the Orthopaedic Ward.
      Here I will be having my operation next Thursday, but the day before, I will have all the washes and antibiotics necessary for the best
      Surgical outcome. My options are: removal of my prosthetic knee replacement and a spacer in its place if they find all this has been caused by infection, (pray to God there is no infection or I might be in hospital for Christmas and beyond), or a revision whereby the old knee comes out and new knee gets put in. The tibial Plateau fracture I’m guessing will have to be supported and replaced by plates, screws and pins. Like you, I’m a larger lady so I don’t have any idea of timescales for recovery. I also can’t find anyone who has a broken
      Knee replacement as well as a Tibial Plateau Fracture. Weirdly, I’m so glad I passed the physiotherapists test of getting up and down stairs with a broken leg as it means they sent me home for 4 days which means I can get all my Christmas presents wrapped, cards written and lots of things sorted that I would have fretted over had I not had the chance to do this myself. I might be in hospital a long time but my grandkids happiness on Christmas Day is far more important.
      Anyway, any tips, hints, experiences, that might help me will be gratefully received.
      Thank you, Carol, UK

  2. It is ten weeks since my accident and eight weeks since I had surgery, I am still not allowed to put any weight on my knee

    I am extremely depressed at the moment, my husband does not understand this and he goes out every day so I am on my own for long periods of time.
    Is it normal to feel so down? For the first six weeks I was doing well and managed to pass the time quite well. At the moment my husband and I are at loggerheads because I don’t think he understands how hard it is to be so immobile and to have to rely on crutches. I am beginning to
    think that my marriage will break because of this injury.
    I am doing my exercises and making an effort to push myself each day but it’s so hard to stay positive at the moment. Is anyone else experiencing the same feelings?
    If anyone is having the same problems please advise.

    • I am 18 months post surgery for tpf and still improving, I was lucky to have my husband home to take care of me and yes I was still sad during recovery as it changes (but only temporarily) life as you know it as soon as it happens. Stay motivated and do your excersizes, swimming is really good if you have a place you can go. Go to PT as this will get you back as close to 100 % as possible, and yes over time you will improve even more – it’s just a slow process. Stay strong it does get better!!

    • Hi Rachel,

      Yes I am 4 weeks out of the hospital and starting to have emotional flashbacks of the trauma couldn’t even get on my CPM machine one day because I remember the nurse that would let me off it in the hospital. I had 3 surgeries and when I ask to go home instead of to rehab the doctor tried to send me out against medical advice. So my stay in the hospital was not very pleasant and the food was absolutely horrible most of just sugar and carbs and processed food which I do not do. My brother moved in to take care of me as I was living alone on my Ranch. But we have had our battles it’s hard to let somebody else take care of you change your sheets when you have an accident but you have to meet each other where you’re at it’s hard for your husband to. Talk to him maybe even seek counseling even if it’s over the phone about what’s going on with both of you because he’s going through the trauma also. Best of luck it’s good to know that we’re not in this alone.

  3. I had an accident on my scooter and after a week had ORIF left knee . I am on postoperative week 8. Sure finding the isolation tough, I am a nurse and used to helping people all day so quite the change, plus my husband was away working for the first six weeks. Stairs to my house are tough with crutches but I can do it with a standby assistance. My incision healing well, but my mood is a real struggle plus figuring out how to reduce pain meds without getting awful withdrawals really sucks. I will get through this with a new appreciation for mobility.

    • I’m a nurse and I felt the same way, useless. I also got very depressed I used to be a marathon runner too. Not very recently but many. I also have two big flights of stairs to get into my house. Dr’s appts were a nightmare. I did learn a little trick abt stairs tho. I /we would cover the stairs w a comforter and I’d slide down. It was better than descending w crutches! But you need a “spotter”.
      Yeah, pain meds is another thing. Try weaning yourself down slowly a little each day.
      Stay well and get well soon.

  4. Wow! And to think of how much I complained! That’s quite an injury you sustained. I’m sending you best wishes for recovery. Idk if I would’ve made it through. God bless you and quick healing. Must be tough.
    Best regards ,
    Mickey

  5. Hello. Fell off low level of a ladder and got this fracture, surgery was one week ago on June 1, day after injury. I also broke two bones in my elbow (same side) and had that surgically repaired same time. Wheelchair bound now since can’t use that arm at all either. Hope to have staples out on Monday. I am 62 yo active woman. Bike, hike, swim, ski. Doc says all will be possible again, but I realize now that May be yearsnot months away. Grateful for this site and all your comments.

      • Thanks. Long process is understatement, no? I have felt that each day was a little better, but I feel forewarned by this forum to now also expect setbacks. Good to be mentally prepared.

    • Yes, it will be a while, unfortunately.
      Like I said, mine was 2 yrs ago and honestly, hasn’t been the same since.

    • If you can get lymphatic drainage and acupuncture, it will accelerate the healing process and decrease the pain and swelling to help you get through this part of the recovery. People seem to be afraid of doing anything that their doctor or PT doesn’t mention, but these protocols work miraculously. Also, google “comfrey cast” to help mend bones faster. I would not put it over the incisions though.

    • . People seem to be afraid of doing anything that their doctor or PT doesn’t mention, but these protocols work miraculously. Also, google “comfrey cast” to help mend bones faster. I would not put it over the incisions though.

    • I also fell off a ladder (August 2016) and fractured my tibial plateau and shoulder on the same side. Two surgeries on leg, and I was non-weight bearing, in a wheelchair, for three months. I have found recovery very slow, but steady, first clutching a walker for dear life, then hobbling with a cane, then without any assistance at all. My sense of balance was way off from having only one usable leg and arm, so I couldn’t use crutches. I did P/T for 6 months, both on the leg and the arm. Hardest part of recovery for me was lack of energy and muscle strength. But I am determined! Now, 1 year in, I can do simple hiking and biking. I find a water aerobics class very helpful — you can do a lot of things in water before you can on land. I never skied and don’t plan to try now! I’m still slow when climbing steps. Looking back, I didn’t believe the surgeon when he told me it would take a year to get well. But I know it now! My message to you is to keep trying, stay positive, and you WILL get stronger and better!

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