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

178 thoughts on “Tips and Tricks

  1. I am 5 months post op from a comminuted tib/fib fx of the tibial plateau. I also hurt my ankle. Only skeletal xrays were done of the ankle. I had surgery with plates and screws. I’ve been weight bearing for two months and though the knee does hurt the ankle pain is unbearable. I guess the depression thing is real as I have had thoughts of amputating my leg. I have been in PT for the last two months and of recent in the hydrotrack. My ankle just isn’t getting better and I can’t handle the pain. Does anyone have any suggestions or words of wisdom. My surgeon left town and I was assigned to a new one. The new one said that my leg will never be the same, that my knee would never be like the other one and that he hoped I’d walk without my walker one day. I did switch doctors. I like my new doctor and he continues to say to be patient. I’m trying very hard to be but I guess my pain threshold is not very good. Will my ankle stop hurting soon?

    • Hi,
      I also am about 5 months post surgery for Grade 5 comminuted TPF with fibular break. When I started weight bearing at the end of April, the foot and ankle pain were so severe, I was sure that something had to be broken or out of place. As I continue to weight bear and do my exercises, the pain is slowly getting better. I find that acupuncture, lymphatic drainage massage therapy along with ankle and toe stretching/contractions with rotations are very helpful. I believe that the foot gets osteoporotic from not weight bearing and it take you bearing weight for the bones to get stronger to support the leg. Don’t give up, be respectful that your body is doing what it needs to do to protect you as you go through the healing process. Another tip I found useful was to march with your feet while you are sitting to reprogram your brain to accept impact. Again, this must be done with respect for what your body is telling you. In the beginning, I felt lots of tingling which has now resolved. I wish you a full recovery.

  2. It has been very helpful to read about the experiences of others. I’m almost at 8 weeks, but still experience some pain when I stand from a seated position. Is that normal. I have ms which is probably why I fell. Is it normal to feel some pain when walking (with a cane). I do exercises, some with leg weights. I’m not sure whether I’m doing too much or too little.

    • I’m 21 months out and I still “feel” my fracture. I don’t think it’ll ever be the same. The pain/discomfort isn’t bad, just a constant reminder.
      So don’t fret too much. As they say, time heals all wounds. Feel better

  3. Hi, I have a tibial plateau fracture, June 19. Broke tibia and fibula. 5 surgeries, 3 blood transfusions, 2 fasciotomies. To be non weight bearing until Oct 12 when I see os again. Fell 2x Friday but xray today said I did not further damage. Came down 3 steps tonight and ended up with full weight on bad leg for few seconds. No more steps until given the ok. Need to slow down, stay on couch and quit trying to do so much. Doctor ok’d disabled placard for 6 months. Have shower chair (a good one), walker, wheelchair and grabber. Walker has basket for carrying things. Physical therapist told me never to leave without cell phone with me, even if I have to carry in my bra!

  4. Hi I am helping my sister in law through a fractured tibia and shattered tibial plateau. The injury was sustained during a volleyball game just over a week ago and she’s a very driven, busy, active, and independent mother of 4. She has surgery tomorrow to do what they can with screws, a plate, and some grafting. She has an amazing support system but at the same time we arent always sure what it is she will be needing most help with at certain points in her recovery. I’m fortunate enough to not be working at the time and will be accessible most always and her husband has taken FMLA and will be available as well, her mom will also be visiting this weekend and staying for a week. 2 of her children are older and live with their mother (step daughters) and are teens and her other two are almost 3 and 5.
    There are obvious things I (we) have been doing such as helping with the children during times she needs rest or anything else. Cleaning and cooking. Her home is set up accordingly so far. I suppose as far as the tips and tricks listed here go we’re doing fairly well but really want to make sure to help her through this as you all could understand she will need friends and family around for her spirits as far as going from active to injured with this trauma.
    Any tips, tricks, and advice are greatly appreciated. I hope the best for all of you and speedy recoveries! *Oh and one of her older daughters is a CNA as am I and also I am also a medication aide. In case either of these help.

  5. Thank you for this. I have managed 36 years if life without any major illness or injury and I am having a challenging time with this. It is so important to keep positive! I am a caregiver for my mother in a wheelchair and just last year switched careers to my perfect job of being a residential rehabilitation worker. This injury has set me back in my career, but I can’t let it get me down. I am morbidly obese and have taken this time to go on an all liquid diet. It is easy to do as I have limited access to food, and the pain meds make me nauseous. Aside from the myriad of reasons for one to maintain a healthy weight, being lighter will help me manoeuvre myself better. I am not starving…and get all my nutrients through smoothies and blended soups. It’s been a week today since this all happened. I am truly blessed for my wonderful fiancé without whom I would surely be hospitalized. Again thanks for this site. 🙂

  6. Its 3 weeks today since my injury. Really want to do some exercise, is it too soon to swim? Wouldn’t do breast stroke (involving bending the knee) but could do slight kick with legs kept straight.
    Cannot face a possible 3 month recovery with no physical activity (injury sustained whilst out on my mountain bike). Thinking upper body strength exercises, combined with swimming and meditation might be the best plan whilst healing. Any other ideas anyone? Any advice/tips will be gratefully received.

    • Don’t swim yet! Especially if u had surgery. The wound won’t heal properly. Being immobile messed w my head too. Good luck to u.
      Binge watch on Netflix.

  7. Hmmmm. I’m an OR nurse and not sure abt swimming. I know u can’t w stitches in. I wouldn’t chance it tho, due to non Union of wound edges.
    I watch a little more “racey” stuff on Netflix. Not suitable for minors lol
    Good luck and watch ur diet!
    It creeps up faster than u think

  8. Great attitude. Thanks for sharing. I’m in right about the same time from surgery, and it is very hard to stay positive.
    I find being able to sit comfortably outside can be very soothing. At least for me.
    Wish you all the best. ????

  9. It’s so nice to hear people that have/are going through this. I’m now 3 weeks post op after falling into a metal bench in Spain, was the best feeling in the world getting back to the UK. I think the most important thing is trying to remain positive, at least this problem we have will be fixed, there’s a lot of people in the world where their problems can’t be. I also keep telling myself that it could always be worse, I’m extremely frustrated and can’t wait to get back to work and back to normal but need to try and look on the bright side.

    Chin up everyone 🙂

    • Hi Michelle,

      I’m in South Wales (UK to non Brit readers), and I’m seven months in from my surgery. It’s been 13 weeks No Load Bearing using a zimmer frame to get around, then 2 forearm crutches, down to 1 crutch and following an event 3 weeks back I’m back on 2 crutches and in significant pain.

      Don’t be in a hurry to get back to work, it will take time – do the exercises (I’ve had to stop mine for a while) and keep at it. Stay positive, be determined and keep going. If your body tells you it’s hurting don’t ignore it – pain is a sign to stop, discomfort is to be expected.

      I’m being pushed for a return to work date and had hoped for end of this month, that’s been blown out of the window by me pushing things too hard too soon.

  10. Grateful for the advise Mickey.
    Thanks for the Netflix tip, and I have watched some really good shows. Favorite so far is Peaky Blinders. Five stars. Also spending time playing games with my 10 year old daughter. Kicked her butt in Monopoly yesterday.
    Anyone know about swimming? I have no cast and the stitches are out.

  11. If you’re going crazy at day 13, you better watch some Netflix or something. It’s normal though. Takes a lot of getting used to. Need suggestions for Netflix I’ve got great ones. Just ask. Hang in there!

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