Recovery from tibia plateau after surgery

Welcome Forums Community Forum Recovery from tibia plateau after surgery

  • Creator
  • #110450 Reply

    Hi there,

    I’m new to all this forum thing but here goes…

    I broke my tibia pleateu in August. It was a compressed fracture requiring surgery with pins and plates.

    I am still recovering and have struggled with crutches and after a few months of using a zima frame and hopping around. I’m now at a slow walking pace with crutches and are juat beginning to use one crutch in the house and a few steps with nothing occasionally when im feeling confident and can bypass anxiety related to my injury. I have good days and bad days where my leg aches, feels tired or clicks on and off continually. I’m worried about how long my recovery will take as it seems never ending and was wondering if anyone else has had similar experiences?

Viewing 6 reply threads
  • Author
    • #110471 Reply

      Hi all

      I’m 1 year on from a 5 metre fall at work spent 12 days in hospital 6 of them in intensive care I broke 4 ribs punctured a lung and a plateau fracture tibia leading into a medial and lateral fracture my right leg had surgery to repair now have 8 screws and plate and done 6 weeks of physio but 1 year on and I’m still in pain and cant straighten my leg fully and walk with a limp think the pains down to my job on my feet all day up and down ladders is not good going hospital today to get it checked hopefully find out what’s wrong

    • #110461 Reply

      It’s been a bit since I got on here to read up on everyone.
      I’m 7 months post op right now. When I first got home from 10 days in the hospital and 3 surgeries later. I also struggled to sleep at first. It was both the night pain and not being able to get comfortable. From being in bed so much. I really didn’t want to rely on pain medication. So I only took a pill the first 12 nights at home. After that I just tuffed it out. Or took a couple ibuprofen. Sleep got better after awhile. But up until recently I would still wake up in pain or just not comfortable in the middle of the night. It does get better though.
      My biggest struggle now is swelling in my knee and rom. At physical therapy I can get my leg to 3’ with the therapist pushing on it. But still stuck around 10-12’ without. I was told by the surgeon to expect swelling and muscle contraction for up to a year. Definitely not great to hear but Iv really tried to take a positive approach to it. On the bright side Iv lost 48 pounds since my fall. And weigh 198 for the first time in 12 years. I still use a cane 80% of the time. But recently Iv done some yard work, mowed the lawn, and worked on my truck. As well as getting a couple steps up and down a ladder. Baby steps but huge in the big picture of things. Considering I was using a walker up to December 1st. I still have to take breaks when I do stuff and elevate my leg for a bit. Like a couple of you have said. The rebuilding the muscle loss is critical. My therapist said the quad muscle is what I personally need to focus on. Definitely can relate to all of your stories and situations.

    • #110456 Reply
      Bill West


      Like Jane, I fell skiing on December 27th and sustained a TPF (Schatzker VI) and a broken wrist (both on my left side). Due to swelling, I was in an external fixator for 12 days. I had 2 plates, 15 screws placed in my left leg and a plate in my left wrist. I was told non-weight bearing for at least 12 weeks post-op. I was devastated as I am 65 and was very fit, working out with cardio and strength building exercises everyday before my accident. After 3 weeks in the hospital, I had lost 15 lbs. But, I pulled myself out of the darkness and focused on moving forward with my recovery as best I could.

      One-week post-op I was discharged into the hospital’s acute rehab facility. This was probably the best thing that could have happened to me. I had 3 hours a day of rehab split between physical and occupational therapy. With only a right arm and right leg useable, I was confined mostly to a wheelchair but also learned to use a platform walker. I worked hard and did everything I was asked including exercises outside of supervised rehab. Six days later, I was discharged – a week earlier than their most optimistic plan – with a discipline focused on physical therapy.

      Upon returning home, I immediately went into outpatient PT twice a week. Outside of my PT, I did 12 exercise routines twice a day. Six weeks post-op my doctors told me 5 more weeks in my wrist brace (disappointing) BUT to begin partial weight bearing on my leg and to work towards full weight bearing with my therapist by week 12! I was ecstatic and moved out of the wheelchair into my platform walker.

      Today, I am 9 weeks post-op and I am using my platform walker exclusively (no crutches because of my wrist). Yesterday, my therapist tried to have me use one crutch but couldn’t get the crutch adjusted so she had me try a cane. I successfully managed to walk around the facility with barely a limp. She hopes to have me begin using a cane outside of rehab in the next week or so. So, by 11 weeks post-op I should be walking with just a cane.

      I still have swelling around my knee and stiffness in the morning. My biggest complaint, like many I have read about, is the pain in my foot. The two months of non-weight bearing atrophies the muscles in the foot and it’s taking a long time to reactivate them. I am doing a stationary bike 30 minutes a day and “drawing” the alphabet with my foot. It still pains me and it is the biggest contributor to walking with a limp. The pain is slowly dissipating but I am still limited by how much time I spend on my feet. I suspect endurance on the feet will take time but I’ll continue pushing with my exercises and bike work to keep the healing process going.

      I attribute my speedy recovery to my outstanding surgeon (perfect alignment), remaining optimistic, immediate inpatient rehab & physical therapy and the twice-a-day exercise routines outside of PT. I feel I am one of the fortunate ones that had all things come together in my favor. By the way, I am also a liver transplant recipient (15 years ago) and had thought those difficult days were behind me – but this accident yanked my chain, humbled me and brought a life-changing experience that I learned much from.

    • #110454 Reply

      My sympathizes to both above posts. I fell skiing at end of december and badly fractured my tibial plateau. After a week of pain. I had plates and pins and am nearly 5 weeks post surgery. Non weight bearing. Have a zimmer for the house and a wheelchair with leg extension to get out. Was coping ok ish but this week has brought an inability to sleep ( never experienced this before). Sick of laykng on my back, can t quite sleep on my side so not sleeping at all. Tried nytol, which has no effect. Almost resigned myself to just not sleeping but its impacting my ability to cope in the day. Now along with the inability to walk, my brain is now fuzzy from lack of sleep and i’m so miserable. Did either of you go through similar and did anything help ?

    • #110453 Reply

      Yesterday afternoon and today was definitely better. I skipped PT Monday cause I was still so sore. The main therapist looked at me Wednesday afternoon. He said I had soft tissue swelling in the knee. Combined with some scar tissue breaking up. He thinks my last Monday and Wednesday therapy sessions was like getting a manipulation without being put under.
      So aside from the pain that’s positive news. It’s definitely a long recovery!! I’m going to stick with crutches for another week or so before going back to the cane.
      I hope your recovery is going well and aren’t having too much pain.

    • #110452 Reply

      That sounds alot worse than mine but recovery does seem to last a long time.

    • #110451 Reply

      I am in a very similar situation. I broke my tibia plateau at work in September. Spent 10 days in the hospital. Had 3 surgeries total. With external fixiation to begin with. Then two following surgeries to put metal plates and screws in. The x fix was removed during the third surgery.
      I stayed with my parents for 1 1/2 months cause I’m divorced and live alone. After that I went back to my house. I was nwb for 11 weeks and used a walker. Then started bearing some weight and began with crutches. Started using a cane a couple weeks ago. But currently am back to crutches.
      I started driving after I was using crutches. As well as showering like a normal person again.
      When I was first out of the hospital I stayed in bed mostly and elevated my leg. But over that time before I got the stitches out and started physical therapy I lost a lot of extension. It’s taken 28 pt visits to get to 7’ extension. I was walking pretty good with a cane and doing short walks without one.
      Then this past Monday I heard a pop in my knee and the pain started as well I lost movement of my leg for the most part. The next morning when I got out of bed it popped again, and I felt fine again. After pt Wednesday where the therapist did cupping followed by scraping the leg to break up scar tissue. Then a good long bending session. I was at 7’ and it felt sore. By Wednesday night I got out my crutches cause I couldn’t walk with a cane anymore. My leg felt dead and I could barely lift it, as well my extension decreased. I have a very high pain tolerance so if I say it’s a 5 that’s a lot.
      So Friday my 2 therapists said it was a combination of scar tissue breaking up and pushing it hard at pt. I also joined a gym and started using the stationary bikes there for about 40 minutes 3 nights a week.
      Today is 4 months to the day I broke it. And Iv realized this is going to be a long road to recovery. I felt like I was in prison when I was stuck at home and couldn’t work, drive etc. days felt like 48 hours not 24. I went back to work the last week of November. Used a walker that week and my parents took me to work. Felt great to get back to working and even better the week later to drive again.
      I’m 43 and can definitely say this was a life changing injury. I’m a better person because of it. And it got me out of the last bit of my divorce funk.
      The pain this week has definitely been a setback and upsetting. I’m going to use crutches this week. Postpone pt for a week and take it easy and ice a lot. Then get back after it. Finding this forum is great!

      • #110464 Reply

        Hi, hopefully your recovery is progressing, never posted on any forum in my life but these are hard times, so happy I found this forum. Similar to you recovery is a long road, TPF December 18, still NWB and looking at a knee replacement, still in pain, it effects the whole body. I’ve suffered shoulder dislocations and surgery on both so I can compare, can move delicately but very hard work, feeding, washing and toilet is the priority for now, 5 months pre op, I did have a timescale for recovery, I’ll just be happy to walk if it ever happens, I’m very grateful for the surgeon, could have lost the leg, hopefully your up and around however long it takes, I’ve had to give up job, car, hardly see anyone and actually beginning to feel like a burden to people, just didn’t expect the time scale, could have been worse is what’s keeping me going for now, best wishes👍

        • #110465 Reply

          Sustained a TPF right in my front yard – 2 minutes of that day changed my life suddenly. Now 12 weeks post-external fixation and ORIF surgeries I am still NWB and struggling with knee ROM…your posts give me hope and know I’m not alone in this struggle to recovery… sending love and light for healing to all 💫🙏

Viewing 6 reply threads
Reply To: Recovery from tibia plateau after surgery
Your information: