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  • #440 Reply

    Hello all,

    I’ve scoured the web, and read and read and read, about the world of TPFs – so many different stories, one line brings me up, the next I’m crashing down.
    Remember…there are no two identical injuries OR two identical people! Believe me I have tried to find someone who has gone through the same thing, but I can’t. Soooo, I settle for taking bits and pieces from here and there, working to solve my own ‘puzzle’ about how long this ‘recovery’ will take. Thanks to the person who started this one!
    My physio has ‘warned’ me off of reading things on the net, easy for him to say, but ‘we’ (tpf sufferers) know that we just have way too much free couch time on our hands not to go searching!

    51 year old female -active but not too much so (no triathlons!)

    Nov. 14, 2013 – injury playing ultimate frisbee (the word ‘ultimate’ makes it more high risk I guess) jumped to catch a frisbee, foot twisted on landing and bones ‘cracked’.
    Result: broken ankle (fibula) and TPF

    Nov. 15 – external fixator put on for 1 week to reduce swelling prior to surgery

    Nov. 21 – surgery with 2 plates and a bunch of screws for Tibia (one on front and one on back of leg) Ankle put into a cast – NWB for 6 weeks – no surgery required
    * too afraid to use crutches – used wheelchair and a walker/hopper to keep good leg strong and walked laps around for exercise

    Jan. 8th (6 weeks post op) – Visit to OS – TP fracture is healing well- referred to physio at week 8 post op mark to begin therapy to progress to full weight bearing over 4 weeks. Cast on ankle comes off. Biggest problem – Numbness in various places from knee to big toe – constant pins and needles.

    Jan. 23rd (8 weeks post op) – use a walker to get to physio appt. Quads gone, ROM 120 degrees, approx. 8 degree bend in leg at resting straight. He suggested putting heal on a pillow when straight to cause ‘gravity’ to allow knee to get back to straight. It worked but hurt a bit. Told me to bring the crutches to next appt. (didn’t like the walker). Gave me 6 exercises to do to strengthen quads – couldn’t even lift heel up with leg straight from flat.

    Jan. 30 (9 weeks post op) Took crutches to appt. Was shown proper way to use them and
    went home on them but still NWB. Did my exercises faithfully.

    Month of Feb (up to 13 weeks post op) –
    slowly weight bearing, but a lot of pain and crunching in the knee. Physio says that will work itself out.

    March 10th (15 weeks post op) – have done over 22,000 exercises. I made up a chart and tick off the sets I do each day, record stationery bike use and any pool work too.
    Leg is stronger, but still can’t fully weight bear using 1 crutch. I still carry around both crutches and can stand and cook for much longer periods but I have pain now as it clicks. I think the numbess is easing but was told possible nerve problem is from use of a tournequet during surgery, but should get better in time. Having pins and needles feeling in leg and foot has made trying to weight bear and walk scary and hard. You just can’t feel properly.

    Best advise I’ve heard is be patient – it is a slow process. Stay positive and do those exercises. I recommend a chart to keep track of your progress, at least you can prove you’ve tried!

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    • #633 Reply

      I injured myself playing soccer and was diagnosed with no-displaced TPF. Initially I could not bend my knee and was NWB. I am 4 1/2 weeks into recovery and can move my knee 120 deg. My OS has now instructed me to put partial weight on my leg while using my crutches and to exercise my leg on a stationary bicycle. He expects me to be off my crutches in 4 weeks.

    • #621 Reply

      I am so happy that people are finding this forum early on in recovery and are benefiting so much!!! I’ve just started going to the pool at 12 weeks and after only 2 visits have noticed many positive improvements!!!

    • #615 Reply

      Bill, I hear you! We must be our own advocates. I am only 10 days out from my accident (level 3 tpf No Surgery non-displaced). Initially treated at an ER. Sent home with proper immobilization and orders to see an OS. Well, I sifted thru this site, and the FB group’s Page and armed myself with questions to ask the OS before my first visit with him. If I had not done so, I do not think he would have told me much of anything except the basics. I was lucky in that my questions really started up a genuine conversation about this injury, rather than him just simply cursorily answering questions. He settled in and we talked awhile.

      Dottie, you and I have some things in common it sounds like. I am 62, very active, and agree with you that each day we are stronger and closer to regaining an active life-style again. It may be different from before but, change is good! I am, and my body is…going forward into what awaits…not backwards into what was.

    • #608 Reply

      Wow Bill great news!!!! You are correct the Docs don not share info unless asked….I have needed to do same…like asking if I can return to work….if I could start driving….if I could go swimming……Start PT… out on upper body…etc. etc. I’m 65 but not your average woman of that age from what I’m told and use to a very active life style so this has been very difficult…..BUT I feel each day I’m getting back a piece of my old self one day at a time…


    • #570 Reply

      Hi everyone:

      I guess it’s been a while since I’ve added anything. Many of our collective stories are depressing & heart-wrenching, with good reason, but I feel excited to share some good news on my end.

      I’m now slightly over 7 weeks post-op. My injury occurred in Utah (where I had my surgical repair) but I live in NC. I returned to my Ortho Doc here in NC at about 5.5 weeks post-op. The Doc in Utah said 10 weeks NWB so I had every reason to suspect this last visit to be more of a formality than any bearer of what I would call good news. Even my sister who drove me said, “don’t get your hopes up, he’s most likely to say another month in the brace, on the sofa & continuing to go ever-more mad. But I got a miracle. He said the x-rays looked good & I could begin to put some wgt. on this dead foot, ankle & leg. It brought me to tears, I’m a very active person & words can’t describe my joy at hearing him tell me that I can take that brace off & start trying to get my life back to where it was.

      All he said was, “Slowly start putting wgt. on that foot, get down to one crutch & I want to see you in 4-6 weeks & don’t want to see any of these crutches next time”. I simply stared at him, paused…”what about PT?” “Do you want PT?” “Yes I do!” “OK, we can arrange that for you” “What about driving?” “If you have an automatic you can drive” “What about a handicap parking sticker?” “Yeah, we can get you one of them”

      Point being, I was mostly on my own. If I hadn’t been to this great website & had read so many worthwhile things about recovery I wouldn’t have known what to ask for. We MUST BE OUR ADVOCATES IN RECOVERY. He’s a nice guy but wasn’t going to bring up ANY of the points I’d mentioned.

      I went from there to join the local pool where I now go every day to walk in the nearly chest-deep water. No one from my Ortho team even mentioned this. I’ve gotten a great PT who has helped me progress in ways I could have never done on my own. My flexion went from 90 degrees while I was still in the brace to now 105. Now, I’m very driven to recover which does have a lot to do with it but I believe nowadays we must be VERY ACTIVE & INFORMED in our REHAB.

      I’m down to using just one crutch to get in & out of the pool & at home many times don’t use one at all.

      I’m eternally grateful for this site & forum for providing me the education & mental support we all so desperately need while dealing with & recovering from this MAJOR injury. I’m far from ‘out of the woods’ & have a long way to go but wanted to share some of my good news with each of you.

      May we all continue to find the patience & determination necessary to recover from this.
      Blessings everyone,


    • #510 Reply

      Hi Barb,
      I use both a walker and a wheel chair. Wheel chair in my office at work and walker around my apartment. This seems to be an injury that heals for a while then it stops for a while…..I have numbness as well but no clicking. At least not at this time. What I do have is a lot of pain in my knee especially at night. What works the best is elevating it and arthritis strength Tylenol. Oh by the way you are so right the external fixator did cause quite a stir with people that visited me!!!!!!

    • #508 Reply

      Hi Dottie,

      Wow! You had that horrible external fixator on for a month??? I had it a week while in hospital – it was creepy – not painful, just awkward and boy did it affect people who came to visit me.
      That is great your second opinion led to such a great outcome and that you have been able to return to work – that is amazing – are you on crutches/wheelchair. I didn’t get onto crutches until I was allowed to begin partial weight bearing – it was 10 weeks post op. I’m about 17 weeks now I think.
      I’m in a valley at the moment. I have a lot of clicking and grinding in the knee
      when I try to totally weight bear and even when using the one crutch. I’m in Australia and on a public health care system, but paying to see the same surgeon myself for follow up – but this is only about once every 6 weeks or so. My nerve problem numbness, I think is improving – but have a referral to a neurologist to have it checked but need to wait to hear from someone for that appt. (public system again) There is no way I can return to work. I work in social work as well, but I’m in out the field working with high-risk teens – activities, etc. I need to be 100%. Still can’t step up or down onto a step fully without holding rail. Just no stability in knee and ankle still weak.
      I’ve done over 30,000 exercises so I’m trying.
      I’ll address the knee pain and clicking next appt. with surgeon and just hope and pray in the meantime it improves.

      Take care!

    • #506 Reply

      Hi Barb,

      Your correct, everyone’s story is as different as their injuries. Me, I fell down a flight and a half of stairs on 12/15/14, had surgery on 12/16/14 and had an external stabilizer installed. The surgeon said he would operate in two weeks but when I saw him in two weeks he said he was going to wait two more weeks. When I saw him two weeks later, 1/15/14, he said he was going to wait two more weeks or possibly a month. When I asked him why he could not do the surgery right then he said if he did it right then it would swell up and become infected. I then decided to get a second opinion, saw another Surgeon that same week, 1/16/14 and had surgery the next day, 1/17/14. Guess what no swelling and no infection. I’ve made slow but steady progress since the surgery and on 4/10/14 I will start weight barring. It has been an emotional roller coaster. The saving grace is I pretty much have a desk job, (I’m a Social Worker) so I returned to work 1/27/14 and that helps me feel somewhat normal and productive. You are 100% correct staying positive is HUGE.


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