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


  • 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


  • 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]



181 thoughts on “Tips and Tricks

  1. Whaaaat?? That’s kinda funny. Glad to see u looking at the good side of things even if it sucks. Lol.
    My TPF was 21/2 yrs ago. No surgery needed and didn’t have to fight w ins co. at all. I’m suing the condo association where I live bc it happened due to them not clearing the snow after a storm and it was 1pm!! So I guess that kinda kept me going mentally for a while. I too, fell into a depression due to being incapacitated Thought I’d go crazy! I remain unemployed and that doesn’t help.
    Do ur PT, eat well, catch a series on Netflix ….,
    Wishing u all the best

  2. I am 3 months status post plateau tibial fx with knee dislocation/fracture. My injuries occurred in a very near fatal MVA. I had trauma surgery to my leg upon arrival to the ER, which was an external fixation followed by an ORIF 4 days later. After 3 months I’m only 25%weight bearing, I’ve got a screw coming out below the knee plate, persistent swelling and discoloration. I have a great Ortho but still very concerned and I would like to hear the experiences of others.

  3. Hi mine was surgery and recovering OK. End of 2015 had the tibial plateau fracture. You can email me and I will surely help you out.remember it’s your decision not to have surgery as it was mine.
    I strongly believe the body heals itself.

    • I would love to hear about your injury. I had a 10 mm medial displacement with Grade 5-6 fracture. After one month I had the ORIF surgery. On June 23, 2017, it will be 5 months past surgery. I am concerned about my body reaction to the titanium that was used. The orthopestics that I saw( 5) all said that I must have surgery or would have progressive angulation of the knee and not be able to walk. After one month I agreed. I am walking now with a walker. I have almost full ROM but I can’t bear full weight because I don’t feel stable. Please email me at [email protected] and let me know your story. I believed that my body would heal itself until I read a post that described the fracture like a piece of styrofoam that was dented and would not be able to return to the same shape.

  4. I sustained a displaced tibial plateau fracture on 1/16/17 and, in addition to the pain, shock, and physical limitations that resulted, it was the anxiety, life-style changes, and clinical depression that were the worst part of it. All I can say is that having my insurance through Kaiser Permanente is what kept me from ever feeling bored … fighting with them over my medical bills was a constant source of mental stimulation. I wonder if they know how helpful all that ridiculous red tape and bureaucracy can be. I’m guessing that if they did know, they would probably charge for it! Shhhhhh. Don’t tell.

    • Love your sense of humor–definitely a plus for recovery! And if you think your insurance is bad, try being a military retiree. Do try to stay positive and all the best with your recovery!

    • Hi Joan, I have a tibial fracture. Mine was misdiagnosed three times. Today is May 15th so its been since April 13th ..four weeks of incorrect diagnosis. How is your injury now? Thanks

  5. Right here is the perfect site for anyone who really wants to understand this topic.
    You know a whole lot its almost tough to argue with you (not that I actually would
    want to…HaHa). You definitely put a fresh spin on a subject that’s been discussed for years.
    Wonderful stuff, just great!

  6. I’m not positive w my reply but I was an OR nurse for many years and I had a TPF two yrs ago. It was non displaced so I didn’t need surgery.
    IMO , if it’s displaced you SHOULD have surgery if the surgeon thinks it’s necessary. Why are you thinking abt not having it? It will not heal properly and you’ll most likely have problems walking. Pls keep me posted as to what you decide All the best to you.

  7. I broke my tibial plateau on Monday 3/6/17. It’s a Split Depression Lateral Plateau FX with a 3mm Displacement. I’m not sure what it means. I’m considering not having surgery. Has anyone else not had surgery and what was recovery like if so?

    • I have the same type of fracture–had surgery 11 weeks ago. I can’t imagine the leg healing properly without surgery to realign and ensure the bone’s integrity.

    • i did have my tibia plateau fracture just below my knee, and had to have surgury with a plate and 7 screws put in my leg..

      very slow process of recovery…starting PT next week hopefully, cant bear any weight for about another month or so..

  8. I sustained x2 spiral fractures of my tibia and fibula . I am 6 week post op after having a rod and nails inserted on 18th Jan 2017. To complicate things further I am also coming up to 32 weeks pregnant. I was partial weight bearing on crutches but this week physio said I could fully weight bear on crutches but if I felt I could , I could actually walk on it now unaided. Obviously I cannot imagine doing this yet – feel like lost confidence and would need more input. Anyone actually walked unaided and how did it feel, was it ok?

  9. My fracture is rated a 6+ I have a couple of plates, a couple of rods and 15 screws. I had the surgery on feb. 5th. I just had my first P/T session on the 20th. It hurt like heck. I am going on my last 5 doses of blood thinner that I have to inject twice a day. I have just noticed that every night around 7 p.m my injured leg (foot)is so hot, it feels like it’s on fire. And I have some tingling. Is there anyone out there who has similar symptoms? And what do you think is causing this?

    • Hello, I had my surgery around the same time as you. My leg was also much hotter than the rest of my body. I was in a lot of pain, couldn’t last more than 30 mins sitting down. Even though my Dr. and people around me told me it was normal and my leg looked fine, I went for a second opinion. My surgery wound turned out to be infected and had to be reopened and drained. This happened one week ago. Today I feel much better.

  10. If you feel consistent pain in any part of your knee and it increases and your mobility/exercise decreases due to the pain get to your doctor immediately. It could be a sign of a bad infection growing in your knee.
    Trust me, don’t stop, go ASAP.

  11. Almost 4 months post TPF. Bones have healed after surgery. No knee replacement. Finding it incredibly difficult to walk. TPF on left but body damaged by stroke on the right. Physiotherapist unwell and hydrotherapy unavailable as cannot mount or descend pool steps. What exercise would be both possible and useful, please? Injury now causing profound depression. Am deeply worried about ability to walk again.

    • I know abt the depression part for sure! Haven’t been the same since. Did u say u had a right sided stroke? That’s tough
      Good luck to u and God bless

    • sorry to hear about your injury Georgina. I am also almost 4 months post TPF and ACL dislocation. I find it very difficult to walk too most of the time so be patient with that. If your therapist can get you on the right exercises to strengthen your quad that will help. Mine is working on that with me. In the past month I have now been able to start driving and doing some stairs with a cane. I still use my walker most of the time though because of pain and lack of strength. Try the exercise where you put the theraband behind your knee while it is tied to something else and then bend and straighten your knee while standing 20x twice per day. That one seems to help strengthen the quad the most I am finding. Otherwise, try to stay positive and you’ll see some improvements happening soon. Good Luck and take care.

  12. This is an AWESOME site…so first, THANK you!! I am 1 mo out from my TPF of left leg-did not have surgery-fll leg immobilizer and NWB. I’m a Home Health RN, 47 y/o, and definitely WAS a “go go go” type of person…I was at local dog park, and 2 large dogs were running/playing…they were running, (we shall say “running at full speed”), side by side towards several of us standing around and chatting in the middle of the dog park-well, normally, when the dogs are running, even towards you, they automatically split off and avoid you!!!! NOPE! The big white one ran smack into the side of my leg—hence, TPF. WOWZA is all I can say….Anyhow…I have a question I hope someone can maybe help with-I have been doing pretty good on pain management…until about 24 hrs ago… I could straighten my leg out about 90 degrees. Tonite it feels, for lack of better words, like it is locked up. No redness, change in temp of leg-I would say sensation is heightened-hurts to touch the entire shin bone, and behind my knee just stabs….It FEELS like it is almost broken all over again!!! (not quite THAT bad, but stinkin close)…No falls, etc…no real increase in swelling. The only position for my leg that allows true comfort is if I have it bent at knee going inward about 30 degrees, but even to GET to that position from leg being straight it fricking hurts!!! I don’t know what to think, except double OUCH! Frustrating!!!!!!!

    • I’m a nurse too, just turned 66. Dog ran into my right knee xmas day 2016. Coincidentally I had fallen 2 wks prior, had severe wrist fracture with nerve compression. Live alone isolated in country, it’s been hell. I was super active in great physical shape prior to the TPF. Just found this site, started surfing for support as I am about to lose my mind with chronic pain, exhaustion, despondency about future. Doing exercises as ordered, started full wt bearing 10 days ago, out patient PT yesterday. Scared to death I won’t ever walk, hike normally again, it’s my biggest love in life. PT said he thinks I will but that I might have pain. Your post above is old, hope you got thru that hard day. How are you doing now?

      • I have a tibial fracture right above a titanium rod. Rod was four years ago. Caused by me tripping over my dog. At first they just it was just overs use, then a meniscus tear but finally after MRI they realized its a tibia fracture in the shaft above the titanium rod. I am on crutches for four weeks … no weight bearing. Is it odd to not have ANY pt given this early? My lumbar spine area and calves/quads are tight and unhappy in fact I have some throbbing pain in the quad area above where the fracture is but forgot to mention to the doc. Should I call him back. This blog is amazing. YES. I am so bored and down 🙁

        • Bored and down. I certainly know abt that! Try not to let it get you too down. I had a TPF 2 1/2 yrs ago and I got so depressed I had to see a therapist. Binge watch some stuff on Netflix. It helps. I felt so isolated and be careful of weight gain! I probably gained 20 lbs. (talk abt depression) Eat protein! Helps w healing. I wish you the best. I’m even choked up as I write this. Lots of water too bc the inactivity will cause constipation. Happy healing and God bless.

    • I broke my tibial plateau on Monday 3/6/17. It’s a Split Depression Lateral Plateau FX with a 3mm Displacement. I’m not sure what it means. I’m considering not having surgery. Has anyone else not had surgery and what was recovery like if so?

      • I’m an OR nurse w over 30 years of experience. I think IMO, you should have the surgery or it probably won’t heal properly. Than you have another set of problems. Good luck

    • I don’t want to have surgery. Wondering what happens if I don’t. You didn’t have surgery. Why not? This is a major decision. Sounds like you were doing well until the dog incident

    • Hi Amy,

      The same darn thing happened to me about 2 weeks ago. My crazy dog ran into the side of my knee and I have a TPF, not serious, no surgery. Same age as you. Just wondering how soon you were able to walk without crutches? My doc said 6 weeks NWB. My calf muscle has begun to ache on and off. Did you experience this?

    • I just wanted to check in with you. I also had several episodes of my knee locking for days at a time which resulted in swelling and increased pain. Then suddenly, it would adjust itself and my ROM would increase and pain and swelling would subside. How are you doing now? I had my TPF on December 23, 2016. I had surgery on January 26, 2017. The setbacks persist but overall I can see improvement. I am able to use the walker but I still use the wheelchair if I have to go places like COSTCO. LOL Please email me at [email protected]

  13. There is no good way to pass the time with this injury. Just keep yourself busy with as many different activities as u can.

    • Well evidently I was to young at 61 I asked my doc that. the new knee has a fairly short lifespan before it needs replacing again .

      • Thank you for the reply Judith. I was told at 50 years old that I would need a replacement by the time I was 60. I am 57 now and the surgeon who repaired my tibial plateau is the one who told me I could not have a knee replacement. I guess I should probably ask him what he meant by that.

        • I have been told that knee replacement is possible however, the outcome is not as sucessful for trauma related injuries when compared to knee replacement for someone with arthritis. Any metal work must also be removed some months prior to knee replacement. So maybe a case of better the devil you know?!

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