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Question:

Follow up concerns Broken Tib Fib rodding

Dear Ask The Doctor:
I had a similar incident on October 5th where I broke my Tibia and Fibula just above the ankle and a 2nd fib break about 4 inches below my knee. Surgery same day placed a rod through the Tibia with 2 screws through the ankle and two below my knee. 14 weeks later! I am just getting out of the boot and full weight bearing. PT is strengthening my leg however i have considerable pain in the ankle near the screws. The tibia feels and looks good. The upper fib was a clean break and is only slightly tender. The Fib next to the tibia break is still appearing to be misaligned with pain. The doc still is optimistic though i am starting to feel otherwise. First and foremost, will the ankle pain subside? The range of motion is very good however the pain and stiffness really don't subside. I ice every night and load up on Tylenol as needed. Secondly, after 14 weeks, should the lower fib show more significant progress towards healing? The 12 week X Ray doesn't show much improvement. I have an appointment with the surgeon on 1 19. Any thoughts on my recovery. Am i not progressing as i should? Thanks


Answer:

It is difficult to predict the healing time for fractures since there are several factors which affect the healing process including Diabetes, smoking, age and infection. Fractures of the lower limbs usually heal within 12 weeks, if there are no complications. I would expect your fibula to show more signs of healing than demonstrated in the x-ray. However, the fact that there has not been more improvement does not mean that it will not heal. You should also note that the fibula is not necessary for weight-bearing and your doctors will be more concerned with progress of your tibia.The stiffness and pain that you experience will subside with continued physical therapy. Your surgeon will outline any additional treatment that may be required.
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Comments / Follow Ups

Guest Says: I broke both my tib and fib and dislocated my ankle last april sliding into 3rd base playing softball. I was in casts for 8 weeks after getting a plate, pin and 6 screws put in. Doc said it would be 8 months before i would be able to do a light jog and much longer to not walk with a limp. I was back out on the ball field by august part time and began playing again full time in mid September..only 5 months after my surgery. Recovery time is different for everyone. Just take your time to ensure your dont reinjure it and do what you feel works for you. My ankle is still very swollen, but that i'm told will take a while to subside. Now that i can do 80% of what I used to do (running/jumping etc) I have to start working off the weight I gained lying in bed for 2 months!

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