Anyone ever broken a leg?

by charliemac74   January 20, 2012  

I fractured my tibia and fibula in one of those stupid 5mph falls from the bike November 10th. Clever, I know. I had an internal fixation the day after with the cast removed 4 weeks ago. I have been to the hospital today (20th Jan) and given the green light to start to weight bear and use the turbo with light gears.

I'm waiting for a physio appointment to come through which I am expecting to be soonish as everything has been from the hospital concerned so far (Royal Derby = fantastic service) , but until I get to see the physio I am a bit stuck in that I don't know how to walk!

Maybe that's an exaggeration, I can remember how to walk but I'm not sure how to get started again gradually increasing the weight on the foot, and that's in addition to the psychological fear of the leg crumbling beneath me!

Not sure if I'm explaining it too well but I'm guessing that anyone who has been through it will know what I am on about, so any suggestions anyone??

17 user comments

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Clean your bike!

Seriously though, I would say that coming off a broken leg, the best thing to do would be to let it 'solidify' and heal up. I hate to ruin the party, and believe me, I'm no expert, but doing something even a little bit wrong could put you off the bike for longer, potentially for ever.

This probably really isn't what you want to hear, but I suspect that you know that its the right thing to do deep down.

When I broke my wrist, (which I know, isn't the same as tibia) it was challenging, both mentally and physically to stay off the bike, but I knew it was the best thing to do.

Luckily, cycling is very low impact, unlike
run-donk-smack-donk-ing. Perhaps some cross training with even lower impact sports, such as swimming, whoch is practically no impact.

Or, get on your bike, cycle around for an hour or two, then fall in such a way that wouldn't hurt if you hadn't just broken your leg, and call an ambulance.

Sir Velo

Raleigh's picture

posted by Raleigh [1733 posts]
20th January 2012 - 19:10

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I'd also recommend staying off the bike, whether that be on the road or the trainer, DONT rush things

Wait for the physio who know whats right and wrong, not the doctors who just fix it when its wrong

Also like Raleigh, i would get yourself swimming, If your still in pain, try walking about the pool rather than swimming, walking in the pool gives alot of resistance and helps to strengthen your leg

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [8996 posts]
20th January 2012 - 19:47

4 Likes

Hey Gkam, shall we set up a physiotherapy?

Sir Velo

Raleigh's picture

posted by Raleigh [1733 posts]
20th January 2012 - 20:07

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All we need is a resistance pool and some nice letter heads/business cards, Do it a little cheaper than the normal £30 odd an hour Thinking

Here is a list of what NHS pay £21,176 - £27,534 (band 5). This can rise to £25,472 - £34,189 for specialist physiotherapists (band 6) and £30,460 - £40,157 for advanced physiotherapists (band 7).

So private you've got to be looking at 50k anyways

I'll haul in my mate who's just become a qualified dietitian with a BSc in dietetics

If only it were that easy Crying

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [8996 posts]
20th January 2012 - 20:20

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I had an operation on my knee where the fibia was drilled in 8 places and the kneecap realigned. I was on crutches for 3 months - but no plaster. After losing the crutches my hospital physio basically said that the bone would not let itself get hurt and you would know what you were doing was wrong long before it caused any damage.

Obviously easier said than done but i was advised to get on the indoor bike for about 10 mins max a day for the first week and just build it up from there.

Whatever route you take good luck as i know its a long hard slog, but worth it in the end. Wink

There are no stupid questions, just stupid people.

stumps's picture

posted by stumps [2821 posts]
20th January 2012 - 20:33

6 Likes

It's probably stating the obvious, but don't try to run (or turbo train in anything but the very lightest gears) before you can walk!

Take your time. If the quacks have said the leg is OK to weight-bear then gentle weight-bearing exercise will help it mend further. Start very gently, get your walking sorted first (it should come back quickly). When you feel strong enough then start some really easy rides and take it from there.

Swimming is a great aerobic workout and low risk, low impact. My femur was pinned (slightly different scenario, but serious muscle loss) though it wasn't straightforward. Once I dispensed with crutches I just walked and swam loads.

If you're still worried then speak to a GP. Patience and perseverance will get you sorted.

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [2028 posts]
20th January 2012 - 21:04

1 Like

Gkam84 wrote:
All we need is a resistance pool and some nice letter heads/business cards, Do it a little cheaper than the normal £30 odd an hour Thinking

Here is a list of what NHS pay £21,176 - £27,534 (band 5). This can rise to £25,472 - £34,189 for specialist physiotherapists (band 6) and £30,460 - £40,157 for advanced physiotherapists (band 7).

So private you've got to be looking at 50k anyways

I'll haul in my mate who's just become a qualified dietitian with a BSc in dietetics

If only it were that easy Crying

A nutritionist is an open title, as in you just send off a £100 cheque to the head nutritionist, and you get a certificate.

Also, I have basic knowledge of Biology GCSE, so we're half way there.

Sir Velo

Raleigh's picture

posted by Raleigh [1733 posts]
20th January 2012 - 21:04

3 Likes

Cheers for the comments, but I don't think I have explained myself too well.

It's definitely time to start using the limb and gradually increasing the weight through it - as Simon said I am not running before I can walk so will be taking everything slowly and easily.

My issue is that I don't know how to walk - Stumps and Simon seem to know what I am on about having been through similar. I dont want to put too much weight on the leg, but aren't sure how to put only partial weight through it. The physio will go through all this when I get the appointment, I just wanted to get a head start now I have been given the all clear to begin using it.

Oh - and Raleigh & Gkam84 - I wouldn't give up the day jobs just yet Wink

Downhill bikes don't make you cool.

www.beestoncc.co.uk

charliemac74's picture

posted by charliemac74 [170 posts]
21st January 2012 - 11:29

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Sorry, Charlie, i have been through the same having broken my fibula while playing football.

It was a problem i can up against aswell, unless your walking with an aid (crutch, stick or something like that) then your never going to be able to only put a percentage of weight down your leg, if you try this, your going to learn to walk with a limp/dragging your leg.

This is why i suggested trying to walk in a swimming pool. because your not putting weight through it as much and your also getting resistance against your leg, which will help to strengthen your muscle's in the process

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [8996 posts]
21st January 2012 - 14:15

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Cheers Gkam. It's a weird scenario isn't it, been walking for 36 years then stop it for just 9/10 weeks and can't start again!

Downhill bikes don't make you cool.

www.beestoncc.co.uk

charliemac74's picture

posted by charliemac74 [170 posts]
21st January 2012 - 15:23

3 Likes

Yeah its a strange situation.

I was lucky, i did it when i was 17, so coming up 11 years ago, when i was playing semi-pro football, so had loads of support to get me back playing again.

But i went from no weight, to a little with a crutch, to a little more with a walking stick and then normal walking again, all the time having physio and doing lots of session's in a pool to get the muscle's back to full strength.

But without causing offence to the other posters here, i wouldn't take any advice as to what should or shouldn't be done until you've had a session with your physio, because at the end of the day, they are there for things like this and only you know your body and they can help with whats right and wrong.

Its easy for me to say, go get some time in the pool, do this and that, dont do this and avoid that, but i don't know what condition your leg is in, how it has healed or any under lying problems.

Leave that to the guys qualified to do it and just take it easy in the mean time

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [8996 posts]
21st January 2012 - 15:36

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A good point well made.

Downhill bikes don't make you cool.

www.beestoncc.co.uk

charliemac74's picture

posted by charliemac74 [170 posts]
21st January 2012 - 16:26

5 Likes

I bust my tib and fib a few years ago and have a load of metalwork in there.

Like Gkam, I started off walking with crutches, gradually taking more of the pressure off my arms and onto my leg. It only took a few days.

See what the physio says but make sure you tell him/her you're a cyclist. The ones I saw were pleased that I wanted to be back on the bike as soon as possible: a good way to get range of movement back and rebuild your muscles without impact.

But, as Gkam says, be guided by the physio. Don't listen to any of us. We don't know what we're on about.

posted by Mat Brett [1922 posts]
21st January 2012 - 21:06

3 Likes

charliemac74 wrote:

Oh - and Raleigh & Gkam84 - I wouldn't give up the day jobs just yet Wink

Maybe when I've finished school...

Don't take advice from faceless people on the internet, that's my advice.

Sir Velo

Raleigh's picture

posted by Raleigh [1733 posts]
21st January 2012 - 21:39

3 Likes

charliemac74 wrote:
Cheers for the comments, but I don't think I have explained myself too well.

It's definitely time to start using the limb and gradually increasing the weight through it - as Simon said I am not running before I can walk so will be taking everything slowly and easily.

My issue is that I don't know how to walk - Stumps and Simon seem to know what I am on about having been through similar. I dont want to put too much weight on the leg, but aren't sure how to put only partial weight through it. The physio will go through all this when I get the appointment, I just wanted to get a head start now I have been given the all clear to begin using it.

Oh - and Raleigh & Gkam84 - I wouldn't give up the day jobs just yet Wink

I've been in your situation on a couple of occasions! Your unsure of how much weight you can actually put on the limb; and fear it may give some concern if you do! I used a walking stick for a while until my confidence in walking and allowing the leg to bare all the weight of the body. As said above! Swimming and some gentle cycling will restore your confidence in the strength of your recovering limb.

posted by Mostyn [407 posts]
22nd January 2012 - 12:06

3 Likes

Firstly - ignore what you read on internet fora Wink

Walking aside, if you've been told you can put weight on it then you should be able to do that regardless, and get used to that first. Presumably it's been xrayed/judged to have healed enough to take the cast off, so I think you can trust the doctor that far at least. Or put it another way, it's almost 12 weeks, *and* plated, vs about 6-8 weeks for a non/lesser load bearing break - your leg's not going to fall apart !
Since bone mass is built/maintained via weight bearing exercise I'd have *thought* that ought to help - not hinder - any recovery so long as you don't overdo it. Plus if you turn up at the physio not even able to put weight on it I'd guess it'll limit what they can do with/for you on the first visit, which'll slow you progress. And it's not as if the physio's gonna send you away for another xray before they get you doing anything..

Not the same, but by comparison I bust my fibula some years ago (non-releasing SPDs...) - had to keep weight off for 6 weeks then start weighting it/walking - inflatable cast came off at 8 weeks. Pretty sure I went from weighting to walking - carefully - in fairly short order. In fact when the doctor found out I was a cyclist he didn't even suggest physio.

(For that matter, I've also bust a collarbone - and was cycling to physio at about 3 weeks, and bust my little finger - spiral fracture - about 5 weeks ago. That's now usuable but it's achy if I load it too much or catch it, and still very swollen, especially one joint which I suspect may have dislocated)

One thing you may need to be wary of is how much flexibility you have in your ankle - walking up a spiral staircase at work was giving me some knee trouble, 'til I realised that all the twisting was being accommodated in my knee, which is missing a bunch of cartilage. The normal pedal action means your foot twists out as it lifts, if the ankle's stiff something else has to move. Try to avoid limping if at all possible - you wind up putting more strain on other bits instead.

For a month or two I used the gym flywheel/spinning bikes single-legged - I had a pretty skinny calf, already skinnier than t'other 'cos that was the side of my dodgy knee.

Oh, and get well soon !

posted by JonD [199 posts]
30th January 2012 - 17:48

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Thanks guys. Went to the first physio appointment yesterday amd after pointing out some basic foot movements and adjusting the crutch height I am practically dancing round the room. He was hopefull that I would be able to ditch the crutches very soon.

Onwards and upwards!

Downhill bikes don't make you cool.

www.beestoncc.co.uk

charliemac74's picture

posted by charliemac74 [170 posts]
31st January 2012 - 10:36

3 Likes