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Talk to me about broken legs

(17 Posts)
clam Sun 27-Jan-13 21:51:28

Broke my leg 2 weeks ago by slipping on the stairs. Compound fracture which required surgery to insert rods, plates and pins. In hospital for a week and have been home a week now too.

Can anyone reassure me as to whether it's normal to still be bloody hurting even now. Have loads of pain relief, but it's making me woozy.

I have no cast or boot, just a bandage and I think when I have my stitches out on Wednesday, they might not even keep the bandage. This seems a little scary. Will feel a bit exposed I think.

How long might it be before I can become less dependent on others. It's SO frustrating but I can hardly do anything really and I keep dissolving into tears.

How long before you went back to work, assuming you could get transport there? I'm a primary school teacher. How might that work out?

Going mad here. Hand-holding required.

lougle Sun 27-Jan-13 22:00:11

Poor you!

Firstly, you have had a general anaesthetic - that is enough to make you weepy, exhausted and generally woozy for a couple of weeks. I used to work in theatres and we'd all think we were fine, but when we had annual leave, we were all absolutely floored when we returned because of the gases.

It's really normal for it to be hurting. You've got the original injury, bone re-knitting, soft tissues healing and a whole lot of internal swelling. You need to try your best to keep taking the painkillers regularly for a while, because otherwise you'll be trying to get on top of pain, rather than preventing pain.

I'm not sure about recovery - presumably you have a fit note? I would have thought you would need to be cautious about return to work as a primary teacher - lots of standing, lots of malco-ordinated little people.

clam Sun 27-Jan-13 22:20:32

Thanks for replying.
Trouble is, a couple of colleagues have broken things recently (a metatarsal and a heel) but have set a precedent for returning early and limping about. Of course, they doubled their eventual recovery time in the process, which I'm reluctant to do.
You're right about keeping on top of the pain relief. I suppose I've been considering weaning myself off them to see where I'm at recovery-wise. But maybe it's too early.

lougle Sun 27-Jan-13 22:26:29

You didn't break something though. You shattered it so much you have had to have bits of metal inserted to hold it together. Not. The. Same. Thing.

IDontDoIroning Sun 27-Jan-13 22:26:44

I think a metatarsal does not compare to a compound fracture of a larger bone, plus major surgery and a GA. There will be a risk of infection too.

I would heed medical advice and be guided by your fracture clinic but rushing back and playing the martyr will not necessarily be the best thing in the long run. It's still very early days.

discorabbit Sun 27-Jan-13 22:28:39

blimey clam! bad one, so sorry for you sad

clam Sun 27-Jan-13 22:30:58

Thank you. Am crying again now. Daft cow! blush

IDontDoIroning Sun 27-Jan-13 22:41:09

I've just re read my post .. By playing the martyr I meant them not you.

Kenobi Sun 27-Jan-13 22:45:11

metatarsal schmarsal frankly.

You don't say which bone you broke, but if it's a leg bone it's a big deal. When I was 18 I broke my tibia and fibia, had them pinned, and felt very sick for about 10 days. It wasn't just the general anaesthetic, it's the fact that your bone marrow contains all sorts and they are set free to run round your body (clearly I'm not a medical professional!). It's also a big trauma for your body which will have physical ramifications.

I can't promise this but I think they'll put you in a cast once they've taken the stitches out and the swelling has gone down - that's what they did with me and I was much happier. It hurt less because the bones couldn't move anymore, and I felt much more secure because no-one could hurt me. I was in a full-length cast for 12 weeks and the post-cast physical recovery was a bit miserable (I lost all the muscle in my leg) but I do remember I was pretty nifty on my crutches once it stopped hurting.

If they don't give you a cast you can get leg protectors, I'm sure they'll give you something.

Until you go back to the fracture clinic for the LOVE of god keep the painkillers up. They give them to you for a reason, you know.

...Oh yeah and I know when there's a big atmospheric pressure change coming because my leg aches slightly even now.

Kenobi Sun 27-Jan-13 22:48:14

Just to reassure - when I say aches slightly I mean twinge rather than anything miserable. Just enough for me to go "Aaar, there's a stooorm comin'" wink

clam Sun 27-Jan-13 22:54:03

It's alright, ironing. I got that! smile

It's the tibia (although I'm sure someone said the fibula as well, but it doesn't say that on my discharge notes.) They've shoved a rod up the inside of it and put plates on each side with pins at the top and bottom. <shudder>

I'm due to have the stitches out on Wednesday with a nurse at the GP's, first physio session the following Monday, but am not required back at the fracture clinic for six weeks. So I don't know who would plaster/boot it at this stage. One of the doctors before I left hospital said it wasn't necessary and that the leg is stronger now than ever before.

My friend is a district nurse (and ex-orthopaedic nurse) and she's taken a look at it. She says it's beautifully done (!) and, despite bruising, the swelling is almost gone.

The good news is that friends, neighbours and family have been fantastically supportive - shopping, cooking, ironing, dog-walking etc.. But the bad side is that dh and both dcs (teens, who would normally be useful) have all got nasty flu-bugs at the moment, so I just feel a nuisance. Every sentence begins with "can you just...?" which I HATE.

Kenobi Sun 27-Jan-13 23:07:37

I guess bone setting has moved on a bit in the last 15 years, probably no bad thing for recovery - it took a long time for the muscle to come back afterwards. Still, I did love the reassurance of that great big cast!

If the dependence on other people is getting you down, just bear in mind that you can repay everyone further down the line. In the grand scheme of things this is a VERY short period of time. And whoever made the point about recovery times is absolutely right - stay still and knit like crazy now for less limping in a couple of months.

Comfrey tea is supposed to aid healing.

PS have you had madly vivid dreams? I did.

Kenobi Sun 27-Jan-13 23:08:52

So basically in answer to your question - you will start feeling a lot better very soon indeed (I promise), but don't go back to work just because some fool with a broken toe did. grin

Lonecatwithkitten Sun 27-Jan-13 23:13:04

I fractured my tibia quite a long while ago and was lucky enough to have one of the very first interlocking intra medullary pins.
I never had a cast at all and the pain took about three to four weeks to settled. A lot of the pain is due to the damage done to the muscles, broken bones tend not to hurt once they are stabilised.
I now to dog and cat orthopaedics from what you are saying pins and plates all potential forces on the fracture have been prevented, making a plaster unnecessary.
From my experience working really hard at your physio is really important and helps to improve fracture healing.

clam Sun 27-Jan-13 23:17:06

kenobi my nurse friend said that 20 years ago, I'd have been in traction for 12 weeks with this injury! So yes, things have certainly moved on.

It's odd, but it's not the bone where I believe it snapped <shudders again> that hurts particularly, but referred pain everywhere else. So my kneecap hurts, and the top of my foot and the back and side of my calf. Some of that feels muscular, and some... well, I don't know really. Have given up trying to analyse it. It just aches. Although I believe rain is forecast!

And I'm still a bit scared of moving it around a bit. I'm trying to flex my ankle and knee and wiggle my toes (although my big toe won't move upwards at all). I'm sure a lot of the pain is just stiffness from being old immobile for a while. Normally, I'd just work through it, but I'm cautious with this. Probably silly.

clam Sun 27-Jan-13 23:19:22

And the other absolute bugger is that I've scuppered my forthcoming skiing trip! sad

abear Tue 21-May-13 12:59:46

How are you getting on now clam? I broke my tibula and fibia 8 weeks ago and it all seems like a long slow process, frustrating at times!

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