Tib-fib Fracture

One week ago I slid and fell off a trailer tailgate. I could see the bone buldging through the skin but thank goodness it didn't come through. I have a tibial shaft spiral fracture and my proximal fibua broke in several places. I had a rod and screws put into my tibia this past Saturday and nothing was done to the fibula as the dr. says it will heal on its own. This isn't something that you are ever prepared for. i can't put weight on my broke leg for six weeks, then it could take up to 12 weeks to fully put weight on it. I was able to take off work for 12 weeks with pay thank goodness. My job could possibly be terminated if I Haven't returned in this time period. I spent three nights in the hospital and now I'm home. I can no longer sleep in my bed because its too high off the floor. I sleep in my sons bed, he no longer lives at home. I dont know how I will survive like this for 5 more weeks. I cannot sleep and live in pain. I use a lot of ice and I try to convince myself it helping but its really not, it does keep the swelling down and thats a plus. I was gonna be all big and not take hardly any pain meds. Now Im taking them as the dr. ordered and I feel like a failure because I need them. I also fear addiction. I would give anything to get a good nights sleep :) I have restless leg syndrome really bad but control it pretty well with medication. Now on top of all of this I feel my leg and foot contracting and feels like Im trying to get cramps. This is getting more difficult by the day and I thought it would be getting a little easier at this point. Im fortunate to have a good husband and mother who are caring for me, although Im trying to be as independent as I can. There is only so many movies and books to read. I spend a lot of time online but thats getting boring to. Im glad I found this project and can share this pain with others who understand. I thought my situation was bad but its nothing compared to that of others. Just wanted to say hello to everyone and hope that we can be of help to each other. Does anyone else fear getting addicted to their pain meds? Does anyone have cramping in there broken leg and foot, if so what helps with it?
luckycharmsgirl luckycharmsgirl
41-45, F
17 Responses Jan 27, 2012

hi, I too have a tib fib spiral fracture very painful and slow to heal.
Im 8 weeks now, walking very slowly then have to sit down as ankle swells. If you can kick the painkillers, i found the side efects worse than my leg i.e. constipation, nausea, i managed on paracetomol was much better. However if you are in pain you need to take them and be kind to yourself you had a serious injury.

I fell on ice getting out of my vehicle last Tuesday I was in hospital found out I had broken my lower tib and high fib and they planned on surgery to put plates and screws in both they did surgery on Thursday and they only put the plates in my tib not fib because if they had they would have had to cut from ankle to knee and he set the bone in place and hopes it heals if not I will need additional surgery it hurts so bad because I have scoliosis and broke my back in 2009 and have scres in my back I was on morphine for a few yrs and transitioned to methadone so all the meds they gave me in hospital didn't work due to my tolerance for pain meds so I've been in so much pain I went home sat and it's now Friday and I've been pretty sad due to being told instead of six week it will be six months before I'm healed I mishewd the dr and thought it would b six weeks I hope u are well now and without pain

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About a month ago I hit a tree skiing and had a pilon fracture of the tim/fib and ankle. 2 surgeries and a bunch of pain for the first 3 weeks....but the last few weeks have gotten incredably better as far as pain. Took heavy pain killers for the first 3 weeks and were defiantly needed. Now i am down to a few xtra strength tylenol...still no weight for another month then another month after that till full weight.

Hi there I broke my tib fib and ankle bk in September 2 plates and screws I was on crutches for 6 weeks had plaster off then further 6 weeks non weight bareing the best thing if your in pain is elevation cause the pain u r feeling is the blood build up from op if u elevate the pain will ease hope that helps

Recently had a compound fracture that affected my 3rd and 4th metatarsals i've not been able to take weight for 8 weeks and it may take a better part of a year for me to be fully healed

I broke my ankle Tib/Fib fracture on Sept.7th of 2013.... I had surgery with plates and screws in place on Sept. 12th.... I am 9 weeks post surgery.... I got my hard cast removed 2 weeks ago... I started PT as well... My Doctor put my in a walking for the next 6 weeks and then I return for more x-rays... I am also returning to work on Monday... I am a nurse and I usually work 12 hour days but will start back with working 8 hour day for the next 2 weeks... I am very lucky that I didn't and don't have too much pain with all of this... The rule of thumb with pain medications is that if you are in pain then you need them... I don't think that you get the same feelings of being high when you are in pain and severe discomfort... Now taking pain medication when not having pains could get you the feeling of being high .....and could lead to addictions....
I am able to do some weight bearing on my right ankle and I walk around my house without the walking boot... My entire leg needs to be worked on all of the muscles, ligaments and tendons are so tight from wearing the hard cast.....
It is going to hurt and be sore, but you have to work through it..... I was lucky even after surgery I didn't have much pain at all and only took Motrin for my discomfort,,,,

Good luck to you

I recently broke my distal tibia in several places 7+ breaks with another higher primary fx that has been fixed with plate and screws... My fibula is broke in one spot which my Dr said same thing it will heal on its own . I am only touch toe weight bearing which only makes it easier to wash my hands and face at sink as at least now I'm not leaning against the wall. It has been awful with pain control, I thought Motrin would control it as I to am nervous with pain meds but quickly realized I don't have a choice, as the narcotics barely keep it manageable. I had surgery July 26 and today I am having such as set back with pain it is awful. I've spent most of night in tears. I've had to completely change my whole family's lives.... My living room is now my bedroom... Makes it hard with. 10 and 12 year old kids. This is def worst set back in my life... Happened as I was putting my kayak in truck for my maiden voyage on my birthday present and my dog ran into my leg.... I knew it was broke before I hit the ground because of the loud crack of bone breaking. I am praying for a speedy recovery for myself and others going through this.

I hope your fully healed and back to normal by now! Wish I was! I broke my tib/fib on February 22 & I'm living in severe pain every day! I have a plate on inside and outside and 9 screws. Like you, I'm fortunate my mom and husband are taking good care of me. But, as a nurse I'm used to being on the giving side! How long does it hurt?? Like you I fear addiction to pain meds. When I read your story I cried, cause Oh how I relate! Thanks for sharing with me!

I broke my tibia, distal spiral fracture, and proximal fibula at roller derby practice. I am 45. I didn't have surgery, but had two closed reductions and 3 cast changes. I spent 10 weeks in a full leg cast. It was horrible and the pain during the 6-8 weeks was no picnic. I did have cramping and "zinger" pains early on but it stopped as healing progressed. I took percocets exactly as directed by my doctor. I kept a log of when and how much. I was afraid of addiction, but I followed my doctor's advice and weaned myself off. Still, I could tell that I had become dependent but after about a week I felt normal again. After the cast came off, I went into a walking boot with crutches and started physical therapy. After about 6-8 weeks, I am now able to bear 100% weight with the boot on still and using no crutches. My leg sure hurts, but I follow my doctor and PT advise to a tee! It's been a long journey, so far 4 1/2 months. I've come a long way and still have a long way to go. I never will be exactly the same before the break and I most likely will develop arthritis in my ankle when I get older. But good news, the doc says I can still skate!! It takes a lot of time and patience to heal. Its frustrating and its normal to feel angry and sorry for yourself and everything in between. Accept help from family and friends, follow doctors orders, wean off of the prescriptions and switch to an NSAID, take vitamins and eat healthy, and know you will get better!

I am still in an out of long leg cast, and most likely will be for some time to come.
What you can expect is when your leg is broken it hurts like crazy even with the pain meds, once the doctors sets your bone and puts you in a long leg cast after a couple weeks the pain does go away - the cast does stabilize your broken bones.
You also become an immediate couch potato so get use to it. After the pain goes away and after a few months in a long leg cast you do become quite use to being in a cast, strange but being in a long leg cast for as long as I have been a cast almost becomes at a certain point a part of you.

Count on the fact you will be become quite fat, and most likely you will not be able to lose the fat. This happens after the pain goes away. I asked my doctor about becoming fat and he was honest with me that I will most likely always going to be fat, it gets to a certain point you can not loose the weight and you are just going to be a very fat person. What the doctor explained after many months of being a couch potato that no matter what I do trying to exercise eat right that for the rest of my life I will always be fairly fat. I found that I have gotten quite use to the fact and just accepted myself and being a fat person.

I have also had to accept the fact that I will still be in an out of long leg cast for quite some time.

I broke my left tibia and fibula(comminuted).I was in the hospital 14 days. I had a total of4 surgeries. One of the issues was that theblood supply was permanently damaged and 1 of thesurgeries was to place part of my left leg calfmuscle - wrapping it around the front of my legto give the tibia a blood supply. I had externalfixation on this leg. There was a gaping wound anda thin piece of my very upper leg was used to closethe wound were the flesh was destroyed around the break. The ***** that was the donor skin looks likea sunburn.I was given Morphine, then Demoral, then Vicodin, thenTylynol. Frankly the pain - for about 6 weeks wasexcruciating. I was on Morphine for the first week andby the time I was discharged after 2 weeks the pain leftme in tears many times. One of the issues was how to carefor the fixater sites- where the metal rods are insertedthrough the skin at many spots into the bone to immobilize it. I learned - it is best to not clean the actual scabthat begins to form around the pin sites everyday. The scabis important - however wash the skin on the leg - and even thesite themselves - with alcohol and cotton swaps but not so as the sites never have a chance to scab over. The fixater was removed after 3 months - it probably weighed 6 pounds.I was 43 at the accident date and in very very good physical condition. This was about 17 years ago - and now I generally walk without notice - although my leg tires more easily and when it does it gets uncoordinated. I ski, ride bicycle, and swim.This summer I did very light jogging - I was amazed. I really have no pain from this. As I began to realize - this was a serious injury. It took1 full year before I could handle full weight bearing on thatleg. The first many months were in a wheel chair and a specialone arm crutch (not in the armpit). It took another 2 full years before I stopped improving my vigor and athleticism.I was lucky - I was hit while stopped on my motorcycle by anautomobile going approx 50 miles an hour. I had a helmet on.I went though the windshield. It threw my motorcycle 160 feet.As for pain - it became semi-tolerable after 3 month - generallytolerable after 8 months. The doctors listened and heard my pleas for more drugs but would not give me anything after 60 days except Tylenol. I learned crying can help you bear the pain.I learned from this that helmets are very good ideas. ThatI was very seriously hurt but frankly nothing like some ofthe accidents and injuries I have become familiar with. I amnot paralyzed. I can easily ride 30 miles in the mountainson by bicycle.

I read your post, helped make me feel a little better. It has now been a little over 4 weeks, I have another 8 more to go. The doc set both my tib and fib instead of surgery which I was happy about, but the bad news is at least 12 weeks in a long leg cast, and the possibility if the bones are not healing right the doc might have to rebreak my leg, and I was told I could be in a long leg cast none weight bearing for a year. I was lucky the pain is starting to go away and I am little by little starting to become quite use to being in cast even though I have become a couch potatoe and I am getting out of shape. What does worry me is that I heard if you are in a long leg cast for close to a year you can become quite dependent on being in a cast. I have heard in some cases you can find you can never take the cast off and you have to permeantly be in a cast.

I was in a long leg cast for 10 weeks after a tibial spiral fracture and proximal fibula fracture. No surgery, but 2 closed reductions. The bone never perfectly came together, but my doc said placing a rod would have given the same results. Being in a cast that long caused major atrophy from hip to foot. PT is a must! Weight bearing with drs orders helps bone healing. I have gone super flabby but luckly no weight gain. PT is strengthing my muscles and im regaining flexibility. You can't become dependent on a cast if you are under the care of a good ortho doc. And Definately go see a PT for optimal recovery!

I do not know if that is really true that you can not become completely dependent on being in a long leg cast. Yes I have had a closed reduction where the doc has set the bone in my leg and put me in a long leg cast. My leg has not completely healed right since I broke my tib and fib around October 2012. Because my leg has not healed correctly my doc has had to break my leg 3 times already and recast me. I have now been in a long leg cast for way over a year I have found at this point strange as this might seem my leg feels actually quite comfortable with the support of a cast. If I was out of cast something would not feel right and something would feel missing. I doubt at this point I could even get around without being in a cast. And yes I also have become quite flabby and I have lost a fair amount of stomach and back muscles. I do go to a PT and it does help.

After 12 weeks my leg is healing well. Im bearing weight with moderate pain at times, and I still hobble a little. Im getting there!! I have had a lot of ankle foot pain when bearing weight. My PT thinks I might be getting tendonitis. Im excited but terrified that Im going back to work Monday....eight hour shifts, yeah kinda crazy. I should start out at about 4 hours daily then build up. Oh well my job just doesnt get that :) I hope Im not being set up to fail. I have always been a good worker. I cant afford to loose my job and I am all my feet most of the time. I have to make it work!

Hi! As of tomorrow, I will be 12 weeks out from a severely comminuted tibia fracture and a simple (but displaced) fibula fracture, the result of a skiing accident.<br />
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After a four hour surgery, I was left with an IM rod and three screws, not unusual for my type of injury. They left the fibula to heal on its own like yourself.<br />
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Initially, they were anticipating an air cast after the staples were removed, but I was put into a hard fibreglass cast and have been there ever since. I'm still 100% no weight-bearing at 12 weeks and I suggest you listen to whatever your surgeon tells you to do. Each case is different.<br />
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Regarding pain meds...... in the short term: TAKE THE DAMNED THINGS !! Don't be a hero... you have had major surgery for a serious injury. In the long term: wean yourself off of them as soon as you are advised and you should be fine. <br />
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It is a very long process, not the six weeks most of us have been taught to expect from a bone break. Tibias are notoriously slow to heal and you can expect the visits and sympathy from friends to evaporate at.... about six weeks.<br />
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It does get better, but it's frustrating, boring..... and boring. Like you say, you can only watch so many videos & TV.

On the pain med addiction...from everything I've read due to my fear (see I have chronic pain from a neurological condition for 22 years) If you are TRULY taking the meds for pain you needn't fear addiction. It's when it becomes a habit even though the pain is better, such as it's been 6 hours it must be time to take the pill. Most bone breaks truly require pain management with narcotics. You also heal better with them because you rest better.<br />
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I broke my tib/fib (no open wound) in Sept. 2010, to make the really long into a short story, I developed a bone infection that the docs can't cure and tomorrow I see the orthopedic surgeon to start amputation proceedings. I am sooo glad your leg appears to be healing much better than mine. Mine started off by swelling so much they put in an external fixator to start. It looked like a big erector set sticking out of my leg. I think thats where all heck broke lose. <br />
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A couple of suggestions... put your leg up as high as you can stand to stop the swelling and and take Ibuprofen (to reduce the swelling) and your presc<x>ription pain med. I hope this might help. Best of luck to you!

Im so sorry about what you have been through, then to break wrist again, thats just terrible.

both if them took owver a year for them to heal with all the other broken bones got out and was playing in a wheelchar and rebroke my wrist :)