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  • Broken Tibia and Fibula + swollen foot

    Hello,
    My husband had an accident on March 31st of this year and broke his tibia and fibula about 3 inches up from the ankle. He had surgury and ended up with a rod in his bone along with 3 screws. He also had two pins in the back of his ankle as well as one on top, right where you would bend your foot. It did not break his skin, but after surgery, there was a 3" hole that was there which I did the wet-dry gauze and saline solution. It is finally healed. The pins were pulled out (literally yanked out to the point of blacked out from pain) on June 11th.
    His foot is still swollen. Really bad. We have stopped going to the place that did the surgery because no one wants to spend more than a minute with us and we are very concerned. It hurts real bad (he can tolerate pain well, but this is killing him). It is red/purple in color. It looks as though if you poked it with a pin it would either shoot out fluid or deflate. Our regular doctor seems to think it's infected, and he has been on antibiotics twice and still nothing. It's still swollen. Today it looks as though there are two pinkish spots on top along with the red/purple color. We went to get a second opinion from another surgeon who shook his head a few times when we told him what was done. He took his own x-rays but the next day left on vacation. We won't hear anything until the 28th of July.
    It has been almost 15 weeks and he is still in a wheelchair and not allowed/ or cannot put pressure on it. He's lost so much muscle everywhere and going into a state of depression. He was always on the go before. I have done so much research as to what might be the cause, my head is spinning. If anyone has any suggestions or thoughts, I would be very greatful. Thank you for your time.

  • #2
    Hi Lori,

    I can't believe the way your husband has been treated. Just shows you how important it is to go to the right people.

    I feel for you what you must be going through right now. It's a good thing you went to get another opinion from a different surgeon. I know it's hard waiting, but best to wait and see what the new surgeon says. Currently I'm waiting to see my knee surgeon after I had scans done a couple of weeks ago. I have to wait 6 weeks from the last time I saw him. It's really hard, but I just have to be patient as he's one of the best for patella instability in Melbourne. Whereabouts are you based ?

    It may also be worth going to see a sports physician. They may be able to give you some good ideas on your husband's rehabilitation and whether he will be able to do anything at this time. Might just help until the new surgeon is back from holidays.

    Has your regular doctor done any blood tests ? This can help to determine if there's any infection. Can also often tell by looking at the wound. When I had my last knee operation I developed an infection afterwards. It took two lots of anti-biotics until it completed cleared up. My stiches were also coming through the skin so my knee surgeon had to take out the offending stich.

    I would also encourage your husband to continue icing throughout the day. Don't ice it for more than 20 minutes at a time. If he does it every couple of hours it should help with the swelling. Also, it's important to get on top of the pain. At the moment I'm recovering my shoulder surgery and is still very painful. So, at night I'm taking Panadeine Forte and then Panadeine or Panadol during the day.

    Good luck and let us know how you go.

    Comment


    • #3
      Thank you for your response. We are located in Michigan. The surgery was done in Toledo Ohio. He went by ambulance to the local hospital, then they transferred him to the trauma unit in Ohio.
      Sometimes I think doctors forget there's a real person on the other end with concerns. He also had two dopplers done and seen a vascular surgeon. He does have a small blood clot in the calf of that leg, and getting blood work done every week. They have him on Warfarin for it. It is small and has stayed the same. They are keeping an eye on that.
      He just talked to his regular doctor today and waiting for a call back to see if he should be admitted to the hospital here locally.
      I have a list of 10 different things I found on line that could be (?) the problem from RSD to accute inflamation.
      It scary to not know and no one be able to tell you.

      Comment


      • #4
        Hi Lori,

        Totally agree what you're saying about doctors. They aren't all like that. There's only some like that. Fortunately all my specialists are pretty caring which is great. They also have a joke with me every now and then.

        As I said in my last post I'd strongly encourage you to get your husband to see a good sports physician/doctor. They will be able to give you a much better idea of the recovery and ensure your husband is going to a good specialist. A GP or primary care physician only deals with general things and this is pretty specific. So, need to find someone that specialises in your husband's problem. Here is a link to a list of sports medicine clinics in the US by state, http://www.physsportsmed.com/clinics.htm If you do a search under sports medicine clinics in Michigan on the internet you should be able to find one in your area. If you can find a sports physician/doctor not an Orthopaedic Surgeon that works with an elite sporting team you've be better. They are most likely to up with the latest treatments and ensure your husband is going to the best specialist for his problem.

        I hope this helps.

        Keep us posted on his progress !!

        Comment


        • #5
          Broken Leg and complications

          Lori,
          I had a very similiar type accident last year (april 1st) and have only just regained the full use of my leg. My tibia and fibula were badly broken and 3 of 4 ligaments in the knee were ruptured. I had about 4 weeks in hospital had a couple of operations and got 2 massive PE''s on my lungs. The recovery was a real battle... But I am fine now, thanks to my wife's diligence. Doctors need to be managed like children sometimes. You need to speak with my wife Alison. Might be handy if you get the patient onto the net for a chat, especially for the depression (I went through this as well).
          Would love to assist if you feel comfortable about it...
          Cheers, Justy

          Comment


          • #6
            This just keeps getting worse! It is now almost 5 months and nothing is getting better. A week ago he went in for screw removal and manipulation of the back of the knee because it wouldn't bend straight. After getting the call he was out of surgery the doctor said his leg wasn't healed and when he took the screws out it was broke. He just told us a month prior that the break looked good! Not all the way healed, but almost. Before he was in a half cast, a removable one that went under his foot up the back of his calf and held on by an ace bandage. Now he comes out with a full cast from his knee to his foot. We had a second opinion and this is the second doctor who did this. We've heard good things about him around here, so we went with him. He's in more pain now than he was the first time it broke. The bottom of his foot has shooting pain. He can't put his leg down for more than twenty minutes because it turns purple. He can feel when I rub my hand over the top of his toes, but underneath he says he can't really feel it. He can move his toes, and when his foot is elevated, it's normal. Normal color, every thing. No swelling.
            Today a lady came by and give him an ortho electric bone stimulator to use 3 hours a day. Anyone else heard of or experienced any of this? Thank you.

            Comment


            • #7
              Hi,

              I recommend that you go and see an ankle specialist immediately, do not mess around with general OS's since the situation just seems to be escalating! I had some really good advice and some bad advice, and now I would definately advise seeing the Ankle specialists immediatly the situation goes from 'normal broken leg' to 'this has complications and the results aren't what we were expecting'.

              I also really understand the depression aspect (I think all of us with major leg issues go there at least once), and it would be good to also get your partner on the web, it makes a big difference to know you aren't the only one going through hell..and that people do come out the other side normal functioning humans...

              I ended up having to get my ankle replaced after 5 previous surgeries (I am 26) and while it is great, you really don't want to end up here in the next few years, and getting things sorted properly now will make all the difference.

              For the possible infection, check the bloodwork to make sure no infection in the bone itself.

              good luck!

              Comment


              • #8
                Hi there,

                I totally agree about seeing an ankle specialist. Last year I saw one for my ankle instability and had surgery to stabilise it. So much better now. One doctor told me nothing could be done, but I was sure there was.

                Hope your husband gets some good help soon.

                Good luck !!!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Thank you for the replies. Even though it was his leg that was broken, about 3 to 4 inches above the ankle, you still think we should see an ankle specialist?
                  He went to his regular doctor today and he gave him Gabapentin (Neurontin) to help with the pain. He seems to think it's the nerves acting up. His doctor really tries to do all he can. He calls him once a week to see how he is, which is rare for a doctor to do.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Hi Lori,

                    You really need to get your husband to a foot and ankle specialist. I would also suggest going to see a sports physician too. They have a much better idea of managing these injuries.

                    Good luck with it all. !

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I broke my tibia and fibula too, above the ankle (but only by an inch or two), with a 6" spiral fracture on one, and multiple fractures on the other. This was in May 2006. I was in wheelchair for 5 months afterwards, and it hurt to have the foot "down" for very long too. It's been well over a year now, and I still suffer from swelling and constant (but livable) pain.

                      My doc decided that the two bones above the Talus were not tight and I needed ligament repair. I am recovering from the ligament surgery right now and back in a cast.

                      If your husband has no further sutures, ask your doctor about using a compression stocking. It distributes the swelling from the isolated ankle/foot area and into the calf, which is larger. It has made a HUGE difference in the foot swelling and associated pain for me. I've worn one for many months now and it doesn't appear I can stop any time soon, but it has enabled me to be up and around and back at work.

                      BTW, with this last surgery, my OS (ankle specialty) cleaned some of the scar tissue out of the ankle bend and I am starting to see some of the numbness go away! Altho... he said I might prefer the numbness because some level of pain is likely to stay

                      Regards,
                      Carol

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Hi im not sure if this helps but my partner recently was diagnosed with an infection called cellulitis (think thats the right spelling!) its said as cell-u-light-is, she had developed an infection in her ankle from a scratch at work! Her ankle ballooned and was purple and red in colour, weight bearing was agony, it all comes from the lymph glands becoming infected and prevents fluids from draining away, very strong antibiotics cleared the infection but she is left with the swelling and has to regularly have the glands behind her knee massaged which gets rid of some of the fluid. Its good and bad days which doesnt help as Im waiting for a Subtalar fusion in my ankle after a full dislocation and triple fracture, between the two of us we cant even make a full set as its both our right ankles! Lol! Might be something worth investigating for your husband.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Carol
                          I broke my tibia and fibula too, above the ankle (but only by an inch or two), with a 6" spiral fracture on one, and multiple fractures on the other. This was in May 2006. I was in wheelchair for 5 months afterwards, and it hurt to have the foot "down" for very long too. It's been well over a year now, and I still suffer from swelling and constant (but livable) pain.

                          My doc decided that the two bones above the Talus were not tight and I needed ligament repair. I am recovering from the ligament surgery right now and back in a cast.

                          If your husband has no further sutures, ask your doctor about using a compression stocking. It distributes the swelling from the isolated ankle/foot area and into the calf, which is larger. It has made a HUGE difference in the foot swelling and associated pain for me. I've worn one for many months now and it doesn't appear I can stop any time soon, but it has enabled me to be up and around and back at work.

                          BTW, with this last surgery, my OS (ankle specialty) cleaned some of the scar tissue out of the ankle bend and I am starting to see some of the numbness go away! Altho... he said I might prefer the numbness because some level of pain is likely to stay

                          Regards,
                          Carol
                          Hi Carol,
                          Unfortunatly he is in the cast now. He was in just a half cast/removable "L" shaped one originally. After the screw removal and the re-broken leg, he's in the full cast, so a stocking wouldn't work right now. I did however buy a set but at the time he couldn't get it over his foot because of the swelling and pain.

                          Originally posted by lmc1972
                          Hi im not sure if this helps but my partner recently was diagnosed with an infection called cellulitis (think thats the right spelling!) its said as cell-u-light-is, she had developed an infection in her ankle from a scratch at work! Her ankle ballooned and was purple and red in colour, weight bearing was agony, it all comes from the lymph glands becoming infected and prevents fluids from draining away, very strong antibiotics cleared the infection but she is left with the swelling and has to regularly have the glands behind her knee massaged which gets rid of some of the fluid. Its good and bad days which doesnt help as Im waiting for a Subtalar fusion in my ankle after a full dislocation and triple fracture, between the two of us we cant even make a full set as its both our right ankles! Lol! Might be something worth investigating for your husband.
                          Icm1972,
                          He went through that as well and was in the hospital for 4 days getting an IV of antibiotics. Sorry to hear about the both of you! Holy cow!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I have a friend who has a staph infection in his foot, post-surgery. He didn't take good care of it -- went to play golf before it had healed -- and he's in a world of hurt now. (I cannot believe he did that!) He has a nurse coming to his house twice a day to clean it out and directly apply an injection of antibiotic. We're crossing fingers.

                            I'm so sorry lmc1972, that you BOTH are suffering ankle problems! Wow, what are the odds?

                            Lori, after your husband gets out of the cast, I think you'll find that the compression sock and practical shoes will really help. I haven't worn nice shoes in 1.5 years, lol but ask me if I care! I am not anticipating my swelling to be gone anytime soon, but maybe in a year or so. Very fun to fly, which I do all the time...

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Hey...my name is Bryan and I broke my ankle. I broke my tibia and the doctor told me not to put any pressure on it yet so my bone doesn't shift out of place. I am 15 and I play basketball, and was in the process of trying to improve my jumping. Is there any calf workouts I can do with out putting pressure on my tibia.

                              Comment

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