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Date of last update: 10/01/2017.

Forum Name: Bone trauma and fractures

Question: Post Surgery (of broken tibia, fibula) - can you help??

 happygolucky40 - Thu Aug 18, 2005 5:09 am

I am a 45yr old female who recently had my first bone break when my footing found a hole in a footpath resulting in right ankle dislocation, both the tib and fib fracturing as well as the tib & fib fracturing apart where it joins near the ankle/foot. I acquired 2xplates and a pin during surgery. I broke my leg on 28th July,2005.
Not having experienced anything like this and having not been given any "what to expect" post op education I have a couple of questions I hope you can answer. Firstly,what levels of pain should one experience and or/how long should this continue - ie - should I be finding improvement eg. every few days? If so, I haven't noticed any yet. I currently take pain killers all day long otherwise I find my pain grows to 8-10 levels (out of 1 - 10) I currently take Panadeine 15x 2 tabs at night and take one with a paracetamol during the day if regular pain killers don't suffice. I find Paracetemol 500mg x2 tabs on its own only give me approx. 1 1/2-2hrs pain relief. I've also tried x2 Nurofen caplets which give a little longer relief. My pain is mostly ankle to ankle and above the heal. When aching I have considerable discomfort being unable to rest the leg on a pillow, the bed whatever without piercing/tearing kind of pain and it is not unusual for me to take 1-2hrs trying to get around this before being able to sleep. I feel weeping but last check there appeared to be no infection. I also get what feels like skin/muscle shudders in the calf area. Spend most of day with leg up but when it is put down can't leave it down long without discomfort, some swelling, tingling and toe colours are darker then good foot.
Is this all natural? what should I be expecting /time frames? I know everyone is different but I thought by now I should be starting to feel improvements??? Your thoughts please?? My next appointment with the fracture clinic isn't for 4weeks when the cast comes off and xrays will be taken. Thankyou. Sorry this was so long.
 Pendragon - Sat Nov 26, 2005 11:12 am

Suprised no one has replied..

As I read this, based on the dates given, you were only 2 weeks post-op. All I can say is give it time and be patient, it could be MANY months before you could be considered 'pain free'.

The doctors are going to tell you that pain is normal, and that you're simply going to have to live with it. They can't/won't prescribe enough to make you 'pain free'. You are expected to tolerate as MUCH pain as possible and with the lowest possible doses and strengths of pain medication.
 happygolucky40 - Sat Nov 26, 2005 4:32 pm

Thanks for replying Pentagon. Well I wasn't expecting to be totally pain free - I did have multi breaks etc but I was hoping to have been given some kind an idea of what "Pattern of events" I could expect in the process of healing.

Needless to say my concerns were not in vain. Pain fluctuated but mostly increased not decreased each week and my foot colour was still always horrible, yet I still got no results/or given much of a second thought to. Finally 16 weeks of geing mucked about, I was booked in to remove the pin and at pre-admission I again told the doctor what I had been experiencing - hoping to fall on an ear who might listen.

They sent me for an ultrasound and we discovered x4 DVTS - of course this meant surgery was now cancelled as well. The discovery was the Wednesday. On the Sunday morning I had a Pulmonary Embolism - went into the lungs. Doctor said I am lucky to be here today - if it had been a little bigger it may have been a different story.. That was mid October.

I am now scheduled to have the pin removed in two weeks time under local anaesthetic because the anaethetist won't give a general for at least 6 months because of the PE.

So my concerns weren't all in vain. Unfortunately they kept getting discarded mostly because there was no evidence of swelling of the calf. Earlier scanning / detection on their part would not have hurt though and may have prevented the worsening condition or the PE.

Hopefully there is light at the tunnel now and with no further complications - ambulation in sight. No more hopping on one leg...Yay!!!

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