ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Health - Coping With a Broken Leg

Updated on April 21, 2010
A repaired tibia.
A repaired tibia.

Snapped like a chicken bone

I broke my leg five years ago when I stepped out the door of a Winnebago after the stairs had been retracted. Three feet and one sudden stop later my tibia, the main supporting bone in the lower right leg, snapped like a chicken bone. In medical terms it was a dislocated fracture, meaning the two ends of the bone were completely separated. In my own terms it was a train wreck.

To repair the damage an orthopedic surgeon reamed out the bone with a drill, hammered in a titanium rod, and fastened the broken ends together with what look like wood screws. It was an amazing feat of medical engineering.

Going through airport security has been more interesting ever since.

Having never been injured before, I had no experience as an invalid - especially one with a broken leg. It took some trial and error before my husband and I assembled the right equipment to cope with the situation. If you find yourself in a similar circumstance, I offer the following advice to help you cope with a broken leg.

Unglamorous but practical.
Unglamorous but practical.

Use a walker

For the first three weeks I could not put any weight on my broken leg. For eight weeks after that I had a “walking” cast, a giant plastic boot that would fit Frankenstein's monster if he wore a size 30 shoe. But I needed mechanical assistance to keep from falling over. The hospital offered either crutches or a walker.

I am the first to agree that a walker is unglamorous and cumbersome, but it beats out crutches because you can carry stuff on a walker. This is important because when you can’t move easily you suddenly find everything you need is on the other side of the room. My husband attached a net car-storage bag to the front of walker and I kept my reading glasses, cell phone, water bottle, pen and paper, and meds inside. If I went out I put my wallet and sunglasses in there too. You can’t carry all that on crutches.

If you really want to join the Granny Olympics, you can get a super fancy folding walker with a seat and a basket. I do have some pride, however, and just went with the plain vanilla version.

Install a toilet seat riser

Okay. Not a pretty subject, but a very important one. If you can't bend your leg it is very difficult to lower or raise yourself from the toilet. My husband was going to install grab bars in our bathrooms so I could use the toilets unassisted. Instead, the person at the medical equipment store persuaded him to get a toilet seat riser instead. This is like a big rubber doughnut that fits on the toilet seat. It lets you lower yourself and get up again without bending your legs. When you no longer need it, you simply remove it. There are no permanent grab bars to contend with. It’s not great for kids, however, because they are usually not tall enough to sit down without having to climb. They also enjoy jumping up and down on them.

Get an ankle pillow

I simply could not get comfortable lying down because of the cast and then because I could not turn my ankle without it hurting. I spent the first few nights sleeping in a chair until someone told us to get an ankle pillow. The pillow elevates your lower leg and takes the pressure off the injured part. If you get a foot separator pillow, it also holds your foot with the toes pointing up. It made a considerable difference and I could sleep comfortably in bed after purchasing an ankle pillow.

Get a cast protector

The number one rule of having a cast is keep it dry.  If even a portion gets wet the mositure is wicked throughout the entire cast.  Besides being uncomfortable, the moisture will get into your wound and cause an infection.  This makes showering a challenge but fortunately there are cast protectors for broken legs and arms.   Ask at a medical equipment store and they will know which one to give you.  We joked that my cast protector looked like a giant condom, but it did the job.  I would just put it over my leg, fasten it at the top and my cast would stay perfectly dry in the shower.

Keep your leg elevated

I didn’t understand what this meant so at first I just keep my leg up on the ottoman. The swelling would not go down for weeks. When I had the cast removed, the surgeon explained my leg had to be raised higher than my heart. So my husband rigged up a pulley and sling and we raised my leg like you see in slapstick movies depicting people in full body casts. The swelling was gone within hours!

Do your physical therapy.
Do your physical therapy.

Do your physical therapy

Yes, it is boring and some of the exercises seem silly, but it is vital to your recovery.  I was shocked by how much my leg muscles atrophied in just three months.  I was diligent about doing my strength building exercises, but less so with the stretching ones.  After five years the muscles are still noticeably tighter in my lower right leg.  Do your therapy as instructed!

Be patient

It will take as long as it takes to heal - you can't rush it. Patience is not one of my virtues, but I quickly accepted the situation, not having much of a choice. I read a lot of books and made a lot of jigsaw puzzles over the 3-1/2 months I was recuperating. I enjoyed being waited on and having my meals cooked for me. And I really learned to appreciate my mobility. I swore I would never complain about making a bed again after I got both legs back.

Of course, that was five years ago.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      T500king 

      9 months ago

      I broke my tibula fibula and tendions in ankle in oct just got done with cast. The best thing i found was iwalk2.0 its a strap on peg leg basically. I live alone in split level crutches are impossible when you do laundry or cook so on . The peg leg was125 on amazon i could get around take care of my self it made life lots easier . I see them on ebay too. It saved me from insanity of being stuck inside i could work on my ranch do fencing shop so on. Your much slower but just mental bennifet of better mobilty makes a big difference. I had people tell me they had scooter thing they strap on leg i went with walker because i work out doors on rough survice but i see people shopibg with scooter other happy with them so what suits your enviorment best.

    • profile image

      Bobby Hammond 

      7 years ago

      The Best TibiaOTSERV:

      www.OTBR.com.br

      www.TibiaWAR.org

      www.Tibia-OT.com

      www.TibiaELF.com

    • profile image

      SUSAN DANENBERG 

      8 years ago

      DOES ANYONE KNOW WHERE AN emergency FACILITY WILL PUT A CAST ON A BROKEN FIBULA? PLEASE HELP!

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)