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fractured fibula

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Hi, I recently fractured my fibula when I twisted my ankle on uneven surface and fell.
Initially, I thought it was a regular ankle sprain, so I didn’t go to see a doc.
However, I went to the ER yesterday, and they took X-Rays, which revealed the fracture. I had an appt with the ortho surgeon today, and he said that I will need to have surgery where they will put in a plate with screws.
I’m scheduled to have surgery tomorrow.
What am I in for? I’ve never broken anything before (22 yrs old), so I’m not sure what to expect. What are the pros/cons of leaving the screws/plate in after some time goes by? Will I be able to run again/play sports/lift weights? What’s the recovery time like, and will I need to see a physical therapist afterwards? If anyone can share their experience with this operation, I’d greatly appreciate it. Thanks

5 comments

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    9 10

    Well, good news. I went to have a second opinion today, and the new ortho surgeon said that a surgery is not necessary. This guy was highly recommended by friends of the family, but I was not able to see him first (had to see the initial surgeon first). The doc today is a sports injury specialist as well, with more years of experience than the first doc (he was much older than the other one). Anyways, he told me that I could get away with using a cast with same results as surgery, but the only difference would be in me wearing a cast a couple of weeks longer than if I were to have surgery. However, he assured me that the results would be the same, and that the bone will completely heal with no adverse affects (ie. limp, one leg shorter than the other, etc).
    Lesson learned today is to ALWAYS get at least 2 opinions when a serious decision is to be made, such as surgery. I’m not sure what the initial doc’s motives were for doing surgery, but he told me that if I don’t have surgery, I will end up having chronic pain and arthritis in my ankle. Hopefully, my bone heals fine with just this cast.

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      9 10

      Brian,
      Thanks for your reply. 8 weeks is pretty much what I’m looking at as well according to my doc. I just got the cast put on today, and my next follow-up appt is in early Feb. to see how the bone is doing. Good luck with your recuperation. Mostly, I’m just really happy that I can proceed without surgery. I’m not sure why the other doc was insisting on surgery, while this one said that a cast would work as well. Perhaps one is just better than the other.Anyhow, for anyone else in a cast right now, check out http://www.drycast. They sell special cast protectors that you can shower in, walking boots, cast socks, and a variety of other helpful items. They were recommended to me by the ortho. Hope it helps.

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    9 10

    Vitaly,I’m 30 and I fractured my fibula over the summer playing basketball. Like you, I had never broken anything before, so I didn’t know what to expect. My break was clean, so it did not require surgery. I wore a plaster cast for 8 weeks, which meant I had to get used to taking baths with my leg up out of the water, and walking with crutches obviously (great for the arms!). When the cast was taken off, it takes a little time to get used to walking again. I was a little apprehensive to put much weight on it at all at first, but that passes quickly. As of today (about 5 months from the day of the fracture), I am walking without a limp and no noticeable pain. The ankle area of the break is still slightly swollen and other than some light jogging, I haven’t run on it much. My advice is don’t put weight on it often while it’s in the cast, listen to the doctor. Take it easy with the coat hanger if it gets itchy (I got a little carried away and ended up with scratches all over my leg). And most importantly, definitely go to physical therapy after you get the cast off.Hope this helps and good luck!Brian

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    9 10

    Ouch!!! I broke my fibula this past sunday too! I was doing some mild mountaineering and got caught in a storm 2500 feet up, rushing back down, I twisted my foot way past it’s normal range and thought I just had a sprain, but Xrays said it was a fracture of my fibula. I wanted to know if I can expect to run or bike again before the summer, and also if there is any way I can maintain my muscle tone in this leg.

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    9 10

    I broke my fibula on 10/26 while rollerblading. when I feel I twisted my anckle. Unlike the messages posted here I knew I broke it. When I feel I heard and felt the break. Anyway I had dislocated and broke the fibula and dislocated the tibia. They tried to manipulate it back into place without surgery. If the ER doc says they are going to do this ask to have an orthopedic examine you first. I spend five grueling minutes in extreme pain while the ER doc squeezed and pulled my broken anckle only to have the Ortho come in and say “nope we have to do surgery.” I got six screws, a plates, a day in the hospital and 8 weeks with a cast, and a week of phyiscal therapy. The best was that after I got my second cast (after about two or three weeks they needed to remove the stiches) the doc explained that all of the muscles and tendons had gotten tight. At about 4 weeks in I started streching my foot/toes any way I could to keep lose. It paid dividends when I got the cast off.For the record I tried to do too much once I got back on two feet and now have tendonitius but I’m only 5 months post surgery.Best of luck to you.

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