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Sports Medicine

Fractured Tibia

05/31/2011

Question:

January 22, 2011 I shattered my Tibia in a ski accident. I now have metal and screws running from mid calve to ankel. I have much nerve damage and the tingling is driving me crazy. It is now May 23 how long will the tingling keep up and will I be able to rehab this back to the point I can ski again? I am applying preasure on broke Tibia with walking boot on using crutch on oposite arm.

Answer:

Bone healing following a fracture typically takes place over a 4-6 week period. Since you've undergone surgical fixation, and since it's been 16 weeks since your injury, discuss with your physician why you still need to wear a walking boot to apply pressure to your broken tibia, and also why you still need to use a crutch... has fracture healing taken significantly longer than is typical, and is healing still ongoing? Is there anything about the bone fractures or the hardware - or the walking boot - which could be contributing to your ongoing nerve symptoms?

If your nerve damage has been diagnosed and documented by nerve tests called "electrodiagnostic studies", ask your physician to explain the nature and severity of this nerve damage, since these details determine prognosis - that is, the time course for, and extent of, nerve recovery which can be anticipated.

In the meantime, if not already tried, there are a number of treatments which could lessen the severity of the tingling you continue to experience, including "antidepressant" medications (such as Nortriptyline or Duloxetine) for nerve pain, and/or "anti-seizure" medications (such as Pregabalin or Gabapentin) for nerve pain, as well as a portable electrical stimulator called a TNS unit (transcutaneous nerve stimulator).

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Response by:

Brian L Bowyer, MD Brian L Bowyer, MD
Clinical Associate Professor
Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University