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Author Topic: Undiagnosed tibial plateau fracture from two months ago  (Read 4409 times)

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Offline Mcmaynerbury

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Undiagnosed tibial plateau fracture from two months ago
« on: August 08, 2014, 04:34:12 AM »
I'm officially welcoming myself to the broken bone club. I went 20 years without one!

On May 31st (nearly 10 weeks ago), I was at the dog park. I was standing with my feet about shoulder width apart, firmly planted on the ground. I didn't notice two dogs coming at my right side, and one dog's ribcage with the force of the other dog next to it struck the lateral side of my right knee. The dogs weighed maybe 180 pounds combined. I did not exactly get tackled, but fell forward and to the left. I immediately felt significant pain towards the outside of my knee but somewhat near my kneecap, and limped my way over to a chair. Over the next hour that I was sitting in that chair, my knee swelled somewhat and the pain remained about the same. I drove myself home, where I applied ice on and off.

Fast forward about 5 days to when I went to urgent care. The pain and swelling had reduced somewhat, but given the acute nature of the pain, I decided to get it checked out. After my x-ray came back clean, I was diagnosed with a strained LCL, and sent on my way with a bottle of naproxen and a non-locking knee brace.

Fast forward to July, when I decided that the pain in my knee was definitely still present, and that it was time to see an orthopedist. The pain had diminished significantly, and I was easily able to bear weight, but this was definitely going beyond the 2-3 weeks that the urgent care doctor said I would need for recovery. The pain had somewhat faded to more of discomfort, ranging between 3 and 5 on a 10 point scale. It was the more noticeable during activities like driving or laying on my back with my legs extended (in bed), but it was uncomfortable pretty much 24/7, despite wearing the brace I was given. I made an appointment for the 22nd. The orthopedist said that though both of my knee joints were very flexible, he could find no ligament damage in my hurt knee. He sent me for an MRI, which was scheduled for the next day.

After finishing the MRI, I scheduled a follow up appointment for August 7th, when the same orthopedist told me that I had a fracture in my tibia. He did not say that it was a plateau fracture, but based on my google research, this is what I believe it is. He also did not tell me that most people with a TPF (even non-displaced, as I believe mine to be....once again, the doc never said) absolutely do not bear weight for at least several months, nor the risks of arthritis etc that come with this injury. His orders were to hold off high-impact activities (such as running) for another month, and to see him if the pain persists.

He also said that I have a fat pad impingement, but gave me no real instructions other than to stretch my thigh and hip muscles.

I still range between a 3-5 on the pain scale, and it is still uncomfortable/painful all day and night. Although I don't have a problem walking on it, I have still noticed that I have an irregular gait. When I take a step on my good knee, it remains slightly bent as my center of gravity is passing over top of it, but on my bad knee, if seems as if it extends to perfectly straight. Every time I stand from a sitting position, my bad knee cracks, much like a knuckle joint cracks. I don't know what portion of my pain is from the fat pad impingement, and what portion is from the fracture itself.

I have always had flexible joints, and my knees have both always been "double jointed." I used to struggle with frequent sprained ankles, but never have had a problem with my knees.

My biggest question is, should I get a second opinion? I am concerned that I have been walking around on a broken tibia for two months, while all similar injuries are not subject to that kind of weight bearing. I have both original x-rays and a recent MRI image available.

I appreciate your responses!

Summary: tibia fracture revealed two months later, orthopedist gave no further info, am wondering if I should get a second opinion about a possibly serious injury that I have been walking on for 10 weeks.

Offline mjeffrey

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Re: Undiagnosed tibial plateau fracture from two months ago
« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2014, 08:54:33 AM »
I'd get at least 2 more opinions. When we did renovations we always got more than one opinion from builders. Your knee is much more important!
20 Feb: Comminuted patella fracture, 4 K-wires, Cercalge, Figure of 8
11 Mar: Staples removed Flex 50
22 Apr: Control Xray, flex 80, progress stalled
09 May: MUA: flex 120, 3 weeks CPM
23 Jun: Slow Running, Flex 135
06 Jul: Flex 140
08 Aug: Hardware removed
10 Sep: full flexion

Offline morgana

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Re: Undiagnosed tibial plateau fracture from two months ago
« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2014, 03:58:28 AM »
Wow, sorry to read your story  Mcmaynerbury and welcome you to the Club that no one wants to join.

I'm with  mjeffrey. I would get at least two more ortho opinions, and take a list of questions such as pt, the sound of cracking as you stand, pain, risk of arthritis, etc.  At 20, you have many decades of use you expect from this leg (and it's mirror image)...  Issues need to be resolved sooner rather than later.

The ortho that treated my 94 year old mother's broken hip & fractured elbow indicated that all broken bones heal in roughly 12 weeks with decent health. But, the elbow didn't need anything in particular except to be cautious, while the hip -a weight bearing part- needed to be strengthened, supported, and nurtured.  I would think the tibia would need the same amount of babying.   
5-26-08 Severely comminuted bicondylar fracture-right tib plat - locking plate & 6 screws Bicycle Accident
nwb for 12 weeks
6-12 started pt
7-21 added swimming
8-25 pwat with walker
9-02 four prong cane
10-15cane as needed,slight limp
10-27 OS:next visit 10-2009

Offline amgurl27

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Re: Undiagnosed tibial plateau fracture from two months ago
« Reply #3 on: June 18, 2017, 11:16:34 PM »
How did the recovery process end up going for you? I myself am going through a similar situation where I substained a what I thought to be a knee sprain 6 weeks ago. I had an MRI four days ago and found out that I have been walking around on. A nondisplaced fractured tibia. My ortho was very short with me and told me not to run or jump for four weeks and then come back to see him for a check up. He barely went over my MRI results and he also didn't explain to me if I needed a knee brace or what my next steps are. I am now afraid by walking around on my knee that I am doing more harm than good. Do you have any words of advice?

Offline HobbledGirl

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Re: Undiagnosed tibial plateau fracture from two months ago
« Reply #4 on: July 03, 2017, 07:10:21 PM »
I'm throwing my 2 in here a little late. 

You guys deserve to know more about what is going on.  I'm in the US, so there may be differences in our systems, but I would make up a list of questions for either your next visit or, if you are able to, calling the doctor.

I often think of things after I've left the doctor, but I write down my questions for the next visit or call/email the nurse. Sometimes my OS tries to leave, but I'm not shy about saying "wait!"  Surgeons are often not "people people"  ;) and can be brusque - that's ok.  Just be pleasantly insistent.  This is your leg, and how it is treated may affect your mobility for the long term.  This is not the time to be shy, but do try to be efficient and respectful of the doctor's time.
1-4-17 accident on Segway in Madrid.
3-4-17 flight to US w/ full-length plaster splint & crutches I can't use. 😂
6-4-17 surgery for highly comminuted, 1.5 cm depressed Schatzker II TPF.  ORIF: plate, 7 screws, allograft.
29-6-17 WBAT, almost full ROM, -2 mm lateral plateau
16-7-17 Heel met behind