12 months ago on January 2nd 2010 I had a silly but little drunken fall at Clapham Junction Station (London) and somewhat inextricably broke my tibia and fibula resulting in an operation to have an IM Nail inserted. However, I prefer to tell people the “official” story that I broke my leg jumping on to the train tracks to save a pregnant woman, a blind man and an endangered panda.
I was told it would take 6mths to recover and as I couldn’t find much about people’s healing experiences with IM Nails on the interweb highway I thought I would share mine just in case others found it useful or possibly reassuring. My last update was at the 6mths stage and so now is time to bring it up to date.
Up until a couple of months ago I was still concerned that I was getting a fair bit of soreness from the area just below my knee. If I sat in the same position or cross-legged it would be quite sore when I stood up and walked. Kneeling was also not something I was comfortable doing. This has changed quite a lot since then and the soreness is still around but is quite mild now and kneeling is much more comfortable than it was.
Walking down stairs I barely notice anything different with my ‘bad leg’, but do from time to time. Lots of friends have asked me if cold weather effects me and say surely there must be expansion and contraction issues? Well, it’s been a bloody cold winter here in the UK and I didn’t notice any particular problems when I was out in the cold.
I have experienced one issue though … and that is with my good leg (the right one). I was trying to get back into jogging and was going regularly to the gym and running only on the treadmill (i.e. no hard surfaces). I was careful to build up the amount of running I was doing very gradually and had not quite reached being able to do 40mins of jogging (3 runs a week). Two days after a gym visit I walked off to a meeting and my right leg suddenly had a shin splint pain that was quite painful.
I thought my 2hr meeting would be ample time for it to rest but as I walked home it got really really painful. Like someone had stuck a knife in the centre of my shin and left it there. I have had shin splint problems before (prior to my accident) and normally rest will cure it and the worst case before it had been 2 weeks. However, this shin splint pain went on for about 5-6 weeks and I think has only just gone away. I was not able to walk for more than 5 mins without it getting really very painful.
My GP confirmed it sounded like a classic case of shin splints plain and said I should rest and take ibuprofen (for its anti-inflammatory effects). This did seem to help but I am not sure yet if it has fully disappeared and will be visiting the gym later this week to find out. Well, if I can get over 4 solid days of celebrating New Year that is.
Ironically, it gave the situation that my bad leg (the left one with the IM Nail) was actually my better working leg and I think somehow this has been good. It was a little bit like my right leg had said “enough with all attention and care on the left leg, what about me? Why do I always have to be the good one?”. My left leg was up to the task and has actually been like a normal leg!
If you’ve recently had an IM Nail or Rod, I wish you the best of luck with the recovery. Set short-term goals for your recovery rather than looking at the longer path and you will get there. It will be painful in the beginning and dominate your life, then it will be more frustrating and really testing your patience, as in “can it just get back to normal already?!” But it will get better.