Me and My IM Nail (Part 6) – 1 year on

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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.

12mths since IM Nail Op - I still have bruise from where I broke the tibia and minor scarring from the operation

Still some scarring on the knee from the IM Nail Operation

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.

135 responses to “Me and My IM Nail (Part 6) – 1 year on

  • Charlie Hanrahan

    I found this information and this mans account on his im nailing to be really hepful and honest,Its almost textbook with my own injury and the most accurate detailed infomation that is available on the inter web highway at this moment in time both pre and post op and the healing account and timespan for same gives peole a sincere idea of what to really expect with this type of fixation. Well done that man and thanks.

  • caroline b

    I Broke my tib and fib on 26 nov in almost the identical place to you. I did mine ice-skating, would have been fine if I was trying to be clever, I hadn’t skated for over 30 years so was going very slowly as i was worried about falling over, well at least it has given everyone a laugh.
    Like you i couldn’t find anything really on the internet to give me any idea of what to expect after the operation. You are admitted as an emergency told you need to have this op and wo betide if you want to ask any questions of the consultants! Unfortunately for them, the only time i have been in hospital previously– was elective and private so i was used to asking questions and getting answers. Though they didn’t fully explain things.
    The only thing I was interested in was getting home, luckily for me I did it on the Friday night, got bumped from surgery on Saturday morning – another story – but had the op Sunday morning. After a lot of fuss they appeared with the crutches at 8.30 am on Monday morning and i went home that afternoon. I think the just wanted me out of there, i was a nightmare patient.
    So I am now 9 weeks down the line and really pleased I found your site. At first it upset me as I felt it was a long way to being able to be ‘me’ again and not a dependent, but now i am walking without crutches – still take one for outside use. Slow but happening, I feel much happier that I will get there in the end.
    I note you have now put up your 1 year on post and you seem pretty much back to normal so I have that to look forward to. The recovery is now down to me and doing my physio so I’m back in control and I can deal with that.
    I did have something to focus on though a 3 month trip to NZ which i go on in 2 weeks.
    So thanks for your postings, I will keep focused and know that I will recover.

    • jakemcmillan

      Many thanks for your comment and the very best of luck with your recovery … you will definitely get there! It’s so good to get to the stage of being able to walk about without crutches. Keep up the physio as you can’t cheat it and will only delay your recovery.

      • caroline b

        Thanks. Went out in the big wide world without crutches today and it feels good. Will definitely be followings physios advice as it involves walking on the beach in a hot place – shame that really. Three more days and I will be able to follow his advice.

  • A

    Hey, just wanted to drop a line and tell you how useful and well, comforting, I have found your blog to be. I have a similar break in my right leg but the tibia break is almost half way between the knee and the ankle.

    I broke mine skiing on Dec 27th and got surgery 2 weeks after, Jan 11th. They have put me in a cast post op and the hope is that cast comes off in another 3 weeks.

    6 months a long way away but it’s good to know that I will eventually get there. For now, I can’t wait for the cast to be off and then be in charge of my own recovery.

    Thanks for your blog!

  • rohini

    hi there! i’m so glad to have found your story. just this morning i made the phone call to schedule surgery for an IM rod implant in my right tibia. (my backstory — i took a very high fall in cambodia while on vacation in november 2010, and broke fib/tib and femur! fib and femur seem to be healing well, but it looks like i have a non-union of the tibia — plates and screws were used but the bone doesn’t seem to be healing up). i was concerned about what recovery and pain would be like after the IM nail/rod implant, so it’s great to have come across your story, perspectives and pictures! i feel much more encouraged now. getting tired of limping around on my crutches, and good to know that in 6 months (& beyond) you are back to 100%. and also good to know that kneeling/knee issues haven’t been much of a problem for you. that was a big concern from what i had read about these implants.

    and i totally know what you mean about your good leg wanting a vacation… mine is a bit weary of being the upstanding one all the time! 🙂

  • Meaghan

    Thanks for posting your journey with your surgery. I had an IM Nail put in my left tibia 6 weeks ago and your blog has given me a really good idea of recover and what to expect. I am happy to say that I am already walking without crutches and don’t have a limp! So overall I’m really happy. But I’m still going to take it slow getting back to dancing. It’s good to know that in 6 months (or less) I will be back to the things I love to do!

  • Kristin

    Hi…thank you so much for posting your information. I had a IM nail with screws placed in my tibia 5 weeks ago. Unfortunately, my story is quite boring…I slipped and fell during and ice storm while walking into work…somehow i managed to NOT spill my coffee, but did break my leg! I have been on crutches with a boot and have started PT. I am hoping when I get re-xrayed next week that all is well and I will be allowed to put some weight on it. I do have one question…did the doctors ever mention taking the hardware back out of your leg? Thanks again!

    • jakemcmillan

      Hi there! Thanks for sharing your experience … good to hear you hung on to the coffee!

      The Doctor did mention the possibility of having it removed, but not until at least 12mths after it had all healed. He said some people do it if they have chronic pain (but there is only 50% chance of pain going away after removal) or if they are involved in a lot of sports where there is a greater risk of further damage to the leg with the IM Nail in it.

      If you look at Part 1 of my posts ( you will see a comment at the very end from a chap called Nick who has recently had his removed.

      Best of luck with your recovery!

  • Lindsey

    I had an IM rod placed in my tibia when I broke both tib and fib at the beginning of January this year. Unfortunately my bone did break through the skin in my shin, so that made things a little more problematic as they thought an infection might be introduced. I am 3 months down the line now and being an older lady, my bones don’t repair as quickly as younger ones would! I can hobble about the house without crutches mostly, but need them when I go out. You did mention the discomfort you felt in your knee – I too get that but can endure it; but I am getting a great deal of pain around the ankle area and below. I wanted to know if you too had any pain like this. It is only when I put weight on the foot and some days are better than others. But I would say that I get the severe pain about 70% of the time. Would like to hear your comments on this point. Many thanks.

    • jakemcmillan

      Hi, I don’t think I had the same ankle pain (and below that) that you described. My ankle and foot were sore and the more I walked around, the more it would swell and be sore. However, I wouldn’t have described it as severe pain, just quite sore.

  • andrew

    hi jake , glad to hear you are making good recovery, found your sute to be of great help as. I fell about 18 inches at work and broke left tib in fib in almost exact same place as yours self this was 13 weeks ago am now without crutches and lipping about walking regular but find break area and ankle swell at night did this happen to you and if so when did it stop .also did u have any problems getting PT as both my Surgen and GP say i do not need this .again i thank you for your site as it has been the most helpful .

    • jakemcmillan

      Hey! Thanks for your comment. I did get swelling when I started to walk around without the need of crutches, but it didn’t particularly come up at night. It just stayed swelled from earlier in the day. The amount of swelling went down as my ability and the amount of walking I did increased.

      With regards to PT, I would say this was essential to keep doing the exercises for as long as possible, even after your leg feels good again. I had 6 sessions over 2-3 months (I think?) with a PT on the National Health Service and they gave me all the exercises I needed to keep doing.

  • Nigel

    I broke my left tib and fib on 24th February 2011 in almost the same place, and I have had an identical operation. I fell off my motorbike at about 25mph and had the bad luck to hit a marker post, but I tell anyone who asks I did it playing rugby. I am 65 next birthday but you would be amazed at how many people believe me! I have found the NHS physios in my area to be wonderful with both their advice and treatment and things are going well. I am still on crutches and go to see the specialist again next week but already I have almost unlimited movement in both my knee and ankle. I was pleased to see the advice about short term goals and have changed my approach to accomodate this. I was getting impatient with my perceived lack of progress as I hate being inactive. Thanks for the opportunity to share these experiences with others, I found it helps to fix in my mind what I can or cannot do and what will happen in the future. All the best to all the contributors.

  • Bob

    My wife had a nail inserted into the leg after a skiing accident fractured her tib and fib. 13 weeks on she is still hobbling around on one crutch but complains of A lot of pain in the feet and the ankle locking up. The consultant has said this is soft tissue damage, to take pain killers
    And bust through it. Has anyone else experienced severe pain in the foot after the operation.?

  • robert malone

    Hi I fractured my tibia and had to get a rod in it its been a month now and I’m able to walk a wee bit do u no if I’m ment to refer my self to the physio or does the doctor do it

  • Linda Banks

    Hi, I also broke my tib and fib in Jan 2010 and simply by falling off a kerb with high heels on! Had an IM nail fitted and thought I was never going to get right but nearly 18 months on, I hardly get any pain, although I still can’t kneel on the right leg.
    I had a lot of pain in the foot and ankle at the beginning but it does get easier with time. I did wonder if anybody had ever had one removed and if the pain I sometimes get (usually where the screws are located in knee and ankle) goes away. Having said that, I’m not sure I’d like to go through the trauma of having it removed either!!

    Linda B

  • Adrienne

    I just to say thank you for your diary. I’m an active person who has had some difficulty with my injury. Just knowing info about someone who has gone through the same injury helps me alot.

  • Jayney

    Just wanted to say thank you for this blog, I’m now approaching 11 weeks post op for IM nail following a spiral fracture of both tib/fib and a broken ankle. In the absence of any other info online regarding the recovery process from this procedure its been a real lifeline for me. Thanks again.

  • Jenny

    I had a tib/fib fracture in 94, and I have the rod in my bone as well, have never had any trouble, in fact i bike ride and rollerskate to name a few. I was hit by a truck going 41mph and landed 60 feet away, paramedics did not think they would get me to the hospital alive. I no longer set off metal detectors 🙂 i did have 2 of the 4 screws removed and I came up with my own saying: ” I got screwed 4 times and they nailed me, then they unscrewed twice and im still nailed!!! ” only thos of us with the rod ( nail ) in us would understand that one. 🙂

  • Lisa Green

    Just come across your blog while googling recovery time following IM nailing surgery nearly 3 weeks ago – I slipped on mud and sustained a spiral displaced fracture of the tib and fib. I just wanted to say that I could relate to so much of your story – the hospital stay, the older ward sharers, trying to pass the physio test (discharged Sunday after op on Wednesday). My wounds/metal clips all look exactly like your photos and it’s good to read your experiences. I’ve just had my staples removed on Wednesday and go back for another X-ray on 12/01/12. Start physio at local GP surgery on 04/01/12 as having lots of swelling and tightness in ankle upto back of calf. Thanks for writing this!

  • caroline Hughes

    My husband had a frature to displaced tibia x2 places and fibula x1 he had an IM nail put in and several screws 10 mths ago. He had another fall just 1 mth ago and traumatised the pin, he is now weight bearing again(on medical advice) but after his return to work can only walk very short distances and is in lots of pain. The pain is in his heal, ankle, broken area and knee, the knee is also swelling and giving way. He is very stubborn and thinks this is all part of the healing stage and won’t take further advice(he is due to see fracture clinic in 2 weeks)till his next appointment. Is anyone having problems of this sort?

  • Jayney

    I’m now 6 months yesterday since my op, IM rod, 2 nails & 2 screws. Consultant advised me yesterday that my bone healing is good, though there is a spur that has hardly healed at all. Still experiencing some swelling, and my range of foot movement is not what what is should be, though I’ve been advised that taking the nail in my ankle out is the only way to fix this. I’ve got another 6 months to persevere before I’ll know if I can have this done. I still have a limp – wearing heels is off the agenda for the foreseeable! I’ve started dance classes again, though its painful I feel this is “productive pain”. Thanks again for this blog, I’m still finding it very useful. Wishing you and all the above best of luck with your respective recoveries x

  • Alan

    I broke my tib and fib in a total of 5 places on February 16th 2011 after a car swerved into me whilst I was on my motorbike. I instinctively swerved to avoid it and got caught on the central reservation. I evidently stuck my right leg out for blance just as I passed a lampost and smashed my shin into it at about 40mph. I maintained control of the bike and managed to pull over safely whilst the driver who caused the accident simply drove off.
    I was advised that a cast would be sufficient but after 3 weeks, it was decided that I needed an IM nail (this was after further manipulation whilst on gas and air and under general anaesthetic). This was done but 3 or 4 weeks later, the upper screw needed to be removed.
    In November 2011, it was noted that I was experiencing non-union so a nail replacement was discussed. This was monitored over the next couple months and after waiting list mix ups and other issues from my hospital, I am now scheduled to have the nail replaced on 4/5/12- 2 days time!!
    As part of this, I will need a bone graft from my hip.
    My leg still remains swollen after breaking it last year (not much) and my knee and ankle suffer in cold weather. The main pain is from the main break area, but that’s because of the non union. I’m still unable to run, or stand and walk for very long but I’m hoping that the replacement will solve this issue. It’s frustrating as I can now walk perfectly, albeit in pain, and this has taken a year to achieve. It is a slow process but you have to keep with it. I’m just annoyed that I’ll have to go through it all again!

    • jakemcmillan

      Hi Alan, thanks for sharing your experiences … hope the replacement nail does the job and you get a better recovery this time!

    • Dazz

      Hi Alan, your story sounds similar to mine, I just had my 2nd IM Nail put in 2 weeks ago and still a bit sore. Thought I would ask how your recovery has been? Broke my leg skiing in July 2017 and had replacement put in in mid may 2018 because of non union. Great blog Jake!

  • Lou

    Ahhh, thank you so much for this… This was my leg a month ago:
    This was my leg two weeks ago:

    And now I’m just still hobbling round wondering if it will ever get any better. So I am super glad to read about your adventure. It still creeps me out, that snapping sound!

    I’m still non-weight bearing, so can’t wait to get the recovery side of things started and get back to my real life, lol…

    Huge thank you. 🙂

    xxx Lou

  • Mark hogan

    My leg sounds the same as yours (the photos are exactly the same as mine,bruise mark et all) just wondering how long did it take you to get back running as at time of writing I’m starting training for a marathon and I’m having a tough time with it,I have 4 months to go

    • jakemcmillan

      Hi Mark,

      Thanks for posting. I struggled too with the running. I would go for a few short runs (15-20mins) and things seemed okay-ish but then when I upped it to 30-40mins runs I kept getting one issue or another. I think it was over a year before things seemed more normal running-wise but even to this day when I get back into running (I don’t do it all year round) I build up the length of my runs very slowly just to be sure. I also run on soft ground rather than pavements. A friend of mine who has an IM Nail in his tibia ran a marathon 18mths after he had the operation.

      Best of luck with the training!


  • Tammy

    I broke my tibia and fibula 4 weeks ago with the IM nail surgery. I’ve been pretty discouraged and depressed by the exeriences I’ve seen on the web. I was thrilled to come across your site because it’s positive and encouraging! I really needed this. Just wanted to say thank you and will remember to take things a month at a time. I’m not allowed to bear any weight till 4 months and that just seems so far away. Thanks again and best wishes to you.

  • Mark Richings

    Hi, great blog, didnt realise how many ppl are suffering thr same!.. Broke my tib/fib playing football 15/8/12.. Clean break had im nail surgery the next day. Regained all movement in ankle and knee within 1st week. Im 3 weeks post op now and down to 1 crutch, physio is working on getting muscles working again and he hopes ill have no crutches for my wedding in 1 week!.. Went out tonight tho and walked without crutches with limp but noticed my ankle swelled right up!. The opposite side to where scars are?!..has anyone suffered this?.. A tip for everyone tho.. Try and wear compression socks if not too swollen, this helps with blood circulation around the repairing area and helps remove the bad blood pooling around the break area.. anyway a great website. Any questions plz ask..

    • jakemcmillan

      Hi Mark, thanks for posting! Are you now married? How did your leg fare?

      Sounds like you recovery is going very well if you are walking without crutches so quickly. The swelling would not necessarily be near the scars as the swelling is not so much to do with the injury itself but the lack of movement/weight on your ankle for the past few weeks.

      • Mark Richings

        Hiya.. Yes got married 2 days ago.. Was up on my feet all day.. No crutches!..strapped my leg up with a bandage and wore a compression sock over the top.. U really wudnt have known apart from the odd limp that i broke the tib/fib exactly a month before..ankle was swollen right up at end of night tho and was a bit sore nxt day.. No honeymoon o cuz of not kbeing perfectly mobile.. But soo hpleased wiv

      • jakemcmillan

        Congratulations!! Well done on making it through your day without crutches! You are making excellent progress, hope it continues for you.

  • Lindsay

    Hi, I broke my tibia falling over drunk in a pair of heels 8 weeks ago. It’s been 7 weeks since having the IM rod and 4 screws. My xray at 6 weeks showed the bone hasn’t heeled at at all, I can mange short distances on one crutch but have noticed I am staring to get a lot of new pain around the break site and my knee is agony, Is this normal do you think? I can’t walk without crutches and I’m worried this is going to be me forever. The dr said I didn’t need PT because my range of movement is good. But I’m so worried this is going to be me forever, hobbling on crutches. Do you think I’ll ever wear heels again? This is so depressing 😦 thank u for your blog though it gives me a little hope xx also when does the limping go is that there for long after you lose the crutches? Xx

    • jakemcmillan

      Hi Lindsay, thank you for posting, but sorry to hear you’re not doing well with your recovery? What did the doctors say about the healing of your tibia? It is a bone that does take a long time to heal unfortunately.

      Unless there was something particularly bad about your break, then I don’t see why you won’t be able to wear heals again? I have worn them once since I had my IM Nail op! (don’t be alarmed, not in a dodgy way … I just tried my friend’s enormous heels once at the pub) If you can walk around with one crutch, if only for short distances, then it does sound like you are making a recovery. As you start to walk and weight bear more, you will get more pain, niggles and swelling (particularly around the ankle/foot). This is quite normal, however, if it is excruciating pain then that sounds like something is wrong.

      I am surprised your doctor said you don’t need PT … I would ask them again for this as even if your range of movement is good it is always good to have the PT to strengthen and flex muscles to help you get from initial hobbling and then from walking without a limp. I think PT is crucial here.

      Don’t be too depressed, you just need some patience and you will get there in the end!

      • Lindsay

        Thank you for your reply. Yeah I’m suprised the Dr said no PT, he said that I would manage to get better myself, I’ll maybe contact them and ask again. The reason for my break pain I think is because I went out with one crutch and managed some pace (got a bit cock sure of myself) but it started hurting then and it doesn’t seem to be getting any better. He did say most bones haven’t started to heal by 6 weeks xray… Did u have this problem? It’s so disheartening and depressing especially as I can barley walk at all without crutches. Maybe the pain I am experiencing is from doing more then? I just want to be better now, ha, soooo impatient!! Oh forgot to mention I have no pain in my foot or swelling, just the screw that’s near my ankle bone stings a bit in shoes. X thanks again for your reply X

      • jakemcmillan

        Haha, yes you are now a 90 year old! 😉 No, it sounds like you are doing okay and your recovery is normal. You just need that annoying thing called Patience! You will be eager to see and try walking around at pace as if you are normal, but it is actually better for your recovery to walk slower initially and make sure you walk in the correct way as if you rush you will likely not do it quite right and end up with a bit of limp … this is what happened to me!

        I am surprised about the PT, I would push for it as it can only help and not hurt your situation.

        Yeah, the tibia is a bugger and takes AGES to heal, which is why they do the IM Nail insertion to enable you to walk around and weight bear as it heals. The pain you have is more than likely from overdoing it a bit, not from any displacement or misalignment … this is all quite normal.

        General rule is during the recovery if it is sore/painful then that is normal, but if excruciating scream-worthy pain then something is wrong.

      • Lindsay

        P.s nothing bad about my break just a spiral fracture and no broken fibula x

      • Lindsay

        Oh and dr seemed to think I was doing well for 6 weeks post op.. I don’t feel it though, feel like a 90 year old instead of a 30 year old ha!! X

      • Lindsay

        One last question (sorry) do you think it’s possible I could have displaced the bone around my break site and that’s what is causing the pain or do you think the IM does a good job of holding the bone firmly In place? Maybe it just the added stress I put on my bone from trying to sprint like a panther ? The dr did say to accept different aches and pains over the next few month, but my dr is also a complete arse hole (but that’s another story) ha x

    • Lisa

      Hi Lindsay

      I had a spiral fracture to my tibia and fibula at the end of November last year (1 year on 28th November) while walking and slipped in mud. I had an IM rod in my tibia. Mine didn’t show any union until about 12 weeks (had talk of removing bottom screws to allow movement of bone to encourage bone growth).

      I had PT from January (had to wait until after christmas period) until end of July and I was on 2 crutches until about 14 weeks and wasn’t allowed to drive until 23 weeks. I had a lot of pain in the fracture site too but it turned out that my tibial muscle/ligament was gummed down to the tibia during my accident and it ‘released’ itself at about 28 weeks which meant it was easier to get off the one crutch as the excruciating pain was no longer there when walking. The swelling in my ankle/lower leg finally subsided at 7 months and my limp disappeared about the same time.

      At the end of August I did ‘the’ walk again (12miles) and didn’t have any trouble at all. It now feels like it never happened … the only thing I can’t do properly is jog/run. I look “daft” according to my kids lol. What you’ll be pleased to know is that I got my heels back on in September (and these are 5″ platforms) with no trouble at all 🙂

      You’re in the very early stages just now, don’t run before you can walk. I too thought I’d never wear my heels again but I got there 🙂

      • Lisa

        Above should say ‘released’ itself about 18 weeks – not 28 sorry

      • Lindsay

        Thanks you so much for your response Lisa, I’ve come on a little bit since my last post, I am getting PT and that’s helped massively! I can hobble without a crutch round the house but need one crutch whilst out and about. It’s 9 weeks now and my knee still hurts like crazy but have no ankle pain at all, just pain at the break site. Fingers crossed ill be back in no time, love reading all your positive stories, makes me feel lots better thank u xx

      • Lindsay

        And eeeeeeek, hopefully if I follow your footsteps it will be 10 months till I can wear heels again, that gives me only 8 months left, super excited!! Ha x

      • Lisa

        Glad to hear things are going well for you – I remember forgetting what it felt like to walk long distances, climb stairs, jog across the road when a car flags you over … now it’s a distant memory remembering when I couldn’t do those things 🙂

        You’re doing better than me so far with hobbling around with no crutches (think I was 14-18 weeks before I could do that lol) so you may knock a few months off the wait for heels again 😉 xx

  • Tammy

    Hi Lindsay, I can imagine how anxious you are to get back to your old self but these things take time and you are very early in your healing. It sounds like you are progressing well. I was showing very little healing at 8 weeks. I have a severe segmental fracture and they’re difficult to heal. I’m almost 4 months since I broke mine and am using a walker and no weight bearing at all on my broken leg. Don’t know when I’ll start walking. So I would say you’re doing VERY well and you’ll be fine! Best wishes to you!

    • Lindsay

      Hi hon thanks for your reply! How are you getting on now? I can hobble round the house and feel like I’ve come on a bit, but I can see there’s still a long way to go! Hope you are feeling better xxx

  • Tammy

    I got the ok to do 50 percent weight bearing. It’s been really difficult and I’m not having any physical therapy so I’m pretty much on my own. At least it’s a start. I won’t go back to the doctor till Jan so it’s a very slow process but please keep in mind that not everyone takes this long to heal. I hope you continue to do well.

    • Lindsay

      Just a little update, it’s 14 weeks now and I’ve lost the crutches, wahoo can’t believe it, the pain has eased (not gone) but I haven’t taken pain killers for over a week! The bone has started to join but still very much broken! But the crutches have gone yay an I’m just waiting to lose this limp now, then wear my heels again he he!! Xx

  • C Seager

    I broke my right tibula and fibula in March playing football. With an im nail and screws etc fitted. Although I now don’t have any issues with the leg. My ankle is constantly hurting. I have tried running but the pain is too much.

    Did anyone else experience ankle pain?

  • Daniel Bridgman

    Awesome information mate, nice a detailed with a personal touch. I broke my Tib and Fib on Dec 16 2012 playing football. Had an IM nail in the next day and my Fib left to heal on its own, was yours like this?. Its been 3 weeks now and I’m walking without crutches albeit with a limp. My doctor reckons 6 weeks for the bones, then another 6 for muscle regrowth. I play football at a reasonably high level so am rather lucky I have a team physio I see 3 times a week. Have you still got all the metal in your leg Eg screws and rod?

    • Mark Richings

      Hi Daneil,

      Had exactly the same as you bud.. Playing football and one unlucky tackle and snap!..3 Wks after was also walking no crutches and limp.. I’m 4 1/2 months since IM nail inserted.. You will only have to have all the metal work out if the rod is causing you pain.. Mine is just too long and pressing the back of my patella tendon when I fully bend knee or take weight through it so got to have it removed this year..that’s good to have a physio with you all the time.. Any questions feel free to ask.. Keep ur head up.


      Mark Richings.

      • Daniel Bridgman

        Hi Mark,

        How long did it take for you to regain basic fitness (eg walking normally, normal knee strength)? I have a Snowboarding holiday booked (Deposit Paid) exactly 15 weeks after my operation. As your situation is identical to mine your my best indicator.



      • Mark Richings

        Hi Dan,

        Well I’d say at about 4 months I cud do 30m jogs.. I can fully contract quads with no pain and got full leg movement.. 3 months i was walking properly.. But taking weight through my knee like a squat or getting up off a sofa causes pain in the knee because of the rod length.. That is my only pain though.. If uv got no pain from the rod then id say ur be ok snowboarding but I’ve never been and don’t know how physically demanding it is.. I’m on the cross trainer as much as possible to keep the quads, hammys and calfs working and building again.. Ur physio should get u goin on there or bike ASAP.. I ate healthy, took protein and amino acids, to help with tissue healing.. Calcium, vitamin D for the bones.. And just did what the physio said.. Ur naturally active and fit and healthy so healing should be faster with you..just set snowboarding as ur goal..i broke my tib&fib on aug 15th, got married on 15th september with no crutches used all day, then was walking with absolutley no pain around vegas for a week on november i just set vegas as my goal..hope this helps.. What team do you play for then?..


      • Daniel Bridgman

        Firstly congratulations on the marriage
        How old are you if you don’t mind me asking?
        I can bend my knee nearly all the way back with no pain so should be ok (Fingers Crossed) Will get a knee brace I think, as snowboarding puts a fair bit of vibration through them. My doctor said the bones should be fine its just the muscles supporting my knee and ankle. Im looking at getting swimming in the next week or so. Its unbelievable how much muscle you lose in such a short period of time. I play for Raunds Town in the UCL, got my first Physio session this evening

  • Daniel Bridgman


    Firstly congratulations on the marriage 🙂
    How old are you if you don’t mind me asking?
    I can bend my knee nearly all the way back with no pain so should be ok (Fingers Crossed) Will get a knee brace I think, as snowboarding puts a fair bit of vibration through them. My doctor said the bones should be fine its just the muscles supporting my knee and ankle. Im looking at getting swimming in the next week or so. Its unbelievable how much muscle you lose in such a short period of time. I play for Raunds Town in the UCL, got my first Physio session this evening 🙂



    • Mark Richings

      Hi mate,

      Cheers for the congrats bud..I’m 29 and healing pretty well.. Yeah swimming is great and yes I know wot you mean the muscle just disappears! It will come bk pretty quick though.. From what I’ve been told putting stress through the fracture actually promotes healing.. So walking a good distance each day without going too mad and walking correctly is good for you.. And then building muscles up in pool and on bike/ crosstrainer..then it’s just time and patience with it.. How old are you? I take it you want to get back playing?


      • Daniel Bridgman


        Im 22 and would consider myself highly active. I cant wait to get playing again. I don’t want to rush however may not play again till end of the year just as a precaution. Thanks for sharing your experience its pointed a few things out for me. Did you have a pain in the top of your foot for a while after the surgery by any chance?



      • Mark Richings

        Hi Dan..

        Yeah mate what ever you do don’t rush anything the main thing with all of this is time.. Before you know it it will be the end of this season and you can look forward to the following season.. I had slight pain around my ankle but that soon went.. Not really the top of my foot but I suppose everyone is different in some way.. Good luck with physio.. Let me know how you get on..


      • Daniel Bridgman

        So my first Physio session went well. Did a lot of stretching with bands followed by 10 mins on the cross trainer at low intensity. Felt good. Was recommended to swim, so am going tonight 🙂 I have 2 screws near my ankle and the lowest one hurts with even the slightest contact. Think that’s going to have to come out somewhere down the line.


  • shane o'neill

    i have a a tibia stress fracture that is not healing … going on two years now … my next option is an im nail … thoughts? my case is a little different b/c it seems as though everyone here had no choice b/c they had a “real” fracture. the stress fracture is from running and my main goal is to run again

  • Erin

    I’m about 14 months post op and 22 years old and I absolutely loved this blog because I followed it during my own injury. I’m completely healed and have been since about 6 months. The challenges that I am having now is pushing my leg to the ability it used to be able to accomplish. I broke my leg playing soccer and of course the challenge now is being able to sprint as quickly and be that soccer player I was prior to my injury. I’ve been playing since about 7 months after my injury, but I still have episodes of post traumatic stress it seems out on the field and I just don’t feel like the player I used to be before I snapped my leg in half and needed an IM rod inserted. Any suggestions of exercises to build my sprinting endurance up? I wanna give support to those going through this type of injury, it’s very frustrating at times and I remember feeling so helpless. But honestly, do your exercises and stay positive. There is nothing that this leg has limited me to doing today.. Soccer, snowboarding, running races, you name it… Don’t give up. Unfortunately the knee pain I can completely relate too. I can’t kneel at all or put direct pressure on my knee. MD told me that even with removing the rod, there is a chance that the knee pain is primarily traumatic scar tissue build up. Anywho, best wishes to you all!

  • Douglas

    My operation was one year ago today. I now can walk and do day to day activities just as before the operation. I cannot run without some pain/weakness and I do suffer some pains in my ankle where 2 of the screws are if I have been lying still for some time. My leg doesn’t feel quite as it did before and I think that there will be a dicernable weakness for sometime to come. My doctor says he is happy with the result of the operation and that as long as it is not significantly affecting my day to day life that I should be too. I just hope that one day it will get completely back to normal.

  • Bailey

    It’s been 19 months since I broke my tib/fib. Of all the information on the net I have found this to be the closest to my recovery, none of the others even come close.
    I didn’t really do much rehab so maybe that is the reason but I still am not fully recovered. My ankle flexibility is still not up to par with my “good” leg and kneeling is still an issue, I can kneel but in certain positions there is some discomfort. I have started doing lunges for exercises and it is difficult to to on the leg that I broke.

    Does anyone have any exercises that may help with my knee and ankle flexibility?

    • Gororocks

      Low impact exercise like swimming and cycling, I’m not a strong swimmer so I cycled a lot and if your keep the ball of your foot on the pedals it’s good for the calf muscle as well. I work as an electrician and the kneeling and crawling used to be a huge problem when I returned to work but I learned to overcome it to the point that it still hurts but I don’t notice it. Ankle can sometimes be sore after exercise but again you will eventually stop noticing it. It’s been 18 months since I got my im rod ( hit by a van as I was cycling ) and I have been told I can have pins removed to ease some of the pain if I want, and at 25 years old I’m gonna go for it so ill write an entry when I do get it done. Best of luck

  • Nardair

    Really interesting thnx. I’m 27 , had a car drive straight into me on my bike 2 wks ago. Had tibia nail inserted on Friday (3 days) so have a long road ahead. Howverer also have fractured and dislocated hip on other leg do that’s gonna keep me down longer cuz im on traction. But reading ur updated was nice. Take care

  • laura

    hi all fractured my leg on 1/11/13 tib and fib had nailing the next day. had my backslab removed last week 7weeks post op. could weight bare straight away 2 days after could shuffle no crutches then 4 days later could slowly walk no crutches but with a limp. What are my issuses? well starting my pt in the new year so hoping that will give me the proper movement in my ankle than walking so flat footed. But my concern is my knee pain even the surgeon said i could suffer with it for life! which is not good as i do alot of kneeling at work. Alot of people have mention knee pain due to the top screws from the nailing but mine seems to be from the scar down my knee and underneath my knee not so much the screw area. Has anyone else had pain there? do u think it could be scar tissuse thats not someone who likes to take pain killers unless totally needed so must prob feeling it more than i should. All these posts have been good as most have said the same it just takes time so thanks x

    • Gororocks

      I worked as an electrician straight after my accident and the kneeling was a nightmare, same as what your describing. It’s from the dislocation of the knee when they are putting the main rod in. It does ease after about a year and you get used to the stiffness that’s left. Unfortunately knee pads or that didn’t really help me but maybe try out the gel ones as a guy I worked with swears by them after his surgery.

      • laura

        i was thinking of going back to work next wk but as im on full sick pay im going to have more time off. sitting at home has not been as bad as i thought for 8 wks but it will drive me mad going back to work and be restricted and have to take it easy. oh well instead on kneeling i will have to just sit on the floor on my butt for awhile as it has got extra padding onit now through putting on abit of weight lol

    • Mark Richings

      Hi Laura,

      I get knee pain quite slot when squatting at the gym in the same area as you’ve said.. From my X-rays the consultant said it’s from the nail rubbing the back of the I’d imagine that’s what’s causing your discomfort.. You can have the nail removed after about a year of having it inserted but I have been told it may not cure the pain altogether.. Hope this helps..


      Mark Richings

      Tib/fib fracture August 15th 2012.

      • laura

        how long after was you able to walk properly? did you have to have much physio? i shall see in 10 months how im getting on to see if i want the rod out. if only i hadn’t of gone roller skating that night lol trying to relive my youth.

      • Mark Richings


        Yeah we all have those thoughts of I wish I didn’t do this and that.. But you got to think this is an accident and I will get through this and get better.. I’d say it was about 4-5 months until I was pain free when walking.. The fibula was last to stop hurting as it had no help.. I.e plates, screws ect.. Physio wise I saw my physio more or less straight away just to get me walking correctly and using my muscles again.. Once I had gone a few times and was walking correctly I stopped as all I could do was give it time to heal.. How long has it been since you broke it?.. Any other questions just ask..

        Mark Richings

      • laura

        did it on 1st nov went to physio earlier she rubbed around my knee and said it felt very tight and around my ankle. felt abit better after that so can only get better going again on fri. forgot to ask her but do you think doing anything like swimming would help it or make it worse. i want to get back driving asap but need to loosen ankle up more

      • Mark Richings


        Happy new year!!.. Yeah well gone are the days of resting 24/7, I believe an active recovery is the way forward now.. If your able to get in the pool then I’d say do it.. you want to get those muscles working again.. Swimming and doing exercises in the pool would be great as there is no weight bearing.. Keep up the ankle exercises and stretches as this will get easier in time.. Regarding driving you may want to speak to your insurance company.. As they may not see u as fit to drive..and won’t cover you.. I think basically they want to know if you can carry out an emergency stop safely.. Hope this info helps.. And hope recovery is going I said before and questions just ask..


        Mark Richings

  • Crista Arnes

    Thanks for sharing your stories, my IM Rod and Nails on my Right Tibia has been 9 months. Your sharing helped me over the months. My bones has been growing slower, Delayed Union Case but I am getting better.

  • David Johnson

    Hi Crista, Mark and Laura. Sorry to hear about your non-union Crista.
    This is a good blog though gone off the boil the last year or so.

    I broke my tibia and fibula 11 weeks ago (Jan 11th) skiing off piste in Austria. Nice dramatic rescue dangling on a wire under a helicopter. Nailed starting 10.30 PM that evening since they had such a back-log of ski accident operations to do.

    I have 2 screws at the top and three at the ankle. Almost no knee pain (except if I try to kneel) but some problem with the ankle screws. I now walk without a crutch (though if I have to walk more than a few hundred yards I take one when I go out). I do physio at the local Hospital Gym twice per week and aqua-therapy every week or so, all of which helps. The ankle strength is slower returning than the knee-bend strength. Going up on my toes is OK but I can’t do it on one leg, except in the pool. Some pains in the leg though not that bad and swelling if I exercise a lot. I can’t quite imagine jumping off things again, though presumably it will come eventually. Not sure how long till I can run. Due to see the surgeon in a week and have it re-xrayed.

    I ski at an expert recreational level and had felt the day it happened I was skiing as well as I ever have. However I am 65 and worried I may never ski as well again. However I am already planning next year for our group and just hired a guide for the start of February. I hope I’ll be up to it!
    From what I have read on a ski website from 2 nailed skiers, there can be big problems wearing a ski boot with the ankle screws. Given that the ankle screws are my main problem now, I think I will consider having those out in about 6 months. I need to get a private consultation from a sports surgeon about all this – the NHS one really only prepared to talk about normal life.

    PS I am an artist so my website is my art one.

    • laura

      wow 65 and still skiing im now 7 months since my injury and its my top screws that cause me a lot of pain keep saying im going to go to docs about having just the screws out. ive only recently been able to stand up on my toes and think now I could manage to wear my high heels. taken a lot longer than I thought! if the nail is ok where it is and you can just have the screws out I would. as I cant see my pain getting any less its just a constant niggle.And there not needed.

      • Mark Richings

        Hey Laura,

        You need to make sure that it is the screw that is definitely causing you the pain, I had the same but when examined it was found to be the top of the rod pressing the back of my patella tendon that was causing the pain.. It’s been nearly 2years now for me and I’ve learned to manage the pain by building up muscles around the knee and trying not to do things that aggravate it. My consultant told me that it’s only 50% of people who have rod and screws removed that have full recovery with no pain, so I’ve opted to have it all left in as I don’t want to go through surgery again!!!!!.. Keep us updated with what you do!..


      • laura

        when I had my 6 month xray the doc said the rod and screws where all sitting in the right place and not rubbing up against anything! I think its def the top screw as where I have such skinny legs you can see it sticking out abit and is still very tender around it. And as a woman trying to shave over it its like a electric shock lol I keep leaving it and leaving it but I think I will end up going back yes will keep you up to date

  • David Johnson

    Hi Laura,

    Yup, still intend to do steep off piste skiing next season – I already booked the guides so it will be a bit awkward if I cannot (old ski photos here: )
    5 1/3 months since the accident. I am doing 1 hour sessions at the hospital gym twice a week, plus cycling. I can now go up on my toes standing on one leg and do most of a squat on one leg (to just shy of the leg making a right-angle.) I did a 5 mile walk recently – no problem. I don’t limp at all now. I just tried putting on ski boots and walking around, getting into ski positions etc. OKish – just slightly sore at the callus at the break point after a while (which is just where the top of the boot presses) and a tiny bit on the side ankle screws when I angulate strongly. Might be OK in another 6 months but I intend to go to the Hemel Hempstead real snow indoor ski slope in a month and a half and try some gentle skiing for a half day. If I need to have the ankle screws taken out it would probably be October (ie 9 months from accident) which is the earliest they like to do it and just about gives it time to heal and then me to get fit again after to ski at the end of January. Well that’s the plan anyway.

  • Ben

    I enjoyed reading your blog as I had a nearly identical break to my left leg on July 12, 2014. My surgery was identical and so far so good. I am mid 30’s, very active, hockey player and coach. I know that 6 month timeline is accurate due to prior major joint surgeries, and I agree with the small goal setting. Again, thank you for the reading.

    • fabrice

      Hi Ben, my son broke his femur on Valentine’s day and has now a rod.he is recovering well and walking without crutches after 2 months. We wonder if he will be able to play hockey again with this still in, or if he will have to remove it before. obviously hockey is passion, and he is quite good at it, and he will be devastated if he can play for a while. he is 17. your feedback would be very helpfull to us.

  • lette1m

    Met with stupid taxi driver on sat nav 12th Sept, I was getting something out of my boot and he crushed me at 30?mph….

    Thought I was going to lose both legs. 8hr operation for internal fixation. IM nails in both legs, 5 screws in one 3 in the other. Comminuted open fracture right leg, skin graft 4.5hr operation in hospital 5 days later. Discharged after 15 days. Moved out of my bungalow and in with partner now carer. fwb left leg since day 3. Nwb right leg. I have numbness on inside of right leg and constant swelling in ankle. Hopping with walker and using wheelchair. Told 3 months left leg recovery and 6 months right. Doesn’t feel like I’ll ever walk again. Skinny legs to start with and now walking/hopping on left leg when twisting /turning gives pain like rod is rubbing/catching /the only thing in my leg. I am in week 5 and fed up. I am non independent normally, now dependent on everyone, no sign of going back to work and have months of uncertainty ahead.

  • Cathy Martens

    Hi Jake, just wanted to thank you so much for this blog. I broke my leg in June, only had the op in July. I had to go to a South African Government hospital which had it’s hairy moments, but I do think the surgical care was excellent. My main problem was lack of information, so this blog was priceless. I’m doing fine now, hardly any pain or limp, but it seemed to take forever, I would have been worried if it hadn’t been for this blog!
    Many thanks

  • Bunti

    Hi Jake and others, Thank you for the blog and experiences. I fractured my tibia and fibula while descend walking on jet bridge. I also got IM nailing surgery. They left Fibula untouched. It is five week as of today. My 1st visit it scheduled tomorrow. Your blog gave me lot of information and hope. I have very particular questions.

    How did Fibula heel without any fix?
    Did your ankle swell if you keep foot down for long?
    Did you face problem in bending you knee?
    When did you start PT?
    Was you knee stiff for long?
    When did you start walking without crutches?
    Do you feel weight in your recovered leg ?
    After how many weeks you were able to drive using your recovered leg?

    Thanks so much


    • Mark Richings

      Hi Bunti,

      I’ll do my best to answer your questions but remember everyone is different. I broke my leg in August 2012 playing football, 1 month before my wedding so I feel I had a mental goal to achieve to walk down the aisle which I think helped. Your body is a machine so just treat it like one, fuel yourself with good foods, healthy living is key. High protein diet to help repair damaged tissues ect. Anyway your questions:

    • Mark Richings

      Hi Bunti,

      I’ll do my best to answer your questions but remember everyone is different. I broke my leg in August 2012 playing football, 1 month before my wedding so I feel I had a mental goal to achieve to walk down the aisle which I think helped. Your body is a machine so just treat it like one, fuel yourself with good foods, healthy living is key. High protein diet to help repair damaged tissues ect. Anyway your questions:
      1, your fibula is a supporting bone, not weight bearing, so unless it’s badly broken your surgeon will prefer to leave it to heal by itself, that’s what happened with mine, it feels sore but believe me it does heal, the body is a amazing thing.
      2, yes your ankle will swell, there’s a lot of healing going on in your lower leg and a lot of ‘bad blood’ that pools at the lowest point, simply keep it elevated and iced whenever your resting, it will get better. You probably get the rush of pain when you first stand up, that’s normal to and will go in time.
      3, your knee will feel sore as your Im nail was inserted through the patella tendon, this should get better, I still get pain now as the tip of the nail presses the back of my tendon, you just get used to it, however some people have no pain.
      4, I started pt straight away, my physio got me walking correctly, yeah it’s painful but you have a Im nail in to encourage a active recovery, don’t just lie there as ur muscle will just waste away, I was on a stationary bike after 2 weeks and had no crutches on my wedding day 1 month later. Stress going through the break actually helps recovery, so see your pt as soon as you can.
      5, my knee was stiff for a few months but you got to keep stretching it once your pt gives you permission, like I said you need a active recovery so don’t just lie there and let it heal it need to heal to the standard you want it to.
      6, I started without crutches around 2 weeks for short distances, then progressed each day, set yourself goals to meet and that will help, remember it will be painful but stress through the break is good for repair.
      7, don’t really understand this question but if you mean losing muscle in your leg,that will happen, but your body will sort that out as you recover and more weight goes through the leg, eventually a exercise program will help the muscles grow again.
      8, basically if you can’t do a emergency stop they don’t drive, you won’t be covered by insurance, you may need a doctors note to confirm you are ok to drive, I was driving after about a month but only short distances.
      Hope this is helpful and good luck, fuel your body with the correct fuel and you will recover quicker, set goals and keep mentally strong.

      • Steve

        How or why were you able to bear weight so soon? I assume that doing the bike puts weight on the bone. I am at 6 weeks and still not allowed anything but toe touch.

      • Kate Wooten

        Steve, is it an age thing? I’m 3 months in and have not been sent to PT, am supposed to be on 2 crutches, and am not allowed more than 50% weight bearing. I’m nearly 50, and a lot of the other stories are from people in their 20s, so I’m trying not to give myself a hard time about it.

  • Jolene

    Hi Jake (and everyone else who’s commented!)
    Thank you so much for writing this blog, it really gives me hope. 5 weeks ago I was hopping off a horse and got a compound fracture (broken in about 5 different places!). I had an external fixation put on at first then the IM nail 2 days later. I’ve been walking around the house with one crutch, so I can carry stuff, and recently started walking around the house without crutches. The physio today got me to stand on tippy toes, but it was a little too hard, so we are doing other balancing exercises first. My knee and my ankle/foot still get quite swollen when I’m sitting or standing for long periods, but I’m up to about 6 hours now until the pain becomes too much.
    The whole process has felt extremely slow, and I do have my down days. I thought I’d be back at work full time by now, but everyone is telling me to take it slow, and I’m going back to a 1/2 day tomorrow. I have to say I’ve never been so excited to work in my whole life!
    Thank you again for sharing, it makes me so much happier knowing I’m not alone and it does get better (even if it takes a while!)

  • travelerforever

    Well I’ writing this to everyone who’s going through the same and thinking it won’t be the same again.
    Yes, in one year, it won’t be exactly the same. But you know what, after I had my accident in a motorcycle accident, I had a nail inserted with 5 screws in October 2014.

    I sarted running with a limp in February. In april, I was really pushing it. In may I was able to run T kms nonstop. Little bit limp after 2,3 kms but still was managing.
    In June, one day I pushed it to 10 kms walking and 9 kms non stop run in one stretch. I was really proud then.

    In July I went in Himalayas in high altitudes, did a trek called “Kashmir Great Lakes” which takes you upto 14000 ft in the end of the July. I spent my august in Leh, Ladakh and summited a mountain called “Stok Kangri” which is 20182 feet high without any help, I did it solo. That was just 10 months after my surgery.

    In september I went through Advaned Mountaineering Course where I had to climb rocks and run daily with a backpack. At the end of the course, I climbed another mountain which was technical and above 19000 ft. I was leading most of the time.

    This was all even before a year ended after surgery. Most of the time I did it to prove everyone, to set an example for everyone. People who are going through the similiar like this know this that the life is not over… Not yet.

    Anyone who needs any opinion or advice can contact me on my Email, mention the subject IMNail.

  • Zaránd

    Brilliant, the best thing I have found. Last Tuesday Jan 12, the day of the junior doctors’ strike, I had a displaced fracture of my right fibula and tibia (or is it fibia and tibula, I can never remember) caused by 25 sheets of MDF toppling onto. With hindsight I’m lucky to have gotten away with just a broken leg. I was operated on on the Wednesday and discharged that Friday, it’s now the following Saturday night so eight days since discharge. I’m 43, married with two kids and my wife is pregnant with the third. I am feeling okay, swelling is reducing but I obviously have to use the crutches. Sleeping on the sofa and the kids have gone to my mother’s as my wife is gigging regularly and going on tour. She’s not finding it easy at all. Infact when I present my case to the solicitor as it was a workplace accident, I shall have to mention marital strife as she’s finding it so hard now that I can do nothing around the house. Your blog gives me hope, I can show this to her perhaps so she can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I am pretty confident of a good recovery, the physios were amazed at how good I was on the crutches on the Thursday when I went up and down the stairs. I was very very lucky to get my own room in the trauma ward. So thanks for this, hope you’re doing well now.

  • David Young

    Brilliant article and great comments. Thanks to all who have contributed. Broke tib and fib on 17 Feb this year so only 3 weeks into recovery after nail op. It seems from what I’ve read here that the recovery times vary drastically person by person. So far I dont get much pain, more a dull ache and am finding that by the end of the day my bad leg has swollen quite a lot but that the swelling goes down overnight. Had an infection in one of the wounds which seems to have healed ok. Next hosp appt in 3 weeks. Can partially.load bear but use crutches / wheelchair when iut anf about. Incredibly lucky to have a partner who is a nurse and can keep an eye on my wounds, range of movement etc. I have gained a lot of movement back in my foot but it is far from mormal – was warned of possible nerve damage. I’m hoping for a quick recovery as I have a booked and paid for trip to the US in early June (and no travel insutance if I have to cancel…). Again, thanks for the blog and to everyone who has shared your story.

    David (Perth, Australia)

  • HadenC

    Thank you for sharing your experience! Reading it was really reassuring to me. I fractured my right tibia and fibula 20 Days ago while skiing and my knee and ankle are still quite stiff so I’m entirely reliant on crutches to move around. I’m curious as to how you’re feeling nowadays after several years! As you know, this is a daily struggle and reading your story lifted my spirits. So thanks again and I’d like to hear how you’re doing. Cheers!

  • clide joseph

    thanks. mr. i have this nail 5months now. and i didnt try to run..

    haha i read it again tommorow.. its. already 3am now..

    btw.. thanks again sir for sharing your story..

  • Lance

    Thank you so much for putting this out on the web. I had my IM put in Jan 25 and find your website to be a wealth of information. From the day I found this website you have given me a great resource for what to expect. The doctors are great with the technical stuff, but it’s important to hear about the struggles you have to face when you get home, both mental and physical. Thanks so much for that!

  • Steve

    Well, I’ve officially joined the IM club on 9/25/16. I am about 6 weeks post op. Right now I am still on crutches “toe touch” until my next check up next week (Nov 2016). I suspect that I’ll move to 50% weight bearing but judging from what I read, it could be longer. Seems like 6 months is more the norm, we’ll see. the area of the injury/break for me was down above ankle region. That specific area feel fine right now. Its more the knee that bothers me a bit. I start formal physio-therapy (PT) Friday, although I had some follow up PT right after the surgery in my home. They gave me exercises to do. I’ll report back. Thanks.

  • Mark Richings

    Hi Steve,

    Hope this response gets to you!?!.. I’m not sure why exactly I was told to weight bare straight away?.. maybe the way the break was.. the consultant said to me ‘ if I was to break my leg, I would like to break it like you!’ It was a clean break, straight across,no breaking the skin, no splinters etc.. my physio told me to get on the exercise bike on no resistance as that will only engage the muscles and no weight will go through the bone.. it’s a slow process but you will be surprised how quick you will recover. What sort of break did you have? Hope this helps.
    Mark Richings

    • Steve

      I had a closed fibia fracture around the ankle that extend up the shaft slightly. I am now at week 8 and been told I am officially weight bearing. I started PT two weeks ago. I am basically hobbling around with a lot pain in the ankle. How long did your ankle pain last? Thanks for your response.

      • Mark Richings


        I didn’t really get much ankle pain from the break, just a bit of pain from the screws from the IM nail. I take it you havnt done your tibia as well then? The fibula was the last place to stop hurting, probably around month 4/5 I think?! I asked my consultant why that was and he said basically the fibula had no support and that it will just heal by itself. It’s just a waiting game I’m afraid.. hope this helps. Mark

      • Steve

        I’m sorry I misspoke. I broke both but the IM nail was used in the tibia. I was off the leg and on crutches for 8 weeks and 5 days ago I was cleared to walk as tolerated. My ankle hurts when I try to walk. How do I know if it’s the screws or the joint?

      • Mark Richings

        Hi Steve, you should be able to see where the screws are so if the pain is located right on them then I’d imagine it’s from the screws. My pain was my fibula healing, like we said it’s got no support so gets strained all the time and just ached as I walked. It will settle down though.

        I’m just over 4 years post break now. I broke it playing football on 15th August 2012 and my first game back playing was 14th August 2013. Saying that I then got a stress fracture in my fibula as I went back to early. But since that healed I’ve been fine. I can squat in the gym fine and go out for runs. My only niggle I have now is occasionally kneeling in the wrong place and hurting my knee. I know it’s not much help to everyone but time really is the best healer.

  • Jenny

    day 2 of my IM nail.. struggling…then read this and felt so much better. its just how it is.. dont feel so lonely now. thank you xx

    • Steve

      I don’t remember day 2 because I was on so much pain medication at that time and I had tons of worry about my future. I am at week 8 now and the leg has improved. My advice is to take pain meds as needed only after the first week or so. It will still be painful but if you are able limit ypur use. Keep the leg elevated as much as possible but also get out of bed and sit too (elevate there too). If you have the extra $$ get some whey protein powder. I feel that my bone recovered very quickly due to proper nutrition (fruits and vegetables). Also I drank more than 1 liter a day. You have to wait for the bone to heal but figure around week 7 or 8 as a milestone because your doc will probably say you can bear some weight. It goes by quickly if you keep occupied. I also bought rubber bands for strength training for my upper body to maintain fitness. You’ll need your strength of you get on crutches for any length of time like going to the mail or walking to mailbox etc…I just started walking 4 days ago and my ankle is very sore, I am basically limping heavily right…so it frustrating. You can always communicate with me if you have any questions, I’ll try to monitor this blog

      • Jolene

        I had a compound fracture 16/8/15, and had an IM nail inserted. My surgeon told me I was allowed to full weight bear straight away (pain dependent of course!) it took me sometime to trust it fully. My ankle hurt a lot from the screws, and also my knee, I couldn’t (and still can’t!) kneel. I had surgery to remove all the metal 4 weeks ago. That was meant to fix the pain in my ankle from the screws and also my knee!!!! My ankle and knee are still swelling and sore, although a lot better than it was a week ago!!! I’m hoping that eventually the ankle pain will disappear… but ankle pain, especially at your stage, is perfectly normal and expected!

  • Scott

    Excellent updates, Jake. I was hit by a car last week and had the same operation as you last Wednesday (23 Nov). Got home yesterday, and as you can imagine was keen to hear about the recovery process. I have been given physio already (started the day after the op), so it will be interesting to see what, if any, difference that makes to the process.

  • Lee

    Hi, reading this is like a breath of fresh air. Bike accident July ’16th left me with Rob and fun broke, had a nail inserted 2 days later. It’s now Dec, I’ve been told the incorrect mail has been inserted and I still have an unstable break as there’s no union or healing! 6 months on and I’m really struggling as I’m trying to get rid of the crutches as I’ve had enough of them, the knee pain is excruciating while and after walking. I’ve got to go back in 3 months for a CT scan and a consultation, I’m told if there’s no improvement they’ll change the rod ream the bones and possible remove the unstable piece of bone. 6 months in and somedays struggle to put my foot to the ground, hopefully when I get to 1 yr I’ll be where you were. Cheers Lee.

  • Tracy

    You seem to have had much better luck than me. I had 10 fractures of tibia and fibula after being hit by a car June 2012. My leg was half torn off. I had an IM nail inserted and plastic surgery. August 2012 a bone graft which didn’t work. July 2014 biggest fracture hadn’t healed so rebroke fibula and put new IM nail in. This one seemed to feel crooked and my foot started rolling in, causing me to need orthotics. 5 months after first op I could wear heels again and walk my dog but always limped and had constant knee pain from screw. Lot of nerve damage in foot and knee. Could never bend properly or kneel. Finally July 2016 they said bone strong enough to remove the rod to allow final plastic surgery. By this stage I had just been able to jog a tiny bit after 4 years!! Said 2 weeks recovery. 14 weeks on I still could not put full weight on leg or walk unaided, although my knee finally felt great. On check ups after 2 weeks and 6 weeks was told getting better but at 14 weeks was told had Te fractured. I had to have another IM rod inserted November 3rd and was told would walk out with no crutches. 8 weeks on my leg is the worst it has ever been. My knee is killing me and my foot has rolled even more that every step feels like all the bones in my foot are breaking. My leg looks very crooked and struggle to do the simplest things. I have now been on crutches for 5 months and not been able to walk my dog, wear normal shoes, nothing!! The surgeons keep fobbing me off and just say come back in 5 weeks. Has anyone else out there had this sort of problem, I’m at breaking point and just want my life back.

    • Mark Richings

      Totally gutted for you..

      If I was in your situation I would research into the best private hospitals for this sort of injury and get a loan to cover costs..

      So sorry to hear your story.

      Good luck in whatever path you take.

    • Kamran

      Sorry to hear about this, best wishes, get well soon dear

  • Kate Wooten

    Thank you so much for writing this. I got spun off a pony in Jan 2017, in Tennessee, US. 3 months in, and I’m not even allowed to start PT yet – I think probably my recovery time has been scaled back because I’m much older than you. So…. maybe I’ve been slightly ignoring the surgeon just a tiny bit and have started walking and riding again 😀 I want to beat all the deadlines too. My job involves lots of lifting and carrying and moving about so getting back to work has involved a lot of creative thought, but I can do it, with one crutch taking a lot of the weight. Anyway, just wanted to thank you, let you know that your blog is still being incredibly useful 3 years on and 3,000 miles away, and hope you’re fully fit again 🙂

  • Kamran

    Very usefull, i also had the same surgery as my left leg tibia and fibula broken in a road accident, my tibia broke from the same point as yours, today one month gone, the first two weeks were painful, now little bit pain in my knee and ankle with little swallow

  • Matty Dredge

    I just wanted to say thanks for the info. I fractured my tibia 3 weeks ago today and am currently trying to avoid a nail. My fracture is unstable and they have had to try and manipulate things back into position (gas and air was not enough!) but fingers crossed it will stay straight enough to heal it’s self. Looks like I have a longer recovery ahead of me than I’d hoped but I’ve recovered from a fractured fibula on the other side previously and although my foot isn’t on straight anymore I can still run just fine.

    • Tam

      On May 8 th, 2017, I fractured my right tibia when my horse and I ran into an aroyo. I was trying the conservative route with casting and wedging. Three casts and two and one half months later, I am now fourth day post op from an IM rod placement. Unfortunately, because my fibula didn’t break it tethered my tibia in an angled position. Therefore, I had a nonunion tibial fracture that would always cause problems with my knee and other complications. I’m home, lots of swelling in the knee and ankle but my leg is wierd purple red color. Right now the pain is not too bad and I hope to start PT this week. I am non weight bearing for two weeks right now. Good luck to ya!

  • Don McClellan

    Your story has helped me since day one. Your words have kept me sane in the beginning and a healthy perspective throughout. Thanks so much for everything. I’m 6 months out from surgery and feel I’m exactly where you were at this point. Cheers to you Jake! Thanks a million

  • Paul

    Thanks so much for your info and sharing your story-I am a week in and it has helped me get a handle on what is going on.?

  • Georgina

    Well thank god I came across this blog. I sustained a closed tib and fib fracture to my right leg 3 weeks ago, and had surgery 2 weeks ago. Hands down it has been the hardest and most debilitating experience of my life. I’m an independent person, and felt like this has been stripped from me. I’ve been having selfish and depressive thoughts which have preoccupied my days, until I read this post and feel so much more reassured.

    Unfortunately I had to return to hospital due to an infection, which needed treatment of IV antibiotics and 2 night admission to the trauma ward. Whilst I was there I felt it was the right opportunity to ask questions in regards to recovery etc. But doctors just don’t have the time or patience to explain in simple terminology what to expect and when. So thank you for breaking this down, and giving updates of the recovery period. I did laugh at the description of other patients on your ward, as I’m only 27 and all other patients were 60 years my senior! Hopefully now instead of having tearful nights and looking too far into the future, I can make short simplistic targets, and take each day as it comes.

    Thank You

  • Garry

    Hi, thanks for the blog! As you pointed out before there’s not a lot of info out there and even thought it’s 7 years on I have still struggled to find something like this.
    I broke my tib and fib 11 months ago playing football in a cup final, 11 months on and our team is in the same cup final again next month so I will be returning to the same place 1 year on which makes me a bit nervous lol.
    I have been getting a bit pain from my screw below the knee and felt like i had hit a brick wall in terms of my recovery but the past few weeks have went really well and theres times where there’s no pain or niggles at all and I forget it happened completely so hopefully that continues.
    I am not sure if you will see this but just wanted to thank you taking the time to do a blog, it really does help people like myself get through recovery.

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