by Jake McMillan
Three years ago I broke my tibia (see X-ray above) and fibula and the brand new term IM Nail (Intramedullary Nail or Rod) was introduced into my life … and my leg. Three years on I can still remember the pain, thankfully I don’t have that any more. Since the accident I’ve been blogging about my recovery as there was so little information about it on the internet.
Unfortunately, three years later, there still seems to be very little information out there. However! One positive has been all the people who have taken the time to get in touch with me and comment on this blog to share their experiences of going through the recovery as well. A massive thank you to all who have commented and especially those who have said kind things as I really did not expect anyone to read my long posts about limping and pictures of scars and hairy legs.
For those who are not aware or have not yet filled it in, I have put together a short survey and will produce and share the findings with everyone. I’m just waiting until there are a 100 responses, with 80 people having filled it in so far (at the time of writing).
Scars and bruising
Over the three years the scars and bruising have gone down, but have not completely disappeared. Being a hairy-legged man helps cover them up.
So, three years post operation how is my leg doing generally?
It’s very similar to being a normal leg, it just has niggles. For example, if I leave it in one position it feels stiff/sore and kneeling on it is not comfortable (but is a bit better compared to a year ago I feel). There are some days it feels better than others, but generally speaking I can walk about, run and dance as badly as I ever did.
I am still cautious when it is raining and slippery, as if I expect my leg to cause a problem and always feel relieved when it is perfectly fine. I was in Singapore in March last year and I was wandering around, exploring after it had been raining and on a slippery stone I managed to fall straight down to the ground on my bad leg. It was just a case of poor grip, but I was so happy that I hadn’t hurt my leg or broken or bent my IM Nail I actually forgot the embarrassment of falling over in front of lots of people.
I haven’t done a lot of sports or exercise this last year but that has nothing to do with my IM Nail, it is been more me not making the time and effort to do it. I fully aim to do much more this year (we all say that don’t we?).
Last Sunday, I went to Richmond to meet some friends and I did so with some trepidation as it was a repeat of the exact same activities I did three years ago that ended up with me breaking my leg on my way home at Clapham Junction Station. I’ve been to the station and walked through the underpass (where I actually fell over and broke my leg) many times before so it should not really have been a big deal.
However, a friend made a joke over Facebook that they would break my other leg. They did not mean or intend any malice by this, just making a joke, but I did not take it in my normal good humour and realised that breaking my leg, the operation and its recovery was still a big deal. Apart from the pain and discomfort of the main recovery period, I was self-employed and it meant I couldn’t fulfil a contract that January or go for one the following month. I almost went bankrupt and barely managed to get by. My attitude remained positive, but it was a really tough time that I would not want to go through again.
As I walked through the underpass at Clapham Junction station last weekend I remembered the time laying on the ground 3 years ago whilst my friends decided that I actually did need medical attention (I had told them to leave me and I would hobble home to bed). I hoped I would not have a similar fate that evening. I am pleased to report that on my journey home I had completely and utterly forgotten about the accident and that it completely escaped my mind. Although, to give full disclosure, I had realised I was totally desperate for the loo and that was utmost on my mind. Nevertheless, although it’s something I still think about, the whole incident is very much in the past and the ongoing niggles of my leg don’t affect my life or bother me that much.
Will I have the IM Nail removed?
I have given this some thought and have still not yet arranged an appointment with a consultant to discuss this. I will do this as would like to know more information and will, of course, share it here. I would like to remove the IM Nail as would prefer it not to be in my leg, I think most people feel this way, but the question is whether it is worth the risk of further complications and pain. It does worry me what happens if I have another accident, how the metal might cause more damage, but then I cannot predict how bad that accident would be anyway? Some have had very successful removals and I know others where it has not given the desired result and caused further pain and problems. As I don’t get much discomfort and it doesn’t really prevent me from doing anything I think a consultant would say there is not enough justification to do it.
Sharing Your Experiences
Please keep doing this, I will continue to keep updating this blog and it really does help others to hear about as well as give support to others going through the same or very similar experience.
Thank you again to everyone who has contributed to the blog and wishing you all the very best with your recovery!