Shattered tibial plateu experience

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9/18/2018 3:36 PM

Saturday i shattered my tibial plateu and broke my collarbone. The collarbone im not really worried about. Wondering if anyone else has had this injury and what the recovery is like? Im having surgery tomorrow. None of the orthos ive seen were able to say anything positive about the injury(like “it could be worse”) other than it can be fixed - its that bad.

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9/18/2018 3:50 PM

Sorry to hear about your situation. I had a shattered tibial plateau 38 years ago at age 19,three major knee operations over the years and then 3 years ago a total knee replacement.The good news for you is the technology in orthopedic medicine is leaps and bounds better than it was 38 years ago.I wish you the best and listen to the Dr about rehab.

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9/18/2018 4:51 PM

January 4th 2014 I shattered mine. The swelling was so bad, they put an external fixator in for the time being. A week later, after getting a referral from the doctor who did my ACL work, had the ex fix removed, and two plates and 8 screws removed.
A year later, had a scope done to repair the meniscus, remove bone fragments and scar tissue.
I’ve shattered my femur, ACL, collarbone, and this is by far the worst injury. Unfortunately... wish I could tell you other news and hope you don’t have the same problems. I can only straighten my leg so much, along with Day in and out knee pain. But still grateful to have two legs beneath me.

About two months ago, it Photorandomly swelled up and popped constantly. Had the fluid drained, and about a week later it was back to “normal.”

Hope everything goes well for you though an speedy recovery.
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9/18/2018 4:52 PM

First off I wish you a successful recovery. This isn't going to be a speedy recovery but you should recover fully. I crushed/shattered mine seven years ago at the age of 46. I was non weight bearing for three months. Another eight or nine months for therapy and continued bone healing. The post surgical pain was severe for a few weeks. Initially, the physical therapy was very painful. It got better with each visit. It is very important to do exactly what the doctor and the therapists tell you to do. Do too little and you won't recover fully. Do too much and you could cause more damage. After about a year I was back on the bike. I still ride and race to this day. I can't touch my heel to my butt when I squat down to check tire pressure like I used to but that isn't to much of a problem. It gets sore from time to time. I can run, jog, jump out of the bed of my truck, mountain bike, go on hikes, climb and descend stairs, pretty much everything I could do before the injury. I lost a little flexibility but that is to be expected. They had to remove one side at the top of my tibia, push up the pieces and bond them with some sort of super duper bone cement. Then they used a plate and four screws to button it up. All in all it really doesn't cause me any trouble.

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Bret Bonham

9/18/2018 5:07 PM

i destroyed mine about 5 years ago. It sucked bad and got a pretty gnarly infection that slowed the process down. i was non weight bearing for 4 months and recovery sucked but im very hard headed and sometimes not very smart and i was back riding at the 6 month mark (tho i was supposed too wait at least a few more months) it actually helped free the leg up a bit and helped the therapy process. what i noticed after 5 years the more active i am the better my leg feels. I was told i would never run or really be able to be "normal" but every so often itll give me issues and some swelling but i never let it hold me back. Photo

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9/18/2018 5:39 PM

Im only 24 so hopefully that helps. The surgeon so far feels confident that i can return to normal activities. Hopefully thats the case. And yea this does really suck.

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9/18/2018 5:45 PM

kb228 wrote:

Im only 24 so hopefully that helps. The surgeon so far feels confident that i can return to normal activities. Hopefully thats the case. And yea this does really suck.

Hope it all goes well, gnarly shit. Best wishes

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9/18/2018 5:52 PM

I did mine when I was 15 or 16...so 15 or 16 years ago. I got a few pins and only a single surgery. The worst part was sitting in a full leg cast for 14 weeks in the middle of summer. I also had a spiral fracture of my femur. But, the good news is my knees feels great to this day.

Hope you feel better man.

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Tomac and/or Anderson for 2020.....

9/18/2018 5:58 PM
Edited Date/Time: 9/18/2018 6:06 PM

There is a really good thread in here from about 2 yrs ago with a lot of stories. Do a search on "tibial plateau" and it will come up. Im not very tech savvy so couldnt figure out how to link it.

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9/18/2018 6:05 PM
Edited Date/Time: 9/18/2018 6:38 PM

Mine was May 1 2005 at 29 yrs old. 3 days in the hospital to let the swelling subside, then 3.5 months non weight bearing after surgery. Bavk on the bike a little that fall and full on it by the following spring.

Not without pain now, but still ride a lot and regularly run 5k's. Still have the plate and 8 screws in my knee.

While you are laid up get the book "Born to Run" and learn about the physiology of our bodies. It was a life saver for me after 5 yrs of pain post surgery. I have not had any further procedures done, just learned how to run properly to not do further damage to the joint.

I dont mean to minimize the rehab and effort to get it right as it was 6-8 months of hard work and pain to get back to being semi functional.

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9/18/2018 6:34 PM
Edited Date/Time: 9/18/2018 6:36 PM

I shattered mine 12 years ago at age 46, l already had half (outer half) artificial knee joints, l also broke my fibula & tibia, major problem first up was a piece of the fibula went through the nerve that goes to my big toe, causing drop-foot (meaning l could not rotate my ankle upwards).

The surgeon told me that l will be able to lift my foot in 3 months, almost to the day l got 1mm of movement. l made up a heal-toe gearlever so l could change up on the bike.

I ended up putting pressure on my knee too soon, my artificial knee joint sank into the plateu, l had to have a full knee replacement and my shin bones are now 15mm shorter, when l buy new jeans l have to get one leg taken-up :-)

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Melbourne, Australia. Current rides: '11 RMZ450, '84 CR500, '06 DRZ400, '79 KX250 with 400 engine, '06 GSXR1000 full Yosh racebike.

9/18/2018 6:44 PM

it's like jumping from the house roof and landing with your leg locked. same tibial plateau injury in 2004. wishing you the best for a speedy recovery.

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9/18/2018 6:56 PM

jonesaustin wrote:

it's like jumping from the house roof and landing with your leg locked. same tibial plateau injury in 2004. wishing you the best for a speedy recovery.

Yep thats basically what happened. Came up short on a table on my 450. Grabbed a handful on the landing and basically launched off the top of the table onto flat ground

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9/18/2018 7:32 PM

Busted mine in 2010. Take the recovery very seriously, especially the non-weightbearing time.

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9/18/2018 7:49 PM

I did mine 15 or 16-ish years ago. Plate and six screws for the fix, and three months of non-weight-bearing tine on crutches. The doctor wouldn’t even let me drive a manual transmission (clutch side).

Get in as much PT as you can. That helped me a lot, but even walking was a struggle in the beginning. Cycling was probably the biggest help in my recovery, and I wish I’d started on it a lot sooner than I did.

It’s mostly pretty good these days, though I can’t quite lock it out straight. My knee didn’t suffer major damage, but it’s what I’d call a little on the sloppy side. It’ll take off sideways if I’m not paying attention.

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9/18/2018 9:11 PM
Edited Date/Time: 9/18/2018 9:14 PM

I broke mine in 2001. Thanks to breaking the navicular in the other foot I was in a chair for 4 months. 26 screws and 3 plates. The tibia also sit vertically. I was originally told it would most likely be an amputation.

A REALLY good orthopedic surgeon and a shit load of busting my ass in physical therapy I have 98% range of motion and my “good knee” hurts more daily than the one I wrecked. You can beat this for sure. Stay positive, and work to keep your range of motion in PT as much as you can.

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9/18/2018 9:12 PM

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9/18/2018 9:43 PM

GuyB wrote:

I did mine 15 or 16-ish years ago. Plate and six screws for the fix, and three months of non-weight-bearing tine on crutches. The doctor wouldn’t even let me drive a manual transmission (clutch side).

Get in as much PT as you can. That helped me a lot, but even walking was a struggle in the beginning. Cycling was probably the biggest help in my recovery, and I wish I’d started on it a lot sooner than I did.

It’s mostly pretty good these days, though I can’t quite lock it out straight. My knee didn’t suffer major damage, but it’s what I’d call a little on the sloppy side. It’ll take off sideways if I’m not paying attention.

This sounds just like my experience except I was 26 (23 years ago). Be a good patient, follow dr and PT orders. lots of cycling. Have a long term plan and goals. Dont try to be a hero and come back too soon.

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9/18/2018 9:53 PM

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9/18/2018 9:55 PM

Shattered mine in ‘09. Has not and never will be the same. It’s swollen and painful everyday. In fact, just got an injection yesterday. I’ve had 5 surgeries in total on it with more to come. The initial, had hardware removed, and 3 cleanup surgeries removing large floating pieces of bone that have calcified and grew over 7-8 years. i really wish you the best and hope your experience is nothing like mine. Many of days I wish I could just cut my leg off above the knee. Sorry to be be debbie downer, just my experience. Tib plateaus suck.... Photo
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9/18/2018 9:59 PM
Edited Date/Time: 9/18/2018 10:07 PM

Wow, I guess I got lucky. I was 52 when I broke my tibial plateau along with a fracture in the tib at mid shaft and a shattered heal, and that was just the right leg. Left leg I broke the ball off the femur, broke the femur mid shaft, and fractured the fib.

I got the same plate and screws on the tib plateau that you see in the above xrays but no fixators and no huge scar, just two small incisions. Was in chair for three months and then crutches for another two months but it's all good now. That was seven years ago. I still ride, I can jog (slowly), I don't limp, and I don't hurt. All the plates are still there, the rod is still there and no pain.

Never went to a physical therapist, just did my own thing to recover; stationary bike, mountain bike, rowing machine, etc.

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9/18/2018 10:00 PM
Edited Date/Time: 9/18/2018 10:07 PM

January 2016. 5 1/2 hour surgery, 3 months on lots of painkillers(since this is a big topic here at the moment) and non weightbearing, 6 months post surgery back on bike against doctors orders. Weak as hell but took it slow. Lost 20° movement and it still hurts/locks up sometimes and cant run anymore (like Forrest Gump..)silly

I recommend lots and lots of physical therapy. I also mountainbike 20-50km/week..

Had no bigger issues on the bike after the injury.
It's worse on the roadracingbike tough, I can't use my rear brake or move my foot easy, also need to release and stretch leg mid-corner sometimes to relieve some pain and get blood thru the vessels..

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9/18/2018 10:52 PM

Did mine 8 years ago, including spiral fractures of the tib-fib, my plate goes all the way to my ankle and 13 screws. I found a stationary bike worked really well to get improvements in my range of motion. My goal was to lower the seat one position every day to get more movement out of my knee. Some days I could, some days I couldn’t. Another issue that I still face is muscle atrophy. You will loose a lot of strength very quickly with no weight bearing. I think nerve damage from the injury and surgery contributes to my on going muscle weakness but cycling helps a lot. I can’t really run anymore and sometimes suffer from nerve pain in the leg. This might sound crazy but my Wife spent a lot of time rubbing my foot, this relieved a lot of the pain and I think it helped stimulate the blood flow. Even today it helps but I try not to play that card too much she’s a pretty busy Mom and doesn’t need extra things to do.

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9/19/2018 3:21 AM

Did mine when I was 21, about 15 years ago now. Same deal as most others are posting, plates, screws etc. Internal only for me. Had it all removed at 18 months, and I'd say my knee is about 70% of what it used to be. I didn't ride again until I had all the metal out, but by then I'd lost a lot of the drive I had when I was a kid, and now had a full time job etc.

Recovery is tough, too little work and the joint will freeze up. Too much and it blows up and swells. I have almost full extension but can only bend a bit beyond 90 degrees. I'd like to have it looked at and see how the joint is, and whether further surgery of cleaning up the articular surface would give me more movement...but it really isn't stopping me from doing anything so I haven't gone down that path.

Hang in there man. We feel your pain.

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9/19/2018 8:07 AM

I did mine in 2009 at 29 years old. At the same time also broke my tib/fib and had some nerve damage. As others have said it was 3 months non weight bearing and several months of rehab to get back to work. It was a long and painful injury and the leg has never been the same.

Hang in there.

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9/19/2018 8:28 AM

I send a few a day to the OR. These come in 6 types and the complications thereof depend on the grade. We close most of these on day 1 instead of using an ex fix.

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9/19/2018 9:38 AM
Edited Date/Time: 9/19/2018 11:06 AM

Shattered in 1986, 2 weeks in hospital, 2 surgeries, 11 months therapy - dark days of therapy. Full recovery. Took a few years off (7 actually), then moved from motocross to offroad. 20 years after I broke mine I won a state title in offroad in the VCHSS. A little stiff now and then but...finally getting serious about a knee replacement but I don't blame the tibeau as much as the two ortho operations...good luck.

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My bikes: '73 Honda SL70, '74 Suzuki TM75, '75 Honda CR125, '76 Honda CR125, '76 Suzuki RM100, '76 Honda XR75, '77 Suzuki RM125, '79 Maico Magnum 250, '80 Maico MC 250, '79 Maico Magnum 400, '85 Kawasaki KX250, '93 Honda XR250R, '94 Honda CR250, '01 KTM 300EXC, '04 KTM 300 EXC, '05 KTM 300 EXC, '06 KTM 300 XCW, '08 KTM 300 XCW

9/19/2018 10:21 AM
Edited Date/Time: 9/19/2018 10:29 AM

No personal experience...but my little brother did his in a hare and hound in March (he's 31 years old). Plus completely tore the meniscus completely in half.

No weight on the leg for 3 months...walking in a brace for two months...then he has been doing whatever doesn't hurt.

Got back on the bike about a month ago. Not 100% yet...still walks with a bit of a limp. But is improving. Hardware is still in his leg. He's an underground coal miner, so he's on his feet all day at work...some days it doesn't bug him, some days it swells up and hurts.

He said not to cut corners on the physical therapy...in fact as soon as he could bend the knee enough he was taking casual slow bicycle rides every evening, gradually building up distance, in addition to the PT a few times a week. His surgeon said that certainly helped his recovery.

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9/19/2018 10:30 AM

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This is us on the start line of that race...about 12 miles later he was hurting.
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9/19/2018 11:09 AM

kb228 wrote:

Im only 24 so hopefully that helps. The surgeon so far feels confident that i can return to normal activities. Hopefully thats the case. And yea this does really suck.

The advice of do what you doc and PT says is spot on. Check your moto-brain at the door. You don't want setbacks or to do something that you will pay for in the future. Try to find a therapist that is into sports rehab. They have a different approach than a PT that is trying to help a little old lady get on and off the pot twice a day.

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The older I get, the faster I was.