Child Orthopedics


Frequently Asked Questions

I'm 14-years old and I just got home from having surgery for a broken leg. My tibia was fractured in three places. They put a titanium rod down through the shaft to hold it all together. Now I'm in a leg splint. What happens from here?

Each surgeon prescribes for his or her patients a course of post-operative care. You should have been given instructions before leaving the hospital or clinic about what you can and can't do.

For example, some surgeons use a short leg splint for two or three weeks. The patient is given crutches and shown how to use them safely by a physical therapist. Most often, if the fracture is considered unstable, the patient isn't allowed to put any weight on that foot.

Weight-bearing can begin with a toe touch to the floor when the surgeon approves it. This may be two to six weeks after surgery. The goal is to maintain a stable environment for the fracture to heal.

Any disruption before the bone is ready could cause further problems. Avoiding displacement of the rod and/or shortening of the fracture site are two important goals in remaining non weight-bearing.

Follow your doctor's instructions carefully. Ask if you have any questions. At some point, the nail may be removed. At the right time in the healing process, you will be allowed to resume most of your activities. This is done as tolerated, meaning you go at your own pace based on how you feel. As you regain motion and strength, your confidence will increase.

J. Eric Gordon, M.D., et al. Complications After Titanium Elastic Nailing of Pediatric Tibial Fractures. In Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics. June 2007. Vol. 27. No. 4. Pp. 442-446.

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