I fractured my fibula in Winter 07, during a skiing accident. A cast was put on, and it appeared that my fracture had healed by three months post-accident. However, it continued to cause a lot of pain and swelling, but the Orthopaedic Specialist just figuratively patted me on the head and said these things will hurt for quite a while. So I made myself use it, despite the pain, refusing to let myself even limp. Going to a sport's physiotherapist three times a week, exercising and trying to strengthen the leg did not help. Nor did massage nor ultrasound. Finally I was able to get an appointment with the Orthopaedic Specialist two weeks ago. The fracture is completely separated, and they cannot explain how that happened. I am most interested in what my options are now. The fracture clinic technician was talking about a magnetizing treatment as a possibility. Anyone know what this is , and how successful it may be? The doctor said she might have to operate to put in a 'plate', but I do not know if this will be her final recommendation or not. She wants a tomogram first, to see better what is actually going on, which sounds like a good idea to me, but is not scheduled as of yet. To make matters worse, I have re-injured the leg....tearing the ligament in the ankle, and doing something to the area of the fracture. The pain is very bad, and getting worse by the day, however, I will not see the Doctor for several more days (not for lack of trying on my part, but she is away). What ideas are out there about various options for treating a non-union 16 month old fibula fracture, especially since it is newly re-injured? Linda
The treatment of nonunion is to reverse the conditions which may predispose; freshen up the area to allow a new blood supply to grow in, immobilise the fracture, and use bone graft to give the process of ossification a good start. Most often this means surgery with bone grafting and exchange of hardware.You should consult your orthopedic physician regarding this option.
The Orthopaedic Specialist said that my fibula is definitely fully separated and misaligned. She will operate and place a 'plate' and bone graft as soon as possible. She has also prescribed a special device known as a that ebone re-growth, as she said she wants to maximize the probability of this fracture healing this time. I know
that this surgery has to be done, but this is soooo frustrating. This fracture has been a major issue for 16 months! I can't help but think that the surgery probably should have been done when the fracture first occurred. At least then I would be much further ahead than I am right now. Anyway......surgery happening soon. Hope it goes really well, and no complications. Linda_Rose
Sorry...Left out the name of device. It is called a Pulsed Electromagentic Field Bone Growth Stimulator (PEMF) and apparently works on a principle of magnetic pulses stimulating bone re-growth. The device I am supposed to get is made by Orthofix. Anyone ever used this before? What are your thoughts? Linda_Rose
I used this devise before and after a fibula and tibia brake. The Dr. or I saw no results. I has a accident in Oct. 2005, started using the stimulator after 2nd surgery 11/05, had a bone graph in 5/06, continued using for a additional 6 months, as of may 2008 there is still some non-union in tibia. The most frustrating about this was my insurance did not cover this stimulator it cost me 2500.00 and there was no results. I trully feel your pain with the non union thing, hope this information helps. Wishing you the best with your surgery, I would suggest that even if you like the new Dr. get another opinion (couldn't hurt, but might if you don't). Sabrina7777
An update and a question! I have been dealing with this non-union broken fibula for 18 months. I broke it during a ski accident in Feb 07, and it was still unhealed this spring, lots of discomfort, etc. I re-injured it June 1 because the ankle was so unstable, tearing the ligaments in the ankle, and misaligning the broken fibula. MUCH pain by this point! The orthopaedic surgeon decided to operate, and I had the surgery June 17th, She took bone from my hip for a bone graft, and placed a metal plate and screws as well. The surgery went fine, but I developed an infection in the hip incision, and was sent back to hospital for a week on IV antibiotics. Nevertheless, all has gone fairly well since then. I was prescribed a bone growth stimulator, which I have been very consistant in using (3 hrs/day). I have also followed the doctor's directives re: amount of time for no weight bearing, use of cast/splints,crutches, etc. At this point, I am able to be out of the cast (removable air cast) when I am at home, inside, but wear it outside and when using stairs, etc. Still using the bone stimulator. Most recent x-rays showed healing beginning, but I am nervous that this non-union business may re-occur. I go back to the orthopaedic specialist Sept 24, and hope I will be out of the cast from that point on, but will have to wait and see what the x-rays show as far as the amount of healing that is underway at this point. My leg (where the break is/was) doesn't hurt to walk on, either in or out of the cast, but the ankle hurts quite a bit. I am hoping this will improve once I am fully out of the cast and using the leg/foot regularly. Of more concern is the area around the incision. There is significant sensation loss around the incision and all the way down my leg and into the foot. However, I have sensation deep in the leg, and it remains very sensitive to any touch/pressure, even though the surface skin still cannot feel the contact. Any ideas?
I also have a non union fibula. The injury happend in June of 08. I also was lucky enoughy to get a MRSA infection on the tibula hardware. It healed up ok, but the hardware had to be removed in august. I was on antibiotics for four months. Some of the screws on my fibula hardware broke, and had to be replaced in January. I used a bone stimulator also with no effect. I went months in extreme pain, and my orthopedic surgeon kept telling me it would hurt and it was normal to live with it. I seeked a second opinion and was told it was a non union. I have had a bone graft done in May of 09 and new hardware put on the bone. I have been using the bone stimulator and doing what the doctor tells me hoping it heals good this time. I go get an x-ray on the 22nd of July. I am hoping that others do not have the problems I have had. Not sure if the bone stimulators help or not. Will post when I get some new info.
I have a non-union distal fibula (fractured in April 2009). Been using a Physio-Stim for a week. Now have pain in calf and in the fracture area that is worse. How can that be? Is increased pain part of the healing process when using bone growth stimulators? I'm a non-smoker age 54 w/ osteoporosis. Thanks.
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