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Gap in tibia, had tibia fracture while playing soccer. What would be best for healing?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2008
Answered : 3385 Questions
Hi There, I had a bad tib/fib shaft fracture while playing Soccer on march 30th this year (approx 5 months ago). It was a really bad fracture and im walking now, but there is still a big gap in my tibia. There looks to be continous progress with the healing, but the doctor describes it as 'slow'. I am from New Zealand but play soccer here in the US at college on scholarship and am obviously desperate to get back. My orthopoedic said that if by 6 months we haven't seen significant improvement, we may try either dymanization or exchange nailing. Do you have any reccomendations as too what would be best for my healing and will these operations hinder my chances of playing soccer again? i am only 20 years old and a healthy male.Also it shows my fibula hasn't fully healed, but my doctor isnt worried about this and says that if my tibia fully heals and my fibula hasn't, he has no worries about me playing again...does this make sense? Thanks for your help, Adam
Posted Tue, 11 Sep 2012 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Raju A.T 18 minutes later

Thanks for your query.

It would be completely safe to play if both the bone are completely healed.This prevents chances of re-fractures.I am sorry to say you have to wait for few more months to have a risk free game again.

Yes, if the Xray you attached is a recent one, I see there is slow rate of healing.Need not worry these bones are known to heal slow in most.Since they are weight bearing and the thickest the healing is usually slow.

Yes, there would be need for re exploration if it does not show any good signs of healing by next month or two.I recommend the Dynamization procedures over exchanging the nail.Dynamization though appears complex its simple and does not involve disturbing the bone much.It does show good results in young people like you.

Hope I answered your query.

Wish you speedy recovery.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Gap in tibia, had tibia fracture while playing soccer. What would be best for healing? 19 minutes later
Thanks Dr, that makes me feel a little bit better and i appreciate your advice. One thing that does worry me is that my othopoedic keeps saying "if it heals". This scares me as what happens if it doesn't heal, i dont want to have a broken leg my whole life. Do you think this fracture will heal eventually? As you saw in those Xrays previous, the right Xray is from mid july and the one on the left is from mid august. Do you think i will heal up fully eventually?
Answered by Dr. Raju A.T 15 minutes later

Thanks for writing back.

Considering your age and the type of fracture, I can assure you that though slow the fracture will surely heal and allow you to play the game again.

Need not worry, maintain good nutrition and do not bear weight on the healing bones and proceed for Dynamization if there is no considerable chance in another month or two.

Hope I cleared your doubts.

Wish you good health.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Gap in tibia, had tibia fracture while playing soccer. What would be best for healing? 24 hours later
Thanks, that makes me feel alot better knowing it will eventually heal. I know you said don't weight bear but i have been instructed to not use crutches at all now so i should probably keep doing that? Also, is there anyway you could give me an approximate time frame from how far away i am untill fully healed?
Answered by Dr. Raju A.T 32 hours later
It would be difficult to nail down a time frame to full recovery. Usually, such fractures take about 6 months ( +/- 1-2 months) to heal. Since the progression is slow here, it becomes difficult to tell you how it would work out. Meanwhile, a high protein diet and plenty of calcium would be required. This would definitely help with the healing.
Take care
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