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Broken Tibia, recovery time?

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  • Broken Tibia, recovery time?

    About five weeks ago I was getting off my horse in a hurry (because the farrier had just pulled in) and when I landed I felt an instant pain shoot up my left leg. I thought for sure that I had torn my ACL because I heard a pop. In the ER I was told that I had a tibial plateau fracture on the medial side of my left leg. My doctor chose to not do surgery as the break was "the perfect break to have in that spot". I was originally told 12 weeks non-weight bearing with 4 additional weeks of partial weight bearing. But at my two week appointment I was told that my xray looked better than expected and it would probably only be 8 weeks non-weight bearing.

    I have been in a hinged (locked) brace from my hip to ankle for about five weeks now, completely non-weight bearing. I started physical therapy two weeks post injury and am already at 85 degrees range of motion. My physical therapist seems to think there is a good chance that the doctor will tell me at my six week appointment I can start partial weight bearing but I am wondering what experience other riders have had with this type of break. What did you do for exercise to stay in shape while you were unable to ride? And most importantly at what point were you cleared to ride?
    ~Three phases, Two hearts, One Passion~

  • #2
    Swimming is a great way to rehab breaks. Lets you build muscle without weight bearing. I'd start with that and gradually switch to weight bearing exercise.

    No other advice, sorry. Hope you're soon feeling better.
    Horse Show Names Free name website with over 6200 names. Want to add? PM me!


    • #3
      My doctor told me I could possibly be weight bearing at 8 or 9 weeks, but pushed the time out as it went. I was 12 weeks nwb, 4 weeks partial weight bearing. I did pilates tapes to keep in shape and work on my balance. I felt it really helped. In reading on
      That type of fracture, I saw recommendations to get the range of motion back as soon as possible. I was 100% fairly early in the recovery process.
      Good luck!


      • #4
        my tibia break was a little different - as a galloping hoof landed in the middle of my calf snapping the tibia in half - I had a rod inserted so no cast and could partial weight bear right from day one - I was back in the saddle 8 weeks to the day but not until the doc said I could - hubby was so surprised I was back that quickly and the physio was really great in getting everything back.

        6 months before I jumped again. I waited until there was absolutely no pain.


        • #5
          If you're non-weight bearing, no riding. Partial weight bearing...still, no riding. I always think "what if I had to emergency dismount?" If you land on that leg again, too soon, you risk further or worse damage. You will probably not ride for 3 months. Do PT, eat right, do as much exercise as possible without your leg and heal.

          I've had multiple injuries over the last 20 years (no, not all HR!!), and when a doctor says, "no riding for X number of weeks" it is usually the case. Sorry to be a downer, but that's been my experience. I'm at month 9 of no riding....
          Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!


          • #6
            I broke my tibia in a very similar way as yours...although mine was an unexpected dismount but landing on my feet! I broke mine on Feb 19 and started riding again the first week in June sooo about 13-14 weeks off.


            • #7
              Just Jingles ~

              Jingles for you to heal quicker than predicted ~ Jingle Jingle Jingle & AO ~ Always Optimistic ~
              Zu Zu Bailey " IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE ! "


              • #8
                I had a tibial plateau break as well, I actually broke my tibia head within my knee clean off, fractured the fibula as well. I had to have surgery as my tibia head displaced. At first I was told it wasn't broken (stupid tiny town ER) and to go ahead and weight bare as the fibula was a non-weight bearing bone so it was ok to walk on it. 2 days later the radiologist calls and says he thinks he see's something else and that I should consult an ortho surgeon. I broke my leg on Saturday and had surgery to put it all back together on Friday (was July 2, my poor moms birthday. Happy birthday mom have fun hanging in the hospital with me!). I had a plate, screws, and bone graft. I was supposed to be non-weight bearing for 8-12 weeks, that lasted roughly 3. I was full weight bearing by end of August, and ran a prelim horse trials first weekend in October. I didn't fully follow Dr's orders, but everytime I went in it looked amazing. 11 years later it still does fine, some random swelling from time to time, and I creak and crack but that is partially due to needing the hardware out. I don't have full range of motion, but I was told that wouldn't happen anyway because of having to graft bone into a joint. Don't you just love that knee brace? Not!


                • #9
                  I broke my ankle/leg (end of the tibia and fibula) on August 28th and I just got out of my cast yesterday. 11 weeks non weight bearing! I am now in a removable air cast and can start putting weight on the leg in increments -- 33% this week, 50% next week, etc -- so in theory I will be fully weight bearing in a month. I had some significant ligament damage as well so that is definately a contirbuting factor here. I haven't even asked the doctor about riding yet. I figure when I am fully weight bearing then I can start thinking about it again but I don't want to start back too soon -- it wouldn't be worth it to me if the ligament damage was unable to fully heal and I had to go through this again! I figure I will start back easy at the end of December and will be back to normal riding at by the end of January. Good luck in your recovery!