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Tibia Spiral Fracture

1534 Views 5 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Decked
Back in August 2021 I went for a rip while on holiday in Scotland. I was riding on my own, but my wife and kids were in the area if needed. The start of the ride went great, I’d managed a 3000ft climb on rough terrain and done 15+ miles of scooting about. The views at the top were amazing. Probably the only decent day in Scotland last year 😊.
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The ride had taken longer than expected, so I was really behind schedule. I was in a bit of a rush to get back down the wife had called saying she was waiting in the car park at the bottom (it was our anniversary after all).

Anyway, on the trail back down there were these large stone blocks every 20-50 meters that spread across the width of the trail and are either flush with the ground or raised a couple of steps to force rain water off the path to stop the path being washed away in the rain. Generally, these are quite small but every now and again you come across one that’s been washed away exposing up to 1 meter or so. On the way down I was riding reasonably fast but not flat out. I remember my hands were getting sore from being on the brakes so much, but as it started to level out, I eased off the brakes and let it rip. This was when I came across a big rock that ended up being at least a 1m drop and maybe slightly longer. I went to pop over it and noticed it was real deep, so tried to adjust my body but I was too late. My rear wheel hit another offset bolder that was pointing upwards and sent me catapulting into the air and off the trail.

I don’t remember exactly what happened while flying through the air, but once landed I remember opening my eyes and I was face down on a bolder just off the side of the mountain with blood dripping everywhere. I was a few meters down from the side of trail so I tried to get up and suddenly realised my leg was broken. I dragged myself up to the top of the trail and sat on the side waiting for either some walkers or a rider to help. While I sat there, I called mountain rescue who located me and started arranging my recovery. I also got the first aid kit out and started cleaning myself up. By now the pain had really started to kick in.

After what felt like 30-40 mins, a couple walking back down came across me…. Relief! Just in time too, as I could hear the helicopter coming in the distance. I’m not going to lie, they were a little shocked to see me in this state and even more shocked that I was only interested in my bike. They guided the chopper in and kindly agreed to walk my bike back down to my worried wife waiting in the car park.
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Long story short. Chopper picked me up and took me to the hospital. X-rays taken and I had a confirmed broken nose, a fractured rib and a spiral fracture of the tibia that went into the ankle. I wasn’t completely happy with their conclusion and proposed solution, so after 48 hours in the hospital and having a full leg cast put on, I decided to get myself back home and get a 2nd opinion.

I have private medical so kicked off the process in the car on the way home. The 10 hour journey home wasn't fun but at least I had an appointment booked for when I got home.
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The next day the consultant saw me and sent me in for additional scans that showed the break was worse than expected. I was taken in for an emergency operation. I was under for just under 5 hours. A few plates and screws later....
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I was out of hospital that day and I had 6 weeks of no weight bearing, which wasn’t fun. I've had physio twice a week since then. Now I’m load bearing and able to spread 50:50 weight bear across both legs in an air boot. I’m still not walking, but hoping to start on the 18th of Jan when I see my consultant again. I have a lot of daily pain that is slowly easing off as mobility comes back. The worst part is the nerve damage from the operation. They had to remove about 8 inches of nerve, that they put back in but was damaged as they chopped away smaller bits of nerve. It feels like someone is pouting boiling water on my skin. It’s not pleasant.

I’ve been able to ride a static bike on a reasonably light resistance setting for 3 weeks now just trying to build up the muscle again. It’s amazing how skinny my leg is now. While the other is massive as I hop most places as it’s the fastest way of getting about 😊

I’ll come back and update as I go through the rest of my recovery. Oh yeah, the worst part is that my GoPro wasn't recording at the time. It's old and the bettery sucks! Gutted.
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Speedy and steady recovery.

Interesting and nice view from the top but I'm saddened by the deforestation
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Did the bike make it back to the wife? How mad was she? Me and a buddy of mine was trail riding in Italy and he went down a covered trail and some vines caught his pedal which slung him to the right. He hit his knee on a sharp rock/boulder which messed his knee up. I asked him if he was ok and he said yes. I ran down to him and he asked "How's my bike"? I said fine. Long story, It happens. His wife wasn't happy though. Lol. But the bike was fine.
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I experienced a spiral tibia fracture while playing rugby. road home in my wife’s Miata from Houston to Austin with no pain killers.

couple of months in a full leg cast. thick leg shrank to a twig. Another month or so in a below knee cast.

the physical pain wasn’t as bad as the mental pain. Totally dependent upon my wife during this time.

Could not drive my manual transmission car. I’d buy a automatic transmission pickup truck with an open floor board if this ever happens again.

had a teammate snap both his tib and fib off near his ankle. I was shocked to see hIm walk into our club’s bar wearing a boot two weeks later after having surgery. I choose surgery if there is ever a choice with a quicker recovery time.
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Good luck with a speedy recovery. I've been there, back in my late twenties. Was in a full-length leg cast for less than a month, then lower leg fiberglass cast for another five months. I spiral-fractured both tibia and fibula, and was treated by closed reduction, which resulted in a shortening of my lower leg by a centimeter.
I'm 72 now and still huffing and puffing my way to the top and smiling the whole way.
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Update: At around 5 months I was given the OK to load the leg up with my full weight. I got rid of the boot and crutches almost immediately which has it's pros and cons. It's been incredibly tough going with 2 physio sessions a week. 80% of the time the ankle is painful and it's range of motion is poor. I can feel progress in most areas but the ankle dorsiflexion get to planter position and that's about it. Because the ankle is restricted I walk with a limp (to be expected I guess) that's causing pains in my knee and hip. Possibly due to all the muscles wastage. Going for another scan next week to see if there's something blocking it.

Did the bike make it back to the wife? How mad was she?
Yes, the bike made it back eventually. She's probably more mad now as she's done 99% of the all the chores & provided a taxi service for nearly 6 months. And she's going to go really mad when she finds out I have a new bike coming in a few weeks (it's been on order for over 12 months!)

Could not drive my manual transmission car. I’d buy a automatic transmission pickup truck with an open floor board if this ever happens again.
I've been told I can't drive until I can hop on my right leg. Thats a while off!
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