Shinbone > Treatments
Reduction and Casting
If your fractured shinbone is set without surgery and
requires a cast, here is what you can expect and how
you can cope with a cast immobilizing your leg:
first concern is to monitor swelling for the first 48
hours while wearing your cast. If your swelling decreases
dramatically, the cast may become too loose. If swelling
increases, circulation can be dangerously cut off. In
both cases, you should usually see your physician for
a new cast.
your plaster cast dry. Wrap it in a plastic shower bag
whenever you may come in contact with water. As with
most knee injuries, treat with R.I.C.E. (Rest, Ice,
Compression, Elevation). You may or may not be able
to put some weight on your leg, depending on your physician's
recommendation. Wrap ice into a well-sealed plastic
bag and drape around the cast at knee level for 20 to
30 minutes, two or three times a day.
the injured leg above heart level to help blood drain
towards your body. It often helps to sleep with pillows
under your ankles.
mild pain for about 10 days. Take pain medication as
prescribed by your physician.
your toes as much as possible to help circulate blood.
you develop a rash or irritated skin around your cast,
call your physician.
you notice wear or discomfort, contact your physician
as early as possible. In general, do not try to "grin
and bear it" if discomfort does not go away within
a few days.
Straight leg raises, which exercise the thigh muscles
(quadriceps), usually are recommended after one or two
days. To avoid complications, only your doctor should
remove the cast with a special vibrating cast saw. In
most cases, the cast is removed after four to six weeks.
to call the doctor after surgery
After your cast has been removed,
your physician may recommend physical therapy to help
strengthen the muscles around your knee and to help
insure your knee's range of motion. Though everyone's
rehab program is slightly different, physical therapy
for a fractured kneecap follows a general pattern. Range
of motion exercises are extremely important. Movement
may be painful at first, but it is important to not
allow the knee to stiffen. Rehab progresses to resistive
exercises those involving weights to keep
the muscles around your knee strong. These will start
with minimal weights until about 12 weeks after surgery.
You should then be able to start bearing weight as tolerated.
You should eventually be able to resume functional activities
like stair climbing, single leg support, swimming, and
driving. You will be able to begin more vigorous activities
as your kneecap heals and your leg gets stronger.
strengthening exercises: Shinbone fracture
Once your fractured kneecap has healed,
building muscle strength around your knee can help you
avoid further injury. Contact sports and activities
increase your chances of re-injuring your knee. Many
of the exercises and activities that are popular for
fitness put stress on your knees. To prevent further
knee injuries it is important to learn knee-sparing
exercise techniques by dividing your activities into
Living The average person takes between 12,000
and 15,000 steps a day, exerting a force between two
and five times your body weight on your knees. After
a knee injury, take it easy on your knees during the
day whenever possible to save them for activities and
exercise. Avoid stairs when there is an elevator, take
the shortest path when walking, and consider wearing
athletic shoes designed to absorb shock.
Strengthening/Conditioning - Activities themselves are
not a substitute for conditioning. It is essential to
adhere to the muscle strengthening program you learned
in rehab throughout the remainder of your life. The
best strengthening programs are low-impact and non-weight-bearing,
like stationary bikes and certain weightlifting programs,
so that the knees do not have to absorb shock.
Your sport or activity of choice helps maintain
mental and physical well-being, but it is not a conditioning
program. Sports that require twisting and quick direction
changes put great strain on your knee.
A discussion with your physician or physical therapist
can help determine the appropriate exercise program
and activity level for you.
A small amount of pain is normal during
physical activity, but if you feel so much pain in your
knee to warrant taking a painkiller before an activity,
you should consider cutting back or stopping. Do not
play through the pain after a fractured shinbone
it may be a sign that your activity is putting too much
stress on your knee.