Q. I had a tib/fib fracture a year ago. It was fixed with an IM rod and screws. I completed physical therapy but my ankle is still stiff and has some pain. I manage with this and understand I may have some limitations. I was wondering if there are more treatment options?
A. It usually takes significant trauma to fracture the shin bone (tibia) and the small bone behind it (fibula). If the fracture is bad enough, it may require surgery to insert a large rod into the tibia to align the fracture. The procedure also calls for screws at either end to keep the bone from rotating or shortening. Many athletes such as Paul George can return to elite status after sustaining this injury with surgery, rehab and hard work. However, sometimes there can be remaining limitations such as pain and loss of motion.
It is possible there is some scar tissue remaining around the ankle or that an ankle injury may have occurred that was not evident with such a severe fracture. I recommend you return to your orthopedic surgeon to be re-examined. You may benefit from more physical therapy, neuromuscular therapy or even arthroscopic surgery to release scar or correct a residual injury.
Dr. Harlan Selesnick is team physician of the Miami Heat and director of Miami Sports Medicine Fellowship, Doctors Hospital. Send your questions to HarlanS@baptisthealth.net.