sharing with you guys knowledge about topics I'm experienced in.
My Not So Sexy Half Leg Full Leg Cast!
How Do You Know Your Knee Is Fractured?
I went running down a mountain and on the way down I took a fall. Gravity got the better of me and despite me wishing to have been superwoman, I quickly realized that I wasn't. Upon falling, the next thing I tried to do was get back up again. This time it was not like all the other times I'd fallen during a workout. Believe me you, I have taken my fair share of falls over the years.
Pain When Bearing Weight
I felt like I was not able to bear any weight on my leg. It was super hard to stand up and to bend my knee was not possible. It was not a good sight at all. At the time, I was extremely lucky as my daughter was with me. All be it smaller, she is wise and was able to have patience and help me to move to the side of the walking path. I thought perhaps by taking some time out to rest that by some form of miracle my knee would regain its movement.
Burning Sensation In Your Knee
This was way too optimistic , and it did not happen at all. I knew at that point that my knee was not just sprained or bruised and that it was something much more serious. One of the main factors that helped me to understand that I perhaps had obtained a knee fracture is the lack of mobility that could be reached by using my leg. I recall being in excruciating pain and feeling like my knee was literally on fire. I also did not call an ambulance at the time of my injury so as not to disturb my daughter. Together we made it back to the car and I drove to the emergency room.
My None Weight Bearing Full Leg Cast For A Fractured Knee
A Visit To The Dr and An X-Ray
So, next up after my knee injury I was not so wise in-fact guys you should not drive or bear any weight on your knee unless it is absolutely necessary. I struggled with great difficulty to be able to get back down the mountain to my car. My fall occurred at about the 500 meter mark. Because there was not any one around to help me down. We were also very far away, I had to be very stubborn and put the pain to the back of my mind to allow me to get back down and drive to the doctors.
Make Sure To Tell The Doctor All About Your Pain And Injury
Once I arrived at the emergency room I was unable to walk any more from my car to the hospital. I just remember being so relieved that I had managed to drive there. I literally beeped the horn of the car and signaled for help. There was a porter outside and luckily he had common sense to bring me a wheelchair and take me into the hospital.
The Dr Will Examine You
Be sure to notify the doctor of the pain that you are in. Also, if you are injured anywhere else. At the time of my injury I had also hurt my elbows and my legs were very bruised. The focus of my pain was the knee as it was literally burning at this point. The doctor asked me how I had injured myself. My shoes and socks were removed. I was wearing leggings and they were very tight fitting. At the time the doctor decided not to cut them off but to send me for an x-ray first.
An Xray Will Be Taken It Will Be The First Of Many More
I was wheeled in a wheelchair to the x-ray room. I recall thinking to myself how it would be fantastic if I was able to just turn back the clock prior to my injury occurring. Chance would be a fine thing. I was now faced with the harsh reality of what exercise can do when you have the misfortune of taking a fall. The radiographer competed the x-ray, a disc was then given to me. The doctor on duty then checked the x-ray and advised me that needed to come back the next day to see the bone specialist. Until then keep my knee strapped in a brace.
Leg Brace- Pain And Swelling Meds
I was lucky to be able to have been sent home and removed the leggings myself. Also to have had a hot warm shower and washed off the remnants of the mountain dust that were left on me. The hot water from the shower was so good, and I was no able to bear any weight on my leg to get there. Once in the shower I was lucky as we have a little shelf like feature in our bathroom. I was able to perch myself on to avoid adding any pressure to my already injured leg.
Anti Swelling Medication And Panadol
The medication that was prescribed to me was quite basic. Anti swelling medicine to be able to take the swelling down, and Panadol to be able to help with the level of pain that I was having. The pain was bearable but it was very awkward. My knee still felt like it was on fire.
Expect Your Knee To Look Shapeless
I spent the rest of the day looking at my knee and feeling sorry for myself. I recall thinking just how fat it was. The knee was looking like a big mound of flab and I agree my knees were not so flattering before. Now, I was repulsed by their appearance.
The X-Ray Machine At The Hospital
You Will Lie On Your Back A Lot Also Raised Leg Will Become The Norm
So, once I was at home waiting for the appointment with the bone specialist the next day, I quickly learned that I was going to be bored off my face. I was only able to lie on my back which is so annoying. I also had to keep my leg elevated with a cushion as advised to me by the doctor. This apparently helps you with leg swelling and also to ensure that fluid does not accumulate on the knee.
Full Leg Cast
I was so not prepared for a leg cast. However, looking back I should have expected one. After all, a leg brace is removable. Bearing weight on a leg when the knee is fractured is not ideal. The doctor the next day explained to me whilst looking at the x-ray that the fracture I had suffered was pretty large, yet it was in a good place. It had cracked in a straight line and had not displaced itself. He also explained to me that the leg cast I would be putting on needed to be a full leg one and I was not by any means allowed to bear any weight on my leg.
3 Week Waiting Period
The bone specialist explained to me that I was very lucky to have sustained a fractured knee that was in fact in a straight line. He told me quite literally that I was only able to go from the bed to the bathroom and not move at all. This was so worrying for me as I am an athlete with undiagnosed ADHD as it is!
I was actually in the middle of my fitness journey when the whole fall down incident happened. It was so disheartening. I was told that if the fracture should move or displace any more then I would be looking at not just a leg cast, but a pin would be required, and that operation would have set me back months. Luckily I listened to the advice dished out and it did pay off.
One Week In A Half Full Leg Cast
I was given a half full leg cast and advised to come back after a week for review. The full half leg cast is to be able to ensure that the fracture does not move and also to protect you from any more swelling should the knee decide to react to being bound. By half full leg cast I mean that fiber glass was made to go all the way up the back of my leg, to the top of the thigh. The front part of the cast was wrapped and bound on with bandages. This is for safety as you will swell and likely your leg will get bigger, before it resides and the swelling shrinks. The cast was not too annoying but it was very frustrating to have a shower in. I recall getting it wet and having to replace it before the end of the week was up.
Next A Full Leg Cast - Fully Fiber Glass
My full leg cast was made out of fiber glass and was left on for a total of 4 weeks. During those 4 weeks I was so frustrated it was unreal. I had to crutch around, rely on a wheelchair and double it up to be a walking frame on wheels. I also had to get used to not being able to shower properly. It was annoying to say the least.
How Does A Full Leg Cast Feel?
Despite everyone online saying that fiber glass casts are lightweight and easy to tolerate. It sadly was not my experience. I am not a girly girl that isn't used to carrying weight. I'm 75 kg, hit the gym and lift weights. Prior to my injury I was at a very good fitness level. The leg cast was so heavy that it put a lot of tension onto my back and I remember my hip on the right side feeling like it was gong to crack. I was very worried.
Elevate Your Fractured Knee
Also, I was asked to put my leg up and elevate it all the time. Sleeping was so annoying it was near on impossible to get a good nights rest in a full leg cast. I had to keep carrying my leg cast with my arms to lift it up and to be able to move.
My Half Leg Cast
Peeing Is Like A Comedy Show
Going to the toilet was certainly comical to say the least. Peeing with a full leg cast is very difficult. I developed a technique that saw me also putting a bin bag around my leg cast in order to ensure that it did not get wet, or worse- collect any germs on whilst navigating to and from the bathroom. After all, it is not like you can just wash it off. Showering was a whole other thing. Actually at the time of me fracturing my knee corona was in full blast and delivered were very slow.
Even if I had ordered a cast cover or a cast shoe, they would not have arrived in time. I highly recommend that you do treat yourself to these luxurious items in order to make life a lot easier for you in a leg cast. It's not comfy when you have accidently wet your leg cast, and find yourself having to blow dry your cast back to its pre-shower state. Also, the concept of walking on a cast sock or no sock is pretty disgusting minus a shoe. Prevent yourself the cringe and yes I hear you! You cannot technically walk I know, but still your foot touches the floor.
Does A Full Leg Cast Itch?
Many horror stories I read online told me how I could expect to be itching and how my leg would be so unbearable. Articles told me I would have nothing but itching and scratching fits. I was so lucky however, that nothing happened like that. I consider myself one of the lucky ones. If I did feel itchy I managed to divert my brain from thinking about it.
What To Expect When Removing A Full Leg Cast
I actually removed my full leg cast 2 times, once at my 2 week check up, and once at my other appointment. The reason why the leg cast was replaced the first time half way though the treatment is because sadly, despite my best efforts to keep it dry when showering and walking around the house. I did manage to get water inside and the plastic bin bag that I was using failed.
First of all the staff at the hospital will use a saw like circulating machine to remove it. Don't worry though this is why you have a professional to remove your leg cast. Mine was sliced on the right hand side and then the left hand side. A tool to ply open the cast was then used.
Prepare For A Terrible Stench
I need to prepare you for the next part as your fractured knee will literally stink like high heaven. In fact, it will be like matured cheddar cheese. For me, I was very lucky that it was in the midst of covid 19 when I fractured my leg. So you can get a good idea about the stench that you can expect when removing a full leg cast. A mask for smell resistance does definitely not suffice! I felt so bad for the nurses that were removing the cast. It was so disgusting and the stench was like a dead torso had just reared its head.
Hairy Legs Muscle Atrophy- Dead Skin And Bruises
Underneath your leg cast you will have, particularly if you are a female reading this article developed hairs. In-fact, enough to protect you from the coldest weather spell! It's disgusting and those that have been so used to shave legs, will also notice how the hairs have a tendency to be in-grown and go around in circles. It's kind of like your leg transitions from a lady leg, to a mans leg! I'm pretty sure that more hair grows. Not as you leave it shave free for so long. It does this because when you're injured your leg literally grows more hair when you are sick.
Let's Talk Muscle Atrophy
I have to say I was not prepared for this factor associated with a fractured knee. I did notice at the 2 weeks appointment when my leg was half way through the full leg cast that it had shrank a lot. I told myself that it was all in the mind. It certainly was not. Muscle that you have built for years can surprisingly disappear in a short space of time. I was disheartened by this, but don't be as it is temporary. My leg looked a lot smaller by the time I had reached the four week period of having the full leg cast on.
It Gets Better- Dead Skin And Bruises
As if a shrinking fractured knee with hairs was not enough. You can also prepare yourself to see a lot of dead skin. The skin is very dry and it will develop layers. Particularly the bottom part of my foot. I recall being shocked how it had developed a large layer of skin on the bottom of my sole. On the bottom of my shin there was also a lot of bruising. I have no idea how this happened and the doctor told me that this is normal. I do have an inclination that it was because the cast restricted my leg so much I was putting extra pressure on my shins.
At 5 weeks A Half Leg Cast For My Fractured Knee
When I had competed 1 week with a semi full leg cast. Four weeks with a fiber glass leg cast that was full. The doctor finally dished out the good news that I was able to replace my cast with a half leg cast. The half leg cast that I got sat just below my knee and the doctor and nurse responsible for putting it on crafted it in a shape that resembled a boot.
I was advised by the doctor to start to introduce bending to my leg as it needed to bend. Let's just say that this was a lot easier said than done. I had been way too optimistic for this. After hearing advice to start to flex my knee, I half had expectations that I was able to have full mobility back to my pre-fractured knee state. It hurt a lot to try and flex my knee. Also, if I am perfectly frank with you it still hurts now and I reached 8 weeks since my injury.
2 Weeks With A Half Leg Cast
So, the last 2 weeks with my fractured knee were probably the most frustrating for me. The reason being, I was told that can finally bear weight on my leg. My cast started to crack at the foot. I could also see inside my leg on the top of the cast. I had a phobia of the amount of germs that would be reaching my skin. I was also very frustrated as the doctor had advised me to introduce bending and exercises to keep the knee from ceasing up, yet it was still ceased and did not want to move. Even at the time of typing this article it doesn't want to bend fully and I have been given the all clear to walk on it and bear weight. It is still very awkward and I walk with a limp.
Physio And Months Of Recovery Ahead For A Fractured Knee
I removed my leg cast at 7 weeks I'm so happy to be able to be leg cast free, however upon removing it I still used a crutch to begin with. My leg felt like jelly. It was kind of like my leg was just coming out of hibernation and had lost all the muscles as it had slept so much. Even now I am having great difficulty to get my knee to bend. I have ditched the crutches. I'm also still very scared to go to malls as my leg has trained itself to walk differently. I walk with a limp still but this is expected to go. It is very weird to go up stairs as I forgot how to do so.
Pain After Cast Removal
My foot is still very crampy and achy too. I was so used to being inside the leg cast that my foot developed a dependency on it. My foot is very stubborn to adjust and my ankle area is still paining. Leg gels and hot water help a lot with this. At the moment I'm pleased at just how far my knee has come. I have been in a leg brace, a wheelchair, crutches and now , finally I am able to attend physio and slowly start to train my fractured knee to regain its pre injury strength.
Still A Long Way To Go
At the time of writing this article I obtained my fractured knee injury 2 months ago. I've been out of a leg cast for 2 weeks. I also noticed that I have gained 3 KG through a lack of exercise and movement. It is a little saddening seeing how I love running. I do however, feel optimistic that I will be able to regain my pre injury body and mobility back. The doctor told me that 90% of mobility does return. To me, practice makes perfect. I hope this helped you guys too. If you are sadly reading this because you have a fractured knee. It will take time and patience, but do not give up!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
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