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Spiral fracture with Ilizarov ex-fix

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hi Snowheads. So I was a pretty good ski-er. Used to do mainly freeride and off piste stuff, some of which was gnarly. Then 11 days ago I fell on an easy red run and shattered my tibia. Luckily managed to avoid both knee and ankle joint damage. Iím now in a fairly extensive Ilizarov ex-fix device which I need to be in for 5 months minimum. Canít drive. Work and family very understanding it it is going to be a massive hassle.

My purpose in posting I guess is to ask what others experiences of this have been. There are two things for me:

- My orthopaedeic consultant thinks I should be able to ski in 12 months, but (recognising itís early days) my confidence is shot. I can barely look at my Factions now without a shudder. And because the injury happened so randomly Iíd worry that it could happen again equally randomly on any old piste no matter what I was doing.

- I was wondering maybe about trying snowboarding instead. Has anyone made the transition in similar circumstances. How did you find it? Was it worth the learning curve.

Thanks. Chris.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
No advice from me, I'm afraid but massive commiserations. Sad Sad Sad How old are you?
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Youch. How unlucky.

Snowboarding. Hmmm. Dunno. Wouldnít be my choice.

Confidence is a funny thing. Pamís question makes some sense on that, itís I think generally harder to come back the older you get.

My confidence was knocked more by nearly flung from a defective chairlift than either fracturing my back in Ď90 or shattering my non-dom hand in Ď12 ...

Heads and brains, eh!, sorry I donít imagine thatís very helpful.

If you were in my head Iíd just be expecting my confidence would return in the fullness of time, e.g. by about October time.

Good luck.
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This is my specialist subject!

Commiserations, @doctorhammond. It's a miserable thing to suffer through. Try to look on the bright side and see that this is something that will fix, in time. It sounds blessedly uncomplicated, relatively speaking. Knees and ankles are complicated but shins aren't particularly.

I did mine in August 2014 (aged 31), and I can beat you on the 'uncomplicated terrain' factor - I did mine at Hemel Snow Centre doing a 'moguls training course'. Hit a bump at speed, went flying into the air, and was unlucky enough to have just the right amount of rotational force on my leg to break it. I was treated conservatively with a full leg cast for eight weeks, then a half cast for another six, then about another six weeks of wearing a supportive boot. I was walking with a crutch through January but I think I was done with that by February. I did all the physio I was told to (apparently lots of people don't, which I find baffling!) and was walking pretty well in March.

In March I went back to Hemel for a day doing a 'Back to skiing' session with an instructor and physio at Inside Out Skiing (who isn't UK-based anymore unfortunately). That helped me get over The Fear of being back on skis. In late March I had a day on the hill when visiting family in upstate New York. In late April I went on the End of Season Bash in Val Thorens. So that's 7/8 months after the injury.

The mental side was harder than the physical in a lot of ways. I found that any sort of variable snow wasn't good on that first trip back, but that skiing on the pistes - fairly full-on skiing at that - was ok. But I wasn't 'attacking' the hill the way I was before and the moguls were a bit of a mental block.

The following season (18 months on from injury) I did a lot of skiing and got my confidence back. The year after that I passed BASI2 instructor exams. I'm now 3.5 years post injury and my skiing is stronger than ever and, more critically, my self-belief is back. I no longer believe that I'm immortal and I am quite cautious, but I am confident in my skills.

I've also done a lot of gym work consistently throughout this time, working on strength and flexibility. In a way it's like I never stopped doing the rehab.

You'll need a lot of patience to get through the next year, and there are going to be times when you want to cry with frustration. But you will get there. Do what your doctors and physios tell you to do, and don't lose heart.

Good luck!
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@Maireadoconnor, Top Post snowHead
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doctorhammond is now wallyspoons! (had to change my username due to some problems with my account - it's a while since I last posted)

Thanks for the advice. Seems hopeful perhaps - I dunno. I was always a cautious ski-er, always more interested in control and style than speed. Think I just wasn't concentrating on the run in to lunch!

I feel pretty negative about the whole ski thing ATM though. Hopefully that will change.

The potential advantage of boarding (apart from being less likely to knacker ze knees) is that there is a big ability gradient in my family. Me, then wife and kids who are OK on shallow reds and blues. Boarding might allow me to go with them perhaps without the frustration of always waiting at the bottom, but then again would I be frustrated with boarding anyway.

So much to think about.

Am 47 years old for @pam_w and @under_a_new_name
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@under a new name, thank you! snowHead

@wallyspoons, it's only been a couple of weeks. Don't be too hard on yourself. It's just horrid bad luck. I've thought so many times about whether I did something wrong, whether I could have prevented it... I've eventually come to terms with it. It's just one of those things.

The boarding question is a bit different; I can see where you're coming from on wanting to level the playing field. I don't snowboard but I've taken up telemarking and it serves a similar purpose for me. But, I'd suggest don't worry about that for the next year. Focus on getting your strength back so that you've got a free choice to do whatever you'd like to.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@Maireadoconnor, my back was my own fault, entering a preposterous moguls race and turning up with a crushing hangover. I was young and (more) stupid.

My hand however was a complete accident, precipitated by a binding pre-release ...
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@Maireadoconnor, you are frighteningly sensible. Toofy Grin
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@wallyspoons, horrid luck, hope the healing and rehab go well.
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@wallyspoons, I asked about age partly because of thinking of bone density/strength - weakness can affect men too. I fractured my pelvis in a comparatively low trauma ski accident (collision with Frenchman). It was blessedly straightforward - mended itself in 6 weeks - but subsequent investigation suggested I do have a degree of bone thinning, though short of osteoporosis. But I was well into my 60s. Decided to give up snowboarding (which I was pretty bad at anyway) because of the risk of major crashes - I have few of them on skis as I have become both more cautious and more competent and am content to potter. I also find myself descending stairs and escalators very cautiously, holding the hand rails. It's easier to accept these indications of going downhill physically and not being able to do the things you once enjoyed when you're properly old - I'm 71 now. You're not properly old - so I can understand your frustration.
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@pam_w "You're not properly old". Thanks!! Very Happy
In my line of business (vascular and interventional radiology), 71 is still pretty young as well.
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@wallyspoons, Mrs CP had 8 months with an Ilizarov frame so I have a good idea what you are going through. Her demise was down to osteomyelitis which returned 11 years after the original breaks were fixed. But that as they say is another story.

I remember one of the key issues that she had to avoid was infection around the pin/rod sites, she used to spend hours keeping these as clean as possible.

I take it you can't drive as it is your right leg, Mrs CP's injury was to her left so she was allowed to drive an automatic.

Hope it all goes to plan for you and you heal well.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Did my spiral fracture on my tibia last year , as well as the fib top and bottom. After 9 months i was advised not to go skiing this season. But said by october 2018 i should try a weekend on the glacier. The consultant said tat for a sprial fracture he would advise 18 months at least before skiing again.
My details are on youtube. "Ian's tibia 6 weeks post op" mine was a nasty break and i was 54.. still suffering but from shin splints from overdoing rehab..
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@CP, why canít you drive an autobox with your left leg?
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@under a new name, wouldnt the gammy leg and all the gubbins get in the way of tge good leg trying to reach across?
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
under a new name wrote:
@CP, why canít you drive an autobox with your left leg?
the ilizarov frame on your right leg could well be in the way. I guess it would depend on the car and how much room there was to 'park' the right leg out of the way of the throttle peddle?
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
I was 50 when I properly spiralled my left leg, both Tib and Fib.
April 16th

I had a pin put into the Tib, the Fib was left to self heal.
No cast, no boot.
All done in Switzerland by a surgeon who told me he does three or four every week!

The pin is still there, seven years later.
I was skiing a bit cautiously the following December, and by the end of that season I was just skiing as before.

I still have some ankle pain (ligament damage) when skiing, but a couple of Paracetamol and a couple of Ibuprofen at the start of the day holds it a bay. I don't think that will ever go away, but I will just put up with it and carry on.

It took longer than I thought to mend, but as the Consultant in the Fracture Clinic said:
"You are not 17, be patient, it will be OK"
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Unless you've got some osteoporosis type stuff going on no reason that your accident was anything more than a freak thing. So no reason why once rehabbed you shouldn't nbe back charging. In fact that might be the incentive you need to do your rehab properly. You could transition to snowboarding but all I think that really ends up doing is transferring one set of risks re lower limbs to others e.g. upper limbs and spine.
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Update on mine is that I am having x rays next week to get clearance to start indoor skiing at a gentle pace in October... I still suffer pain when straightening my leg after squatting etc... running is still difficult mainly due to shin splints I suffered trying to recover too quickly !!
Last soeciajat I spoke to said to give it 18 months minimum... before skiing
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Update at 4 months.
So frame is hopefully coming off soon. Able to walk (without crutches) and drive. Still not working. It's been a very long haul and I am fed up. Feeling quite negative about snowsport in general still though this is not entirely due to the fracture (break has given me pause for though about the amount of money I was spending on it at the expense of everything else). Certainly not going this winter ('18-'19). Maybe with family later but not the gnar I was doing before. Am selling quite a lot of stuff.
Not sure why I'm posting really - perhaps just to say thanks for the advice to all who posted a few months back and good for you for those of you who remain bitten by it despite the injuries.
Cheers
Chris.
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On Jan 24th this year (2018) my stopped due to a bad combination of ligament tears, bone fractures and ruptured muscles. A ski accident, It will take me the rest of the year to rebuild the muscle loss and damage to the muscle as well as get back my fitness - my job? professional mountaineer and outdoor instructor, so mountains and working in them are my full-time job, or they were, not this year at all!

So what did I do on the long journey home from the Alps? I watched all the off-piste back country ski movies I could, when I got back home I got straight in to private healthcare and physiotherapy and also went through the NHS, I see the mountains from my front room everyday - I watch as all my friends work in the mountains, Im smashing the gym for leg work twice a week, cycling on rest days, and gentle angle dog walking duties- Im still watching ski and mountain movies, I know its going to be a long process of rehab for me, the rest of the year really.
But come January Im back in the Alps and will be there till the end of the ski season.

In the scheme of life a short blip that will soon be in the past, yes I sold all my skis, still got my boots, but I will simply get new skis for the start of the season.

I know there will be a mental confidence challenge when I step into the bindings the next time, I know there will be challenges when Im climbing, or hiking, I can't run at the moment so get my cardio from bike, In my head there is no room for the phrase ' I will never ski again'.

Watch a few ski movies, read some kit reviews, do some research on what type of skis will be less stress on your bones and muscles when you step back in the bindings, then the motivation will come back, you'll see Smile

I plan on being back on planks in a snowdome by December, exercise the demons haha
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Did mine at 63, skied the next season, bit gingerly. This season was back to nutter mode, just short on stamina
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Quote:

Not sure why I'm posting really - perhaps just to say thanks for the advice to all who posted a few months back and good for you for those of you who remain bitten by it despite the injuries.

Thanks for posting, @wallyspoons. I'm not surprised you're fed up - perfectly normal feeling after such a long haul. Life isn't just about snowsports. Some posters to this thread have shown great resilience and determination in overcoming their injuries and getting back into it - but it's not the only route and deciding to give up snow sports and do other things with your time and money might be exactly the right choice for you. You've had plenty of time to think about that - and to question whether skiing had become more a matter of "habit" rather than what was best for you.

Maybe you'll start to feel better when the hardware is removed.
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Sell your kits!

Take up telemark ski and putter around with your family. The mountain and snow can be enjoyed without jumping off cliffs.
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