"Smashed" tibia

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My wife was involved in a car accident on 19 July 2002 in which she fractured her femur and had a sever fracture of her tibia. A pin was inserted in her femur and an Ilizarov frame fitted to her lower left leg. She has now contracted an MRSA infection. Her surgeons are hopeful that she may get 60-70degrees of movement in her left knee. What will this sort of movement allow her to do?

-- Michael Hepburn (mhepburn@optushome.com.au), August 26, 2002


The usual recommendation for motion in the knee is 0 degrees of extension and at least 90 degrees of flexion. Zero degrees of extension allows a person to fully straightlen the leg. Ninety degrees of flexion allows the person to clear steps when walking up or down stairs, and in a chair or car comfortably. Sixty or seventy degrees of flexion is not ideal, but considering the amount of trauma your wife had, this is not a bad outcome. She will probably have to do stairs one at a time. She will be able to sit in a car of chair, but just keep her leg stretched out a little when she sits.

-- Dotsie Czajkowski RNFA (hkhanuj1@jhmi.edu), October 22, 2002.

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