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Ortho: Trauma
When can I put weight on my broken extremity?
All weight bearing depends on the bone healing process which is determined by x-rays that are obtained and reviewed by your orthopaedic surgeon at follow-up visits. Each fracture is different. Different bones and different parts of the bone heal at different rates and so the physicians will give you specific instructions regarding your injury. Fractures that involve joints take the longest to heal. Some fractures allow you to put as much weight as your pain allows which is called “weight bearing as tolerated” right after surgery. However most fractures involving your legs require “toe-touch weight bearing” which is strictly using your injured extremity for balance, not weight bearing. At six weeks from surgery, x-rays will be taken. If there is evidence of some bone healing, you may begin to put more weight on your leg unless your fracture is severe or involves the knee or hip joint. If you start putting weight on your fractured leg before you are cleared to do so, the plate or rod may fail/break which will require further surgery to fix it again and put you at a higher risk of complications from surgery and take longer for your bone to heal. It is very important to follow the instructions given to you from the doctor’s office about weight bearing.

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