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Jennifer Tracey | 17:11 UK time, Monday, 1 February 2010

The 'foot' bone

...foot bone, in case you don't remember the song.

iPM is interested in hearing from you if your bones (leg or otherwise) are broken.

A few weeks ago, when Britain was frozen solid, we covered stories about the snow and grit and increasingly - about broken bones from people slipping on the ice.

Eddie spoke to the president of the College of Emergency Medicine, Dr John Hayworth. He said hospitals were seeing an increased number of people with fractures and this would have effects on patients and the NHS for many months to come

We're wondering if Dr Hayworth has been proved right? Are you a physiotherapist or a health professional who's been treating people with fractures? Are you managing to cope with the demand? Or are you waiting for your fracture to be treated? Has a small slip had a rather big impact on your life?

If there's an experience you'd like to share with us email us

Comments

  • 1. At 6:59pm on 01 Feb 2010, Roger Nichols wrote:

    I fell on sheet ice in a car park just one week before Christmas, facturing my right wrist in several places and was treated in two hospitals, one in Birmingham ( where the accident happened ) and one in Stockport. On being discharged from Birmingham, I was given my medical notes and a disk showing the X-rays of my injury. Despite having had my injuries assessed in Birmingham, I had to wait for 3 hours in a triage area which, because of the severe ice and snow outside, looked like the aftermath of a battle. I was admitted two days later and underwent surgery under a general anaesthetic. I was discharged the following morning and am currently attending physiotherapy sessions. My injuries have prevented me from driving or doing many routine domestic chores, I have suffered a great deal of pain and the on-going icy weather has, untill recently, stopped me from going out. I am a keen pianist and organist and this potentially morale-lifting lifeline has been taken away. I have only been in hospital once before -over 40 years ago - but after this last accident,I have nothing but praise and admiration for the NHS. It was obvious that doctors and nurses were stretched and stressed but at no time did I feel neglected or handled with anything other than great skill and professionalism. The team that looked after me before and after the actual surgery really functioned as a team, and this instils confidence. My on-going physio sessions are highly effective and I am hoping to be restored to ( more or less ) normal health in the next months. Yes, the severe winter weather must have punctured a substantial hole in the NHS budget but these circumstances aren't always foreseeable and at no time did I feel I was receivig second-hand treatment.

    Roger Nichols

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  • 2. At 7:14pm on 01 Feb 2010, Steve Gledhill wrote:

    Just under a year ago, on the first day of the previous big freeze, I was in a serious car smash which resulted in my femur being broken in two places. The road was blocked for many hours and I and my daughter were cut out of the wreckage.

    We were taken by emergency ambulance to Addenbrooke’s hospital; I had surgery to repair the damage. A hole was reamed inside the femur from hip to knee and a pin (long hollow tube) was inserted, it was secured in place by screws.

    Over the following months I progressed from using two crutches to one, putting more and more weight on the broken leg and could eventually walk tolerably well unaided. This was in mid summer.

    In August it was decided by the orthopaedic tem that the broken femur was not going to knit properly without further corrective surgery, the plan was to carry out the same procedure all over again. I finally saw the consultant again in early November 2009 and it was all agreed. I had a “pre-op” examination to clear the way for admission. Here I am three months after the agreement to have surgery, six months after the initial diagnosis of a failed procedure and a year after the initial incident.

    I have a very painful leg and a limp meaning I cannot walk far. There is no firm date for surgery; the prospect is even bleaker now since the recent outbreak of snow and ice. I just do not know when I will be admitted, all I have is a vague promise that I will be phoned by Admissions in two weeks time for an update. The further delay is blamed on the backlog caused by the spate of work after the bad weather. But no firm date.

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  • 3. At 3:24pm on 02 Feb 2010, patmartin wrote:

    I haven't fallen but the falls of other people are affecting when I get into hospital. I had a hip replacement in 1979 which has never been re replaced. At the end of December I discovered that the 30 year old prosthesis had pushed it's way through the femur. I'd previously been informed that it was too risky to redo the hip replacement but now it's too risky not to. The femur could break at any time but the earliest I can have the surgery and bone graft in June 29th as only two surgeons locally do this particular surgery and they are over subscribed. At present I can't do much which is why I spend a lot of my time e mailing radio programmes

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  • 4. At 3:30pm on 02 Feb 2010, Crataegus Monogyna wrote:

    Keep going Pat, and you'll soon need new fingertips.

    ;-)

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  • 5. At 8:56pm on 02 Feb 2010, L Stephenson wrote:

    I have been a physiotherapist working in the NHS for 12 years and I have been involved in rehabilitating many people after they have fallen and injured themselves during previous cold spells.

    However, this year it is my turn to require rehabilitation!

    On the evening of 26/12/09 I fell as I crossed the pavement to deliver Christmas presents to a friend, landing heavily on my left hip. I soon realised I had most likely fractured my hip due to the position of my leg and, of course, the pain.

    Once in A&E my worst fears were confirmed, I had fractured my left neck of femur, which is an unusual injury for someone in their 30's, as it is normally the elderly who sustain this injury. My care in A&E was of high quality and speedily conducted so that I was soon on the ward, only about 5 hours after falling.

    The demand on the orthopaedic service was extremely high but thankfully they managed to operate on me the next morning. Not a moment too soon, as a night of pain and being unable to move a leg is not a pleasant experience. Plus at this stage I just wanted the operation to be over so I could start on the long road of recovery.

    The operation went well, the bones were realigned and then fixed with metal work (dynamic hip screw)taking about 2 hours in total. As I had an epidural, I was aware of the procedure, but felt no pain and everyone in theatre made the effort to help keep me relaxed.

    The next day my physiotherapy training really started to kick in as I already knew what I needed to do, but the frustrating part was that the thigh was so swollen it was nearly impossible to bend the knee or contract my quadricep muscles. I did however, manage to start walking with a frame and then elbow crutches.

    I then spent 4 days in hospital not sleeping much, feeling constantly nauseous from medication which resulted in my not eating much of the non-tempting hospital food. I finally left the hospital on New Years Eve, to spend the next few weeks at my parents, as I live alone and at this stage I couldn't even reach my feet to put my socks on.

    It is now just over 5 weeks since my accident, and I can now walk a few steps without elbow crutches (admittedly looking like a drunken sailor), lift my leg and bend my knee much better. I hope to soon return to driving and to start to regain my normal independence, though I have a long way before returning to my hobbies of salsa dancing and walking. I have been given an estimate of 3 months off work.

    I am due another x-ray this week to find out if the bone has started to heal, so I am keeping my fingers crossed that all is going to schedule, but I know it will take me months of hard work to get back to somewhere near my pre fall level of function.

    It is strange to be the patient for once, but I have great praise for my care as it has been conducted professionally even with the extreme pressure the NHS has and is under.

    I once used to think snowy weather was beautiful to see, but unfortunately now all I'll be thinking of is how much ice has the ability to change everything in a split second, and how much damage it can do physically, emotionally and financially to people.

    I am sure my future treatment approach towards patients will be altered due to this experience and I have certainly appreciated my family and friends help over the past few weeks, as they are just as vital to my recovery as the team in the hospital.


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  • 6. At 3:12pm on 04 Feb 2010, Jennifer Tracey wrote:

    Thanks for your comments - appreciated. Hope the fractures are beginning to heal and good luck for your op Pat.

    We had some interesting emails on this and are following up on the aftermath of all the snow and ice. Several doctors have contacted us about the rise in fracture patients and the difficulties they're having fulfilling targets.

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