X-Ray, broken fibula, July 2001

While I've broken other bones before, primarily the collarbone (clavicle) and had other injuries/accidents. This bone break of my left fibula would have to be characterized as the most serious to date (even winning out on my 20 cm open wound from crashing through a tempered class door in college).

I knew that it was broken from the time that it happened but was in denial until the doctor in the emergency room in Austria told me. Even after he set the bone and put it in a cast for travel I was in denial about needing surgery until my orthopedic surgeon in New York told me that I needed surgery.

He said that it was a pretty serious break across the entire fibula and that I needed the hardware (plate and screws) to keep it from happening again. The procedure is called an "open reduction internal fixation" and is common (nowadays) for this kind of break. Basically it keeps the two parts of the break together (kind of like an earthquake fault line) while giving it additional structural support.

While I'm glad that I had the procedure done the downtime from the accident was no fun. Surgery the lots of pain for 1-2 weeks. A VERY swollen ankle/lower leg and LOTS of painkillers. Crutches and more pain. Lack of ankle mobility and open wound with tons of sutures and plenty of follow-up visits. What got me through the recovery was delivery of take-out food from NY's best restaurants, cable TV, Playstation 2 with MX2002, and my NY friends who stopped in to see how I was doing (okay and my mom who was there in the beginning for my surgery, love you mom!).

So far now 2.5 months post surgery things seem to be better. The first week back riding I was very tentative and felt some pain. I was riding in my Alpinestar Tech 6 boots which were the same ones that I broke my leg in. I want to switch to the Sidi Force boots as they offer stiffer lateral flex protection but so far they don't fit right especially with my BMW riding pants (MX style pants are thinner at the calf area).

I hope that I never break either another bone again (and that anybody else reading this doesn't either). However if you're going to be riding overseas (or anywhere for that matter) make sure that your insurance includes the cost of an air ambulance as there is nothing like getting the care of your primary surgeon when you've bound for a long recovery like I just went through (in this case I didn't have the air ambulance and would really have liked it instead of the taxi-plane-plane that I had to take to get home).


David H. Park

Photo - Left fibula with new hardware

Here you can see the six (6) screws and the plate. The break is in the middle and the plate
is necessary to keep the fibular straight when it is healing. You can feel the plate and the screws
in my leg as they are right underneath the skin. Putting my motocross boots back on was painful at first
but over time it seems to be getting better. The new Sidi Force boots still don't fit and feel right
but I'll be talking to Sidi to see if they can do anything for me on this.

Photo - Side view

Yup, there is no denying it - that's a pretty substantial piece of metal.

Photo - Beauty scar

This is the scar. It goes from the front part of the ankle bone to 1/3 up my leg.
It's healed up pretty good now. This picture is taken about 5-6 weeks after surgery.

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