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After six months of a hair line fracture, swelling persists, what should I do?

Thursday, 09 December 2004
Answered by: Dr. Shiban K. Chaku
Senior Consultant Surgeon,
Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals,
New Delhi
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Q. I am a diabetic patient since the past 15 years, and my age is now 60 years. I fell in the bathroom six months back and my right leg bone (below the knee) got a hair line fracture. Now I don't have any pain but the swelling in the leg is there. When I checked with the doctor, he said it will become normal after six months but the problem still persists. The X-ray shows that the bone is normal. Please suggest some exercises. What could be the reason of swelling; the problem is worse when I sit for a longer time? Please suggest what could be the reason for this.

A.  The advice to you is that you should be examined for Deep Venous Thrombosis (DVT), which is not uncommon with bony injuries. This may be the reason for the residual swelling. If the Duplex scan (venous Doppler) is normal or the thrombosis is old, then it is imperative that you should wear compression stocking and also do active exercises to get the swelling down. The only care should be taken that you being diabetic should also have the arterial circulation also examined at the same time. If this is normal then the above treatment will benefit. In case the swelling is rather resistant then Flowtron/Lymphapress (pneumatic compression device) could be used. It may be worthwhile getting an opinion from a vascular surgeon.

A.  The advice to you is that you should be examined for Deep Venous Thrombosis (DVT), which is not uncommon with bony injuries. This may be the reason for the residual swelling. If the Duplex scan (venous Doppler) is normal or the thrombosis is old, then it is imperative that you should wear compression stocking and also do active exercises to get the swelling down. The only care should be taken that you being diabetic should also have the arterial circulation also examined at the same time. If this is normal then the above treatment will benefit. In case the swelling is rather resistant then Flowtron/Lymphapress (pneumatic compression device) could be used. It may be worthwhile getting an opinion from a vascular surgeon.

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