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Why am I unable to walk properly?

Q: I am a 41 years old male, who met with an accident and had fracture femur neck five months back. The doctor operated it and fixed two rods - one straight with thigh bone and the other across the joint (L position). Even after five months, I am still unable to stand or walk for a long time due to pain near hip joint and cannot walk smoothly. I also feel a difference in my legs regarding the size of the right leg which seems l smaller as compared to the left leg. I also go to the hospital every month and the doctor told me that it will take a year to recover. The doctor prescribed only Zevit and Gemcall. After taking these medicines, I started having stomach problems and am unable to sleep before 1 or 2 AM at night. So I am taking Nitrest (20 mg) at night to get sleep. I also feel restless, tired and depressed. When would I be able to walk properly?

A:You have written your diagnosis as a fracture neck femur. From the description of fixation done it seems to be an intertrochanteric fracture neck femur. However, some people also fix intracapsular fractures of neck femur also with this plate. The implications are completely different as the two fractures behave differently.

  • Intertrochanteric fracture; this fracture occurs in the younger patients is as a result of a more significant trauma and results in significant shortening (more than an inch) and outward rotation of the leg. However, the good part about this fracture is it usually unites and other than shortening and outward rotation of the foot does not cause any other major problem. If you have this fracture and it is already two months old, you should be ready to put weight on the leg partially and full weight at the end of 3 to 4 months.
  • If it is an intracapsular fracture there is a 20-40% chance that it may not unite. You will have to consult your doctor regarding this and if it does not unite an alternate procedure may be required. It is not wise to put weight on such fractures on such limbs till your doctor clears you.

So, I would recommend you to confirm the nature of your fracture and ask your doctor regarding the status of union. If it is intracapsular and not united after 3 to 4 months, then your doctor should plan an alternate surgery. No point in waiting for a year.


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