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Will my mother be able to walk?

Q: My mother met with an accident on 18th may. She was admitted in the hospital and operated on 20th may. Her bottom leg got fractured. They have put a steel rod from bottom of the knee to just above the foot. After surgery doctor saiad that while fixing screw at top a crack came on the bone where they put screw. Immediately after surgery they put complete plaster from thigh to foot on the leg. They told it has to be there for six weeks. But after six weeks they did not take out plaster and still she is not able to walk on her two legs. Is it not the doctors mistake to break her bone at top when she went for treatement for fracture at bottom. Please tell whether that crack will heel or not.

A:You have not mentioned the age of your mother. However, from your description it seems your mother had a fracture of leg bone for which they have put what is medically called an interlocking nail (I presume so from your description). This is currently a standard treatment for fractures of the leg bone (tibia). In interlocking nail fixation a steel rod is passed from the upper end of the leg bone (close to the knee) and the lower end of the leg bone (close to the ankle) to provide rotating stability of the fracture screws are passed from the bone through the nail adjacent to the bone. So, it is not a mistake. This is done at the upper end as well as at the lower end of the nail. So it is not incorrect to put a screw at the upper end of the nail close of the knee only. However, you mentioned that possibly there is a crack at the upper end which possibly occur at the time of screw fixation. This is a known problem which can happen particularly with osteoporotic bones (bones with weekend architecture of bone structure). Osteoporosis is more common in women in older and who had had menopause. In case, a fracture occurs then plaster application what is required and this seems to have been done.


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