Experienced MSK physiotherapist Jason Howard who works at The White House Physiotherapy Clinic in South Yorkshire, recently trialed his own bespoke rehabilitation programme in order to speed up his recovery after a severe accident.
Going against surgeons’ recommendations, Jason significantly and safely sped up recovery time after a tibia and fibula fracture, reducing his recovery period by at least a month.
In the summer of 2013 Jason fell from a ladder headfirst onto stone slabs. He broke his leg, knee ligaments, wrist, rib and bones around the eye socket. Keen to get back to activity and work as soon as possible, and with 25 years of physiotherapy knowledge behind him, Jason argued his case for moving from a full cast to an aircast removable walking brace after just eight weeks, going against standard orthopaedic practice.
Conventional rehabilitation keeps patients with the same fracture as Jason in plaster up to 12 weeks after the trauma with very little activity allowed before this.
Jason was engaging in weight-bearing exercises a month before normal protocol and had strengthened his leg to the extent that he was walking by 12 weeks. Speaking about why he tried this Jason said: “The demographic of people who tend to suffer from tibia and fibula fractures are young and middle aged people who are very active. They often have young families, demanding jobs or spend a lot of their time playing sport. This is a group of people in the prime of their life whose time is very precious to them. If there is any way we can reduce recovery time, thereby minimising the impact the fracture has on their life, then I think we have a responsibility to.
“I have long believed that rehabilitation could be safely sped up and I was in the position where I had the knowledge and experience to understand how to go about it. My accident gave me the perfect opportunity to try it out, and I was successful.
“I was also desperate myself to get back to my old way of life and didn’t want to risk my muscles weakening which is why I pushed to be put in a removable walking brace. The doctors weren’t exactly ecstatic, but they let me try it and I’m very grateful.”
Jason is now in the final stages of his recovery and has been progressing through his frustratingly slow end stage-rehabilitation.