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Jusuf Nurkic's leg injury: how could rehabilitation work? When could he come back?



The Portland Trail Blazers reputation has been fun this season. The Monday night game against Brooklyn was fun until 2:22 left in the second hour of overtime.

Then I got sick.

Jusuf Nurkic went to the tip-in, fell awkwardly and collapsed. The Moda Center fell silent. The players turned away and frowned as if they were injured themselves.

Nurkic broke both his tibia (larger) and the fibula (smaller), the two bones that connect the knee to the ankle. On Tuesday he had surgery that showed great news: no nerve or muscle damage. No nerve damage is particularly important as this means Nurkic should fully recover. The question is, how long will that take?

To answer this question, it would be helpful to know what kind of break Nurkic suffered. I do not know. For example, in the middle of the bones, a transverse fracture (straight transverse) had to heal much faster than a fractured (multiple fracture) fracture at the end of the bone, tearing the skin ( J Orthop 201

9). Nurkic had a "low-energy" fracture caused by a sudden twist. This typically results in oblique (angled) or spiral fractures (surrounding the bone). These fractures are usually easier to repair and heal compared to crushed fractures.

Jeff Tualatin, an orthopedic surgeon, explains, "Nurkic was immediately rushed to the hospital and given antibiotics to reduce the risk of infection. His fracture was considered "low energy" because it did not occur in an accident with a car or skydiving. Therefore, its cure rate is higher, but the infection / complication rate is lower. The video seems to show breaks at the end of the long, tube-like parts of the bones. This injury is usually treated with a rod located in the larger bone (tibia). This allows for early loading, although bone healing may take four months or more. A study ( Sp Health 2016) found that 88 percent of patients returned to sports after 41 weeks of treatment for a tibial fracture with a staff (recreational and competitive sports).

First, the main investigation The focus will be on controlling Nurkic's swelling and pain. Splints can help protect his injury, and can be relaxed or tightened to allow for variations in pain and swelling ( Am J Orthop 2007). Note that some level of inflammation / swelling is essential for Kickstart healing. But if it does stop it can actually heal it (19459004). A combination of anti-inflammatory drugs, muscle relaxants, and opioids can be used initially to combat pain, with minimal consideration for opioids because of their addictive potential and delay in bone healing (19459005] Spine J 2018, Injury 2018) ,

Rehabilitation begins on the first day and it is extremely important to follow the doctor's instructions to avoid setbacks. Bones love compression to get stronger, so most physicians allow people to stress the leg as much as they can speed healing ( Bone 2011). The key is to load bones to a healthy degree to make them stronger and avoid injury. This can be a tricky balance.

Strengthening usually begins early with the hip region, since hip force is crucial for proper lower limb mechanics ( J Biomechanics 2007). Along with strengthening the upper body and seated bicycle, these activities can help accelerate fracture healing through increased blood flow, reduced body fat, cardiovascular endurance, flexibility, and pain reduction ( Arch Phys Med Rehab 2010, Sp Med 2005).

Nurkic may focus on eating healthy foods for a quicker recovery. For example, the consumption of sufficient protein, calcium, fish oil, and vitamin D can promote bone health ( Bone 2019, J Orthop Res 2019), although calorie intake must also be avoided excessive body fat.

If Nurkic follows his recovery plan, he might return to October.

With his tenacity, medical team, teammates and Rip City, it could be sooner.

Colin Hoobler is Doctor of Physical Therapy at ch Physical Therapy / Benchmark Physiotherapy . You can email Colin an email at colin@chpt.org .


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