The Angry Corrie 19: Jul-Sep 1994


Don't let that broken leg spoil your day on the hill!

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Mountain bikers carry repair kits to meet almost every eventuality: now the Bolt-On Fracture Repair Kit gives you, the hill-walker, that same confidence! Here's what to do with that inconvenient compound fracture of tibia and fibula when you're miles from anywhere:

  • Tidy up the fracture site. Pluck away any heather or grass from protruding bone ends. Wipe off excess mud. Save any loose bits of bone in a sealed container. ("Tupperware" salt or sugar containers are ideal for this purpose.)
  • Gel the bone ends lack in line, Attach one end of the Bolt-On Traction Device to a handy tree or rock. Fix the other end to your boot, just like a crarnpon strap! ("Step-in" fittings available on request.) Now pull! Push firmly over the fracture site with the thumbs of both hands to help realign the bones. (A little grinding and bleeding is normal at this point, but you should stop if any "spurting" occurs.)
  • Check the result. Are both your legs roughly the same length? Do both your feet point in the same direction? If not, try again.
  • Begin the repair. Find the battery-powered drill and the quarter-inch bit, and assemble. Check the diagram, and drill a hole in the tibia (the "shin-bone') below the level of the break. Try to use a single, smooth motion for this: some discomfort (or "pain") is likely as you penetrate the skin and bony covering, and speed will help you to avoid losing consciousness at all-important point. Now remove the drill-bit, set it aside carefully in a clean place (you will need it again!), and fit one of the threaded quarter-inch rods into the drill chuck. Screw it into the hole you have just prepared, using short, sharp bursts of drill power. (Do not force the drill at any time: this could "explode" the bone and make your repair more difficult.)
  • Fit the other three rods in the same way. Add one more rod below the break and two above it, lined up neatly along the shin-bone, as shown on the diagram. If you make a mistake, don't worry: the drill has enough stored power to make at least twenty attempts!
  • Add the support strut. Undo all the locking points on the Bolt-On Support Strut with the Allen key provided. Slip it over the ends of the four rods. Make one last check on leg length and foot position, and then tighten all the nuts. (There are sixteen: don't forget any!)
  • Now try out your repaired leg! Walk up and down a little to get the feel of it. Inevitably, you'll find that it doesn't feel entirely "normal" to you. But don't fiddle with it just yet: take a few more paces, and you'll probably get right back into your usual walking rhythm. If you do find yourself walking in circles, or unable to lift the foot high enough to clear small obstacles, then sit down, loosen off the strut, and readjust the fracture until it feels more "comfortable".

Caution: We do not recommend using the Bolt-On for more than a single day in the hills. The rods can seriously damage bivvy-bags or down sleeping-bags if used for overnight camping. If the bone is still "bendy" after six weeks, seek the advice of your GP (Remember to take those spare bits of bone with you to the surgery!)

Ask for details of our other Bolt-On products: the Double-Leg Kit, the Forearm Kit and the Skull Plating Kit (mirror included)!

TAC 19 Index