• Cindy

Chris Gets Her Leg Crushed

One of the most iconic cast pictures in history. This is Chris six weeks after having her left tibia shattered into dozens of pieces

In 2012, Chris was a 29 year old mother of a toddler. A resident of England, Chris was loading her baby buggy in the car trunk when another car slammed into her leg pinning against her own back bumper.

According to Chris. "I heard a crunching noise and turned around to see the car coming across the car park at me and even now I wonder whether I could have jumped out of the way. The reality is that only stuntmen in films can leap and roll safely over the car bonnet. My brain just couldn’t work quickly enough in the 2 seconds it probably took, to do anything other than stand there and get hit."

The driver of the car in question was actually an acquaintance of Chris's. The women had attended a baby class together the year prior and the woman was learning to drive. She was trying to put her car into reverse but, instead, put it in forward. The result was a tibia that was shattered into dozens of pieces.

Chris was taken by ambulance to the local hospital. As is the custom in England, Chris's leg was stabilized in a full leg back slab cast and she was admitted to the hospital for a period of three days.

Chris's leg the day of the injury. She spent 20 minutes on the ground of the parking lot after her leg was crushed. She says she prayed to God that she would pass out. But the big guy offered no such relief. Paramedics eventually arrived. Chris's jeans were cut, her leg was splinted, and she was rushed to hospital

Prior to her release from the hospital, Chris was placed in a full leg purple cast.

Chris's first real cast was a full leg purple model

Chris describes the trip home from the hospital with her husband David. "I was so elated to be going home that I didn’t even want to wait for a porter to take me downstairs, I managed to convince one of the nurses to push me. When David pulled up in the car I had my first hurdle, how to get into a modest sized Ford Fiesta with a leg that could no longer be bent. I had to hitch myself over the gear stick and into the driver side before I had enough clearance to fit the leg into the passenger side footwell. I then had to hold my cast leg as firmly as possible as the slightest jolt from the car would send shock waves of pain down my leg."

In two days, Chris's leg began to show signs of extensive bruising above the cast and there was yellow discharge.

Bruising at the top of Chris's thigh.

So off Chris went to the hospital again. Her cast was removed revealing an impressive mass of fracture blisters just below her knee. The blisters were aspirated with needles and Chris was placed in a new cast.

"The next step was to be recast and this was also very traumatic. It’s hard to explain but my leg felt so unstable when they lifted it, that I was convinced it would just buckle in half at the fracture site. It trembled uncontrollably and my hip cramped, so much so that I was begging them to hurry so I could place the leg back down. When they asked me what colour cast I would like I was crying and told them that i didn’t care, so I was given plain white."

During this period, Chris's consultant warned that an external fixator or IM nail may be needed to stabilize the fractures. For the next couple of months, however, things began to look up. Her white cast was replace with a light blue on and doctors said the breaks appeared to be healing.

Another iconic picture. Chris with her son Joshua

"Our family and friends got very used to the familiar sight of me swinging my big cast leg around, wobbling about on my crutches. I even managed to get to a big family picnic at Cassiobury Park in Watford, so that I could see Joshua splashing about in the outdoor pools. I took the wheelchair along, and had to be careful not to get the cast wet, but it all went really well and was an amazing day out."

Chris and Joshua in her wheelchair.

At 8 weeks, post break, Chris graduated to a below the knee cast. She recants about letting her husband pick the color of her new cast. "I was asked about my choice of cast colour and decided to let David pick as I was holding back a few tears about getting recast. To my horror he decided it was time for a hot pink cast. I was already missing my pale blue cast but decided to wait and see what the pink looked like once it was on. When I saw the result, I felt like a Barbie doll, but it didn’t take me all that long to get used to it."

Chris in front of her favorite mirror. She was allowed to flex her knee in the new cast. She was not allowed to bear weight

Things soon took a turn for the worse. Three weeks after getting the short leg cast, Chris returned to the fracture clinic. Here is what happened in her own words.

"After my x-ray I waited in the plaster room for the consultant to come through and speak to me. I felt sure that he was going to tell me I would be going home without a cast today. He came through, took one look at me and said ‘You need an operation’. I was sure I misheard him and felt in complete shock. He told me that the x-rays showed no signs of healing, and he actually took hold of my leg and wiggled it to show me that there was no bone union. It was very frightening to see that my leg could move sideways between my knee and ankle. He also said that the tibia was healing with a curvature and if we left it to heal on its own I would have a deformity."

So one week later, Chris has surgery to insert a rod in her tibia. She emerged from surgery in a cast and brace. She soon graduated to a brace only.

Chris's view when she awoke from surgery 3 months after having her leg crushed

Four weeks after her surgery, Chris was placed in a splint with hinged knee

Six months later, Chris was once again a functional human being. The year long ordeal was over and Chris was walking normally.

Chris on Holiday with her son a few months after surgery

10 months after the injury, Chris enjoying a Merry Go Round ride with her son

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