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Thread: I am a walking para L1 burst fracture 17 months out from my injury

  1. #31
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Somewhere in the Rocky Mountains
    I don't want to be the downer here but I am T12 L1 Burst fracture walk with AFO's and cane. I am now feeling my age. I pushed and pushed and walked for about 5 years with no assistance except my AFO's. At one point I could walk a mile around the track with just my AFO's. However after 20 years (anniversary in May), my hips and my back are starting to feel it.

    I have slowed down this year. I just gave up my job because the burning pain is too great to concentrate and I couldn't do my job. I hurt alot. i could deal with regular pain but neuropathic pain that takes your concentration away is something totally different.

    I am all for doing all you can to get what you can back but our bodies are never going to be perfect again....we are injured.

    All I am saying is take care of yourself and don't overwork yourself. Be careful that you are not overworking the hip that is working correctly to compensate for the one that isn't. One of my hips actually comes out of the joint from time to time because I have overused it.

    Good luck in your recovery. It is wonderful that you are back on the bike. I would love to and am working on finding a three wheel bike that will work for me. I do have balance issues so I don't think a Bicycle will work for me. I love to see people back on bikes.
    T12-L2; Burst fracture L1: Incomplete walking with AFO's and cane since 1989

    My goal in life is to be as good of a person my dog already thinks I am. ~Author Unknown

  2. #32

    This might be a dead thread, but...

    I'm interested in what darkeyed_daisy said. A year after the accident, I was walking unassisted indoors, and with a cane outdoors. I was up to a mile a day with the cane, and then went to stay in my sister's split lvl house. After three weeks, I had seriously damaged my right hip on the stairs. It was my strong leg, that I pushed to make up for the weak one. 6 months down the road, I'm dealing with recurring bursitis and some days I can barely make it to the bathroom with a cane. I'm no spring chicken, but I'm too young for hip replacement. I'm back in physical therapy.

  3. #33
    Senior Member flying's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Southern Oregon coast
    I find it enlightening that pretty much every one still has B, B and sex problems after 1.5 years. At about 9 months post and kind of walking 20 feet with walker. Was hoping some BB and sex issues would resolve them selfs, but guess that is not the norm.
    T12L1 Incomplete Still here This is the place to be 58 years old

  4. #34

    I'm a walking para also with an l1 burst fracture

    I live in concord california. And I'm a walking para 14 months from date of injury if u want to chat and in the same situation let me know

  5. #35

    t8 recovery

    I see a lot of L1 fractures here getting some walking but no real BB & sex return.

    Well, in my case, I had a T8 compression fracture 15 1/2 months ago, with immediate fusion.

    No need to say life has been very hard since (as I was very active before) but making some slow progress. 26 years old at time of accident (motorcycle)

    First five months I had a guy coming home every day for 1-2h trying to rahab me... didn't really do much except some abs return, felt like the guy didn't really know what he was doing.

    After that I took it one step further and went to a Russian doctor in Azerbaijan who had plentiful eexperience with SCI and engaged myself in triple 6 rahab (6 hours a day, 6 days a week, for 6 months). That thing is hard let me tell you. First 3 months almost nothing then progressively started "walking' with braces in parallel bars (with a walker very little) and by the end of of it I could walk without braces (only AFO) on a walker but I wouldn't honestly call it walking (a word hasn't been invented for that).

    I've been at home for the last 4 months , had parallel bars made , progressing into something that is closer to walking. Balance still very bad.

    I must note however that spasticity and spasms are increasing (it actually helps me lock my knees w/o braces) I have tried pills (baclofen & similar) but they don't work so well and medical literature feels uncertain about its benefits (haven't seen anyone walking who's taking baclofen) and I feel like my supraspinal control (brain commanding my legs) is still very poor. I can't really move my legs in any controlled way (as soon I try to move them they start doing their own thing) and my feelings return has all but stalled since the 5th month. Currently have fairly good touch feeling on left side and some pain - warm/cold feeling on my right side.

    The bright side is more into my B&b and sexual functions. I got off cathers at 6-7 weeks post injury (currently some control and very good feeling, still incontinent thou) and my Bowel function has steadily improved with excellent feeling and some control (still need some manual help in that department however). I got my first ejaculation about 2 weeks ago (had really lost hope it would ever happen I have to admit) and that was REALLY nice (feeling and amount of sperm not normal, not a surprise after 15 months off and an injury like that I guess).

    It looks like my B&B&Sex part of the spinal cord was somewhat spared because doctors told me there is a fairly good chance i might walk some but not so good chance for B&B&S and in fact it is more the opposite happening.

    My walking, i DESCRIBE it as 'spastic walking", it feels like what i do helps my spasms be more controlled in a way which progressively appears to be more and more similar to walking. Honestly, I know I might sound somewhat negative, but I feel like there is little chance I will one day have functional walking, maybe with crutches for very short distances at best, and I cant stand up without my hands, not seeing to muuch improvement there.

    My foot extension spasms are very strong (two pairs of AFO have broken under the pressure of my feet trying to extend) and I feel this is also hindering my recovery.

    Sorry for my long post, feel very lonely (nobody around me understands me) and although i'm luckier than most perhaps (good financial situation, great family & friends, great GF) I still feel like my life is a real f****** nightmare that will never end .

    Some feedback would be appreciated.


  6. #36
    Senior Member sorefm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Virginia, USA

    I saw this thread come up and realized that I posted to this thread almost 2 years ago (mine was the second post).

    I walk unassisted now, in fact I walk well enough that I was able to return to work as an airline pilot. As great as it has been to be able to return to work, make no mistake, I am far from fully recovered. B&B has not resolved itself yet I have learned to manage it in a very satisfactory way. Sexual function, I've got it but its not what it once was, not even close. Psychologically, the B&B and S function are the most difficult. The inability to walk easily is also frustrating but doesn't mess with my head as much. I'm good for a mile before I really need to stop, preferably more often. And it takes twice the effort.

    I understand your frustrations. AB people can be very understanding and very accommodating, but thats not the same as living it.

    More than 3 years out and I still see small improvements.

    Hoping to one day wake up and find out it was all a bad dream.

  7. #37
    I am 7 years post injury and have many of these injuries. The numbness is crazy with neuropathy accompanying much of it. I have noticed the muscle deterioration making my legs weaker... (can't stand on my left toes anymore... etc) I am doing my very best to keep my strength. I have started Arbonne health and wellness and it has helped my bowel so much! ANd pain. I have total sensory loss yet have motor skills... I can stand and walk until I close my eyes and then I fall! I cannot stand while my eyes are closed. I wish you all well and continued health! And strength! It's not easy and days are really hard to persevere through... But I am grateful for some things improving and doing everything I can to be proactive in preserving what is left!

  8. #38
    I am a T11/12 and was walking without aid for 34 years. B&B is close to normal and still is but I am a full time chair user and has been for 8 years. Like Darkeyed Daisy my advice is too not overuse yourselv,
    TH 12, 43 years post

  9. #39


    It's sometimes a hard balance between informing myself and worrying myself about the challenges of living with a SCI, yet I periodically find myself scouring this forum for clues as to what may lie ahead. Although everyone's injury is unique, I still find comfort in the knowledge of what may be, so thank you to everyone for posting so honestly about your successes and your challenges.

    Like many of you I had an L1 burst fracture with retropulsion, and am a walking para two years post. I wear a carbon fiber AFO on the left and use a cane(s) with Able TriPod tip(s). I went from wheelchair and walker during the first five months to using two canes with the rubber tripod tips (which I love!) for about 15 months. I now use just one primarily. There are times I should probably use two to decrease effort and improve speed and stamina, but I guess I'm too stubborn. I gimp around the house unaided by my cane, and sometimes even brave it without the AFO. I trip and/or fall on the regular (even with the AFO and cane). I manage to do so fairly gracefully and can usually fold over to catch myself or lower myself down if I know that's where it's gonna go. I'm still mortified every time it happens in public.

    My B&B issues improved greatly after the the first six months. I had no sexual desire for the first year and now it's the limitation in physical arousal that I find incredibly frustrating. It's also frustrating that much of the research downplays sexual dysfunction in women, or is based upon research carried out with men. But female orgasm isn't a big deal anyway, right?

    My neuropathic pain is well-controlled by spendy meds (gabapentin & Lyrica) which, thankfully, work wonders for me. But I still deal with constant pain in my right heel and transient pain in my back. I worry a bit about how the hardware in my back will hold up, as I have heard of others having difficulty with pedicle screws. I never really thought too much about the aging process, other than knowing I would be at a higher risk for arthritis at the site of injury, but after reading others' posts I see there may be a lot of challenges to aging I haven't considered. I'm 34, so luckily some of those things are still a little ways down the road.

    As the original post was in 2010, I'm curious to see how some of you, who are say 2 to 5 years post, are faring. I know "they" say the function you have at 18 to 24 months is what you'll be left with, but I'd like to hear what your experiences have been.

  10. #40
    Gimpin', it sound as if you've had great return. It may not seem so to you, but anyone who can be out and about with canes has done well with SCI. Take care of yourself when you walk. I fell recently and fractured a leg and am now laid up for awhile. I wish I'd been more careful.

    I have L1 and L5 injuries with the usual rods, screws and cages. I've gotten back almost full B&B function. I can walk almost two miles with hiking poles, but I'm really slow. I still have numb feet and the ankles don't obey real well. Still, it's amazing the ground that an be covered. I'm a little over 2 years post and just started getting gluts back.

    Don't give up. Keep strengthening yourself as much as you can, get out and enjoy life, don't worry about the future that you can't control. Life with SCI can be challenging but it can also be as rewarding as anyone else's.

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