Looking for some advice

JMP

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Hello,

In the interest of protecting my identity, as I've been facing a toxic chain of command, I'm going to refrain from posting details that might expose my location but I will be honest and thorough in the hopes of receiving some guidance.
I incurred a fracture in my left fibula during basic training in November. The PA wanted to put me in a boot but the athletic trainer at the unit decided to push me through the final events (even though I was in excruciating pain). So, from mid-Nov through early Dec I finished a final APFT, ruck march, and FTX with a broken fibula (and later found out I also had a fracture on the right fibula as well). My appendix then ruptured and I had emergency surgery. I graduated BCT and went home on convalescent leave. I was then sent to my follow-up training unit where I went to sick call after realizing my legs were far from healed - this was the end of January. I have been in physical training since then - 5 months - and have dealt with the original fibula fracture for almost 8 months. It has not healed and I have since incurred nerve pain in my lower leg/foot due to the fracture and my hips have developed a searing pain when I walk/stand and in particular bend over. My bone scan showed 2 stress reactions in both femurs but the MRI was not clear.
My doctor told me first she was going to send me to an MEB. However, just last week she said she would recommend a Chapter 5-17 instead because she doesn't think I am able to finish AIT or be in the army but also doesn't know if a "MEB is right?" (her words). I have asked to see a specialist as I am in chronic pain but have not been referred. It angers me because everything I have read on fibula fractures is they should be healed in 6-8 weeks - not be lingering for 8 months.
And regardless of whether she thinks a MEB is right, isn't there a time limit for how long a soldier is supposed to be left hanging with an injury? I have developed an adjustment disorder because of how distraught I am over these medical problems and because of the chronic pain I'm in. My treatment from the unit leaves much to be desired but that's another subject.
I am fully aware that with proper medical care (and time) I will eventually heal. But I have been given time and attention and have not. I don't believe I am a good fit for the Army and I do not want to be broken further - mentally or physically but I do not think a Chapter 5-17 is fair. I understand I would probably receive a 0-10% disability rating but I am not looking for a high rating - I just want to get out before I get more hurt.
 

Sapper91

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Make sure you know what a Chapter 5-17 is before you sign it! You might get kicked out without anything!!
 

JMP

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Oh I'm definitely not going to accept a chapter. I mean the army has left me broken and they'll have to be held responsible for doing so. But why would my doctor consider a chapter over an meb anyway? everything I've read indicates chronic (stress) fractures are unfitting.
 

Sapper91

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Oh I'm definitely not going to accept a chapter. I mean the army has left me broken and they'll have to be held responsible for doing so. But why would my doctor consider a chapter over an meb anyway? everything I've read indicates chronic (stress) fractures are unfitting.
One of the chapters is for unable to adapt to military life, you get a General Discharge under Honorable Conditions. But that leaves a stain on your military record! I'd ask to speak to a JAG Lawyer before you get booted with nothing!!
 

Sapper91

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If you got hurt during Basic Training, get a LOD for it, then they'll have to get you some help!! There are experts on here and they know exactly what you need/can do in order to get results!!
 

jahlon

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If you got hurt during Basic Training, get a LOD for it, then they'll have to get you some help!! There are experts on here and they know exactly what you need/can do in order to get results!!
This.

Exactly this.

Make sure that the documentation is rock solid that the time of the injury is clearly defined as in Basic Training.
 

Sapper91

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See, someone more experienced has answered your question! Thanks!!
 

jp_over

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JMP - any long term update on your case?

I ask because I have multiple bilateral tibia stress fractures which haven't healed after 3 months even with a bone stimulator used for 3 hours per day per leg. I've just received another 3 months of profile but am interested in learning more about stress fractures that don't heal / take longer than normal to heal.

Thanks!
 

JMP

Member
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JMP - any long term update on your case?

I ask because I have multiple bilateral tibia stress fractures which haven't healed after 3 months even with a bone stimulator used for 3 hours per day per leg. I've just received another 3 months of profile but am interested in learning more about stress fractures that don't heal / take longer than normal to heal.

Thanks!
Hello! After talking to legal and my dad, who had been a first sergeant, I requested a different physician. He took the appropriate steps and referred me to ortho where they confirmed my stress fractures had essentially healed as much as they would and that I should go through an MEB. That took awhile but I retired February 4, 2018. Essentially the guide physicians are supposed to use when determining if you should begin an MEB due to stress fractures is a 6-month window. My stress fractures showed no signs of continued healing after 6 months and therefore I was eligible for an MEB. Honestly after I started the MEB, I did what non-impact activity I could to exercise and realized military doctors weren't going to be able to provide me the care I needed for these injuries so I decided to tackle the problem once I got out. I now have golf-ball sized calcium deposits in my calves and constant pain, unfortunately, and I'm worried an orthopedist out here will tell me the best course of action is to break the bone completely and start over. Which would suck.
Have you had your vitamin D level checked? I was deficient, not just insufficient, so my bones weren't able to absorb calcium effectively. But even when my levels came up the bones didn't magically heal. It's just another measure to protect yourself in the future.
Not everyone with stress fractures has to get out so if you want to stay in, a permanent profile is possible. But weigh the risks carefully. I can't run, biking & swimming hurt, and I walk with a limp all because of two stress fractures that should have healed 12 months ago. Also, follow up on any future x-rays or MRIs you have done. One of mine was misread and I didn't know for four months - now I'll probably need hip surgery. Hahaa.
Good luck, hopefully I was able to help a little. Let me know if you have any other questions!
 

chaplaincharlie

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Glad you were able to retire. Weight bearing would be a bear. Best wishes in the next chapter of life. Mike
 

jp_over

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JMP - thanks, that's great information! I'm having a DEXA scan done soon and I've had my vitamin D checked (it was a bit low but I'm on vitamins now). All in all, I'm working with ortho and endocrinology to see if they can diagnose what's causing these bone issues / slow healing. I'm already on permanent no run and no push ups profiles so I think my active duty time is nearing an end.

I'm sorry to hear you're still having troubles but hopefully the civilian docs can fix you up. Thanks again for the great info!
 
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