Getting Around with an External Fixator

Immediately after surgery, the affected extremity should be elevated above the level of the heart until there are no concerns about swelling, for typically 2 to 3 weeks.  To elevate the affected extremity properly, place your hand on your heart - your foot should be above the level of your hand.  It is helpful to use pillows or blankets to accomplish this. 

To move the affected extremity, the leg external fixator must be moved together as a unit. The amount of assistance needed depends on your ability to control the leg during the move. Make sure not to place your hands under the fracture site during movement. This may cause you to apply stress and even slightly manipulate the fracture site.

Standing Up and Sitting Down

When standing up with a leg in a frame, you must use caution so that you do not fall. Always be very careful when sitting down or getting up from a chair if the external fixator is on your leg.

Using the Toilet

Again, while performing some daily activities with a leg in the frame, you must use caution to prevent falling.


Your body may require more sleep during the treatment process with your frame, due to increased demands in ambulation. The fixator adds extra weight and increased time to maneuver as you go about your day.