Author Topic: What is the average healing time fro a broken Patella?  (Read 25795 times)

Offline Karen S

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What is the average healing time fro a broken Patella?
« on: October 27, 2009, 04:27:13 PM »
Two weeks ago I was on holiday in Mexico and the morning of our last day I slipped and went down on my left knee cap and broke it. I had to have emergancy surgery that night in Mexico to repair it. I was told that not doing the surgery was out of the question. After 4days I was finally cleared to fly back to the states in crutches and with a leg brace on.

Once I returned I made an appointment for my own dr who xrayed and thought it looked good. I finally see an orthapedist this week hopefully to determin if I can start therapy and how much longer I will be out from work. I will be 3weeks this Sat from the accident.

I am curious to know the average healing time of a knee cap injury..I realise that all are different. I am a healthy, active 48 yr old female not over weight, and my job as a retail store manager for a big store requires me to be on the move.

Karen S

Offline sabasc3

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Re: What is the average healing time fro a broken Patella?
« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2009, 07:40:09 PM »
Hi Karen,
So sorry to hear you broke your patella on holiday, :( so far from home. 

I'm 45 and broke my patella into two pieces.

I think a job that requires you to be on the move (on your feet a lot?) is going to be very demanding and hard on your recovery. 
I went back to work on Oct 5 (injury on Oct 9, surgery Oct 18) and the pain was too significant.  I have a desk job at a computer.
It was especially hard because I was also suffering significant sleep deprivation from the pain at night. 
I ended up going onto short term disability -- thankfully my boss and his boss are both very understanding and want me to focus on healing.
Of course, another wrinkle in my recovery is that I can't drive yet. 

I hope your management is supportive and will make it possible for you to get some much needed down-time to properly heal.  When you return to work, do you have a quiet lounge or other place to put your leg up?  Do you have some good friends/colleagues who can help you with "legwork" type errands? 
Is your job frequently customer-facing for long periods?  I imagine it's going to be hard to take a break when you need it if that's the case, especially if a colleague has to escalate a customer issue to you.

Regardless of how soon you end up going back to work, hopefully you will stay in touch with us Knee Geeks!

P.S. I realize I didn't actually answer the question yet.  I agree with you that recovery times are unique to the individual.  My job is mentally demanding and is performed in relative isolation, so it's easy for my knee to "bug" me and make it hard to concentrate.  It might be easier if you have a lot of face to face contact to help you concentrate (I know it helps me).  I am taking a relatively "long" time (2+ months) away from work to recover so that I reduce the chance of reinjury or long term issues by overdoing it too soon.  I gotta live with this knee (or an eventual replacement) for the rest of my life :)
« Last Edit: October 27, 2009, 07:56:54 PM by sabasc3 »
Sep.09.09 - broke kneecap on sidewalk
Sep.18.09 - Surgery 2 pins 2 wires, small fix to retinaculum
Apr.02.10 - Surgery - pins and wires out
See Diary of Scott's right patella fracture recovery[/url

Offline Heathers new knee

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Re: What is the average healing time fro a broken Patella?
« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2009, 02:07:44 AM »
Hi Karen~
Healing of the fracture should take about 3-4 months. Then, it takes another few months for the bone to completely remodel. If the hardware is removed, that may be filled with bone putty or left to fill in on it's own...meaning more healing after that. It happens in stages. For me, getting the original fracture to heal was the easy part considering the injury. The kneecap was in 20 some odd fragments and shoved into the medial side of the knee. LOTS of soft tissue and nerve damage, too. The hardest part might be rebuilding the atrophied leg because things can shrink up REALLY fast as you are immobilized. I'm still working on that actually. Best of luck in continuing to be able to work. This is such a tough fracture to recoup from. I've been off work (nurse) since 5/07 and have recently applied for SSD...atleast until I can voc rehab. Good luck and keep us posted ok~
Heather :)
5/07 Sev. comminuted,displaced L patella fx,ORIF,brace,crutches
7/07 PT
9/07 Hardware removal,MUA,crutches,PT
5/08 J brace,patellofemoral arthritis,PT
12/08 Appt w/ patella specialist: L-TTT,LR PFJR,scope,scar tissue debridement-1/26/09
2/10-TTT screws removed,scar tissue debridement

Offline Karen S

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Re: What is the average healing time fro a broken Patella?
« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2009, 10:54:28 PM »
Thanks both Scott and Heather for your posts!!

You now seeing as it happend in Mexico I really dont know the extent of it all. What I do know the knee cap took a direct hit broke in two th.e tendon took one peice to the lower part and the other to the upper part of where the knee cap should have been. No tendon damage. In Mexico they thought it was a relative easy job. The scar really will not look nasty when it heals its very neatly done. What I know is one side of the knee is a little dumb the other side sore.  At almost three weeks I can bear weight on the leg. Walk with one crutch . Do Stairs slowly. Now that is all with a leg stabalizer. a straight one. When it comes off for a shower it feels very weak...but is easier to bend a little and I mean a liitle.

I will know much more on Friday and get to ask alot of questions. In Mexico my biggest was when Can I fly home?  and regardless what I had to do to get on that fllight..I was coming back home.

Work.. I can have 13 weeks paid in full off then I drop down to 60%. My District Manager has been great, but the type of business I work in is go here .. I need you to back me up here.. Can you help us ring customers out we are getting backed  hey can you help us get a kayak for a customer. I am a stiore Manager for a 10 million a year sporting goods store..and my only down time is before the store opens.. So taking it easy is not an option. I have already been told to just relax and heal by my DM today for sending her an email about payroll.

What I Have going for me is my leg strength was good.. I heal well and I hate to give in...Plus I am sleeping well all be in the brace..and I rest it alot while reading on my lap top or watching movies..I can't drive so My mother in law takes me to appointments. I also know what its like to have broken bones and and be on crutches and have a bone disease all in my childhood years..this is my first major break as an adult. Little toes dont count :)

I am sorry that you both are having more pain .and I appreciate your telling me your stories and your suppot and I will keep posting....I hope each day it gets a little easier and a little better for you both.


Offline JoKneeBroke

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Re: What is the average healing time fro a broken Patella?
« Reply #4 on: October 29, 2009, 02:56:27 AM »
My first patella fracture (2 big pieces very displaced and one small edge one) after a fall onto the concrete in the garage took 8 - 9 weeks to heal.  I was in a continuous motion machine the day after surgery.  I was back at work after 3 1/2 weeks part time.  I do desk work with no lifting.  I didn't drive until around week 10.  My mom came to visit for the first six weeks and I used the community disabled transportation the next four weeks.  I got dropped off at the gym and did a lot of pool walking that helped recover the real wimpy quads that took multiple weeks to recover.  In six months I was back on the tennis courts but at a much lower level than before.  Felt good to be around social situations and back exercising.  Never got totally back with sports because I fell on a different set of steps and refractured my knee 1 1/2 years later but this is not a displaced fracture and I didn't miss any work but had that immobizer on again for 4 1/2 weeks.  I knew the routine of leg lifts and trying to minimize the wimpy quad.  Am now at week 8 this time and can go up stairs slowly and can sort of come down them.  But I really feel the tiredness - my mind is not totally there at work and I'm really tired after work.  Ready to be able to go on hikes and play tennis again.

Offline Karen S

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Re: What is the average healing time fro a broken Patella?
« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2009, 09:00:30 PM »
I saw the Dr today and at week 3 they want the stabalizer and crutches gone. I start Pt as soon as the next apointment was available which is not till next Friday. The knee is stiff but feels much better after a hot shower..even better than the heating pad..I will work on it at home a little each day, the stabalizer and crutches are gone per I am not moving as fast but moving. Foot needs to be flat on floor or knee feels like it will give out.

Karen S