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Author Topic: Knee bending after lateral tibial plateau surgery  (Read 1661 times)

Offline Joe2011

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Knee bending after lateral tibial plateau surgery
« on: December 03, 2011, 01:49:29 AM »
Hi.

I'm 40 and had surgery 6 weeks ago to put in a plate and two screws on my left lateral tibial plateau fracture, pressed in by the femur.  I was a pedestrian hit by a car.

For the 6 weeks, I wore a knee immobilizer.  Yesterday, I was given a ROM brace and told that I'm allowed 50% weight bearing and *may* bend my knee.  I believe I remember that the doctor said I *may* bend it all the way.  The ROM brace allows up to just over a 90 degree bend, and I don't always have to wear it.  The doctor didn't have me bend my knee at all while I was seeking him, though I think I did bend it slightly and said it felt funny to do so -- like a half-asleep feeling.  In the room where I was being given the ROM brace, I noted to the personnel there that I wasn't able to bend the knee more than what seemed like 30 to 40 degrees.  There seemed to be a pressure keeping me from bending further.  They didn't say much about it that was notable.  (The pressure was NOT a setting on the brace).

On getting home yesterday, I looked at the dial on the brace while bending my knee, and I saw that I was able to bend to 45 degrees.

As of this evening, I'm still not able to bend further than 45 degrees.  The "pressure" that prevents any further bending seems pretty firm.  When I bend to that point, there's sometimes a pressing sensation down into my foot just in front of the heel, as well as a little shooting pain (or more like brief slightly sharp tingling).  The amount of that pressing sensation and pain seems to correspond to how much I try to bend the knee.  But I have not tried to force it much at all.  The pressure seems to be above and behind the knee.  It feels as though, if I were to force it, something could bust.

Anyway, is this pressure, preventing the bending, to be expected for a while?  Is it common (and gradually decrease to allow a greater degree of bending)?  Is it due to the swelling?  Could it be a mis-aligned bone?  Should I call and ask the doctors office about it? (They are closed tomorrow.)

I'm scheduled on Tuesday (in 4 days) to go to the initial evaluation for aqua therapy.

Thanks!

Joe

Offline Joe2011

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Re: Knee bending after lateral tibial plateau surgery
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2011, 04:19:56 AM »
I guess my questions were buried in my long post.

Basically, what could be preventing me from bending my knee more than 45 degrees?  The swelling?  A displaced bone?  The brace?

If it is just the swelling, which presumably therapy will help reduce (as well as ice), how long roughly may it be until I can bend my knee at least 90 degrees?

Thanks.

Offline dmontesanti

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Re: Knee bending after lateral tibial plateau surgery
« Reply #2 on: December 07, 2011, 02:52:53 AM »
Hey there,

I suffered a severe T.P.F, and bending the knee after these types of injuries feels very strange at first. Having your knee immobilized for long periods of time make the joint stiff. When I was recovering I also could only get about 45 until it popped during P.T. the brace will add some discomfort when bending as it is hinged different than your real knee....if that makes sense, and the swelling will also make it feel weird. I just had my hardware removed yesterday,  and can already tell it will be tricky bending it again. Just go slow, and hold long deep stretches as often as you can. It wont feel right for quite a while though. Stay after it and don't give up. Sounds like what I remember from my original surgery recovery 4 years ago. One of my favorite ones was laying on my back on the couch, and letting my leg slid down the back rest slowly.....letting gravity do most of the work.

Hang in there!

D.M.
07- T.P.F racing motocross
07- 2 weeks with external fixation
07- 6 hour surgery to reconstruct knee, donor bone, massive meniscus repair, plate on inside of knee, and 13 +/- screws.
2011- supartz injections failed.
12-5-11 hardware removal, knee scope.

Offline Stergios

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Re: Knee bending after lateral tibial plateau surgery
« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2011, 10:19:17 PM »
This is a usual problem after a so long time immobilization. You should have been recommended intense Physiotheraphy, if there is no danger of damage in your ligaments. There are many posts about your problem in this forum. Most of them concern arthrofibrosis that is a special case of stiffness, due to many factors. I hope you are not in this case and you will gain your ROM soon. A PT can tell what is the end feel of your knee and how much he can work on it. Good luck. Notice that knee stiffness can be handled also by an OS with a MUA (manipulation under anaesthesia) and/or with Lysis of Adhesions (LOA), if PT fails.t
I'm a TPFer too, and after 10 months my ROM is not more than 90 degrees after intense PT. I'm trying to find a less invasive solution, but my case is more complicated than yours.