Author Topic: Dealing with pain and sleepless nights following broken patella surgery  (Read 1276 times)

Offline Valmo

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Hello to members of this website.  I'm a newbie and am grateful to have found this site.  In short, I fell on the ice on Feb 2 and vertically broke my right patella.  Had surgery on Feb 6 which required bone grafting and wiring together the broken pieces.  OS said surgery was successful.  I am In my second week of PT which is a slow and painful process.  Supposedly at this point the pain is suppose to start subsiding, but on a scale of 1 to 10 my pain, even with advil and vicodin daily, averages about 8 to 10. Sleep comes in 3 hour segments if I am lucky.  Anyone out there have this painful of recovery for this type of surgery, and if so any suggestions for pain relief and better sleeping?  And how long I can expect the pain and sleepless nights to last.  Doc wants me off opiods by the end of this month which I am ok with provided I can obtain some other effective method of pain contol.  Appreciate everyone's feedback.  Thank you,
Valmo

Offline Pakneegal

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Hi
I am so sorry you are going through this.  I found the painkillers to not be as helpful as Advil and ice - lots and lots of ice (every two hours).  I also started massaging around the knee to get rid of scar tissue at about 8 weeks post surgery and that seems to have loosened things up as well.


I also shattered my patella, but mine was not able to be screwed back together so I had sutures and they attempted to keep a small piece and tie it into the larger piece of patella.  Due to starting a new job, I had to go back at 3 weeks which is earlier than I would have preferred but I think it was good for me to get into a routine.   I am 3 months post surgery and I am finally sleeping thru the night.  I started PT at week 8 and it was incredibly painful.  I switched to a PT place with aqua therapy and that seems to work better for me. I have only reached 80 degrees ROM but my orthopedic surgeon is not worried (I am). 

Best of luck to you and "good healing"!!

Offline Valmo

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Thanks for your wise and encouraging words.  I am approaching 2 months post op and can finally take a few steps w/o a walker and stay on my feet longer before needing to sit awhile.  My goals are to be able to drive again and walk through our giant Wal-Mart store w/o having to stop either due to pain.  Such lofty goals but we take so much for granted when our simple day to day activities are taken from us. Ice packs do feel great.  Also purchased a home tens unit which helps me sleep for at least a couple hours at a time w/o pain pills.  I am up to six hours of sleep a night, not all at once yet but I am grateful for cumulative progress in that area.  If it's true that patience makes saints, then perhaps there's hope for us, eh?  Thanks again and best of luck with your recovery and may your future be filled with good things.
Valmo

Offline iamhealing

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Sorry to hear about your pain!

My situation with patella fracture and surgery is that while my pain was not too bad, my surgeon kept me in straight leg no flexion for a long time.
He was being careful but now 4 months into recovery my range of motion is so limited-it seems I am hitting scar tissue . The PT tries to stretch it but it puts me in a 6-7 pain and that is just too much for me to bear. She wants me to loosen up and that is not easy , I feel my whole body cringing from what is going to be the next pain.


Bottom line, though you are in pain, as early as you can get flexion going! Did you use a continuous passive motion machine?  I didn't and I wish I had. Maybe that will help you?

Offline Valmo

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I have never heard of such a device but will definitely ask my PT about using one since my rom is not what it should be and needs to improve here in the near future if I hope to regain my full rom.  Bending my knee is the hardest because it feels like a balloon is stuck there.  The relentless 24-7 pain is starting to wear me down, but stopping for the sake of pain reduction is not the answer either if I wish to return to a reasonably normal life again.  Thanks again for your helpful suggestion.  Will hang in there with the rest of you dealing with this stuff as your stories and advice give me strength and courage to carry on. 
Valmo

Offline Liblet

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Hi Valmo

I fractured my Patella very badly in November '16, borderline removing the Patella completely.  I can completely sympathise with you regarding paid at night.  It took a good 3 months before the pain at night started to subside.  I was given Amitriptyline as well as codeine and paracetemol.  I believe Amitriptyline is an anti depressant but is also given for pain relief, in a different dosage.  I thoroughly recommend this drug, as it really helped, maybe you could ask your doctor to look into the possibility of prescribing it for you.  I am now 4.5 months post surgery and things are getting better but very slowly.  I am still on Amitriptyline but not Paracetemol or Codeine.

Walking gets easier but I find I have good days and not so good days.  Sitting with my leg bent for anything more than 10 minutes and the top part of my knee starts to hurt.  My OS says this is due to the K wire, which hopefully will come out in about 6 months time.  I am going to be given a CT scan to make sure that the bone has completely fused.  Unfortunately my OS says that an X-Ray is a 2D image of a 3D structure, so while it looks ok, he can't be 100% sure!  Great.

Hang on in there, things will start to get better but listen to your body and don't try to do too much too soon.  Very tempting.

Good luck and I hope this helps.

Offline Valmo

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Your sharing helps me feel like I'm not the lone ranger and mentally that is a real plus.  Not that I enjoy hearing of others having to go through this, but knowing you're not alone and that someone else out there understands your pain, anxiety, etc. is a lifeline of strength and hope.  I see my GP here soon and will mention the drugs you suggested.  (Note:  My OS last week told me I complain too much about pain, that other people are worse off than me, and that "I need to suck it up (pain)"  Real words of encouragement...even my husband couldn't believe what he was hearing.  Thankfully there are doctors out there with empathy to match their skills☺

Offline Liblet

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Are you in UK?

Offline Valmo

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I live in the state of Oregon, in the northwest corner of the USA.  So many in this support group are from the UK and Canada.  Exciting to be able to share info across the miles.  Hooray for modern technology!

 

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