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Author Topic: 8 weeks after patellar dislocation & still can't straighten knee  (Read 153 times)

Offline LindseyN

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I fell and dislocated my right patella 8 weeks ago today. I was given crutches and a large immobiliser, which was removed by the ortho on day 10 because he didn't want me to get too weak. I've had physio twice since it happened, and my physio and I both suspect that I also sprained my ankle when it happened. My ankle and leg have been incredibly stiff, and I have limited ROM, even with exercises that I do twice daily. The exercises have helped the swelling in my ankle go away, though my ROM is still somewhat limited. Until about 2-3 weeks ago, I couldn't even touch my heel to the floor. It still stiffens up with inactivity, but it is much better.

The most concerning thing is that I still can't straighten my knee after all this time. It's not because of pain - I physically cannot force it into a straight or locked position. If I sit on a bed and try to straighten both of my knees, my right knee remains several inches above my left, no matter how hard I try to straighten it. I had an MRI just before Christmas and will get the results when I see my ortho again on Wednesday, but I'm getting really worried.

From what I've read, dislocations usually heal in 6-8 weeks, and even though I've improved, I feel like I should be able to straighten my knee now, and that hasn't changed at all. I can walk only short distances (a few feet) without crutches, but it's completely unstable because of not being able to straighten my knee.

Any idea what this could be? Or what I can do to get it to straighten more?

Offline Vickster

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Re: 8 weeks after patellar dislocation & still can't straighten knee
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2018, 08:09:36 AM »
Wait to see what the specialist says on the basis of the MRI and his examination

The locking sounds similar to my meniscus tear, I couldn't straighten my knee for 5 months until I had menisectomy

The specialist should be able to diagnose a tear from manual tests if the MRI doesn't show. Or it could be something else related to the dislocation

Good luck :)
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Offline LindseyN

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Re: 8 weeks after patellar dislocation & still can't straighten knee
« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2018, 06:02:33 PM »
Yikes! What was your recovery time for that? My kneecap won't move at all, and I've been afraid it's been something like that. I'm nearing the end of postgrad and finishing dissertation and placement in May, so I can't afford to take more time off than I already have. Fingers crossed it isn't that, but I'm afraid it sounds like it is. Thanks for your support!

Offline NatashaJade

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Re: 8 weeks after patellar dislocation & still can't straighten knee
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2018, 11:55:21 AM »
Hi Lindsey,

Been trawling these boards since I dislocated my patella 3 weeks ago and you're the first person I've seen write about not being able to put their heel on the ground! The OS gave me the all clear to go partial weight bearing on Monday but I just can't get my foot flat without a stretching/ripping feeling at the back of my knee. How did you get past this? I'm so desperate to get off the crutches. My MRI isn't for another 2 and a half weeks so was starting to panic something else is going on.

Sorry I'm absolutely no help with your question, wishing you a speedy recovery though!


Offline LindseyN

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Re: 8 weeks after patellar dislocation & still can't straighten knee
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2018, 09:38:55 PM »
Natasha,
It took me WEEKS! I don't know if it was just time or if I just became more active. I noticed that when I walked more, it loosened up a bit, but then it stiffened up again after I was inactive for about 20 minutes. It still is a bit like that, but it loosens up a bit more quickly now. I'm not sure how it is for you, but for me, it wasn't about pain or anything. (I'm usually more uncomfortable than in pain, though it depends on what I've been doing or the position I'm in.) I just physically could not force my heel to the floor for the life of me. I hope you're able to do it soon and have a much quicker recovery than I've had!

Vickster,
Thank you again for the advice! I saw the ortho today, and he said the MRI images were blurry because I moved. As much as I tried to stay still during it, I was in so much pain from the position because I couldn't straighten my knee, and my kept twitching. Anyway, he said that from what he could see, there was no physical reason for me not being able to straighten my knee, which makes it sound like he thinks it's psychosomatic or something. He said I have to force it straight, which I've tried to do to no avail. He even put a lot of pressure on it himself, and it hardly budged. He said it needed to be worked on in physio, and he would write a letter to the physio, who I'm seeing Friday. I've done all the exercises the physio gave me to do twice a day, but they're only so effective when I can't move my kneecap. Again, it's not pain, and I'm rarely in a lot of pain anymore. It that I physically just can't do it. He said I need to come back in a month, and if the physio hasn't helped by then, they'll do an arthroscope. I know a physiatrist (unfortunately in another country!), and he said he thinks it is the meniscus injury with a tear 'that flipped over and adhered in place.' At least he makes me feel like I'm not crazy! The ortho seemed disappointed in me that I'm not walking and still on crutches (though I am walking with the crutches, just without bending the knee), but I really have done everything I can!