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Author Topic: Broken Patella Recovery Time  (Read 5807 times)

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Offline Judy

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Broken Patella Recovery Time
« on: April 26, 2004, 06:01:59 AM »
I slipped and broke my kneecap (patella) in half on January 2 and had surgery that same day.  My regular ortho inserted two pins into and a figure 8 wire on top of my kneecap.  I started PT on January 26.  I was told normal recovery time is 4-6 months.  I almost at 4 months and can walk with a slight limp.  I have just started climbing stairs, slowly.  The main problem for me is the bending.  I have been stuck at 90 degrees for about 3 weeks.  The pain when bending is not near my knee cap but about an inch above and an inch below.  My knee has been swollen since surgery and my ankle has been swollen to a lesser degree almost constantly.  I also had a dead skin problem due to the surgical tape they use these days instead of sutures.  My skin was dying underneath but was covered up by the tape.  I was tired of the tape so one day took a tub bath and when I gently eased that one piece of tape off, I almost fainted because I thought I saw white bone but it turned out to be dead skin which they took off with a scalpel and no anesthetic on Feb. 27.  I still have a huge scab over that spot.  My question is, what is your experience with degree of bending after a broken patella surgery?  I exercise faithfully at home and go to PT twice a week.  I am 54 years old and am getting really discouraged with doing all the hard work with pain and not being able to see progress in bending.  I was told that 90 degrees was the magic number and that it would be easy after that but instead I am stuck. ???

Offline ByteSize

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Re: Broken Patella Recovery Time
« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2004, 06:05:23 PM »
Judy -- I am close to your age, and had the same kind of injury at the beginning of Feb.  I'm 23 weeks into recovery, and in some areas I'm ahead of you, and others I'm behind.  I haven't started climbing stairs with my injured leg yet, for instance, but seem to have more ROM.

My hardware is a little different from yours... I have two screws in my kneecap, and a wire going around the periphery, instead of a figure-8.

I also had some quad tearing, probably to a moderate degree, although I haven't obtained a copy of my surgical notes yet (it's on my to-do list).  Did you have any other injury to your knee, besides just breaking the bone?

The last time ROM was measured, it was 116 degrees.  It seems to be getting close to how I can bend my other leg, when I have both knees bent, and am sitting on the table (if you don't take into account the pain it takes to get to that point!)

Hope this helps... if you think of any other questions, just let me know.  Not that I'm an expert, but I would be glad to share from my experience.

Kathy
Fractured patella and surgery 2/3/04
Staples removed 2/25/04
PT started 3/8/04
Brace removed 4/13/04
Walking on one crutch 4/13/04
Walking on cane 4/30/04
Graduated from PT 5/26/04
Hardware removed 2/7/05

Offline Azdorton

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Re: Broken Patella Recovery Time
« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2004, 01:57:41 AM »
I broke my patella in half on Oct. 29, 2003.  I didn't have any sugery as my OS felt the peices were close enough together that they would heal without pinning.  I am now just two days shy of six months since I fell.  I've been going to PT three times a week since the first week of February.  I also excercise at home and use a JAS brace three times a day.  I have been stuck for the last two weeks at only 80 degrees of flexation.  I can't seem to get past that.  I went to my OS yesterday and he's concerned that it's taking me so long to get the ROM back.  Both he and my PT think my problem is scar tissue.  The OS ordered an MRI of my knee to see just how much scar tissue there is and where it is to determine what the next step is.  He said he may have to go in and clean out the scar tissue or maybe do an MUA (manip. under anesthesia).  I am able to walk with a definite limp and the use of a cane, but I have the same problem you do with the bending.  It's very frustrating to say the least!  

Only thing I can offer, is don't give up.  Maybe check with your Dr. to see if scar tissue might be holding you back from making any progress.  I know I never in my life dreamed it would take this long to recover from my split-second fall!

Good Luck!
10/29 patella fracture, full leg cast
12/21 hospitalized for blood clots in both lungs
12/24 cast removed, started PT, ROM 35 degrees
4/27 ROM 80 degrees

Offline michelles

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Re: Broken Patella Recovery Time
« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2004, 11:50:09 PM »
Judy-

All I can say is that it does come eventually.  I broke my kneecap at the end of January and reached 90 degrees at the end of March, and I got up to 120 this week.  I'm the same as you - PT twice a week on a knee pinned and wired together.

I found that hydrotherapy and generally being in water helped a lot once I got to 90.  I had one hydro session which did wonders, and a week on holiday at the beginning of April where I got to go in the pool every day. It really seemed to make a difference.

Hope this helps.
22/1/04 broke left kneecap
28/1/04 surgery
5/2/04 staples removed
19/4/04 back to work
11/7/05 hardware removal

Offline sabby

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Re: Broken Patella Recovery Time
« Reply #4 on: November 10, 2010, 06:17:02 PM »
I broke my patella on 27 march 2010 in half split from left tow right wow much pain. Now 8 months later and surgery figure 8 tension weir around my knee cap I am waking I have stopped my pt could not afford it. Walking good throw from 5 months on. Still hurts a lot just above and just below my cap but it is just the hard ware in there. You will get threw this. Pool was good I did a lot of pool work and the beach.

Keep cool wish you good luck
sebastian

Offline coral 251

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Re: Broken Patella Recovery Time
« Reply #5 on: November 13, 2010, 09:38:02 PM »
Hi judy,dont despair,things do get better,i also broke my patella in march, and again had the usual repair for this type of injury,  the pins and figure of 8 wiring.
I am now almost 8 months post-op,and at last i am beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel,i still have the dull ache, just above and just below the kneecap,but i am led to believe this will disappear once the hardware is removed.
Try massaging your scar area with comfrey oil,its nickname is" knitbone" as its suppose to srengthen bone, and also good for the skin.
I do have full ROM,and am also now gaining leg strength, i agree it is hard work,but with this injury you have to stick at it, its not something that will heal on its own,i understand what you are saying though, as i myself wont see 50 again,so i think the exercise is probably worse for us than people who are a lot younger.
If you require any good exercise charts,feel free to email me,and i will glady email them to you.
So chin up,stick at it, and you will get there in the end,this is a very serious injury,and the recovery is long and slow.
Wishing you all the best with your recovery.
    Regards.
                      coral

23/03/10 displaced patella fracture 3 pieces right leg
26/3/10 had op,2 pins & figure of 8 wiring
full cast ankle to thigh 7 weeks.
18/5/10 cast removed xray showing hairline crack
26/7/10 walking unaided,full rom
31/10/2010.6 months post-op check,bone not healed,harware cant be removed

Offline landlord

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Re: Broken Patella Recovery Time
« Reply #6 on: July 07, 2017, 12:24:03 PM »
I have detailed my patellar recovery experience here http://www.kneeguru.co.uk/KNEEtalk/index.php?topic=69566.msg650416#msg650416
« Last Edit: July 07, 2017, 02:36:27 PM by Leah, Reason: Duplicate posts edited »

Offline Sampson19511

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Re: Broken Patella Recovery Time
« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2017, 04:49:06 PM »
Hi Judy.  I did same thing you did and had same surgery.  I am 65 and have always worked out and hiked.  I also snow ski.   I have been mowing my large yard with a regular mower also, but can't do the whole thing yet.  I am over 3.5 months post op and the stiffness is worse than ever past two weeks.  I have good range of motion in all directions but the minute I sit down or try to sleep the stiffness wakes me up.  I still can't walk without a limp.  I feel like the patella and attached tendons are not listening to each other1  My surgeon says it can take 7 to 12 months for complete recovery and some do not have 100% recovery.  He also said with a patella fracture and surgery you can have some  meniscal cartilage loss.  He did not think I had adhesions, although it feels like it.  PT did nothing but take my money.  The exercises on line are better if you are a motivated person.  I am very upset with all of this but we must keep pushing on.  My surgeon said absolutely NO lunges or squats (even for healthy knees).  I miss them because I need them to say "built up in legs and butt".  However, you can go on line and look up exercises for people with surgical knees or bad knees.  These produce no stress on the knee joints and are very effective in strengthening your surgical knee as well as the rest of the lower body.  I have a call into the surgeon to see what else he recommends and to see if this stiffness is "still normal" after 3-5 months post op.  Will post soon.  Susan

Offline Sampson19511

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Re: Broken Patella Recovery Time
« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2018, 08:13:45 PM »
JUST AN UPDATE 1-12-2018  9 MONTHS POSTOP TODAY: Well it has been 9 months today since I had the fracture of my patella repaired two screws and wires.   I was a very active person, hike, ski, dance, roller blade, mow one acre with regular mower on hilly ground, have worked out religiously for over 43 years.  I am still in pain, my patella is still not tracking properly.  I can't go up and down steps or mountains very easily.  I can't move sideways very quickly, can't run, etc.  I probably can't snow ski.  I have tried everything to get this "patella moving again".  PT did not work.  Chiropractor did not work.  Massage therapy did not work. All of these were out of pocket expenses or a large copay.  I can't have screws and wires taken out until April, at my one year surgery mark.  I have exercised and exercised following tons of information and surgeon's recommendations.  Nothing helps.  I have, for the most part, stopped limping, but some days I still limp.  Sleeping is in minimal pain usually.   I just want to ski again!  Now also arthritis in this knee which pops and crackles all the time.  I do not have arthritis any place else nor did I have this before my accident and surgery.  People and doctors say it takes a good year to recovery, but I know some of this is permanent.  Perhaps I should be glad I can just walk.  DOES ANYONE HAVE ANY OTHER SUGGESTIONS, I WOULD BE SO HAPPY TO HEAR FROM SOMEONE.  I WILL TRY ANYTHING.  Thanks, Ready to Give Up!

Offline bobsmydog

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Re: Broken Patella Recovery Time
« Reply #9 on: March 29, 2018, 12:40:08 PM »
JUST AN UPDATE 1-12-2018  9 MONTHS POSTOP TODAY: Well it has been 9 months today since I had the fracture of my patella repaired two screws and wires.   I was a very active person, hike, ski, dance, roller blade, mow one acre with regular mower on hilly ground, have worked out religiously for over 43 years.  I am still in pain, my patella is still not tracking properly.  I can't go up and down steps or mountains very easily.  I can't move sideways very quickly, can't run, etc.  I probably can't snow ski.  I have tried everything to get this "patella moving again".  PT did not work.  Chiropractor did not work.  Massage therapy did not work. All of these were out of pocket expenses or a large copay.  I can't have screws and wires taken out until April, at my one year surgery mark.  I have exercised and exercised following tons of information and surgeon's recommendations.  Nothing helps.  I have, for the most part, stopped limping, but some days I still limp.  Sleeping is in minimal pain usually.   I just want to ski again!  Now also arthritis in this knee which pops and crackles all the time.  I do not have arthritis any place else nor did I have this before my accident and surgery.  People and doctors say it takes a good year to recovery, but I know some of this is permanent.  Perhaps I should be glad I can just walk.  DOES ANYONE HAVE ANY OTHER SUGGESTIONS, I WOULD BE SO HAPPY TO HEAR FROM SOMEONE.  I WILL TRY ANYTHING.  Thanks, Ready to Give Up!

I am 67, 8 months post op, and like you a skier of old! Struggling to walk without limping as my knee feels as if it has a lump of lead tied around it, its so heavy and stiff. I have good ROM so that's something I suppose, but I'm still doing stairs like a toddler. Doc and PT think I now have arthritus in this knee.

On the advice of a private PT I have been walking in water for the last 2 months, back, forwards (plain, high knee, and kicking leaves) and sideways for half an hour 3 times  a week and I think it is helping. Also in the pool I go to there is a proper staircase to go in and I can go up these (but not down yet) on the steps which have water to mid thigh so I think this will help too.