The SPECIALIST'S OFFICE => Ruptured patellar tendon or ruptured quadriceps tendon => Topic started by: Kaddydee on November 20, 2014, 10:26:26 PM

Title: What's your experience with pain after PT reconstruction?
Post by: Kaddydee on November 20, 2014, 10:26:26 PM
Hi everyone,

I thought I'd start a new thread about people's experience with pain after Patella Tendon reconstructions.  I'm right in the midst of it (8 days post) so I'm interested for my own journey but also think it will be good for people in the future.

From what I've read on kneegeeks, some people have no pain (amazing!) and others have a horrible time.

Everyday I experience three types of pain:

1 Burning:  All day/night my leg burns around the wound site.  When it's mild, b/c of meds or rest, it feels like a heat pack is sitting on it - almost a comforting feeling - bit when it's severe it really burns and radiates up and down the leg.  It makes me feel sick from the heat.  I use an ice pack on my ankle or thigh to cool things down as I find my leg twitches/trembles if the ice is placed near the injury site.

2 Bruising pain:  My whole leg is sore to touch from mid-thigh where they had the tourniquet to my shin.  Very swollen and every colour from yellow to blue.  I undo my brace when sitting down to relieve some pressure of my skin.

3 When I stand up, it feels like the blood is rushing through my leg and I have a minute of agonising pain.  It feels like someone is squeezing all my muscles.  I stand still for a minute and then it calms down a bit so that I can hobble around on my crutches.  Whenever I'm on my feet I have that feeling - not pleasant.  At the most I have 5 minutes up and about and then sit back down and put my leg back up.

I'm dealing with the pain OK.  I've come off all my heavy pain meds as I'd rather feel the pain and have a clear head then feel drugged with no pain.  Having said that, 7.30 last night the burning pain hit really hard and I went to bed with a slow release Tramadol and an Endone.  Feeling fine today.

Love to hear your thoughts/experiences!

Title: Re: What's your experience with pain after PT reconstruction?
Post by: manttila on November 25, 2014, 02:06:45 PM
I also replied to your post on calf pain.

A lot of what you describe below sounds very familiar to me just a few weeks ago.  I am not sure of the medical explanation but always check with your doctor and don't hesitate to ask him questions.

1-Burning-my leg felt Hotter and looked more pink than the other leg for quite a while.  Even after 5 weeks it is still warmer near the wound but the color is normalizing and swelling is going down.  I also found that keeping my leg raised helped with the burning type sensation.  Actually the best thing I found was one of those "stressless" lawn chairs that is similar to a recliner.  My regular recliner also worked when I put a pillow under my leg to raise it even more.  Also put a pillow under my leg at night to keep it raised.
2-When I left after surgery they had wrapped by leg from the foot up past the splint with an "ace" bandage.  Did they do that with you?  I probably started to rewrap the leg after about a week but not touching the dressing.  Had someone help me because I could not stretch down to my foot.
3-yep, not sure but I think a lot of that feeling is from the leg being swelled.  But it does calm down after a minute or so.

It does get better with time as long as you do not have any other issues going on.  Review with your doctor if you are concerned.
Title: Re: What's your experience with pain after PT reconstruction?
Post by: Kaddydee on November 25, 2014, 11:39:09 PM
Good to hear from you Manttila!
It's always comforting to know that others understand and have similar experiences.

I'm two weeks post op tomorrow.  My swelling and bruising have gone down a lot- now a nice yellow colour rather than black and blue all over.

I'm still only able to sit with my leg up  (on pillows or ottoman) - 2 minutes with my foot on the ground and the pain overwhelms me.  With my leg up, I feel fine except for the mild burn.  Unfortunately, my city in Australia is very hot at the moment so having the thick bandage and the knee heat can be unbearable!  I'm trying not be jealous of my family that goes swimming everyday!

When I stand up, the instant pain isn't so bad but I've still only got a 5 minute window to do things before I need to put my foot up again.  My husband and daughters says they never seen me take such a short shower! It really is the calf pain that is the worst - strange!

The 2 main things I'll talk to the surgeon about tomorrow are the calf pain and pain management.  Should I be taking stronger meds so that I can get up and about more?  I'd rather not but maybe movt, especially for my calf, may be more important.

Title: Re: What's your experience with pain after PT reconstruction?
Post by: mpruett on December 31, 2014, 04:05:58 PM
I half fell, half jumped off a rickety step on our deck, and landed wrong, and tore my patellar tendon on 1/4/2014, so almost exactly a year ago.

I got hauled to the hospital in an ambulance (Presbyterian Dallas- the Ebola hospital!), and got operated on the following afternoon.   I can't say I really ever had any serious pain after the initial injury- in the hospital I got a combination of dilaudid and norco, and they kept the norco up for about a month post-op, at which point I switched to taking Aleve for the occasional ache or pain that I'd get.  Still, overall, it wasn't nearly so painful as the MCL repair I'd had in 1989.  I remember being pretty surprised at the time about that.

3 weeks in an immobilizer, but able to use a walker.  After the initial 3 weeks, had a follow-up visit, where they had me do some gentle bends, and then cleared me for PT, but put me in a brace with specified extension and flexion angles for various time frames after the operation. 

By about early April, I was cleared to walk without the brace, but continued to do PT until about mid-June, at which point my physical therapist said there wasn't much more that I could accomplish in their office.   I'd hit the point where the knee bends, etc... were actually starting to hurt my good knee more than they did my recently injured one.   I effectively had full ROM back, and was building the muscle mass back too.

However, the knee still felt kind of strange for a long time- probably until October or so, at which point I noticed that I wasn't paying attention to how it felt when I walked or went up stairs or whatever, and in November, I was horsing around with my nephew, and realized that I was running and jogging without even thinking or noticing my knee.

So all in all, I've recovered pretty much fully, and am back to normal.  I got lucky, I think.

Oh... and for the record, I'm a 42 year old fat guy (300 lbs) who hasn't been particularly athletic in about a decade.
Title: Re: What's your experience with pain after PT reconstruction?
Post by: Kaddydee on December 31, 2014, 09:47:01 PM
Thanks for sharing your story, mpruett!  It must be a wonderful feeling to be able to completely forget about your knee and get on with living life.

I'm 7 weeks post op today.  I've been pain free and medicine free since week 3.  My knee still gets very inflamed, especially after doing quad exercises, and I still feel niggles and the expected stretching feeling when doing bending exercises but I'm happy with how the knee is settling down.  It's still quite swollen and bruised but so much better than even one week ago.  I massage it 3 times a day for 10 minutes and that seems to be working.

Yesterday, I dropped to one crutch (around home).  My walk wasn't pretty in the morning but by the afternoon it was amazing how much I had improved. Very excited!

I'll see my surgeon on Thursday - will be interesting to see what he has to say.

Happy New Year!

Title: Re: What's your experience with pain after PT reconstruction?
Post by: Kneetoknee on March 17, 2015, 02:48:09 PM
I was operated on 3 weeks ago for a completely ruptured tendon. I had a huge hematoma to an old injury and that was really painful. The surgeon took off an amazing amount of new blood and I was operated on 3 days later. The repair involved removing a lot of scar tissue and moving down the patella. I anticipated a lot of pain but after the first night, I took none of the pain pills because they upset my stomach. I tolerate Aleve well and used it. The funny thing is that my knee had no pain, but my ankle hurts where the cast rubs on it. I live in Costa Rica and have the cast for 6 weeks. I do 4 sets if leg lifts from a sitting position each day...10 lifts. My surgeon said, no more! I will begin PT after the cast is off. I live very remotely and will not have a therapist. I do have a lap pool and the doctor said it will be a great form of exercise. I have had no pain in the knee at all and I can weight bear without the crutches with no pain. But I'm trying to be a good patient and use my crutches. It is truly amazing at the different experiences people face all over the world...I wish you well and everyone else facing the long road to recovery.
Title: Re: What's your experience with pain after PT reconstruction?
Post by: Kaddydee on March 17, 2015, 08:30:06 PM
Hi Knee to Knee,
Thanks for sharing your story!  So glad to hear that your pain is at a minimum - it really is amazing how differently people react to surgery.  My knee reaction was pretty bad but I had expected it because of knee problems I'd had in the past ( 1 month in hospital with complex regional pain syndrome and infection!) 

Glad to hear you've got a pool and will be able to do hydrotherapy.  I did a lot of hydro therapy after my month in hospital - it was the only form of therapy my knee could tolerate.  I'm going to get a hydro routine next week from my physio as I'm heading O/seas on a holiday and will have a pool to use most days.  I'll pass on some exercises.  Last time, I did lots of gently kicking and step-ups.

As for me,  I'm 4 months post-op.  I'm working hard on my bend (110-115) and building up muscle strength.  I still don't have the strength to get up stairs - my patella tendon was torn for 2 years before they could fix it so my quads were reduced to nothing! I go to the gym 5 times a week and work on cycling, rowing and an hours program for my knee - leg presses, leg extension, squats, lunges etc.

Still have a few niggles.  I get sharp pain behind knee when I do leg extensions and leg presses at the 15 degree bend.  Also have medial pain but that's from lack of cartilage.  Amazingly, I still have bruising which is a bit tender to touch.  All in all, I'm happy with where I'm at, considering surgeons were scared to operate on my knee again.

Take it easy!  Make the most of the forced relaxation (as annoying as it can be!).