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Author Topic: Need advice- driving with recent patella fx  (Read 1104 times)

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Offline Ppettijohn

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Need advice- driving with recent patella fx
« on: January 03, 2005, 08:51:20 PM »
I have a fractured Right patella, not dislocated.  This happened 12/11/04; diagnosed 12/13; saw OS 12/14; he issued an immobilizer and told me to return for an x-ray this week.  I was told that fractured patellas are either dislocated or not, and mine was not, that if I dislocated it, I would need surgery, otherwise I would not.  Here is my dilemma:  I tend towards work-aholism, so I think "selective hearing" might have been at work during my discussion with the doctor.  The impression I got was that I had to use the immobilizer all the time, even when sleeping, but that I could remove it for short periods.  I have a job which does not require much physical activity, and I wanted to return to work, and the doctor said okay. I can weight bear and walk with the imobilizer and a crutch.  We did not discuss driving, which was incredibly stupid on my part, because the only way I can work is to commute an hour and a half to two plus hours each day-- about 45 min to an hour+ in each direction.  I drove to work the next day, 12/15, and decided this was a mistake.  I already had vacation time scheduled for 12/23 to 1/3, so I just added some sick time at the front end, and have been home, not driving, since 12/15.  I am university faculty and this was our christmas break, so was not a problem.  
Today I drove for the first time, returning to work, as classes start today.  I removed the immobilizer, and tried to bend my leg as little as possible, but of course it is impossible to drive without bending my right leg!  It is also dangerous as I have to manually lift my leg to go from the gas to the brake pedal.  Am i scaring you guys?  
I really don't know what to do.  I have hundreds of hours of sick and vacation leave accumulated, so that is not a problem.  What is a problem is that my doctor okayed my working, and I feel like the fact that I can't get there is a separate issue, and is my problem, not theirs.  
In any case, since reading kneeguru I have come to the conclusion that driving is probably a mistake.  
Please advise.

Offline Nettan

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Re: Need advice- driving with recent patella fx
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2005, 09:41:05 PM »
Hey !!

Every case is different but for me it sounds weird if you should be allowed to drive.
To get better answers ( I have no ideas about fractured patella) make a new topic under Bone breaks around the knee.
Anyway wish you good luck !!

hugs Nettan  ::)
Surgery 6 times left knee torn meniscus, RSDS,chondromalacia, nervdamage cause constant nervpain,chronic inflamm.
Spinaldamage wheeler 100%.
Right knee damaged aug-06, use brace surgery 4/9-07.LCL tear.

Offline Heather M.

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Re: Need advice- driving with recent patella fx
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2005, 10:11:40 PM »
Your insurance may not cover you if you drive in an impaired state, which you are if you can't lift your foot from the gas to brake properly....

Use your vacation and sick time.  Read some great books.  Let your knee heal.  Or, when in doubt, go see the doctor again.

Keepin mind that your broken bit of bone is sitting like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle--aligned but not connected.  That's why you're not supposed to bend, I think, because your body is busy sealing the fracture lines with bone-building processes and scar tissue.

But the scariest thing to me is that you can't brake in an emergency if required to do so...that's just not safe, for you or anyone else.  Not to mention the PAIN of trying to drive with a broken kneecap....

Scope #1: LR, part. menisectomy w/cyst, chondroplasty
#2-#5: Lysis of adhesions/scar tissue, AIR, patellar tendon debridement, infections, MUA, insufflation
#6: IT band release / Z-Plasty, synovectomy, LOA/AIR, chondroplasty
2006 Arthrofibrosis, patella baja

Offline SallyW

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Re: Need advice- driving with recent patella fx
« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2005, 02:38:42 AM »
I drove with an immobilizer on my right leg: I moved the seat way back and sat on a cushion (which gave me the correct angle to reach both pedals with a straight leg). I really didn't have a problem with the pedals after I'd made those adjustments - it was perfectly safe, and wearing the immobilizer gave my knee the protection I needed.

I agree with Heather - your insurance won't cover if you are driving in an impaired state. On the other hand, if you can adjust the seating so that you aren't impaired, would that be a problem? Any more than, say, an amputee who steers with his feet (I've seen people doing that quite capably).
Right knee: LR/TTT 1995 Left knee: LR/TTT 2000, Microfracture & partial meniscus removal 2004, Synvisc 2004, Unloader 2004, OATS 6/20/2005, Synvisc 2006, Debridement 2006

Offline lizl

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Re: Need advice- driving with recent patella fx
« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2005, 06:47:28 AM »

I responded to your other post, so I'll just say one thing here: I absolutely cannot imagine a scenario in which you can come out alright if you get into some sort of wreck or even if you happen to get pulled over by the police.

2003: 1/28-29Fell on wet floor,broke kneecap
Post-op drug reaction
3/4-5/13 brace
12/19Hardware removal,scope,partial meniscectomies
2004: More PT
lost job
Settledw/WC Oct
2005: Personal injury lawsuit--reschedulings,failed mediation
2006: settled out of court in March

Offline Ppettijohn

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Re: Need advice- driving with recent patella fx
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2005, 09:58:17 PM »
I wanted to thank everyone for their information and encouragement.  I did indeed end up at home, where I found I could not enter into knee guru without re-subbing, so I apologize for my tardy thanks.  At my doctor's appt. I learned that my knee fracture hasn't healed, so I am to remain immobilized until the first week of February.  Thanks again.