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Author Topic: Recovery time - out of work firefighter  (Read 2400 times)

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Recovery time - out of work firefighter
« on: June 06, 2007, 08:14:08 PM »
Hi there everyone,
I had the OATS procedure on my MFC 5/5/07. I am a firefighter and have not been able to return to my job at this time. Has anyone had a very physical job and had to take time off because of this surgery? If so, how long were you out of work? My OS gave me a tentative return to work date of 7/2/07. That seems unlikely as I can tell I still have a way to go before my knee is well enough to handle crouching, crawling, and carrying an add'l 50lbs of gear on top of my body weight.
I was just released off crutches a week ago (6 weeks w/ two and 2 weeks w/ one). I just don't want to rush anything and hurt my knee again.  :o
Thank you,


Offline DJK

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Re: Recovery time - out of work firefighter
« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2007, 01:49:25 AM »
Meredith, I feel your pain...I originally injured my L knee in 2002 and have had 5 surgeries first being a scope with debridement...was out for 3 light duty policy in our contract at that time..2nd was 8 months later and a big one...had a TTT(Fulkerson) done by the man himself...after that one I was out for 13 months doing rehab everyday...though during that 13 month period I also had my screws taken out along with another scope...up next was and additional scope and LR at this point I was encouraged by my OS to consider retirement due to the lack of my knee getting any me it was the hardest decision I have had to make in my life so far...I grew up around the FH and had been a FF for 15yrs.(7 career) it just killed me to do it, but the risk of something happening to me was to great as our jobs are not all that last surgery was 8/06 which consisted of an OATS using OBI synthetic plugs to the back of my kneecap...the damaged area had know grown to to 40-50mm with full thickness deterioration of 20mm...I am still experiencing difficulty and am on prescribeti9on pain meds daily...the future for my L knee doesn't look all that promising, and after 5yrs. of compensating my R knee is on its way too...I do wish you the best road to recovery and don't mean to scare you with my post, but please do not rush back to work...for your knees sake and your fellow brothers and sisters.--DJK
L knee
scoped/debridement 10/02
Fulkerson 12/03
got unscrewed 9/04
scoped/debridement/LR 8/05
Allograft w/OBI plugs 8/10/06

Offline Jo-knee

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Re: Recovery time - out of work firefighter
« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2007, 06:27:32 AM »

I don't want to sound pessimsitic, but I really can't see how you could possibly go back to full duty in 2 months time and truely feel it would be foolish to try.  Not nearly enough healing time for that procedure, not to mention getting strength back will be a challenge.  Crouching, crawling, and kneeling will be difficult for you even without a 50# load for quite some time.  Be very careful not to push to quickly.  Talk a little with your PT, set some realistic goals.  Sorry. 

Gotta love that ice!  10/05 lat menisectomy, microfracture to 2 medial femoral defects.

Offline brattkids

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Re: Recovery time - out of work firefighter
« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2007, 06:25:04 PM »
Where was your OATS??

I would say that a two month recovery time back to full duty is unrealistic. The grafts themselves can take many many months to set and fully heal. I am almost two years out of my OATS and still have healing going on. The amount of stress that you would be putting on your graft sites may compromise them.

I would ask your OS if your return to work is full duty or light duty!

Best of luck

4/04 microfracture
5/04 debris removal
8/04 OATS with synthetic plugs
11/04 OATS traditional autograft medial femoral chondyle
05/05 debris removal and OATS assessment
6/05 Cadaver Allograft OATS lateral femoral chondyle
9/05 OATS redone could not save allograft plug
12/2006 2007 and 2008 scop


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Re: Recovery time - out of work firefighter
« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2007, 12:41:33 AM »
Thank you all for your replies. It's great to know that there are folks with helpful advice and answers. I thought it was unrealistic to consider going back so soon, at least on the fire engine. Unfortunately, I also have problems with the R knee and always compensated for its weakness with the L knee. Since my L knee OATS on the MFC, I've really been having R knee flare ups. An x-ray taken on my R knee yesterday showed a loose body in the back of that knee  :P. When it rains it pours!!! I see the OS again next week and will have a serious heart to heart with him then. It looks like I may be looking at different career options  :'( . DJK, I am sorry to hear you had to give up your FF career. I know how much being a FF has meant to me. I'll keep you all posted, and best of luck to you all.