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Author Topic: Frustrated after microfracture surgery  (Read 17494 times)

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Offline nursedeb

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Frustrated after microfracture surgery
« on: May 29, 2010, 05:33:36 PM »
Hi everyone,
I had microfracture on 4/19/10 for a 1.5x1.2 osteochondral defect in the medial femoral condyle. On May 25th, which was exactly 5 weeks and 1 day after surgery I went to the ortho. I had full range of motion, very little pain and minimal swelling. Because I was doing so well the doc said I could try to walk. He placed me in a brace in locked position and told me to walk like a pirate, "peg-legged". The first few steps were painful but I figured that was normal. I tried walking down the hall, and every step I took I had a sharp pain about 5/10 in the exact spot where he did the surgery. He said ok let's back off and go two more weeks of non-weight bearing. I just wanted to pull my hair out. I wanted so desperately to walk, but I also didn't want to push things. Has anyone else experienced a similar situation. How long does it normally talk before you can walk without pain. I understand that some pain is normal, but I can't possibly imagine having a sharp pain with every step. He said that some patients are non-weight bearing for up to 12 weeks! Yikes! I think I'll be in the nut house by then, and so will my husband  :P Any words of advice or encouragement from fellow micro-fracturers would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks a million
Debbie
« Last Edit: May 31, 2010, 06:42:16 PM by nursedeb »

Offline jt801

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Re: Frustrated after microfracture surgery
« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2010, 07:16:07 PM »
Hi Deb-hang in there! I didnt walk until midway through my 7th week of NWB, so you are doing ok. My advice is to wait a little while, then try to start walking with your crutches still supporting most of your weight. That way you can gradually increase the load on your bad leg. I started that process at about the 6.5 week mark and after a week or so of doing that i finally was able to ditch the crutches and could walk naturally without pain. I know its frustrating but if you can take things slowly and not push yourself too much, you will be much better off in the long run. Good luck!
12/99 left knee lateral release and plica removal
1/09 right knee chondroplasty and microfracture LFC

Offline nursedeb

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Re: Frustrated after microfracture surgery
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2010, 08:14:08 PM »
Wow so it's been almost a year and a half since your surgery are you still walking pain free

Offline jt801

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Re: Frustrated after microfracture surgery
« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2010, 02:56:11 AM »
Yes-i still have some soreness from time to time, but i have been playing sports and doing whatever i want for the past 5 months. Its a long road back but you will get there.
12/99 left knee lateral release and plica removal
1/09 right knee chondroplasty and microfracture LFC

Offline Saints21

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Re: Frustrated after microfracture surgery
« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2010, 07:49:46 AM »
Hi deb.. we had the same surgery 10 days apart so we are almost the same.... The thing that strikes me is that you have been NBW for the whole 5 weeks... I mean even in PT???? If thats the case I guess all your muscles are very weak...(ive been liftinh weights in PT since 4 days after the surgery and I still laugh when I see my leg it looks so wierd withoyt the muscles)  that may be the cause of the pain .. right now you are only using your knee, cause you have no muscle to support the leg....

Ive been walking with crutches for 3 days, pain free.. rode the bicycle today with no pain... swimming with out a pull bouy for 20 minutes and even doing "like" squat exercises with no pain ... although the difference between us may be that im lifting 7 pounds on my leg already, and I have more muscle now than when I went the first time to my doctor... I am no doctor, but if you are doing PT without weights that may be the cause of your pain

I hope you get better soon, This is my second operation and in my experience you have to maintain a positive attitude... believe it or not you body will react different if you are positive instead of negative!  that will make it a lot easier!!!!

JT im really happy that you could go back to your normal life.. im ready to sacrifice basketball and jogging if that gives me 3+ years of flag football.. its too early yet but thats my goal!
 

Offline nursedeb

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Re: Frustrated after microfracture surgery
« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2010, 06:30:01 PM »
Hi,
I find it interesting that you were allowed to use weights with PT. My doc said absolutely no weights until my weight bearing restrictions are lifted. So, were you non weight bearing for 6 weeks? Also, you mentioned this is your second surgery. Is this your second microfracture surgery? I hope not. I certainly don't plan on having than done more than once. If the microfracture doesn't work, I'm going to try the OATS procedure. Besides, I've read that OATS has a better long term success rate than microfracture. My doc doesn't believe in the ACI?
Debbie

Offline Saints21

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Re: Frustrated after microfracture surgery
« Reply #6 on: May 30, 2010, 08:02:10 PM »
Hello!

I was prohibited from putting any weight in my leg (like walking) but in PT I have been using weights I think from the second week... no discomfort.. no pain ...

Gradually ive been increasing the weight bearing, and I am right now on 7 pounds.. with no pain .. which has helped my because I have muscle to help the leg

The thing I dont understand about not doing weights in PT is that your leg must be very very week, hence thats why I THINK you are having so much trouble walking

That said, its important to mention that I never had any problem walking before my surgery .. I had no pain at all.. my problem was that I had a swelling that did not go away, and since I could not lift weights for my leg, it was impossible to get muscle... I could run spin cut, do all these things without pain .. the problem was the swelling afterwards...(when I got the MRI I had even tendonitis on the MCL, probably because of my forcing my injured leg!)

This is my second surgery, I had surgery 10 years ago to repair a meniscus in the same leg.. whats interesting is that I thought that, since I had part of my meniscus missing, I though the injury to the cartilage was right at the point where it was missing, but my surgeon told it was in another place.. so Its possible that I banged it some time ago and it just finally decided to give out

So, in these 2 more weeks you cant add weights in PT.. I mean every doctor has his protocol, so I dont know.. what I do know is that if I was lifting weights in PT (I mean the simple exercises like raising your leg straight up, sideways etc) and I had even the minimal, pain, I would stop but I had no pain at all....

I hope you get better, I still dont know if it really worked until two more weeks (8 weeks the crutches are going away) but as of right now, I think it is going well!

I hope you get better!!

Offline nursedeb

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Re: Frustrated after microfracture surgery
« Reply #7 on: May 31, 2010, 01:43:20 AM »
Hi again,
I actually went on the web site for Dr Steadman, he is the guy who invented microfracture. According to his rehab protocol, there should be no weight bearing at all for 6 to 8 weeks, this includes PT. Hopefully, with the quad sets and straight leg raises that I have been doing, I will have some strength. I do feel like my quad muscle has gotten a little bigger in the past month. So you said you ditch the crutches in two weeks. I assume you have been "walking" with the crutches as an aid? I'm sure once I start walking I will need to do the same thing. My doc said that once I start weight bearing, I have to wear a brace and walk with a straight leg for one month. I'm not really sure why, except that I guess it takes some of the load off the knee because you don't bend the knee. Then once I start walking normally, I have to wear an unloader brace for up to 6 months. I guess my doc wants to make extra sure that the surgery works. I find it fascinating that there are so many different recovery protocols for the same surgery. I have read on this blog where some patients are actually weight bearing on day one. That just doesn't sound right to me. I have no problem waiting 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 or even up to 12 weeks before I can walk. I just don't want to have severe pain when I finally do. When I tried to walk in the doc office last week at five weeks post op, the pain in my knee was pretty bad. There's just no way that I could function like that on a daily basis. When you first started walking did you have pain? If so, did it get better the more you walked. To tell the truth, I'm scared. I'm also kind of angry, because I went in for a meniscus tear and came out with this surgery. The doc keeps saying that it was "medically necessary", but I would have liked to have been given the choice. Oh well, what's done is done. I just hope and pray that in the end it all works out. I really just want to get back to my normal life. I also wish you the best as well.
Debbie

Offline Saints21

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Re: Frustrated after microfracture surgery
« Reply #8 on: May 31, 2010, 03:53:21 PM »
Hello Deb!!!

I know its frustrating to go through with this! (imagine me, I am a pretty active guy, play sports year round so I cannot botch up this surgery)

Keep in mind that it is also important to know where the defect is.. im guessing ( i guess a lot) that since I had no pain whatsoever when walking that it was not in a weight bearing area... so maybe thats why my PT protocol is different

I have had no pain whatsoever when I walk with crutches (although I am a little hesitant to put too much weight, but when I do, I feel no pain), no pain in the bike, and no pain swimming...basically for me its gonna be wait and see if I can return to sports and in what degree

I kind of take it that your defect was in a weight bearing area??

The thing with microfracture, I think in the past doctors would see the injuries when operating but would not "fix" it because it could not regenerate.. I guess now that there are different techniques, they are trying to do whats best for you .. no one wants a knee replacement in the future

I love my OS, he is a very good doctor, he has operated even on MLB pitchers...important ones (i am not from the states).. so I trust him with his judgement :)

I hope you get better, as I commented before, dont get angry and depressed.. I believe that the body responds differently (including healing) depending on our moods.. its kind of sappy but I believe that :)

Good luck!!

Offline nursedeb

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Re: Frustrated after microfracture surgery
« Reply #9 on: May 31, 2010, 06:26:41 PM »
I know you are right I should have a better attitude believe me I am trying I guess I am  just frustrated I hate depending on other people to do things for me Im used to being very independent and yes you are right mine was in the medial femoral condyle (weight bearing) area I guess that's why my rehab has been different than yours that would also explain why I have way pain with walking it's just hard for me to understand why I have way more pain now (when walking) than I ever did before the surgery mostly before I just had soreness and aching after exercise or long walks I never had sharp pain I'm returning to my job tomorrow and i'm nervous I work as a nurse case manager in a large city hospital and my job involves a lot of walking you will probably laugh but I have rented a scooter for the first two weeks but once my weight bearing restrictions are lifted I will have to start walking again and those hallways are long for the first week or so I figure I will be pretty slow and I may have to slowly wean off my crutches I also have to wear a brace whenever I'm walking which keeps my knee in a straight position I may have to use a few weeks of FMLA during that time thanks for words of encouragement I suppose a prayer wouldn't hurt either just curious if you are not from the states where are you from? It's memorial day here I'm down in Florida and Its hot hot hot!!! 

Offline Saints21

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Re: Frustrated after microfracture surgery
« Reply #10 on: May 31, 2010, 08:51:16 PM »
Hi!

Hot!! you say Hot!!!!!!!!!! haha

I live in Panama City Panama!! try hot and humid!!! its horrible here!!!!

The combination between depression and anger and fear (yes fear, fear that everytime you take a step its gonna hurt horribly) is a bad one.. thats why a good attitude is needed!

Well maybe it hurts more now because the doctors have to "cut the cartilage" that does not work and maybe thats why ...?

I remember 10 years ago my first surgery I could not stand the pain .. and it was a simple meniscus removal (partially torn)

But over time, it got better.. and better and better.. and before you know it, I went on and played all the sports and did everything I wanted for 10 years!!!

I know this is more complicated than meniscus but hang in there!!! it will get better!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :D

Offline nursedeb

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Re: Frustrated after microfracture surgery
« Reply #11 on: May 31, 2010, 10:10:20 PM »
Cool panama city hablas espanol? I can see why you play sports year round the weather is nice there well hot and humid nice I've always wanted to take a cruise down the panam canal oh well maybe I can when my knee gets better you are right i am really going to try hard and have a more positive attitude I don't think I mentioned this before but I had a few mishaps with the crutches where I slipped and to stop myself from falling I had to step on my bad leg my doc said not to worry about it but I can't help wondering if this somehow messed up my surgery did this ever happen to you?
Debbie

Offline jt801

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Re: Frustrated after microfracture surgery
« Reply #12 on: June 01, 2010, 12:16:30 AM »
Hey guys-let me tell you something interesting: I was never prescribed any kind of PT after my surgery. I started riding the stationary bike at about the 2 week post-op mark (my idea-my OS said it was ok) and continued for quite a while after i got of crutches. I firmly believe that the extra time i spent on crutches and just completely taking it easy for the first 6 months contributed to my being where i am today. And yes, i did slip and weight my leg several times while on crutches so i dont think its anything to worry about.
12/99 left knee lateral release and plica removal
1/09 right knee chondroplasty and microfracture LFC

Offline nursedeb

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Re: Frustrated after microfracture surgery
« Reply #13 on: June 01, 2010, 01:31:58 AM »
So how long were you on crutches? And did you have to wean off them slowly? Today is six weeks on crutches, and I have them for at least one more week. Did you have pain when you first started walking?
Thanks,
Debbie

Offline jt801

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Re: Frustrated after microfracture surgery
« Reply #14 on: June 01, 2010, 04:31:51 AM »
Hi-i was on crutches for 7 1/2 weeks. Yes, i did slowly wean myself off of them. By that i mean that i started letting my foot touch lightly while taking normal steps, yet the crutches were still supporting my weight. I started around the end of the 6th week. Sorry if that sounds confusing-if you try it you will see exactly what i'm talking about. The biggest obstacle was psychological-i had become completely dependent on the crutches to get around and i was so used to them that i didnt feel any real urge to try to get along without them. Does that make sense? Finally i just took a leap of faith and walked across my shop (about 30 feet) just to test things out. I thought well, if this is awkward or painful i'll just keep using the crutches. Thankfully, i had no pain and my gait was pretty normal. With all that said, i'm not trying to proclaim myself as any kind of expert. I'm just happy to share with you what my approach was and what worked for me. Good Luck!
12/99 left knee lateral release and plica removal
1/09 right knee chondroplasty and microfracture LFC















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