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Author Topic: What to expect after microfracture surgery???  (Read 17576 times)

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Offline nursedeb

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What to expect after microfracture surgery???
« on: June 13, 2010, 08:38:25 PM »
Hi everyone,
I am 8 weeks post op from microfracture for a 1.5x2.1cm lesion on the medial femoral condyle. I am still non weight bearing. The original plan was to walk in a straight leg brace last week but doc has decided to wait until I get a custom fit unloader brace. I should get the brace next week. I tried to walk a few weeks ago in a straight brace but I had sharp pains in the area of the surgery. I have also had aDDRw slip ups on the crutches where I put weight down on my bad leg and it hurt. While I am very excited about getting my brace and walking, I am also quite nervous. I can bike without pain and I have full range of motion, little swelling and some mild stiffness. What I'm wondering is what should I expect once I start walking. Will I have sharp pains or dull? Will I be able to walk very far? How long will it take before I feel normal? Has anyone else had to walk with a brace? I am also concerned because I didn't have that much pain before the surgery. I mostly just had swelling and aching. I thought i just had a meniscal tear and I ended up with microfracture. I am worried that my pain after the surgery will be worse than before the surgery. Yet according to the doc I really didn't have a choice because the piece of cartilage was just hanging on by a thread and would have eventually just broken off and caused more damage inside my knee. Also, how long do I have to wait before I know if this surgery worked. Because I'm already researching other surgeries like oats which seems to have a better success rate. Any advice would be wonderful. Thanks.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2010, 09:17:51 PM by nursedeb »

Offline Saints21

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Re: What to expect after microfracture surgery???
« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2010, 09:58:39 PM »
Hello Deb

I've been FWB for 5 days.

I have had no problems, I can go up/down stairs with no pain (although going down stairs still is difficult because I dont control my knee that good yet)  The swelling has going massively down since ive been walking, but i still have some.  I still walk a little funny, because I am trying to walk normal but I have to get used again.  The only exercise thats giving me some trouble are squats.

The knee cracks sometimes, but maybe one or two times a day, and its when I try to do something "new".  All the horrible cracks I used to have are gone, so I think i am in a good path.

Ive had pain like for 20-30 minutes spans mostly when I wake up, but it goes away very fast.

Hope this helps )
« Last Edit: June 13, 2010, 10:00:41 PM by Saints21 »

Offline nursedeb

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Re: What to expect after microfracture surgery???
« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2010, 02:48:00 PM »
Hi,
Wow that's great that you don't have pain with stairs. I think I will be avoiding stairs for a while. Unfortunately, I have 3 stairs to get into my house. You didn't mention if you were wearing a brace? I think you said your defect was lateral. Maybe braces are more common with medial defects. Either way, I can't wait to get mine. I really don't want to wear a brace, but it's better than not walking at all. Besides, I ordered the cool "butterfly" brace. I figured I might as well enjoy this as much as possible. How long did your doc say it would take for complete recovery. Mine said up to a year and a half. But he also said I will know in three to six months if the surgery has worked. I'm not sure what I should be looking for to gauge if it worked. Isn't some pain a normal part of the healing process? At what point do you say that the pain is an indicator of a failed surgery rather than a healing process? I think if I have pain 6 months after the surgery, I will be looking at another surgery, possibly OATS. Considering, I had very little pain before the surgery, I can't imagine having that muich pain afterwards.
Debbie

Offline edfromny

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Re: What to expect after microfracture surgery???
« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2010, 03:54:31 PM »
     Hi,
     I had microfracture surgery on my right FMC in late Feb. 2010.  I don't know exactly what you can expect when you go FWB but I can tell you what I experienced.  I was allowed to be FWB at 6 weeks post op. Mostly out of necessity, I walked on it right away.  It's scary after becoming so dependent on the crutches.  For me, it pretty much was a sharp pain at one particular part of the step.  I'd say it was just after the weight is transferred to the surgical knee and I had to push off with the "bad" knee.  The pain was quite sharp and quite fleeting, right about where the microfracture was done. At first I had to walk VERY slowly and carefully and it really helped to be on a flat level surface. Progess for me seemed SLOW,SLOW, SLOW....but it did get easier to walk.  My OS has declared the operation a success but I will say that I still have a long way to go. 14 weeks after the surgery, it still is uncomfortable going down stairs in a "normal" way. It seems impossible that I will ever run another step although day to day pain is much better for me than before the surgery. My best advice is to go slowly and be patient. This recovery is tough mentally because the progress is just so very slow. Stay with it and good luck.       ed
February 23, 2010  Microfracture rt knee FMC
February 23, 2010 meniscectomy rt knee
April 05, 2010 return to weightbearing

Offline jt801

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Re: What to expect after microfracture surgery???
« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2010, 06:47:17 PM »
Deb-i would say that 1 year is probably an accurate time frame to consider yourself fully healed. In my situation i started walking after 7.5 weeks with no problem but at about the 4 month mark i started to have some pain and soreness which could have been associated with more activity. This continued all summer and into the fall which led me to seriously doubt that the mfx had worked. So in december (11 months post-op) i went back and had an mri that showed that my defect had in fact filled. That gave me the confidence that i had healed so i went ahead and started playing sports and so far my knee has held up. While i still have some soreness sometimes its not real bad and not getting worse. It takes a lot of patience to get where you want to be but eventually you will so hang in there!
12/99 left knee lateral release and plica removal
1/09 right knee chondroplasty and microfracture LFC

Offline nursedeb

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Re: What to expect after microfracture surgery???
« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2010, 09:57:50 PM »
Thank you so much for all your input. I'm glad to know that some sharp pains in the beginning are normal, but that they work themselves out. I am determined to see this through and to be very dedicated with the rehab. The ortho just doesn't want me to walk until I get my unloader brace, which I pray is this week. I worry about muscle wasting, but hopefully that will come back. I'm very encouraged to hear from people who had the procedure and are making good progress. God bless all of you and best of luck with your recovery as well.
Debbie

Offline mouk786

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Re: What to expect after microfracture surgery???
« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2010, 11:53:18 PM »
I had MFX in March this year in the UK and I don't know exactly which spot or what size it was

I was on 2 crutches for 2 weeks and 1 crutch for maybe another 2 weeks. I was then hobbling along after 4 weeks. After 6 weeks I was driving and back at work.

3 months on the biggest problem I have is that the swelling is still limiting my range of movement and that may be down to the MFX (I also had an ACLr which is obviously significant).

When I am exercising and I bend my knee I hear a minor crunch inside, it might just be the swelling and fluid causing it (hopefully) but I havent had any of the mega sharp pain others have experienced.

I think the best advice would be to just the whole of the first year after your op off for any sporty activity to be safe.

Offline Saints21

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Re: What to expect after microfracture surgery???
« Reply #7 on: June 15, 2010, 02:51:05 AM »
Hello!

Hi Deb, well I am not using a brace, although when I return to sports I will use a brace for the rest of my life... I think one of those that give you stability, which I think its important with this kind of injury.

I think the most important aspect of returning to sports after an operation of this kind is not the lenght of time... but more importantly how much muscle you have regained.   Because the more muscle you have, the less stress you put in your knee.  For example I know of cases of people without ACL that super develop their quads and have no problems... the thing here is being able to do the exercises to build up your quads...

I only have some troubledoing squats, but today it was a little easier...

I can already bend my knee entirely, and then apply pressure to bend it more.. with no problem.  My doctor told me I had to start doing it like 2 weeks ago, although it hurt like hell because the knee has to get used to those angles...

I will try to run like in one month and a half, maybe to months.. right now I am happy with the results because all the problems I had before (everytime I was sitting down and got up to walk I would hear a very loud crack... pain going up and down the stairs) are all gone...

So I hope all of you are doing good also..

C-ya!

Offline edfromny

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Re: What to expect after microfracture surgery???
« Reply #8 on: June 17, 2010, 03:49:15 PM »
   Hi Deb,
     In response to how long I had a sharp pain in the surgical knee while walking, I guess I'd have to say that I'm really not sure.  I found that my body is quite adept at avoiding pain.  Although I was walking with very little pain after a couple of weeks, I found that I was not limping but walking "funny". The best way to describe it is that I was kind of "stiff legging" it with my surgical knee. Once I realized this, I concentrated more on walking correctly even though it was less comfortable at first and I could feel that jabbing pain briefly while taking a step.  Walking on the treadmill and working on form really,really helped and I walk just fine now with almost no pain as long as I don't overdo it.  Keep the faith!                                           ed
February 23, 2010  Microfracture rt knee FMC
February 23, 2010 meniscectomy rt knee
April 05, 2010 return to weightbearing

Offline Saints21

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Re: What to expect after microfracture surgery???
« Reply #9 on: June 17, 2010, 06:38:55 PM »
Hello!!!

What Ed is saying is absolutely true!!! Even though I can walk with no pain, my PT looks at my and asks why I am walking funny... It is very important to walk on the treadmill and correct your form!

Offline cg

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Re: What to expect after microfracture surgery???
« Reply #10 on: June 19, 2010, 01:43:29 PM »
My microfracture surgery was mid-February. I was on crutches for 8 weeks....had to go back on for one more week after since pain/swelling started again. The worst is the waiting. I'm told to have patience but it's been 4 months. I do walk my dogs now for about 30 minutes a day and can get around okay with very little pain/swelling. I am thankful for that. However, I started back at the gym two weeks ago with extremely low weights. Within a week my knee swelled again. How frustrating. I can't believe it is taking this long to heal. So, I am back icing it again and will attempt to lay off for another week. Reading some other posts, looks like I shouldn't expect too much too soon! I will take it slow....sounds like that is the only thing to do....and go back to my ortho guy who will just tell me to slow down and not rush it. Patience is what I've been told to practice from the beginning. Good luck everyone....

Offline Saints21

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Re: What to expect after microfracture surgery???
« Reply #11 on: June 21, 2010, 02:10:37 PM »
Hello!! got a question for people who are in the FWB stages of their surgery!

I am 9 weeks post op and I am thinking of starting walking on gym machines for 5 minutes to warm up (and correct walk), do weights, and then do bicycle for 20 minutes on 5 difficulty (when I mean weights I mean everything but legs).

Now, I am already using 10 pound weights for rehab, doing wall squats and triyng proprioception (this is hard)

My question is, when should I start to do leg weights in the gym? should I wait till i am 3 or 3 and a half months post op??

Any info would be appreciated!! thanks!!!

cg, where was your lesion?? in a weight bearing spot??

Offline cg

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Re: What to expect after microfracture surgery???
« Reply #12 on: June 24, 2010, 10:18:37 PM »
Not sure where my lesion was but not weight-bearing. I started 10 min. on the bike (is there a 0 setting?) and all was fine. I was doing upper body and then went to lower body....very light weights and only a couple (no squats but did do extensions and curls). This is when the swelling started. Don't want to stop going to the gym but the swelling is still there even though I'm icing. None of my lower body workouts in the past two weeks have been hard at all! and still the swelling. I'm cutting down a little at a time and giving the swelling a chance to go down. A friend had simple meniscus surgery and it was a year before she felt normal again. Good luck Saints21....don't push it at all or you'll be sorry....go very slowly...

Offline Saints21

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Re: What to expect after microfracture surgery???
« Reply #13 on: June 25, 2010, 02:06:53 AM »
Thanks cq

Actually I had meniscus surgery 10 years ago, and in five months I was playing football again .. it depends on the person and age I think

What I do remember about that surgery that for about 3 months I had no improvement... and then all of a sudden it was cured... I guess it has a lot to do with how strong your muscles are... in microfracture, the problem is that for you to get your muscles strong, you have to go very slowly....

I am taking it slowly, in two weeks or so ill start lifting weights for my legs.. currently doing all my other routines without any problems...

When I go to bed I see my knee a little swollen, but no pain, no ROM limitation.. I guess its still healing...

I'll begin to THINK about running at 4 months post op ... after I run underwater..

I play football, and I know its gonna be impossible to start the season, but if everything goes ok, I might be able to finish it :)

good luck to you cq!!

PS..  Bout the bike question, most bikes in the gym have levels of "difficulty"... I am currently on level 5, all my life i've used 10 difficulty...

When I get to 30-10 (30 minutes and 10 resistance, I am aiming like a month from now) I'll move to the eliptical machine...
« Last Edit: June 25, 2010, 02:19:53 AM by Saints21 »















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