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Author Topic: patella fracture second surgery! need advice  (Read 1121 times)

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Offline wanttorun

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patella fracture second surgery! need advice
« on: July 04, 2011, 12:08:08 AM »

I have been visiting this site for some time now.  I am looking for some advice and to see if anyone out there has had a similar experience.

I broke my left patella on 10/29 on a trail run (fell on a stump), surgery for transverse displaced fracture (screws and mesh) was 11/5 (with a hand surgeon my only option in my small community).  My last x-ray was on 12/27 (at almost 7 weeks) which showed a "healed" bone.  My OS sent me on my way to PT (knowing I was a triathelete).  She told me it was fine to bear weight and every 2 weeks gave me more flex.  I was weight bearing from the start, but in a brace.  I started swimming (bouy between my legs to keep my knee straight) at 2 weeks after the stitches were out.

I began pt at 3 weeks, was gently spinning at 8-9 weeks and running slowly on treadmill at 3 months.  Lifting weights fairly early and had full ROM at 2-3 months.  My recovery protocol was ALL with the OS and pt's OK.  I was back to running outside at 4 months.  At about the 5 month mark my knee began to swell.  Thought I might be bothered by the hardware and went to get xrays.  I learned my hardware was in pieces and my bone was again "apart" non-union fairly displaced. 

I had a second surgery (better surgeon in NYC this time) on 6/21.  The second surgeon believes there should have been more follow up x rays and a much more conservative  approach to return to activity, and that this could have been avoided with more monitoring.  My second surgery  was also with screws and this time a bone graft from my tibia. My questions are:

1. Was my first OS standard of care unusual?  How many of you (broken patella w/ surgery) had your last x-ray at 7 weeks....and were sent on your way?

2.  Currently I am no-bend and nwb "until further notice"....which is as you all know so hard (and w/4 kids 3 dogs no hubby), yet I am glad to have some rules.  What should I expect long will I be nwb (the crutches are so hard....can't cook or anything)?

3. How do you sleep? I have such anxiety not being able to bend and move.

4. Has anyone gone on after this to competitive athletics?

I am 49...but a very fit athelete...or at least was before this life changing ordeal.  Thank you for any sharing.  Pam
« Last Edit: July 07, 2011, 04:22:08 PM by wanttorun »

Offline want2walk

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Re: patella fracture second surgery! need advice
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2011, 09:22:29 AM »
Hello Pam,
I am sorry that you have to go through this twice.  I injured myself at work when a ladder slid out from under me and I fell six feet down onto a solid concrete floor.  I broke my right patella in half and had mulitple fractures on each side.  In addition I tore all ligaments and tendons and shredded my quadricep muscle.   My injury was in July and I had surgery three days later.  My first post surgery appointment was a week and half later where I was advised to use crutches and that I could use my leg to help provide stabilty but not true weight bearing.  I didn't like the crutches so I began using a walker instead.  With the walker I was able to very slowly, do a few things around the house.  At 4.5 weeks post op, I had my next appointment and was advised to begin physical therapy.  Three days a week for two hours, one hour on land and one in water.  The rehab center where I go, has a lift to get in and out of the pool which we are using until I can climb up and down the ladder.  I would truly recommend talking to your ops about professional aqua therapy.  They are very careful not to put to much stress on my slowly healing knee.  Currently, I am at 6.5 weeks post surgery.  Still wearing the brace although it has been opened to 30 degree movement a few days ago and I am using only one crutch.  I have my next ops appointment in two weeks.  I have been advised from both my doctor and therapist to be patient and that this is a long, slow healing process.  I hope this gets better for you.  I hope this helps to atleast know that you are not alone.

Offline shanncon

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Re: patella fracture second surgery! need advice
« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2011, 01:28:34 AM »
Hello Pam-
I feel your pain. I too broke my knee cap, but had a different experience than you. I tripped going down the stairs 2 months post op from an MPFL reconstruction. Because I had just had surgery my doctor could not operate so I had to be in a leg immobilizer for 7 weeks then a hinge brace for a few months. My brake did not heal properly as it was displaced and it was a small chance it would come back together on its own. I broke it November 2010 and am still suffering from the issues from the injury.
So to try to answer some questions- My doctor x-rayed me every 2 weeks for months to monitor the healing.
-Sleeping was very difficult and I used pillows to try to support it, but mostly Tylenol PM or something comparable to knock me out:)
-I too wonder what my level of functioning will be after my knee is finally better. My career before this injury was in physical training. I spent years personal training and working in gyms as a fitness manager. My life was working out, training and being active. My life has been severely changed by this injury and I struggle with it daily. My doctor says that he cannot say what I will regain after this injury is finally healed. I would specifically ask your doc what he believes your outcome to be. That's what i did because I am so scared I will not be able to train like I did before, or hike, or bike- I could go on and on.
Good luck and feel better soon. I hope that all us knee geeks can figure out these dumb knees!