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Author Topic: Can't bend my knee after knee reconstruction! Help please.  (Read 2547 times)

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Offline Enkido95

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Can't bend my knee after knee reconstruction! Help please.
« on: March 03, 2012, 06:06:28 PM »
Hi im new here and im having knee problems and im looking for some advice and a little hope because  things are starting to seem like i should just give up. Backstory im 16 and i was hit by an SUV back in september 2 of 2011 and i fractured my fibula and my femur i had minor ACL damage but nothing that that needed surgery and i shattered my knee cap. I was in a straigt cast no weight baring for 5 months and i had 8 screws. I had 4 of my screws removed and manipulations done to my knee which put me at 90 degrees bend and i can straiten my leg out all the way after that surgery i was given full weight baring and given physical therapy 3 times a week for 4 weeks. My last day of PT is this monday and i've only increased my bend to 110 degrees and i've been stuck and making really really slow progress and im just feeling like giving up. Is their anyway i can increase my bend faster is their anything i can do? I don't want to just give up i want to return back to athletics again and be back where i was before this stupid accident.

Offline krunzer

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Re: Can't bend my knee after knee reconstruction! Help please.
« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2012, 10:10:10 PM »
Don't give up.  It will take some time.  Depending on your pain threshold I would try to bend it as much as possible and then hold it in that position, let it out and then do it again.  Make sure your quads are totally shut off, which is very hard to do.  I will have a hot bath, let it get all warmed up by that and then put it up on the bath wall  and slide it down as much as you can, let it rest there, then re-soak it for a bit until the pain goes away then do it again.  I myself am at 112 right now so I also am working on my last 15-25 degrees.  I was in a straight leg brace for 2 months and yours was way past that so the ligaments have tightened up even more.  I wouldn't be too worried about it yet until your PT says something or your OS says something.  How does your kneecap feel after it was shattered?  Does it cause you problems?  I think you are just dealing with tight ligaments and just keep walking and moving and trying to bend as much as you can and it will get better.  Hang in there!

Offline DennisKnee

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Re: Can't bend my knee after knee reconstruction! Help please.
« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2012, 12:52:33 AM »
I've started to incorporate all the exercises I can manage from this site and found them very effective:

Though a completely different situation, I too have been having issues with flexion. My surgeon gave me a pretty simple and straightforward guide with respect to rehab protocol before my next surgery. He said "comfortable is too little and torture is too much" so I really push my knee into as much of a bend each day - just like krunzer mentioned!

I typically start my day at around 90 degrees, but 5 hours after a combination of things, I'm at around 125 degrees and there's certainly a fair share of discomfort involved. I always try to hold in the back of my mind that if I keep putting in the effort, I'll be so much better off in the long run. You have to persevere.

My typical routine involves:

- wake up and cryo cuff straight on (the icing not only helps to reduce a little swelling that's still hanging around but gets it numb before the fun begins!)
- on the CPM, increasing the flexion by at least 2 degrees each cycle until I hit whatever I can tolerate (1 hour session)
- cryo cuff back on
- rehab exercises, set 1 (foot pumps, hamstring stretches, mini squats, and a selection of other exercises from the link) I find that the more I stretch and loosen things up, the easier I can bend.
- cryo cuff on
- on the CPM
- cryo cuff on.......................

In short, I effectively spend my entire day alternating between icing, my CPM machine and doing rehab exercises. I understand that most people don't have that luxury but no matter what you're doing, you can always incorporate some kind of exercise into the mix. Even if I'm just sitting down, eating my dinner, I'll be pumping my foot up and down and using my other "good" leg to drag my "bad" leg in under my chair until it gets stuck......then more foot pumps until it loosens....then try to drag it in further.

Remedial massage has also been working well for me. My quads have wasted quite badly on my injured leg but still get extremely tight nonetheless. In addition, because my knee is not allowing for proper flexion, my heel strike has been off and my calf gets super tight. In addition to massage, a foam roller has been a better alternative to stretch my ITB as the exercise given at the link (and by my PT) just wasn't doing the trick.

Hopefully you find something in all of this that works for you.

 :) Karen

Sep 10 - confirmed ACL & medial meniscus tear
Dec 11 - chronic patellar dislocation - MPFL tear
23 Feb 12 - scope, MUA & 50% medial meniscectomy
17 Apr 12 - ACLr and MPFLr

Offline LindaM

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Re: Can't bend my knee after knee reconstruction! Help please.
« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2012, 03:50:11 PM »
Hi there,

I found that heel slides didn't get me as far as I needed for full flexion.  My PT had me rest my foot on the second step and do a gentle lunge, relax, lunge again.  Because I could control the lunge and go to my max, I found that my improvement was really speeded up.  Hope it helps for you.  At home, puttiing your foot on an arm chair works just as well if your house doesn't have stairs.

Good luck on your recovery.

>20 yrs. osteo and inflammatory arthritis, fibromyalgia
meniscus repair Sept. 2009
right PKR June 2010
left PKR Feb. 2012