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Author Topic: Does anyone really recover from major knee trauma ?  (Read 740 times)

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Offline Luckypete

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Does anyone really recover from major knee trauma ?
« on: February 22, 2013, 01:45:25 AM »
Hi to you all.

I'm at my wits end with my recovery period, I sometimes wonder if amputation would have been a better option.

I've had 3 years of constant agony, 4 surgical procedures and I'm still no closer to leading a normal life, is there a chance of making a recovery, I wonder if anybody else has been through similar and come out with a positive result.

It all started back in April 2010 when I went out for a sunday motorbike ride with a few friends, about 20 minutes into the ride I was slowing for a roundabout and my front wheel skidded on some debris on the road, this caused me to hit the kerb and I was thrown over the handlebars of the bike, I landed upside down on the metal crash barrier.

I was knocked unconscious for about 5 minutes but when I came round it was pretty obvious that my right leg had taken the brunt of the crash, I was laying on my back but my leg was dislocated at the knee to right about 100 degrees, I could see the sole of my foot.

To cut a long story short I eventually got to the hospital 2 hours later as the paramedics couldn't get me on the stretcher as my leg was splayed out so much, I also suffered multiple injuries to my left side upper body.

I woke up the next morning in a full cast on my leg and my left arm as well.

Injuries suffered.

Complete dislocation of right knee.
Acl, Pcl, all medial ligaments destroyed.
Muscles torn off bone.
Kneecap was 3 inches down the shin bone.
Left shoulder dislocated.
Left collar bone broken.
Left arm broken in 2 places.
Left hand had 5 broken bones.

I was wearing full leathers and a top quality Arai helmet and they were all destroyed but they save my life.

Surgery undertaken.
All ligaments manufactured from harvested hamstring in a 7 hour operation.
Kneecap repositioned .
Muscles reattached.
Left hand and shoulder pinned.

This was the first of many on my knee as the harvested material has failed and I've had 3 more operations to replace various parts, and I've now just had a Pcl allograft.

I've had crutches for at least 2 years on and off and I've had about 6 different braces including a specially made one for the first procedure that locked my leg at 10 degrees for 5 months.

My biggest problem is my size I'm 6ft 6in and weigh 260 lbs so my knee has always got a lot of weight on it.

Is there anyone who has suffered similar and actually made a recovery out there who can give me a few words of hope for the future ?

Offline Stu71

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Re: Does anyone really recover from major knee trauma ?
« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2013, 03:57:57 PM »
Hi luckypete. I saw your post and felt I had to reply, even though Im new here. I hope a similar story helps.
 I too had a motorcycle accident, knocked off by a blind and demented 80year old who shouldn't have been driving. Dislocated R knee, broken tibia at knee joint, ruptured all knee ligaments, ruptured popliteal artery, damaged nerve, compartment syndrome leading to kidney failure and many weeks in hospital & wheelchair.
This happened in early Oct 2011, so I'm not as far down the recovery road as you, but I too have thought the same as you about amputation, mainly due to the horrendous pain from the nerve damage. Even with painkillers it's like someone running a cheese grater and blow torch up & down my leg &foot. I have had 9 ops so far, failed ligament replacement & the last one being a total knee replacement using a hinge and long rods up & down leg. Doctors told me early on that nerves would take >2years to recover and to be fair I have a little movement in my toes now at nearly 18 months from accident. I cannot walk without crutches, have foot drop so trip up a lot and cannot straighten my R leg so am puttin more strain on L hip and R knee joint. Next op is to try and straighten leg.
It is incredibly difficult to have and maintain a positive attitude and I have had surgeon advice that says I should have had my leg off after 2 days due to the injuries and complications. Had this happened I would be walking on prosthetic and back at work by now, as it is I have years of rehab ahead of me with no guarantee of success. Muscle wastage through prolonged in action because of external fixator etc, and loss through muscle death and surgical removal after ruptured artery, mean that recovery is not straight forward and if nerve recovers will there be sufficient viable muscle to move my leg & foot? There was no discussion at the time about amputation or other treatment.
I think surgeons do not sufficiently consider quality of life when deciding on course of action. I am virtually housebound, can stand for 30min before pain is too much, and need to have leg elevated most of the day to keep swelling down and control pain. Yes they may have saved my leg, but I've gone from an active outdoors person to a couch potato in constant pain.
When amputation is raised with Drs I am told its too early to consider that and that so long as leg is attached there is a chance of recovery. Also amputation is no guarantee of less pain and greater mobility.
I honestly don't know what the right answer is or what my future level of mobility will be, I only know I have to keep going with the rehab and treatment and trust the surgeons & doctors know what they are doing.
I hope your situation improves and Id also be interested in hearing from others in similar situations.
Good luck. Keep positive.

Offline Luckypete

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Re: Does anyone really recover from major knee trauma ?
« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2013, 12:29:51 AM »
Hi thanks for the reply.

It sounds like you've had far more issues than me and are staying relatively positive.

I know what you mean about housebound coach potato though I've suffered that feeling for nearly 3 years now and to say its frustrating is an understatement.

I did actually resume work about 9 months after the original operation but I only lasted 2 days before I snapped my PCL so I was back square one again, and I was getting pain from any slight movement.

It's taken about 20 trips to the Doctor and 5 visits to a knee surgeon before our glorious NHS agreed to rebuild my leg again, and to make it worse the government didn't believe my condition and said I was fit to resume work.

Luckily my surgeon sent them a detailed letter so they agreed to pay me as long as I kept a medical certificate ongoing.

Going back to the amputation idea, last week I went to my rehab class for the first time since my latest operation and sitting in the waiting area was about 15 recent amputees who were there for their first try outs with their prosthetic legs.

It was quite an eye opener and quite heart breaking at the same time to see all these people it that position so I am now thankful for small mercies that my leg was never that bad even though it does hurt me.

Just an update on my condition after the PCL allograft, my leg has regained a little bit of movement and I can almost lock the knee joint straight now and the pain has eased a little bit, so I'm hopeful it will continue to improve, the surgeon was very pleased with the progress and he said I may regain up to about 80% use of my leg back which is better than the 60 % I had 6 weeks ago.

I hope your condition starts to improve soon and you can stay positive, I've been very lucky in regards to the support that I've had from my wife, family and friends without them I may have done something stupid when I first had the accident, they've kept me sane.

All the best.