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Author Topic: Ruptured vastus lateralis and PT only treatment expectations  (Read 4667 times)

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Offline qqq444

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Hello. I took a fall back in October 2013 and hurt my leg and couldnít stand on it and had to use crutches because the leg would occasionally buckle.  My primary care physician said I had a large hematoma along with a severe sprain and said to use RICE and go to PT.  After a couple of weeks of very slow progress (and weeks on crutches) I was sent for an MRI and from the initial reading my physician said to continue PT.  After a few months of PT, I was definitely improving but the pace was slow.

I decided to see an orthopedic surgeon and he looked at the MRI and said I ruptured my vastus lateralis.   He did not recommend surgery and he said to continue with PT and if I didnít keep seeing improvement to come back to him to talk about repairing it. He seemed to think that I could regain 95% or more of normal function though it could take a year or more. 

My physical  therapist and I could not find any information on a vastus lateralis only rupture. So far the PT has been very beneficial and I have regained a great deal of strength but still have trouble with stamina and going down stairs.  The surgeon said a vastus lateralis only rupture is an unusual injury.  I was hoping to find if someone had a similar injury, if they went a PT only route for recovery and what their experiences were.  I am not an athlete or anything, but I just want to know if my expectations of being able to hike, ride my bicycle, go up and downstairs normally is a reasonable outcome of PT. Any information would be greatly appreciated.  Thank you.

Offline bballkingofnba

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Re: Ruptured vastus lateralis and PT only treatment expectations
« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2014, 08:33:19 PM »
Hi qqq,

sorry to hear of your injury. I would listen to the doctor and make sure you get a second opinion as well and find a reputable orthopedic surgeon. Overall though, I have heard that muscles heal on their own with time though larger muscles take longer. Surgery is honestly sometimes not the best way to go. Hope you recover soon!

Offline qqq444

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Re: Ruptured vastus lateralis and PT only treatment expectations
« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2014, 11:19:24 PM »
Thanks for the reply bballkingofnba!  PT is doing the job.  I seem to get better, then plateau for a while then it improves alot and so on.  Just takes a lot of time like you said.

Offline qqq444

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Re: Ruptured vastus lateralis and PT only treatment expectations
« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2014, 05:45:42 PM »
Just thought I would post an update in case someone in the future has the same issue and is looking for info on this rare injury.  Been doing PT from November of 2013 through May of 2014 (3x a week for 6 months and 2x a week for 1 month).  It really helped, I am pretty much walking normal but still have issues with steps, more so going down them but that is slowly getting better.  My leg is definitely regaining strength and I think I am still improving. My therapist told me there was no sense to keep coming to PT when I can do all the exercises to build strength at home. He said it takes a long time to develop the strength and to be patient (Could be over a year).  He said eventually the torn muscle will attach itself to the other muscles via scar tissue and get stronger over time.  (To be honest, I could be more diligent in doing the exercises everyday and quicken my recovery, but sometimes just too worn out from the stress of daily life. Some days you win, some days the couch does  ;D)  I will never be a competitive athlete which is ok at age 53, but I think I will be able to eventually enjoy all my favorite activities like hiking, cycling, scuba, motorcycling, etc.  Will post any more significant happenings over the next couple of months.  Thanks for reading.

Offline nmdkneedo

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Re: Ruptured vastus lateralis and PT only treatment expectations
« Reply #4 on: October 01, 2014, 10:43:43 PM »
"He said eventually the torn muscle will attach itself to the other muscles via scar tissue and get stronger over time. "

I was asking about this mechanism earlier and wish that it could be better than "via scar tissue".  Maybe it can progress to resorb the scar and replace with quality muscle.

I ruptured the V. Intermedius in Aug.  From the radiologist reading the MRI, there is 25% patellar tendon tear (scary, as I think tendon heals slower than muscle) and some V. Medialis involvement.  It is progressing still but frustrating. 

Best wishes for a full recovery.  It sounds reasonable that you get a second opinion.

Offline qqq444

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Re: Ruptured vastus lateralis and PT only treatment expectations
« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2014, 07:47:59 PM »
Thanks for your post nmdkneedo.  So far recovery has been steady, though some times I hit plateaus.  Going upstairs is pretty much almost normal, but going downstairs is still kind of "iffy."  Leg is definitely getting stronger.  What is frustrating is having no other case or person's experience to use as a yardstick.

Just want to mention that when I had my MRI in November, the radiologist's report said nothing about a tear and even my family doctor and PT commented that the report was good news since no mention of a tear. Given that this was my first serious injury ever, I just accepted the report. When I finally had a surgeon look at it a couple months later he said right off that there was a tear. Lesson learned, always get another opinion.

I wish you a speedy and successful recovery.