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Author Topic: learning to walk again after patella fracture  (Read 920 times)

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Offline gwendrina

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learning to walk again after patella fracture
« on: January 30, 2018, 10:58:56 PM »
 had a broken patella but was fortunate enough not to need surgery, just a knee brace and therapy. I am very grateful but have now entered the phase of physical therapy. My therapist wants me out of my knee brace after 8 weeks, as of yesterday. And I tried walking but he kept saying I have to bend the knee, heel-toe heel-toe and lift the foot. And yes, I do have flexibility, a lot in the injured knee. about 115 to 120 degrees . But I feel so indadequate because I can't seem to move my right leg to walk properly.  I have forgotten how to walk and am trying but still seem to drag the leg and keep it stiff ( as my natural tendency) because I did this 8 wks in a brace to keep the knee or bone stable and from further aggravating the fracture. Has anyone else experiencing this  inability to walk normally or I should say remembering how to walk. My therapist is positive and pushes  me to walk,
bent knee and regular motion. They say the brain needs time to readjust but I really feel like I am slow and wonder if this is normal. Do I need several days to readjust , any exercises anything you could suggest or offer personal experience similar to mine would help.

Offline Brandon123

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Re: learning to walk again after patella fracture
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2018, 09:05:33 AM »
Sorry to hear about your struggle, gwendrina.

After injury and (arthroscopic) surgery I have experienced problems to extend the leg as well as bend it normally during walking. Some of it probably due to stiffness, some if it probably due to mentally "protecting" the knee. The stiffness part you can get over with PT, for the mental part I think the best course of action is to just try to relax as much as possible and try to remember your normal motions before injury. It took me several weeks to overcome the mental barrier and start to move the leg normally. I had to actively concentrate on relaxing and "move the knee/leg normally" while walking. Eventually, it became natural to walk normal again. So try to relax, start to slowly (but actively) normalize your walking, and give it some more time.

Good luck!
RK sharp pain while running, diagnosis chondromalacia patellae 6/09
RK arthroscopic chondroplasty 9/09
RK rehab, recovery, 90% normal, started running again -> back to square one 5/15
RK diagnosis patellofemoral arthritis + LK diagnosis chondromalacia patellae 8/15 -> conservative treatment

Offline gwendrina

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Re: learning to walk again after patella fracture
« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2018, 07:02:36 PM »
Hi Brandon

Thanks so much for the encouragement and advice. It has been very helpful, encouraging; and I appreciate it very much.

Best of luck to you
Wendy

Offline leahjg-90

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Re: learning to walk again after patella fracture
« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2018, 07:51:44 PM »
Hello!

I dislocated my right knee (8th time) 16 weeks ago and I had very similar struggles with regards to walk - I even used the phrase, my brain has forgotten how to walk. Physiotherapt helped and worked wonders.

I only fully regained brace / crutch free walking around 3 weeks ago and am almost normal - waiting for surgery now.

I did found in the early stages using a surface like kitchen surfaces and just practicing a normal heel-toe movement on my bad leg helpful and then progressing up to a couple of steps. Practicing the correct motion before trying to walk really helped.

Getting off the brace also massively helped too - my muscle movement a stride became more normal as a result. I still get a slight limp towards the end of the day, more from pain and swelling - but I am waiting surgery to fully fix my issue.

I hope it gets better for you. I certainly felt the same and know it does get better. Patience and practice is essential. Try not to be too hard on yourself! Youíll get there.

Leah

Offline gwendrina

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Re: learning to walk again after patella fracture
« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2018, 11:46:06 PM »
Hi Leah

I wish you the best of luck with your up-coming surgery, my positive thoughts for a successful procedure an a full and speedy recovery. I want to thank you so much for sharing your own experience. It really helps me to know others have gone through this. And I realize that practice and patience are the keys to normal walking. I have PT tomorrow and look forward to working more on my flexibility and walking gait. Again, many thanks!

Wendy

Offline bobbie_tiger

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Re: learning to walk again after patella fracture
« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2018, 05:54:35 AM »
I too am very frustrated. I had broken kneecap ORIF surgery on Dec 4, 2017 and I just started pt on Jan 9. I'm still having a very hard time with bending my knee and walking without a limp. The pain is still pretty intense as well, especially at night. My doctor seems to think that I should be able to bend my knee to 90 degrees by now, but my knee is very stiff and it just won't bend hardly at all. I soak every night and ice my knee after exercising; trying to get my knee to bend using a furniture mover under my foot.

Offline gwendrina

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Re: learning to walk again after patella fracture
« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2018, 09:15:59 PM »
Hi Bobbie

I am so sorry to hear you are in pain and having such limited flexibility in your injured knee -- but I sympathize with your frustration and perhaps discouragement. Yesterday, I asked  my therapist about my limited gait and he gave me an exercise that has now helped to increase my walking normal ability. He had me to a marching exercise where I lift the leg, land on the heel and step forward and then repeat and repeat. I am following his exercise and having some success bending the knee further in walking -- but still it will take time and patience to get back to normal. Every individual differs.

Surgery , from what I have learned, takes a long time for the bone to heal and the pain is so intense. I would say make sure you thoroughly ice as you are doing and continue with the exercises recommended by your therapist. There are days when progress seems so small and then there are days, like yesterday, when hope shines through. Also I might ask, are you in a leg brace and if so, is it supportive enough, adjusted to the right degree for flexibility. I was in one for 8 weeks and then discarded just this week. I do believe during those 8 wks it helped me to keep the bone stable, minimize the pain and enable me to walk.

Hang in there and talk with your therapist about your limitations and worries. Sometimes, they can reassure you more than the doctor who only sees you during 10 to maybe 20 minute visits at 2 or three week intervals. The therapist works one on one with these cases everyday and I believe sees many sides to a situation.

Thank you so much for sharing your experience. I wish you the best of luck.

My best
Wendy

Offline las6130

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Re: learning to walk again after patella fracture
« Reply #7 on: February 03, 2018, 06:54:17 AM »
Good Luck to you !! Please keep us updated on your progress. I fractured my patella 3 weeks ago and Iím interested in what everyone has to say about recovery. Thanks and hope you gain full recovery soon.

Offline gwendrina

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Re: learning to walk again after patella fracture
« Reply #8 on: February 03, 2018, 07:39:29 PM »
Hi Las

Sorry to hear you broke your patella. I have learned through therapists and doctor, it is a rare fracture or injury but a very serious one. The question is -- do you need or have you already had surgery. In my case, I was fortunate not to need surgery and have been recovering since December 4th of last year. They put me in a knee brace right away and I walked with a cane. After about three weeks, they had me do slight bending exercises each day, simply moving the leg out and in on a smooth floor surface (with leg slightly bent) at a very slow pace. Did about 15-20 times in one session. I also iced the knee three times a day and still do. Am taking extra vitamin D and Bio flex supplements which help increase flexibility, rebuild cartiledge and other benefits. After about six weeks into recovery they put me in physical therapy. I have reached the point now where I have shed my knee brace and continue to do knee bending stretching exercises with ball, step in and step out procedures among other things. Therapy is a Godsend  and you really work the muscles and stretch the leg so it can regain its strength. In the beginning, the pain was harsh  and I relied on my meds to alleviate the discomfort. Now I am on a few advil a couple times a day. Just minor dull ache in the morning before stretching and after walking. I still continue  to ice knee three times a day. And I also warm up leg with heating pad before walking  or doing my stretching exercises that helps. Soaking in a warm bath also relaxes musles and helps to diminish the pain.

The hardest thing know is learning to walk with my right leg again normally. I have made a small break through an can now fully lift, land on the heal,, step with toe and repeat. It takes time and concentration to lift in a rhythmic way and work in unison with the other foot. After  walking for quite awhile, the knee grows heavy and stiff and can be somewhat uncomfortable. But I am making progress and learning to be patient, to relax and not expect too much too fast.

Please keep me informed of your progress and I wish you all the best with your recovery and road back to full function and health.

Thank you,
Wendy