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Author Topic: Patellar Fracture ORIF Recovery Advice  (Read 708 times)

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Offline brose361

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Patellar Fracture ORIF Recovery Advice
« on: June 29, 2019, 01:11:02 AM »

So thankful I finally found this site as I have been struggling with the recovery process and people understanding.  I have experienced being told many times from a knee replacement patient "when I was at 3 mos this is what I could do".  I simply inform them they were bent the day after surgery.  I was only bent 20 mins 2x's per day for 8 weeks.  Plus I have fibromyalgia.  Anyway . . .

I had a displaced patellar fracture from a bad fall on 1/29 basically splitting my knee cap in half in to 2 pieces.  It was closed.  I had the ORIF surgery on 2/4 and have 2 screws and the wires - no plate.  My pain was not controlled prior to surgery and while I was to be a 23 hour stay after surgery I ended up being in the hospital for 3 days because they couldn't get my pain under control.  Following the hospital I went to inpatient rehab for 1 week where I learned how to walk better (used the walker and crutches), how to dress myself, and how to use the leg lifter as I couldn't lift my leg on my own.  Upon going home I had in-home PT 3x's per week and I then transferred over to outpatient rehab 3x's per week since the middle of March where I have remained having PT 3x's per week.

I was in a full leg brace with hinges for 8 weeks.  I was kept at 0 extension when walking and was permitted to unlock the brace to 30 - 60- or 90 (dr. unlocked further each time I saw him) flexion when I wasn't standing or walking.  Due to the 0 extension for so long it led to much difficulty with getting good flexion.  As soon as the brace came off I no longer used crutches or the walker.

So that's my basic story.  Fast forward to now.  My doctor is thrilled with the healing and says I don't need any more x-rays.  No arthritis.  I am continuing to use a cane only outside of the house.  Stairs going up are tiring and at times painful.  Stairs going down are tough and I hear clicking or crackling.  Pretty consistent pain on the lower portion of my knee especially when standing.  The stiffness causes the pain.  My PT thinks this is patellar tendon based although there was no damage to any ligaments or tendons.  Some of this results in compensation which causes other problems.  At times I'm still having pain when walking and rainy days are really difficult pain wise.  Despite the months of PT I am still only in the 90's flexion wise. 

In addition the head of the screw is protruding so you can actually see what looks like a little outward button on the side of my knee.  It hasn't come through the skin thankfully.

So the doctor has agreed and believes that a MUA is a good idea at this point and he will do something about the screw as well/at the same time as the MUA.  I am nervous and wondering if I'm making the right decision to proceed.  I have heard it is very painful and sets a person back.  He told me I'll need the crutches again after the procedure.  I have read that some doctors keep a patient overnight for control of pain but my doctor doesn't think that is needed and I'm concerned about that too.  I don't know if the intent is to remove the hardware completely or what the story is with that.  So I have been writing back and forth to the doctor thru a portal they have to find out more.  In addition thoughts on use of the CPM after the procedure?  Doctor claims no need.

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated and thanks in advanced for someone who understands and wants to be understood to.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2019, 02:40:57 AM by brose361 »
BRose361 a/k/a Bonnie

Offline Bella Gamba

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Re: Patellar Fracture ORIF Recovery Advice
« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2019, 02:23:13 PM »
Hi Brose,

I am sorry about your injury and your painful recovery.

Although, my injury was different, I also had a hard time recovering my ROM and finally got the hardware removed (TPF plate and screws). My hardware was removed due to pain (also a couple of screws were sticking out). Perhaps the removal of hardware may help but unsure this can be done during the MUA procedure. 

One thing that helped me with ROM recovery was working with a fascial stretch therapist.  Perhaps this would avoid the need for the MUA.

Hope you get the needed answers from your OS, otherwise keep on asking.  Generally they are very busy and spend very little time with their patients explaining our issues.

Best of luck,


Offline brose361

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Re: Patellar Fracture ORIF Recovery Advice
« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2019, 08:12:05 PM »
Thank you Bella Gamba.  I'm okay with doing the MUA.  I'm just concerned regarding pain, etc.
BRose361 a/k/a Bonnie

Offline Sampson19511

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Re: Patellar Fracture ORIF Recovery Advice
« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2019, 03:54:21 PM »
Hi.  This is another follow up.  I am 2.5 years post screw and wire repair of broken knee cap.  I have always worked out, over 46 years now.  Of late I am stronger than last two years as far as broken knee.  As a last resort to get even "better", I decided to hire a trainer who was also once a PT.  I can do most things however, my patella still does not seem to stay aligned and pain goes up into my hip. I was worried about hurting my hip.  This trainer told me my surgical leg is actually stronger than my nonsurgical leg due to "proprioception" (which is the sense of knowing where a body part is in space at any one time).  I actually was not working out correctly or even walking correctly sometimes.  I would suggest to anyone having trouble after orif patella fracture to try a trainer who knows what they are doing.  I had been to three PTs and three surgeons with no good suggestions or outcomes.  This trainer seems to know more than all of them put together.  It takes patience and understanding of your body to recover completely or almost completely from this type of fracture.  Be patient and keep researching and learning.  S   :D