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Author Topic: new here.  knee questions!  (Read 882 times)

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Offline gabriel1

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new here.  knee questions!
« on: July 02, 2004, 04:19:53 PM »
Hi there,
What a great site!  I haven't found very much info. online for some reason, but on Memorial Day, I broke my Tibia, Fibula, shattered my knee and ripped my meniscus, ligaments and joints.  I was shipped to a trauma hospital and had surgery 4 days later.  Metal and rods were put in from the knee down.  I am in an immobolizer and cannot walk for 3 months.  No physical therapy has been started yet.  My question/problem is that 2 weeks ago the surgeon moved my immobolizer to 60 degrees and I don't see him again for 2 more weeks.  I cannot move my knee to that 60 degrees, it is EXTREMELY painful.  Is there anything I could/should be doing to help my knee?    Does anyone know what I can expect after not walking for 3 months when it comes time for physical therapy?  For some reason I am very nervous and scared about this.  I don't even like anyone even touching my knee.  BTW, I am a 32 year old female.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!!

Offline Holly

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Re: new here.  knee questions!
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2004, 04:55:28 PM »
Hi Gabriel...welcome to the boards (but sorry you have to be here!).

It sounds as though you've had MAJOR trauma and MAJOR surgery to correct it.  It's just a fact that you're going to suffer loss of muscle (atrophy) and flexion (bending) if you're not able to be weight-bearing for 3 whole months, but there are some things you can do within your post-op protocol.  I'm surprised your doctor didn't give you any at-home physical therapy until you go to formal PT.  Also, you don't have a CPM (constant passive motion) machine?  Those puppies are a lifesaver when it comes to ROM (range of motion) after any knee surgery - even when your mobility is restricted by a brace.  I was on mine 8-12 hrs a day WHILE I WAS IN MY BRACE, since I had a double osteotomy, lots of screws and a metal plate, but needed to keep at least SOME flexion going.  If your doctor can do it, I would ask him to prescribe one for at-home use.  If not, they are available for rent in some areas.  These machines move your leg into various degrees of flexion (you set the degree yourself), and you can work up to the desired degree - up to about 120 degrees.

If you want some basic quad strengthening exercises - which help with mobility now and when you're trying to get your knee back when you're out of the immobilizer - you may want to check a posting under STRUGGLING WITH REHAB -Help Please - by Kathyw (on page 2 of that section).  Although the instructions refer to bending your knee to 90degrees, all of these can be done even at 60 degrees.  If you can't do those exercises, you can at least do the following:

While sitting with your leg straight out in front of you (on a sofa or bed), contract your quads and try to push the bottom of your knee against the flat surface.  You CAN DO THIS IN THE BRACE!

Every time you think of it, pretend you are pressing the gas pedal of your car with the foot of your damaged leg ("pump" it) at least 50 times each time you do it.  This will increase circulation (which reduces swelling - the natural enemy of ROM) and ease any cramps you may be having in your lower leg, such as in the calf or ankle.

Every exercise listed on that other web thread is NON WEIGHT BEARING, except for the very last one.  So don't do that one!

Reaching the desired flexion (in your case 60 degrees) takes lots of work, generally lots of pain, and lots of time (I do my at-home PT for about 3 hrs. a day - 3 sessions of 1 hr. each).  It won't happen on its own, so it's up to you!

Let me wish you the very best of luck.  It's hard...but you'll get there!



BTW I'm a 50 year old female with 8 surgeries under my belt (or should I say under my knee?)
« Last Edit: July 02, 2004, 04:56:58 PM by Holly »
1998 run over by car;Rt knee lat menisc/med menisc tear, ACL/MCL tear, patella frx, tib frx, femur frx, 4 scopes repr menisc/repr lig/debride pat, open MCL rpr, dbl osteot3/04;MUA,lysis6/04;scope10/04

Offline lizl

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Re: new here.  knee questions!
« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2004, 07:17:28 AM »

Wow! You have been through a lot.

Don't be surprised that the brace is opened up more than you can flex. It's a possibility--not necessarily a goal. In any case, regaining ROM can be a slow process, so you will have to be a patient with patience. The fact that your doc has unlocked the immobilizer means that you are making progress, even if you cannot get to the degree where it is set.

You said you cannot walk for three months. Does that mean you are non-weight bearing for that long?

Don't be afraid of physical therapy. It is your best friend, now that the surgery is behind you. My personal philosophy was that it's my knee, and I'll try everything the therapist wants to try--but IT'S STILL MY KNEE, so I'll be vocal when enough is enough. I never had any therapist who would not respect that, though I've heard a couple of nightmare stories on this board. I hope PT is permanently a part of my past; but if I ever need it again, I will go forward with no fear and high expectations. My PT, especially the last one I worked with, is my hero!

2003: 1/28-29Fell on wet floor,broke kneecap
Post-op drug reaction
3/4-5/13 brace
12/19Hardware removal,scope,partial meniscectomies
2004: More PT
lost job
Settledw/WC Oct
2005: Personal injury lawsuit--reschedulings,failed mediation
2006: settled out of court in March