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My tragic lack of season (pics inside)

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

So November 23rd I was hiking with some buddies all amped up about next weekend being my very first day of the 14-15 ski season.. Some drinks were consumed on a cliff face and before we knew it it was getting dark fast. On my way down I was made the decision to turn off my phones flashlight feature and while hopping down an embankment took a little bit of a tumble.

 

A couple of days in the hospital and I don't know what was worse, the drill through the bone to put it into traction when I told them I'm immune to lidocane (I'd say that was a 10 of 10 on the pain scale), The repeated failed attempts to catheterize (I won't go into more detail on that one), or the fact that I knew my season was over before it started. They gave me a titanium rod in the leg. With medical instructions that were weight bearing as tolerated.

 

In the months following PT has been rough but I've been getting better quite rapidly, here's the latest x-ray taken 2/12/15 last thurs at 11 weeks since the accident. Potato quality but you can see the bone sedimenting out and forming a callous

 

 

I'm hoping to be able to get back to the slopes next month but it's difficult when they had to snip many of the hip muscles and the quads to insert the rod into there in surgery.

 

Anyways that's my story, don't go hiking drunk in the dark when opening day for your season is a week away.


Edited by Nikoras - 2/19/15 at 3:48pm
post #2 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nikoras View Post

 

Anyways that's my story, don't go hiking drunk in the dark when opening day for your season is a week away.

 

Glad you're healing up, and best of luck getting back out there. :ski

 

But I think you could have stopped that advice after the word "drunk".

post #3 of 14

Heal well.   And welcome to the Rod-In-Leg Club.
 

post #4 of 14

Holy crap!  Heal well and strong!

post #5 of 14

:eek

post #6 of 14

Tragic, maybe -- or thank your lucky stars that you didn't nail the femoral artery and bleed out -- as in dead.

post #7 of 14

Ouch man. Hope it gets better.

post #8 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nikoras View Post
 

So November 23rd.....

 

A couple of days in the hospital and I don't know what was worse, the drill through the bone to put it into traction when I told them I'm immune to lidocane (I'd say that was a 10 of 10 on the pain scale), The repeated failed attempts to catheterize (I won't go into more detail on that one), or the fact that I knew my season was over before it started. They gave me a titanium rod in the leg. With medical instructions that were weight bearing as tolerated.

 

So you missed end of November skiing.  Titanium rods will tolerate a lot of weight.:D
 

post #9 of 14
Glad to hear you are getting better. Sorry to hear you had to go through all that.

I've always been amazed how what seems to be a simple choice without consequence can be life changing. The good news is sometimes things turn out better.

Embrace this and learn from it. Try not to do it again wink.gif

Ken
post #10 of 14

l can see the x-rays now.  Looking at the first one, I can imagine a lot of soft tissue damage.  Hope you heal fast.  Good luck with the Physio.

post #11 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the well wishes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post
 

So you missed end of November skiing.  Titanium rods will tolerate a lot of weight.:D
 

LOL

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post
 

l can see the x-rays now.  Looking at the first one, I can imagine a lot of soft tissue damage.  Hope you heal fast.  Good luck with the Physio.

Most of the soft tissue damage was from the surgery itself. They have to snip the quads and the hip abductor muscles to get the rod and screws in there.

 

 

 

Doc said I'm cleared for skiing as soon as I feel my muscles are strong enough. Realistically that's in a couple of weeks if I keep up with PT.

Quote:
Originally Posted by L&AirC View Post



I've always been amazed how what seems to be a simple choice without consequence can be life changing.

 

 

No kidding. Honestly I think I would have been fine if I had just gone with the fall instead of driving my leg down in a desperate attempt to try and stop myself from falling. I think I gripped the ground and the leverage from my torso pitching forward snapped it in half. If you were to look at the embankment you would never thing that a dude in his 20's could break his femur there.

post #12 of 14

Nikoras -

 

That's essentially the same injury I had on January 11, 2014, though my break was closer to the femoral head (and thus hip spectrum - not sure that yours is considered the same). I have the same Ti rod and screws. Welcome to #projectfemur - quite the club.

 

Whatever you do: DON'T RUSH GETTING BACK ONTO THE SLOPES! Get the all-clear from your ortho and your physical therapist. Yes, it will seem like a ton of mental anguish, but if you play it right, the pain levels are far less. You want to make sure your functional range of motion (ROM) is close to normal, because the motion vectors that are part of dynamic alpine skiing will work all of the muscles you had repaired and are rebuilding. Definitely keep up the PT and work on dynamic flexibility in your routine.

 

My timeline was altered a bit by a bilateral pulmonary embolism 4.5 weeks out from my surgery, but I wasn't really cleared to resume skiing until late-August - 7 months from my repair, and definitely ahead of schedule compared to most similar repairs. I was non-weight bearing for 7.5 weeks, post-surgery, and only got to full weight after 11 weeks. I was off crutches and cane by early May, and would've been clear to ride a bike had I not been on an anticoagulant due to the PEs (I wasn't cleared to ride outdoors until August 4, 48 hours after my last regimen of anti-coagulants). I spent a lot of time in the gym, on a Wahoo stationary trainer, on hikes, slacklining, and swimming. I even did a little bit of Skiers Edge training, though I found it didn't do much more than a sliding board did.

 

Also: you'll want to have your stance evaluated, and your leg length verified. Often, you lose a bit of femoral length with these repairs, though your break was far more right-angled than mine. I lost 1.6cm of femoral length, and had to get shims on my right boot to compensate for the uneven stance. I tried skiing once without the shim, and it was tough to get any edge purchase on my right ski. After the shims were installed, everything was back to normal.

 

Thus far, I've logged quite a few ski days (21 or 22), coached junior alpine racers, run super-G turns at race speed (including a decent-sized jump), and enjoyed it all. I'm glad I had a lot of time to get my leg back into shape before hitting the slopes.

 

Good luck!

post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 
First of all thanks for the useful info. Yikes, sounds like yours was a lot worse than mine. Were you taking the anti-coagulants when you got the embolism? That sounds really scary. I hated stabbing myself in the gut every morning with those things. I thought I was slightly behind when my physical therapist was yelling at me 3 weeks out for still being on crutches and not moving to the cane. Ortho cleared me for skiing 2 weeks ago at the 11 week mark, I have a feeling that the physical therapists are going to be much harder to convince (they always have me doing exercises that seem too easy). My range of motion seems all the way back, but if I stand on the bum leg and bend my knee and straighten it out pretty rapidly it doesn't have anywhere near the spring that my good leg has. Most remaining pain seems to be in the knee whenever I'm doing exercises which I'm a little bit baffled by as I don't think they really touched it in the surgery. I think the fact that it broke off so cleanly really helped my recovery. I'm hoping to get back out to the slopes in a couple of weeks. It stinks how all the muscles they have to mess with to get that rod in there (hip abductors and quads) are so critical in skiing.
post #14 of 14

The knee aches are likely side-effects of muscle atrophy from the slicing of the quads during surgery. The other muscle compensated, and the typical muscular balance is off. In my case, it took a long time to get the balance back in my quads and other muscles that help control and align the knee. For what it's worth, I was working with my physical therapist until December, after I'd started skiing again. And I'm probably at 98 percent parity right now, with my hip flexors, psoas, and adductor still needing a bit more refinement. The lateral quad and abductor are back to normal - took 'em far less time, thanks to a lot of deep tissue massage to break up scar tissue in the healing muscles.

 

My completely non-professional advice is to work on getting a bit more leg strength before heading back to the slopes. I realize that New England has seen a lot of great snow this season, but unless you fully trust the strength of your leg, skiing may be a bit more frustrating. Above all, you'll have a more enjoyable day if your leg feels healthy and strong.

 

Regarding my PE: it happened after being off the Lovenox for a week. Once I was discharged from the rehab hospital (where I was for 2.5 weeks post-surgery to, among other things, rebuild blood count and build crutching strength), the doc there took me off the anti-coagulant meds. I'd even learned the stomach jab and all that, but he felt it wasn't necessary. One week later, I self-diagnosed the PE, had my partner take me to the ER at 4am (she rocks), had the diagnosis confirmed, and spent an extra week in hospital (due mostly to icy conditions here in DC last winter - no safe way to get back home). Once discharged, I was put on oral anti-coagulants (Xarelto) for 6 months, in a graduated decrease in dosage. It beat injectables, for sure!

 

Again, good luck! Looks like you have a nice repair that'll give you many more great ski seasons.

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