there i a bit of variability to this but most surgeons recommend removal of the brace at 6 weeks
I returned to work with a 3 hour drive as an Er doc after 11 days post op, my tear was on the right. Didn't have the luxury of taking any time off. I had a portable ice machine and sat elevating and icing my leg once an hour for twelve hour shifts. Used a walker for the first week, then crutches a week then a cane. It certainly can be done.
Frank u will have strange pains in and around the knee intermittently for many months. The swelling will persist sometimes for a year. The swelling should only worsen if you overdo PT and it should never get real hot and red or u may be dealing with a clot or infection, so all the other pains are variable and generally normal. It is very unatural for one to bear wt so assymetrically so various pains arise all the time. The process is long and slow. i am 6.5 months post op and yesterday returned to my first Jiu Jitsu practice since tearing the quad tendon there in late march. U have ups and downs, even this long out. This injury requires sig patience perserverance, and a lot of hard work. It really sucks. genreally most people improve a little every day, although sometimes its barely perceptible, others seem like great leaps(such as taking stairs unassisted for the first time, going down steps the first time safely, running the first time). Some days it seems like u got no where. each day try to think of something positive that occurred no matter how small and build on that.
Hi Blue Belt, Thanks for your response. I am assuming that all is normal with my situation and that my OS will remove the immobilizer this Friday. What do you think will replace my immobilizer? A brace? Nothing? The OS told me that the tear in my quad was 3 centimeters. I assume that was not a complete tear. Would recovery be easier if it is not a complete tear? But I did have 4 holes drilled into my knee to reattach tthe tendons. Thank you
if u had surgery the recov is probably the same regardless. My OS recommended nothing but crutches and gradual full wt bearing at 6 weeks when we removed the immobilizer. I had started pool walking in 3-5 feet of water at about 3 weeks so by 6 weeks I actually did fine with nothing. Didn't need the crutches just walked very conscious of the knee and only had a few buckels over the first month, it wasn;t that bad I was able to catch myself each time and didn't hurt the repair. At 10 weeks I was pretty stable with walking unassisted.
Thank you. Rest, rest and more rest is all I have done for going on 5 weeks, with the occasional full weight bearing walking with yhe crutches. There appears to be little or no atrophy and little or no swelling. Just pain when moving in different directions. Is the surgery easily compromised? by knee buckling when the immobilizer is removed? or banging into an object? or by bending the knee too much? or by using the leg too much? I am very afraid and impatient at the same time. thanks.
Hi Frank. They very well may do things differently if you did not have a full tear. My OS kept me in an immobilizer for a full 12 weeks, except when I was at therapy. At 10 weeks he let me put full weight on the leg with the immobilizer on. I did have a few times that the knee buckled after the immobilzer was removed, but not many. The OS STRESSED to me many times that the repair would not be completely healed for 6 months. As myself and others have said, you will have many little pains in many areas along the way. Pretty normal I believe. And you will know when you have pushed too far. Your leg will let you know with swelling, stiffness etc. That is still true at 10 months out. I was told you could do damage by bending to much to early. He likened it to overstretching a rubber band. He said I would lose some of the elasticity in the leg if it were pushed to far to fast. And again, you will see many many different scenarios here. Your OS will know what's best for your particular injury. Sometimes being a little afraid is a good thing.
Hi everyone. Went to the OS today and the immobilzer has been replaced with a hinged brace. Feels very awkward or maybe just different. He clarified that I did indeed have a complete tear of the tendon. It was 3 centimeters torn away! Have booked PT starting on Monday and now although that is good news I now have an assortment of new fears. My leg moved about 5 degrees today and he wants me at 90 degrees in 2 to 3 weeks. Hope that is normal? With 3 PT essions next week can I reasonably expect to be at 45 degrees by next Friday? That wouild allow me to get in my car. Do I face any new worries now with the hinged brace? Thanks.
Frank, Did you say you only have 5deg ROM? Are you sure? That's not much, however, getting to 45deg should NOT be a problem after 3 PT sessions, in fact, I would bet you'll be well beyond 45deg. 90deg should come within a couple addtl sessions.
Best advice I can give is to do the homework (exercises) they give you. Do it as perscribed, it will help you get your ROM back that much faster.
Good luck and keep us informed.
Thanks.It would be great to be at 45 degrees this week. My first PT is this Monday. Can I get to 30 degrees after one session? Should I be sleeping with the hinged brace on my leg? I have lots of new pains that come and go in my knee. Would a topical pian gel help with the pain?
Today with my hinged brace set at 30 degrees and me not having any where near 30 derees ROM I attempted to get into the back seat of my car. My wife was to drive. Things went from bad to worse. No matter how hard I tried I could not slide my self into the car without terrible pain in my knee. A couple of friends came by and wanted to help. Lifting my leg as I squeezed into the car. No success only frustration and pain. I gave up as it was impossible. Then I had to climb up the stairs to the house but no matter how hard I tried both legs became cemented to the ground. Panic, fear and pain! Finally with the help of a friend I got up the steps. Back to bed for 3 hours. With the brace on and my leg elevated on a chair my foot keeps swelling up a bit with leg in this position. Frustrated, embarrassed and in pain, but off to PT on Monday if I can get into the back of a car.
A day has passed since my last post and the highlight of my day was that my ROM was about 20 degrees! That was from me trying on my own to flex my knee while standing. Hope my PT tomorrow says that I can walk without crutches very soon. Again thanks to everyone who puts up with ny whining. I just need some confidence that things will be better. And then my extreme fears will subside.
Hi everyone. Went for PT this morning and my ROM was 10 degrees when the PT started and was about 25 degrees at best during the most painful session I have ever endured. I was literally screaming with the pain! Totally embarrassed! The therapist suggested that I take paim medication before my next session so that she can better work on my leg. Does this make sense? I think my fear is making the pain worse or not allowing the maximum benefit from the PT. Does anyone think medication to calm me down and supress my fear along with the pain reliever would be of help? Thanks for any comments.
Took my pain meds for my second PT session. Brace is not locked anymore. With a lot of pain was able to flex my knee to 60 degees from a seated position. My Therapist wants me at 90 degees by Friday. Is this doable? Wasn't able to do any leg raises, from my hip to my knee would rise but nothing from the knee to the foot. I felt like there was nothing there! Is this normal? How do I practise this? Did some walking on crutches without the brace but leg hardly bends unless fourced to do so. Thanks.
Frank, You're making great progress. Make sure you recognize and appreciate the progress. Heat helps loosen things up before bending it too. As TD, said wall slides work great and I saw the most improvement doing them. You can also sit on the edge of a table and place the heel of your good foot on top of the bad foot. Move your heel back, pushing your bad foot further under the table. You're going to be on the bike in no time. Good job.
Hi Ken, Thanks for your support. Wall slides sound great but please explain how to do them properly. Any reason why I cant do leg raises? Tried walking very carefully with a cane only. Not quite ready for that yet. Was wobbly! It was great to hear from you. Thanks
Frank, It's great you're walking with the cane. Stability will come back soon and you can walk unassisted. Wall slides; lay perpendicular to a wall and scoot your butt as close as you can to the wall and run your legs up the wall. You can bend your legs and use your good leg to get the repaired leg up on the wall. Now place the foot or heel of the repaired leg on the wall and the foot of the good leg under the other to support the repaired leg. Now let gravity 'slide' your feet down the wall. The further down you get the greater bend in the knee. Control the movement with the good leg. Let it slide as far as you can tolerate and just let it sit there for a few minutes. Push up with the good leg to straighten out the repaired knee and repeat. Each time getting a little deeper. I'd just lay on the floor and watch tv and may spend an hour or so doing the wall slides.
As far as the leg raises, I don't know. Can you tighten your quad? Maybe try doing sets of isometric quad contractions to get the quad firing.
My story is a little bit different than most of the people here. I ruptured my right tendon almost three years ago and then during rehab, the machine I was using broke and I re-ruptured it requiring a second surgery. Then 7 days after the second surgery, I got blood clots in my lungs (pulmonary embolisms) and that sent me to the ICU (and almost killed me). I have posted in detail here my story and I will not repeat it now (the posts are on pages 54 and 56 if anyone would like to read). I am posting today for those who have had very slow recoveries. I used to read this site and while I was happy for those who were running 10ks within 90 days of surgery, it was also frustrating to me because my recovery was so much slower (I'm sure having two surgeries didn't help.) Anyway, at about 18 months post-op (second surgery) my bad knee was probably still only 65%. That was frustrating because I was told that after about 18 months, there would probably not be much further improvement. I continued to exercise, however, and right at the two year mark, my bad knee got much better. Over the course of a month, it went from 65% to 90%. I will be honest, it has not really gotten better than that. But 90% is pretty good and considering I had resigned myself to 65% to 75%, I am pretty happy with 90%. The only issues I still have, is that about once a month or so, I will get a small buckle in the knee and it is still not quite as strong as the good knee. So for those of you with slower recoveries, keep doing your exercises and your knee should continue to get stronger even if it takes a lot longer than some of the fast-healers that post here.
Twiceruptured many thanks for giving me some hope. I sit over 5 months post op just less than 90% which I don't think will let me get back to work full time again. I have been told I Will not get much more movement but I am determined to work hard to make sure I get enough movement to let me return to work and your post has encouraged me to keep going. Can someone advise I still have a very sharpe pain under the knee when I do wall slides or similar exercises and I am frightened of doing damage is this normal and should I carry on. Thanks
Hi All, I havent posted in at least a month and I have a lot of good news regarding this injury. First, you will get better. You will recover as I and others have. Believe me, I've experienced the full gamut of emotions since my injury. Speaking from experience let me tell you, DONT listen to the negative emotions...you'll be fine but it will take a lot of patience, time, and effort. I tripped and fell while running after my dog and had a complete rupture of my right quad tendon 6/23/11. I too was active, I too was in decent physical condition. Suddently and from out of the blue I found myself unable to stand up from the driveway, wondering why there was a huge concave void above my kneecap! I had to call 911 right from where I sat since my wife could not lift me up. I also tore 75% of my left achilles tendon in the same accident. Surgery for that is coming soon.
Im 4 months out from surgery now and Im walking without a crutch or cane now. Longer walks like inside a supermarket or through a parking lot do tend to ache with each step on that leg but it feels like a good pain and Im noticing a gradual lessening of the sharpness of the pain with each day that I use it. Ive been going up and down steps rather gingerly but Im able to take a full step up with the bad leg supporting my weight. Its good PT!
This blog was a god send to me. All of the posts of people that were experiencing the same injury were absolutely priceless...and many thanks to Idaho Guy for starting a very helpful, great thing!
I'll check back once in a while and post more on my continued recovery. It truly is a long one...this aint no broken bone with 6 weeks to full activity.... This is 6 months to full motion and another 6 months to hopefully regaom full use and strength of the quad.
Keep the faith and stay positive. mobility is just around the corner!
Been awhile since I posted. 14months post op. Complete quadriceps rupture, patella rupture, collateral ligament failure, Yep most everything that could rip did!
The road back has been long and difficult but achievable, and that's my message to all.
I did not really become happy with my progress until the 12 month mark, by then I could sprint, run distance, bike, trek with a pack etc etc. I am now working on real explosive strength with plyometrics, box jumps, split squats with weights etc. Don't try Bosu balls or plyometrics until you have a least 6th months of healing behind you as there are horror stories on this blog of people re injuring them selves with these types of exercises.
So with those with catastrophic ruptures keep the faith you will get there. Plan for full rehabilitation within 2 years rather than 12 months to avoid disappointment. Now I'm 50 so it will be quicker for younger folks but none the less be prepared to spend some real time in rehab and keep at it. Don't be afraid to lift weights, I happily push 270kg on a linear leg press machine and Olympic squats at 150kg and not a twing.
Keep the faith, keep working and enjoy your new found fitness and vitality from the exercises program that has been forced on you!
Hi everyone. Today was a good day. As said before by many people, things do get better little by little. Today I was at 90 degrees ROM with this being my 3rd PT this week. On Monday I left my 1st PT session at 20 degrees thinking I could never get to 90 degrees ROM only 4 days later. Leg raises have become doable. Monday I am starting on the bike! Looks and sounds tough but I have to keep working on my exercises all weekend.
Twice ruptured, you are not alone!
I have also gone through this twice when the first surgery failed. They went in after six months since I had constant buckling and could not exent my leg out straight. They found only scar tissue just barely holding the quad to the kneecap. This time it was going much better but I can't get rid of the swelling wich causes the kneecap to float instead of track and that is slowing down the rehap process, but I will take geting better slowely over a third operation any day. The OS has attempted to draw off the fluid but it in the tissue and he "HOPES" that the increased usage will force the fluid out but at 13 weeks this time no such luck.
Hi everyone, I woke up today and me leg felt weaker than normal and at PT my ROM had slipped back to 80 degrees. And thats with me forcing my leg to that ROM. Am I working it too hard? not enough ? or are there some days where there is a step backwards?
Frank - You are probably just having a bad day. I wouldn't worry to much about it, you will probably see improvement with your next PT session. Think of it this way. Remember where you were 2 weeks ago. Improvement will begin to show very quickly when you are able to do a stationary bike. Were you able to do that this afternoon at PT?
The Bike was on the agenda for today but I couldn't do the ROM required to allow me to try. My therapist attempted to bend my leg manually with pain I didn't know existed! I was screaming for her to stop and when she did she told me that at my next session on Wednesday she will push and bend and I can't stop her. Maybe I am a baby but I don't think so. During the day my foot is in the hinged brace with no ROM restriction but I am sitting with my leg extended for the most part. Maybe my leg needs to bend more but all the chairs are too low and don't allow for much bending. Frustrating day but i hope tomorrow is better. I dont want to go backwards in the healing process.
Has the therapist got you doing any ROM excercises at home such as heel slides etc? Have you tried or are you able to do anything like the wall slides TexasDiesel mentioned? The main thing as I was told was not to push to fast,and take the improvement as it comes. My OS said that nothing good could come from doing to much too fast.