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Broken Knee Cap...how long to recover?

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
I broke my knee cap and had to have pins and wire to reassemble it. Has anyone had this done? If so, how long after surgery would you say it was before you were in skiing condition? I was pretty sure that a August 7 surgery date would allow plenty of time for recovery, but now it's mid-October and I am starting to wonder if I'll be ready on opening day. No one will give me an estimate.
post #2 of 26
Will you require more surgery to remove the hardware? I'd think your best case would be 8 weeks after that for sneaking in a few very easy runs against doc's orders. If they're going to leave it than I guess it would depend on how your other rehab activities are going. But many folks here don't always obey exactly what the docs say when it comes to getting back on the snow. It sounds like you are still not very mobile. We'll toss up some prayers and + vibes for you to try to help where we can. Keep us posted.

Disclaimer... You usually risk making things a LOT worse by not following the doc's orders..
post #3 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by crgildart View Post
Will you require more surgery to remove the hardware? I'd think your best case would be 8 weeks after that for sneaking in a few very easy runs against doc's orders. If they're going to leave it than I guess it would depend on how your other rehab activities are going. But many folks here don't always obey exactly what the docs say when it comes to getting back on the snow. It sounds like you are still not very mobile. We'll toss up some prayers and + vibes for you to try to help where we can. Keep us posted.

Disclaimer... You usually risk making things a LOT worse by not following the doc's orders..
The hardware will stay in for a year. No one has told me (dared to?) that I can't ski with the hardware. We're already at 10 weeks post op. I KNOW I'm not ready yet, as extended periods on my feet lead to a day in bed, but I do have pretty good range of motion on my knee. I am not using crutches or my splint to get around, but the endurance and the stairs aren't there.
post #4 of 26
I'm sorry to hear that S. H. Silence probably means a definite no way from their end. Smacking your knee on boiler plate ice with hardware in to might shatter it again (likely shatter it again?). If it were me and I lived near the slopes I might sneak in a few tame runs here and there as soon as I felt physically able to. But, I haven't had a wipe out in quite some time. I'm pretty certain I wouldn't fall on a blue unless someone clips me from behind or something crazy like that. Docs aren't going to factor in skiing at expert level when they recommend that you ski or don't ski.

I hope things go better for you very soon, saw some of your escapades in recovery via Bonni's thread so I'm a little in the loop.

Please see disclaimer above though before deciding to go or no go when feeling more solid on your feet.

Peace and Health!

CG
post #5 of 26
Thread Starter 
They know I'm a ski fanatic and in the top 50 for vert for the mountain, so they should realize I ski well. This is a ski town, after all, most skiers here aren't newbs.

But, will have to press on this. I just keep reiterating I'm skiing on day one.
post #6 of 26
Next time pay Nunzio on time and you wont have any broken knee caps to worry about


Heal well.
post #7 of 26
I agree with crgilart. This is really a question to ask your physician.

A non-complicated long bone fracture, in a younger person generally takes, 6-8 weeks to mend. 8-12 weeks in an older person. Longer with osteoporosis, other complications.

The fact that hardware was used to pull the pieces back into alignment complicates things.

The bottom surface of the patella is 'V' shaped and covered with cartilage.

Bending the knees compresses the surface of the patella on the femur.

I would think that placing a skiing type load on your knee would create significant swelling and discomfort.

I would play this conservatively. Sorry to hear about your injury.
post #8 of 26
Thread Starter 
The doc says he wants to see me with 80% of my strength back before I ski. I still need help climbing stairs properly and really can't go down the stairs yet. BUT, can now play pool without too much limping and pain. And....beating my husband even more often.
post #9 of 26
Thread Starter 

Update:  Put in 53 days this year, but still found doing any extended walking to be painful.  I get the hardware out bright and early tomorrow, which should help with some of the issues I'm having. 

post #10 of 26

You should have listened to Johnnys Zoo. Patella-femoral syndrome is no fun, risking damage to the cartilage on that V-shaped surface isn't wise. Skiing in general, even on healthy knees is probably not worth the risk. I hope you had fun.

 

53 days. Yes, I'm jealous. Quit eating those sour grapes, you'll get a tummy ache. I hope tomorrow's surgery brings the improvement in your knee's condition that you are hoping for.

post #11 of 26
Thread Starter 

What makes you think I have patella-femoral syndrome?  The doctor and the PT cleared me to ski.  

Quote:
Originally Posted by telerod15 View Post

You should have listened to Johnnys Zoo. Patella-femoral syndrome is no fun, risking damage to the cartilage on that V-shaped surface isn't wise. Skiing in general, even on healthy knees is probably not worth the risk. I hope you had fun.

 

53 days. Yes, I'm jealous. Quit eating those sour grapes, you'll get a tummy ache. I hope tomorrow's surgery brings the improvement in your knee's condition that you are hoping for.

 

post #12 of 26

Well, if your knee cap is cracked, I guess there is a risk of the patella not tracking right in the femoral groove possibly resulting in damage to the cartilage. I'm not a doctor, I'm an internet troll. Did I mention I'm jealous? I was just kidding, basically, except the bit about hoping your knee feels better after the hardware is removed.

post #13 of 26
Thread Starter 

X-rays show an apparently perfectly healed knee cap with no odd ridges from several angles.  No evidence in the x-ray that it was ever broken.

post #14 of 26

Great! Now quit breaking your bones already. You're getting a little old for that, don't you think? BTW, how did you break your kneecap?

post #15 of 26
Thread Starter 

I wish I could say it was worth telling.  I was having inner ear dizziness and just tripped and slammed down onto concrete.  At least with the wrists I did it skiing and slammed into a tree.  That's got some drama.

 

I went fifty-five years and never broke a bone and never had a serious injury.  I retire, move, and the next thing you know I am accident prone or something. 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by telerod15 View Post

Great! Now quit breaking your bones already. You're getting a little old for that, don't you think? BTW, how did you break your kneecap?

 

post #16 of 26

Ugh, I know a cat 1 bike racer who tore his ACL getting up from sitting on the floor.  He's a messenger and has busted up a lot of other parts with more style, but you never know what can happen. He's fifty something already, like us, where does the time go? Getting old sucks, but it's better than the alternative. Road shoes, marble floor.

 

I'd blame the dizziness on the fog you get out there. Stay off the piste and in the trees, it's safer with all that fog up your way. 

 

Just my opinion of course. You've figured out the value of my advice by now I hope. Good thing I didn't see this thread in October, I might have planted some bad thoughts in your head. I'm glad you had a good skiing season despite your injury.

post #17 of 26

  I'm in same situation, I broke my knee cap 4 months past, still having problems, even the  walking, Doc says he wants to remove hardware and scare tissue in a month or so, if completely healed,

hamsting very weak, Don't know if that has anything to do with the difficulties I have , maybe some one else has same problem?

post #18 of 26
Thread Starter 

Wow!  He wants to remove the hardware already?  Mine wanted me to have longer than that, and of course, with ski season, I waited until THAT was over.  The first ski season, between surgeries, I was restricted to groomers.  Then I had the hardware out.  It turned out that the hardware removal was as tough physically as the initial surgery, I had to start all over with PT and I wasn't not so good at it, having been going to PT for 12 months, my interest was severely lagging, plus I get migraines constantly in the summer.  So, wasn't that good about PT after the second surgery.  The next ski season after that I had a slow start, and of course it was an El Nino year.  By the time I was READY to go off-piste, the off-piste was pretty packed and mogully, not the best of conditions for a now timid skier.  I don't think I did much at all, given the season.  Now, finally this season, I have no excuses, but once again (migraines) did not do much over the summer.  Started the season slow, but am finally trying selected off piste areas and liking them.  I am going to places I haven't been to in 2-3 years (back before the knee I had another accident...).  There are DEFINITELY days I have knocked off early due to the knee, but I did ski to closing this Monday and felt wonderful.

 

My surgeon had told me it would be at least two years before I was back to normal.  It's now a bit longer and I still have knees that feel different from each other, but I only limp when I am tired.  At 59 years, things take longer. If I was active during the off season, I would be further ahead.  This past April, I was walking 2 miles a day and the knee felt wonderful, but then it started pouring rain for weeks and when it stopped, the migraines started, so I sort of gave up the walking (bad girl, I know).  (My family says I have "reverse seasonal affective disorder" -- when it's sunny, I'm hiding under a blanket; when it's overcast/rainy/foggy/snowy, I felt terrific. 

 

But, basically what I've found is the more you use it, the better it gets, just don't OVERDO it. 

post #19 of 26

@Chilly - I'd suggest taking a look at this board if you have a chance: http://www.kneeguru.co.uk/KNEEtalk/index.php?board=21.0

 

It's a great site for advice and learning about the different experiences people have healing these kinds of injuries. I found it a real godsend after my ACL rupture, and it may be helpful for you too as there are lots of folk there with patella breaks/fractures/hardware etc. 

post #20 of 26
Thread Starter 

Wow, went there and was immediately depressed all over again.  Glad I didn't read it before, better not knowing all that.  The reality was bad enough, all these other possibilities were unknown, so I didn't worry about them. 

post #21 of 26

Not sure if I'm commenting on the right part of this thread, but I'm responding to the "feel great in the rain & crappy in the sun" quote.

 

Sounds like allergys to me.  I had the same issue and started doing weekly shot therapy about three months ago, and it's already working.  It's a pain to have to go in for a shot, but it is what it is .. a permanent approach to riding me of my allergies.

 

Best of luck to you,

- Brad 

post #22 of 26

I think you are pushing things. If you can't get up and down stairs smoothly, you aren't ready.

 

I am recovering from a tibial plateau fracture, which I sustained in March doing a super-G. After 8 months of hard rehab I think I will be able to ski this season, but I can now run 10km in 50 minutes and go up and down stairs two at a time. And I'm still quite nervous about skiing....

 

Mark

post #23 of 26

I broke my knee cap many years back. It wasn't as bad as yours, I didn't have any added hardware, mine wasn't a through fracture. It took me at least six months before I could do vigorous physical activity.  I was back at to skate park, it was summer, by 8 months and taking knee impacts with pads. If it's still bothering you work up to it slowly. I was starting to get really discouraged after about five months, I thought I was going to be messed up for life, then it seemed like over night it got better. Then it took about two months to re-strengthen the leg up again. Good luck!

post #24 of 26
Thread Starter 

Not sure who you are responding to, but this thread is from back in 08, with a Jan 2011 update.  I'm as close to fine as I'm ever going to be in the knee department.  
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by hyperkub View Post

I think you are pushing things. If you can't get up and down stairs smoothly, you aren't ready.

 

I am recovering from a tibial plateau fracture, which I sustained in March doing a super-G. After 8 months of hard rehab I think I will be able to ski this season, but I can now run 10km in 50 minutes and go up and down stairs two at a time. And I'm still quite nervous about skiing....

 

Mark



 

post #25 of 26

mate my knee cap was snapped in half xmas 2006 i am in pain every day till now 2011 nov. cant run or walk properly. i thought most people were alright after several weeks....not me. i am a supersports bike rider not easy to fail or give up type of person. but its hell for me. pain killers help but dont cure anything. was told my never fully recover but refuse to belive that. the surgeon told me that. hope you get better fella. i had a dynamic hip screw op at same time still not back to normal but no where near as much pain to date as the knee. i cant work it out. can any one else shed some light for me.?

post #26 of 26
Thread Starter 

As my surgeon said to me, "They don't kneecap people in movies because it's a GOOD thing."  The only issues I have are some stiffness in the muscles around my knee and occasionally some "tracking" issues.  These normally clear up as the ski season progresses.  I had PT for 1.5 years before I got to what I decided was a clear plateau and stopped.  

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