I broken my right patella earlier this year, slipping on a slick driveway. This bone is the first I have ever broken and it has certainly been an experience.
02/24/2012: Broken right patella
02/29/2012: ORIF; used a Velcro brace with slight bend at knee; 2 screws with wires on both ends
03/30/2012: My ortho advised that I could begin therapy
04/09/2012: Began therapy; had no clue that I lost so much muscle tone. Therapist advised me to walk and hold the crutches.
04/17/2012: Began walking without clutches; never looked back
06/14/2012: Ortho dismissed me; advised me that I had done very well
06/15/2012: Completed therapy. Therapist advised that most people do not do this well.
08/31/2012: Removed the hardware
I saw many knee replacements during therapy and they do very well very quickly. My husband had a knee replacement last year and thought I should have been out of therapy long before I finished.
My therapy sessions were 1.5 hours and I used the ice & stem for the first seven weeks and realized that I was past that point. The therapist had 3-4 people she was working with each time. I would go in and start through my routine. If she had been able to work more closely with me, she would have added additional exercises and removed some of the easier ones more quickly. The Leg Press and stationary bicycle are extremely important as they add strength and assist in bending. There was one exercise that I could not do well due to the hardware pressing on something on the lower end. I had to stand on the edge of the treadmill with my left leg bent and hanging toward the back and placing all my weight on the right knee while bending as far as possible. I could not bend very far as it was very sore. It was also very sore when doing stairs. I had stairs at home and would go up and down them 10-12 times per day. Towards the end of my therapy, we were preparing to put the house on the market and I was making 18-20 trips down the stairs carrying boxes which added more weight on the knee while doing the stairs causing it to swell. Within the last two weeks of therapy, I could walk through the entire mall with no problem and not much swelling.
On August 3, I was squatting down picking up something from the floor and when I stood up, I twisted and fell something in my knee. I was very cautious after that as it was sore. I saw an orthopedic who said we will remove the hardware as the top wire was broken and the bottom wire was just hanging there.
On August 31, the hardware was removed. It feels so much better and I can do the exercise now that I could not before. I realize now that that specific exercise is so important because when you step down with your good foot on stairs and off curbs, you have to bend your knee with your weight on it. I had been straight legging it and falling forward to my left foot, It helps with getting out of the bath tub. The only remaining thing is to run as I limp when I run, but I think I am not going heel to toe properly – I will work on that and it will resolve the issue.
You literally have to re-learn to do everything. I will say that you get out of therapy what you put into it. I think I have regained everything that I lost in that freak accident. You have to resolve to do it and work at it and you can return to “normal.” I have had no pain since 16 hours post-surgery or during therapy…just lots of soreness and some stiffness. I have not been advised of any restrictions. The Ortho who removed the hardware said just don't bust the stitches. I have been careful and am now five weeks post-hardware removal. It is still a little stiff, but gets better and there is no limit to the walking that I can do.
Thats great that you are recovering so fast. I broke my knee cap also and had to have it repaired. I found out however that my knee cap injury was probably due to misalignment in my right hip. So my therapist is making me do very strenous exercises on my right hip to re-align it.