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Broken knee. Operation tomorrow. Anyone been through similar?

(137 Posts)
Spidermama Sun 20-Oct-13 17:15:57

I have two fractures in my femur and tibia a depressed fracture in the top of my tibia. They're going to put a plate in my knee and graft the bone.

It happened a week ago today on holiday in Thailand and it still hurts so much.

I'm on crutches so effectively useless in terms of laundry and cooking. I'm in a full leg cast. I'm really just looking for other stories so I can get an idea of how things might pan out.

Poor dh is up to his eyeballs and cracking under the strain.

Ireallymustbemad Fri 13-Dec-13 10:50:23

I may be a bit late to come in now but it is normal for the leg to be painful as you gradually increase what you are doing with it. The first few days of doing anything extra will be sore but will gradually ease off. More painkillers for those days when required.

I was also told it's normal for other joints to hurt as you tend to overuse them whilst compensating for the knee and trying not to put too much pressure on it.

Good luck with the rest of your recovery.

ConfusedDotty Thu 12-Dec-13 08:48:22

Well done Spider. I am so jealous of your hobbling about. Hope you have a great Christmas.

Spidermama Mon 09-Dec-13 12:24:23

I've been partially weight bearing for 6 days now. My leg is sore and particularly my ankles. It's also very swollen. DS said my foot looks like a rubber glove which has been blown into. shock

DH says it's normal but as he's not a medic and has never broken any bones I'm after a second (MN) opinion.

Spidermama Mon 09-Dec-13 11:58:15

I've been partially weight bearing for 6 days now. My leg is sore and particularly my ankles. It's also very swollen. DS said my foot looks like a rubber glove which has been blown into. shock

DH says it's normal but as he's not a medic and has never broken any bones I'm after a second (MN) opinion.

NorbertDentressangle Tue 03-Dec-13 21:06:35

Fantastic news that you're making such progress! The physio will have definitely helped. I can't believe that you can't see one on the NHS! Will that come later?

I seem to remember seeing one after my knee op, although that was many moons ago so there have no doubt been cut-backs since then. I know that when I broke my ankle a couple of years ago I had to ask to see one -they were just going to send me away when the plaster came off. No advice, no suggested exercises to build my leg back up, no follow-up appointment, no nothing hmm

Keep up the good work but don't overdo it !

(and get yourself to a garden centre soon wink)

Spidermama Tue 03-Dec-13 19:32:58

I've been partially weight bearing all day now and my whole leg really hurts. I guess that's normal.

I'm wondering if I'll wake up in renewed pain and have to go back on pain killers.

Spidermama Tue 03-Dec-13 14:22:20

I've been lucky enough to have a fantastic physio therapist come to my house twice a week and she's made a massive difference to my recovery I'm sure. I still can't get physio on the NHS so she's private. Annoying but worth every penny. She's showed me how to reactivate muscles which had just switched off because I haven't been using them.

I can now bend my leg about 110 degrees and have full flexion so the consultant told me yesterday I can start partially weight bearing which I've been doing. I was euphoric when he told me that.

So I'm hobbling around the house practising. It's a long road ahead and for a while I got quite down feeling like I'd plateau'd but I can feel progress now so that's helping.

Norbert I'm still waiting for my trip to the garden centre.

NorbertDentressangle Thu 14-Nov-13 14:29:27

How are you doing Spidermama? Have you been finding things to do to keep boredom at bay?

Hope you're on top of the pain now.

ConfusedDotty Mon 11-Nov-13 12:10:59

Ha ha chair dancing sounds good to me

How are you recovering?

My fracture is showing no signs of healing at all, it's still quite a large open break despite being plated and screwed. They will wait two months more to see if there is any natural improvement, if not they will go down the bone graft route.

Driving/running and walking seen such a long way off.

Spidermama Wed 06-Nov-13 09:29:04

Gosh Dotty! I'm so sorry. That must be extremely demoralising. Why do you have to wait so long for another op?
I can recommend chair dancing over the Christmas period. Any kind of dancing - even just hand dancing - can lift the spirits.

ConfusedDotty Tue 05-Nov-13 19:39:45

Spider, I was in the Middle East and the treatment was amazing, second to none. My leg wasn't stable enough to fly and I needed loads of blood transfusions, they were great though.

Just had a major set back yesterday though. My specialist told me there is no sign of healing, so I have to have a bigger operation with bone grafts in the new year. One step forward and all that. No sign of my boogying at the Xmas parties. hmm

Hope you recovery is doing better than mine.

Spidermama Sun 03-Nov-13 23:01:19

I'll look into the shopmobility idea. Sounds good.

ConfusedDotty, how was it having to be operated on abroad? Where were you? I was in Thailand and keen to get back to my home and kids.

I'm glad you're pain free after ten weeks. I'm also interested in getting back to work (desk based) but can't imagine spending so much time WITHOUT having my leg up.

Ireallymustbemad Sun 03-Nov-13 20:03:41

Yes swelling 9 days post OP is normal.

As for getting out, if you can get someone to drive you, you can use shopmobility schemes. The one near me will give you a temporary blue badge so you can park next to it then lend you a wheelchair or mobility scooter for a few hours. It was lovely to go out and have a coffee in the shopping centre although I was very conscious of the scooter so didn't feel entirely comfortable but that was in my head. It was free but donations encouraged.

Take care.

ConfusedDotty Sun 03-Nov-13 09:51:22

My surgeon told me the swelling will take about 3 months to go down, he was right. I still get a lot of fluid around my knee if I am stood up for a while.

My pain seemed to go about 8 weeks after the op. I can still feel the broken bone, but no pain as such.

Take care.

Spidermama Sun 03-Nov-13 05:24:29

It's still swollen and the entire lower leg still hurts a lot. Is that normal 9 days after the op?

Spidermama Fri 01-Nov-13 10:43:12

Thanks for the link Jellybelly. I'm ridiculously excited to have a new a. activity I can do in bed. I am getting bored and frustrated here.

We had a little Halloween gathering last night. DH and the kids put it all together and I just sat their in my ghost from the past outfit. It was interesting. I did get bored telling my tale and I was really exhausted after it, but it felt good seeing others. I love Halloween and we had a houseful of kids of all ages. That cheered me up, but I'm a bit flat today.

Reallymustbemad since you wrote about progress not being linear I've had it in my head as a mantra. Thanks. It's really helpful to know it's ok to have bad days and it's still recovery.

1leggedwobbler that's inspiring. I'm glad you're making progress and I hope you're rocking the black boot. wink

Norbert I haven't been out. We live on a hill which complicates things. However, a friend says she's bringing me her mum's mobility scooter to borrow because her mum never uses it and has offered apparently. If this happens it'll mean I can go on the dog walk. That would be so lovely.

ConfusedDotty I'm interested in the Robocop leg brace. I have one too but I'm not sure exactly what it does and whether I'd be allowed to use crutches without it at this stage. (I haven't dared yet). Mine has about a mile of velcro to contend with and is quite fiddly to get on and off, although I guess its better than a cast.
I'm really looking forward to the swelling going down as that's just scary.

I've finally got an appointment for a wound check and re-dress on Monday so I'll get to see the scar which is all a bit mysterious at the moment.

I'm surprised they told you it's too soon for physio as they had me doing some light exercises the day after the op. shock I still do knee bending (Robobrace is set at 60 degrees but I'm not there yet.) and heel flexing. They encouraged me to go further and bend it more. It was a bit scary as I thought I'd be in a cast while bones set. I guess they are confident their polyfiller and titanium have done the trick. I'm still non weight bearing for 6 weeks though and the thought of putting my foot down again is terrifying.

Anyway good sharing stories as ever. I'm off to follow Jellybean's link.

ConfusedDotty Fri 01-Nov-13 09:38:00

sorry, meant to say that I wasn't allowed to fly back home.

ConfusedDotty Fri 01-Nov-13 09:37:25

Hi Spider, glad to hear to you are on the mend. I am in pretty much the same position as yourself. I broke my femur and shattered my knee 1000s of mile away from home too. I was allowed to fly back home and had the surgery abroad, so I too have a leg full of titanium and what feels like half a ton of screws.

My accident was about 10 weeks ago now and the pain is minimal and the swelling has gone down considerably, although my knee will start to swell if I try to do too much. I am still not allowed to put any weight on that leg and the specialist had kindly given me some sort of Robocop leg brace.

I think you get bad days and good days, there was a week or so when I was so down and blamed myself for being silly enough to fall down some marble stairs, but soon realised (with the help of DP) that only time will sort it out.

I have gone back to work despite my doctor's wishes, but he did eventually sign me off the sick, I simply couldn't be in the house all day, it was making me worse, I am office based, so to me sat in front of a pc all day was hardly putting any further stress on my leg, I am doing fine at work and more importantly my mental health has improved.

I still can't do much around the house, I love to cook but have to take little breaks so I am not stood up too much. I won't be able to drive again for the best part of a year, that's a killer, having to rely on DP for lifts too and from work. Lack of excersie is the other biggy, I used to run a lot and lazing about and being sedentary really dosen't suit me, but there is absolutely nothing I can do about that one, it's even too soon to start physio yet!!

I still use my zimmer frame around the house and have fashioned little 'holsters' for it so I can carry the essentials, travel mug for coffee, phone etc. It funny how quickly we adapt to these things.

I will watch your thread with interest Spider, wishing you a full recovery.

NorbertDentressangle Fri 01-Nov-13 08:43:12

Hope the good days are out weighing the bad days Spidermama and hope your bowels are fully functioning now.

Have you managed to get out at all? I remember being desperate just to see something other than my house. So desperate in fact that I made DP take me to an out of town garden centre (I figured that it was a nice genteel place to go, with nobody hurtling around madly, just lovely folks pottering around looking at plants ! I felt 'safe' there in my post-op state IYSWIM).

1leggedwobbler Thu 31-Oct-13 18:13:26

Hi Spidermama, I hope your knee is having a good day today.

I just wanted to hopefully cheer you up a bit. 6 weeks ago I was unable to even go to the toilet my ankle was so bad post surgery. Today I had my cast taken off, it has healed better & quicker than was expected. I now have a black space boot for 7 weeks.

The change in the last 6 weeks has been immense, I was even unfortunate enough to be mobile enough to take the kids to soft play this afternoon ;)

Hang in there, it will get better & things will get so much easier.

JellyBelly10 Thu 31-Oct-13 15:11:28

Hi Spidermama, really sorry to hear about your knee, I haven't had the same surgery as you but have had knee surgery twice and know how dreadful knee problems are and how utterly debilitating long-term knee surgery recovery is. I haven't read through all the posts so someone may already have linked to this site, but there is a site called KneeGuru which is run by a British knee surgeon and as well as having lots of useful info re knees in general there is a very active forum of people experiencing knee problems and knee surgery sharing their experiences and asking questions etc. I found it really useful and learned more about knees than anyone could possibly ever need to know!! There are lots of specific forums to look at depending on your knee problem so I have tried to link to a section called Bone breaks around the knee which would include your injury/surgery. You may find out something useful about recovery/rehabilitation etc from someone going through exactly the same thing. Good luck with your recovery. KneeGuru

Ireallymustbemad Thu 31-Oct-13 15:03:12

Just realised I nc'd between some of those posts!

Ireallymustbemad Thu 31-Oct-13 15:02:14

Glad you're doing ok. As I said earlier it's never a linear recovery, there are many ups and downs. Don't feel afraid to take the painkillers though if you feel they may help.

Sadly my kids didn't realise quite how much I do as my mum came and stayed and did it instead of me!

ancientbuchanan Wed 30-Oct-13 20:38:31

Ffing phone

Positively too. I was able to be there for my family in a way that working full time I have never been before. I finished knitting a disastrous jersey for Ds and it had to be rescued by someone who has become a friend. I got lots of things done that we couldn't DIY and had been waiting for years.

And, I discovered MN.

ancientbuchanan Wed 30-Oct-13 20:35:42

I decided to treat it positive

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