Patella fracture. Share your experiences during physiotherapy and after healing.
April 16, 2007 4:02 PM   Subscribe

I recently broke my patella in two parts. I made a drawing to show how the damage was done. The red line shows how the patella broke, and the blue line is how the pin was drilled in.

So I broke my patella.
The surgeon cut open my leg and drilled me a pin to hold both parts together. He also had to damage the muscle at the bottom of the patella.

I had a brace for about 6 weeks before I started physiotherapy. It's getting better, but I'm worried about how it'll be in the future, and how to get better as soon as possible.
Right now I'm just doing leg exercises to get some muscles back (it's pretty atrophied)

What are success stories of fellow mefites who have suffered similar injury?

What are some suggestions of what I should do after to ensure that I will be able to do sports again?

What kind of exercises/lifestyle changes are best to recuperate as good as possible?
posted by PowerCat to Health & Fitness (6 answers total)
INAD, and I don't know if this is the exact type of advice you're looking for, but:

Definitely do the leg exercises. They seem basic and tedious, but it really does help, not only for the areas directly involved in the surgery, but also to keep other leg muscles from becoming weak from disuse. Along the same lines, pay attention to how you distribute your weight while walking/standing/etc. It's very easy to unknowingly use and develop certain muscles in order to compensate for pain and avioid putting weight on your injured leg/knee. This can result in poor gait and/or posture, which can lead to back pain and is pretty tough to correct.

Good luck!
posted by somethingclever at 5:09 PM on April 16, 2007

I am now recovering from a broken patella after getting hit by a car on my bicycle. I had been wearing a full-leg cast for two months, which was removed last week. I am now wearing a brace to immobilize the leg during normal, daily activities.

With the brace off, the quadraceps muscle is very weak, but with stretching and a little light exercise every day I am gradually regaining strength to bend my leg again. Swelling in the knee has gone down and I can see some of the definition I have in my left knee.

When the cast was removed, my leg felt paralyzed, and it was a shrunken shadow of its former self — the difference in size between my left and right legs is dramatic! But within the space of a week I am optimistic that I am making a lot of progress (I can now bend my leg about 30 degrees).

Keep up the exercises — not only do they strengthen the muscle, but they also help recalcify the patella bone. With muscle atrophy, bones also leach calcium. Exercise and calcium supplements help put calcium back into the kneecap to help prevent a re-fracture.

One concern I have is ligament damage and long-term joint issues (arthritis). Every break is different, so ask your doctor.

As an avid cyclist I sympathize with your plight and wish you the best of luck. Don't rush: Give your body the time and resources it needs to knit things back together. With hard work, I'm certain you can get back to a normal life.

Every little bit counts every day.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:43 PM on April 16, 2007

Why would you put copyright notices on this image?
posted by odinsdream at 7:36 PM on April 16, 2007

she probably took a copyrighted image of the bones and then just drew the lines on...
posted by Bengston at 7:39 PM on April 16, 2007

posted by PowerCat at 8:18 PM on April 16, 2007

A good friend of mine shattered his patella a few years ago. Doctor's had to put a mesh around it so it would heal. He then snapped the same one in half trying to do too much too early.

That being said, I've been on mountain bike trips, snowboard trips and hikes with him in the past couple of years, and even though he says he's not back to 100%, it's gotta be about 95% minimum.

BTW he just turned 40, so yes, you can come back from this with little to no reduction in your lifestyle. Just follow orders, do your exercises, and stay active.

Good luck.
posted by sauril at 8:41 AM on April 17, 2007

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