Has anybody out there ever shattered their kneecap?....if so please comment. Yes, I did the classic endo and unfortunately I picked a bad landing spot on some rather large rocks with my knee losing the battle. The orthopedic surgeon was able to salvage two thirds of my kneecap (patella) by sewing the busted pieces together, a procedure of never knew of until now. This happened back in early Nov. and now it is early Feb. and I am now off the crutches in a brace and going to physio but it seems to me like a long road. Although no one really gives me a straight answer on the prognosis I'm really hoping to ride my favourite singletrack trails like I use to but I'm very worried that my knee will not be up for the challenge.
Double-metric mtb man
I've never done in a kneecap, but I'd suggest taking it slow for a while when they let you start pedalling. Road riding is a sad fate for a mountain bike, but it is better than not being ridden at all. Start off slow and easy, you'll need to rebuild a lot of muscle at the joint and don't want to do any ligament or tendon damage while doing it.
Get well soon.
I shattered mine pretty well in Oct of '05 and am still recovering.
Originally Posted by Oldy Moldy
I met my freind Nels in Boise and drove south to join a convoy of Turner riders right after Interbike. On our drive we spent a couple of days riding the Bryce/Zion area, then met some Homers in St. George for a few days of riding Gooseberry and other local haunts. I met a bunch of really good riders, all cool guys, but took a freak spill on day four of fourteen that cut my vacation break from Alaska short.
Nels, tscheezy and I were riding Slickrock Swamp when I took my spill. I knew it wasn't good, and knew immediately my riding was over. I went over the bars on a short descent, but landed on my feet running downhill thinking I was going to save myself. Somehow I got tripped up and landed with all my weight on a rock about an inch cubed. It acted just like a splitting maul shattering my patella. I immediately pulled the rock out of the gash, and proceeded to look for more rocks or gravel. I saw a white rounded one that I tried to remove, only to realize it was the end of my femur! This can't be good....I hobbled back to the trailhead as I had convinced the other two to complete the ride, thinking we'd all arrive at our vehicle at about the same time.
It wasn't as painful as it was disappointing. I pedaled one legged until I'd reach a hill, and then I'd push my bike forward, grab both brakes and limp gently using the bike as a crutch. I got to our van a bit earlier than the other two which gave me time to pop some Ibuprofen, put some ice in a plastic grocery bag and cover my knee.
From there it was a drive back to St. George to an emergency room. Funny thing was, once I got there I ran into two employees that I had just ridden with, LycraFR and BobtheWheelbuilder, who are both ER personnel. Dr. Bob had just ridden his freshly built Pugsley to work that day and asked if we wanted to check it out. Of course, we said! It was the most pleasant ER visit I've ver had.
Then it was x-ray time and repair plan time. An orthopedic surgeon spent that night irrigating and with wires tried to cinch the pieces together. I was fine until post op, then it was morphine city, the pain was unbearable. Five days in the hospital and an airplane trip from hell back to Alaska just so I could be confined to my couch for four weeks. My right leg was immobilized for the entire four weeks, shrinking and locking up in a straight position.
Then I started physical therapy, three times a week, two hours each session, for nine weeks. The main objective was to regain my range of motion since my knee wouldn't bend. Each degree of movement I earned with pure pain. I knew I had to endure it though to comeback, so I actually looked forward to my sessions. After nine weeks and follow-up appointments, more x-rays revealed that the PT was doing more harm than good. There's a band of muscle that runs on top of your patella, and with each knee bend I'd attempt, I'd put pressure on the kneecap, having the effect of widening my fractures! No wonder it was so painful. I had been putting so much pressure downward that I even snapped one of the stainless wires, which are as thick as a needle!
Here's a few pics, you can see how much my right leg atrophied.
Deceleration Trauma is my middle name
After nine weeks of enduring therapy that wasn't benefitting me, it was time to devise another strategy. My doctor thought my kneecaps were a bit larger than average, and maybe we should just go in and remove all the fragments. That would still leave enough to function, and finally allow healing. So I agreed.
During surgery, they basically went in with a hammer and chisel and hammered right through the main fracture, removing all outboard bone. Here's another couple of pics, one coming right out of a cast after ten days, and an xray of what's remaining. You'll also see the broken wire that's remaining. It'll eventually be encased in bone and should have no effect.
Another surgery, another couple weeks of recovery, and then another six weeks of PT. Same regimen as before, but with far less pain. Maybe I was finally on the right track. That second surgery was in Jan '06, so it's just now been a year since. It was amazing how much time I had to spend on a recumbent before I could make a complete revolution, and then how much strength I had lost. I'm able to ride again now, and the pain has finally subsided, but it's taking forever to regain any power. All my climbing is in the granny where I used to grunt the middle ring. Because I haven't been able to ride regularly for such a long time, I've lost a ton of endurance, put on a few pounds, and feel like such a weakling compared to the rider I once was.
It was an awful ordeal that I wouldn't want anyone to experience. I've broken bones before, but never had complications like this that caused so much regression in fitness. In addition I was a huge inconvenience to my family, needing to be driven to appointments constantly, not to mention missing out on five and a half months of work.
Maybe in a couple of years I'll be the rider I was and attend the Turner gatherings again. Good luck Oldy, I hope your course runs better than mine.
Last edited by EndoRando; 02-04-2007 at 06:06 PM.
Deceleration Trauma is my middle name
that made my kneecaps hurt just reading your story. Whodathunk that your minor mishap would result in such an endless ordeal? Next time there's a Turner convention at least show up to lend moral support.
Originally Posted by EndoRando
Trying a little
I split my kneecap in half vertically about 15 yrs ago. Back then med supply companies weren't pushing the titanium hardware on the docs as hard, so I didn't have any pins or even a cast. 4 months of crutches and it's fine today. You'll both get better and be rockin on, so to speak.
I never apologize. I'm sorry, but that's just the way I am.
Thanks for all the replies on the damaged kneecaps. I was comforted to know I'm not the only one with busted Patella but on the flip side I am also sorry for you guys that have gone through this, now I know how it feels. Also by the sounds of things you all have continued riding which is awesome, I for one will "not" let this keep me from riding even if there is some discomfort involved, mountainbiking is such a passion and like you guys I live for riding. Thanks again for the replies and support.