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Knee & Hip Problems Message Board

Knee & Hip Problems Board Index

Hi Claire,

I'm new as well, and joined to reply to your post... Seems like we're fewer and further between than I thought.

I'm in my 20's and was in relatively good shape before the accident. Was involved in a water sports accident and broke my hip at the femoral neck. They were able to orthoscopically place three titanium pins / bolts into the femoral neck and I wound up with three small incisions (each about the size of a pencil eraser head)- pretty lucky all things considered.

From what he's told me the largest concern is that the blood vessels won't repair if badly injured and there's a chance I might need a THR. He didn't really say what my chances were though, so I've been pretty stressed about that.

As far as pain goes, (and not trying to sound macho or anything) but my surgeon and nurses the night of the hospital said I had an unusually high tolerance for pain- so other people may be worse off. The higher tolerance for pain also prompted my orthopedic surgeon to want to keep me on crutches longer (probably 12 weeks) and stress that I can only do touch down weight balance during that time.

As far as discovering I had a high tolerance- pre-accident I'd never broken a bone, had surgery, or even been in a hospital to treat an ailment. The accident happened in a lake, and I immediately felt a great deal of pain, but thought I maybe dislocated or badly tore a muscle in my thigh. After floating around in the water for a few minutes I pulled myself up the ladder on the skiboat and got into the boat on my own... Was going to try and get comfortable so as not to have to cut the day short for everyone else, but couldn't really get the paint to subside no matter what I did... Decided I was going to need xrays, so we trolled the boat back to the dock... Two friends helped me out of the boat and into my stupidly low, stupidly small car and another friend drove me to the hospital in that. Once at the hospital my friend got a wheel chair and I pulled myself out of the car onto and balanced on my good [right] leg.
I sat in the ER for about 2 hours before being triaged, and then another hour before they were able to get me in for xrays. Getting from the wheel chair onto the xray table was very painful, and as soon as the xrays were taken I was shown a very clear break through my femoral neck. The xray technician said I was going to need surgery immediately (this was about 10pm)... He went to go find a spot to put me and the triage nurse came in after hearing about what had happened and told me she couldn't believe I'd just sat there for two hours without complaining- and that my type of injury was considered trauma and should've been admitted immediately. (Oops)
I was then put onto a gurney and taken to pre-op where I got an IV, some blood taken, and pain medication (via IV). Having never had an IV or pain medication via IV that was a new experience... I don't remember what they gave me, but I do remember that it caused slightly belabored breathing, but did help with the pain...
About an hour later the orthopedic surgeon showed up and explained that my type of injury was fairly serious and that there were basically three possibilities. 1. Align the hip with a fluroscope (real time xray with jig to manipulate leg) and place three titanium pins through pinky sized incisions. 2. If the hip is badly out of alignment, create a 6" incision and place three titanium pins. 3. If the hip is completely displaced and broken in multiple places, he'd close me up and I'd have to get a total hip replacement. So we're voting for 1, obviously... Twenty minutes or so later, I was wheeled into OP...

I woke up around 2am or so in Post-OP hacking and coughing... I dozed off and woke up coughing over the next few hours and was at some point moved to a room. Next morning the orthopedic surgeon came to my room and said that despite it being much worse than he'd anticipated he was able to place the pins through the smaller incisions and was very happy with the alignment he was able to achieve. He said that pending my ability to use crutches later with the physical therapist I'd be able to return home later that afternoon.

The physical therapist showed up around 2pm or so and helped me learn to use crutches (took about 15 minutes because I have two stairs where I live and she wanted to make sure I was capable of navigating them before releasing me) Around 3pm I was relased and brought home.

Week 1: Day 1 home I take the Vicadin they prescribed, though I only take 1 every 6 hours rather than the maximum (2 every 4). Day two I take a Vicadin in the morning, and none thereafter. The leg is very weak and you have to kind've help it up onto couches or beds with your good leg. Any kind of rapid acceleration or deceleration causes sharp pain.

Week 2: Showering is by far the most difficult activity because I have a tub type shower and have kind've engineered a way to enter and exit. (Basically support all body weight with crutch and sort've pole vault in onto the good leg) Leg is still weak and needs to be helped, but sleeping better than before. Yellow bruising shows up on the inside of my thigh (directly opposite the point of surgery) Late week 2 I have the follow up and xrays and despite having a bone fragment that was left floating around, he says it's looking good so far and is happy with alignment. I schedule an appointment for Week 6 to come back.

Week 3: A little stronger every week... I only have to help the leg up about 50% of the time now. I am experiencing pain when I sit in an office chair for long periods of time. (Home office)

Week 4: Same story, only helping leg about 25% of the time.

Week 5: Week 4 was probably the largest improvement, as I don't have to help the leg at all anymore and can rotate from sitting posisition to laying posistion on a couch or bed at anytime. Still having office chair pains.

And that's where I'm at now...

Could you detail your recovery process as far as your hip is concerned?
Do you do any high impact sports now, do you experience pain?
I know it's rude to ask a womans age, but at what age did you sustain the injury?
Did you have the pins removed?
Been through airport security since having the pins? :P

I'm sure I'll think of some more.

Thanks much!


I am new to this forum so I will start by telling you all a bit about my story!

I was injured in a car accident just over two year ago now and as a result I fractured my pelvis, hip and ulna. The hip fracture was the most serious of the three injuries (I almost took the femur clean off!) and it was fixed with three titanium pins. I spent a month in hospital and came home in a wheelchair before progessing to crutches and learning to walk again! I am now leading my normal life again and it doesn't really prevent me from doing aything. However, I do have a difference in my leg lengths (resulting in a slight limp) and I suffer with some pain in the hip and bottom area. I am also still suffering with the nerves in the leg and get awful cramps in my calf muscle.

Has anybody out there experienced similar? I would like to know if what I am experiencing is normal - I sometimes feel guilty for moaning, when I could have been a lot worse off - but I have nothing to compare it to!!!


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