Leg and Knee: Broken Femur and Shattered Kneecap

Brad and I had big plans this summer, but on Easter Sunday he broke his femur and shattered his kneecap in a moped accident. They put a rod in his femur and salvaged a third of his kneecap, but it was a long recovery. The doctor said he might never run or jump again. Brad doesn’t like being told what he can’t do.

By Rock and Ice | October 1st, 2010

Brad and I had big plans this summer, but on Easter Sunday he broke his femur and shattered his kneecap in a moped accident. They put a rod in his femur and salvaged a third of his kneecap, but it was a long recovery. The doctor said he might never run or jump again. Brad doesn’t like being told what he can’t do.

—Curious and Hopeful Liz | Rock And Ice Forum

On the day of The Resurrection! The Lord does work in mysterious ways, but my first question is: “Why the wrath?” Confession might be a good place to kick off your rehab!

I’m surprised they didn’t just put a prosthetic kneecap in, but I’m not an orthopedic surgeon. Listen to them. They will have a plan and be able to advise you on likely outcomes. That said, their advice surrounding climbing is often rather irreverent and I take umbrage whenever I hear: “Thou shalt not climb hereafter.”

That Brad does not like instructions is both an asset and liability when it comes to rehab. Undoubtedly he will be told most sports are off limits and climbing will be at the top of that list. However, marathons, doggy-style and virtually any high-impact sport will be out unless he is begging for a titanium knee.

Climbing will certainly be possible but don’t expect it to come easily or be pain free. I am not sure how much or what bits of the patella remain (very important variables for both treatment and prognosis), but Brad is looking down the barrel of some early degeneration in his knee due to incongruent articular surfaces and/or simply a lack of articular surface.

Short of lying on his back and waiting for a heart attack, any activity that is weight bearing will speed degeneration. Although death by heart disease will defuse the situation, it’s somewhat counterproductive. And therein lies my point—take any anti-activity advice with a raised eyebrow since you must counter it against all the other benefits, not least of all mental health.

I can’t say I have seen a climber with a remnant third of a kneecap. I have a mate who has no kneecaps. But he has no legs so that makes sense. He climbs pretty well: Tasmania’s Federation Peak. Africa’s Mount Kilimanjaro. El Cap. Can’t argue with that.

Brad, for 15 minutes imagine you have NO LEGS. Really, think about this for 15 minutes in as much practical detail as you can. Now add one leg back. Consider this for another 15 minutes. Now the other leg. Additionally, for no extra charge you just scored a set of ankles, the Lord’s magnum opus of joints and sensational for angling on those shitty little smears. Now add one and one third kneecaps back. Wow! Look how much you have!

Praise the Lord.

Brad and I had big plans this summer, but on Easter Sunday he broke his femur and shattered his kneecap in a moped accident. They put a rod in his femur and salvaged a third of his kneecap, but it was a long recovery. The doctor said he might never run or jump again. Brad doesn’t like being told what he can’t do.

—Curious and Hopeful Liz | Rock And Ice Forum

On the day of The Resurrection! The Lord does work in mysterious ways, but my first question is: “Why the wrath?” Confession might be a good place to kick off your rehab!

I’m surprised they didn’t just put a prosthetic kneecap in, but I’m not an orthopedic surgeon. Listen to them. They will have a plan and be able to advise you on likely outcomes. That said, their advice surrounding climbing is often rather irreverent and I take umbrage whenever I hear: “Thou shalt not climb hereafter.”

That Brad does not like instructions is both an asset and liability when it comes to rehab. Undoubtedly he will be told most sports are off limits and climbing will be at the top of that list. However, marathons, doggy-style and virtually any high-impact sport will be out unless he is begging for a titanium knee.

Climbing will certainly be possible but don’t expect it to come easily or be pain free. I am not sure how much or what bits of the patella remain (very important variables for both treatment and prognosis), but Brad is looking down the barrel of some early degeneration in his knee due to incongruent articular surfaces and/or simply a lack of articular surface.

Short of lying on his back and waiting for a heart attack, any activity that is weight bearing will speed degeneration. Although death by heart disease will defuse the situation, it’s somewhat counterproductive. And therein lies my point—take any anti-activity advice with a raised eyebrow since you must counter it against all the other benefits, not least of all mental health.

I can’t say I have seen a climber with a remnant third of a kneecap. I have a mate who has no kneecaps. But he has no legs so that makes sense. He climbs pretty well: Tasmania’s Federation Peak. Africa’s Mount Kilimanjaro. El Cap. Can’t argue with that.

Brad, for 15 minutes imagine you have NO LEGS. Really, think about this for 15 minutes in as much practical detail as you can. Now add one leg back. Consider this for another 15 minutes. Now the other leg. Additionally, for no extra charge you just scored a set of ankles, the Lord’s magnum opus of joints and sensational for angling on those shitty little smears. Now add one and one third kneecaps back. Wow! Look how much you have!

Praise the Lord.

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