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Old 11-13-17, 09:54 PM   #1
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Recovering from a broken femur

Summary: Being an avid rider and runner really helps with recovery time

I recently broke my femoral neck (straight across with the fracture continuing a ways down the shaft). Not riding, walking my dog. It's all Garmin's fault since I fell directly on my 820 that was in my hip pocket and it point loaded the neck. After walking 1/3 mile home over 45 minutes I eventually ended up in the ER and had surgery 10 hours after the break occurred.

I was pretty bummed about missing an upcoming long riding weekend in the mountains, a blown ski season, etc. but my recovery has been very rapid.

I moved quickly from a walker (first day back home), to crutches for three days (gradual increase in the amount of weight on my "bad" leg and ending at three mile crutch-fests daily), a cane for three days (again working up to three miles) and since then walking without assistance. I was also on the trainer four days post-surgery. The biggest hindrance to range of motion at the knee were the two staples that tore the skin if pushed too far. They were removed at two weeks during my first follow up with my surgeon and I have full range back at the knee.

A few days shy of three weeks after going under the knife to get my new Ti hardware I ditched the trainer and got back out on the road for a twenty miler. I've done three more rides since then and each one is better than the last. I still have a ways to go, especially extended climbing, but it's great to get back a bunch of months that you thought were lost due to a freak accident.

TLDR; Ride lots, it can pay off in ways you never would have imagined.
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Old 11-14-17, 09:12 PM   #2
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I had a similar experience after abdominal surgery. I'd also attribute it to athletes are better at listening to their bodies. There's a difference in what you're being told from pain from training effect as opposed to pain from doing something seriously bad. Taking care of yourself pays off when you need it most.

Sounds like you're doing great and I'm betting your surgeon and doc are both pretty proud of their patient. It's got to be a bummer when they do their job but their patient won't do the therapy to recover. Patients like you, I'm sure, make it worthwhile being a physician.

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Old 11-14-17, 09:57 PM   #3
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Three weeks from surgical repair of a femur to riding the bike is great!
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Old 11-14-17, 11:54 PM   #4
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Quote:
"It's all Garmin's fault since I fell directly on my 820 that was in my hip pocket and it point loaded the neck."
Similarly, a friend's clavicle was broken when she fell riding her bike and landed on a device mounted on her upper arm -- I don't recall whether it was an activity monitor or some other device. The doctor speculated the device may have worsened the impact.

But I know other folks whose femur, clavicle or other bones were broken only by impact with the ground, pavement or a tree.

Statistically, probably luck, or bad luck, of the draw.
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Old 11-15-17, 03:23 AM   #5
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I've broken a lot of bones (am I clumsy?), but mostly tiny ones that don't take a whole lot of pressure to crack. I can't imagine what it took to break a femur. Good on you for such a fantastically quick recovery. Inspiring stuff.
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Old 11-15-17, 04:11 PM   #6
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Most impressive recovery time, it speaks well for your conditioning and determination.

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Old 12-02-17, 06:32 PM   #7
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Follow up.

At six weeks I am officially cleared for dirt again. Still another month until I am supposed to run. Bone growth is excellent as is blood supply to the femoral head. Screws are stable.

Despite a slight setback a few weeks ago (https://www.bikeforums.net/general-c...ing-along.html) my PT is going well - just need to loosen up my IT band and continue to get adductors back to normal.
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Old 12-06-17, 07:46 PM   #8
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Super outcome! Titanium is great stuff, huh?
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Old 12-06-17, 08:16 PM   #9
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Man, that is beating the odds in the worst way possible-- the femur is generally regarded as the toughest bone to break. I'm guessing the OP is a good bit more... youthful than I, as a break of my 5th metacarpal still doesn't have full mobility, some 8 months after the cast came off. I'd be in PT for a broken femur until mid-2018.
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Old 12-06-17, 11:41 PM   #10
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Could be worse. My 78 y/o mom's femur snapped just above the knee Sunday. She was just in the kitchen getting some water. She thinks it happened when she turned to walk back to the living room, but it could have happened when she fell after feeling a sharp pain and falling. The doctors aren't sure.

After surgery (the knee has had two surgeries, about 15 and 50 years ago) the surgeon said her bones are pretty much like crackers. Osteoporosis will make recovery long and difficult. In my experience with other aging folks, long stays in in-patient rehab are just as risky as outpatient or home treatment, or possibly no rehab at all. So much depends on the attitude of the patient, and the competence of the rehab center and physical therapists.

I'm tempted to say she contributed in part through a lifetime aversion to exercise. But it's also possible that aversion was caused by a lifetime of nagging illnesses and injuries. It's a hen-or-egg situation.

Another friend who's finally slowed down a little at 75 recovered remarkably quickly from knee and hip surgeries. She was discharged from inpatient rehab in less than a week every time. But she's always been active. Not an athlete, but she stays physically active. And she may just be gifted with good genes as well.

I'll consider myself lucky that I didn't inherit those bad bones. My younger brother and oldest daughter did -- both experienced numerous broken bones growing up, from stuff that most kids bounce back from with bruises or sprains.
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Old 12-09-17, 06:33 PM   #11
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4 years ago, I had a slightly more extensive break in the same region (Colorado boulders impacted at speed rather than a Garmin) but with the same hardware fix. For me, the watershed moments were the pain of running at 12 weeks out-the only way I could find to get everything unstuck- and the reward of skiing off the top at Jackson Hole five months to the day post fall.

I couldn't agree more that having a good base, followed by aggressive training on the first day allowed by my doc, kept me from digging too big of a hole and made a relatively fast recovery more attainable.

Now, at 4 years and some change out, and healthier than I have any right to be, I am even more grateful for having lived a life around people who modeled strength, perseverence, and perspective, such that when I have fallen, there has only been one choice on how to respond.

This forum is filled with those kinds of models and the wonderful stories that their lives generate. Thanks to the OP for adding to this list.
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Old 01-10-18, 01:41 PM   #12
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Epilogue: received my account summary and it was shocking.

Surgery + two nights in the hospital (less than 48 hours) + PT = $130,689.30

That does not include the $3k for the 10 minute ambulance ride from urgent care to the hospital.

Thankfully, we have good insurance and the copay was $150.
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Old 01-10-18, 02:24 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by TruthBomb View Post
Epilogue: received my account summary and it was shocking.

Surgery + two nights in the hospital (less than 48 hours) + PT = $130,689.30

That does not include the $3k for the 10 minute ambulance ride from urgent care to the hospital.

Thankfully, we have good insurance and the copay was $150.

That sounds about right. Mine was a $152,000 with a $400 200 foot Ambulance ride to the even more expensive 24,000 4 1/2 minute Helicopter flight to the top of John Muir.
Who did your surgery?
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Old 01-10-18, 02:27 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Kaminokaze View Post
That sounds about right. Mine was a $152,000 with a $400 200 foot Ambulance ride to the even more expensive 24,000 4 1/2 minute Helicopter flight to the top of John Muir.
Who did your surgery?
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Old 01-10-18, 03:13 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by TruthBomb View Post
Fulkerson
Ok, not the same guy that fixed me up. Sounds like things are getting back into shape.

My femur was broke from just above the knee to the femoral head which broke off. I had a full 80 days with no weight bearing at all. It was so long I forgot how to walk.

We should get together for a ride sometime.
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Old 01-10-18, 03:27 PM   #16
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I’d just have to go buy a Litespeed after that. Congrats on the quick recovery!
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Old 01-11-18, 04:46 PM   #17
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Fx NOF in Feb 2013 (partially displaced) while riding on a slick concrete path:
my medivac was a Care Ambulance, 3 attendants (young guys), 8 miles to the nearest Kaiser, which lucky for me had a strong orthopedic wing. The total Ambulance bill was $1400, with my share being $50. I was medivac'd from Cerritos, Ca which is know to reimburse for Ambulance via Medicare, IIRC.

The attendants were happy to bring my Carbon bike along, and commented about its quality, but they were unhappy about my outfit, and didn't understand the meme of `bib shorts`. They seemed OCD about wearing briefs or underwear at all times even though one of them claimed to be a regular Mtn. Biker.

The paramedics had to cut my clothes (bib shorts) to triage me. Bless them, they respected my Sidi Ergo2 pair and managed to carefully removed them.

I never saw the total bill, but I got several warnings from the Physicians-assistant that I needed an expedited stay (no food, no more overnight) in order to keep from going out-of-pocket. It was 3 days, 2 nights. Doing the qualifying PT took all I had and I skipped lunch to do it.

About Adductors
Its interesting that you mention adductors as I had a chronic sprain there on the injured side that caused me to limp for 5 months after I started walking again. My PT provider never mentioned how to deal with this, but I came up with `thighmaster` approach where I took an old 6" diameter protein powder canister and squeezed it between my knees. Fixed me up within a week. What a relief to lose the walking limp.

In my first check-up I saw some blood-work lab results and they wrote `Ketones` across the page. Of course, they starved me even after surgery and I never made up for the calories deficit from my recent rides (2x50 miles).

Warnings about Necrosis in NOF
I got these everytime I saw the doctor, while in hospital and after. It caused me some concern for the first year. I had heard that Floyd Landis suffered this (union never completed) and reportedly never could mount his bike with all his weight on the injured leg after his surgery. So I felt pretty good when I could do this within 15 days after starting to ride again.

I was 57 back then and am in awe of anybody that can come out of this injury riding and running without restriction. So many things have to go right and recovery can be up and down (as with my limp).
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Old 01-12-18, 07:15 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TruthBomb View Post
Epilogue: received my account summary and it was shocking.

Surgery + two nights in the hospital (less than 48 hours) + PT = $130,689.30

That does not include the $3k for the 10 minute ambulance ride from urgent care to the hospital.

Thankfully, we have good insurance and the copay was $150.
That is not high cost, throw in some ICU, or CCU time, and watch the cost spiral. In the 16 major surgeries between 2000 and 2010, I had three ICU periods at separate event times. Man, those really sent the bills upwards. Insurance covered pretty much everything, including a LifeFilght trip when my small intestines eviscerated at home. Ambulance coverage was dropped by our carrier in 2007 and those can mount up quickly too. Fortunately, the out of pocket costs have been long paid off.

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