Three months ago, I moved to Mainland China to study Mandarin Chinese. My routine was to play basketball every Sunday with the locals. On Sunday May 1st our team was dominating the court. I was going after a loose ball and somehow I was knocked down by an opposing player, I remember looking down on my left knee while lying on the ground and seeing my knee ripping apart at the knee cap.
At that point I knew I was seriously injured. I managed to play American football for 14 years including college without a serious injury. I was thinking to myself, what just happened here? I am in a foreign country. I could not bend my leg to sit on a bike to ride to the hospital. However I could stand on it with no pain, so I thought it best to take a taxi to the hospital (remember I am in China). On my way to getting a taxi I did well walking slowly to the main road by the courts, all the while feeling a little nauseous. I had my challenges calling for a taxi, they were changing shifts. At one point I had to step back to the curb due to a public bus heading in my direction. At that point I realized that my knee was unstable, my knee gave out and I feel to the ground. A couple of locals helped me up and one spoke a little English, at that moment I did not want to fall again due to the pain I felt. The two helped me get a taxi. I had to slide in the back seat and use my right leg to support my left leg staying straight. It was a 30 minute ride to the hospital.
The hospital I was heading to had treated foreigners before and had a staff that spoke English, I was joined by my wife and friends as I slowly walked into the hospital. We had a brief conversation with the onsite doctor in Chinese, his English was not there. I found out one person could speak English and that was the nurse. I agreed to have an X-ray done, it showed my knee cap had chipped and was floating in the front of the soft tissue. I did see that my knee cap was intact apart from the chipped bone. I was told I would need surgery, I said I would like to get an MRI done to get the whole story on my knee. This was due to the fact that I heard and felt a tear around the knee cap. I was treated with a wooden split on the back of my leg and sent out with two ice packs and pain killers. We jumped into another taxi to get an MRI done. We arrived at the hospital and the MRI department was closed due to Chinese's Labor Day. I had to wait two days to get an MRI done on Tuesday, then one day for the results from the scan. On Wednesday May 4th, it was confirmed that I had a left leg ruptured patellar tendon. I had researched the possibility for two days up to the news. I had applied the RICE method to my injury, now it was time to decide, ?where do I go for surgery??
On Thursday May 5th, I consulted with my insurance company's international division which assisted with contacting the orthopedic doctor and hospital in Hong Kong. When I talked to the ortho-doctor I told him what had happened and the delay to get the diagnosis. He said patellar tendon ruptures are rare occurrences. So he continued, ? If you can get here Friday I will schedule surgery for Saturday May 7th.? I had to buy two last minute plane tickets for a Friday flight to Hong Kong for surgery. When I ordered these tickets we had to arrive early to the airport to get seats in the front row, due to the fact that I could not bend my leg. I arrived to the hospital in Hong Kong, the ortho doctor looked over my MRI scan. Then looked at my split as to say, ?What is this contraption?? He examined my knee and said we will see you early in the morning for surgery. My ortho doctor completed the surgery Saturday May 7th. He repaired the chipped bone from my knee cap and used a stainless steel wire to support the repair of the tendon. At the one week check up May 14th he said we may need to remove the wire down the road once I start PT.
I flew back home for the six week duration wearing a cast on my left leg, I am currently in my fourth week. I plan to return to Hong Kong to have the cast removed and start two weeks of PT. My questions to the forum are, ?Has anyone else been through a procedure using a wire to assist anchoring the patellar tendon? Are there any PT services available for my area of the world without having to travel?? Since I live in an area where the medical technology is slow, I will need to continue PT till complete ROM and tendon healing. I do not get reimbursed on flights and hotel stay.
Hello T man
Sorry to hear of your injury I presume you may have read the patellerthread - there is lots of info from many victims on it. I had a right patella rupture with the same repair as you have had - it is successful and if the tendon is in good repair it will strengthen the mend. I presume they drilled into your knee cap to anchor - I had mine removed after 12 weeks and I never looked back. I don't envy your position though being in China - I hope you are able to get some effective physio as you will need to strengthen the VMO as the repair gets stronger.
Thanks for the information. How was the wire remove surgery? I am heading to start PT in two weeks and will assume at some point having the wire removed. I will be traveling at least three time to Hong Kong till it done. What was your PT like?
Hi T man
second surgery was great - just a bit of gas to put me out it took 20 mins - movement was 100% better after about a week - the wire actually prevented me from achieving a good ROM for the time it was there. It is very necessary though as it protects the reattachment. PT was mostly me doing some exercises I had been given from by Physio - in England you have to pay if you want decent PT - NHS is OK but I am a sports person and all the NHS remit is , is to get you to walk without a limp. 4 years on I still do PT on it and I do lots of weights - not leg extensions though - all the best - be patient and keep your fitness up by doing upper body weights -
Thanks for your help, I will start week six next week and looking forward to PT. I will also find out when the wire will be removed.