Ortho Releases Sports Girl for Sports, Physical Activities

It’s been a long time since I have posted, and I know many of you are following Sports Girl’s progress as she recovers from her MPFL replacement surgery. To you I apologize.

I hope you assumed that no news was good news, because things continue to go well. Sports Girl steadily cut her times in both the 800k and 1600k in track through mid-May. She went back to her orthopedic surgeon on June 2, and – as we had anticipated – was fully released to resume all of her former physical activities and sports. It was a great day, and barring any future complications or other issues, it was our last visit to this doctor. While we would recommend this physician to anyone without hesitation, for reasons that should be obvious, we are grateful that Sports Girl doesn’t have any future appointments scheduled with him.

Since then, Sports Girl has been strength training and conditioning three times a week in a summer training program offered by the local high school athletic trainer/physical therapist. She has also participated in open gyms twice a week in preparation for basketball; she has even played in a few summer league basketball games.

She had some discomfort in her left knee during the first basketball she played, but subsequent games seemed to go better. I am sure my knees would hurt if I tried to play a basketball game in my out-of-shape state, so hopefully her pain was due more to her lack of recent activity than to the surgery itself.

It’s been a little over 6 months since Sports Girl had her surgery. While we had hoped her recovery would progress much faster, all her caregivers have said she has done remarkably well.

Just yesterday I took Sports Girl to our local family practitioner for her annual sports physical examination. This is the same doctor who referred us to the orthopedic surgeon at almost exactly this time last year. Since Sports Girl has not had cause to see a doctor this past year other than for her knee surgery, our family doctor hadn’t known how his referral had turned out. He was genuinely interested, and we were thankful that he knew of a doctor who took a proactive approach to frequent patellar subluxation issues. I know of a couple of middle-aged women who have just lived with this problem and the pain and discomfort that goes with it for much of their lives.

It seems we have come full circle, and Sports Girl is looking forward to a successful year playing soccer and basketball as a freshman in high school. I’ll have to post pictures …

12 thoughts on “Ortho Releases Sports Girl for Sports, Physical Activities

  1. Can you tell me what week after your daughters surgery that she was walking without her hinged brace. My daugher is 18 so youth is on her side and she is an athlete. I’m just curious when your daughter walked for the first time without her brace on.


    • My memory is getting a bit fuzzy on the details, but it seems as though she was able to leave the leg brace behind about 6 weeks after the surgery, maybe just a little longer. First the hinges on the brace were set so she could bend her leg ever so slightly, and then a little more and a little more.

      I know she ditched her crutches much sooner, but she hesitated to go to school without her brace even after the doctor and physical therapist said she could. I think it offered some security for her.

      I know how the care givers just won’t give time frames on any of the recovery steps, as I’m sure it varies from one patient to the next. But I hope this helps give you an idea, and I hope all goes well for your daughter.

      • Thanks! That’s about what I was thinking. Your post has really been so helpful to me and my daughter. Thank you so much for sharing your daughters experience through her MPFl surgery.

  2. I am so glad that I ran across your blog about your daughter’s experience and surgery. I am also having major problems with patella subluxation. However, I am a 38 year old woman who is very active in sports especially tennis – I play all year around! I love the sport and have played it all my life. Unfortunately, I have torn both my ACLs (tennis & snow skiing) and I just recently had arthoscopic surgery to clean up some torn meniscus too. Unfortunately, in June I was playing tennis and ran for a ball and I had a terrible pain in my knee. I have done 9 weeks of therapy, tried different over-the counter braces and I still am having problems with my knee dislocating. I have a wonderful surgeon who I just visited today and told me my surgerical options. I am not quite ready to throw in the towel but I am trying to be realistic too. I am so afraid of it dislocating – very anxious just like you talked about your daugher. I have had it dislocate with braces too. I just got a new brace from my surgeon but it was alarming that your daughter still had your knee dislocate with the brace on. So I guess surgery may be my only option. I have probably had it dislocate about 20-30+ times in the last 9 weeks. It has gotten a little bit better but then I had a relapse last week at PT. My biggest worry is how long will it be before I am better after surgery. I have a 6yr and an almost 2yr old. So that is something I need to figure out too. My husband is great but he can only take off so much work. Thanks for sharing. You are right – there isn’t much info out there about this type of injury and espcially for a 38-yr old woman!

    • Hello Lori,

      I am sorry to hear about your patellar subluxation issues. I can certainly understand your reluctance to jump into surgery too hastily, but I also can sympathize with your fear that your knee could give out on you at any moment.

      I really don’t know why the doctors even bother to issue the knee braces; our orthopedic surgeon was not at all surprised that Sports Girl’s knee still went out while she was wearing the $100 brace he prescribed. And now, post op, she doesn’t even need to wear a brace — which is great, because she hated wearing one anyway!

      I would say that Sports Girl was seriously out of commission for about one week and then was still uncomfortable and struggled to get around a little for another few weeks. I’m not sure how that compares to your previous surgeries, but I’m thinking you would have some idea about how the healing process might go for you.

      All I can say is that if you want to continue to be physically active for many years to come, the surgical options are worth some serious consideration. And speaking as someone who turns 40 next month, it’s pretty important that folks our age remain fit, both for our physical and mental health.

      I haven’t posted an update for several weeks, but things continue to go well for Sports Girl. She still has some discomfort in her left knee, but she has endured two-a-day soccer practices for the past week, giving it her all.

      Best of luck with your decision.

  3. dear country mom,
    i have written to you before about my leg which is similar to your daughter’s injury.could you kindly give me the name of the doctor and the hospital he works at so that i can contact him

  4. Thanks so much for blogging about your daughter’s surgery. My 14 year old son had the same surgery two weeks ago, after a football injury. Being out of football for the year has been terribly upsetting for him. He worked so hard all summer (and before) to make the varsity team as a freshman – and he did – first string safety. So heartbreaking to be injured during the 2nd game of the season! Having your timeline has been helpful to give us an idea of how things may go. Right now it just seems like forever until he’s back to normal. He’s so worried about his quads and how quickly they’ve atrophied, even with him off crutches by day 8 and doing leg lifts. You mentioned your daughter had some pain after playing basketball. Are you concerned? My son is counting on being able to play basketball – even if he’s not quite ready at the beginning of the season. I’m not so sure. He will do whatever it takes – and then some – to get back in shape but football is his first love and I’d hate to have him go back too early (basketball) and mess things up for next spring when football starts again. Any thoughts on pushing himself too soon?

    • I am so glad another parent has found my site and our experience helpful as you go through your own. I really don’t have any more specific information to offer other than to say that our doctor was fairly conservative in what he allowed Sports Girl to do post-op. And he was very hesitant to let her go back to basketball as there is so much jumping, stopping, turning, twisting, etc., that puts extra pressure on the knee to perform.

      Sports Girl had to wait a full six months before he would allow her to do anything other that strength training and low-impact running in track. That might seem like an eternity right now, especially to your son, but at least this happened during their early high school athletic careers and now when they were juniors or seniors! At least that’s what I keep reminding myself and my daughter.

      As for her knee discomfort while playing basketball, she has continued to have some discomfort even at nine months after surgery. When she’s on an all-out sprint pounding her feet on the ground, she can feel it in her left knee, and it has slowed her down a little. But the good news is there hasn’t been any swelling, and I am very hopeful that this symptom, too, will dissipate with more time. I’ve heard it can take a year or even longer for a patient to totally recover from an invasive surgery like this one was. Even if the discomfort doesn’t completely go away, I know Sports Girl is much more confident with her knee than she was post-op when she always feared it would “go out” at any time. And peace of mind is worth a lot!

      Best of luck as you and your son move forward!

      • Dear Country Mom,

        I have read the blogs that you have posted about your daughter’s receover from MPFL reconstruction. I am 2 weeks away from having my surgery to correct a long standing problem with patella dislocation/subluxation. Although I am not 15 years old, I have had patella dislocations since I was 13. I had a patella realignment with lateral release when I was 16, and now 15 years later, I have had the same problems on and off. I am very active. I bike, strength train, etc, but was never comfortable enough to run due to apprehension and pain. About a month ago, my patella dislocated when I was going down the stairs. I spend a lot of time on my feet…12.5 hours a day, since I am a nurse in the Emergency Room. My orthopedic doctor recommended last year that I have MPFL reconstruction but I was reluctant to due to the fact that I lead a very busy life, (work, mother of 2, etc..) I finally resolved to have MPFL reconstruction because I am just tired of being apprehensive about my knee and then having to recover after a bad dislocation which has been happening more frequently. Although I am not young, I am hoping to have the same successful post-op recovery as your daughter, I have been diligent in researching info about this surgery and it’s hard to find feedback from those who have had the surgery. Am I scared? Of course!! I am going back to school at the end of August to take pre-requisite classes towards my Masters in Nursing to be a nurse practitioner, i hope that I will be in ok shape to maneuver myself to school and still manage to take care of my family.

        Thank you again for your blog. How is your daughter doing??


      • Hello Maggie,

        Best of luck with your upcoming surgery! Sports Girl continues to do very well. She has been actively practicing basketball and soccer as well as lifting weights and conditioning all summer, and she hasn’t had any troubles with her knee. I spoke with a woman with similar long-standing patella dislocation/subluxation issues such as yours when my daughter first started having problems. This woman talked about the frequent episodes she had had over 30+ years. Her continued issues were a primary reason that we pursued a long-term corrective measure for the issue. It wasn’t just about Sports Girl being able to play high school sports; it was about Sports Girl being able to live an active, healthy life.

        Country Mom

  5. Hi Country Mom!

    Thanks for your well wishes! I’m so glad to hear your daughter is doing well and staying active! I commend you on your decision to get her surgery done while she is young so she can have a better active/healthy life. I think if this option was given to my parents 15 years ago, I’m sure they would have picked this route for me. I had always been active and tried not to let my patella subluxation to get in the way. I’m confident with my decision. It has been almost 4 weeks since I had my surgery. I still have a good bit of swelling to my knee. My doctor didn’t want me to start PT until 3 weeks after surgery. I’m anxious to get more strength and mobility back in my knee. I’m still wearing a knee immobilizer. How long after your daughter’s surgery was she able to ditch her knee brace and start walking normally? I go back to PT tomorrow and they are supposed to start helping me bend my knee. I’ve tried it myself but my knee feels SO TIGHT and I get apprehensive about my knee “popping” that I’m afraid to bend it more. Was it a painful process when PT was manipulating Sports Girl’s knee to get better ROM? Your feedback is greatly appreciated!


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