And the knee bone’s connected to the… NOT!

Aug 14, 2014 | 5 comments

All Stitched Up

All Stitched Up

It’s hard to explain, even to the 911 operator. “My husband has fallen and hit his head,” I said. “We need an ambulance.” There followed a series of quick questions including something like “Can you tell me the reason for the fall?”

The simple answer is, “His knee went out.” But even the 911 operator wanted to be assured that he hadn’t gotten dizzy or fainted or… No. His knee just gave out.

Sometime after his knee replacement surgery four (or was it five?) years ago, his quadriceps separated from his patella. According to the online Encyclopedia Brittanica the quadriceps femoris muscle (commonly called ‘the quads’)  is a large fleshy muscle group covering the front and sides of the thigh. It has four parts: rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, and vastus intermedius. They originate at the ilium (upper part of the pelvis, or hipbone) and femur (thighbone), come together in a tendon surrounding the patella (kneecap), and insert at (are attached to) the tibia (shinbone). These muscles extend the legs at the knee and are important for standing, walking, and almost all activities involving the legs.  Got that?

Wow!  Complicated!

Wow! Complicated!

In layman’s lingo, it’s the quadriceps is main connection between your thighbone and shinbone– it’s what holds your leg together. And, for Nyel’s left leg, there’s no there there.  The quads separated from the kneecap sometime following his knee replacement and  the subsequent reattachment failed.

So, if Nyel steps wrong, he’s down for the count quicker than you can say “Jack Robinson” and far quicker than he can grab onto something for help. So… he falls.   Always backward. Monday night he was unlucky enough to smack his head against a kitchen drawer and, worst of all, against the drawer pull. So… there was blood, lots and lots of it partly due to Coumadin (warfarin). And there were EMTs, a trip to the ER, stitches, and a CT scan.

The next day when the bleeding stopped and his headache went away, there was another trip for an X-ray of the knee to see if he had torqued anything irrevocably. We haven’t heard yet, but it’s pretty sore and wonkier than usual. And Nurse Ratched (that would be me) insisted on his getting a walker which helps a lot… when he uses it.

The irony of it all (there’s always irony!) is that he is scheduled for a quadriceps “implant” at Rebound on September 9th – the second attempt at a repair. OMG do I ever hope it works! And so, of course does the patient!


  1. Stephanie Frieze

    Poor Nyel! Dave’s leg is giving him fits, but think it’s sciatica this time. Not for sissies this aging is!

  2. Nancy Russell stone

    Yesterday was the two year anniversary of my fall, do to my own “wonky” leg. Because I recently spent time in the ER (no blood involved and I was not the patient) I can partially feel for the situation. So sorry to read about your accident, Nyel.

  3. D. Moretz

    So sorry to hear about Nyel’s fall. You can not go wrong with Rebound. I have had 2 knee surgeries with Dr. Colville at Rebound. The most recent June 25th. So pleased to walk straight with no limp.

    • sydney

      Yes. Nyel has had good experiences (shoulder, foot) there, too. Thanks for your good wishes.

  4. Lorrie Phelps

    Oh no, hope all is better soon.


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