I have been hoping that I wasn't going to be in this situation - sitting down to type my story to KneeGuru. I've been reading the forums, and keeping a positive mind... in an effort to fight off disappointment – the mental part is the hard part of microfracture. Physical Details:
39 years old – chronologically (I usually feel like I am 17)
Surfer, fitness fanatic, basketball, anything with a score (Connect four? yes)
Like many of you, I never had an obvious injury... just a steady increase in pain when I was doing deeper bends under loads. When it started to impact my surfing, I decided it was time to see a doctor. My wife is a performer with Cirque du Soleil, in Las Vegas, and we got referred to their top knee doc. I will refrain from detailed comments on his service, and just leave it that he was very busy/rushed, and very uninformative. I only spoke with him for 4 mins in the first visit (he ordered the MRI) and I was left with his non-medical sidekick for the rest of my treatment. I opted for PT as a first course of therapy, but 2 months of hard work was getting me nowhere… so I went ahead with MFX (after consulting with his sidekick, since Doc was too busy). I had read enough, and they told me I had a defect – so it seemed cut and dry.
I have since learned that Trochlear defects are a whole ‘nother deal, in re: to MFX. I had Trochlear groove mfx on August 19, 2009. Defect was 7x7mm. OS said surgery was great. I was released 25 mins after starting surgery – even though I was still totally in a fog. Was NOT given a CPM and was NOT given a brace. Ordered to do 6 weeks NWB. I had been reading Steadman's articles, and was not sure why I didn't get the CPM or the brace. OS said I could have them if I wanted, but they weren’t required.
I was super careful during NWB, and got 150 degrees of flexion by week 3. I had the popping, and pain during transitions (to sofa, to bed, etc) that many have reported. Otherwise, I did what they asked of me – and then some.
Today, I am 5 months post op. I had an Arthrogram last week, and was given the results (again, not by the doc, but by his non-medical sidekick). The MFX did not fill in. The MRI reported that I now have "Fissuring" and the defect size is 9x5mm. I never got a good answer from the sidekick about the difference between fissure and defect... but needless to say, I am fairly bummed.
Stairs are still my enemy. I can do them, but down is worse… and either way (up/down) causes that sharp pain and instability. I am working my butt off at PT. My workouts are 2 hours long, and intense – I have been working with Cirque’s PT’s and a guy from the NFL – but trying to build VMO is tough. The exercises that could help… all hurt (extensions, lunges) so i do them limited range, or not at all. This was the same dynamic that caused me to go for surgery in the beginning, when the PT didn’t work. I am unsure how to proceed? ACI? Nothing? Ugh… and here is the best part (read: worst)…
THE BEST PART OF THE FAILURE WAS MY PARTING GIFT…
The final weekend before the 6 wk post op visit, I went swimming. I didn’t kick my legs, and used those floaty bar-bells. I put in some good distance. Somewhere between the 3 days of swimming, I got what felt like a bad knot in my back. I was struggling with the crutches, and the knot was getting worse. I transitioned to one crutch after my 6 week post op visit, but the knot was really burning - and it had been almost a week of pain.
Turns out the knot was actually my Long Thoracic Nerve dying. After the “knot” formed, I started resting on my crutches – letting them dig into my armpit a bit more (a minor amount) and the pressure “allegedly” crushed the nerve. My scapula now “wings” way out, and I’ve lost the ability to lift my right (dominant) arm over my head. I can’t throw a ball or do bench press. I am very much impaired, and the general prognosis is 6-24 months of rehab. The nerve usually re-grows… but at a snail’s pace. So, my last three months have been not very fun. Pain, more pain, rehab, lower back pain, upper back pain, and knee pain.
Now, I am “that guy” that I used to read about…