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Author Topic: What does an articular cartilage tear feel like?  (Read 1262 times)

Offline Rafi

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What does an articular cartilage tear feel like?
« on: June 12, 2012, 09:37:24 PM »
I've had knee surgery 4 times on the same knee. Lateral release and meniscus tear in 1998, bucket handle meniscus tear in 1999, relatively minor meniscus tear in 2006 and most recently acl reconstruction for a complete acl tear in August 2010. Recently when walking or even just standing  if i flex my quads, it feels a little like my knee is giving backwards almost like my femur is sliding too far back. The pain I have feels like it's my lateral tibial plateau if my anatomy knowledge is correct, but I don't know if it would feel any different than a lateral meniscus issue. It's in the front but below and to the outside of my patella so I don't think that's the issue. Has anyone ever had this?

Offline Forevergimpy

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Re: What does an articular cartilage tear feel like?
« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2012, 09:49:39 PM »
Pain is so hard to describe - isn't it? I have articular cartilage damage on the medial femoral condyle and a grade 4 nickel sized lesion on the medial aspect of my patella and the pain is persistent. When going through any weight bearing with bending (stairs, getting in and out of chairs, squats) I have very deep bone pain. I also have sharp/stabbing medial pain when trying to engage my quads fully or trying to reach the last few degrees of extension.  I'm too soon out of my last arthroscopy to decide if any of this is still surgical pain, so for now it's on to PT and maybe some light swimming to see if I can gain my normal daily function back.

Did you recently injure yourself? Maybe knowing how this pain began will help others with some advice.

Good luck!
Right Knee:
1993 Plica removal
1994 Lateral Release
1995 TTT & chondroplasty
1996 HW removal & debridement
2005 Meniscus trim & chondroplasty
5/17/12 Meniscus trim & ?

Offline Rafi

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Re: What does an articular cartilage tear feel like?
« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2012, 02:18:15 AM »
I had PTTD surgery in December on my right ankle. Knee involved is left. Needless to say, for the last several years my left leg was always weaker. I'm sure that contributed to right ankle issues, but through post op ankle my left leg has been dominant. I haven't hurt my knee recently but have noticed more cramping in my left tibialis anterior muscle when walking fast for long periods. In the past the cramping has been on both legs so I'm probably favoring even though I don't feel like I am.

Offline JTB

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Re: What does an articular cartilage tear feel like?
« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2012, 03:43:42 PM »
Had a lateral release, as well as some hot spots on my patella facet and medial femoral condyle shaved (grade 3 degeneration) back in January. Since surgery I have experienced similar problems: knee buckling and pain on the back of my knee cap. Have been going at my PT most days, 'RICEi'ng and taking my fair share of NSAID's, all of which seem to be ever so slowing helping. Still, from time to time my knee will 'bend back,' although the stronger my quads get, the less this happens.

For what it's worth (I know no two pair of knees are alike), I've found the Elliptical machine at my gym to be very helpful (walking can hurt and sometimes locks up the knee). Maybe the low-impact walking motion helpe break-up scar tissue/increase range of motion/strengthen quads, even if the boredom can kill off some of my few remaining brain cells.   
Rule # 1 for knees: Cartilage can heal.

Rule # 2: Sometimes surgery, for arguably  confounding and unknowable reasons, can make your knee worse than when you started.

Rule # 3. Refer to rule # 1.

Rule # 4: You can know more about your body than 99% of OS' out there.

Rule # 5. Educate yourself.

Offline Rafi

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Re: What does an articular cartilage tear feel like?
« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2012, 09:54:25 PM »
This is definitely not my knee cap. I was swimming to rehab my foot/ankle when I was still in the boot and for about a month afterward. It's only recently my knee has been acting up again. I don't have pool/gym access right now so I switched to just walking.

Offline dm

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Re: What does an articular cartilage tear feel like?
« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2012, 11:50:53 AM »
I don't know if it helps you any, but I've had one spot of focal articular cartilage damage by trauma, and that was painful to weight bear as it was on the medial femoral condyle in the middle of the weight bearing zone with the knee straight. If you go to my share site and look at my mri image here https://www.dropbox.com/gallery/40064007/1/knee?h=0cabc6 there's an mri image that's a cross section of my medial femoral condyle showing the lesion, so you can see how it would be painful - I put full weight on it just standing still, never mind the impact of walking!

The only way to describe the pain was a combination of sharp, deep, aching pain, like someone had hit the bone with a mallet. It gets to aching so bad that the entire knee would hurt and that pain would migrate down my leg and make even my ankle hurt. Its almost like the musculature around the knee would go into spasm too, especially below the knee, and things would cramp up, on an external level, and at the same time, deep down it felt like someone was in there filing on my bones with a metal file, just sawing back and forth. The deep down "in the middle" ache[/b I felt, and still feel, (because my damage is so bad) is hard to articulate beyond this description. The cramping I get in my major muscle groups in my legs, even during the day makes me crave potassium containing items like orange juice or vegetable juice in LARGE quantity - and that helps those cramps some after a quart of juice and a few hours. Now if when i felt like that I could just put some in a shot and fix it quicker.... I already have to give myself one shot... what's one more if it stops me from feeling like crap?

The good news is that sometimes its not so bad, but other times, I am about ready to chew nails! I've got some pretty serious painkillers, without going to oxycontin or morphine - I've gone past vicodin, but not up to those big guns yet. I HATE taking painkillers, I won't take them unless I can't stand myself, or I notice that my pain levels are affecting my attitude and how I'm dealing with people. Then I metaphorically grab myself by the collar and make myself take one, and ice the knee so I can get a grip on it and my attitude, so I can stop taking how I feel out on the people around me who don't deserve it.
multiple arthroscopies 2/00,3/01,6/01,1/03, 12/07,10/10. chondromalacia, severe medial joint space narrowing following 3 partial menisectomies, chronic pain problems, kneecap problems, OCD lesion, failed mfx.

 















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