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Author Topic: Losing faith...  (Read 285 times)

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Offline Ranceporter

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Losing faith...
« on: February 09, 2018, 07:31:26 PM »
Hello all,

I'm brand new here, so this may not be the correct forum to post on, but the front page suggested starting here as a new user.

I've had a knee injury that has persisted for over a year and simply will not get better.  It has affected the quality of my life to the point where I'm questioning whether or not life is even worth living.  I'll explain.

I'm 32 years old.  I've been very active with sports and exercise my entire life.  Over a year ago I hurt my knee playing basketball when an opposing player fell down in collided into the outside of my right knee.  It hurt at the time of impact, but didn't really start bothering me until a few weeks later.

I booked an appt with the top knee ortho in my area and he gave me xrays, MRI etc.  He said it sounded like a torn meniscus or sprained MCL.  Ultimately, he said the MRI showed no tears.  I was relieved.  He did say there was significant inflammation, a contusion of the medial tibial plateau, and fluid build-up behind the knee.  He prescribed 2 months of physical therapy

I completed the therapy and worked in it diligently and my knee did not improve.  I have been back to the doc numerous times and he is puzzled and tells me the best they could do at this point is to do surgery on the knee, even though nothing is torn.

I will not get knee surgery without a definitive tear.  Not to mention, I can't  afford it (health insurance is a rip off) and I can't afford more trips to the doctor either. 

It's been over a year and I've still got a lot of swelling behind the knee, pain in and around the knee, and I haven't been able to even lightly jog for over a year.  Walking can be difficult at times and some days it's worse than others.  I'm giving up hope and I can't live the rest of my life like this.  I've accepted that I'll never play sports or run ever again.  All I want is to be able to walk normal at this point.  I'd settle for that.  I'm a 32 year old man who's been nearly crippled by a knee injury that a top knee doc can't seem to diagnose. 

Offline Vickster

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Re: Losing faith...
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2018, 08:09:29 PM »
Meniscus tears can often be missed ion MRI but there are other tell tale signs and symptoms. You could get a second opinion on the MRI or get it rescanned?  Have you also had blood tests for a systemic cause for the swelling. Might be worth seeing a rheumatologist if anything shows up

Bone bruises can take for ever to heal

Donít give up hope. Try a non weight bearing activity like Cycling or swimming for the endorphins and fitness. Youíre only 32, try to find another focus :)

Presumably youíve tried anti inflammatory meds, ice, compression. Avoid cortisone injections tho as they can damage articular cartilage

Good luck
« Last Edit: February 09, 2018, 08:11:09 PM by Vickster »
Came off bike onto concrete 9/9/09
LK arthroscopy 8/2/10
2nd scope on 16/12/10
LK New MRI shows lat & medial meniscus tear & other stuff
RK MRI lat meniscus tear
8/1/15 RK Steroid jab,
RK arthroscopy on 5/2/15
Lateral meniscus trim, excision of hoffa's fat pad, chondral stabilisation

Offline tensters

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Re: Losing faith...
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2018, 10:17:22 AM »
I think a second opinion/ new MRI is definitely something to consider.

I also suffered a bone bruise about a year and a half ago. When it happened (my knee hit an A/C) it hurt but I could walk around and it was no big deal at first. But by the third week or so afterwards, just like you described, I began having troubles bearing weight on the leg and knee and the quad and other muscles began to dramatically weaken and shut down. Within a week of that, I could no longer walk, and it began to affect my other knee and my back - even just attempting to stand. After a time, I could no longer sit since my back and pelvis were too weak and in pain to hold myself up. Sleeping was very difficult due to pain. It was very scary. I had injured my other knee a long while back - tore the meniscus. Eventually had arthoscopy to deal with it and it was fine. This effects of this injury was much worse than what I had experienced with the torn meniscus and arthroscopy.

When I saw the OS about 2 months or so after the incident after having had xrays done, he said he thought it might be a torn meniscus and maybe a sprained MCL based on moving my knee around. I told him I thought MCL sounds right since the pain was centered right there and that is where I took the hit but also that I thought it could be a bone bruise based on what I read online. It felt like the bone was hurting. He disagreed because he thought the bone bruise should have healed by then. We did an MRI and it showed a severe bone contusion in the MFC and patella along with a very small osteochondral lesion in the MFC. Everything else looked fine.

The OS as a result of this  prescribed me an off loader brace and 2 months PT. He thought I might be able to avoid surgery (for lesion or other effects of bruise) depending on how PT went. The brace was uncomfortable so I did not use it. I quit PT after the second session because it aggravated the hell out of the bruise. A few months later I tried PT again and same story, made it much worse. So I quit that after trying a few sessions. I would tell my OS on follow ups that I would like to try PT again in the future - I want to avoid surgery. He was fine with that.

At around the 6 month mark I began to improve - I could do short walks and handle some stairs (I live in a walk up so I always had to deal with stairs). But then after a particularly long day around this time I aggravated the knee badly and found myself right back at the beginning. I could not walk and my whole body was in pain. I was back to a cane and crutches and side lying because of back/pelvis pain.

At that point - around the 7 month mark I decided to try some different things including eliminating all nsaids and pain relievers, sticking only with very gentle exercise and taking vitamin E and D. I had also taken up a habit of drinking keurig coffee (since it was easy) but I stopped this and went back to making coffee by hand with filter as I had done in the past. I mention this because that is what I did.

Though I did not use them much to begin with (every few days or if I had to go to a doctor) I stopped using pain relievers - mostly ibuprofen-  because they upset my stomach even with food and I felt like they might be interfering with healing since they interfere with inflammation. I also did not like that I could not get accurate feedback from my knee with activities since nsaids would block a lot of the pain. Since I did not take them everyday, I noticed on days after taking them my knee would feel worse than its terrible normal which I reasoned was because I was pushing it beyond what was good for it on days I took them but couldn't feel it at the time.

Once I stopped taking them (to this day I have not had a painkiller of any type a year later), my knee immediately went in a much better direction. I also supplemented with natural vitamin E and D  which also seemed to help.

Finally, I decided early in this to never push the knee or get aggressive with it - absolutely no jumping, jogging, running or sports. The OS had actually  told me to avoid these activities.  Sometimes though during the course of recovery I would push it especially if the knee was feeling better on a given day. This I think is a big mistake with a bone bruise. IMO you must be consistently gentle with it as it makes its very slow healing. I decided after the 6 month mark after I had severely tweaked it to religiously keep it to gradual slow walks and lots of stairs - all gentle - as exercise or my own version of PT. I worked it up very gradually to brisk 20 minutes walks over uneven terrain. The most challenging thing was going downstairs. It was painful and scary at times, but I made sure I always tried to do this with good form. I always did one foot after another like normal. I felt this way I was strengthening everything and was discouraging compensations. I also did gentle and small amounts of stretching of hamstrings and quads everyday - sometimes every other day- to keep my ROM good. As a result of this my extension and flexion was always very good by the 4 month mark or so.

I rarely used the exercise bike or gym equipment even though I did buy a gym membership. I kept it to practical stuff like walking and stairs since this is what I needed to do to get around.

By the 8th or 9th month I was a lot better and was beginning to have hope that  maybe I will turn out okay. At the year point I felt almost "cured".  I could walk around and stairs were not a problem. I had no limp and no pain at all.

Now at 1.5 years out, my knee is very good. The other knee and my back are also doing very  well - they were both heavily traumatized during this and at points I thought they may need surgery. They are fine.

If I remember correctly, two MRI studies showed bone bruises taking anywhere from 8 months to 2 years to heal. I've read of one person who is still struggling 2.5 years later. So yes, bone bruises can take a very long time to heal and can be very debillitating. Especially if it is on a weight bearing area.

Anyway, everyone is different... this is just what I went through and what seemed to help me. Some/many people get a lot of pain relief and help from pain killers/nsaids. This was just my experience. I would say if you are in a lot of pain, take the pain killers, no point in suffering. But for me if the pain was tolerable, I avoided them, and then stopped them all together.

My own personal story with this issue aside, what I would recommend is:

1. keep exercise and movement gentle and never make leaps. Slowly increase intensity over weeks and go for decent form (keep upright) over some time or speed goal. Don't be afraid to back off or go backwards if you have pain. Going backwards is fine. Leaping ahead can lead to disaster. As far as PT goes, in both cases when i went they were having me do things what were way beyond what my bruise could tolerate. It was worse than a waste of time for me.

2. Avoid heat on the bruise - heat always aggravated the bruise badly in my case. Epson salt baths were the worse. Ice on the knee was much better, though honestly I don't believe it was really that helpful.

After the first 6 months of my experience of my severe bone bruise I decided to do my best not to aggravate the bruise and not to cover up how it was feeling so this way I could tell if it was getting aggravated and how it was responding to whatever I did. I believe this approach helped it heal relatively rapidly though again YMMV.

Again, I would suggest that if you continue to not see improvement to have someone else look at it - get new imaging perhaps. I would avoid any surgery unless there is a very good reason to have it.

Anyway, best of luck to you.

« Last Edit: February 14, 2018, 11:51:03 PM by tensters »