The WAITING ROOM => GENERAL KNEE QUESTIONS and comments (good for new threads) => Topic started by: Holly on August 15, 2004, 11:38:24 PM

Title: Sudden Pain/Spasms after Fall!
Post by: Holly on August 15, 2004, 11:38:24 PM
Hey Guys!

As some of you may know, I took a bad fall at PT about 2 weeks ago.  I was sent to the hospital for x-rays and had an emergency appointment with my OS to see if there was any visible damage to the hardware in my leg or to the healing of my double osteotomy (tibia/femur - right leg).  Other than some "thinning and shifting" in the femoral wedge, there didn't seem to be anything MAJOR, and I've been steadily getting better.

HOWEVER, in the last 4 or 5 days I've been having sudden, very sharp and INTENSE pains in the medial side of my knee, accompanied by a kind of spasm.  These episodes don't last long - maybe not even more than a minute or so - but when they happen they absolutely make me lose my breath! :o  Those of you who know me know that I'm pretty good with pain...I can tolerate more than my share of it and rarely take any kind of pain meds, but BOY OH BOY is this some nasty stuff!  It's not the kind of thing I'd want to take meds for, since the duration is so short and I never know when it's going to "strike," but I was wondering if anyone had any idea what this is all about?

I'm due to see my OS for a follow-up on Wednesday, Aug. 18th, and would appreciate any information or suggestions any of you may have before seeing him?

As always, thanks for your kindness and your time...


Title: Re: Sudden Pain/Spasms after Fall!
Post by: Heather M. on August 16, 2004, 01:13:35 AM
Are you getting any kind of muscle spasms, especially in the quad?  It can do this as a result of trauma.  My quads went into spasm 4-5 days after my closed manipulation (no surgery, just bent my knee).  Apparently, the quads are very stressed by this procedure; then I went straight into intensive PT, further putting a load on the quads.  So about 4-5 days after the manipulation, I was walking across the living room without crutches (found out later I was supposed to have them!).  My quad muscles started to spasm, and the pain was so intense that it dropped me to the floor.   My dad put in an emergency call to the OS.  It took me about 20 minutes to, with his help, get off the floor and onto the couch.  I cried the whole time (silently) which really freaked my dad because at that point I'd been through three surgeries in 6 months and he'd never seen a tear.  But the pain was literally the most intense that I've ever had from my knee--it was way worse than the pain you feel in post-op when you wake up after surgery.  My OS told my dad to take me to the ER for a muscle relaxant and demoral.  Luckily, my dad has severe restless leg syndrome, for which he was prescribed valium--he had it on hand.  It took 30mg of valium (more than twice the normal dose) and 20mg of percocet to get the spasms to let go.  It was the longest hour of my life--I was actually gagging from the pain, and would have hurled if my stomach had not been empty.   I went in to see the OS the following day and he said that the quad spasms were so severe that they were pulling my kneecap out of place--so it was almost dislocating.  That's why it was so painful.

Aside from muscle spasms, the only thing I can think of is that maybe you have a stress fracture or broken hardware in your leg--they can both be brutally painful.  If the screw, for example, is broken but not offset, it would be difficult to see on the x-ray.  And I know someone who had a fractured patella that went undiagnosed until an OS took a magnifying glass to the x-ray and found the shadow that showed the fracture.

Anyway, pain as severe as you are describing--the stuff that stops you in your tracks--usually has some type of bone component.  This could mean either that you are having severe spasms that are maybe moving your kneecap around or putting sharp pressure on your surgically altered bones, or maybe that you have a small fracture.

I really urge you to consider getting your crutches out until you go to the doctor.  When I went down (on my tile floor, of course) with the muscle spasms I was very, very lucky that I didn't break anything else.  And three days after that I wiped out on my crutches and messed up my good knee--tore the meniscus and 'sprained' some of the lateral ligaments.  So I urge you to have the crutches 'just in case' and try to get into your doctor before Wednesday.  

Take care and rest & elevate that leg as much as possible!  It's been through a lot in the last few months.  You may just be over-stressing it with the new job and intensive PT required to keep the scar tissue at bay.....

Title: Re: Sudden Pain/Spasms after Fall!
Post by: Holly on August 16, 2004, 03:59:17 AM
Yikes, Heather!

The spasms you had after your manipulation sound BRUTAL!  And they certainly lasted longer than the ones I've been having...poor you! :'(  I'm not sure I could have stood it for that long.

Thanks for the suggestions about what might be going on in my knee.  As you know, they did take x-rays and there was nothing OBVIOUS on them (none of the screws were snapped in half or anything like that!), but I plan to mention your possibilities to my OS so that he can re-examine the films for more subtle changes.  Also, maybe he can prescribe some kind of muscle relaxant to fight the spasms.

As for the crutches...unfortunately, being a Registered Dental Assistant and on my feet 9-10 hrs. a day in small operatories and back and forth to the lab and sterilization areas and reception room, there's absolutely NO WAY I can do my job on crutches.  So I'm just going to have to "grin and bear it" and keep wearing my articulated brace.  It's not been easy, but I can't afford to lose this job right now.  At home I try to take it easy and ice and elevate whenever possible...try not to be compulsive about housework (not easy, since my sweet hubby is not exactly a "house-husband") and hope for the best.  Luckily, even after 6 years of having this bad knee, I've never "wiped out" on my good knee (knock on wood!).  Sorry you went through that, too!

Thanks again, Heather.  Hope you're having some good knee days!


Title: Re: Sudden Pain/Spasms after Fall!
Post by: christinaz on August 17, 2004, 09:19:34 AM

I just wanted to let you know that I hate spasms too.  Luckily, mine aren't as sharp of pain that you are descibing but I agree that maybe they should give you some mucle relaxers until things cool down a bit.  You are one tough cookie, and I hate to hear of you dealing with all of this pain.  The only drawback i had with muscle relaxers (Flexerol) was that I had some blurry vision.  Have your os take another look at you and try to take it easy.  I know we all try to be superwoman ( I tried to fix the engine on my daughter's new car this week and ended up smacking my bad knee a good one and ended up on the ground)  but sometimes,  we need a vacation from saving the world and spend some time on yourself.  I am probably the biggest hypocrite for saying that because it's not in my nature to sit still.  I multitask everything just so I have more time to multitask something else.  I hope this gets better for you soon.. Just remember that we are all here for you and we all care about you and your recovery.

Big hugs Holly

Love, Christina
Title: Re: Sudden Pain/Spasms after Fall!
Post by: Holly on August 18, 2004, 06:41:35 PM
Hey Christina:

Thanks for the good thoughts and hugs!

It's funny...while I was reading your post about trying to take it easy and find time for ourselves, I was just thinking that YOU probably don't do it yourself - and then I read that you "multitask just to find the time to multitask more."  That really cracked me up! ;D  We women are crazy creatures, arent' we?

Anyway, try not to rebuild the world for a while, rest your knee, and thanks again for the kind thoughts...


Title: Re: Sudden Pain/Spasms after Fall!
Post by: Ron22 on August 18, 2004, 07:19:52 PM
hi holly...sorry to hear of your bad time...i know how bad the spasms can be..currently my night time spasms are whole body deals where it feels like i've just been pulled from a freezing lake...i feel ya holly..pls hang in there and pls let me know if i can help in any way..and as always Im me if you would like to vent

sending you big i understand supportive healing hugs and sunshiny thoughts 8)


Title: Re: Sudden Pain/Spasms after Fall!
Post by: Gab on August 18, 2004, 08:43:23 PM
oops, I missed that thread. As I told you Holly, best of luck with your OS appointment tomorrow!

Heather, what you've THAT is pain  :o

And Ron, God that sounds aweful too, the only time I was convulsing was immediately after I woke up from surgery..

It will get better!
Title: Re: Sudden Pain/Spasms after Fall!
Post by: Ron22 on August 18, 2004, 09:22:39 PM
thanks gab..i'm cool..i always have faith..muct some from playin all those yrs with multiple speed..and no common sense for self preservation..appreciate the thoughts...hoep you'r doin ok man

thanks again..

holly let me know how you're doing...feel bad you're havin a tough time

christina how are you feeling..thanks for the note yesterday....hope everyone is well and full ROM


Title: Re: Sudden Pain/Spasms after Fall!
Post by: christinaz on August 23, 2004, 02:51:36 AM
Hey guys,

Holly I hope you are feeling better.  I haven't been on in a few days because I got sent back to work and it's just a big mess.  I am in awful pain and the muscle spasms are finally really getting to me.  I've been through several bags of ice and lots of ibuprofren to try to get the swelling down.  I think that, for once, I have really overdone myself.  I am going to sit down and elevate and ice my leg all day and knowck myself out with some Xanax later on.  

Let me know how you're doing Holly.

Love, Christina