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Author Topic: New and not knowledgeable about Knees  (Read 1007 times)

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Offline donnieS

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New and not knowledgeable about Knees
« on: January 19, 2005, 07:17:03 AM »
Hi, I'm new to the web site. About 10 weeks ago I dislocated my left knee while lightly jogging. Iam 55 and always have been active. I have know since I was a kid that I had weak knees and had a number of small incidents with the knee popping out of joint but nothing that really hurt or did not get better the next day. This has been a very different experience. I'm still limping. I've seen doctors, chiropractors and physio therapists. I also have very flat feet and my helpers are telling me that the problem has worked it's way up from my feet turning inwards to my knee turning out (lateral). I have gotten orthotics and they do seem to be helping. Today I'm back up to the clinic and they say that I have a ruptured Baker's Cyst. My foot has swollen up and it seems that laying down with ice is the only thing that helps it (as if I have time to do that). I have started working out lightly since Jan 1 and doing my exercises and this is helping. I have been wearing a knee brace but I would be open to suggestions about different ones as I find it uncomfortable when I sit down. I wonder if it has anything to do with my baker's cyst? It is one of those ones with the hole in the middle and some extra bracing around the kneecap. Everyone has told me that I can get better without surgery. My x-ray showed that my injury was not that bad and that I had not torn any ligaments and maybe a slight tear of the meniscus. I wonder how long it takes for a ruptured baker's cyst to get better? I am so tired of this whole thing. Do you think that I am making good choices on my healing path?
Thanks for your suggestions,
Don  
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« Last Edit: January 19, 2005, 07:25:19 AM by donnieS »

Offline Heather M.

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Re: New and not knowledgeable about Knees
« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2005, 10:27:00 AM »
Don,

Have you seen an orthopedic surgeon?  It sounds like you've talked to a lot of people, but when you mention being diagnosed by chiropractors, PT's, and a 'clinic' that makes me a bit nervous.

The reason I ask is because a Baker's Cyst isn't really a diagnosis...most people have them.  They are a common and naturually occuring thing, but they are not often blamed for causing pain...most people who have them don't even know it!  The thing is that they are not really a diagnosis...often they are a sign of an underlying condition--like arthritis, a meniscal tear, etc.  Since you had a dislocation, there are things like cartilage damage and even  loose bodies (torn pieces of cartilage or little bits of junk floating around in the knee irritating things).  When the knee is irritated by something like this, it can lead to the formation of a Baker's Cyst.  So the cyst isn't really the problem, it's whatever is irritating the knee.  The cysts can rupture, and I believe this can be painful.  But they can also just naturally grow and shrink repeatedly over the years.  Given your age, it's pretty normal to have both a Baker's cyst and an underlying degenerative problem like a frayed meniscus or thinning of the articular cartilage.

You are right that surgery is very rarely done for a Baker's Cyst in and of itself.  But if you have an underlying meniscal tear or damage like that, it's another story.  So the Baker's Cyst may well go away, but if you don't address the underlying condition, then there is a chance it can come back, or the knee just may not heal or feel better.

Anyway, it sounds like you've gotten the runaround and are dealing with lots of different doctors and not getting the kind of help that you need.  At your age, it would not be unexpected to have some arthritic change, damaged bone or cartilage, and evne a frayed meniscus due to wear and tear.

Given your level of activity and the fact that you still want to be active in the future, I'd recommend that you 'bone up' on knees and problems they can have.  That way, you can be active in your diagnostic process and fully participate in PT that will hopefully help get you back on your feet.  As for surgery, in your position I'd need to have a lot more information about what is actually wrong in there before talking about treatment plans.  Dislocations are notorioius for causing pieces of bone or cartilage to break away and float around in the joint, which is very painful and could lead to the formation of a Baker's Cyst.  On the other hand, at your age it would be very rare not to have some kind of degenerative changes in the knee--it's the way were were built.  Just like tires on a car, our cartilage in the joints was designed to take the stress, protect the bone underneath, and so will wear down in the process.  You may simply be walking down this path right now, in which case appropriate physical therapy and lifestyle modification (like giving up impact activities ;-)  ) will likely get you feeling much better

Here is a great web page that talks about many of the issues you may be confronting.
http://www.kneehippain.com/index.html  Go to the 'for patients' link down the left and hold your cursor over the various topics to make drop down menus appear.  Read through the knee and patella-related ones, including the stuff on MRI's, unnecessary surgery, and how to do proper x-rays and exams.  The book written by the surgeon who did the above web page is also a fantastic resource that you can order from Amazon--What your doctor may not tell you about knee pain and surgery.  It is a great book and I think it's written exactly toward someone with our profile.

Hope this information helps.  Be sure to click on the 'general info' link at the top center of this page.  It will take you to a great primer on knee anatomy and problems.

Heather
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Offline donnieS

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Re: New and not knowledgeable about Knees
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2005, 08:59:33 AM »
Thanks for your reply Heather. I did get my ultrasound today to check on the Baker's cyst. The swelling is actually going down compared to  the night I paniced whick was last Monday. I checked out the link you suggested and will spend some time looking it over. I also will go see my family doctor and see what he has to say about how I am doing. He did say he would refer me to a specialist and that sounds like it would be a good idea though I would be scared of surgery as it sounds like from reading other people's stories it isn't always the be all to end all. I'll keep you posted as to futher developments,
Thanks, Don















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