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Author Topic: Lateral Release success?  (Read 2492 times)

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Offline ralemap

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Lateral Release success?
« on: September 08, 2005, 07:55:04 PM »
Whew! I wish I had found this site BEFORE I had my LR, because I sure would have had a LOT of questions for my OS! 

At any rate, I'm glad I found you all now, and I'm hoping you can shed some light on my situation. (I must say, it's kind of cool to find that there are so many people who live with bum knees. I always felt so strange living my life based on what my knees can/can't handle!)

I started having patellar dislocations when I was 14. The first time it happened was during cheerlieading tryouts (yeah, I didn't make it) and it has happened to both of my knees more times than I can count. I am able to put them back in myself (once I can clear my head of the searing white hot pain!) and after going to 6 different GP doctors over the years and told "ice/elevate" I stopped going. I mean, I can tell myself to ice/elevate, right?
After one of the more nasty dislocations I noticed I had a large "floater" in my knee-- about the diameter of a nickel-- but a little thicker. I lived with it for about 15 years (I'm 33 now) but once this summer it got "caught" on the side of my left knee and I couldn't move my knee at all without excruciating pain (most of the time it would be hidden somewhere--- and just come out occastionally).
So, I go to my GP again and FINALLY get a referral to an OS. I have a bunch of x-rays done and then meet with him.  He tells me that I have severely tilted kneecaps, and asked if I have had bad past knee injuries. He showed me on the x-rays pretty severe arthritis. WHAT? ARTHRITIS? I tell him my history, and he basically said that I needed surgery to remove the "loose bodies" and since they were going in there... he'd do a lateral release to correct the tilt. Surgery was scheduled for 2 weeks later (08/16/05). Two days later, my "loose body" goes back into hiding.

My OS tells me that my patella was so severely tilted that he's not sure this surgery would be successful, but that I would need to go through PT. He also tells me that he didn't find or remove any loose body that was the size of the one on my x-rays. I was bummed! But I've been going through my PT and faithfully strenghting my quads. I've only seen my OS once since my LR (for suture removal) and am scheduled to see him again in 2 weeks. During my post-op visit, he showed me the pictures that he took during the surgery... and the picture where my patella was supposed to be in the middle of the frame, you could only see the barest sliver of bone in the corner of the circle. Weird.

I am worried that I will have to have a more invasive procedure. Is there anything I can do to prevent this? At the same time I am so thankful that I FINALLY (after almost 20 years of knee issues) have been to see an OS.  But, I'm wondering if I have started something that is only going to snoball downhill from here. I mean, I know I'm in control of what I let happen to my knees, but I'm worried. Also, during this whole recovery process, my right knee has been put through SO MUCH having to carry the weight of both knees... it's really starting to hurt constantly. My OS said we wouldn't do anything about the RT knee until we know if the LR worked on the left knee. Does this make sense? Aren't my knees individuals? :)

This was pretty long, and I thank anyone who read the whole thing.


Offline purplestars1881

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Re: Lateral Release success?
« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2005, 03:39:32 AM »
Hi Pam...

Phew...I am so sorry! What a long time to live with knee pain with no results!

As far as  your right knee goes (the good knee), I agree with your OS. Let things settle down with your left knee first. I found that once my left knee was corrected, my right knee calmed down quickly. Plus, you don't want to have surgery on that knee when the other knee is still recovering. He also may be using that surgery to gauge how effective he thinks the procedure would be on the right knee...

I had a LR down three weeks ago. I had the same 'snowball effect' fear. I guess the way I looked at it is that I couldn't go on living the way I was for the rest of my life. When they got into my knee, they discovered OA as well, but it was not severe, only in the early stages. So, if your's is severe, than I don't think you really had any other options. Otherwise, it would eventually get to the point where even walking would be impossible.

Try to relax and do everything the OS and PT says. That is the way for you to have the most power over your recovery. If the LR is not a success, at least you know you will have started with the smallest step and it will be time to move on. You will also know that you did everything in your power to make your LR a success.

Best of luck and keep us posted,
Lateral Release & Torn Meniscus...August 2005

Offline msatc03

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Re: Lateral Release success?
« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2005, 04:44:14 AM »
As far as success goes, the most successful lateral releases are those that are used to treat lateral tilt of the patella. The LR was a pretty hot procedure in the late 80's, early 90's, but has somewhat slackened, depending on where in the country (USA) you are. The literature all shows that the best outcomes occur when it is used to treat tilt. So you have that going for you. However, the surgery is only part of the process, as I am sure you are aware. Rehab, and rehab at your own bodies pace is the next, and I believe, the most important part of recovery. Lots of hip and core strengthening, and of course quads and hamstrings. I can't stress the hip/core relationship enough. As far as the other leg, it should calm down as you progress, and while each knee is different, how you tolerate the first procedure is an indication of how the second one will go. One at a time, day by day.

I hope this helps slow the snowball effect  :)
Bart Anderson MS,ATC
Certified Athletic Trainer
Midwest Sports Medicine Center

Offline ralemap

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Re: Lateral Release success?
« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2005, 03:39:28 PM »
Thanks for the responses! The most suprising thing about this for me was how quickly my left quad weakened! I like to think of myself as pretty fit (I used to bike ride 6-10 miles a few times a week, aerobics/weight lifting 3-5 times a week, walking instead instead of driving places, etc.) but man, I'm still struggling to to straight leg raises in my PT.

I didn't know there was such a corrleation between hips and knees... other than they are connected by the same bone! :) I don't think I have any exercises for my hips as a part of my PT. Is there anything I could be doing at home?


Offline al365

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Re: Lateral Release success?
« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2005, 04:56:40 PM »

Sounds like you've been through a painful ordeal with your knees and it's good that you've taken positive measures as opposed to leaving it to worsen. like you I'm in the recovery stage and as Heather says do as the OS & PT say, and stay positive!! Best wishes for your recovery!


Offline ralemap

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« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2005, 07:30:04 PM »
I didn't want to start a new thread so I thought I'd just ask this question here. I mentioned above that I had a (what I consider) a good sized loose body in my knee that my OS was unable to find during my arthroscopy. The darned thing (I called it my "knee thing" for years before I knew it was appropriately called a loose body.) came out of hiding today and hurts like crazy! I don't know if I shook it loose at PT this morning (I had a pretty hard session) or what, but I literally felt it move, and now it's stuck on the medial side of my left knee. Now, my knee is hurting like crazy (although I am glad it's not on the lateral side, because I would think that would hurt more!) and I don't know what to do. Just mention it to my OS next Friday at my appointment?

This has me really bummed, because the darn thing was what triggered me having surgery in the first place.