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Author Topic: Needed: Good impartial advice  (Read 1078 times)

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Offline becca.y

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Needed: Good impartial advice
« on: July 02, 2006, 08:32:48 PM »
Hi, new (obviously)

I could really use some advice.  Here's my situation

About 4 months ago I was riding my bike and my knee "popped" loudly.  By the time I made it back home I could barely walk; huge amount of pain, swelling.  I went over to my family doctor and he examined me, saw I had an injury, and tried to take fluid from my knee to send to the lab.  He put the needle in in several spots and couldn't get any fluid, set me up with a knee stabilizer with instructions to wean myself from it within a week.  (He also gave me some anti-inflammitory medicine).  I had to call him again within 48 hours because I was in so much pain, so he gave me a narcotic painkiller.  Needless to say, after a week, I was barely standing up with or without the brace, let alone walking (I could limp after lots of ice, but it was very painful, and I would grab hold of my knee above the kneecap to keep if from poping again).

My doctor then sent me to have an x-ray, in which he couldn't see enough, so then went for an MRI.  He told me the results showed a "minor effusion," and this time set me up with crutches, with the same instructions as the stabilizer (get off of them within a week).  After the week had passed I called again and he referred me to physical therapy.

Physical therapy did not help me much.  I did not see much progress being made, and I didn't feel that the little progress I was making was from the silly little exercises more than my own efforts to carefully walk a bit, then ice and rest, and repeat.

Fed up with the physical therapy I quit it, and finally started making real progress by spending time in the pool.  I was so elated the day when I could swim laps without any flotation device, and I could feel my quadriceps getting stronger.

Before the injury, biking had been very important to me; exercise, relaxation, transportation (I'm not a serious "sport" biker).  I was walking significant distances with only minor pain (tho stairs were still difficult).  I couldn't resist trying the bike again.  I was planning on just a very short distance, hoping to start working up to more.  The piece of road did have a little incline.  Anyway, halfway through my knee popped so hard it was as strong as the original injury.  I was devastated. 

I can still walk, which is good.  I'm able to walk much better than when the original injury happened, and there is hardly any swelling.  My quads still feel strong.  But I am using a lot of ice for pain and I am NOT walking just to avoid pain.  I think I'm heading straight for muscle atrophy and severe depression.

I suppose that consulting my family doctor again would result in a referral to a specialist.  But I am so disallusioned.  The medical experts so far have not understood this, or been able to help me more than I have been able to help myself.  I'm not sure if my insurance would cover knee replacement, or if I want to have it. 

I am glad to find this forum and hope to hear some good advice from those who have more than professional experience.


Offline Jaci

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Re: Needed: Good impartial advice
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2006, 09:16:23 PM »
Hello Becca,

A family doctor really isn't an expert on knees or any other orthopedic issue. Since your current doctor hasn't been able to help, it sounds like it's time to get a referral to someone who probably can. Also, it's probably a bit premature to be thinking about a knee replacement, since you don't even have a diagnosis yet. Besides, a knee replacement is not the solution to most knee challenges and a good OS will exhaust all more conservative measures first before moving to more invasive treatments.  So my recommendation is to see a specialist and, in the meantime, keep swimming to maintain your quad muscles, since they'll be important no matter what the diagnosis and treatment plan.

Best wishes,

10/03 Twist injury
12/03 Menisectomy- tears ACL, MCL, & LCL missed by OS
Arthrofibrosis ROM 38-68
3/04- 4/08 Multiple scar tissue procedures:
6 scopes w/LOA, AIR, LR, chondroplasty, synovectomy, bone spur & plica removal
3 insufflations, many injections
Chronic AF, patella infera, IPCS

Offline Janet

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Re: Needed: Good impartial advice
« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2006, 09:25:18 PM »
I agree with Jaci. It's time to see a knee specialist. Your family doctor just isn't qualified to treat a problem knee. Don't be disillusioned. Knee problems aren't easy to diagnose and treat. Just because an x-ray and MRI don't show anything significant doesn't mean there's nothing going on. Those are just two of the tools a good knee doctor will use to help diagnose your problem. And without a proper diagnosis, you can't get proper treatment. You've tried all the "standard" treatments....anti-inflammatories, rest of the affected joint, physical therapy. Now it looks like it's time to figure out what's really going on. Good luck!

Torn quad tendon repair & VMO advancement 4/99, MUA with LOA 10/99, Patella baja and arthrofibrosis, LR & medial release & LOA 5/01, LOA & chondroplasty 6/03,TKR on 11/06, MUA 12/06. From perfect knees to a TKR in 7 years, all from a fall on a wet floor...and early undiagnosed scar tissue.

Offline UK Girl !

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Re: Needed: Good impartial advice
« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2006, 09:31:53 PM »
Def see  a specialist - we spent months going back time and time again to the GP with my son - it wasn't until we saw a specialist that we kne he had ruptured his ACL.  GP's are great at everyday stuff but are just not specialist enough so waste no more time and go back and get that referral.
1978 - ruptured acl and all cartalidge removed.
several debridements over years
TKR 10TH JULY 2006  Aug 07 patellar maltracking - more physio! Still pain - but so much better !
BIOMET AGC  TKR  (with 10 yr warranty !)

knee deep in Goo

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Re: Needed: Good impartial advice
« Reply #4 on: July 03, 2006, 01:55:35 AM »
Make an appointment with an OS . Right now the GP can only give you pain medication until you see an OS.

Offline ex-gymnast

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Re: Needed: Good impartial advice
« Reply #5 on: July 03, 2006, 03:39:50 AM »
I agree with everyone else. Go se a specialist.  One more thing, you said the doctor tried to drain fluid from you knee and couldn't get anything.  My Specailist reminded me this week that inflamation can look like swelling.  If there is no fluid you might want to try an anti-inflamitory (spelling may be wrong.)
If I knew I'd be like this now, I'd do it all again.
1998- Lf ACL replace (failed)
1998- Lf ACL replace (worked)
1998- Rt LR
1999- Rt Scope
2000- Rt ACL replace
2001- Rt hardware replace
2002- Rt Scar Tissue Removal
2005- Rt Pattella Scraped
2009- Rt clean-out the mess
To Come: 2 Replace

Offline becca.y

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Re: Needed: Good impartial advice
« Reply #6 on: July 03, 2006, 04:22:08 AM »
Thank you everyone, guess I'm going to the specialist. :-\