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Author Topic: Any BACKPACKERS in here?  (Read 2721 times)

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Offline Scout

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Any BACKPACKERS in here?
« on: December 05, 2006, 07:10:33 PM »

So I went to the Orthopedic Surgeon yesterday and this is the news. My ACL is fine and there is no tear to my meniscus. YESSSSSS! However, my meniscus is thinning on that left knee and there is some inflammation. This is the pain and stiffness I am experiencing.

He believes that my original injury back in 2002 was a small minuscule tear that has healed now, and that the piece of meniscus that was floating in the joint has dissolved. That piece was what gave me the problem again 16 months later, (2003).  That was when the problem was my knee buckling under me again and man was that pain extreme.

He couldn't open the CD of my prior films, the Scripp's computer would not let him open Sharp's film CD; bummer. I am looking at it now; I wish to heck I knew what I was looking for. I was thinking of printing it to bring back to him, but 15 pages of MRI images is a LOT of black ink.

So for thinning meniscus I am to take Glucosamine/Chondroitin and do some simple exercises. Basically it looks like a leg lift, one leg at a time, 10 lifts, 8 reps. When I am feeling no pain, I can begin to backpack again, but I will always be bringing a brace with me. Just what I need, more weight in my pack!

I guess it is time to "Go-Lite" on my pack, a new sleeping bag & tent will be in order when I have the money.  Are there any backpackers here who have been able to get back on the trail?  I only weigh 100 lbs so trying to stick to carrying 1/4 has been a real challenge, let's just say impossible.  I usually carry 1/3, especially on dry hikes where I must carry my own water.  I will learn to go lite, I can do that.  I just need to know that I WILL BACKPACK AGAIN!  This means everything to me.  I am also an Asst. Scoutmaster.  We have several backpacks lined up for spring, including the John Muir Trail.  Of course there is water there, so that helps a lot; however early spring means some snow and that means extra clothing. 

The original injury was a fall onto my hands and knees while walking downhill.  Within 5 days I could not walk at all without my knee giving way.  I also severely sprained my right ankle and it took 6 months to heal; longer than the knee.  Since it was a workman's comp issue, I was never able to get a straight answer from those doctors.  It was a VA doctor who told me it was a meniscul tear, but an MRI was never performed at the VA hospital.

This particular problem began after a 31 mile backpack with a friend on the Pacific Crest Trail on 11/10 - 11/12 2006.  I carried 35 lbs, (5 litres of water).  By Saturday evening I had some pain, about 5 on the scale, which I took some advil for.  Worrying about the buckle factor and the narrow cliffside trail, I wrapped the knee securely on Sunday morning and ate Advil 4 at a time.  We did what may have been another 16 or 18 miles on what is essentially very rocky trail with both (mild) ups and downs.  Picture yourself walking on marbles.  My knee became incredibly stiff and then eventually locked up and reached 10 on the scale.  I just kept going til the end.  Before I got home I picked up a bottle of rum, 3 shots put me in fine spirits at home but never completely took away the pain.  It was red and swollen.  I did the R.I.C.E. thing for two days before I finally gave in and made the doctor visit.  It's not bad now except at the end of the day, or if I walk too much.  I am wearing a good brace and using crutches for any major walking outside the home.  I am a cashier and they are grudgingly letting me use a stool, but I can not put my leg up; after 8 hours I want a vicadin.  The advil is doing a real number on my stomach now, I had to give up my celexa.



knee deep in Goo

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Re: Any BACKPACKERS in here?
« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2006, 07:16:38 PM »
Where there is a will there is a way. .. Sure you will. 

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Re: Any BACKPACKERS in here?
« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2006, 07:33:46 PM »
Thank you!  I know that I am emotionally/physically a lot stronger than some would think, a totally suck it up kinda gal.  My girlfriend who went backpacking with me was impressed at the end of our trip that I did it, but you know what- she has a brain tumor!  We are just that kind of tough.  But these are guys on the next trips and  I just don't want to hold anyone back, they just don't get how tough I am yet. 

knee deep in Goo

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Re: Any BACKPACKERS in here?
« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2006, 07:45:50 PM »
Dont worry about holding people back...    I kinda go at a snails pace.. now a days..   will get a new knee tomorrow.       Just remember its about how you enjoy yourself and your friends will either be with you .. or not.. but .. just remember its about how you enjoy your day..

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Re: Any BACKPACKERS in here?
« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2006, 07:57:47 PM »
A whole new knee?!  How long have you have problems; how did you originally injure it?  What have you had done since then?  I'm 46; how old are you?  Are you excited? 

Offline mr stain

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Re: Any BACKPACKERS in here?
« Reply #5 on: December 05, 2006, 08:41:25 PM »
Hello fellow backpacker!

I doubt thereís much I can tell you as far as keeping weight to a minimum as it sounds like you are experienced as far as hiking goes.

I have had two meniscus surgeries and an ACL replacement with the added bonus of MSRA that took 3 months to get rid of.

I get allot of pain from my knee when hiking and thatís mostly due to the damage the staph infection caused. I find that the weight of my pack almost directly relates to the amount of pain I get in my knee (we usually hike around 10 to 15 miles a day). The best way I have found to reduce weight is of course water and I usually only carry 1-2 liters on me if there are water sources available. I also try to use someone else's water filter on the hike so I donít have to carry that weight in my pack. I have even gone as far as to cut my toothbrush in half ;D, burnt a sleeping bag and torn out the pages of the book I was reading as I finished pages. I'm to the point now where I've really just got the essentials in my pack; I don't even carry a flashlight.
The other thing I find that helps allot is to do stretches before bed, if I wake up in the middle of the night and in the morning. It really seems to help keep my knee from tightening up on me.

You have the right idea of going out and getting a light tent and sleeping bag as those are really the items other than water that weigh you down.
This is the tent I use now and I love it  http://www.amazon.com/Big-Agnes-Seedhouse-Super-light/dp/B00030N8YM

Good luck and keep hiking!!! ( If you can :) )

knee deep in Goo

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Re: Any BACKPACKERS in here?
« Reply #6 on: December 05, 2006, 09:28:20 PM »
ofcourse I am excited.     I am 37.   The serious pain started a year ago.   I have a journal in the meniscus section ..     If you click on my  user info you can see my scope photos and xrays.  ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D


One day my knee will be great..


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Re: Any BACKPACKERS in here?
« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2006, 09:35:03 AM »
Hello fellow backpacker!

I doubt thereís much I can tell you as far as keeping weight to a minimum as it sounds like you are experienced as far as hiking goes.

I have had two meniscus surgeries and an ACL replacement with the added bonus of MSRA that took 3 months to get rid of.

I get allot of pain from my knee when hiking and thatís mostly due to the damage the staph infection caused. I find that the weight of my pack almost directly relates to the amount of pain I get in my knee (we usually hike around 10 to 15 miles a day). The best way I have found to reduce weight is of course water and I usually only carry 1-2 liters on me if there are water sources available. I also try to use someone else's water filter on the hike so I donít have to carry that weight in my pack. I have even gone as far as to cut my toothbrush in half ;D, burnt a sleeping bag and torn out the pages of the book I was reading as I finished pages. I'm to the point now where I've really just got the essentials in my pack; I don't even carry a flashlight.
The other thing I find that helps allot is to do stretches before bed, if I wake up in the middle of the night and in the morning. It really seems to help keep my knee from tightening up on me.

You have the right idea of going out and getting a light tent and sleeping bag as those are really the items other than water that weigh you down.
This is the tent I use now and I love it  http://www.amazon.com/Big-Agnes-Seedhouse-Super-light/dp/B00030N8YM

Good luck and keep hiking!!! ( If you can :) )




Burnt a sleeping bag?!† Explain that one to me!† I've never brought a book, although I have longed to at times.† Too much weight.† I have heard of boys cutting their toothbrushes in half; mine is one of those that come apart, the cover is the handle.† I keep my toiletries to the absolute miniimum, toothbrush, toothpaste, wipes, antiperspireant, sunblock and chapstick.† After the tent, 4lbs, and the down sleepingbag, 3 1/2lbs, and the water and food of course, ( I have to eat a lot on the trail, my metabolism is way fast.† I eat a whole mountainhouse dinner for 2 all by myself.)† What I carry most is clothing which is all nylon, fleece & one wool sweater. NO cotton allowed!!!† I only wear one pair of pants which zip off into shorts.† My problem is that I haven't an ounce of fat on me and I become quite cold easily, so I layer up with all of that.† I do have a better than average 1st aid kit, but I have even cut back on that a bit.† It's so frustrating, I can pack my 13yr old son with only 24 lbs including 2 1/2 litres of water.† His sleepingbag is not down, it's heavier than mine and he carries the same dang tent.

Have you seen the Eureka Spitfire UL?† 2lbs 4 oz!!!† It's on sale right now for $179 at Campmor.com.† I think that Eureka is also offering a $30 rebate for all tents.† want want want. . .† What do you think of single wall constructed tents?† I'm looking at the† North Face Dyad 22 Tent and wishing that they made it for solo.
 
I am so glad to hear that you are still trekking even with an injury far worse than mine; it gives me great hope!† How did you originally injure your knee?† Where did the staph infection come from?† Whats an MSRA?† Does your knee ever lock up on a trek; what do you do?† Do you carry a brace with you or do you just wear the brace reguardless?† I'm thinking of adding icy-hot or something like that to my 1st aid kit.† I would rather crawl out on my hands and knees through cactus before calling a lifeflight helicopter.† No one will ever carry me down a mountain unless I am already dead.† I work to live, I live to be in the outdoors- backpacking or at least camping.† Did you see my myspace PCT blog with the great pics of where I nearly destroyed my knee?† I would go again!† Where do you backpack?† Who do you backpack with?

I know it's a lot of questions,
Scout

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Re: Any BACKPACKERS in here?
« Reply #8 on: December 06, 2006, 10:18:09 AM »
ofcourse I am excited.† † †I am 37.† †The serious pain started a year ago.† †I have a journal in the meniscus section ..† † †If you click on my† user info you can see my scope photos and xrays.† ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D


One day my knee will be great..



Good luck and God Bless you today!
Scout

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Re: Any BACKPACKERS in here?
« Reply #9 on: December 15, 2006, 11:59:43 PM »
So it doesn't hurt so much I need vicadin anymore, that's over.  But the pain is still there; at the end of the day for sure, or whenever I make some kind of bad move, (which I never know will be bad until the pain hits).  I take advil 4 or 5 at a time.  I tried to do without crutches at work one day, big mistake.  But I get down and up from that high stool a lot to help customers and the crutches are a hassle.  It's been 5 weeks now, I thought I'd be well on my way to recovery by now.  I honestly don't remember how long it took to heal after the first time.  This is only thinning meniscus, I want to be on the mend much faster, I need to, they're getting irritated with me and my crutches at work.  Not only this, but my right knee is now bothering me, kind of hurts just left of my kneecap.  What am I doing wrong?  I am do the leg lifts, I am taking the glucosomine/chondroitin/msm.  What else should I be doing?

knee deep in Goo

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Re: Any BACKPACKERS in here?
« Reply #10 on: December 30, 2006, 09:27:02 PM »
I now its hard to be on crutches for so long.  When is your next OS appointment?   As for the people at working loosing patient..   do not allow that to bother you.   You want your leg to heal.

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Re: Any BACKPACKERS in here?
« Reply #11 on: May 07, 2007, 01:25:27 AM »
So here I am, back again.  My knee seemed to heal.  I went on to backpack again in January, a nice PCT backpack with my youngest son, a shorter one carrying much less weight, it's blogged in my myspace.  I also did some rock climbing in February at Joshua Tree.  I did another backpack in March, a solo one.  Because it was solo, I again carried too much weight, but the miles were shorter, 14 on the trail, and three miles out on a dirt road.  Although I had some general soreness a few days later all over, I had no knee problems whatsoever during the actual hike.  About a week later, the knee pain began. 

My primary care prescribed Diclofenac (Volteran), I took it for two weeks, but the pain continued to worsen.  I asked for something stronger and tried Celebrex for the next two weeks.  This didn't touch it at all.  I was back on the stool, and icing on a near 24 hour basis.  Finally near tears I went into urgent care where the doctor there prescribed Lortab and told me to take a few days off of work.  He told me to forget going to the rheumatology clinic as my blood tests disproved arthritis, get back with your OS, you have chondromalcia patella.  I got back into using a brace and crutches, this goes over like a lead balloon with the store manager and he wants a second doctor's note.  The OS says go back to excercises and it will resolve itself again just like before, it's probably due to maltracking.  I told him I need a note that says how long I can stand, for my store manager.  The doctor asks me, "well how long can you stand?"  I tell him about 20 minutes without painkillers, at the most.  He then says he really can do nothing else for me and has an appt made for sports medicine clinic.  I'll be seeing them on May 8th at 8:30am.  I am off of the Lortab now, you can only do that crap for so long, but my knee still twinges pops, and snaps at every move.  However it isn't hurting nearly so much anymore, probably because I am completely off of it right now.  But I want a fix that will let me backpack again.  My time in the deep wilderness is soooo very important to me.

I take the note back to work.  The store manager uses it to place me on forced medical leave.  Here goes all of my sick time, personal time and vacation days.  I ask if I can take my vacation in July without pay, he says no.  I was going to use that for my Boy Scout troop campout and maybe a Boy Scout backpack on the JMT too if my knee had healed.  This guy really hates me.  He did have to admit that I am completely able to fulfill the job even on stool and crutches, and even better than some or most of the kids there.  It makes me happy that they are having a VERY difficult time filling the 40 hours I left open. 

I am trying to figure out how I got the chondromalcia patella.  Did it begin with the fall in 2001?  Am I ruining it by having a job where I stand for 8 hours?  Because I didn't have knee problems again for years.  I even backpacked a few times before with no issues.  I've also realized that this is my pivot leg when I turn from the register to the customer, over and over and over again.  What the heck will I do for a job?  Apparently the American Disablities Act does not have much teeth, a coroporation need only write a job description that the disabled cannot fill.  This job is what provides all of our health care, and my husband has cardiomyopathy!

Offline mingus

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Re: Any BACKPACKERS in here?
« Reply #12 on: May 07, 2007, 01:27:07 PM »
Consider llama packing as a fun way to extend the life of your knees.  I have friends who board a few llamas at  nearby farm.  They are relatively inexpensive to keep and transport, and per report are great companions in adventure.  It is possible to cover much more ground this way, while bringing along plenty of luxuries!
                          Mingus

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Re: Any BACKPACKERS in here?
« Reply #13 on: May 07, 2007, 11:58:12 PM »
Consider llama packing as a fun way to extend the life of your knees.† I have friends who board a few llamas at† nearby farm.† They are relatively inexpensive to keep and transport, and per report are great companions in adventure.† It is possible to cover much more ground this way, while bringing along plenty of luxuries!
† † † † † † † † † † † † † Mingus

I'm low income, this is way too rich for me.  It's taken me years to save up for and purchase the minimal equipment I do have.  And I'd prefer not to take any animals on the trail.  It's a different experience.  But thanks for trying  :O)

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Re: Any BACKPACKERS in here?
« Reply #14 on: May 08, 2007, 10:01:44 PM »
I am reposting this from another thread.  I think I will keep to the "Any BACKPACKERS here?" thread most often.

Well, there is no sign of ACL damage, we've been over the MRI's twice now with two different doctors.  As to whether or not meniscus can heal, I already knew that it was highly improbable just for what's been mentioned, cartiledge has little blood supply.  I've known that for a while.  That's the reason why you don't pierce cartiledge if you are intelligent, infection is a problem.  I still can't understand why girls or guys for that matter have their ears pierced in places other than their lobes.

Anyways, the tear (2001, I have figured out the dates) was close to the edge, if you look at the MRI now, you can see it is precisely where the thinning is.  So, miracle of miracles, it DID heal.  I am blessed!

I know you are not supposed to stage chondromalcia patella without scoping it, but I pressed the doctor for his best answer based on the MRI.  He said it would be stage two based on that, but only a guess at best.  Here is how the shot went, (I am copying and pasting from my myspace blog) :

Just got back from sports medicine. Had my first shot, cortisone. It didn't hurt as much as I thought it would, but it was no walk in the park. When we talked about it, I asked him if it was true that multiple shots could actually do more harm to the joint than good, and he agreed that it was true, but that he was only doing this one, and if it worked, my next shot would be Synvisc in two weeks.
 
As he prepared the needle, I asked him, "you are going to numb me first, right? Spray or SOMEthing?" "Oh yeah, definetly. He sprayed it for a long time, and then suddenly, it got cold; thank God, just before the shot. . . It stung some and then he asked if I was feeling any pressure, I said "no. . ." and then "uh
y e e e s s s s s

But I survived. It hurts some now, but I have taken some extra Diclofenac (Volteran). I got a new knee brace, one that is appropriate for a mal-tracking patella. It feels weird, the brace on my kneecap.

I hope to be pain free in a week or so. I don't think at this point I can say that I WILL go for short-term disability. I hope that I can take the Synvisc shot in two weeks and go back to work.   We shall see
















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