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Author Topic: Aspiring Firefighter with knee probs  (Read 2928 times)

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Offline johnson81

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Aspiring Firefighter with knee probs
« on: September 15, 2009, 05:10:03 PM »
Hello all,

Thanks in advance for your input.

I am a 28 year old Paramedic in California looking to be hired with a fire department.  3 months ago, I was dancing at a bar when I recall my knee giving out, feeling pain then falling to the ground.  Everything was in place when I felt it but something happened.  Shortly thereafter, I noticed swelling and pain which slowly got better over the following weeks.  I have run on it, surfed on it and havent had any problems to speak of...until a week ago.

I was just standing up, putting on shorts when my knee gave out (not sure if I should call it twisted, sprained, strained, disloated, etc) I heard some small pops and cracks but nothing major.  Again, my knee swelled up, and has been painful.  Over the last week since it happened, it has gotten tremendously better and I'm expecting everything to be good in a couple of weeks.

The problem is, due to the nature of my work and my goals, this CANNOT be happening.  Im reluctant to go to a doctor because this information will become part of a medical record which will be available to prospective hiring fire departments. 

Does anybody know what happened?
On palpation, I have pain to the inferior and medial aspect of my patella on my left knee, is this indicative of a specific injury?
I know its not the preferred choice but should I start rehabbing it now or wait til the pain goes away?
Are there any articulation tests I can do to figure out what injury I sustained?

I have a million questions but I figured Id just start with that.  I just dont know what to do.  So here I am searching knee forums and trying to get some insight...



« Last Edit: September 15, 2009, 05:14:17 PM by johnson81 »

Offline dm

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Re: Aspiring Firefighter with knee probs
« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2009, 12:46:54 PM »
In my experince, it could be one of two things, Pes anserinus bursitis, or possibly a medial meniscus tear. Upon palpation, do you have any medial joint line pain either anterior or posterior, or any clicking/catching in the joint you never noticed before? If not, I'd lean toward the bursitis. A cortisone shot in the bursa along with some ice and rest can settle the inflammed bursa. Been there, done that. Not a career killer, by any stretch of the imagination.

Treatment for bursitis that doesn't require a dr visit.. massage the bursa with ice 4x a day, take ibuprofen if you can, and wrap with ace for support if needed for a couple weeks to let it heal.

do a bit of research into what Pes anserinus bursitis is and see if it matches your symptoms, you've got the medical background to see if it fits.

I'm no medico myself, but have had the bursitis, and meniscus probs both, so just speaking from having been there.....oh, and the shot sucks, btw.
multiple arthroscopies 2/00,3/01,6/01,1/03, 12/07,10/10. chondromalacia, severe medial joint space narrowing following 3 partial menisectomies, chronic pain problems, kneecap problems, OCD lesion, failed mfx.

Offline johnson81

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Re: Aspiring Firefighter with knee probs
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2009, 07:36:35 PM »
Thank you for your reply.

I read a little bit on Pes anserinus bursitis.  I dont think this is the problem.  That sounds like an inflammatory response or like a condition.  It doesnt match up with where Im feeling the pain either.

My pain/knee problems are the result of an injury.  As far as the joint line question.  On palpating it, yes, I have pain.  The pain is pretty much at the joint line.  If you were to call your patella the shape of a diamond, I have pain all along the inferior, medial side of that diamond.  Nowhere else.  When I bend my knee as far as it will go, that region expands to an area about the size of a 50 cent piece which is medial to the tendon which connects my patella to my shin and at that point, it IS the joint line.  There is a slight catching on my knee when i am extending it which isnt present on my good knee.

I twisted my knee.  Twice.  Something got effed up, I know exactly where the pain is.  I cant go to a doctor unless its off the record.  I've lightly ridden a bike, I can walk on it fine.  I anticipate the pain going away over the next few weeks and being able to start exercising on it.  I cant imagine needing surgery on it but my knowledge is limited.  Im wondering if I just take it easy, start exercising, start doing isolated strength/rehab exercises if everything will work out.  The fact that it has happened twice GREATLY concerns me.  So this is where I stand with this nightmare of a saga. 

I feel like a 5 minute conversation with a knee specialist would tell me whats up...GD Fire Department.

Offline ksi

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Re: Aspiring Firefighter with knee probs
« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2009, 08:18:00 PM »
It sounds very likely that you have a meniscus tear, the catching and giving way are symptoms of this.  Meniscus tears can be treated non surgically.  Some people find that they can carry on with an active lifestyle after a meniscus tear, but unfortunately when left untreated the tear can get worse.  There are probably exercises available online that can help, it is very important the quadriceps are strong.  There are also braces that you can buy that you can use when exercising or for everyday activity - donjoys are probably the better ones to invest in.  If your knee starts locking, this means that the tear is quite bad and would probably need surgery.

Offline dm

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Re: Aspiring Firefighter with knee probs
« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2009, 10:29:19 PM »
I bet if you push in at that point with the knee bent, it screams like fury, doesn't it? I would then go with the suspect anterior meniscus tear.

The only way I know of to see an orthopedic surgeon for a consult "off the record" would be to pay cash, and go to some place other than where you live. Can you go on vacation in another state, and have an appointment while you're away? I've heard of people contacting a friend, scheduling an appointment with a doc in the friend's town, and seeing that doc while going to visit the friend. Then you've an alibi, and you paid cash for the visit, so it's not on your health insurance, so no paper trail, other than the in-house record, which no one knows of but you. It's steep to fork out 200 bucks cash for a doctor visit, as that's an average cost of an OS basic visit with no xrays or anything, but you'd at least get an exam and an opinion out of it, and no way for FD to know.

I don't know if you'd go through all the charade to get it checked out, but thought I'd suggest it as a possible way to do so "under the radar"
multiple arthroscopies 2/00,3/01,6/01,1/03, 12/07,10/10. chondromalacia, severe medial joint space narrowing following 3 partial menisectomies, chronic pain problems, kneecap problems, OCD lesion, failed mfx.

Offline johnson81

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Re: Aspiring Firefighter with knee probs
« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2009, 04:01:56 AM »
Yeah, meniscus tear sounds like we're on to something.  The catching is minor and only occurs when my knee is extended all the way.  Maybe between 0 and 5 degrees.  My good knee also has slight popping/catching at the same point.

That is good news that it can be repaired non-surgically, that is what I need to hear.  I'm more than willing to put in the effort to make sure this doesnt happen again by strengthening my quads and doing other physical therapy as you guys are suggesting.  I went to the pool yesterday and worked on extending and flexing my knee with just the resistance of the water.  Seems like it helped because today the pain is almost gone on palpation.

I also went to the Donjoy website.  Which knee brace should I be starting with to match these symptoms...?

I would definitely be interested in talking to a doctor and paying cash.  Maybe even in AZ when I visit family this month.  I'll look into it.  I just have this hunch that i can learn the basics of what i need to know off here.  Ive had too many experiences with doctors who aren't worth their weight in salt.  Especially at work! Im sure there are some good specialists out there though...

Offline dm

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Re: Aspiring Firefighter with knee probs
« Reply #6 on: September 22, 2009, 10:41:43 PM »
You could start out with a general purpose brace such as one of the sport designs often available at the local sporting goods store, and see if that helps. The hinged designs won't do you any good, you will most likely find one with some all-around support with the open patella design most helpful. The ones with spiral stays in the sides are okay,they're not too stiff and the stays keep the brace from bunching up. If one of the locally available braces helps, then no need to get a more expensive one online.


multiple arthroscopies 2/00,3/01,6/01,1/03, 12/07,10/10. chondromalacia, severe medial joint space narrowing following 3 partial menisectomies, chronic pain problems, kneecap problems, OCD lesion, failed mfx.















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