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Offline Danikitty182

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New and puzzled!
« on: October 24, 2009, 11:21:33 AM »
I am here hoping for some new directions in which to look for answers to my knee problem.

First issue involving my right knee was an "abcess" under my kneecap in high school, around 1987 or 1988.  I got to hobble around school (3 floors, joy) in an immobilizer for 6 weeks, and was pronounced "okay."  I played basketball in high school as well, and fell down a lot, but never sustained any real obvious injuries, just bruisings and swellings and suchlike. 

Fast forward to 2000, when my off-and-on, once or twice a year "knee ouchies" suddenly became so painful that I ceased to be able to walk without limping.  So off I went to the doctors....many of them.  Over the course of the years from then till now, I have been told any number of things about what MAY be wrong with my knee.  I have expensive orthotic inserts, which didn't help; I have x-rays and MRIs enough to wallpaper a bathroom; I've been injected with steroids and analgesics, which helped a little, but only for a short time; I've been called a lazy, fat cow, and had it strongly implied that my pain is entirely imaginary.  I've been told 'chondromalacia,' which from what I understand from this website is essentially meaningless.  I've been told 'physical therapy,' which has helped with the soreness I've gotten from having to limp and use a cane, but hasn't seemed to help at all with the knee.  I've been told the negative things:  I don't have arthritis (according to x-rays/MRIs), I'm not a candidate for replacement, and I don't appear to have any broken or torn knee parts.

What I have never gotten has been a diagnosis.

Here's my checklist, as far as I know it.  I have pretty much constant pain in my right knee.  It pops, loudly, a lot...and when it does the pain spikes.  It can and will wake me from a sound sleep.  I often describe this pain as "needle-sharp"...frankly, it feels an awful lot like someone is digging into my knee with a hot ice pick.  Sometimes cold packs will help, other times cold will stiffen the joint entirely.  I have a decent range of movement with it, but any movement hurts worse.  I often hear the "Rice Krispies" sound when I move the joint, sometimes escalating to a "crunchy" or "gristly" sound.  I don't seem to see a lot of swelling.

Any clues?  Hints?  Suggestions?  I am beginning to see the 'child' problems that are coming from this knee pain 'parent,' in addition to the simple weight gain from being left knee is beginning to wear out, my back is starting to give me issues, I'm developing a resistance to opiates that scares me, and my mental state is eroding.  Help!

Offline dm

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Re: New and puzzled!
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2009, 06:18:53 PM »
First off, let me say that a general orthopedic surgeon is not likely to be able to be of help to you. You are going to have to do the legwork to find someone who specializes in knees. You're going to need a recent MRI as well before you go see someone, to avoid wasted time. Get your primary care doc to order it, that's the easiest way, then you have it to take to any specialist you choose to see. If no one has suggested an exploratory arthroscopy after years of pain, I'd be asking if there was valid reason to consider doing one, if that is a risk you were willing to take.

It is impossible for me to offer any real truly pertinent advice, my experience is totally different. I've had some help with chronic pain with tens units and local anesthetic patches applied to the knee, maybe you can reseach those options instead of the narcotics.
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 Danikitty182

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Re: New and puzzled!
« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2009, 09:31:37 AM »
Thank you!  You've given me a couple of new things to think about.

Also, pun love:  "legwork."  Ha!

Okay, recent is recent, for an MRI?  Last one I remember was from 2005, I think.

I have had exploratory arthroscopy suggested to me by one doc, and been told it'd be a waste of time by another.  Also, I am currently without benefit of insurance, so any explorations will have to wait, regardless.  Does insurance usually cover exploratory stuff, in your experience?

Last but certainly not least, I have a TENS unit that was prescribed for my back.  You say it can be used for knees?  How?  By which I mean, where to the patches go and that sort of thing.

Thanks again!