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Author Topic: New here, knee pain after car accident, and have some questions  (Read 14282 times)

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Offline yme

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Hello everyone,

I have stumbled across this forum while searching the net trying to figure out what might be wrong with my knee.  Please bear with me as I am not in-the-know regarding the anatomy of the knee.  I have another appointment scheduled with my doc but can't get in until next week so I'm wanting to get some ideas on what to expect.

Here is the history:
Car accident almost 3 weeks ago.  I was in the passenger seat of a car that was struck head-on by an SUV.  The airbags did not deploy (policeman and fireman both said the SUV hit too high on the car to trigger the sensors).  I was wearing a seatbelt.  The force of the crash knocked the glove compartment door open, which hit me in the knee.  Immediately after the accident I noticed intense pain in the center of my chest (on the bone, where the seatbelt grabbed me the hardest), pain in my hip (from the blow to the knee jarring my leg) and in my knee.  There was an abrasion on my knee which did not bleed, but formed a knot and a bruise almost immediately.  This was just under my kneecap, towards the inside of my knee.  Within a couple hours I noticed swelling, but nothing huge.

The ER doc said it was probably a contusion but to follow up with my regular doc the next day, which I did.  My doctor said it was probably a contusion, but told me to call back if it did not heal.  Approximately two weeks after the accident, I noticed the pain was still there, although it also began to radiate down into my shin and up into my thigh bone.  Swelling also began again, but although the pain is mostly on the inside part of my knee, the swelling has come up on the outer top part of the knee which has made that side ache.  The pain kept waking me up the night it swelled again, and in the morning I woke up with my knee "locked up" and it felt like I couldn't bend it.  I stretched my leg carefully and it made an audible popping sound.  I was out of town so couldn't call the doc then, but I am home again and it is still hurting.  I called for an appointment but won't be able to get in until next week.

I don't know if it's important or not, but no tests have been done on my knee (xray, MRI, etc)

So does anyone know what might be causing this pain?  Is there anything in particular I should be on the lookout for or anything I should be doing until my next appointment?  Any advice or input would be much appreciated.  Thank you for reading!

Offline noogie98

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Re: New here, knee pain after car accident, and have some questions
« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2010, 07:50:58 PM »
Dear yme,

I am surprised the ER did not do X-rays; when I hurt my knee, the first thing they did was get an X-ray. Even when I was finally sent to my Orthopedist, the first thing he did was take X-rays, although I had brought copies of the originals for the visit. I ended up going for CT's & MRI's later on, but it all started with the X-rays. 

If I were you, I would insist on X-rays so if there was damage to the bone, you will know it. I started my journey with knee problems in December 2008, and much like you, I did not know a lot about what was in store for me. My injury came from being kicked in the side of the knee by a former student (long story short; I work with special needs children, and he was having a temper tantrum which I got in the way of) and it has been a long, painful experience which has resulted in a total knee replacement June 28th. Now, I am not saying that is what in store for you. Every case is different, but you should have some kind of diagnostic test to find out what exactly is going on with your knee. After 3weeks, with you still being in pain, the knee locking and popping, I would think it is more than just a contusion.

I hope your doctor's visit next week gives you the answers you need. In the meantime, I would suggest an anti-inflammatory such as Ibuprofen & alternating ice / moist heat packs until you see the doctor. This is what they recommended for me when I hurt my good leg shortly after my replacement surgery. I badly strained my quad muscle trying to get out of a low chair; it hurt like the dickens and is just now feeling better 3 weeks out after doing what they recommended.

Good luck and please post a follow up with what your doctor said & did for you. Hope this helps!

Offline Jill M

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Re: New here, knee pain after car accident, and have some questions
« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2010, 11:50:50 PM »
Insist on getting testing to determine where the pain is coming from. Until then, ice, antinflammatories (Advil or Ibuprofen) along with and elevation to prevent swelling.

Best of luck with your upcoming appointment. Keep us posted.
8/07 Right subtotal meniscectomy
4/08 Chronic meniscus tear, grade 4 changes
10/08- R distal femoral osteotomy, lateral meniscal transplant, tibia microfracture, osteochondral allograft femur
12/08- AF noted, LOA
2/09- MUA
8/09- extensive LOA, patella baja
1/20/11- TKR

Offline Lottiefox

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Re: New here, knee pain after car accident, and have some questions
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2010, 11:48:59 AM »
You must insist on proper diagnostic imaging as the symptoms are not abating. Initially it may be an X-ray to check for any bony damage but it may well be that you need an MRI to check any meniscus damage or cartilage injury on the medial side. It could be something very simple or it might be something that requires appropriate conservative or even surgical intervention. In the meantime as said, try and elevate when possible, use ice to control swelling and try and avoid anything that loads the knee too much or places pivoting stress upon it.

Have a look on the Information hub here for the basic knee anatomy slides; it can really help to have a basic awareness of what the doc is saying to you and how to describe your pain and symptoms.

Good luck and let us know what is recommended.

Lottie
Bilateral patella OA since 2009, no surgeries.
Euflexxa working well x3 to current
Right forefoot CRPS post fusion surgery 2011
Refusing to let the ailing parts stop me....

Offline yme

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Re: New here, knee pain after car accident, and have some questions
« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2010, 05:17:56 AM »
Thank you all for your suggestions.  I will definitely check out the knee slides so I can kind of have a sense about what is in there and what may have been damaged.  And I will also ask that the doctor order some type of test to check it out.

I am wishing next week would hurry up and get here, because my knee had another painful day today, culminating in another "locking up" episode.  I had to walk a little more than usual today and I noticed my knee felt very unstable, almost like it felt like it would bend inward if I put too much pressure on it.  So I put it up for awhile after I got home and it seemed like it was doing a little better.  Then it locked up when I went to bed later.

I'll keep you updated.  Please keep your fingers crossed that they figure this out...

Offline yme

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Re: New here, knee pain after car accident, and have some questions
« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2010, 10:37:52 PM »
Thought I'd pop in to post a followup and seek (more) opinions...

I finally had my doctor's appointment a couple weeks ago.  She said my knee was swollen and she could feel fluid throughout the inside, from just under the kneecap to above the knee.  She ordered x-rays.  Those came back normal.  So I had to keep my knee elevated as much as a possible for one week and take a NSAID to try to reduce the swelling and then call back if that didn't help.  Although the NSAID helped reduce the pain, the swelling didn't seem to be affected.  I had an MRI on Friday.  Yesterday they said that came back normal too.  So now I am supposed to go see an orthopaedic doctor.  They said that it could be weeks before I can get in.

I am at a total loss here, and still in pain.  I don't understand why the MRI was normal when there is obvious swelling and bruising of the knee.  I'm obviously not a doctor, but it seems to me that if my knee was going to heal on its own, it should have healed by now (almost 6 weeks post accident).  What will an orthopaedic specialist be able to add to the mix?  Sorry to ask so many questions, but I guess I'm just sad, frustrated, hurting, etc and I want to see what others have experienced and if anyone has any advice.

Take care,
Dawn

Offline Lottiefox

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Re: New here, knee pain after car accident, and have some questions
« Reply #6 on: August 25, 2010, 02:52:21 PM »
Hi Dawn

Thanks for updating us....the good news is I think is that the X-rays and the MRI are clear. That is good in many ways although clearly doesn't help with the pain and swelling! An MRI *can* miss some things so it isn't a 100% guarantee but I would have thought if you had cartilage damage or a ligament tear it should have shown up. BUT there are people on here who have things missed by the MRI scanner. its Catch 22 - clear scan is great news but ongoing pain - whats going on?!!

I wonder if you have a lot of bone bruising and that is why things are taking so long to settle down? I guess the next logical step is to see the specialist and he will have more experience in these things than anyone you've seen so far. in some ways a delay isn't the worse thing as it lets you try the conservative continued ice, elevation, NSAIDs etc before anyone may suggest they go into the knee to have a look. I know i have been amazed how long knees take to settle down, my dificulties are different to yours but after a bad flare up last year induced by a zealous physio it took probably 3 months to have a normal looking kneecap!

Hang in there

Lottie  :)
Bilateral patella OA since 2009, no surgeries.
Euflexxa working well x3 to current
Right forefoot CRPS post fusion surgery 2011
Refusing to let the ailing parts stop me....















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