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Author Topic: Locked Knee pain mystery - long post sorry  (Read 4776 times)

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Offline hayleytreefaery

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Locked Knee pain mystery - long post sorry
« on: December 06, 2010, 06:50:35 PM »
A bit of history:
I have experienced a ‘locking right knee’ since childhood, where if I twisted or turned in a certain way it would lock in a bent position with agonising, of the scale pain. The ‘locking’ would usually last up to a max of 2 hours, then I would be able to straighten it again and walk okay, unaided, just with soreness for a few days. The last incident of this type was in late 2001.  As a child (age 7) I had an MRI scan which was performed a while after an incident, which showed ‘normal’ results.  No x-rays were ever taken or scans whist it was locked as I used to just ‘sit it out’.

Current situation:
At 00:15 on the 9th November, I was getting ready for bed, ‘dived’ over horizontally to turn on the alarm and lamp and felt my knee lock. I quickly and painfully turned around, anticlockwise, so I was at a seated position with my right knee bent.  I sat like this until 5:30am when I thought I should phone an ambulance as it had never lasted this long. Luckily, my Mom was sat with me the whole time and could reach me the phone etc.  I had a pillow for support folded over, and took ibuprofen and used a hot water bottle (the thought of cold was not a nice idea). Nothing helped. I felt pain underneath/below the patella (the soft bit), both sides, pain going down the right side of my knee/leg (collateral ligament, femur and fibula?) and also the locking sensation and pain in the patella tendon and tibia when trying to straighten and pain on the left inner-side, parallel to the right side. I do not have a medical background so am just going from diagrams of knees to explain where the pain is/was located.

Finally, after a few hours of NHS direct and the ambulance call centre faffing about, the paramedics finally arrived at my home 7:20am.  They tried to put my leg on one of those orange bean-bag support type things, that wraps around and inflates, but the agony was beyond what I could take.  I had an x-ray in a&e showing no bone damage. The hours that proceeded I was given 15 ml IV morphine, nitrous oxide (breathing this in over 9 hour period almost constantly), diazepam, codeine, paracetamol, diclofenac and local anaesthetic directly injected into right side of right knee.  Finally got onto a ‘surgical day case’ ward (which so happened to be open over night since the week before) in the late afternoon.  The ortho-team decided that keyhole surgery with camera might be useful and/or an MRI. I still needed more morphine orally during the night.

The next day I was told the MRI scanner had broken down and they were having trouble organising a scan at another sister hospital 15 miles away. They said they were reluctant to perform surgery until the MRI had been performed .

The following day, a physio visited me late afternoon and managed to help me unbend my leg a little more (a rolled towel rather than a pillow folded in half).  I carried on with all the meds, minus the anaesthetic and nitrous oxide.  Friday 12th Nov, morning they were going to send me down to theatre, but when they saw improvement in flexibility, they decided they would see how I managed crutches.
Even though there was a marked improvement from the total locked agonising state I had been in. I managed crutches, and just about the stairs. So, they packed me off with drugs and a physio exercise leaflet, saying on the discharge form a physio appoint. would be scheduled for the following week and an out-patient appointment for mri and consultant follow up within 2 weeks.

Friday just gone (3rd) was 3 weeks since discharge and tonight will be 4 weeks since the incident.  I am still unable to fully straighten my leg, am sleeping with cushions underneath and a hot water bottle, and still rely on crutches which can be awkward due to the position of my body and my movements.  I cannot weight bear unaided.  If I try to straighten the pain increases and there is a feeling it will lock again down the outer right side and also a feeling of an elastic band being wrapped around, above and below the knee, with pain and a physical feeling of it being stuck still.

I have had 2 physio appointments since discharge, the last one causing stiffness and more discomfort the following day (I used a tens style machine this session).  My MRI was last Wednesday (1st), but the staff there were worried they wouldn’t get a good, thorough picture due to my knee being bent.

I still have not heard anything from the consultant team, much to my GP’s help, faxing them to fast track an appoint. (a fax was sent from GP to consultant 26th Nov).
I went back to GP’s today to see if she could access MRI results.  She also suggested I contact the consultants secretary for an appoint. The secretary informed me she had given the fax to consultant but would look on his desk. She came back to me saying it was still to be dealt with. I asked when his next clinic was and if there were any spaces/cancellations this week. She then informed me he was off from ‘clinic duties’ until January. I became quite upset so she said she would see if she could fit me in with one of the team on Thursday and would get back to me.

The MRI results didn’t really come up with precise/accurate results, mainly due to it being bent.

In general the results state: No joint effusion.  Normal menisci. 
The anterior crucitate ligament  is not particularly well demonstrated because of flexion, but appears to be intact.
Normal posterior cruciate ligament. Normal collateral ligament complexes.
No intra-articular loose body identified.  There is good preservation of the articular surface in the medial and lateral joint compartments. 
Congruent patellofemoral joint, though some intra-substance hyaline cartilage hyperintense areas are noted, in the retropatellar articular surface, which may reflect early chondromalacia.  There is no loss of hyaline cartilage. Normal patella tendon.

I just feel so abandoned by the medics and so in the dark as to what’s wrong.  If any one could shed any light, or advise what course of action I should take I would be very grateful.  I am not sleeping well at night due to discomfort, pain and sleeping on a low sofa bed (my bed is too high to swing knee up/around) I am in a very low place. I am not receiving work sick pay at the moment, and it appears my boss isn’t sorting out the stat-sick pay either. With a mortgage, bills and Christmas, I am in a state of despair and need this to be sorted quickly.


Offline Maxamey

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Re: Locked Knee pain mystery - long post sorry
« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2010, 06:28:15 PM »
this is crazy.. i have the same knee issue at the minute. the only difference is that yours seems alot more painful, either way the locking is horrible the night it occured i couldnt move either nor the next few days, i had a friend whos a physio tell me that i just gotta rest and it will be fine. its been nearly 2 weeks since my knee locked up and it wont straighten either. its so horrible

Offline suehaem

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Re: Locked Knee pain mystery - long post sorry
« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2010, 07:36:36 PM »
Hi there,

I had locking for long periods of time before my second arthroscopy.  My MRI scan came back as normal which was a surprise because I actually went for the scan when it was having one of my locking moments!!!!.

They decided to take another look inside and it was pieces floating about which was trapping causing the locking and the pain.  It looks like they should take a look inside and give a clean out.  The pictures taken from the arthroscopy showed bits of crab meat dangling and floating everywhere but no evidence of this on MRI.

I would try for an arthroscopy if you can.

Hope you gets some answers

North Wales
Fall from horse 04/04
Arthroscopy 27/07/07 -Grade III debridement
Re-injured knee running 1/03/08
Arthroscopy 11/10/08 - Grade II debridement
09/03/16 Fracture fib sking damage to knees
31/05/16 Grade 4 Chondromalacia and patella tilt (R)
17/11/16 Need new knee cap (L)knee
Awaiting Arthroscopy 2018