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Offline dcook60

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just joined, first post. questions galore
« on: June 13, 2011, 12:17:58 AM »
someone on another pain-disorder forum (migraine) told me of this site.  it looks wonderful, if i could figure out how to use it.  it will probably get easier for me with time.

comments and advice would be very welcome.  i'm 71 years old, female, never an athlete. i've always done fast-walking as my only exercise.  legs/knees were just FINE until 3 weeks ago today.  made a horribly bad decision; jumped on grandsons' new trampoline, ruined at least two right knee ligaments.

i am very un-used to being a cripple, and the help-ee instead of the help-er.  this is what i do for a profession; home care for older and disabled folks.  now i can't work for god-knows-how-long, nor can i drive, or bring in needed funds.   

encouragement that things WILL heal would be so nice.  according to the mri done 4 days after the injury, my ACL is gone and won't return, and MCL is badly torn.  however, my knee hurts more on the LCL side, so i'm unsure whether that one is also damaged and just didn't show up.

i've been in a walker for 3 weeks, and knee still swollen and very very ouchie.  orthopod's p.a. not much help; he is blase about knee injuries, i'm sure, because he sees so many of them.  but this is MEEEEEEEE, and i need info.  how long am i likely to need the ankle to thigh brace to immobilize knee at 30 degrees? 

can i hope to drive again and work again anytime in the near future?  thanks a bunch, dianne

Offline dm

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Re: just joined, first post. questions galore
« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2011, 10:16:27 AM »
I know it's scary, so take a deep breath, and just settle in the recliner with an icepack on that knee and elevate it every chance you get. best thing you can do for it right now. Ice it 3-4 times a day, and stay off it as much as you can right now. First off, the MRI may not have shown all the damage. The scans are known for being imperfect, especially with multiple issues and swelling. You could still have an undiagnosed torn mensicus, which is why you feel the lateral pain. Don't panic over it, if the pain persists over the next few weeks, it'll get sorted. Right now, they've gotta wait for the swelling to go down so you can get some range of motion back, and determine a bit better what's going on.

At your age, an acl reconstruction is not likely, you can live without it, and therapy can strengthen the leg muscles to compensate. Depending on the MCL damage, they may or may not need to do something about it for stability. As things start to heal on their own, and pain levels start to subside, it'll be more apparent if there's some lateral issue that needs addressing, like a potential torn meniscus.

Patience is a must here. Things like ligaments do not have the blood supply of muscles so they mend very very slowly. So all of this will take weeks. You're most likely looking at a couple of months in that brace at the bare minimum, and possibly as much as 6 months, depending on the full extent of the damage.

Keeping off of it now, and not pushing it, is going to be your best friend. It sucks, and we both know it, as you're used to being active, but you can stay off it and do as much as you can otherwise. Hunt around for a walker with a seat, and sit on it and scoot around the house if you must, to do things and stay off that knee.

Driving will be out for a while, unless its your left knee, or until the doc says that it's stable enough, etc, because braces slow your reaction time driving.

If you want someone to ask questions of feel free. you can't send personal messages until you've made 20 posts, but if you want someone you can email personally, I've had knee problems for a decade, so I'm willing to answer if I can.
Donna
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 Audice

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Re: just joined, first post. questions galore
« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2011, 11:50:10 AM »
Hi Diane ~ I can feel your pain & just want you to know that there's every possibility you'll be able to function as you did pre-injury, given a little time.

First off, if you're not getting answers from your present doctor, how about seeking a second opinion? There's no need to have to deal with a person who isn't taking your questions & your situation seriously. Find yourself a good person who will be understanding & helpful.

I was 67 when I damaged my knee so badly. And although my internist suggested an MRI immediately, I asked to wait  - to see if over a weekend the knee might improve. Of course it didn't so an MRI was set up for two weeks from the time of injury. And by that time, without aid of brace, wrap, walking aid of any kind, I was already walking pretty well on a very swollen knee.

I had, to my advantage, been riding my horse daily at the time of my injury so had very strong leg muscles which obviously worled in my favor. It was a fall from my horse & poor landing that did in my knee.

When the results of the MRI came back I was shocked at how much damage I'd done. My internist set up an appointment for me with an OS & at the time of that appointment I was told that the ACL would not be reconstructed & that I did not need any PT. Whatever I was doing he told me was working so to keep doing it. He did give me a neoprene brace for support as well as a script for a custom brace which he felt I should wear all the time. With a hand shake he sent me off to do my thing & asked that I return in a month - which I did. By that time I was back to working with horses, riding & doing everything I'd done prior to the accident & with little pain although my knee would be swollen by evening at which time I'd ice it.

I think the key for us older folks is to keep going as it's now 6 years down the road & although at 73 I've given up riding on a regular basis, I'm still working with horses & enjoying doing what I do. I rarely wear my brace because my knee is quite stabile. I do put the brace on if I know I'm going to be something that may put it to a real test but I honestly don't feel I've had to revamp my life because of a knee that's not in good shape.

Like you, the meniscal damage was on the medial side but right now it's the lateral side that's bothering me. I just move through the aches & pain & although I admit life revolves around my bum knee, I still do whatever I have to do & in pretty good style if I have to say so myself.

I think the one thing that kept me moving at the start was the fact that I had no brace, nothing to immboilize my knee so I just got on with things as best I could. I'd worry that wearing a brace every day would make me dependent on that device & I wouldn't be keeping my leg muscles strong. 

I can't see why you need to make serious life changes because of your knee & do hope you'll be able to regain your former lifestyle PDQ. Don't remain frustrated. Find yourself an orthopedist who will work with you. And I hope I've been able to offer you some hope. Please feel free to ask questions of me & all the good people on this forum. Wishing you well...Ellie in CT
April, 2005 - ACL rupture, medial meniscus tear within posterior horn to articular surface, abnormal signal within lateral meniscus, partial tear MCL, bone contusions tibia/fibula, Baker's cyst.
No repairs.

Offline dcook60

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Re: just joined, first post. questions galore
« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2011, 07:28:39 PM »
donna and ellie, I'M SO GRATEFUL for your input.  i kind of knew most of what you both said, but being a highly impatient person, i did not want to face the issue of taking so much time to heal.......

i don't own a recliner, but i spend a lot of time on the couch with foot propped on a big pillow.  i am soooooo bored, hating tv in general, and also tired of reading, because i also have fibromyalgia, and my muscles turn to cement unless i'm up and moving around.  i've never been able to just lie down and read a book for any length of time; not built that way.  have been dx. with ADHD at age 68, which explains a LOT about my life, and the fact that i have 5 children, including two sons with ADHD.  (how could i not think it was me who passed this on, one asks?) 

ellie, i'm impressed that you were able to hobble around on your injured knee for so long.  of course, your legs were in far better muscular shape than mine.  my knee, even with the brace, has BUCKLED several times.  i had trying to get up from the couch or bed and just collapsed back onto it.  yikes.  neither of you who wrote has mentioned that little problem, so maybe you didn't have that?

not being able to drive (yes, right knee injured) is just the pits, and fortunately, i am saving lots of $ on gas, depending on others to pick me up for church and little outings.  so there are always pluses to any situation! 

you have both given me hope, which was what i was looking for.  thank you once again for all the great info.  dianne

Offline Audice

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Re: just joined, first post. questions galore
« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2011, 08:38:19 PM »
Dianne said ~ "my knee, even with the brace, has BUCKLED several times."

Without the original neoprene brace mine did, too. Startled me each time it did. But with time & exercise, that passed. And interestingly enough, I seem to subconsciously know now if it's going to & replant my leg so it doesn't.

As I said, life revolves around my knee but the awareness of it diminishes all the time. I won't say the knee never bothers me because it generally does. And it's not the missing ACL but rather the damaged menisci. My OS did say that if either meniscus became bothersome he would scope & clean. But I prefer to deal with the devil I know rather than the devil I don't know so unless the meniscus actually locks my knee, I'm having no surgery.

And I'm with you that even w/o fibromyalgia sitting & doing nothing is no longer an option. I become the tin man if I'm idle for any length of time. The plight of old age I guess....Ellie
April, 2005 - ACL rupture, medial meniscus tear within posterior horn to articular surface, abnormal signal within lateral meniscus, partial tear MCL, bone contusions tibia/fibula, Baker's cyst.
No repairs.

Offline dcook60

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Re: just joined, first post. questions galore
« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2011, 12:59:46 AM »
thanks once again, ellie, for the answer about the knee buckling thing.  it is so very helpful to know that someone else has come through this and that it will get better with time.  lots of time.......

i will report this weekend on what my orthopod tells me on friday.  it will have been a month, and i'm surely hoping for some positive news.  a second opinion is always a good thing, no matter what he says, and i will seek that also.

good for you to refuse surgery.  me.....i've had 14 already, on various other parts of me, and i would never do knee surgery unless it was a totally last resort.  dianne

Offline Audice

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Re: just joined, first post. questions galore
« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2011, 01:15:50 AM »
Dianne ~ I'm hoping to hear that you'll be out of the immobilizer & able to start using your leg. Please do report back after your visit...Ellie
April, 2005 - ACL rupture, medial meniscus tear within posterior horn to articular surface, abnormal signal within lateral meniscus, partial tear MCL, bone contusions tibia/fibula, Baker's cyst.
No repairs.

Offline Suejs14

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Re: just joined, first post. questions galore
« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2011, 01:25:56 AM »
Hi Dianne,

So sorry to hear of your plight.  I, too, have ADHD -- and am 66 years old/young.  I fractured my left patella on Easter Sunday and just got out of the full-leg immobilizer that it sounds like you are in right now.  I rented a wheel chair so I could keep my leg elevated/extended and still get around.  I live alone, so it was the only way I could bring food to the table, etc.  I found several things helpful:  1) I started my day slowly . . . with an iPad in my bedroom, a book of Sudoku and a book to read.  2)  I spent quite a bit of time on the internet researching my injury, prognosis, help, etc.  3) I managed to have friends drive me to appointments, grocery shopping, hair cut, out to lunch -- at least 3 - 4 times a week.  I don't like TV, but do enjoy movies -- I signed up for Netflix and watched on my iPad or computer a couple of times a week.  Plus, it took a long time to accomplish anything . . . so I made quiche from scratch, baked for my friends and washed dishes by hand.  I found the time did go by much more quickly than I'd imagined it would.

Taking care of yourself and your knee these first 6 weeks will make a HUGE difference in your total recovery, so best advice is to not overdo anything.  I begin PT tomorrow . . . so my life of leisure is now over . . . will be spending my free time hurting myself in order to heal.  Ugh.

Good luck with your appointment on Friday.

SJS
4/04 R knee partial meniscectomy
4/24/11 L patella comminuted fx
4/27 ORIF (2 of @ 6 pieces pin & wire together)
5/10 Staples out
6/7 from full leg immobilizer to brace set at 70 degrees flex
6/16 begin PT with 45 degrees ROM
7/14 75 ROM
7/21 81 ROM
8/2  102 ROM
11/30 127 ROM

Offline dcook60

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Re: just joined, first post. questions galore
« Reply #8 on: June 18, 2011, 03:59:45 PM »
sue. thank you for the informative post.  i got the very bad news yesterday from the orthopod that, not only are there the two ligament issues (one gone, one badly torn), they found a tibial fracture!  eeeeeek.  the first x-ray and mri showed only possible bruising there.

now, i MUST keep that leg non-weight bearing, and i have no idea how to do that, living alone.  i have a walkier.  and fibromyalgia, which means if i lean on the walker too heavily, and try to HOP on my good left leg, then my muscles hurt like crazy and i become unable to get around at all.  a wheelchair in my small house is not an option, unless i could find a very tiny one.  the walker barely goes thru my doorways. i am small, so maybe i'd be able to find a child's chair and raise the seat on it. 

this is surely depressing news, and thanks for reading the ongoing saga.  it's been one month already, and i don't go back for re-evaluation for another month. i would welcome any other ideas on how to get this bone to heal without going nuts, dianne

Offline Audice

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Re: just joined, first post. questions galore
« Reply #9 on: June 19, 2011, 11:03:04 AM »
Dianne ~ I'm so sorry to hear the bad news & wish I could offer some help in how to make the situation better. Alas, I can't. I can only say that with necessity being the mother of invention I suspect you'll become really creative in devising measures to get around & simplify your life. I understand the difficulty of living alone. Wishing you a quick healing process...Ellie
April, 2005 - ACL rupture, medial meniscus tear within posterior horn to articular surface, abnormal signal within lateral meniscus, partial tear MCL, bone contusions tibia/fibula, Baker's cyst.
No repairs.

Offline dcook60

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to sue and ellie, and all others interested
« Reply #10 on: June 19, 2011, 05:13:01 PM »
update:  yesterday i had a previously scheduled meeting at my house.  (some came early and set up the refreshments, etc).  one of the ladies has been a nurse for 40 years, in the days when nurses learned and did EVERYTHING.  so she was my angel, and decided with me that i MUST get a wheelchair whether my house is big enough or not.  she did the "occupational therapy" thing, checking the house for hazards, and showed me how to maneuver with the smallest wheelchair we could rent.

it's 22 inches wide, including the wheels, and it's still too big, but with careful driving i am able to sort-of get around my house.  it's a huge challenge to not take the skin off both hands in the narrow doorways........already i had a fall including a huge skin tear on left hand/arm last thursday, when i still had the gumption to go down into the basement, sliding down carpeted stairs on back end and using one crutch to hobble to washing machine.  tripped on an unknown something; instinctively fell onto crumbling cement floor on left side to protect bum right knee, but hand's a mess.  vow to myself:  don't go down in the basement; the laundry can wait til kind people stop over to do it. 

i appreciate greatly all the suggestions and "chin up" messages.  i never never never thought i'd be in a wheelchair, but one does what one has to do.  and i'll go back to the orthopod in 3 weeks and perhaps get better news about the tibia break. it should heal if i'm totally non-weight bearing, right?   cheers, dianne

Offline Suejs14

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Re: just joined, first post. questions galore
« Reply #11 on: June 20, 2011, 03:08:29 AM »
Diane,
So glad your nurse friend took charge and convinced you to get the chair.  Mine didn't really fit into my bedroom, so I parked it at the doorway and crutched to bed.  You are a crazy woman to try basement stairs to do the laundry!  Yikes.  Glad your senses came to awareness before something even worse happened.

Now, on to upper thoughts.  You can do this.  It sounds as though you are amazingly independent and able to take care of yourself (when able-bodied).  The most important lesson is learning to appreciate all that your friends will be doing for you.  Definitely ask for rides, grocery store runs, outings and lunch.  This is their chance to do something for you (and I know it's hard when you are likely the one "doing for" others).  It's gracious to let them help.

There are some things which restrict bone healing - smoking, alcohol and caffeine.  I dropped to one cup of coffee a day and am abstaining from alcohol.  Don't want the effects of it to trigger a fall.  I also am popping lots of calcium and visualizing the bones growing back together.

Stay sane - stay connected - and heal well.

Sue JS
4/04 R knee partial meniscectomy
4/24/11 L patella comminuted fx
4/27 ORIF (2 of @ 6 pieces pin & wire together)
5/10 Staples out
6/7 from full leg immobilizer to brace set at 70 degrees flex
6/16 begin PT with 45 degrees ROM
7/14 75 ROM
7/21 81 ROM
8/2  102 ROM
11/30 127 ROM

Offline dm

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Re: just joined, first post. questions galore
« Reply #12 on: June 20, 2011, 07:42:09 AM »
Idea... can you sit on an office chair without the arms, and use the walls and your good foot to push yourself along the hallway, as it's so narrow? would that be an option to the wheelchair in the space that's too narrow for it? just a thought... and it'd spare your knuckles...

I used my walker with a seat, and sat on it and scooted myself up my hallway, when I spent 2 months not being able to put a bit of weight on my knee when they did microfracture to mine...
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 Audice

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Re: just joined, first post. questions galore
« Reply #13 on: June 20, 2011, 11:41:36 AM »
Dianne asked, "Idea... can you sit on an office chair without the arms, and use the walls and your good foot to push yourself along the hallway, as it's so narrow? would that be an option to the wheelchair in the space that's too narrow for it?"

I'll bet it'd work BUT...the office chair can be unstable so if you hit the edge of a carpet the chair's apt to fall forward but it'd sure make things easier navigating thru small areas. Great idea. <g>...Ellie
April, 2005 - ACL rupture, medial meniscus tear within posterior horn to articular surface, abnormal signal within lateral meniscus, partial tear MCL, bone contusions tibia/fibula, Baker's cyst.
No repairs.

Offline dcook60

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Re: just joined, first post. questions galore
« Reply #14 on: June 20, 2011, 05:11:23 PM »
i did try my office chair (for computer),  little tiny thing i got at a yard sale for a dollar.  wheels too small, and too tippy.  but thanks for the suggestions!  also, nurse pal got me a leg-extender with the w/chair and it's adjustable up and down.  that allows me to keep bad leg up, and also do the knee-bending exercises in the chair, with leg out straight.  i think i'm all set except for going thru the doorways.  that's going to take more practice.  arms about to fall off; they haven't had this much exercise since forever. 

i don't do alcohol or smoking and drink one cuppa coffee in the morning.  taking glucosamine at orthopod's suggestion,  eating lots of green vegs and yogurt for calcium.  that's my normal diet, anyway, so i should definitely heal that bone.  as long as the break is not displaced, retired orthopod at church yesterday whom i trust said not to worry.  yaaaaaaay!! 

thanks everyone. trying to be sane..... dianne