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Author Topic: Bizarre cramping after meniscectomy and chondrectomy  (Read 2847 times)

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Offline briceryant

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Bizarre cramping after meniscectomy and chondrectomy
« on: October 25, 2011, 06:13:11 PM »
Hello,

I had a moderate procedure 4 days ago - meniscectomy (perhaps 10-15% of the medial meniscus on the posterior side) combined with partial chondrectomy (cartilage shaving) due to several lesions, mostly on the tibia. The surgery appears to have gone well, after 4 days I am walking slowly around the house without crutches and with little joint pain.

However, as the joint pain has gone away, a new pain has taken its place - specifically, I have a persistent cramp or "stiff muscle" in the upper calf area. This isn't like an acute cramp that wakes you up in the night or that you get while swimming - it's a sort of "slow burn" cramp which has been slowly developing for 24-48 hours. I can feel by comparing the knees that it's definitely more stiff in there, and if I massage it, it's a little ball of pain, maybe 5-6 of 10. 80% of the pain seems to be concentrated in a single "ball" which goes from about an inch below the knee in the calf down to maybe 3-4 inches. It's reasonably deep in the flesh but not terribly so.

I thought I had just sat on it funny as I've had very low mobility in the last few days, lots of sedentary time, but at this point it is rather painful to walk and it generally seems to be getting worse, not better. I've been drinking more water, stretching the muscle when I can, and used a hot compress earlier. But overall, it doesn't seem to be going away - if it gets better for an hour or two, soon it's back with a vengeance.

Is this a possible complication of the surgery? Or is it just normal for a stiffness to develop after surgery when one can't really exercise the leg? I'm trying not to worry about it but I've been reading that this could be a result of nerve damage or a blood clot and other nasty things.

Anyone with similar experiences (or an idea of what it could be) is welcome to reply.

Offline vickster

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Re: Bizarre cramping after meniscectomy and chondrectomy
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2011, 06:51:08 PM »
Not wanting to worry you but I would get it checked out as soon as you can by your surgeon or even at the emergency department - it could be a DVT / clot.  Are you doing ankle pumps and other exercises?  Are you wearing compression stockings?  Were you given any advice about reducing the risk of clots?

Good luck :)
Came off bike onto concrete 9/9/09 (lat meniscus, lat condyle defect)
LK scopes 8/2/10 & 16/12/10
RK scope 5/2/15 (menisectomy, Hoffa’s fat pad trim)
LK scope 10.1.19 medial meniscectomy, trochlea MFX
LK scope 19.4.21 MFX to both condyles & trochlea, patella cartilage shaved, viscoseal, depo-medrone

Offline briceryant

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Re: Bizarre cramping after meniscectomy and chondrectomy
« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2011, 07:09:32 PM »
I'm doing some basic exercises but 48 and even 24 hours ago the knee was too painful to do much - was playing a lot of video games and such, perhaps I sat too long in a single position, not wanting to move too much. As of now, I'm walking around a bit, bending and unbending the knee, doing some stretches and also exercises based around the ankle. The knee has improved a LOT in the last 24 hours but in that time the cramping has basically replaced the pain and discomfort with something new.

I'm not wearing any braces or stockings.

I'm 29 and in perfect health if that makes a difference - I think risk for DVT goes up with age, anyways apparently the surgeon didn't consider it very likely. I have an appointment with my surgeon in 16 hours, of course I will raise the issue. There's no discoloration and the pain is not (and has never been) extreme, so I don't think it's an emergency situation. But it's really bothersome, especially psychologically as I wasn't warned about it. I expected the knee to hurt but I didn't expect this and it's rather unlike any pain or symptoms I've ever had before.

Offline vickster

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Re: Bizarre cramping after meniscectomy and chondrectomy
« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2011, 07:35:00 PM »
If you are seeing your surgeon tomorrow, that's probably ok - no one expects complications, I was warned though.   Any one can get a clot, some are at higher risk, but knee surgery increases the risk a lot for anyone potentially

After my two scopes (first was menisectormy and chondroplasty similar to yours), I was instructed to do motion exercises 5 times a day (heel slides, ankle pumps, SLRs), building up to more reps after a few days.  After the first one, I was also in compression stockings 24/7 for 2 weeks (no specific risk, just the OS's protocol).  I assume you are also icing and elevating the knee above the heart (and not sitting with any sort of pillows under the knee, only under the ankle)
Came off bike onto concrete 9/9/09 (lat meniscus, lat condyle defect)
LK scopes 8/2/10 & 16/12/10
RK scope 5/2/15 (menisectomy, Hoffa’s fat pad trim)
LK scope 10.1.19 medial meniscectomy, trochlea MFX
LK scope 19.4.21 MFX to both condyles & trochlea, patella cartilage shaved, viscoseal, depo-medrone

Offline briceryant

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Re: Bizarre cramping after meniscectomy and chondrectomy
« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2011, 06:57:59 PM »
I woke up the next day and the pain was so bad upon walking that I asked to see my surgeon earlier - after an ultrasound examination he confirmed deep-vein thrombosis and I am currently hospitalized.

Thanks a lot for your advice -  if not for that, I might have taken the problem less seriously. As to those who have "cramping" after leg surgery and immobilization - get an ultrasound! Also, make sure you're not a high-risk patient and if you are, ask for prophylaxis before surgery; I am young and healthy and thus "low-risk," but it only took a couple days after knee surgery to develop a rather serious case of thrombosis.

Offline vickster

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Re: Bizarre cramping after meniscectomy and chondrectomy
« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2011, 07:42:40 PM »
Sorry to read that it is a clot.  Get well soon :)
Came off bike onto concrete 9/9/09 (lat meniscus, lat condyle defect)
LK scopes 8/2/10 & 16/12/10
RK scope 5/2/15 (menisectomy, Hoffa’s fat pad trim)
LK scope 10.1.19 medial meniscectomy, trochlea MFX
LK scope 19.4.21 MFX to both condyles & trochlea, patella cartilage shaved, viscoseal, depo-medrone

Offline Lottiefox

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Re: Bizarre cramping after meniscectomy and chondrectomy
« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2011, 07:53:35 PM »
Get well soon. We never think we'll be the one who gets a complication but they happen. (I am living with the fallout of foot surgery!).

The good news is that you got this detected and you're in the right place for things to get sorted out rapidly. It is good that you had the presence of mind to think something wasn't quite right. Just shows we know our own bodies.

Take it easy!

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 briceryant

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Re: Bizarre cramping after meniscectomy and chondrectomy
« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2011, 08:11:40 PM »
Thanks guys! And three cheers for Vickster, who appears to have diagnosed my medical condition from a continent away.

Offline Lottiefox

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Re: Bizarre cramping after meniscectomy and chondrectomy
« Reply #8 on: October 26, 2011, 08:36:16 PM »
You should see her "remote knee replacement under robot guidance" ;-)  :P
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....