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Author Topic: Knee Arthroscopy next week. Knee pain for over a year.  (Read 3308 times)

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Offline Jeebus

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Knee Arthroscopy next week. Knee pain for over a year.
« on: August 26, 2012, 10:39:55 PM »
Hello, I just joined this forum as it seems like an excellent place for knee problems with lots of good advice!

I have had knee pain in my right knee for just over a year now. It wasnt really caused by a specific incident, I suspect its the result of wear and tear and overuse. I used to play football 3 times a week and I just think I may have over done it. Anyway once the pain started I stopped playing and as it stands I cant do any running at all. The dr at the hospital first of all sent me for an mri which took months to finally get done. The scan didnt show anything which I was disapointed at because I wanted to know what was wrong! The dr thought it was something to do with the patella tendon and I was given an injection (cortizone I think) to see if that would help. It didnt. Then I was told to do physio for 4 months. So I started on the PT and a few months later the pain is still there. The PT mainly concentrated on stretching my quad muscles, hamstrings, calf muscles. I still do the stretches but unfortunately my situation hasnt improved. So now they are doing an arthroscopy on tuesday to see what could be the cause of my knee problem.

My knee hurts almost all of the time no matter what I'm doing. The pain is coming from just below where the kneecap is (feels like its at the top of the tibia) but a bit deeper down. Its worse going up and down stairs. Also if I squat down its very uncomfortable. The other symptom I get is if I sit down for any extended amount of time (doesnt even have to be that long actually, maybe 15 minutes) when I get up the knee feels very stiff (in fact this seems to be both knees) and it takes a couple of minutes of walking to loosen up the joint. Its been a frustrating year and especially because the specialists at he hospital dont know the cause of the pain. I'm praying this operation helps resolve the issue for me! My left knee also hurts sometimes, this might be because I've noticed I put my weight on my left leg now far more than my right now. Its hard to tell for sure but I'm convinced the quad muscles in my left leg are bigger/stronger than my right leg now. The quad muscle looks a bit more defined on my left leg. Its difficult doing quad strengthening now. Even sitting here now if I raise my right leg up it hurts my knee when the leg is fully extended.

Anyone else have had the same symptoms and can give an idea of what the issue is? I guess I also just wanted some advice on recovering from the arthroscopy. Anyone have any good guides regarding what excercises I should do and other recovery tips etc. Thanks for any help it is much appreciated.
« Last Edit: August 26, 2012, 10:49:46 PM by Jeebus »

Offline LAS

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Re: Knee Arthroscopy next week. Knee pain for over a year.
« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2012, 02:32:07 AM »
Well you could have a meniscus tear and maybe some arthritis in there.   I know when I  had a meniscus tear stairs were the worst especially going down and I could not squat and get up without holding on to something.   My knee would crack and click all the time.   Also when I got up from a sitting position I at first couldn't stand on it.  It  took a minute or two before I could get my balance.   I also had PT before my surgery recommended by my primary care physician and it didn't help at all but it did help after the surgery.   As far as recovery time after an arthroscopy, it will depend of what they find and do.   Usually you are on crutches 3-5days for a menesectomy (that is when they shave the meniscus to fix the tear.) After that it takes about 2 weeks before you can go up and down stairs and drive.  Then in 4-6 weeks after surgery you can walk and stand for longer periods of time , squat and kneel. In about 8 weeks you can return to the gym.   If they repair the meniscus (keeping the meniscus intact) you could be on crutches much longer and you may be non weight bearing   If your young and your meniscus can be repaired they may want to do that to preserve it as long as they can.   If you have any ligament damage like a tear you  would be on crutches again much longer than 3-5 days maybe months.   It  sounds strange that nothing showed up on the MRI and you have all that pain.    I think your are compensating for your right knee and putting alot of strain on the left knee.   If you have pain when your knee is fully extended then something probably  is going on in there.  Has it locked at all?  Hopefully the MRI is correct and there is nothing bad.    I hope this helps.   Let us know the results of the arthroscopy and good luck.   LAS

Offline Vickster

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Re: Knee Arthroscopy next week. Knee pain for over a year.
« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2012, 10:12:38 AM »
Sounds about right.  After both my arthroscopies, I was off work for 3 weeks.  After the 1st - menisectomy & chondroplasty - I wasn't allowed to drive for 3 weeks.  After the second, I drove after a week.  Stitches out after 10 days I think.  1st time, crutches fully for a week until saw the physio, then on and off for a few weeks.  2nd time, no crutches.

Exercises wise, I was given a sheet after both operations - pretty similar, leg raises, heel slides, ankle pumps.  Wall slides after a couple of weeks. 

I am guessing you are in the UK and under the NHS?  You may or may not actually see a physio, however, if not, it may be worth you paying to see one a few times after the op (about 40-50 a time), especially if you are planning on getting back to the gym, sport, on the bike etc.

You'll be quite swollen for a bit so get a couple of ice packs or bags of petit pois!  ;D

Good luck, take the painkillers as prescribed - it'll take a couple of months at least before you are back on your feet properly, but then all should be good :)
Came off bike onto concrete 9/9/09
LK arthroscopy 8/2/10
2nd scope on 16/12/10
RK arthroscopy on 5/2/15
Lateral meniscus trim, excision of hoffa's fat pad, chondral stabilisation
LK scope 10.1.19 medial menisectomy, trochlea microfracture, general tidy up

Offline Jeebus

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Re: Knee Arthroscopy next week. Knee pain for over a year.
« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2012, 06:31:01 PM »
Thanks for the replies. My knee doesnt lock up but it has given way sometimes but this is very rare to be honest. I think you're right about the left knee, I probably am straining it to compensate for the bad one although I worry a little about the left one cos it also hurts on stairs but not as much as the right knee. Also the bad right knee I can tell where the pain is coming from specifically (slightly down form the kneecap) but the left knee sometimes has a 'general ache' over a wider area. Its not nearly as bad as my right knee so I guess I'll see how it goes.

I am under the NHS in the UK. I was hoping a physio would be there to advise me after the op but I guess that might not happen? I may just take your suggestion and book a private physio because my ultimate goal is to get back to playing football. So I really want give my best effort on the rehab. Any suggestions to when I should be looking for a physio appointment (how long after the surgery)? Also I dont suppose anyone knows any online literature I can look at that shows specific excercises to do?

Regarding the icing, I read that I'm not supposed to get the bandages wet so how do I ice it? Or does it not matter and I ice it over the bandages? Also, how long/often do I ice it? Sorry I'm just a bit confused about it.

I've booked 2 weeks off work but maybe I'll need longer. I'm on my feet all day at work and theres a bit of lifting to do from time to time.

Thanks for your help again and I'll report back after my arthroscopy tomorrow! :)
« Last Edit: August 27, 2012, 06:48:35 PM by Jeebus »

Offline Vickster

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Re: Knee Arthroscopy next week. Knee pain for over a year.
« Reply #4 on: August 27, 2012, 06:51:59 PM »
It will a bit depend what you have done.  Both my ops were done privately and both times I was given an instruction sheet before the op.  First time, I was shown how to use the crutches as never had before.

I think even within the NHS they'll give you a sheet of exercises - if not ask for one - probably varies from hospital to hospital and surgeon to surgeon.  Ask when you are admitted.  I wouldn't just pull something off the web - ask the pros at the hospital who know your knee :)

Both times, I saw my physio a week after the op. The rehab really does depend on what you have done, I guess hard to know right now.  If they repair something, then likelihood is you'll be on the twigs for a bit, and have to wait longer before you can start rehabbing for sport.

The bandages shouldn't get wet - remember, you should never put the ice pack / or peas against the skin, only ever wrapped in a teatowel - you don't want frost bite!  If you have a big thick bandage on, that should be enough protection.  After both my ops, I had a thick bandage (very uncomfortable) which came off the next day.  Then I had proper medical waterproof plasters (tegaderm I think, ask the nurse for some spares) which I could wear in the shower ok.  After the stitches came out, no dressings needed.  I could use the thick bandage instead of a teatowel, ice packs aren't really wet anyhow, then once that came off back to the teatowel

If you have any questions, don't be afraid to ask the nurses - what they are there for partly :)

In terms of time off work, it depends on you, your job and what is done.  Again, ask at the hospital, they'll have to write you a sick note anyhow.  I went back a little sooner than 3 weeks after my second scope - as I felt well enough and had to get back, but to an office job.

Good luck for tomorrow :)
Came off bike onto concrete 9/9/09
LK arthroscopy 8/2/10
2nd scope on 16/12/10
RK arthroscopy on 5/2/15
Lateral meniscus trim, excision of hoffa's fat pad, chondral stabilisation
LK scope 10.1.19 medial menisectomy, trochlea microfracture, general tidy up

Offline Jeebus

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Re: Knee Arthroscopy next week. Knee pain for over a year.
« Reply #5 on: August 27, 2012, 07:36:49 PM »
Thanks for the advice. Yeah I'll be sure to ask plenty of questions tomorrow!  ;D


Offline Vickster

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Re: Knee Arthroscopy next week. Knee pain for over a year.
« Reply #6 on: August 27, 2012, 07:45:03 PM »
Make a list tonight so you don't forget anything with the pre-op jitters and post-anaesthetic headfog!
Came off bike onto concrete 9/9/09
LK arthroscopy 8/2/10
2nd scope on 16/12/10
RK arthroscopy on 5/2/15
Lateral meniscus trim, excision of hoffa's fat pad, chondral stabilisation
LK scope 10.1.19 medial menisectomy, trochlea microfracture, general tidy up

Offline LAS

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Re: Knee Arthroscopy next week. Knee pain for over a year.
« Reply #7 on: August 28, 2012, 01:26:56 AM »
If your standing all day at work I doubt you will be able to go back before a month or so.  Immediately after the surgery when you come home, you can ice over the bandages 15 minutes 3-4 times a day.   I was told not to remove the bandage for two days then, continue to ice but not directly on the skin. 3-4 times a day or as much as you can for 15 minutes.   The gel-packs come with a protector for the skin and work very well.   You just stick them in freezer and they get really cold not freezing.  Place it on your knee and it molds around your knee.  It's good to have two so that while one is in use the other is in the freezer.  Believe me you will use it alot cause it helps relieve the pain.  After the first two days I didn't need the pain killers from the hospital. I just used Advil.   Everybody is different and you may need them more. Be careful about  doing too much too soon.   The kind of pain your describing sounds like chrondromalacia or arthritis which I have in both knees and I have constant aching across the knees depending on what I do during the day it can be moderate. There is not much you can do for it but take inti-inflammatories.  The left knee could be aching from over use. Also it is common that if you have chrondromalacia in one knee you could have it in the other.  Vickster is right, I wouldn't take post-op advice from the internet.  You need to talk to your surgeon so that the recovery is fine tuned for you.   Remember alot of patients fly right through this and recover quickly especially if your young.   You will need PT and you will be sent home with a program of exercises and should start doing them asap.   You should see a PT 1-2 weeks after the surgery.   I think it is very important you do that.   
Let's hope for the best.  LAS

Offline Jeebus

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Re: Knee Arthroscopy next week. Knee pain for over a year.
« Reply #8 on: August 28, 2012, 08:05:04 PM »
Ok I've had an interesting day. I didnt have the surgery. When I saw the surgeon in pre-op his concern was that as the pain is at the front of the knee (patella tendon or fat pad underneath tendon) and that the mri scan I did last year showed no structural damage then an arthroscopy will very likely not help me with my situation. He then brought in the head knee surgeon who examined my knee and said the same thing the problem is around the patella area. He tested both knees and noted my left leg quad muscles were stronger so his suggestion is again to try physio and concentrate on strenghtening my right legs quad muscles as he feels they are weak and cant support the knee well enough. Its hard for me to strenghten them though because its painful doing things such as squats so he said its all about finding a balance for strengthening them but not causing pain. To this end he is referring me to a senior physio and I am to do this for 3 months then see the surgeon again.

Dunno what to make of it in some ways. My quads are definitely weaker on my right side and the previous physio I did seemed to concentrate on stretches rather than strengthening. This has been more than a year now so its so frustrating but I will persevere and see what physio brings I guess!

Offline LAS

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Re: Knee Arthroscopy next week. Knee pain for over a year.
« Reply #9 on: August 29, 2012, 01:24:31 AM »
Well you have had 2 opinions now and hopefully they are right.  Best of Luck with PT.   LAS

Offline minka

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Re: Knee Arthroscopy next week. Knee pain for over a year.
« Reply #10 on: August 29, 2012, 02:26:13 PM »
ah
some one with the same problem as me then
mri showed nothing
left leg at front bottom of knee where the patella anchors to just below knee cap
feels like you could pull it off the socket when it started
under the knee cap felt like bursitus
left knee quad not working properly and the MO part of the quad weakening
puting more pressure on right leg (you are compensating dont feel like you are doing it you feel like you are walking streight.
any ankle or foot problems walking yet?
or heel pain issues.
do you have any issues with any refered pain like it feels like your lower back or walking over SI joint at all.
BELIVE YOU ME YOU MAY THINK YOU ARE WALKING STREIGHT BUT YOU ARE REPEAT NOT WALKING STREIGHT YOU ARE COMPENSATING ON TO THE MORE MUSCULAR LEG (EVEN THOUGH IT MODERATLY BETTER.
let me know the full syptoms miss nothing out like kneck arms or anyting of this nature nomater what if its a small ache feeling
regards minka

Offline Jeebus

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Re: Knee Arthroscopy next week. Knee pain for over a year.
« Reply #11 on: August 29, 2012, 07:12:34 PM »
ah
some one with the same problem as me then
mri showed nothing
left leg at front bottom of knee where the patella anchors to just below knee cap
feels like you could pull it off the socket when it started
under the knee cap felt like bursitus
left knee quad not working properly and the MO part of the quad weakening
puting more pressure on right leg (you are compensating dont feel like you are doing it you feel like you are walking streight.
any ankle or foot problems walking yet?
or heel pain issues.
do you have any issues with any refered pain like it feels like your lower back or walking over SI joint at all.
BELIVE YOU ME YOU MAY THINK YOU ARE WALKING STREIGHT BUT YOU ARE REPEAT NOT WALKING STREIGHT YOU ARE COMPENSATING ON TO THE MORE MUSCULAR LEG (EVEN THOUGH IT MODERATLY BETTER.
let me know the full syptoms miss nothing out like kneck arms or anyting of this nature nomater what if its a small ache feeling
regards minka

Yes I do think I am compensating with my left leg (right knee is the bad one) and looking at it now I can see the left leg quad muscles are visibly bigger/more defined than the right.

As for the other symtoms, when I do a certain calf stretch I do get a little pain near the ankle but on the front side where the bottom of my leg meets the foot (left leg only). Its only when I do that stretch though. Also I do get little aches in my lower back sometimes although theyre usually quite minor. Get quite a lot of pain from the left knee sometimes too, altough its so weird cos it seems a bit random. Yesterday my left knee (the 'good' one) was hurting all over the joint but today its fine. I figure its just overworked. I had a fall back in february and thats when the pain in the left knee started but it has improved. Also around a month ago I started getting heel pain but it only lasted a week or so. I actually have a referral for a musculoskeletal assessment from a podiatrist so maybe htey will look at these sorts of things. I think the only other pain I get is from my right leg groin muscles. They feel a bit painful at times.

Have you had any luck with your situation? Physio? The big concern for me is how do I build up my quad muscles in my right leg when it hurts my knee?

Cheers.















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