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Author Topic: Both knees have failed me.  (Read 737 times)

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Offline airinpie

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Both knees have failed me.
« on: September 30, 2014, 02:40:46 AM »
I'm 34, and about to lose my mind.  I've been a hiker, backpacker, runner, kayaker, martial artist, weight lifter etc. for years.  Never had any major injuries, not even a break.  Last year while on a backpack trip, my left knee started making concerning noises along with pain.  After a month of dealing with it, it finally locked up, and I went to see my ortho.  He diagnosed a torn meniscus, and I ended up having surgery.  While he was in there he found a loose body, and grade 3 chrondomalacia. 

After about a month, I started getting back into some activity, (weights and crossfit mostly).  And within a month, I tore the other knee.  Same story, except he found grade 4 chrondo, and did a procedure where he cut into the bone to create scar tissue. 

Now, It's been 9 months since the first surgery, 3 months since the second.  I still am not back to normal.  I'm not even sure that I feel better than before.  I can't do anything even close to running.  I can't even walk up the stairs without doing it sideways.  Even the bike and swimming cause me some discomfort.  I'm 34 and turned into an old lady overnight. :(

I have an appt on Wed to discuss what I can do going forward, and possibly try some injections (rooster comb stuff is all I can remember). 

I would love any advice or words of wisdom you've got to get me back doing what I love.

Offline JOW_103

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Re: Both knees have failed me.
« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2014, 09:38:19 PM »
Since you are young enough there may be some procedures that they can do to help with the pain.  However, you have articular cartilage damage and that can not be regrown.  What you were describing in your second surgery is called a microfracture.  This results in new cartilage being grown in the effected area of the knee although it is not articular cartilage.  The idea is to thicken the cartilage in the worn area and hopefully reduce or eliminate the pain.  Grade 3 I believe is 75% thinning of the area and Grade 4 is a full thickness lesion. 

The injections you are referring to are visco supplements such as Synvisc, Synvisc-One, Euflexxa, etc. This injection is supposed to help the knee by stimulating naturally occurring lubricant in the knee joint.  They can be given over a series of three consecutive weeks or as a single injection and can provide improved pain control for 6 months or longer.  Although I believe they work better in cases where Grade 1 or Grade 2 is diagnosed.  They work great for some people and for others they have no effect whatsoever.

I had grade 3 and grade 4 osteoarthritis in both knees and tried the injections but unfortunately they did not provide any relief.  I ultimately ended up with a uni-compartmental knee replacement in my left knee and a full replacement in my right at age 52.

You can try an unloading knee brace to help remove some of the stress on the damaged area of your knee.  Again sometimes they can be very effective, other times they provide little to no relief.

If your OA is being caused by a misalignment of your joint, they can do corrective surgeries such as an HTO (high tibial osteotomy).

You need to find a good orthopedic surgeon that is willing to listen to you and understand the underlying cause and find the best treatment for your pain and what will likely get you back to your activities. 

No easy answers with this one.