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Author Topic: Swollen Knee for 5 years! Examination of X-rays have shown nothing!  (Read 1591 times)

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Offline Miss LR

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Swollen Knee for 5 years! Examination of X-rays have shown nothing! Doctors always say take anti-inflammatory tabs! I can't live on them! HELP!


5 years ago I fell with extreme force on a metal bar with screws in it, my knee swelled within minutes and massively bruised dark purple on and all around the knee.
From the moment I hit the metal bar I couldn't walk, I dragged myself around as if I  had broken legs, I had to bed rest for 2 weeks and struggled getting myself in and out of bed when I'd need to go to the bathroom.
I spent months not being able to walk that I hopped everywhere, eventually after several months I could put pressure on it but not without inflicting pain as I walk, however the swelling never went down.
The night this happened to me I gave up training and exercise.
3 years went by from when I could walk on it  but not without inflicting pain from the pressure, I was still having trouble, the swelling hadn't subsided, it hadn't improved.
I ended up starting to train again and exercise where I found squatting and bending were extremely hard to do but after making it a daily routine to squat and bend I started to see improvement in the swelling after 2 months or so, finally it was subsiding. I had more movement and less pain from the pressure of walking on it, however it has never completely subsided, it is still visibly swollen and hurts if even bumped slightly.
Walking up and down stairs inflicts pain and my ability to walk as I start to limp which causes pain to my hip.
I have had an x-ray which showed nothing, I have kept asking what more can be done tests wise and all I've ever been told to do is take anti-inflammatory tabs.
I have been to 4 different doctors over the years and like I've said they just say to take anti inflammatory tabs, surely something more can be done!
I live with this each day and I'm sick of not being able to get referrals to see specialists or to get an MRI at the very least.
« Last Edit: October 17, 2014, 09:20:58 AM by Miss LR, Reason: needed to add a couple of sentences. »

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Re: Swollen Knee for 5 years! Examination of X-rays have shown nothing!
« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2014, 10:03:54 AM »
What country are you in?  Have you seen a specialist at all or only GPs?  If your GP won't refer (which seems very surprising after 5 years),could you either change GP or even pay to see a knee specialist privately, and possibly for an MRI (depending on how it works in your country)?  Have you had blood tests to rule out any other causes of the swelling other than the initial injury?

Do anti-inflammatories help?  Has the doctor prescribed different ones to see which work?
Do you ice the knee, elevate it when sitting / lying?  Use a compression sleeve?
Have you had any physiotherapy?  A period of as complete rest as is practical?

Did you go to the Emergency Department straight of to confirm nothing was broken?

Sorry for lots of questions!  :)
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 Miss LR

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Re: Swollen Knee for 5 years! Examination of X-rays have shown nothing!
« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2014, 01:04:13 PM »
I'm in Australia. I've only seen GP's as I would need a referral for a specialist (it doesn't matter how many times I ask for one I'm just told to take anti-inflammatories).
I wish I could pay for a knee specialist privately but I'm only working casually so I just get by with bills, food and rent sadly enough. I've seen 4 doctors over those 5 years and all say to just take anti-inflammatories.
No blood tests, only an x-ray (bulk billed), I need a GP to give me a referral to see a specialist so it can be bulk billed.

I've only ever taken Nurofen - Ibuprofen and Nurofen Plus (Ibuprofen & Codeine).
I can't say that it has does anything for me, there is no change in swelling from medication. I've never been prescribed any other anti-inflammatories just told to take Nurofen.
Yes I have iced the knee, I've also used heat on it as well, usually I'm half half with elevating it when I sit but not when I lay down. I have thought about a compression sleeve but have not tried using one as yet.
There has been no physiotherapy on the knee however when I got back into training and exercise 2 years ago I started to get more movement and less pain that I can walk on it but the swelling only minimized slightly to what it is now.

No emergency department to see if anything was broken, this happened when I was struggling for a roof over my head, I was alone, had no home phone, lived out in a rural area.
However I did see a GP a month into the injury where I still had a lot of bruising, massive swelling and was told to continue bed rest and take anti-inflammatories.

I have asked for more to be done with each GP I see, I'm getting stressed out about it and just want it better.

I don't mind your questions :) In fact you've asked more questions about it than the 4 GP's combined that I've seen over the years!

Offline Jellybean

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Re: Swollen Knee for 5 years! Examination of X-rays have shown nothing!
« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2014, 04:13:59 PM »
That's shocking. I would seriously keep switching GPs until one will listen to you. How terribly frustrating for you.  In the meantime maybe start a savings plan to pay for your own MRI.. tell your next doctor that you've done this and maybe they'll take you more seriously and help you out. If not though at least eventually you can get an MRI.
Try to see the next GP very prepared.. even practice what you will say before you go in. Tell them about how this is affecting your life. It helps if they see you an an actual person and not just a case. Good Luck, I really feel for you.
11/12 MRI dx damage to articular cartilage with patellar mal-tracking
3/13 right knee lateral release, meniscetomy, chondroplasty of patella
09/13 Knee condition deteriorated. 3rd round Intense physical therapy
08/14 Fulkerson Osteotomy

Offline Miss LR

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Re: Swollen Knee for 5 years! Examination of X-rays have shown nothing!
« Reply #4 on: October 18, 2014, 05:54:48 AM »
Thank you Jellybean, I really appreciate your reply.
Going in prepared is what I need which is why I became a member of this forum site, I truly need the knowledge and the input of others for guidance.

I started to get teary in the doctors office yesterday as I was so frustrated, stressed and wanted proper answers and more in depth examinations of tests but all he was worried about was getting home :(
He actually got up opened the door, turned off the light and tried getting me out of his room.
I just kept asking for more tests other than the x-ray but getting home was more important for him.
He is the 4th doctor I've been to over the years so I guess that the best option for me is to save for an MRI, I will have to look into it though as I am sure I need a referral from a GP for an MRI.

I will google for a GP that specializes in knee problems, each GP has different specializations and interests to each other.
Hopefully finding an appropriate GP will help move things along as far as more in-depth tests and examinations for proper results to my signs and symptoms of my knee problem.

Thank you again Jellybean.


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Re: Swollen Knee for 5 years! Examination of X-rays have shown nothing!
« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2014, 06:36:55 AM »
Can you pay to see a physiotherapist, at least in the UK they are more knowledgeable about knee issues and can also refer to specialists?  Costs rather less than seeing a specialist privately too as first port of call
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 Miss LR

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Re: Swollen Knee for 5 years! Examination of X-rays have shown nothing!
« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2014, 07:39:25 AM »
I could possibly see a physiotherapist however I didn't know they could give referrals. I've heard the best around here are the sports physiotherapists. I have a friend who sees one so I'll grab details from them :)
I will keep you 2 updated of how I go. Thank you so much for guidance and input.
 

Offline LAS

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Re: Swollen Knee for 5 years! Examination of X-rays have shown nothing!
« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2014, 01:33:03 AM »
Hi Miss LR:  This absolutely breaks my heart when a physician can't get out of a room fast enough from seeing a patient with any problem.   I know from experience that in some cases (not the norm) that male physicians can't handle the emotional part of patient care and lack communication skills.   A lot of the time this happens when their hands are tied as well.  I want to believe that if you had the funds or insurance you would have the proper care from this physician and treated properly.  But there is no need to give you the feeling of abandonment. 
I would suggest getting away from a practice in a rural area into a area of more choices if possible.  Can the emergency room give you a referral to another GP or specialist so you can have an MRI and billed bulk payment?  I apologize I do not know what bulk payment is and assuming that is it what we here in the US refer to as a payment plan.   I would say that if physiotherapy helped before so that you could walk on it, then it would probably help again.  it certainly wont' t hurt.  It will help with the swelling along with icing.   The elastic sleeve has helped me in the past  getting around during the day, getting in and out of a car, standing, getting up from a sitting position and stairs, etc.  Sometimes if you get to the ER they provide elastic sleeves, ace bandages, things like that. Borrow one if possible.  Do you have a cane you could use to take the pressure off the bad knee?   Most of all when you do see your next GP stand firm.  Explain that the last GP has not been able to figure this out and your in need of their guidance without condemning the last GP.   
Try not to cry.   I hate to really say this and the knee guru my not like this but you could be making the male doctor shy away rather than spending  time with you.   It's sad but true.    So Sorry!   LAS

Offline Jellybean

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Re: Swollen Knee for 5 years! Examination of X-rays have shown nothing!
« Reply #8 on: October 19, 2014, 06:19:17 PM »
I had sort of the opposite experience of LAS. I suppose it really depends on the Doctor. The one that took me very seriously was when I really broke down in his office and told him how much this knee is destroying my life. I explained that I know to a doctor who sees such horrendous injuries it seems like a minor issue but to me it's not minor. I explained that I can't stand the idea of never playing a sport again, never being able to walk up and down stairs like a normal person, limping forever, losing my career. I said I get that it looks to him like I'm managing day to day but that it doesn't feel that way to me. I also explained that I've been an athletic person my entire life and it's who I am. I told him I understand you can't fix me just because I want to be fixed and that maybe nothing can be done but I don't want to miss out on possible treatment because everyone just thinks I'm fine because I'm not fine. He then sat down and said lets talk about this. He scheduled me for an MRI that day and has been an amazing doctor for me. That being said I know MRIs are much much easier to get in the USA then Australia :( 

I get what LAS is saying though as I remember years ago crying in a doctors office over chronic migraines I was having and he stared at the floor while trying to prescribe me anti depressants.  I was in no way depressed but he clearly was beyond uncomfortable with emotion.

I am in no way suggesting you go in the office and fake emotion but just that you be honest with how much this is affecting you and don't let your attempt to hide emotion mask what you are really going though.
11/12 MRI dx damage to articular cartilage with patellar mal-tracking
3/13 right knee lateral release, meniscetomy, chondroplasty of patella
09/13 Knee condition deteriorated. 3rd round Intense physical therapy
08/14 Fulkerson Osteotomy

Offline LAS

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Re: Swollen Knee for 5 years! Examination of X-rays have shown nothing!
« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2014, 12:37:50 AM »
Hi:  I just want to add that my experience and advice that I gave comes from working with healthcare providers and I want to reiterate that it is not the norm so if you do see a male GP and you do get emotional, more than likely it will be fine.   As a patient I believe you need to very clear as to what has been going on and what your needs are going forward.  You have a better chance of getting quality care emotional or not.   What Jellybean experienced was emotional but direct and there was good dialog between her and her doctor.   To be fair to the physicians I will point out that when I was  coming out of anesthesia, he was very kind and even held my hand for a minute or so.  All I am saying is take the advice into consideration.    More males than females will try to get away from you when emotions take over.   I hope you find a good listener.   LAS















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