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Author Topic: Did my (or your) doctor overlook a meniscus injury when diagnosing an MCL?  (Read 2265 times)

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Offline venik

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I have a feeling mine did and would love any opinions or thoughts.

I injured my MCL during judo when a sparring partner fell on my calf forcing my knee to collapse inward with 400ish lbs of weight on it. I was looking at my knee immediately before the injury and for an instant my knee was holding the weight and then I heard a pop sound and it collapsed. I was on the ground for a minute or two, I could barely walk for 15-30 minutes, but after that I limped to lunch and then to urgent care. From what I've read this is more indicative of a meniscus injury than an MCL. The doctor never tested my meniscus to my knowledge, but diagnosed the MCL and then proudly told me it's an MCL sprain and to come back in a week if it's still bothering me. I definitely had an MCL injury, but I think he stopped too soon. I did go back for an MRI about 5 weeks later, when I felt it should have healed more and thought it may have still been swollen (maybe permanently?). But he said the same thing, it's a sprain. Maybe he didn't check the meniscus again?

I took some time off of sparring and weight lifting but continued to train technique for a couple weeks. I felt strong like I have after many injuries and around the third week I started sparring again and I heard another pop about a week into sparring. Then I took some time off again and eventually my knee would pop and hurt 3-4 times over the past two months. All the while I thought this injury was just an MCL sprain and I was training around that notion, avoiding awkward loading angles, wearing a knee brace at all times (even sleeping), and keeping my leg straight. The latter being the exact wrong thing to do for a meniscus injury. The pops did not feel like my MCL at all now that I think really hard about what that should have felt like. The most recent pop was thursday when I was mounted on a sparring partner and my knee was completely bent, pain with a bent knee being another indicator of meniscus injury.

Until last night where I was so depressed and fed up with not training for 2 months straight that I just dove into all literature about knee injuries to try and understand my injury better than a doctor taking a 2 minute look at it. I had done this for my knee already in the past 2 months but never so desperately. I came across four things, the unhappy triad, that meniscus injuries hurt most at: full extension, when weight is put on them, and most prone to re-injury at full flexion. The unhappy triad clued me into thinking about meniscus and ACL, the pain at full extension clued me into the meniscus, the weight bearing problem clued me into why squatting was giving me delayed knee pain, and the re-injury at full flexion explained 3 of the 4 pops I heard.

So last night I decided to stop keeping my knee straight at all times, IT HURT SO BAD. In fact it hurt around my tibia under the patella, about 180 degrees from where all the weight was bearing during my injury. This confirmed the meniscus injury for me. But I was relieved because it reminded me of how injuries should feel when they are recovering. Like after months of torture the injured part of the meniscus finally started getting bloodflow. I could feel where the boundary was between discomfort and re-injury like I'm used to. The pain is gone now, only a few hours since but I finally feel like I'm healing and have a path to recovery.

Has anyone had a similar injury experience, either MCL and meniscus, or delayed discovery of one or the other?
« Last Edit: April 04, 2016, 02:01:22 PM by venik »