Strange Knee Inflammation... what's wrong with me?
My left knee has been inflamed to the point where I can hardly walk for about a week and a half now. It has been hurting for several weeks with minor swelling off and on, although it started in a place that seemed odd to me-- the outer thigh near the knee rather than the knee itself.
I do some light jogging for stress relief, and for several weeks I have had trouble with it. Whenever I was done, the back of my knee was always a little swollen and I had this pain on the side of my leg. I stretched more, thinking maybe it was an overuse injury resulting from old running shoes. After all, I don't do very much: I can only do a 12 minutes mile at my best, and I only go for 30 minutes at a time with lots of walking in between: The only thing I could think of that could cause it was my shoes. A week and a half ago I felt like my leg was having a good day. I did 30 minutes on the treadmill-- 12 of those minutes nonstop in order to complete a mile. There was no pain during my jog at all, and I hadn't done a full mile nonstop in weeks. I went home, stretched my legs and then sat down with a bottle of water. When I got up, my knee hurt intensely. In my infinite wisdom, I decided to try to walk it off. I can only describe what happened next as a sensation of locking up, or maybe even a jenga tower coming down as you pull that last piece out. I was stuck on the ground, then, for maybe half an hour afterwards before i was able to get my brother to help me so I could get to the orthopedic doctor. He did this by bringing me a brace from Walgreens so i could (kind of) walk.
The area and intensity of the inflammation as well as the difficulties i had been having and the locking sensation I had lead the doctor to the possibility of me having a torn ACL and a damaged meniscus. This seemed especially likely since I had walked onto a moving treadmill about six weeks ago that some kids had left on while playing in my apartment gym. However, the incident itself did not leave me inflamed or leave me with anything that i could tell other than some scrapes and bruises. In fact, it had predated my symptoms by perhaps a week. Still, it seemed a likely explanation, so he sent me for an MRI. I was frightened that I would need surgery. I am about to enter a nursing program, which requires a large clinical component-- lots of time on your feet-- and I knew that surgery that put me off my feet for about a month and a half would jeopardize my performance in the program, if they would let me stay in it all.
There was absolutely no damage on the MRI. All they could see was the inflammation. The inflammation that had been there when I went in, that had come with me to the MRI and that had been there again when i went in to get my MRI results. It never went away. And there was no reason it should have been there that anyone could point to. No one said this though, and I didn't think of it. I was just so happy I didn't need surgery.
I went back in to the doctor a few days earlier than I was supposed to go (to get MRI results) because my symptoms worsened after i tried some light leg and core exercises that I had found in "The Knee Crisis Handbook". When I was stretching after one of the exercices, the front of my knee got cold and the back got hot and very swollen. Hardly walking, I brought the book in to the doctors office with me, having circled the exercises I did. He seemed confused. He said "Oh this stuff. This is easy peasy. It's alright... These are the exercises you did that made it worse?" . I didn't know why it was happening either, obviously-- since he had told me that, even with the possibility of a torn ACL, I could go on the Eliptical and the stationary bike. It became even more confusing when he pulled out the MRI results and said there was no damage in my knee. He gave me a shot of corticosteroids to ease the inflammation and pain I came in with, and told me six weeks of physical therapy should clear me right up.
This is not the only time something like this has happened. My right ankle did something similar several months ago. It dropped me while I was jogging (luckily, this time outside) and stayed inflamed for about two weeks afterwards until I sought treatment at my primary health care provider. She ordered an x-ray and, again, saw nothing but inflammation. She concluded that it was minorly sprained, and told me to wear a brace for 4 to 6 weeks. The inflammation did go away. But still... its so similar.
In case your wondering, I am not elderly. I am nearly 23, petite build, 5'2'' and about 10 pounds over the ideal weight for height.
I guess I'm not sure if theres anything going on. Maybe I just need to lose some weight? Maybe my joints are just weak? Im not sure. No one else is concerned, so I'm not sure if I should be. Maybe I'm just missing something too-- but it just really seems like this inflammation comes out of nowhere.
Should I look into this further or should I just go to physical therapy for six weeks and stop thinking about it?
Re: Strange Knee Inflammation... what's wrong with me?
No, I've never had any tests specifically for this. Would they find something in routine blood work? I had blood work done a few years ago to see if low blood sugar was causing me to be fatigued all the time.
Re: Strange Knee Inflammation... what's wrong with me?
I am so sorry to hear about your issue; you are so young and feel that this is so unfair, right?
But unfortunately health issues dont have age; may affect anyone at any time.
I used to work with a lady who developed similar symptoms as you do. It took her 3 specialists until they found out the problem and it was pretty serous: infection deep down in the cells of the muscles. In same area - soft tissues of the knee. Of course this is not life thretning at this point, but if not treated, may bring you more serious problems.
Coming to this forum is a good idea, but you need to get to the root of the problem and only doctors can help you with it. Don't put aside, dont think it will disappear and don't get discouraged if couple of doctors don't have the answers for you - keep searching until you get help. Remember sweetie, nobody will be able to help you - you are in charge of your health.