Re: Hamstring and back of knee pain, stiffness and swelling
Sorry to hear you're having so much trouble with your knees. First of all, regarding the braces, you need a MORE STURDY adjustable brace on each knee. Those soft ones stretch out too fast and don't give you any real support. Go to your local pharmacy, ask the pharmacist to help you pick out the best brand of HEAVY DUTY ADJUSTABLE BRACES! (CVS has their own brand.) That's for the meantime, until you can get to an Orthopedic Surgeon who specializes in knee issues.
I understand that you don't have insurance right now, but there MUST be an really good ortho surgeon who will be willing to see you and work out a payment plan for you.
As far as what is REALLY wrong with your knees, I don't really know too much about Baker's cyst. But the other doctor was probably right - that you need an MRI to diagnose that. ACTUALLY, you really need an MRI on BOTH KNEES ANYHOW to find out what your exact diagnosis is! Judging from what you describe here and based on my personal experience with degenerative osteoarthritis that necessitated my getting both knees replaced a year apart within the last year, it SOUNDS like this may be your problem. Especially given the type of work you were doing on your feet all day! You may have torn some cartilage in the meniscus of both knees and that's why it feels like they "buckle" on you and you can't bend or straighten them very well without pain. If this is what shows up once you get an MRI, you MAY need total knee replacement IF THERE IS NO CARTILAGE LEFT AT ALL IN EITHER KNEE! If there is some cartilage left, but you have a tear in one knee or the other, you might get by with having each knee arthroscopically repaired. Whichever is the case: TKR or scope, I recommend doing ONE knee at at a TIME!! It's extremely tough to have to rehab BOTH KNEES post surgery at the same time!
Been there, done that, so I know! When I had my right TKR in April of 2011, my Ortho surgeon also had to scope my left knee while I was on the O.R. table, because I'd developed a compensating tear and torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) in my left knee about two months before the right TKR. So the rehab took a lot longer because I literally didn't have a stable leg to stand on! This past March, after the left knee started going bad in January, my surgeon agreed I needed a left TKR too. THAT rehab went MUCH FASTER because I had the right stable prosthetic knee that was one year all healed to rely on. (I had "end-stage" osteoarthritis in both knees so TKRs were my ONLY OPTION!!!) Now, for the first time in SEVEN YEARS, I AM WALKING NORMALLY ON TWO STABLE PROSTHETIC KNEES WITHOUT PAIN! My surgeon is my Medical Hero because of that! He did a fantastic job and, because he has an incredible bedside manner, was there for me EVERY STEP OF THE WAY BOTH PRE AND POST SURGERIES!!
You might ask friends or family for an Orthopedic surgeon recommendation - somebody THEY REALLY TRUST. If nobody can suggest someone, call your nearest University Medical Center and ask for the names of a couple of Orthopedic surgeons who specialize in knee problems. When you find one, make sure he or she has at LEAST TEN YEARS of experience doing knee replacements, if that's what you end up needing, and that this new surgeon does AT LEAST 200 knee replacements A YEAR!! That way, you will KNOW that you can trust him or her to do the best job surgically for you and give you a good outcome.
Keep me posted on how you plan to proceed with my suggestion. If you should end up needing TKRs on both knees, you're welcome to post anytime and ask all the questions you need so that you know what to expect both during the surgery and rehab periods! THIS IS MAJOR SURGERY. If you should need the replacements, IT IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT TO DO EVERYTHING THE SURGEON AND THEN PHYSICAL THERAPIST ASK OF YOU TO GET AN EXCELLENT OUTCOME!!! I CAN'T STRESS THIS ENOUGH!! (My aunt had both of her knees replaced in May of 2011 and, thinking she knew BETTER than her surgeon and therapist, DIDN'T DO ONE THING THEY ASKED OF HER IN REHAB! NOW, A LITTLE OVER A YEAR LATER, SHE IS STILL HAVING SWELLING AND INFLAMMATION OF ONE OF THE NEW KNEES! And SHE IS STILL AWARE THAT SHE HAS PROSTHETIC KNEES!!) After about 6 or 7 months post TKR surgery, you should become less aware that you have prosthetic knees! I mean, you still have to make sure to take care not to do anything that would damage or knock them out of place, but other than that, you really eventually can "forget" you have them. More about that when you get diagnosed and it's determined that's what you need to have done.
In the meantime, other than the sturdier braces, you can ice the knees for 20 minutes at a time 4 or 5 times a day, (You can buy those hot/cold packs and they come with a adjustable cloth cover so you don't get freezer burn!) and keep the legs elevated as much as possible, which will also cut down on the swelling. If you can take any of the arthritis OTC drugs like Aleve or another NSAID, take that but be careful not to take too many in a day! If you can't take NSAIDS like aspirin or the others, take Tylenol Arthritis Pain formula. I don't know how many tablets per day you can take, so be careful with that too! It can wreck your liver if you take too much over time!
Hope all this helps.
Keep me posted! I care.
Last edited by ldy12; 07-24-2012 at 08:37 PM.
Reason: punctuation correction