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Old 06-01-2010, 08:54 AM   #1
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haloconn HB User
Unhappy knee, calf pain 8 months after arthroscopic surgery

Hi,
I had surgery for meniscus tear in August 2009. I had PT for 2 weeks and my knee seemed to be getting better. I slowly started walking again & after walking a few blocks, I started getting pain and in the back of my knee and calf, and sometimes I felt tingling in my calf and my foot. The dr thought I had knee tendinitis and calf strain so he wanted me to stay in PT. He gave me antibiotics for the knee puffiness. I continued with PT for another 3 months, and my pain only got worse. I had pain virtually in my entire leg, it felt like burning/rugburn/sunburn pain and sometimes it even hurt to touch or wear clothes on certain parts of my leg. I finally stopped PT and just started doing stretching and yoga at home. Now I just have knee pain and calf tingling/tightness feeling and occasionally thigh pain if I do too much walking, but it's better than my entire leg feeling sunburned. I still have a puffy spot in the front of my knee and the back of my knee gets puffy every now and then. The longer I walk, the worse the pain gets; it starts out with my knee and eventually I feel pain in the back of my knee, calf and back of my thigh. Sometimes I hear a crack when I bend my knee. My dr referred me to a pain specialist and he had a theory that I was vitamin deficient, but I had bloodwork done, and I'm not. He thought it might have been related to my back and sent me for a lumbar spine MRI and that didn't reveal anything either. It doesn't seem normal to have this pain so long after the surgery, not only in my knee, but almost my entire leg. I regret even having the surgery becuase I was better off the way that I was. I'm extremely frustrated. Has this happened to anyone?

 
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Old 06-03-2010, 10:23 AM   #2
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Re: knee, calf pain 8 months after arthroscopic surgery

It almost sounds like you have 2 different problems with your knee. The pain going down the back of the leg sounds a lot like nerve damage. That can easily happen with any surgery. They can see the nerves when they go in with the scope and even though they don't go into the back, the strange position they have to put your knee in to do the surgery, can result in nerve damage sometimes.

The good news is that most nerve damage will heal but it takes forever. Having just gone through major spine surgery, I can tell you it can take 1-2 years but it does get progressively better.

But you knee is another matter. I re-tore a meniscus the first week after surgery. It is one of the main complications of meniscus repair....damaging it again in the post-op period when the knee is still full of fluid and it is unstable. And orthos are very reluctant to even consider it let alone repair it again....that old God complex...I can do no wrong. I had to go to another ortho to get mine fixed.

If it continues and your ortho isn't doing much to find the source of the pain, push him/her to do an MRI on your knee just to see what is inside. It isn't the doc's fault, it just happens but most patients think it's their fault and so does the surgeon.

Hope you get answers.

Jenny(14 knee surgeries and counting)

 
Old 06-04-2010, 06:38 AM   #3
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Re: knee, calf pain 8 months after arthroscopic surgery

Hi Haloconn,

Jenny is right about ortho's not wanting to admit they made the problem worse, or that anything else could be going on in your knee that they missed during the initial surgery. I also had a meniscus tear repaired in January 09, but after the surgery, things just seemed to get worse and worse (extreme pain, swelling, and fluid in my knee). My ortho refused to believe he did not fix it, and told me I was just "getting old" (I was 39 years old). I found a new ortho, and when he went in, I have severe synovitis and a plica that was causing my kneecap to not track correctly. He removed the plica, and synovitis, and I have continued to have problems ever since. After that surgery, I had fluid removed from my knee 11 times (from November 09-April 10). My new ortho did not give up on me, and went back in April 9, 2010, and did a lateral release, and cleaned up extensive scar tissue. After the April surgery, I bled into my knee joint so bad, he had to take me back into surgery 8 days later to clean out a hematoma. It took 2 1/2 hours of surgery to get out the hematoma, and things with my knee are still not good at all. Since getting out the clot, I have had blood and fluid drained from my knee three more times, and am still off work on disability. Things can certainly go wrong with surgery, and you need an ortho who does not dismiss your complaints, but rather tried to figure out what is going on. My ortho is great, very compassionate, spends a ton of time with each patient, and does not have a God complex. You need to find a new ortho (I recommend finding one out of the immediate area, affiliated with a differernt hospital). If you go to an ortho who is affiliated with the same hospital, he/she will know your old ortho, and they are funny about treading on another surgeon's patient. I went to an ortho about 45 minutes away, who is affiliated with a different hospital, and he had not problem taking on my case. I am so glad I switched, and although I have suffered complications, I feel I am in good hands, with a caring surgeon and very good PA and staff.

Do not give up, you need to have your problems addressed. Knee problems like you are having are quality of life issues, and you deserve to enjoy the activities you like to do without pain holding you back.

All my best to you.

 
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