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Old 10-22-2010, 04:13 PM   #1
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Recurrent, intermittent knee pain. Cause for alarm?

Before I jump into it, I haven't seen a doctor. I always plan on doing so, then the symptoms go away with home treatment. If this round isn't cleared up by Monday, I plan on finding someone to take a look at it. We live out in the middle of nowhere, so it's hard to find specialists, partially why I've let this go on so long. Also, sorry for the long post. I just want to get an idea of what I'm in for and if home treatment is going to do me anymore than a bandaid's worth of good.

The knee-in-question has always been problematic. When I was a young teen, I was diagnosed with Osgood Schlatters and told I'd grow out of it. I did...kind of...but have always had a particularly sensitive right knee.

In January, I slipped and fell on the ice. At this point, I sprained my knee and my ankle. I couldn't walk very much for a few days, but after RICE it seemed to be all better.

Then another slip in late February/early March. Lather, rinse, repeat on the knee.

Since then, I will go weeks (sometimes months) with nothing but the usual occassional ache. It's more than an annoyance than a real pain. I stopped wearing sneakers and switched to Vibrams, which basically eliminated even the ache.

However, if I get even the slightest trauma to the knee - such as today, where I slipped in the dog's spilled water - it flared up again. I couldn't walk without a burning pain in my kneecap. There was no pain if I walked only on my heel.

I don't lose any range of motion. If there's no weight on it, I can fully flex my knee without problem, so there's no locking. It isn't swollen. It isn't tender to the touch (or hot, or red, or bruised, or discolored, or...).

I have a brace on now, which allows me to walk without pain. I plan on keeping it braced and elevated for the next day or so. The general uneducated consensus around here is some kind of sprain that never fully healed. My over anxious mind wandered to something severe (MCL/ACL/meniscus/...), but athelete friends who have had knee injuries say that the pain wouldn't go away for as long as it does if it were that serious.

Any ideas on what it could be? Or how long I should leave it braced and elevated?

Thanks to all who made it through my novellette!

 
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Old 10-22-2010, 05:22 PM   #2
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Re: Recurrent, intermittent knee pain. Cause for alarm?

Well, I've had 14 knee surgeries and had just about everything that can go wrong with a knee, go wrong. Bit you said one thing that stood out.....burning pain in your kneecap after the slightest slip.

There is something called chondromalacia and you can get it in the kneecap. it is a "flaking off" of the cartilage on the back of the kneecap. I had it in my left knee....the one I hurt as a teen. It had periods of time when it was okay until another "flake" got dislodged by simple "slips" and then it would find it's way into the joint and then eventually get ground up and pushed out into the garbage can of the knee, the Baker's Cyst on the backside of the knee. so I would get a lot of kneecap pain first, then later some generalized knee joint pain and eventually, the back of my knee would get tender as the cyst(really a bursa) would swell slightly as the leftovers got in there.(Yes, the knee has it's own garbage can for bits of cartilage to go into...amazing isn't it!).

Does any of this sound familiar?

And there is not much they can do about it....or at least there wasn't unless you had something mechanically wrong with your knee that could be fixed.

But you should get it checked out and probably an MRI to see what is really going on. But since you've treated it at home for so long, I doubt it's anything bad. As your friends, you'd be in constant pain.

I'm sure others will be along with other ideas but that stuck out for me and since I had it, I thought I'd mention it.

Jenny

 
Old 10-25-2010, 10:48 AM   #3
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Re: Recurrent, intermittent knee pain. Cause for alarm?

That could be it. The intense pain (so intense I'm paralyzed for a few moments, until I get my wits about me and take the weight off the knee) only lasts as long as it's weight bearing. However, it develops over the course of an hour or two after I have a slip. Then it compounds, I want to cut my leg off, stay off it for an hour or so, and it's just sore.

I've been wearing the brace for three days now, and I can't tell if the knee is tender or if the brace is giving me a bruise. I don't have any pain in the knee unless I bend it in a weird direction (d'uh, me), but I think I'm going to wear this one for 4 weeks or so, then get a neoprene brace like runners wear and just keep that on most of the time.

 
Old 10-25-2010, 10:59 AM   #4
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Re: Recurrent, intermittent knee pain. Cause for alarm?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Altari View Post
Before I jump into it, I haven't seen a doctor. I always plan on doing so, then the symptoms go away with home treatment. If this round isn't cleared up by Monday, I plan on finding someone to take a look at it. We live out in the middle of nowhere, so it's hard to find specialists, partially why I've let this go on so long. Also, sorry for the long post. I just want to get an idea of what I'm in for and if home treatment is going to do me anymore than a bandaid's worth of good.

The knee-in-question has always been problematic. When I was a young teen, I was diagnosed with Osgood Schlatters

There is an interesting x-ray of this disease of the knee on the net if you want to put Osgood Schlatters into your search window you might learn a whole lot more about yourself to make a better decision.

and told I'd grow out of it. I did...kind of...but have always had a particularly sensitive right knee.

In January, I slipped and fell on the ice. At this point, I sprained my knee and my ankle. I couldn't walk very much for a few days, but after RICE it seemed to be all better.

After the fall was it x-rayed?

Then another slip in late February/early March. Lather, rinse, repeat on the knee.

Since then, I will go weeks (sometimes months) with nothing but the usual occassional ache. It's more than an annoyance than a real pain. I stopped wearing sneakers and switched to Vibrams, which basically eliminated even the ache.

However, if I get even the slightest trauma to the knee - such as today, where I slipped in the dog's spilled water - it flared up again. I couldn't walk without a burning pain in my kneecap. There was no pain if I walked only on my heel.

I don't lose any range of motion. If there's no weight on it, I can fully flex my knee without problem, so there's no locking. It isn't swollen. It isn't tender to the touch (or hot, or red, or bruised, or discolored, or...).

I have a brace on now, which allows me to walk without pain. I plan on keeping it braced and elevated for the next day or so. The general uneducated consensus around here is some kind of sprain that never fully healed. My over anxious mind wandered to something severe (MCL/ACL/meniscus/...), but athelete friends who have had knee injuries say that the pain wouldn't go away for as long as it does if it were that serious.

Any ideas on what it could be? Or how long I should leave it braced and elevated?

Thanks to all who made it through my novellette!

 
Old 10-25-2010, 11:23 AM   #5
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Re: Recurrent, intermittent knee pain. Cause for alarm?

sjb,

Thanks for the tip on searching for the x-ray. Unfortunately, those pictures mean nothing to me, so I'm not sure what I could learn from them.

No, the knee was not x-rayed.

 
Old 10-25-2010, 12:19 PM   #6
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Re: Recurrent, intermittent knee pain. Cause for alarm?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Altari View Post
sjb,

Thanks for the tip on searching for the x-ray. Unfortunately, those pictures mean nothing to me, so I'm not sure what I could learn from them.

No, the knee was not x-rayed.
I see that is ok often there is an explanation with the pictures or images that can tell you quite a bit about a persons's disease.

 
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Old 10-25-2010, 03:52 PM   #7
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Re: Recurrent, intermittent knee pain. Cause for alarm?

Thanks, sjb. I'll do some more digging around.

I'm wearing around a Mueller hinged brace. It has a hole for patella support. However, the velcro has been biting into my skin. Is it OK to wear this over my jeans? It's so much more comfortable that way.

Or is there a better brace I should be wearing?

 
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Old 10-25-2010, 04:28 PM   #8
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Re: Recurrent, intermittent knee pain. Cause for alarm?

HI...I'm on vacation this week so I'm sorry I haven't been around.

There are a bunch of different types of knee braces and you can even have them custom made(I had a custom Lenox-Hill brace for years) but the reason you don't wear them over your clothes is that they tend to slip down...but I agree on the discomfort. And the kneecap part never stays where it should.

Have you seen an ortho yet? Planning to? You should just so that you know what is wrong. And perhaps they can get you a better fitting brace. I have a neoprene sleeve too but found about all it did was keep my muscles warm....never kept my kneecap in place but perhaps they have better ones now.

And they do have some surgeries to help the kneecap re-grow the lost cartilage. Also, if you have a kneecap that is "laterally tracking", meaning it goes more sideways than it should as you walk, that can be fixed too. If all else fails, they can actually cap the back of the kneecap with polyethelene.

How's it feeling now?

Jenny

 
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Old 10-25-2010, 04:45 PM   #9
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Re: Recurrent, intermittent knee pain. Cause for alarm?

I haven't seen an ortho. It's on my list of things to do (that never get done). Unless the pain comes back, I doubt I'll be seeing one this year. Just bein' honest...

Right now, it's sore. A lot of the pain is starting at the skin though, and I think the brace has given me a bruise. I haven't tried walking much without the brace, as I'm afraid I'll tear something big time while it's just me and the kids. From time to time, now (and in previous episodes) I get a burning sensation on the inside of my knee. It feels like a pinch, lasts about half an hour and gets better with rubbing. Pertinent?

When I was in volleyball and track, I used to wear a sleeve-type brace with boning in it. I don't have any problems with my kneecap (as far as I can tell), so something that's full coverage would be awesome. The bruise seems to be right where the hinge piece is above the patella opening.

I also just realized I didn't include any of my stats. I'm 25 and just lost a significant amount of weight (75 pounds), although I'm still about 15 pounds over. Ironically, all this started *after* I'd lost a good chunk of the weight, probably because I was reveling in my new found spryness. I'm not currently involved in any exercise regime beyond house-wifery and running after four little ones (and a dog).

 
Old 10-25-2010, 04:47 PM   #10
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Re: Recurrent, intermittent knee pain. Cause for alarm?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Altari View Post
Thanks, sjb. I'll do some more digging around.

I'm wearing around a Mueller hinged brace. It has a hole for patella support. However, the velcro has been biting into my skin. Is it OK to wear this over my jeans? It's so much more comfortable that way.

Or is there a better brace I should be wearing?
Hi Maybe you could explain to the health professional what it does to you and see if the prescription could get a healthy more comfortable alternative. I am aware of a documentary that discusses polyvinyl chloride in plastic. I would choose the healthiest alternative your professional will allow. Skin should not be rubbed or bitten into by something because if the skin becomes raw it can cause a place for germs to make an infection.

 
Old 10-25-2010, 05:50 PM   #11
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Re: Recurrent, intermittent knee pain. Cause for alarm?

How about wearing the brace over something thinner than jeans? It might work better if you wore something like leggings of some kind. I remember my brace had a neoprene sleeve that went under it to cushion it so if you wore something very fitted so material didn't bunch up under it, then you should be okay with the brace on. I do remember having bruising on the inside of my knee too with some other non-fitted braces.

You could try putting a soft piece of material in that area or taking an old sock and removing the foot and pulling it up under the brace.

Do you think the brace is digging into you or just rubbing and creating constant friction and that is resulting in the bruising? Before knee braces were readily available, my ortho used to cut thick pieces of felt to put under braces to cushion them.

Is this just a drug store brace or something you got from an orthotic and prosthetics person? Is you got it from a O&P, they can re-shape it and make it fit right. A drug store brace....you're stuck. You need to find a way to make it comfortable...either cushion your skin or some kind of cushioning right on the brace.

Just had a strange thought...you have little kids....bet you know what craft foam is...those brightly colored sheets of foam about 1/16th of an inch thick? They have all the little things you can make or stickers of them in all sorts of shaped...called Fun Foam? I wonder if some of that in 1 or 2 layers inside would act as a good cushion...not too thick and fairly durable...put in between the brace hinge and your knee. You might even have some in the house. You could cut it to exactly the size you need...and it's cheap! You could even leave it full length and have it cover the entire inside of you knee. Just be aware that the color can run sometimes so go with white if you have any.( I used to be the classroom coordinator at Michael's Art&Crafts).

Just an idea................Jenny

 
Old 10-26-2010, 05:01 PM   #12
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Re: Recurrent, intermittent knee pain. Cause for alarm?

I'm making an appointment with an internist tomorrow. I did a search, and the closest ortho is over an hour away (and requires a referral anyway).

I took the brace off a few hours ago because my knee was feeling stiff. Now, it feels very weak without the brace. Hopefully, the internist can see me fairly quickly and give me an idea of what's going on.

Thanks all for the help! I'll report back if I get any news. =)

 
Old 10-26-2010, 06:44 PM   #13
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Re: Recurrent, intermittent knee pain. Cause for alarm?

Are you in the city or in the burbs?
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Old 10-27-2010, 09:36 AM   #14
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Re: Recurrent, intermittent knee pain. Cause for alarm?

Spine, I'm out in cow land. We're about 2/2.5 hours outside city proper.

 
Old 10-27-2010, 10:20 AM   #15
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Re: Recurrent, intermittent knee pain. Cause for alarm?

There is a good surgeon in Elk Grove Village and one up in North Barrington as well.
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