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Knee swelling

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Old 05-25-2009, 12:11 PM   #1
Join Date: May 2009
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soulonfire928 HB User
Knee swelling

My right knee has been swollen ever since I took a 7-8 foot fall quite a few years ago (3?). Initially you could tell very easily, but it's gone down to the point that you can tell only when I have my legs locked straight side by side. I forget about it all the time since there's no pain & now that it's warmer and I'm wearing shorts it's caught my attention again-but I've asked my doctor about it and he said it was something with the bursae and that it will probably go away. But it's been probably close to a year since he suggested that. I was going in often to the doctor, but for other more pressing reasons and never brought it up again.

I'm wondering if I should go in and have him look again? The other thing is there's no sensation in parts of it. That's gotten better too, and I can at least feel pressure throughout the entire kneecap area (like if you push a little hard on it) but doing something light to a small part right on the front of knee, I don't really feel that.

I'm new here by the way, so thanks to anyone who replies

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Old 05-26-2009, 08:21 AM   #2
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Re: Knee swelling

did you ever have an MRI done on that knee right after the injury occured or at any point after that? the concern i have for you is the fact that you just cannot actually 'feel" parts of it? i have a very insane syndrome called brown sequard that is just from spinal cord injury that created this same type of inability to really 'feel" the inner parts of my right side, including the right knee too. i have sensation, really good outside sensation but within that knee there are just structures that i cannot feel kind of thing?

the bigger possible problems from even having a level of innervation loss just create a bit higher risk for doing yet another type of injury to it and not actually know it, or realize that it HAS been injured in some way. and in your particular case here,you do have nerve loss or compromise somewhere within that knee or even further up in the lumbar spine area that would show itself like it is in you right now. combine this with the very consistant swelling and well, you really DO need to get this much better evaluated. an MRI just done on that knee would at least show how things are within it. there are just soo many different areas in any given joint that can become injured in alot of different ways(nerves,tendons,ligaments and the joint itself). an MRI would at least let them see 'in' it,ya know? the thing here is, even if you DID actually have that MRI at the very beginning, the fact that you just simply cannot actually feel parts of it, you could have another injury there too, like i said above, and just not know yet.

either way, i would get that MRI done just to see what has actually compromised actual nerves in there and to see what is causing the constant swelling or inflammation you have going on in there. 'something' is most definitely not right. seeing an actual ortho surgeon for a full real in depth eval after the MRI gets done really wouldn't hurt ya know? i have had to undergo two surgeries in my knee. had alot of underlying wear and tear types of damage in mine and a bakers cyst behind the knee, along with a tear in the meniscus too(huge amount of swelling as well). but DO get this checked out now before something worse happens. you just have to be careful with that knee. please let me know how things go,K? good luck, **
3-22-01,herniated C-6-7
11-20-01,placement of hardware for failed fusion
9-22-03,removal of cavernous hemangioma that was inside spinal cord. Neuro damage to L hand L leg and R leg.

Old 05-26-2009, 03:52 PM   #3
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Re: Knee swelling

Hi soulonfire! I'm Jenny...I've had 14 knee surgeries. If it can go wrong with a knee it's happened to me.

There are 2 things here to differentiate. Is the swelling a surface problem or an interior problem. Your knee can look bigger with no extra fluid in the joint. Tendons, ligaments, and bursas can all cause swelling. Just a bad bruise with nerve damage can cause swelling for quite a while. I fell on my face a year ago and the bone in my face is still swollen and tender.

But there is a way to tell if there is too much fluid in the joint. It's called the bulge sign. You need to sit with your bad knee out straight but sitting on your bed with your foot up, your knee straight but not held that way. The muscles need to be relaxed. To the inside if your kneecap you'll feel a little area that is soft, like you could press your finger into the area and it might go right into the joint. It's where the leg bone and thigh bone meet with the kneecap. This is the area you want to push on. Press on the entire inside of the knee but especially that little area. If there is extra fluid in the joint, you are trying to push it to the other side of the joint. Then as soon as you get it all pressed over, take your whole hand and place it on the outside of your knee and press the joint while watching that little soft area on the inside. If there is extra fluid, it will make the soft area pop out..or bulge. So to sum it up, press on the inside of the knee over and over and then quickly press the other side of your knee and see if that little area bulges out. That means there is enough fluid that you can move it from one side of the joint to the other. That should be checked by a doc.

If there is no extra fluid, then the problem is in the "soft tissues" and since there is no pain, then there is nothing to tell the doc what may be wrong. The numbness is probably from a surface nerve you damaged beyond repair. But that's no big deal either. Both my knees are numb due to surgical scars.

But I can tell you that my left knee was always larger than my left because I hurt it. I kept complaining to my doc until he finally told me about the soft tissue/joint swelling issue. He showed me how to test for joint swelling and said don't call back unless you have joint swelling or you develop major pain....a place you can point to.

So I suspect that like me, you have soft tissue swelling from your fall and it's here to my face. And my left knee is still bigger by far than my right knee and that's after having the joints replaced. Same joint inside but the outside will always be different.

Good luck with your knee..............Jenny

Old 06-12-2009, 06:52 PM   #4
Join Date: May 2009
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soulonfire928 HB User
Re: Knee swelling

Thanks for the responses.

It's more on the surface that I can't feel things. It is *very* slowly getting more sensation back. I can definitely feel the "inside" as it's causing me some pain I'm guessing from running. Have taken the week off from it for right now.

Jenny-the problem I seem to have with finding that "soft area" is that the inside of the knee is where there seems to be a lot of fluid build up. I can push on things, but I can't physically feel any structural differences just from pushing on the knee. Other than it's squishy lol. I can find it just fine on my left knee though. The GP has asked me before if I've been aware of a creaking/popping sort of noise that my knees make (I've been well aware). Seems like they pop every time I take a step. I was just in there the other day but that was focusing on my blood pressure and an apparent case of costochondritis, which has been fun. Other issues I need to see him about too, but I don't want to be popping in once a month all the time.

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