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I can't figure it out...

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Old 05-28-2010, 11:56 PM   #1
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 3
theycallmej HB User
I can't figure it out...

Hey guys!

This will be my first post on these message boards and definitely not my last-- health has always been of top priority in my life and I want to learn more.

However, I'm faced with a problem that I want to bring to other's attention and hopefully get advice on.
I'm 19 at the moment and I'm male-- I will give you those details and start from the beginning with my knee issues.

It all started when I was 16-- I was an avid runner, avid exercise fanatic and I enjoyed the outdoors. I would be in gym class and I'd outrace everyone by leagues-- I was a very strong runner and it was easily my favorite form of exercise because I felt fit like a stallion. I would ran about a mile and a half when I had the time during the summer and I'd exercise nearly every day (giving myself 2 days off during the week). That changed slightly when I got my first knee injury-- I don't know what to quite call it, but it happened during the spring of the year I was 16. I was into doing squats and such but I didn't really look into the idea of having excellent form, so I'd just do things for my muscles to feel good and worked. I was tired one day, and I decided to do one-legged squats-- something I'd done hundreds of times before. Something went wrong though with my left knee... I bend down into the squat and got low and then came up a little too suddenly-- my movement was jerky and things did not feel quite right. As I straightened my knee, I heard and felt a noise that was similar to rice crispies or tin foil-- it lasted for a split second and I clasped my knee quickly and sat on the ground. I decided not to work out that day and to ice the knee from then on. The knee, from the get-go felt very odd and numb, so I let it rest for a while.

I didn't give myself enough time to rest-- I was up and running soon after and my knee felt relatively OK. When I ran though, I had a strange sensation in the knee, like as though a muscle just wasn't working right or that my leg wasn't as smooth as it used to be.

I noticed, slowly over the next year, my knees popped a great deal. When I would extend the knee, I'd hear or feel a pop-- it was a singular pop and it came without pain. Let me say that this entire time I had no pain and I felt great. The pop occurred even in my right knee, so I figured I was fine. I did have an odd thing happen though, it began that I was working out and then I felt a feeling as though there were pressure in my knee. What I did was, I bent the knee and put my weight forward almost in a lunge and I pushed forward-- this would pop the knee and make it feel substantially better for a while, then it would feel loose and make me feel weird again.

This kept up for a long time-- even up unto last year at this time. I of course went to the doctor's when I started having the funny popping-- I was first diagnosed with a possible patella tracking disorder which I found strange seeing as I thought I had injured my knee. They looked over my knee and recommended that I go to get an x-ray. The x-ray came back and the nurse told me that I had "mild arthritis." WHAT!? Mild arthritis!? I asked her "wait, what, what do you want me to do then? What do I do?" "Just do quad set" and she explained it to me.

I went to the doctor's again soon after and asked them what was wrong-- they said my knee joint looked fine, there didn't seem to be any arthritis and I was okay, just should go to physical therapy to correct my knee maltracking. They also gave me an MRI which came back great. Okay, whatever. I went to physical therapy because I was young and still with insurance, so that lasted up until this time last year when I graduated. Things started getting better and my knees were feeling decent-- as long as I didn't do a lot of knee extensions then my knees were fine, they were getting well.

Insurance ran out then and I'm still without it now, but things have taken a turn for the worse. Let me explain-- July of last year I did a stupid thing and rode 16 miles on a mountain bike on a bike path in town. Total dumb thing to do because A) I just got the bike B) wasn't exercising as much and C) hadn't rode a bike in a long while.
I got done with the ride and came home and felt fine, then the next day things got bad. My right knee displayed all the same symptoms (aside from popping back into place when I would lunge forward) and my left knee felt funny again. Things progressed-- I tried over the counter orthotics for overpronation and they worked a little but I was worried it wouldn't actually fix the problem so I stopped using them. I remember my first night wearing orthotics I was walking at work (I work at Target now by the way-- on sales floor so i do a ton of walking) and I took a step forward and felt a very sharp pain in my knee-- it was when I came down on my heel that it happened and it was quick and more like a needle point but damn I knew how it felt, it felt funny rather than "ow!" it worried me so I rested.

My left knee now displays this twinge pain when I'm walking at work, roughly 10-15 times a shift. It's annoying and I don't know what it is-- to add more, the left knee still has an odd feeling in it and I am constantly feeling as though the knee isn't perfectly muscularly coordinated. The right knee gets the little needle of pain now and then too. To list all of my symptoms I currently have, and they're numerous.
1) When laying on my back, bending my knees and lifting them off the ground, if I extend my knee I get a pop or crackle in either knee just past 90* extension. It doesn't hurt one bit, it just either palpably cracks (often) or makes a noise like tin foil (less often) Or makes a loud, loud pop (only if I'm extending my knees a ton like this when doing ab workouts and such).
2) My knees bug me if I sit in indian position for a long time. Go figure.
3. My right knee no longer pops like it did when I noticed it in physical thearpy. it used to be when I did a hamstring curl, it would pop just after lifting my foot from the ground-- it no longer does this.
4. There is no swelling
5. Braces sometimes help-- I have a little patella strap for my right knee and it helps some nights quite a bit. I have a cho-pat brace for my left knee that I wear now and then if I think I need it. Wearing them makes my knee feel stronger and more supported.
6. I don't do my physical therapy exercises near enough-- it's easy to sit and do nothing. :-/.
7. The kneecap palpably moves during extension, it's a little palpable pop most of the time, you can't hear it though.
8. During a quad set sometimes, an exercise we knee problemers know very well, I get a click in my knee when I push the knee down.
9. I notice in my right knee especially, a little click during extension sometimes that is just to the outside of the kneecap. Feels more like a tendon snapping than anything, it's like a little bubble I can't figure it out.

I'd like to get into hiking and exercising again-- I don't want to become some knee-hurt couch potato and I want my life back. I can still run by the way without any knee pain due to figuring out that I should run with the balls of my foot rather than heel-striking, but that doesn't work with walking (always must hit with the heel).
By the way, I wear vibram five fingers now-- I found it has helped me quite a bit when dealing with most pain.

That's my story-- please let me know if there is anything I missed or anything that can help you guys figure this out with me. I would adore you if you could give me answers-- please and thank you.

Edited 2:03am
Just wanted to add that I went to see an orthopedic surgeon this time last year-- he looked my knee over, then did something where he cupped his hand above my kneecap, pushed down and had me tigthen my knee. My knee produced the crackling noise, he did this for my "good" right knee and it did the same. He attributed it to "normal wear and tear" and said I would be fine, however, as you can see, I have my doubts.

Last edited by theycallmej; 05-29-2010 at 12:04 AM.

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Old 05-29-2010, 02:17 PM   #2
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: united states
Posts: 59
verydisciplined HB User
Re: I can't figure it out...

Hi Theycallmej,

Welcome to the board. Has anyone ever mentioned something to you called plica syndrome? The snapping on the outside of your knee makes me think you have a plica issue. Lots of information on this condition is out there, you should take a look and see if you think it fits your symptoms. I had a plica removed in November (lots of other problems too), but it could be some of what is going on with you. X-rays do not show this type of condition (MRI did not show mine either). Mine used to get much worse with activity, much like you described. Of course, I am not a doctor, but the snapping symptoms is what caught my eye, making me think this might be something for you to look into.

All my best.

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