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Oh God, my knee!

kilroydoskilroydos Registered User regular
edited June 2010 in Help / Advice Forum
That was me, a few years ago. I hurt my knee badly playing indoor soccer, but never had it corrected or examined beyond a cursory check. I can walk on it, but twisting or cutting sideways is not an option. I'm almost certain there's permanent ligament damage in there for that reason.

I'm getting to the point where I need to get this fixed permanently, because it's affecting my health. I'm not as active as I want to be, and I'm gaining weight because of it. I also have a young daughter and I want to be able to run and play sports with her in a few years. However, I feel like I have to wait a year, maybe two to have any surgery done, because the recovery time will be particularly hard on my wife and daughter with me not being as mobile for several months.

Here are my questions:

Have I caused any non-reparable damage by waiting this long?

Is there any point in having it checked out now versus waiting until I'm ready to have surgery?

What might change between now and then that could affect my decision?

What's the recovery/rehab time typically like for reconstructive knee surgery of that type (repairing ligaments, removing scar tissue, etc.)?

Thanks all.

kilroydos on

Posts

  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Get it now, the older you get the harder it is for your body to heal.

    The doctor will be able to fill in the rest, because those are all things that need x-rays and such to determine. For all we know, you're wolverine and the knee problem healed itself and you just have bad arthritis in your knee.

  • kilroydoskilroydos Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Oddly enough, my name IS Logan....

  • EllthiterenEllthiteren Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    kilroydos wrote: »
    Have I caused any non-reparable damage by waiting this long?

    Is there any point in having it checked out now versus waiting until I'm ready to have surgery?

    What might change between now and then that could affect my decision?

    What's the recovery/rehab time typically like for reconstructive knee surgery of that type (repairing ligaments, removing scar tissue, etc.)?

    Thanks all.

    I am not a doctor, but I'm pretty sure the answers to your questions are (1) maybe, (2) yes if 1 is yes, (3) it could get worse/cause permanent damage, and (4) up to a year according to wikipedia.

    It should be fairly inexpensive to go to a doctor and at least get the knee checked out. They can do a couple simple tests to see if there is ligament damage - they basically pull on your knee in different directions to see how much resistance your ligaments provide. After the test the doctor should talk to you about your options and answer all of your above questions better than any of us could.

    If there is damage, the next step is probably an MRI (can be expensive, depends on your insurance), which would tell them exactly what is going on in there. You'd need an MRI before surgery anyway. Some surgery is relatively simple (arthroscopic knee surgery, some is more complex (acl replacement, knee replacement). Wikipedia any of those for more info and timelines for recovery.

    If there isn't damage, if the damage isn't bad, or if it isn't going to get worse or cause any structural damage, they might recommend physical therapy. You can do most of this at home, on your own, once you learn the proper exercises.

    I'm sure people will have lots of anecdotal evidence about / experience with knee injuries, but it should be a relatively cheap and easy appointment to just have a doctor answer all of these questions. Because it is affecting your health, the choice should be even easier.

  • xcalibrexcalibre Registered User
    edited June 2010
    Go see a doctor, assuming you have insurance of any sort the diagnosis of your problem should be easy. The MRI of any significant ligament damage should actually be more conclusive if you are farther removed from your original injury.

    My guess, which is irrelevant, is that you have a torn ACL which is allowing your joint to twist in such a way that damages your meniscus, this is the classic case. If your joint is particularly loose and your quad muscles are not very strong then continued athletic activity will destroy the buffer between your femur and tibia resulting in increased knee pain over time. The recovery time for an ACL repair varies between the two main types of surgery. If you aren't planning on a career in pro sports, then the "allograph" option should suffice and has average time of six weeks to mild athletic activity and almost immediate access to walking with crutches. You could be driving in a week.

    First time post, a frequent poster on the site asked me to post because I have extensive experience with knee injuries, but I would be highly suspect of anything I or anyone else writes in here. The best advice is simply for you to seek medical attention.

    If I were to give you a non medical opinion that you can not get from a doctor, seek the surgeon (if it comes to that) in your area that performs the most surgeries of the type you have chosen. You can ask any doctor how many, say allographs, they complete in a year and they have to answer.

  • Raif SeveranceRaif Severance Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Back in high school (around 12 years ago o_O ) I injured my knee playing soccer at school. I felt something "pop" but thought it was just a sprain or something. Eventually my knee wouldn't fully extend or bend completely any more. I waited about 6 months after that injury to see the doctor and that was a huge mistake. I first had exploratory arthroscopic surgery to see what the hell was going on in there. The doctor thought I had a slipped meniscus but it turned out to be a torn ACL that had healed all jumbled because I waited so long to get it checked out. They ended up removing part of my ACL and I could once again extend and bend my knee completely. I went about my life but found out my knee was extremely weak with only part of an ACL. I would have the habit of falling down when my knee would give out periodically -- FUN! Nothing better than walking down a hallway and falling down.

    About a year after my first surgery I went back for reconstructive surgery on my ACL. Flash forward 12 years and I feel great. I run around 3 miles every other day and my knee is fine. I'm still "aware" that it isn't exactly like it used to be but that might just be a mental thing. My recommendation (Eyeyamnotadoctor) is to go see an orthopedic doctor as soon as possible and find out what's going on in there. Also... stick with the physical therapy afterwards. I didn't finish mine and I suffered for it for years.

  • kilroydoskilroydos Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Back in high school (around 12 years ago o_O ) I injured my knee playing soccer at school. I felt something "pop" but thought it was just a sprain or something. Eventually my knee wouldn't fully extend or bend completely any more. I waited about 6 months after that injury to see the doctor and that was a huge mistake. I first had exploratory arthroscopic surgery to see what the hell was going on in there. The doctor thought I had a slipped meniscus but it turned out to be a torn ACL that had healed all jumbled because I waited so long to get it checked out. They ended up removing part of my ACL and I could once again extend and bend my knee completely. I went about my life but found out my knee was extremely weak with only part of an ACL. I would have the habit of falling down when my knee would give out periodically -- FUN! Nothing better than walking down a hallway and falling down.

    About a year after my first surgery I went back for reconstructive surgery on my ACL. Flash forward 12 years and I feel great. I run around 3 miles every other day and my knee is fine. I'm still "aware" that it isn't exactly like it used to be but that might just be a mental thing. My recommendation (Eyeyamnotadoctor) is to go see an orthopedic doctor as soon as possible and find out what's going on in there. Also... stick with the physical therapy afterwards. I didn't finish mine and I suffered for it for years.

    This is the closest to my experience so far. Particularly the part about not being stable on the knee now. I know that if I twist or cut on it, it's going to go out. I also slipped in the shower once a little over a year ago. That was a terrifying feeling, for sure.

    Alright, you've all basically confirmed my thoughts on the whole thing. I need to have this checked out asap, as it's not going to get any better automatically, and me being active and trying to strengthen the muscles around it could actually be doing more damage than good.

    Thanks, everyone. Let's hope the diagnosis and recovery/rehab is closer to the 6 week mark than it is to the year.

  • TlexTlex Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    I have a knee question!

    I..twisted? my knee last week, and can run/play sports fairly well on it, except that it's pretty painful when trying to turn sharply.

    I know I shouldn't be playing on it, but I need to play one more match :/.

    what should I do?

  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Go do a doctor.

  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Mmmm. I'm going to leave that, but you know what I meant.

  • VisionOfClarityVisionOfClarity Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    You don't need to play crap. If you know you shouldn't be playing on it stop playing on it before you damage it more. And go to the doctor to find out what you actually did do to it.

  • KakodaimonosKakodaimonos Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Tlex wrote: »
    I have a knee question!

    I..twisted? my knee last week, and can run/play sports fairly well on it, except that it's pretty painful when trying to turn sharply.

    I know I shouldn't be playing on it, but I need to play one more match :/.

    what should I do?

    A match of what?

    The best thing to do is don't play. It's probably nothing more than a strain or a sprain, but doing heavy exertion on an already compromised joint really increases the odds of a serious injury or making the injury worse.

  • Dr. FrenchensteinDr. Frenchenstein Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    OP it sounds like some sort of ligament tear whether complete or partial. If it's torn completely, you can't damage that particular ligament any further, but you can quite easily blow the rest of them out. There are 3 that hold the knee joint, MCL, PCL, ACL. ACL is probably most common (I did it playing fucking kickball!). I destroyed my meniscus as well, so i couldn't even walk when i did it.

    An MRI isn't cheap, but if you have insurance it's no biggie. that's the only way you will know. If it's not completely torn, i doubt there is much they can do, except cut it out and replace it. Then you can get a sweet cadaver achilles! or your own patellar tendon (there may be more options, but those were mine) if you are a real man. I did it 5 years ago i think, and my knee is good to go. i play plenty of "sports". it has been hurting, but i've been doing p90x plyometrics, and i think that may be causing it to act up.

    Tlex it's probably just a mild sprain, but if you are going to play on it anyways, get a trainer or someone to tape you up. At the very least get a compression sleeve or knee brace from a sports store. Make sure it's snug, but not cutting off circulation.

  • PrimePrime Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    kilroydos wrote: »
    Have I caused any non-reparable damage by waiting this long?

    Is there any point in having it checked out now versus waiting until I'm ready to have surgery?

    What might change between now and then that could affect my decision?

    What's the recovery/rehab time typically like for reconstructive knee surgery of that type (repairing ligaments, removing scar tissue, etc.)?

    Thanks all.

    I lost half the ligaments in my left knee during a rugby match, I waited over a year before I got it seriously looked at (I got fed up with it collapsing with sharp twists.)

    1) Maybe but unlikely, the surgeon told me the only real issue is that some shrinking could have happened on the bits he was going to reattach making the job harder but I guess i got lucky.

    2) The sooner you know whats wrong the sooner you know how bad the damage is and therefore how urgent it is, when I got my first MRI I was under the knife within 3 weeks doctors orders.

    3) One wrong twist and a weakened knee could become a crippled knee.

    4) My own is around 12 months, im currently sitting on month ten, i can jog/light sprint in a straight line but ive been told to give it the full 12 months before I do anything with sharp turns/bends. The real bitch is the weight gain, ive put on at least 4 stone and getting it off is a bitch.

    The only perminant changes to my life is that im actively avoiding rugby and kickboxing which I used to do every day of the week and instead taken up kayaking and swimming.
    If its giving you issues, get it done.

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  • xcalibrexcalibre Registered User
    edited June 2010
    OP it sounds like some sort of ligament tear whether complete or partial. If it's torn completely, you can't damage that particular ligament any further, but you can quite easily blow the rest of them out. There are 3 that hold the knee joint, MCL, PCL, ACL. ACL is probably most common (I did it playing fucking kickball!). I destroyed my meniscus as well, so i couldn't even walk when i did it.

    An MRI isn't cheap, but if you have insurance it's no biggie. that's the only way you will know. If it's not completely torn, i doubt there is much they can do, except cut it out and replace it. Then you can get a sweet cadaver achilles! or your own patellar tendon (there may be more options, but those were mine) if you are a real man. I did it 5 years ago i think, and my knee is good to go. i play plenty of "sports". it has been hurting, but i've been doing p90x plyometrics, and i think that may be causing it to act up.

    Tlex it's probably just a mild sprain, but if you are going to play on it anyways, get a trainer or someone to tape you up. At the very least get a compression sleeve or knee brace from a sports store. Make sure it's snug, but not cutting off circulation.

    There are 4 ligaments in the knee, the MCL and LCL flank the sides while the ACL and PCL criss cross inside the knee. The meniscus is a cartilage type tissue that holds the femur in place and keeps it from rubbing against your lower leg. Parts of your meniscus are not repairable as they do not receive blood flow from the body. If anyone continues without an ACL (the most commonly injured ligament in the knee) they risk damaging the meniscus and possibly in a permanent fashion.

    Also MRIs are not conclusive in ACL tears because a stretched ACL may lay flat and look fine when you are lying down in an MRI machine. The only true test requires a scope, but most experienced orthopedics can diagnose you with two simple tests performed in their office.

    Everyone, go see a doctor, they can likely diagnose you in one visit even before your next match or whatever. Obviously, it is quite possible to get wrong information on any internet forum. Otherwise you misewell drink your own pee as a diagnostic tool.

  • El MuchoEl Mucho Colbchella God damn it!Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    kilroydos wrote: »
    That was me, a few years ago. I hurt my knee badly playing indoor soccer, but never had it corrected or examined beyond a cursory check. I can walk on it, but twisting or cutting sideways is not an option. I'm almost certain there's permanent ligament damage in there for that reason.

    I'm getting to the point where I need to get this fixed permanently, because it's affecting my health. I'm not as active as I want to be, and I'm gaining weight because of it. I also have a young daughter and I want to be able to run and play sports with her in a few years. However, I feel like I have to wait a year, maybe two to have any surgery done, because the recovery time will be particularly hard on my wife and daughter with me not being as mobile for several months.

    Here are my questions:

    Have I caused any non-reparable damage by waiting this long?

    Is there any point in having it checked out now versus waiting until I'm ready to have surgery?

    What might change between now and then that could affect my decision?

    What's the recovery/rehab time typically like for reconstructive knee surgery of that type (repairing ligaments, removing scar tissue, etc.)?

    Thanks all.

    Indoor soccer did this to me back in March. I had full tear of my ACL, same symptoms as you describe.

    I was told by the doctors that without surgery I wouldn't be able to play any sports involving pivoting or stop start running, but am fully capable of running/jogging, cycling and swimming.

    If it's a full tear the damage is done and no more harm will really come unless you continue to tweak it in which case you are likely damaging the meniscus and are more likely to have osteoarthritis later in life.

    The recovery time for the surgery from the information package I recently received is 2 weeks on crutches, after 2 weeks walking is fine and physiotherapy should start. After 6 weeks of physiotherapy jogging, biking and swimming are acceptable but no pivoting. After 6 months you can slowly return to normal function, upwards of 9-12 months before you are back to pre-injury capabilities.

    My doctor also told me that about 1 in 100 patients end up re-tearing the ACL.

    I opted for surgery because I wasn't ready to give up playing soccer. But if you can find other means of exercise then surgery isn't necessary.

    A sandwich is a sandwich, but a manwich is a mess.
  • EWomEWom Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    As someone who did the same thing as you... shit, 5? years ago.. I say go get it fixed asap.

    I hurt mine while backpacking, I fell down a mountain for a little ways, and twisted it up real bad, then later that week got hit and runned by a truck while riding my bike. I went to a walk in clinic, to which they said,
    "Wrap it and stay off it, its probably just a sprain."

    So I wrapped it, but being that I had to work.. I couldn't stay off of it, and it just hurt for, pretty much all the time. So I went back, and I got pain killers, and that helped, but it still hurt, bad, all the time, so I just kept getting painkillers. Then my stomach started to bleed, and it still hurt.

    5ish years later, it still hurts, I weight 135 pounds more than when I hurt it, and I can walk slowly around places, and still have no money to fix it.

    If you can, fix it. Not fixing it is horrible, and I don't recommend it.

    Whether they find a life there or not, I think Jupiter should be called an enemy planet.
  • blaze_zeroblaze_zero Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    I'll tell you the story about my Dad.

    My Dad played high school football and during his senior year, he ended up injuring his knee. It wasn't super serious, but he never did go to a doctor (mostly for a lack of money) but he has since lived almost his whole life with knee pains and aches. Playing sports with him as a kid was always different, because he wouldn't be able to run around with me, it hurt him that much.

    Eventually, my Dad started getting even worse pain than usual. We took him to the doctor and found out that the cartilage between his bones had been worn away so much that his bones were basically grinding together somewhat. He had to have surgery done (expensive surgery) and many, many week so f rehabilitation.

    The thing is, it's not really that much better now. He's basically not pained by it constantly, but he still has some troubles with it. I don't think he can run on it still.

    I hope that you won't end up like him, but yeah, leaving an injury like that can affect your life drastically.

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