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: Is it normal? (7 wks post. op)  ( 626 )

Laetitia88

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Is it normal? (7 wks post. op)
« : October 21, 2017, 11:33:21 AM »
Hello,

This is my first message on this board and I apologize in advance for any case of bad spelling but my mother tongue is french. I'm glad to have found a forum with people who seem to know a lot about the knee, since mine is worrying me a lot these last days.

Summary of my situation : 2 surgeries in 2004 to fix back my anterior tibial spine that got broken during an accident. I've had knee blockings since 2014, MRI showed nothing. After 3 years and an arthro scan, they finally saw a large portion of my cartilage was gone due to a piece of bone that was apparently floating freely since 2004. I got an arthroscopy 7 weeks ago to remove this free piece of bone. During the surgery, they noticed my lateral meniscus was unstable and hypermobile (it wasn't torn, just moving too much). They sutured it to the posterior capsule of the bone. They also performed an abrasive chondroplasty to try and make the gone cartilage scare better (even if, according to the surgeon, it wasn't missing in a place that would cause pains and problems). The surgeon thinks my previous blocking moments were due to the bone fragment, but wasn't sure if the hypermobile meniscus had something to do with it.

I was given 1 month free of work, 2 weeks of no weight at all on the injured leg and 2 more week with gradual weight bearing with crutches and physical therapy. The pain was excruciating at first, especially on the side of the lateral meniscus, and then gradually went better but never totally left. The knee also feels very odd and kind of like ''blocked'', I can't walk without the crutches without limping and feeling a lot of pain.  When I was supposed to go back to work, I went to see my surgeon's assistant (my surgeon is away until November) to ask him what to do. He wasn't very kind and didn't quite understand the situation. He thought my flexion and extension were fine and said that if i really wanted, he could give me 2 more weeks off work. I felt guilty and went back to work last week, on the 10th. Since then, I feel that the blocking sensation in my knee is worse. It's more like a heavy and tense feeling that reminds me of my blockings pre-op. I also have a very strong pain in a place that got my physical therapist very surprised, because it doesn't relate to any of the places they touched during the surgery. The pain is located near the intern meniscus, which according to the surgery report was totally fine. Whenever I fold my knee, I feel a great deal of tension and when i unfold it, there's like a crack or popping sound followed by an intense pain. Since I went back to work, the pain became constant when I'm walking, and I'm more and more limpy when I'm not using crutches. I would love to see my surgeon but, as I said, it won't be possible before November.

Did anyone experience the same thing? Do you think this recovery time is normal? Why is my knee worse than pre-op? When I saw my surgeon assistant, he seemed surprised that I was still walking with crutches. Today, I need them more than ever.

To summary in case you don't want to read the full message:


- Arthroscopy 7 weeks ago with removal of a free bone fragment, abrasive chondroplasty and re-attaching the lateral meniscus to the posterior capsule (meniscus wasn't torn, but hypermobile.) All of this happened after a series of knee lockings and heavy feeling for 3 years.

- Supposed to go back to work and walk almost normally after 4 weeks, but after 7 weeks I'm experiencing heavy and almost blocking-like feelings on the meniscus side , awkward move when I try to walk without crutches and that makes me very limpy, and a crack followed by a pain when I fold then unfold my knee, in a region that apparently doesn't correspond to anything they touched (seems to be around the intern meniscus, who showed up fine at the arthroscopy.)

- Cannot see my surgeon before November and his assistant didn't help me.
- The physical therapist have no idea what's going on and why the pain and odd feelings aren't getting better or are sometimes worsening.

Thank you in advance for any advice, account, etc... I'm beginning to feel very hopeless.

Have a very nice day!

Laetitia
« : October 21, 2017, 11:41:39 AM Laetitia88 »

Brandon123

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Re: Is it normal? (7 wks post. op)
« #1 : October 23, 2017, 06:15:58 PM »
Hi Laetitia,

It is difficult to say exactly what is going on in your knee, but based on my own experience with a chondroplasty I can tell you this:

1) some people recover very fast, others do not. For me, it took many weeks before I could would walk normally without the support of at least one crutch. I could probably not have gone back to work without difficulties after 4 weeks. And you had more stuff done than just a chondroplasty.

2) after my chondroplasty, I got a terrible stabbing pain in the medial side of the knee. Nothing was done there and there was no damage. Still, for 2-3 weeks I had stabbing pain every now and then. Never had any pain there before. I asked the doc and he said it was because after any surgery tissue tend to swell here and there in the knee, and in places that space is tight, tissue can be (temporary) squeezed/compressed and produce 'new' pains. In my case, it disappeared completely within 2-3 weeks and haven't felt it since.

I hope the above answer helped you to some extent at least.

Let us know how things develop!


Laetitia88

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Re: Is it normal? (7 wks post. op)
« #2 : October 25, 2017, 09:20:46 AM »
Hi Brandon,

Thank you so much for your answer!  :)  Which kind of chondroplasty did you have? Was it an abrasive chondroplasty as well?

It also reassures me a little that you had stabbing pains in a place that wasn't related to the spot of the surgery, and to hear the answer from your surgeon.  I hope that's where my ''mysterious'' pain comes from.

I am now almost 2 months post surgery and still experience the same problems. After I went to work on saturday, my knee was horrible : i couldn't fold it anymore, it was very tense and heavy (especially on the side of the lateral meniscus, it reminded me of the locking feeling I had pre-surgery). And when I fold it then unfold it, i keep hearing that ''crack'' and feel a lot of pain. I rested for 3 days and felt better, even if the heavy feeling is still there and makes me limp. I got back to work again today with crutches, and I'll see how bad it will be tonight.

Unfortunately, I tried to call my surgeon to make an appointment and he's not available until the end of November. I'm hesitating to go and see another orthpedist, since I really would like to know soon if i should stay home or if it's fine to keep pushing it like I am doing now.

Thank you again!

Brandon123

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Re: Is it normal? (7 wks post. op)
« #3 : October 26, 2017, 11:49:42 AM »
No, I didn't have an abrasive chondroplasty, just a 'basic' procedure where the OS tried to polish and smooth out damaged cartilage under the patella.

Probably, you are just healing a bit more slowly than your surgeon anticipated, but to be on the safe side, I think you should consult him or somebody else about the situation.

The heavy feeling you referring to, I guess it is (normal) internal swelling. My knee felt super-heavy and tense for the first 2-3 weeks as soon as I sat with the feet down or stood up for any longer periods.

Have you tried RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation)? I think it would be helpful in your case.

Keep us updated on how you are doing!

Laetitia88

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Re: Is it normal? (7 wks post. op)
« #4 : October 26, 2017, 02:33:46 PM »
Thank you for your reply! I will try to call my previous orthopedist next week and check the situation with him.

In fact, my biggest fear is that the meniscus repair broke, since I sometimes feel ''locking'' feelings similar to what I had pre-op. But since my meniscus wasn't torn, only hypermobile and unstable, I don't know if my lockings pre-op were due to this or to the bone piece that was free into the knee (sorry if I don't use the correct terms, but my mother tongue isn't English...)

I've tried resting, icing and elevating the knee whenever I can, and it works pretty good. After 1 or 2 days at home, my knee feels ''almost'' normal. But as soon as I'm back to work after the week-end and I have to walk to the bus stop or to stay sitting down for more than 20 min, the pain and ''blocking'' feeling comes again.

Thanks again for your advice, I will make sure to keep you updated if any change or after seeing the surgeon!

Brandon123

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Re: Is it normal? (7 wks post. op)
« #5 : October 26, 2017, 04:36:18 PM »
Ok, sounds good!

Also, maybe (if possible without losing your job) you should try to take another week or two off from work, and hopefully the knee will settle down a bit.

Laetitia88

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Re: Is it normal? (7 wks post. op)
« #6 : November 02, 2017, 09:34:12 AM »
Hi,

I just thought I'd give a few news, since I was able to see the surgeon yesterday. :)  He was first surprised to see me with my crutches, and I explained to him the slow evolution of my knee. He quickly examinated it by making me do some extensions and touching it, and said it seemed like everything was in place, and that my ''locking'' feelings and my pain were probably due to slow cartilage healing and to tendons being stiff. He also gave me a certificate to work only half days for the 3 next week, which should relieve the knee a little. I asked if my ''locking'' feelings could come from the meniscus or from the repair failing, but he said that most likely it wasn't my hypermobile meniscus that triggered the locking episodes i had pre-op (It still bugs me, because the feeling was very similar and located on the side of the external meniscus.)

I'll see him again in 4 weeks to tell him how going back to work at my normal rate was... let's hope for the best!

Brandon123

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Re: Is it normal? (7 wks post. op)
« #7 : November 03, 2017, 08:10:56 AM »
Ok, great that you can now work only half days for the next 3 weeks, that will give the knee some rest. I guess you will have to give the situation some time, but if the locking problem persists, I think you need to push for further examination/explanation. But hopefully, the surgeon is right. 

Good luck!

Laetitia88

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Re: Is it normal? (7 wks post. op)
« #8 : December 20, 2017, 11:20:43 AM »
Hello everyone,

I just thought I'd give some news about my knee. I am now almost 4 months post-op and unfortunately not doing so good. The knee was better for a moment, and I thought i'd try to walk without crutches, which worked for a few days. But suddenly a very sharp pain occured around the lateral meniscus side (where I have the repair) and since then it's again more painful and feels heavier. I was scared that the repair broke, but the surgeon said it's most likely not the case since the knee didn't swell dramatically. So I'm back with crutches at work.

I have a new problem though : my other knee (the one that was good), was apparently too tired to support all the weight. It's been now 2 weeks that there's a very sharp and localized pain in it, i'd say around the medial meniscus, top of the side of the tibia, if I try to locate it. The knee is not swollen or anything, but everytime i put my foot down there's this sharp stabbing pain. Should I be worried and try to see my surgeon after the holidays? This knee never had problems before...

jackson7

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Re: Is it normal? (7 wks post. op)
« #9 : December 22, 2017, 10:18:37 PM »
I agree with Brandon, not everyone heals quickly, despite the recovery time your ortho hoped for.

I had a chondroplasty and it actually made my defect much worse.  Before the procedure, I could walk without nearly as much pain as I have now.  I'm pretty sure it's because, within several months after the initial accident, my cartilage self-healed to a certain extent...but the doctor scraped that all away and it never healed back (it's been 10 months and I still have the same stabbing pain as right after the surgery.)

Another problem I've had since the surgery is scar tissue pain and other problems.  When I bend my knee too far, the tissue becomes hard and somewhat bulbous, throwing my whole knee joint out of whack.  My extension and flexion are both compromised, but good enough to walk with relatively normal gait.  Most movements, especially after sitting or standing in one place for a while, cause my knee to pop and hurt (even in non-surgical areas), plus my kneecap no longer tracks smoothly.  I've noticed building muscle helps with the tracking...but it's still painful doing any exercise (especially squats of any sort).

I'm going to throw out a guess you'll improve significantly after the next 8 months.  Building muscle will help get your knee in better alignment and rid you of some pain...but it may take a lot of time until you can do those types of exercises (plus, your body may automatically not even allow you to build muscle in that area until the worst pain has diminished).
« : December 22, 2017, 10:23:33 PM jackson7 »
Dec 2015: slow speed bicycle crash (wet leaves)
Jan 2016: a zillion x-rays & 2 MRIs only showed tendinosis
Mar 2016: bone scan showed "uptake" in all compartments
Aug 2016: cortisone shot (did nothing)
Mar 2017: diag scope (partial med meniscus resection, med fem chondroplasty, synovectomy)

Brandon123

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Re: Is it normal? (7 wks post. op)
« #10 : December 27, 2017, 10:09:25 AM »
: Laetitia88

I have a new problem though : my other knee (the one that was good), was apparently too tired to support all the weight. It's been now 2 weeks that there's a very sharp and localized pain in it, i'd say around the medial meniscus, top of the side of the tibia, if I try to locate it. The knee is not swollen or anything, but everytime i put my foot down there's this sharp stabbing pain. Should I be worried and try to see my surgeon after the holidays? This knee never had problems before...

I would not be too worried about the other knee. It is quite common (at least I have experienced it and my PT said it was common) to develop sharp stabbing pain in that spot you describe as a result of overloading the knee. Try to take it easy with the 'good' knee, and the pain will most likely get better.

Laetitia88

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Re: Is it normal? (7 wks post. op)
« #11 : December 28, 2017, 11:22:42 AM »
Hi Jackson and Brandon, and thank you so much for your replies!

Jackson, I'm sorry you're experiencing that much pain and discomfort after your chrondroplasty. I can relate when you mention the popping sounds and the odd feeling when you flex your knee or after you stay in the same position. I experience the same : I can walk normally with the operated knee, but when i flex it too much I feel some kind of resistance, and often hear a ''pop'' sound when I extend it, or a very strong ''cartilage'' noise sounding like a paper bag being folded. I also feel stabbing pain in the chondroplasty area, as well as in the meniscus repair area. I hope you're right and it will improve within 8 months. I also hope your knee will be better and that you'll have less pain.

Brandon, what you say reassures me. I was wondering what that pain in the ''good'' knee was. It started very abruptly : I was getting up from my bed and I felt that very intense and sharp pain around my medial meniscus, so bad I couldn't walk for hours, but no swelling at all. It then went away but now comes back whenever I walk for more than 5 minutes. I rested the knee during the Holidays and it went away, but as soon as i started walking again it came back. I have an appointment on the 4th with my OS, to see what he thinks of it. But I'm glad to hear it sounds like something fairly common!

I wish you all a happy new year in advance, hoping that 2018 will be a good year for our knees!

Brandon123

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Re: Is it normal? (7 wks post. op)
« #12 : December 28, 2017, 12:56:54 PM »
Yup, I think it sounds like a fairly common and typical overuse/load problem. With enough rest I think it will go away completely, but difficult when having pain/problems in the other knee. Anyways, probably good that you're checking it with your OS, to be on the safe side.


I wish you all a happy new year in advance, hoping that 2018 will be a good year for our knees!

Thanks, the same to you! And yes, let's hope 2018 will be a better knee year :)

Laetitia88

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Re: Is it normal? (7 wks post. op)
« #13 : January 04, 2018, 12:55:23 PM »
Thank you Brandon!

I have some news about my other knee. I was supposed to see my OS this morning but he was belated in surgery so I saw his intern. He examined my knee and sent me to do an X-Ray. The X-Ray showed nothing particular but the pain I feel makes him strongly think of a degenerative meniscus tear. I left without more informations, but he just emailed me to say that, after talking with the OS, they think I should do an MRI to confirm it or not. So here I go for some new knee stories! I can't help but feel a little sad. I feel like if I didn't go back to work so soon after my surgery, and hence put all my weight on the ''good'' knee, all of this wouldn't have happened.

Hope everyone has a good day!
« : January 04, 2018, 01:04:49 PM Laetitia88 »

 















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