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The Doctors Lounge - Orthopedics Answers

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Back to Orthopedics Answers List

Forum Name: Miscellaneous Orthopedic Topics

Question: Knee pain


pballgrl - Wed Nov 10, 2004 4:11 pm

Sorry if this gets long, but I want to give you sufficient information.

A while ago my right knee begin to get sore. I have 3 flights of stairs to go up and down (due to the apartment I live in) everyday. Now recently (past 2 weeks) for some reason I have repeatedly twisted the knee in everyday activities (ie. getting in the passenger side of car, turn my body around and twist my knee) I also have 2 kids so I'm constantly squating down and such. The pain has progressivly gotten worse.
Okay, walking does not really bother the knee. The pain comes with bending and especially unbending the knee. For example, if I'm squating down or sitting down, when I stand up I must put all of my weight on the other leg because the right knee hurts so bad straightening it out and putting the weight on it. The worst horrible pain is on the 'inside' of the kneecap and also minor pain on the right and left sides of the kneecap. I went to a doctor and the x-ray was negative so the bones are okay. She said there is only very minor swelling (I can't even notice it). She gave me a ace bandage to wrap it and said if it still hurts see an orthopedist. Well that was on Saturday Nov 6. I still have pain and it is no better.
I would like to know what the problem with the knee could be and what would an orthopedist would or could do. I don't want to waste money if the ortho can't really do anything or if he/she just tells me to wrap the knee like the first Dr. did. But I'm 30 yrs old and feel like I'm 90 because I can't bend and unbend my knee without horrible pain.
Thank you.
saif - Sat Nov 13, 2004 12:51 pm

Hi Pballgrl,

Sorry to hear about your knee problem...I will try to help. It is difficult to assess on-line as it were, but let's have a go anyway.

There are several features of your symptoms that suggest possibilities as to what the the cause of your pain is. If I can just decribe the knee joint to you first as a way of explanation. The end of Femur (thigh bone) artculates with the top of Tibia (main bone of your lower leg). On the front of your femur, is the knee cap, the patella, and this moves up and down as you flex and extend your knee, travelling in a groove in the femur. Between the femur and the tibia are two cresent shaped bits of cartilage (the menisci) which act something like cushions.

Twisting injuries can lead to injuries of the menisci, and typically these cause intermittent pains, aching in the knee, periodic swelling and locking of the knee...although none of these are absolute.

What is more likely in your knee, from what you describe is something called Chondromalacia Patellae. It is a poorly understood condition, and orthopaedic surgeons themselves oten disagree as the significance of thsi sometimes. Essentially the problem is due to some damage of "softening undeneath your knee cap. What this does is cause pain when the pressure is maximal between the patella and femur is greatest, typically, when load is applied to a bent knee. This occurs when you go up and downstairs, get up from a chair or from the floor, squat, kneel etc. This seems to be what you are describing. Why this occurs is difficult to explain in a short space, it is more frequent in young women. There are several therapeutic options, the simplest initial treatment is to exercise your quads, in particular your VMOs (Vastus Medialis Obliquus). What you do is lie in bed, legs straight out. Turn you foot outwards, and lift your legs up and down. You should feel some tightening of the muscles on the inner side of your thigh. Do this twice a day, for about 10 minutes. It taks a while to settle down, and sometimes needs more drastic action...

Try these, I am happy to discuss further, but if I carried on I have no doubt you'd fall asleep with boredom...and this is no substitute for face to face contact...

Best wishes

Saif
gisterose - Mon Jan 17, 2005 7:00 pm

Hello,
I also have problems with both my knees but slightly different symptoms.
Mine have a tendency to lock after about 5 minutes in the same position and also hurt when walking up stairs. If I twist my legs to the sides they hurt then too. If I put my leg straight out resting on a foot stool or something they lock then too and its very painful to unlock them.
I was wondering what could cause this?

Gisterose
saif - Thu Feb 10, 2005 11:32 pm

Hi Rose,

Difficult to say, without examining you, and indeed often the cause is not clear even even you are examined by a specialist. CMP can also cause these symptoms, and typically occurs on both knees, and in women more often than men. Other causes such as meniscal problems (cartilage tears) rarely affect both knoees simultaneously. Some orthopeadic surgeons feels a fold in the knee, called a plica can also cause these symptoms, but plicae are also found in normal asymptomaatic individuals.

Saif
sharonpastor - Wed Jun 15, 2005 8:12 pm

After walking all day and then riding in a car my knee is now hurting. When I go running, after I finish it feels really cold inside and has a small burning sensation. It has a sharp pain, not huge but painful still, when I go up stairs or even try and bend fully. I've been wearing an ace bandage for 2 days and elevating when possible so it doesnt get cold inside or start hurting. I heard it might be fluid but I'm not sure.

Sharon Pastor
smith - Fri Nov 25, 2005 11:29 pm

for the past few days my knees have been hurtting when I squat and when I stand back up I have to pull myself up with the help of something I hurt my left knee a few months ago and the doctors first said it was a torn miniscis but later said I dislocated my knee cap but both of my knees are hurtting now it even hurts to walk and I work at a department store so I am on my feet what should I do to stop the pain
in__pain - Tue Dec 27, 2005 10:21 am

hi,

Im only 14 but have been having bad knee problems, I was told it was chondromalacia pattela. I am currently having physio therapy but over the past few weeks I have been in so much pain im nearly in tears. They hurt when I walk for more than about 10 minuttes, even when im sitting down they hurt. They crunch when I walk and when bending, the pain is around and at the back, also inside the knees. Im also on anti-inflametry's but they don't seem to be making a difference. Is there any else that can be done to stop the pain.

Thanks!
cologem - Tue Jan 24, 2006 3:05 am

51 female- dr. said nothing is showing in the xrays and there is nothing wrong just stay off stairs and gave me some exercises to do- however- I live on the third floor and have no elevator- and for two weeks now, I have swelling, stiffness and pain in the knee- when I come up the stairs my knee won't bend so I have to come up the stairs with a stiff leg movement. the pain is constant whether I'm sitting, standing, sleeping

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