Friday, November 30, 2012
So I had my first appointment with the physiotherapist yesterday. She also thinks my doctor is a bit of a dipstick. Her stance is that he should have sent me to physio when I first starting having problems with my knee, because it could have saved me months of pain. She can't fix my knee, but she can definitely help.
The hospital sent over my MRI results and my xrays, and the therapist went through them with me, explaining everything, using diagrams and a model of a normal knee. I have to say, it helps SO much actually understanding what's going on!! My family doctor just told me there's "Some minor damage".
That minor damage is actually four things - thinning of the cartlidge in the medial compartment of my knee; bone degeneration in the medial compartment of my knee; bone degeneration of the patella; and the beginnings of osteoarthritis throughout the knee.
The damage to the medial compartment is the biggest cause of my knee issues. When I twist or shift my weight in a specific direction, the bones of my knee come into contact and my knee gives out. The other cause is the patella degeneration. When I hyper-extend my knee, the issues with the patella also cause my knee to give out. Basically, giving out is my knee's way of of preventing extreme pain. And once it's happened once, inflammation sets in and then it keeps happening until I get the inflammation under control. Which explains why I go through patterns of 2 to 7 days of extreme problems with my knees, interspersed with 1 to 3 weeks of no issues at all.
I now have exercises to do to strengthen the muscles around the joint, to help support it; exercises to help maintain range of motion in the knee; and exercises that will help open up my hips, which will translate into opening up my knees, which will result in the outside of my knee carrying more of my weight, rather than the inside (medial). I will continue to go to physio for the foreseeable future. This will help with the inflammation that occurs, and will help prevent other muscle, joint, and tendon issues in the joints surrounding my knee.
The bad news is that generally there's not a lot that can be done in my case. I'll still be seeing the orthopedic surgeon, but the therapist says that at this point, a knee replacement isn't warranted, and that's usually the only thing that can be done. We'll see what the surgeon says, but I'd rather avoid surgery for a few more years yet. Besides, losing weight will also help lessen the impact on my knee.
For now I'm just going to keep trucking on, doing what I'm doing. Just knowing what's wrong with my knee helps so much! And eventually I'll be able to do squats and lunges again. I'll just need to be very mindful of what I'm doing and how I'm doing it.