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Knee concern - advice requested

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

I was having a lovely ski day a Vail last weekend until I got off balance in some bumps, ended up too far forward, spun around backward and tweaked my right knee rather painfully when trying to stay on my feet (probably should have just sat down...oh well).

 

So anyway, I don't think I injured it badly. The pain faded after a few minutes, I didn't feel any instability, could put weight on it with no repercussions, and I was able to gingerly continue my day.

 

A week later, there's a very dull pain when just walking around, it's a little extra painful in the morning for 20 minutes or so...otherwise it only "zings" me when I rotate on it.  I can bend and straighten with weight on it with no problems. So, the functional effects are minimal. But I did feel a dreaded "pop" when it happened, so I'm a little paranoid about the whole thing, regardless of how well it seems to be doing now. 

 

To those who have had knee injuries: Should I be worried? I'm just not sure how painful and debilitating a tear or partial tear would be, as I've never had either. Is this the kind of thing where it could be messed up pretty bad but not very painful, or would I know it if something was really wrong? Are there any self tests I can do to determine if medical followup is prudent, or should extra glucosamine and R&R do it?

 

Thanks all.

post #2 of 10

No real self test, I would go get check out. better to be safe than sorry.

the fact that you have good mobility and stability is reassuring but there could still be some injury

post #3 of 10

Could be an ACL injury, which are often caused by twisting falls.  Best to have it checked by a physical therapist.   

post #4 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiveJazz View Post
 

I was having a lovely ski day a Vail last weekend until I got off balance in some bumps, ended up too far forward, spun around backward and tweaked my right knee rather painfully when trying to stay on my feet (probably should have just sat down...oh well).

 

So anyway, I don't think I injured it badly. The pain faded after a few minutes, I didn't feel any instability, could put weight on it with no repercussions, and I was able to gingerly continue my day.

 

A week later, there's a very dull pain when just walking around, it's a little extra painful in the morning for 20 minutes or so...otherwise it only "zings" me when I rotate on it.  I can bend and straighten with weight on it with no problems. So, the functional effects are minimal. But I did feel a dreaded "pop" when it happened, so I'm a little paranoid about the whole thing, regardless of how well it seems to be doing now. 

 

To those who have had knee injuries: Should I be worried? I'm just not sure how painful and debilitating a tear or partial tear would be, as I've never had either. Is this the kind of thing where it could be messed up pretty bad but not very painful, or would I know it if something was really wrong? Are there any self tests I can do to determine if medical followup is prudent, or should extra glucosamine and R&R do it?

 

Thanks all.

Based on my experience a couple years ago, I would get your knee checked out by a specialist.  I went to my family physician but really only to get the referral.  That doctor couldn't tell anything.  Since my knee was quite stable, only the MRI and the careful testing by the ortho PA and surgeon made it clear my ACL was gone (not skiing), plus there was a small tear in the meniscus and an MCL strain.  MRI was a few weeks after injury because I was out of the country and waited until I returned home.  Started PT before getting the full diagnosis.

 

How does your balance feel?  When you pop off an ACL, it messes up your proprioception.  Took about a week for me to adjust.  I could put full weight and didn't have pain except for the MCL.  Also didn't have much swelling after the first few days.  Since I was traveling, I used two crutches to be safe and avoid any other falls.

post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thanks all for your replies. Marznc, that is exactly the kind of thing I had in mind. I've heard that people can tear or otherwise damage a tendon and basically still have it feeling OK and functioning well enough - and then find out years later that it's completely gone. Scary. 

 

I never noticed my balance to be off, and swelling was minimal, and only visible the day it happened. How can you tell what pain goes with what tendon? When I do feel it, it seems more on the lower front of the knee, not right behind the kneecap, where I imagine the ACL to be. I had a bruised patellar tendon from mountain biking years ago (blunt force onto a rock, ouch; at least I didn't shatter my patella), and the location feels somewhat similar, though that was much much more painful for a long period. 

post #6 of 10

the ACL is a ligament not a tendon. You can't really "feel" as it is deep inside your knee. you might have referred pain due to swelling, inflammation, etc.
if you flex your knee at about 90deg and touch the top of the tibia right under the patellar tendon that the general area where it attaches. but there are a lot of other structures there too...

post #7 of 10

Hi LiveJazz,

 

It could also be a meniscus tear. With an acute injury, you generally feel the popping sound. The general symptoms of a meniscus tear are:

 

Unable to move your knee through its full range of motion

Catching or locking of your knee

The feeling of your knee "giving way"

Pain

Swelling

Stiffness

 

While your swelling was minimal, you more than likely have inflammation in the soft tissue around the meniscus. Cold therapy will certainly help with that.

 

People live with meniscus tears for years without ever knowing they have them.  The only way to know for sure what happened is to get an MRI.  Listen to your body, it will tell you when enough is enough.

 

If you do end up getting an MRI and it turns out to be a tear, don't let anyone tell you different...it is live tissue that can be healed and there IS blood flow to all parts of the meniscus... some areas less than others, but flood flow nonetheless.

 

There are a lot of great treatment options out there, trust me, I've tried most of them (see injury below)

 

Total destruction of ACL, MCL, meniscus, patella along with  tibia plateau and tibia shaft fractures....All from the same wipeout!  Go BIG or go home I say!

post #8 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiveJazz View Post
 

Thanks all for your replies. Marznc, that is exactly the kind of thing I had in mind. I've heard that people can tear or otherwise damage a tendon and basically still have it feeling OK and functioning well enough - and then find out years later that it's completely gone. Scary. 

 

I never noticed my balance to be off, and swelling was minimal, and only visible the day it happened. How can you tell what pain goes with what tendon? When I do feel it, it seems more on the lower front of the knee, not right behind the kneecap, where I imagine the ACL to be. I had a bruised patellar tendon from mountain biking years ago (blunt force onto a rock, ouch; at least I didn't shatter my patella), and the location feels somewhat similar, though that was much much more painful for a long period. 

Have you taken a look at the EpicSki article about the ACL?  Doesn't cover everything but a good place to start.

 

http://www.epicski.com/a/acl-injury-for-skiers

 

What I learned is that with all the parts in the knee that can be damaged . . . or not . . . it really is a better idea to find out exactly what's going on.  That's assuming you have medical insurance.  When there is swelling and pain from more than one source, it's really impossible to guess without an expert opinion, preferably with an MRI as well.  Before using MRI became common, plenty of people went around without an ACL and never quite knew what was wrong.

 

It is quite possible to compensate if the knee is stable.  I know that for a fact since I opted to skip ACL reconstruction surgery and am a successful coper who is stronger and skies better now than before injury.  In my case, the small hole in the meniscus (in red-red outer thicker part) and MCL strain could heal without medical intervention.  Took perhaps 6 weeks for the MCL.  I could tell because certain exercises hurt, so I waited to do them until it didn't hurt.  Took several months for the meniscus, which didn't impact day-to-day stuff but I could tell something was still off.  I did formal PT for 3 months, which was well worth the effort because of what I got a good start at learning what I need to do long term.

post #9 of 10
As everyone else suggested, get it checked out.
post #10 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by evaino View Post

As everyone else suggested, get it checked out.

Exactly- will help drive your expectations & set you at ease either way. Best of luck.
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