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Skiing With Knee Bursitis

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 

A little background. I am 20, 6', 180 lbs and in fairly good shape (I don't work out, but I bike a lot and am pretty active). I was walking down the steps one night to the kitchen and got a weird feeling in my right knee. I could put some weight on it, but I couldn't move the knee. I hobbled back upstairs and even on a bed unweighted I couldn't bend the knee without a sharp pain on the inside of the knee. I let it rest for a few minutes and then I was able to bend it, but all the next day I was having repeated problems with the knee locking up and I would limp through it or sit down and move the knee cap around until it decided to move again. I pretty much rested for about four days and then it was fine. The next week I did a 15 mile bike ride, played basketball, played ultimate frisbee, and it felt fine. Then just walking in town it locked up again and I had to rest again. Finally I found out there was a chiropractor that came up from the capital once a week and went to see him. Within 30 seconds he diagnosed me with bursitis and seemed to be spot on. Tenderness where my quad joins my lower abdomen on the bad leg, none on the other leg. Less strength in the right foot, etc. 

 

He said after adjusting me to come back a week later for a check up, said I was more loose than before and should be fine. I was feeling pretty good, but then walking home from the doctor it happened again. That was over two weeks ago. So far it has only fully acted up once, but I still have a lot of muscle stiffness and aching in the leg after walking. I tried riding my bike on Monday and it felt good even that night, but then I was stuck at home the next two days because the muscles in my leg and foot were tight and I didn't want to risk a relapse. 

 

My concern is this. My yearly visit home to ski is next week, and I have no idea if I am going to be able to ski. I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions as to treatment, how skiing affects it, etc.?

post #2 of 27

If you come to the mid-Atlantic gathering I'll loan you an extra knee brace:newkeyboard:

You don't seem to be getting much sympathy around here as a 20 year old with knee pain. Seriously, I get incidents like this from time to time in one knee.  About four years ago I got an MRI and doc said nothing structural, just arthritis.  I'm at the opposite age spectrum as you.  In the absence of further pro medical attention you could try RICE.  Rest it, and if you keep getting pain or swelling elevate it and ice it.  At your age it might just go away with rest and this is probably the cure for low grade bursitis  If still a bother when you return to the States you might want to see an orthopedist.  MRI is one fairly sure way to find out if something serious is going on, but can cost a lot unless you or parents have decent health ins coverage.  I use a brace on my knee all the time when skiing (the low tech wrap/sleeve type), but it's largely a psychological crutch.

post #3 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamesj View Post
 

If you come to the mid-Atlantic gathering I'll loan you an extra knee brace:newkeyboard:

You don't seem to be getting much sympathy around here as a 20 year old with knee pain. Seriously, I get incidents like this from time to time in one knee.  About four years ago I got an MRI and doc said nothing structural, just arthritis.  I'm at the opposite age spectrum as you.  In the absence of further pro medical attention you could try RICE.  Rest it, and if you keep getting pain or swelling elevate it and ice it.  At your age it might just go away with rest and this is probably the cure for low grade bursitis  If still a bother when you return to the States you might want to see an orthopedist.  MRI is one fairly sure way to find out if something serious is going on, but can cost a lot unless you or parents have decent health ins coverage.  I use a brace on my knee all the time when skiing (the low tech wrap/sleeve type), but it's largely a psychological crutch.

 

Haha, not expecting sympathy. The doctor said a knee brace wouldn't help in my case because it's purely related to swelling not any ligament issues, and in fact when I wore the brace it did help keep the knee cap in line, but I think it actually made it worse because it pinches down on the muscles which made them sore and I'm sure didn't help reduce the swelling. It did mostly keep the knee in line though, so I might throw it in as a just in case. I'm not worried about the pain, I'm more worried about doing actual damage. When the knee cap slides off the patella tendon because of the bursitis, I feel like a pulling sensation on my meniscus and I don't want to damage that. 

post #4 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by tylrwnzl View Post
 

A little background. I am 20, 6', 180 lbs and in fairly good shape (I don't work out, but I bike a lot and am pretty active). I was walking down the steps one night to the kitchen and got a weird feeling in my right knee. I could put some weight on it, but I couldn't move the knee. I hobbled back upstairs and even on a bed unweighted I couldn't bend the knee without a sharp pain on the inside of the knee. I let it rest for a few minutes and then I was able to bend it, but all the next day I was having repeated problems with the knee locking up and I would limp through it or sit down and move the knee cap around until it decided to move again. I pretty much rested for about four days and then it was fine. The next week I did a 15 mile bike ride, played basketball, played ultimate frisbee, and it felt fine. Then just walking in town it locked up again and I had to rest again. Finally I found out there was a chiropractor that came up from the capital once a week and went to see him. Within 30 seconds he diagnosed me with bursitis and seemed to be spot on. Tenderness where my quad joins my lower abdomen on the bad leg, none on the other leg. Less strength in the right foot, etc.

 

He said after adjusting me to come back a week later for a check up, said I was more loose than before and should be fine. I was feeling pretty good, but then walking home from the doctor it happened again. That was over two weeks ago. So far it has only fully acted up once, but I still have a lot of muscle stiffness and aching in the leg after walking. I tried riding my bike on Monday and it felt good even that night, but then I was stuck at home the next two days because the muscles in my leg and foot were tight and I didn't want to risk a relapse.

 

My concern is this. My yearly visit home to ski is next week, and I have no idea if I am going to be able to ski. I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions as to treatment, how skiing affects it, etc.?

As to the bold-faced text (symptoms, 30-second diagnosis by chiropractor), that doesn't sound like "bursitis"; hence, I recommend::

 

Go to a real doctor immediately and get this looked at.  Don't just slap a borrowed knee brace on and go skiing.

 

Good Luck

post #5 of 27

Seconding the vote to go see another doctor (preferably an orthopedist). I battled bursitis in my knees for five years in my 20's, and they never locked up in the way you describe, nor did it ever affect the strength in my feet. (I suppose the inflammation could pinch a nerve, but that never happened to me.)

 

I hate to even suggest this, but your symptoms sound like what my wife reports when her meniscus shifts (which it did repeatedly after she got a micro-tear in it). At the very least, I would be worried about some structural instability, so would get a second opinion.

post #6 of 27

One other comment: a patellar knee brace (the simple neoprene sleeves with a hole at the knee cap) is a pretty standard treatment for knee bursitis, since the brace keeps the knee cap from sliding around and further inflaming the bursa. When you said a knee brace didn't help, did you mean one of the larger mechanical ones (like for post-ACL surgery)? 

 

You might try a patellar knee brace / sleeve --- they are relatively cheap, easy to wear around even under pants, and should help (if it really is bursitis).

 

Best of luck with this!

post #7 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ddanks View Post
 

One other comment: a patellar knee brace (the simple neoprene sleeves with a hole at the knee cap) is a pretty standard treatment for knee bursitis, since the brace keeps the knee cap from sliding around and further inflaming the bursa. When you said a knee brace didn't help, did you mean one of the larger mechanical ones (like for post-ACL surgery)? 

 

You might try a patellar knee brace / sleeve --- they are relatively cheap, easy to wear around even under pants, and should help (if it really is bursitis).

 

Best of luck with this!

 

Thanks. In fact I did have a patellar knee brace and what I meant by it not helping was more along the lines of not helping it heal. It did work for keeping it in line (usually), but at the same time since bursitis is an inflammation thing using it to push through and keep active wasn't helping it heal, only helping with a symptom while ultimately making it worse. After diagnosing me he did several other tests to test the structural stability of my knee ligaments to confirm the diagnosis. In fact my first thought was a meniscus issue, but after doing several of the tests on Mayo Clinic and WebMD I only had like 1 or 2 of the long list of symptoms which is why I went a whole month with issues before even going to any doctor. At first it was behaving like a slipped knee cap which I had suffered in my other knee a few years ago in high school, minus the fact that in this case I had no reason for it to slip out that I can figure.

 

The problem I have is that living in CR there isn't much in the way of medical care available. The nearest hospital is over an hour away, and because I live here I only have basically accident insurance for the US so I can't really afford to go to the doctor there (nor with only being in the US for less than 3 weeks do I have the time given how long it takes to get you into visit a doctor in the US). 

post #8 of 27

Sorry to hear that. My issues ultimately cleared up only with a ton of strengthening work in my legs (so that the knees were more stable, and the bursa took less pounding), but I certainly remember trying to rest just enough to minimize pain while still competing (in different sports seasons). Lots of ibuprofen helps too!

 

On the plus side, everything I learned was that bursitis --- even a burst bursa --- rarely leads directly to other damage, though compensation for the pain can cause problems. So, RICE (for 2-3 weeks) can go a long way, and with luck, no long-term impacts. (But of course, I'm not this kind of doctor, so bear that in mind!)

post #9 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ddanks View Post
 

Sorry to hear that. My issues ultimately cleared up only with a ton of strengthening work in my legs (so that the knees were more stable, and the bursa took less pounding), but I certainly remember trying to rest just enough to minimize pain while still competing (in different sports seasons). Lots of ibuprofen helps too!

 

On the plus side, everything I learned was that bursitis --- even a burst bursa --- rarely leads directly to other damage, though compensation for the pain can cause problems. So, RICE (for 2-3 weeks) can go a long way, and with luck, no long-term impacts. (But of course, I'm not this kind of doctor, so bear that in mind!)

 

Thanks! I picked up some dexketoprofen (the perscirption strength brother to ibuprofen) yesterday to hopefully get me through skiing. Good to know about the bursa not leading to other issues. I've been trying to do some strengthening, but its a balance since I'm fairly active and use my legs a lot. Doing missionary work here in CR it's not uncommon for me to walk ten miles in a day and I don't have a moto or car so I bike everywhere as well. I did a 16 mile bike ride with hill climbs Monday, but then the muscles in that leg were really tight the next day or two. Thats pretty much the only strain I've put on it in the last two weeks and other than probably another ride on Wednesday I'm resting until ski time so hopefully it will hold up to at least let me ski some groomers if not the bumps. 

post #10 of 27

This is what OP said, in relevant part:

 

"I was walking down the steps one night to the kitchen and got a weird feeling in my right knee. I could put some weight on it, but I couldn't move the knee. I hobbled back upstairs and even on a bed unweighted I couldn't bend the knee without a sharp pain on the inside of the knee."

 

This does not at all sound like bursitis; if it was - then OP's behaviors since then - walking 10 miles/day, biking 16 miles with hill climb, etc., is not helping either, but OP is young - so likely getting away with what would be generally risky, and - depending on diagnosis - not what a real doctor would advise you to do (or not do).

 

Try to have a doctor look at it when you can; and try to limit yourself a bit before then.

post #11 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevescho View Post
 

This is what OP said, in relevant part:

 

"I was walking down the steps one night to the kitchen and got a weird feeling in my right knee. I could put some weight on it, but I couldn't move the knee. I hobbled back upstairs and even on a bed unweighted I couldn't bend the knee without a sharp pain on the inside of the knee."

 

This does not at all sound like bursitis; if it was - then OP's behaviors since then - walking 10 miles/day, biking 16 miles with hill climb, etc., is not helping either, but OP is young - so likely getting away with what would be generally risky, and - depending on diagnosis - not what a real doctor would advise you to do (or not do).

 

Try to have a doctor look at it when you can; and try to limit yourself a bit before then.

 

About a week before this happened I did have a knee-on-knee collision playing soccer that worried me. I even self-tested my knee ligaments for stability afterwards just because it felt a bit weird, so I think that maybe that trauma was the root cause of it. I have taken it easy for the better part of a month now and other than the occasional stiffness in the muscles and the odd aching here and there it seems to be improving. I did a bit of dancing tonight at a bridal shower for some friends, I'll see how it feels in the morning. 

post #12 of 27

Sounds like a torn meniscus to me.

post #13 of 27

I'm no medical professional, but I hope you heal well and can enjoy your trip home. 

post #14 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by epic View Post
 

Sounds like a torn meniscus to me.

 

He tested for that (with the McMurray test the doctor bends the leg at the knee, and then rotates it inward or outward while straightening it) and I had 0 problems with that. Also I literally had done nothing in the previous week that would've torn my meniscus other than a soccer game the week before. It could perhaps be a very minor tear in which case recovery time would be pretty quick. 

 

As a followup I finally was a little active last night and it held up ok last night and today the knee feels pretty good. Hopefully without any setback it will keep improving for my planned first day on the snow this Saturday. 

post #15 of 27
Fingers crossed for you! (Skiing somewhere up here in PA?)
post #16 of 27
Thread Starter 

First in NH/VT as I'm going from the airport to visit friends up there. Maybe ski one or two days at Blue Knob when I'm in PA. 

post #17 of 27

Best of luck with the knee.

Maybe take a look at this fwiw and see if the Bursitis or the Patella conditions are similar.

It is the internet however....I can't vouch for any of this

 

post #18 of 27

Maybe it's just some kind of South American parasitic larva living inside your knee.

post #19 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by epic View Post
 

Maybe it's just some kind of South American parasitic larva living inside your knee.

 

I've had worse haha. :eek

post #20 of 27

It indeed does appear you've had worse (for example, the torn meniscus you likely have now, but for some unknown reason don't want to accept as a possibility or see a doctor to diagnose):

 

That's your decision (or necessity due to remote location), however, you might be best served to take it a little easy - and - if the same symptoms (locking/weakness/pain etc.) is experienced yet again....quit whatever you are doing right then.  And see a doctor this time.

 

Best wishes to you, that whatever it is will heal on its own and not come back.  This is entirely possible, but it depends on the type and extent of injury.  Good luck.

post #21 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevescho View Post
 

It indeed does appear you've had worse (for example, the torn meniscus you likely have now, but for some unknown reason don't want to accept as a possibility or see a doctor to diagnose):

 

That's your decision (or necessity due to remote location), however, you might be best served to take it a little easy - and - if the same symptoms (locking/weakness/pain etc.) is experienced yet again....quit whatever you are doing right then.  And see a doctor this time.

 

Best wishes to you, that whatever it is will heal on its own and not come back.  This is entirely possible, but it depends on the type and extent of injury.  Good luck.

 

See the above post where the doctor tested my knee for meniscus issues. 

post #22 of 27

You still have to pay attention to it. Doctor's manual tests are notoriously unreliable.

Personally, I had two doctors tell me my acl was fine after their manual pull tests. This after a ski accident. They said the mcl was partially torn. I rehabbed for that.

This was in '93 when mri's were quite expensive and both said I didn't need it.

3 yrs later, my knee gave out and tore the meniscus. Couldn't straighten the leg.

They did arthroscopic surgery (removal really, they go in and take out the torn part). While in there they said, "Oh, you don't have an acl and it's been torn for some time"

Yeah, I knew when that happened.

post #23 of 27
Thread Starter 

Still monitoring it heavily and going to be careful with it. 

post #24 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by tylrwnzl View Post
 

 

See the above post where the doctor tested my knee for meniscus issues.

 

I thought you had it looked at by a chiropractor, and had no access to a real doctor (meaning, an MD).  Chiropractors and real doctors have different training and sometimes tell you different things.  A doctor may actually advise you not to have chiropractice done for some condition, whereas a chiropractor may try to sell you a package of 30 sessions for same condition.

 

Elite athletes perform differently than average.  For example, DeJuan Blair  lacks an ACL in either knee; led the Nation his senior year in rebounding. They only discovered his knee condition by medical examination prior to the NBA draft (where he was coined the "Blair Ditch project" by whatever team drafted him - where he fell considerably in the draft as a result).  He has had no surgery since and still plays as serviceable backup center for San Antonio.

post #25 of 27
Thread Starter 

I realized I never followed up on this thread. Always the proponent of owning up to ones mistakes, I believe those of you above who said "not bursitis" were correct. I ended up only skiing one day and stuck to groomers because it just didn't feel right. I have a doctors appointment with an orthopedic specialist in the US when I am home for a visit later this month. I was thinking Meniscus for a while after talking with a PT in late February. The last month my knee has gotten much worse, especially this past week and I am beginning to think it may actually be my ACL instead of my meniscus. We will see what the doctor says. 

post #26 of 27

Though not unexpected, I'm sorry to hear about the continued issues; I hope you are getting proper treatment now.

post #27 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevescho View Post
 

Though not unexpected, I'm sorry to hear about the continued issues; I hope you are getting proper treatment now.

 

Thanks Steve,

 

I forgot to update. I went for an exam, doctor thought maybe Meniscus issues but he wasn't positive. I went for an MRI. No tears, I just have less of a meniscus and less cartilage in my knee than I should. I'm 21, he said he'd never seen what he saw on my report on anyone under 40 before. So I've dropped weight (I was only right on the border of healthy/overweight before, but I dropped about 20 pounds to lessen the impact) and take some supplements to help build the cartilage. Every once and a while it will swell up on me, but I seem to more or less have it back to normal strength and abilities, just with having arthritis it's always going to give me some issues. 

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