Knee arthroscopy

catherinetJuly 31, 2006

Hi everyone,

My knees have been going downhill for awhile. I'm 56. My kneecaps are off-center, and I saw a sports med. doc about 5 years ago for them. I taped them, and did exercises and they improved alot.

But 2 months ago, it started up again, and taping the one knee didn't help. I saw the doc again and had an MRI which showed alot of arthritis and a torn lateral meniscus.

So last Thursday, I had athroscopy, to trim up the torn meniscus and scrap rough areas out. The surgery went fine and I went home, feeling really good that day.

Then....the next day, my leg was bent and stiff and extremely painful. I have fibromyalgia and a hyperactive bladder and had to get up about 12 times a day to pee, and thought I would die. I thought I was doing everything I was supposed to do. Today I had my follow-up with the doc, and then PT. I had to use a wheelchair to get up to the office, and then crutches.

I couldn't believe what the physical therapist told me. She said that I shouldn't have had a pillow under my knee these 4 days, and that I should have been putting weight on the leg. I limped around those 4 days with crutches......with my leg bent. She said she didn't know why the docs don't tell patients to not use pillows, etc.

We spent the half hour stretching my leg out. It was so painful, I almost passed out.

I'm on the right track now...but it's so painful.

Here's my questions: (And I'm sorry to make this so long!)....Have any of you had this procedure? Is it normal for it to hurt SO MUCH? I know it's only been 5 days, but I don't understand why I'm having so much pain and seemingly more problems than before the surgery.

Is it swelling that causes all this? I realize that I got stiff from disuse, but why did it start hurting so horribly the second day? My husband had this surgery twice and seemed to breeze through it.

I think the PT exercises will help alot.....but I hope I don't stay nauseous and light-headed through it all! Another disadvantage is that I can't take NSAIDS.

I'm just hoping somone out there can give me some hope that I can feel better soon, and won't end up with more problems than before the surgery.

The surgeon I used is case you were wondering. Thanks for your help!

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Call your doctor ... he's the only one who has examined your knee, knows your medical history and has the X-rays.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2006 at 12:36PM
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Thanks lazygardens,
I will call the doc tomorrow if this keeps up. I'm hoping someone here will say "Yes, it was awful at first, but then I got completely well and lived happily ever after!" :)

    Bookmark   August 1, 2006 at 4:42PM
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I hope you did call the Dr. When my Husband had this the first time he "babied" it (as you did), and it was awful. His Dr told him to do exercises, but since it hurt, he didn't. WRONG THING TO DO (as you know, but your's was because the doctor left out important information). THen he had to have the other knee done. HE used it from the start. Improved A LOT quicker. If it is any help we have 3 guys at work that have had it done, one was skiing the Swiss Alps last year!!! My husband has other issues so he can't, but keep up with the PT and you will improve and the improvement will be very quick. USE THAT LEG.

2nd day was PROBABLY worse than the first because pain meds had worn off from the first. Swelling was up (IF you didn't ice it enough, etc). Depending on how you slept. AND propt up on a pillow actually ISN'T propt enough...for my husband they said when he propt (why does that word look funny? it has to be spelled wrong, but it's too early to worry), he should literally be on his back with his leg ON THE TOP OF THE COUCH. Yes his leg elevated that much...higher than the heart. I'm guessing LOTS played into the leg not getting bettr as quickly as you'd hoped (sorry, age being one also).

I know you say your Dr. was excellent, but I have to disagree, if he didn't have you doing exercises STARTING THAT DAY (yes my husband, and everyone else I know who had that surgery had exercises..though minor..they had to start within hours of the surgery)..I'd re-consider that doctor for any other knee surgeries. He dropped the ball big time on you.


    Bookmark   August 2, 2006 at 7:52AM
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Thanks Vickey. You've given me lots of good info!
Even though it hurts, I am following through with all the excercises. I can see that they are very important. Thanks again.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2006 at 8:08AM
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Had it done a couple of years ago.
It didn't hurt that bad. I started exercises the next day
by placing a rice bag across my foot and doing leg raises.
I had a rice bag made with a hand towel sewn together and filled with rice. It was great to use when I exercised.

The only time I have a problem now is when I gain weight.
It starts hurting again.

You should have been given instructions when you left the hospital.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2006 at 7:33PM
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THanks Janis,

It's been a little over 2 weeks now, and it's been HELL for me. I'm so depressed over it. I saw the doc and the physical therapist the 4th day after surgery, and they didn't schedule me for another 2 weeks. I had sooooo much pain during that time, and my legs started aching at night so bad I couldn't take it. I called the physical therapist last monday and told her about my pain. She fit me in that day, but told me outright that they were extremely understaffed, and that's why I wasn't scheduled this week. She ran through the excercises with me again, while I cried most of the time.
I've begun taking Vicodin in the early morning for the extreme leg cramps. I'm being VERY good with all the exercises, but am still fairly incapacitated by all the pain, catching, poping. I have a visit with the doctor on Tuesday, and I have LOTS of questions for him. After hearing about other people's PT experience, I'm really ticked off that I was ignored for so long.
I still can't do much of anything, except hobble around the house, and I seem to be getting more incapacitated. I went out to run errands one day, and paid for it dearly with even more pain.
I have fibromyalgia.....which is a condition that seems to amplify alot of our pain, but I sincerely feel that that's not what's going on here.
Why would they do surgery, and then schedule me for 1 post op PT visit in 20 days post op????
When my husband went in for a doc appointment last week(shoulder problem), he mentioned to the nurse how much pain and problems I was having, and she said "Oh, I'm sorry."
Maybe I just haven't screamed loud enough for them. I'm trying to be reasonable, that the healing might take awhile for some of us, but then again, this just seems wrong.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2006 at 11:46AM
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I've never heard of anyone having as much pain as you seem to be having.
I take benedryl for leg cramps, it works for me.
The fibromyalgia may have something to do with it.

I didn't have to go to a PT, I did my own exercises according to the instructions. I walked with a cane for a week or so to help take some of the weight off my knee.

Have you been back to the doctor for a checkup?
You should have been seen for a follow up appointment.

I'd make an appointment and ask the doctor face to face to explain to me why I was having so much pain and problems.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2006 at 7:22PM
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THanks janis,
I have an appointment tomorrow. This has been a really bad experience for me! Hopefully, I'm just slow in recovering, and it will still happen! Thanks for your help.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2006 at 9:19AM
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Hi again,
Well, it's been almost a month, and I'm still struggling. Fortunately, the horrible leg cramps have subsided. I had a doc appointment a week ago, and he really felt all these problems were from fibromyalgia. I've been going to PT twice and week, and have been doing well there. I have a really good therapist. But....I've developed a new pain. It's an extremely sharp pain in my knee with every step I take. Sometimes I almost fall down.
The physical therapist says I just need to work through this with these exercises. But to me, it feels almost like the meniscus tear felt........or what bone-on-bone pain must feel like.
I'm really working hard on doing all the right things. But this new pain makes me hobble. And I'm never supposed to hobble! It sure makes life difficult, when it hurts with every step.
I'm wondering if adhesions can cause pain like this? Anybody know?
I'm so tired of my body acting differently than most peoples'! I want to get on with my life!

    Bookmark   August 22, 2006 at 3:57PM
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