Thursday, October 09, 2008

I Got the Low Down Dirty Medial Meniscus Blues ...

So, back in late May when I was doing PT for my shoulder, one of the exercises was to kneel on the floor and throw a weighted rubber ball at a mini-trampoline angled so the ball would bounce back. It was throw, catch, and repeat, using the whole torso to make the toss. 

During this exercise, I noticed a twinge in my right knee, but being a long-time jock, thought nothing of it. I have been straining this or pulling that forever, and what's a twinge?

But, it got worse. I dunno if it was from that exercise per se, or if it only exacerbated something already there, but I went into RICE mode (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation), along with Ibuprofen. I babied it. Wore a knee brace if there was any chance of torque, avoided as best I could doing anything that caused pain and possible further injury.

It didn't go away. I could walk okay, but any twisting, and it felt as if somebody had stabbed me in the knee with an ice pick.

I ramped up the conservative treatment: Ice, then heat, Ibuprofen, MSM, glucosamine, balor, even DMSO gel. The pain localized a bit to the medial side.

I was never very good at all the physical exam tests one does to check a bad knee -- Lachman's, McMurray's, anterior drawer, like that -- some of these require that you be lying down and somebody yanking or pulling hither and yon, so it's hard to do by yourself anyhow. The ones I could manage that made it hurt made me think it was the meniscus, and medial, i.e., to the inside. Could have been ACL -- might still be some involvement there, but if I were betting, I'd go MM.

I wore a double knee-brace to silat class -- neoprene sleeve under a strap-on job with hinged metal braces down the sides, and stepped with care. Did a lot of sweeping with my left foot. Skipped some of the groundwork.

Finally sucked it up went to see my primary care doctor. She tugged and twisted and allowed as how she thought it was the meniscus, which was good and bad. Good, because it confirmed my diagnosis. Bad because if such a thing doesn't get better after a few months, then you are talking orthopedist, MRI and ... Mr. Arthroscope Comes to Dinner. Took X-rays, which don't show any of this stuff, to rule out arthritis.

Well, it's been four months, and outside a straight hinge move, the icepick stab is still there. The wait-and-see method has passed "wait," and come to "see." So now, it's gather up X-rays and off to the orthopod's for me ...

Odd, that in forty-some years of martial arts training and practice, I have had only a couple of injuries of note. Early on, I cracked an ankle doing Okinawa-te. Eight years ago, I tore a calf muscle in a cold garage because I didn't warm up properly. Lot of bruises, a couple of busted lips and jammed and sprained fingers, but not so much considering four decades of thumping and bumping.

The torn rotator cuff I got from tossing my grandson into the air and catching him. The knee seems to be from doing exercises to rehabilitate the shoulder ...

No irony here.


Steve Perry said...

Follow up:

The orthopod was so sure of this diagnosis he didn't even think an MRI was necessary. Faster and cheaper just to go in with the scope and eyeball it, fix it, outpatient. In at eight, home by noon, half an hour, forty-five minutes on the table. Light-duty for a couple weeks and all going well, back to normal in a month or six weeks.

So ... Schedule folks are gonna call me on Monday with a date and time ..

Irene said...

Light duty includes laying off the silat?

Steve Perry said...

Yeah, no legwork for a few weeks. I can stand there and do upper body moves.