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Have you experienced a knee injury? What are the best treatments, preventions, or products to cope with these injuries?

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      12.04.2010 00:47
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      WHat happened to me and my knees

      I am currently recovering from an ACL surgery, which is actually my third surgey on my right knee for the same injury.

      Last year, I suffered an inury whilst competing in a wrestling match which at the time I assumed was just a dislocation, and being in Spain I went to a Spanish hospital and had no idea what was going on, and when I got back to England the next day, I had a call out doctor come out to my house and examine my knee as I couldn't actually walk to get anywhere at all. He told me just to take ibuprofen and rest it for a couple of days, which I did and had no change, I got myself painfully to the doctors who after examining my knee told me there was a suspected ligament tear and I needed an MRI to confirm this. She wrote me a letter to take to A and E that same day and to get an MRI.

      I arrived at the hospital and after waiting for 2 hours (thats quite a small time in there lol) I was sent through to A and E minors, where I handed my letter to the doctor there, he really didnt bother to read it and sent me for an x-ray, which I already had done in Spain, and showed nothing. I tried to explain to him I needed an MRI but he still sent me for an x-ray. After the results came back clear, he tried to straighten my leg out, to a painful fail that nearly ended up with me punching him! He told me I would be ok in 10 days and sent me home, to return in 10 days. I returned after the days with no improvement whatso ever, to unfortunatley find the exact same doctor on duty, and he just brushed me off again!

      After two weeks with still no improvement, I went back to my doctor who was shocked to find that the doctor I saw at the hospital had ignored her recommendation and she referred me to orthapedics on an emergency referral. Turns out that emergency means within a month! My local NHS hospital was apparently over run with orthapedic patients, so I was referred to my local private hospital, and the treatment was paid for by the NHS. I was very thankful for this, as I got my treatment very quickly, I was seen by a specialist and booked in for an MRI within 2 days, and was then back to the specialist within a week for the results.

      The results were something I truly did not expect. It turns out I had torn my medial meniscus, and completley ruptured my ACL. The meniscus was repairable, but the way it had torn caused a portion of it to stick under the joint, which was what was stopping my leg from straightening. I was told I would need surgery to fix this problem, and was referred to a surgeon back at my local NHS hospital, who I went to meet before my surgery, and he totally put my mind at rest. I was told I would need to have two surgeries. One to repair the medial meniscus, as they had to be able to straighten my leg for the ACL to be replaced.

      I went into hospital on the day unit for my first surgery, which went succesfully, and had all aftercare and physio I was meant to have, and I healed well, painfully but well. I was then booked in to have my ACL reconstruction after my surgeon checked my leg and approved it to have the next surgery done. I was to have my hamstrings removed from my right leg and placed into my knee to replace my ACL, but it turns out I actually damaged the hamstrings in the same accident, but this wasn't noticed until the surgery, so imagine my upset when I was woken up from surgery to be told I had to heal from this one and then go through it all again!

      My surgeon decided that I could have my hamstrings taken from my left leg to put into my right knee, and I agreed to this, as I was just desperate to be normal again. My surgery was booked in for March 29th this year, and I went into the day surgery for the 3rd time, hoping this time it would all be successful. I woke up from the surgery, and was happy to learn that all had gone well, and no longer did I have hamstrings, but I did have an ACL.

      I am currently 2 weeks out of surgery, and after suffering a DVT in my left leg, I am getting back to normal, although there is still a long way to go yet. I am still on crutches, but am now able to put some weight on my left leg again, but still needing a lot of painkillers and rest, and I can't go anywhere far, or do much things for myself, but I am a hell of a lot better than when I came out of the hospital. I start physio next week, and although I am not looking forward to it, I am hoping the recovery is quick and I can get back into the ring.

      I have felt many ups and downs, especially since this surgery, as twice now I have had to re learn walking and independance, just to have it all taken away again. I miss being able to walk unaided, and to be able to carry my own things, do my own shopping and not have pain whenever I go anywhere, and I would love to go places on my own again. I know I will soon be back to my normal self, and that I will have to work hard to get my legs back to a good enough strength to get back in the ring, but I will do this and I will be strong again, no matter how tough this is to deal with.

      I hope that no one else has to deal with anything like this, it is horrible, and I truly hope I never have to go through with anything like this again, so please everyone, take care of your knees.

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        11.04.2009 21:18
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        So my advice is that you can heal yourself with some dedication

        About four years ago I drove up to Scotland. On the way back, we stopped at Preston for an overnight break. In the middle of the night I awoke in agony, went to the local hospital and was treated quite badly. They said I would have to stay in (for a knee!) or I could sign myself out, go home, and get treated locally. They also said that it would need surgery. I opted for going home. My wife (a newly passed driver) bravely drove us the rest of the way home.

        By the time we got home, I was feeling a bit better. I rested my knee until the weekend finished, then went to the doctor. X-Rays showed it was most likely a trapped cartilage, that had now freed. Relief was that I could probably correct it with physio.

        Luckily I had some insurance, so opted to go private. the cost for ten sessions was over £300, with half being paid by the insurance. Money well spent though. Four weeks on crutches, with a lot of pain, things began to ease. About six months in, continuing the exercises at home, it was pretty good. Nowadays, I still do the same stretching, knee bending and strengthening exercises. It is still tender sometimes, but (touch wood) it is pretty good now. So my advice is that you can heal yourself with some dedication.

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        25.02.2009 23:17
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        Best avoided.

        Around April last year, I was at athletics training just like any other week, I had been feeling some discomfort in my knee for a few weeks preciously, but I didn't really think anything of it, simply passing it off as standard strain. Then, as part of the warm up I dodged to one side, and felt my knee lock, and as my body continued in one direction, my knee felt like it moved in the opposite direction. I heard a faint pop, and then, not surprisingly, I fell over, with a stabbing pain in my knee.

        As it happened, there was a phyiso at the track that night, so I was carted over to her, where she briefly looked at my knee, and put an ice pack on it. She came to the conclusion, much to my relief, that I probably hadn't done anything serious, as my knee had not yet swelled up. However, by the next morning, it had swelled up to about double the normal size and so I went to see a consultant knee surgeon. I had an MRI scan, where it was confirmed that I had torn my Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL), and had a meniscal tear.

        The ACL is one of the major ligaments in the knee. It connects the back of the femur (thigh bone) to the front of the tibia (shin bone). Its role is to prevent the forward movement of the tibia from underneath the femur. It is a common sports related injury, and is often done when twisting or turning sharply. It is often seen in a combination with a medial meniscus tear, which is a tear to cartilage disk which acts as a cushion between the femur and the tibia.

        The ACL will not fix itself, and it is essential for intensive or competitive sport, or sport which involves a lot of sharp twisting and turning. If the patient doesn't intend to do sport like this, it is not always necessary to reconstruct the ACL, as the knee will strengthen with time, and it is possible to do sport without it. If the ligament is reconstructed, the broken ligament is removed, and a new ligament is substituted in its place (called a graft). This is usually either the Patella Tendon or the Hamstring Tendon which has been pulled down to replace the torn ligament.

        I had my ACL reconstructed, which involved two days in hospital. One I woke up from the operation, the pain was not too bad as I had a nerve block put in my leg, so I couldn't feel it, however once this wore off, my knee was very stiff and painful to move. A physio came to show me exercises to help regain the movement in my knee after the operation, and the following week was spent on crutches, while constantly trying to keep moving the knee to get the movement back as quickly as possible.

        Once I could walk without the crutches, I started having regular physio, and followed a special ACL reconstruction program. The program lasts nine months to a year; the idea being that you work up to more and more activities and sport, so that by six months most non contact sports can be played (although probably not very competitively), and by nine months to a year, contact sports and sports such as netball which involve twisting and turning. It's a long and boring process but hopefully a worthwhile one.

        The one positive side of an injury like this is that I found I had a lot of spare time on my hands, as I wasn't doing any sport, so I started to find other things to do, including athletics coaching, and volunteering. So it's not 100% bad, maybe just 90%. But I'm not one for moping, and I'm determined to make the most of this unfortunate situation, after all, there's not really a great deal I can do about it, so I'm just working on strengthening the knee, and enjoying the new opportunities it has opened up before I hopefully return to full sport.

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          22.02.2009 09:34
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          For me an annoying injury with little consequences, for others potentially career ending.

          My diagnosis
          -------------------

          I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and so when just before Christmas I began to get bad knee pains I put it down to just another symptom of this. I went to the doctors, she had a fiddle with them and said it probably was. She said it could be due to stress that my mind was deciding my knees hurt (ooooookkkk I thought lol) she gave me some strong painkillers and told me to go back after a week.

          I did not go back to the doctors after a week. I'm at university and it would have meant travelling back to see her and so didnt bother. With the pain killers I managed quite well and the pain came and went. As I wasnt overly active over the christmas break my knees seemed to calm down. My first day back on campus however, I wore some boots with a heel (not a massive one) and had to rush around all over the place, up and down hills (if you've ever been to Nottingham Campus you'll know there are some considerable hills to climb) and that night I was in severe pain. At first I wondered if it was the stress of being back at university but the idea that stress could give me knee pain was a bit too much. So I decided it must have been the rushing around. So I took it easier and didnt wear any heels. But still the knees hurt. I needed to go to the doctors anyway and so I mentioned just before I left that I was still experiencing problems. This doctor again had a twiddle with them and immediately said he could feel movement with my knee caps, he bent them around and then asked me to do a squat, at which point there was a loud pop. When I sat down he told me I had Patellafemoral Pain Syndrome.

          What is Patellafemoral Pain Syndrome?
          -------------------------------------------------

          It sounded a bit scary, but he explained it was a common injury where the knee cap is being grated on by the femoral bone causing pain behind the knee cap. It is doing this because the muscles aernt holding everything in place as they should. (This is a much better diagnosis than my mother had been trying to convince me with. She was set on the fact that I had early arthritis- thanks mum lol) It is also known as "runners knee" and is a common injury of runners. I had been going to the gym recently and my favourite piece of equipment is the treadmill. After Christmas I had stepped it up a bit. My mums gym coach had said it is a common injury for those that dont have the correct body allignment when running, they can also experience sore shins. Well I wish I has known a long time ago as I am always getting sore shins and I could have prevented the knee injury then! The injury can be worsened by going down hills and stairs and locking the knees. (so bending them completely)

          The Treatment
          ---------------------

          I had to try and avoid hills, stairs and the treadmill. The hardest is not locking my knees as I am most comfortable sitting cross legged and even do so when I am sat on a chair. The information the doctor gave me told me I could still exercise as long as I did not run. (Bad Advice) I went to the gym with my friend, avoided the treadmill and as suggested used the bike instead. That night when driving home I thought my femoral bone was going to pop out from under my knee. I got a stern lecture from my parents lol and my mum sat there pushing my knee cap around as I squirmed and told her to quit it because it was making me feel sick. You see when you touch it you can feel it grate and its gross.

          Other than that I was told to take ibuprofen by the doctor. He gave me some exercises to do (which I'm ashamed to say made me feel too queasy to do - I have a thing about bones. I am also not going to describe them here as I think it would be irresponsible for me to do so, if you have a knee injury and want advice see a doctor not a dooyoo review of the injury) and an information sheet. The sheet told me to wear a support if needed (these can range from a simple tubigrip for around £4 to a proper knee injury support £25+) and to ice the injury three times a day. I use deepfreeze gel instead if i feel uncomfortable. You need to avoid twisting the knee as it is the side to side movement of the knee cap that makes mine worse.

          The doctor told me if the pain continued I would have to undergo a course of physiotherapy, I'm hoping this wont be necessary. I am still experiencing trouble though and I am itching to get back on the treadmill!! Its very frustrating. The worse case scenario is surgery, but I'm sure this is only for athletes that have had years of stress on their knees.

          The reason I have given the injury two stars is because the pain isnt constant. I am able to get sympathy from friends and parents lol. It is also a good excuse to get out of things. "sorry my knees are feeling bad today"
          HOWEVER I am not belittling the injury, It can be serious for some people and potentially career threatening. But for me I'm sure I'll be back on the treadmill in no time, learning to run with the correct allignment of course.

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            21.02.2008 23:49
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            knees are delicate

            In November 2006 I was foolishly playing rugby. What was I thinking? That playing a sport would keep me healthy.

            I had just been passed the ball on the blind side out of a scum and as the number 14 had only one choice to run in to the gap. There was one person to run around and it was while doing this that my ankle gave way while my leg was fully extended mid stride and my knee twisted and as I was falling to the floor I got takled. I felt a pop in my knee and then lots of pain.

            After a visit to the hospital, when they had decided that no bones were broken and I had been plastered up and I was sent on my way with all but the doctors word that I had possibly torn a ligament and I should put no weight on my leg. I had a week off work and then had to struggle to commute into London on crutches which really hurt my hands.

            It was not untill January that I got the results of my MRI scan and was diagnosed with a torn Anterior Cruciate Ligament as it turns out this is a really important part of ones knee if any kind of sport is to be played in the future. It's a horrible feeling when your knee "goes" after you have a ligament missing, like slipping on ice but from the knee not the foot.

            I had my first operation to remove the cruciate ligament compleatly as it was balled up in the knee joint and I was unable to fully extend my knee inhibiting my physio therapy. I had to have absolute full movement of my knee so my knee would be strong enough to cope with having a ligamen graft. My knee muscles had waisted terribly as I had not put any weight on it for about three months.

            Fortunatly my wonderful surgeon was able to fix my knee compleatly by grafting the tendon from the front of my knee and replacing the ligament that I had broken. If it were not for him and the advanced technology of todays medicine I would be crippled.

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              19.06.2002 19:30
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              Anyone who has had a look at my profile page recently will see from my list of opinions that my health has not exactly been wonderful of late. Well, collingwood21 has gone and done it again! As you may have guessed from the category, my latest malady is a knee injury - a sprain to be precise, caused by lifting a heavy box awkwardly. So, thought I might as well share my received wisdom on the knee and what it can suffer in case any of you out in there in dooyooland become similarly afflicted. I really don't kneed this! ● A bit of anatomy The knee is the largest joint in the body, designed as a weight bearer and shock absorber when we move around. It is a hinge joint where your femur (thigh bone) and tibia (shin bone) meet, and is covered at the front by your patella (knee cap) - your muscles allow bending and straightening movement, while ligaments bind the bones together. The knee joint has five ligaments, one at each side, two attaching the patella to the main leg bones, and one joining the tibia and femur together. Despite its role, the knee is actually quite a structurally weak joint, and so is vulnerable to a number of injuries. As I now know. :-( ● Sprains A sprain is caused when you damage a ligament, stretching or tearing it - one or more ligaments may be damaged in a sprain. This type of injury may occur from a fall, sudden blow or twisting movement, and is fairly common in the knee. You can recognise a sprain from pain, swelling, bruising, lessening of joint mobility and a feeling of stiffness, although these vary depending on the severity of the injury. For example, I am able to put weight on my knee so I know it is not a severe sprain, although walking is difficult and there was quite a bit of swelling - this makes it a moderate sprain, so there was likely to be some tearing of one of my ligaments. After experiencing what is classified as "moderate pain" though, I would h
              ate to have a severe one (i.e. with complete tear of ligament). ● Strains A strain, on the other hand, is what happens when you twist or pull a muscle or tendon, from either a sudden injury or from overstressing the joint. These are less common in the knee than sprains, but can occur and cause pain, muscle spasm, swelling and a feeling of joint weakness. ● Treatment of sprains and strains When it has become apparent that you have suffered a knee sprain or strain (trust me, you will know!), then it is important to apply some first aid to your joint. During the first 48 hours after injury, you should follow the RICE technique: R is for Rest Take the weight off your joint and rest it as much as you are able. Do not play sport or take part in any physical activity, and avoid walking as much as possible so as not to aggravate the injury. I is for Ice Cool the joint down to help reduce swelling. A freezer block, bag of crushed ice, frozen peas or ice pack will all do - wrap them up in a towel to avoid freezer burn, and place on your knee for 20 minutes four to eight times a day. This is actually very soothing and helps to numb the pain too; I found it a real help. C is for Compression Not as scary as it sounds! All that is meant by compression is a tight bandage for your knee to provide support and help keep swelling down. A good inexpensive one is Boots Tubigrip, an elasticised support bandage that you simply cut to size and pull on over your knee - they cost £3 to £4 for a box, and are washable and reusable. If you need to move around still though, you will probably be better with a sports knee support, which cost about £6 but are stronger and more comfortable if you have to walk. E is for Elevation Try to lift your bad knee above the level of your heart to minimise blood flow to the injury, thus reducing bruising and swelling. I found it quite helpful to sleep w
              ith my leg raised on a couple of pillows, and tried to sit with my feet up as much as possible. Painkillers are also a must if your injury is anything like mine! Both ibuprofen and aspirin have anti-inflammatory properties as well as being able to reduce pain, so use these rather than paracetamol if possible. These may be taken orally, or applied directly to the joint in the form of a gel, but be very careful to read instructions, leave at least four hours between doses and ensure you do not overdose on them. If you are at all unsure, speak to a pharmacist or doctor. If you are in severe pain, cannot walk at all, or have seen no improvement within 72 hours, then see your GP. It is possible that you may require prescription medication, crutches or the services of a physiotherapist to aid recovery. Normally though, improvement should be seen after a few days and you can move on to the rehabilitation of your poor little knee. This simply means that you do gentle exercises to help the damaged bits get back to full strength and flexibility so that you can get around to walking normally again. The nurse who examined my knee recommended lieing down on my back (without any support bangade around my knee to allow me to move it properly), then slowly and gently bending my leg to bring my knee towards my stomach. I then straightened my leg slowly again, and repeat this several times daily, usually first thing in the morning as it is easier to do in pyjamas than jeans! Although some people may experience a psychological barrier against doing this ("it'll hurt too much!" or "I'll injure my knee again!"), it does help recovery. Carry on doing this until you feel happy that your knee has healed and you can walk normally again. Full recovery from a mild to moderate sprain is normally 3 to 6 weeks. For a severe sprain, it can be anything up to 12 months. ● Other knee injuries While spra
              ins and strains are the most common types of knee injuries, it is possible to suffer other problems. Dislocation - a favourite with a friend of mine, who has managed this four times so far. A dislocation happens when a joint becomes displaced by a strong wrenching force, and is reasonably uncommon in the knee because of the large size of the muscles concerned (but my friend is never one to conform). This will require a trip to casualty, strong painkillers, a plaster cast and several weeks on crutches to sort out. Arthritis - OK, more of a disease than an injury, but damaged joints may be more susceptible to arthritis. This is basically damage to the cartilage, which eventually brings the ends of the two bones into contact so that they rub together and cause major swelling, stiffness and pain. Having seen my gran suffer with arthritis in her knees, this is not something I would wish on my worst enemy. Currently, medicine cannot cure arthritis, but it can be eased with a variety of drugs and painkillers. Runners Knee - caused by overuse of the joint that leads to the shock absorbers breaking down. The breakdown is progressive, but can be prevented and helped by cutting back activity. Tendonitis - another problem of overusing the knee, tendonitis causes the tendons to become swollen and irritated, leaving the knee inflamed and painful. Rest and anti-inflammatory drugs are required to treat the affected knee. Iliotibial band syndrome - only of concern to the regular cyclists amongst you! The repetitive motion of activities such as cycling can lead to tendons rubbing against the bony area at the end of the thigh, leading to irritation. Again, swelling and pain results. ● Prevention of knee injuries Well, we all know that prevention is better than cure! - warm up properly before exercise - wear athletic shoes that fit properly and have arch supports - do not overdo exercise, and sto
              p if you experience any pain - take care to keep feet aligned when lifting heavy boxes, and do not lift too much - when cycling, ensure the seat is at the correct height for you - maintain a healthy weight - wear protective kit when playing sports - do gentle stretching exercises daily ● For more information http://www.uihealthcare.com/topics/sportsmedicine/spor3342.html http://www.niams.nih.gov/hi/topics/strain_sprain/strain_sprain.htm I hope everyone reading this has happy and healthy knees!

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                03.06.2001 21:09
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                I slipped on a wet floor about ten years ago and managed to twist my knee so that the knee cap, (or patella to give it it's proper name), was dislocated. It was quite an odd sight, or would have been if it hadn't been so painful. The knee cap was literally sticking out at the side of my knee. The knee structure is very tough and strong but the muscles, tendons and ligaments surrounding it can be torn or strained by violent movement. I had twisted my knee and managed to push the cartilege that forms the knee cap out of place. A friend who happened to be there at the time tapped it and it slipped back into place. I still had to go to the hospital where they bandaged it, gave me painkillers and anti inflamatory tablets to decrease the swelling and told me to go home and behave myself until the pain went! It was very painful for about six weeks. Knee joints take a lot of strain, wear and tear so they are very vulnerable to damage. It is virtually impossible to rest a knee completely when you have no one to fetch and carry for you. Mmmm! Well! If I had followed instructions to the letter I would have led a very boring life. It still hurts at times, even now. This seems to be a problem that doesn't sort itself out completely. Once you have a weakness in a knee it doesn't take much make it swell up and give you pain. Such a simple accident has led to so much pain. Fortunately it's only sporadic and not too bad in recent years. It can be awkward though. I was standing on some step ladders painting a ceiling. That was fine but when I tried to bend my knees to climb down again, my left knee wouldn't bend, it was locked. I had great difficulty hopping down the ladders with one leg straight. This wasn't helped much by my dog who had been watching this fiasco and had decided that this was a good game and he would climb up the ladders behind me and join in the fun! I m
                ust admit that although I was struggling I couldn't help laughing because the dog was barking and leaping with sheer delight! Well, both knees are working today so I should be grateful. I have been advised that gentle exercise will keep the joints moving but I don't think they had 'step ladder hopping' in mind!

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                  03.06.2001 03:53
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                  It is hard to know how to write a decent opinion on the subject of knee disorders. If anyone is interested in them, it is usually because they have, themselves, had an experience of it; so what can you tell them? However, as a challenge I have set myself, I am here to try to explain how it was for me - without wanting to sound self-pitying or such like. Here goes... I used to be afit person. My main interests were walking, roller-blading and swimming (particularly swimming). I was an avid member of the local school's swimming pool committee, which meant helping with the upkeep and maintenance of the pool, and supervising out-of-school swimming sessions. All well and good, until new legislation was brought in which meant that at least one member on pool duty had to hold the Bronze Medallion Life-Saving qualification. We, as a committee, argued about this: our pool was 3 feet in depth all along, just 15 feet long by 10 feet wide, well-supervised with non-swimmers being required to use flotation devices etc, but no - we had to comply. Fair enough; we wanted the best in safety for our children. All that was left was the big question: who was going to take this qualification. All eyes fell on Trayo. Trayo's eyes rose to heaven. Still, it was a challenge, wasn't it? But was I fit enough for the gruelling course? And at 27, was I young enough??? I decided not. I shook my head viciously, right up to and including the moment I said "Yes"! And so it was. I headed off to the frightening venue of our town pool and joined forces with the other, equally nervous, candidates - who were all of around 17 years of age, young, lithe, fit and slim. The course went reasonably well. After initially struggling, I gained in strength what I had lost in youth and seemed to be on course for my very own Bronze Medallion. The week before the examinations and physical tests were due to take
                  place, disaster struck. Fighting to keep within the time limit on the rescue task, I kicked out with all my ability to go faster. PING! Ouch, what the heck was THAT? I tried to continue swimming (my "casualty" was slowly drowning in the deeper end!) but the most horrendous pain was searing through my knee joint. I stopped swimming, tried to keep myself afloat using just my arms - and yelled. Loudly. My "casualty" became my hero! He miraculously regained consciousness and swam to my aid, pulling me towards the edge where our instructor helped him to drag me out of the water (no easy task: I'm no skinny!). Upon reaching terra firma, the damage became apparent, with a knee joint that resembled a prize-winning cauliflower. The accident book was sought, and ice-packs were applied to the appropriate area. The following day I discovered that movement was nigh on an impossibility. My partner took me to casualty, where x-rays revealed no broken bones (funny that!), so a Tubigrip was applied and crutches were lent to me. "Whatever you do," said the cute Australian doctor, with more wisdom than I care to mention, "DON'T let them open the knee up to see what's wrong!" Even then, I found his words to be of little comfort. After 3 weeks of pain and immobility, things seemed to be easing. I managed to ditch the crutches, and started to walk small distances alone. Over time, the knee almost returned to normal, until one fateful day when I happened to get out of the bath. Yes, you did read that correctly! I had enjoyed a lavish soak but had decided that it was time to get out before I washed away the rest of my skin. I put one leg onto the carpet, followed with the other... PING! Here we go again! Remembering the wise doctor's words, and fearing another trip to casualty, I went to my G.P instead. I explained wha
                  t the doc at A&E had told me, and how I wanted to avoid any surgical intervention. His theory was the same: "Once they start messing around with knees they tend to cause more trouble!". His advice was a course of steroid injections directly into the joint. Painful, but seemingly effective, I found. Unfortunately, after a month of these the joint had not improved as much as expected, so I was referred to the fast-track knee clinic. (The term "fast-track" made me giggle; I was going nowhere at any rate of knotts!). Here I found myself undergoing x-rays, scans, physiotherapy - you name it - and no-one had any inclination what the actual problem was! In course I was fitted with a leg brace, which gave me lateral stability and enabled me to at least walk around the house without crutches. But it didn't solve the problem, only eased it, and after 18 months (yes, really!) I was faced with the inevitable arthroscopy. *Definition* arthroscopy: a minor operation involving the use of an arthroscope to see inside a joint, whilst simultaneously causing more pain and swelling than the patient could ever cope with. The arthroscopy revealed a small injury to the cruciate ligament, a crossed-over ligament that holds the knee together. Repairs were duly made, followed by further physiotherapy and the continued usage of the leg brace. Thus, I underwent more than 2 years of treatment when, had I ignored the original casualty doctor's warning, I could have been repaired and rectified within a year! The question is: did the operation cause further problems? Well, it's hard to say really. I can't kneel or squat, I still can't swim using the breaststroke leg kick (the knee has a frightening tendency to hyperextend, which can hurt considerably!), and I haven't yet attempted roller-blading (due, in part, to complications from a recent pregnancy, but also to the fear of en
                  during that awful pinging sensation again!). But if I keep to some simple rules (e.g. don't kneel, squat etc.) I have to say that, generally, there have been no unwelcome after effects. But if I ever get my hands on that casualty doctor...!

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                    15.03.2001 21:55
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                    Knees. Kind of boring, aren't they? Bony lumps between your thighs and shins, they don't do very much. ~~Not funny~~ They don't even sprout hair like armpits, though I've always wondered what makes armpits so special. And armpits are definitely funnier. ~~Not sexy~~ Anyway, all such ruminating leads us not very far, but is a useful background to just how unsexy knees - and therefore knee complaints - are. ~~A not funny, not sexy, introduction~~ This op is going to talk about the knee problems I suffered and suffer, mainly focussing on childhood. Those of you with knee problems may find some solace and good advice. I've also got some advice here for parents of kids with persistent health problems that the doctors struggle to pin down. And I hope to entertain you along the way, with my own brand of sparkling wit and repartee. OK, OK. I hope to entertain you with my brand of non-humour, so prepare to scornfully smirk at how unfunny this prat is. ~~The problem with knees~~ Now here's another issue for you. Because knees are great big lumps of bone covering up some complicated mechanics, most knee problems are invisible to the eye and to X-ray too. That is, unless you're unfortunate enough to crack your patella (knee bone) like former England fast bowler David "Syd" Lawrence did a few years back. ~~So who's a big softie?~~ But that's a rare thing. Most people with knee problems are suffering problems in their soft tissue and that's harder to diagnose, harder to treat and more likely to recur than bone-related problems. And so it was (and is) with me. My history (I'll keep this brief before you nodd off) of knee problems, started when I was very small - about 6 or 7. ~~Don't go!~~ My knee used to "go". Now that's a good one for you parents. "Mum! My knee&
                    #39;s gone!". "Gone where?" is the wrong response. My problem was, I couldn't actually put my finger on what the damn problem was. I would get a peculiar straining feeling inside my knee, not really painful, but rather horrible nonetheless. A few visits to the doctor had resulted in a "tubigrip" bandage being prescribed, and I would don it. ~~The trouble with Tubigrips~~ Tubigrips are elasticised tubular bandages. They are designed to "support" an afflicted joint or limb part, particularly when they are very tight. Of course, the tighter they are the less comfortable, but that's just one drawback of Tubigrips. Later in my life, I worked out that they were actually making my "problem" worse on the great majority of occasions. I would say Do Not Treat Them Unsceptically. ~~Scepticism with other treatments~~ In fact, in recent years, I've begun to treat other - more medicinal remedies - more sceptically too. After a couple of breathless incidents, my partner was diagnosed with asthma a few years back. The "puffer" the doctor gave her made her ill - nauseous and far more breathless. In the end, I suggested she stop using it. She did and has had no more symptoms since. ~~I'm not Doctor Quack~~ I'm not suggesting all of you out there in Dooyooland throw away your medicines - just don't treat them as panaceas. Assess them as you would any consumer product - are they good, or are they useless? ~~Back to the knees~~ It took a heavy fall to really kick things off. I was 11 and I fell onto a hard wooden surface. My knee took the brunt of it. From the first second, I knew this was different. I was in lots of pain, but worse was the discomfort - a separate feeling. This now felt (on any kind of movement of the knee) like something inside would snap if I moved it too much.
                    ~~Pop goes the Kneesel~~ And the fact is, the doctors never really sussed it. Over the next 8 years or so, the same thing recurred several times. I had manipulations under anaesthetic, blood clots removed from the joint in key hole surgery (that was from the other knee, that felt left out) and all kinds of scans and other crap. Wierdest of all, I had a "moving pictures" X-ray, where the injected my knee with a radioactive dye and then Oxygen(!) and watched the dye in the soft tissue on a moving picture. The Oxygen going in was mad - I imagined my knee bursting all over the ceiling. Ugh. ~~Physioterrorists~~ Physioterrorists fall into two categories. The darlings and the sadists. I saw plenty of both. The sadists took the Public-School-PE-teacher approach of "there's nothing wrong with this kid that 976 miles on an exercise bike won't fix". These Physios usually made things worse - thankfully, I think they're a dying breed. The darlings (males included) cared. And worked with me to make me better, taking me seriously, despite my youth. ~~Water torture? Swimmature pleasure...~~ One surgeon I was under was a big believer in the benefits of Hydrotherapy - doing exercises in a bath-temperature pool. My Physio at the time was a stunning woman, who later appeared on "Blind Date". We would get in the pool and she would stand cradling my head on her chest as I lay on my back in the pool and exercised my knee. As a 12 year old, this worked well for taking my mind off the pain! Today, I would simply refuse, for fear of "embarrassing myself"! ~~Abracadbra!~~ One doctor we saw at the time predicted that the problems I was encountering may well disappear on their own in my late teens. We didn't take too much notice - one of his colleagues had made dark and unsubtle references to a life in a wheelchair shor
                    tly before one episode had cleared up. But disappear they did - my last major "episode" was in the lower 6th at school - and I'm now more than 30. I do get occasional twinges, especially (laugh now) when the weather changes, but unfortunately I can't predict a damn thing because it happens subsequent to, not in advance of, changes. Sigh. My career as John Ketley's brilliant assistant, gone down in flames. ~~Hypochondria - difficult to spell. More difficult to disprove~~ Chatting with my mum, a year or two ago, I made an alarming discovery. My parents, whose support and encouragement for me at those times was nothing short of heroic, had been persuaded by a doctor to take me to a psychiatrist. The doctor thought I was putting it on - why I should want to go under the knife, through the hands of physioterrorists and onto crutches (see below) is anyone's guess, but I know such people do exist. However, I was young enough not to realise what was going on and (KEY POINT) my parents deliberately underplayed the whole thing. The Psychi apparently soon decided that I wasn't making it up, but I'm interested to know what would have happened if he'd decided otherwise. Would I have been refused treatment? Left in pain? Actually, sod the physicalities, this bloke could have mentally damaged me, if I had felt abandoned and not believed. Please listen to me parents. If your kid says there's a problem, believe them. The results could be alarming if you get it wrong. ~~Matron, would you hold my crutch?~~ Crutches, use of, some tips. I've spent over a year of my life on the damn things in total. So take heed of my advice! 1) Go for elbows Elbow crutches are the metal ones which come up to your elbows. Unless your leg is in serious plaster (by which I mean up to your thigh) ask, plead or beg a pair of these, rather
                    than using the Long John Silver types. They're more comfortable, smaller, lighter - much better. 2) Go for padding Your hands WILL hurt if you need to use crutches to get around for any length of time, especially if one leg is non weight-bearing. Pad the handles of the crutches with some foam or bandages. Best of all, use the crummy Tubigrips they gave you if you decide they make you worse. Gloves can be good - but beware of sliding grip on the smooth rubber/plastic handles. 3) Watch out - they slide It's not just their handles. It's their feet too. Look at the size of your feet and compare them with those of the crutches. They haven't got much purchase, so take care on smooth or damp surfaces, or you'll be on your face on the floor before you can say "Oops." 4) Don't take no for an answer You can get a pair of crutches from any NHS hospital. Even if your doctor has omitted to get you a pair or you "officially" can't. Ask the porters. They've often got some spare pairs and they're usually very friendly helpful people - sometimes working for no money. When you're finished with them, try to remember to return them. ~~Sporting endeavours~~ I now play football on a regular basis, but I am careful with my tackling. I also avoid running on anything other than grass - if I want to go for a run it's a local park or nothing. Jarring the knee by running on pavement etc is BAD. And that goes for you healthy people too. ~~Tubular balls~~ On long tube journeys, I need to sit. My knees are weak. I won't push and shove my way to a seat, but here's my tactics that give me the best chance of sitting... Enter the tube through a set of double doors. You can get in quicker than through a single and have a better chance of getting a seat. Then, if there isn't one, make your way to stand i
                    n the aisle area. If you are in a style of train that has an aisle at each end and one in the middle, go for an end. Don't ask, just do it. When you see someone about to stand up from a seat near you, ostentatiously back away to allow them to progress to the door in the OPPOSITE direction to you, i.e. the way you're facing. That way, as they move off, you follow them... and then sit. When you are young and male, noone will stand up and give you a seat. And I won't embarrass myself by asking for one - I look too healthy. So I have no shame in using these tactics - feel free to copy them. Unless you're on my train!!! *** So, that's a summary of my knee problems and some advice to anyone who suffers similarly or is a parent of a kid with a mysterious ailment. I hope it's been useful. I'll leave you with this thought - I once crocked my knee for a good few months by playing cards. Work that one out, if you can.

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                    Have you experienced a knee injury? What are the best treatments, preventions, or products to cope with these injuries?