How does a knee look dislocated, or out of place, & mechanically doesn’t move correctly, & yet 2 x-rays, a CT, and an MRI scan suggest it isn’t?
I’ve known for sometime time that this wasn’t going to be straight forward, my gut told me that. When the MRI suggested inflammation, a shot of intra-muscular steroids worked initially, enough that I could remove my knee brace briefly at Christmas, but it still wasn’t right. Next it was oral steroids, & finally a few weeks ago the joint was injected superficially. I have been wearing an industrial knee brace for 4 months now. I don’t like the knee to bend while being loaded (up or down stairs), especially if it also rotates (getting in or out of the car). It aches most of the time, especially after walking any distance. When I sit with my knees bent at 90 degrees, you can spot the protrusion from across the room, it is that obvious. It wakes me up at night if it’s bent for too long. It doesn’t really respond to painkillers, it prefers rest – which my life does not allow, & ice numbs it temporarily.
It has been a mystery to every professional that has examined it, until today…
The appointment to see a colleague of my own rheumatologist that was scheduled for 7 weeks time was brought forward to today. This particular physician is good at ultrasound, which sounds a bit basic when you consider all the other imaging I’ve had. It was difficult to pack my full history into a 5minute conversation, but he was able to get an idea of where I was regarding my disease. Then he put the probe right on the bony prominence that is also very tender. What he clearly saw was bone, extra bone on the head of my fibula. Nothing was out of place; there wasn’t any obvious inflammation, just unusual bone growth. Lying on top of that bone is tendon, now under tension because it’s being stretched & rubbed on bone that normally wouldn’t be there– he described it as ‘runners knee’ without the running.
He has never seen before, & clearly nobody else had so that’s why it’s been difficult to diagnose.
YAY! Finally, a diagnosis. But what about treatment?
If this was a real runners knee, rest, ice, non-steriodals etc. All the usual things you would expect for a sports injury, but this is not a real runners knee, it’s disease related. The treatment will only help with symptoms, it won’t stop the bone growing. In reality, unless my orthopaedic surgeon has any bright ideas, like shaving the extra bit off, I’m stuck with it! So, if my writing doesn’t make it into the spotlight, my unique knee will! It will be presented to other professionals, hopefully on Friday, at a radiology meeting. Maybe somebody else has seen something similar, or can suggest some other management.
I succeeded in holding back the tears until I left the room. Thankfully my husband was with me. He always tries to stay positive in this situations – one of us has to. I have always had a feeling deep down that this would go under the knife, I don’t know why, I just did. Maybe because of the way everyone looked at it, curiously worried at what they were missing. The thought of someone shaving my bone makes me feel physically sick & very emotional. I can’t begin to describe how upset I am, & overwhelmed with anger at having to deal with more pain and discomfort.
At what point is it decided that I’ve suffered enough?