Knee pain and the cause. Part 2
Self--help, Or Doctors' Orders?
"Housemaids' knee" was a pretty good description of the arthritis of the knee suffered by my Aunt,. She would be over 100 years old now if she 'd lived but it is not too many years since she died and it wasn't housemaids' knee that killed her. , obviously....therefore she 'had a good innings!' as the British say. No, it's not my funny spelling or a made up word. "innings' is one of the many cricket terms that litter the English language. (in England , anyway)
I was never a 'sporty person', hated hockey in particular, at school. I mean, why on earth did we need to be running around a field in the middle of winter wearing little shorts and T shirts? Cracking the ice off the grass before we could do anything else with our hockey sticks.?
Due to my lack of interest in sport, when I'd grown up and began having knee pain , it was obviously not an injury, so I assumed the dreaded arthritis that runs in our family had started a bit early for me.
Of course it made me think of my Aunty and her knee pain especially as my knee began to swell for no seemingly good reason. I'm not lazy, but coal fires were a thing of the past, things lost under the bed would be retrieved with the help of a broom handle and polishing floors on your hands and knees , as my Aunty had done was long gone.
Plus I had become disillusioned with the Catholic church, so I didn't do all the kneeling that my aunt had done. I really couldn't understand why I couldn't pray anywhere , anytime, standing or even sitting, but religion is not the point of this hub.
My doctor thought it was arthritis of the knee, so gave me anti-inflammatory drugs and suggested ice-packs for the swelling. My knee just got worse. Somedays the swelling was huge. Somedays I was literally dragging my left leg behind me, so back to the doctor.
He said if it is arthritis a cortisone injection will make a big difference within 24 hours.. Guaranteed. He said. If that doesn't work, come straight back to me tomorrow. Cortisone injection into the knee. Yuk !!Ugh!! One of the most painful injections I've ever had(well, I suppose it would be into an already painful, swollen knee) Come to think of it the time I needed an injection into my big toe was worse. I almost passed out with that one.
I limped to the car and called in to see a relative on my way home, because her sister had recently died. She took one look at my knee which by now had doubled in size and sent me home. Oh Dear! I do try....I was supposed to be there to comfort her.
Next day, back to the doctor. Injection had done absolutely nothing for my knee. "Oh well says my cheery doctor, it's not arthritis, then and you've had physiotherapy and heat and ice treatment in the past. , so I'm afraid the only thing we can do is open you up and take a look.!"
"Er you are kidding, doctor. It's just my knee.."
"You can hardly walk, woman! You've been dragging that leg around for too long"
I felt about 12 yrs old., but he had a point. Some days it was impossible to bend my knee at all or WORSE during the night I'd wake up to find that my legs were curled up as usual but I couldn't straighten the left leg. That actually was a bit scary. It was locked in this bent position and I thought it would never unlock.
My doctor went on to explain it was a very simple procedure (as major surgery goes) It was likely to be a piece of torn cartlidge. Oh, Please.! I don't even run , memories of hockey sticks whacking my ankles, yes but aren't torn cartilages for rugby players?
My doctor insists it's the only option left and I can't carry on as I am. I'm only 30 something. All the surgeon has to do is look for a floating around piece of cartilage and remove it., or if it's hanging by a thread, he'll slice it off, shave the bit of cartilage you have left and you'll be up and running within about 6 weeks. (Hee! Me up and running. Give me a good book and an armchair any day) but I understood his point..
Thankfully I was able to have Keyhole surgery, no slicing open of the knee, and yes.! there was a tiny piece of torn cartilage floating around causing all that excruciating pain. The weird thing was, the surgeon told me that I had arthritis in my knee quite badly. Bad enough for it to rub away the cartilage., just gradually wearing it down until this little piece came completely free.!! So much for cortisone injections telling for sure if it was arthritis or not.
Mustn't be mean to the doctors , after all the injection didn't work because it was more than arthritis causing the problem.
Despite 6 weeks of feeling like a 'mummy' raised from an Egyptian tomb, so heavy were the masses of bandages from my thigh to below my knee, I was recovering well until 'bursitis' set in.. Just occasionally someone gets complications with this simple operation. I am Mrs Occasionally, obviously., but even though it took 10 or 11 months before I walked without a limp , it was well worth it. I've had 19 wonderful years so far without dragging my leg after me. Considering I still have arthritis, like most of my family I walk a lot. In fact it helps as long as I don't attempt a marathon.
Much as I loved my auntie with her herbal potions and all the excellent natural medicines around today, it is still obviously worth visiting your doctor if you have chronic pain., even if only for a diagnosis. Many bumps and slight injuries can be sorted out with physiotherapy., Bursitis reacts well to ice-packs. , or packets of frozen peas, as I used when there was no ice. Well you have to get your priorities right. No good suffering a gin and tonic without ice,. Use the frozen peas for your knee.
Good health to all of you. !!!!