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Tell me your (rider) knee injury stories

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  • Tell me your (rider) knee injury stories

    I'm heading to the urgent Care Center this afternoon for X-rays and am trying to prepare myself for whatever the results may be...

    I took a rather nasty fall yesterday afternoon at a schooling show and landed badly on my left knee. I'm not sure what I did to it, except that I laid on the ground for a good few minutes before standing up because I actually thought I might have broken my leg. Luckily the initial "OMFG" wore off, I got up, realized I could stand on it, got back on, rode my next (last) class and drove myself home. (I figured, if I could drive myself home, I probably didn't need to go to the ER... That, and I'm cheap, lol...)

    I was hoping it would be better today, but I'm suspecting I might have done some tendon/ligament damage because there's some funky swelling/bruising/numbness above my kneecap, and my range of motion is maybe 20% of what it should be. So I'm waiting for the local urgent care center to open this afternoon so I can go have it checked out-- it's cheaper than going to the ER.

    So, for those of you who have had knee injuries-- sprains, strains, etc.-- what was your injury and for how long were you sidelined? I'm terrified that they're going to tell me I need surgery for a torn ACL or something and I'll be out of the saddle for weeks/months...
    *friend of bar.ka

    "Evidently, I am an unrepentant b*tch, possible trouble maker, and all around super villian"

  • #2
    My daughter also had a bad fall, landing on her knee. We went to the ER where they x-rayed her knee, and wound up diagnosing a sprain. She continued to have problems over the next six months, and we returned to the Dr several times. Finally insisted on an MRI, which revealed torn ACL. You just may need more than an x-ray to fully diagnose. Good luck!


    • #3
      I bashed my knee rather hard right where you describe and had the same symptoms. It ended up being "just" a bone bruise. Painful as hell! I got a second opinion because waiting 6 months for it to get better with no treatment sounded like a bad idea to me. Second opinion doctor gave me some steroids (Medrol Dose-Pak) and that worked great!


      • #4
        Landed on my feet when a horse stopped and spun under me. Either the twist off or the landing (I suspect the twist) resulted in a torn ACL and a strained MCL in my left knee.

        They'll do xrays, but that won't reveal ligament damage, only an MRI can really show that, but they may move your knee around to determine if things are "loose" in there.

        If they recommend it, go to a good sports medicine orthopedic group.

        I was out of the saddle for....5 months. Sorry--surgery sucks and the rehab is awful, but my knee is 100% now. It will always be a bit sore at times, but I can live with that.
        Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!


        • #5
          How Timely! On Jan. 22, I got on my 5 year old, who had been given a shot of fluphenazine 10 days before. He's in rehab from a ligament injury, and keeping him quiet and doing light work is close to an impossibility w/o, ah...chemicasl assistance. Fluphen is supposed to work for about 21 days, right? Well, in my case, it lasted 10 days. I got on (wearing helmet AND safety vest), turned him from the mounting block, and he took off bucking. I stayed on the length of the arena when we came to a low barrier (think dressage court PVC pipe) that had been put up to keep people out of the area where rain had blown into the covered arena. My non-jumper hit the brakes,reared and spun (come on! 18 inches, you couldn't have jumped it and perhaps then I could have ridden out the bucking spree?!?!). Well, I didn't like the rear, so I bailed. Now, usually I managed to land on my a$$, my back, or even my feet, but NOOOOOO....I hung up just long enough that I wasn't able to roll over and I did a one-point landing on my left knee.

          I got up and staggered after him. It hurt like hell, but I was barely limping. My breeches were ripped at the knee. I caught him, got back on, and finished a painful 30 mins walk, 5 mins trot ride. When I got home and took off my clothes, I found a knee somewhere between the size of a softball and a grapefruit. I poked at it directly on the kneecap, and THAT didn't hurt, but the area around it did. I went to my doctor about a week later (still not limping much) but more "uncomfortable" than in pain, and he opined that it probably was not broken, but I should see an orthopaedist. My doctor drained a little out of the knee and sent it to the lab to make sure there was no infection.

          The next day I saw the orthopod((a sports medicine specialist) and he took well over a cup of fluid out of the knee area, and confirmed by x-ray that there was no fracture. It really felt like there was very little progress untilo about 10 days ago, and what little swelling was left suddenly disappeared. It's still sore, and there is a feeling of numbness on the top (bruised nerves), and a binding feeling over the kneecap. The orthopod said just keep exercising. It definitely has taken a good six-seven week for the knee to get anywhere near normal. I also was not able to ride, not because riding would cause any harm, but coming off again before the knee is healed would.


          • #6
            I got a big bone bruise to my knee also- it sucked! Having dealt with a lot of soft tissue injuries, I think I'd take those over the bone bruise. It's been a little over a year and the knee is back to maybe 90%

            Good luck- hope whatever's wrong is a quick fix!
            Cascadia- OTTB mare. 04/04-05/10
            If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever


            • #7
              I've ripped up my left knee twice and my right knee once. Left ones were pretty bad, right not quite so much. Never went to a doctor with any of them. Iced them off and on for a couple days, kept them wrapped (horse standing wraps over my jeans) except for when I was icing, did what I could, didn't do what I couldn't. Took a few aspirin. Took most of a year to get back pain free, but I didn't stop riding at all. Just had to get creative for a while about mounting/dismounting with something tall enough I could just swing the right leg over without putting the left foot in a stirrup and also climb up and down from without too big of a reach. Should note I was riding "good" horses, not some addle-brained idiots that I had to worry about getting out from under me. I do have what I "think" is a bit of lateral instability in the knees so I try to go out of my way to not do stupid stuff with a high probability of laterally challenging my knees. But this might all be just in my head...


              • #8
                Torn (severed) ACL, out for 9 months. Two months of PT before surgery, 6 months after. And they can't diagnose it with an Xray. You need an MRI. Really should see a sports medicine orthopod to really find out what's going on.


                • #9
                  Had a horse fall on me and I took the brunt on my left knee. At the ER the doc took one look and said the he would x-ray to "see where you broke it". He came back about 45 minutes later, looked at the knee and then said, "I don't know how it's not broken, but it's not broken. You must have good bones".

                  It was a bad bone bruise, I hopped around ineffectively on crutches for a few days but I was only off the horse a couple of weeks. It hurt like an SOB to use a clutch for several months and I finally traded the stick shift for an automatic. I could feel a weather change coming for about the next 5 years. I'll still get a twinge once in a while but that may just be me getting older.

                  It was kind of funny being told I have "good bone".
                  "Some people are born on third base and go through life thinking they hit a triple” – Barry Switzer


                  • #10
                    Torn ACL from being bucked off my horse. That was in October. Had surgery in December. Been in PT since 1 week after my fall. Still haven't ridden. My knee is still too stiff and I don't have full ROM yet. About 3-5 degrees short of both full flexion and extension.

                    This has been one hellish injury. The rehab is long and sometimes painful. Mentally and emotionally hasn't been much easier. I have 2 horses that have been sitting since October. One is an OTTB I have had for only a year, and riding him now just isn't going to fit into my rehab plans. I'm sticking with my old QH.

                    You need an MRI, a good ortho, and good PT. I also am seeing a chiro who specializes in sports injury and that has also helped.

                    Good luck at the doctors.


                    • #11
                      None of my knee surgeries were related to riding injuries--all soccer. But I've had four--two on each knee.

                      I still ride, ski, etc. I do take some aleve--like today when I trimmed two horses. But generally.....with good SPORTS MEDICINE PT (not the crappy you're over the hill working a desk job PT) you can be back in the game no problem.

                      Best wishes.
                      A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                      Might be a reason, never an excuse...


                      • Original Poster

                        Sandy, your story sounds IDENTICAL to mine, minus the bucking rampage, lol...

                        So after some X-rays and ROM tests at the Urgent Care Clinic, doctor thinks I tore some muscles above the knee and crushed nerves in the same area. X-rays are awaiting final confirmation at the radiology center, but he doesn't think anything is broken and based on the ROM tests, he doesn't think there's any tendon injuries.

                        And no riding for at least a week, he said. OK... (wink wink)
                        *friend of bar.ka

                        "Evidently, I am an unrepentant b*tch, possible trouble maker, and all around super villian"


                        • #13
                          2 years ago I was mounting my TB, I had my foot in the stirrup and he moved sideways. I bounced off the mounting block and landed squarely on my right foot - breaking the top of my tibia. It was 6 months before I rode again and 1 year before all pain went away. I have to retrace the experience now to remember which leg I broke.


                          • #14
                            I landed on my knee on concrete coming down the barn stairs because I missed the bottom step. The steps were high steps, too, about 10" in between each step. I had torn two tendons in my ankle about a month earlier but I'm stubborn and was wearing heels, so when I missed the step my ankle was just too weak to keep my balance and I crashed to the ground right on my knee. Laughed at first then realized I couldn't get up and was in MASSIVE pain! I don't cry LOL ... so when my friend realized how hurt I was she came running and made me go to the ER I tried to say no, but just sitting in the car my knee swelled up so bad that I could feel it pressing on my jeans and it was HOT! ER Doc score that the x-rays would show a shattered knee cap but it ended up just being a bad sprain with torn ligaments. I was on crutches for two weeks, and told to stay off my horse for two months. I was on him bareback in two weeks because I'm a dork! I stuck to walk for about two months and then it took a while to work back up to cantering, and ground mounting took months.

                            I still have soreness and stiffness in that knee and it's been two years now *shrug*.
                            If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude.
                            ~ Maya Angelou


                            • #15
                              Last year around the beginning of March I was getting a leg up onto the horse I had just started leasing something startled her and she shot forward mid way through the leg up. I stupidly hung on and managed to sort of stay on through a few leaps and then fell landing with my right leg bending sideways.

                              I ended up finishing my lesson but by the end had lost the majority of mobility in my leg and was in a huge amount of pain. I have a very high pain tolerance so for me to actually say something was hurting was pretty abnormal. I finally broke down and went to the hospital that evening.

                              It ended up that I had fractured my tibial plateau on the outside of my right knee. I required surgery to rebuild to bone which involved putting two permanent screws in my knee.

                              I was supposed to be three months in a zimmer splint with no weight bearing. I luckily had an amazing ortho surgeon. I was back on my feet within a month, I live alone in a two storey house so it was a little unrealistic for me to lay on a couch for months. Within two months I was back riding and managed to show all summer without problems. I have complete range of motion back in my leg and very rarely have any pain. I was lucky that pushing myself to quickly did not result in further damage.


                              • #16
                                About 3 yrs ago I got knee surgery after waiting a bit too long to do so..I think I originally irritated it during a long xc run (by foot not horse) but about a month or so later I had a fall and the horse actually landed on top of my knee it hurt pretty badly but not as bad as you'd think I actually ended up getting back on after I could walk fairly normally I ended up going through about a year ish of physical therapy injections etc etc before I gave into the surgery (I declared myself not "sound" enough to ride ) They ended up cutting a few nerves and cutting away my VMO and Med. Quad fom the bone shortening them and sewing them back up...terrible terrible surgery i think my stall rest lasted for about 5ish months but i had some complications after the surgery too.. but it did end up helping some though i still occasionlly have unexplained pain in that knee :/ hope everything works out well for you though!


                                • #17
                                  To me, the most bizarre thing about my knee injury is that, at my recent physical, my doctor said there was an issue with my calcium. He believes I MIGHT have a benign tumor on my parathyroid, which can lead to osteoporosis issues and/or kidney stones. He wants an MRI, which fortunately, my insurance will cover. As far as the osteoporosis issue is concerned, though, all I can think is, "I did a one point landing on my left knee off a rearing, spinning 16.2 h.h. horse and did NOT get a fracture. Do you really think osteoporosis is an issue for me?" LOL (I know, I know, if I don't check it out it could lead to problems in the future, but damn!, I'm nearly 65. If I were going to have issues, you'd think they'd have surfaced by now).


                                  • #18
                                    I dislocated my right knee when I was fourteen--tore the tendons and ligaments, the kneecap snapped back into place on its own, but there was major swelling. It destroyed most of the cartilage and it's still prone to swelling almost twenty years later. I was on crutches and in an immobilizer for a week. (I was NOT able to walk right after the injury happened. I did drag myself to teh phone, called 911, and dragged myself upstairs to let the EMTs in.)

                                    I sprained my left knee trying to cavalry-mount Old OTTB. (Bad plan. He never learned not to step off.) We used a shipping bandage to wrap it and I got on from the right side.

                                    When it comes to surgery, I'm torn. (Pun unintended.) My ballroom pro had both his knees done when he retired as a competitor (at 28, 'middle-aged' for a Latin dancer). He's fine and competes high-level pro-am without a problem. On the other hand, I've known people whose knees never came back after surgery and who are worse off than before. So for now, since the worst that's happened was it was REALLY sore after I rode in too-short stirrups in my BO's western saddle, I'm leaving it. But again, mine was tearing with cartilage damage, and I was able to walk again after a couple weeks. Depends on the injury and how much it hurts the rest of the time.
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                                    • #19
                                      I had a saddle slip sideways and the horse took off bucking. I hit the dirt and my knee was killing me as was my back. After about 6 months of falling down at unexpected times, I finally went to the doctor. (I'm really stubborn about going to the doc) I had a completely torn ACL and a meniscal tear. I had surgery to fix the meniscus pretty quickly. That kept me out of the saddle for a week. (Again, stupidly stubborn) I finally relented and had the ACL repaired about a year later. That kept me out of the saddle for about a month.

                                      Hope your knee is just a banged up sprain and you heal quickly. Surgery sucks especially if you aren't good at sitting around.
                                      Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.


                                      • #20
                                        back when i was in high school, i was kicked soundly in the knee about three times at close range. (my mare was NOT happy to be having her cut up leg cleaned and wrapped, thankyouverymuch!)

                                        right after it happened i didn't think much of it, i was more upset and frustrated by the uncooperative mare than in pain! but then in the days and weeks after that, my knee swelled up, bruised terribly, and became EXTREMELY stiff and painful. if i sat with it bent and immobile for more than a few minutes, walking was absolutely excrutiating when i got up. stairs were a struggle for weeks, and i limped around for a long time.

                                        mom shuttled me off to a sports med doctor; i had x-rays, MRI, everything done, and they couldn't find a single thing wrong with my knee. i was told it was probably just deeply bruised and would take a while to heal. the pain went on for months, and only years later did it finally stop bothering me on a regular basis. it will still sometimes act up when i run or hike, but not very often. hopefully your injury is similar to mine, and not life-changing!
                                        Proud member of the "I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday" clique