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COTH Trashed Knee + Ankle Brigade

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  • Originally posted by Equine Adhesive View Post
    I figure I might as well join the brigade, I've already read through the entire thread, and ya'll scare me with what you brave souls are going through, but unfortunately I'm here to join you.

    -Athletic accident early 2010 = torn hamstring, meniscus tears, MCL strain, plica syndrome. This went undiagnosed for EIGHTEEN MONTHS of sheer pain, with docs telling me I was crazy/negative MRI proved there was nothing. Went thru PT and cortisone shot, got to where I could ride (flatwork) but wasn't able to do other sports without re-injury. Finally:

    -Mensical debridement + plica removal summer 2011. I was told afterward (other than "oh I guess the MRI did not pick up any of that", and I quote: "Your knee looks beautiful and will not give you trouble any more." Surgeon did note lax ACL. Did the appropriate PT, which enabled me to finally fix the hamstring problem (before I was too limited to rehab the hamstring). I resumed FULL SPORTS, including: hiking in backcountry terrain, cycling, running, swimming, riding (slowly returned to jumping, was planning to return to racehorse riding), kickboxing (non-sparring), even bouncing on large trampolines. I had some discomfort here and there but stopped thinking about my knee as things returned to "normal".

    -Jan. 2012 I was jumping my horse, he bucked and threw me forward. Felt instant discomfort, thought I should get off and check (horse needed to be lunged, anyway). Slid to ground and knee buckled. Took a week off riding, resumed riding w/o stirrups for next 7 weeks. Went to see sports med doctor (surgeon was booked for 2 months out from even there), who intentionally tweaked my plica (to show his rotation student) for AT LEAST 60 SECONDS OF AGONY on more than one occasion. Then he wrenched my knee hard- I have no idea what he did. But since that appointment (5 weeks ago), I have been unable to go up or down stairs, walk properly, or do ANY sports or really ANYTHING.
    Subsequent MRI = negative (same as one pre-surgery).
    For first 3 weeks after appt, had lots of laxity in knee.
    -Then I went to see an ND and I started prolotherapy, because I don't know what else to do. Insurance is not covering it, but I am desperate. I am also starting Hyal. Acid/MSM/Gl/Chon supplements + fish oil, and I do 30-60 mins of PT a day, plus hot + cold therapy. ND noted laxity in my MCL and ACL. The injections into my MCL hurt like a bitch. I started to walk better 8 days after my first prolo session, but it was probably due to literally NOT getting off my ass for those 8 days. My session #2 is next week.
    -I have an appt with my surgeon (finally) in early May. But I don't want to have surgery again with no diagnosis! And under a year after my first. I was talking to a friend who has a history of knee problems and she told me they don't tell you this, but you don't come back 100% from surgery and each one brings that down, and athletes in particular are very prone to reinjury and lifelong problems.

    I am now very depressed, selling my horse, and have trouble foreseeing my future in athletics. I see myself as one of those crippled people when they are older. I don't understand how my pain and limitations can be so enormous when I am young (under 35) and ON PAPER, have a more functional knee than some other people who are actually doing a lot more than I can! All I can do at this point is walk on level ground for a few blocks and back. THAT'S IT. The moment I try more, I am back on my butt for days that turn into weeks. I cannot walk up or down (particularly down) any hills. I cannot walk briskly. It is not like I walk normally and then that degrades- my walk is slow and it is easy for observers to tell I am in pain. (People at the barn like to tell me I am too young to walk like that...I am sure they mean well but it hurts to hear them say that to me. It's not like I choose to have this problem.) I am just starting to take some stairs, but it is very, very slow. Before my app't with the sports med doctor, I was scaling stairs no problem, riding w/o stirrups and had just taken then back, and I was swimming! What should I do?

    I am desperate for a solution. =(
    Equine Adhesive...You are not the only one out there. I am on the same boat with you, too. I am due for several more tuneups. It's not fun to get old, but guess, that's how life goes for everyone. Hang in there!!


    • o.k. I just got injection #2 of 3 in the Knee done this week. Painful, but hopefully it'll be worth it in a few weeks when I can walk better again, and of course, RIDE! So far, so good.
      ‎"Luck favors the prepared, darling." ~~ Edna Mode


      • LLHD - thanks for the kind words. I am sorry you know out it feels and I hope your tune-ups get you back to where you want to be!

        Jingo...are you doing prolotherapy too? Is this your first time? I just had #2 done this past week (of I don't know how many)...13 cc's, 7 injection sites...it was WOWSER, waaaaaaay more painful than #1 a few weeks earlier...either she was very accurate or I don't know what, but the injection into the ACL in particular was really nasty and followed my exact pain track. I feel ok now, inflamm. is steadily going back down, I have been taking it easy, been tender and sore and tired (I find the treatments make me tired, do you get tired?) and just trying to look ahead with a positive attitude.
        When do you think you will ride again?


        • Original Poster

          I drove! And have a cane!

          Last Saturday I totally ditched the walker for the cane. Hurts sometimes, but the doctor and PT both said this was normal from using the muscles more.

          And I've driven a few times now! Only a short distance - seriously, no more than a few miles - but yesterday decided "Now or never," drove a mile to Fresh & Easy, got some groceries and drove home. Woot!


          • Yay Coreene! That is awesome! It is hard to find that balance between pushing yourself and not reinjuring yourself. Congrats on moving to a cane, that is a big step!


            • I am really pleased to announce that I am making an amazing recovery thanks to the prolo treatments. I seem to have a sudden spike in strength, ROM, and decrease in pain starting day 8 after each treatment. Yesterday was day 8 from my 2nd treatment and I suddenly gained the ability to walk up and down a steep hill, and stairs are becoming easier.
              I am in no ways pushing it, and going to continue with my aggressive program, and I know I have a ways to go, but I am inspired by regaining at least a minimal amount of normalcy. It sure is nice to not be existing in a state of daily acute pain, and I hope that I continue to heal until I return to my former athletic self. We will see! I can hope, right??!!


              • Is no one updating anymore? Coreene, how are you faring?

                It's been almost a month since my last update and unfortunately, I am not doing much better now that I was a month ago. I am now wearing a hinged brace during the days and take it off at night. I still cannot swim or do any athletics. Occasionally I will hop on a trail horse western with no stirrups. I have good days and bad days, but no general trend toward more good days, which is most upsetting. I hope one day to be a normal person. I can't wait to sell my horse and get out of horses...I am done for now with riding, as I can't imagine having the strength to ride when I can hardly get around due to my still-undiagnosed injury.


                • Original Poster

                  And now some good news

                  I've been driving for four weeks. No longer use cane in the house or in the office, hurray! Today I am being fitted for a new brace, which will be smaller than the one I currently have (an Ossur Innovator, which is one long ass brace).

                  I will eventually only need the brace while riding an on uneven ground or when very active.

                  The drop foot is showing zero signs of improvement, but apparently if it will get better it won't show for at least a year. By now I am so used to it that it is truly the least of my worries, except for that I am tired of wearing ugly ass shoes.

                  So still have two braces on at all times, and still walk funny, but NO PAIN, and for that I am so very grateful. Doctor says I should be able to walk around on a horse after Halloween.


                  • No pain is fantastic!

                    I was so glad to not wear sneakers to work, so I understand the ugly shoes. I do have my Imelda Marcos moments
                    Visit my Spoonflower shop


                    • No pain is a great motivator!
                      You jump in the saddle,
                      Hold onto the bridle!
                      Jump in the line!


                      • Originally posted by Coreene View Post
                        So still have two braces on at all times, and still walk funny, but NO PAIN, and for that I am so very grateful. Doctor says I should be able to walk around on a horse after Halloween.
                        Wonderful news! Ask the doc if you could ride a day earlier, so you and Oliver can dress up for Halloween.
                        "... if you think i'm MAD, today, of all days,
                        the best day in ten years,
                        you are SORELY MISTAKEN, MY LITTLE ANCHOVY."


                        • How awesome for you Coreene! It sounds as if you can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I seem to be going in the opposite direction- I went from no knee brace to knee brace to knee brace w/ cane to now knee immobilizer w/ crutches, non-weight-bearing. Still shopping for an ortho.


                          • EA, I was thinking of you the other day. That just sucks. Wish I could come up with something more inspirational. I got my fingers crossed for you that the NWB will help in the long run.
                            Visit my Spoonflower shop


                            • Thanks RM, I am going to see a new ortho in 1 week, and I am pretty confident I know what the injury is (sans complications), I just don't know how to heal it (apparently). I have tried like 30 different things and it will feel better, only to get worse again. It's made it very difficult to be successful on my job search, to say the least. =-/ I am hoping that being NWB will work, for however long it takes...I just hope it doesn't start to "feel better" and then go to shit again once I start walking again after the NWB time. So I am trying to overestimate and assume I should be NWB for a minimum of 6 weeks, but I will see what the ortho thinks.


                              • Sorry to be ignorant but what are "prolo treatments"?


                                • Prolotherapy (after "proliferation"): where they inject a chemical irritant (usually a dextrose solution) into your affected area with hopes it will attract growth factors, pushing the body to heal that area. For me, it seemed to be working, and my pain has become more localized even as my ability has decreased-- but there is no way to prove it worked, and regardless, I am actually worse now (not because of prolo, but because nothing has worked for me). I think I would try it again but only with stem cells or something more solid than dextrose.


                                  • Well, you sound better. I know it is frustrating. Hopefully since it sounds like you figured out what the root problem is things will start moving upward. the best thing about rock bottom, it there is no place to go but up.

                                    It's always something, I finally got the ankles in pretty good shape, moving enough to start losing weight, and bam! I spilled almost boiling coffee on my hand, and now have a second degree burn to deal with. Great. At least it's not my writing hand. Just when I started riding again. Always something.
                                    Visit my Spoonflower shop


                                    • Ouch! How long does it take for a burn like that to heal? I imagine it must make handling the horses difficult. Do you have help?

                                      I'm actually worse than I was, not because of prolo, just because prolo didn't really help me in the long run; nothing has. The only solid improvement I have had is that the pain in the back and lateral side of my knee went away. Before, I was slowly getting up and down stairs I would say for more than 50% of the time, it was just awkward and weird and sometimes painful. I had started to take some short walks with my knee brace on and I was able to walk out into the XC fields and such. But now, I am on crutches and NWB am wearing a compression wrap w/ towel 24/7 (except when I take it off to stretch and do ROM), with a hinged brace over that. My knee was the size of a grapefruit on Monday. And this is months after that terrible doctor visit and 5 months since time of injury...I healed from surgery faster than this. I'm not even healing. My new timeline:

                                      3 months to walk again
                                      9 months to start light athletics
                                      2 years to ride and start my normal athletics

                                      I hope that works!


                                      • I had my Euflexxa injections into the knee in May. It brought my pain level down to a dull roar, instead of the daily "I'm going to KILL something" kind of pain. I tried riding in my hunt seat saddle & cannot post. The up down pressure on the knee is debilitating, although I can sit the trot & canter o.k....so, back to my western saddle I go. I fear I may never be able to ride in an english saddle again, but hey, at least I CAN ride. I also am unable to cue my horse properly with a calf, because to tighten the calf pulls the knee out...which hurts like hell! So, I think I have come to accept the fact that need to replace the knee joint... and, so, am tentatively "planning" to have the knee replacement done this fall... probably in October or November. My ortho has done a TON of knee replacements, so I am confident in the surgery itself being fine... it's just the recoup time seems to be an unknown...I've heard everything from 4 days to four months? I go back to the Ortho in mid-August, so will have some time to get everything organized I hope. My goal is to be able to RIDE, as well as walk (duh), so we'll see what he says in August. That's my update for ya...
                                        ‎"Luck favors the prepared, darling." ~~ Edna Mode


                                        • Originally posted by Jingo-ace View Post
                                          So, I think I have come to accept the fact that need to replace the knee joint... and, so, am tentatively "planning" to have the knee replacement done this fall... probably in October or November. My ortho has done a TON of knee replacements, so I am confident in the surgery itself being fine... it's just the recoup time seems to be an unknown...I've heard everything from 4 days to four months? I go back to the Ortho in mid-August, so will have some time to get everything organized I hope. My goal is to be able to RIDE, as well as walk (duh), so we'll see what he says in August. That's my update for ya...
                                          You won't regret the knee replacement; I ride with two. It takes about six weeks for the swelling to go down and during that time, you have to work on physical therapy as though you were mastering a new riding skill - with everything you've got. You have to reteach traumatized muscles, ligaments and tendons to bend and straighten and it will be the hardest (and most painful) work you have ever done. Talk to both your doctor and therapist about pain control during PT so you can get the most out of it. But believe that you WILL be back in the saddle again.

                                          Best of Luck
                                          Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway. (John Wayne)