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Athletic Training

Right knee

01/23/2006

Question:

A month ago I fell and hyperextended my right knee, since then I have had soreness, and pain with weight bearing.The knee will give way and catch sometimes. I have three knee surgeries prior, includeding torn meniscus removal,lateral release, debridement/ shaving of articular cartilage and chondroplasty all on my last surgery in 2/2005. I feel that this injury I have now is a little worse, I worked with pain before but it seems more difficult now. I have a very difficult time trying to do straight leg raises and stairs are scary. At the current time I have no health insurance. I`m going to school full time to be an educator, so I won`t be on my feet all day as I was in retail. The last surgery I had I was told there is nothing left to injure in my knee, if so what`s the deal. I really don`t know what to do,my right quad is very weak and myknee si unstable.It`s

Answer:

It is very difficult to determine an injury or the extent of an injury based on history alone, without a clinical exam or additional tests.  Your complaints could be indicative of injuries to several structures at the knee including but not limited to ligaments and menisci; however, as I mentioned before, clinical exam and possibly additional tests would really be needed to make an accurate assessment of the injury. 

I really feel that based on your extensive history of injuries and surgeries you have had on this knee that it would be a good idea to make an appointment with a physician.  Pain with weight bearing and feeling "scared" with stairs are signs of a significant knee injury.  I know that you may not want to do this without insurance, but if you see a physician at least for a clinical visit, they may be able to give you some advice without ordering other tests or procedures if you inform them of your insurance situation.  It may be advantageous to seek this appointment with the surgeon who did your surgeries because they will have the best idea of what exactly has happened to your knee in the past.  Also, have you looked into a student health insurance plan?  I know that many schools require all students to carry health insurance so you may have been enrolled in this plan as a requirement for admission.

In cases such as this, strengthening of the musculature around the knee would be recommended to help provide stability, but without having seen your knee clinically, I would be hesitant to recommend specific exercises based on the pain with weight bearing, pain with straight leg raises, and pain with stairs that you described.  This could be an area where a physician could provide you with some guidance.

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Response by:

Jamie   Birkelo, MA, ATC Jamie Birkelo, MA, ATC
Assistant Athletic Trainer, Department of Athletics
Instructor
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University