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Knee pain

Postby Hobopoet » Thu Feb 05, 2009 6:11 pm

I'm just a bit concerned... I've always been able to rely on my body. I may be not especially gifted, but since I was a boy, I could pretty much train and compete in anything I wanted. But this winter, I've been hobbled by difficulties with my right knee. Here's the simplest description:

No previous injuries, a long history of pretty acceptable exercise programs (I'm a personal trainer for the local YMCA...I have to do it right!) and no structural abnormalities I know of. This winter, though, I've had a lot of pain especially climbing down stairs. On level ground, I'm OK; it's just going down. I'm, well, a bit past 50 so I wonder if this could be arthritis...and that's a scary thought. :)

Obviously, going down is part of going up. And obviously difficulties going down can really get in the way on a mountain. From what I've outlined here, can anyone suggest a possible diagnosis and some approaches that may help me fix this?

And, yes, I know how difficult this is. But I've grown to trust and respect the remarkable range of experience and knowledge on this site. I appreciate any insights or observations.

A note: I'm a part time college instructor with NO health insurance so whatever this is, I'll have to address it myself.

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Re: Knee pain

Postby rob runkle » Thu Feb 05, 2009 6:17 pm


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Re: Knee pain

Postby Hobopoet » Fri Feb 06, 2009 5:43 am

Good info, Rob...thanks! :)

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Re: Knee pain

Postby Canadian in Colorado » Fri Feb 06, 2009 8:56 am

Where are you feeling the pain? Is it above, below or to the outside/inside of the kneecap or does it feel right behind the kneecap or just deep? What kind of pain is it - sharp/dull/burning/shooting?

I know you don't have insurance but is there an athletic therapy or physical therapy program at the college you work at? They may help you out for a student fee...the students will do an assesment of you but there's always a teacher nearby!
If you're lucky enough to live in the mountains...you're lucky enough.

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Re: Knee pain

Postby rlw49 » Fri Feb 06, 2009 9:54 am

Rest it, ice it, Motrin if it's too painful. Some people get relief from taking glucosamine/chondroitin, though it can take 3 weeks or so to notice any improvement. Some people don't get any help from this supplement. Canadian has good advice about seeking info from the people at the college, see if they have a trainer. Arthritis is a possiblily, and a MD might x-ray it, then give you Motrin or similar med and tell you to do the RICE treatment. Just don't let it get hot, painful, and swollen. You'd have to see a doc.
Good luck, Michigan is a tough place to live now. Too bad, cause it's a beautiful state.

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Re: Knee pain

Postby thebeave7 » Fri Feb 06, 2009 10:27 am

rlw49 wrote:Rest it, ice it, Motrin if it's too painful.


This is a good way to reduce any acute pain you have at the moment, but in the long run does little to solve WHAT is causing the pain. It just masks the issue, though it will help eliminate damage that is being caused before the issue can be fixed. A general MD will most often tell you exactly what rlw49 said, "just rest it and ice it, take a few ibuprofen and stop the activity that hurts", once again a cheap cop out not addressing the root of the issue. Try seeing a specialist if you can, but if you don't want to pay, then rest for a bit, try some easy strength and balance exercises and see what happens. If pain persists then seeing a specialist is the way to go, as we can speculate all day, but none of us are in a position to truly diagnose what is wrong.

Eric
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Re: Knee pain

Postby MtHurd » Fri Feb 06, 2009 10:29 am

Unfortunately, it's probably arthritis the way you describe it. Your ligaments are probably fine which is your biggest concern. Like rlw said, ibuprofin is your best bet. You can also compress/wrap it up to alleviate some of the pain while you are hiking. If you work out your legs at the gym, avoid quad extensions. Squats aren't real good on your knees either.

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Re: Knee pain

Postby Gary Brady » Fri Feb 06, 2009 10:30 am

HoboPoet,

You and I share at least 3 things, we are both just over 50, we like to stay active, and we have knee pain. I have had significant knee pain many times in my life, but it typically shows up after a signifcant effort. Hiking, running, mountain climbing, etc. I have always feared arthritis was the cause. Last year, the pain was intense and it lasted for 3 weeks. It also just happened to coinside with a very significant increase in hiking mileage. I first went to my family doctor. He said I needed to rest and I would be fine. But, the pain was really bothering me. So, I went to a Orthropedist. He took some xrays and pushed and pulled on my knee. His diagnosis. Over use. He explained to me that arthristis usually has either a genetic component or more likely it is result of previous significant injuries. Neither of which I have. When you have a significant injury, like a ligament tear, your knee becomes unstable and prone to arthritis. I am just guessing that you may have, like me, bouts of over use. I went out running last night. Today, when I walked down stairs, I could a feel a pain that wasn't there the day before. If I wait a couple of days, the pain will be gone. If I choose to go out and run again today, or hike for 8 miles, the pain will get worse. My guess, you need to simply rest. Asprin helps. You likely have some inflamation. I hate to break it you, we are not 25 anymore. We have to have more rest days in our work out schedules. Not advice that I always follow.

Gary
You guys have fun climbing this weekend. I can't go. Lumbergh's gonna have me come in on Saturday, I just know it.

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Re: Knee pain

Postby DaleP » Fri Feb 06, 2009 11:27 am

When I experience pain, I can usually trace it to improper support for my feet. As we age,our arches collapse, ( in my case,I have always had flat feet) which can cause pain in the ankles, knees and hips. The first thing I do when buying new running shoes or hiking boots is to replace the standard innersoles with more supportive footbeds such as Softsoles or Soredogs. If I don't do that, I am in a world of hurt. Just an idea in case you haven't already gone down that road.
Dale

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Re: Knee pain

Postby Canadian in Colorado » Fri Feb 06, 2009 12:59 pm

I'm with Gary on the overuse...which is why the location of the pain is important...it could be patellar tendinitis, IT band friction syndrome, bursitis, etc...and any of these can be treated with some stretching, MASSAGE and rest. I'm guessing it's not ligament damage because you would have had an MOI or an "Oh s**t" moment where you knew you tore something. It could be arthritis...but I'm guessing since it came on so abruptly that it's tendinitis.

I'm a massage therapist and sports injury therapist...can't truly diagnose over the internet but would be happy to help guide you in the right direction if you want to give me some details!
If you're lucky enough to live in the mountains...you're lucky enough.

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Re: Knee pain

Postby gdthomas » Fri Feb 06, 2009 1:05 pm

Hobopoet:

I had a similar experience about 15 years ago while running. Out of the blue my knee started to hurt and I could no longer run without pain. Rather than go to the doctor, I started wearing a soft knee brace and began taking glucosamine/chondroitin. I stopped wearing the brace 4-6 weeks later and never had problems running again. At 55, I continue to take glucosamine/chondroitin, and while I don't run as much as I used to, my knees are a non-issue even after subsequent surgery from a skiing accident. I can't say that simple fix will work for you but it may be worth a try.

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Re: Knee pain

Postby Hobopoet » Fri Feb 06, 2009 1:35 pm

Good suggestions and insights; I appreciate it!

I'm going to try one approach and see what happens. I have a rather pronounced muscle strength/bulk difference in my hamstrings. Years ago, I ruptured my left playing football. It wasn't treated properly then...should have been surgically repaired. As a result, I not only have more strength and mass in my right leg, that leg is also much tighter. I stretch it regularly but I think I've backed but this new pain seems more pronounced when I try to stretch so I suspect I've backed off a bit. I'm going to concentrate on stretching that right hammy and see if that helps.

I'm also trying glucosamine/condroitin. I've heard some good things so why not?

Even if this proves to be a permanent problem, I guarantee I'll be pulled off the mountains kicking and screaming!

Thanks again for the very useful comments~ :)

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