What's your favorite sports medicine/physical therapy website?
I'd love to hear your suggestions for good websites to boost my knee rehab options & vocabulary.
My MRI results were faxed yesterday by the sports-medicine doctor (who hasn't actually seen the radiologist's images yet). Let me point out that only my left knee still feels "injured" after eight weeks of recovery, and I only asked that my right knee also be examined "as long as I'm in the machine". I'm waiting to talk with the MRI radiologist ("Show me"), an orthopedic surgeon ("What now?") and a physical therapist (non-surgical options). I'm also talking with older martial artists, who frankly are doing a lot more for my morale than the medical community.
- ACL torn "proximally" (whatever that means).
- "Large fissure in the medial facet of the patella which extends to the subchondral bone." (More vocabulary problems.)
- Extensive full-thickness cartilage loss is seen in the weight-bearing portion and posterior aspect of the medial femoral condyle.
- Likely frayed menisci related to degenerative process as opposed to an acute meniscal tear.
- Prior MCL sprain. (Darned if I can figure out when that happened...)
Right knee (which I'd already upgraded from "the bad knee" to "the good knee"):
- Large joint effusion.
- Torn ACL.
- Torn posterior horn of the medial meniscus.
- Lateral meniscus torn or avulsed.
- Full-thickness cartilage loss in the posterior medial femoral condyle.
The report could make one think that I should be in a wheelchair, both ACLs flapping in the breeze, with a Demerol drip in each arm. The truth is I feel fine. I walk normally, I've been doing tae kwon do forms & heavy-bag kicks, and I was ready to resume training at the dojang next week. After two months' rest the right knee feels better than it has in months (90%) and the left knee feels much better (75%). I walk 2-3 miles 3x/week. I don't surf any worse than before the injury. (I don't surf much better, either, but that's a practice issue.) I bicycled 10 miles last week. I don't feel good enough to run but that's not new-- I haven't run in four years. I don't feel joint instability, I don't feel like my knees are about to "give out", and I didn't feel significant pain when I tore things. I need to see the radiologist's images before I can comprehend the damage.
I've lost some mobility, particularly in the left knee. I can't put my feet behind my head. I can't tuck both feet into my crotch and touch my forehead to the floor. I can't slowly squat down on one leg and then slowly rise back up again. But I don't know if that's because I've torn up my knees or if it's because I'm a decade older. I'll never be an acrobat, but I want a doctor to show me what "normal" knee mobility/strength tests I can't pass anymore.
When I hurt my knees also seems to be a contentious issue. I've stretched my tendons & ligaments for over 20 years and I've been told that my joints are too loose. I've had a career of sore joints from the Navy's exercise programs, and I'm sure the cartilage & meniscus damage is at least partially caused by a couple decades' wear & tear. It looks like I tore the right ACL in Sep 2004, over 18 months ago. (If it's been like this for that long, what's the rush to fix it?) It's a little hard to reconcile the damage with my lack of pain and good range of motion. I've sprained ankles & broken toes that have reduced me to quivering, sniveling, thumb-sucking piles of jelly, and these knees haven't felt anywhere near so bad. If I've put up with stiffness & painful recoveries for this long then it's hard to understand how it'll suddenly get worse in my 50s or 60s.
Of course I'm being warned that if I don't immediately seek surgical relief then both knees will void their warranty and lock up with severe arthritis. Perhaps I'm overstating the medical community's insistence (and their surgical motivations), but I don't see the problem or the urgency of correcting it. My first trip down the steps each morning is a little tentative (and pretty noisy), but only occasionally do I resort to 800 mg of ibuprofen. (I haven't even checked out Advil or Naproxen yet.) I understand that knees with untreated injuries have later turned arthritic, but how do we know it's causal? Isn't it possible that arthritis would have reared its ugly head with or without surgery? If each of my ACLs is torn clear through then I could understand the desire to reconnect them, but I'd sure like to see some advanced arthroscopic microsurgery techniques before they flay my knee open and go in with darning needles & superglue.
I'm pretty firmly stuck between the stages of denial & anger. It's possible that tae kwon do has exacerbated a lifetime of accumulated damage and that I should stop doing martial arts. ("But it's only a half a pack a day a six-pack a night three hours a week, and I can quit anytime I want!") I'm pretty sure that two decades of self-imposed aggressive stretching has loosened my joints to instability. However I'm really reluctant to give up the camaraderie, skills, speed, & reflexes that I've enjoyed over the last two years.
You marriage veterans can appreciate the spouse conversations that we've had this week. Even I can eventually admit that I probably shouldn't be sparring anymore, but that doesn't make it any easier to contemplate giving up the quest for a black belt.
Any reading suggestions would be welcome!
Spring 2020: my daughter and I wrote “Raising Your Money-Savvy Family For Next-Generation Financial Independence.”
Author of the book written on E-R.org: "The Military Guide to Financial Independence and Retirement."
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