Wednesday, January 27, 2010

My Kneecap Went on Vacation Without Me

After an hour in the sports medicine waiting room this afternoon, APL and I finally met a very nice orthopedist who gave us some good news: there doesn't appear to be any permanent damage in my knee and crutches won't be necessary!

She says what happened was patellar subluxation, which basically means that my kneecap thought it would be a good idea to pop out of the socket and then changed its mine and popped back in again. (So turns out Pop Goes the Knee(sel) was a very appropriate post title.) This was highly painful and my knee is still traumatized from the event, but there is nothing physically wrong with my knee right now except bruising and soreness.

While she said that this could happen randomly and to anyone, she also said that people with RA are slightly more likely to have this happen because recurrent swelling of the knee can make the muscles that hold the kneecap in place weaker. However, I haven't really had trouble with my knees since I was very first diagnosed with RA, so maybe this was a random event for me.

In any event, the treatment is to wear the knee brace, walk gently on it, and start physical therapy to strengthen certain muscles to reduce the likelihood of this ever happening again. So I'll see the physical therapist on Monday.

Thank goodness I don't have to keep using those crutches. RA + crutches = sucks real bad! In addition to the pain already in my knee, the crutches made my fingers hurt from gripping and my wrists and shoulders hurt from supporting my weight. I only used the crutches for half a day, but I am 100% exhausted this evening.

The news could have been so much worse. To be honest I was pretty nervous and freaked out about this whole experience and what it might mean for my future if my joints were already starting to fall apart, despite treatment. So I'm sure some of the exhaustion I am currently feeling comes from worry too. So, though my knee is still killing me despite the vicodin I took a little while ago, I am extremely grateful that there is no permanent damage in my knee.

And I'm super thankful for APL through this whole thing - coming running to me when I cried out, bringing me lunch and coffee at the law school, chauffeuring me around, and helping me through all the waiting rooms and doctors appointments. Looks like I picked a good one!!

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