Monday, January 24, 2011

Knee Update

Life has been crazy and, since injuries are not fun to think about, posting an update regarding my knee took a backseat to other things.  Since Stuart gave me a virtual kick in the pants, here's the scoop....

The inner part of my left knee has been hurting for almost two years; it's been an odd pain pain that did not match typical knee injuries and its effects made running, yoga, walking, sitting painful.  I actually gave up running "faster" miles because I would feel a catching in my knee and I would end up dragging my left leg/foot along....not exactly fun for someone who likes to race.  Last summer I finally had enough when yoga poses became painful.  I was seeing a wonderful chiro (Dr. Neubauer) for A.R.T. and he was also baffled by the cause of my pain.  My left calf is full of scar tissue and I swing my leg out in a funky way when walking/running so we worked on fixing those in the hopes that it would fix my knee.  After a few weeks of no relief, he sent me for a M.R.I.  The doctor (radiologist) said I had effusion (swelling) and bursitis in a lesser-known bursae.  My chiro recommended the typical course of treatment for it and told me to see an orthopedist if I was not better by November.  I took some time off running, ran very minimal mileage when I resumed, did so much stretching I felt like Gumby, and devoted time each day to using the Stick.  My knee never felt 100% but I held off on going to the ortho....until the pain became unbearable this month.

About two weeks ago I saw Dr.Graham and he took one look at MRI from last year before giving me a diagnosis.  I have a huge cyst along the pes anserinus (area where the three hamstring tendons insert into the knee); the radiologist misread my MRI!  It sucks because I've spent the past 5 months in pain and avoiding running when I could have been treated for it and on the road to recovery.  However, I should have gone to see him a few months ago instead of trusting the radiologist.  According to Dr.Graham, MRIs are often misread.  Yikes!!!!

Dr. Neubauer told me the course of treatment for bursitis when I made my appointment with Dr. Graham so I was prepared for aspiration (draining of burase) or cortisone.  Since my cyst is old (lots of layers), the only option was cortisone.  I happily jumped at the chance for getting cyst-free and he injected it twice.  Fingers crossed it works....he told me to give it 2-6 weeks and to return for another round of cortisone if necessary. It's such a large cyst that one injection may not be sufficient.

I took a mandated 5 day stretch off from working out and am counting down until I am allowed to resume running.  In the meantime, I am working with Dr. Neubauer on fixing what may have caused it; last week I had a grueling A.R.T. session and he taught me lots of PT exercises.  I am on an intensive hamstring stretching and strengthening routine.  Apparently, my hammys are weak so I'm working the life out of them.  I even (gulp) took his recommendation for inline skating; unfortunately, I recently donated my havent-been-worn-in-10 years Rollerblades so I had to purchase a new pair.  Now, I'm hoping I don't hurt myself trying to relearn how to skate.  I am allowed to start "power hiking" this week and next week, if my knee feels "ok", I get to run again...yay!!!

I am having less pain in my knee, though I experienced extreme shooting pains for about 36 hours late last week.  Those, plus some insane bruising around the injection sites, worried me but it could be that the cyst burst.  Apparently, pain and bruising are symptoms of a cyst bursting.  I'm monitoring it and will be smart in returning to running.  Until then, I'm working on getting buns of steel with rollerblading and hammy exercises.


  1. Yay, for a road to recovery! Wow, it's kinda scary that your MRI was read wrong, yikes. I hope everything works out as hoped for!

  2. Thanks for the update! Good to know you have diagnosis now and a course of action!

    Don't forget your pads and helmet!