Wednesday, March 07, 2007

No news is good news, I guess

Well the doc didn't really find anything in my knee. He yanked my leg in weird directions and scolded me repeatedly for tensing up. He said he felt "residual inflammation." He said he heard "creaking." He diagnosed me with "angry knee." He recommended the same ol' "RICE" crap ... Ice, Compression and Excessive amounts of Advil. But not Rest. He recommended Rehabilitation. He told me to get back on the bike. "Don't ride outside," he said. "There's too much resistance. Put your bike on a trainer and spin easy."

I went to the gym afterward and ran on the elliptical trainer - no incline - for an hour. That motion feels pretty much normal at this point. Then I sat on the ancient stationary bike, set the resistance to "2" and started spinning. It felt really strange. Not necessarily painful ... but if I stopped thinking about it, I would eventually become aware of other physical reactions that are typically associated with pain ... white-knuckling the handlebars, biting my lip, and pressing my head against my arm. It felt unusual. Unnatural. I lasted 10 minutes.

The doc scheduled a follow-up for two weeks from now, and recommended waiting out an MRI scan until then. He seemed really confident in my health. His reassuring head shakes gave me a boost of confidence, but also made me second-guess everything that's transpired in the past three weeks. Maybe I'm looking to the wrong doctor. Maybe what I really need is a good psychiatrist to tell me why I might have a tendency toward self-defeating hypochondria. I know medicine can't do much for you unless you have a traumatic injury ... and this is almost definitely not. I have a fair amount of experience with "waiting it out." Strange, inexplicable and incurable ailments run rampant in my family. But the bad knees seem to be exclusively mine.


  1. See another doctor. What you want are definative answers.

    You buried your leg in a posthole -- possibly causing real damage -- and then rode 100 miles on it, and then complain of intensely debilitating pain when trying trying to ride a bike. Riding a bike isn't that difficult.

    It's not like you've never ridden 100 miles before.

    There should be real facts associated with the potential for damage to your knee. Proof as much that it's not hurt, as that it is.

    Really -- get a better opinion.

  2. You know, Jill -- this is an endurance race to end all. Welcome to California.

  3. So what are you saying? You put the "ill" in "Jill?"

  4. After being through something similar with doctors and injury (went through 3 doctors), I agree with Shawn. There's a reason it started. There will be a way to correct it.

    The old "rest" RX helps in getting initial swelling it's time to look intelligently at the injury.

    Find a dr. who is also into physical endurance activity -- s/he will understand your great need to return to activity and will prescribe likewise.

    At the least, find a doc who will get you into physical therapy -- there, they'll really examine what started it all and will take great care in getting you back to activity.

  5. Why would anyone possibly want to wait to have a knee MRI? I think maybe this doctor doesn't want to treat your injury and is rationalizing just hoping that it will go away. I'd push to get the MRI ASAP and find a different doctor. Admittedly I am a bit pigheaded when it comes to doctors, but that stems from the realization that ultimately only you are responsible for your health and only you have to live with bad health. So do what's in your own best interest.

  6. Have you tried a foam roller.

    I didn't want to post this before because I am not a doctor and didn't want to do more harm than good. Since the doctor said you might be okay though, I thought I would post now.

    My foam roller made my knee pain go away. I don't have any specific exercises I do with it. I mainly just roll every surface of my leg using my body weight as pressure. When I find a place that hurts, I stop moving, and I keep the pressure of my body weight on that spot. I focus on breathing and try to let my muscles relax.

    I would ask a doctor before trying the roller but it was a life saver for me.

  7. Riding 100 miles through the snow in the wilderness after a (seemingly) severe injury is rarely caused by self defeating hypochondria.

    I thought it would be good to point that out.

  8. Schwarting Ted L Md
    3220 Hospital Drive, Juneau, AK 99801
    (907) 586-4415

    Categories: Orthopedics Physicians & Surgeons, General Surgeons, Pediatrics Surgeons, Sports Medicine Physicians & Surgeons

    Just a suggestion for a sports related injury or potential Sports related injury.....

    Given what happened, I don't think you are being a hypochondriac at all, Jill!

  9. jill
    bad knees would prevent you from riding a bike
    soreness after an ultra endurance event can be normal
    not sure if what you have is a set of bad knees
    traumatized knees sounds more like it
    injured knees are more likely to sustain a knee injury than a healthy knee
    that is why there is the "R" in RICE
    I am not doctor
    I am not an endurance athlete
    if REST is not part of the equation you should look for a sports medicine doctor or a physical therapish who thinks proactively towards injury
    take care of yourself
    take it easy for a few days
    which does not mean sit on the couch
    maybe just take it easy on yourself

    gotta go
    my son is calling from the tub
    take care of yourself

    as much as I love Advil
    take it easy on the Advil
    do not take it on an empty stomach

    an advil addict
    and a chronically injuryed wannabe athlete

  10. I have had two knee surgeries after having the kind of pain you describe. The doc grabbed my knee, and after he ducked my punch, said, "When can you come in for the surgery." Sometimes the injury is obvious; sometimes the MRI tells you what you need to know. It sounds to me like you need the MRI. Git 'r done!

  11. If you were Alan Iverson, the FIRST thing they would have done would have been to give you an MRI. Just 'cuz you're not a zillion-dollar athlete doesn't mean the ability to use your knee isn't important to you. Let 'em know you have at least half a dozen people living vicariously through you, and you need for it to work - not just for yourself, but for your fans, man.

    Re your next post, that not-quite-there feeling...I described it to my surgeon as feeling like my knee had to burp. He told me to throw it over my shoulder and give it a few good pats. Never could quite figure out how to do that.


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