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The first time it happened to me, I was 13 years old. We had been playing baseball with our next door neighbors in the alley behind our house. I was having the best run of my life, had almost made it to first base when…in mid-air mind you, my kneecap seemed to slip to the left of where it was supposed to be, which is called dislocation, and I brought out all the neighbors with my screams. They thought I was being murdered, but that was the worst pain I have ever felt, to this day, I still have anxiety attacks if I think about the pain I feel every time that happens. Unfortunately for me, it happened a lot.
My Dad took me to the doctor who was an excellent physician with no bedside manner at all. He looked at my leg as I lay writhing in pain and said, “You dislocated your knee, you knew that didn’t you?” I was so angry, what did he mean ‘I knew that’? Turns out that was just his way of joking around, but this was no laughing matter. My knee had swelled to the size of a grapefruit and he had to first drain off all that fluid before he stabilized, then cast my leg. (that’s how they did it in the old days) This was after trying to walk on it FOR A WEEK after the injury. My parents didn’t know any better, it was only because I was not improving that they took me in. When I came home from the doctor in a cast and on crutches, my mother burst into tears.
I guess God made me a little crooked, one leg is a few centimeters shorter than the other or something- that is what the next doctor I had to go to told us. He also said I already had arthritis in my knees, a fact I chose to ignore all my life. I was young. I couldn’t let that stop me from walking, marching, and dancing! I had things to do! Anyway, for whatever reason, my knees (both of them) would dislocate from time to time, the left one way more than the right. They say it is more common in women. They also say it occurs when the leg is planted wrong, that causes the patella to slide out of place. well, the first time it happened to me I was in mid air! The cause for my left knee anyway was the fact that the tendon was pulling too tight, causing my kneecap to go out if I even turned my leg the wrong way. Once it happened after I was married, I finally had the mini-surgery to correct it. They did a lateral tendon release and (knock on wood) I never dislocated it again.
So why am I now having trouble with my right knee? Apparently, it had more arthritis in it, all of the injuries wore down the cartilage and now I have not much cushion left and I’m hoping they can do those injections that make your cartilage grow back. I hate having surgery because then there are months of physical therapy blah, blah, blah. I still have things to do, you know, it’s just never a good time. Thing is, I didn’t have as many dislocations in that one, so why is it now so messed up?
When I was young I called it twisting my knee, because, really that is what’s happening, but the correct term is subluxation or dislocation. If you talk to most healthcare professionals, they say it is more common in kids who play sports and that the normal age for this to occur is between 16-20. After it happened to me that first time, I didn’t need to be playing sports, I could get up out of a chair wrong and BOOM! That happened once, and it was horrific because the kneecap locked to the side, I couldn’t get it back in position and whoever came to my rescue managed it and then I passed out from the pain. I just read that patellar subluxation is more common than dislocation and just as disabling…no kidding? Welcome to my life. They call it that because it is caused by a physical deformity of the knee, causing the knee to buckle and no longer support your weight. (And all the other symptoms I’ve already discussed here) Treatment usually in multimodal, involving education, physical therapy, braces, weight reduction and medication. If you need to lose weight, they make you do that first too, because every pound you gain puts and extra 3 pounds of pressure on your knees. That is not my issue though and never has been.
What I’m wishing now is that I would have had the real deal surgery when I was younger, now I don’t want to have to go through it. I have an appointment scheduled for June 12 with a new ortho doc, I’m hoping he agrees that I can wait awhile. Has this happened to any of you? What did they do for it? Have you had knee surgery? I want to hear all about it, just tell me in the comments. Sorry if I made any of you squirm, just talking about this had me squirming as I wrote it. I’m telling you, I’d rather have a baby than go through that pain again! Anyway, I’ll be here with my brace on and only one more day of steroids left, yea!! Write me back so I can hear your answers, and I’ll be resting on the patio.