Weak in the Knees
August 14, 2006 6:45 AM Subscribe
What can I do about weak and painful knees? I'm a 21 y.o. male with weak, creaking, grinding, and occasionally dislocating knees. Cause/options/suggestions?
posted by sprocket87 to health & fitness (11 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I'm a (just-turned) 21 year old male, and I have a problem: I have really cruddy knees. Both of my knees are weak and problematic. Each of them grinds noisily when climbing the stairs or if I stand from a squatting position.
Not only are they noisy but they also hurt - I can feel an awful weakness when climbing the stairs or carrying heavy loads, especially from a squat. They also feel dangerously likely to dislocate. If I'm carrying a heavy load and misplace a step even slightly, I can feel the joint misalign and almost slip out - an awful feeling (not painful in itself, but it's the awareness that it's about to dislocate). Even when running or exerting myself (playing catch, any sort of physical activity that relies in frequent change of direction, etc), I can tell that my knees are a very weak link and could go out any time.
I have dislocated my left knee twice. Interestingly, both times I've experienced a dislocation were while dancing. The first time I was just being silly when my joint popped sideways. I had just placed my weight on that leg so I immediately collapsed and it popped back in when I hit the ground. The second time I had a partner on my back and was doing some pretty intense spinning when it popped out badly and we both crashed to the floor. The joint popped back in when I hit the ground again.
The second dislocation was about 6 months ago. I've been wearing an elastic-nylon knee-brace on that left knee ever since, and it seems to help add some strength to the joint. I can tell it helps the reduce "almost dislocation" feelings greatly. My right knee has never dislocated that I can recall but it shares the same weaknesses as the left - in fact it often hurts more when climbing the stairs. Sometimes I switch my knee brace to the right knee just to provide a day of relief (I only have 1 brace at the moment).
So I'm wondering a couple things here: WHY am I experiencing this? I'm barely 21, I'm relatively in shape (6'1", 160lbs, slim build), and I've never done any regular team sports or anything. The only thing that I can think of that would have caused a permanent problem for me knees was when I was 14: I got hit head-on by a go-kart traveling 40-50mph. Someone was driving this home-built go-kart around this parking lot and thought it would be funny to drive toward me and dart away at the last second. Unfortunately he didn't let me in on his plans, and when I noticed him barrelling toward me I decided to jump out of the way. Well, he turned into me and hit my left leg square on - breaking both lower bones (tibia & fibula) clean in half. I spent the summer in a full leg cast from toe to groin, but it healed up quite nicely (though I do have a nice 6" scar to show off). I wonder if it stessed my left knee joint greatly. This doesn't explain the weakness in my right knee, however.
So why is this happening? And more importantly, what can I DO about it? I have a feeling I should see a doctor. Should I go to my family doctor or can I go to an orthopedic specialist directly (without referral from my family doctor)? What can I expect for treatment options and therapy? Is surgery a likelihood?
I have a pretty good insurance plan at my current job so if something really needs done then I suppose now is the best time to do it. Besides, I'm thinking that because I'm pretty young I should get this taken care of ASAP, because the longer I let it go the less they can do? Isn't it true that if I've lost some of my tendon/ligament/fleshy parts in the knee joint then it's only gonna get worse unless I get it fixed?
Sorry for the LONG post, but that's the whole story. Thanks for your thoughts and input.