Knee Twinge
February 10, 2005 4:22 PM   Subscribe

TwingeFilter: I was doing some lifting (moving furniture) and now whenever I climb steep stairs my right knee twinges in a "Don't push it" kind of way. The lifting was over 6 months ago. Will this fix itself or is there something I should be doing to assist it?
posted by hifimofo to Health & Fitness (8 answers total)
Knees are very complicated joints... and if you can afford it, see your doctor as soon as possible. You will probably need an MRI to see what's really going on, as cartilage tears and/or ligament damage might not show up on just an Xray. If you are still feeling pain after 6 months, something is up, and even though it might seem expensive, it is worth every penny to find out what it is. I say this as an ex-jock who "put up" with the pain ( 6 years of hoping it would go away) until it got to the point that I could barely walk and needed replacement surgery. I don't mean to scare you... well maybe I do a little, but get it checked by a professional !
posted by lobstah at 4:41 PM on February 10, 2005

I agree with lobstah... Even if it's a small fix that doesn't require surgery, only a doctor who sees the problem firsthand will be able to prescribe the correct strengthening exercises.
posted by estelahe at 4:45 PM on February 10, 2005

This happened to me a month or two after some overzealousness (and, as I learned later, bad technique) with a squat machine at the gym. My right knee exhibited the same signs you mention, and then progressed into general discomfort while walking and swelling/fluid accumulation in the joint. Needless to say, I was limping pretty bad.

I consulted my brother-in-law, a sports medicine doc, and he said the swelling and symptoms were consistent with a torn meniscal cartilage, but that the symptoms might clear themselves up without surgery, provided I didn't do anything to aggravate the injury. He explained that it is pretty common for a piece of partially torn cartilage to stick up and rub against the other side of the joint while your knee is in motion. Sometimes it finds its way back down and out of the way on its own.

So I got a compression bandage and took anti-inflammatory meds (strong ibuprofen prescription) to ease the discomfort, and the problem cleared up after a few weeks. IANAD and YMMV, of course.
posted by pmbuko at 4:49 PM on February 10, 2005

Forgot to mention that I also saw my regular doctor, who prescribed the meds and told me to wear the bandage as needed, and to come back if things got worse.
posted by pmbuko at 4:53 PM on February 10, 2005

Thanks for the advice. I don't seem as badly off as the rest of you, but I think I will invest in a compression bandage. Six months is enough twinging for me. And I've recklessly agreed to enter a 24 hour mountain bike race in April, so it has to be fixed before then.
posted by hifimofo at 4:55 PM on February 10, 2005

After reading pmbuko's post, ( and after my wife read mine and said " Jesus, Larry go easy !!") I think I should clarify. Best case scenario is that pmbuko is could be right, although he admittedly did consult a professional. My injury was fairly severe in that I tore both my ACL and PCL ( quite tough to do) as well as pretty much started a downward spiral of my cartilage. At first, the pain was mild since none of the trauma extreme to begin with. For reasons I regret, I chose to tough it out. Your situation is different in two respects: 1. the trauma sounds like it was minor, and 2. Not much time ( or hopefully damage) has passed. Should you need some sort of procedure, it would most likely be minor at this point. Having said that, I still urge you to see a professional and not try to deal with it via meds.
posted by lobstah at 5:05 PM on February 10, 2005

One thing I've heard a lot is that if your knee gets swollen, normal knee use will agitate it. A regular regimen of icing will keep the swelling down and allow it to heal. Whether that's true or not I don't know, but athletes seem to ice the hell out of their joints.
posted by frenetic at 5:05 PM on February 10, 2005

One other suggestion, which is not meant to trump a visit to the doctor or the other good advice above: for minor injuries, persistent twinges and stiffness, I find that a good Shiatsu treatment and very gentle stretching do wonders. I checked this out with my doctor. He doesn't understand Shiatsu and is against the "science of it", but he also goes regularly. Unlike a a bad chiropractor, a Shiatsu therapist is very safe. For days after a treatment my posture is really good.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 5:25 PM on February 10, 2005

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