I have a significant "gap" in my right leg's quadricep.
August 4, 2017 7:02 PM   Subscribe

My right leg looks like someone took an ice cream scooper and literally scooped out part of my leg.

Background: I had meniscus repair surgery in my right leg about 3 or 4 years ago. I still have minor pain in my right knee during certain activities.

I have also noticed that there is a "gap" in my right leg. It looks like someone took an ice cream scooper and took a chunk out of my leg. My left leg does not have this.

I went to a doctor and he said he didn't know why it looked like that, and also that he didn't know what else to tell me (???).

Pictures of right leg at different angles. You can see the gap by the shadow being cast. The gap is so significant that it casts a shadow under that lighting.

Anyone have any clue as to what's going on here? Thank you.
posted by Evernix to Health & Fitness (9 answers total)
This probably isn't your issue, but I'll share this anecdote just in case: I have a weird "dent" on the outside of my right thigh. It's not as pronounced as yours, but I've started to wonder about it, so I did a bunch of Googling. Apparently, a lot of people experience this when they consistently lean against the same hard edge over and over. (So, things like the edge of a bathroom or kitchen counter, a desk, etc.) I thought this sounded crazy until I went to work the next day and found that the counter right next to my standing desk hits EXACTLY where I have the muscle dent. I've tried to stop leaning against it, and I'm hoping the dent will correct itself over time!
posted by leftover_scrabble_rack at 7:21 PM on August 4, 2017 [1 favorite]

It looks like you have significant muscle wastage in that quad for some reason. I'd go to a sports medicine doctor or well-respected sports physio. But generally it's a nerve issue or a vascular issue.

I have a similar but much smaller dent in my calf but its been there since childhood and apparently its just something I was born with, a little piece of missing muscle. It's much more apparent when I'm fit and lean, I do know that.
posted by fshgrl at 7:33 PM on August 4, 2017

I had dent in the outside of my left thigh. It was significant enough that a friend noticed it one day when I was wearing shorts, insisted it was Not Normal, and started lobbying hard for me to go see my neurologist about it (I have a movement disorder). My default reaction to this sort of thing is "Oh I'm Sure It's Nothing", but I Googled it anyway to appease him. Turns out, much like leftover_scrabble_rack, the way I sit in my desk chair is responsible for my leg "deformity" (my leg pressed against the chair arm, not even that hard). And yes, it got better (slowly) after I stopped sitting that way.

My friend didn't believe me at first, because how could *sitting in a chair* cause such a significant and persistent muscle dent. I had to actually bring him to my desk and demonstrate to him how the dent lined up perfectly with the position and shape of the chair arm.
posted by Secret Sparrow at 8:05 PM on August 4, 2017

Response by poster: I don't believe the cause of my problem is consistent pressure applied to my quadricep over a long period of time. Looking at how I sit at work and at home, there isn't even any contact with the part of my leg that has the gap. Just want to put that information out there.
posted by Evernix at 8:11 PM on August 4, 2017

Ok, this is a long shot, but is there any way the surgery could have damaged (or failed to correctly reattach) the connection point of your rectus femoris muscle to your knee? If the muscle was incompletely or incorrectly attached after healing, I could easily imagine that atrophy could happen.
posted by ananci at 8:28 PM on August 4, 2017

I had meniscus arthroscopy in'95, and at no point did anything like this happen to my thighs. I wonder if there was some atrophying in your recovery?
posted by Joseph Gurl at 8:39 PM on August 4, 2017

Might be worth a second opinion.
Is it warm or tender? Those are signs of a blood clot. Thigh is a common place for a clot.
I really think this is worth one more exam.
posted by littlewater at 9:08 PM on August 4, 2017

It seems too high up to be associated with the surgery. You may have wasting of the vastus lateralis section of the quadriceps muscle and given the presentation possibly nerve root compression in your lumbar spine or local damage to the femoral nerve trunk in the thigh. Either way you should seek the opinion of a sports physician and you will likely need ultrasound or an MRI study. You may require a nerve conduction study.

Another possible cause would be a tear of the muscle at the upper end of the femur but you would need very high forces to cause this injury and you would remember the incident- ie a severe crush injury playing football or a sudden contraction when skiing or running and propping and turning.

I would definitely follow up on this as it may get worse and that muscle is very important to your knee function.
posted by lucien at 4:55 AM on August 5, 2017 [2 favorites]

Over what time period did this happen? Weeks, months, days? How soon after the surgery?

It definitely looks atrophic, can't tell whether it is the lateralis (looks a bit too high) or the intermedius (which is deeper and if atrophied can cause the rest of the quads to sink). Agree that you should see a sports medicine doctor.
posted by basalganglia at 5:11 AM on August 5, 2017 [2 favorites]

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