What happened to my knee?
November 9, 2006 4:24 PM   Subscribe

What happened to my knee?

Yesterday morning, while at work, I was standing listening to the manager give the morning meeting when a good friend of mine came up behind me and did the ole knee bump trick. My leg was locked and he hit the front of his knee into the back of mine. The first sensation I had was of extreme akwardness, just feeling as if "that's definitely not supposed to go that way." I immediately collapsed to the floor from excruciating pain.

For the next five minutes, I literally screamed on the floor while curling up in a fetal position. The pain was so intense that I began to feel sick to my stomach, then I broke out in a sweat and became dizzy. It was my left knee that was hurt, and the pain was concentrated to the right (inner) side to the right of the kneecap. After the five minutes, the pain seemed to subside and the knee didn't look hurt so I tried to limp to my desk. As soon as I stood up I started getting tunnel vision and nearly fainted. For the next thirty minutes I was extremely naseous but as the day went on it seemed to get better. However, towards the end of the night, it became extremely stiff and the pain got worse. A couple of co-workers claimed they heard a loud pop right before I collapsed, but I didn't hear it.

It's very tender today, but nothing like what I felt yesterday. Now I notice I hear strange grinding/clicking sounds when I do put pressure on it, or even when I stretch it out. At this time, going to the doctor is not an option for me as I have very limited funds and won't have insurance until January. I'm really looking to just have an idea of what did happen. Did it discloate and pop back in immediately? Did I tear a ligament or cartilage? When I do have access to a doctor, is it something I should have checked out or will there even be anything they can do by then? Thanks in advance for any personal experiences you can give.
posted by Ugh to Health & Fitness (24 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Could have been your ACL popping out of its normal position. This happened to my gf a few years ago. She has a very shallow groove on her tibia, so the ACL isn't seated quite as deeply as normal and has popped out twice in her life. Nothing was torn, but it was excruciatingly painful and required the use of crutches for weeks after the injury.
posted by migurski at 4:42 PM on November 9, 2006

I hope your friend will pay for you to go to a doctor.
posted by WCityMike at 5:03 PM on November 9, 2006

Medical costs are ridiculous, but if you don't get something this looked at or fixed, you might run the risk of permanent disability. Some nasty bills are better than limping for the rest of your life.

Obligatory IANAD disclaimer. (which is why I'm telling you to go see one).
posted by chrisamiller at 5:04 PM on November 9, 2006

posted by wfrgms at 5:08 PM on November 9, 2006

You got injured at work, shouldn't your job cover this? I don't know that for a fact, but it might be worth looking in to. Although the fact that no one took you immediately to a doctor when you were lying there screaming in pain is a pretty bad sign.
posted by ch1x0r at 5:12 PM on November 9, 2006

I had arthroscopy on my lateral meniscus (the disc of cartilage), and my injury was fairly similar (but from playing rugby).

Definitely have it checked out, ignoring things like that can lead to further degradation, early arthritis, etc.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 5:48 PM on November 9, 2006

This sounds a lot like a problem I have with my left knee. Occaisionally, if I put pressure on it at an odd angle, the kneecap dislodges. Absolutely excrutiating pain ensues for a few minutes, and then, as long as the knee cap has popped back into its track and stays there, it subsides. The knee remains tender, unstable, and stiff for a few days to a week afterward.

If this is what happened to your knee, it may go back to normal and be fine. But there's always a possibility when it happens, if the dislocation is violent enough, that the tendon could be torn or part of the bone chipped off. When I've gone to the doctor for particularly bad bouts of dislocation, they always do an x-ray. So like everybody else, I really recommend getting it checked out.

But if you're really not going to, at the least do this: go to a drug store and get a stretchy knee wrap (the one I use is Ezy Wrap brand) and wear it until the tenderness goes away, no matter how obnoxious it is. Helps keep the joint in place until it fully heals. Also, elevate and ice it in the evening, try to walk on it as little as possible, and take some anti-inflamatories. If you do all that and it isn't better in ten days, you've got a bigger problem and really, really should go to the doc.

Hope that helps.
posted by bookish at 5:51 PM on November 9, 2006

Ummmm... it happened at work: Worker's Compensation
posted by Doohickie at 5:56 PM on November 9, 2006


You should get your knee checked out. That's what happened to me frequently between the initial injury (tear of meniscus) and the surgery 3 years later.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 6:03 PM on November 9, 2006

A loud pop is commonly heard when a ligament is severed. Clicking and grinding can indicate meniscus damage. Since it happened at work, you should be eligible for worker's comp, but you need to report it immediately. You should have reported it right away (I suspect you didn't to save your friend trouble) but you should call your supervisor immediately and seek medical attention.
posted by Manjusri at 6:13 PM on November 9, 2006

Also, ice it. Perhaps what happened to you, but definitely what happens to bookish, also happens to me. It's awful. Ice always speeds up my healing time.
posted by 10ch at 6:14 PM on November 9, 2006

This is why companies have insurance. It happened at work, talk to your employer. The main reason for reluctance to do this as I see it is that your friend was the one who bumped your knee.

Something that hurt as bad as you describe really REALLY needs to be seen by a professional. If you don't have the money, talk to your friend. Surely they feel bad enough about it to give or loan you the money.
posted by tomble at 6:33 PM on November 9, 2006

see a doctor ... if workman's compensation doesn't cover it, a lawsuit against your "friend" will

(no, don't tell me you don't want to sue your "friend" ... friends don't do this kind of thing to others and take no responsibility for it)
posted by pyramid termite at 6:39 PM on November 9, 2006

Good god. Go to a damn doctor. You can't let something like that go for two months. Jeebus christo.
posted by DieHipsterDie at 6:48 PM on November 9, 2006

Ugh, I hate to be the bearer of bad tidings, but this sounds similar to the sensations that I experienced when my ACL was ripped apart. Seriously. I was playing soccer, planted my foot wrong, thought, "Hm. That's not supposed to go like that," heard a popping noise, collapsed in agony, and was nauseated for several minutes. Sound familiar?

Here's a test: what's it like when you step off a curb onto the street? Does your knee feel rubbery? What about going up and down stairs? What about going and (pretending if you have to) shoveling dirt? Anything normal little thing that might require range of motion in the knee...

You very well could have torn your ACL. My doctor told me that I could live the rest of my life without replacing it, but that it would limit my choice of activities. So I had it replaced. Now he says, "You have the body of a 37-year-old, but the knee of a 57-year-old." You know what? He's right.

Best wishes. I hope it's not your ACL. Go see a doctor.
posted by jdroth at 6:58 PM on November 9, 2006

I've dislocated my knee three times and this sounds more like something more serious, like ACL as jdroth says. I never had pain that bad from dislocating my knee. Definitely go to the doctor and until you do, maybe wrap the knee up to keep it stable.
posted by jdl at 7:30 PM on November 9, 2006

I hurt my knee about that bad when I didn't have health insurance, I didn't go to the doctor, and I lived to tell the tale, just to counterbalance the alarmism.

It happened about six and a half years ago. I was hiking, I tripped, and my knee landed on a sharp, pointy rock.

For about a week, walking hurt. For a month or two my knee was swollen and I had a hard time going up and down stairs.

I bought one of those knee braces you can get at drug stores (measure the circumference of your knee before you go shopping). It helped control the pain a lot.

For a couple of years, every time I tried running my knees would hurt a lot. Recently, however, I've been running and hiking quite a bit and my knees feel fine. I think having good running shoes and building up to decent distances gradually helped a lot.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 8:18 PM on November 9, 2006

Go to a doctor. Do not accept any potential diagnoses offered on Ask Metafilter -- there are a myriad of things that could be wrong with your knee that ace wrapping will not fix, that ice will not fix, and that waiting-and-seeing could potentially make less treatable even two months down the road. Your employer should pay for it, or your "friend" should pay for it, but by god somebody should pay for it.

I am not a doctor, nor am I a physical therapist, but I am in PT school, and I think you should get it looked at.
posted by jennyjenny at 8:32 PM on November 9, 2006 [1 favorite]

For what it's worth, you may be able to claim that your friend "accidentally" bumped your knee. (Unless there were a lot of witnesses). Then he won't be in trouble at work when you report it.
posted by chrisamiller at 10:00 PM on November 9, 2006

It should just say on the "Post a Question" form:

In the event of intense, unexplained pain, go see a doctor.
posted by jjg at 11:24 PM on November 9, 2006

i'm not gng to read all the other posts so i am not sure if this has already come out. it's quite simple, that the knee assembly is made up of three groups of ligaments that hold it in line, interior, posterior and down the middle. these muscle groups often don't strengthen evenly, due to the way we walk, the shoes we wear, etc. it is not an uncommon injury. the abnormal loading on your knee stretched one group, giving you the pain. it is probably not a serious injury, the important thing is that there are specific exercises, easy to do, that are designed to strengthen this area. talk to your physio about squats and lunges designed to strenghten the ligaments.
simple info: http://www.realbodywork.com/learn/knee/knee.htm
posted by edtut at 2:52 AM on November 10, 2006

nth-ing the ligament tear -- my wife recently tore her ACL, and the symptoms you describe are identical to hers. She's having surgery to replace it next month, and fortunately has insurance. I hope your friend has some savings...

*begin rant* I have delicate knees, and seriously detest the knee-bump trick, or pretty much any other immature trick that involves invading someone's personal space and knocking them off balance. I'd suggest an elbow-to-nose bump trick in response. *end rant*
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 8:09 AM on November 10, 2006

Holy sh!t, man. Do you work at Wernham-Hogg? Get thee to a doctor, stat.

But talk to your boss (hopefully not David Brent) first. IANAD, but I *am* a lawyer (although NOT your lawyer), and IMO you have a workers' comp claim. I'm sorry that your friend has to be implicated for his silly mistake, but (a) you're hurt, and you're going to have some expensive bills, and (b) the beauty of the workers' comp system is that it keeps you from having to sue your friend or employer. They pay, you get better.

And, fwiw, I've torn my left ACL twice. While it's hard for me to understand how the knee-to-the-knee bump would do the trick, your description of the immediate symptoms (an audible pop, intense pain for 5 minutes, nausea, etc.) are virtually identical to the first tear I had.
posted by fearless_yakov at 9:28 AM on November 10, 2006

Worker's compensation! You're supposed to tell your boss right away when you injure yourself at work but now that you've read this, tell him/her NOW and seek worker's comp. You were injured on the job, and that is what worker's comp is for. It sounds very painful, whatever it is, and I hope you feel better soon!
posted by forensicphd at 2:10 PM on November 10, 2006

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