Discussions By Condition: I cannot get a diagnosis.

Chronic Knee Pain

Posted In: I cannot get a diagnosis. 10 Replies
  • Posted By: nathansfaith
  • November 21, 2006
  • 07:30 PM

My husband is a 25 year old Army veteran who has been experiencing gradually worsening pain and stiffness in both of his knees for about four years. His pain started while he was in the military. He frequently "pops" his knee joints and his pain is worse after running, walking, or climbing stairs. The weather also seems to affect it some as well. Despite his pride, I persuaded him to try using a cane and this helps some with the pain. He takes coral calcium and if he doesn't take it for a couple of days, the pain and stiffness are worse. For a while, taking it made his symptoms bearable but even when he takes it, they are still pretty bad now. He went to many military doctors but they did not find a cause, although this is really not surprising considering he rarely saw the same doctor twice. We recently went to a civilian orthopedic surgeon and sports injury specialist who ordered an MRI. The MD who made the MRI report stated there appeared to be slight abnormal fluid on both knees and a greater likelihood of meniscus tearing in one knee (but not an actual meniscus tear.) We made a second appointment with the orthopedic surgeon to discuss the results but he was an hour late and only spent three minutes with us. He seemed to be ignorant of what was on the radiology report and didn't offer us any pain management options or ideas about what might be wrong or any other avenues to pursue. My husband's pain and stiffness are getting worse and we still do not know what is causing it. We can't afford to go to another doctor until we finish paying the $8oo we owe the hospital after our insurance payed their part but once we do, I'm scared it will be the same story all over again and we will end up with a large bill and no diagnosis. Any suggestions about what kinds of things could cause symptoms like his, any natural remedies to try, or suggestions as to what type of doctor we might try would be very appreciated. We are starting to feel at the end of our rope.

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10 Replies:

  • it could be arthritis or torn ligaments in the knee... or inflammed ligaments
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • November 21, 2006
    • 08:59 PM
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  • Thanks for the response. I have wondered if it could be arthritis. I seem to remember reading that in the early stages it may not be detected by an MRI. Wouldn't torn ligaments show up on an MRI though? I could be wrong. :) I've done a lot of research but since I haven't had much to go on, I still don't know a lot.
    nathansfaith 3 Replies
    • November 21, 2006
    • 10:42 PM
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  • flat feet???? take care, sean.
    seanyboy 2 Replies
    • November 22, 2006
    • 10:48 AM
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  • Thank you for the response. We've considered that but he actually has rather high arches. I've read that overly high arches can cause similar problems though so it could be something like that. I wish we could get a doctor who would try to help us find the cause so we wouldn't have to keep shooting in the dark. Thanks again for taking time to respond.
    nathansfaith 3 Replies
    • November 22, 2006
    • 00:59 PM
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  • Hi, this really sounds like faulty biomechanics rather than meniscus or otherwise. HAVE THE CONSULTANT OR PODIATRIST ****s IF THE FEET ARE MAKING THE TIBIA TWIST (TORSION), AND THUS EFFECT THE KNEES.IT REALLY DOES SOUND AS IF THIS PROBLEM IS STARTING IN THE FEET AND EFFECTING THE KNEES AND THUS GRATING,POPPING AND STIFFNESS. HANG IN THERE,ive had knee problems 14 years and with persistance found the cure). take care, sean.
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • November 22, 2006
    • 01:49 PM
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  • It's so encouraging to connect with people who have been through similar things and worked through them. Thank you for sharing and giving us some ideas of where to start. I'm sorry you suffered from leg problems so long and I'm glad you were finally able to find a cure. Thanks for helping out. :)
    nathansfaith 3 Replies
    • November 22, 2006
    • 02:04 PM
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  • Some things you might look into that could help some of his pain go away.MSM--this is a sulfur compound that occurs naturally in the body and acts as a lubricant for cartilege. I discovered it a number of years ago after a knee injury (not sure exactly what happened, but there were probably tears in the cartilige in my knee). Never got a clear diagnosis until the end one which was runner's knee, but I think this was just a result of the injury and not the injury itself. I was laid up in bed for six-weeks with intense pain.After I recovered enough to walk and get back on the Internet, I read about an olympic athlete who damaged both her knees requiring two surgeries on each of her knees and even after that couldn't perform. Then she found out about MSM and started taking it and felt better and was able to become a rower. Her story was very convincing to me so I started with the MSM cream and amazingly felt better within a half hour as it can be absorbed through the skin. I used one from Nature's Plus called Advanced Therapeutics Glucosamine Chondroitin MSM Ultra Rx-Joint Cream. It was very helpful. It's also a natural moisturizer and I use it on my face to keep my skin young on the recommendation of my acupuncturist. You might want to go on the Internet and research all these three components to see what each one of them does. I know that Chondroiton helps to build cartilege, which we lose as we age.He may want to supplement with a formula. I take one from SuperNutrition Called "Glucosamine and MSM". It does warn on the bottle that if your husband "has diabetes or other insulin dependent conditions he should consult with his doctor before taking glucosamine sulfate". The latter formula also contains some Ayurvedic herbs.Other "knee" herbs are ginger and turmeric (the stuff that makes Indian curries bright yellow) and the vitamins C and niacinamide are supposed to be helpful. My 89-year-old very active father swears by the latter as a pain reliever. The ginger I know about through my acupuncturist as helping with nausea that results from knee pain, especially if you drink it as a tea.Hope this helps with the pain
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • November 27, 2006
    • 09:37 AM
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  • Oh, by the way it did take me a long time to get a diagnosis of chondro-malacia patella (runner's knee) and this from my regular doctor and not the specialist who supposedly should have known about something as common as this. My doctor did this by listening to my knee as I moved my lower leg from straight to bent to back again. Said he could hear it clicking. Said the knee cap wasn't tracking properly.I took this information and started looking around for what this meant and found that the runner's knee might have been the result of the injury or the cause of the injury depending upon your perspective. Some say the VMOs instantly head into atrophy when the knee is injured--trauma to the knee shuts this muscle down and you have to "reawaken" it. If the VMO is weakened then this can cause the knee cap to stop tracking properly and thus you have pain. You can read more about these things here:http://www.rice.edu/~jenky/sports/pfs.htmlMy acupuncturist needled my VMOs for me at my request and it did help. Some doctors in the UK use electrical stimulation to wake them up.I also found the knee exercises in a book about pilates helpful in my recovery.
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • November 27, 2006
    • 09:49 AM
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  • Found another site for you to look at which explains these things in a little more depth. Rereading your husband's case it looks like he could have runner's knee--what I was diagnosed with--but of course he should see a doctor to rule out other problems.http://www.bfe.org/protocol/pro01eng.htm
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • November 27, 2006
    • 09:56 AM
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  • I am retired military and have a similar injury not a ailment of becoming old as most military doctors assume. Most military doctors as you know have many non-sick patients seeking to freeload off the military and it builds up a distrust for even the really sick individuals they treat. Sick but true. My knee injury came from walking daily accross loose stones in Iraq for 24 months and it feels like a bone on the right side of my left knee "clicks" back into place after I sit down for awhile. No pain though like your husband BUT it sure does "click" and I can't stand until it clicks back into place. JW
    Anonymous 42789 Replies Flag this Response
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