Is calf pain normal after knee surgery for torn meniscus?
I had a surgery for a torn meniscus 9 days ago and arthritis cleaned up under my knee. I had a partial medial menisectomy. I was told after surgery that 50% of the meniscus was torn. The knee gets a little better each day, but is still very tight and swollen but the pain is tolerable so I've weaned myself off of the crutches. My problem is my calf. If I'm on it very long at all, it starts burning. I would be concerned about a blood clot, but I've had issues with that calf for years off and on. About 10 years ago I was checked for a blood clot using ultrasound and it was negative. Anytime I over use this leg, it seems that the calf acts up but goes away in a few days. I feel relief when I flex my foot and stretch the muscle. I understand with a blood clot flexing makes it hurt. It's not red and isn't hot either. So I'm 99.9% sure it's not a clot.
I've figured the whole time that the muscle might be overcompensating for the knee, but today when I was slowly walking it felt like something grinding or something like that. It just feels messed up. I started feeling pain that went down to the outside of my ankle and it's been sorer than ever even after taking ibuprofen and methocarbomol. While resting it still hurts. I've pulled the crutches back out. I'm afraid I've torn my muscle. Is this calf pain normal after surgery? If so, how long will it take to go away. I need to get back to work, but there is no way with this kind of pain. I can't function.
In all probability you have strained a ligament or a tendon as you have probably started weight bearing before complete healing. You may also have caused damage at the surgery site. You are supposed to use crutches for 10-15 days or until normal gait is attained by physiotherapy and rehab program.
Pain in the calf area can also be due to pinched spinal nerves in the lumbo-sacral area or a pinched nerve at the knee joint. A nerve conduction study should be done. A MRI of the lumbar spine should also be able to throw some light. A deep vein thrombophlebitis or intermittent claudication (spontaneous spasm and relaxation of arteries) can also cause similar symptoms.
Please discuss with your doctor. You may need another MRI. Please do not opt for a change in post surgery rehab without your doctor’s or physiotherapist’s advice. Take care!
The medical advice given should not be considered a substitute for medical care provided by a doctor who can examine you. The advice may not be completely correct for you as the doctor cannot examine you and does not know your complete medical history. Hence this reply to your post should only be considered as a guiding line and you must consult your doctor at the earliest for your medical problem.
Thank you for your insightful reply. After surgery my instructions were to use crutches for only 2 or 3 days so I did that and then started walking without them. I did use them when I felt very uncomfortable. Most of the pain was from the calf unless I turned the wrong way and then I'd feel a very sharp pain in the knee. No physical therapy was recommended other than at the hospital when I was given 3 exercises to do every day.
I went back to the doctor for my 10 day check up and he was concerned about DVT even though I didn't have all the classic symptoms. I told him I didn't think that was it because I've had issues with the calf before. He didn't offer any other suggestions as to what it could be. Maybe he just wanted to rule that out first because of its seriousness. I went ahead and had an ultrasound and it came out negative. I've increased putting my leg up and icing it while still trying to get around so I can get the circulation in my knee. It is still quite swollen and the doctor did say that after a month if it is still swollen he would drain it. He also told me to increase my ibuprofen.
I do have a bad lower back with herniated discs so the pinched nerve is a possibility. The calf pain eased up yesterday. Today I've got to gear myself up for going back to work on Monday, so I've been walking around quite a bit and the calf pain is coming back.I don't know how I'm going to manage.
I feel frustrated and that my doctor really isn't listening to me. Do I change at this point or just hope for the best? He seemed to care before surgery, but post surgery had been a different story. I've even wondered if my surgery was absolutely necessary. I am walking a little better post surgery than pre, but not by much.
The Content on this Site is presented in a summary fashion, and is intended to be used for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to be and should not be interpreted as medical advice or a diagnosis of any health or fitness problem, condition or disease; or a recommendation for a specific test, doctor, care provider, procedure, treatment plan, product, or course of action. Med Help International, Inc. is not a medical or healthcare provider and your use of this Site does not create a doctor / patient relationship. We disclaim all responsibility for the professional qualifications and licensing of, and services provided by, any physician or other health providers posting on or otherwise referred to on this Site and/or any Third Party Site. Never disregard the medical advice of your physician or health professional, or delay in seeking such advice, because of something you read on this Site. We offer this Site AS IS and without any warranties. By using this Site you agree to the following Terms and Conditions. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your physician or 911 immediately.