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Avatar universal

Knee pain, swelling after surgery

Almost four months after surgery, I am still experiencing massive swelling and excruiating pain with inflammation. I was having a great recovery for the first ten days, then BAM!  My leg, knee and ankle swelled to gigantic proportions.   My doctor has said only that I have arthritis in my knee and I have to be patient.  On at least three occasions, I have been in tears in his office and asking what to do about it.  He still tells me be patient.  This is surely not normal.  I went to another doctor last week who sent in his PA to tell me that they "don't like to tread on another doctor's territory" and won't see me again, but the PA prescribed Prednisone 6 day dosage that seemed to give me some comfort while I was taking it.  The day after I completed the dosage, the pain and swelling was back in full force.  No one will see me without a referral because this certain doctor operated on me.  What am I to do?  I am so frustrated after four months of extreme pain, all I do is cry.  I've turned into a big crybaby and that is not me!  Help, somebody!  
72 Responses
Avatar universal
Hi,
Sorry about your condition.
Can you describe the surgery you had undergone and the reason for  it.
Probably it looks like arthritis as it was better with steroids.
But  too premature to comment on it.
Avatar universal
Prior to the surgery, I was told that I have an old healed fracture of the knee and a torn meniscus.  He told me the arosthroscopy was a simple procedure that I would recover from quickly.    
After surgery, the surgeon told me that everything that could be torn was torn in my knee.  He never told me whether he repaired the meniscus or whether he removed it.  Unfortunately, he is a doctor who doesn't like for his patients to ask questions.  You commented that it was probably arthritis as it was better with steroids.  It was only slightly better while I was taking the prednisone, as soon as I finished the dosage, it returned to the same painful, swollen condition. I look forward to your response.
Avatar universal
Hi,
The knee joint complex has
    - Bones
    - Cartilage
    - Muscles
    - Ligaments
    - Tendons.
If any one of these structures are injured or damaged, then the person lands up in knee problems.
As you have posted that everything in there was torn apart as informed by your surgeon, it seems that you have not only injured menisci  but other ligaments also.

With this history, arthritis would not be first entity to be  considered. The badly traumatized knee has to be rehabilitated and this requires you to start physiotherapy.
But before this, if you can have another orthopedic surgeon's opinion would be highly beneficial.

Other option that can be foreseen with such a bad knee would be an knee replacement. To comment on such a surgery requires in depth analysis of your condition.



Avatar universal
Hi
If I was in your position I would get the op-note from your doctor and get another opion go through your primary care doctor if you have too.  Try and go to a different hospital if that is possible for you.  Bring the op-note with you and see what they say with that.  Its hard to say what it could be not knowing exactly what was done.  The prednisone helped because it is an anti-inflamatory so the swelling went done and that would no doubt help with the pain.  
For now I would try and stay off it Ice it elevate.  Also they have compression stocking kinda like a thigh high stocking but it will put compression on both your ankle and knee and reduce the swelling.
Good luck with everything
Avatar universal
Thanks for your advice.  I have been to a third doctor who is in another state and he recommends knee replacement, of which I am terrified.  My knee appears to be mal-formed now and my back problems are much worse because I have been compensating when I walk.  This doctor says we need to fix "what makes me walk funny" and that might greatly reduce the back pain.  He really talked to me and asked me several times if I had more questions.  My problem now is that I don't trust doctors any more.    I am staying off the knee, elevating and icing but I haven't tried the compression stocking yet.  I will check into that tomorrow.  A friend tells me she had a scope done with the same results I have and it took a year to heal.  Then she says, it was like it healed overnight.  Has anyone ever heard of this happening?  
Avatar universal
I can not believe it!  Someone is also experiencing a similar situation to me.  One year ago I had a scope done on my right knee.  The MRI showed very little damage, but the pain and swelling were effecting me. Once the OS began the scope he found much damage to the knee cap and performed seven diffferent procedures including a lateral release.  Now, a year later I have severe swelling and pain.  My right kness is anywhere from 4-6 inches larger than my left because of the swelling.  I have seen the OS and he has given me 3 cortizone shots.  I explained they did not help.  He then suggested a series of Suppartz shots.  They may or may not work and will take about 4 months.  My back is also suffering as well as general everyday activities.  I have tried to see another OS, but he wants all of the records before he will see me, and this is almost impossible.  Any suggestions?
Avatar universal
Hi Jennifer:  I got that response when I went to a second OS, he sent in his PA to tell me they don't like to tread on surgeon's toes and he wouldn't see me without a referral.  I think you can ask the second OS to request your records (with your signed authorization) for a second opinion.  I live in a small city and the local doctors protect each other.  That's why I went out of town to another state for another opinion.  The only reason I went out of state was simply because my friend lives there and got me a quick appointment, as well as giving the doctor detailed information about my problem.   I struggled with my pain for 4 months, and I kept telling the OS that something was not right.  My knee has bowed inward in addition to the swelling and pain.  I strongly recommend that you get another opinion.  There is simply no reason for you and I to be in constant pain.  I have already given up many activities that I cannot do any more.  Now I am struggling with the decision of whether to get a knee replacement!  Good luck to you and please keep touch so we can compare notes.  
Avatar universal
Any medical Doctor that has a problem answering your questionsl if that is the case is nuts and needs to find work in the hotel/motel industry. You have decsribed conditions that require further investigation. Not drugs, not delays, an MRI and nothing less. Then dump the jerk taking your records with you. Grab the phone book - find a new Doc. Travel to his office  to make an appointment. It is hard to refuse a patient requesting help in peson. Real problems demand real solutions.

The doctor MUST give you all of your medical records. They may charge you a fee if you request copies but, you are allowed to take your orig. records. If your doctor has a problem this tell him you will fille a complaint with the State Medical Board, the AMA as well as that "New Lawyer" you are going to be seeing. Sounds like you found an ***. The profession is full of them. In most cases a doctor who is an *** is great at what he does.  I will put up with the ***, to a point. As long as the services are top notch.

I am serious about your getting help. You know you need it. I am also serious about the lawyer. Get a free opinion. Something is very wrong here. A Doctor is no better a person than you are. Stand your ground, make your demands, get the records (all of them - hospital records as well) and get on with it. If you cannot get into see a new Doc contact the AMA and request their help.
Avatar universal
I have also been in severe pain with swelling in my left knee 4 months after arthroscopic surgery. I also have a large lump at the site were the scope entered my knee, when I ask the doctor that did the surgery about he said it should go away before I die. I thought this was a horrible thing to say because I was really worried about the lump. I have a hard time even getting to see the doctor and no one seem's concerned about the pain and swelling but me. I'm still taking pain pills for the pain and can't walk without a cane, the knees goes out on me when walking and has caused me to fall once and a lot of missed falls. I'm upset all the time and feel lost and I don't truth doctor's anymore I did try to get my surgical report and they want to charge me 35.00 dollars for one to two pages which I feel is to much. I am so depressed because of my knee, I want to return to work because the doctor's office is always messing up my disability form so I can't get paid on time. I am a nurse and what hospital will take me with a bad knee.I had the scope because of osteoarthritis of the knee with severe osteoarthritis of the patellofemoral joint and was hoping the surgery would buy me a few more years to work. This was a big mistake because I am in more pain now than before the surgery.
Avatar universal
IM SO SORRY ABOUT YOUR PROBLEMS YOUR HAVING,,I TO JUST POSTED A QUESTION ON HERE FOR HELP..I HAVE BBEN HAVING PAIN IN BOTH LEGS NOW FOR A YEAR..BEEN TO 5 DIFFERENT DOCTORS,MRIS,XRAYS,ULTRASOUNDS,TONS OR MED,THERPY AND DID  HAVE A KNEE SCOPE DONE TOO..I DO ALSO HAVE LITTLE LUMPS IN WERE THE INCISIONS WERE ON MY KNEE.MY PROBLEMS IS THE PAIN IS BEHIND THE KNEES IN THE REAR UPPER CALF AREA..VERY PAINFUL,EVERYDAY ACTIVITIES ARE TOUGH FOR ME TOO..DO U HAVE HAVE PAIN WHEN BENDING YOUR LEGS BACK LIKE IF YOUR WERE DOING LEG EXTENSIONS??THATS WERE MY PAIN IS..LET ME KNOW
Avatar universal
I understand what you are going through. It is very frustrating besides all the pain. I had a total knee replacement in early July and then had to have a manipulation in early October. The flexion is somewhat better extension not so much. But the pain and sweeling is much worse plus heat. Why? I am sorry I ever did this I think the pain and restrictions I had before were better at this point. It is all on me and my therapist at this point. Back to the doctor again tomorrow see what he says. Are we just the lucky ones?
I hope you get answers and are better soon. Their must be reasons for this. Good Luck!
Hopeful36
Avatar universal
Nannie, your story is my story only I am six weeks post surgery; the pain is almost unbearable.  With the help of pain pills I can get to work; other than work I don't do anything.  The knee down to the angle are warm and very swollen.  I am totally beside myself.  Pls. tell me what was your outcome.  
Avatar universal
Hi I read your post and was wondering if your knee got any better. I had scope surgery on my left knee in Nov 2009 exactly 8 weeks ago this coming Tues. and like you I am in more pain now than before the surgery. My knee swells when ever I am on it and there is a little thing behind my knee that hurts. My knee feels like it has a elastic band around it and my toes tingle. When I told the Dr. he said it takes time. Well my job is a standing job for 9hrs. a shift and this is just killing me. Did you get better and what did you take for the pain. They told me aleve and that has not helped
Avatar universal
Hi all, I am 45 had a total knee replacement in 2/09.  After two weeks my knee cap dislocated 6 times.  Went into water therapy to strengthen the quads to help it from dislocating and went on Oxycotin in addition to Lortab.  Leg was swollen, painful, and didn't work.  May had a manipulation.  Things improved a little but did not reduce swelling, pain, or stability.  Feel down stairs in August as knee gave way.  Had steriod pack helped a little while taking them.  Then had series of three steriod cocktail shots into the knee joint.  Each time the found blood in the joint.  Had surgery again on Dec 21 2009to remove the synovial capsule as it was obvious it was being pinched in the joint and bleeding internally.  When they did the surgery they found that the synovial capsule was totally fibrotic. I had tons of scar tissue and adhesions.  They had to remove a lot of tissue.  Seven days after surgery had green discharge coming from incision.  They put me on antibiotics. Pain and swelling improved.  Discharge stopped.  Antibiotics ended then two days later had a two inch circular area that was swollen, painful, pink and hot to touch.  They have put me back on antibiotics and the pain improved within 2 days.  The don't feel that it is a true infection but an accumulation of blood that did not get absorbed and is acting like an infection.  Stop antibiotics tomorrow.  Hope that my body completes the healing process.  This time the dr ordered the CPM unit for home use and I have been in it 18 hours a day (yup sleep in it) at 120 degrees to maintain range of motion and minimize scar tissue formation.  I have been in therapy 4 days a week.  Lets hope this is it however my dr states that it is nothing that I have done just my bodies reaction to the trauma of surgery - genetic thing that they can not test for.  So if you have continued swelling, pain, warmth etc.  don't take it will get better with time.  Stay working with your dr to try different things.  No amont of pain meds or steriods would have fixed the fibrotic tissue in my knee.  Good luck to you all and stay searching for answers.  
Avatar universal
It has been almost 6 months since my knee arthroscopic surgery and my left knee is larger than my right with a bulge as well.  I have iced, heated, elevated, used topicals and used some herbal products. I must say I can walk, but there are times when it is hard to walk. I just started taking Choropyll which is good for imflammation which has helped. I also tried a glass of tomato juice with 1/4 teaspoon each of tumeric and cayenne powder.  This really helped with the inflammation.  Note-Before using herbal products, you might want to consult a Nautropath or herbalist especially if you are other medications).I will be starting a holistic program (accupuncture, chiropractic, massage and detox and knee exercises).  I'm looking forward to this.  I have for a while lost confidence in the doctors and the lack of empathy towards patients that they have. Some of the answers are unreal that they give you, and yes, we're supposed to be patient after 4-6 months to a year is insane. I hope all of you find some solution besides the unheard of amounts of surgery.  I will let you all know how my program goes.
Avatar universal
I had OS May 27,20l0, and now almost Nov 1, I am still having problems with my knee. I had a torn miniscus and below my knee is very swollen and under the knee to the right where ham string is. I have been at Physical Therapy going on 5 months now and still can't bend it and still having problems. It's very hard to  do anything because of the discomfort and pain and aches. Doctor just says it's soft tissue problems. But why, I don't understand what is taking so long to heal. Any ideas?
Avatar universal
I had OS on March 16, 2010 and still to this day my right leg swells, causing me so much pain and my right leg goes numb. I have tried everything from pain pills to ice, heat, biking nothing has helped. Any ideas on what I should do? I thought the surgery was going to help, but i am in more pain now then I was prior to surgery
Avatar universal
I was told I had a large medial meniscus tear and the doc was going to see if he could repair it...said 2-4 weeks off work. Well, he ended up doing 4 different procedures and tells me the MRI was wrong and I didn't have a tear in the medial side but in the lateral side (???). I am 3 weeks post op and still can barely bend my knee. I have a LARGE lump at the site where the scope went in and lots of swelling. My physical therapist is very concerned yet I can't seem to get any answers from my surgeon. I'm doing all of the text book things to help with swelling and pain....not much relief. He says maybe we'll try cortisone injections. - I thought I did surgery to fix the problem,,,now i have more problems. Any suggestions ?
Avatar universal
I had surgery on my left leg due to a broken femur from a car hitting me outside a building. I have severe swelling, pain, pressure, numbness, in feet and toes along with throbbing stabbing pain. The pain med is not helping. I have done the ice , heat, elevation, and pt three times a week. It's so bad
I have trouble walking because I can't bend. It feels as if my skin wants to rip from the pressure any ideas???????
Avatar universal
Hi I had my OS 9/20/10 - I had a cortizone shot in Oct and I just had the Synvisc shot Dec. 6. I thought once I got the Synvisc shot that my swelling would go away, but that has not been the case. My left knee is twice the size as my right knee and though I'm walking it's at a very slow pace. I ice it during work and try to stay off of it but it's impossible for me to stay off of it completel because of my long commute which I think maybe the problem. I'm also noticing now that my right knee is starting to have pain.. I really wish I had not gotten the surgery and just dealt with the pain a little while longer.
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