Hi Meg147, I am not a dr. and I am sure you will get a reply from one soon. I just wanted to add some insight into reading MRI reports that I have found over the past several years. First of all, I have been told by at least two different dr.s and several other people as well, that MRI's are just " a tool" and dont' show everything that is going on. They allso can miss things just as well. Also there are differnt views by different radiologists One example I will give is on a MRI that was done this past year on my back. I have degenerative disk diseas, the lumbar spine.
this is from an on the job injury almost ten years ago. I will try and make this short to make my point. The orginal MRI showed a hernated disk, ( small) at L4-L5. This was done in Oct. 2000 . Since then my back has deteriated more. My last MRI of this year, showed the same MRI but also disk bulges at L2-L3 L3-L4, and other changes such as disk space narrowing, etc, etc. When I went to the Spine Specialist for a referral, he talked about something not even mentioned in the MRI report. Then when I saw the neurosurgeon here, in his report he put, NO HERNIATIONS, AND ONLY DISK BULGES! The point is even when different dr.s are looking at the same MRI, X=ray reports, etc, they interpret what they see as different sometimes, just as the treatment would be different. I recently went to a Orthopedic dr. for my knee, and after looking at the MRI, he said part of what was on the report, ( I have a copy so I know what it says and I have had advice on this site as to what it means.) but he also talked about things that are not even the report? that can be very confusing if you know what I mean.
As for the mild degenerative changes in your knee, you state that you worked as an exotic dancer for a year and a half. The dancing you did, and I would asume ,a lot of bending, twisting of the knee, down on your knees sometimes, etc, these are what are called, REPEATIVE MOVEMENTS. Anyone regardless of their age can get tendon problems, and sometimes even degenerative changes, or Osteoarthritis in their joints, primarily the wrists, the knees, ankles and elbows, from motions that are repeated over and over again. It is not the age so much as the time you repeat the activity, such as typwriters, computers, cash registers, if you washed dishes all day, people such as carpenters, bricklayes, anyone doing the same action over and over all day is at risk.
As for age, look at tennis players, ballerinas on their toes all day, lots of sports such as baseball pitchers. they are not like the contact football players who get lots of injuries you would expect to cause damage, but the repeated throwing of the ball causes them lots of injury and pain. Lots of pitchers get rotator cuff surgery, shoulder surgery because of damage to their shoulder joint.
The fact you state that ' you got medial knee pain about two months after I started dancing, " fits in with your pain in your knee, some people get these kinds of injuries quicker than others. You may be one of the unlucky ones who gets tendon and other injuries quicker. I remember after working on an assembly line in a fish packing plant, I got really good and super fast at packing the fish in ten pound boxes. Also after a few months of this, my right hand and thumb started really hurting. It got to where I couldn't even lift anything and I had to go to the dr. He diagnosed it as Tendonitis, as I had " OVERUSED THE TENDONS OF THE HAND BY DOING IT SO FAST , OVER AND OVER ALL DAY.' He told me that I would never get over my tendonitis if I didn't quit, He said I just did not have the physical makeup to do that kind of work. I didn't have good muscle strength, upper body strength and advised me to quit if I wanted to save my hand. ( I quit and went back to teaching children, more fun anyway...) I got over the tendonitis, but I have noticed if I am on the computer for too long, my hand and thumb start getting sore and numb.
So my advice would be to see another dr. and get another opioinon, have a repeat MRI if your symptoms dont' improve in the next few months. Since you dont' have a tear, you are probably ok. I would think the dr. will tell you to rest your knee, and maby take some anti inflamatories if needed. I think the dancing was the cause in your case, unless there is some underlying condition not mentioned that only the dr. will be able to determine. It sounds like you were wise to get out of dancing as it may be the reason for the degenerative changes in your knee. You dont' have to be " Old' to have wear and tear changes in your joints. You are wise to keep your weight down, as even 10 pds of extra weight can cause a lot of damge over time to your joints, such as the knee.( since hurting my back I have gained about 20 pds of extra weight, and I know it is making my back, hips and knees worse than if I was at my pre-injury weight.)
Take care . fluffypurrcat