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Sudden knee pain... sprain? tear?

A little over 2 years ago I had knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus and a couple of other things. I had some minor complications post-op (excessive bleeding), but returned to fairly normal function with a couple of months. The only thing I was left with was this occasional urge to pop my knee.

Every morning when I get out of bed, I have to crank my knee inwards to pop it. It's a very loud pop, but doesn't ever cause pain. If I don't do that it feels stiff and will drive me crazy. Yesterday morning as soon as I popped it, I felt a very sharp pain right below the kneecap within the knee. My knee has hurt ever since. It feels unstable... as if it's going to buckle when I walk and it hurts to fully extend it. I've been wearing a knee brace throughout the day because it seems to help with the pain and unstable feeling a bit.

Could I have just done more damage to my knee by popping it the way I have over the last couple of years? Does this sound like a simple strain that will heal with rest and ice or should I be thinking about making an appointment with my ortho? I just had shoulder surgery 2 weeks ago to remove a bone spur, so having to deal with knee pain on top of that is really frustrating for me. I would really appreciate any advice or suggestions.
2 Responses
Avatar universal
Hello Dear,
I can understand your problem well.
The following information would help solve your concern.
A home physical therapy program or simple rest with activity modification, ice, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) is the nonoperative management of possible meniscus tears. The physical therapy program goals are to minimize the effusion, normalize gait, normalize pain-free range of motion, prevent muscular atrophy, maintain proprioception, and maintain cardiovascular fitness. Choosing this course of treatment must include consideration of the  age, activity level, duration of symptoms, type of meniscus tear, and associated injuries such as ligamentous pathology. A trial of conservative treatment should be attempted in all but the most severe cases, such as a locked knee secondary to a displaced bucket-handle tear.
The main complication at this stage of treatment is the absence of healing and failure of symptoms to resolve. The natural history of a short (<1 cm), vascular, longitudinal tear is often one of healing or resolution of symptoms. Stable tears with minimal displacement, degenerative tears, or partial-thickness tears may become asymptomatic with nonoperative management. Most meniscal tears do not heal without intervention. If conservative treatment does not allow the patient to resume desired activities, occupation, or sport, surgical treatment is considered. Surgical treatment of symptomatic meniscal tears is recommended because untreated tears may increase in size and may abrade articular cartilage, resulting in arthritis.

(Refer: http://www.emedicine.com/sports/TOPIC160.HTM#section~Treatment)

Take care
Avatar universal
I have osteoarthritis in my knee which has limited my range of motion...lately I have been feeling better(warm  weather helps) so I have been frequenting the gym riding the recumbent bike 4x week for 45 min or so with ease!  Routinely getting out of my car 4 days ago( not after the gym or anything like that) I felt a pop and my knee locked...didn't hurt to touch knee, ok to bear weight, just not bendable...I immediately put ice on it and slept with knee brace so as not to bend it and wake myself. Next AM  it felt a little better so I tested it by bending knee slightly and felt that pop/lock again....I went about my business that day stiff kneed and cautious...all suddenly I noticed the knee was bendable again...what luck I thought...then yesterday I felt that pop/lock bit again, went for the ice bag and got rid of it again....but it worries me that it could come back and lock on me again...it is OK to "force: a bend during this locked time, even though painful, to work out the locked state...what should I do to try to prevent this from happening(what if I were skiing down a hill for example and it locked )...Again, I have no pain or tenderness and call fully bear weight when it is "locked"

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