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Avatar universal

Painful "pressure" feeling & popping in joints, primarily my knees

I'm a 21 year old female and I'm going through something really odd, and I'm hoping someone may have an idea as to what it is.
I have this problem where my joints get this "pressure" sensation in them, and unless I crack them, I'm in a bit of discomfort. It affects my back, wrists, fingers, toes, and knees. My knees are the worst. With them, it isn't just discomfort, it is extremely painful, whether I crack them or not. The pain in my knees has gotten progressively worse that it affects my daily life. I need to crack them usually every 3-10 minutes. I feel like it's just getting worse and worse and that eventually I'm going to lose the ability to walk.

My family doctor ordered a blood test for rheumatoid markers but the test came back negative. He suggested I first see an orthopedist, who took x-rays of my knees and said the x-rays are negative and suggested I do physical therapy for my knees because maybe my thigh muscles were "too weak". This didn't make sense to me as even though I don't have extreme pain joints other than my knees, it IS affecting other joints. I went back to my family doctor who agreed that physical therapy would not correct my problem, and now I have an appointment to see a rheumatologist next week. My family doctor also prescribed me Prednisone for 5 days, and then Relafen after that to see if either a steroid or non-steroid would relieve any pain, but I did not notice a difference. If it did relieve the pain, this would have suggested arthritis despite the negative blood work and x-rays.

Even though I have an appointment next week I'm still trying to figure out what this may be. I've tried to do research online for such a long time but all of the common conditions don't seem to fit. I'm thinking it may be somewhat uncommon.

If anyone has any ideas, PLEASE write back. I will very much appreciate it.
4 Responses
1530171 tn?1448133193
You may be causing some minute incremental damage to your ligaments by cracking your knees every few minutes as this action stretches the ligaments.
The gases which cause the cracking sound need up to 1/2 hour  to redissolve into the synovial fluid.

The cracking gives you a sense of "euphoria" and "looseness" because the muscles surrounding your knees relax and the nerve endings sensing motion (called "Golgi tendon organ") get stimulated at the same time.
There might be an addictive aspect to this habit/action

Look into seronegative arthritis, low methylation, low grade pathogenic infections like pathogenic mycoplasma and its co-infections.

The weaker a muscle happens to be, the weaker the joint, so the doctor who suggested this may have a point, but I cannot speculate, based on the limited information from your post.
The are a variety of muscle strength tests and I'm surprised that no testing was  suggested, in order to rule out muscle weakness.

At any rate, I hope you find the answers you're looking for soon
and BTW not all drugs work on all people as this depends on many factors
including your own phenotype and genotype.

Best wishes.
Niko


Avatar universal
Thank you for your response, however the cracking does not give me that euphoric feeling, it relieves pain caused by "pressure" (the only way I can describe it). Nor is this an addictive habit for me. If I don't crack my knees, I am in debilitating pain. I constantly feel like I have 1000b bricks balanced on my kneecaps, even moreso if I try to hold off on popping them. For the other joints, if I hold off on cracking them they will be in a lot of discomfort. Wouldn't necessarily call those painful, but it is definitely bothersome.

As for the orthopedist's diagnosis of probable muscle weakness, this wouldn't make sense because I am symptomatic in more than just my knees. The orthopedist's treatment plan was to send me to physical therapy for about a month (twice a week) and then when my knees "felt better" he would send me for my other joints. I'm a pretty healthy person overall-I'm 5'2 and weigh 120- I can't possibly have weakness in every muscle of my body, especially my knees, which are the strongest in my opinion. The maximum leg press limit at my gym is 350 pounds which I can do with no problem. However, there was no official muscle strength testing as you said.
1530171 tn?1448133193
The concern is that the temporary relief you're getting, may also be contributing to your joint pain in the long term, as the chronic  & repeated cracking may result in damage of the ligaments, which would affect the muscles and consequently the knees.

You're right about the muscle weakness theory being faulty, since many other joints are affected-I missed this in your original post, assuming it involved mainly your knees- so in way it may help narrow down the search.

I'll think about this and should I come up with anything more concrete,
I'll let you know.

Did you have a Synovial fluid analysis? If not, I think you should ask for one,
which might help get some answers.

Wishing you well.
Niko


  
Avatar universal
Oh believe me, I know there's a huge possibility it will cause further problems. Which is why I'm trying to get to the bottom of this ASAP because I do notice it getting progressively worse.

If you do think of anything, I would appreciate it, and I thank you in advance. My rheumatology appointment is tomorrow, hopefully this doctor will be more thorough with me, and I will ask about that analysis and hopefully he will do further tests as well.
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