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Monday, May 21, 2012

I've seemed to misplace my kneecap...maybe

It's official. My doctors and I know about the same amount about my knee, which is to say nothing much at all. I have thus far seen two orthopedic surgeons and the results are inconclusive.

The first doctor's opinion: 

The pain and soreness that I have been feeling is due to my nee being displaced - a common problem in young women. In other words, I have patellar instability.

Essentially, my knee cap moves out of the groove (trochlear groove of the femur) that is supposed to be holding it in place. While there is wiggle room in all knees when straightened, the knee cap should not have the ability to move OUT of place. When I was examined, the doctor saw and heard a pop as I flexed and extended my knee - a j-sign.  

Watch the left knee for the pop as the knee cap goes out of place
What he was seeing is a partial dislocation of my kneecap - a patellar subluxation. During my everyday movement as I bend and straighten my knee, the patella moves in and out of the the groove, rubbing against the cartilage and causing excess tension for the joint (patellofemoral joint). 

He suggested that I either go for physical therapy (twice a week for seven weeks) or go for surgery. He recommends surgery because of how long my knee has been bothering me (and because he is a surgeon by trade). 

The second doctor's opinion: 

Immediately, the second doctor ruled out the previous doctor's diagnosis. He did not see the j-sign and so found my knee to be perfectly stable. Because he ruled out structural damage and to explain the persisting pain, he told me that I have either chondromalacia patellae, a softening of the cartilage of the knee, or plica syndrome, the inflammation or irritation of the surrounding tissue of the knee.

Cartilage softening is commonly found in young women during their growing years. Seeing as I did grow a couple of centimeters in the past few years at college, this was a likely scenario. Plica syndrome is a last resort situation - a problem diagnosed by exclusion, meaning that this is the diagnosis made when everything else is ruled out. To confirm what I really have, this second doctor has ordered an MRI. 

Either way, I hope that the doctors figure it out soon. I have to arrive at medical school in mint condition. I've got intermurals to win and volleyball to play! 


  1. I hope you'll get better! Are you getting any therapy/treatment? I sorta had the same thing when I was little and my parents brought me to every possible doctor in town, but none of them helped LOL It is still a mystery to me lOL

    1. I haven't gotten any treatment yet. I have to wait until I get that MRI.

      Is your knee feeling better? Maybe it was a growth thing? Maybe I'll get taller? One can only hope.