Monday, 19 March 2018

Knee Arthroscopy – Part One The Background

Was it years of playing cricket, rugby and football that did it? Probably a contributing factor. How about the few years working on building sites and lugging things around that were far too heavy for my frame? Definitely a cause. And more recently, the extensive landscaping clearance on my house, filling multiple builder’s skips with stone and rubble, having dug out countless tree roots and levelled the back garden.? Certainly the final straw.

I have always been injury prone and it is only in recent years that I have tried to get exclusively to the core of these issues in an attempt to do as much as possible to extend my shelf life as an active being and understand the problem. Since my early twenties my back had been playing up and then at the age of 28 I finally had an MBR scan which showed two discs bulging in the L5 section of my spine. Sporadic acupuncture did little to solve the issue and in desperation I sought the help of a chiropractor who happened to practice just down the road from my house. His positive mindset immediately helped and I was able after several weeks to start exercise again, slowly building up to running and lifting weights and understanding the muscles I needed to work on to strengthen my core (whilst actively avoiding the things that tended to exacerbate the issue). My right knee was another long-term casualty, having always been slightly more susceptible to twinges, strains and aches. During my acupuncture sessions I was briefly diagnosed with plantar fasciitis which was apparently caused by my right leg being ever so slightly shorter than my left, meaning that I was advised to wear (very uncomfortable) heel inserts to try and bring the legs straight. The problem was that my posture was not correct at the time of measurement so the inserts did not properly help, but it did point to a possible cause for my knee pain, especially when considering that as a outside half / centre I used to boot a rugby ball fairly hard and also almost exclusively used my right foot when playing five a side football or training at University. Indeed in recent years when I have been messing about with a rugby ball I have forced myself to kick with my left leg and have noticed how technically correct I am and how gently I strike the ball when power is taken out the equation.

It was the summer of 2015 that I really felt my right knee start to click badly following the gruelling landscaping work on my back garden and then the following year it would continue to cause me issues when kneeling down with the girls in the playroom, especially if I had been running long distances. Last year I entered myself in the Wolf Run in Warwickshire, a 10km cross country run across rugged farmland with a heap of obstacles thrown in and a swim across a lake. Halfway through my calf started to ache, which told me that once again my knee had started to give way forcing my other muscles to compensate. When mentioning this to my chiropractor he advised me to get it seen to as I have private medical cover and if the root cause was identified and fixed it might help to prevent other issues from arising.

The insurance company accepted my request and I was put onto a consultant who assessed me, reviewed my back story and suggested an MRI scan. This in itself triggered a lengthy process as the first scan had been arranged by my GP and the NHS promptly messed it up, losing the scan results and wasting around two months in the process. I eventually had a second scan at the Priory in Birmingham and waited for the results. Finally I went back to the consultant who stated that it had showed an enlarged plica – a membrane that is part of the fat pad of the knee, a redundant piece of our anatomy that for some reason is enlarged some people and causes friction in the knee, especially around the edges. His suggestion was keyhole surgery to get a camera in for a better look and a possible “tidy up” of the knee in the process.

So once the admin part had been dealt with, I was given a date of the 26th January 2018 for a knee arthroscopy. It was to be a day case treated at the West Midlands hospital, providing of course that I remained fit and free from illness in the meantime…

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