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Monday, 12 December 2016

That subchondral patellar fracture though...

So recently I was walking down some stairs (exciting start I know!), and twisted my knee to the point where my patella (or kneecap for those of you less medically inclined) dislocated. I've never felt anything so painful in my life, so naturally I screamed the house down.  My parents came to my rescue and helped me up, but as I got to my feet I heard a pop, and felt much more pain.  Now I have a pretty high pain threshold, and I'm not normally one to let an injury stop me, but there was no way I could just shrug it off and keep doing what I was doing.

Off to the hospital I went, and after almost two hours of waiting, I got to see a doctor. He poked and prodded my knee then sent me off for x-rays, assuring me that it would probably be a soft tissue injury that the radiographs wouldn't demonstrate, (which I was well aware of because I study radiography myself). Off I went anyway to get the x-rays, and when the radiographer took the last exposure, he paused for quite a long time at the console. Now radiographers aren't normally supposed to tell their patients what they can see in case it's wrong, but because he knew I kind of knew what I was talking about, he said "that's strange, there's a small opacity there, which might be something".  I kind of brushed it off, because ligament damage doesn't show up like that, and when I saw the doctor again, he was convinced it was just a calcification in the tendon from a previous injury.  I had injured this knee in the past, so that made complete sense. With that, he told me to rest, and told me in a couple of weeks everything would be almost normal again.

If you're not familiar with how the x-ray taking then getting the results system works, the x-rays get taken and sent off to a radiologist to look at and report on. This can take up to a couple of days. The report then gets sent to your normal doctor. Whereas in the emergency department, the doctors are responsible for reading and interpreting your images, well before the radiologist gets them. And they don't tend to look back over the reports of patients they had two days ago, because, well, they've got other patients to see.

I went on with my normal life for the next two and a half weeks, trying to rest my knee as much as I could, but still having to go to work and do household chores and things. My knee was kind of getting better, but no matter what I did it just kept swelling up like a balloon. So I decided it was well and truly time that I go and see my normal doctor about it.  And well... He was surprised I hadn't been in sooner. When I explained why I was there he said "I got the report from those images, and I would've thought the hospital would have called you to say that you have a displaced fracture of the medial facet of your patella". To which I was gobsmacked. I'd actually broken my kneecap, not just done some ligament damage?! And I'd been working, spending hours on my feet, which could have potentially made it worse. I'd been trying strengthening exercises, which could have potentially made it worse.  Without even discussing it, he had already arranged an appointment for me to see an orthopaedic surgeon, to see what my next move was.

I left in a wave of confusion, anger and anxiety. What if I'd left it too long, and now it will never heal properly? Why did no one tell me that I'd BROKEN A BONE? How am I going to organise work? It was all going on. And since then I've done some research, which has only made me feel worse. (Don't google medical stuff people! Even if you know what it's about).

So basically, I'm confused, sore and feel completely useless, because I have to try and rest so much. Let's see what the next step is!

With a rested, iced, compressed and elevated (R.I.C.E) knee,
Beth x