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Old 04-30-2011, 12:50 PM   #1
Brent Ramos
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Popping Knee

I injured my knee two months ago from over training (running with weight). I went to the doctor about three weeks after the injury (it obviously wasn't very painful) and explained to her where my knee would hurt when I running and that there was now a noticeable(when touching the outside of my knee) and sometimes audible popping on the outside of my knee slightly above the knee joint. She said that as long as there was no pain then it was fine and not to worry about it.

Fast forward a month and a half later, my knee still pops whenever I squat near parallel, though it is not painful at all, it is distinct, and when I perform a lot of squats the pop is more noticeable the next day (again no pain though). Also, after waking up in the morning, when things are stiff, my left knee/ankle or something clicks when I walk (during the motion where I bring my leg forward to step). This click is independent of the popping that occurs in my knee. After about ten steps the clicking goes away entirely and only occurs after sitting for long periods.

Like I said, there is usually no real pain, aside from the occasional ping of pain on the inside of my left knee (where it originally hurt when I injured it) that I feel when I swing my leg in an awkward direction or just on the random occasion after sitting for a long time.

What's strange is that I've been running about four/five days a week for the past month and a half and it never hurts while running. My knee feels a little strange when I start running, but it feels as if my legs warm up and there's no discomfort at all.

The only way I know how to stimulate pain directly where I injured my knee is to lay on my back and perform leg lifts, when my legs near the bottom of their travel and change direction I feel that same pain in the inside of my knee.

Just wondering what this could be, my doctor made it seem as if I was making a big deal out of nothing. I obviously am not if there is such a significant popping occurring in the one knee that I injured, if that same knee clicks before it's warmed up, and if I can stimulate pain in some cases (though not through running).
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Old 04-30-2011, 10:36 PM   #2
Rickey Ellis
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Re: Popping Knee

Sounds like a possible meniscus issue. I was having the same symptoms and it wasn't effecting my training either. I could run, jump and squat with no problems. It is more of an annoying dull pain from my experience. Always best to play it safe and get an MRI. Good luck!
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Old 05-01-2011, 11:58 AM   #3
Brent Sallee
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Re: Popping Knee

Well, it depends on what type of doctor you saw. If you saw an orthopedist, then they are quite aware of what it could be and their decision is likely correct. If you saw a general practitioner about it, they're not as up-to-snuff on joint issues.

It could be several things - tendon bands snapping over the femoral condyle, muscular knots snapping over parts of the same spot, cavitation of the joint (where gas is released due to pressure change within the joint), or it could be a space occupying lesion created by a meniscus tear. If you wanna be sure, go see an orthopedist. They may or may not want an MRI - they have a lot of manual tests that are just as good at identifying a structural issue. Plus, if you don't need the MRI, it's way, way cheaper.
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Old 05-01-2011, 05:27 PM   #4
Brent Ramos
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Re: Popping Knee

I think I failed to make this clear in my post.

That the popping actually comes from the OPPOSITE side of the knee where I experience pain.

The popping occurs on the outside of my leg slightly above the knee, and the rare pain I ever feel is on the inside of my knee running down the leg portion there. On the rare occasion that it hurts I could move my fingers around the area and isolate a vein, nerve, or something that causes the pain.

I've attached a picture, no those aren't my knees, but just a picture of knees that I googled and added captions to.

Also, it was just a general practitioner I went to. She has to refer me in order to get an MRI and she didn't think it was anything to be worried about. Any advice on proceeding from here?

I don't have that many options as far as rest is concerned. I'm in a program to become an officer in the USMC that requires Officer Candidate's School to be attended in the Summers between school. The second six week increment(the last as well, if I don't injure myself) ships on July 9th.

Like I said, I injured myself running in boots and a weight vest, I'm almost certain it was the extra weight that caused the injury. I cannot stimulate the pain in my knee from running with just running shoes and shorts. I still run the occasional mile and perform a workout here and there in boots (no weight vest, #25, though because I think that was the major culprit) and there is no pain experienced. In fact, I even did a two mile hike in the boots and weight vest and didn't feel any pain.

The only thing that worries me is that there is still that popping/shifting in my knee and the occasional ping of pain.

Thanks for the advice so far guys.
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Old 05-01-2011, 07:50 PM   #5
Brent Sallee
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Re: Popping Knee

You don't have to get a referral to get an MRI if you see an orthopedist directly. You can also go visit a physical therapist directly (depending on what state you live in). To me, it sounds the popping/shifting may be lateral tracking of the patella over the lateral femoral condyle. That just means it's shifting to the outside of your knee over a bony prominence. The medial pain could be due to overstretching of the structures on the inside of your leg, mainly the vastus medialis and medial patellar retinacular fibers. Try this - try foam rolling the outside of your leg, mainly the vastus lateralis and the IT band. It will likely be pretty painful to get through, but I bet it helps. Try it out - it can't really hurt.
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Old 05-02-2011, 11:12 AM   #6
Brent Ramos
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Re: Popping Knee

Thanks a lot Brent, great information.

Can the tracking of the patella manifest itself into something worse? Because I really don't have a problem with it (because it doesn't hurt), but it does seem odd that it shifts as it does.

I'll try the foam rolling and see how that goes. I doubt it will be painful, seeing that it's usually difficult to stimulate the medial pain while performing static movements.
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Old 05-03-2011, 06:58 AM   #7
Brent Sallee
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Re: Popping Knee

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Originally Posted by Brent Ramos View Post
Thanks a lot Brent, great information.

Can the tracking of the patella manifest itself into something worse? Because I really don't have a problem with it (because it doesn't hurt), but it does seem odd that it shifts as it does.

I'll try the foam rolling and see how that goes. I doubt it will be painful, seeing that it's usually difficult to stimulate the medial pain while performing static movements.
Yeah, the tracking itself can become painful on the lateral side as well - debilitating in some cases.

Foam roll the lateral structures - the medial structures are likely still healing a bit so I'd wait on rolling them for a few days at least. You have to loosen up stuff on the outside so that patella can glide more within the groove.
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Old 05-04-2011, 11:41 AM   #8
Brent Ramos
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Re: Popping Knee

Alright, I'll give it a try.

I've also heard that they sell knee bands or something that correct the tracking of the patella, is that worth trying as well?
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Old 05-04-2011, 08:17 PM   #9
Brent Sallee
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Re: Popping Knee

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Originally Posted by Brent Ramos View Post
Alright, I'll give it a try.

I've also heard that they sell knee bands or something that correct the tracking of the patella, is that worth trying as well?
They don't fix the problem - they simply mask it temporarily. And IMO they don't work that well, unless they've been customized to some degree. Honestly, you can fix this problem in a pretty timely manner with loosening up the lateral structures. I think it'd be a waste of money to buy it since the pain should go away.
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Old 06-09-2011, 12:42 PM   #10
Brent Ramos
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Re: Popping Knee

So my knee had been doing fine, I was running faster than ever before, and running a few times a week in boots with no pain whatsoever. Until last Saturday, I had a physical fitness test and a three mile run is included, I ran faster than I ever had with no pain.

However, I went to work later that day ( I work at a hardware store and my work day consists of standing around for hours at a time) and later in the day my knee started feeling a bit sore. Not so much hurting the way it did when I first injured it, but just feeling sore.

I didn't run the next day (Sunday, seeing as it was my rest day) but both Sunday and Monday my knee felt strange. Not hurting, but after walking around and sitting my knee would feel warm, that's the best way I could describe it.

I ran Tuesday at a fast pace in running shoes with no pain at all, but my knee would still feel weird when sitting down (after walking or running around).

Yesterday I ran a mile in boots, no pain, but the inside (medial I think) area of my knee (where it originally would hurt) felt strange during certain strides, no pain, but didn't feel normal. The sensations would only occur during certain strides and only when during the first quarter mile, after that it felt as if the proper muscles were supporting my strides.

Like I said, no real pain, just strange sensations when I take step here and there after just getting up, and when I first start running.

It's always on the inside(medial) area of the knee. As stated earlier in the post, there is a popping/shifting in the opposite (outside) side of my knee which I think is the patella not tracking correctly. Since my PFT Saturday, the shifting is more pronounced (though it never went away to begin with after originally injuring it).

My speculation is that something was irritated during my run (which is strange considering that prior to the PFT Saturday I ran five days a week at a fast pace for a distance of 3-6 miles up and down some pretty big hills with no pain).

In fact, I can sometimes press on the area that feels agitated and locate a vein like structure that is shifting and stimulate pain (only sometimes though, sometimes I can't find it, and others it doesn't stimulate pain).

So, considering that I think it's something agitated, combined with the more noticeable shifting of the patella, do you guys think some sort of anti-inflammatory will help? If so, what would work best? Motrin?

Thanks for any advice.
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