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I’ve been on crutches for almost a month, with an as-yet-undiagnosed right knee issue. I'm an almost 50 year old male. I never actually injured my knee. After hiking 50-60 miles in National parks on a month long summer trip, I used our riding lawn mower when we returned, and haven’t walked since. That night, my knee suddenly swelled and was incredibly painful, unable to support any weight. I went to a sports medicine orthopedic clinic the next morning. An MRI showed a ‘patellar tracking disorder’ as the primary diagnosis - my kneecap isn’t always moving correctly. There was also a bit of degeneration of the meniscus, and evidence of a 20+ year old ACL slight tear. Physical therapy to strengthen the surrounding muscles was ordered. However, my physical therapist said that in her 20 year career she’s never seen anyone present with my symptoms – extreme and nearly constant pain, persistent swelling (for four weeks now), lack of range of motion, inability to bear any weight on my knee - as a result of that patellar tracking diagnosis. I’ve seen both an orthopedic sports doctor (twice) and a knee specialist, and neither knows what is happening to me. I’ve had fluid removed from the knee twice and a steroid injection into knee – with no relief. There was an ER visit, due to a concern about a knee infection, which proved unfounded. I tested negative for rheumatoid arthritis and gout - more bloodwork results coming this Thursday. While walking, the mere touch of fabric on my knee hurts, as does the sensation of a fan blowing on my knee. Next I’m being referred to a pain management doctor and to a rheumatologist, and then to a neurologist. The last doc I saw – a very well-respected knee surgeon, said I either had an inflammatory arthritis (which the rheumatologist could possibly help diagnose), or Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome. I’m having a hard time with all of this. I have finally gotten my life back after 3 ½ years of suffering chronic pain (post vasectomy pain syndrome) following a vasectomy, where no doctor could specify the source of pain that was absolutely debilitating. I’m a teacher, and other than working (which I barely made it though), I was largely horizontal, as that was less painful. I had 7 surgical procedures from an internationally known specialist, including denervation of the spermatic cord, numerous nerve blocks, a vasectomy reversal, and finally an orchiectomy which resolved the pain. To experience debilitating pain again is just unbelievable - PTSD from my previous ordeal adds anxiety on top of everything else right now. And once again, no professional has yet to determine exactly what is going on with my knee. It has been swollen for almost a month, incredible pain – keeping me up at night, even after pain meds – nothing seems to make it better – it’s always present, it appears purple after a day at work, I have greatly reduced range of motion, it won’t support any weight, I can’t walk without crutches, and a friend said it appeared somewhat atrophied. I can’t drive my car, as braking is painful and difficult. If I have a number of medical appointments, I can (painfully) drive my wife’s car. Just got a six-month handicapped placad. I can’t assist with house chores very much with crutches and an inability to bend/use by right leg. And, my wife and ten year old daughter must watch a loved one suffer – which is draining. What professionals should I see first? I feel like there’s a time constraint, as treatment sooner seems a key factor in recovery. Do my symptoms even present as CRPS? Any help would be appreciated.
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