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    Knee: Synovial Cartilage Damage


    A year and a half ago I fell mountaineering, banged my right kneecap and couldn’t walk for two weeks. I saw a doctor, who said that I had lost cartilage. For the past year my knee has constantly throbbed. It feels unstable and hurts when I climb. Prolonged sitting is very uncomfortable. My knee locks when I stand. Is there anything I can do before getting an MRI, since they are so expensive?

    Carter Mcfarlan | Rock and Ice Forum

    A year and a half! Stoic was only a reasonable response when medical solutions were restricted to amputation. Do your bit to stimulate the economy, and get an MRI. If you’re paying out of pocket, it will actually be half price for you to fly here, to Australia, and have one. Flights included!

    Your synovial cartilage is hurting. That call is about as complicated as diagnosing virulent hegemony in the bones of the White House. Whether the assault on your cartilage occurred at the time of impact or over the following months is up for debate. Locking of the knee, and instability, are definite concerns and much harder to diagnose without an MRI. Could be a bone chip, torn meniscus, ruptured cruciate ligaments, yada yada. MRI!

    Do the following three exercises to get it moving a little more freely.

    Lie on your back with your injured leg relaxed over a chair facing sideways and in front of you, knee at 90 degrees and foot hanging off the other side. Get a mate to pretend your foot is the steering console for Grand Theft Auto, sweeping full lock turns left and right. Hold full lock for a mile or so in each direction and repeat a few times. Start holding each rotation with mild tension and build as the discomfort decreases.

    Facing away from a table (or something around that height), place the top of your right foot on the tabletop and sit on your heel. While leaning back, point your knee toward the floor. Feel the burn and enjoy it for 30 seconds. Repeat a few times, morning and night.

    Traction of your patella (kneecap) is like giving a cow a vaginal examination—awkward. Push your patella to one side. Grab the underside (with difficulty!) and ply it away from your knee. Hold till your fingers hurt and then push it the other way.

    Those cheeky Ruskies have a missile lock on you. Employ some Maverick evasion maneuvers or that knee is going to crash and burn. Remedial yoga that targets the knee and hip and all the muscles between would be a good start. The usual arthritis supplements, namely glucosamine and fish oil, might also help. But first, get some fancy pictures.

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