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Lateral Release & Chronic Knee Pain (Page 1)

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Mad
hi.. I had lateral release done on my left knee almost 3 yrs ago, and now and since the surgery the pain will not go away, I was at church a few wks back, went down stairs and my leg went out on me, and I then had to climb back up the stairs to go home. Since then I have had pain in and around the knee as well as the upper & lower parts of the leg, so much, I can't go to sleep, and the pain just shoots in there like someone has stabed me with a hot pick. It cracks as well , and goes out on me to much. I had the surgery because I fell on the sidewalk when I was holding my then 1yr old son, to keep him from hitting the sidewalk I placed all my weight on to my left side and fell stright down onto the left side of my kneecap. I have taken 800mg of motrin, dosen't touch the pain. Dosen't even come close to helping. I wonder if I have done something to the knee again to keep from falling down the stairs, or is it due to having the surgery. Either way, I am in pain, and need some help. I was just wondering if anyone else has had this surgery and has never been the same since having it done. My range of motion is really bad!!!!!!!!! Went to look for a bike yesterday, and could not make the knee go even one round it hurt to much. Any idea"s or advice will help allot. Thanks.....
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replied August 7th, 2004
Several months ago I had a knee surgery and a release was also done as one part of the surgery. I myself don't have any problems. I am a martial artist and have started training again.

You say that you have been having that pain for several weeks now. What are you waiting for? See a doctor. The longer you wait, the worse the situation will get.

I don't know what you did after your surgery. But the 1st step is finding a good doctor. Get a 2nd opinion, a 3rd if necesarry and then decide who you'll trust. I myself saw 4 doctors before chosing the one who'll do my surgery. The 2nd step is finding a good therapist. Did you do therapy? Hard enough? Long enough? If you don't do therapy and rehabilitation after the surgery, you will not and cannot recover. Plain and simple. The more time after the surgery passes without proper and regular therapy, the more problems you will have and the possibility of full recovery is less and less.

It has been a while now after your surgery. I don't know what the condition of your knee is right now. Maybe an mri wouldn't be a bad idea. See a good doctor and let him examine your knee thoroughly. Hope it all goes well for you.
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replied August 20th, 2004
Lateral Release & Chronic Knee Pain
I just had a lateral release one and a half months ago. I had a lot of bruising on my knee after the operation. But it has subsided. The thing is, my knee is still swelling. It isn't as big as it was before but it hasn't subsided very much either. They say, the older you are, the longer it takes to heal but i'm only 35 yrs.

I really don't know what to do, at this stage. I go for pt and do my exercises regularly and i'm back to work after 5 weeks but because of the limited space at my cubicle, my leg gets quite painful.

Any advice?

Btw, i'm sure that I will still feel pain in the knee after this coz my cartilage is worn off and the lateral release was done to just correct the knee alignment.
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replied August 25th, 2004
Hello nc,

i am sorry to hear that you are still in pain. I honestly don't know whether or not it's normal to feel that much pain and have that much swelling. Have you seen your doctor recently? Do you have check-ups? What did the doctor say?

After the surgery I did therapy 4 weeks long and then I started doing rehabilitation at the gym. My cartilage was also badly damaged but after all the therapy and exercising, now 6 months after the surgery my doctor examined my knee and was very pleased to see that my knee is stronger and that my cartilage has improved.

You have to be patient. Sometimes things don't heal from today to tomorrow. My doctor told me in the very beginning that my recovery would last 6 months and that's how it was.

Are you sure that you found a good therapist who knows his/her work? Maybe you should talk to your doctor and let him recommend someone good.

Hope everything works out for you.
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replied August 25th, 2004
Lateral Release And Chronic Pain
Hi laura,

thanks for your message.

I saw my doctor 3 weeks ago. All he said was that I was slow in healing. He said that the swelling should have reduced 3 weeks after the operation. It's been almost 2 months and it's still swollen. I'm giving it till end of the week to see if the swelling subsides even if it's just by a little bit. If not, i'm going to see him again.

The therapist has been great and she's been helping me a lot. 2 weeks after the operation, I went to see her. At that time, I couldn't even lift my left of the ground because of the muscle. Now I can. I'm cycling, doing leg press, and I do my own exercises with the weights. But all this hasn't helped the knee reduce in swelling.

I guess the pain is due to the swelling. Once that goes down, I shouldn't have much pain.

I'll take your advice and be more patient. I'll keep icing the leg. I even bought and cold pack and have been icing my leg in the office while working.

I'll let you know when everything goes back to normal.

Thanks again!
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replied August 26th, 2004
I am glad to hear that your therapist is skilled. That is of utmost importance. But i'm still worried about the constant swelling you are having. Does your therapist ice your knee before every therapy? My therapist did it that way and I have never ever had swelling. Maybe here and there some minor swelling, but generally taken nothing.

Your doctor does not seem to be concerned. Maybe he is right. After all he is the doctor. Would you be interested in seeing another doctor and getting a 2nd opinion? You don't have to tell your doctor about it, but it would be good to hear what somebody else has to say. That's what I would recommend. Maybe I am exaggerating. But that's better than having problems.

Make sure to rest your knee and leg. When you lie down, put a pillow or something under your leg and rest your knee that way for a while.

Are your exercises too difficult for you? Under all the pressure of exercising, it is possible that water (or some fluid, I don't know the right medical term) gathers in the knee. Talk to your therapist. Maybe changing the exercises will do the trick. We are all different after all.

When there is a knee injury, a certain cyst appears in the knee. It's called baker's cyst. And it causes the swelling/the fluid to accumulate. There are doctors who would remove it but I think that my doctor is right when he says that that cyst is not the cause of a knee injury, it's actually the consequence. So when the knee problem is solved, the cyst disappears. And that's how it was with my knee. So think about it a little bit.

Was your doctor satisfied with how he performed the surgery?
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replied January 17th, 2009
I had this surgery done 9 months ago and am having many of the same problems as you. It seems to go back and forth between feeling better and worse. I do feel that my surgery is the cause of all my long term symptoms, but part of this may be due to the fact that it was nearly 3 years after the first injury when I had surgery.
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replied March 14th, 2009
Life Long Knee Pain
I first injured my knee playng twister when I was 13. My mother did not know what happended except that I was in a lot of pain. We did not do anything about it until it happened again while I was in gym my freshman year of high school. The doctor, Orthopedic Surgeon, put me in a cast for 3 months. The only thing that did was stiffin my leg up so that when it was time to take it off i couldn't walk. Another year later, my knee went out of place again, the same ortho doctor performed arthroscopic surgey which once again did the same as the cast. Very Painful recovery I might add. Finally my junior year in highschool while playing tennis it happened once more I couldn't take that pain, my coach had to pop my knee back in place this time which I think was worse than it popping out. The same surgeon then performed a lateral release of the right knee and said that I would be good to go. It has been 11 years since that surgey and 2 kids and my knee has popped out of place numerous times. I have been scared to go back to the doctor because I know how dehabilitating the recovery can be especially for a major surgery. I am now seeing a new Ortho surgeon who says that there is no ligament or tendon holding my knee cap in place hence the continuing slipping of the knee. My question finally is did the fisrt surgeon do what he was supposed to, considering the neww doctor stated that the lateral release that was performed was done in the wrong place based on the scar?
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replied May 8th, 2009
7 Months
I had surgery seven months ago. Lateral release/scope. I was pushed off a dock and landed all on one side. My knee continues to give out, swells, and is very painful. I have been doing my exercises and going to PT. I cannot do anything-my life revolves around my knee.
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replied May 21st, 2009
Community Volunteer
I walk this walk with all of you in life...No knee caps and cartilage that is gone...Cannot have knee replacements because my circulation is not good...Will I recover or lose a leg?....With the added age it doesn't help....But, I am alive...My mind is strong and it is just something that I am forced to accept....

We built our home 7 years ago around this fact...Saying this, please take precautions so that you do not fall down...Guard your steps...This is my best advice....

Take care,
Caroline
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replied August 23rd, 2009
Wow - how depressing. My knee started swelling for no apparent reason back in November. After two aspirations and taking 800 mg of Celebrex daily it started swelling again. MRI didn't show anything so doctor says cartlidge clean out and I would be good as new. Post op learn a lateral knee release was performed. After three months of therapy and constant swelling decided to work at home since couldn't see significant improvement. Now six weeks later (4 months after surgery) my knee is still swollen and limited mobility and difficulty walking, stairs, etc. Working at the gym to rebuild but it is so painful and not sure what to do regarding a second opinion. At last check up doctor says the joint is good but doesn't know when I will feel better and says the swelling could be here for a year after surgery....this doesn't seem right.
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replied August 25th, 2009
I had a meniscus repair, arthritic "clean-up", and lateral release 3 1/2 months ago. Finally returned to work last week---12 hour shifts as a nurse. My knee still swells and is painful. Taking Celebrex and going to PT and doing daily exercises. The pain and stiffness was so bad that yesterday at work I had to call my doc---he injected it with cortisone and I felt much better. He's suggesting Hyalgan injections to the knee---Sodium Hyaluronate--if things don't improve after the cortisone and increased PT. Anyone had this done? I know there are other such products--Synvisc for one---that have been recently marketed on TV. I'm 59 y.o and will need to work for at least another 10+ years, so am hoping to get some kind of relief from this all-consuming knee!! I know that patience is needed but gosh it just IS so all-consuming!
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replied May 7th, 2012
knee surgery
How is your heaing now, almost 3 years later? I will have the same surgery for the same problems next week. I hope to hear that you are much better. I am 46 years old. Have you had the Hyalgan injections, and do they help?
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replied August 23rd, 2013
I know that it has been over a year since you posted this. but I am wondering how your surgery went? I just had the same surgery on my left knee today. I have been up all night in pain I've been taking my pain meds every 4 hours & I am hooked up to an ice machine. Although, the cold from the ice machine barely makes it through the bandages. my surgeon was supposed to only clean up my knee and remove a loose body found he needed to perform the lateral release. I am bone on bone under the patella of my left knee. Did you go through physicsl therapy afterwards? I had the Hylagen injections in both knees but they did not work on my left knee at all. What can I expect now that I just had this surgery?
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replied January 1st, 2010
Swollen knee cap after lateral release
Hi - Advice please - I fell two years ago playing badmington, and dislocated my left kneecap falling on a uneven floor - I was put in plaster, and while in plaster the knee cap dislocated a further three times, each time requiring ambulance and emergency treatment in hospital. After three weeks, I had a lateral release, and was in plaster for six weeks, during which I developed blood clots in the leg, and lungs, and but for the grace of God,would have died. I was put on warferin (Coumedin) for six months, until December last year. My knee continued to trouble me, and is twice the size of my good knee, and I have seen four Doctors, and have had steroid injections to try to reduce the swelling with no effect.

In June this year I collapsed at home in terrible pain in the leg, and was again diagnosed with Pulmonary Embolisms (Blood clots) in the lungs and leg, and am now on coumedin for the rest of my life (I am 49), and I have lost my business, as I am unable to climb stairs, carry weights, kneel, or do day to day activities.

Any advice, as my knee is HUGE.
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replied January 1st, 2010
Community Volunteer
My best advice is be careful...It will probably never return to it's normal size...The pain really never goes away...When this happens I think of people that have it worse...That's about all I can do...I wish I could give you hope, just as I wish I was able to cure me, but my best advice is to be aware of where you walk and how you walk...Don't take anything for granted...When your knee gets sore then raise it up...Good luck...

Caroline
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replied January 8th, 2010
3 weeks post op, fluid build-up and swelling, need advice
Hey, I just had a arthroscopic lateral release and reconstruction of the medial femoral-patellar ligament 3 weeks ago. Before the surgery I was in a brace all of the time, except when I slept. It was a special brace that had this insert to keep your knee cap where it is supposed to be. My lateral meniscus in my right knee was also torn, and the doctor was going to remove it; but, when he performed the surgery he did not have to because it had healed. Before the surgery I had some swellig, which felt like a bubble of fluid, and now after the surgery it is more pronounced. I saw my doc on tuesday and he kept me on crutches and in a knee immobilizer. I was supposed to start therapy this week for a period of six weeks. He told me that normally people will be in therapy withi that time and will see the doc after completion. He told me that I might also be having a reaction to the internal sutures that he used to reattach everything. Maybe that might be some of your problems. If the arthroscopic surgery does not correct my knee there is a possibility that I will need the open surgery which requires plates and screws to be placed in the tibia to put everything back into position. I'm scared to no end at the possibility that this will not resolve itself soon and I will have to take a break from nursing school. I will start my clinical rotations in august and I hear they are really demanding. I'm beginning to become discouraged by reading these posts. Does anybody have anything positive for me? Any advise? What will I do if I am unable to go through clinicals? I have come too far not to be able to do this. Sad
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replied January 8th, 2010
Community Volunteer
Please understand I have never had this knee surgery you speak about...Instead, I was born without knee caps so I pay a different price in life...Because of poor circulation problems in my legs, I cannot have a knee replacement...Therefore, I can only speak of my pain with this fault of nature...

Knees are rough...This is even true with professional athletes...Seeing my husband go through two surgeries and my son one, I have seen the marvels of science...However, there surgeries were not as troubling as some that they have had...Here I talk about shoulder or hip recoveries as they are rough...I hope all goes well with your surgery and that you are soon as good as new...You are young and should do great...Take care...

Caroline
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replied January 23rd, 2010
I got a lateral release performed as part of another procedure because I had torn my meniscus and cut off some cartilage behind my kneecap. My surgeon did all three procedures in about 15 minutes, and I was out of the surgery center in about an hour. My physical therapist told me that a good portion of the recovery depends on how long the surgery takes; the longer it takes, the more swelling/bleeding/irritation is caused. I went to physical therapy the next day and have been doing it religiously ever since. I also iced my knee pretty much 24 hours a day for the first 4 or 5 days, and sat in a machine that bent my knee 8 hours a day for that same time period. I was on crutches for the first two days as a precaution, but didn't really think I needed it the second day. I haven't used them since. Same with the percoset, I'm just on ibuprofen now. I've been out of surgery for about a week and half... I returned to work after the first week and I'm sore from walking on it so much, but it isn't that bad. I'm also apparently way ahead of schedule rehab-wise, about at the 3 or 3.5 week mark... but I'd be worried if I were you guys talking about months of time being spent without improvement. I'm a week and a half out of surgery and my PT is talking about me doing light jumping next week. I'm hoping to return to playing recreational sports in maybe a month or so. I'd agree with one of the previous users that having a good surgeon and physical therapist is crucial, and my docs have told me that immediate PT is key to regaining range of motion in the knee, to prevent the buildup of scar tissue. It seems to have worked, I have pretty much full range of motion again (as compared to my other knee). Oh, and as a point of reference... I'm male and will be 30 in about a month.
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replied January 28th, 2010
lateral release
Hi,
My name is Nicolette.
On November 20th 2009, i had a lateral release done on my left knee as well as a meniscus repair. I had intense swelling for the first month after my surgery. It has been over two months and i am still not able to walk on it, or put full body weight on it. After my swelling went down in my knee, i noticed that i was starting to have very intense leg discoloration that would go from a bright red to a deep purple, my lower leg and foot including toes also gets very swollen like it is being compressed. My doctor didnt explain to me what a lateral release was and how the recovery would be. I started physical therapy 3 weeks after my surgery which now i know was the worst. My doctor told me not to start until i was some what weight-bearing. My PT thinks something may be wrong, but my doctor doesnt know. He sent me to see a different doctor, a sports medicine doctor, the new doctor cant tell me whats wrong either. i am very worried that something is not right, its a gut feeling Sad if anyone has any answers about anything that may be going on, please let me know. Any answers would be greatly appreciated
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replied January 31st, 2010
I've had knee pain for around 8 years and last year I very nearly had a lateral release done on my knee. I'd had physio, seen an orthopaedic surgeon, had an MRI, and was now booked into the hospital for the operation.

I'd already read many accounts on the internet of people whose lateral release operations hadn't gone to plan, but the more I read the more I was worried. For some people this seems to be a life ruining operation - I've read of people who can barely walk after having this done. Of course I realise that people who have had problems are much more likely to be vocal on the internet than people who have had no problems but it still put me off.

I had to choose between keeping my knee as it was (painful but manageable) or taking a gamble on an operation which could fix things or potentially make things much worse. As I can currently walk fine I didn't want to take a chance and cancelled the operation.

I decided that rather than having the surgery to cut the lateral retinaculum I would continue with physiotherapy.

My physiotherapist has been trying to stretch out the lateral retinaculum and giving me stretches designed to lengthen the tight muscles on the outer side of my leg.

To anyone thinking of having the op I'd suggest you try using physio to stretch the lateral retinaculum first. You can always sign up for the op at a later date.
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replied August 13th, 2012
Lateral Release Surgery or not?
Hi I am curious to know how this went for you with the PT instead of the surgery. This is a very similar story to mine. The only difference is that I had a surgery about 4 months ago that didn't repair the problem that should have originally been addressed (tight lateral retnaculum). The surgeon removed my medial plica even though I wasn't hving any pain on the medial side of my knee. Now I am sill stuck with the original pain as well as scar tisue from the plica he removed in the surgery. I am seeing a new doctor and he is recommending a lateral release but I so badly do not want to do. I am trying to weigh which will be worse. Living with mild/intermittant pain, limited mobility with a mild limp and soreness or going through with the surgery with the possibility of it making my knee worse and unable to walk at all without a lot of pain. I am scared to have 2 botched surgeries in one year. I would kiss my poor knee goodbye (as well as my other knee for having to brace all the weight for the rest of my life). My gut is telling me not to have the surgery and continue with PT but there are good days and bad days. I am 29 and always been active. I just want to have a somewhat normal life and be able to play/walk around with my kids someday. Any advice/update would be great.
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replied August 14th, 2012
Especially eHealthy
LT21,

As to the lateral release, it really depends on what it is being done for. If you have a really tight lateral retinaculum, which is causing an anatomical deformity such as a lateral tilt or a laterally tracking patella, then the surgery will most likely make the knee better (it will never be "normal").

But, if the release is just being done for patellar femoral syndrome symptoms coming from a tight retinauclum, but without any anatomical deformity, then the success rate is a lot lower, and PT is probably just as successful.


This is something that you need to discuss with your surgeon, as he/she has examined your knee and knows your case.


Good luck, with whatever you decide to do.
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replied March 3rd, 2010
I am a marathon runner and the pain in my knee would not go away when I ran. After running a marathon in mid-January, I decided to explore surgical options. I had a lateral release surgery along with smoothing of cartlidge in my right knee on Feb. 10th. I used crutches off and on for a couple of days. The pain was worse during Days 3-5. I missed two days of work (one day was the surgery). I began physical therapy on Day 6 and have done some sort of therapy everyday.

I was walking normally after about a week and no one could tell that I had surgery by looking a me walk.

Three weeks later, I have no swelling and am up to 30 minutes on the stationary bike. There is pain in my knee and I'm sure whether that is due to pushing the physical therapy or if the knee is still healing.
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