Hello Everyone,
I'm a 24 yr old male in the U.S. Army. My job is Infantry so I'm always on my knee. I've had 3 dislocations on my left knee, (including one in Afghanistan which caused a Medevac) and 2 surgeries. One was a scope and then a yr later I had a Lateral Release. I still have severe pain after PT and the surgery. There is not alot of swelling so docs kinda blow it off. My knees are my life and I can't live with this pain. I have tried Naproxen and ibprophen. Only the narcotics relieve the pain but that's not what I want for the rest of my life. Any advice please.
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replied March 26th, 2011
Especially eHealthy
infantry,

You probably had three patellar dislocations, rather than knee dislocations (very different beasts - a true knee dislocation can end up with an amputation). A patellar dislocation sometimes damages the cartilage surface of either the patella or the femoral condyle, (which doesn't show up on x-ray). A 'scope is usually done to assess the cartilage surface and clean up any loose bodies that may be present. The lateral release is done if the surgeon feels that the lateral aspect of the patella is too tight, causing rubbing of the patella on the lateral femoral condyle. This is supposed to realign the patella so it tracks better in the femoral groove. So, in terms of surgical intervention for realignment, they have done just about everything.

If you have significant cartilage damage, then that's a problem. Discrete loss of cartilage can be treated with a couple of different type of surgeries (OAT's and cartilage growth replacement). But they are for very specific indications.

You don't say what rank you are and if you are a straight 11B or have another MOS. The knees of an 11B take a pounding and unfortunately, orthopedic surgeons are not the same as Mother Nature and cannot put the knee back the way it was before you injured it. Sometimes you have to decide how much you want to put up with, or if it's better to reclass into an MOS where the knees are not subjected to so much stress. That is, if you want to stay in the Army. If not, then you have to think about what you want to do in the civilian sector.

Again, you may have to make some decisions in the near future. Talk to your orthopedic surgeon to see if he/she has any further ideas. And also, how are your knee injuries going to affect your life down the road. It's great to jump out of planes and be Hoorah when you're young, but those knees have to last you another 50 or 60 years. Good luck.
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replied March 26th, 2011
I'm a Sgt(Promotable) and 11 Bang Bang til the end. I unfortunately be getting out not reclassing. It would be a Medical Retirement. You are correct about the Patellar Dislocation. Thank you for all the advice. How do they find the cartaliage damage? I have had a MRI (before surgery) and they said I had some arthiritis coming on as well. They won't just DO a MRI without swelling or visible signs of trauma. Its kind of frustating and nothing shows up in X-rays. Thanks again.
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replied March 26th, 2011
Also there is a hard bump the size of a writing pen tip. It doesnt show up on x-rays either but is tender to the touch . It is on the inside of my knee almost on the backside of the patelar but I can still feel it? It also protrudes about 1/4 inch when my knee is bent. Docs don't know about that either.
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replied March 26th, 2011
Especially eHealthy
infantry,

The mass could be some fibrous tissue or scar tissue, that is very common. When they did your 'scope, they looked for cartilage defects that would need to be addressed. Though the MRI is good, and radiologists are getting better at interpreting them, the best way is by looking at the cartilage, with the 'scope.

Unfortunately, with diffuse cartilage damage there's not much that can be done, yet. Hopefully, in the future they will come up with something. If you had, say a dime size, full thickness, defect, then they can take plugs of cartilage and bone from an area in the knee where it is not as vital, and put the plugs in the defect (OAT's procedure). But, again, that is only for discrete injuries.

Some people get fairly decent results with the chondrotin sulfate, hyaluronic acid, and glucosamine preparations that you can get at most pharmacies or health supplement stores. It's worth a try, they can't hurt.

Good luck as a civilian. Hope you find a job you love as much as being an 11B, but one that doesn't tear your knees up.
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