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Have knee pain, buckling and painful popping. X-rays showed minimal degenerative changes, diagnosed with chondromalacia. Suggest?

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What would indicate constant knee pain on the outside, buckling every time I walk, hard time lifting my knee to get into the car, and painful popping? Rheumatoid arthritis has been ruled out, Xrays came back with minimal degenerative changes but have been diagnosed with chondromalacia and MRI came back inconclusive. My doctor says it could be a tear and could be nothing but can't tell for sure. What would be my next steps?
Posted Mon, 19 Aug 2013 in Arthritis
 
 
Answered by Dr. Praveen Tayal 33 minutes later
Hello,
Thanks for posting your query.
The symptoms that you have described are likely to be due to a ligament tear.
In case of chondromalacia, the pain is mostly seen on movement of the knee joint. Since the MRI scan is inconclusive, you can opt for a repeat MRI scan, second opinion on the same films or a bone scan to find out the main cause.
A mild to moderate knee ligament injury may heal on its own given time. To speed the healing, you can:

*Rest the knee. Avoid putting excess weight on your knee.

*Ice your knee to reduce pain and swelling. Do it for 20-30 minutes every 3-4 hours for 2-3 days, or until the pain and swelling is gone.

*Compress your knee. Use an elastic bandage, straps, or sleeves on your knee to stabilize it.

*Elevate your knee on a pillow when you're sitting or lying down.

*Wear a knee brace to stabilize the knee and protect it from further injury.

*Take anti-inflammatory painkillers. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like Motrin to reduce pain and swelling.

*Practice stretching and strengthening exercises if your doctor recommends them.
I hope this answers your query.
In case you have additional questions or doubts, you can forward them to me, and I shall be glad to help you out.
Please accept my answer in case you do not have further queries.
Wishing you good health.
Regards.
Dr. Praveen Tayal.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
Follow-up: Have knee pain, buckling and painful popping. X-rays showed minimal degenerative changes, diagnosed with chondromalacia. Suggest? 8 minutes later
Thanks for the quick response. All the other non traditional steps to heal my injury have failed. I have rested my knee, iced it, elevated my knee, used a knee brace and was even prescribed ibuprofen (800mg), naproxen, endocin, tramadol, percocet, and oxycodone and nothing has worked. Additionally, I have went through physical therapy both in the office and through aquatics. The pain has been going on for well over year with it getting worse. Do you think it is a ligament tear or meniscal tear because my pain is coming from the top and side of my knee?
 
 
Answered by Dr. Praveen Tayal 2 minutes later
Hello.
Thanks for writing again.
If all the conservative treatments have not helped you then a ligament tear or a meniscus tear is a strong possibility. If nothing is detected on MRI scan then you can also opt for exploratory arthroscopy to find out the exact site and extent of damage.
Hope my answer is helpful.
Do accept my answer in case there are no further queries.
Regards

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
Follow-up: Have knee pain, buckling and painful popping. X-rays showed minimal degenerative changes, diagnosed with chondromalacia. Suggest? 24 hours later
That is actually what I want because I do believe there is something torn in my knee like my meniscus and/or ligaments. Additionally, could you tell me what does a sharp burning pain on the side of knee indicate? Also, what does a total locking of knee indicate as well?
 
 
Answered by Dr. Praveen Tayal 16 hours later
The sharp burning pain on the side of the knee could be due to the injury itself, irritation of a superficial nerve due to local tissue edema or inflammation. A direct examination will help in detecting the exact cause.
The total locking of the knee joint indicates a ligament tear.
It is best to get the proper diagnosis done and then go for the specific treatment.
Regards.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
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