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Knee injury, x-rays shows a torn meniscus, painful, breathing trouble, may be due to anxiety

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2005
Answered : 2580 Questions
Approximately two months ago I fell on concrete steps, and my right knee took the brunt of the fall. I made it to the doctor's office about two weeks later and x-rays confirmed a torn miniscus and water on the knee. I chose not to have it drained, and with wrapping and icing the pain completely disappeared in about a month. It was a luxorious healing; when I bust myself up, I usually do it pretty good and it takes a year or more to heal! About an hour ago, I was watching a movie with my daughter. I was sitting on the couch with my legs propped up straight in front of me. Suddenly I was struck with an insane amount of pain from the back of my healed/injured knee. The original pain was in the front. I don't know if the pain is from the same injury, but I am experiencing some terrible anxiety. My boyfriend (age 56) died suddenly last year from "atherosclerotic disease". I thought that was a condition and not a cause of death ... anyway, I am feeling pretty nervous because this pain is weird, and I have never had it before. It increases and decreases with movement. It does not feel muscular. I would probably say that it feels like a tendon problem, but it came on sudden and is very sharp. I am having a little trouble breathing, but that may be due to anxiety. My brother used to be a paramedic. I called him and he said that there was no way that I could have a clot (my fear for obvious reasons).
Posted Wed, 27 Jun 2012 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Prasad 1 hour later

Thanks for the query.

Before I go on to address the pain, I would like to inform you that the pain which you have in your knees is not consistent with venous thrombosis / embolism (clot). Though the pain looks concerning, I can tell you that it is not a very serious concern like what you think it is. Venous thrombosis / embolism are associated with calf / thigh muscle pain with swelling and what you seem to have is a knee pain.

Now coming back to what this might be.

Knee injuries such as the one you had 2 months ago usually take 6-12 weeks for complete recovery. Proper rest and immobilization is recommended to avoid delayed and improper healing. Hyperextension of a recently injured knee may result in new injuries and worsening/aggravation of pain. Based on what you described, I think the cause of your pain is related to the injury.

Anti-inflammatory analgesics (Motrin) will be helpful in such painful conditions. Repeat icing and avoid movements of the affected joint.

You will need a repeat X-ray or scan of the knee joint if the pain persists.

Though I am concerned about the pain I can assure you that it is not a vascular phenomena / venous thrombosis / embolism. Visit your nearest ER / orthopaedic surgeon.

Hope this helps. Let me know if you need any more help.

Wish you a speedy recovery.

Best Regards
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