“Unspecified” Knee Pain 

I found out what the orthopedist meant by “unspecified knee damage”/”unspecified knee pain” today. The physical therapist asked if I’d seen the doctor. I told her I had, then she asked if I saw an orthopedist. Again I told her that I had. She asked what he’d done. I told her he’d sent me for an MRI, then told me to get physical therapy. She asked what the diagnosis was and I told her the vague/”unspecified” diagnosis. She checked the referral to see if it was any clearer. It wasn’t. 

She checked my latest physical therapy folder. It said I had tested positive for a meniscus tear. Then she asked where I had gone for my MRI. When I pointed down the hall, she realized that she could look that up easily as well. The indications, according to the radiologist, were quite specific. 

  1. I have a partial meniscus tear. 
  2. The fat pad at my patella is swollen.
  3. I have iliotibial band syndrome. 
  4. There’s a significant loss of cartilage behind my kneecap. 
  5. There was also a type of impingement, which could be the fat pad thing or it could be something else. 

She said from how the report described my knee and how I described it (and my medicine issue) that it just sounded like my knee was a mess. She also said I may need surgery to clean out the debris in my knee. With everything that’s going on with it, it may be having trouble healing and strengthening because injured parts of the joint are simply in the way. She’s still going to help me strengthen it, but she said that she can’t guarantee that will fix it & I should (carefully) really consider the surgical option. 

It was nice to figure out what is actually going on. I just don’t understand why the doctor wouldn’t tell me. I’ve been going around feeling confused about why I’m in so much pain. Now I know. Now I can better understand what I need to do to get better. He could have at least cued me in, right?

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Janet Morris

I'm from Huntsville, Alabama. I've got as many college credits as a doctorate candidate, and the GPA of some of them, too. I have a boss by the name of Amy Pond. She's a dachshund. My parents both grew up in Alabama.

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