After seeing the sports medical doctor, I learned to accept that my swollen knee wasn’t due to a sports injury, but rather an ailment. Changing from the orthopedist (mechanical) to a rheumatologist (inflammatory) should be regarded as logical therefore. Suffering twelve weeks of this kind of swelling (and only a swift pain attack) simply can’t be blamed on excessive sports stress or trauma.
No, the diagnosis probably goes in the direction of my GP’s first hunch back in May: gout or pseudo-gout (chondrocalcinosis). Gout is an ailment in the rheumatic line, caused by christalized acids heaping up in the knee after errors in the body’s metabolism. After reading about the gout causes, I understand why the doctor is studying the ‘pseudo-gout’ option. This ailment looks similar to gout, but this time the chrystals are formed by calcium and not acids. And the circumstances are different.
Some 90ml of excessive (yellow) fluids were extracted from my knee last week and are now being examined, along with new bloodtests and X-rays. A new medication makes me feel lots better and should reduce the inflammation cause. In total, it feels like getting more serious attention, but with a less clear outlook.
A cure for pseudo-gout isn’t around the corner unfortunately. But it can disappear as sudden as it started. Your body has to recover by itself and wash out the calcium chrystals. In two weeks I will know what my physical future holds in terms of sports and exercise. Maybe the current medicins will do the trick and will allow me to start training again.
Finally, after almost eight weeks of taking different meds, seeing three doctors, and having an X-ray taken, it was time to visit the orthopedist in hospital. The medical degree candidate did the take-in. He read the files, studied the X-ray and, of course, wanted to examine my knee. He showed me the X-ray images and, in contrary to what my GP had diagnosed, there are no loose cartilage parts visible at all. What the X-ray picture did show was basic wearing out of the knee. And an operation won’t help in this situation. My roller-coaster cart was about to run down fast.
The student had to confer with the orthopedist next door and left with my panicky thoughts for 25 minutes. So, no operation. What does that mean? Is the wearing out really bad news and should I abondon all sports, including refereeing? How will the swelling be reduced now and will I ever be able to use my leg properly again?
The medical candidate returned and confirmed an operate was off and might even cause more physical trouble. But, he had another solution. The meds I haven been taking were processed by the whole body (like Prednisolon) and work but only for a short term (don’t mention the side-effects). He advised an injection directly in the knee. This fluid med called Corticosteroids would need two weeks to take effect. Most patients with my medical condition have benefited from it. I would be able to charge the knee again soon and back in shape in six weeks. My rollercoaster cart was going north again.
If I wanted the injection now? Sure, bring it on/in! The needle was set quickly and the meds were brought in. Two weeks max to reduce the swelling to zero. Four weeks to build up muscle tension. I wasted a few weeks in the Dutch 1st line of care, luckily just off-season. My roller coaster cart has arrived in base station. Time to start working a swift recovery.