My Knee Injury

I’m way late in telling you about the injury to my knee. I posted about it in the little Blogspot blog we created and then forgot to post it on the real blog here. So here it is, a day late and a dollar short, all about my busting up my knee.

When Dave Berry and I were working on the rainwater harvesting pipes for the pole barn, we had Bell Equipment Co. in Tallassee come out and do the excavating for us. So far, so good. That was a smart decision, because Tracy, the excavator operator, was able to get the job done relatively quickly and efficiently, and he saved us untold hours of handwork. Then things started going downhill. I was hurrying to help Dave, and I stepped from ground level into the bottom of the ditch (36 inches or so). Felt the knee give. Knew I’d done something stupid. I rested for several minutes and then tried to help Dave some more. I stepped across the ditch, and that’s when things REALLY went South. I don’t remember a lot of pain. What I remember is sheer terror as I felt my knee bend in a direction no healthy knee should ever go. I fell on my arse in the bottom of the ditch, clearly done for the day. The verdict from Dr. John Young at

Orthopedic Sports Medicine is that I “did it up pretty good.” In technical terms, I tore my MCL, tore the medial meniscus, and slightly tore the ACL. It’s going to require that we rethink our original plan of doing the carpentry, electrical and drywall ourselves. Bummer.

lees-brace
Amanda wants to give me a sense of shame for Christmas
So here’s the plan. No surgery now. The MCL is likely to heal by itself within about four more weeks if we leave it alone, brace it, and do the right physical therapy on it. The meniscus is likely to need surgery, but that will be arthroscopic surgery that is minimally invasive and for which recovery is fairly routine. That leaves the ACL. If we need to address it, it will be complex surgery requiring an overnight stay in the hospital and lengthy (3-6 months) rehab. However, there’s a chance that during the six weeks needed for the MCL to heal the ACL may “scar over” so that it won’t be necessary for me to address it surgically. Yes, there’s a slightly higher risk of arthritis in it after that happens, but the risk of arthritis to me is less than the risk of something going wrong with the full knee surgery. Sooo, we wait. We’ll know within about a month whether I will need no surgery at all (unlikely), arthroscopic surgery (likely), or full knee surgery to replace the ACL (relatively unlikely). If I’m a real man, I’ll post again when we know so those of you who are struggling with knee injuries can find out how it worked out. I’ve checked on Dr. Young’s credentials, and he’s quite good, recognized around Birmingham as the orthopedist many physicians use. I told him I knew he is good, but I also told him he’s been pushed off the god throne by Don Green at Stratus Orthopedic Supply, because it was Don who fitted me for my magical brace. It’s lightweight but strong. The brand is Townsend, and I can wear it comfortably all day. With it I can climb steps, operate equipment, walk around the farm, run the chain saw, and basically do just about anything I could do before the injury as long as I’m careful about how I do it. I love my brace.

After reading this post, David Angotti let me know of his Anatomy of the Knee page and asked me to share it with you, so here it is.

Here are the updates to this post. Hint: the news is good. * March 12 – interim update * April 1 – final update

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