I recently experienced severe knee pain after getting up from being on the floor with my legs tucked up under me. I knew the minute I got up that something when wrong in my left knee.

I have experienced pain in my knees in the past. Actually my first experience with knee pain was when I was 17 and at Drum Major Camp. I was going into my senior year of high school and had been selected senior drum major, a position I had tried out for in prior years but never landed. Finally, I made it. I’m at camp and on the second to the last day during practice for the show to be presented to the parents the next day, I blew out my knee. PAIN like I’d never felt before. Back then we were told to walk it off. Go rest and all would be good in no time. Not true. But the trouper I was, I continued and preformed like nothing was wrong. Afterwards I was in so much pain I couldn’t walk. I went home and rested my knee for a week or so and it healed just fine, so I thought.

Through the years my knee has flared inflammation on many occasions. I would rest it and it would get better. About 10 years ago I began it experience nagging discomfort more often. I would modify my activity as to avoid the pain. I learned to take certain nutritional supplements to help with this strengthening of the soft tissue in the joints and to reduce any inflammation. But this is like a band aid. Not really getting to the root of the pain.

About 4 months ago when I came up off the floor, I knew in that moment I had injured my knee, and this time is wasn’t good. I got the ice, got of my feet, and in a couple of days decided to go get an x-ray to make sure there was nothing seriously wrong. The x-ray showed nothing. Apparently it was just a sprain or strain and I was to rest it.  My orthopedic doctor was out of the country providing medical treatment to the needy in Middle America, so I had to wait 3 weeks for his return. My knee was not improving. Finally he saw me and prescribed physical therapy. After 9 treatments I knew it was not helping. He then ordered an MRI and that revealed a tear to a tendon and the meniscus as well. The only thing to do was to go in there are repair the damage. Surgery was scheduled.

Good! I was finally going to be rid of this pain. So last Thurs I underwent knee surgery to repair my knee. Dr. Jackson talked to me after surgery and showed me pictures of the interior of my knee. There was a mass in there which he removed. He said it was a piece of cartilage that had broken off many years ago and had embedded itself in the soft tissue of my knee. No wonder I had pain. I could tell almost immediately that broken cartilage was the culprit and probably the cause of the tear in the first place. He explained the tendon may have been getting hung up on that cartilage and over the years a sawing of a sort was happening. Finally the tendon was so weak it tore all the way through. 6 days post surgery, other than the discomfort to the muscle the tendon is attached to (now that it’s getting a work out) I feel great. How long ago did it break off, no one really knows. What I do know is I’m glad to have it gone, and to be on the mend. All those years of suffering because I just thought it would heal on it’s own. I look back on that and realize how silly that is.

So when is it time to do something about your knee pain? When you have pain. Don’t let it go thinking it will just get better and go away. More than likely it will reoccur and weaken each time it flares up. Today medicine has come so far that if your get a joint pain issue taken care of before it gets too bad, it’s a breeze to go through. So, don’t wait! Get it looked at early and avoid years of discomfort. If I’d known 10 years ago what I know now, I’d had it done then.

Almost all of you reading this know I’m a Certified Pedorthist and I make custom orthotics. What you may not know is I’ve worn custom orthotics for over 30 years. So I’m sure my knee pain was not caused from my orthotics, but due to the weakness created from the original injury when I was 17. I’m a true believer in custom orthotic use. Your feet being your foundation and all, maybe if I’d not worn custom orthotics all these years, I may have been in worse shape with that knee. Who knows? I do think if I’d had better medical care back then I may have never experienced the pain issues with my knee all those years in the first place.

So my advice… whether it’s you ankles, knees, hips, or what ever joint you’re experiencing pain in, go to the doctor and get a good diagnosis. If they say nothing is wrong but you still have pain, insist they look deeper. Not everything shows up on imagery.

Better safe than sorry, or better pain free than painfull!