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Thread: Chronic inside upper knee/thigh pain

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    Brief Medical History Overview

    Chronic inside upper knee/thigh pain

    Physical Agents In Rehabilitation
    Hello, I am hoping that someone can help me as I am thoroughly fed up with being injured and think I might go crazy!!

    I have been suffering with injuries since september 05 now and as one seems to heal another part of my body flares up. I originally tore my right calf muscle which took ages to heal and caused me to limp for months resulting in pain in my left buttock which became chronic. I eventually managed to get rid of this buttock pain last year by doing a muscle energy technique stretch every day which apparently released my piriformis from spasm. But then whilst trying to do glut medius strengthening exercises my left knee started hurting and it still does now and it won't get better!!

    So it was summer 07 that I tried doing 5 shallow 1 legged dips and I got a sharp pain above my knee cap and to the inside (vmo muscle area). I then rested it for a week and tried again and got sharp pain again. I then tried swimming and it flared up big time so that I couldn't walk on it. It was slightly swollen in the same place I had the sharp pain (around the top right hand corner of the knee cap) and felt hot.

    I was given gentle physio exercises and told to rest and walking became easier over a couple of months.

    Now I have seem to have got stuck, I can walk for about 5-10 minutes on the flat without pain but anymore and the knee starts to get sore and hot and swells slightly. I haven't been able to go upstairs since the summer and anytimes I have tried has ended up in the same results of a sore knee, swelling and heat. Going downstairs makes it worse but not as quickly and just one squat flares it up. So basically I can't do much.

    I have been diagnosed with patellofemoral pain now and have a nasty uncomfortable feeling under my knee when the dr pushed the palm of his hand down onto my knee cap. I have also developed pain in my tendon under the knee cap and have just recovered from fat pad impingement using tape. Also my knee is uncomfortable bent but feels great when I do nothing!!

    My left glutes are really weak from the limping and my quads are wasting away. My itband is quite tight but apparently not pulling on my knee cap. The knee cap is mobile. I have orthotics.

    I am in the nhs system and expect I will have an Wikipedia reference-linkmri at some point.

    The last thing I was told by a physio was that pain on the top half of the inside of the knee wasn't normal so he didn't know what to do. Also he was a bit concerned that my knee had swelling.

    Has anyone got any ideas on what I have done?
    Thanks in advance

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    Re: Chronic inside upper knee/thigh pain

    I believe your problem can be solved if properly managed, but I think the term consistency applies here. Several different problems appear to have come up at different times, and each time a different solution? Have you been self managing or have you consistently been managed with one therapist?


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    Re: Chronic inside upper knee/thigh pain

    When the knee pain started I was seeing an nhs physio that I had been referred to for sorting out the chronic pain in my hip/buttock. She signed me off in November after seeing me progress from limping to walking normally but not being able to go up steps. She said that she could do no more and thought that I would eventually get better over time. I never managed to progress in the leg exercises that she gave me, they just irritated my knee.
    I seemed to start making progress when she got me half price sessions at the local gym and I would do level 1 on the exercise bike, walk on the treadmill and after a month I could use the cross trainer for 10 minutes. If I did no other exercises this didn't aggravate my knee. But 2 months ago the morning after one gym session I couldn't walk without pain below my knee and somehow I had developed fat pad impingement and hurt my tendon.
    I saw a new physio that showed me how to tape my knee and said that I should try going down into a squat and staying there with my quads contracted as I had pain when I came up from a squat. I tried this but it hurt my tendon but I agree that it would irritate my upper knee/muscle less when my tendon is better (I think).
    The 2nd time I saw him he said he didn't know what else to do, which is what every physio has said eventually ever since I tore my calf, and thats what is so frustrating.

    The physio that taught me the muscle energy technique stretch that got rid of the buttock pain, I was seeing him when the knee pain started but he just said that it was because my biomechanics were wrong, weak glut med etc, and pain was to be expected and could give me no advice to make it better. Also he said my right side of the pelvis was rotated forward and my SI joint was stiff one side and flexible on the left side.


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    Re: Chronic inside upper knee/thigh pain

    hi

    can u give some details about yourself
    age/occupation/activities/sports/posture/weight/ back problems
    any health problems/stress etc

    is range of motion of ankle, knee, hip without ressistant in norm?


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    Re: Chronic inside upper knee/thigh pain

    Hi
    My range of motion in my hips and knee are good. I sprained my left ankle (same side as bad knee and buttock) April 05 which wasn't too bad but I carried on playing football so it turned into more of a chronic problem. It improved after cross friction massage a few months later and I went back to playing football with an ankle brace, then my calf started twinging!
    On the inside of the ankle its just a little tight in the ligament that was strained but it hardly affects the range of motion.

    Other details: I'm 27, I help run supported housing for young adults with learning disabilities and do some care support. I used to be fairly active and cycle quite a bit, then I got glandular fever which led to a year of chronic headaches where I did practically nothing (2002) so I guess my body lost a lot of fitness. I then joined a football club and did training once a week and sometimes a game at the weekend. I also played quite a bit of football at work for fun and jogged with the dog. I found that I was getting painful hamstrings quite often after football, their flexibility was pretty poor too (I couldn't touch my toes). My quads have always been flexible though. My glutes were tight but ok now.
    I saw an osteopath after neural stretches helped my calf. This is where I was diagnosed with a locked SI joint on the right hand side and had manipulation to sort this out. This made my calf a bit easier but put my lower back in agony so I couldn't sit down. I've always been uncomfortable sitting for long periods of time when I was younger but nothing too big.
    I used to have quite a bad posture - bum sticking out style! I have now been taught to tighten my core and pull my buttock muscles in. I saw a chiropractor and he did an xray which showed my discs were getting narrow in my lower spine and a loss of curve, and slight Wikipedia reference-linkscoliosis. On an Wikipedia reference-linkmri (nhs) I was told that my back and pelvis were fine.
    I also have a really weak core.
    I am 8st8, 5 ft5.
    I have no other health problems.
    I am stressed now as I can't do anything! But before I was injured I'd say I was under a standard amount of stress - moving house, working with inlaws, but having fun!

    I also now have quite a stiff, bit painful and clicky shoulder from doing arm exercises in the gym for a couple of months. So at times it just feels like if I overdo an exercise my body can't cope.


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    Re: Chronic inside upper knee/thigh pain

    Also after I moved house (March 03) I did a lot of diy including shovelling ballast for making concrete and lots of digging which left my lower back pretty painful. In fact thinking about it maybe my lower back got achey more than I thought.


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    Re: Chronic inside upper knee/thigh pain

    Well I'd like to share my latest guess of what is happening.

    When I developed pain in my buttock/hip area I tried to carry on walking through the pain (as obviously it is hard to carry on with daily life sitting on the sofa) and by doing this I developed a limp which meant that I avoided using the muscle that was giving me pain (glut medius, piriformis?). As this carried on for such a long time maybe my body adjusted to this limp and the pain and thus decided not to use this muscle anymore to break up the pain cycle (neurological pathways?). So now I can use this muscle/s but my body has taught itself not to use it anymore in my normal body biomechanics, resulting in pain to my knee as it is not being supported properly.

    So my plan, after reading someone else recover in the same way, is to get taught pilates which along with strengthening my very weak core, will also train correct neurological pathways.

    I wonder if this makes any sense?!

    Is the term neurological pathways also to do with the term getting muscles to 'fire' in the correct order??


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    Re: Chronic inside upper knee/thigh pain

    Although I have no direct experience with pilates, I think it is a higher level program that may or may not solve your problems directly. I feel you have significant postural and muscular imbalances that need to be solved first. Yes, it appears that your muscle recruitment patterns are altered, this is the bodies way of protecting itself, however it is now time to solve this problem.

    Without full assessment I couldn't say what your real problem was.

    I am a muscle balance and function practitioner, normally in this situation I would provide specific postural and muscular balance program, as I believe based on what you are saying that these are your problems.

    Will keep in touch later this week, Regards


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    Re: Chronic inside upper knee/thigh pain

    I did think that pilates theory was good but agree that I would probably struggle with the exercises.

    I have started doing clamshell strengthening exercises for my left glut med and have been practicing standing whilst recruiting my glut max and med. I can feel that this supports my knee better. If I move to standing on just my weak leg the glut med fatigues very quickly and starts to shake.


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    Re: Chronic inside upper knee/thigh pain

    hi

    agree its a lumbar and pelvic imbalance, and pain in your knee can be reffered from a lumbar spine, Wikipedia reference-linkSIJ, hip, or/and from trigger points ie glut med, tens fl, ili tibial B,hamstrings, vastus L, as well as from calf area.
    all the best


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    Re: Chronic inside upper knee/thigh pain

    Is the best way to sort out lumbar and pelvic imbalances, to do strengthening exercises? As it is a weakness in these muscles that has caused the imbalance?

    I saw a physio up near london who specialised in pelvic biomechanics and it was he who got rid of the pain in my left buttock/hip with the muscle energy technique (to release spasm in my piriformis). He also said that I had a forward rotating right ilium and I had a muscle energy technique to perform to rotate it back. 2 other things he gave me to do were a neural stretch and a glut med strengthening exercise.
    But this was also when I started getting the knee pain. My problem is that I was getting treated for a pelvic imbalance yet my knee pain got no better.

    I guess I have no option but to try this treatment again.
    Its just that any glut med strengthening exercises then aggravate my knee even more. Could this be that I am tiring my glut med so my biomechanics are even worse and therefore my knee gets sore quicker?

    I am going to try very gradual increases with my clamshell exercises to see if I can build up strength without hurting my knee. Does this sound like a good idea?

    Thanks for your help


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    Re: Chronic inside upper knee/thigh pain

    hi

    thanks for respond

    ur saying exercises for glut med make the knee worst?
    can u describe them if i missed them somewhere in previous posts.please

    re;pelvic imbalance- balnce can be disturbed and caused by various factors ie, central neural control, peripheral coduction (sequence,recruitment timing), muscular weaknes, to short, to long muscles, joint problems, to tight to elastic, state of soft tissues (miogelosis, trigger pints, adhesions)etc etc

    sorry but it's complicated,

    fingers crossed


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    Re: Chronic inside upper knee/thigh pain

    It is the clamshell exercises that aggravate above my knee.
    Basically any exercise I do that involves muscles in my left leg ends up with my knee getting sore.
    To be pain free I have to avoid all rehab, but this will get me nowhere in the long term.

    Do you think that as I initially had a sharp pain in the muscle above my knee that I could have strained one of my quad muscles?


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    Re: Chronic inside upper knee/thigh pain

    I have seen the knee specialist today and he confirmed that I have wear and tear under the knee, chondromalacia and that I am in a vicious circle and I just have to keep on trying to strengthen the thigh muscles, so I have been referred back to the nhs physiotherapy so I can keep on trying!

    But I will try and strengthen my core for the time being, then work on my knee.


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    Re: Chronic inside upper knee/thigh pain

    hi

    i hope u are in good hands,
    i still think a good hands on session makes a difference, massage with neuromuscular techniques on gluts, ilitibial band, quadriceps should be very helpful, followed by exercises.
    all the best


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    Re: Chronic inside upper knee/thigh pain

    I have just started seeing a lady who has done sports massage training plus myofascial release and trigger point stuff.
    By neuromuscular techniques do you mean massage like this or should I be looking for something else as well?

    I have also worked out today that when I walk I don't put all my weight onto my bad leg and that my pelvis is tucked in sideways so that my abductors don't have to do any work. I must have subconsciously been walking like this to avoid stressing them as they used to be painful when I walked. I think my pelvis has gone wonky from limping for so long.


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    Re: Chronic inside upper knee/thigh pain

    i hope
    ull be well, neuromuscular i meant pretty same : ie postisometric relaxation, ischemic pressure, isolitic contraction, positional release, etc

    u need a proper training, as well

    happy easter

    good luck


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    Re: Chronic inside upper knee/thigh pain

    Hi, I'm still struggling and thought I'd return here to post my latest diagnosis and see if anyone here could help me any further!

    I went to see a sports dr up in london who is involved with the england rugby team so I figured he should know what he is talking about. He didn't think that there was anything wrong with my knee but thought that I had patellofemoral pain secondary to quad tendonitis, mainly at my vmo insertion to the patella. He reckoned that a year ago I must have irritated the tendon by attempting to rehab my weak glut med in the one legged squats, and then I have been continually causing micro tears in the tendon ever since which is why the upper inside corner of my left knee kept on swelling and getting hot and painful.
    I agreed to have a cortisone injection and this seemed to get rid of the swelling. I was then told to get on with vmo strengthening exercises but this is where my problem has been. I can't make progress and if I over do it I am in pain to walk for a few days. I am doing straight leg raises and attempting static quad contractions.

    One of my concerns at the moment is that when it gets sore the area of skin where the vmo attaches to the patella, goes bluey purple a bit like a bruise, though it doesn't hurt to touch.

    I am seeing an nhs physio at the moment but I think they are just about to give up as I'm not improving. I want to see someone who has experience with quad tendonitis but I don't know how to find this person.
    I'm assuming scar tissue in my tendon is an issue and reckon that cross friction massage would be helpful alongside physio but I don't know who to see.

    Any recommendations on how to find an experienced physio or any ideas on why I'm not making progress would be greatly appreciated.

    Also my vmo has really wasted away now and my thigh is half an inch smaller than my good leg.


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    Re: Chronic inside upper knee/thigh pain

    Has anyone ever thoroughly evaluated your lumbar spine?


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    Re: Chronic inside upper knee/thigh pain

    I have seen a chiropractor a couple of years ago and he did an xray of my lower spine and said that it had too much of a curve and the SI joint was unstable.
    I had treatment for this but it got too painful and I stopped after about 5 months of treatment.

    I have seen lots of info on the internet about people doing eccentric exercises to treat tendonitis but for the patella tendon I think. I was wondering if this was as effective for the tendon above the knee. There seems to be less info available for quadriceps tendonitis/tendinosis


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    Re: Chronic inside upper knee/thigh pain

    hi

    if i missed, what exercises do you do to balance quads?

    2)what exercises do you do to stabilise SI joint?

    I have seen lots of info on the internet about people doing eccentric exercises to treat tendonitis but for the patella tendon I think. I was wondering if this was as effective for the tendon above the knee. There seems to be less info available for quadriceps tendonitis/tendinosis

    patella tendon its lower part of quadriceps tendon and i think similar treatment.

    all the best


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    Re: Chronic inside upper knee/thigh pain

    Quote Originally Posted by Roberts View Post
    I have seen a chiropractor a couple of years ago and he did an xray of my lower spine and said that it had too much of a curve and the SI joint was unstable.
    I had treatment for this but it got too painful and I stopped after about 5 months of treatment.
    When I say thorough eval of the Lumbar spine I mean a full evaluation by a physio looking at the lower back in detail. Not just an x-ray from a chiropractor. Has a physio actually done a detailed evaluation of your lumbar spine? It doesn't sound like anyone has based on your previous posts and the lumbar spine could certainly be at least partially responsible for your lower extremity symptoms.


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    Re: Chronic inside upper knee/thigh pain

    Hi Iceman, I have seen a physio who specialised in pelvis biomechanics and he said my right side of the pelvis was rotated forward a bit and that was putting a strain on my SI joint and giving me pain in the ligament on the rhs of the SI joint.
    He gave me a muscle energy technique stretch to help this where you lie on your back and bring your knee up to your chest.
    I think it was just my SI joint he talked about when he examined my lower back.

    I stopped seeing him when I started getting knee pain because he said it was to be expected as I was re-strengthening my muscles, but I was struggling to walk and it was getting worse. And it turns out I was developing tendonitis above my knee cap and I should have been resting.

    Another physio I saw a few years ago was unsure about my lower back and used to push into it with her fingers and say it was tight and a bit higher up it was too flexible when she pushed in. But she wasn't sure why this was but did wonder if it was linked to the nerve pain I was experiencing in my calf. She gave me neural stretches which helped my calf improve.


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    Re: Chronic inside upper knee/thigh pain

    Hi Yarok
    To balance the quads I now do straight leg raises and quad muscle contractions where I just push my knee into the ground to contract the vmo.
    But I'm not making any progress with these as I can't manage to do 10 reps without aggravating the tendon, which then aggravates the knee and it goes purple and swells slightly.

    I have been told to start ems for the vmo but the nhs physio doesn't have a machine, so I have borrowed one from a friend and am about to try it.


    I don't do any exercises to stabilise the SI joint as my knee is so irritable I can't do things like bridging. I have found that I can do clam shells now since I had a cortisone injection into the tendon, so I guess I should be working on my glut med a bit more now as it is still very weak.
    I have tried glut max exercises but it hurts my knee again.

    Actually I'm not sure if I have been given many SI exercises, maybe I should be heading to a physio who knows more about the back or be doing some pilates?
    I keep meaning to do pilates but always get scared that it will hurt my knee more.

    I have been told I have a very weak core.


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    Re: Chronic inside upper knee/thigh pain

    We recommend the Physio Shop - www.physioshop.co.uk
    Quote Originally Posted by Roberts View Post
    Hi Iceman, I have seen a physio who specialised in pelvis biomechanics and he said my right side of the pelvis was rotated forward a bit and that was putting a strain on my SI joint and giving me pain in the ligament on the rhs of the SI joint.
    He gave me a muscle energy technique stretch to help this where you lie on your back and bring your knee up to your chest.
    I think it was just my SI joint he talked about when he examined my lower back.
    Yes but did he actually evaluate (and treat) your Lumbar spine? Problems in the SI joint and torsions of the sacrum are often accompanied by Lumbar problems (particularly L5/S1 issues if the sacrum is not moving as it should).
    Quote Originally Posted by Roberts View Post
    I stopped seeing him when I started getting knee pain because he said it was to be expected as I was re-strengthening my muscles, but I was struggling to walk and it was getting worse. And it turns out I was developing tendonitis above my knee cap and I should have been resting.
    I would have stopped seeing him as well.
    Quote Originally Posted by Roberts View Post
    Another physio I saw a few years ago was unsure about my lower back and used to push into it with her fingers and say it was tight and a bit higher up it was too flexible when she pushed in. But she wasn't sure why this was but did wonder if it was linked to the nerve pain I was experiencing in my calf. She gave me neural stretches which helped my calf improve.
    Just pushing into the lower back does not a lumbar eval make. A full evaluation might include range of motion testing in multiple planes, repetitive motion testing, segmental joint mobility testing, an assessment of alignment (along with sacral and pelvic alignment and dynamic tests), soft tissue assessment, muscle strength, reflex and sensation testing etc. The fact that neural tension stretches helped to reduce your calf pain is further suggestive of a possible nerve impingement in the lumbar spine. From all that you've said in previous posts it just doesn't sound like your lumbar spine has been adequately addressed.



 
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