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Thread: Freaking Out

  1. #1

    Freaking Out

    Guys I'm really struggling to keep my sanity right now. I have a problem with my knees and subluxations. Basically my knee tracks weird and it sometimes pops out of the track and back in causing swelling and pain and usually I fall. I'm 30 now and I've had problems with my knees "popping out" since I was around 12 years old. Briefly in high school I went to physical therapy where they wanted to increase the strength in my quads to help my tracking but I didn't stick with it because it was difficult and I was lazy.

    Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago I decided to see an orthopedist about my knees and he prescribed physical therapy. Today was my appointment and the therapist did some strength tests which were fine for the most part but he actually couldn't do one of the strength tests on my left leg because I had what he called "patella apprehension" as I wasn't really letting him do it and would bend my knee back as it felt as though my knee was going to pop out. Then he was doing tracking tests and at one point said "I can even see the atrophy of the Vastus Medialis Oblique (VMO)" when my leg was fully extended. The word atrophy freaked me out and made me immediately think of NMD.

    I asked him a few minutes later to explain what he meant because the word Atrophy scared me. He said that atrophy just means the weakness of one muscle compared to the other. In this case the VMO is weaker than the opposing quad muscles which is pulling my knee out of place. I mentioned that I was getting kind of worried about NMD and he mentioned that he wasn't finding any Neuro issues but something about the way he was talking didn't give me a ton of confidence. He was just kind of blowing it off.

    I want to believe that because I've had stability issues / quad weakness issues in the past that this is nothing new and totally benign but man my anxiety is through the roof right now and I'm struggling to breathe, honestly.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
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    1,730

    Re: Freaking Out - Phys Therapist Mentioned Atrophy

    When I saw the specialist about my hip he mentioned that the left leg muscles had atrophy compared with the right. My mind did a flip then regained reality, because it makes sense. I'm right handed and (legged) therefore my right gets more use and especially with my left hip because I'm favouring my right. I asked him if this was quite common and he said it was.
    Atrophy is to do with the size (and therefore maybe strength). I'm glad you asked him to clarify it for you.

    Well that was over a year ago and nothing neurological had happened to me since.
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
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    1,074

    Re: Freaking Out - Phys Therapist Mentioned Atrophy

    I have similar issues with my knees, and the muscle on the inside if my knee area (not a clue what itís called!) is pretty much none existent, itís been that way since I was in my early teens... so a good bit over 10 years now. Itís more to do with us compensating for the issues we have by using other muscles instead to avoid pain and popping out, so others donít get used as much.


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  4. #4

    Re: Freaking Out - Phys Therapist Mentioned Atrophy

    Thanks so much for the replies.

    I saw my primary doctor today about this and he ran some tests including reflex and strength and said that I had no symptoms of ALS. My left (my more unstable knee) reflexes were actually slightly less responsive than my right so definitely not hyperreflexia. He also told me that he has seen 20-30 ALS patients in his nearly 40 years of practice and that muscular atrophy was more of an advanced symptom. This kind of confused me because in the ALS sticky they mention it's one of the initial symptoms. Trying to take his word for it.

    I'm just trying to tell myself that I have had this knee issue since a kid and even back over a decade ago I was told I needed to strengthen the stabilizing muscles in my quad. If this was evidence of a disorder it would have appeared more strongly by now and I would know it. I know it's so irrational to worry about this at all but there's just that little bit of doubt that creeps in and it's so insidious.

  5. #5

    Re: Freaking Out - Phys Therapist Mentioned Atrophy

    Now I'm trying not to worry about the pretty dull reflex in my left foot especially compared to my right. But I know I shouldn't.

  6. #6

    Asymmetrical Reflex

    I'm down a rabbit hole right now with neurological worries. I went to see my Dr. the other day about worries with ALS due to the term atrophy mentioned by my physio. He did a reflex test and when he was testing the reflexes on my feet my left foot had a duller response than my right foot. I went home and started worrying about it so I messaged him over the online chart. He said that it was of no concern but I'm still sitting here worrying about it. I tried really hard not to google but eventually I did and I see that asymmetrical reflexes are abnormal and a sign of pathology. So now I'm just feeling awful.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
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    4,855

    Re: Asymmetrical Reflex

    Find something else to do instead, maybe?
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  8. #8

    Re: Asymmetrical Reflex

    Quote Originally Posted by BlueIris View Post
    Find something else to do instead, maybe?
    I wish I could. This time last year I would be engrossed in a video game or the rulebook of a new board game I had happily bought. Or watching videos on miniature painting techniques. But right now I can't bring myself to do anything. I Just think "what's the point?" I know it's wrong and I hate it but it's where I'm at right now.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    4,850

    Re: Freaking Out

    Hi

    This is just a courtesy reply to let you know that your thread was merged with another of your threads.

    Please when posting on similar topics add it onto your previous post rather than starting a new one.


    It is nothing personal it is just to make it easier for people to follow your story and to give you advice as a whole.

    Elen
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  10. #10

    Re: Freaking Out

    Understood Ellen, thanks.

    For an update I used one of those JustAnswer online chat services and paid $50 to have the Dr. call me over the phone. I told him my story and he said that asymmetric reflexes were normal and that ALS / MS / some others would start with weakness or pain. The pain comment I assume was referring to other neuromuscular disorders not ALS. I researched the Dr. they assigned me to because I was a bit worried if the whole thing was a scam and I see that he practices family medicine in Florida and is a DO. So I'm trying to feel better about it assuming he's probably checked reflexes many times on people for physicals and check-ups and the like. Just wish I could erase the doubt and get to enjoying my day, a holiday no less! I'm so jealous of other people who don't have this problem and just blissfully believe their doctor.

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