Surprise!

One month ago, he was experiencing pain in his knee and it was threatening to buckle under him when he was descending stairs. Frightened, he sought the advice of a local surgeon who put him through X-rays and and an MRI to determine what was responsible for his pain.

It turned out that the pain was coming from his hip. Upon physical examination, the knee was twisted in a series of different directions (as the patient recalls) and none of the movements were provocative. Additionally, the diagnostic imaging showed that his knee was in perfectly good health.

But the hip? It had undergone significant degenerative changes and was (apparently) in dire need of a replacement. The hip replacement would, according to the surgeon, fix what was wrong in the knee; happy to have found a solution to his painful and potentially dangerous condition, the patient scheduled his surgery.

.     .     .     .

I evaluated this gentleman today. When I entered his home, he was sitting in his favorite chair 4 days after his procedure, comfortable. “You wouldn’t believe it,” he said, “but I haven’t had any pain in my knee since the surgery.”

When I asked him to walk, he stood and began to move with his walker, placing an infinitesimal amount of pressure through the left leg. I encouraged him to still use the walker, slowly, but to try to put a little more weight through the limb.

“Ow!  There it goes..it buckled. Why does my knee still hurt?”

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