Knee Page

In 1981 or thereabout, I crashed my motorcycle in the rain. My right leg was under the bike as it fell and my right toe caught the pavement and my knee twisted what felt like most of the way backwards, accompanied by a loud pop. I got up, shook my self off, walked around for a bit, feeling no major pain, until my right leg decided it would no longer hold any weight and I flopped to the ground.

At the hospital, I was diagnosed as having torn my anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). In those pre-arthroscopic days, repair of a torn ACL was major surgery, cutting the knee apart, and required multiple months in a cast, and years of physical therapy, before you would know if the surgery had improved or degraded your condition. The medical consensus was that if you were not a professional athlete, it probably wasn't worth it. So, I stumbled on for about 18 years, occasionally falling down at random, occasionally painfully popping the joint out of place and being immediately unable to walk. This would usually happen at the most inopportune times and places, like on the garage roof, or two hours before leaving on our honeymoon

In late 1998 the knee came loose and slipped while I was in the shower. I lost my balance and fell, breaking my collarbone with the impact (My first broken bone.) That got me thinking that the knee was becoming a problem. A few months later, while approaching the entrance to the Chicago motorcycle show (after paying), I felt something move in my knee and get stuck in the hinge of the joint, preventing me from straightening my knee and causing intense pain. A month later, I stopped for gas in Indianapolis on the way from Chicago to Daytona Beach, Florida (heading for Bike Week) and knelt down to check the tire pressure. I felt the joint slip and pop out of place. I couldn't straighten my leg or put any weight on it. I managed to hobble back onto the bike, and headed for home, hoping I could get back to Chicago before rush hour so I could ride non-stop and topple over in front of my driveway. I made it in time and actually managed to balance the bike long enough in the driveway to get the kickstand down. I spent the next two weeks on crutches.

The last straw was the weekend I fell down the back steps twice. The knee just hinged sideways and I tumbled to the pavement. 

So, to make a long story short, Ihad an MRI which revealed a torn menisus. So I had the knee scoped. I was walking around with a cane that afternoon, and got rid of the cane within a week. There was a little stinging around the little tiny incisions, but the most irritating thing about it was having to wrap plastic wrap around the bandages before showering.  I stayed off the motorcycle for about a month, more out of caution than anything else. I got a fancy knee brace, but pretty much gave up on it two months later during the Butt Lite rally because it was just too irritating. 

Since then it's been pretty much trouble free. Not even of particular interest, but I have these cool pictures.

knee1 The ham-like object in the middle, below the probe, is the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). It should continue upwards above the probe, but is torn off in the middle of the knee joint.
knee2 The white object at the top is the bone, and the probe is pointing to the undamaged portion of the meniscus (cartilage). Notice how smooth it is.
knee3 This is the damaged part of the meniscus. The string-like object running across the middle of the picture is a piece of meniscus that had torn loose and would float around and get caught in the knee joint, causing it to lock up.

(The blue color is an artifact in the original photograph.).

knee4 Another view, I think, of the torn meniscus floating around.
knee5 The loose part of the meniscus has been removed and the remaining part is neat and clean. This is the same view as #3 above.

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