As I said a while back, as well as few goings on with my tummy, my knee has been playing up a little bit. Nothing major but at the start of the year it was really starting to ache, the gym seemed to be aggravating it and on occasion it was swelling up. I mentioned this to my consultant a couple months ago and I was referred to a rhoomatologist. The referal came through and I went up to my usual hospital to see him.
I wasn't really sure what to expect as most of the time there is nothing to physically see but I described my symptoms and then the Dr & an as siting physio put my joints through a series of movements. Bending my knees and elbows, neck and back. One exercise had me, feet facing forward and my shoulders turned round to face the opposite way. Apparently most people can only get a quarter of the way round. I, on the other hand, could go nearly 180' so my shoulders were pretty much facing the back and my feet, the front - I felt a bit like an owl!
With no stretching or warming up I was also able to put my hands flat down on the floor and my head on my knees, with my legs straight. I've always known I was flexible, I danced until I was about 15 and did gymnastics as a child. My joints have always been able to bend or do strange things but I didn't realise this was widely not normal. The Dr informed me I have joint hyper-mobility syndrome. For some people this effects their wrists, hands or thumbs - we all know the kid at school who was "double jointed" - but for me, it effects most of my joints.
The Dr explained even the way I was sat, was straining some of my joints with out me even knowing. Just because I can hold/rest in a certain position, doesn't mean I should. It doesn't put me in any pain, so I never think anything of it - but for others it would and they would stop. Even though I'm not in any pain, I am still straining my joints.
When talking about my knee specifically, he thought that an old ski injury had weakened the joint and so when I was unwell and was having a Crohn's flare my body was attacking the weakest joint. The way to help this, is to strengthen all the muscles around my knee joint to create more support. Right now its a wobbly joint, which explains why my balance has been awful for the past few years! I was also sent for an MRI of the knee to make sure there wasn't any old damage from the skiing injury. Thanks to the lack of laxative, this MRI went a lot more smoothly and Margaret didn't explode... which was great news for all involved! The results showed that there was nothing serious going on, so no key hole surgery would be required. It did show inflammation however so I have now been referred to a physio to see if that helps.
I have since been heading to the gym a lot more and have had a programme created by a personal trainer, specifically to strengthen my leg muscles. The work out is tough and leaves me struggling to walk up and down stairs afterwards, but my legs hurt in a normal 'after-a-work-out' kind of way, rather than a pain in my knee, which is really encouraging.
The whole thing has explained a lot, and past injuries or joint pain I've had from my early teens, now makes a lot of sense. Hopefully by strengthening the muscles around my joints I will be able to improve any Crohn's induced arthritis I suffer from in the future. Well, heres hoping!
Lots of love,