Knee Dislocation Injury x Road to Recovery

For this requested post, I'm going to talk about how I recovered from my knee dislocation injury and my experience, followed by getting back on court again.

This was my pink cast on my right knee. An anonymous reader has requested for me to write a post on my knee injury episode because she found this very inspiring thank you whoever you are!) after reading my blog post on my Volleyball Journey HERE. I know many many athletes who are so much stronger and passionate about their sport than I am, but today I'm just here to share my experience on my road to recovery. WARNING: This is a very long post and I'm not sure who will be interested enough to finish it but... here goes!



I dislocated my right knee when I was 15 years old.

 How did it happen? Honestly I don't really know. The first time I felt something weird happening to my right knee was when I was in the classroom, when I bent down to take my bag from the floor. My right knee suddenly moved out of place and moved back! I felt it move very distinctively and I immediately held onto a table to stabilize myself, and I felt faint at the moment. Like dark spots over my eyes; I couldn't see for a few seconds and I broke out in cold sweat. It felt really weird and I wasn't even doing any strenuous exercise, I was only bending down to take my bag! 

So I went to those Chinese physician and just got my knee massaged and wrapped in the Chinese herbal (smelly) medicine. I didn't know what had happened, didn't even know that my knee joints were already loose (how & why idk, but I was really skinny last time and maybe there were not enough muscles to hold my knee in place or something) and that there was a higher risk of dislocation. I didn't even know that this 'dislocation' existed. So I went home thinking everything was fine maybe my knee was just acting weird for awhile. 



WHAT IS A KNEE DISLOCATION?

I've done my research on knee dislocation for this post, and here's what I found, from this celebrity website (which is surprisingly useful hahaha) http://www.celebritydiagnosis.com/2014/01/1-ds-niall-horan-knee-surgery/

A partial dislocation is referred to as a subluxation, and is due to damage to the knee ligaments. This usually causes a sensation of the knee “giving out,” and will typically “slip back” into position. A complete knee dislocation involves damage to the ligaments of the knee (the anterior cruciate and posterior cruciate ligaments) and can also involve damage to the surrounding blood vessels and nerves.

Much more common than a true knee dislocation is the dislocation of the patella (kneecap). The kneecap lies in a V-shaped groove in the thighbone (femur). As the knee bends, the kneecap slides in that groove. If that groove is too shallow, or uneven, the kneecap can slip out of the groove. This is called a patella subluxation or dislocation (once again depending on how far the kneecap moves out of place), as in the diagram above.

OMG so the process where my knee keeps moving in and out of place (but not total dislocation) is called subluxation! What a cool word HAHA but it's not funny cause it hurts so bad and the feeling is horrible!!! Okay now that we know what happened to my knee, let's move on.




THAT FATEFUL EVENING AT TRAINING

During that evening at training (we had night training sessions until 8pm every Friday at CCHY), everything was going fine as per usual. Coach was training my spiking at the subset position, and then after I landed properly after jumping up to spike, I stepped backwards to prepare for the next ball when my knee just gave way and PIAK I fell heavily to the ground. I remember coach looking at me waiting for me to get up cause he thought I just tripped over my own feet (happens sometimes when too kanchiong lol) and it took him awhile to realize that my knee was out of shape and I couldn't get up. 

The whole team cried that night along with me cause my knee looks so out-of-shape they can imagine the pain I was in. T.T It was quite a funny scene if I wasn't in so much pain: the girls were panicking "call the ambulance!!!!" "what's the ambulance number!!!" The funniest thing was I was lying down on my best friend Jiaojun's lap and she told me "fish, my leg very pain" (I call her 'frog' because when she does blocking at the net she looks like a frog hopping around hahaha and she calls me fish because they say my eyes big like goldfish) cause her legs were going numb.

THEN I WAS LIKE "MY LEG MORE PAIN LA WALAO" between sobs. The pain level was about 9/10 sigh (I would rate it 10/10 but I know childbirth is even more painful so the 10/10 is for the pain mothers experience when giving birth) It was so painful until I don't even know I peed on the hospital bed LOL continue reading...



FINALLY THE AMBULANCE AND PARAMEDICS CAME.

 They told me they had to straighten my knee, because it was bent and out-of-shape. They cut away my knee-pad (poor knee-pad) and straightened my knee slowly while letting me breathe the gas thing that pregnant ladies breathe to help them relax. But cannot breathe in too much else will faint. They also kept asking me what's my IC number and when's my birthday, address, contact number all those to make sure I don't faint halfway. Then when my knee is straightened to what they think is appropriate, they put a support brace around it and omg slight relief for my pain!! Then yadayada I was put on stretcher and pushed into ambulance. The ride to KK hospital was horrible because my knee hurt so much at every slight bump the ambulance drove over. The paramedics attempted to make me feel better by talking to me, and then told me the gas I was breathing is actually laughing gas; and one of them asked if I FELT LIKE LAUGHING. I was in too much pain to even muster up a reply like HOW CAN I FEEL LIKE LAUGHING WHEN MY KNEE IS OUT-OF-SHAPE AND HURTING LIKE A BITCH? 

I thought I had the worst of the pain but no when I reached the hospital, the support brace was removed from my knee (NOOOOOOOOOO!) and while I was lying on the bed, a nurse asked me "can you turn around?" then I was like "what turn around?" THEN 6 NURSES CAME AND CARRY ME TO TURN ME AROUND ON THE BED AND TURN BACK WTF?! I STARTED SCREAMING AND MY KNEE BECAME BENT AGAIN!!!! Up till today I have NO IDEA why they had to do that? Like my bodily functions are ok what I'm a sports person (that's how I got injured in the first place right) and it's only my knee that is causing me the problem??? wtf that was the worst pain in my life and I reckon that was when I peed on the bed without me even knowing cause I was in so much pain!!! 



FIXING MY KNEE

My dad came and saw my out-of-shape knee. The nurse asked me if I want to be injected with anesthetic or it would be ok for me just to breathe the laughing gas. I asked her "errr is it going to be very painful?" Then she looked at me for awhile and said "I think I give you both" LOL I think I screamed pretty loudly when they were turning me around zzz. So I was injected with anesthetic before the doctor came to fix my stupid knee. I looked at my hand the hole and needle so BIG and it's so gross to see a big hole in your hand with a needle but I could barely feel the pain coming from my hand cause my knee was still hurting so so so badly. The doctor, obviously very experienced, just came and touch my knee abit and suddenly push back and omg ultimate pain relief!!! I was so lucky I did not tear any ligaments when I dislocated my knee phew!! That would have been very bad indeed. 

My mum came after my knee was wrapped up in white bandages and she teared even though my knee was already alright and that set me off crying again. I had such a painful and tiring night. I learnt how to use the crutches and that was so tough I had to lift up my right bandaged knee which felt like it weighed a ton. When I was wheeled out the room, I realized I was very urgent and needed to pee. My mum helped me to the toilet and when I stood up from the bed, I looked at the sheets and saw that  it was slightly yellowish. That was when I found out I peed on the bed without myself knowing cause it was too painful. T.T



RECOVERY WITH CAST ON

I was fitted with a white temporary cast first (white cast photo above) and after a week I went back to get a more permanent hard cast and of course I chose pink! My classmates and teammates signed on it and I had to walk around in it. I talked a little bit about life in school with the cast, in my Volleyball Journey post

Other than having priority to take the school lift up to my classroom, there was nothing good about having this cast. The most troublesome thing was SHOWERING. There cannot be any contact with water at all for my cast, and I had to wrap it up in plastic bag, lie down in the bathtub and got my mum to shower for me. I'm close to my mum la so did not feel so awkward. But it was SO TROUBLESOME and nowadays my mum use this to try to make me not play sports sometimes ("If anything happen to your knee again you shower yourself ah!") lol but of course I know she won't leave me alone if I really can't. Mothers are mothers after all! Hahaha.

The crutches were also SO ANNOYING. Luckily I learnt that I could lean on the cast to walk, so I didn't have to depend on the crutches to walk omg! I had the cast on for about 4 weeks I think.



CAST REMOVAL

 I still remember the day I was due to remove my cast. I had just finished my F&N lesson in school and had cooked pasta. So I had my ribbon pasta with lots of melted mozzarella cheese as my lunch while my mum sent me to KK hospital. 

I was so happy to finally get my cast removed!!! The doctor sawed through the hard material (a little bit scary) and then I was told to get down from the bed. Then I found out I couldn't lift my right leg!!! My thigh muscles were almost completely gone and the size of my right thigh is about 1/3 of my left thigh... So skinny it was the same size as my calf. I used my hands to lift my leg off the bed and hopped outside with my left leg cause my right knee is useless. As I sat down at the waiting area waiting for my mum to help me settle the admin stuff, I tried lifting my right knee up and down, like self-physio. It required quite a lot of effort for me to command my weak and almost non-existent muscles, for a simple act of just lifting my feet off the group a few inches. When I felt pretty confident, I tried standing up and almost fell flat on my face. To the amusement and weird stares of other ppl in the waiting area. 

Mummy took a wheelchair and wheeled me to the car since it was apparent I couldn't even walk or limp or move around. By then I was already itching to get back on court to train with my teammates, but there was nothing much I could do except try to get back my muscles by practicing walking like a young toddler omg!!! I had to practice how to walk!!!! I wasn't scheduled for any physio, so I guessed it was just a minor dislocation. Myy knee patella couldn't go back down in place properly, I couldn't straighten my leg and I couldn't even walk properly after 6 MONTHS. My parents were concerned and kept scolding me asking me to walk properly. They say if I don't try to walk properly now next time when I get married I walk down the aisle so ugly. Hahaha. But it wasn't that I don't want to walk properly what. I got try!!! My stupid knee just cannot straighten fully leh what can I do?!?! Actually I admit there's a little psychological barrier also la cause got fear of the pain and all... so maybe I didn't push myself as hard as I could, to fully straighten my knee. I thought as long as I could walk and I could play on court I don't have to walk nicely.



BACK ON COURT

I went back to training as soon as I could, and got exempted from a few of the intensive physical training phew! Also, I bought a knee guard from the sports store, and had to make sure there's a circle there to provide support and make sure the knee patella doesn't move out of place!

Thankfully, after a few weeks, I got back enough muscles in my thighs to really jump properly again and had no incidents playing volleyball because I don't dare to play without my knee guard ever again!! For the list of my volleyball achievements, please read My Volleyball Journey HERE. My right knee dislocated before meant that I started to rely a lot more on my left knee. So after a few years, my left knee starting hurting so badly as well. Lucky it didn't dislocate. So now I have to wear knee guards on both knees when I play volleyball.



MY KNEE TODAY

My knee has been behaving well (it's been 8 years already since my knee dislocated) and not moving at all. I have been playing volleyball well too, without hindrance from my knee. Both my knee gets very very sore whenever I jump too much, but will recover after a couple of days' rest. Of course I'm not spared from the pain and soreness when it rains. I've sprained my right ankle before also (why does everything happen to my right leg) but that recovered very quickly.

A couple of weeks ago during my last tennis lesson in school (I took up tennis as an elective), my knee suddenly MOVED/SUBLUXATED again. I never did wear my knee guard when playing tennis because I thought I wouldn't be jumping so my knee would never be at risk. WHAT A STUPID DECISION. I was just warming up and hitting balls with my classmate when my knee suddenly moved (and moved back) when I returned a hit. I got a shock and immediately squatted down. The thought of going through the whole pain and recovery process again was so scary I teared up. After that day, I ended up limping for a few days. )':

But all is well now and I've learnt my lesson never to play sports without my knee guard again. I can't wear my knee guard to run/jog long distance though, because my calves will hurt super badly as the knee guard is tight. Oh well I never liked running anyway! That's all for this post!! Any questions or comments please feel free to leave a comment or email me chengkaiting@gmail.com!


xoxo, kaitinghearts

13 comments

  1. Hey ting,

    I'm really glad that you recovered well from the injury and bounced back with such positivity!

    I'm curious how they make the cast though and how they remove it.... hahahaha XD

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    Replies
    1. Haha thank you! Hmm I don't have pictures of the process, but I can try to roughly explain to you from what I remember! First they wrap a white cotton-like material/bandage around my knee, then use the pink material (it was moist and soft at first) to wrap around the white cotton/bandage. Then the pink cast will slowly harden! Quite cool. As for the removal process, it was very straight forward, Doc just use the electric saw thing to literally saw a vertical straight line down the cast!

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  2. ouch, the cast looks massive but so pretty!! do you have more pictures of the pink cast?

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  3. Though it must’ve been a hard path to pursue, it’s great that you stayed the course on your recovery. And look at you now! That last photo just about cap things off real well. By the way, those facts about subluxation are instructive, and it pays to distinguish the types of dislocations, so we'd know what kind of treatment befits them. Thank you for sharing your experience with us!

    Agnes Lawson @ Pain Relief Experts

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  5. How does it feel like to be wearing the cast? It's so big!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha it's actually pretty alright!! Not very heavy as well.

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  6. OMG, I just had the same injury and I was googling about it. Stumbled upon your blog and this was really motivating! Hope I'll recover fast and get back to sports!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad that this post helped to motivate you! Yes you can do it, jiayou!!!

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