ZocdocAnswersLong-term side knee pain/pulling, especially while running

Question

Long-term side knee pain/pulling, especially while running

I have seen a doctor last year, got a M.R.I and found I have Chondromalacia softening of the cartilage in the knee, received an ultrasound and found some swelling, a cortisone shot in the I.T band which only helped for a couple months, resting also did not help and a x-ray of course and seen nothing. I went to physical therapy which was basically strength training and that helped out for a couple months and since then the pain has gottan worse. I weight train and run and running seems to do the trick. I have been running more and I try to avoid long distance because it makes the knee pain worse. I was recently playing softball and it began to hurt and the pain got so bad I could not walk with out it. It is swollen, in pain like a hard "pulling" on the side of the right knee and my right hip is extremely tight. I have been trying to wear my knee brace, ice, and rest but nothing helps.

Answer

It sounds like your initial knee injury is causing some significant problems with your daily life as well as your preferred activities. Overall you are doing all of the right things in terms of seeing a physician with new symptoms and following up with your doctor and with a physical therapist. Given the significant new symptoms you are experiencing, the best thing to do is go back to your physician to start with a re-evaluation. Your symptoms sound different than your prior knee issue and do, in fact, sound very consistent with IT band injury/irritation. If you had some trouble with your knee and IT band in the past, it is possible that the changes in your gait or running stride because of the initial injury may have led to the development of a new problem in your biomechanics. It will be important to exclude frank problems with the muscles or bones (which an orthopedist can help facilitate) but you may need to repeat evaluation and development of a long-term strengthening and maintenance program with a physical therapist who specializes in this kind of injury. Modalities such as therapeutic ultrasound, transdermal cortisone or lidocaine, or electrical stimulation might also be helpful. Please speak to your doctor.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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