It’s been a little over three months, now, since I fell and whacked my right knee. No visible signs of any injury or X-ray evidence of internal damage. Still, from time to time, it can still get achy.
I had mentioned this to my Boston rheumatologist back in early January, and he thought I may have bruised the inside of my kneecap. If the issue persisted another month, he suggested getting an MRI to determine if there might be a stress fracture. So, when I saw my local rheumatologist last week, I mentioned the residual soreness and asked him what he thought.
His advice: give it more time. He agreed with the bruised kneecap theory. But he also raised a really important point. If the MRI found a stress fracture, what would I do differently? Give that I have no trouble (thankfully) walking, standing, or sitting, there is no way I would want any knee surgery. The risks are significant (particularly regarding infection) and benefits in my case, questionable. I would just have a clearer idea of what was going on inside my knee, but—so what? Why undergo an expensive diagnostic, even if it were covered, or mostly covered, by my insurance? What’s the value-added to my ability to take care of my health?
Of the many lessons I’ve learned over 35-plus years of living with scleroderma, this was a really good reminder that not all diagnostics are worthwhile, especially when they might lead to more tests and complexity that doesn’t necessarily add up to better health.
So, I’ll just keep listening to my body and allowing my knee to heal. Going to the gym is helping or, at least, not slowing down the healing process. I’m up to a mile-and-a-quarter on the stationary bike, plus my mile walk on the indoor track. Climbing stairs is a bit easier, and I feel more energized, overall.
Obviously, if the pain were to worsen, I’d need to reevaluate next steps. But for now, it’s one less thing to worry about. And that’s the best health boost of all.
Image: Ricardo Velarde