10 years ago this month I was involved in a serious car crash which among other things shattered my knee cap. At the time my knee was put back together with a few screws and all was good, but a few years after the operation it started to become more and more painful. I had several people look at it, each saying different things ranging from arthritis and callus forming on the underside of the patella through to muscle and ligament damage. Since I didn't want any major operations I kinda left these as they were and just tried to ignore the pain and get on with things, but last year I had had enough of not being able to walk pain-free and having difficulty going up and down steps.
I went to the hospital where I was seen by another specialist who ordered some x-rays and MRI scans, and these showed a few bone formations which shouldn't be there. The MRI also showed up formations of soft tissue which could be obstructing the joint or putting pressure on nerves. It was however made clear that the scans were not clear as to the exact cause, the only way to tell what was really happening was to go in and have a look.
I agreed to an arthroscopy with a view to possibly to fixing any problems, and this has just been carried out. During the procedure, they found that the bone fragments were little chips of bone in the cartilage. It wasn't clear if these were new fragments or had worked loose from the original fracture. Either way, these were removed and the lots of surplus scar tissue was trimmed away from the cartilage behind the patella. This was probably causing the patella to not sit correctly on the joint and putting stress on the rest of the soft tissue.
The results have been more than I had hoped for. I can now walk and use steps completely pain-free, I can even run without my knee feeling like it's going to give in. In fact, the pain is so much less I took no painkillers after the initial anaesthetic wore off. The pain from the operation was significantly less than the pain I was in before the operation.
It really does feel like I have a new knee, which is now the only option left should this one cause any problems in the years to come. That is hopefully many years away, so for now, I'm just going to enjoy my new old knee.