As an orthopaedic surgeon and a specialist in joint replacement, I am often asked to give a second opinion on difficult cases. Recently, I had the pleasure to meet a very pleasant 52-year-old gentleman. Mr. N is a carpenter who had a total knee replacement two years ago in another state. After the normal healing process, he continued to have some mild pain and stiffness. He felt that his knee was better than before he had surgery, but wasn’t totally happy. It just wasn’t up to his activity level and often felt achy and not quite natural. Could I find out what was wrong with it? He asked.
In these cases, orthopaedic surgeons take a systematic approach. They examine the patient, take X-rays and perform a battery of tests to determine the cause of the discomfort. After finishing my evaluation, I presented Mr. N with my findings. His exam, X-rays and tests were all normal — I had no idea what was wrong with his knee.