Injuries at Menopause: Help! I’ve Fallen and I Can’t Get Up

By: Red Hot Mamas

Published: June 14, 2012

sprained ankle menopause

I never thought this would happen to me. Just picture this; I’m walking down my driveway to my mailbox. Suddenly out of the blue, my left ankle turns taking the rest of my body down with it. I quickly try to avoid the fall, but instead I fall onto my left knee. I lay in my driveway and could bring my body to an upright position.

The blunt force of the trauma to my knee was excruciating and brought tears to my eyes. After about five minutes of lying on the driveway, I finally garnered enough energy to block out the pain and was able to rise and wobble into my house. Luckily, my husband was home and off we headed to the emergency room. By the time I arrived, I had severe swelling in both my ankle and knee. Needless to say, I couldn’t put pressure on either my foot or knee.

At the hospital, I had x-ray images of my foot and knee. From the fall, the foot sustained a bone chip in the 5th metatarsal. I was told that I had not fractured my knee, but it was recommended I see an orthopedic surgeon right away to examine it further. I left with crutches and prescribed pain medication. It was difficult to get in and out my husband’s car and certainly almost impossible to walk up and down stairs.

This was so totally disrupting to my life and it happened so unexpectedly. The incident changed my perspective and made me realize that falling doesn’t only happen to those that are very elderly.

When I finally visited the orthopedic surgeon, he did the usual – took a medical history, conducted a physical examination of my knee (of which I screamed loudly as he manipulated my knee), I had an additional x-ray of the knee and foot and an MRI scan of the knee.

My diagnosis was not only the bone chip in my foot, but now the knee sustained a bone bruise, bursitis and they found an old PCL tear from years of ice skating. I was relieved the knee wasn’t fractured. However, the pain was unbearable. The orthopedist recommended physical therapy which I have been taking over the last several weeks.

Home Treatments

Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory medication, or NSAID’s, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Nuprin and Motrin IB) help reduce swelling and inflammation and can be quite helpful. The ibuprofen also helps mask the pain of a knee injury. NSAID’s must be used cautiously; if taken regularly over a long period of time, they can cause bleeding, ulcers or other gastro-intestinal problems.

RICE — Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation
Rest- keep the injury away from any stressful activity
Ice- apply ice to the injury to control swelling and inflammation. Wrap ice in a towel so that it does not agitate the skin
Compression- prevents hemorrhaging or internal bleeding
Elevation- if possible, keep the injury above the heart to reduce internal bleeding

Check with your doctor before using over the counter products for pain after your exercise activities. Discuss prescribed medications that are available for pain relief due to injuries. Your body is a great barometer; have the pain checked out if it limits your ability in what you do and is affecting your quality of life.

Avoid Reinjuring the Body

Have proper knowledge about the injury and the time that should be allotted for rest and rehabilitation. You can do this by working with an orthopedic surgeon and/or a physical therapist to ensure they teach you the proper way to strengthen your knees.

Avoid being overweight. The extra pounds can cause extra force on the knees and considerable load of pressure onto your joints.

After my knee injury, I truly just wanted to lay still and not move. However, it’s important to discuss with your doctor and/or physical therapist about the proper exercises. My doctor recommended I work with a physical therapist.

I learned that physical therapy sessions help me get back on track and alleviate my pain by developing strong legs. My physical therapist recommended for me to pedal on the stationary bike and try water-based exercises. She also recommended walking on flat surfaces. Strolling on sandy beaches is out of the question until my injury heals.

My injury will take time to heal. I am staying positive and motivated to add a few different exercises recommended by my physical therapist to avoid reinjuring my knee. Well, live and learn… I hope.

More Information
Bone Health and Menopause