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Author Topic: What would cause a knee to turn purple?
Hacker Barbie
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A friend of mine has a strange problem. Her knee looks purple, as if she bruised it somehow. However, she hasn't. It doesn't hurt on the surface, but under the kneecap. It started turning purple two weeks ago, and is still purple, but the purpleness moves around from day to day.

Off to the doctor. He told her that her knee is just fine, and she's just imagining everything. She has returned and showed him and another doctor the knee once again, and again he told her that she's fine. They also ran MRIs, and, again, she should be fine.
Well, she's obviously not "fine". She can't walk without a brace, and she can't fully straighten that leg in dance. And it hurts so much that aspirin doesn't help.

What could be causing this? Internal bleeding? Some sort of fluid collecting under the kneecap?
Come on, medical types, help me out here!

Hacker "leg is straight...straight...STRAIGHT!!!" Barbie


Posts: 2351 | From: Germany | Registered: Aug 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
blue_jeans
The Red and the Green Stamps


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quote:

What could be causing this? Internal bleeding? Some sort of fluid collecting under the kneecap?


Well, even though internal bleeding would cause it to be purple, the blood or fluid collecting would most likely show up on an x-ray.
Or it could be a meniscal injury:

quote:
A meniscal tear results in knee swelling, locking and giving way. It may cause pain with bending, squatting, twisting, stair climbing or getting up from a seated position. A meniscal tear is best diagnosed by a physical examination by the orthopedist. An MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) may be obtained to confirm a meniscal tear.

But that would also have shown up on the MRI.

quote:
If however, the meniscal tear is in the inner two-thirds or is shredded, then minimal blood supply is present.

I'm not sure if that means that there was bleeding, but if it did, it would account for the purpleness.
Sorry if I mislead you or the info wasn't relievant.

Blue "Not a doctor but watches 'Trauma: Life in the ER'" Jeans
(NOTE: Jeez, I'm having a lot of trouble posting this sloppy URL, and every time I do it says "Page not found", so I give up. If you really want to know, then go to ask jeeves and enter the words "meniscal injury")


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Finite Fourier Alchemy
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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I'm having a lot of trouble visualizing the problem. The purpleness moves daily?

The only thing I could even equate it to is a time when a botched blood donation caused a med student (or monkey in training) to clip a vein in such a way that fluid seeped under the skin, causing intense bruising and a disgusting yellow and purple, splotchy discoloration that pretty much went from halfway up my upper arm down to my wrist.

The on-campus doctor (trained monkey) said it was nothing, but it started to hurt like hell after a few days. I called a doctor close to the family, explained the problem, and he gave a few suggestions over the phone. It cleared up about a day later, and I've decided I won't go to the campus medical center with anything less than a severd limb. At least that way I save them some effort.

Alchemy "Doc, it hurts when I wave my arm like this . . ."

--------------------
Thinking about New England / missing old Japan


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Hacker Barbie
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Well, it doesn't "move" daily, it just looks slightly different. Last week, it was more on the side of the knee, while this week it's right in the middle. She says that the skin on the sufrace doesn't hurt, so it's not a bruise.

Hacker "maybe this is better" Barbie


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apengilley
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Not that I am offering any definitive opinion, so don't sue me if it turns out to be knee cancer, or a very rare knee parasite but

Purple for my money means blood which, if it isn't contained in the pipes designed for the conduction of the same, means a bruise. Moving around-possibly. Blood can track through tissues, often tracking down a limb-for example, but rarely on a 'now you see it, now you don't' kind of basis.

"Under the knee-cap" covers a lot of territory but it is worth remembering that the back of the kneecap is actually a functional joint with the rest of the knee. Possibly your friend has some bleeding within the knee joint associated with trauma, arthritis, meniscal or tendon injury. Told you it covered a lot of territory. Plain X-rays would not necessarily detect the above, although I would expect an MRI to. Pain and local bruising doesn't really sound all that normal although your doctor may be correct in thinking that the knee is 'fine' in the sense that it will heal itself in time without further prodding from medical science.


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