Monday, June 02, 2008

Yep, It's Sprained

Or at least, the doctor thinks it is. It's hard to tell how severe a sprain is with me, but more on that in a minute. For now, my left thumb/wrist is in a splint similar to this one. It's kind of annoying, because I don't like the wrist constriction, but the doc is playing it safe, and I can't say I blame him. I'll be splinted for 2 weeks.

Ok, so the reason that it's hard to tell how severe a sprain is on me is because the doctor thinks I may have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. Let me back up. 3 Advil 3 times a day was helping my hip feel better, but as soon as the Advil wore off, I was back in pain, so I ended up going back to the orthpod a few weeks ago. He wanted to give me a cortisone shot, but I was a little concerned about getting one, because I've heard from another orthopaedist that cortisone shots can lead to deterioration of the ligaments and tendons in the joint, and I've got a history of rather loose ligaments and bad quality ligaments and tendons. He assured me it would be OK, as it was just 1 injection, so we did it, and my hip's feeling close to 100% now. Sometimes, it twinges with certain things at the gym, but all in all it's good.

That's when he asked about my joints. You see, I've had 2 shoulder surgeries (1 on each shoulder) and 4 ankle surgeries. The shoulders were for repeated dislocations, even though I never had a traumatic dislocation. The ankle was for torn ligaments (torn playing soccer), and because none of the first 3 surgeries worked, I had to have it fused in the 4th. Since those surgeries, I've had one more non-traumatic subluxation of my shoulder (last November). That's when the doc suggested I might have something called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, and mentioned I should get tested.

According to Wikipedia, Ehlers-Danlos is, "a group of rare genetic disorders affecting humans and domestic animals caused by a defect in collagen synthesis. Depending on the individual mutation, the severity of the disease can vary from mild to life-threatening. There is no known cure. Treatment is supportive." One of the classic symptoms of this is having hypermobile joints, which my doctors all agree I do. There are other symptoms, but that's the big one.

Needless to say, I think that there's a good chance I do have it. It would certainly help explain why I've had so many joint issues. It would also help explain why my first 3 ankle surgeries, performed by good surgeons, didn't work properly. So, at the moment, I'm waiting for the Genetic Medicine group at Hopkins to give me a call back. I've done the preliminary call, now I need for a genetic counselor to call me, take a history, and determine which doctor I should see.

So that's that. Knowing I have generally "bad" ligaments, I try to treat my injuries with kid gloves, and it seems my doc is doing the same. He thinks I've only got a fairly mild sprain, but my right thumb joint is also very "loose" so it's hard to tell the extent of the sprain. If it still hurts in 2 weeks (which I doubt it will), I'll go back. Fun times. Have I mentioned that I love my joints?

No comments: