Snake bite + amputation= Knee pain

Today in clinic I had a very interesting patient referred down to me. He was an 81 year old man coming in with left knee pain. When he came down I quickly discovered why he was having this pain. 40 years ago he had a below the knee amputation because of a snake bite. He has been walking around on his left knee with crutches for 40 years. You can imagine the damage and degeneration that has occurred in his left knee. Right before he came down to the PT gym he was provided with a wheelchair so a lot of our session consisted of wheelchair training for both his family and himself. The son was very involved which was great. I was showing him how to transfer into and out of the chair, how to go up and down a curb, and how to propel the chair in general. I also provided the patient some exercises that he could do for himself from the chair. These were mainly hip strengthening activities since his knee was too painful to move. My goal was to decrease some of the pain and inflammation of the knee now that he is in a wheelchair and then we can gradually work on the knee again. I just found this patient so interesting because I wasn’t expecting a patient to come into an outpatient clinic and have to be taught wheelchair management. I also was not expecting a referral for knee pain to be a man with an amputation due to a snake bite. It was definitely an interesting case to have.

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