After I got that recommendation from my doctor to stop playing hockey, I sought out a second opinion from a specialist. In the meantime, the last few weeks have been a long hard road needless to say. I have had more than a few sleepless nights just waiting to get in to see him. The day finally came on Friday when I walked in to get the news I had been searching for.
I have a degenerative condition in my knees which is causing my cartilage to break down. A lot of it has to do with the fact that I am double jointed in my knees and the years of hockey I have been playing has taken its toll. Some of it has to do with age. After dealing with a grinding feeling in my knees for the last year, I decided to have them looked at and do something about it.
The specialist said that this kind of condition is really not reversible, but there are options besides what the last doctor recommended. His recommendation was to stop playing hockey and opt for Viscosupplementation which is injections of gel into the knees.
The whole idea of stopping playing goalie was to halt the degenerative condition. The gel injections would cushion the knee and then I would be good to go for an extended period of time. I could still skate, but bending my knees in the same way would be causing more harm than good.
My current specialist has indicated that the injections would be suitable for me to keep playing for a long time to come IF they have a positive effect. The whole procedure is still controversial. Some people experience total relief and continue to exercise and operate at a high level. Others feel nothing different and have to go onto other means of treatment. Another thing I will be doing is going to the doctors office more often. Each treatment is 3 injections. If I am still playing, thats 3 injections that I could be having per month. Just based on how much gel remains in my knees from one week to the next.
So, start with the gel injection, see how my knees react and then make adjustments from there. I can handle that. Its a heck of a lot better than, “Stop playing and do something else.”
First appointment is in about a month.