Knee Surgery ???

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I’m not being an alarmist here, but I’ve been thinking about this for a hour or so and am becoming a bit worried.  I woke up this morning with a big swollen knee.  Last night it was a little sore and now it is way, way more sore, swollen and hot.

I called my friend Stacie and we did a little FaceTime thing and she says that I have an infected prepatella bursitis and that I need to see an orthopedic surgeon ASAP.  So I called around and just got answering machines, but then Stacie called me back and had made me an appointment in a few hours.

I’m not sure how this happened.  I rode MTB with the Tuesday night group and my knee was a little weird.   I’d kind of twisted it a couple days ago and thought that was the problem.

I was walking, at night, on a sidewalk and stepped into a 12 inch hole in a grate that was full of water. I totally submerged my shoe and lower leg, fell forward and landed on my knee.  I felt lucky that I didn’t break my leg.  That hole needs to be covered.  It has been sore since, but that doesn’t really explain how it got infected.

It is the same knee I scraped down, falling in Colorado.  But that was a long time ago.  The healing has been slow, but it hasn’t been open in weeks.

Anyway, Stacie said not to eat, that the guy might cut do surgery to drain all the infection out of it and then put me on IV antibiotics.   The more I dwell on how I feel, the more a hypochondriac I am becoming.  I don’t feel that good, sort of like flu.

I plan to use my knee a lot over the next few decades, if I’m around that long, so it’s pretty important to get this right.   I’ll post again, post Dr.’s visit.  Boo.


img_2108This hole is on a sidewalk.  I guess it used to have a tree in it, but not now.  It is deep, like mid-shin deep.  I stepped straight into it and fell forward and landed on my knee.


Oh,  it's Tucker's 10 month birthday today.  He is a great boy.  Getting stronger by the day.

Oh, it’s Tucker’s 10 month birthday today. He is a great boy. Getting stronger by the day.




34 thoughts on “Knee Surgery ???

  1. peter

    I’d think seriously about hiring a lawyer and filing a lawsuit against whatever city that is in. I know everyone hates lawyers and lawsuits, but it’s the city’s responsibility to provide safe sidewalks. And it looks like that’s been there for a while. You were injured by their incompetence and they should pay for your medical treatment at the very least.

    Good luck with the knee. That’s definitely a serious infection that should be taken care of ASAP. Stuff like that can kill you.

    1. Tripod Ron

      You’re correct. It’s things like this that make me laugh at Kansas. No one wants to pay a cent in taxes, and then something like this occurs, and it’s “where is the government that should be fixing this??” (This sentiment is in general, not directed at Steve as I have no idea on how he feels about KS tax policy)

      1. Mark

        Paying more in taxes means just more money wasted and pocketed by corrupt politicians. This hole still would be there even if you pay more in taxes.

      1. KrakatoaEastofJava

        In most places “your land” extends halfway across the street in front of your home (technically). Most of us happen to have a public right-of-way (IE, the street and sidewalk) extending across it.
        This is why you have to shovel YOUR sidewalk (and make repairs to same).

    2. Fsonicsmith

      I am really sorry to ask you this but what did you think was going to happen when you stepped into water in the middle of a grate that obviously once surrounded a tree?
      Are you saying it was dark and you had no idea what you were stepping into/onto?
      For the poster who recommended you bring a claim against someone;
      There is a term for things like this. It is called “open and obvious”. A 12″ hole is open and obvious. If it is filled with water, there is another term that applies; “natural condition”. At least in my State (Ohio), landowners are responsible for hidden dangers that a normally careful person would have no reason to anticipate, and only if the condition is “artificial” and not “a natural condition”. I happen to have liberal tendencies, but on this one I gotta throw out the “take some personal responsibility” mantra. Not to mention-there is a huge proximate cause issue here. You may think that the event was the cause of whatever is going on in your knee but with all of your various cycling mis-haps, convincing a jury of eight strangers that this trip and fall was the cause-even if you doctor were willing to express such an opinion-i slim to none.

      1. Steve Tilford Post author

        Fsconic-Yeah it was dark and yes there is no way to see it. I took the photo after it happened just to show that the whole think looked the same level. I was with Catherine and she said to me, after I fell, “man that must of been super slick”, not knowing my leg had submerged deep in water. Standing there there is no way to have know there was a deep hole filled with water.

  2. Franz

    I once had prepatella bursitis. Nobody thought mine was infected. I did not have a scrape on my kneed and I knew when I hurt my knee. It swelled up large. They suggested I treat it with ice and rest and it improved in a few days but after weeks and months it was still bothering me. They finally decided to use a syringe to drain my knee and do a cortisone injection. I felt better almost immediately. I think I would have felt better just from draining the knee.

  3. RGTR

    Ok, Im not sitting here giggling or nothing. How in the world do you not kill yourself on a daily basis?

    You’re a lot like my dad who I can’t figure out why he’s still alive at 74:
    – one day he comes home with a 2″ pipe hole in his leg.
    – another day he comes home after flipping a 4-wheeler hauling salt to the cows and jacks up his back
    – another day he flips a Caterpillar dozer into a canal and barely walks away alive (made for some nice pics though!)
    – … horse throws his ass into the brush and leaves him for dead (this happened more than a bunch)
    – … changing out the cutting teeth on a swather he gets bit by (we never find out what) and lands in the hospital for 3 days.
    – … gets himself caught under a hay baler and mom finds him later that night thankfully

  4. Jeffery Butterfield

    Good luck with the knee, Steve. Hopefully the warranty hasn’t run out yet and you get those additional decades of use.

  5. John Goggin


    I’ve been going through something slightly worse, but similar. Take the time to get it right. It’s important.

    If you send me your Email address to, I’ll share my story and photos of just how bad it can go, BUT it can be turned around fast with great care.

    Best wsishes, John

  6. Joe C

    I was going to was my windshield, and got the gas hose caught between my toes and flip flop. Hopped a few times trying to pull loose without falling. Got home and my knee was huge. Had an MRI, had re- torn my meniscus. Stayed off the bike until I could get over the top on a pedal stroke, did the MS 150. Then did Hotter n Hell, Enchanted Circle, and a few more centuries. Doc said as long as I could do that, do nothing. That was a year and a half ago. I’m nowhere close to your level, but there is a lot that can be wrong, and you can still do what you do.

  7. RadRenner

    Steve, a similar thing happened to a friend of mine a few years ago. He bumped his knee really hard, but without breaking the skin, and his knee swelled up. He thought the swelling would go away, but it didn’t and unfortunately for him, the infection eventually required surgery. You’re not be alarmist at all and it’s good for you that you’ve got smart, medically educated friends.

    1. Emacdo

      Similar thing happened to me with my elbow – bumped it on a pipe I was moving, no bruising or cuts but somehow got a MRSA infection out of it and almost lost my arm. I noticed some swelling the next moring, just a bit, then by late afternoon had red streaks running from my elbow down to my hand. Took several weeks of sulfa and just about every anti-viral /anti-bacterial remedy I could think of to beat it, and still have no idea how I actually contracted it.

      Moral is, don’t f around with infections regardless of whether there is a cut or not. There’s some bad stuff out there and if it gets into your lymph system or blood, you’re in for a world of trouble (that’s the scientific name for it).

  8. Cranky Curmedgeon

    Hard to tell with your raggedy-ass legs if this is abnormal. So is the BTE out of the picture? You have until next Saturday…

  9. Clifford

    Slammed into the pavement a couple of times back in the day on my right knee, and both occasions resulted in grapefruit-sized bursae. It went away after a while and did not need to be drained — or at least that’s what the doc said at the time — but was no fun either. On the second occasion I rode through most of it; that being said, nearly 20 years later that seems to be my bum knee.

  10. peter

    I guess there’s an argument that he should have just been more careful walking down that sidewalk, but seriously, how many sidewalks do you see with a two foot hole in them? Plus, the fact that it was full of water made it even less obvious that it was a hole. When I walk down a sidewalk, I typically don’t look for holes. What would I do if there was a two foot hole in the sidewalk in front of my house? I’d fill the damn thing in as fast as I could so someone doesn’t fall in it and sue me. Come on, even a couple bags of gravel would do the trick.

  11. numbnuts

    that stinks, about your knee… bound to happen to most of us though. I know so many people who have ran, skied, biked or did other sports who had to go in for knee surgery… so common it is now a days.

    As for that open hole, in costa rica, its pretty common to find grates missing or sidewalks half missing etc… its a world of organized chaos there… have to really really watch where you step in the city.
    Biked most of the carribean as well, barbados is the worst. There are even spots where the cops will kick cyclists off the road due to the mass traffic. Another area where people have to constantly be on the know… Cuba is kind of the same way.

    not sure if sueing the city will do much… lawyers would make a fortune and you’d probably be left with very little. Its a tough call…

  12. Jim

    “I’m not sure how this happened.”


    “I rode MTB with the Tuesday night group and my knee was a little weird.
    I’d kind of twisted it a couple days ago and thought that was the problem.
    I was walking, at night, on a sidewalk and stepped into a 12 inch hole in a grate that was full of water.”

    I see three distinct possibilities by your own admission.
    With writing like this, good luck with a court case.

  13. H Luce

    I’d go see Phelps Chartered, they’ve got a good track record in suing the City of Topeka. I’d do that after you get the knee fixed, though. I hope you’re on your way to Kentucky now, actually, time is of the essence.

    1. Matt

      I am pretty sure that from that picture you have Elephantitis. I am not a doctor but I did stay in a Holiday Inn several years back.

      Go see a Dr immediately.

  14. Barb

    I lived in Hawaii for over ten years, in my former life as a surf addict. Staph infections run rampant in Hawaii usually get them from coral cuts, because staph is in the water there. Even with no open cuts, it gets into your system, and can flare up at any time from even minor skin irritations. Staph infections may cause disease due to direct infection or due to the production of toxins by the bacteria. Boils, impetigo, food poisoning, cellulitis, and toxic shock syndrome are all examples of diseases that can be caused by Staphylococcus. I had ongoing issues with staph, while living there, and learned that most human beings carry staph germs on their skin and in their nose. Usually the immune system doesn’t allow infection to occur in most healthy people, but endurance athletes especially, have impaired immune function, especially immediately following a race or training. It’s always a good idea to do something close to a surgical scrub, whenever your skin comes into contact with anything that “can” cause infection, even if the skin isn’t broken, because the skin is a permeable membrane, it absorbs as well as eliminates. Like stagnant water. Or rusty whatever. Even automotive grease (my brother is a mechanic and gets staph infections in his forearms on occasion from not scrubbing well enough after work.) Could you have already had that infection in your system/nose/skin from a prior injury? Didn’t you have to stitch up your own knee/shin a couple times? I can’t recall you’ve had so many injuries- but when you go to an actual doctor for stitches (and I’ve had my share) they scrub the hell out of the wound until it hurts and then drown it with betadine. Some underlying infection could also have been a reason for not feeling 100% some of the time and not knowing why. Bacterial infections are really nasty , you’re a good doctor on yourself when you get injuries, but do you scrub it all out until it hurts before closing it up? I hope the doc you’re going to see fixes you up right away, and all is simpatico sooner than later.

  15. RGTR

    Catch one of those shitbags that are constantly breaking in and stealing your stuff and fill the hole with their cold dead body. Two problems solved.

  16. MV

    There is a huge difference between inflammation and infection. Had a chronic inflammation (Jumpers knee) in the same spot that required surgery, and it really did not fix it.
    You don’t fool with joint infections though…

  17. KrakatoaEastofJava

    When I was 18 – 19 years old, my friends and I would cross the border into Tijuana Mexico and pretend we were all grown up and sophisticated and go hopping to the various clubs on Avenida Revolucion.

    Anyhow, being young and stupid – and after many watered-down margaritas (fashioned with poor-quality tequilas) – we’d start stumbling back to our cars in the USA right around 1:30 AM. To walk back to the border-crossing. one must first traverse the “river zone” – a virtual no-man’s land located in-between the border crossing and the nightclubs. The streets are dark, as vandals (or thieves) keep the streetlights out of commission. We also craved adventure, so we often took short-cuts through the mean side-streets to get to the river zone faster.

    On what was probably our first drunken “short-cut” adventure, we did something dumb (who knows what?) and found ourselves running away from a bunch of Mexican local dudes (intent on either killing or robbing us) and toward the border as fast as we could. Super dark. One of us found out (the hard way) that not only do their thieves steal the street lights, but they also steal the manhole covers and sewer grates! The guy actually fell into an open manhole! Luckily, he didn’t fall completely in, and we were able to pull him out. Crazy stuff.

    Hope your knee gets better soon! Take a vacation (like a REAL vacation) and relax!

  18. Peter W. Polack

    I was a police officer in the Air Force.

    I had a knee swell up like yours after scratching a mosquito bite- Mississippi mosquitos have big teeth!

    I’m on duty one evening and the bulbous knee is snagging my pants, so I ask my flight chief if I can go to the hospital and get it checked out. I take off my gun belt and he drives me over.

    In the E.R. the doctor says he’s gonna stick a needle in the knee and drain some fluid. “Okay”, I think; no big deal.

    Next thing I know, I’m horizontal on the exam table and they’re waving smelling salts under my nose, all while my flight chief is laughing!

    Good luck getting that knee drained, Steve! 😉

  19. Fausto

    I just picture your doctor visits are like the scene in Road House (worlds worst movie but that’s another story), “these are the stitches I did myself last year, that hole I fixed in 2005, this knee is twisted from hitting a car in Britain, this scar is from…” Those are not exactly normal looking knees.

  20. Rob Arena

    I had this happen to me. It was spring two years ago. Had just turned 50 and was on good form for early season racing. Never had a problem with my left knee but had swelling after a hard climbing ride in the cold. My knee cap was swollen and I just kept riding and racing thinking I had just banged my knee and not remembered. Then it blew up and got infected. Very painful. Had to treat with antibiotics, ice and rest. Ruined much of my season. Now I have to be really conscious of it. I ice it after many rides now. It is somewhat deformed relative to how it was.


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