Miserable malalignment syndrome almost sounds made up.  When  you first say it out loud to someone they may give you that look like you are talking a different language.  Unless you have it, then you know that the pain is very much real.  There isn’t much information on Miserable Malalignment syndrome, which is very frustrating for a person who has it.  

FINDING OUT WHY

I started suffering from leg pain that was unbearable.  It was sometimes knee pain that felt like my kneecap was going to explode out from under my skin.  But I also got leg pain that radiated down the front of my shins, feeling like shin splints 24/7. I could barely bend my knees without feeling like the pressure behind my kneecaps was going to make my whole knee pop out off of my leg.  Walking around the neighborhood, or even walking around a store would be miserable. With my malalignment you can visibly see the turning in of the kneecap, and how my knee does not align with my thigh, or my lower leg. Now if someone passed me on the street and I have shorts on my legs aren’t a freak of nature.  That’s why until I had actually been consulted on my leg pain I didn’t think anything was wrong physically with my legs on the outside.

When I first started having these symptoms I had a job where I mostly sat all day. My first thought was it was pain from lack of moving around.  When I would get home from work I would try and take walks or stretch out but nothing seemed to help it.    

I had played basketball for about ten years but when my leg pain started I hadn’t been playing basketball for almost six years at that point.  I went to multiple Orthopedic doctors who told me that there wasn’t much they could do. The first one asked if I had ever been in leg braces when I was a kid.  The answer to that was no, I hadn’t had any of these symptoms till my early twenties.  He also stated that he could break my legs and reset them to correct alignment.  No thank you. The other one suggested physical therapy to help strengthen my upper leg muscles to take some of the stress off my knees.  The physical therapy exercises that I did, did not help.  The pain was still there and constant. I did the physical therapy exercises for about two months before throwing in the towel.  Pain medicines started not having any effect, and I was taking a lot.  I didn’t want to continue to pop pills constantly.  After the lack of helpful advice and the pain medicine not working anymore, I had come to realization that I just may have this pain forever.  I felt defeated. The doctors weren’t helping, I did not want to have my legs broken on purpose, nothing or no one had answers as what to do.  My leg pain lasted for two years.

I ended up switching to a job at a hospital surgery center. I started asking a lot of the doctors who came through to see if they had any knowledge or suggestions.  Orthopedic doctors just wanted me to set up an office appointment so they could charge me and take new x-rays.  I was too cheap to agree to that.  I finally stopped a pain doctor and after talking with him, he told me that since I had a slight curvature of the spine, nothing major and not diagnosed scoliosis (lateral curvature of the spine), but enough of a curve you can notice it. And I have given birth to a baby. Those two things together could have caused the misalignment to get worse which would be the result of why I have constant pain, and the visible turning in of my kneecaps.  That made sense.  My leg pain really didn’t start until after my daughter was born. None of the Orthopedic doctors asked me either of those questions.   It’s amazing but just knowing why I had this was somewhat of a relief.

MY FIXES

I asked the same pain doctor if he thought pain injections would work.  He described how he would take this giant needle and stab it into my leg in two different places.  Did not sound very appealing to me.  He could not guarantee that it would work, or for how long it would give me relief of pain.  Being a afraid of giant needles I decided to not try it.

My first fix that seemed to really help was I got a job away from a desk.  I am now up and moving eighty percent of my day.  I also went and bought all new athletic shoes.  I tried a bunch of them on and found that Saucony running shoes felt the best for me.  They are the only type of athletic shoes I wear now.  I have a pair for home, and a pair I wear at work.  I have found that I do have to replace them every six months or so depending on how often I wear them. My work shoes that I wear eight hours daily, definitely get replaced every six months, but I can stretch my home shoes out out about a year.  At my previous office job that I had I wore high heels every day.  Decreasing the amount of time I am in high heels has also really helped.  The more support my shoes give me the less my shins hurt.

My second fix is I started exercising.  Now I am not a big girl, tiny at about 115 lbs and 5’5”.  I didn’t start exercising to get rid of my knee pain.  I started exercising doing full body workouts.  I do Jillian Michaels Kickboxing video, and I have done the 21-day fix videos.  The consistency of working out has greatly decreased my pain.  Where the physical therapy exercises focused on leg exercises, these other exercises do a lot of full body training.  So my legs aren’t overly tired on top of being in pain.  The stronger my body was getting the pain was starting to fade.  I can now fully bend my knees without feeling like they would just rip apart and I now don’t have the leg pain from the malalignment after I exercise.  Running is still a big no for me, the pain gets worse with long running.  But I don’t have any lingering pain if it’s in small amounts of running around the backyard with my daughter or casually playing basketball or soccer.   

Sometimes at night I cannot fall asleep due to my leg pain.  Some quick fixes I have to just alleviate the pain without taking pain medicines are Icy Hot and R.I.C.E.  Icy Hot is nice at night when you can rub it on and you feel the relief instantly.  It does not last for a very long time on me, so I use it mostly before I go to sleep just to get myself to relax and not dwell on the leg pain so much.  R.I.C.E: Rest Ice Compression Elevation.  I ice my knees on days when they really hurt or feel like my kneecaps are going to explode out of my legs.  The ice numbs my knees and gives me relief that way.  Neither are life changers but with my other fixes to just take the edge off on bad days without having to take medicine I like to keep these on hand.  

RESULTS

I still have pain on occasion.  And I have noticed that the weather sometimes plays affect to how my knees feel.  When older people say things like, “Oh it’s going to rain my knee is acting up.”  Yes that is now me.  When the atmospheric pressure is up I can almost directly feel it in my legs.  I continue to do lots of activities; basketball, soccer, dance lessons.  Where before I would come home from work ready to weep from the pain my legs were causing me, I now only maybe have a handful of days where the pain gets that bad. With my Saucony shoes and my exercises I can walk around Disney World amusement parks walking 10 miles a day and not have any discomfort.  Where my pain was when I first started finding out things about this five years ago I could never imagine walking that far. Miserable malalignment syndrome is miserable to say the least but it is also manageable.  

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3 thoughts on “Living with Miserable Malalignment Syndrome

  1. Darlene Rutledge

    My 12 year old Granddaughter has been diagnosed with miserable misalignment syndrome. Our orthopedic doctor said just as well therapy you’re going to do physical therapy but I am thinking also of haveing a personal trainer to help her. What shoe is good for a 12 year old with this condition. and is there any advise for us .She is in pain all the time too young

    1. Michael Broderick

      I was 12 when this condition first took it’s toll on me. I was okay for a year, and then at 14,it came back with avengence and never left. This was in 1995. My mom took me to so many specialists. None of them could help me. Some theorized that my pain was being caused by water in my knees, or juvenile arthitis.

      I’ve been through a lot in the past 22 years. The consequences were devastating for me, and on my life I had to give up sports, etc.

      I just learned about the name of this condition today, through research. The internet is such a blessing. It wasn’t around at the time, and hasn’t evolved into what it is until now. I think your grand daughter has a really good advantage in that she is not yet fully grown, there may still be time to correct her problem without surgery. As for me, 22 years later I’m still trying to find a solution. I gave up hope many times over the years, It’s been like trying to solve a cold case; but now for the first time in a long time; I feel like I may be starting to uncover the problem and solution.

  2. Stephanie

    Hi! I have miserable malalignment as well. I’m 22 years old. After dealing with the pain and trying physical therapy I decided to bite the bullet and get the surgeries to rotate my bones. It was the best decision I’ve made. The pain is doable and I’m currently recovering from surgery on my second leg. If you have any questions let me know!

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