Hi,

I'm dealing with a problem that I'm sure some of you wish you could have, but I thought some of those here who have incomplete injuries might be able to share some insights.

So here's the situation: I have CP (as in cerebral palsy, not central pain, luckily) and a screwed-up knee that's permanently stuck at a somewhat awkward 80-degree angle.

I can still use my right leg a little when I try to walk with crutches: I just sort of hang in my crutches, while putting a tiny bit of weight on the tip of my toe. Because of CP-associated tendon stiffness, I can't put my other foot completely flat on the ground either, so I kind of need that little bit of weight-bearing on the screwed-up leg in order to keep my balance.

Now, as it is, I can't really walk without a second person there to spot me. I've tried many times, only to fall every time, so I stopped doing it. I'm not too keen on the possibility of fracturing another limb, and screwing that one up, too. So right now, walking isn't functional for me.

Until a few days ago, I was fine with that: I'd just keep walking with my physical therapist, until I find a surgeon who can fix my knee. But then I went to a new physical therapist, and she said that the way I'm walking right now, I run the risk of making things worse by screwing up my back, too. I don't know exactly what she meant by that, but it scared me a little.

The thing is, every time I go see a doctor, they tell me that the problem I have with my knee is fixable. Never mind that I've had five surgeries already, which were all supposed to solve my knee problem and didn't. I think at this point, the only way I'm ever going to have a functional knee joint again is with knee replacement. This is just my personal opinion (I've never had a doctor offer me that option), but I think it's a fairly well-informed opinion.

Now, here's my problem. The one doctor who did once mention the possibility of giving me a prosthetic knee joint, discarded that option immediately because of my age (I'm 25) and the fact that because of my CP, he couldn't be absolutely certain that a prosthetic knee would, in fact, allow me to walk again. Just to clarify: I was always able to walk independently before this knee thing happened.

So then the question becomes: do I keep walking in therapy, just to maintain my muscle strength as much as I can, until I find a doctor who's willing to entertain the possibility of replacing my knee? Or do I stop doing it, so as not to screw up my back (which is what's happening now, according to my physical therapist). My fear is that by the time my knee can be fixed (if it can ever be fixed), I'm going to have additional problems that inhibit walking -- problems that may plague me for the rest of my life, even if I stop walking altogether.

I know this is a very specific situation, but I'm pretty sure there are some people here who've faced the same dilemma, if not for the same reasons. So of those of you who have, I ask: what would you do if you were in my shoes, and why would you do it that way?