Anybody ever torn their meniscus?

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msdstc

Incredibly Naive
#1
Looks like I may have torn it. There's really no pain, just a bit of swelling and quite a bit of pressure. I see an orthopedic doctor to start figuring out how to approach it and hear all my best options... few questions.

1. How many have had the surgery?
2. How long is the recovery time?
3. Where is your knee at now post surgery and reovery?

and finally

4. Is physical therapy a viable option? I'd much rather go the best route for a full recovery, and if that means going surgery I'm up for that.
 
#2
I have it sucks. Wasn't as much paiinful as it was awkward. I ended up getting the surgery and it took a good two weeks to recover. And even now my knee still hurts and is awkward (just less awkward) and its been about a year
 

msdstc

Incredibly Naive
#3
I have it sucks. Wasn't as much paiinful as it was awkward. I ended up getting the surgery and it took a good two weeks to recover. And even now my knee still hurts and is awkward (just less awkward) and its been about a year
That's what I hear :-/. Sucks because I was trying to plant and turn on it and again it doesn't hurt, it's just awkward like you said. Feels like my knee has something trying to hold it back or about to tear when I make quick movements.
 
#5
I have. I was 11 though. Took a whole 6-8 months before I was back in action. Lost the better part of ski season, all of spring and summer as well.

Didn't have the surgery,but I had to wear a brace for a few months. It is one of the reasons I became and video game and TV junkie. Since that was all I could do.
 
#6
I've sort of had the surgery done. Ended up with an open lateral menisectomy when I was in my early 20s. So not quite the same.

I've also performed around 80 or so knee arthroscopies in the past few years so I do have some experience in the field.

How well you do is really patient specific. It depends on factors such as the extent of the damage, your age, your physical condition, etc. A routine meniscal tear will probably buy you a partial menisectomy. If you're fairly young, and the tear is in the right area, a meniscus can be repaired. This would be your best outcome. Unfortunately, you'd have to be completely off the leg for a few weeks to protect the repair. However, you keep your native meniscus.

Your typical partial menisectomy involves cutting out the torn portion of the meniscus. Obviously, this depends on the nature and location of the tear. We all have menisci for a reason. Removing a sizable chunk of your meniscus is going to give you arthritis later in life, but it will get rid of your pain.

If you've torn the portions of the meniscus that anchor it to your tibia, then you're looking at a more extensive procedure.

For your typical partial menisectomy, people are generally doing very well at a month out. In any event you can usually start walking on it right away.

As for physical therapy, yes, it is a viable option. Hope that helps.
 
#7
thats the horseshoe part of the cartiledge that lies between your lower bones and femur right?

if so about 24yo back in 1994 I flipped it somehow in bed thought nothing of it 3-4 hours later went and played softball and messed it up somemore. Had surgery from the orthopedic doctor who watches over Del La Salle High School football team. Who if you know high school football they are top20 for the past 30 years in high school footbal in California. At the time after the surgery I received a VCR recording of the surgery. Turns out I think he removed 3/4th of the horseshoe cartiledge from my knee

Fast forward to November 2003 I leaning forward over a counter I had braced my thighs against a counter my left knee buckled forward the wrong way in Los Angeles area while at work. I hyperextended my anterior cruciate ligament I think it was my employer a really cheap Truck Towing company called Frank Scotto Towing his son keept fucking around with me and never opened a works comp case kept sending me to this bogus Western Medical Group over 7 visits over 2-3 months the first visit I was with the actual doctor who had experience in Ortho about 5 of the visits were with what i later was told was a doctor who is more experience dealing with head issues. by then I was complaining so loudly how my left not improving the ortho doctor admitted to me that the other guy I had seen for 5 visits was someone not a doctor in knee injuries.

Gawd I could go on and on how bad it all turned out for me. One left knee surgery later and one right knee surgery later and a denied shoulder claim after getting out of my car and my knee buckling and my whole body collaspsing I crashed onto my shoulder still hurts to this day.

Just this winter my left knee arthritis has started my right knee has had arthritis pain for the past 4-5 years now after it had 2 surgeries. I cannot walk now without large amounts of pain in my right knee. But a bad lawyer who made about 4-5k off my 19k settlement with workers comp and I'm one ruined person who has never recovered mentally or physically.
 
#8
I partially tore my MCL and badly stressed my meniscus and ACL, though they did not actually tear. It was terrible. The pain was nearly unbearable for the first 10 days. I ended up not having surgery, instead I wore a brace for about a month and then basically did my own version of physical therapy by gradually working it out more and more over about 3 months.

If your doctor tells you to get surgery then do it. It's nothing to mess with.
 

msdstc

Incredibly Naive
#9
Ughh really nervous about this derailing my physical life... hopefully we caught before any serious damage was done.

edit- my mri is a few days... can anybody give me any tests that worked for them to give a clearer idea of what the damage is? There are a couple I've read about online, but really I'd rather hear from somebody who has experienced it first hand.
 
#10
Ughh really nervous about this derailing my physical life... hopefully we caught before any serious damage was done.

edit- my mri is a few days... can anybody give me any tests that worked for them to give a clearer idea of what the damage is? There are a couple I've read about online, but really I'd rather hear from somebody who has experienced it first hand.
The MRI is diagnostic. I wouldn't bother with doing any physical tests. You can't really do any of them on yourself, you'll need someone with experience testing your knee. Lateral or medial joint line tenderness can tell you which side of the knee is affected and whether or not you have a large effusion can give you some information.
 
#11
Ughh really nervous about this derailing my physical life... hopefully we caught before any serious damage was done.

edit- my mri is a few days... can anybody give me any tests that worked for them to give a clearer idea of what the damage is? There are a couple I've read about online, but really I'd rather hear from somebody who has experienced it first hand.
Where is the MRI being done? What machine? Have you met the team? Experience level?

MRI quality is definitely nothing to skimp on. If you can afford a 3 tesla machine definitely go for that one. 1.5 tesla or lower is not very helpful, you can get a lot of fuzzy diagnoses from a fuzzy image. And if you read the report it is all vauge (suspected X or possible X), so their asses are covered.

MRI's are generally good, but the interpretation and image quality is what you pay for. Honestly you can give a 3 techs the same fuzzy image and they can all have different interpretations.

I tore my meniscus but didn't get surgery. Doctor said it would heal on its own. Now, I need surgery to clean out all the scar tissue.
Did you have rehab afterwards? Sounds like a terrible doctor.
 
#14
I tore my ACL and meniscus and sprained my MCL at work back in the latter part of 2010. I couldn't stand on my left knee and it basically felt like spaghetti. Had to get an MRI done to see all of the damage done. After a few days, my MCL healed and I was able to walk without crutches and I could even run if I wanted to, but I couldn't straighten out my leg and my doctor advised me not to sprint or anything that would turn my knee at an angle.

In the early part of December 2010, I had surgery on my left knee to get my ACL reconstructed by using my left patella tendon and the Doc sutured my meniscus at the time, too. He told me that I would have to be on crutches for six weeks before I could walk again mainly because he wanted my meniscus to heal up properly. If it weren't for that, I would've been walking a lot sooner than that.

Right now, my knee is pretty much near 100% and I am able to do all the things I was able to before I injured myself. Still, I had to go through physical therapy after my surgery and up until March 2011. And I didn't have to worry about cost since it was all on workman's comp
 

sonicfan

Venerable Member
#17
Tore mine playing backyard football in 1975. It swelled up amd I could not bend it for a week. In a few weeks it vwas better but not ok. Went out for the basketball team that winter and it went out again. Could not bend it for another week then got better but was never the same. It ached all the time and I had maybe 66% of the normal range of motion for about the next 10 years. I pretty much gave up active sports and it hurt less. I got in real got shape about 10 years ago and started coaching soccer,and one day kicked a ball right as somebody kicked it from the other side. I felt something funny in my knee but it didn't really hurt. Then two days later at work I went to stand up and it just locked in a bent position. I eventually could straighten it after a loud pop sound. But if I sat down again it locked up again.

I finally went to a doc, he said it was a classic case, and would be fixable with surgery. I had it scoped and was walking on my own in about 4 days. In a few weeks it was better than ever. It hurt less and I could bend it more. I wish I could have had the surgery years earlier as my knee was basically swollen for over 25 years. There is a certain way I can make it hurt by bending it and twisting it, but 99.9%of the time it doesn't really bother me at all.
 
#18
woah..extremely strange because I just got my results from my MRI this afternoon, and the report came back saying I tore my meniscus. I'm not entirely sure on how bad it is, but I'm going to the orthopedic doc that ordered it tomorrow...
 
#19
woah..extremely strange because I just got my results from my MRI this afternoon, and the report came back saying I tore my meniscus. I'm not entirely sure on how bad it is, but I'm going to the orthopedic doc that ordered it tomorrow...
Does it say torn meniscus or possible tearing? Did you see the MRI?
 
#21
Does it say torn meniscus or possible tearing? Did you see the MRI?
I have the CD with all of the MRI pictures (in which the ortho doc wants to look at tomorrow). A nurse read me the report over the phone, and i THINK she said minor lateral tear? which I googled and it says that it can heal on it's own. I'm gonna take the doctors word on what's wrong though, I'm not fuckin' around with my knees.
 
#22
I have the CD with all of the MRI pictures (in which the ortho doc wants to look at tomorrow). A nurse read me the report over the phone, and i THINK she said minor lateral tear? which I googled and it says that it can heal on it's own. I'm gonna take the doctors word on what's wrong though, I'm not fuckin' around with my knees.
Neither option is that great:

No surgery = rehab
Surgery = healing + more rehab

I hope you have a either a good surgeon or a good rehab therapist. Take a look at the pics and try and get that report word-for-word. If it is vague call that doctor up and have him explain it to you.
 
#23
Tore both in my left leg (along with ACL and MCL). The ortho stitched both of them- it was a decision he made once he got inside the knee and could tell how bad it was. That resulted in having to wear a locked brace for a full month - now that's disruptive. If all I had was an ACL reconstruction, then I would have been crutch free within a couple of weeks. Being in a locked brace for a month results in great atrophy even with aggressive rehab. That made my entire rehabilitation that much longer.

Fast forward to 3 months later. I tried to do some jumping (volleyball, against orders) and noticed a stinging pain on the medial part of my knee. I figured it was just my torn MCL screaming at me and not quite healed. So I rested it, didn't play for another 3 months and waited for the go ahead from PT and the ortho to play.

Fast forward to a year later. I still have slicing/unpredictable pain shooting down the medial part of my knee from simply walking, turning in bed, whatever. I take the complaint to another ortho and after a couple of consults and an MRI find out that a piece of my medial meniscus had torn off incompletely and was flapping around, unbound. That little piece of padding would insert itself between my who-knows-what whenever I bended my knee and set off a nuclear reaction of pain that disabled me.

E.g. playing volleyball I would jump up normally for a spike, the meniscus piece would slide into a horrible place, then I would land - this sent a shooting pain through my leg and I would flop to the ground unable to bend my knee. I noticed that I had to massage out a new lump on the side of my knee before I could bend my knee without pain.

The new ortho went in and cut out the offending piece of meniscus, and after another round of rehab I am now essentially at 100% and pain free. There's still noticeable swelling (not unexpected after two surgeries on the same knee), regardless of activity level, but it doesn't hinder my ability to run or jump.

Bottom-line:

stitches = long rehab, much atrophy, severe effect on day to day activities
AND if it is imperfect, will need a second surgery

cutting off damaged part = quicker recovery, less potential for pain if it is imperfect.

Had stitches to both menisci in my left leg. The lateral meniscus is just fine, but the medial meniscus went crazy and made walking a flight of stairs a hazardous adventure - had to have a follow up surgery.

Either way, you'll eventually get back to 100%, if not better due to rehab exercises/routine.
 
#25
Neither option is that great:

No surgery = rehab
Surgery = healing + more rehab

I hope you have a either a good surgeon or a good rehab therapist. Take a look at the pics and try and get that report word-for-word. If it is vague call that doctor up and have him explain it to you.
yeah, i'm going to see him tomorrow night, so i'll get the full report. plus the doc said he'll look over the pictures with me there.

this thread is scaring me though, that's for sure. I was just getting into the best shape i've ever been in, and needless to say i'm extremely frustrated sitting on the couch while my boys are going to the gym..
 
#26
I have, worst pain in my life.

I ripped and inverted my meniscus when I was 14. I had to go in for surgery for them to flip it over and apply saline stitching to allow it to heal properly. It was awful.

Worse yet, one of the saline stitches broke and I ended up having to go into surgery again so they could repair that.

All in all the recovery time was around 6 months, and then another 3 months of physical therapy, which helped greatly. Worst was that first day of physical therapy where the nurse asked me to move a muscle in my leg and I couldn't do it. But within a month I was using crutches, and two months after that, walking.

Its been 9 years since then and I'm perfectly fine now, joining the Navy, and running several times a week. When I first started running it hurt, but that was because of HOW I was running, not because of the previous damage. You can barely even tell I had surgery, as the laproscopic scars are so small.
 
#27
I have, worst pain in my life.

I ripped and inverted my meniscus when I was 14. I had to go in for surgery for them to flip it over and apply saline stitching to allow it to heal properly. It was awful.

Worse yet, one of the saline stitches broke and I ended up having to go into surgery again so they could repair that.

All in all the recovery time was around 6 months, and then another 3 months of physical therapy, which helped greatly. Worst was that first day of physical therapy where the nurse asked me to move a muscle in my leg and I couldn't do it. But within a month I was using crutches, and two months after that, walking.

Its been 9 years since then and I'm perfectly fine now, joining the Navy, and running several times a week. When I first started running it hurt, but that was because of HOW I was running, not because of the previous damage. You can barely even tell I had surgery, as the laproscopic scars are so small.
WHAT. that's possible? fucking a.
 
#28
Bottom-line:

stitches = long rehab, much atrophy, severe effect on day to day activities
AND if it is imperfect, will need a second surgery

cutting off damaged part = quicker recovery, less potential for pain if it is imperfect.

Had stitches to both menisci in my left leg. The lateral meniscus is just fine, but the medial meniscus went crazy and made walking a flight of stairs a hazardous adventure - had to have a follow up surgery.

Either way, you'll eventually get back to 100%, if not better due to rehab exercises/routine.
like I mentioned earlier, cutting away the damaged meniscus is not without consequences. I've scoped knees that have had menisectomies and there's usually a focal cartilage defect where the meniscus had been resected. Always better to repair if possible, but unfortunately these things don't heal all that well.
 
#29
WHAT. that's possible? fucking a.
Well, the entire thing isn't exactly inverted. There's a horizontal rip and a portion of it flips up like a "bucket handle." this thing can flip back and forth and can get stuck. I once watched a resident examining a knee with an acl tear. He did a lachman on him (test for acl deficiency) and ended up displacing a bucket handle tear which locked the knee and was irreducible. Guy ended up having emergency surgery. He then sued the hospital. And then had the gall to ask for another unrelated surgery.
 
#31
I wouldn't call it gall if the lawsuit wasn't without merit. Resident fucked up big time.
Not really a fuck up. It was a grossly unstable knee. Pretty much just bad luck. He would've lost the case except his lawyer knew the exact cutoff point where this hospital automatically settles cases. Furthermore, who would sue a surgeon and then go right back to him and ask for more surgery?

This is my problem with all these clinic cases. We give patients free surgery all the time. We get paid absolutely nothing. Yet they can sue us and potentially ruin our lives. We take all the risk and get little benefit aside from helping out those in need. Really makes you think twice before you operate on someone.
 

msdstc

Incredibly Naive
#33
Well returning to the thread some horror stories in here, but also some success stories. I believe mine is minor because again there really is no pain, it just feels awkward at the moment I'm hoping if it's minor to take a risk on stitching it up and letting it heal to 100%. I got a bunch of good equipment at my house so I would take a few months of just strengthing my leg and rehabbing on and elliptical and cardio bike... not to mention if I come out of this clean I'm probably going to take up yoga.
 
#34
Torned it in a Soccer match in June of 2011. Got surgery in july, and still I'm having a lot of troubles. Can't really do much, after the surgery I had to walk with a brace and crutches for 6 weeks, but I still wear the brace sometimes because of the pain. It fucking sucks. The worst part was that before the surgery I really didn't have any pain, that came afterwards.
 

sonicfan

Venerable Member
#35
A lot of how things turn out is what type of tear you have. Mine was from getting hit from the side, my knee bending inwards, this pushes the two leg bones together and causes a tear.



Mine was probably a "torn horn", and I didn't have any ligament damage which helped a whole bunch.
 

msdstc

Incredibly Naive
#36
A lot of how things turn out is what type of tear you have. Mine was from getting hit from the side, my knee bending inwards, this pushes the two leg bones together and causes a tear.



Mine was probably a "torn horn", and I didn't have any ligament damage which helped a whole bunch.
If I have the tear it's gotta be a minor one, because again I can run, I can cut, I can pivot, but every now and then it feels awkward. No pain, just awkwardness. How is your knee now?
 
#37
I just got back from the orthopedic doc. I have a medial meniscus tear along with a patellar tendon tear (holds the knee cap in place is all I know).

He said he doesn't want to rush surgery, so I guess it's not that bad? He wrote me a script for physical therapy.
 
#38
Tore my ACL playing basketball in college. Meniscus was fucked up too and some other shit inside. Was repaired surgically with a grafted tendon. Surgery hurt like a bitch. Therapy was long and boring but the most important part of recovery.

Started playing sports again probably 6 months out. At that time my knee was still weak and unstable and I used this big ass brace. Probably took 2 years before I had no pain and 100% confidence in it.
 
#39
Well returning to the thread some horror stories in here, but also some success stories. I believe mine is minor because again there really is no pain, it just feels awkward at the moment I'm hoping if it's minor to take a risk on stitching it up and letting it heal to 100%. I got a bunch of good equipment at my house so I would take a few months of just strengthing my leg and rehabbing on and elliptical and cardio bike... not to mention if I come out of this clean I'm probably going to take up yoga.
Rehab is doing what you don't want to do. Repeating the same familiar motions of an eliptical or cardio bike is not rehab.
 
#40
Rehab is doing what you don't want to do. Repeating the same familiar motions of an eliptical or cardio bike is not rehab.
The bike is great for the knee dude. Puts almost no pressure on it and really strengthens it.

Not a substitute for professional rehab but riding a stationary bike helped me a lot.
 

msdstc

Incredibly Naive
#43
Well, this doesn't make sense, but I see what you mean.
Makes plenty of sense, no impact on the joint, but builds the mucsles around it. I'll be willing to do a ton of both of these pieces of equipment for at least a few months before i get back on it 100%.

Again would yoga help with a situation like this?

edit- bionic hows your knee doing now?
 
#44
Makes plenty of sense, no impact on the joint, but builds the mucsles around it. I'll be willing to do a ton of both of these pieces of equipment for at least a few months before i get back on it 100%.
Your knee would be going in one direction-only though. So if you are only interested in your knee going only one way, I guess. And it is hard to bike properly. You can pedal mindlessly for hours watching tv, but actually doing it correctly and efficiently is a skill.
Again would yoga help with a situation like this?
Commercial yoga like in a studio/class or P90X yoga no.

But real yoga sure. You can do namaste and warrior pose all you want, but doing it correctly and efficiently like the lotus pose takes skill.
 

sonicfan

Venerable Member
#45
If I have the tear it's gotta be a minor one, because again I can run, I can cut, I can pivot, but every now and then it feels awkward. No pain, just awkwardness. How is your knee now?
My knee is so much better than it was. Like I said before I tore mine my freshman year in high school, and never had anything done to it to try and fix it. I played basketball and tennis and things like that through High School and college, and it it hurt a fair amount, and was almost always swollen. I really lost my range of motion, I couldn't bend my knee a whole lot past 90 degrees. Over the years it seemed to get better, but as I got older I was not as active until I started coaching soccer. My main exercise was riding a stationary bike and weigh lifting.

Once I had the surgery, and got some rehab, it was much better. No swelling, better range of motion, no ache or pain. The only way it hurt was to bend it a lot and try to twist it, I think when I did that be bones moved together and it would hurt, but not linger. I was probably a ideal case to have repair as mine was probably not that extreme compared to a full knee blow out....probably similar to years but maybe a bigger tear....
 
#46
Makes plenty of sense, no impact on the joint, but builds the mucsles around it. I'll be willing to do a ton of both of these pieces of equipment for at least a few months before i get back on it 100%.

Again would yoga help with a situation like this?

edit- bionic hows your knee doing now?
I never got the same level of explosion I had before the injury but I am still pain free and I am not limited in what I can do.

That said only I can tell there is any difference and some of that might be in my head. I dunked a basketball before and after the injury. Those days are gone now though, not because of the knee though, but because of inactivity and I don't play bball anymore.

I guess not everyone will agree with me, but honestly for my ACL riding the bike was the best exercise I did to stabilize the muscles around the joint so I didn't need to rely on the brace.
 
#47
So for a medial meniscus and patellar tendon tear, the doc wants to go the physical therapy route, which I'm okay with. The thing is, I'm away at school and my insurance isn't really around this area. So now what? should I try to look up online what exercises to do on my free time if I can't get the therapy?
 
#48
Slightly tore my outer ligament on my right knee around 5 years ago. I guess playing over 25+ years of football on shitty pitches will do that to you.
I had some pain after playing but no swelling or redness; some ice and elevation would calm it right down. Decided to stop playing football as I value walking much more than playing so it was an easy decision.

Haven't had any pain at all for over 6 months. I can run with no issues and even played some football last summer with no pain. Not playing any more pains me though; I miss the sport dearly.
 
#49
I guess not everyone will agree with me, but honestly for my ACL riding the bike was the best exercise I did to stabilize the muscles around the joint so I didn't need to rely on the brace.
Well the bike is good, but like I said you are only doing one motion: forward-backward. A flexible knee moves around. You have muscles that move the knee at different angles which create stability. So biking is a very safe way to build up muscle strength for one direction, but I would say those other angular muscles are more important then the forward-backward ones.

And that is the difference between a good rehab experience and a lazy one. A lazy rehab therapist will not push you to do the angular stuff. A good one will push you to move in those side areas and break scar tissue. It will hurt a lot so most people wuss out and just hit the bike. So if you really are interested in getting back to 100% & pain free (like you are a paid athlete or you really want to play sports again) you will do the harder route. Rehab is hard work, it hurts, and you really need to be committed. I think less than 5% of patients have enough mental drive and pain control to go this route, so sometimes therapists don't even give you this option.

If you don't think full knee range of motion is important or you aren't committed or you don't have a good PT well it is possible to recover to a ceratin point, it is very safe and easy but like bionic said you don't get the full explosiveness anymore and lots of other people have pain or haven't recovered fully.

So for a medial meniscus and patellar tendon tear, the doc wants to go the physical therapy route, which I'm okay with. The thing is, I'm away at school and my insurance isn't really around this area. So now what? should I try to look up online what exercises to do on my free time if I can't get the therapy?
I would do the therapy or at least get one consultation. You really need someone to see what your knee muscles do and how to improve that otherwise how do you know you are doing it right. You can google knee rehab exercises and do them, but you really need someone who knows what they are doing to tell you how to improve. Most PT's work really hard for the first meeting to make you come again so you can probably get 4-5 good, specific exercises just for you. Rehab is also quite expensive and you are probably not going to get a good/experienced therapist going to the cheapest guy. Sorry, man but just throwing out knee exercises over a message board is pretty dangerous not seeing you or knowing what your knee can do.
 
#50
I would do the therapy or at least get one consultation. You really need someone to see what your knee muscles do and how to improve that otherwise how do you know you are doing it right. You can google knee rehab exercises and do them, but you really need someone who knows what they are doing to tell you how to improve. Most PT's work really hard for the first meeting to make you come again so you can probably get 4-5 good, specific exercises just for you. Rehab is also quite expensive and you are probably not going to get a good/experienced therapist going to the cheapest guy. Sorry, man but just throwing out knee exercises over a message board is pretty dangerous not seeing you or knowing what your knee can do.
Yeah, I understand. Thanks Shira, I appreciate it. I've had rehab for my shoulder (dislocated it) and PT is no joke. The question I asked seemed a bit far-fetched now that I think about it..
 
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