General chatter - Torn Meniscus-your experience, recovery time, exercise




curvynotlumpy
01-19-2014, 12:07 PM
[If this thread needs to be moved please don't hesitate.]

Hi chicks,

I have an appointment at the end of January to have my knees examined, but with all the informal research I've done in consultation with "Dr. Google", and discussing this issue at length with both my brothers who've had knee issues and surgeries as well, I do believe I have a meniscus tear. Of course I'll know more in a couple of weeks. Both brothers have had meniscus surgery so they speak from personal experience.

Up to about 6 months ago I was a consistent (albeit slow ;)) runner, running 3-4 times a week. In fact it played a large part in helping me lose the weight I did. I did other things as well, turbo kick, Zumba, elliptical and stairmaster, etc. Now, I'm down to walking with a little weight training.

While I'm not looking forward to the diagnosis it will be good to have concrete information rather than guessing. And I won't avoid surgery if it is determined to be the best course of action. Currently I'm not in much pain (thank goodness)but my right knee is swollen and I hear popping and cracking that are some of the tell-tale signs of a meniscus injury. I also spend way more time than the average person thinking about the state of her knees!

If you've had meniscus issues and/or surgery I'd really appreciate your feedback about your experience. Did you have surgery? How long was your recovery period? Were you a runner and were you able to resume running? What kind of exercise do you do now?

Thanks to all in advance for your input.


alaskanlaughter
01-19-2014, 04:05 PM
my DH has had surgery to repair a torn meniscus on both knees although not at the same time, about 2 years apart I think....he had an initial appointment with a bone and joint doctor, a follow up MRI and then a scheduled outpatient surgery shortly after in both cases...both surgeries were quick, he was able to stay awake with local anesthetic and was home the same day....recovery was quick also and he was on crutches for less than a week....

my DH does not exercise and did not start anything else after either surgery....both issues started with a fall that twisted that particular knee...he also has arthritis in both knees but the surgery made no impact on that

Leaves
01-19-2014, 04:50 PM
I've had a meniscus tear repair and ACL reconstruction on my left knee, and now have another meniscus tear! For me, I had the first meniscus tear repaired before the ACL so I'm not quite sure of the recovery from just the first op, but I've always been able to do anything I wanted since having the ops done.

As I have another tear, I do get some occasional pain (particularly when sitting for long periods) and some swelling, but I was told by the surgeon that unless there are real issues with your knee locking then it is not worth having the surgery to repair it as it usually makes very little difference. I'm still able to run and do any sports that I like- as I said, there is a little swelling occasionally but it's nothing that stops me from carrying on as normal. Hope that helps!


curvynotlumpy
01-23-2014, 02:37 PM
my DH has had surgery to repair a torn meniscus on both knees although not at the same time, about 2 years apart I think....he had an initial appointment with a bone and joint doctor, a follow up MRI and then a scheduled outpatient surgery shortly after in both cases...both surgeries were quick, he was able to stay awake with local anesthetic and was home the same day....recovery was quick also and he was on crutches for less than a week....

my DH does not exercise and did not start anything else after either surgery....both issues started with a fall that twisted that particular knee...he also has arthritis in both knees but the surgery made no impact on that

Thanks, alaskanlaughter. I appreciate your feedback. Your DH's experience was very similar to my brothers' and what I've read on line. For me, if I do need surgery, I want to find a surgeon who has a vested interest in seeing his/her patients resume their normal activities, not just walking.

curvynotlumpy
01-23-2014, 02:39 PM
I've had a meniscus tear repair and ACL reconstruction on my left knee, and now have another meniscus tear! For me, I had the first meniscus tear repaired before the ACL so I'm not quite sure of the recovery from just the first op, but I've always been able to do anything I wanted since having the ops done.

As I have another tear, I do get some occasional pain (particularly when sitting for long periods) and some swelling, but I was told by the surgeon that unless there are real issues with your knee locking then it is not worth having the surgery to repair it as it usually makes very little difference. I'm still able to run and do any sports that I like- as I said, there is a little swelling occasionally but it's nothing that stops me from carrying on as normal. Hope that helps!

Leaves, thanks for your input. That really is great news regarding your activity level! Unfortunately, I do experience some knee locking. Not often, but I feel it and I definitely know what's happening. I'm looking forward to my appointment to get some definite answers.

Lunula
01-27-2014, 05:44 PM
I have torn the cartilage in my left knee 3x and my right knee once. The first time was in high school when I ran track - I was in a knee brace for 8 weeks, on crutches. It healed okay - from then on I always had problems with it. It would get sore easily, swell up and "pop" out of place at times. The 2nd tear was a year or 2 after college, I was just stepping off my front porch and I guess I twisted it. At the time, I had no health insurance and couldn't afford much treatment other than an initial visit for a brace and pain meds. They told me I likely had a bucket-handle tear and wanted to do an MRI/surgery/etc. - which of course I couldn't do because I didn't have insurance. For about a year and half I lived like that - constant pain, couldn't fully bend or straighten my knee and was absolutely MISERABLE. This is the period where I gained most of my weight because, frankly, it hurt too much to do anything. I tore it a third time (mowing my lawn) 4 months after starting a job where I had insurance, so I was finally able to have the surgery. BUT - my knee has never been the same and in the process of limping around like that for a year and a half, I destroyed my other knee.

The point of my story - do NOT wait to get treatment. I regret it so very much, but I just couldn't afford a (at the time) $16,000 surgery. Had I taken care of it right away, I honestly believe that I wouldn't have torn my other knee and I wouldn't have such severe osteoarthritis today, and I certainly wouldn't have gained 50+ lbs in a year and a half. I was told, at age 34, that I needed double-knee replacement.

Recovery after the arthroscopic surgery wasn't so bad; however, because I waited so long to have it done and it was torn 3x, I had a ton of cartilage removed.

Surgery itself was outpatient, I was walking around that same night. But again, mine was a bit different due to the damage that was already done. My doctor wouldn't do arthroscopic on my other knee, he said it would be a waste and just wants me to have them replaced. I've gone through so much rehab, pain meds, shots, etc. My knees and putting off the replacement surgery was the #1 reason I lost weight...

Moral of my long story - do not wait!!!!!

Desiderata
01-27-2014, 07:16 PM
I don't have personal experience to share, but you might be interested in the results of a study published last month -- it found that surgery for meniscus tears is generally no more effective than physical therapy. Here's the NYTimes article: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/26/health/common-knee-surgery-does-very-little-for-some-study-suggests.html?_r=0