T Nation

Left Torn Meniscus?


Got hit with some disturbing news the other day. Left torn meniscus was the diagnosis from
my primary care physician. Have a date with an orthopedic specialist next week. Very upset
about terminating all leg work ESPECIALLY squatting and deadlifting.

I put much emphasis on core and leg work in my training. At my age, 51, I feel that it
is important to keep the "wheel's turning" so therefore I make it a priority.

And so, I ask, who here has suffered this injury? Share your experiences and adjustments
you made to your training.


Don't trust primary care. Wait to hear what ortho says AFTER you get an MRI.


By primary care physician, do you mean the PCP on your HMO insurance card or just a general medical physician? If it is just a genearl medical physician, I agree with BackInAction. Most general medical physicians are not very skilled at orthopedic assessments, unless they have had some sports medicine background in their training/education. I would wait until you get to see the ortho and possibly get the MRI to make the final determination.

Did the primary care say why he felt it was meniscus? What symptoms or issues have you been having? How did you initially hurt it? Problems with climbing stairs?


In reference to primary care physician...he is my own doctor by choice, not designated by insurance mandate, specializing in internal medicine.

Upon diagnosis his protocol was to have me ride a bike 15-20 minutes everyday for 30 days.
If no improvement was felt by then I was to call him. I could'nt accept this and opted for a referral to an orthopedic specialist for assessment. in the mean time I thought it wise to refrain from all leg training.

Symptoms...swelling/puffiness around the knee...
a clicking/pulling feeling at the right (inside leg) part of the kneecap when I
Stiffness especially when walking up and down stairs...
Unable to straighten and lookout knee...
The only pain I feel comes with any twisting motion most especially just getting
in and out of the car. I must be very careful not to twist the knee when my
foot is planted.

I am not sure how I initially hurt it. I did not injure it in anyway that immediately caused the symptoms.I have learned that at my age it is quite common to get this injury just from a result of wear and tear

At any rate it's on to the ortho. I was just hoping someone here with the same injury would share their experiences.


Yea, I would wait on the ortho and MRI results.

If it is indeed a meniscal tear and surgery is opted for, recovery will be dependent upon if you have a menisectomy or meniscal repair.

A menisectomy means that there is a tear and they go in and just clean it out. Generally, it is a 2-4 week recovery and progression into full activity. You can begin walking as soon as tolerated. I have worked with football players who get a menisectomy and are back playing on the field within 4 weeks post-op.

A meniscal repair means that there is a tear and they go in and suture it down. Generally, it is 4-6 weeks non-weight bearing post-op. Then you begin progressing into weight bearing activities, multidirectional movements, etc. Most people won't return to full function for about 2-3 months post-op.

Those time frames of return to full function is based from my experiences with athletes returning to full ability on an athletic field. People may return faster/slower depending on what they are returning to. Also, with the menisectomy, you are most likely to develop arthritis than you are with the meniscal repair.

Some doctors recently have been performing microfracture surgeries with certain meniscal situations. Depending on where they perform the microfracture, it can extend your return by upwards of 6-9 months or even a whole year.


I had a menisectomy on my left knee, lateral meniscus in October 2008.
I had felt minor pains in the knee before but didn't think much of it. I felt it pop coming out of a front squat. I racked the weight stood there for a minute then tried to walk. I had shooting pain for 2 days then it subsided but I couldn't lockout my knee.

Between getting evaluated, surgery, and recovery. I was out of the gym for 5 weeks. The bike was great for getting my range of motion back. I had 5 weeks of physical therapy, 2 sessions per week. I trained mostly upper body using machines while I was in PT.

I've come back and beat previous PRs. A menisectomy is rather minor compared to surgies like reparing a torn ACL.

Feel free to send me a PM if you have any questions.