T Nation

Meniscus Tear Recovery Time


#1

In late January, I felt a pop on the outside of my right knee when at the bottom of the motion of a squat. It took about a week for the swelling to go down and to get a decent range of motion back, but it hasn't gotten better since then - I still have pain and instability in my knee whenever I try to squat, lunge, or sprint. However, I can still jog at 7 mph without pain, and I can even deadlift at 80-90% of my usual load. It seems like a torn lateral meniscus, and I have an MRI scheduled for Monday.

Since it hasn't been getting better for a month now, there's a good chance I might need arthroscopic surgery. I know I'm just speculating, but I'd like to find out if I do need surgery, how long would it be before I can start a complete training program again. My symptoms aren't too severe, so I was wondering if anyone has been in a similar situation and how long it took to recover. Thanks.


#2

Hey mate, I was just gonna post the same sort of question aswell. I’ve a bucket handle tear of my meniscus on the medial side going by my MRI. I did it playing rugby 2 weeks ago and can’t fully extend it, and still can’t put full weight on it .

I think if you’ve done it laterally there’ll be more problems as there’s no blood supply to it to aid in healing. I’m sure more qualified posters will help further going from your symptoms.

Maybe you’ve not done too much damage as you can still do plenty of work anyways.

My surgey’s on Tues, I’m hoping to have not harmed my ACL- which I’ve had replaced with patella graft 7-8 yrs ago, and this couldn’t happen at a worser time, as we’ve our rugby promotion battles and as its end of season here in Ireland, all our finals are in the next 2 months- bummer.

Good luck with the scan and keep us posted of any news…


#3

Could be a number of things other than meniscus. It’s really hard to do a proper knee exam on yourself though to rule out things like LCL tear. The knee needs to be completely relaxed and put through a number of maneuvers to get a full assessment of the injury. If that was my knee I’d want to know its real status before I went on kneehabbing and getting back to business at full strength.Good luck.


#4

Same problem here, so I’ll be watching this thread closely. I am having a hard time doing my intervals on the treadmill and have stopped doing heavy leg work to prevent further damage. This is the first time something like this has affected my training. I have been looking for advice on how to adjust my workouts until my knee is functioning correctly again. IF anyone has some good resources pertaining to this please post. Thanks


#5

I actually went to an orthopedist last week and he agrees its probably a meniscus tear, but I’m going in for the MRI tomorrow to see how bad it is. Its probably not the LCL because the orthopedist seemed to be able to tell from the way my knees looked when I was standing with my heels together - my kneecap wasn’t kicking out to the side like it would if I had a ligament tear.

Its actually not very painful when I just flex and extend the knee in the air, putting weight on it is the only issue. I used to be able to do at least 10 one-legged squats on each leg, and if I tried to do one on my right leg now, my knee would buckle once I get past 30 degrees.

I’ll keep everyone posted.


#6

OP, you’re describing EXACTLY what happened to me about 5 months ago. I waited 4 months before going to a doc hoping it would fix itself. It didn’t. They speculated it was a torn meniscus, but turned out to be two chunks of cartilage that had “chipped” off near the meniscus and gotten under the kneecap.

I had the cartilage removed and the kneecap scraped a month ago this Tuesday. Not able to sprint or dunk yet, but can lift right now. Still a bit sore and swollen, and some days it hurts more than others [like today], but I’m definitely already better than I was before the surgery.


#7

OP wow, almost excactly 1 year since i had my lateral meniscus shaved. its a pain in the ass no doubt, but not a major injury at all. find a good surgeon with some PT afterwords youll be fine in 6 weeks. I was squatting in PT about 3 weeks after surgery .

handle your PT just like you would in the gym. Do it safely but go at it hard. I went all out on my PT and was good to go in 6 weeks full strength. Good luck


#8

Well, I had my surgery and the surgeon cut out my tear, though He’ll have to go back in to re-do my ACL. He said it was a 90% tear so thats me for a while.
On a good note, My physio’s wife is a therapist aswell and She runs the micro-current treatment. This is used to stop the internel bleeding and swelling and treat the nerves and all sorts of programs. They had me on it 3 hours post op and I woke up this morning with no pain or swelling and after another session today I can gently walk on it now.

Still its interesting to see the improvement this quick. Will be hoping it can help once the ACL gets re-done too.
Good luck…


#9

I just got back from my appointment with the orthopedist who reviewed my MRI. The bad news is that I have a lateral meniscus tear, and if I have surgery they will have to cut most of the meniscus out, since the lataral meniscus is much more complex than the medial or inner part.

The good news is that there is a blood supply to the part that is torn, so it is capable of healing without surgery.

I was glad that the orthopedist recommended not having surgery since I would be sacrificing long term health without most of my meniscus and the potential for early arthritis for short term improvement. He said to “baby” it for 3 weeks and then re-evaluate.

It’s going to be very hard for me not training my legs, since I pitch for a non-varsity college baseball team and I’m a senior so its probably my last chance ever to play, but more importantly, I have a military commitment that begins May 26th (I won’t say which branch because I haven’t earned the title yet and don’t deserve to be associated with them yet), so I’m really hoping this heals with 3 weeks of inactivity.

I don’t know for sure yet, but there’s a good chance the doctors at MEPS would disqualify me if I had to get most of my meniscus removed.

I do have a little bit of optimism as of yesterday, because yesterday I was sort of able to do a one-legged box squat on my right leg, since my knee was completely giving out when I tried that last week. I mostly using my glute and hamstrings, so it might be that those muscles are getting much stronger (since that’s how I test my knee everyday), but hopefully its because my meniscus is healing.

I can rep out over 10 one legged squats without a box on my left leg, so that’s going to be how I measure my recovery.

So I guess if you suspect you have a lateral meniscus tear, you should go get an MRI and see an orthopedist to see if the tear is capable of seeing on its own because operating on it could sacrifice the long term health of your knee. I’ll keep everyone posted on how this process goes.


#10

I had the same injury & opted not to have the surgery. It’s been over a year, and I have no pain & @ 100%.

Most people that get the surgery end up going back multiple times for repeat procedures & have pain, swelling, etc.


#11

Great to hear quagmeyer. I hope I make the 100% recovery as well. Just curious, how did you feel a couple of months after the injury and what did you do to recover?


#12

I have torn my medial meniscus 2 years ago, and opted not for surgery as well. I’m about to ask for an operation, because I’m tired of doing everything half assed. I’m a basketball player, I can squat fine, deadlift fine, but jumping irritates it everytime. I know there’s a risk involved, but I at least want to go back playing ball again.

If you can do everything you want to do without pain, I’d say let it be. But if it keeps you from doing things you love, you got some hard decisions to make. Good thing you seem to have torn the part of the meniscus that heals. Good luck!


#13

Recovery from a meniscus tear depends on the tear and the procedure used to repair it. Tears to the avascular outer section of the meniscus cannot be repaired, they have to be shaved off. Recovery is usually fairly quick.

Repairs to the vascular section, the inner section of the meniscus, can be stitched and repaired. Repair to this section is pretty intensive and several incisions have to be made. The stiching has to be brought in one hole, threaded with the scope and then out through another hole.

Depending on the severity of the tear, recovery from most meniscus repairs like this involves around six weeks of zero weight bearing. Range of motion starts with around -10 degrees knee extension and about 80 degrees flexion. This repair is more recovery/rehab intensive in the short-term but is very good in terms of long-term health and recovery.


#14

jjphenomenon, would you say the symptoms of a torn avascular section and torn vascular section are different?


#15

Tore mine in 2003 and went about a year having it pop on me. I’d have to do a behind the back quad stretch (pretzle looking pose) to get it back in place, it was more awkward then painful. I opted to have the surgery in 2004 and I wasn’t laid up that long…

In fact, the day after my surgery my wife went into labor and so I popped a couple pain pills and watched my son being born. I was back to work within a month and probably close to 100% within 2-3 months. I would do the surgery again if needed. Since then, I’ve had zero problems with my knee.


#16

[quote]yankeesuniverse wrote:
Great to hear quagmeyer. I hope I make the 100% recovery as well. Just curious, how did you feel a couple of months after the injury and what did you do to recover?[/quote]

A couple months after the injury I still had weakness & relied on my ‘good’ knee to help do a majority of any movement. I whined like a dentist drill about the weakness, but keep track of the progress & go slow. I relied on leg presses & just built up slowly until I could squat again.

Something I didn’t expect is how it f#cked up my bench! foot placement & leg drive have to be altered completely.

Main thing is to not give up!