T Nation

My Knee Injury, Training

About 18 months ago (im 17 now), i had surgury to remove cartilage in my left knee which has now left me with a bit of a gap in it. part of my medial meniscus was also removed. following the surgury i was not recommended to a physio or any other specialist. so me being me at the time didnt think anything of it.

so once the stitches wer removed from the key hole surgury i just went back to playing my usual sport. i did quit my football team because of my injury but this was about the only action taken place by myself. when i thought all was going well i joined the wolfslair for muay thai, MMA, BJJ lessons (all mixed- no routine- because i wanted to know what each class was like).

i also rejoined my football team out of school. the 1st training session was fine. the second training was dooms day though. i went to get in my coaches car for a lift back home and as i got in my knee popped. i didnt let my coach know i was in agony because thats the way i’ve always been- i dont like to show any slight emotion from pain because i dont like to seem beaten.

when i got out of the car to walk back home i was limping back. As soon as the next day i quit my football team and stopped training all together. after about six weeks i went back training BBJ for 4 times a week as i thought this would keep the pressure off. after the second week my knee gave up again.

since then i havent been back to the wolfslair but i have done some sparring with my friends. i managed to get an appointment with a consultant and he outlined that i have part of my medial meniscus removed, a gap in the cartilage and a band attached to the knee cap which could be sorted with physio or surgury can cut it but this causes more scar tissue.

i also have a problem with the meniscus on my right knee as apparently it ‘isnt textbook C shape’.i did the physio for 3 months and it has helped clear the band problem. however i do have other problems which she didnt try to adjust as she just told me she is only focusing on 1 problem which is this band.

so after clearing the band problem i thought id get some flexibility training done as my quads are shit but my hamstrings are pretty fine. for the quads i did the stretch standing and pull my lower leg to my arse. after 20 seconds a pop would occur in my tendon in both knees. fuck knows what this problem is so im going back to the consultant to find out.

until i get this appointment sorted i just wanted to know if anybody knows what this popping tendon problem is and how i can sort it. i’ve tried loads of stuff and it keeps fucking up and its taking over my life. any help would be much appreciated


I will resist the urge to knock your writing too badly, because I actually feel for you and your problem. But note that if you want responses, please present your problem and history in a little more structured way. It will yield more answers, honestly.

Now to the more friendly part.

As someone who has had both their knees operated on (arthroscopy), one due to a torn meniscus + cartilage damage, the other only due to cartilage damage. And I am still an active practitioner of a combat sport (judo). I feel I can give you some advice.

  1. Stay away from any impact-related activity. This means, don’t play football, ever.

  2. Listen carefully to your knee. It will never ever be as good as before (not unless there is some breakthrough in the future), but if you treat it right, you will be able to practice BJJ for the rest of your life if you want. This means to stop anything which causes a prolonged pain sensation. If you get a sharp sting of pain doing something, then be careful of repeating it, but apparently the biggest sign of danger is a prolonged “more dull” sense of pain. On a joint that’s been recently operated on, the sharp quick pains are usually scar tissue tearing.

  3. Go see a an orthopedic surgeon, preferably one which specializes in knees. Ask the guys at the Wolfslair, usually at top MMA gyms they know some good doctors and specialists. Have this doctor examine your knee (get an MRI) and hopefully he can simply recommend a good physical therapist. However it could be that your premature rejoining of the football team caused further damage.

Additionally, I would recommend lots of fish oil, and a glucosamine/chondroitin/msm supplement.

But to sum up:

Rest until you feel fine, and if you can’t skip training then NO IMPACT exercises for your knees. Focus on upper-body lifting, a long with maybe (MAYBE) some unilateral leg exercises for balance. Grappling should be ok, as long as you take it easy on the weak knee. AND FINALLY: See a good specialist, try to get the Wolfslair guys to recommend you someone. AND DO AS THE SPECIALIST SAYS.

I sincerely hope it gets better, please tell us (me?) of your progress.


Thanks for the reply and I hope there are more too come. I am sorry about my writing as well but this has never been my strong point.

I forgot to mention some other points in my last message.

Firstly, I want to tell other problems that have happened. One night I decided to take the Eddie Bravo approach of stretching whenever your relaxing. I thought this was a great idea so my flexibility could get a jumping start. However when performing the basic seated groin stretch where the feet get pulled in towards your groin and the knees naturally go out, the cartilage or meniscus (in my words) popped out to the outside of the knee, which is a first as it usually pops out on the inside of the knee. This was devastating for me as I thought it was a new problem and I was just getting no where. I couldnt straighten my knee or move it inwards. It was locked and wasnt budging so I just went to sleep completly pissed off. When i brought this up to my physio she just said ‘its a new symptom so just keep your eye on it’. Since this happened it hasnt occured again and I havent bothered to approach the Eddie Bravo method.

When i took into consideration rehabillitating my knee I used the 18 tips for bulletproof knees article to help me out. The standing jumps in that article where added to my program and in the 3rd training session when doing these I felt the left tendon pop around the sixth rep (out of ten). So I stopped a couple of seconds to shake my leg about and finished the set. I read about this problem and apparently it is to do with my meniscus injury. But if anyone else has anymore information then please share.

Another part of the 18 tips for bulletproof knees i used was the PNF treatment. As I don’t know anyone who performs this I had my mum do it from the internet. What happened was the same pop in the tendon as what happens when I do the standing quadriceps stretch. So this to has also been left alone. If there is a way that I can develop my range of motion without producing this problem or if anyone knows any other method please let me know as I will give it a try.
I really would like for the 1st time to be able to kneel up without having any trouble.