T Nation

Torn Meniscus

I tore my meniscus a few months ago and have been going to PT for the past few months to strengthen my quad and get the leg back in order.

I have started doing some body weight squats and other leg exersizes and got back to skating a little bit (i’m a hockey player). I just recently had my last follow up with my Orthapedist and he basically said that I dont need surgery.

Its never going to be perfect but that its not going to get worse and there is only a slight chance I can make damage it more by playing hockey or anthing.

My question is, had anyone ever had this injury and gone back to lifting and stuff without getting the surgery. As of now I cant squat past parallel and I havent tried adding bar weight yet, only doing one leg leg presses and BW squats.

Thanks for any help.

Sorry to hear of your injury. Looks like you are taking it well though - that is good. Positive cognitive beliefs being associated with faster and better recovery have flooded the field of health psychology decade after decade.

On a side note, I have been under the impression that squatting past parallel is actually BETTER for your knees. It is a myth that going past parallel is detrimental.

Check out this video of Dan John teaching the overhead squat. Near the end he talks about squatting with wide-stance, narrow stance, parallel and past parallel.
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6529481301858251744

its not that i dont want to squat past parallel. I used to squat well below parallel, but with the current state of my knee i get a shooting pain if i go that low.

It also happens every once in a while on the rink if i get my leg trapped underneath me after a hit or along the boards or something…its bad for a few minutes and then it feels like nothing really happened. Although there is always a constant clicking sound in it.

I just want to know if anyone has had this injury and what their experience has been with or without surgery.

come on. I know someone besides Gilbert Arenas has had this injury.

I tore my left medial meniscus about 4 years ago. After 6 months, the clicking hadn’t gone away, so I went for the surgery. On the MRI, it was clearly torn up. The surgeon said there were two possibilities: if the torn area had blood flow, they would sew it up and I’d spend 3-6 months doing rehab stuff. If it didn’t, they’d just snip it out. Turns out they just cut a piece out, and in less than a week I was walking again.

99% of the time, my knee feels perfect. Structurally, it’s great, but the soft tissue gets a bit sore sometimes. I have a tiny scar from the scope still. When I started working out again (2 years after the surgery), I started with a brace. Eventually I realized the brace was keeping that leg from getting structurally stronger, so I lost it. I do full squats, plus lots of jumping/kicking stuff.

Don’t know if this helps you at all. Get some MRIs to a good surgeon; surgery’s still your choice but their opinion will help clarify things.

I don’t buy into a lot of this “going ass to grass is better for your knees!” that is horse shit. Even though I do squat basically to that depth, whenever I have knee tendonitis I notice that going just slightly below parallel has the least pain on my knees.

thanks for that help. I havent gotten the MRI yet but he it definitely hasnt healed yet so there isnt any blood flow getting to it. the Surgeon said he would probably just snip a piece out. My knee clicks like crazy right now but the pain is minimal and only when I am doing something like falling with all my weight directly on it.

I am going to see if i can run on it tommorrow but I am thinking right now I will probably skip the surgery or get it done in late summer if I do get it. Too much hockey to be played now.

About 15 years ago, I tore the medial meniscus in my right knee playing volleyball. (darn foot got caught in the net and I landed funny). I took a good six months off from anything other than walking around and range of motion stuff. By that time it was feeling pretty good, so I tried incredibly light stuff in the weightroom (full snatches with 40 kg, full back squats with the same weight.) It felt fine during the workout, but by that evening I could barely walk. Ended up getting a piece of the meniscus removed about a month later.

Three days later I was in the weightroom doing 20 kg full squats, and after six months was back up to the weights I had lifted before the injury, 115 kg snatch, 135 kg C&J, 150 kg front squat. Haven’t had any problems with it since. Even the scars went away after a couple years.

I did give up volleyball, but that was more because of starting to throw again, and not enough time or energy for everything. My point is that I am not nice to my knees, but post surgery, they have held up very well.

I’m glad I didn’t wait any longer than I did for the surgery.

I tore the medial meniscus in my left knee last summer and had surgery even though the trainer at my college said i could make it through the season without it. Rather than having the pain and not being able to squat or have the same rotation abilities i was off crutches the day after my surgery and in the gym that same day, didn’t miss a workout (luckily it was an upper body day). Did PT for about two months and my knee is structurally fine. It hurts every now and then, with changes in the weather or when its really cold. I make sure to ice it after squats and deadlifts, make sure to take all my fish oil - if i don’t it’ll hurt. But i’d say have the surgery, the procedure is less than two hours and just tell the doctor to cut it, you’ll be on your feet the next day - especially if you’ve already been doing pt.

–jordan

I have been in the same situation as you.

I tore my meniscus (must have been minor) when I played hockey in junior – I played goalie so I was often shifting weight laterally, which would pop my knee. Surgery was optional and I opted out because of an insanely long waiting list.

I resumed weight training a couple of months after the end of the season after playing November to April with a “popping” knee. It was painful on the ice, but after two months the pain subsided substantially.

I was told not to go heavy on legs by the doctors. At that point I didn’t know much about training, but within a few months I was going relatively heavy.

Since then, I experience random pain in the region for no apparent reason sometimes. The area is sensitive to the touch, and it pops when I change direction but this popping is painless. I have no performance related handicaps. I can squat heavy (well I’m no superman) and low, and when I play it rarely pops (once a year maybe, but usually not painful).

I attribute this to strength training. I think it helped me recover. I do expect that one day I’ll have to have my knee scoped, but for the time being it’s not a problem.

So just be careful at first, but get it strong as soon as you can.

I agree. I tore my ACL in november 2005, opted out of surgery and squat and deadlift heavy (for me). I find it more comfortable going ATG on squats and I think its easier. I once emailed Cressey and he said that lots of people squat and dead with torn ACL’s simply because these often go undiagnosed.

[quote]Mowgli wrote:
I have been in the same situation as you.

I tore my meniscus (must have been minor) when I played hockey in junior – I played goalie so I was often shifting weight laterally, which would pop my knee. Surgery was optional and I opted out because of an insanely long waiting list.

I resumed weight training a couple of months after the end of the season after playing November to April with a “popping” knee. It was painful on the ice, but after two months the pain subsided substantially.

I was told not to go heavy on legs by the doctors. At that point I didn’t know much about training, but within a few months I was going relatively heavy.

Since then, I experience random pain in the region for no apparent reason sometimes. The area is sensitive to the touch, and it pops when I change direction but this popping is painless. I have no performance related handicaps. I can squat heavy (well I’m no superman) and low, and when I play it rarely pops (once a year maybe, but usually not painful).

I attribute this to strength training. I think it helped me recover. I do expect that one day I’ll have to have my knee scoped, but for the time being it’s not a problem.

So just be careful at first, but get it strong as soon as you can.[/quote]

You might want to consider running some questions by your orthopedist. I had torn meniscus in both of my knees about five years, both of which required surgery. I took it easy on my legs for a full year after that. By then they felt pretty good, so I eased into using them again: squats (not too heavy), deadlifts (same), lots of one-leg squats and lunges, some sprinting (on grass) and jogging.

Unfortunately, my knees started hurting again. I went back to see my orthopedist was told that I now have basically no cartilage in my knee joins and severely narrowed joint spaces. Basically, I can never squat, deadlift, lunge, run, jog, or even walk for exercise purposes ever again, and there’s a good chance that I’ll need knee replacement before I’m nearly as old as the typical knee replacement patient.

Oh, and I just turned 23. It’s always possible that I have some undiagnosed genetic condition or structural abnormality that made the deterioration happen, but it’s also possible that I don’t. So the message is, don’t play around with your knees… get a professional opinion (or several of them).

Did your ortho run an MRI? I agree that absence of an ACL (and lack of surgery) will hasten arthritis, but this is the first time Ive heard of it happening in 5-6 years.

[quote]MCS wrote:
You might want to consider running some questions by your orthopedist. I had torn meniscus in both of my knees about five years, both of which required surgery. I took it easy on my legs for a full year after that. By then they felt pretty good, so I eased into using them again: squats (not too heavy), deadlifts (same), lots of one-leg squats and lunges, some sprinting (on grass) and jogging.

Unfortunately, my knees started hurting again. I went back to see my orthopedist was told that I now have basically no cartilage in my knee joins and severely narrowed joint spaces. Basically, I can never squat, deadlift, lunge, run, jog, or even walk for exercise purposes ever again, and there’s a good chance that I’ll need knee replacement before I’m nearly as old as the typical knee replacement patient.

Oh, and I just turned 23. It’s always possible that I have some undiagnosed genetic condition or structural abnormality that made the deterioration happen, but it’s also possible that I don’t. So the message is, don’t play around with your knees… get a professional opinion (or several of them).[/quote]

Yep, MRIs confirmed. Also they were both MCL tears rather than ACL tears–not that it makes a difference to your statement, though. But yeah, you can imagine that it was a shock to me too.

I ripped my meniscus 4 years ago during spring conditioning for Soccer. The Ortho shaved down the tear and I was training full speed 3 weeks later.

It all depends on the individual. Some come back sooner than others (his words).

[quote]UtahLama wrote:
I ripped my meniscus 4 years ago during spring conditioning for Soccer. The Ortho shaved down the tear and I was training full speed 3 weeks later.

It all depends on the individual. Some come back sooner than others (his words).[/quote]

When you say shaved down the tears do you mean cutting the broken part and replacing it with something or what ? Thx.